Sunday, August 06, 2017

My Old Man Dog

Almost 15 years ago when we lost our second rat terrier, I was heart broken. So we went in search of a new Rat. We looked in the newspaper and found a couple of Rats listed. Since we were headed to the city for some event, we decided to check out the Rats on the way. The first stop was at a gas station where we met the guy selling the Rat. He rolled down his window and held out a little puppy. It was cute - as all puppies were, but he had an "apple" head. He was not the Rat for us. Then we drove over to Shawnee and met an older man at the Braums. He was driving a flatbed Toyota truck and had a pet taxi sitting on the bed. He then opened the pet taxi and out ran a Rat puppy. He was gangly and wild. He had poop on his leg from being in the pet taxi. He was so excited to be out, that he was jumping and running all around. The old man said, "Don't let him fall, he'll get a hernia." A hernia!? What a funny thing to say. Jesse laughed out loud. This Rat had puppy belly - where his belly was a bit large compared to his long legs. He was cavorting around the flatbed with us trying to keep him from falling. This time the old man said, "Look at that confirmation!" We all thought, "What confirmation?" The old man told us he would knock off the price and would sell the Rat for a discount. We said okay, and took him home with us.

We named him Ranger for the popular Lord of the Ring movies that were out at that time. Ranger became an instant part of our family. He had such a different personality than our second rat terrier, who had been a psycho dog. Ranger was sweet and easy to get along with. He learned fast and stayed close to us. We taught him tricks. He was a creature of habit liking things to stay the same. So we had certain routines every day. If you did not give him a dog biscuit first thing each morning, he let you know. He did everything with us until he got a bit too old to travel in the car without getting anxious. He was great with the grandkids or anyone's kids. When looking back through my blog, there is not many photos from around the farm or house that does not have Ranger in them. Everyone loved Ranger. So many memories!

The last year he had gotten much slower and frailer. He didn't really like going for walks with us, although he did. Every month or so, I took him to the vet to have  his toenails clipped and other hygiene things done. It was always a bit traumatic for him, but necessary. He had a large growth on his leg, which the vet called a tumor. He had other lumps and bumps that were probably tumors too, but nothing to be done about them. We were getting up with him a couple of times each night to put him outside. He had had a few accidents in the house. It was all part of getting older. We knew our time with him was short.

On Thursday, he started having more problems getting around. He seemed extra swollen and the tumor on his leg filled with fluid and was full and hard - like it could burst.  That night was rough. He had trouble breathing and moving, although he was restless. Friday I was supposed to go to OKC with Jesse to some art museums, but I had to cancel that. Instead, I took Ranger to the vet. Our usual vet was out of town. This bothered me greatly, because I trust her to make good decisions and help me out with my animals. I ended up taking Ranger to a different vet, but a good one. This vet had sewn up his ear years ago when Ranger had split his ear on a barbed wire fence. The vet had done a great job. He examined Ranger and said it was probably cancer in his lungs or possibly congestive heart failure. Either way, Ranger was old and it was hard on him. I had to make a decision -  to try and doctor on Ranger, which would have been hard on him, or put him down. I called Toby. I cried. Toby came to the rescue. We made the decision and said our goodbyes. The vet people took good care of Ranger and us.

I have been pretty weepy the last few days, but I know it was for the best. I miss Ranger in the little ways - the everyday routines we had. I don't think there will ever be another dog quite like him. He was the best. This is the photo I took of him in his last little bit of time. You can see that he was tired and sick. My old man dog.

Thursday, July 27, 2017

Neck Zit

Sometimes I don't realize how stressed I am until my neck breaks out in a big zit. At my age!

I was feeling pretty excited about taking Mom to the doctor to find out what the lumps were on her chest. I wanted/needed to know. I did not think I was stressed. Mom's doctor at HOH seemed to want to know too - that is why he set us up with a doctor that he thought would know more. The bottom line: the specialist did not really know more. And maybe the whole doctor visit was more stressful than I thought it would be.

