Thursday, August 27, 2009

Last Weekend Of Summer

When I was younger I used to love this time of year, because it meant that back to school was just around the corner. I loved starting a new year with empty notebooks and new pens and new goals.
I will have a new beginning next week once again. I will be returning to work after a year and a half hiatus. I'm a little worried that I won't be able to handle it, but I'm also looking forward to being with my vet. I won't have to learn a bunch of new things, since I'm going back to my last vet hospital, but I have to learn how to work again.
I am different mentally, physically and emotionally.
I have to get back into the habit of getting up early every day, no more "I don't feel good, I can stay in bed."
I will have to work thru anxiety (if I have any).
On the other hand, I will be surrounded by intelligent people, and I will be mentally stimulated all day long. I love what I do and can't imagine doing anything else.

3 days and counting.

Saturday, August 22, 2009

Feeling A Bit Lonely

My Mom has gone home after spending a few days here at my house, and I'm feeling melancholy. Usually my husband drives her home and I'm left to stay in an empty house, but this time I took her home. The loneliness hit me as I was driving back. I always get sad when she leaves, it's a kind of mini empty nest syndrome. I don't mind hanging out at home with just the dog, but after having my Mom here for a visit the house seems emptier when she leaves.
Obviously, the house IS emptier without a 3rd person here, but the empty feeling I get is not just from the lack of a physical's emotional also.
I grew up very close to my parents because I was an only child. I spent a great deal of time with them until I got into the 7th grade...then I started hanging out with my friends a lot more. I was very upset when I lost my Dad in 2005, and am very aware that my Mom will not live forever. I enjoy hanging out with her, going to the stores to "gape" (my word) at all the items, talking about different books we've read, and just sharing my thoughts and dreams and goals with her. She gives me strength when I'm feeling sad, offers advice when I'm struggling with a problem, and I know I always have her in my corner no matter what.
I wish I had spent more time with my Dad, and as a result of that I make sure I always have time for my Mom. When I return to work things will be different, I will not have 3 or 4 days in a row to have a sleep-over trip with her as I have done for the last 18 months. Our time together will be a day or two, but just as enjoyable.
Too many times we think about a loved one after they are gone and we share all the things we loved about that person. I believe in sharing it before they die, that way they know exactly how you feel and you become happy sharing it with them.
Mom, I love you very much and I'm glad to be your daughter. I would not be what I am today without you.

Friday, August 21, 2009

Queens Of The Dollar Store

The last few times I have gone to visit my Mom we have started a new trend. There are a lot of dollar stores in her city and we have visited most of them. We went to one only because we were looking for little clips for my hair, and couldn't find the right ones. So my Mom told me there was another store on the next block. There were actually 2 of them pretty close together, and we checked those for my little clips. Eventually we found what I was looking for, but in the meantime we did a thorough tour of all the cheap stores. Some of the items they offer are pretty good for a buck. It's amazing how some stores charge lots of money for the same thing you can get at a dollar store, and the quality of the items are pretty close. Both my Mom & I enjoy looking at the stuff, and occasionally we find something that we didn't know we really needed until we saw it.
She is visiting me for a few days, so we are going to make sure we hit the dollar stores in my area. I don't have as many as she does, but I"m sure we will discover something!

Friday, August 14, 2009

Rest In Peace GiGi

My heart was broken Tuesday.
It was broken like this once before, much worse. I think the fact that I'm on anti depressants tempered the terrible event.
I had to say goodbye to my sweet Greyhound girl GiGi Tuesday.
I knew the day would come, after all, dogs do not live forever; but I did not expect it to happen so suddenly. She was having more and more trouble standing up on her own, and would "flop" over frequently after drinking water or going outside. Tuesday morning she did not want to eat, and had diarrhea on top of it all. We put her in the kitchen for safekeeping while we went out for a few hours. Upon our return it looked like she had not moved from the spot she was in when we left. She was unable to get up, and even when my husband walked her with her sling, she had no interest in food or going outside.
This was not good.
After much soul searching, I called my vet who cared for her last year. She was kind enough to fit me in during her evening appointments. I did not want GiGi's quality of life to get worse while my vet was off on Wednesday. We did not think she was going to get better; after all, she was just 3 weeks from her 15th birthday. Greyhounds are not expected to live past age 14.
I had a few precious hours left with her before her 6 pm appointment. I lay down with her on her soft dog bed and whispered to her what a good girl she was and how much I was going to miss her. Her expression was exactly the same as my other Greyhound's the day I had her euthanized. She was ready to leave this world. I knew I was making the correct decision for her.

