Tuesday, June 30, 2009

Happy Anniversary Bill and Maggie!

Today is my parents wedding anniversary....married June 30, 1967. That's right, readers, my parents are celebrating 42 years of marriage. My mom and both her sisters have been married in excess of 40 years - I think maybe my aunts and uncles have even passed the 45 year mark. In today's age and time, they are definitely not the norm, and I know this - I feel very blessed to have such strong role models for my aniticpated future marriage. Someday. Way far away. Maybe. :)

Happy Anniversary Mom and Pop!!!

Monday, June 29, 2009

Weekend Warrioring and a Slumber Party in Marysville

Greetings from Marysville! Chel and I had to see refuge with the Grand Paw (grandma is in California watching cousin Jen's baton core in the Disneyland parade) because it was 83 in our house when we left at 9PM tonight! The AC, although noisy, had still managed to cool the house until this morning...actually last night, I guess. I got in from Mexican and Margaritas to find the house at 76 when it should have been 72...and it was all downhill from there. We came to Mville to get some sleep and so that Chel would have someplace cool to go during the day - no way she could stay at home.

This weekend, I was a wakeboard warrior. I was out with my friends Amy and Gerrie - we went to Alum Creek on Saturday for some tubing and then over to Griggs for wakeboarding. Alum Creek is just way too crowded and choppy to wakeboard...Griggs was much better. I regained my confidence on the board this weekend - I was struggling to stand up because I was letting the board drag in the water and my weight was going forward..bad things happened the last time I did that. But I was much faster at getting the board turned out of the water, and amazingly, you stand up quickly when you do that! It was awesome...Saturday we did what has become our new tradition of El Vaquero after we were done and then grilled out in paradise this afternoon. We are all beat.

I only really had one scary moment this weekend (MOM - DON"T READ THIS!!!)...I really wanted to make it through the boat turning around. First time around, when Gerrie went to turn, we ended up going through someone else's wake and I could not hold on...darn it, I really wanted to do that. Second time around, I made it!!! I was terrified about halfway through..I was going really fast - and was 70 feet behind the boat...I stayed calm, held on for dear life and MADE IT...until we came through our own wake going the other direction. Boo. I couldn't save it. Fall was painless tho and I am greatful for that. Gerrie asked me when I got back in the boat if I was going to let go halfway through - I told her I thought about it but then realized my crash would rival the one from a few weeks ago. She laughed and agreed it would have!!!

All in all, great weekend. Short work week, thankfully, and I will be back in business in my own room here shortly. Just greatful that my parents and bro are here so I am not in a hotel room or infringing on someone else!!!

Friday, June 26, 2009

Oh the joys...version 4

I love my little piece of paradise...it is the gift that keeps on giving.

Last night, while in my office in the basement, I heard this horrible screeching sound. I walked into the living area in the basement, and realized it was my air conditioning. My infamous inappropriate words slipped out, and I prayed that was a fluke. Of course it wasn't - the thing screeched all night, right outside my window. I was a zombie all day. It still blew out cool air, thank God, but did it very loudly - I am sure my neighbors loved me..

Truth be told, I knew this was coming. It was on the plan to replace next year...was just hoping that it would hold out. My brother is doing a job for a guy that works in commercial heating and cooling, and I had gotten a couple of referrals. One of the guys was able to get out here, and confirmed what I already knew - unit was old, did not make sense to dump money into it and that it was very inefficient(my options were to replace the blower motor and bearings for about $400 or replace). I asked for an estimate, and it fell within my anticipated range and they can do it early next week. Normally I would have gotten a couple more estimates, but given the source of it, I feel ok about it. Plus, the guy did not charge me for the service call - told me that if ultimately I gave the work to another company, he would charge me $70, which is actually pretty cheap. Last time I had one of these heating and cooling guys out, it was $100 - that would have been last year's winter, when I did not clip the safety switch all the way closed and woke up to my house being 59. Yep folks, I did that. :) Thought that the furnace died then, but that was my own stupidity. :)

So next week, I will have brand spanking new mechanicals. For the next 5 days, I will cool the house down to the high 60's in the evening; I will then turn the AC off at night so my neighbors and I can get some sleep. Thank god for ceiling fans. :)

What next? I am afraid to ask.....water heater last week, drain pipes and AC this week. Thankfully not much else is left...at least I don't think so. Chelsie needs to get off her booty and go get that job....

