Friday, May 29, 2009

Watch out critters! It be huntin' season!

I hate spring. All those stupid animals having their stupid little babies right in my stupid backyard. STUPID!

Ok, that came out all wrong. Let me start again. I actually love Spring. The beautiful weather, blossoming creation...yes even the new little families starting all around us. Baby ducks, baby birds, baby bunnies. Could they BE any cuter? I just wish the "circle of life" didn't stress me out so badly!

If I see one more ducky couple trying to cross a busy intersection or highway, I'm gonna die. I just can't handle it. They're in their own little worlds, lollygaggin' across the street, like they don't even sense the impending doom of cars flying past them at 70mph. And Heaven forbid they have a little family of ducklings following them. I'd be apt to stop traffic to see them to safety. (My coworker Anne actually did just that, escorting 6 little momma-less ducklings out of the middle of the road. She's my hero.)

And then you have the "local wildlife:" the animals that insist on settling down in my backyard. Couldn't they at least live in my front yard? Haven't they heard tale of the "Bunny Massacre of 2008?" Don't they know what my dogs are capable of? The little monsters. Well, Cubby and Wrigley are monsters. (MoJo isn't interested in anything that's not on the other side of a fence or window. Put it right in front of him and it's like it disappears.)

Last night we had our first traumatic incident of Spring '09. We had just gotten home from Bible study. I was changing into my jammies and Jeremy had just let the dogs outside. I heard him calmly say, "Wrigley, leave it." but it quickly escalated into, "Wrigley...WRIGLEY! LEAVE IT! WRIGLEY! NO! WRIIIIGGGLLLEY!" So I came running down the stairs and into the yard to see what was going on. I found Jeremy playing defense on behalf of a small robin. Wrigley and Cubby were lunging and pouncing, trying to get past Jeremy's legs. (MoJo was in the back corner of the yard, having it out with his nemesis, the evil and menacing "Dog-On-Other-Side-Of-Large-Wooden-Wall.") I ran out and somehow caught hold of Wrigley's collar, dragging him back into the house. Then I went back for Cubby, whom I scared so badly he piddled all the way across the patio. He's SO not used to getting in trouble. :( And I tossed MoJo in the house too, for good measure.

With the hunters safely corralled, Jeremy told me what had happened. Apparently, this young robin was flying low, across the yard. Wrigley saw it, jumped up and caught it - IN THE AIR! As if it were a tennis ball and he was a Labrador! Holy moley!!! Who the heck does he think he is, anyway? He had the whole bird in his mouth, but then, not really knowing what to do with it, he dropped it. That's when Cubby joined in the excitement as the poor thing flopped around on the ground.

Well my animal-savior instinct kicked in and I immediately went to pick it up to see if it was hurt. (Like I'd even be able to tell, right?) It proceeded to flap it's way right out of my hands. Pretty sure neither of its wings were broken, but it was obviously still a little stunned from the horror it had just endured. So after MUCH discussion about what should be done (my sister and I used to rescue baby birds in distress and try to nurse them back to my initial thought was to take it "under my wing." Get it? Get it? *haha*) I decided it would probably be fine on it's own...but not in my backyard. I wanted to give it a chance to regain its equilibrium in a safer area, so I took it to the front of our house and released it in the flowerbed at the furthest end of our yard. I have to say, I did enjoy holding the little guy. He was so soft and sweet. *awww*

Both Jeremy and I checked the area this morning and our little feathered friend was nowhere to be seen. So either it WAS fine and flew off into the sunset, or someone else's monster pet (likely a cat) got it. But at least I know it wasn't one of MY monsters that finished it off. I'm hoping for the nicer scenario, of course.

I'm a little worried, though, because this incident seems to have awakened something in Wrigley. Now he's much more interested in going outside and sniffing around. *sigh* So now you know why MoJo is my favorite the Spring. ;)

Wednesday, May 27, 2009

Our wet-n-wild weekend

It rained. Well, more like thunderstormed. As we were driving into New Braunfels on Saturday, the skies were sunny and beautiful. But the closer we got, the darker the skies were. And by the time we parked, it was downright pouring. No biggie, we thought, we're gonna get wet anyway. But all the rides were closed because of the lightning. *haha* So we ended up walking around in the rain for almost 2 hours. Once the thunderstorm passed the rides did open back up, but by then it was a gusty 60 degrees. The upside is that everyone left so the lines were really short! ;) 

