Sunday, November 30, 2008

Quick update on basement (and online) situation.... 

I feel like Cary Grant in "Mr. Blandings Builds His Dream House". Some of the work done to the basement this past week has led to the discovery of more problems, which, if not addressed, will lead to even more problems in the future. If I don't spend the extra money needed to fix them now, it's not gonna be any cheaper a year from now.

The biggest unexpected expense will be the storage room. In the process of replacing the leaky window in there, the handyman guy found black mold and evidence of more water damage than we had thought. So now he's gonna have to remove all the paneling, drywall and insulation along two walls and replace them after sealing up any cracks.

So our two week project is rapidly turning into three. Work resumes Monday morning, so I will be putting plastic sheeting back over the computer and command center again as soon as I finish this entry. Probably won't be online again until at least next weekend.

Oh, and I'm still in a flare. Construction noise, dust and trying to interact intelligently with handyman guys at 8:00 every morning are NOT good for my health. Plus, Thanksgiving was exhausting, even though we just went across town to the in-laws'.


Thursday, November 27, 2008

Rave of the Day for November 27, 2008: 


Sunday, November 23, 2008

Bonus Rave of the Day for November 23, 2008: 

Check out these amazing (and frequently hilarious) pix. Link courtesy of Ducky....

Efeitos Realistas

Scrambling to get the checkbook balanced and other things that use the computer before I go offline tomorrow. Once they start work on the basement, I guess I'll have plenty of time to catch up on magazine reading, heh heh.

Rave of the Day for November 23, 2008: 

Got the link to this in Jodi Bassett's newsletter. This page explains the dangers of forcing someone with M.E. out of their house or bed to do things beyond their tolerance level....

Why patients with severe M.E. are housebound and bedbound

Now, I am not nearly as ill as the people described on this page, but I do understand all too well that overdoing any sort of physical or mental activity can cause nasty, sometimes permanent exacerbation of illness. For instance, yesterday, I went to a church meeting where I participated in forming a vision statement for the church. Even though this effort was primarily mental, it proved to be excessive for me, and I ended up crashing last night for 12 hours, and here I am today too sick to go to Sunday services.

The handyman service guys are coming tomorrow morning at 8 o'clock to start work on the basement. Wish to hell I wasn't already in a flare before they even begin.

Friday, November 21, 2008

Will be MIA for awhile.... 

Ok, after MONTHS of delays, I am FINALLY going to get the basement fixed! That's the good news. The bad news is I will likely be offline for about two weeks starting November 24.

The carpenter who had started the project back in April was supposed to come back and put everything back together in September after the foundation was fixed and the secondary drainage system installed. Well, the foundations guys did their work, but the carpenter kept putting me off, saying he was swamped with other projects. Before I knew it, I was looking at a weather forecast for snow the first week of November and realized I had to come up with another solution before winter hit too hard.

So, even though it was not in our best interest financially, I called a handyman company because I had used their Denver branch a few years ago and knew they could work fast. The owner of the Sioux Falls branch came out to the house personally to assess the situation and give me an estimate. I about passed out when I found out how much it was gonna cost (let's just say it will take us a minimum of two years to pay off), but I had already been burned by going cheap, so after checking around a little, I signed on the dotted line.

Here's what they're gonna do starting on Monday: haul away the wood stove, seal up the vent for the stove, remove the rest of the brick fireplace, replace two of the leaky windows with new vinyl ones, seal off the third window that's under the back deck, replace rotted studs in the walls, file down the bolts in the wall anchors so that they're even, put in insulation and drywall, paint the new walls plain white, fix electrical shorts, rip out the rest of the carpet that is damaged, put down vinyl flooring and put my scrapbook area back together. We're not going for anything glamorous, just weatherproof. And since removing the rest of the brick is going to be messy as hell, I'm hiring someone to clean the vents as soon as the basement is finished.

Since I am preparing to "vanish" for a couple of weeks, I am trying to make some space on the DVR, get the check book caught up and other projects, so I don't know how much blogging I'll get to do between now and Monday. I will probably schedule a few goodies to appear here while I'm gone, but I can't promise any significant posts. And when the basement is finished, there will be the matter of cleaning up all construction dust and debris before I can use the computer again, which may take some time given the toll any sort of housework has on me.