Saturday, June 20, 2009

Bragging On My Girl

We finished day 2 of a 3 day agility trial today...no for Q yesterday - we dropped the same jump in both rings....in the same sequence! UGH. Tough sequence though and she ran beautifully overall. Mom was proud of her.

Fast forward to this morning in our FAST run. As a review, FAST is where each of the obstacles is assigned a point value - unlike standard and jumpers, I make up the course, have to get a certain number of points from my course and have to do a certain sequence of obstacles in a row - with Chelsie working 15 feet away from me. There is a line I can't cross when I send her over the sequence, and at her level, that line approximates 15 feet.

Typically, I use this as a warm up run...a fun run to get all her "crazies" out and practice her A frame and weaves and do not put her into the "send", where we have to do the certain sequence of obstacles at a distance. But today, I decided to try the "send" - it was set up in a way I thought I could handle her through the distance. However, to do this, I had to leave her at one end of the ring while I went clear out to the other end. The sequence was jump, jump, jump, into the end of the tunnel furthest away from me. So she waited like a good girl, until mom got out as far as she could, literally behind the tunnel. I called her - and she came. Jump, jump, jump...and then into the correct end of the tunnel!!! I figured she would get the jumps, but whether she would go into the end of the tunnel furthest away from me was anybody's guess. But she did it. Mom screamed the scream of joy heard around the world when she went into the tunnel. She was only dog to qualify in her class, and thus, earned her first qualifying score in EXCELLENT FAST with a first place.

She was 1-2 with her other runs...a beautiful std run and then she, like a lot of other dogs, dropped the second bar in jumpers. But she ran well, listened to mom and had a very good time. For her efforts, she was the recipient of some Timbits, her dinner and a nap!!!

Thursday, June 18, 2009

Its Official....

The water heater has been declared non functional. Yesterday, the parentals stopped by the house to take a peek at it...more to take a sniff actually to see if it was leaking. I all of a sudden has this fear/phobia about leaking gas, as I have been working with our compliance people as of late (they are the ones who deal with any issues we have about explsions, too much pressure in lines that can lead to fires/explosions, etc) The pilot had gone out and we could not re-lite it. At that point, Bill, Maggie and I declared it non working.

Fortunately for me, Nat has very recently replaced her water heater and was kind enough to give me the name of her plumber. Rumor has it I am getting a new one today. The thought of a hot shower tonight, tomorrow morning, tomorrow night, etc is AMAZING. I have a better appreciation for the basic necessities of life after this...

Wednesday, June 17, 2009

Oh the joys....version 3

My new motto is "trying to be smarter than the world around me". Case in point...THE STUPID WATER HEATER IN THE BASEMENT!!!

Imagine my shock this morning to realize that the water in the shower was AGAIN lukewarm. This time, I was mad...it was me against that stupid water heater. I fly down the stairs (Chelsie was still in bed mind you) and into the unfinished part of the basement where the water heater is. I look in and see a little flame, and am completely baffled as to why the water is not HOT. I adjust the temperature setting closer to "HOT"...and then I see why my shower is not "HOT". Perhaps turning the button to "ON" instead of "PILOT" would be a good indication as to why the water it not "HOT". A few more inappropriate words of frustration came out, and I cranked the damn thing to "ON". PHOOSH went the flame - and a few more inappropriate words came out. Back up I went to my lukewarm shower....