The next day's forecast didn't look much better, but we ended up having PLENTY of sunshine to get our fill of Schlitterbahn. In fact, had we spent anymore time there I'd shudder to think of what my condition would be. As is, I have bruises under both of my arms from tubing, my feet are so sore I can STILL hardly walk on them barefoot and my pinky and wrist may never by the same after I fell out of my tube in a shallow section of a ride and slammed my hand against the bottom. Ouch. No sunburn, though! Still has pale as a sheet of paper. :)

So to sum up IS really huge! It started as a small park sandwiched between the little town of New Braunfels and the winding Comal River. They've expanded all over the place (there's a tram that can take you from one park to the other - that's how far apart the editions are.) But it's also the most poorly laid out amusement park I've ever been to. There was an entire section of slides that we almost didn't even find! We wandered down this random staircase and there they were! (They ended up being our favorites, so I'm glad we found them!) The maps were absolutely no help, either.  For one thing they're not very accurate. And they had them posted all over the park but never labeled with "YOU ARE HERE" markers, making them pretty much useless. So this is probably the reason my feet hurt so bad, because we just had to walk around till we figured out where we were. *haha*

One more complaint, then I swear I'll say something positive. :) One of the major draws of this park are the famous "Blaster" slides, which are marketed as "water coasters." I can't tell you how many times I've seen these slides on the Travel Channel on their thrill ride or amusement park specials. *in my best announcer voice* "They've harnessed the technology of using water jets to propel rafts uphill, defying the gravity that has limited to waterslides to downhill movement for so long." So that sounds really cool, right? I mean, I love me a good rollercoaster! What could be more fun than a water coaster? Um, lot's of things. In fact, after waiting in line for over 45 minutes, I called "Dragon's Revenge" the most disappointing part of the trip. It's a double ride, meaning we rode in one of those joint tubes, Jeremy was in front and I was in back. It was a regular tube where your booty is exposed. Remember those water jets that propel the tubes uphill? Well, when we went over them, it felt like someone was shooting my backside with a power washer. NOT comfortable. The jets practically knocked Jeremy's swim shorts all the way off. With every hill I was yelling, "OW! OW! OW! OW! OW!" And, beyond that, the designers seemed to be so excited about their UPHILL technology they neglected to have very many DOWNHILL portions. Which, isn't that the whole point of going uphill? To come back down? That's what I thought. But we just kept going up, then down just a little, then back up again. Not very exciting. 

Enough complaining. We really DID have a great time!! The park is beautifully green and lush, probably because of its position along the river. (I didn't invest in a water proof camera so I don't have any pictures to share, but I did find a couple on the internet to show you.

This shows part of the park that runs along the river. The sidewalk on the left leads up to some slides.

Jeremy and I both agreed that our favorite rides were the "tube chutes," where you sit in a tube and float your way through twisting white water, down little drops and spills. Like this:
This picture shows a particularly gentle portion of a ride, but there were parts that got really rough. (Jeremy fell out of his tube multiple times. *haha*) They were so fun...and each of these rides lasted long enough to make standing in line seem worthwhile (unlike a regular slide where you're done in a matter of seconds.) 

We also engaged in one of our absolute favorite pastimes - people watching. Is anything more fun than people watching at a WATERPARK? ;) It was particularly entertaining playing "tattoo spotters." Boy did we see some doozies!  One dude had a spinal cord tattooed all the way down his back. That was certainly unique.

And I have to say, walking around in my swimsuit in public had the exact opposite effect on my self esteem than I would have thought. It really did me good to see ALL KINDS of bodies. I think I get so caught up in what I see on TV and in magazines that I really start to believe that my body is hideously misshaped and unusual.  That I'm in the minority because I'm carrying extra weight. But seeing other women stripped down and bare, it was apparent to me that NO ONE is perfect, including the skinny minnies that probably look flawless under clothes.

Friday, May 22, 2009

Let it begin!

I am so ready for a weekend away with my hubby!! There's nothing I love more than going places and experiencing new things with my best buddy. Whom, by the way, I've been married to for FIVE YEARS! Yup, today is our fifth anniversary. It's a little hard to wrap my mind around. We've actually been together for 9 years in total when you count in the time we were dating and engaged. While I don't think our lives are exactly what I pictured when I walked down the aisle, I really couldn't be happier. I feel blessed every day to be happy and content. :)

Today our vet clinic is open but Dr. Olson is out of the office. So that means I'm here to answer the phones and sell an occasional bag of dog food or box of flea prevention. I'm not gonna lie, it's pretty boring. But it helps to know that the second I get home we're loading up the car and heading to Texas!! Our plan is to drive as far as we can get tonight, crash at a hotel somewhere, then get up tomorrow morning and drive the rest of the way, going straight to the waterpark. It's like a 9-hour drive in total so I'm glad we're going to break it up a bit.

