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Monday
Aug182003

Corgi chaos

The last few days have been full of dog vomit, and I wish I meant this in a symbolic way. But no, no. My darling corgis have been sick for the past week, complete with all sorts of gastrointestinal adventures.

On Monday, I came home from work and checked my e-mail. I spent about 45 minutes messing around before I finally decided to change clothes and walk the dogs. I knew something was ickily wrong as soon as I opened the door to the bedroom. The dog vomit smell was pretty powerful, and Kody's kennel was a big mess.

Later, after Rob got home and I managed to con him into cleaning the kennel, we figured out that Kody had most likely swallowed a pretty large chunk of his knotted rope toy, which he had been pulling apart for several days before that. For the rest of the evening Kody couldn't even hold down water and he had ... poop issues. By the end of the evening, he was able to drink water.

The next day, Kody seemed much better, but still wasn't eating. We were worried about that, so we decided to take him to the vet on Wednesday if he still wouldn't eat. Tuesday evening, while we were making dinner, I looked down at Bella and noticed her nose was extremely swollen. She didn't seem bothered by it at all, running around and playing just like normal. Because she didn't seem to be in pain and her nose made her look completely ridiculous, Rob and I couldn't stop laughing at her. But we started getting worried when it continued to swell.

We gave her Benadryl and the swelling went down, so we decided she was going to be fine. That's what we thought until about one o'clock in the morning, when we were pleasantly awakened by the sound of Bella throwing up on our bed. She almost managed to avoid the bed and puke directly into the trash can -- but not quite. So we put both dogs in the kitchen (where the mess would be easier to clean up in the event of more accidents). Bella threw up several more times before I even went to sleep that night.

The next morning, Bella's nose was much better, but Kody still wasn't eating anything. I called the vet and told the receptionist what was going on with both dogs, and she told me to bring them in. Pretty much as soon as I got off the phone with her, Kody started eating his food and Bella was hopping around like the happiest corgi in existence, so we decided not to take them to the vet.

Rob was off work on Wednesday to take care of some stuff in town, and he called me at about noon to ask if he could come get me from work to go with him and Bella to the vet's office. Her eye had swollen and she was looking pretty pathetic. The vet gave her some Benadryl and cortisone, and the swelling went down pretty quickly.

I took the rest of the day off work, since spending a couple hours waiting for the vet to treat Bella pretty much killed the work day for me. We figured everything was all better then, except that Kody still had diarrhea. Shortly after we decided our world had returned to normal, Bella started throwing up on our office floor.

Sooo, after having to clean up so very many doggie fluids, I talked Rob into giving me an early birthday present. We spent the rest of the evening watching episodes of "Friends: Season Four."

Bella stopped throwing up and we were elated that the worst of the grossness appeared to be behind us. With both of the dogs seeming to be healthy and happy, we went back to putting them in their kennels while we were at work.

When I came home from work on Thursday, I went into our bedroom to get Kody out for a walk. Once again, he had managed to fill his kennel with vomit. He got a bath that evening and I cleaned everything up before Rob got home. Then I made him give me another birthday present. We spent that evening playing "Silent Hill 3." Ok, Rob played the game while I watched.

Since then, the dogs have been doing well. Of course, now that I've said that, I'm sure I can expect to be cleaning up something disgusting some time in the next 24 hours. Sadly, I've already opened all of my birthday presents.
Monday
Aug042003

An afternoon in Satan's swivel chair

Because I am a glutton for unpleasant, awkward moments with strangers, I got my hair cut today. We were at the mall and Rob wanted some time by himself to shop for my birthday presents, and of course I'd never deny him that opportunity. So I went to my usual salon and got a haircut while he scoured the Citadel for the perfect gift.

I had to get myself mentally prepared to handle the idea of having my hair cut, reassuring myself that it doesn't matter what this stranger says to me. It doesn't matter what this stranger says to me. It doesn't matter what this stranger says to me. Ok, it's a little neurotic. But I've had some negative experiences with hair stylists in the past.

