Friday, October 25, 2013

The Adventures of a Lumpy Dog.

Mac is missing a fun Halloween event with the SPCA this weekend.  And we're bummed.

Why?  Because he's lumpy.

Dobermans as are prone to a couple of things.  The affectionately-termed-yet-near-lethal "Dober-gas" is one of them.  (case in point - Mac just farted and I had to leave the room so I didn't barf, which is not an exaggeration but an actual fact)  The other item that's common for Dobes is darn near any issue that might pertain to skin.

When I first got Mac as a pup, he had a serious case of mange.  Even after clearing that up, he's always been a bit itchy, which we attribute to mild allergies.  And once upon a time, he had a tumor on his leg (we briefly thought we were going to have a tripod dog).  We had the growth removed and tested, and it was benign, and so all was good in the world.  For a few years.

This summer we were up at the in-law's lake-house and I noticed Mac had a tick on his leg.  I did the match-stick thing (which according to this article apparently doesn't do any good, so that's nice to know), and nothing happened except my puppy winced a little.  So I took a tweezers to it.  Mac, being probably the best mannered dog ever, sat still while I tugged at the nubbin on his leg for few minutes.  Until I realized it was a skin tag that was very much a part of my dog, and I should stop trying to rip it off.  Lump number one.

Mac didn't make a peep while I did this.  I can't even imagine someone pinching at my skin like that without socking them in the face.  Good dog.

About a month after that, we noticed that one of Mac's ribs was sticking out of his side.  Then we realized that it wasn't a rib, it was a grape sized lump just hanging out on his side.  I took him to the vet for that and they told me they were 95% sure it was a fatty tumor (aka just a benign growth), but if I wanted they could aspirate it.  By which I mean they could stick a giant needle into it and try and suck out the fat in the fatty tumor... except the tumor was *just* small enough that they weren't sure it would work and they'd probably have to really dig around in there with the needle.

Still feeling pretty guilty about the whole tick debacle, I decided to skip that unless it grows.  So far, still just a grape-size bomb.  Lump number two.

Then a few weeks ago, I note that Mac's got a bump on his muzzle.  At first, I just assumed that Mac must have smacked his face into a door-jam, as he seems to have both zero understanding of where his face or tail are in respect to other immovable objects, and also the grace of a whack-a-mole game.  Seriously, maybe once a day he turns his head of wags his tail and smacks it into a door frame or against a wall with such force I think "for SURE this time he broke his nose/ tail."

Does your dog smack his face into stuff?  
Are you as weirded out by their lack of concern 
over their self-harm as I am?
Tell me in the comments!

new schmexy frames.
A week later, and the bump was not only still there, but The Mister noticed it and mentioned it to me.  That worried me, since The Mister is much like many men in his inability to notice small changes (for example, he came home a little while ago and had a five minute face to face conversation with me where he did not notice that I got my new glasses today).  So I called to ask the vet if I should be concerned.

The vet's answer was a very nonchalant "well, nose bumps are a bit concerning.  It could be nothing... or it could be cancer."

Honestly, who could possibly hear that and not just be paranoid about it until they get a more definitive answer?

Unfortunately that meant that this time the vet really DID have to fish around in his lump with their giant needle, because they needed some cells to analyze.  Except this lump isn't on his side, it's on his NOSE.  Can you imagine having to cross-eyedly (shut-up it's a word) watch someone jam a giant needle into your nose?  'Cause I sure can't without wanting to vomit a little.  So what did Mac do?  He winced a bit, and made a small whine noise when the tech squeezed it like a zit to get a "tissue sample,"  but he didn't try to move his head away, he kept his butt seated on the ground, and all around amazed the veterinary staff with his behavior.

Also he saved us over a hundred bucks for not having to sedate him to get that sample.  So that was nice.  And so we have Lump number three.

The samples were inconclusive.  They didn't see any cancer cells, but they did spot a TON of white blood cells, so they put Mac on an anti-biotic.  Our current best guess is that Mac was on the receiving end of a "high-five w/ claws" from Bubba, and that the scratch got infected.  In any case, we're going to give it a few more weeks of these anti-biotics to see if we can't get it to go away.  Fingers crossed for us.

The bummer of being on anti-biotics is not only that I am apparently the only person in the house capable of getting Mac to efficiently down a pill, but also that the vet recommended that he not have a whole lot of play time with other dogs until it heals up, since while he's on antibiotics he can't get his vaccinations renewed.  So no Halloween party for Mac.  But if you have a puppy, or you're in the market for one, that doesn't mean that you should skip Dog-O-Ween.

Mac will be lumpy at home with us, this weekend and maybe we'll put him in the batman costume I made for the event to take him for a walk around the neighborhood.  Meanwhile, The Mister and I are just itching for next weekend, when we have some events to wear our costumes.  Which match Mac's in theme.  But I won't spoil them just yet.