I'm pretty psyched about Schlitterbahn. No, I'm not excited about wearing my swimsuit, although it's fairly cute...on the hanger. ;) But I've really just decided to have a good time and not be self-conscious. People aren't going to be looking at me, they're going to be too busy having fun slippin' and slidin'. So phooey on caring about that. It did occur to me, however, that I haven't been swimming in almost 10 years. Yikes. Will I even remember how?!? The last time I swam was the summer Jeremy and I met. My parents took us all (me, my sis + both our boyfriends, now husbands) to Florida and we swam both in the hotel pool and in the ocean. I can't believe that's really the last time I've been in the water. How pathetic to let my poor body image keep me from doing something that I enjoy so much. Well I'm putting that on hold this weekend and I'm gonna live it up, baby!!

Looks like a fun place. It's absolutely HUGE!! We're spending both Saturday and Sunday there in hopes to ride everything and take it all in. They have all kinds of slides and wave pools and river-thingies to float in. Plus they have water-coasters where you actually go up and down in your tube. I guess water jets you up each little hill? I'm looking forward to trying those, since I've seen them on the Travel Channel a few times. :)

Then on Monday when we drive home, of COURSE we have to make a pit-stop at IKEA! Hello, it's right on the way! It's a no-brainer. I want a new lamp for the living know, to replace one of the few objects we have left that isn't from IKEA. *haha* (We've got the one that is presently sitting in our living room at Wal-Mart when we got married. It was way cheap and it's getting kinda rickety.)

Happy Memorial weekend, everyone! Hope you all get to enjoy it!

Saturday, May 16, 2009

Reason #568...

...that I have the best husband in the world. Hands-down. I know I've said it before, but it's true. Here is my most recent proof:

1. Thursday night as he was packing for his trip, he gave me a card that said (basically) "I'm so lucky to have a wife that will let me do things like this, but even luckier to have a wife I would rather do all those things with." Awww. 

2. Friday morning when I went to my car to leave for work, I found a card from him on my seat.  This one told me to make sure the boys (aka: Moj, Wrigs & Cubs) gave me lot's of lovin' so I don't forget what it's like to adored while he is gone. Double awwww.

3. This morning when talking to Jeremy on the phone, he hinted that I should look in the drawer next to my bed. And what did I find? Another card - this one featured Hoops & Yoyo, whom I LOVE. (They are ridiculously silly and noisy - just like ME!)

I can only assume that I might have another card waiting for me tomorrow. I mean, I don't know that for sure, but reviewing the facts it seems promising. :) HE'S SO SWEET!!! I love that he put the advance thought into it

One thing is for sure, though, I couldn't handle being married to a man that travels a lot. I was so worried last night until I heard he had landed safely. His flight was scheduled to leave around 6pm, right around the same time some really severe weather was coming in the area. I looked at the radar and I'll be darned if it didn't look like a red carpet of tornadoes and thunderstorms had been laid out directly between here and Chicago. Admittedly, I got a bit panicky. In the end, his flight was delayed till about 9:30pm. Poor guy, stuck in the boring ol' Wichita airport for over 4 hours. But he got there safely and even drove to his hotel without falling asleep (my other worry *haha*).  And today he went to a Cubs game in some beautiful weather (although he DID get sunburned since his wife wasn't there to put sunblock on him *sigh*) and is really enjoying himself.

I had a good day as well. I finally bit the bullet and went swimsuit shopping. I figured that since our waterpark trip is next weekend, I should probably see what I could find. Though I won't be modeling in a catalog anytime soon, I did find a tankini combination that didn't make me feel like a total cow. I've got a ridiculously nasty bruise on my thigh right now, which glows so nicely against my paper white skin. Ugh. I hope it goes away. (Now if I could just get myself to remember that my desk at work is LOW and stop trying to stand up before scooting my chair out, I'd stop getting these lovely bruises all the time.) I also found a pair of jeans and some capris. Hallelujah! They weren't a smaller size or anything exciting like that, but I really needed them. 