Tuesday, June 16, 2009

Oh the joys...version 2

So over the past few days, I have had water heater issues - I initially discovered the issue on Sunday night at 10PM, when all I wanted was a nice, hot shower. I can tell you that finding out there are functionality issues with your water heater when you are in the shower is incredibly inconvenient.

My neighbor came over and fixed it - for the record, my dad volunteered to drive up at 10PM on Sunday night so I wouldn't have to take a cold shower, but the both of us were exhausted so I said I would call my neighbor and then call him tomorrow if we could not fix it. My neighbor Jude was a trooper and got the pilot light relit and I had a hot shower on Monday morning (starting the week with a cold shower would have been an incredibly bad omen). He even went to Lowe's and got a replacement part for it, and we put that in last night. Apparently, I have a real lemon of a water heater...and I definitely owe Jude big time...

Fast forward to tonight - when again, all I wanted was a hot shower. I got a lukewarm one, with a sinking feeling in my stomach. I make it quick and go down and look at the water heater and can't see the little flame. UGH!!!A few inappropriate words come out, and I shut the gas off and come upstairs. On my way back down to try again, I flipped on the basement light and blew a bulb...REALLY?

Thankfully, I managed to get the pilot relit - not sure if it ever went out, maybe the temp setting on the actual unit wasn't right, who knows...but all I know is that I did not get a hot shower and that I was able to relight it and have adjusted the temperature. Any future incidents will likely result in a new water heater....

Oh the joys of home ownership...but it beats renting any day of the week!

Sunday, June 14, 2009

Paying it Forward

Over the past few days, I have been the recipient of 1.5 random acts of kindness (the .5 comes from the fact it was Belinda's car that got jumped and I was just there to witness it). Yesterday, Belinda called me and told me her battery was dead, did I have any jumper cables and could I come to campus? I happened to be really close to campus and had some cables in my car, so I said sure. Now, mind you, I have seen a car jumped many a time (my own car 4 times - jeez, how embarassing is THAT?) but have never actually done it myself. I was taking my freind Todd to drop off his rental car from a business trip and he told me how which colors went where. So I get there, we hook it up, juice it up and NADA. Belinda had called Traffic and Parking (sheer desparation - anyone who went to Ohio State knows Traffic and Parking are the enemy most of the time) so we waited.

The two guys that came to help us out were Birdo and Kevin - yep, Birdo. Like bird that flies with an O at the end. These guys were the nicest T&P guys I had ever met. Had a great sense of humor, told us we had gotten it hooked up right, but that the cables were not big enough to power up one SUV from another. They bring out the magic red box, attach it to the battery and we are off!! Off to Bravo, that is, for a girls dinner and glass of wine. :)

Fast forward to today. I took little bean to the river for her swim...and she lost the her kong in the water and it drifted away. The river was really active today, and the wake of the boats creates some pretty decent waves - she lost it in the waves when a boat came by (totally mommy's fault). I threw stick after stick out there, but it had really drifted out - in addition to there being several boats out, there was also a decent current. During this time, I realized I left her collar at the first place we stopped to swim...and as I went to get it, some people were in a small boat, close to shore. I yelled out to ask them to get her toy (about 100 yards down river) and they did! Saved me like $15 for a new rope kong. They threw it to the shore, she dove on it and we headed back to the car to go get Timbits...

My faith in people is restored...at least for now....

Friday, June 12, 2009

Happiness...from a dog's perspective...

Happiness is...

1) Seeing mom change into "walking" clothes.
2) Getting in the car to with mom in her walking clothes.
3) Stopping at the park...along the river.
4) Running along the river with no leash.
5) Having my kong thrown in the river so I can chase it.
6) Chasing my kong on the way back to the car...even if it is not out of the water.
7) Getting Timbits on the way home.
8) Snuggling with mom in bed before getting on the floor and on to my cooling bed for a good nights rest.

Mom wants to know where she can sign up. For the record, she did stop and get herself a Snowdrift from Caribou Coffee - she said it was some minty cookies and cream thing that was really tasty....

Thursday, June 11, 2009

Still Doing Good Work....