Will pop in when I can.

Rave of the Day for November 21, 2008: 

Just what we need, a joke wikipedia, heh heh. Thanks to pete for the funnies....

These fit so well they should be in a dictionary.
A person who has stopped growing at both ends and is now growing in the middle.

A place where women curl up and dye.

Someone who is fed up with people.

The only animals you eat before they are born and after they are dead.

A body that keeps minutes and wastes hours.

Mud with the juice squeezed out.

Someone who is usually me-deep in conversation.

Cold Storage.

Cutting money in half without damaging the paper.

An insect that makes you like flies better.

Grape with a sunburn.

Something you tell to one person at a time.

A bunch of bones with the person scraped off..

The pain that drives you to extraction.

One of the greatest labor saving devices of today.

An honest opinion openly expressed.
And MY Personal Favourite!!
Something other people have, similar to my character lines.

Thursday, November 20, 2008

Rave of the Day for November 20, 2008: 

These were, believe it or not, buried in a mass forward from my in-laws regarding a change of e-mail address from a relative. I don't think my in-laws had any idea, but I'm passing these along because I thought they were funny....

The 1st Affair

A married man was having an affair

 with his secretary. 

One day they went to her place

 and made love all afternoon.

 Exhausted, they fell asleep 

and woke up at 8 PM.

 The man hurriedly dressed 

and told his lover to take his shoes 

outside and rub them in the grass and dirt.

 He put on his shoes and drove home.

 'Where have you been?' his wife demanded.

 'I can't lie to you,' he replied,

'I'm having an affair with my secretary.

 We had sex all afternoon.'

 She looked down at his shoes and said:

 'You lying bastard!

 You've been playing golf!'

The 2nd Affair

A middle-aged couple had two beautiful daughters 

but always talked about having a son.

 They decided to try one last time

 for the son they always wanted.

 The wife got pregnant

 and delivered a healthy baby boy.

 The joyful father rushed to the nursery 

to see his new son.

 He was horrified at the ugliest child 

he had ever seen.

 He told his wife: 'There's no way I can

 be the father of this baby. 

Look at the two beautiful daughters I fathered! 

Have you been fooling around behind my back?'

 The wife smiled sweetly and replied:

 'Not this time!'

The 3rd Affair

A mortician was working late one night. 

He examined the body of Mr. Schwartz, 

about to be cremated,

 and made a startling discovery.

 Schwartz had the largest private part 

he had ever seen!

 'I'm sorry Mr. Schwartz,' the mortician

 commented, 'I can't allow you to be cremated 

with such an impressive private part. 

It must be saved for posterity.'

 So, he removed it, 

stuffed it into his briefcase, 

and took it home

. 'I have something to show

 you won't believe,' he said to his wife, 

opening his briefcase.

 'My God!' the wife exclaimed,

 'Schwartz is dead!'

The 4th Affair

A woman was in bed with her lover 

when she heard her husband

 opening the front door.

 'Hurry,' she said, 'stand in the corner.'

 She rubbed baby oil all over him,

 then dusted him with talcum powder.

' Don't move until I tell you,' 

she said, 'pretend you're a statue.'

 'What's this?' the husband inquired 

as he entered the room. 

'Oh it's a statue,' she replied,

'the Smiths bought one and I liked it

 so I got one for us, too.'

 No more was said, 

not even when they went to bed. 

Around 2 AM the husband got up,

 went to the kitchen and returned

 with a sandwich and a beer. 

'Here,' he said to the statue, 'have this. 

I stood like that for two days at the Smiths 

and nobody offered me a damned thing.'

The 5th Affair

A man walked into a cafe,

 went to the bar and ordered a beer.

 'Certainly, Sir, that'll be one cent.'

 'One Cent?' the man exclaimed.

 He glanced at the menu and asked:

'How much for a nice juicy steak

 and a bottle of wine?'

 '10 cents,' the barman replied.

 '10 cents?' exclaimed the man.

 'Who owns this place?' 

The bartender replied:

 'He's upstairs, with my wife.' 

The man asked: 'What's he doing upstairs

 with your wife?' 