After my shopping spree, I went and got my piggies polished. Jeremy got me a gift certificate as a Congratulations for my new job and I just hadn't gotten around to using it. Again, with our trip next weekend, I thought it was a good time to have pretty feet. I even splurged and had the lady add the extra little flower with a rhinestone in the center! They are SO cute!! (I would take a picture to show you, but Jeremy took the camera with him. *phooey*) I'm not sure how long the rhinestone will actually stay on but it sure made my day! *haha*

Thursday, May 14, 2009


My husband is abandoning me. *sniff* But just for the weekend. He is going to Chicago! There's some Bears expo/convention thing that he's always wanted to go to, where he'll get to meet coaches and players and do other Bears stuff...and now he gets to go. He's also going to a Cubs game while he's there.

I have mixed feelings about this. Part of me is really sad that he's going to go experience Chicago for the first time without me. (It's hard for me to let him experience ANYTHING without me. *haha* Let alone a city that I've always wanted to visit!) Won't it be lonely? Won't he be looking around thinking "Wow, this would be a lot more fun if I had someone to share it with." (Yes, I am egotistical enough to think I'd make the trip better by being there. *hehe* Come on, he LOVES me!! *grin*) I'm also nervous about him going all by himself. I know he's a responsible, trustworthy guy, but I've got that weird feeling that he'd be a lot safer if I was there to look out for him. What if he gets lost? What if he wrecks his rental car? What if he decides never to come back? Ok, that last one is ridiculous, I know that. But it definitely COULDN'T HAPPEN if I was there!! ;)

But I'm also really excited for him to get to go. He's a lifetime fan of both the Bears and the Cubs but has never gotten to go to Chicago. And it just wasn't possible for me to go right now, what with a brand new job and all. Plus, I don't really want to spend my first time in Chicago inside a Bears expo, whatever that even is. I want to experience other parts of the maybe we can plan a trip there sometime when both of us can go. I WOULD be more interested in going to a Bears game rather than the Cubs, too.

It'll be good for him to have some vacation from everything. His adventurous heart longs for more excitement than Wichita has to offer, I'm afraid, so I don't begrudge him some traveling. He's been so sweet and understanding of my desire (and need) to be near my family. I know he never thought we'd be in this city this long. Coming from a po'dunk town in Ohio, I know he thought of Wichita as a springboard to bigger and better places. But alas, he went and fell in love with li'l ol' hometown, stuck-in-the-prairie me. And now he's stuck. *haha* So if he needs to stretch his wings from time to time (I know he's wanting to go on a backpacking trip later this Summer) then I simply can't deny him that.

PLUS, it gives me great leverage for things that I want. Like, hmmm, I dunno, tickets to WICKED!!! Just found out that it's coming to town in October! The actual Broadway company tour!! I saw a billboard on my way home earlier this week and LITERALLY screamed "Oh my gosh!" to absolutely no one right there in my car. Tickets don't go on sale till August and the prices are REDONKULOUS. But we're going. I've decided it. I wanted to see it so bad when we were in New York City but it was completely sold out. I have the soundtrack memorized - shouldn't I be allowed to finally know the story and see the show that goes with the music? I think so.

And Jeremy didn't say no. How did I get so lucky to have such a great guy? We were having game night with another couple and the subject came up of the show and the tickets and all that. Jeremy said, "Ask me if there's any possible way that I wouldn't take my wife to that?" Meaning he'll do whatever it takes for me to go. Awwww.... :) So even though I said his trip to Chicago is leverage, I don't even need to use it. He's the bestest hubby in the whole wide, wide world. :) I really am blessed to have him. I never have to fight or struggle to make sure I'm treated fairly or taken care of. He's always a step ahead, thinking of me. I think we're pretty good with the whole "give and take" part of our relationship. I know a lot of women that have to go behind their husband's back to get things they want, or they won't let him do the things he wants to do. I'm so glad it's not that way with Jeremy and I. He comes home from golfing and thanks me for "letting" him go because he hears that the other guys are getting crap from their wives about it. But I never do, because I know he's not going to golf us onto a poor farm, or neglect me because of his hobbies. Maybe it's just this easy because we don't have any kids to balance yet.

But I like it. :)

Sunday, May 10, 2009

Guts and Glory

Working at a Veterinary clinic is a dream job...but not last week. I haven't witnessed or dealt with the passing of many animals in the time I've been there, but last week we had FOUR die in 2 days. It was pretty hard.

