Wednesday, November 30, 2011

Biped's Road Trip

My folks own a couple of acres up in Eagle River, which is about as far north as you can go without becoming Canadian.  Deep in the woods, far past civilization, there is a small natural clearing with nothing on it but a gravel pad and a small shed.  No electricity, no running water, no outhouse, nothing.  I half grew up in Eagle River, but I'd never driven there by myself.  This summer, I did.

This was the day of my urban safari, so I began the drive frustrated and late--after work, I'd rather desperately needed a shower.  I was already sweaty, and I wasn't going to have access to a shower for three days.  There's getting back to nature, and then there's ugh-what's-that-smell-sorry-it's-me.

Anyway, the drive.  You can't find my parents' property on any GPS system, or GoogleMaps, or anything like that.  This place is beyond such fancy devices.  My mom gave me directions, and they finished like this:

"Deerskin is the last paved road.  From there, turn left onto Valeria, which is unpaved.  Where Valeria veers left, take the track going right."

That's right, my friends:  "the track."  Two wheel ruts cutting through the pitch black forest, with no road name, and no fire number to give to the people at 911 when you call about the serial killer that is sure to be taking refuge somewhere in the near vicinity.  Of course, there is no cell phone service there, anyway.  Or even landlines.  We're talking end of the road, people.  I almost hit two porcupines on the way there, that's how deep in the boonies I was.  (Think about it:  When was the last time you saw a porcupine outside the zoo?  That's because porcupines think you're a jerk.)

Three times I had to stop my car in the middle of the road, back up, and check the half-hidden street signs I'd missed--and that was while there were still street signs.  Didn't end up really mattering, since there wasn't exactly any other traffic.  Or people within a one hundred mile radius.  About halfway there, Prada puked neatly into my purse.

Good times.

(Truth:  Eagle River is absolutely worth it.  Even though my dad invariably growls like a bear whenever I'm trying to pee.)

(Blogger won't let me insert pictures right now, so image a really good-looking sweetheart of a shepherd mix here, would you?  Actual pic to follow.)

See?  I didn't forget about you, Bob!

He's so friendly, Bob would have made friends with the porcupines.  And he totally would have braved it out with me when Dad was being such a bear.

Tuesday, November 29, 2011

We Survived! (And No One Mentioned the Word "Shriveled")

The Squeeze and I generally don't spend holidays together.  My family is all in Wisconsin; his is in St. Louis.  Because of this, most of my extended family had never met The Squeeze.  Lord help him, he came up north with me this Thanksgiving.

I was a bit nervous about what my family might say to him.  My extended family--the older generation, anyway--is of the opinion that women should marry young.  I graduated from college magna cum laude, but without my MRS degree, so no good.

My Sister the Lawyer got married some years ago--four, or something.  I don't remember.  At her bridal showers, the Great-Aunt Evelyns (there are at least three of them) cornered me for an intervention.  They were concerned.  You see, I was already twenty-three, and if I didn't get married and have babies soon, my parts might shrivel up and fall out.
Anway, because of this, I was a bit nervous.  Other than my grandma holding onto The Squeeze's hand as if she were asking him to save me from drowning in the Titanic, it went swimmingly.  (Sorry, I like puns.  I am very ashamed.)

Of course, ever since The Incident of the Evelyns, I've been prepared:

"Oh, I'm waiting for either Johnny Depp or the Mother Ship--whichever comes last."

(True:  Patrick Stewart would be a more-than-acceptable alternate.  I once saw him play Antony in Antony and Cleopatra, and he sweated on me.  It was awesome.)

I would totally save your kids from the Titanic.  Especially if there were kibble in their pockets.  I'm totally a family man.  I probably deserve a treat just for saying that.
 Like Bob, I like OPK's:  Other People's Kids.  Bob, however, would probably like to adopt yours, which is why Bob is a better bet for you than I am.

Monday, November 28, 2011

Biped's Urban Safari

Late in August, my car needed work, and circumstances demanded that the work be done the next day before a mini-roadtrip.  No problem:  there is a Walmart on my way to work where you don't need an appointment, and they can handle the basics of car repair.  They opened at seven.  I needed to be as work by eight.  It was only two and a half miles from Walmart to work, and I frequently walk farther with Prada.

