Wednesday, July 14, 2010


Sarah's birthday is june 26. this year she wanted a birthday party, and so was born the pig roast. It was a great party, no doubt! There were some challenges with the pig and the pups, however, so, when about four days after the party, Gracie showed signs of diarhea, I was particularly concerned about blockage or contamination. Friday night, I stopped to say fare well to a coworker who is moving on, and got home about 8:15 PM.
Gracie didn't greet me at the door. First and fore most clue something was wrong. Gracie's diarrhea was heavy with a blood presence. I called her vet, and got a message for an emergency hospital. I called the VET ER, and, of course - bring her in.
I brought her in and they treated her for colitis. They also treated her for infections in both ears. Gracie has long pendulus ears. They don't dry out. The cause of "colitis" is anybody's guess. They kept her overnight, no extra charge. Gracie was sent home with a full pack of meds - a couple of anitbiotics, washes, ointments... Five hundred dollars later...

This was the 4th of JULY weekend. Monday the 5th I was happy to know that Gracie's vet, Doctor Patterson, was open for business.
I Love Doctor Patterson. Every pet owner should have a Vet like Dr. Patterson. He was straight up with me: damned if you do, damned if you don't. regarding treatment of Gracie's ears... I' m good with that!
Gracie bordered on being totally spoiled when the ER Doc put her on a bland diet (chicken and rice/ ground beef and rice). I was boilin' chicken and steamin' rice for my delicate darling for several days.,

Do You Like Strawberries?

Tonite I'm listening to a mix of classical music that my daughter put together for me as a gift a few years back. We finished a dinner of a fresh garden salad with poached chicken and blue cheese dressing. We topped it off with some chocholate sponge cake and strawberries and fudge. YUM MY.
Gracie's in the atrium barking - either at the frog or at the absence of frog.
Ruca's sprawled out on my bedroom floor.
Mozart plays on my new Bose speaker system.
I sip a stemware half full of DiSorrano over ice..nice after dinner cocktail.
Y'know...Life Is Good....

Monday, July 5, 2010

Lessons Learned In Pig Planning

Trash pick up in my neighborhood is on Wednesday. We probably should have had better planning when it came to disposing of the pig carcass. "Mom, do you have any heavy duty trash bags?" Sarah called from alongside the carved pig. I guess the trash bags I bought weren't heavy duty enough, but, that's all I had. Sarah and her friend disposed of the carcass and the party continued.

A few hours later, when my brother and sister in law were leaving, they pointed out a box sticking out of a trash bag in the side yard. "The dogs are getting into that, whatever it is..." my sister in law said. I went over and picked up the bag and put it along side the garage, out of dog's reach. It was swarmed with black flies, so I figured it was the pig remains.

The next morning, while waiting for the plumber to come and fix the broken hose bib, I took another trash bag and placed it over the top of the box, trying to contain the contents (it was gross) and tied it off and put it in the garage next to the (full) trash bin.

When I pulled in the garage after work on Monday, I stopped short of pulling all the way in: The gross box/bag of hog carcass was oozing fluid on to the garage floor, and said fluid was crawling with maggots. I donned industrial strength rubber gloves, grabbed a plastic table cloth cover that was waiting for the washing machine, and a large roll of duct tape. I purposely squinted to blurr my vision so the image of squirming maggots wouldn't be permanently imbedded in my mind's eye. I spread out the plastic sheet of table cloth cover and maneuvered the oozing blob of carcass onto the plastic cover and taped it closed. I poured bleach on the garage floor and swept the bleached maggots out to the driveway. I had 24 hours before I could put it out to the curb for trash pick up. What a stinky, nauseating mess.

A couple of hours later, Sarah was in the garage carrying on about how GROSS it was and THEY'RE EATING THROUGH THE PLASTIC! and other such exclamations. I grabbed a tarp and a quilted drop cloth that we used to cover the kegs before tapping them. We wrapped the maggot-fare in the tarp and then in the quilted cloth. We secured it with a mile of duct tape, placed it in the bed of Kev's truck, and he and Sarah took it to......... well, a commercial dumpster a short distance away. I'm sure someone would have thought they were dumping a dead body...heaven help anyone who chose to dumpster dive to investigate. It truly makes me wonder how crime scene investigators can stand the stench of decomp or the sight of maggots and smell of rotting flesh.

Lessons learned regarding the disposition of the pig carcass - better planning indeed should there be another pig roast!

Sunday, July 4, 2010

morning after

I opened my eyes and looked at the clock: 9:54 AM. My head felt cloudy and my mouth felt like cotton. The kitchen had all the signs of a marathon party the day/night before. I took a glass from the cupboard and pressed it against the dispenser in the door of the refrigerator. Nothing happened. "What's the matter with this thing, now?" I wondered. The power was on, so that wasn't it...I opened the fridge and took out a bottle of seltzer and poured a tall glass. The effervescence will cut the cotton. "Did you see the note I left?" Sarah called as she came from her bedroom. " I had to shut the water off.." It seems that as the party was winding down, and most of the kids were gone, 'someone' pulled the hose bib out of the wall outside and snapped off the copper pipe. Water gushed like a rainstorm. At least they had the good sense to turn off the water, I thought. I slowly began picking up the party leftovers... empty champagne bottles, half-filled solo cups of beer (from beer pong), plates with rib bones and barbecue sauce, watermellon rinds, cupcake papers. It sure was one heckuva party, I must admit. Cleaning up, though, can only go so far without water. What was I going to do, I wondered.
After about an hour of loading trash cans and emptying cups of stale beer and half filled soda cans, I pulled out the phone book and called a plumber. It was a sunday, and it's going to kill me, but I don't know how to do it myself, and I'm not about to burden any of my family or friends. It took the plumber longer to quote a price and write up an invoice than it did to replace the hose bib. It was probably a five dollar part that took him maybe 10 minutes to put in at the cost of $165.00. (ouch).

