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Carine’s Blog

  • pass the coffee

    Posted on Thursday, March 16, 2017

    What I’ve come to love about living in New River is that once you find your “crew“, it’s wonderful.

    It did take me a while to find friends who could understand that I can’t always do physically what I want to do-because neither could they!  And then I found friends who can enjoy my need to walk in the air with my dogs, go to water aerobics and commiserate over a good strong cup (or more) of coffee.

    There’s also the adjustment that some of them are not here all the time.  Snow birds abound, some of them about ready to leave for their other homes in “cooler” temps during the Spring and Summer.

    It’s funny, this has been a very atypical year for us here in Arizona-lots of rain and wind during this winter, cooler temps than normal too and then WHAM!  The heat arrived-two days before the unheard of March start date for water aerobics!

    Our coach said she usually waits for the first week of April, but so many of us were requesting to start (even though the temps were very cool) back up that she took a chance.  Well, we were all there Tuesday morning, right on time and it was a beautiful 85 at 10 a.m..

    It felt wonderful to get into the water, see all the other devotees and enjoy the morning.   

    I had planned on going to the other two left in the month, but thankfully my spine doctor pushed through an emergency epidural so this Tuesday I will be in a surgical suite with Adam and the younger grands waiting at a nearby Starbucks (having a special, special while I’m being stuck with some nice large needles) and coming back to get me home later.

    The kindly doctor also shot my hips full of steroids so I could start feeling less gimpy and more able to enjoy our upcoming cruise for our 36th anniversary!

    This morning though, it was all about enjoying some time with my two friends, drinking coffee, discussing our aches and pains and what we’ll be doing in the coming month.  One friend is leaving to care for her grands in another state for the month, the other just had hand surgery and is expecting her 4th grandchild in a couple of weeks and I am just looking forward to enjoying some alone time with my husband.

    It will be a busy time, but I’m really hoping that we will be able to walk as much as we want without my paying for it later on.   

    When we return, I’m hoping that I’ll be able to meet up with my various groups and be able to participate in the swimming, the walking, the talking and most importantly-the friendships.

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  • Some Days, I Just Want to Scream

    Posted on Friday, March 10, 2017

    I knew it was coming, but I wanted to pretend it was A) the weather, B) doing something stupid or C) just something else I needed to rest up from.

    What am I talking about?  My stupid back, of course.

    I literally just finished paying off my last lower back epidural on Monday, I felt that all too familiar jolt of lightening bolt spasm/pain in not only my sciatic nerve but it was also in those pesky herniated discs otherwise referred to by my spine orthopedic as:  L3-5, S1-2.  Plus, my neck (known as herniated discs C1-3) was screaming at me as well.

    It’s been unseasonably cold, windy, rainy, etc. here in the desert so I just kept saying:  I’ll feel better when the typical temperatures return.   

    The problem with this form of stupidity is that we are about to leave on our anniversary trip and barring some kind of miracle-I won’t be getting that epidural before I leave.

    Herein lies the reason (besides the constant severe pain and my allergies toward all medications that somehow are supposed to help the extreme hurt) for my wanting to scream:  My specialists, in several different practices, have this frustrating problem-it’s called NO ONE PICKS UP THE STUPID PHONE!


    I want to ask the rheumatologist a question, I leave both a voice mail and then send an e-mail through my “personal portal“.  If I’m lucky, they call me on the wrong phone number and I play phone tag for a day or two.  Once they actually replied to my e-mail!

    The primary care doctor, while not a specialist, does the same!  At least her office is a mere mile and a half from the house because, honestly, I’ve found it easier to get in the car and drive there and walk in to the office to set up an appointment.  No one ever responds to my “personal portal e-mail” or calls back.  Plus, the phone system never works.  Seriously!  A few times I used all available extensions and each one said, “you have reached an invalid extension” and hung up on me!

    My shoulder/knee and hand guy are in the same practice and someone actually answers the phone there-I love them because they respond in a timely manner. Why don’t the others?

    Now for the spine doctor.  I love her-she’s caring, she looks at me and not her IPad and she does something WHEN I AM THERE.  The problem is that the phone lines at that practice are just plain horrible.

    I knew I should have called a few weeks ago, but kept hoping for some kind of miracle which didn’t happen.  So Monday, after paying off the epidural I asked to be sent to the office to make an appointment.  (Noticing that it is complete irony that someone answered the billing office phone in 2 rings)

    As soon as the transfer was made I counted the rings -6.  Then I got the dreaded recording:  Please leave your name, date of birth and preferred phone number and we will call you as soon as possible.  Do not leave multiple messages as this could result in slowing down our response.  You matter to us, if we can improve in anyway please let us know as we are here for you!