I usually take Bottom Street to Right Street to Middle Street to work.  I left Walmart and turned left, hoping to take Middle Street all the way there.  There was a huge stinkin' cemetary of FML in the way.  Streets abruptly stopped, then picked up again on the other side of the cemetary.  I ended up walking all the way to Top Street, and turning by the Forest Preserve.  There was no sidewalk along side the Forest Preserve.  I bushwhacked through the knee-high brush.  Mind you, it was already 87 degrees and humid.

Finally fighting my way out of the jungle/Forest Preserve, I paused a moment to catch a breath.  I was nowhere near a bus stop, but a bus heading my direction stopped out of pity because I was so bedraggled.  I paid my fare.  I should have gotten off in two stops, but the heat had gone to my head, so I just kept going.  Suddenly, we were passing over Right Street, where I needed to be.  I got off at the next stop, but pedestrians weren't allowed back over the overpass, and you really just couldn't get there from here. 

Green is the route I should have taken.  Purple is the path I took walking, with teal showing my ill-fated bus trip.
 I finally made it to work--sweaty, angry, and tired--half an hour late.  My phone immediately rings.  It's my boss.

"I just saw you walk past my office window.  Don't you normally drive?"

"Yes.  Yes, as a matter of fact, I do."

"Car trouble?"

"You have no idea."

"I brought bagels!"

(True:  I usually have a pretty decent sense of direction, if you can believe it.  Also:  instead of walking 2.5 miles, my route took me nearly 4.  My map is not to scale.)

Dude, Biped.  You should have brought me.  I'd have led you courageously through the jungle and told you where to find Timmy in the well.

Bob probably would have handled the whole thing better than I did.  He loves walks and rolling in the grass--I could have just had him roll a path through the Forest Preserve for me.  And kids and adults alike love him, so he could have distracted everyone while I steamed, and tried not to have a heat stroke.

Friday, November 25, 2011

Hops in the Right Direction: A Public Service Holiday Announcement

It's Black Friday:  the official start to the holiday season.  And that means there are going to be a number of cute cuddly buddies with bows around their necks waiting under the tree.

Please, please, if you are going to get a pet this holiday season (no matter how many legs they do or do not have), choose carefully.  Most dogs in shelters are not strays, but owner give-ups.  A dog or cat is not an accessory.  It's not a toy or a hobby.  By getting a pet, you are committing to their lifetime.  Animals don't understand that you might divorce them.

Of course, I highly recommend adopting from a shelter.  There are so many wonderful pets that need homes.  If you adopt an adult dog, you may end up with a buddy who is already potty-trained, already knows basic obedience.  With an adult, you have a better idea of what you're going to get, as opposed to a puppy, whose personality is still developing.

If you have your heart set on that sweet puppy smell, please don't perpetuate the tragedy of puppy mills.  If you don't want to adopt, fine--but if you can't meet a puppy's parents, that is a good indication something may be wrong.  They parents may have health or behavioural problems, or they may be from puppy mills.  The mother of that cute bundle of fur?  She might have lived her entire life in a cage, her legs deformed from lack of proper excercise.  A lot of puppy mill breeders lose their teeth prematurely because of an unhealthy diet.  The female are prone to mammary problems, including cancer, because they are bred too often and too young.  Do your homework.  Find a reputable breeder.  There is an animal out there who will thank you for it and love you forever.

This week's posts are brought to you by Bob, a handsome shepherd mix who wants nothing more than a new family for Christmas.

Wednesday, November 23, 2011

Everybody Should Have One - Or Seven

In case you've lost your calendar or are just resurfacing from a several week-long WoW marathon, tomorrow is Thanksgiving.  That makes this my semi-obligatory "what I'm thankful for" post, so I'm just going to pause my attempts to be amusing for a bit.

Most women have two men in their lives:  their dad, and their squeeze.  (Happy birthday, Dad!)  I've got those, and they are pretty much the shit.  I am lucky enough to have a third man in my life as well:  my best friend, Seven.  I said once before I'd explain why I call him that.  So, without further ado:

Everbody Should Have One - Or Seven

I call this a big pile o' awesome.