I held her paw from time to time as we drove to the hospital. My husband did not want to go inside with her, and as he walked away he was crying. This surprised and touched me, as I never knew the deep affection he had for our Greyhound girl.
My vet hugged me, and patted me as I cried and held GiGi as she took her last breath. Dr Smith cared for GiGi with dignity and love, and I would have had it no other way. My girl passed from this earth surrounded by those who loved her.

The house seems very empty now, devoid of all her dog beds and food bowls. I still have little Slander, but 13 lbs of Schnauzer is no replacement for a full size Greyhound.

I have shared my life with Greyhounds since 1995. This is the first time since that year that there is no needle nose close by, helping me eat my food, following me around the house, and going with me for long walks all year round.
I may not get another Greyhound, as I feel I would constantly be comparing the new one to the ones that have passed away. I have love to give, but don't know if I would physically be able to handle a young Greyhound (and one who would eventually grow older and have to be sling walked) with the way my back is now.
Perhaps it's best to open my home to another Schnauzer...small yet lovable. In any case, I'm mourning the loss of my sweet mischevious GiGi, and remembering the good things about her:
The time she ate an entire Entenmann's raspberry danish.
The time she escaped from the back yard and was found wandering the streets 15 heart stopping minutes later.
Visiting nursing homes with her as part of the Therapy Dog program.
Countless meet & greets to educate people to the plight of the racing Greyhound.

The memories go on and on...just like the love she created in me along with her sister Heidi Q.

They will never be forgotten.

Monday, August 10, 2009

Cash For Clunkers..What A Hassle

On a whim last week I went to a few car dealers to see what some new cars had to offer. (Being unemployed is dangerous, as you have lots of free time to get into trouble.) I knew the Jeep Grand Cherokee was unaffordable, but I wanted to see how much the smaller models were. They were not worth the money, as the interior was bare-bones and the ride not so good. I also didn't like the salesman.
We left and went back home to get on the internet. My husband suggested we use my old 1989 Mercury Cougar as a "clunker" to get some money towards the purchase of a new car. As I browsed the Honda website (and internally cringing for looking at a foreign car), the Honda Fit caught my eye. The dealer was close to us so off we went. The Fit was cute, but didn't grab me. As we strolled throughout the showroom, another car caught my eye...the Insight. It was interesting looking and the interior had a lot of amenities. A salesman saw me sitting in the car and asked if I wanted to test drive it. Of course I did!
When we returned to the dealer, he sat us down for the serious negotiations. I kept telling him we were just looking but the pressure was on. I really did like the Insight, a hybrid that boasts 40 mpg city. The negotiations got fast & furious, at one point I test drove the Fit to further cement my opinion of the Insight (it was lovely) and all of a sudden we were given a monthly payment we liked.
That was the easy part.
As Cash For Clunkers advertises, all you have to do is bring your old car to the dealer.

You need 2 years worth of insurance and registration papers to give the dealer. Sounds easy, right? Well, how many people keep their old insurance card & registration once the new ones come? I usually did, except last year my husband went on a cleaning kick and threw all the old ones out, saying that when you get stopped you have to search through all of them to find the right one.
WRONG! The new ones are always on top, and I have no problem finding them. Anyway, he tossed all the old ones. I had to go to the DMV to get a registration history. When I finally filled out the paperwork and talked to a clerk (after standing in 4 different lines and going to two different buildings) I was told that I could not get the printout the same day. I was livid. How long does it take to hit print screen and give someone a piece of paper? Apparently a few days if you are a government worker. Thus, I did not get my car that day.
The dealer called me later that day to say that others had gone to another DMV office and gotten their stuff right away. So Saturday I woke up at 7:45 am and went 45 minutes away to a DMV office that was clean, quiet and productive! I got my paperwork! I practically flew to the dealer. Of course, more roadblocks stood in my way...the dealer needed my original of the insurance card and registration for THIS year, which was home. I had already dropped my clunker off at the dealer the other day, so I just filed the papers. My poor husband drove home to get the documents while I filled out and signed millions of contracts. We were in the dealer's from 10 am to 2:30 pm. It was all worth it when I saw my car, however. She's a beauty!
Then I had to meet with the financial sales guy...who tried to up my monthly payment by offering extras like window etching, Lojack, gap insurance, extended warranty and something like road hazard insurance for the tires. My payment would have been more than 200 more!!!
I ended up taking the extended warranty after furious negotiations. My payment was only $8 more than I was promised. The warranty is great...I have no deductible and everything is covered for 8 years. My husband is happy, he doesn't have to work on the car at all!

I love driving around in my little hybrid....but the government sure didn't make it easy to get.