Friday, October 31, 2014

I thought we were past the baby gate stage...

We watch as he makes a beeline for the living room.  "Bodhi??  Where you going, buddy?"  He doesn't even acknowledge us.  He takes his 100 lb bulk and climbs up into the Lazy Boy, squeezing his hairiness between the arms of the chair - legs splayed - head over the side.

"Bodhi.  Dude.  You don't belong on there.  DOWN."

His eyebrows droop before he slides dejectedly off the Lazy Boy.  He immediately moves towards the sofa.  "No.  Bodhi, NO."  Head down, he moves past us towards the kitchen/family area.  I beat him to the punch, going the other way around the stairs and place a kitchen chair on its side on top of the family room sofa.  "Dude.  Seriously.  No couches.  No.  You shed too much."

He sighs, cocks his head to one side, and gives us the eyes... you know the ones... the "how could you do this to me, aren't I the most adorable thing you've ever seen in your life, why are you punishing me when I am so new to your home?" eyes.

"Stand your ground," I warn David.  "Don't let him play you.  We have to be a united front."

"I'm thinking this is a losing battle."

"Everything is going to smell of dog."

"Well, he is, in fact... a dog."

"Yes, but the furniture isn't.  Find the baby gate."

Thankfully, we've just emptied the storage locker and have yet to move its contents into our... I was going to call it a basement, but crawlspace/cellar is more accurate - it has an egress door and a dirt/gravel floor.  Two baby gates lean against the wall of the living room - we haven't had to use them in years.  We wrestle with the old-fashioned wooden gate.

The doorways in our new house aren't the same width as our old house.  The original markings that we'd left with Sharpie on the gate are now completely wrong.  It takes us about 6 tries before we get the geometry right.  The gate now blocks the path to the living room.  Bodhi stares at the gate and huffs at us.

"Sorry dude."

He walks away.  He goes over to his food bowl and stands there... crestfallen.  He glances sidelong at us, using his peripherals - I guess he's trying to figure out if we're going to steal his food now too.  He sighs again and slowly sinks to the floor, lying with his head on the rim of his food bowl, but not eating.  He just lies there.  His eyes cut to us and then back to the bowl.  He takes one piece of kibble and begins to chew.  As he finishes the piece, he glances over at us again.  He's holding his breath.  We're holding ours. 

David raises his eyebrows questioningly.  I shrug.  He motions over to Bodhi with his chin.  I shrug again.

"Have you ever seen a dog do this?" he whispers.

"No," I whisper back. "I think maybe his old cat used to stalk him while he was eating."


We sit on the bottom stair, silently watching as Bodhi eats with the daintiness of a 18th century debutante.  He finishes and looks back at us... wags his tail.

A week and a half in... I'm totally going to cave.  I might as well start shopping now for possible quilts we can use to cover the family room sofa. 

p.s.  There IS a dog bed, bought - BRAND NEW - the day he arrived.  It sits on the floor beside the family room sofa - his disinterest is EPIC.

Thursday, October 30, 2014

I really miss my right arm.

Ironing left-handed is akin to learning to ride a unicycle, but I'm pretty sure this hobble-shouldered old dog can learn new tricks.  Cursing and taking double the time to actually get clothes wrinkle-free - but 20 minutes later, the shirt's relatively smooth.  TAH-DAAAAH!!!!  Until the iron falls, spilling water everywhere, and I reach for it with my dominant arm.  What are the synonyms for pain?  Imagine them all now... all of them...   Each one emanating from my supremely fucked right shoulder socket....

I want to take the iron, and throw it through our living room window.  Except I can't, because I can't throw with my good arm, and if I attempt with my left arm, I'll probably hit myself in the head by accident.  I want to light the now re-wrinkled shirt on fire and throw it through that broken window.  I want to dance in the flames of the burning shirt and howl into the night sky.  I don't, but I really, really want to.  My shoulder and right bicep scream with me.

