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Party ideas:

1. Make-your-own-Adirondack-Chair Party.

2. Make-your-own-Panini Party.

Wonder which one would be more popular?
WHAT A FUCKING BRILLIANT IDEA!! WHY DIDN'T I THINK OF THIS? (Though I would've come up with a MUCH better name, surely.)

Yummie Tummie--it's a long tank top with a normal top and bottom and a slimming panel around the middle.

I have one of those Spanx tank tops but it is too short and rolls up when I sit down and drives me crazy. So, I think I need to order one of these as soon as I get paid.

Yeah, I think if it was MY idea I'd have called it "Waist Away!" or "Portly Panel" or "Droll Roll" or somesuch.

Yup. Those are awesome names.
I have discovered some amazing things about myself in the past few weeks. I can use the drill. I can sand things. I can use a crowbar. (That is FUN, by the way.) I can touch gross stuff. I can clean filth that isn't related to me.

Those seem pretty dumb, if you think about it. C'mon, who CAN'T rub a piece of sandpaper over some wood? I think the real issue before was getting dirty. I have never been one for being dirty. But I have discovered that if you are planning to get dirty, it's not so bad and actually kind of freeing. (Did you drip some lunch on your shirt? No problem! It's covered with bleach and paint anyways. Need to sit in a pile of sawdust? No big deal. It will go quite well with the bits of insulation clinging to the seat of your jeans.) And the shower afterwards is HEAVENLY. I EARNED that shower. I can feel an appreciable difference afterwards.

I must admit, these few weeks haven't been the best weeks of my life. Bill and I have been very sad about Astrid, and learning to adjust to life without her has been hard. We had a little funeral for her, and buried her in our new back yard, and I am working on a shadow box to commemorate her, and I'm feeling a little better. I still miss her greatly, but I haven't burst into uncontrollable sobs in a week or so. Bill's first couple of days home were hard, since he was gone throughout the whole ordeal, but he seems to be doing better as well. Maybe this summer we will be ready for a new dog, possibly from the Dachshund or Corgi Rescue. No dog will ever be the same as the Puppybuns, but it will feel nice to have a little creature to love nonetheless.

I think what really helped me was all that work waiting to be done at the new house. Sanding and cleaning are mindless, but they somehow occupy most of your brain. When you're upset, it's very satisfying to see that you can turn a scratched cabinet or a stinky disgusting room into something pretty and livable. And I've gotten to hang out with my Dad a lot more. I've always thought my Dad was pretty cool, but doing a bunch of work together is a good way to bond.

I also think that being able to participate in the remodeling of the house--even in the small ways that I am--is going to make it an even better house for us. It would never have occurred to me to neglect a house in the way that Nasty William* did, but now I think I have an even better appreciation of how much work goes into making and keeping a house nice.

*Nasty** William is our house's previous owner. I used to think he had become disabled and died, but it turns out the house just got too dirty and he moved away.

**Not 'nasty' in the good way. Just nasty. Like never-clean-your-toilet nasty. Also lazy. Like stick-an-aquarium-above-your-kitchen-ceiling lazy. Yup. This is something Nasty William did instead of fixing a leak in the roof. He simply installed an empty aquarium in the attic to catch the water.
BAGELS!!! Chewy warm raisin-y ones that are so soft and good that you don't even NEED cream cheese.

How on Earth did I forget about bagels?

I wonder if Bagelstein's is still there...

Tribute to Astrid

This morning the vet told me that Astrid had developed a condition called myelomacia. Her spinal cord was dying, she couldn't move her front legs, and she was in horrible pain. Eventually the pressure from her spine would suffocate her. There was no way to cure it and very, very, very little hope that it would get better. So Bill and I decided that we needed to have her put to sleep to spare her that pain.

I got to hold her and tell her I loved her before she went. My Dad came with me so I didn't have to do it alone, and that helped me a lot. Unfortunately, Bill is out of town until Sunday, and he and I decided that we couldn't let her suffer that long, so he didn't get to say goodbye.

Bill and I loved that little creature so much. I will miss her every day and never forget her. She was sweet, intelligent, well-behaved, beautiful, loving, and lovable. She always sensed when one of us was upset or in pain and did her best to comfort us.

Goodbye, Astrid. I love you.





the Puppybundle

I just saw Astrid again and she snuggled with me lots more. She still seemed a little non-Astrid-like but I felt so much better about it today. Maybe the fact that I have visited two days in a row is helping her know she has not been abandoned, or maybe she is feeling better generally. They took her away before I could call Bill (I have decided that she will heal better if she can at least hear his voice on the phone, which may be stupid but I don't care), but altogether she seemed much more relaxed. She also ate some dinner right after they took her back. (Apparently they had not been saying, "Are you a hungry pup? Do you want some puppy supper?" I suggested that today and it worked! Though it is a bit embarrassing to let strangers in on your silly dog talk. I did not tell them that if she gets cold, they have to ask her if she is a pup-sicle. That would be just plain silly.)

The wonderful vet, who was a lady-vet about my age,* sat very patiently and answered all of my neurotic questions, said that as soon as I learn to help her go to the bathroom, she can come home. She predicted Thursday (which is good because I have inservice that day and can leave early if necessary). But I am not very good at finding her bladder yet, so I have to come in and practice tomorrow.

I am again so grateful to have so many supportive friends and family giving me encouragement. It has made all the difference. Guess what? I love you!

Unrelated: Student Teacher Randy has opened up a little and is doing a great job, which is helping to ease my anxiety about letting him teach the Children. Today he made two sarcastic rejoinders in a row to seventh period and one kid said, "Uh oh, he's been Floydenized!" This made me smile--both for the made-up word and the sarcasm. Spreading sarcasm throughout the world is heartwarming, you know?

