Wednesday, May 25, 2005

Enough Already!

I'm ready to start building an Ark. It would give me some small satisfaction to return my bad neighbors banging and crashing with some of my own. It would take a lot of hammering to build an Ark. Huh? You ask? It's not you - it's me - I'm going crazy from all this rain! It's cold, it's wet, it has been for weeks. Oh sure, we get teased every now and then with a peek at the sun, but it's May in New England! We should be having 70 degree weather and barbecues! I hear on the news that it's the third or fourth coldest wettest May ever.......DUH! Just look out the freakin window?!? Enough of this crap already! We had enough Nor'easters this winter, we don't need another one. They talk about hearty New Englanders.....even we can only take so much before turning into whining crybabys (speaking only for myself of course). I'm awhinin' and acryin' - please stop the rain! I'm ready to head south by Gorry!

Tuesday, May 24, 2005

I Don't Wanna

I checked out movie times before I left work yesterday. I have been itching to see Revenge of the Sith. I didn't see Phantom Menace or Attack of the Clones in theaters, and since this is the last - I wanted to see it big.

I picked up my son about 4:00 from track practice (his last one for this season) and asked him if he wanted to go to the movies. He groaned that he would rather see Hitchhikers guide to the Galaxy. Is it just me, or do all children want to do something other than what you want to do? Ever since he was little, I would have to drag him - sometimes kicking and screaming - to one thing or another that I thought he would enjoy, and eventually did. I explained that we could hit the 4:50 show and be out by 7:20, there wouldn't be any crowds at this time and I really thought he would enjoy it. He finally agreed after rolling his eyes a few times and my finally saying - "Fine! We'll just go home!" (Anything would be better than that).

The one reason my son loves going to the movies is the snacks. It cost me more than the bloody tickets! (Luckily the 4:50 show was still at the matinee price) Two ginormous drinks, a large popcorn, 2 bags of sweedish fish and 2 hotdogs later....We found our seats. (I only had a drink and some of the popcorn mind you - I have no idea where this growing boy puts it all).

He thoroughly enjoyed the movie in the end. I did too. It wasn't perfect, and they do overuse the CGI effects, but all in all it wrapped everything up in a nice way. I'm not a Star Wars fanatic by any means - to me it's entertainment. But....I did feel a bit sad and nostalgic that it was 27 years ago, when I was thirteen years old, that I sat in awe watching the most amazing movie I had ever seen unfold on the screen before me. Now it's finally reached it's end, and that's kinda sad for me. My son doesn't share my grief or amazement, he has become accustomed to seeing CGI effects both in movies and video games. He wasn't there at the beginning and couldn't appreciate the timing of this final installment of the story. It was a day I was feeling my age.

Maybe....Someday...My son will feel that feeling with his offspring.....Maybe with the Harry Potter movies or something.

Thursday, May 19, 2005


Most homes will have an occasional mouse that seeks refuge from the cold winter. The Dutch Colonial I grew up in was no different. I had the largest of the three bedrooms upstairs, a teenage girl in the 70's dream - big yellow flowered wallpaper and a canopy bed. My parents took the bedroom with the largest closet and closest to the bathroom, points not truly appreciated until adulthood. My brother had the smallest bedroom, considered the size of a closet by today's standards but, it had walk up stairs to the attic in the closet. A very cool selling point to a seven year olds imagination.

Dad tried to hide the mousetraps discreetly in the basement and around the house so his two young children would not be traumatized at the sight of a dead mouse. I was around 13 at the time and my brother was 7.

Not all the mice were dumb enough to fall for the peanut butter filled traps though. Some mice can be rather intelligent. Take for instance the mouse that plagued my parents last year in their current residence: Dad found evidence of the little bugger by the holes it was digging in the soil of one of Mom's large houseplants. Dad placed a peanut butter laden trap directly in the planter the mouse frequented. At each check of the trap, a hole would be dug under the trap and the bait would be licked clean. Smart mouse. It took a while before it became careless enough to spring the trap.

What is a parent to do when an adorable, furry, big eared, beady eyed rodent appears in the midst of his two excitable young children? Can't kill it - imagine the therapy bills. The only logical thing to do is to try and catch it and let it go outside. (Of course it will probably return to the house; carrying disease, contaminating the pantry or damaging the woodwork) Thoughts not in the realm of children. The things our parents do because they love us!

I saw an example of this love firsthand.

I don't recall who actually first saw the mouse. What I do remember is the four of us trying to corner it and catch it. It was nighttime, my brother was in pajamas and I was in a nightgown. We were jumping around and pointing "There it is!" Squealing in excitement. Dad was trying to find something to trap it with - a bucket,a cup, a blanket, anything to cover it with. Mom had the broom, trying to corral it. This petrified little field mouse was evading capture as best he could. It really was a comic scene: Mom wielding the broom, Dad looking for anything to contain it, and two overexcited children running, jumping and squealing at a frightened field mouse dodging to and fro.