The story is called "Snow White and the Seven Dwarves."  It's notably not called "Snow White's Evil Step-Mother Tries to Kill Her A Lot" or "Prince Charming Mauls Snow White in Her Sleep, the Perv."  Nope, it's the dwarves who snag a title role.

Now, I'm not knocking Prince Charming (much).  He does save her at the end, which is sort of important.  And, they live happily ever after, which is nothing to sneer at.*  However, the Seven Dwarves save her an awful lot first.  They are the ones who cut off her killing underwear and make her stop combing her hair with poison.  They have undoubtedly had Snow White snot all over them while she's crying over some sappy movie.  They're friends, sure--but more than that, they are family.

So you don't really think Snow White really rode off with Prince Charming into the sunset and dumped the dwarves, do you?


And that's why I call my best friend Seven.**

*Yes, I know I started that sentence with a concuntion and ended it with a preposition.  I have a fancy degree saying I know exactly what rules I'm breaking.
**I make no claims to being princessy, myself.  Prissy would probably be as close as I'm getting.

(True:  I have a very deep resentment towards the movie When Harry Met Sally.)

Have some Noodles with your turkey!

Monday, November 21, 2011

Great Power = Great Tomfoolery

I like to write.  I also like to think I'm not half-bad at it.  (I did spend a rather absurd amount at college learning how to do it properly, after all.)  Like other literary geeks, I believe words are powerful.  Pen is mightier than the sword and all that.

Confession:  My mighty pen-sword has been abused.  I solemnly swear it's been up to no good.

A co-worker of mine was getting unpleasant, repeated emails on her work account.  She wanted not only to block the emails, but also to let the sender know they had been blocked.  Our email service simply sends messages from blocked addresses to the junk folder--no nasty auto-reply sent.  To that end, I wrote:

Error 441.705.698

Your recent message was denied.  The intended recipient has deactivated their account or blocked this sender.  If you believe you have received this message in error, please contact your Internet Service Provider (ISP).

With great power comes great responsibility.  With a small amount of power comes a gratifying ability to mess with people's heads.

I just hope the person didn't actually contact their poor ISP.

On a totally unrelated note:  I came across this via The Bloggess":

This party is out of control, yo.

Happy fall!

(True:  I do not exaggerate my literary geekiness.  I own close to 2,000 books.  When I move, my friends don't exactly rush to offer help.)

'Sup, dog?

Today's post is brought to you by Noodles, who is pretty darn cool even if he doesn't have a sweet pimped-out ride like the dog above.

Friday, November 18, 2011

All Days Should End with Monsters

Yesterday was one of those days.

You know the kind.  Your work email won't send attachments.  Your TV dinner lunch isn't cooked all the way through.  Your dog projectile vomits everywhere.

Then The Squeeze tells me he has Tivo'd a marathon of really terrible monster movies for me.  One of them is called DinoShark. 

This, my friends, is what love looks like.

(True:  Anaconda used to be my favorite movie.  Then I saw Mega Shark vs. Giant Octopus, and it changed my life for the awesome.)

The Bachelor

Today's post is brought to you by Noodles, who is looking for a partner who enjoys long walks on the street and romantic kibbles for two.

Thursday, November 17, 2011

Hops in the Right Direction: Discomfort and Pain Management

It's kind of a dramatic change.  Just looking at your dog, for a while all you will probably see is the leg that isn't there, the way she walks, her hesitancy as she gets used to her new body.  Your biggest concern is, of course, is my dog comfortable?  Is she in pain?  What does the future hold in store?

First, take a deep breath.  That leg was removed so your dog wouldn't be in pain.  There are steps you can take to ease your mind and keep your dog pain-free, however.

Phantom Limb Pain:  Let's face it.  This is terrifying.  What if your dog is crying in pain for a leg that isn't there?  Sometimes your dog may lick the floor or her body where her leg would have been.  Happily, phantom pain is really rare with dogs.  If she does experience it, it's almost unheard of for the sensations to last longer than a couple of months. 

She may not want you to touch the area.  If she's aggressively protective of the area, leave it alone.  As I said, the pain doesn't last.  If she is okay with you touching her there, you can help her relax.  Massage the remaining leg opposite the amputation site.  Then, and I know this is going to feel silly, massage the missing leg.  Your dog, like people, has a mental map in her head of her body:  Where it is, what space it occupies, what it feels and does.  It can take some time to remap her body--her brain may be telling her a leg is there even if it is gone.  Massaging can help the leg that is now only in her brain to relax and get some relief.