Growing up, my mother always cut my hair. Being a typical mom, she never picked up a lock of my hair, looked at it in disgust and said, "My God, this is really damaged. How long has it been since you had a haircut?" She never acted like going for four months without a haircut was sinfully neglectful. She just cut my hair and let me go back to watching TV.

Not so with hair stylists. Once I moved to Fort Collins to go to college, I started having to deal with my hair without my mother's help. I didn't think it'd be a big deal -- I'd managed to buy my own groceries, attend my classes and generally keep myself alive, so why would getting a haircut have drastic emotional consequences?

The first time I had my hair cut professionally, my stylist was a pleasant, motherly woman who treated me well and never meant any harm. Being a freshman in college at the time, I hadn't quite grown out of my pimply teenager phase, but I continued my daily life under the delusion that my facial flaws weren't that noticeable anyway. That is, until this woman came into my life.

"What do you use to wash your face?" she asked, five minutes into the cutting process, too late for me to run away.

I paused. "Neutrogena."

"You should try washing your face with baby shampoo," she suggested. "It'll help clear up that acne."

Now, I'm sure she meant well. I'm sure she thought she was doing me a favor by offering a solution to a problem. But the woman obviously wasn't a close pal to any teenagers. If she had been, she probably would have known that the worst thing she could have done was point out that my zits were visible. I suddenly felt like I had mountainous blemishes sticking out a foot from my forehead, causing passersby to either stare in disgusted fascination or turn away out of polite embarrassment. I spent the rest of my hair cutting session in silence, trying not to cry and wishing for my mother.

Another experience early on in my college career had me praying my hair stylist would just stop talking to me and fall over dead. I knew that was probably a hellworthy thought, but I just couldn't help myself. I was pretty sure God would understand, anyway.

While this person chose not to comment on my facial deformations, she found other flaws to express concern over. Notably, the blemishes on my scalp. Apparently, her own life had not dealt her the pleasantries of living with acne, so it had never occurred to her that someone with an oily face might also have an oily scalp. This hairstylist, meaning to offer me helpful advice, suggested that I go see a doctor about the "sores" on my head. The entire time she was cutting my hair, she treated me gingerly, as if afraid she was going to catch leprosy. Every once in awhile, she'd ask if my scalp itched or hurt because of the "sores." I gave one-word answers and fought the urge to kick her in the leg.

Fortunately, my skin has cleared up considerably in recent years, so I haven't had similar experiences lately. Nowadays, stylists just criticize my hair-care practices and try to hide their expressions of horror when shaggy-headed me sits down in the swivel chair and asks for a haircut. Though I'm always convinced they're wondering how this homeless girl with the stringy, damaged hair managed to scrounge up the money for a haircut, I somehow manage to drag myself into a hair salon at least two or three times a year.

Today wasn't too bad. I decided I needed to have a good six inches chopped off of my hair this time, which is a big change for someone who's had exactly the same hair style for the past ten years. I had her cut it to just above the shoulders, mainly because I'm trying to get rid of the last traces of hair coloring from last year. She didn't tell me I had split ends or try to talk me into highlights, so I never once found myself wishing for her untimely demise.

The new cut looks ok -- Rob likes it a lot, but I'm still not sure about it. I think it makes me look like a 12-year-old. I don't normally mind looking younger than I am, but I've found that looking like a kid pretty much never works to your advantage when you're trying to be a writer. I don't even want to count the number of times some realtor or car salesman has said, "You're writing the article?" right before making a comment about how I couldn't possibly be a day over seventeen.

I'm meeting with a realtor tomorrow to write an article about a house she's selling. I can't help thinking she'll be wondering why my newspaper decided to hire a junior high student as its real estate editor.

It doesn't matter what this stranger says to me. It doesn't matter what this stranger says to me...
Saturday
Aug022003

Goodbye, old friend

Rob and I lost a member of our family two days ago, completely without warning. I came home from work, cheerful and happy that I was about to spend a good three hours on the couch watching Must See TV. (Even though we now own the first three seasons of "Friends" on DVD, I just can't seem to get enough of that show.)

