dogs, lessons learned

All better… getting back to business, doing my business…

I think I can now declare myself fully recovered from the stomach bug. In fact, this morning, I was back in business, doing my business. And that is a good thing, because this morning, there are two plumbers in the bathroom, fixing the shower and the fixtures on the bathtub.

Mood music. This is a great rendition, but the crowd isn’t into the singalong.

When we moved into this house in late 2018, the main bathroom still had the original fixtures on the shower and tub. At first, we couldn’t even use the shower, because we couldn’t turn on the cold water spigot. It was completely immobilized by lime, caused by the hard water in Germany– land of no water softeners. The taps hadn’t been descaled in a very long time before we moved in, so we literally couldn’t turn on the faucet. The plumber fixed that by completely replacing the fixtures, but not before a couple of weeks had passed. We had to use the bathtub, which also had a problem. Water leaked copiously from under the faucet whenever we ran the water.

I kept bugging Bill to speak to the landlord about it, but he was still a bit traumatized by our last renting experience. Even though our current landlord is a very kind and reasonable person, Bill dreaded having to talk to him about something not right in the house. I can totally understand that, but it was a real pain for me when it came time to clean. Because the tub’s fixtures were so leaky, we didn’t use the tub at all, once the shower was fixed. And, although I don’t mind taking showers, it didn’t sit well with me that there’s so much rent being paid and we couldn’t really use the tub without water leaking all over the place.

Before anyone points this out, allow me to pre-emptively state that I know I could have spoken up… but because I didn’t sign the lease, and because I got blamed for everything in our last house, we decided it would be better if Bill deals with the landlord. I was the one who spoke up about the awning, and I got a ration of shit for it. This time, we’re doing things differently. I’m staying as uninvolved with the business side as possible. Maybe it’s not the best way to handle things, but that’s how it’s worked out. Fortunately, we don’t have a lot of issues in this house.

Bill mentioned the tub a couple of times, and finally had a serious conversation with the landlord about it. The landlord brought the plumber over in late July to check out what needed to be done. Now, after a couple of months of waiting for appointment availability and new parts, the plumbers are here fixing the tub and shower. They don’t know it yet, but our next project is probably going to be the bathroom sink downstairs. I think the fixture on the sink is original to the house– they have an early 90s/late 80s look to them. It’s due to be replaced for the same reason the tub’s fixtures needed replacing. But the faucet on the sink doesn’t leak nearly as badly as the tub’s fixtures did.

I just took a look at the shower and I’m very pleased. We got a nice upgraded double shower head that is in the corner of the stall, rather than the middle. Maybe that will mean less water on the floor after our showers, too. And now I can offer an addendum about the sink. I just mentioned it to the landlord, since he came over to find the tiles for the bathtub. I was not expecting anything to happen today with that, but to my delight and relief, he was totally cool with it. The plumber just checked out the sink and it looks like that is going to be fixed, too. I thanked all of them profusely and told the landlord how happy I am! He really is a nice man.

The other business that needs attending today involves Arran. He has a few itchy bumps that are going to be removed. His surgery isn’t until noon, so he’s a bit grumpy, since he’s not allowed to eat. I fear the bumps are probably new mast cell tumors. Maybe I’m wrong, though I doubt it. Hopefully, they won’t be too high grade, and Arran will heal quickly and uneventfully. It’s hard watching him get older. He’s a very special dog.

We also thought Arran’s predecessor, MacGregor was a special dog, and he really was. MacGregor and Bill had a very unique bond. But Arran has turned out to have an even more devoted bond than MacGregor did. I’ve often thought that MacGregor sent Arran to us, to help heal Bill’s broken heart when we lost him to a spinal tumor in December 2012. When we brought Arran home in January 2013, Arran immediately took to Bill, and he’s been by his side ever since. They absolutely adore each other.

MacGregor in North Carolina, not long before we lost him to cancer. He did this all the time. MacGregor also had a special weekend ritual. He would wait for Bill to open his eyes after sleeping, then crawl on his chest and kiss him on the nose. MacGregor didn’t like most men and was afraid of all strangers, but he LOVED Bill.
This photo was taken on the day we brought Arran home, back in North Carolina. He loved Bill from the moment he became part of the family. As you can see, he and MacGregor have something in common. Arran is sweet and friendly, and isn’t afraid of people, but Bill is definitely his favorite human.

