There's rosemary, that's for remembrance.
William Shakespeare: Hamlet, Prince of Denmark

Saturday, February 28, 2009

6 nights and 7 days

Steve left today for Baltimore. He is working and going to a National conference. I hate it when he is gone for a week. The worst night sleeping with Steve is better than sleeping without him. Then there is the worrying about him flying, his driving in strange cities, bed bugs in the hotel, bad weather....I have to have something to worry about. Then there is the eating. rosemary is bored? rosemary eats. So the best solution is to keep busy. Of course I do have fortifications for those down times. I can't be busy all of the time. I have 2 bags of cherry cordials, Pillsbury cinnabon rolls, a yellow cake mix and chocolate frosting for cupcakes and two bags of burritos. Yup, gotta keep my strength up.

I have a number of projects planned for this week. The first one will be painting the upstairs living room. I painted it a mere two years ago....but.....I got the paint at Wally Wonder World and for the third time the color on the chip did not match the color on the wall. In the case of the living room, the pale wheat color turned out to be....well, here is the truth. The little girl across the street was visiting to take care of some Webkinz business. We were sitting at the kitchen table with the laptop when out of the blue she said, and I SWEAR this is exactly what she said, "That color there (pointing to the wall in the photos below)? It looks just like the poop in my baby sisters diaper." So..........

I went to Home Depot yesterday and got two gallons of Parchment colored satinique paint and all of the accouterments needed for the job. Steve brought up the 6 and 8 foot ladders so I could show him I would be safe while painting on the ladders. I have the drop cloths ready to put down as soon as I move the furniture, cat beds and take all of the stuff off the walls.

Here are the "global" before photos. I will post after photos mid week. I'm not sure anyone will be able to tell the difference in a picture but trust me the baby poop color will be gone. The cat wallpaper border is going as well.

After the living room is back together I will tackle cleaning Steve's office. Having a hospice in an office is not ideal. Then I will move on to trying out my Pro Caulk 25 dollar infomercial thingy on the kitchen counter top, clean the carpet on the stairs, sweep the garages and finish gathering my tax receipts. I figure the project energy output will balance the food intake calories.

Wednesday, February 25, 2009

A Zen question and facts of life.

A Zen question: What is the meaning of this? Behold Mimi Louise of the heated bed hog action. Where is she? On our bed snoring....really. Why?

Penelope: Currently getting 8 as in eight Tramadol/day. Not working. Bumping up to codeine. Talked to the vet who said: Her leg will never be functional again, the more we gork her the better chance there is of causing a fracture when she does walk, bone pain in large breed dogs is agonizing and we need to start talking about the what if the codeine doesn't work scenario. Steve is not handling this well at all....Violet and Penelope are his girls. Here she is in a lucid moment yesterday. Isn't she adorable?

Hospice Central. Fuzzy and Penelope spend their days napping in Steve's office. In an attempt to make Fuzz more comfortable on his bed we got a heated pad to put underneath his blankie. He has turned into a lounge lizard....stretched out his full length most of the time so his whole body is warm and......well, fuzzy.

Fact: We have lost 38% of our retirement funds. We consulted a financial lady in town last year and changed all of our allocations to less stock, but with the market hammering those nails further and further down, we are still losing. We are not unique or alone of course and many, many folks are in much worse shape than we are. But, we have to deal with our issues. Steve's second job that he has had for 20 years has not given him (or anyone else for the most part) any work but an hour here or an hour there since October. His "real" job has been cut back to 3/4 time. On the bright side we still have health coverage, I got a tiny Social Security raise and we have not fallen behind in any bills and have cut back substantially day to day.

We had a first mortgage. After the accident in 2005 we were forced to take out a second. If we only had to deal with one mortgage we would have been fine, but the burden of that second was a killer. So, last night we signed final papers for our refinance. On the up side, we will save 900 smackaroos a month in mortgage payments (yup, we were putting out a ton of money in mortgage payments). The interest rate is a full point less at 4.35%! On the down side we lost all of the principal money we had paid on the first (6 years worth) and while we did not take out one penny in equity, we are starting all over again.

We had several goals in mind beyond the monthly savings. When we are gone the current payment might just be managed by our kids until such time as this place could be sold. We hate thinking everything we have worked all our lives for would go down the drain in foreclosure. When Steve is ready to retire, like maybe this year or next, his Social Security will cover the house payment. So, in the end it is all OK.

