December Thoughts


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    • Gold Top Dog

    December Thoughts

    It is now winter-barely. It seems that most of this snow will melt soon. I didn't even try the snow blower. Had Jr to the dog park. We were alone, but lots of tracks in the snow. Sky was looking hard for another dog. I'll have to get him into a swamp tomorrow. That, or take up drinking.

    Kids and wife are hinting that they don't know what to get me. Apparently I need to lose or break a few tools to open up the list.

    • Gold Top Dog

    Hard to believe it's December already.  This year flew by (even faster than they do normally).  

    Having a very busy week -- tons to do at work, a meeting tonight that I've been preparing for, and a bunch to get ready for two holiday bazaars I'll be working at this weekend.  So much for getting any Christmas shopping or gift packaging/mailing done this week or weekend.

    My car in in the shop today.  I've developed a coolant leak, and I've become very good at adding water to the reservoir on a daily basis.  My mechanic couldn't fit me in  until today.  My fingers and toes are crossed that he doesn't find anything major.  I had the coolant system done 6 months ago (new radiator, new coolant reservoir, other hoses, etc.), and it wasn't cheap, so hopefully it was just a defective hose or something -- and not a some other huge problem.  The car is over 14 years old, but I keep it in very good shape and would like to have it a little longer.  DH's response every time something has to be repaired is:  "Time for a new car."  But I tell him it's cheaper to put several hundred dollars into it once or even twice a year, rather than paying several hundred dollars every month for a car payment.  I know you have to draw the line somewhere, but I don't want to draw it yet!

    While I was getting ready for work yesterday, Ruby was curled up on our bed.  Suddenly she jumped down and went to the window, which still had the blinds closed (her head just reaches the window sill).  I didn't hear a noise or anything, but I pulled up the blinds so she could see.  From just a few feet away (on the other side of the chain link fence in our neighbor's yard) is a young deer, standing there, looking at us.  I don't know how Ruby knew it was there, but she did.  A minute later, a male appears (not very large, but with some noticeable antlers,  He joins the little one and stands there while it eats something.  All the while, Ruby's fur is all up and she's making this weird whining, excitable noise that she makes when she sees things outside -- not barking or growling, but definitely completely alert and engaged.  We watched  them for a few minutes, then they walked back to the neighbor's driveway and went behind another house two doors down.  We've had deer in the neighborhood before, but it's so weird when we live in this densely packed space with houses 10 feet apart.  Poor things have nowhere to go!

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    My nephew was rushed to the hospital Sunday nite. Jon has a heart condition where the heart muscle turns to fat. I think its called AVRD. His right ventricle is all fat. He has an implanted defibrillator and had a high fever from a virus. He was schocked four times on very short order and six times within 45 minutes at the hospital. They added a medication and adjusted the device then released him on Wednesday. Wednesday nite he had to be taken by ambulance and they found he'd been on V tach for 90 minutes. They've changed his meds and are keeping him at least until tomorrow. This is the son of the sister who broke her neck in July and then followed up with a shattered elbow, broken clavical and hip replacement in October.
    My own little drama started Tuesday morning when I woke up and found my chest and upper arms feeling like they were on fire and looking burned. An obvious allergic reaction. The burns were actually hives all running into one another. So an additional histamine blocker was added Wednesday and yesterday I felt great. This morning though the hives are coming back full force so I'm afraid the doc will add prednisone today. Hate taking that stuff but if I end up in the ER I'll get it anyway and would prefer to avoid the hospital especially on the weekend. Sigh. The good news though is that the dry hacking cough that has plagued me for the past year is gone.
    Can't seem to win for loosing!
    Dixie continues to be wonderful. However she defeated the barrier ds bought in less than 5 minutes anf continues to defeat all the alterations we've tried
    I really wouldn't mind her riding in the back seat if she stay there but the second I get out of the car she's in the drivers seat covering the windshield with nose prints.
    I'll be awfully glad when this week is over!
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    Has Sky at a local WMA yesterday.  No mosquitos.  He loves the rough ground, brush, heavy weeds.  Look for the thickest stack of crud, and he is probably in it working the ground .  No mud to worry about now. Just watch for thin ice.

    New Doctor is trying a smaller dose of meds.  The smaller dose costs more than the larger dose.  The larger dose is twice as large, so my thought is - use the larger dose, half one day, half the next.  Dr wants more precision in dosing, so we will try this a bit.  I used to think I didn't understand the pharmaceutical industry.  Now I understand it, and think it's corrupt.  But options are kind of limited. They own the politicians.  If I use the larger dose, I effectively cut the cost in half to $80 per month.  If I use the smaller dose, it's $170 a month.

    Truck needs work.  I had it fixed for winter, but the fix didn't help.  The idle won't slow down.  Take your foot off the gas for a stop sign, and it holds the speed.  Ford mechanic looked it over and had to order parts.  Apparently they don't keep a full stock of parts on hand for 1997 equipment.  A molded vacuum line apparently is the problem-along with a bunch of other parts he replaced but that were not the problem I wanted fixed.  Gas prices go any lower and I may keep the truck for a few more years.  $1.89 /gallon, and a 10 cent coupon on that.  Replace a few more parts and it is a new truck.