    Why?  But I left the information and then snidely added, “you know what you could do to improve?  Have a person answer the phone!”

    That was fairly early Monday morning.  Guess when I finally got a call back?  Wednesday afternoon-2 p.m.

    Another irony of the call back-they didn’t use the phone number I left.  Nope, used the one I said not to use as it was a land line that I might not be at home to use.  It was just fortunate I was there when they called.

    No apology either.  I’ll be bringing that up when I finally see her next week.   

    For now, I’m just hoping that she can give me some sort of booster shot to see me through until I get back from hobbling through our annual romantic getaway.

    Should be so romantic with an inability to sit, stand, walk or lean for any real given amount of time.

    I take responsibility for my share of this mess, but it would just be nice to be able to phone a doctor’s office and get a person to pick up a phone and say, “Hello, how can I make you feel better TODAY?”

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  • I Want Out! No, I Want IN!

    Posted on Thursday, March 2, 2017

    It’s an old joke for those of us with fur babies.  Seems they‘re always on the wrong side of the door!

    Take this morning, just as an example:

    The sun has finally come out here in rural Phoenix, Arizona after several days of rather weird gray and wet weather!  That’s the good news, but along with this sunshine it’s also unseasonably COLD!  Plus, there’s this pesky desert wind blowing my tiny ones around the yard.

    Actually, Sunshine is holding her own and Pepper has always been an indoor tabby cat-so, admittedly it’s Lucky getting blown around the yard.  The sun has the dogs confused in a big way.  They see the sun, they feel the sun through the window/slider and beg to go out to sit on the patio to soak up the warmth.

    Okay.  I let them out.  They hop up on their chair, curl up in balls next to each other, sit there for about 2 minutes and then hop off and bark at me to let them in.

    Fine, come in!  As they run for their warm blankets on the sofa and bury themselves so only a tail can be seen they warm up and realize-hey, I feel the sun!  Let’s go ask mom to let us out.

    They pitter-patter into the office and cry at me, hit my knees and look at me with those huge brown eyes and look as if they‘re going to burst right there on the floor next to me if I don’t hobble over to the door and let them back out.

    Being the complying mom that I am-I stop what I’m doing on the computer, walk to the other side of the house to where the door and yard happen to be and again, turn off the alarms and sensors and let them out.  I sit at the breakfast table to watch them as they (again) hop up onto their chair in the yard, curl up in a ball next to each other and watch them attempt to sunbathe in the 49-ish degree weather and the 30 mph winds!

    A few minutes later, they (again), hop off the chair and stand by the door howling at me to let them in.  Which I do and then put on the alarms/sensors and lock the doors.

    I go back to work where I am immediately followed by two puppies wanting to go out.


    By about the fourth time of this ridiculous hamster treadmill I am no longer being smiley and nice about it.  I start to become a grump and tell them to go lie down in their blankets and just enjoy the house.

    This is met with tears in the eyes, whining and then Pepper decides it’s his turn to cause some trouble.  If his sisters are all cozy and whiny under a blanket then he’s got to be there too.  He usually decides that Lucky is the perfect dog to jump on and pester.  Within minutes Lucky is growling and running after him while Sunshine is left on the couch, half covered and wondering what’s happening to Lucky.

    She then chases Pepper around the house and into my office.  He jumps on me and acts the innocent while Sunshine rushes back to Lucky and kisses her from head to toe.  It’s truly my belief that she’s making sure she’s okay and asking her in puppy language, “Did you get hurt????”

    Obviously, I’ve haven’t accomplished a thing other than letting dogs in and out, telling the cat to stop bugging the dogs and then I wait for it:  Here they come, the fantastic duo-big brown eyes and pleading voices asking me to let them out.

    I hope this blog makes sense because honestly, I have stopped and started so many times that I’m not at all sure about what it reads like but know if I don’t just click on Publish-it might be a while before I get back here to re-do this piece.   

    At least I’ll be adding to my walk to this schedule.  It’s almost 11 a.m., better get out the harnesses, leashes, potty bags, stroller and jackets because now it’s time to meet up with my friend and her dogs for a walk.

    Hopefully they’ll be so tired upon my return that I won’t be asked to let them out for a couple of hours.

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  • Did You Read What You Just Said?