It is still raining and yes, the garage flooded. Last night we almost didn't have to worry about having a garage actually. The way the refi worked was: Phone, fax, FedEx and the final paperwork was signed in front of a local Notary who drove to our house last night. She had called on Monday and it was obvious she was elderly and was confused with the driving directions we were trying to simply give her. So, the appointment was set for 6 PM. At six I was on the balcony in the pouring rain watching for her. There she was, stopped by the mail box with the car interior light on. I ran downstairs and opened the garage so she could pull in as there is ice everywhere. I motioned for her to just come straight into the garage, but she didn't. She got out, slipped on the ice, grabbed the car door and said she would rather not pull in. Then she slipped again. She agreed to pull into the garage, started the car, the wheels were turned to the left, she gunned the engine and at the last minute straightened the car out as she was on a collision course right into the exterior of the house/garage. When she left she had Steve back the car out and she gingerly walked in her 3 inch heeled boots to the car. Her other attire? A sequined top over a black pencil skirt with a black rhinestone decorated sweater held together with one of those chained clip thingys. She said a "friend" lived on Center Valley (close to our street) and she was going to visit after she was done at our house. Umm, hum.

Wednesday, February 18, 2009

No sunshine in Idaho....

Here is the long version.

(I have no idea what the font is going to look like...I did this as a word doc and pasted it...looks weird to me, sorry)

Before we took our trip last November Penny went to the doc. The doc casually asked if she was having any joint problems. Nope, she was fine. So, two days before we left she started limping mildly on her right front leg. She went up to the doggie spa for the week we were gone and Kate, the doggie spa owner, said she was about the same while we were gone. After being home for about a week the limp was worse. Back to the vet. We dropped Penny off for grooming, the vet was to see her while she was there, we told the tech that it was her RIGHT front leg and her LEFT front leg was x-rayed. We didn’t know that at the time. The left front joint was inflamed so we started her on a course of Rimadyl for 2 weeks. She got better. But within 2 days off of the Rimadyl she was worse. So, back to the vet.

By this time you couldn’t tell which front shoulder it was that was messed up because she was walking so weirdly. She was started on Medicam for arthritis and got some pain pills to get her over the hump. She got worse with that treatment and was walking so off center that she was walking on the TOP of her back left paw. Back to the vet. She was started on Prednisone twice a day. She was perfect……so after 2 weeks of twice a day it was cut back to once a day and no pain pills.

Slowly but surely she has gotten worse. She was obviously in pain and we started her back on the pain pills last week and made the umpteenth vet appointment. Yesterday when we talked to the vet we told her that we were really, really concerned about all of this and wanted to know if there was any way we could pin down what the issue was. She said she needed to do another x-ray. She did and realized that she had never taken an x-ray of the right leg because the only comparison she had was of the left leg/shoulder. Would it have made any difference if the right leg/shoulder had been x-rayed from the start? Nope, it wouldn't have changed one thing. There it was….the long bone closest to her shoulder is overgrown along the shaft, looks frayed and thick on the x-ray and the diagnosis is either an osteosarcoma or a chondrosarcoma. The osteo is fast growing and quickly spreads, the other is slower in growth. Since we have been dealing with this for almost 5 months she thinks it is the slower of the two.

She laid out all of the options….biopsy to find out definitively what kind of cancer it is, amputation and chemo, chemo alone, or comfort care. We had the opportunity to talk to Penelope's first owner at Christmas time. Penelope is thirteen….maybe 14. I have already blogged about the kind of life she had until we adopted her…… while she was happy, was a free spirit and loved the forest more than any animal in this valley…..she was badly neglected and had no vet care. Since living with us she has gotten routine vet care and her shots, had two abscessed teeth removed that could have killed her with the horrible infection that was there, had benign tumors removed from her eye lids so she didn’t go blind and of course there was the infected paw that she had the first day we got her.

So, over these last months we have curtailed her car rides, walks and play because we were advised we needed to let her leg rest and not jam her joint. Not any more…..she will continue on the Prednisone to keep the rest of her body from blowing up in pain and inflammation, give her pain pills throughout the day and at bedtime, take her on rides as often as we can, walk her in the forest on a leash, and love her to pieces. To do anything else would make her miserable and maybe give her 6 more months. It would also cost more money to do anything else than we have the resources for. We have no timeline for her life, no idea of what organs this will spread to, but we will just do our best to make her happy.

Fuzz seems to be comfortable, is eating a little and is more mobile. So, we have established a little Hospice on our Road.

Sometimes I feel like we must have done something wrong here…environmentally or something else that I can’t figure out….Sophia dying of some weird blood cancer, Drakie and her thyroid/renal mess, Fuzz with this bowel cancer and now Penny. I wonder if we are irresponsible pet parents because we can’t pay for further treatment. This just feels so miserable. You know and I am willing to admit that we have replaced our kids with these pets…..kind of what old people do that are isolated to any degree. I love them more than I healthily should and so does Steve…..but that love is what it is.

