A Little Slower Now
The Z man ate all his food yesterday but didn't really get up to do it.
He threw up twice (have we ever seen him throw up? Not without
veterinary intervention, I don't think.) and peed inside. The pee I
don't mind but the barf? That's not so good.
He was panting quite a bit before getting his evening meds. They did
help him stop, so that's something. But I do suspect the end is upon
We've never eased an old dog into the sunset like this. Ellie went with
quite a bang. Even though she was the first dog we lost, it was so so
obvious that we couldn't fix her or even manage her pain. When she got
the sedative before the shot at the end, she fell right asleep, snoring
like crazy. She hadn't slept in 2 days, the pain had kept her up.
With her, we waited a day too long. I'll always have some guilt about
Alice's passing was tumultuous and heartbreaking. I still can't talk
about that day out loud and I can barely talk about her without crying.
But her passing? That was sort of on her own terms, fraught with the
same kind of fanfare that framed most of her life with us.
She was my firstborn. Having a child has not changed my feelings about
And Gus, his body failed him so catastrophically that we had no choice
but to let him go. It was so so clear.
The Z man, as always, is his own wacky story. I'm listening closely to
him, waiting for him to tell me he's ready. I see glimpses of it, but
then he'll rise, head outside to pee or eat plain kibble. So we're
still just listening, but maybe a little closer now.
It's been almost a month since that long night at the vet. I'm glad
he's had this time, resting in his bed, eating the fancy food and doing
well on the new medications. I know that 'well' is a relative term for
a dog his age and with his failing body but I'll take it. For now.
What I've Learned Since Becoming A Parent
One important thing is that 2 piece, short and t-shirt pj's for babies
and little kids are fucking expensive. Like $20+ for a set. People,
we're talking about shorts. And a t-shirt. That should not cost $20.
Once I figured this great injustice out, it put me on the prowl. I send
my mom to her the gap to get whatever's in stock at the end of the
season, I stalk our local store and buy up everything the mark down,
then I hope that size fits next summer. If you catch it right, you can
get $22 pj's for $5 in late summer/early fall.
This weekend I went a little crazy at our local Carters outlet stores.
Pj's were $5.99 + 20% off and I had a coupon for another 20% off so I
scored a ton of sets for next summer for less than $4 each. Go me!
Local readers, please note that I have cleared out all the cute 3T pj's
from milpitas and mtn view's stores. Just so you're not shocked at that
space on the rack.
I also got Val's dress for our wedding. It's super cute and for that, I
paid full price. The clerk felt the need to point it's full-pricedness
out to me since everything else in my giant stack was on super hugeass
Someone said I shouldn't tell Val we only buy things on sale. I say
screw that. She should know that it's really rare that we pay full
price for anything besides food. She should not be surprised that I
bust out a coupon whenver possible. Maybe someday she'll wonder why her
new clothes come out of a storage tub instead of a shopping bag and I'll
just tell it like it is: because Mommy's cheap.
Your Weekend Zeus Report
It was an up and down weekend. Saturday night I had to carry him around
and he started that heartbreaking panting again. Was it time to put him
We gave him an extra trama.dol (aka a narcotic) and that helped him calm
down and feel better enough to get up and try to venture into our room.
He also got pissy and tried to bite me when I trimmed some of his
nails. So that was up.
I carried him into his bed at one point but he kept trying to get up. I
was like, dude, I just put you to bed! So stay there already! But no,
he was thirsty, made his way to the water bowl and drank for-ever. Then
he went to bed.
Today he was down. Laid on the kitchen floor most of the day, in the
same spot. Was today the day?
Again, the evening meds perked him up and he wolfed down his kibble
(yes, he's still eating kibble like he used to, albeit with a bit less
coordination. I stand over him, periodically scooping what's sprayed
onto the floor back into his bowl) then peed three different times
inside the house. But he's eating and walking around so we clean up the
pee and do what we can for him.
He's taking his pills well when I wrap them in little pieces of buns or
I just pieced together that he perks up almost instantly after he takes
meta.cam, this liquid nsaid drug that we only give him at night. The
label says once a day but I think I'll try twice and see what that gets
The ups are smaller these days but the downs are smaller too. I guess
when your quality scale is small that's bound to happen. But he's
comfortable most of the time and he's still eating so we're not giving
up just yet.
As she says hey! Don't take a picture!
Getting Off My AssI had this random burst of energy today and decided to contact the new graduate adviser in my Master's program about finishing my damn degree. I sent an email, now I'm just waiting to hear back. I have no idea what inspired this but I refused to let the urge pass, I had to act on it.
It is so likely that I'll never use this degree but, and this is a big but (not a big butt, that is something different) now I can show Val what it means to finish what you start. And I can remind myself of that same lesson.
