Chitchat and the occasional in-depth analysis about fiber, knitting, spinning, crochet, cooking, feminism, self-image, and a modicum of personal blathering.

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Monday, January 24, 2011

A ladder to the stars

Dylan's story starts before we ever knew him.

When my kids were small but old enough to take some responsibility, we got a puppy. This puppy was Max, the World's Most Amazing Corgi. Max was intelligent, mannerly, eager to please, playful, and sweet. He would smother you with kisses and fetch a ball or frisbee or stick a hundred times. He would go out in the morning to pee and come right back in when he was done. He became my heart dog, my constant companion, and the thing that kept me from losing my mind a few times, if truth be told.


Max at around six months old

Max was with us only seven years. He died far too young and left a huge void, and that was when Dylan came into the picture.


Dylan the day we brought him home.

Dylan was found roaming the streets in Eastlake, Ohio. He was of unknown origin, untrained, about eleven pounds overweight, non-affectionate, constantly ravenous, and quite ill-behaved. We had to search him down several times before we got on the learning curve that he needed to be taken out on a leash, not just let out to pee. He roamed the neighborhood and it's a wonder he didn't get run over before we figured it out, even though it only took us a couple of days to get with the program.

We could not leave anything out. No food. No cat food. No cat litter. He would eat it. Dylan once ate a five pound bag of science diet cat food that belonged to a pair of cats we were fostering. He got sick. Sick as a dog, proverbially, to the point I wondered if we were going to lose him from the diarrhea, but he recovered in time and did not learn his lesson. He ate a whole loaf of bread. Pizza out of people's plates placed inadvisedly on laps. Bob's coat. The couch, before we figured out he needed to be in a crate when nobody was home with him. My change purse, including some of the money that was in it. Bob's wallet. Several bras.

Dylan was not playful. We bought him toys over and over but he had no interest. He did enjoy going for walks and when we went to the dog park, he adored playing with other dogs, especially big black dogs for some reason.



With sufficient exercise and by controlling his access to food, we got Dylan down to a reasonable weight for a corgi, though he was still far bigger than most at 33-34 pounds. He always had a strange gait, and I often wondered about his breeding or background. There was never a way to find out, though. He was a beautiful dog, with a tremendous outer coat and absolutely beautiful corgi eyes.

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He could melt you with a look, but I had corgi experience, my heart was hardened to him. Well, mostly.

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Dylan copies an internet meme

When Bob moved in with us, Dylan adopted him. One night, we were laying in bed talking, and Dylan (who usually slept on the bed until we got wise and forbade it) crawled up between us and put his chin on Bob's chest, and gave me such a look, a look that seemed to say "thank you for getting me a man! I've always wanted one!"

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Bob was devoted to Dylan. He cleaned up after his accidents, forgave him for eating his clothing and wallet and coat and food, and took him out for walks. He made excuses for him, brushed him, and had more patience with him than most people would. Dylan was absolutely loyal to Bob and loved him completely.

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When we bought our house in 2004, we loved sitting under the apple tree out back. It quickly became one of Dylan's favorite places too, especially once he figured out he could eat the apples that fell to the ground.

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Dr Bob, our vet, said they wouldn't hurt him as long as he didn't have any digestive upset from them, and if there's one thing this dog seldom had, it was digestive upset. Other than the cat food incident, he had an ironclad stomach.

Not long after we bought the house, we got a foster dog in, Miss Lily. Lily was a tiny corgi girl who had a hard life as a brood bitch in a puppy mill. Dylan fell in love with her, as did we, and they became great friends and close companions and playmates.

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Needless to say, she did not remain a foster dog for long, and we have not tried the foster parent thing since, because we know how it will go!

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Corgiluv

About a year and a half ago, we noticed his strange gait getting worse. At times he would trip over his back feet. We took him to the vet, who did x-rays. They were negative, and further testing would most likely not shown anything treatable, as to the best of my knowledge, he was at least 11 years old. Operating on him would have been risky and probably non-productive, and we did not have thousands of dollars to spend on MRIs and CAT scans when it probably would not have told us anything we could do anything about. Our vet recommended rest and a course of steroids, in case it was something simple and possibly treatable. There was no result from that course. We took a planned vacation to Pigeon Forge TN to see my daughter who lives in that area, taking the dogs with us. It was testament to Bob's devotion that he carried Dylan up and down the stairs of our cabin, every time he had to go out, and there were a lot of stairs.

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We got a wheelchair courtesy of CorgiAid's excellent loaner program. Dylan enjoyed it during the warmer weather, as it gave him a chance to exercise more and also get around the house to his apples again.