Saturday, July 3, 2010


June is a celebratory month in this household. Both daughters were born in June, 2 years apart from each other, so we celebrate birthdays! When they were young girls, we'd frequently have joint parties and they were always big blowouts with pinatas, cakes candies and lots of kids. Some were held at parks, some at pools but all were quite the celebration.
This June, the girls are 21 and 23 years old. The pinata was replaced with a 66 lb pig, and the koolaid cooler became a keg of yuengling.

The party went from 2 P to 2 A.... gee...sure hope we didn't tick off the neighbors!

Monday, June 21, 2010

Frog Lives!!!

Photos shot in the Atrium
Saturday, June 19
Frog Lives!!

Friday, June 18, 2010

The Frog in the Atrium

During the process of buying my house, the closing had originally been set for October 20, 2009. Because of the hoops that Wells Fargo wanted me to jump through, the closing was delayed until November 4. The seller had previously planned on being here for the October 20 date (he’s from Ohio) and maintained his plans. He signed the closing papers and handed over to me the garage door opener. (I resisted meeting him at the house – but did so most reluctantly… he handed over the garage door opener as if it were the Olympic torch…). There was a period of two weeks in which I had access to the house via the garage, but didn’t yet have title or the front door keys.

One afternoon I went by my soon to be new house and pulled in to the garage. Right now I don’t remember why I went there – probably just anxious to make it a done deal. The garage opens up into an atrium, which then opens up into the master suite.

See blog entry, Anticipation October 24, 2009 :

I stopped by my new house two days ago to bring in the trash cans, and so I popped my head inside the atrium. It had just rained so it was good to see how wet it gets and where. I noticed a small tree frog in the atrium, and pondered how he could have gotten inside. I thought perhaps he was born there. Then I looked up and noticed a rip in one of the screens in the skylights. Darn. That'll need to be fixed pronto, as I plan on opening the doors and windows to the fresh air outside.

That was my first encounter with the frog in the atrium.

I moved in, and one evening Sarah asked me whether I’d partied in the atrium, yet. So we wiped off the chairs and enjoyed cosmopolitans as the moon shone through the skylights. Peeking around from behind a planter was a small tree frog. I chuckled to myself as I saw him staring back, but Sarah wasn’t laughing – she really really dislikes frogs.

One evening I sat in the atrium by myself, with the gentle spray of a light rain dusting my face. It felt magical. Then I heard the Splat! As the frog lept by and landed squarely on the glass door. He looked a little larger….

One Saturday afternoon I was cleaning the sliding glass doors between the bedroom/bathroom/atrium. I opened the one door completely wide, and as I did, up in the track of the door I saw Frog inching back out of sight….(he thought I didn’t see him, but I did…!)

Enter Gracie……
Gracie is quite unlike the labs I have had over the years – without a doubt! – but especially in her fierce hunting. Of course I add to the frenzy by making a game of it: I’ll open the door to the outside as I most excitedly exclaim: “Git-m!!” She would charge out the door on a true hunt – chasing birds, squirrels, lizards, and…..frogs.
Gracie discovered the frog in the atrium one evening, as did her buddy, Ruca. The two dogs made themselves crazy whining, howling and barking at the small tree frog that managed to stay out of range. I nudged the frog so he was forced to lunge from his perch. (Git’m!). I decided enough was enough; Frog attempted to hide under one of the patio chairs, so, I took the chair – frog and all – out to the front yard and left him there. That should be the end of it.

But NOooo. Darned if Frog either found his way back, or one of his buddies decided to take over, because there was again (or still), a frog in the atrium.

Earlier this week, Gracie was sniffing around outside the atrium. She knew Frog was there. With the heat, now, the doors are closed, so I would hear Gracie’s tap-tap-tap wanting me to open the door so she could hunt. I did – and I closed the glass doors to the air conditioned area, but left the door open to the garage. Gracie and Ruca were dancing in the room trying to get Frog. I laughed and walked out to the living room. Shortly after, I heard the loud barking of two dogs. I went in to the atrium, and there was Frog on the ledge, out of reach. Being a brat, I grabbed a broom and nudged him til he jumped to the floor. Gracie was on him instantly. Now I really believe that Gracie has the taste of blood. Ruca, a lab, much like my other labs in years past, has a “soft mouth” and can retrieve and hold objects without biting down. Not Gracie. I think she had Frog pinned between the planks. Ruca stood there looking at her with apparent disbelief. I walked away, not wanting to be witness to the slaughter.

That was three days ago, and I have not seen Frog, or signs of his ‘remains.’ Hard to say whether Gracie ate him, or he managed to escape to a safe place and recuperate. Each evening I pause to survey the room looking for any evidence of the Frog in the Atrium.