On my way past the living room, I hit the power button on the TV remote and went into the kitchen, not really noticing that anything was wrong. When I came back into the living room, I realized the TV wasn't on. Hmmm, interesting. So I tried turning it on with the TV's power button. Nothing happened. Still in denial, I pressed the power buttons on both the TV and its remote control several more times with no results. I checked the power on everything else around the TV (Playstation 2, X-Box, Gamecube, the usual) and they all appeared to be working fine.

I forced myself to face the facts. Our TV was gone.

I thought about calling Rob on his cell phone to tell him what was going on, but I thought it might embarrass him if he broke down in tears in front of my brother, his coworker. Instead, I decided it would be better to tell him in person, so I could hug him when the emotions took over.

When I broke the news to Rob, he took it pretty well. His face fell and a little bit of sparkle went out of his eyes, but he didn't cry. At that point, more troubling than the crippling emotional pain was the realization that a weekend was looming in our near future, and we were facing the possibility of confronting it without a television set. No video games. No movies. No stand-up comedy marathons on Comedy Central. No (gulp) episodes of "Friends."

How were we supposed to spend the weekend? Reading? Having intellectual conversations? Enjoying the sunshine? Screw that. We're much to shallow to survive for very long without a television.

Before the soul was even finished oozing out of our precious dead television, Rob and I were in the car, on our way to find its replacement. We came home with another one just like it a couple of hours later. It strikes me as a little morbid now, to have bought a new television that looks just like our beloved old one. It'd be like losing one of our dogs, then going out and getting another one the same color and giving it the same name so we would forget about our first precious little friend. But at least we can play video games now.

It has occurred to us that our old TV might not be completely dead. Maybe it's just in a coma, struggling daily to return to us. We intend to take it to a repair place eventually, so that one of these days we can have a healthy set of twins. Until then, the old TV is sitting on our dining room floor, looking forlorn and rejected, while I watch "Friends" on its replacement.
Saturday
Jul122003

Dead people in backpacks

I had a really weird dream last night and could use some amateur psychoanalysis to help me figure out what it means, if anyone wants to give it a shot. Here's the dream:

As the dream begins, I am Grace from the TV show "Will & Grace." Instead of a New York City apartment, Will and I live in a small house on a beach somewhere. Karen (the show's drunk rich woman) starts off the dream by making fun of me because I've recently adopted a pot-bellied pig as a pet.

One of the quirks of owning my pig is that he likes to drink a lot of orange juice, but he can never quite finish a carton. Rather than saving the leftovers in the fridge or dumping them out in the sink, I've taken to just setting half-empty cartons of juice out on our front porch. Will gets mad at me regularly, because the juice has started attracting bugs.

During one argument, I finally decide to go out to the porch and investigate Will's complaint. When I get there, I find our porch crawling with insects that look like oversized earwigs. They're all over the place, and just off the porch there's a pile of them the height of a person. It was all kinds of gross.

So, I go back into the house and that's when I realize the bugs are getting inside, too. They're crawling up through cracks in the floorboards and I can't take a single step without stepping on a whole bunch of them.

Now the dream flashes to the beach. I'm not Grace anymore -- now I'm some beach patrol person, walking around with my two partners, one girl and one guy. We come across a woman who is lying on the beach and not moving. It turns out she's been bitten by one of the earwigs, and they're poisonous. We try to revive her, but she only wakes up long enough to throw up a bunch of blood before she dies.

For some reason, we don't seem particularly distressed that there's a dead woman on the beach, but we do decide that we need to take her into town. So we unroll this body bag that we just happened to have handy and we put her inside. The body bag conveniently folds up into a backpack, and I volunteer to carry it, mainly because one of my partners -- the girl -- just got bitten by one of those bugs.