I have 2 chapters to write and a study to do. It's the doing the study part that's held me back, for some reason the thought of doing anything with statistics horrifies me. But I'm lucky, my buddy C has been finishing her Master's and she's always doing studies so I've asked her to help me with that part. She said yes!
Wish me luck. It would be really nice to get this lingering, nagging feeling out of my head and a degree into my hands.
Last night, we were over at a friend's house and Val was playing
nicely. Out of nowhere, she got sooo hot from an instant-onset fever.
We took her home right away and loaded her up with Tylen.ol, that cooled
her off pretty well.
She stayed home from school today, continual Tylen.ol helped keep her
fever down. The weird thing is, she acted like she feels fine so I
dunno what's going on.
I do think she's grown a bit, maybe she's cracked 26 lbs! Hopefully
she'll be cooler tomorrow.
Zeus. That guy knows how to do the same thing over and over, like
defying death, staring it square in the face and panting in its general
direction. He's back to eating kibble, he's mostly taking his drugs,
mostly doing his business outdoors save a poop this morning.
His days shape up like this: find a comfy place to sleep. Sleep. Wake
up to eat, eat most of what he's offered, stumble out the doggie door to
pee just over the threshold, come back in, drink water, sleep. Repeat.
I realized we haven't heard him bark in months. He's not up for begging
anymore (this, I actually find is a gift, no more hot stinky breath on
my right calf) but, and there's always a but with him, he's still eating
and wagging his tail.
I know now for certain that walking out of the vet's office early that
Monday morning was the right thing. Telling that nurse who stood
poised, trimmers in one hand, euthanasia solution in the other, 'I can't
do this,' that was wise.
Because our Z? He's not dead yet. He still feels like taking a walk.
It's Like The Good Old Days
I'm loitering, waiting to go to my 11pm hockey game. This is my 4th day
in a row of playing and ya know, it's been nice to be on the ice this
I can't seem to buy a win but hey, sometimes that's how it goes.
I Guess I Didn't Finish Telling You About My Trip
What with Zeus deciding not to die and all that, I got distracted from
telling you more. In short, we had a really nice time. There was a lot
of driving all over town but it's worth it when Val is getting loved on
at each end. She had so damn much fun with her uncles, their lady
friends, her grandparents and great-grandparents.
Val is one lucky girl to have all this love.
She and I got along well. I don't think she had even 1 timeout the
whole time. I didn't get sick of her questions or demands, having
attentive family around helped quite a bit, even if nobody volunteers to
take her to the bathroom.
What I hadn't counted on was how much guidance I needed to give my
parents in caring for her. If I didn't spell it out (take her to the
bathroom as soon as she wakes up, for example) it didn't get done. I
should add that I tend to be kinda bossy with them in situations like
this so I accept that part of this is my fault.
Just the same, that left pretty much all the work in caring for Val to
me. That meant giving her a bath by myself, helping her get dressed,
making her food, reminding her to pick up, keeping a close eye on her
when my parents attention drifted to other things, reminding my parents
about things that you can't do around/with Val (hold her by her arms,
lest her elbow/shoulder pop out again, steal food from her plate)
putting her to bed, carrying a sleeping Val and all her accessories in
from the car myself etc etc etc.
By the last full day of the trip, I was so exhausted I told Andrea to
get a sitter during her hockey game (like we've got sitters to spare
just laying around) so I could chill out. My legs hurt like I'd been
playing a tournament and my brain, it was fried.
I managed to get great sleep that night and by the time I got ready to
come home I felt a lot better. We had a great last day, visiting with
Grandma K and Great-Grandparents B, then heading to the airport with my
Val did awesome on the plane flights, thanks in part to the lollipops
Uncle R and his amazing lady friend helped her get. She pretty much ate
lollipops the whole way home.
As we started to land in San Jose, she started to poop out. I couldn't
let her sleep because there was no way to get her off the plane if she
couldn't walk. I didn't have enough hands to carry her carseat, her, my
big bag o tricks and her backpack down the stairs. When a video came on
about China, showing panda bears and birds, I just kept talking to her
to keep her awake. I'm sure I annoyed the shit out of the people around
us but so what, I needed an awake child in order to get off the plane.
In the end, she stayed awake and the pilot was kind enough to carry Val
off the plane. We strolled through the airport and when Val saw Andrea,
she ran right up to her and screamed MOMMY!!!
It's a trip I could do again, thanks to Val being such a great
traveller. What I thought would be the worst parts - the travel itself
and all the hassles of airports and airplanes - was really no big deal.
If I did it again, the only thing I'd do different is stay a day longer
and be more pro-active about telling my parents how I need them to
help. It was definitely worth it and now Val has frequent flyer miles
of her own.