One was an elderly Golden Retriever that could barely walk anymore (that reminded me of Shadow on "Homeward Bound." Talk about a heart tugger.) Another was a cat we were hospitalizing that died overnight. Then there was an Australian Shepherd that needed surgery...and once Dr. Olson got inside he found the situation to be much more grave than expected. All were sad. But the one that was most difficult for me was the final one on Friday.

An older woman and her granddaughter brought in a Pit Bull mix that had the most swollen stomach I'd ever seen. Had it not been a male dog, I would have immediately assumed it was carrying a major litter of pups. They clearly didn't have a lot of money (this was the dog's first visit to a vet, I think) but they were still concerned for the dog's well-being. The woman said she'd been giving him herbs and other natural remedies but nothing was working.

Well, nothing was working because the dog, Kobe, was in the final stages with heartworms. He was suffering from congestive heart failure, which was apparently linked to the retaining of fluid in the abdomen, causing the huge swollen stomach. Dr. Olson let me look at Kobe's blood under the microscope and you could actually see the tiny, wiggling worms in his blood. Talk about freaky.

Treating heartworm disease is incredibly expensive. Besides that, Kobe was so far gone that the chances of curing him were fairly slim. His breathing was labored and you could tell he was miserable. You should have seen those sad eyes. :( So the decision was made to put the dog down. It made me so sad...these people had never heard about heartworm preventative medication. Something that could be so easily avoided by giving him a little $4 pill had cost them their pet. :(

After they left, I was up at my desk doing my normal duties when a woman came in to refill a prescription. I had a question about it, so I walked down the hall to the lab where Dr. Olson and Anne had gone. I'd seen them take Kobe's body back on a stretcher, but I didn't know that they were going to dissect him to find the heartworms. So when I turned the corner, I found them with Kobe on the table, split wide open, guts and blood everywhere. It looked like a prop from a horror movie set. (Sidenote: I'm an extremely queasy person. Generally I can't discuss or see surgical procedures without feeling ill. I actually fainted in the hospital after my sister's scoliosis surgery when I was little. I just don't fair well with that kind of thing!) So I backed way-the-heck up making yelping noises. Dr. Olson goes, "HEEELLLLOOOO!!!! Didn't expect to see that, huh?" I laughed and said, "Um, nooo...." then asked them my question while still hiding around the corner. *haha*

Later though, Anne hollered for me to come look at the heartworms. I didn't want to, but figured I should for the educational purpose. (Afterall, I get asked a lot of questions like "are these pills really that important?" all the time.) I asked that they cover up everything ELSE, though, which they kindly did. The adult heartworms looked like twine or string...extremely long and skinny. There were SO many of them and they were still alive! Again, very freaky.

While I'm still squeamish and nervous about the guts, gore and death that I'm occasionally surrounded by, I'm striving to become a little tougher skinned. I think it's pretty neat that Dr. Olson finds it important to educate me about what's going on, so it challenges me to move past my tendency to freak out. Ideally I'd like to work in this field (if not THIS JOB) for a long time, so the more I know the better I'll be at it.

On Saturday a dog came in with terrible bladder stones. Dr. Olson asked me if I wanted to feel them. Part of me didn't, but the other part of me was curious, so I did. I put my hand on the dog's belly and could literally FEEL them! Like one of those squeazy-stress balls filled with sand! The poor thing, no wonder it had been pottying in the house. Talk about painful! Then for the surgery last week I was asked to "warm up some blood," that would be used for a transfusion. So I was handed a bag of blood (like you'd see hanging from an IV tree) and ran it under warm water for about 15 minutes. That's a big step for me. *haha* I joked when I was finished for them to holler at me when they wanted me to "scrub in." :)

UPDATED: Since several of you commented about the heartworm problem, I thought I'd mention this: Heartworm is the number one killer of dogs. Some people think if their dog doesn't go outside or isn't around other dogs that it's safe, but the truth is that heartworms are passed from mosquitoes. And as we all know, you don't even have to go outside to get bitten by one of those. All it takes is one bite and the heartworm larva can be passed into your dog's (or cat's) blood stream. It IS treatable (unless it's left unchecked like poor Kobe's) but it's very expensive and not always successful. You're much better off investing in a preventative. There are many different kinds, some are even combined with preventatives for other parasites (like fleas, ticks or a variety of intestinal worms). Obviously your vet can give you recommendations on this better than I can, but my point is that it heartworm preventative IS important and can be relatively inexpensive, especially in contrast to the treatment. As always, thanks for reading my blog and leaving comments! Makes my li'l ol' day to see someone's reading this stuff. *haha*