Sunday, October 22, 2017

Hello out there!

Who knew that having a puppy and a four-year-old in the house at the same time could keep me so busy?  Especially when neither of them likes to see me on the computer.  The four-year-old goes home in the evening and is usually only here four days a week.  But the puppy stays, and wants constant attention, which he can't get if I'm doing a blog entry.  I've tried holding him on my lap while I surf, but when he sees my fingers dancing over the keyboard, he assumes it's a new game, and that he is supposed to bite them.  This doesn't work too well for me.

Cliff is happy to see weekends arrive these days; he only has to drive to the city for radiation on weekdays, and he's glad to have a two-day break.  So far everything is going well.  He still isn't having any problems from his treatment, or side effects from the estrogen implant, if that's the right term.  I wasn't with him when the doctor talked to him about that, and am not sure what it's called; it releases over a period of six months.  However, in his weekly conference with the doctor, he was told, "You WILL eventually have hot flashes."

Our little girl is in Iowa with grandparents for the coming week, so I'll probably ride to St. Luke's East along with Cliff the next few days.  The trip takes fifty minutes one way; the actual radiation only takes six minutes, and they usually take him right in, even if he's early.  He goes by way of Blue Valley Parkway heading in (very little traffic), then takes I-70 coming home, which takes us past almost any store I might want to stop by, Costco being one I'm always happy to visit.  I might sneak briefly into Kohl's, since I've lost some weight and some of my jeans are getting ridiculously loose.  I'd order some on Amazon, but since each brand's sizes differ from one another, I'll need to try some on.  I HATE tight jeans.  Cliff has lost 28 pounds, I've lost 13.  As usual, we don't "diet", we count calories.  I take that back; I count calories for both of us.  Don't get the idea I'm bragging, because in my entire history of weight loss, I've never kept it off long.  Maybe this will be the time it turns out different.    

We got a little boost this week that worked for the cause:  A horrible intestinal virus hit us both on the same day.  I don't think it was anything we ate, because our little girl's dad had the same thing that hit him 12 hours before we woke up sick.  That child would be the common link for all of us, and her daddy mentioned early in the week that she had a brief problem, although nothing anywhere as bad as our bout with the scourge.  Thank you, Little Princess, for the extra two pounds I lost over a period of 24 hours... OK, it was actually three pounds, but one came back.

Our Holstein steers are a year old and will go to the butcher shop as soon as deer season is over; the shop doesn't take anything in except deer during the hunting season.  That's about all they can handle.  I don't think we will need to raise a calf for ourselves this coming year, but the grandson wants another one, and also my daughter and her husband.  The Holstein bull calves are really cheap now, $120 each, last time I checked.  At $40 per bag, buying three or four bags of milk replacer for each calf is where most of the other expense comes in.    

I hope I've at least caught everybody up on the goings-on around here.  


Saturday, October 07, 2017

Puppy stuff

Many people told me I'd be better off adopting a shelter dog that was already grown rather than a puppy, because that way I wouldn't have the trials of housebreaking, chewed-up shoes and furniture, and so forth.  I told them I didn't want another dog with "issues" like Iris, and I know what to do about the chewing.  Oh, and housebreaking?  A piece of cake.  

And really, it was going smoothly for the first five days, with only a couple of minor accidents.  Then came the poop-storm on Thursday.  Gabe was very ill and wouldn't eat or drink, but was obviously feeling better that evening, even playing and drinking a little water.  Yesterday, Friday, on his first time outside the house for the day his bowels were obviously back to normal.  Crisis over, right?  He played, frisked, and ate like there was no tomorrow.  I decided to ride to the city with Cliff for his 2 minutes of radiation, so I put Gabe in his kennel, turned on the Alexa Tap and set it on his cage playing country music, and left.  When we returned I opened the door of the cage and released my happy, playful puppy, who ran circles around the room.  Took him out, he peed and I gave him more time in case something more urgent came up.  The only thing that came up was his cat playmate, which distracted him from any business he might have conducted.  Back in the house I started our mid-day meal.  I looked around and didn't see a puppy, so I called him.  He came running from my bedroom, happy to be of service.  A little later I walked through the bedroom to the bathroom and said, "What's that smell?"

Yeah, way over, hidden in the farthest corner, was a nice little puppy mess.  Could have been worse, though.  No diarrhea.    But yesterday evening he went out of sight behind a chair in the living room WITH ME WATCHING HIM GO BACK THERE!!!  Once hidden, he made a puddle of liquid poop there.  I put him outside with a sigh and fetched a bucket of Spic-and-Span water and the Spot Shot.  Cliff remarked that if this keeps up, I'll have the whole carpet cleaned, one spot at a time.  He's a barrel of laughs.  At least, though, Gabe felt fine.  I have seen many toddlers hide someplace to poop, but never a dog.  I guess he's modest.  

Did I mention we've had three rainy days in a row?  If you've ever had a house dog, you know how they hate to go potty on a rainy day, or even just in wet grass.  So there's that.  The first rainy day I looked around at the outbuildings and lean-tos on our place and figured I'd be better off taking him into one of those shelters when it's raining.  It wouldn't hurt for Gabe to do his mess there; after all, the neighbor's dog does.  It was a perfect solution, except that I'd have to walk through rain to get him to an outbuilding, but I'm fine with that.  And then I realized Cliff had put carpet in every single outbuilding.  Yes, he's a carpet freak.  It keeps down the dust, I assume.  But I don't want to train my dog to potty on carpets.  Besides, he obviously has acquired that skill already; I don't want to encourage it.  

When friends or relatives are putting down new carpet, they call Cliff to see if he wants the old stuff and he gladly takes it.  I finally remembered one shelter that wasn't carpeted:  The part of the barn where I milked cows.  So that's where I take my puppy on rainy days, and it works fine except for his feet.  Folks, the only long-haired breed I've ever had before was Brandy, a Chow, and she was mostly an outside dog.  Canines with fuzzy feet pick up mud like crazy; I've learned this over the last few rainy days.  So I now keep a damp washcloth near the front door, carry my puppy inside after carousing with the cats in the barn, and carefully wipe off all fours.  Did I really sign up for this?  (It's worth it.)

So, in an ideal world with no rain and where diarrhea is non-existent, house-training is a piece of cake.  In an imperfect world, though, ones patience is tried.  We'll get through this, but it reminds me of a preacher I used to hear, and his favorite sermon; at least I think it must have been, since over a period of five or six years I heard it at least four times.  It was based on a single verse in the Old Testament about David's mighty men, and here it is:    "Benaiah the son of Jehoiada, the son of a valiant man of Kabzeel, mighty in deeds, struck down the two sons of Ariel of Moab. He also went down and killed a lion inside a pit on a snowy day."  I Chronicles 11:22

The title of the sermon seemed to be "The Very Bad Day".  I never really got the whole lesson from it, since anybody fool enough to go chasing after a lion alone pretty much deserves what he gets.  Poor guy went out on a snowy day, so that was his choice.  He should have stayed home near the fire.  As stupid as he was, I wouldn't be surprised if he was the one who dug the pit he fell into.  

But I digress.  My point is that I feel a little like that man today.  

"I got a puppy.  The puppy got diarrhea.  And then it rained."  Donna 73:10 (my age and the month of the year).  

Not quite the end of the story, though, because I love my puppy and we will work through this and come out smiling (or, in his case, barking) and the rug will be clean.  Unlike Benaiah, I'm willing to admit that I DID sign up for this.  On the bright side, 1500 years from now no preacher will be making a sermon out of my story, and my name will be long forgotten.  Although I admit I have lived through some stories that WOULD make sermon fodder, most of them featuring me as a bad example.