Last night, after a week off, we went back to Dodd. It was nice to get back into a familiar setting. Even though there were lots of rooms we could not go into, we were there for a whole 90 minutes. I think she was looking for someone to call DPS for her - I made her do her trick where she had to leave cookies her cookies on her paws in her "down" until I tell her she can eat them...people love to see it, definitely not her favorite trick.

She continues to really settle in to being a great therapy dog. Our first patient was an older man who probably petted her for about 15 minutes...she just stood next to his bed, head down while he scratched her ears - all of course, with the tail wagging. She got to show him her treat trick....

The last people we saw was this lady and her sister - she had been in a motorcycle accident and had broken both legs and her hip. She also unfortunately lost her husband in the process, as a car ran a stop sign and did not see them. But they were really inspirational - were joking that they were going to have to implement a "no visitor" night a few nights a week so she could shower. The lady's sister was an occupational therapist at some school and they just got out for the summer, so she was going to stay with her sister and help her rehab. They were super sweet and super nice and I was very, very glad I was able to visit with them.

After of course, was agility...last night was a lot of fun. Instructor Dave made us practice our rear crosses (YUK) but it was fun. My classmates are a lot of fun - we were in rare form last night, being louder and more obnoxious than usual!!! All the women pick on this one guy....we are brutal. But he takes it in stride and we have a lot of fun. My agility friends are very good for me.

It is raining here, so no softball tonight...gotta get home and let the baby angel out as she REFUSED to go out this morning. It was raining and thundering and she does not like to go out in that. It let up for a minute and I got her out the garage...but as soon as her first little paw went out of the garage a huge clap of thunder came and she was right back in....poor thing. But it is supposed to be nice this weekend, so we will take it! Off to happy hour to celebrate my friend Amy's graduation from OSU with her MBA!!!

Sunday, June 7, 2009

Coming Into Her Own...

Over the last few months, little bean has really started to come into her own in her therapy work. I had started to notice this over the past few months, but really noticed on our special visit yesterday.

A few weeks ago, an email came out to our therapy dog group about someone wanting a visit for a loved one in hospice in a nursing home. I thought it was the retirement home in the back of our neighborhood, so I volunteered. Of course, there is more than one of these, but it was just down the road, so I thought, what the heck? I was mildly irritated at the lack of response I got from them about getting a visit set up. So I finally hear back, and decide that our first priority on Saturday morning was to visit.

Guess what? We got there, only to find out the lady we were going to visit had passed the night before. Terrific. But being as we were there, I thought, why not, everyone loves dogs? Someone was coming in - this lady loved dogs and took us around to a few different places. Overall, it was a very successful visit, from the dog's perspective. The human's perspective, well, it was a little difficult.

We were in a health care/assisted living center. It was very, very hard for me to see. I won't go into to too many details, but I am not sure we will be going back, simply because I can't take it. I am more greatful than ever that we did not have to ever, ever come near making a decision about whether or not to have to put my grandmother in a home and am very greatful that my parents see their long term care insurance as a top priority. I told my mom today that the money they invested in having long term care insurance was money that would save their children great heart ache one day for not ever having to decide when it was time for them to no longer live on their own.

Chelsie was nothing short of amazing yesterday...coherent is not a word I would use to describe anyone in this place, but they all knew she was there. She marched right up to wheelchairs and sat right next to them...stood up a few times when people would scratch her ears - they loved seeing her tail wag. We also ended up in the Alzheimer's unit - I won't go into too much detail there either, other than to say there was this lady in a wheelchair in the doorway to her room, screaming randomly - sometimes at people, most of the time at nothing. Chelsie just ignored her, and focused her attention on a man named Daryl. Daryl was very taken with her and had her face in his hands, just talking to her. She was oblivious to everything else around her...a few times she tried to jump up and lick him, but I had her on a very short rope and was able to nip that in the bud very quickly. Daryl probably had no recollection of petting her 30 seconds later, but the time she spent with him was priceless.