The specialist said she could rule out cancer, but she did not know what or why Mom had large lumps on her chest. She said it could be a hematoma, but there was nothing we could or should do, and it would likely heal on its own.  Like everyone else, she asked if Mom had ever had implants or injections. Mom and I both insisted that was a no. Mom insists the lumps were caused from a fall several months ago, but her story is iffy. I am sure Mom and I looked like Abbott and Costello with Mom telling a crazy story and me trying to explain that not everything Mom says is accurate.

The problem is that Mom has fallen quite a lot. She has always jumped up and said she was fine. She has not shown me any bruising from any falls in the last several months. Of course, she is mad at me all the time and doesn't want to tell me things - it is her way of showing me that she can handle things herself. Her story now is that she fell near her room back at Royal Estates - people saw her fall and someone must have called the nurse, but Mom had already jumped up and gone to her room before the nurse arrived. So why didn't the nurse or someone tell me or my brother? Fear of being sued? So it would seem that this fall was not all that serious - certainly nothing that would cause a hematoma in Mom's chest. So, did she fall at some other time? Possibly! We may never know.

Maybe part of the stress was because we arrived at the doctor's office thirty minutes early as requested by the nurse - to fill out paperwork - and I do mean lots of paperwork. We were there at 1:30 for our 2:00 appointment. We did not see the doctor until almost 4:00. Mom did fairly well - at least she did not scratch a hole in her face or get really ugly with me. Once in the room, I felt like the doctor was short and impatient with us (although keep in mind the Abbott - Costello thing). I thought the doc was rough and impersonal. Add that to the fact that she did not really offer any new info.  And I have a big neck zit today.

When I got home at 6PM and ate a little supper, I did a very quick watercolor - keeping up my watercolor-a-day in July. It may be my best watercolor of the month.

Monday, July 24, 2017

A Really Long Weekend

My weekend started last Thursday.  I got up early before it got too hot and loaded up the truck with junk from the barn to haul over to a garage sale at Jesse's. Not too long after I finished loading stuff, my friend, Jay, who used to have a blog called the Extended Table, came and cleaned my carpets. He did a fantastic job and made my house smell much better than it had been smelling in this summer heat. It was only slightly toxic. Next, I packed my stuff for several days and headed to WF. I had several errands to run when I arrived there - things like getting Mom's hearing aids fixed, depositing her checks, etcs. I got to Jesse's in the late afternoon to wait on my sister to arrive from Amarillo and help out with the garage sale - Yay! The plan was to sell as much of Mom's stuff (with some of my stuff thrown in) as we could and donate the rest to some charity place.

After my sister arrived, we went to Fuzzy's Tacos for supper.  My sister had already eaten, but she had a beer and visited with Jesse and me while we ate our tacos. Next we went by the grocery store to get supplies for the garage sale, and then waited on my SIL to join us. We made a plan of attack for the garage sale and set it in motion. Keep in mind that it was around 8 PM by the time we really got going. We drove to downtown WF to get a key to a storage unit. Then drove across town to the unit. We laughed and giggled as we drove around and around in the storage unit place trying to find the right storage unit and then make the key work. Finally we got in the unit, which was packed with Mom's stuff and my brother's stuff. We loaded the truck up. There was much laughter and silliness at this point. Women carrying and loading furniture can be funny. Getting back out of the storage unit place was comical too. Did I mention that it was still pretty warm in the late evening? It was a good thing we started so late, or we would have melted in the heat. When we got back to Jesse's we needed showers and refreshments.  I had a grapefruit beer of some sort, which my sister had bought. It was interesting. There was more laughing and visiting before we went to bed. We needed to be up and at 'em early.