In any case, The Mister and I are happy to have a lumpy dog. so long as he's healthy.

As you can see, this latest lump is gigantic. Or not.  But we're supposed to track it.

As I wrote this article, I couldn't help but think of this old flash game I found back when I was still a teen.  I share it here just for that sake, but it's one of those horribly funny things that lets you know you're for sure going to hell.  So, you know, forewarned and all.

Wednesday, October 16, 2013

The dirt on the fence.

Here's a moment of honesty that maybe you can relate to:  I love gossip.

I wish it wasn't true - there's something about being cool enough to be included in the loop of someone else's business feels good to me.  Sorry?  I don't feel like I can sincerely say I'm sorry if I have no intention of stopping my love affair of reading seedy magazines, gathering around the workplace water-cooler, and trolling Facebook (I will never cease to be amazed at how few people really utilize the privacy settings on Facebook.  Now I know all your secretsssssss).

It's one of those things that makes me a horrible person, but I'm going to go out on a limb and propose that everyone has such a thing.  What's yours, if you're so inclined to share, you should put that in the comments.  Own it, yo.

And so it is that I am obsessed with the fence next door.  That fence has a story - one that I have not been privy to first hand, but have garnered from neighborhood whispers.  Which makes it true gossip in that authentic gossip never seems to come from the actual source, but rather from a cousin of a brother of a friend's aunt.  Thus, it seems appropriate to share it with you all here.  Obviously, the authenticity of the details is up for question, but I've for the basics down.  Grain of salt and all that y'all.

"My best friend's sister's boyfriend's brother's girlfriend heard from this guy who knows this kid who's going with the girl who saw Ferris pass out at 31 Flavors last night. I guess it's pretty serious."

Back in the day, the neighborhood fenced in their backyards, all laced together with one endlessly connected chain-link creation.  Most yards still have this original fence, much as it is in dire need of a little TLC.  Weather and wear have taken their toll and so really if you're coming over to visit me, I hope you're up to date on your tetanus vaccine.  Whatever, for our purposes, the yard is contained enough that we can let Mac out and he can do his business without supervision.  Good 'nuf.

Then there's the house on the corner.  The house that is directly next to ours.  Owned by a young couple, they began a journey together to make it the home in which they would one day raise their family.  Now, because it was a corner house, the yard and it's chain-link fence, had a side that reached the street, and afforded the couple zero privacy in their backyard.  So it was decided that they would put up a 6' wooden privacy fence.

They spoke to the Mister about it, as this would require removing the twenty feet of chain-link fencing that our yards shared.  Since they were putting up another fence, and our yard would still be self-contained, the Mister saw no issue and gave them his blessing to upgrade their fence.  The fence was put up, and all was good in the world.

A few months later, the lady of the couple came home from work.  Upon which she found her spouse had decided to invite a lady friend of his over to visit.  A visit which included an activity other than dinner and drinks.  I think you see where I'm going with this.  The lady of the couple was obviously less than pleased with this development, and so she promptly left.  For good.

She moved out in the middle of the night, and under the cover of darkness, she took all her belongings with her.  Apparently, she owned the fence.

Yes folks, one day the Mister woke up and looked out his window to see nothing but wooden fence posts next door.  And also that his yard was suddenly not completely fenced in.  Which was unfortunate, because just the day before he had invited his brand new girlfriend over for dinner, and encouraged her to bring her doberman-mix puppy along, because the yard was fenced in and he could burn off some energy tearing around the back lawn.

As it turned out, Mac did okay on a long leash, and rather immediately took a liking to an old rickety table that had been placed out on the porch, so it turned out fine in that respect.

Meanwhile, with the couple next door at odds in their relationship, they weren't exactly keeping up with the home they shared, and foreclosure snuck up on them quickly.  Mac and I (and Bubba) moved in with the Mister, and we enjoyed essentially living next to a field (the bank that took over the house decided mowing the lawn is for losers), though we did not enjoy the regularity of how often one of us had to run out and retrieve either Mac or Bubba from among the tall grasses and veritable tick-utopia.

In the midst of just trying to get our own lives in order, we didn't have the time or money to put into fixing the fence.  Or maybe we were jut lazy - what I know for sure is that our eventual solution was to buy a roll of snow-fencing and use zip-ties to re-secure the boundaries of our backyard.  You know snow-fencing; that day-glo orange plastic crap that constructions sites use to keep people out of drying concrete?  As you can imagine, such a janky fix drove our property value just straight up.  Yay sarcasm.  It sort of worked though.

Yes. Pure class.  That was our yard.