    Wife is attempting to "help" build the book case.  Her help is the reason we don't have a lawn shed.  I wanted a storage shed, she wanted windows, flower boxes and a porch.

    Now I just do it the way I want.  She is free to use any of the tools she wants on her projects.

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    Foggy and rain.  Snow is gone, grass is greening up.  Mud.  Hit the dog park yesterday.  Lots of activity.  Fun to watch the dogs run through the doggy scented mud, knowing that they get to ride hoe in the truck cab.

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    Glenda, I'm sending positive thoughts your way. I think Dixie sent a dog message to Rock. He got to ride in the back seat out of the crate today. I went in the post office to get the mail--he was in the driver's seat when I came out. Silly boy!

    Doug, how is the truck? Did you get more snow? It is above average temps here, though it is going below freezing at night.  Tracy and Doug, I get keeping older vehicles--my island pickup has over 250K miles and seems to be doing fine. My Subaru "only" has 170K miles--it will be 10 years old this spring. I keep asking the mechanic if I can get a new car (read: need a new car) and he keeps saying no.

    Not much else from here for now.

    • Gold Top Dog

    Glenda -- I don't GET the allergy crap post-menopause.  I've had allergies my whole life but this contact allergy/food allergy stuff is insane..  It started with fresh cut basil.  spread to chipotle.  and now it's virtually any kind of "pepper" (not peppercorn, altho I don't use much pepper) ... but even hot sauce creates itching and hives.  Then we go to drugs (and now I can't take ANY sulpha drug -- which includes Bactrim, Cipro etc.).

    Glenda do you know what caused the hives?  Don't be afraid when you feel hives coming on (and hives do NOT all look alike as you're finding out -- they can be HUGE thumb-sized bumps or a fine, oozy rash or anything in between) -- but don't be afraid to just literally swallow a bunch of Benedryl.  A doctor will give you a honking big SHOT , but there have been times when I've had to take 5 and more at a time just to GET to the doctor.  I asked about an epi-pen and they don't GIVE them to women my age because all it is, is epinephrine which simply keeps your heart beating until you can GET to a doctor (you have literally like 10-15minutes AFTER the dose to get TO an ER) and my doctor informed me that they can *not* give me an epi-pen because of my age and the heart risk.  So I carry Benedryl EVERYWHERE I go.  It sux but the kind of hives you're talking about are absolutely NO fun at all and can be danged life-threatening.  

    *Callie kicks soapbox out of the way*

    Stay warm everbuddy  ....

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    Truck goes in Thus for repairs.  Gas is so low priced ($1.85/GAL) I can afford to drive it.

    Snow is gone, golf courses are open and golfers are on green grass.  Weatherperson used that 4 letter word-snow-again tonight, but the money is on rain. Need to get Sky farther from home and on some birds, but the calendar keeps getting filled.  Maybe Friday.  One of our service clubs has a million light Xmas show this time of year, so the kids are coming to see it.  Usually we freeze.  This year, I think we sink in mud.

    My cabinet/bookcase is almost ready for final finish.  I am impressed.  I didn't think I had it in me.  Sand it down , stain and finish.  I have a print of an ESS holding a pheasant that will go in the place of honor.  Dog looks just like Rags, my first ESS.  Going to install a light to show it off., surround it with prints of Piper, Gunther, and Sky.

    Meanwhile, I keep digging splinters out of my fingers.

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    Kate did you have the pleasure of cleaning nose prints off your windshield? I seriously need to buy stock in Windex.

    Callie still trying to narrow down the cause. Very frustrating. Likely tho something in the gut. Taking tagamet has completely eliminated the dry hacking and unproductive cough that I've had for over a year and its gone now. Took in the stool sample today so will likely hear in a day or so if the results pinpoint anything. I had to go in to see the doctor again today... thinking I should get my own private exam room soon.. The good news though is that I'm far lighter red and the intense skin hate is lessening. And I guess I'm helping the doctors staff to stretch and grow......lucky me! I'm advancing medical knowledge while still breathing! Beats the alternative.

    • Gold Top Dog

    Glenda -- try a food diary.  When I started with the hives it was HECK trying to figure out what it was until one day I broke out in hives about half an hour after eating a WONDERFUL meal of mushroom/basil chicken ... but  look particularly at herbs (particularly 'fresh' herb is more potent), meds, or chemicals (like laundry soap, fabric softener, etc).  

    But don't assume it's something "new" -- in fact it's very likely to be something you have consumed for **YEARS** that suddenly your body has built an intolerance to.  OR there's something different now about how it's been grown.  Some shrimp blows me out in itch big time.  Other?  No problem.  But my friend who is a chef says it's what the shrimp ATE that is the allergen (so it's in the flesh of it ultimately).  But I can tell you if I go to Red Lobster I have to take a ton of Benedryl because almost anything there will react on me where seafood from a better quality restaurant won't.  

