Thursday, July 30, 2015

Bette Week Continues

Holy crap. Apparently our real estate agent, Agent Al, has an offer on the table. Unfortunately, we don't give a damn right now because Bette has me so upset I'm afraid to make any important decisions at this time. It all started yesterday afternoon when we took Bette to the veterinarians office so that we could address the problem of her seizures. Everything seemed to go without incident. The doctor checked her out, took some blood, and told us that after the blood work he would put her on an anti-seizure medication. But first he wanted to find out if she had diabetes. Fine, we paid the bill and started out the door with Bette. Just as soon as I opened the door for her to walk out, right there on the threshold, Bette went into a seizure. In my warped little mind I thought, perfect, now the doctor can see for himself. I picked Bette up and handed her off to the tech who had run over to help. She took little Bette back into the bowels of the doctor's office assuring me that everything would be okay. About two minutes later we started to hear an eerie howl coming from somewhere.
"That's Bette." Mark said.
"No, I don't think so. That doesn't sound like her."
Still, throughout the entire vet's office, the horrible sound continued. The nice man we were talking to in the waiting room looked terribly worried. From the back of the office the vet tech came out looking for us with an upset look on her face.
"Come on back." She told us.
When we entered the examination room, there was Bette being held tightly by another tech. Honestly, everybody in that room, including the doctor, looked horrified by the sound coming from that little dog. It was the same sound I've heard many times before from Mark. Usually when he steps barefoot into dog puke, pee, or poo. Anyway, I tried to calm poor Bette down. She apparently came out of her seizure in a strange place, with strange people, and was terrified. Before I could get her completely calmed down the vet tech jabbed her with a syringe.
"It'll relax her." She said.
And relax her it did. By the time we got home Bette was stumbling around like a drunk. She tried to drink water but could only look at it. She tried to jump up on the sofa, but the sofa might just as well been Everest. I asked her if she wanted to go out. She did, but she couldn't. Her legs were splaying out in four directions, so I picked her up and placed her out on the back porch. All she could manage was to flop over into the dirt and lay down, so I picked her up and put her back in the house. This sort of thing went on for a couple of hours. It wasn't until late yesterday evening that she was even a hint of herself. She came stumbling into the living room and gave me that "I have to pee" look. So I picked her up and put her back out on the porch where she immediately squatted and peed. Bette was back.

Tuesday, July 28, 2015

Perilous Puppy Pee Pad Problems

At this point, two years in, I'm pretty sure that Bette will never be completely house broken. What she is, is house friendly. There are no more moist surprises when Mark walks around the house barefoot. No longer do I hear the cries of a wounded hyena when he steps into one of Bette's pee puddles. Just as long as I keep clean puppy pee pads swapped out over in the sun room, Bette will do her deed in there. There are even days, full twenty four hour days, where Bette will not even pee on the puppy pee pads, but will do all her stuff outdoors just as long as I let her out ten times a day.

The biggest part of puppy pee pad maintenance is the removal of the soaking wet puppy pee pads and then disinfecting the tray that they lay on. This involves large, thick rubber gloves, a heavy duty bleach based cleaning solution, and one roll of paper towels. There are times I have even thought about getting a hazmat suit. Yesterday Bette left me a nice pee soaked mess to clean up, but I was almost out of the bleach based cleaning solution, Fantastik Cleaner with Bleach. So I went searching under the kitchen sink for some another spray cleaner. What I found was something called Finazzle Grout Cleaner. Well if it can clean grout I figured it must be good enough to disinfect dog piss. Unfortunately the spray gun on the bottle didn't work, so I took the Finazzle and poured it into the Fantastik spray bottle. Bad idea. Very bad idea. Within moments the room filled with a noxious gas the odor of sulfur. As I reached over to open the windows for fresh air, a geyser of foam gushed forth from the Fantastik bottle. I don't know what the ingredients of Fantastik and Finazzle are, but they obviously do not mix well together. What they did was fill the room with a toxic gas that was even worse than the fumes from Bette's pee. I really should go online and see if I can find a nice second hand hazmat suit.