Again, don't panic!  It's uncommon for a dog to experience any phantom pain at all.  Mostly, they are just glad that the source of the pain is gone.  (Prada had no pain, though she was ticklish for a week or two.  She still loves to have that shoulder massaged, though.)

Muscle Adjustment:  She's walking differently.  Her gait is different; her weight distribution has changed.  Her muscles, as well as her body, need to adjust to these changes.  Again, I recommend massage.  There are some helpful videos online that will give you tips.  They are a good place to start, but I really recommend getting in touch with an animal massage therapist and asking for a one-on-one lesson.  (There are more of these people than you think.)  It might be a bit of an investment, though probably not as much as you think, but it's still less expensive than regularly bringing your dog to get a professional massage, and of course touch helps strengthen your bond with your dog so much.  Regular massages will ease the sore muscles and relieve some of the tension that is now on the remaining joints, so this can have really long-term benefits.

The remaining leg will start to center eventually.  That's a very good thing; it will make it easier for her to retain her balance. 

Arthritis:  It's probably in her future.  Then again, there's a good chance it's in yours too, but somehow that doesn't seem as worrisome.  Weight management is really key here.  Her joints are already slightly more stressed than on the average dog--do you really want her to have to haul around extra pounds, too?  Feed her high-quality kibble (the cheap stuff is like eating McDonald's every day, every meal.  Tasty, but not exactly good for you.), and give her plenty of exercise to keep those joints supple.

Become Your Vet's Best Friend:  Obviously, you will want to keep your vet in the loop.  Keep an open dialogue with him.  Bounce ideas off him.  Ask for help when you need it.  Your vet can prescribe mild painkillers if that's necessary, or a supplement for joint health, or he can recommend a great food line.  Maybe he knows of a good massage therapist in the area. 

Whatever is in store for you and your dog, there are resources to help you deal.  I've said it before, and I'll probably say it again:  you have a lot more dealing to do than your dog does.  Your dog doesn't even notice she's different.
What do you mean, I only have three legs?

Today's post it brought to you by Noodles, a spunky schnauzer/poodle fella in Yorkville, Illinois, who enjoys picking on his foster family's rottweiler.  He enjoys long walks down the street and would really like a tasty dinner for two.

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

Steve Jobs Tried to Save My Soul (But Then He Died).

Internal Me:  How did you get pizza sauce into your earbuds?

Me Me:  Dunno.  I had a Hot Pocket for lunch.  Caliente Pocket!  And, now I want a sandwich with a frilly toothpick.  Also, Pepto Bismol.  Once I drank Pepto right before going to bed, and my tongue was black when I woke up.  Remember?  That was weird.

Internal Me:  I can't believe I'm stuck with you forever.

(True:  I got my iPod used.  The first owner had not removed their songs.  I'm nosy, so of course I scrolled through the playlist.  All spiritual healing books and old-school hymns.  Perhaps someone Up There was trying to tell me something?  Regardless, that's how I came to own the GodPod.)

Monday, November 14, 2011

A Way with Words and Teeth

Since I'm on an injury-related roll, I now present episode three of "Holy Crap, How Did You Manage That?"

My Sister the Lawyer is a smart, savvy, cool lady.  She's also very tough, so I can only hope she won't beat me up for this post.

Let's flash back a few years, shall we?  It's a hot afternoon; I've just gotten home from the last day of second grade.  My Sister (who will one day be a lawyer) challenges me to a bike race.  First one to the creek (in Wisconsin, pronounced "crick") wins.

Oh, she is so on.

I'm losing.  She's over a full bike-length ahead of me, and we're coming up on the creek now.  I put all my all into one last, desperate attempt to catch up.  I'm gaining!  I'm right behind her!  I might actually win for once!

The front tire of my bike slams into the back tire of hers.  She bumps gently forward and keeps riding.  My bike does a cartwheel with me still on it.  I eat asphalt.  Literally.  My bike lands on my back, the wheels spinning a couple of times before the bike falls over.