    Posted on Friday, February 24, 2017

    I don’t like to embarrass anyone, but this week left me shaking my head just a tad.

    Here’s what happened:

    As usual, Steve and I have been slowly paying off our latest anniversary getaway (this year is #36!).  This one’s a bit different in a few ways for us.  One is that last year we met two wonderful couples and have kept in touch-one of those couples decided to join us in this year’s trip!  Looking forward to sweeping the cruise’s trivia contests with their help.  We sure did last year!  We were hoping the other couple would opt to join us, but alas they are not.

    The other new thing is that we usually switch off with Sam and Adam on the pet sitting.  That is now not so doable (even though they now live literally at the other end of the block) because we both rescued new pups.  The dogs get along just fine, but the newest additions (Yes YOU DEX AND SUNSHINE!) just haven’t quite got the potty-training down too well.

    In fact, Dex got so excited upon seeing his friends before our weekly walk together yesterday that he decided the best thing to do was to “mark” grandma!  It’s okay, after 10 years as a day care provider it was honestly less disgusting than some of the things all those toddlers shared with me.

    Anyway, that mentioned I have to say that while we’ll still care for each others felines, the pups will have to go to a pet hotel.  Adam and Sam tried it first during a quick trip to see my parents last week.  The dogs seem no worse for wear.

    Steve and I, however, are just plain anxious about leaving our babies in the hands of strangers.  You see when we first adopted Lucky she spent 3 nights in a local pet hotel and in under 24 hours she gave herself nervous colitis.  I don’t really want to give you the specifics of what that means but let’s just say that’s when we knew that we had the best and most loving vet in the entire world!

    After re-visiting where they were the first time and then looking at the “big box” resort and researching a couple of other that FaceBook acquaintances suggested we decided which one to go with and filled out the paper work.   

    (side bar:  if you‘re wondering why we don’t just leave them with our beloved vet it’s because she has no room for boarding with all of her work with our town’s rescue and a couple of other rescues)

    And that paper work is what the title of this week’s blog is about!

    First, the paper work had no request for dates to be needed.  Then no one called me within the expected 48-72 hours that the website promised.  Once I called and talked to the manager-she started to get a tad snippy with me saying she had sent me e-mails and I hadn’t contacted her! That sent my anxiety through the roof.  Then she realized that her sent e-mails never actually left her computer.

    Okay.  Once we straightened that out she asked me to send Sunshine’s shot record as they got Lucky’s from the vet.  We only had the paperwork from the rescue saying what shots and when they were given.

    By her own admittance, she said that what I sent wasn’t good enough because it only had the dates given.   “The shots are only good for 1-3 years. This states that she had them August 6th, 2016-how do we know they are still good?”

    Really?  Did you read what you just said????  The dogs will be there in April.  If the shots are only good for a year-then they will still have 4 months left on them.  So I took more photos of all the various papers from the rescue all stating the dates of the shots given and told her the facts as nicely as I could write them without making her feel slightly foolish.

    This is why I really don’t want to leave my babies in the hands of strangers.  At this moment she hasn’t asked me to contact the rescue for verification, so I’m thinking she figured out all is good.

    Let’s hope so, Steve found a Groupon for this recommended place.   

    I’m beginning to think that we should consider asking how much it would cost to take the pups with us.  I’m sure they’d love the outdoor grassy area on the top deck and the veranda of our cabin.  I’d just need to get them formal wear for dress up nights.

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  • Open Wide

    Posted on Friday, February 17, 2017

    As I related last week, Poor Sunshine had quite the ordeal with her dental surgery.  A total of 5 molars and a cavity ridden tooth were all removed.  A mouth full of stitches and a whole new understanding of some of her quirks were revealed.

    Our vet was in tears thinking of all this little pup had endured and not only lived through but managed to be 99% loving and wonderful.

    Our hearts broke for our newest addition and gave us more tools to use in training.

    Six days later we took Lucky in to have her teeth cleaned.  We held our breath!  Even though we’ve had Lucky 4 years now, there hadn’t been any tartar or black marks/red gums, etc. to put her through anesthesia.  Even this time was a “you might want too, but her teeth look great!“.

    So on Valentine’s Day we took her in, went to see “Hidden Figures” and waited for some news.

    By the way, if you haven’t seen the mentioned movie, please do!  It is a really great piece of not only education but entertainment.  Unfortunately it also still proves we have such a long way to go in equality!  Their was a young couple sitting next to me and the man actually leaned over to his wife/girlfriend and said, “I thought you said this was a docudrama?  No one would actually treat people like that!”