The bartender replied:

 'The same thing I'm doing

 to his business down here.'

The 6th Affair

Jake was dying. His wife sat at the bedside.

 He looked up and said weakly:

 'I have something I must confess.'

 'There's no need to,' his wife replied.

 'No,' he insisted,

'I want to die in peace.

 I slept with your sister, your best friend, 

her best friend, and your mother!'

 'I know,' she replied,

 'now just rest and let the poison work.'

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

Rave of the Day for November 19, 2008: 

Leave it to the Onion to find a hysterically funny angle on the Obama win. Thanks to Dr. Karen for the link....

Obama Win Causes Obsessive Supporters To Realize How Empty Their Lives Are

I am relieved that there has been a minimum of tension post election between McCain, Bush and Obama, at least on camera. Even the local newspaper, which endorsed McCain, seems to harboring a minimum amount of sour grapes, at least for now, which is a nice break.

Friday, November 14, 2008

Rave of the Day for November 14, 2008: 

Dr. Karen alerted me to this article. I can only hope that something like this would actually happen....

Senator Takes Initiative on Health Care

Whatever plan is implemented, we HAVE to get rid of the pre-existing condition exclusions! And it would help me immensely if I got a tax credit for being low income (I would qualify according to the plan in this article).

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

Adjusting to a dogless life.... 

It has been 10 days since Chip was put to sleep. I am surprised it hasn't been a lot longer than that. Time seems to have slowed to a crawl.

The first full day after he died, I couldn't handle being in the house and fled to a movie ("WALL-E") for distraction. Since then, I have gradually gotten to where the silence no longer makes me panic. Now it mostly just makes me sad.

That Sunday, I mentioned during church that Chip had passed away. A lot of people remembered him from the blessing of the pets in August. Several came up to us after the service to express their condolences, which I appreciated.

Sometime during that weekend, I realized I was never going to quit expecting to see Chip in the house as long as his food dish, crate and toys were still in their usual places. But I got upset at the thought of throwing out everything of his. I decided I would keep his first toy and his first collar, but everything else would either be tossed or donated, and I felt more okay about it.

Last week, I contacted the local animal rescue center, which relies on donations to function, and asked what they could use. Then, while Dan was at work (I knew it would be upsetting and didn't want to put him through it), I went through all of Chip's things and either put them in a pile to donate or put them in a black trash bag quickly before I could freak out and change my mind. I set aside his wire crate, three of his dog beds, 11 of his toys, two retractable leashes, other assorted leashes and collars, most of a seven pound box of Milkbones, a king-sized rawhide bone, and unused needles and syringes for allergy shots.

After washing the dog bed covers and some of his near-new toys (the majority of the toys I set aside had never been played with), we were ready to take all of the set aside items to the rescue center. We waited until Saturday so Dan could go with me because the crate was too heavy for me to carry. My heart sank when I put the bag of Chip's toys in the car, but the folks at the shelter were so excited to get them, so I knew that I was doing a good thing.

This morning, I got the call from the vet's office that Chip's ashes were ready to be picked up. Dan offered to go, but I said I would because so far, I was holding up better than he. Still, I expected it would be pretty difficult emotionally.

I showed up late in the afternoon. The receptionist handed me a white plastic square wrapped in a grocery bag. As I carried it to the car, I was floored with the realization that my gorgeous 50 pound puppy was now in a tiny BOX that fit in my hands.

Thank goodness the house was only a few blocks away, because I was sobbing so hard I could barely see. Not knowing what else to do after I got home, I sat on the couch with the box of Chip's ashes and cried until I was so exhausted I fell asleep. After I woke up and collected myself, I looked up the address of a place that has containers for pet ashes, and asked Dan if he would go there with me tomorrow.

But believe it or not, except for today, I would say I am coping reasonably well considering. I find it surprising, though, that some things I expected to upset me haven't and vice versa. For example, seeing photos of other springer spaniels in a catalog was fine, but when I looked outside the other night and saw it was snowing, I began to cry because Chip wasn't there to dance around and eat the falling snow.