*Somehow talking to a female person who is my age makes any experience, but particularly an experience in which I have to discuss my feelings and might cry, so much easier.

Astrid Update

Astrid still has no feeling in her back legs, and though the doctor has said they usually wait up to a week to be sure there is none, I'm getting to be OK with the idea that she may be unable to walk unassisted. I've done lots of research and I think that once we adjust, it will not be much more trouble than having to take her out to go the the bathroom is. I've found some plans online for building a little cart so she can take walks and get exercise, and hopefully my Dad will be willing to fix one up for her.

I'm a little sad, though, because I saw her for the first time tonight. We had thirty minutes to spend in a little room. I was hoping that she would see me and realize that I haven't abandoned her and that a little love would be all she needed to feel better and start eating again. But... well, she let me hold her, and was kind of alternately aloof and a little bit snuggly, but nowhere near as affectionate as she usually is when we haven't seen each other for a while. Hell, sometimes I can leave the house for ten minutes and she acts as if I have been gone for two years! I talked to her the whole time, even though I know she doesn't understand me, just because I think somehow she can sense that I am saying positive things to her. The vet said she won't eat, so I brought some of her favorite treats, but she refused to eat them. I just want to bring her home so she can relax and be in a familiar place. It seems like that would help her, you know? She doesn't understand that I have not left her forever, and that I had to leave her there so she could get better.

She just didn't act like I expected her to. I hope it is just that she has had a traumatic experience and needs some time to adjust. I have been trying very hard not to blame myself for allowing this to happen to her, but if she hates me forever I don't think I can take it.

I found a group online for dachshund owners whose dogs have had the spine surgery, Dodger's List, and posted there as well. I'm hoping that someone will have some encouraging words. I thought I was doing OK with this but now I am worried again. All the waiting is getting to me, I guess.

She was originally scheduled to come home Wednesday. I hope they will let her come home regardless of whether she can pee by herself or not; I can handle that if it will make her feel better. I really do think that she will be happier at home and that will help her to recover better. Maybe that's just me and a bunch of hippie claptrap, but there's got to be something to the psychological element of getting better.

Feb. 1st, 2009

Astrid Update (I will get an update every morning from the hospital, and I am worrying about this to no end, so sorry, I have to write about it): the vet called and said "she is doing [pause] OK. She still has no deep pain sensation in her back legs, but sometimes with very severe spine compression like she had, it takes a few days for that to come back. (Oh, I hope that is true and not just some hopeful line of bullshit.) She ate some boiled chicken this morning and is very sweet. Every time a vet tech comes by she comes to the front of the cage and licks their hands and asks to get petted. Please know we are making her comfortable and we will call again tomorrow morning to give you an update."

I interpreted this as hopeful, but then worried that it might be like when I have to call a kid's parent and tell them that their kid is going to fail, and I say something like, "Your child really has excellent shiny hair and has retained all his teeth, which is great! However, he has a 24 in History. Here is all the summer school information." (You are always supposed to say something nice first to soften the blow of the bad news, you see. I hope that doctor wasn't doing that. Though I am pretty sure she was.)

I'm glad she (Astrid, not the doctor) is still her affectionate self, though. It means her personality hasn't been affected, and that's my favorite thing about her. I can't wait until I can go see her tomorrow and administer some Mommy-love. I hope they are giving her plenty of stranger-love in the meantime. Though that is not as good.
Astrid made it through surgery. The doctor said he was able to clean up all the spinal fluid and the outside of her spine looked okay, but he was careful to say he didn't know about the inside and that we will not know if she is going to be able to walk again for a few days at least. I will be able to go in and see her on Monday. I hope that she is warm and comfortable and not too confused about why I have left her with strangers when she is in pain.

I have read some encouraging stories about other dogs who had similar problems on some dachshund forums, which is helping a little bit. But I am trying to be prepared for the worst. I may have a handicapped dog. And she will still be a wonderful, lovable little creature, and I will be so grateful to still have her around. But I would rather she be healthy and happy and able to walk if that is possible

Thank you so much for all the kind words and thoughts. I may be overreacting a little... but she is my little creature. It's my job to keep her safe and love her. I always knew I loved her a whole lot, but seeing her hurt like this has really made it much stronger.

I just wish I could quit listening for her little tags jingling on her collar. Also I wish Bill was here. I am sure he would be if he could... he loves Astrid just as much as I do. It is probably much harder on him since he is far away.

Jan. 31st, 2009

I took Astrid back to the vet this morning because she was dragging both feet, and it turns out she has ruptured a disc in her back. She is in surgery as we speak, with a 65% chance of recovery. Any kind of doggie thoughts or prayers you can send into the universe will be appreciated. We won't know if she'll be able to walk again for a few days, and she will be in the hospital for at least five days. I don't know how I can concentrate on anything until I find out if she will be OK. All of her toys and bowls and little puppy nests are around the apartment making me cry. It seems like going somewhere else and finding something to do is the best plan. I am supposed to go work on the new house but I have imagined her running and playing in the yard so many times already that it may not help.

I love that little creature SO MUCH. If she doesn't get better I don't know what I will do. My parents and brother have been very nice and supportive, and my parents came to sit with me at the hospital, but Bill is out of town until next Sunday, and I am still incredibly, incredibly sad and very angry with myself for not noticing she was not getting better yesterday evening. I was trying to keep her still so didn't really see how she was walking or not walking, and she was crying some during the night, but I called the emergency vet people and they said to bring her in today, so I thought surely she would be OK until morning. I feel like a very, very bad mother.

I'm not a praying person, but at times like this I wish I was. I guess it just doesn't work that way, though. I would give anything just for her to be OK. I love my puppybuns. :(