I grapple to my feet.  It hurts.  It's astounding, really, how much it hurts.  My Sister (who will one day be a lawyer) is freaking out.  Apparently, I am a mess.  My hands, elbows, and knees are torn ragged and laced with gravel.  My mouth hurts.  I taste blood.  There is a big hole where my front tooth should be.

Picture sort of related.

Oh!  I learned this in school!  I need to find my tooth and put it in a glass of milk so the dentist can put it back in.  Unfortunately, all the pieces of my tooth are virtually indistinguishable from the bits of gravel on the road.  Uh oh.  I need to get home.  My dad is there, somewhere.  I have to bike back home.  That sucks.  While I wait in the driveway, still on my bike, My Sister (who is not holding it together very well for someone who will one day be a lawyer) finds Dad.

Things are blurry now.  I'm in the car with a towel, trying not to bleed too much on the seat.  Dad is plastering my knees and elbows with giant band-aids in several layers so I won't bleed through.  This surprised me.  I bleed all the time, so what? And we stopped at the drugstore for band-aids when my mouth hurts so much?  I'm in the dentist's chair.  He comments to his assistant on how I managed to cover most of my remaining teeth in tar; my teeth are totally black.  He holds up a needle.  There is a sharp pinch in the gum above my gaping tooth-socket.

Fade to black.

I'm sorry, this isn't the funny part.  This is just the back story to the funny part, which didn't involve me at all.  We're getting to that, I swear.

My Sister had remained at home during my toothy adventure in town, ostensibly to wait for my mom to get home and explain where Dad and I were.

When Mom did arrive, it was to find her elder daughter standing in the driveway next to two bikes, crying her eyes out.  Before Mom even had a chance to ask what had happened, My Sister (now a well-spoken lawyer) wailed:

"Dana fell off her bike and broke all her teeth off, and Dad took her to town to get dentures!"

(True:  My mouth is now insured.  Like J-Lo's butt.)

Friday, November 11, 2011

As It Turns Out, When I Didn't Think I Had Cancer, I Didn't Have Cancer.

As long as I'm on the circus-freaky accidents" kick...

One night several years ago, I was hurrying downstairs in my dorm, and I slipped.  In an attempt to keep from hurtling to my death, I clutched at the iron banister.  I succeeded in not dying, but I scraped my arm badly and landed hard on my back.  A dorm mate at the bottom of the stairs saw the whole thing.  Worried, she asked if I was all right.

I busted out laughing.  It hurt so badly, it was funny.  This reaction did mot make my dorm mate less worried.

Fast forward a couple of days.  I had some lovely bruises:  Horizontal marks from the stair treads laddered up my back, and the entire underside of my arm looked like something from a zombie movie.  Worse, there were lumps.  Not from the swelling (though there was plenty of that, too), but something that felt like small marbles nestled under the bruises.

This is how my arm felt.  It looked a little worse, actually.

Now, I'm injury-prone, but muscle-marbles seemed a bit unusual.  I made an appointment with the campus doctor.  The fact that he'd never met me before is the only way I can excuse the conversation that followed.

"Don't worry; it's not cancer."

Oh, thank god!  Because, you know, I've heard cancer of the bruise is particularly aggressive, and that it can easily spread to hangnails and eye boogers.

I gently explained that I wasn't concerned about cancer, I was concerned about having marbles embedded in my muscles.

"Well, in severe deep-tissue bruising, calcium deposits can form.  Usually, they just pass through your urinary tract."

I looked at him, and I believe he finally understood that I wasn't an idiot.

"I do not want to pee out marbles."

"Fingers crossed," he said.

Fingers crossed?!

I crossed my fingers hard.  It was one of the more successful "non-traditional" treatments I've tried.  Let's just say I wasn't left with anything to put in a Christmas ornament.

(True:  The bruise on my arm looked almost exactly like the whale fail error from Twitter, except most definitely not smiling.  And without the birds.)

Thursday, November 10, 2011

Hops in the Right Direction: Adaptation

Warning:  this post meanders.  There is a point, though, I swear.  Sort of.

Your dog isn't the only one who needs to adapt to an amputation--you do, too.  Following are some examples of what I've encountered with Prada that I didn't really expect, but probably should have.