Now, the following will come across as completely insane, and it could be just a feature of grieving, but Dan and I have both experienced unexplained occurrences in the house that we think have something to do with Chip, and we find it comforting. For example, a week ago, Dan and I both heard something walking around downstairs on the plastic that is now covering an area where one of Chip's dog beds used to be. Also on various occasions since then, I saw a section of window blinds move of its own accord, saw the door to Chip's crate move and rattle softly like it used to when he moved it with his paw, felt something brush up against the couch at about the height of Chip's shoulder, and felt something graze the end of the bed while hearing something that sounded like a dog's sigh.

While my conscious mind is pretty keenly aware that Chip is gone, my subconscious is still sorting it out. I can tell because I dream of Chip nearly every night, and so far, in my dreams I have no inkling he has died. Sunday morning was particularly sad because I had a dream that seemed so real that I woke up with my arm over the side of the bed, trying to pet a dog that wasn't there.

I am soooo exhausted now. I know I will get through this, but not without a few more tears. Like the song (and Bible) says, to everything there is a season, and a time to every purpose under heaven.

Saturday, November 08, 2008

Bonus Bonus Rave of the Day for November 8, 2008: 

The other side of CFIDS, from the point of view of a healthy partner. From the CFIDS newsletter....

Falling for a person with CFS

I honestly don't know how Dan puts up with all aggravations of being married to a sick person, one with unpredictable symptoms and one who can't do most of the things happily married people do. But I'm most grateful he does put up with me.

Bonus Rave of the Day for November 8, 2008: 

A woman goes from running marathons to being nearly incapacitated by CFIDS. Link courtesy of the CFIDS newsletter....

Personal Story: Jennifer Warner

Ironic that this ailment which is typically blamed on de-conditioning happens so often to people in peak physical shape. It's time to stop labeling these people as lazy when it is so clear they are not.

Rave of the Day for November 8, 2008: 

Read this woman's sobering and inspiring story of a life greatly challenged by CFS. Courtesy of the CFIDS newsletter....

Dreams at Stake

I appreciate that she explains the distinction between depression, in which someone might not want to get out of bed, and physical illness where one cannot get out of bed despite very much wanting to. Though some with CFS are understandably depressed, it is particularly frustrating to be motivated to lead a normal routine but thwarted by a body that simply will not allow it.

Friday, November 07, 2008

Rave of the Day for November 7, 2008: 

Got this in an e-mail from Michael Moore. I must say I second that emotion....


Who among us is not at a loss for words? Tears pour out. Tears of joy. Tears of relief. A stunning, whopping landslide of hope in a time of deep despair.

In a nation that was founded on genocide and then built on the backs of slaves, it was an unexpected moment, shocking in its simplicity: Barack Obama, a good man, a black man, said he would bring change to Washington, and the majority of the country liked that idea. The racists were present throughout the campaign and in the voting booth. But they are no longer the majority, and we will see their flame of hate fizzle out in our lifetime.

There was another important "first" last night. Never before in our history has an avowed anti-war candidate been elected president during a time of war. I hope President-elect Obama remembers that as he considers expanding the war in Afghanistan. The faith we now have will be lost if he forgets the main issue on which he beat his fellow Dems in the primaries and then a great war hero in the general election: The people of America are tired of war. Sick and tired. And their voice was loud and clear yesterday.

It's been an inexcusable 44 years since a Democrat running for president has received even just 51% of the vote. That's because most Americans haven't really liked the Democrats. They see them as rarely having the guts to get the job done or stand up for the working people they say they support. Well, here's their chance. It has been handed to them, via the voting public, in the form of a man who is not a party hack, not a set-for-life Beltway bureaucrat. Will he now become one of them, or will he force them to be more like him? We pray for the latter.

But today we celebrate this triumph of decency over personal attack, of peace over war, of intelligence over a belief that Adam and Eve rode around on dinosaurs just 6,000 years ago. What will it be like to have a smart president? Science, banished for eight years, will return. Imagine supporting our country's greatest minds as they seek to cure illness, discover new forms of energy, and work to save the planet. I know, pinch me.