We scheduled our wedding! It's gonna be super small, at SF City Hall in
September. We're working now to arrange some kind of not fancypants
reception for sometime in October. What I'm learning is that weddings
For all you who have been through one (or more) already, I'm guessing
that you know this already. But for me, little old me who honestly
thought I would never ever get to have one (at least not a legal one),
well, this is all new. And spendy.
We've looked at about a bazillion web pages of halls and restaurants and
hotels within 20 miles of our house and really, nothing looks right. A
couple look nice enough but they make you use their fancypants caterers
to the tune of way more money than we're inclined to spend.
Maybe you three can help us here. How did you find the place to have
your reception? How much of a pain in the ass was it? What would you
have done differently?
Feel free to write me a book here, after all bytes are free.
You Must Read ThisOkay, fine, I get it, you all are busy doing things with your life but seriously, if you can spare some time, and even if you can't, I have a book for you to read. Three Cups Of Tea is this totally inspiring story of a regular guy who was climbing a mountain. He stumbled onto a poor village in Pakistan after he almost died coming down. The villagers took him in and inspired him to build a school there and educate all of the children, not just the boys. What he's gone through to build that school, and now, many many others is just astounding.
It'll make you feel a bit small but man, this man's mission is a huge inspiration.
I'll Be Damned
If Zeus didn't start to eat Rainie's kibble this morning, then eat a
whole serving of plain old dog food. I'm thinking the man wants that
sweet 16 party after all.
The Power Of The Arches
Since Zeus has had a waning interest in food, I went for broke tonight
and got him what I consider the final food: McDonald's. He ate 2
cheeseburgers in a row like he was his old self and I even got him to
take all his meds.
At this point, it's the small victories and knowing that he's
comfortable. I'll take it.
Still Plugging Along
No real news on the Zeus front. He's eating a bit, but I'm having to
get more creative about what he eats. Pretty much just leftovers now.
Which is fine, except that I'm having a hell of a time getting him to
take his pills.
Any suggestions? Anyone?
Val apparently had a great time playing with L at AmFam's house last
week because all day today she kept asking to go back and play strollers
again. She also asked to go bck to O-hi-oh.
I suppose that in parenting there will always be things that drive me a
bit batty. Early on, it's the lack of sleep and the breastfeeding. For
months now, it's been the constant 'why?' And now, she's in a new phase
where she asks for something and no matter what we say, she asks 1500
more times in a row. It makes for a day at home with her to be a bit
Don't get me wrong. One day I'll look back on this and miss it. I know
that, but it's still frustrating now.
I went back to the shi-shi baby store and bought more fancypants traning
pants for Val to wear at night. I said oh hey, they seem to shrink and
the woman goes oh yeah, they shrink.
Maybe you could have mentioned that when she and I were discussing how
my child is on the border between sizes? No? Thanks.
I know, not a very uplifting post for y'all. I think I'm still kind of
tired from our trip.
Today's Hospice Diet
The man only wanted Cap'n Crunch. So that's what he had. Didn't get
him to take his pain pill, tho. I do think the end is near but I would
not put it past him to surprise us again.
Where He Stands
Zeus is spending a lot of time sleeping now. But the new drugs seem to
help, at least to the point where he'll stand up and walk around some.
The eating? That's not going so well. He'll eat wet dog food, but only
the nastiest of the nasty, Al.po that Gus also enjoyed at the end.
Pills only work in turkey now, but I wanted to make damn sure he got
them in and they had a chance to work so I'm working around his
reluctance to eat.
I understand that he's really on hospice care now but just the same,
he's not quite ready to go yet.
Brighter In the Morning
When I got Z home last night, I mixed his new meds into wet food so they
could get started working. This morning, he was sleeping across the
doorway to our room. He'd taken a huge dump inside but oh well. For
the first time in a while, he wasn't panting from pain and he got up,
slowly, yes, so slowly, and stood on all 4 legs to eat his breakfast.
I understand all too well that we're not working towards a cure for old
age here. But I'm glad as hell that I had all that time sitting with
him in the vet's office because just before they came in with the needle
that was to end his life, he kissed me on the nose.
Had I gone through with putting him down last night, after that kiss, I
would have wondered way too much if we'd been premature. No, you don't
want to be too late to go and put them down but early? That's worse.
Even if we go back in a couple of days and end up putting him down then,
at least he's had every chance to enjoy the wet food and tasty snacks
that we'll be providing him.
Spoke Too Soon
They came in with the needle and I could not not not do it.
We're coming home to try some new meds for 2 days.
That's how old Zeus was. We had him for 7.5 of those, the longest we've
ever had a dog. He's been a good guy and a very loving pest. We shall
miss him for sure.
I'm at the vet now, waiting with him. The vet's office is busy for this
time of night. That means other animals with more urgent needs:
animals who can be saved.
Z hasn't eaten all day, or rather he scoffed at his usual kibble and
only ate the wet food we offered. But he did not rise as he ate, no, he
lay in his bed struggling to get to the food.