So, there it is. Sweet Penelope, the former good will ambassador of the neighborhood is slowly dying and there isn’t one damn thing I can do to prevent that. I feel like shit.

Wednesday, February 11, 2009


I want new couches for the downstairs living room. I would move the two ugly couches from downstairs up and move the ugly stuff from upstairs down, but the two uglies downstairs won't fit through the up opening.

I want blond hair. We have well water and I have to use blue shampoo so my hair doesn't turn orange. I still want blond hair.

I want a Kindle. I am overt in my asking. I want it as a gift so I don't feel so guilty in my wanting. I am gonna have to get more overt.

I want to be able to concentrate better when I read my wonderful fiction books with print on paper. I think the computer has done something to my brain. I know, makes the previous statement and this one at odds......printed words on faux paper as in a screen is books, my rules.

I want a new handbag. I made the huge mistake of saying when I got Big Louie that I would never need another handbag. I was wrong. Any suggestions around this one?

I want the damn snow to stop. I need an inside with God for that one. I have been a bad girl for most of my life. Not happening I guess.

I want to feel what I can't quite put my finger on.

I want to remember every minute of my past life. I know some people call this an affliction, but at my age....I want to re-feel what I lived!

I want to stop swearing. How do I do that? Those words slip out before I can stop them. I picked up that nasty habit from my second husband....oh, I said sh*t and damn, but those other fours were not in my vocabulary.

I want to communicate with my mom and dad. Someone told me a long time ago that going to their graves and talking to them would bring their spirits to me. Didn't/hasn't happened.

I want to figure out how to pray.....something beyond saying the Lord's Prayer and Hail Mary's over and over again for comfort. I used to go into the local Catholic Church (when I lived in California) at odd hours when no one was there....on the way home from getting something at the market, home from work, after a family something when Steve was on the road. I didn't pray but I felt quiet and lighter at those times.

I want to be financially worry free......go ahead, laugh yourself off your chair.

I want to travel to Norway with Steve and find help him find his family roots. Too expensive.

I want Fuzz and Penelope to be as they were last summer.....before legs and bowels.

I want to sleep through the night and not wake or get up once to use the bathroom. Stupid bladder.

I want a house without stairs......all flat, one level, wood floors and huge bathrooms.

So there!

Saturday, February 07, 2009

An update....

It has been an interesting 9 or so days for Fuzzy. On Monday the 2nd I called the vet and made "the" appointment. Fuzzy had a horrible weekend. We had been giving him 4 injections a day; 3 pain shots and a nausea shot. On Monday morning Fuzz decided enough was enough. While I was holding him wearing a jacket and my bulky dish gloves, he bit Steve (he is the injector, I am the chicken cat holder who had already been chomped on). So, we agreed that we had tortured him enough too. He was leaving his bed in the office to walk two steps to the water bowl, taking two more steps to use the litter box and was taking baby food from my finger. That was his day.

The appointment was for Wednesday at 4pm. So, Tuesday I am sitting at the computer looking at shoes at Za%%o's and who should stroll into the room acting like he is Mr. I. Am. So. Not. Sick.......Fuzz. I was amazed. I quickly shut the door, ran into the kitchen to get some real kitty food...canned.....brought it back into the room and he ate it!!!! He moseyed around for a bit after that....I think he was confused actually, but he did some exploring and then went back into the office for a nap. That night for the first time he let me hold him for over an hour. I was rubbing his head and tummy just like I used to and when it was time for bed, I put him in the office with more food and closed the door. Wednesday morning the food was almost all gone and he seemed more alert than he had for days. I canceled the appointment.

Steve and I saw the ultrasound. Fuzzy has a huge...and I mean huge tumor at the junction of his small and large bowel. The lumen of his bowel is about the size of a toothpick. Eventually the tumor will obstruct his bowel and that will be the end.

I am not sure what is going on with him at the moment...a rebound or awakening from a drug stupor, or what ever it is.....but he is taking in small amounts of kitty food throughout the day all by himself, he sits with me at night and we watch some TV, and he explores (OK, he is lost) the house sometimes during the day. The vet said she is also amazed, forget the pain meds oral or injected for now and just watch him carefully so he doesn't fall down the stairs or end up in a place where he can't get out. I have backup oral meds should he show signs of pain and we are positive that Fuzzy will let us know when time is up.

See the sad little place on his leg where his IV was? Sniff.

His little tummy had to be shaved for the ultrasound.....sniff, sniff.

He managed to crawl under the blanket on the bed in the office. Isn't that the sweetest paw ever? 3 sniffs.
Mimi manages to always hog the heated bed, so we got a heated pad for Fuzz today. I can't stop sniffing.

Thursday, February 05, 2009

No words needed.....