    But even the sulfa drug?  It was something I'd taken FINE in the past ... but all of a sudden?  Nope -- and I got the worst case of hives from it I've ever had.

    Chipotle?  I don't even have to eat something with chipotle IN it ... all it has to be is someone used a turner or a spoon  that touched the chipotle and I'll be broke out in hives before I leave the restaurant.  It's like my body just gets more and more sensitive darn it.  

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    been doing the food diary for 8 days. Extremely frustrating. Seems to be a bit improved today but gosh all these meds are really kicking my tail. But it is really nice to not wake up several times a night hacking and trying to find meds or lozenges.

    Dixie made a new friend today. She just loved the young man at the car inspection place. She os such a great dog. We were so very lucky to bring her home. Can imagine life without her. Now if she'd just quit defeating the barrier and stop leaving nose prints all over rhe windshield. .....

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    Truck is fixed-seems to be running well.  I bought whole cars for less than this repair.  The labor was over $300.  But still cheaper than a new car.  They have a nice F150 on the floor for sale.  If they allowed be $30000 for my truck on a trade in, I still couldn't afford it.  But it was red.

    Heavy rain for a while.  Minnesota.  December.  Rain.  Which word doesn't go with the others?

    Went hunting yesterday.  The WMA was basically under water.  Sky loved it, and came home very clean.  A few burrs.  I wear 10" boots, water proof right to the top. In 12" of water, they become pails.  And the water had ice in it, so I had no problems with sweating.  He just loves heavy swamps.  The splashing, the scent trails.  

    We spent out entire working life living "frugally" and are comfortable now, but I just can not see spending $62,000 on a truck-that gets 19mpg.  Even a red one.

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    Glenda and Callie so sorry about your allergies, I am so lucky that I don't have any but Ron has picked up a few as he has gotten older. (Gentle Hugs to you both)

    Doug I hope we get to see pictures of your new book case.

    Garth got his staples out Monday and is back to normal, kwazy dog :) Actually he is getting much better but about the time I think I have a bad habbit corrected he comes with another on or a revised version. He is so dang smart but if he don't wanna do it...he just doesn't.

    Next week Ron and I will celebrate our 30th anniversary! Woohoo! Not doing anything special just happy!

    Gotta run, have a good day!

    • Gold Top Dog

    I've missed a lot -- time to catch up!

    Glenda, how is your nephew?  What a scare.  I hope your allergies get under control.   It's so weird that we can develop an allergy to something later in life.    I worked with a woman who had a dangerous reaction to shellfish once, despite having eaten it for many years without an allergic reaction.  I've always had spring/pollen type allergies, but last year after what I thought was a 3-month long cold starting in late autumn, I went to my allergist to be tested for other types of things that didn't tie with my symptom timeline years before.  Turns out I'm now sensitive to feathers, dust, some molds, and fragrances.  I pretty much take my allergy medication year-round.

    Early anniversary congratulations to you and Ron, Ginger!  Our way to celebrate such things is a dinner that we don't cook, even if it's from our favorite pizza place or Thai take-out!

    Doug, you must have spotted the same F-150 that DH was drooling over not too long ago.  I think he said it was over $50K.  That's nuts!  He has a company vehicle, and after a dozen years of driving a very old but reliable F-150, they just had him switch it out for a newer Ford Escape.  Way better on gas for all the miles he drives each day, but a lot different in terms of the ride and the power and the room!  But it's a nice vehicle, and at 3 years old it feels more modern that his late 1990's model!

    My coolant leak turned out to require a reasonably affordable repair, about $250 (including an oil change), so I was relieved.  Kate, which Subaru do you have?  I'm 99% sure that will be my next car, probably an Outback since I've loved my Passat wagon all these years.  Subarus are everywhere here; very suitable for the NW lifestyle.

    Weather has been insane the past 3-4 days.  Torrential rains, very high winds, some flooding and closed roads around town this week.  Today we've had two thunderstorms already (It's only 3pm).  We rarely hear thunder here, and certainly not in December.  More rain to come through the weekend.  Yes, we were in drought conditions, but the number of inches we have all at once is a bit scary.  And the zillion feet tall Cypress trees in our neighbors' yards look awfully threatening as they blow in the high winds and sit in the totally saturated soil.  If one falls, it will probably hit our house.  Yikes!

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    Tracy, I have a Forester and it has served me well. A good friend has an Outback, which I love and would likely get one if I ever get a "new" car.  I wondered if you were in the path of all the storms--it seems it's feast or famine lately. It was super-warm here today--I think it got into the 60s!

    Glenda, nurf marks all over the windshield in my island pick-up. I gave up trying to clean it every time Ronnie or Rock made a nose print. Mozey, I am sure, would remind me that she doesn't ride in cars so she didn't make the mess!

    Ginger and Ron--congratulations!!!

    Doug--the truck prices seem so high these days! Sky, you sound like you were having a total blast at the WMA--a soaking wet dog for sure!