"Breathe Heather.  Just breathe."  I pour myself a Scotch - my best Scotch, the 12 year old Scotch - over ice.  I tumble the ice in the glass take deep breaths. 

I will not desolve into tears.  I will not desolve into tears.  I will not desolve into tears..."  I pledge, as tears now roll down my cheeks.

David glances up from his computer.  He hasn't heard anything because he works with headphones on.  "What happened?"

"Iron," I mumble around the rim of my old-fashioned glass. Right elbow, tucked into my side, right hand pushing the glass up to my lips as my left arm holds the shoulder down, in case it decides to do anything else stupid.


I point to the offending small appliance with my chin.  "Iron.  Falling.  Catching.  Apparently right-handedness is instinctive."

"Oh baby...  Can I get you something?"  He smooths the tears from my cheeks.

"Yeah. Can you please place me in a coma for the next 18 months?"


"A coma.  Just put me in a coma until the shoulder unfreezes."

'Cause that's what'll happen.  A shoulder can decide to freeze, all on its own, and it can decide to unfreeze - all on its own.  Regardless of treatment, drugs, physio.  One morning a year and a half from now, I might just wake up and be fine.  Until then - bumping that arm, attempting to use it to pick shit up off the floor, absent-mindedly putting weight on it, can send the closest thing to labour pain that I've experienced since giving birth.  I'm not exaggerating.  I bumped that fucker while performing onstage and almost passed out.  For last half hour of the play, I counted the seconds to get to drugs.  My shoulder, as it freezes, is actually worse since I started physio.  That's counter-intuitive.

Apparently, my body provides the perfect storm for weird-ass shit like this.  Frozen shoulder affects only 2-3% of the population.  Between peri-menopause and Hashimodo's Disease,  I am rocking those percentages.  I am a statistical GLADIATOR!  I should totally be buying those Princess Margaret lottery tickets! I have a 98% chance of winning! 

Wednesday, October 29, 2014

Help! My crock pot's making me flatulent!

The potatoes in the chicken corn chowder should have been cooked.  They'd been in the crock pot for 8 hours.  Instead they were crunchy.  After 8 hours in the crock pot - they were still raw, crunchy potatoes.  Tried to nuke the chicken corn chowder, but cooking everything together just made the creamy parts curdle.  I was well on my way to pitching a fit when David took the slotted spoon - which does, in fact, catch the potato (that's for you musical theatre geeks out there) - and gathered up all the spuds and cooked them separately. We left the crock pot on to cook the remaining chowder - another 5 hours on high until bed time... and found the potatoes crunchy.  I know this because every time the chowder was tested for 'doneness,' I'd eaten a potato.

As I went up to bed, my stomach was already beginning to rumble.  Oh dear.  This was going to be bad.  Very bad.  Raw potatoes bad.

"Keep your distance," I warned David.

"What do you mean?"

"I ingested raw potatoes tonight - this could get ugly."

"I don't under...  OH MY GOD!  Is that YOU?!?"

"I warned you.  I warned you.  Stay away, it's for your own safety!"

"How can you still be alive?  Are you sure that you're not a rotting corpse?"

"Raw potatoes baby.  It's the crock pot's fault, I'm telling you.  Stay on your side of the room, you might be safe over there."

As I was getting ready for bed, I tried my best not to defoul the air -  I even left the bedroom at one point, leaving a raw potato bomb out on the stair landing.

"How long are you going to be out there?" asked David.

"As long as it takes for the smell not to follow me when I walk back in.  You should go to sleep without me."

The next morning, after a mere 22 hours, the remaining potatoes had finally cooked.  Yes, we'd suspected that the element in the crock pot was malfunctioning in the past - but it had never really been and issue.  It had never been a danger to the family.  The time had come.  The time had come for a new crock pot.  David's world view was forever changed. 

Monday, October 27, 2014

Why this old thing...?