We may, just possibly, also see a time of refreshing openness, enlightenment and creativity. The arts and the artists will not be seen as the enemy. Perhaps art will be explored in order to discover the greater truths. When FDR was ushered in with his landslide in 1932, what followed was Frank Capra and Preston Sturgis, Woody Guthrie and John Steinbeck, Dorothea Lange and Orson Welles. All week long I have been inundated with media asking me, "gee, Mike, what will you do now that Bush is gone?" Are they kidding? What will it be like to work and create in an environment that nurtures and supports film and the arts, science and invention, and the freedom to be whatever you want to be? Watch a thousand flowers bloom! We've entered a new era, and if I could sum up our collective first thought of this new era, it is this: Anything Is Possible.

An African American has been elected President of the United States! Anything is possible! We can wrestle our economy out of the hands of the reckless rich and return it to the people. Anything is possible! Every citizen can be guaranteed health care. Anything is possible! We can stop melting the polar ice caps. Anything is possible! Those who have committed war crimes will be brought to justice. Anything is possible.

We really don't have much time. There is big work to do. But this is the week for all of us to revel in this great moment. Be humble about it. Do not treat the Republicans in your life the way they have treated you the past eight years. Show them the grace and goodness that Barack Obama exuded throughout the campaign. Though called every name in the book, he refused to lower himself to the gutter and sling the mud back. Can we follow his example? I know, it will be hard.

I want to thank everyone who gave of their time and resources to make this victory happen. It's been a long road, and huge damage has been done to this great country, not to mention to many of you who have lost your jobs, gone bankrupt from medical bills, or suffered through a loved one being shipped off to Iraq. We will now work to repair this damage, and it won't be easy.

But what a way to start! Barack Hussein Obama, the 44th President of the United States. Wow. Seriously, wow.


Michael Moore

Best political news of my lifetime.... 

In case you missed it, Barack Obama's historic, fantastic acceptance speech....

I have never been more pleased with the outcome of an election. I am more proud of my country right now than I have been in a very long time. No matter what happens in the future, I will remember for the rest of my life my tears of joy (and mental happy dancing, heh heh) while watching the president-elect on the stage in Chicago on Tuesday night.

I do not envy the task Obama faces. The country is in the worst shape I've ever seen, and it will take far more than the next four years to undo the damage that has occurred in the past eight. Many of his ideas and proposals will be bitterly refused, or, if granted, may become so watered down by Congress or swamped in red tape that they become ineffectual. But I am quite relieved to have elected someone that is willing to try.

I would like to say that race will not be an issue during Obama's presidency, but I know better. The first minority in any field is always scrutinized more closely than his non-minority predecessors. If Hilary Clinton had been elected, she would have been under the microscope too. Obama will have to be above the fray, will have to be a better president than the rich old white men that had been the status quo, will have to reassure the doubters that he is an American first and a minority second.

Still, even knowing the incredibly tough road ahead, I am excited about the possibility of taking some of the tarnish off America's image. Finally, we'll have a president who is articulate and won't send us off to war based upon lies. It will be a relief to no longer feel I need to apologize to other countries for our nation's leader.

I am realllllly hoping Obama can make some progress toward improving health care affordability and access and stop or at least slow Social Security's downward spiral. Getting rid of pre-existing condition exclusions on medical insurance would be fantastic. If his tax plan is actually implemented, I would find it most helpful.

Seeing Obama on that stage Tuesday night, I was thinking, this is what I have dreamed for in a president. Never mind that I am a (primarily) white, not young woman in a conservative state, precisely what the Republicans were trying to court when they picked Sarah Palin for VP. What I dreamed for was someone even tempered and sincere, who could actually generate enthusiasm among our nation's youth, who had genuinely progressive ideas, who offered a real chance to unite a country who no longer trusted its leaders. I am generally a skeptical woman, but even I am daring to hope.

To sum up: yayyyyyyy!

Tuesday, November 04, 2008

Memories of a good dog.... 

Dogs don't get funerals. Even so, I've decided to give a eulogy for Chip. He wouldn't understand most of it, but it would make me feel better.

Chip D. Dog was born on April 22, 1998, a purebred English springer spaniel. His first guardian named him Mick and brought him to the pound at the age of four months when he proved too boisterous to live in a small apartment. Luckily, he didn't have to stay there long.