Friday morning we were out working on setting up our garage sale by 7 AM. People started arriving soon after. We were not ready for them. Our plan and advertising said 8 AM, but they kept coming! At one point, people were like ants all over Jesse's garage, saying, "How much do you want for this?" and flashing stuff at us. It was crazy hectic. Then the Otto (my dad) came out in me. Using my teacher voice I said, "Not everything in the garage is for sale. We are not ready yet. Get out of the garage now." I was not ugly, but I was firm and serious. Everyone moved out of the garage (a couple left entirely, which was fine by me), and we were able to get our boxes out and put up a barrier so people would not go into Jesse's garage and go through her stuff. The garage sale did not slow down until close to noon. By then I was hot and tired and hungry.

My SIL volunteered to get lunch, but we had to decide on what we wanted - always difficult for several women to decide on. I said I wanted Whataburger with a large iced tea. My sister said she was hot and thought a taco sounded good and light - maybe Casa Manana.  Are you kidding me! I used my sister voice this time, "I'm not eating no stinking taco. If you wanted a taco, you should have eaten one last night!"  I was actually kind of horrified that that came out of my mouth, and I had pulled rank on my sister. But geeze Louise! Fortunately everyone else hated Casa Manana as much as I do and no one else wanted tacos (again).  I got my Whataburger. After we ate our burgers, Jesse said, "That was so good, I feel kind of drunk." That girl always makes me laugh, but I knew what she meant.

We worked hard at the garage sale until 5 PM. It was a long hot day. You wouldn't believe what kind of weirdos show up at garage sales.  After showers, we went to eat with old friends who happened to be in town. That was a real treat! Later at home, we did a little watercolor, since I am doing the World Watercolor Month - a painting a day.  Then we started over on Saturday. With temps in the 100 + range, we shut the sale down around 1 PM on Saturday, took everything leftover to Faith Ministries and called it good. Toby went to see his Mom and I packed up the truck.

As it turned out, Toby's mom was having some serious health issues and they took her to the hospital. I did the usual Saturday Sam's run on my own, and then went to check on my mom. Seeing her in the late afternoon is not always good - she is tired and grumpy and non-responsive. But she did set up and showed me where she supposedly fell. She is not capable of really telling us what and when this happened. She had two golf ball sized knots on her chest. Good grief! How did we miss that?! I showed the nurse, who said she would tell the doctor when he came by on Sunday. She did not get the message to the doctor on Sunday. The doc is supposed to be back by today. Hopefully he will get the message to see Mom today. It has me concerned.

I got home around 7 PM on Saturday evening. Toby was still with his mom at the hospital.  When I walked into the house, it felt really hot - as if Toby and set the air conditioner up. I cranked it down and took a shower, since sweat was pouring off of me. When I got out of the shower, it was still very hot - not cooling at all! Finally I called Toby and got instructions on flipping the breaker for the air conditioner. It was 83 in the house at 8 PM. I was hot. Then my older brother called. He was on the road from NM to WF and accidentally stayed on I - 40 on into OK. So he decided to come to Duncan and spend the night with us. Due to a malfunction of his GPS, he did not arrive until 10 PM. Toby had arrived home around 9 PM. It was a late night, and we still had Sunday to go.

Sunday found us headed to see Toby's mom in the hospital after we got my brother off to Austin. Of course we packed up furniture and stuff to send home with him for his daughter. Yay! We got rid of more stuff!. We spent the day at the hospital. Toby's mom is better and is being taken care of, but she is old and tired. I'm feeling a bit old and tired myself. It was a really long weekend.

Thursday, July 13, 2017

Dreaming of the River View

Why do we dream the things we dream? The other night I dreamed I was working in a cafe that was just opening. It was hectic because it was new and no one really knew what to do and where things were. I was trying to pass out menus to people and get their orders. Every time I looked around more people were seated in the cafe. Someone asked me for walnut bread, but they wanted it to be freshly made and heated up. The cook had some, but it was frozen and not fresh, so I did not serve it. Almost as quickly as the cafe filled it up and was busy, it was suddenly empty - we had made it through our first rush.  It seemed like a fairly simple anxiety dream, but not too anxious. What made me wonder about it was the cafe. Although I have waitressed at lots of restaurants and even owned my own cafe, I dreamed about the River View Cafe where I worked as a young kid.

