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Carine’s Blog

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  • Sick as a dog

    Posted on Friday, September 12, 2014

    A Mother Always Knows

    Honestly, it doesn't matter if you're a mom of a human or 4-footed child-a mom knows when their child isn't well.

    This week is was on puppy Lucky.  Poor dear, her eyes looked a bit bleary, she would ask to go out and then just stare at us.

    Uh oh, I thought to myself.  Usually when we go for our morning walk, she can hardly wait to leave her "mark" on the entrance to the pocket park and then several more times as we round out to the beginning of our walk.  This time she picked up the hind legs (yes, she does it 2-legged) but nothing happened.  And this went on the whole walk.
    Except for the last half mile where she asked me to carry her.

    Something was not good here.  Then we had another storm and she went 13 hours before "going".  How could a 6 pound dog not go for 13 hours????

    Tuesday-she seemed more than spooked.  So I called and made her an appointment with our wonderful vet, Dr. Kristin Young.  (I tell everyone her name because this is the most fantastic vet I've ever encountered!)  We went in the next afternoon.  

    While Steve wasn't even going to say "let's just watch her", he wasn't thrilled about another bill.  But we both think of Pepper and Lucky as our babies and there was no question that we were going.

    Dr. Young said she wasn't worried about it being anything catastrophic (bladder cancer, etc.) she said she could have a bladder stone.  At the very least, an infection.  So with that she pried her off of me and out of my shirt and took her to the back to take her temperature and an x-ray.

    Thank goodness-she didn't have the bladder stone, but she was running a fever (hence the bleary eyes and being too tired to complete our walk on her own) and it was decided she had a doggie version of a UTI.

    This I expected-but what I didn't expect was the rest of the diagnosis!  Even though we hadn't given Lucky any more food and the two of us had been able to walk in the early morning again, she looked a tad "puffy".  

    What was that "puff" you ask?  No-we had her neutered and the only male dog she's around also has been "fixed".  No, our little Chihuahua was horribly constipated!

    That may be way TMI for you all, but it's something all of you pet parents out there should consider!  The "cure"?  I'm to put in ¼ teaspoon of either psyillium or Metamucil in with her wet food in the evening.  

    I don't know if you care or want to know the "outcome" of this, but outside of my starting VERY intensive physical therapy (read that 6 hours with the therapist plus over 1-1/2 hours of exercising on my own) on my frozen and damaged shoulder that has been my week.

    And that is all on why Mothers Always Know.


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  • Saving the Power

    Posted on Friday, September 5, 2014

    Saving the Power  

    Our neighbors put in solar panels.  It's a big thing here in our area.  My sister was part of a trial program in Orange County, CA. Therefore, they didn't pay for any of it!  She's loving being off the grid.  Both my sister and our neighbors have large 2-story homes.    

    Adam and Sam also have a large 2-story and it's costing a fortune to keep cool. All of our family are those annoying people who actually get the a/c units checked and serviced once a year to make sure nothing's broken.  It's expensive enough without finding out something's wrong with our units that's having us use even more electricity!

    Recently, Steve and I even took advantage of having a company come out and do and energy evaluation of our home.  We had decided we weren't spending the $10 grand to put the solar panels on our roof, but we didn't want to be paying through the nose to sweat either.

    Remember, Steve is always claiming I can enjoy the fans but the thermostat has to stay at 82 during the day and then he drops it down to 78 at night "for my sleeping comfort".  There's an oxymoron if ever I heard one.

    For some reason, while I ranted about this ad nauseum in the great OC-it doesn't bother me as much here.  I'm pretty sure that the reason is due to the 110+ outside.  Hey, suddenly after letting Lucky out to do her business and then I walk back in-82 is practically chilly!

    Back to the audit-the outcome was that while we had done a lot on our own to "plug up" the escaping air-we had a long way to go.  It seems that all those canned lights in most of the rooms and the fancy-schmancy surround sound equipment were using a lot of energy!  We also had the microwave/fan, the dryer vents (which they cleaned for us), the water heater itself and the various air ducts/returns and bathroom fans all letting our a/c dollars float across the desert sky!

    Then there was the insulation.  The total estimate of getting everything "sealed" up:  $4,000.

    We could be half-way to those solar panels!  About $500 would be covered with rebates from our local electric company.  And they also paid the first $200 of $299 for the audit.

    When all was said and done, we only did ½ the work.  Couldn't afford the rest.  But even with that the estimated savings would be ¼ ton.  Turned out they did such a good job that the "after" test showed they got it to ½ ton of air savings.