When he saw Dan, who was looking for a dog with me at the pound, the pup got very excited and wagged not just his tail but his whole body. The pound arranged for us to meet him even though someone was on hold for his adoption. Chip took an instant liking to us and cried when we had to leave. Fortunately, the other people changed their mind, and Chip came home with us. Love at first lick!

We decided to name the dog Chip because the spots on his nose looked like chocolate chips. But we almost named him Jerry Springer Spaniel just to be silly. Chip learned his new name within two days.

When we found out we would be bringing a dog home, the first things we bought for him other than edibles were a purple nylon collar and a purple ball that squeaked. Chip was a powerful chewer and destroyed every squeaky toy he ever got except the purple ball. I found the collar and the ball last weekend, and I'm going to keep them to remind me of when he was a happy little puppy. The purple ball also reminds me that Chip seemed to have a sense of humor. If I threw the ball for him, he'd run after it and get it and head back to me like he was going to give it to me, and then at the last minute, he'd run past me, seeming to laugh as he did so.

Chip proved to be quite smart. He was completely crate trained in less than a week. When we installed a dog door, he figured it out in about 10 minutes.

We took him to puppy obedience school, and he passed. Only problem was, even though he had learned everything properly, his extreme exuberance would sometimes cause him to forget not to pull on a leash or to not lick guests at the house. Most people were charmed by him though and forgave him.

When he was young, I used to refer to Chip as a spring-loaded spaniel because he could leap several feet in the air. Fortunately, he didn't use this talent to climb the fence in the yard, but he found it did come in handy for such antics as swiping packages of cinnamon rolls from the kitchen counter top.

Chip had many nicknames. One was Boogie Butt because sometimes he would wag his tail so hard he looked like he was dancing. I used to tell Dan that if Chip wagged any harder, he might actually levitate.

Chip was also known as the World's Most Spoiled English Springer Spaniel. Who else would have FIVE dog beds? To be fair, they were distributed throughout the house and were intended to help with his awful arthritis, but between those and innumerable toys, he was definitely king of the castle.

But he was not a saint, he was a dog. One time when he was still a puppy, while we were at work, he got past the barrier we had put up, went into the living room and ATE a semi-valuable edition of "War of the Worlds" on vinyl, a valuable antique children's record, and some videotapes. Another time, about three years ago, he knocked over the kitchen trash can, disregarding the shake can that was on it, and dug around looking for a treat wrapper, getting himself covered with leftover cranberry sauce in the process. And he could be led astray, such as when the neighbor's dog taught him how to dig under the fence.

Chip also enjoyed things that didn't get him into trouble, like lying on the floor with all four paws in the air and rolling on his back in the grass in the back yard. He was the only dog I've ever met who would actually play with his dog food. He would carry a few pieces of kibble to the living room, drop it on the floor, bow to it, paw at it like he was dancing, jump into the air and bark as if to intimidate it before finally deciding it was sufficiently ready to eat.

Chip liked tummy rubs and being scratched on the head or behind the ears. If you said "front door", he would sit and watch the world go by through the glass for hours. If you blew bubbles, he would chase them and try to bite them, showing off his amazing leaping ability.

Chip liked going for walks even though he would tend to pull on his leash so he could try to sniff the entire planet. When I still had decent mobility, Dan and I would take him to parks. City Park in Denver was his fave because it had big fat squirrels; Chip was a smart dog, but for some reason, whenever he was chasing a squirrel and it ran up a tree, he couldn't figure out where it had disappeared to.

Chip enjoyed games and being silly. His fave was "go see Dan, come see me", in which Dan and I would stand in different rooms at opposite ends of the house and have him run first to one of us and then the other, back and forth until he got tired. He also liked it when we would break up a treat into small pieces, hide the pieces in various places and have him find them by following his nose, kind of like a doggie Easter egg hunt.

He was king of the back yard. When it was windy, he'd stand on the porch and sniff the air excitedly. When it snowed, he would try to eat all of it; he really seemed to think he could.

Chip thought Nylabones were awesome. We would give him the ones for large dogs because he could wear the small ones down to nubs in a matter of weeks. And he pretty much worshiped Kong toys with treats stuffed inside.