We lived across the street from the RV at the Green Mountain Lodge. Our friends the Emorys owned the cafe and often needed help - like bussing tables or dishwashing when I was younger.  I was ten when I started bussing tables - just barely able to reach across the table, load up a tub full of dishes, and carry it to the dishwasher. Then when I was about 14, I started waitressing. Maybe I was twelve.  Edna Emory was the cook/owner. She was a big Indian woman from OK with a temper like you wouldn't believe. She taught me what to do as a waitress and sent me out to my first table. It was a table of about 8 tourist. I started at one end and worked my way around - just like Edna had said to do. When I handed her the ticket, she said, "I sent you out to take an order and you wrote me a book!" She was teasing, of course. I waitressed for Edna for several years. I can still remember standing behind the counter serving her apple pie, or taking orders when the food trucks had not been to town and we were out of everything. I can remember waiting on specific people like the Mutz family who always came in large groups and had been drinking - lots. They were a fun group, but a bit demanding and intimidating. I remember waiting on a group of jeep drivers (young handsome guys who drove jeep tours in RR). Once, as they were finishing their meal, I asked if I could "take anything off" meaning clear their table of unnecessary plates. Of course being the smarties that they were, one of them reached up and pulled on my shirt sleeve and said, "Sure, start with this." I was mortified.  I remember waiting on Steve Smith one Christmas vacation. He was up skiing with a friend. He told me that he was coming back in the summer to drive jeeps. I didn't believe him, because he was not all that handsome or what I thought a jeep driver should be. He did come back and we became great friends and he was an excellent jeep driver. I never thought he was handsome, though.

I also have memories of Edna and Jack fighting - with each other or with employees. It eventually made me move on to work somewhere else - like the Highlander for Ray and Lottie Tweed. Lottie was the best at training waitresses. Working of her was great. Working for her husband, Ray, was iffy. Sometimes he was silly and teasing. Sometimes he was harsh. And so I moved on to Texas Red's. Reds was the best - lots of fun people to work with and lots of great memories. It was very organized, good food, and good tips.

Working at these places taught me lots, and I used that knowledge to open my own cafe. I have millions of memories of working as a waitress. So why do I dream about the RV?

Wednesday, July 05, 2017

Grumpy Cat Killer

Our 4th of July was not very exciting this year. After last years trip to the emergency room when Toby rode his bike into the chicken coop, I guess "not exciting" is okay.  This year Toby had to work a bit - our vacation really put him behind at work. The price you pay! When he got home, it was still rather pleasant outside.  We decided to do some work around the ranch - like fence stuff. By the time we got gathered up and out to the fence, it was hotter than the dickens. We painted the entry way posts until I turned into a puddle of butter.  It was a good thing I wore my cheap sunglasses, because I had to take them off over and over to wipe the sweat out of my eyes so that I could see to paint.  My sunglasses were a whole new color by the time I finished - getting paint all over them. At one point, water poured out of my latex work gloves and ran down my arm - it was sweat!

We  finished painting the entry way and came home to recover. We drank about a gallon of water each, took a nap, ate some watermelon, and ate some salty chips. Toward the late afternoon, we went back out and Toby welded some thingies on select posts to hold the barbed wire - if we ever get to the wire part. I helped him, although my job was not so hard. Later I cooked him a steak and grilled some squash from our garden. We read a bit and then went to bed.  That was our big 4th of July.

This morning looking at FB and Instagram, it seems everyone else celebrated with parades, fireworks and cookouts. Somehow I feel old and left out. We didn't get any invites to any celebrations. Maybe it was because our kids are grown and had other plans this year. Maybe it is because we seem busy with the moms and do not accept many invites, therefore we don't get many invites. Maybe it is because we are grumpy.

Yep, grumpy! The GGs came out on Saturday and spent the night. They weren't her ten minutes before I was getting on to GBN2, which is the norm. That kid will argue with a fence post. I don't know where she gets it, but we butt heads often. I used my teacher voice to make sure she knew I was serious (sometimes for some reason they don't take me very seriously :) Anyway, when I finished using my teacher voice to get on to GBN2, GBN1 said to her sister, "It's okay, Soph, sometimes Booboo is grumpy."