    I'm not a technical person-but I'm thinking that this is a good thing.  Our clothes are getting dryer faster.  The a/c unit isn't going on as frequently and it's nice to know that we're hopefully not going to have to dust as much.

    I hate dusting.  

    On a completely different note-this past week had my parents celebrating their 58th anniversary.  We couldn't be there and I know they won't see this, but it's wonderful to know that longevity runs in the family.


    2 Replies
  • Stupid is as Stupid Does

    Posted on Thursday, August 28, 2014

    Stupid is as Stupid Does

    I try my best to not comment on how and why some parents do certain things with their kids, but a recent happening here in the Phoenix area had me shaking what's left of my head/neck region in complete disgust.

    What am I talking about?  The 9-year-old who "accidently" killed her gun coach while shooting off an Uzi!

    Am I the only one who thought, "What on earth is a 9-year-old doing being coached on the finer points of using an Uzi?"?????

    It's not just the parents fault.  As a local columnist re-iterated my already written blog-why would this "coach" allow a child this young to use an semi-automatic weapon?  And why oh why does my new home state allow for such freedoms to a person who's barely out of diapers?

    I get that I'm an anti-gun person in a pro-gun state, but really?  Unless you're in the military training to take out an entire terrorist group-does ANYONE in the private sector really need lessons on how to use this particular piece of shooting equipment?

    And now that this little tiny girl has killed someone she must have considered important in her life-how, oh how, do her parents explain any of the ramifications to her and help her get over this event?  How does the instructor's family heal?  

    And by the way, he of anyone did know the risks-why didn't he use the horrible, terrible word "NO"?

    Personally, I would have rather have heard that her parents had given her a dirt bike and take up racing than shooting off an Uzi.  I know people may still get seriously hurt and that this is all over the national news because of the thankful rarity of the situation-but this was not the wise thing a parent decided to do.

    Maybe I'm part of a minority on the subject of kids and guns, but I have a right to voice my complete audacity at the entire situation.  One person dead, a little girl forever damaged, a family in mourning and another family shocked by what has just happened.

    I certainly hope other families thinking of having their little kids take up a sport like this will take this debacle into consideration before trying it out themselves.

    I'm just saying, Stupid is as Stupid does.


    2 Replies
  • What a Difference a Day Makes

    Posted on Friday, August 22, 2014

    What a Difference a Day Makes

    In case you didn't watch the news this past week, from Sunday night right on through Tuesday night we here in North Phoenix were not only "under siege", we were "under water"!

    No kidding!  Steve and I went with Sarah and the boys out to dinner and came out from the restaurant at 7:30 to a very gray sky, clouds, heavy winds-all the makings of an expected monsoon.  Well, suddenly we had not one but 3 separate lightning storms and rain following us the 30 miles back home to Anthem/New River!

    The noise was so loud that even with my earplugs set firmly in place; the noise kept waking me up.  Okay, some of that may have been the various paws holding on to my face and arms, but I digress.  The point is-it was blowing and raining really HARD!

    Monday was on and off wind and rain.  But oh my word, Tuesday night the heavens broke loose!  We were sure the wind was blowing the rain so hard that we'd lose power (again), but the fans and a/c kept going.  For that we were more than thankful.

    However, 6:15 came with Lucky begging to go out.  When she saw the rain, she did the "oh no, not me mom!" dance.  She refused to even go on the covered patio, which seemed perfectly agreeable to use just the night before!

    She should've gone too.  At 6:30, we were under siege!  The wind was blowing at 50 MPH, the rain coming down so hard that the news reports said we had 5" in an hour and the lightning and thunder were pretty darn frightening!

    Our yard looked like a dirty pool.  I tried to take Lucky out front to potty under an umbrella.  Nope.  Wasn't happening.  I tried walking her to the pocket park across the street.  That is a wash-which was now a dirty pool as well.

    I posted a photo during a mild break for everyone to see-that pool is normally a ditch full of boulders.

    Our friends who live up a street and against the wash texted me a photo of the other side of their fence-the desert was now a rushing dangerous river!

    Soon after our power went out for 4 hours, the freeway was shut down from the mud and flash floods, several schools were shut for the day and everyone was told to stay HOME.

    Alex dropped off Aidan to me later in the afternoon.  Aidan summed up his day by disgustedly telling me, "Grandma-they wouldn't let me go out and play at lunch!  And the teachers made us do nothing but learn all day!"

    I suppose learning is tough when you're 6.  But better than drowning!

    By Wednesday morning-no one would have been able to tell what we had all witnessed the day prior.  We woke up to a clear blue sky without a hint of a cloud, 85 degrees with the most wonderful light waft of a breeze.