Two summers later Mac figured out the divine secrets of jumping over snow-fencing.  It only took two instances of letting Mac out the backdoor, then turning to look out the window and see him running around the FRONT yard for us to set aside the funds needed for twenty feet of chain-link fencing and the labor to install it.

Meanwhile, the house next door was still in foreclosure, and the fenceposts and tall grasses remained.

This spring we noted that the for-sale sign was gone from the house next door.  Could it be?  We finally had neighbors again.  Maybe they would be cool.  Maybe they would hang out with us.  Maybe they would finally pull out the fence posts and end the eye-sore we had been treated to for years.  Excited is not the right word for the feels that The Mister and I shared over the amount of possibility that neighbors presented.

Finally one day we caught them while they were outside working on their porch.  They were twenty-somethings!  They were friendly!  They regularly mowed their lawn!  And so after enthusiastically introducing ourselves, The Mister and I retired that evening to thoughts of our new best friends next door.

Two days later, with no prior mention, the wooden privacy fence was back up.  We haven't seen them since.  Apparently we made a great impression.  

And so after years of being in the know about next door and all the juicy gossip therein, we've been unceremoniously cut out of the loop.  It all came full circle, and I suppose I deserve it.  I'd say I've learned my lesson, but recently our neighborhood joined this social network called "Nextdoor," which is like Facebook just for neighborhoods.  The posts from our crazy neighborhood watch coordinator, and the catty stay at home moms are all FASCINATING.

Are you a gossip hound?  Has it ever come back to bite you?  Tell me in the comments!

Wednesday, October 09, 2013

What the Mister and I have been up to.

You know what's really hard after a hiatus?  Coming up with coherent thoughts to make a whole, well-rounded blog post instead of just snippets of blog posts that start interestingly but go nowhere.  All I have today are snippets.  I'm sorry Internet.

The Mister and I, we went to a wedding show as FINvites a few weeks back.  I don't have anything to add to that snippet other than we did it, I'm pretty pleased with how it went, and I didn't meet a single bride-zilla there, which I take to be some kind of miracle on par with that one time there was a flood Noah forgot to pack his unicorns.

Actually, I guess I could add that, if I may toot my own horn for a second, that I am stupendous on taking a theme and rocking it HARD.  And that I'm very pleased that we themed our stationery company after sharks, because that just made the whole thing a little fun, plus it justified me purchasing a dozen of these:
TINY PLUSH SHARK ATTACK! Which is now a business tax deduction.

The Mister and I also recently broke our bed.

I offer that without any initial context because I wanted to give you the opportunity to be a five year old and giggle at all the off-color jokes that went through your head at how we may have broken our bed.

Really it's just because it was a cheap bed made of cheap materials that was not meant to be moved more than once, let alone to another country and back.  And so the slats that used to hold up our mattress decided they are done doing that.   So now we sleep like we're Japanese.  Which has notably been pretty awesome for both our backs.

The only bummer is that the bed was a "captain's bed," which meant that it had drawers under it and we kinda needed that storage in our bedroom.  But being able to just throw the folded socks across the room into the sock drawer which is now just sitting on the bedroom floor makes putting laundry away a lot faster.  I initially typed easier, but I recognize that it's not actually hard to put away laundry, I just hate doing it so it feels like I'm being slowly drawn and quartered by underpants gnomes.

Dude, seriously though, do you remember those little guys?  They could have had their own spin-off.  Which would have been cancelled pretty quick, but I would have watched until then, is what I'm saying.

The Mister and I, we just got back from celebrating our first anniversary.
Mac came along.

We haven't killed each other in an entire year of being legally bound to each other.  Also, we love each other.  So that's pretty phenomenal, really.  We spent a few days up at his parent's lake house (hey Ma and Pa McD? I forgot my green water bottle there... hold on to it for me, will you?) and last night I found the pudgie-pie maker in the closet.

According to the facebook gods, these perfect little pockets of bread and whatever goo you put in them (I always make PBJ pudgie-pies) go by many names.  Obviously I call them pudgie pies, because that is the best name for them (because you get to say PUDGIE in a 100% positive way), but I want to know what YOU call them.  
Tell me in the comments - maybe this is a regional thing.

I believe next week I shall tell you a story about a fence.  Specifically this fence, which is a photo I took from my bedroom window because that's not a creepy neighbor thing to do at all.
I would feel worse about creepily taking a photo of the neighbor's fence if THAT CREEPY WHITE VAN in the upper corner hadn't gotten spooked and moved a few minutes later.  
I'm like my own neighborhood watch.

I say this will be next week, because teasers are supposed to increase readership (I read that somewhere on the internet, so you know it must be true), and because I haven't quite fleshed it out in my head from being just a snippet into a whole real post, but I think it has potential if I work at it.