One of the reasons I had the GGs come out was because I had two new kittens for them to play with. I had gone to Fletcher on Friday to get the kittens from a friend. I really only wanted one cat - a very handsome male - but I took a second cat to keep Handsome happy. Friday night we had some friends over to eat. A big storm came up and our friends went home early. I didn't think about it at the time, but I am afraid one of the kittens may have taken a ride up in the motor of our friend's car. The kitten was gone the next day. But I still had Handsome Cat and that was who I wanted in the first place. The GGs were thrilled with him. They brought him in the house and played with him before losing interest and finding a movie to watch. I had to put Handsome out when he started to pee in Toby's chair. Later that evening, we went to eat at the Chuckwagon in Velma. We did not see Handsome anywhere, so we banged on the truck and called his name. As we drove off, Toby hit the brakes several times to make sure Handsome was not up in the truck. But then as we drove down the drive, we heard the kerplunk, and looked back to see that we had run over Handsome. It was a bit traumatic. That must be a new record for me - killing two cats in one day.

I am trying to do a painting a day this July for World Watercolor Month and post them to FB. Here are my paintings so far:
 July 1 Strong and Free
July 2 In the Shade
July 3 Poppies
July 4 Red, White, and Blue

Friday, June 30, 2017

The Vacation Is Over

Getting back into the swing of things after a vacation is always hard. Toby and I have done some work around the house since he had a few days left of h is vacation when we returned from the mountains. Cleaning house and doing laundry took up lots of my time while Toby worked in his garden. We had a house-sitter while we were gone who took care of the animals, but it is amazing how dusty and dirty the house gets in one week. Well, when you have a pack of dogs like we do, and live in the middle of a hay pasture, things get hairy quickly.

Since we have been back, we also had some guys come and put guttering around the house. For a while now, when we get big rains, the water seeps under the house and causes serious water to stand - not good under the house. We have a pump we use to pull water out. Then we set a fan in the crawl-way. But the new gutter should fix the problem by catching water off the roof and re-directing it away from the house. It is amazing how the new stucco and now the gutter has made the house look very nice. Also, the house-sitter did some painting on the carport. Now rather than just oilfield pipe looking brown and rusty, we have things painted white to match the house. Yay!  Now I need to get my patio looking better. I do have some nice plants on the patio, but there is lots of stuff that needs to go to the barn. It's a never ending job.

Yesterday, I went to WF to a meeting with all the care-givers where my mom lives. I walked into a board room with a table full of workers - social worker, doctor, two nurses, activity director, speech therapist, and dietician. It was a bit overwhelming for a minute - I felt like I had been sent to the principal's office. But they were all very pleasant and professional.  My brother joined the meeting a few minutes after I sat down. For about an hour, they all discussed their observations and care for Mom. It was pretty amazing. I learned new things about dementia and treatments. They addressed Mom's speech problems, anxiety, mood swings, etc. and offered new ways to deal with the problems. They answered our questions and listened to our concerns. It was great. I left there feeling like my mom is in the right place and is getting great care.

All the staff at the HOH said they thought Mom was very polite and sweet. Pete and I were skeptical. But Mom has always been very social, pleasant, and has a great sense of humor. I just don't see that side of her much anymore. Sure enough, when I went back to see Mom, she started in on me - she wants her phone, she wants out of the place, she wants more clothes...And she was ugly about it. Although I tried to redirect her attention, she was pretty persistent. I think just seeing me triggers all her anger. She seems to associate me with all that is wrong in her life - everything is my fault. Sigh. Eventually I told Mom I had to go, but would be back on Saturday. The vacation is over.

I know that the HOH is a good place for my mom. She is safe and well cared for. I am hopeful that she will settle in and settle down and maybe be more like her old self again. I pray that.