    OMG!  Shows that our schools are NOT giving enough lessons on the subject of prejudice and what the 60’s were really like!

    Back to Lucky.  During the previews Dr. Young gave me a call and said Lucky’s back teeth looked great but that she had 4 front teeth that were so loose that she didn’t know how they were still in her mouth-so out they came.

    At pick-up I was told that our itty-bitty did fantastic but was milking the experience so her favorite tech would hold her until she heard my voice.  Kind of figured-when we had her spayed she whined and cried on my lap for about a week.  Maybe little tiny bodies feel pain more than larger ones.

    Fortunately, because they teeth to go were the tiny front ones Lucky isn’t having her dry food turned to mush the way her sister is still having to eat her meals.   

    Once Steve and I got her home we were practically ambushed by both Pepper and Sunshine!  We had a feeling that it would happen.  Both were kissing her head, smelling her and whining/meowing and probably asking her all sorts of sibling-related questions.  She didn’t seem to mind the attention.

    Both are doing much better, in fact once this is posted Dr. Young has approved of taking them both on a shortening version of our walk.  I did take them with to the part with the boys yesterday afternoon so they could enjoy the neighborhood grass spot.

    But wait, that’s not all!  On our way back to the house after their “dig to China“, we found some neighbor kids standing on the block wall!  I asked them to please get down right away as I didn’t want anyone to fall and get hurt (plus, our wall is booby-trapped to prevent another burglary).  The kids said they were following BEES!

    Yep, a swarm of bees are back there right now deciding whether they’d like to build a hive to leave for more preferable grounds.  The bee inspector just left and said to give them another 48 hours and then if they stayed to either have them come back and kill them or try vector control to see if a beekeeper might want to take the rather pesky problem out of our yard.

    And that is life for us here in the desert.  Have a good weekend!

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  • Poor Sunshine

    Posted on Thursday, February 9, 2017

    Poor Sunshine!

    We knew when we adopted her that Sunshine was in bad need of a good teeth cleaning but the vet at the rescue and our own beloved Dr. K. Young said it could wait until “February discount” to get it done.

    What we all did NOT know was that the horrible excuse for “people” who had her had abused our little girl to an unimaginable amount.   

    Let’s just say that Dr. Young was astonished that Sunshine could eat, that she has the very loving personality that she has and that she wasn’t constantly writhing in pain.  “If it were us, we would’ve been begging for sedation and not be able to keep anything either fluid or edible down being in that kind of pain!”

    Yes, our poor little long-legged lovely had 3 molars cracked from side-to-side, two upper teeth with bad roots from being hit and a front tooth that was (small favor?) riddled with cavities.  Plus, she had never gotten several teeth.  

    Final count?  Double anesthesia, 6 extractions and lots of pain.  Because of the extra time involved, an emergency surgery and a poor old pup that had to have help crossing over the rainbow bridge, Lucky and two other dogs had to have their cleanings postponed until next week.

    Felt sorry for Lucky who didn’t get to eat until we got both girls home at around 4 in the afternoon, but it was a very good thing for Sunshine.  Once Sunshine woke up and was doing better the techs put her into the same “room” as Lucky and Lucky curled up next to her and took care of her the way a good sister should.

    After we got the girls home, I made sure to get Lucky some food while Steve distracted Sunshine in the yard (she couldn’t eat for a couple of hours).  Dylan and Aidan sat down and both dogs begged for some extra love and petting.

    Sunshine had some wet food and some pain meds and then went right back to her spot on Dylan’s lap until 9:30 when I took the pups out for a last potty break.  Considering what she went through, the night wasn’t too bad.

    Although Sunshine did get up and down a few times and her paws kept pulling my arm in closer to hold her she did sleep.  Her siblings right next to her-they kept looking at her with every toss and turn.

    This morning I soaked her dry food in some warm chicken broth, gave her wet food and disguised another pain pill-all of which were gladly and quickly eaten.

    It’s a great week weather-wise here in New River, we‘re in the mid-80’s and the sun is glorious.  The girls are in their favorite cushioned chair and sunbathing with Pepper leaning against the security screen door enjoying the same.

    Steve and I are appalled that their is someone out there still roaming the state that would treat an innocent puppy this way and hope/pray that they aren’t parents to human kids (what would/are they doing to them????).  It’s a darn good thing we don’t know who or where they are-if we did, we’d make sure that what they did to our precious girl they’d get back 100-fold.

    Next week we do the whole thing again-hopefully with less painful results.

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