Nothing like a barium swallow to get you in the mood.

"Shirt, pants, bra... OFF.  Leave only your panties."  The nurse hands me two hospital gowns.  "One on the front, one on the back."  She turns to leave.  "Oh... you can keep your socks on."

"What about my boots?" I joke.   I point to my yellow rain boots.

The nurse looks at me like I'm nuts.  "Probably best not to."

Thank God for striped knee socks...  I'll still be able to make a fashion statement.

One gown on the back.  No problem...  Just tie it up at the neck here and... we're missing one of the ties at the waist.  Let's try the other gown...  untie the two ties and then re- tie it up at the neck and... where's the other frickin' tie?  Ahhhh... it's more like a house dress kind of closure.  I get it.  The other one was probably the same.  Which pale blue, washed-a-billion-times gown would be more pleasing to the eye as the 'front'?  There's a pale blue one with birds on it or an even paler blue one with teddy bears. Fuck it - my ass is covered, I'm going out there.   I grab my purse and exit the curtained cubicle.

"Here are some crystals that you need to swallow with water."  The nurse hands me a medicine cup with what looks to be Liquid Plumber crystals in it.  "It's to give you gas so that the images come out clearer when you swallow the barium.  As soon as the water hits them, they start to work - so you need to swallow it all down right away or it'll come out your nose.  After you've swallowed, don't burp."

I swallow my container of pop rocks with the little bit of water provided.   Don't burp?  It's all I can think about now.  Bloating... bloating... bloating...  stomach extending.

"The radiologist will be with you in a moment - you stand up here."  She indicates a wee dolly platform attached to a movable table.

"Do they have this ride at Wonderland?" I ask.

"Here is your barium.  Hold it in your left hand.  Right hand here." The nurse adjusts the handhold for me. 

The doctor comes breezing in.  Early 40s,  blond, well-coiffed, wearing fetching trousers and... be still my heart... great shoes... He is also Australian.  Well hello sailor...  My morning is looking up.  I smile winsomely at him.

"Good morning Heather.  Any chance that you're pregnant?"

Well, that steals a girl's thunder.  "Nope.  I'm good."

Apparently my bloating must really be working because he gets the nurse to double check.  Awesome.

"Now go ahead and swallow the barium Heather.  Gulp it down as fast as you can."

I chug down the liquid chalk.  Then wipe my mouth.

"Don't worry about that," the nurse says.  "We'll give you a cloth afterwards."

Then the table lowers back and I'm asked to roll around... I snort, thinking of Terri Garr in Young Frankenstein.

"Keep rolling Heather - on your back and then side and then stomach.  That's it.  Keep rolling."

"Do I get a treat after this?"

kunnnnn-clunk...  kunnnnn-clunk...  kunnnnn-clunk...  The machine goes off, documenting my esophagus and stomach for posterity.

"Hope you're getting my good side," I say flirtatiously, with a saucy wink.

"You're doing great, Heather... doing great... Everything's looking wonderful.  Don't breathe, don't breathe, don't breath... and... BREATHE.  You're doing great.  It's all looking good, come on over and I'll show you what I'm seeing here."

The table comes to vertical once more and I step off the dolly platform with incredible grace before sashaying over to the doctor, throwing him my best smile.

"No ulcer, no tumors - you're looking great here.  You have what looks to be inflammation in your esophagus - probably acid reflux.  Do you take a lot of anti-inflammatories?"

"I been taking a lot for my shoulder."

"You might want to give those a rest and just manage with acetaminophen for now."

Handsome and caring... how lovely.

"Thank you so much.  I'm so relieved."

"You're most welcome." He shakes my hand.  "Glad I could give you good news."  He gives me a bright smile which I return enthusiastically.  This was a great way to start my day.

As I'm watching him finish up, the nurse hands me a wet cloth.  "This is for your mouth - you can wipe away the barium contrast..." She motions to pretty much my entire lower face.