So now we're in a hurry. We have to get our partner into town quickly so she can see a doctor. The problem, though, is that I don't have any shoes to wear. My guy partner happens to have an extra pair of tennis shoes and he lets me borrow them. I put them on and they're way too big for me, sticking out several inches from the ends of my toes like a pair of clown shoes. So now the three of us are walking along the beach, with me carrying a dead woman in my backpack while trying to walk through sand in enormous shoes.

Once we get closer to town, the ground is suddenly covered in snow, making walking in the clown shoes even more difficult. We discover that it's pretty easy to navigate small hills just by sliding down them. The clown shoes help because they act kind of like skis.

Eventually we wind up in a neighborhood and now we're all wearing real skis. I'm having some real trouble with the skis because, although I've lived in Colorado most of my life, I've never been skiing. And now my annoying partners are trying to convince me that, really, it's very easy to cross-country ski, and they're getting ahead of me. Maybe that's because neither of them has a person in their backpack.

So we get to the top of a hill on a neighborhood street that's lined with houses. The hill's pretty steep, and as we're approaching it, I notice that there's a sign labeling this a black-diamond hill and suggesting that people proceed with caution. According to the sign, people must start down the hill one at a time, waiting at least five seconds between people.

I start down the hill, and two or three other people leave at exactly the same time as me. I get really worried, because this is exactly what the sign warned against.

Then I woke up.

Analyze away.
Sunday
Jul062003

Making Rob kill zombies

Let me tell you about the worst, most despicable thing that happened to me today. Rob and I went to the mall to wander around and not buy anything -- a typical Saturday afternoon. As usual, Rob wanted to go into Babbages, the video game store that's received at least 25% of our income for the past year and a half. Normally I just sort of stand around and glance idly at games and nothing really grabs my attention. I do like some video games, I just don't drool over them the way Rob does. But today was special. I wasn't aware of it, but Silent Hill 3 is coming out pretty soon, and that makes me very very excited. I have really happy memories of playing that game with friends when Rob and I first started dating. There's just something about watching your boyfriend beat zombies to death with a two-by-four that makes him irresistible -- or something.

(Ok, I have to confess something to those of you who don't know what it's like to watch me try to play a scary video game. Here's the confession: I can't do it. I'm always so afraid that I'll turn a corner or open a door and a ghost or a zombie or a man with a chainsaw will jump out and kill me, that I just sort of sit there frozen. Case in point: I spent two hours playing through the first section of the best scary game ever, Fatal Frame -- a section that Rob managed to get through in about twenty minutes. That's how bad I am. So when I say I'm excited that I get to play a new scary game, what I really mean is that I'm excited Rob gets to play a new scary game while I sit on the couch next to him and screech every time a ghost appears.)

Anyway, back to the tragedy of this afternoon. We were looking at Playstation 2 games when Rob pointed to a box on the "coming soon" shelf. It was, of course, Silent Hill 3, and it had a big "Reserve it now!" sticker on it. This had me just about jumping up and down in anticipation. One of the more exciting aspects of this game is that the main character's name is Heather. So it's almost like I'll be the one actually beating zombies to death -- except of course that Rob's the one playing the game. I picked the box up with a squeal of glee (a quiet squeal, though, since we were in public) and I turned it over to read the game's description. "James Buchanan was devastated by his wife's tragic death. Three years later, he received a mysterious letter from her..." Wait a second, James is the guy from Silent Hill 2, and there's no mention of a Heather anywhere on the cover...

Those bastards! They just made a mock-up of a game box for Silent Hill 3 and copy and pasted the text from the Silent Hill 2 game box onto it. I flew instantly into a rage (a quiet rage, since we were still in public) and denounced Babbages forever ... or at least until Silent Hill 3 comes out.

Obviously, I had a pretty decent day if that's the only thing I can find to bitch about. Although, it does make me a little teary-eyed that I've become enough of a geek to get all mad about a video game screw-up. Thanks, Rob. I'm pretty sure that's your doing.