I know the people in there really loved having us there...but I don't know if I am mentally and emotionally prepared to visit a place like that regularly. Because my grandmother lived with us for so long, I have a soft spot for the elderly...and it breaks my heart to see them in a place like that, so isolated and so alone, with very little quality of life. Although there were many things I had to tell my grandma multiple times, she always knew who I was (even if I got called three names before my own came out) I don't think I could have taken her not knowing who I was.

So the million dollar question is whether or not I have the capacity to allow Chelsie to continue to do her good work at this particular nursing home. I am so proud of her - all of a sudden, she just seems to know what people need. They may want to pet her, want to see her do tricks, or just look at her as she lays down on the floor. Whatever it is, she/we make a difference to them.

This has not been an easy weekend emotionally - first the situation with my friend Kristin's baby and then this, along with a few other things I won't go into detail about. But this weekend has given me a greater appreciation for those in my life I care about, and had reminded me how truly precious life is...

Friday, June 5, 2009

Follow Up Visit to Doctor

Today marks three weeks since I had my surgery, and I had a follow up visit with my doctor (or Dave as he prefers to be called). He was very happy with my progress, and asked how I was doing. I told him the procedure was "as advertised" - that in three weeks my life had see a dramatic improvement. I told him I had never been able to breathe like this, and that I felt better because I was sleeping better. He told me I looked great (duh - like I didn't know that!!!!) and that my nose was healing nicely. I came within seconds of being discharged until I asked him to look at my right ear...

He asked what happened, did it hurt...all that good stuff. I responded to every question he asked "You look and you tell me". He looked and commented that it appeared as though I had a small hole in my ear drum that was healing. I then fessed up to my MAD wakeboarding skills. He laughed and told me I needed a hearing test. I have to go back on Monday for my hearing test and in 6 weeks for a follow up.

Hard to believe my life has improved so much - I never would have thought trying to get to the bottom of sensitive teeth would have changed my life so much, but it has. I feel very lucky to have medical professionals who were committed to helping me.

Chelsie also went to the doctor today - needed her rabies and distemper shots. This was important, as without them, she can't visit. Tomorrow, it is my intention to get up and go visit our hospice patient, so I am hoping she is rested and recovered in the morning. She was very good for Dr. Bando and was rewarded nicely with cookies for a job well done. Then we came home and bonded over a nap for awhile. :)

Let's everyone get outside and enjoy the beautiful weekend!

Thursday, June 4, 2009

Prayers and Prayers

I heard from my Kristin this morning, and Gabby has been diagnosed with a liver disease called Biliary Atresia. Essentially, Gabby's bile ducts in her liver are dysfunctional and cannot be repaired and will never repair themselves - so her liver cannot drain bile. She is having another surgery today to see if they can do some things to help her liver drain in the interim, but in all likelihood, she will eventually need a liver transplant.

Kristin seems to be in good spirits, but please keep the family in your thoughts.

Wednesday, June 3, 2009

Update on Baby Gabby - More Prayers Needed

I just talked to a former co worker who spoke with my friend Kristin. Gabby is having another surgery today - please keep the family in your thoughts.

Monday, June 1, 2009

Prayers for Good Health

Prayers for good health are really needed right now...

This morning, my friend Kristin and Giovanni's 8 week old daughter Gabriella underwent liver surgery with the expectation of being diagnosed with a rare, incurable liver disorder. Nothing has been confirmed yet, but all signs point to a specific disorder that has the potential to be managed, but is not curable. Kristin indicated in her email this morning that if in fact she had what they think she has, this would be a corrective surgery as well, where they would perform some procedures with the hope of slowing the damage to her liver.

Kristin and Gio are living every parent's worst nightmare - in addition to being first time parents, they will now have to learn to provide special care for Gabby. Please say a prayer for Gabby's health and strength for Kristin and Gio. I know tonight I said a prayer of thanks for the good health of the children in my life.