Awesome.  I wipe away with the cloth - thinking I'll have gotten it all.  I turn to the nurse.  She shakes her head, points to my chin.

"Enjoy your day," says the Doc as he breezes from the room.

"You as well..." I manage, madly scrubbing at my chalky chin.

Thursday, October 23, 2014

And this isn't even auto-correct...

I laugh with everyone else when they post texts from their Mom peppered with profanity as the auto-correct takes hold of the device.  I'm sure that if my Mom were texting me, her messages would be equally hilarious.

Typing too fast in Scrabble chat gives almost the same effect.

Monday, October 20, 2014

What's bigger than SUPER PLUS?

"Do tampons come in anything bigger than SUPER PLUS size?" asks Rissa.

"I didn't even know they came in a SUPER PLUS size..." I answer.

"They do."

I only pick up Rissa-sized things.  Having fully converted to the Diva Cup a while ago - I haven't purchased tampons for me in so long.  I do my best to recall the Shoppers Drug Mart Feminine Hygiene shelves: lite, regular and super... you know that box, with all three sizes all together - purple, yellow and green... IS there a SUPER PLUS?  What colour is it?  I'm thinking about how much cotton would comprise something bigger than a SUPER PLUS tampon and the logistics of said tampon's insertion for a woman who hasn't given birth yet.

"Really?  There's a SUPER PLUS?  You're not just making that up?"

"Nope.  They're orange."

"Huh...  Okay then.  SUPER SPECTACULAR PLUS size?" I suggest, with accompanying jazz hands.  I'm already envisioning a 30 foot high marquee celebrating them.  I feel it warrants song.


Rissa snorts.




(Now with added SPARKLE and PIZZAZZ!!!)

Friday, October 17, 2014

The Human Broiler

My Mom?  She used to make 8 grilled cheese sandwiches at the same time by putting them under the broiler.   The oven door would remain open, just a few inches, so that the sandwiches could be monitored - ensuring even browning.  My Granny used to do the same thing for breakfast, with open-faced hamburgers buns.  The broiler would toast bread to perfection.  The broiler was a secret toasting weapon.

I'm dreaming of grilled cheese.  At 5:45 a.m. there is a cookie sheet of buttered sandwiches in bed with me.  Dozens and dozens of sandwiches, evenly toasting at first, but then I remember that the oven door isn't open, I haven't been checking on their progress - they are turning to charcoal under the blankets.  I am turning to charcoal...


"What?!?  WHAT?!?"  David starts awake.

"Hot flash!  HOT FLASH!!"  I flap, flap, flap the blankets around me, desperate to stop the toasting.  "TOO HOT!!!"  My torso is seconds away from spontaneously combusting.  "THIS IS HOW IT ALL ENDS!!!"

Then, my human broiler shuts off.  "Oh thank God..."  I have 32 seconds of comfort before my skin chills and my teeth start to chatter.  The blankets back on - I now huddle next to David for warmth.

I thought I had it all figured.  I know my triggers... caffeine... alcohol... if avoid them, if I only have that one glass of scotch, I'm usually fine.  Wait a second!  I didn't even have scotch last night!  What the hell is going on?

I think I might just have to face it. I'm 46 years old, this could just be the next stage in Peri-Menopause. Yes, I've been 'flashing' since I was 36, but my Mom, now 69, still gets the occasional flash.   Upside, Heather.  There has got to be an upside...

It's autumn in Canada - won't need to wear that light jacket outside.

My hot flashes can augment our house's heat!!  Our gas bills won't be as high!

If I am my own 'sweat box,' I will be able to burn body fat with this process!

When I reach the combustion point, eggs can be cooked on my torso, which means that less electricity will be used in the home, PLUS I'll be able to hire myself out to side shows for some extra cash and we'll be able to pay off the mortgage just that little bit faster...

See?  All I needed was a perspective shift.  It's all good.