Monday, July 27, 2015

Bette Barfs

"Slurp, slurp, slurp.... "
It's four thirty in the morning when I hear the familiar sound.
"Slurp, slurp, slurp, slurp, slurp... "
It's the sound of Bette drinking water in the middle of the night. On the floor in the kitchen is a large bowl that I  keep filled with water for the dogs. Every night Bette gets up out of bed at least three times, and goes into the kitchen to slake her thirst. And quite a thirst it is. Before Bette I only had to fill that bowl once a day or less. Bette has turned that into a three times a day chore. I have never seen a dog pass so much water through its body. That little twelve pound dog must drink a gallon a day. Chandler, who weighs in at eighty pounds, probably drinks a quart a day. I've tried not putting water in the bowl overnight so that Bette won't get out of bed to drink, but that does not work. She will stand on top of me and stare into my face until I wake up and fill the bowl. So this early morning I am very groggy and I try to ignore Bette and her strange nocturnal water habits. That's when the slurping stops and Bette comes bounding up onto the bed to snuggle next to me on my pillow. There is the jingle, jangle of her tags as she jumps up and walks across me as if I were just a piece of furniture. Then the digging into my pillow to create a nice bowl for her to lay down in. But instead of laying down, Bette just stands there on the pillow next to me. "Lay down" I tell her. That's when instead of laying down, Bette opens her mouth and shoots out the entire contents of her stomach with the force of a fire hose.
"Snork... hmmm... what's happening?" Mark awakens
"Nothing. Nothing at all."
I grab my pillow from under Bette and go out to the living room, where I lay down on the sofa. It smells a little like dog, but it's not too uncomfortable.

Friday, July 24, 2015



Another one of my neighbors died this week, a guy we used to refer to as "Gay Republican Mike", to differentiate him from the other Mikes we know. Despite his gruff appearance, he really was a nice guy once you got to know him. I knew him for twenty six years, been to parties at his home, and had him over to our house. It's sad to hear that he is now gone.

A lot of my old neighbors have passed on and I think of them every time I walk by their homes. I have many memories of walking my dogs around the block and waving to Helen, the Austrian lady who reminded me of my grandmother. And then there was another neighbor I would stop and chat with, Mrs. Johnson who always had a dog biscuit for my dogs. There was Nonny across the street who was quite nervous around my big dogs, but loved my schnauzers. And Fred, the old guy across the street who lost it all and became homeless, only to die when a car ran him over recently. All of these people are gone now. Familiar faces that always stopped to talk, people who my dogs recognized from a block away.

I never thought of death much. Even when I was diagnosed with Non-Hodgkin's Lymphoma and went through twelve weeks of chemo, I didn't think of death. Only that I was going to beat it. Unfortunately, even when you try to avoid thinking about dying, death comes looking for you, reminding you of the inevitable. It's another reason I want to move back to Chicago. When I hit sixty five years old I started doing the math, and I decided that when I die, I want to do it in Chicago. I don't want to drop dead here in Florida, God's waiting room. So all my brothers and sisters, nephews and nieces, and all of their children can thank me now while I am still alive, for not making you come to Florida for a funeral.

Thursday, July 23, 2015

Bad Neighborhood?

Very busy day yesterday. I had an appointment with the eye doctor, which is never a fun time, and our real estate guy, Agent Al, had somebody coming over at three in the afternoon to look at the place. So I got up early Wednesday morning and started cleaning. I mopped, scrubbed, dusted, and vacuumed. I busily went around the house doing my best to make it look like we lived a very neat and clean lifestyle. As usual, I stuffed every loose kitchen knick-knack into the microwave. In the bathrooms I threw everything under the sinks. In the sun room I removed Bette's pee pads and disinfected the area. After a thorough Fabrezing of the house, I was ready.

At noon I left for the eye doctor appointment. I truly hate the eye doctor. Not the man himself, just the whole process because it always involves different forms of torture. This time, besides the little purple light that he pokes into my eyes to measure the pressure, the doctor had a new tool. It was kind of like the little mirror on the end of a metal stick that the dentist uses to look in your mouth. Except this tool looked like it had some sort of lens on the end of it and instead of sticking it in my mouth, the doctor used it to mush my eyeball around. I did not like it.
"Awk! What is that for?" I said in a startled voice as he mashed my eyeball into my skull.
"Now, now, just sit still. It doesn't hurt, it only tickles a little bit."
And with that he started smooshing my eyeball from one side and then the other. I think all doctors should have to go through some of the procedures they inflict on others just so that they don't say stupid things like that. It did not tickle. It hurt.

After over two hours at the doctor, Mark  picked me up and we raced back home for the showing. Our job when Agent Al shows the place is to wrangle the dogs out of the way. As Agent Al and the prospective buyers move from apartment to apartment, Mark and I shuffle the dogs out one door and into another. It can be complicated if Bette makes a break for it. At three in the afternoon Agent Al arrived, right on time. I walked out to his car to have a chat before the buyers got here. At one minute after three Agent Al's phone rang and he put it on the speaker.
"Uh, hi. Is this Al Charmelo?"
"Yes it is."
"This is Agent Asswipe of  Asswipe Real Estate. I have an appointment with you to look at a property between three and three thirty. I'm cancelling that appointment. The buyers have decided that they don't like that area."