Prada lost her left front leg just three weeks before I adopted her.  Dogs generally heel on their owner's left side.  However, that left Prada's vulnerable side facing out, which made her uncomfortable.  Once I finally figured out why she was always crowding my feet, the solution was simple:  teach her to heel on the other side.  Now her vulnerable side is protected by my body, and she is confident meeting other people and dogs on the street.

Another issue that shouldn't have surprised me was sitting. It's not a very natural position for her.  Even when she's scratching, she is half way to lying down.  Yet, it is most people's first instinct to tell a dog to sit, so I wanted her to know the command.  It took some trial and error, but I I eventually figured out how to coax her into a sit.  By sitting on the floor with one leg outstretched, knee about six inches from the floor, I could lure her under my knee with a high-value treat.  Then, I raised the treat straight up while she was still "under the bridge."  This kept her butt on the floor.  After a lot of practice, I was able to remove my leg and sit cross-legged, and step-by-step, progress to giving her the command while standing.  The whole process took several months.  (Actually, sometimes she still lays down instead of sitting.  We need more practice.)

Now, I'm going to back up a bit.  Remember I mentioned Prada almost lies down to scratch?  Well, she can't do that and reach all the way to her ears.  I have to scratch her ears for her.  It's pretty hilarious, really; she makes this little moaning sound, she likes it so much.

The point of all this rambling is this:  Pay attention to your dog.  She will let you know what she needs from you.  Just don't forget she is still a dog.  Most tripods are on their feet only hours after surgery.  She hasn't suddenly lost the desire or ability to run around like a crazy thing, smell disgusting thigs, or play/slobber all over you.  She isn't as breakable as you think she is.

Wednesday, November 9, 2011

The Strangest Day

Scene:  Home from college for the summer, I visit my best friend; who I will call Seven.  (Story to follow.)  We are in his backyard with several other friends, all of us jumping about on Seven's giant trampoline.

Me:  Ow!  Ow!  Seven, you stepped on me!

Seven:  Oh, whoops.

Me:  Everybody, stop jumping for a minute; I need to get off the trampoline.

Seven:  Are you okay?

Me:  I'll be fine.  I just need to walk it off.

(I walk a few steps.)

Me:  Oh my god.  Half my foot just shifted to the left.  I think I just broke my foot.

Seven:  Well, that's not good.

Seven's Mom (from the back door):  Dana?  You have a phone call.

Me:  On your home phone?  Is it my parents?

Seven's Mom:  No.  (She hands me the phone.)

Me (on the phone):  Hello?

Voice:  Hey.  It's your ex-boyfriend you haven't heard from in over a year, who treated you like crap to the point of being run from town by your friends and family.  Even your teachers helped.  How are you?

Me:  Why are you calling me?  Why are you calling me here?!  Never mind, I just broke my foot.  I need to go to the emergency room now.

Author's Note:  Voice didn't really say all that.  He just said something like, "Uh, hey, it's, like, me.  How are you?"  But that doesn't have the same impact.  Too many commas.

(True:  I once went out with a guy who was a priest, and then a soldier, and then an alcoholic.  One of those that go to college and party for the next seven years.  I'm short.  He was four inches shorter.  I have a colorful dating history.)

Monday, November 7, 2011

A Girl After My Own Heart

When you own a fluffy dog that you frequently carry, people automatically assume it's a Paris Hilton-type dog.  I suppose it's natural to figure such a delicate-looking animal will be just as delicate (read:  spoiled) as it appears to be.

Then again, it also makes sense that a dog and its owner are going to have personalities that are in some ways comparable.

So, I go to obedience class (Prada is the one enrolled, not me), toss down the flowery rug, and those people I haven't met before ooh and ahh at how gosh-durn cute she is.

Most don't notice that I break the treats into pinhead-sized pieces.  Prada swallows things whole, and one emergency trip to the vet for blocked intestines was enough, thank you.

They do, however, notice when she suddenly stops what she is doing, looks at me for a long moment, and then lets out a huge belch.

That's my girl.

(True:  Dogs fart when they are relaxed.  My Sister the Lawyer has two very, very mellow boxers.)

Friday, November 4, 2011

Attack of the Mutant Zombie Spider

I was getting into my car to grab some lunch a few weeks ago when I noticed it.  Under the rainguard on the driver's side window was the corpse of a huge spider.