Meanwhile, Noyzi is firmly established as my dog. He doesn’t listen to Bill, although he has become less afraid of him. At night, when it’s time for the last pee break of the day, I have to be the one to get him to go outside. Luckily, he listens to my voice and basically does what I tell him to do. I think Noyzi is the type of dog who needs an assertive leader. It probably makes him feel secure and reassured. I told Bill it was time for him to use that Army trained command voice he used to tell me about when we were dating. I know he can do it, but he’s such a gentle person that he’d rather not.

In some ways, Noyzi reminds me of Zane. He has a very sunny personality. Every time he sees me, he smiles and wags his stumpy little tail. He likes to play, and he’s very friendly. But Zane was a much more confident, well-adjusted dog, and he was all about having a good time and being friends with everybody. Noyzi probably would have been more like that had he not been traumatized. However, every day, we see him getting to be a more confident dog. He’s even starting to misbehave a bit.

I actually bought that rug for Zane, so he’d have traction when jumping on the bed. Noyzi doesn’t get on the furniture, but he’s becoming a lot more attached to me. He hangs out behind my chair or next to the bed most days.

I’ll end today’s post with an anecdote about yesterday… I shared this status on Facebook yesterday.

Who wants to know why I am completely repulsed right now?

A couple of people liked the post, so this is my tale of woe…

Alright… so I have had a stomach virus for the past few days. I’m mostly better now, but still haven’t really managed to brave a real meal yet. I noticed a jar of applesauce in the fridge, which is recommended for gut health. I had slim hopes for it, since I didn’t remember when it was purchased. Bill doesn’t like applesauce. I opened it up, and there was about a half inch of gray sludge on the surface. So I threw it out.

Then I went outside, still kind of grossed out by the applesauce, took a look at the yard, and decided to turn on the robotic mower. To turn it on, I have to lift a panel. I had trouble getting it to go up the whole way. Then I noticed a HUGE slug stuck in the hinge. Lifting the panel only wedged the slug in tighter. There I was, with quaking guts, using a stick to try to pull the slug out, and it just kept getting fatter and more repulsive looking. Half its body was stuck. Finally, I managed to get it out, but then I had to get it off the mower, so I got my pruning shears and used them as tongs to pull the fat little bastard off my mower. It fell in the grass, where I hope it will be mowed. 

I am hoping to be less grossed out by the time Bill gets home so we can eat a real meal.

I’m happy to report that last night, I finally did have a real meal. It was glorious… as was this morning’s real dump, which was somewhat normal. Hallelujah!

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Bill

Bottoms up…

Thanksgiving approaches this week. Since we’re in Germany, it’s not a huge deal in these parts. Bill is planning to cook Cornish game hens, and I’ll probably make his favorite cake from scratch. We’ll have our usual sides, cranberry sauce, maybe some rolls, and plenty of wine. No raw vegetables will be consumed, though, because on Monday of next week, Bill has to have a medical procedure done. I’m… uh… not really looking forward to it. Let’s just say that Sunday promises to be quite shitty. Being ever the pragmatic, prepared sort, Bill came home last night armed with what’s in today’s picture. He has butt wipes and butt paste, since he’s probably going to be a bit… raw. I hope he won’t require diapers, too.

Since Bill is 55 years old, his healthcare provider suggested that he have his colon scoped. This procedure, known as a colonoscopy, requires that he be sedated. Since he’s going to be under the influence of drugs, I must accompany him and drive him home from Landstuhl. This probably means I’m finally going to try driving our new Volvo, since that car is more comfortable than my 2009 Mini Cooper convertible is.

We bought the car a few months ago. It’s a 2020 model, and we got it straight from the factory in Sweden. Bill says it practically drives itself. It has all kinds of fancy gadgets and tools designed to make driving safer and more pleasant, including a very annoying GPS system that turns down my music to repeatedly tell us where to go. I actually hate driving with the GPS, even though I know it’s a handy device. I find it hard to have conversations or enjoy music with that carping female computer voice booming over everything. But since it’s Bill’s car and I’ve never driven it before, I guess I’ll defer to the nagging old bitch. At least the voice in the Volvo’s GPS doesn’t sound like it belongs to a two pack a day smoker, like one of our old GPSes did. By the way, Bill would happily let me drive the Volvo if I wanted to. I don’t really enjoy driving that much, though, so I let him do it when he’s not bombed out of his mind on mind altering drugs.