Chip's fave people food was braunschweiger (liver sausage). It was the only food we could successfully hide his medication in. He was otherwise not allowed people food unless we dropped it onto the floor, in which case it was fair game. The "accidental" foods he liked best were ham and popcorn.

Chip was smart enough to teach himself to go to his crate before he was asked. He could also find his toy anywhere in the house or yard on command.

Chip also had his share of dislikes, particularly cats. He had very little patience and would tell you in no uncertain terms when it was time for breakfast. Also, if you tried to talk to someone in the house and weren't paying attention to him, he would grumble, making a noise that sounded like "rum, rum, rum".

Chip took the job of being a dog seriously. When he was alone in the house, he would go without eating or drinking even though food and water were readily available because he was guarding the house; as soon as we got home, he went straight for the water dish. He seldom barked unless a stranger came up to the house, and then he would sound like a Doberman. He once alerted me to some kids breaking into my neighbors' vehicles while my neighbors' dogs didn't make a peep.

Chip was quite empathetic. On the days I was upset about being sick, he would try and comfort me. When we grieved the loss of loved ones, he'd give us his best "I'm sorry" face. Ironic that we need that face now that he's not here.

Chip would allow me to give him genuine hugs without getting all squirmy. He also would hug me back in his own way by leaning on me.

I used to make up silly songs about Chip and sing them to him. He didn't seem to object. He was also accustomed to me talking to him most of the time that Dan wasn't home.

Chip had the softest fur of any dog I ever met. He was an extremely pettable, and overall, a very lovable creature. I like to think that if there's a heaven for dogs, Chip is enjoying it to the fullest.

In conclusion, I'd like to share a poem I wrote about Chip eight years ago in the style of Emily Dickinson:

A rocket with furry feet --
Curious -- and fleet --
An empath of modest sweet.

Inspects -- inhales with spotted nose --
Entreats -- wants two of those --
Enjoys by mouthfuls springtime snows --
Infinite enrichment where he goes.

Rave of the Day for November 4, 2008: 

A man finds out there is more to the election than simple politics. Thanks to Dr. Karen for the link.....

My wife made me canvass for Obama: here's what I learned

One last reminder: get out there and VOTE!

Saturday, November 01, 2008

Rest in peace, Chip D. Dog.... 

We had to put Chip to sleep about seven hours ago. This morning, I took him in the back yard, and he collapsed in a pile of his own poo and couldn't get up. I helped him up, and he looked at me as if to ask for a way out of his suffering.

This afternoon, when I was petting him and he again didn't seem to know who I was, I knew it was time to do something. I called Dan at work and then called the vet. They said to bring him in at six.

Dan's boss let him come home early so we could both spend some time with Chip. We took him outside for a bit, which he seemed to enjoy, and gave him some jerky treats because he liked those best. And we sat on the floor with him in the house, petting him until it was time to go to the vet.

At the vet's, Chip got very nervous. I wish we'd been able to calm him before they put the catheter in his leg, but he was scared and cried and growled at the vet. But when he came back into the room with us, he came up to us and asked to be petted.

I had no idea euthanasia worked so fast. It was literally moments from when he got the injection to when he was gone. The vet let us spend as much time in the room as we needed to say goodbye.

Dan's taking this pretty hard. I'm upset too, but I've been mourning in small ways for a few months now and did a lot of my crying last night when I realized how much Chip's quality of life had deteriorated, so I seem less traumatized overall. It may be that I'm still in shock too because this seems sort of unreal.

It was awful coming home to an empty house. I was here about five minutes and then freaked out a bit and told Dan that I needed to go to something normal out of the house until I calmed down. This probably seems really weird, but we went to Qdoba and had supper, and then I was ready to brave the house.

I can't believe how quiet it is here now. No toenails tapping on the hardwood floor, no crunching of dog food, no thump and sigh of a pup lying down on the carpet for a nap. I don't know if I'm going to be able to sleep tonight absent the sound of Chip's snoring next to the bed.

And it's really weird how I find myself looking for Chip when I walk into a room. I guess I've been doing that automatically for so many years that it's gonna take a long time to stop. I know this sort of thing gets better with time, but right now it's awkward as hell.

Chip was a good dog.

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