You thought I was exaggerating, didn't you?  Admit it.  The sucker's genetically engineered to be effing scary.

I hate spiders.  A lot.  I can deal with mice and centipedes and the scuzzy hair that gets caught in drain traps, but I cannot do spiders.  I got bit as a kid and it got infected and I didn't have a fingerprint for years.  And once in college, a spider purposely fell off the ceiling into my bed and I had to sleep in The Squeeze's room for days.

If my life were a horror movie, spiders are the monsters out to get me in creative, gruesome says.

Needless to say, I hoped the one on the window would blow away.  And eventually, it did, just as I was arriving back at work with my tasty food.

As I walked past my car toward the office...

...The Mutant Zombie Spider attacked me!  It jumped out from the ledge of the trunk in a blatant attempt to simultaneously eat my face and lay eggs in my eyeball!  Fortunately, my Xena-like battlecry startled it back into its hiding place.  I ran into work and promptly spent the next half hour hyperventilating.

Because the backseats of my car fold down and open into the trunk, that spider could have been anywhere.  It could have been hiding under the visor, waiting to go for my eyes again.  It could have been lurking under the gas pedal, plotting its trek up my pants.  It might have been spinning a web in which it could have baby Mutant Zombie Spiders.

I very nearly took a cab home.

The Squeeze worked late that night; there was no white knight to save my day.  When I arrived home, I grabbed a good-size stick and cautiously popped the trunk.  Mutant Zombie Spider did not expect my ambush.

I flung it to the ground.  It scuttled into a pile of leaves, which I proceeded to beat with the stick and jump and stomp on, yelling all the while.

The neighbors are afraid of me.

(True: This is accurate.)

Thursday, November 3, 2011

Hops in the Right Direction: Slip'n'slide-itis

Alrighty, I promise to continue with my adventures in a ridiculous life tomorrow, as scheduled.  In the meantime, let me introduce you to my new Thursday topic:  Hops in the Right Direction. 

Having a tripod is nothing but a pleasure, but all dogs come with issues, and tripods face some unique ones.  There isn't a lot of information out there for owners with three-legged dogs (though this is a great resource).

Today, I wanted to talk about something all tripods face:  slip'n'slide-itis.  Most dogs don't lose a limb when they are puppies, but rather when they are physically mature.*  Therefore, the sense of balance they have had their entire life is disrupted.  As an tri-owner, there are some steps we can take to help rebuild their confidence.

Slippery floors:  Imagine you've just had your leg cut off at the knee, and you leave the hospital to discover that ice has covered everything and the only way to get to your car is to ice skate.  That's what slippery floors are like for tripods.  Not cool. 

If you have carpet in your house, no worries.  If not, I strongly recommend investing in some area rugs, runners, the works--make sure they don't slip across the floor easily.  I also picked up a small rug with rubber backing and added an elastic loop, so I can roll it up and take it with me when I might be going to a floor-unfriendly place with Prada, like the vet's.  (Kitchen or bathroom rugs work well for this and don't weigh a ton.)

You can try to help your dog get over this fear of slippery floors by edging treats ever farther away from the edge of the rug--go very, very slowly.  Don't feel too bad if you have no, or limited, success with this.  Some tripods just don't ever like ice skating.

Bathtime can be miserable for both of you if you're not prepared.  Line the tub with a strip of textured shelf liner, and keep the water very shallow, and you're good to go.

The single most important thing you can give your dog is patience.  Having a limb amputated is not nearly the disability for dogs that it would be to humans, and they will adapt.  Take it slow, don't be afraid to see the humor, and that adaptation will be good for both of you.

*Bone cancer is the most common reason for amputation, which mostly affects adult dogs.

Wednesday, November 2, 2011

Jamaican Me Feel Stupid

Once upon a time, long before The Squeeze, I dated Jamaican Guy.  He was from Jamaica.  He was smart, funny, interesting, and good-looking.  He also had an accent so thick he had to repeat himself ad infinitum before I actually understood.

My Sister the Lawyer, upon Facebook stalking him for photos as we discussed the issue, said:

"That's a problem?"

(True:  I love tropical beach vacations.  So if you find yourself with an extra ticket to some exotic locale, I give you permission to invite me.)