We’re taking Arran to the Hunde Pension Saturday, then on Sunday, we’ll go to Landstuhl. Bill will fill out forms at the hospital, then we’ll check into a hotel, where at 6:00pm, he’ll drink half of a bottle of GoLYTELY. This is a brand name for a polyethylene glycol electrolyte solution, which is a laxative. Bill will then shit his brains out until 3:00am, at which he has to drink the other half of the bottle. I expect we won’t be getting much sleep. Bill also isn’t allowed to eat solid foods the day before the procedure, and has to adhere to a special diet this week. No raw veggies, no nuts, no seeds, no foods with red dyes, and I forget what else he has to avoid. He can only have clear broths on Sunday, and booze is out of the question.

Monday morning, they’ll sedate him. I’ll sit in the waiting room while they root around in his colon, looking for any signs of trouble. Then, while he’s mildly coherent, they’ll tell him what they saw in there. After that, I’ll drive us back to Wiesbaden and hope we don’t have an accident. Really, I’m an excellent driver, but I don’t like driving very much, especially in Germany. The Volvo has so many gadgets in it that it’ll be strange for me. It has an automatic transmission, and I don’t even have to use a key… I just have to have it on me or in the car. That will be weird.

This isn’t the first time I’ve had to be Bill’s chauffeur. Back in 2004, Bill very kindly had his vasectomy reversed so we might be able to have a baby. We got up in the wee hours of the morning at our house in Fort Belvoir, Virginia, and drove to Fort Meade to what used to be a full scale Army hospital. It’s now a health clinic with a same day surgery center. We happened to luck into the schedule with the vasectomy reversal, since the surgeon had just come in from downrange in Iraq. Military surgeons have to keep up their skills, so they do certain elective procedures for servicemembers, free of charge.

Bill had the surgery and it went very well. It was technically successful, and according to the test he took the following month, he was firing live ammunition– 90 million sperm, to be exact. Alas, I didn’t get pregnant, but maybe that was for the best. We didn’t have the money or time to pursue other methods of getting me pregnant, so that was that. Anyway, Bill had decided to have the surgery as a means of taking back a bad decision he’d made under pressure from his ex wife. She had convinced him to get “snipped”, complaining that pregnancy was “hard” on her. She had a son and their two daughters and convinced Bill that she was “done”. So he went under the knife for her.

A few years later, they got divorced. Two years after that, she had remarried and was pregnant again. She had another baby a few years after that, bringing her grand total to five. Meanwhile, I’m a mom to rescue dogs. One reason why I get so pissed off about people who promote vasectomies as if they’re simply reversed is because I have seen firsthand that they aren’t. Vasectomy reversals are not a joke, and they are a hell of a lot more expensive and involved than vasectomies are. And they don’t always work, either. People who have vasectomies should consider them permanent. It’s true that a lot of men can regain their fertility after getting a reversal, but it’s definitely not a given. I’m for people using less permanent birth control methods unless they are absolutely certain they are done having kids.

It used to upset me that I wasn’t destined to be a mother, but now I think it was probably a blessing that I missed out on having children… even as I wonder what kind of a child Bill and I would have had together. He or she probably would have had blue eyes, a short stature, and a propensity for swearing. Or maybe not… maybe he or she would have been genteel, polite, studious, and endlessly caring, like Bill is. He or she probably would have been a good writer and perhaps might have been a good singer or musician… or, more likely, a fine artist, since we both have artists in our families. Eh, well, we’ll never know. At least Bill’s daughter is sharing her kids with Bill, so he can be a grandpa.

One thing I do remember about that surgery was that Bill was asking the surgeon all kinds of questions. The surgeon kind of laughed and told me that he wouldn’t remember asking the questions– no one ever does. Sure enough, he didn’t… and I remember bundling him into my 1997 Toyota Corolla and driving us home, where he was laid up for two weeks to recover. We were lucky his bosses were so understanding, especially when he had to beg off of a PT test because he had a “profile” (meaning he had a health issue that prevented him from taking PT tests). The sergeant who administered the test winced when Bill said, “Ain’t gonna be there, Sergeant Timms, I gotta go get my junk hooked up.”

When he came back to work, his buddies had decorated his office with tons of cut out paper sperm, which he was still finding months later. They’d put them all over the place… in his desk, between pages of books, under his computer… it was hilarious!

If someone at his current job decorates his office with shit, I will probably shit a brick myself. But I don’t think any of his current pals are that irreverent. Besides, he works for a hoity toity contractor now, so it probably wouldn’t be kosher. Maybe I’ll decorate the house, instead… hang a log on the tree or something. I’m sure Arran will provide the best, or maybe I should stock up on brown construction paper and glitter.

Nah… it’s more fun to write shitty blog posts. Stay tuned for more that stink. I’m here all week.

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