    Oh what a difference a day really does make.


    2 Replies
  • It Was a Dark and Stormy Night...

    Posted on Friday, August 15, 2014

    It Was a Dark and Stormy Night...

    It really was too.  A few nights ago, Steve was replacing the lighting fixture over our breakfast table with a much better fan, he was just about done and he went out front to put the fuse back on when he nearly tripped over something.

    He almost tripped because it was about 8:00 at night and was pitch black out.  Plus a storm was about to hit and the only light (besides the porch light) was coming from the lightning bolts.  It was really windy too!

    What did he almost trip over?  A lost 30 pound black dog!  Seems to me, if you're a dog who's bolted from a neighbor's yard, been dumped by a callous moron or just out for a friendly stroll by yourself-we're the house you want to stop at and visit/ask for help.

    As soon as Steve realized what was "underfoot", he called me outside.  No need to tell me why-Lucky was barking up a storm and smelling the bottom of the front door. Pepper was darting all over the place.

    Poor girl was so frightened!  She was crying, tears running down her face and panting.  While Steve got some water and Lucky's leash, I began checking for ID tags.  Thank goodness!  "Clio" had a personal piece of jewelry that also had an emergency phone number.

    We took her into the yard and let Lucky get used to her-that was a loud event, but Clio was a very good guest and just looked at her hostess as if to say, "Thank you.  I'm so glad I came here."

    We hoped that we could reach someone before our bedtime.  Steve called her "Dad".  The neighbor was very grateful.  He said someone must have unlatched the gate.   He had been gone all day and was just coming home from work.  He'd would be right over.

    The wind was howling, the lightning gave a beautiful show and the thunder was loud enough that our neighbors couldn't possibly hear Lucky yapping.  It was also over 100 and uncomfortably humid.  Ick!
    In a very few minutes, "Clio's" dad arrived and Steve brought her out to his car.  Just in time too-as soon as Steve shut our door the rain began coming down as hard as we've ever heard.  The entire evening had me wondering why anyone would leave their dog out in 110 degrees all day-but maybe I baby my fur babies more than others.

    The storm came and went in about an hour.  Several neighbors lost some trees from the wind, some lost power and a few had "leakage" from the force of the wind blowing the rain into the window frames.

    But at least, thanks to us, one little dog was safe and happy.  In that dark a car could've easily run over her, a coyote could have attacked her or she could have gotten herself hopelessly lost in the wash.  

    Thank goodness for her guardian angel.  Stay safe little Clio.


    2 Replies
  • Jackson-You're 1!

    Posted on Friday, August 8, 2014

    Happy Birthday Jackson!

    As hard as it is to believe-our youngest grandson turned 1 this week!  On August 5th last year, our son, daughter Sam (the mom-to-be) spent the day waiting for the hospital to call and tell them to come in for her inducement.

    We all knew that even at one week early-it was his "time" to join us all in the open world.  It was estimated that he was over 9 pounds!  A size, I'd like to point out, that his dad (who was born at 33-1/2 weeks) didn't reach until his was about 3 months old-maybe a tad older!

    Our daughter, son-in-law and older grandsons all met us in the waiting room.  We waited and waited.  We found coffee and treats, watched the TV in the waiting room and waited some more.  Alex took the boys home, Sarah stayed with us for a while and then went on home-they had work the next day.

    About mid-night we realized that August 5th was NOT going to be Jackson's birthday and left Sam and Adam to forge on.  Poor Sam!  Poor Adam (he'd been a wreck waiting for this highly anticipated event in his life!).

    At 6 a.m. or so, Adam called to tell us it wouldn't be much longer.  We quickly dressed, fed the pets and pottied the dog and took off!  We went to a nearby bagel store and got breakfast for the brand new set of parents and ourselves and headed up to labor and delivery.

    Jackson had arrived!  9 pounds and 5 ounces.  Sam was justifiably exhausted but still a vision of beauty, with that beautiful "new mom" glow.  Adam was giddy and Jackson was a perfect mix of both his parents.

    Spring ahead to August 6th (Wednesday):  Jackson is now walking, eating table food, drinking out of his sippy cup and has quite the sense of humor (definitely takes after all his relatives).  He loves playing peek-a-boo, throwing balls to the dogs, reading books and his cousins.  He has a hearty laugh, a wonderful disposition and looks exactly like his dad.

    What's next?  We're all very interested in finding out-and comparing it to his day of birth, we're holding it with the same amount of anticipation.


    0 Replies