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It was very much a short-term solution, though. We knew that all along.

The last couple of weeks, we had some snow and the weather has gotten very cold. Dylan had become increasingly incontinent, and was starting to fall over with some regularity, as well as having some mental confusion. He would bark, high pitched, over and over again, to go out, then do nothing when he was taken out. He would start barking for no reason and with no resolution that could be found. His eyes took on a glazed, checked-out look. We knew it was time.

He left us very peacefully and very calmly. We imagine he is free of his confusion and pain, and chasing some big black dogs in an apple orchard somewhere.

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We'll miss you, buddy. Say Hi to Max for me, ok?

Saturday, January 22, 2011

Tracks in the snow


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Originally uploaded by mensabuttercup
This has been a surreal winter so far. I would rather have the snow and chaos of last year than the pain of this one. Ideally, I'd rather have neither, of course.

Some things remain constant. I am loved by a wonderful man who makes my life so much easier. I have two fabulous daughters who I love more than anything. And I am never bored. Things could be worse.

Saturday, January 15, 2011

Before, During, and After

Two + years ago when I came home from the rehab place, the bathroom started falling apart. Tiles were falling off around the tub. Bob tried to fix it, but due to the nature of the walls (plaster and lath) and the water damage, it was not possible. Preliminary research indicated this was going to cost more money than we could afford to spend any time soon. We put up plastic bags and duct tape and hoped for the best.

This year, my mom gave us a wonderful christmas gift. She paid for Bathfitters to come out and fix the tub/shower area.

Here's the before.

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All the tiles were loose and it was impossible to clean them. Every time I tried wiping them down, more fell off. Not only was it disturbing, it was disgusting. Gross. Made showering a very unpleasant experience.

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We knew something had to give when the tiles around the fixtures started to go but again, we still couldn't afford it.

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You can see how all the surrounding tiles are loose. This is common, from what I'm told. Once one goes, they all start to go. The integrity is lost once the tiles loosen and it's only a matter of time.

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Another thing I didn't know. Typically in houses this age, a shower was not a normal thing to have. Most showers were retrofitted. The tiling was not done with waterproofing in mind, beyond what a tub bath would need. So when they are used for showering, it's inevitable that you'll start losing the tiles because the wall behind is not waterproof and the steam works a slow, steady damage to the plaster.

So Rich from Bathfitters showed up on Wednesday morning, bright and early. He worked diligently through the day. We were told this would be a two day job because of the wall repairs that were needed. No problem. I took one day, Bob took the second day. The dogs supervised Rich very carefully.

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After day one, we had this.

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Bob tells me the dogs supervised Rich just as diligently the following day. When I came home on Thursday, we had a "new" tub and shower.

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It's a huge relief. I took my first shower in it last night, and it was amazing. So nice to actually relax instead of being grossed out and ashamed and worried about doing further damage. Everything is neat, clean, and caulked tight. I may have to invest in some bubble bath now.

Thanks to my wonderful mother for this gift, and to Bathfitter Pittsburgh for the terrific job. Rich was neat, punctual, polite, and considerate. He also cleaned up after himself amazingly well. There was zero debris or mess left behind. If you use them, be sure to tell them I sent you.

Wednesday, January 12, 2011

What makes the world go 'round?

I keep starting to blog and then stopping again. There's nothing I can write that seems important enough or worth the trouble. Part of that is because really, my life is pretty darned boring. Another part of it is that my heart is broken.

My 26 year old daughter has cut off all communication with me and my family. I think she still talks to her sister. She says she has issues to work out and she doesn't want anyone to call or text or email her until she says she's ready. I have been alternating between denial and sorrow and rage and grief and anger and despair over it. This happened the week before christmas, the night before I had my fall and hurt my knee again. I think the fall was a nice distraction. I keep dreaming about her and I'm also worried about her, and about what this is doing to my mother, and then I get into the angry thing again, and then I start crying, so I am really trying not to think about it too much, but damn, it's hard. She said in her email (yes, email. She broke up with her family via email) that she didn't intend for it to be permanent but that she had some things to work through. Well, now we all have some things to work through, don't we?

Anyway. I'm still knitting. Still spinning. Still cooking decent stuff, still taking pictures, still walking and talking and trying to live. Nothing is broken or torn in my knee according to the doctor and the x-ray so that's good, but it still hurts. My new doctor is actually turning out to be pretty awesome so far, so my worry was in vain. She said the big-ass lump is bursitis and will go away in time, that I should rest and take pain meds as needed until that happens.

I guess the same thing applies to my heart.

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