Tonight, we got Val ready for bed and my bed, it was so close, I am so
so tired already but I went to check on Z and it was clear. So clear.
He's ready to go. He hurts too much and we can't fix it anymore. No
matter the temperature, he can't stop panting, he's trying to pant away
the pain. It won't budge and neither will his legs.
I'm here alone, Val needed to go to bed and nobody is around to watch
her at this time of night.
So me and Z, we're waiting for the doc to come in. It's been a half
hour now. Please come in now before I stop being so strong.
On our way home!
After a fun-filled 5 days in Ohio, Val and I are on our way home. She
has been fantastic, behaved so well. I think she's had maybe one time
out the whole time. Maybe not even that. Go Val!
She had a potty accident this morning when my parents heard her get up.
I guess I should have told them, in no uncertain terms, to take her to
the bathroom right away. Five levels of sigh.
In case you were wondering the fancypants Imse Vimse training pants were
absorbent enough that we didn't have to wash the sheets. Not great but
Must go, we're about to take off! Later peeps!
I May Suck
As I lay here not sleeping and admitting to myself once and for all that
I really shouldn't eat meatloaf, I realized that I don't think Val ate
She did, however, meet some new friends from inside the computer, have a
good nap with me, visit AmFam and crew (omg seriously, L and M are so
freaking cute. Seriously.) then head up to my grandparents' house,
where she was absolutely the center of attention.
Teenaged uncles and their energy-filled girlfriends are a gift from
God. Uncle R and his lady friend L played with her so hard that she
sacked out in the car and has been asleep ever since.
It's hit a point where, if nothing else, it would be more convenient if
my parents and birthmom would meet. Right now it feels like having
warring in-laws so we have to carefully divide our time between the
families. Not that they're actually warring, no no, it's just that
after all this time, they've never met. And that's getting old because
it might be nice if they could pick us up here or attend some of the
July 4th festivities together.
I don't know the Proper Thing here, there's no manual for this. But in
the meantime, Val is absolutely showered in love, attention and gifts
while she's here. I only wish I'd thought to pack some healthy snacks
for her today.
Tomorrow we're going to have July 4th till it hurts. The (my snooty
hometown) parade, a visit with some relatives here, then off to W-town,
where my uncle lives, to take in their parade. Back here for
(hopefully) a nap, dinner with my folks, then fireworks back in W-town.
Should be a fun, but seriously tiring day.
We head home on Saturday. I'm feeling rather glad that we'll have the
extra day to rest before going back to work on Monday.
This trip has been great for me and Val. I'm getting a chance to spend
some Quality Time with her and man, she's just funnier and more amazing
and more smarter than I seem to have time to appreciate at home when
we're surrounded by our daily lives. Despite being thrown into a ton of
different situations, she's reacting like a pro. I am, as always, so
impressed with her.
We Made It
Yesterday was a long day but Val did great. Followed directions well,
stayed with me when I needed her to and behaved well on the flights.
Some poor toddler across the way from us cried the entire time we flew
but not Val.
We were a slow-moving duo, that's for sure. But we got here in one
-me forgetting about the charming staircases used to board planes at our
local airport. They're fine when you're alone but imagine carrying a
carseat and trying to wrangle a toddler who doesn't have a lot of
experience with stairs. I finally figured out to hold her hand for 3
steps, tell her to wait, then go up a couple steps and start over.
Toward the top the flight attendant took the seat from me and placed it
on our seat. This was a huge thing, so kind.
-the flight attendant on our second flight wouldn't let me have a belt
extender for the car seat. Nor would her show/explain the prohibitive
regulation on that. A quick go.ogle search from my plane seat revealed
that he's likely full of shit but in the end I had to deal with not
having one because he wouldn't budge and the woman working with him just
kept saying how he's been around for 20 years. Like I care. He's still
wrong and now I'm stuck.
I twisted the short part of the seatbelt to make a tighter install while
leaving the buckle accessible. I dunno what else would have worked.
I just hate it when people do small things that seem arbitrary and mean,
things that in the end make your life harder for no reason.
-the half-drunk woman in front of me had the nerve to complain to the
screaming kid's parents about his screaming. Because, ya know, I'm sure
they liked it too.
-Val went right for all the ceramic shit on my mom's glass dining room
table, then looked really hurt when I was like 'NOOOOO!'
Mom had meant to ask about that. I refrained from saying 'she's 2.
Removing breakable objects is a given.'
-Val saw fireflies for the first time.
-she ate more yogurt raisins than I would've imagine possible. From the
last raisin eaten until we got off the plane I was hoping like mad that
she wouldn't suddenly need to poo.
-she had 0 potty accidents yesterday. 0. I'm so freaking proud.
-she said goodnight to my parents dog about 5 times. I think she and
Maggie are gonna be good buds.
-i can't sleep.