The mouse, afraid for it's life, took a desperate path right up the grasscloth covered wall. It paused 5 feet up and calculated it's options: crazy lady with a broom on the left, 7 year old in perpetual motion on the right, man with a blanket in the rear, and a 13 year old girl wearing lots of concealing material directly in front. The choice was made and in a death defying leap it hit the floor and bounced right up my nightgown.

I did a jig that would make any Irishman proud. I think I probably hit high C too, but things are a little fuzzy for me. I remember hopping from side to side frantically flapping the hem of my nightgown, all modesty forgotten. I do know that I eventually flushed it out - much to everyone else's amusement. I think they were all rolling on the floor and laughing too hard at that point to even worry about catching the sucker. It probably died of fright anyway.

So...Given the choice of seeing a dead mouse in a trap or having a live one run up your nightgown...What would you choose?


Wednesday, May 18, 2005

I hate being sick

There is nothing worse than feeling so crappy and aching so bad that the thought of actually getting off the couch to go pee just seems overwhelming. The couch is where I was for the last two and a half days. It started Sunday night at my son's birthday party. I felt suddenly exhausted...There was a slight tickle at the back of my throat I just couldn't get rid of.

I crashed early Sunday night and woke up at 5:30 Monday morning, I couldn't raise my head from the pillow, maybe just a little more sleep was what I needed. I slept till 9 and still felt the same, so I called in sick to work.

Tuesday morning it was the same thing.

I now know what it feels like to be a cat and sleep 16 hours a day. Not bad for an occasional indulgence, for me - I'd rather feel normal and be up and about.

Maybe it was just my old age catching up with me - I turn 41 today. Ugh.

Saturday, May 14, 2005


Galileo: the sassy little lady Posted by Hello

The very nice Doctor lady called today to inform me of the Hystology results: a benign fatty tumor called a lypoma. Parakeets are prone to them, dogs get them, cats get them, people get them! Nothing to worry about. Another could appear in the future but at least now I know with certainty that it's nothing to worry about.

For the moment...all is right within my world.


My baby Posted by Hello

At 6:04 PM tonight my son will be 15 years old. He made it, by the skin of his teeth. Wow. 15. Am I really that old? He was born on a Monday, the day after Mothers Day, 4 days before my birthday. We have 6 birthdays in May within my family and extended family. I guess that makes August a hot month in more ways than one.

He has gone off with his father for an overnight visit. The first visit in over a month. The first time since our divorce that he will be with his father on his birthday. I hope it all goes well and he has a good time. We will celebrate his birthday tomorrow at my parents house with a nice dinner, a cake and presents.

I hope that 15 is easier than 14 was, I'm not that lucky though. It isn't easy watching him struggle on the verge of manhood. He rebels against everything I say, since I'm not a real person and only The MOTHER, it is expected and normal. Sometimes I wonder if he is truly made of my genetics and not some alien entity secretly deposited in my sons place. Could this person actually be the same angelic faced child that once looked up at me for guidance and comfort?

My Mother once told me that it is a teenagers job to make you dislike them enough to let them go. My son takes that job very seriously and, at times, excels at it. I just pray that I am doing a good enough job that he will grow into an honest, decent man with a happy life.

Happy birthday baby. I love you.

Friday, May 13, 2005

FFFFFFriday the Thirteenth

Maybe it's spring fever.
Maybe it's just because it's Friday.
Maybe it's because it's the 13th.
Maybe it's because the weekday weather has been nice, but the last 3 weekends have been rainy and miserable.
Maybe it's a full moon.

Whatever it is.............. it's making everyone cranky and antsy and totally wanting to get out of work and start the weekend.

Myself included.

I cannot concentrate.
I'm finding every excuse to do everything but what I should be doing.
I am unproductive.

I want to leave.
I want to go to my sons track meet.
I want to go shopping for his birthday present, just living to see it isn't enough.
I want to have an ice cold beer and put on my sweatpants and slippers.

Writing about it is giving it teeth.
It was a thought, a feeling.
Now it's almost a compulsion.
Must. Leave. Now.

Tuesday, May 10, 2005

Home again, home again, jiggety jig!

It was an hour wait before the assistant in scrubs came looking for us. My son had reached his patience tolerance level and was almost to the point shouting how tired he was of waiting to every soul in the room.

I was reading a Birdtalk magazine in the waiting room. There was an interesting article about talking birds and how scientists have discovered that birds actually understand the context of language. They are actually thinking of classifying birds as being more intelligent than some mammals. I could have told them that. My previous parakeet, Buddy, would ask "What are you doing?" at the most appropriate times. Galileo will shout out "Hey Baby!" when I walk past her cage. She will also shake her head and flare her tailfeathers when I yell at her for chewing on my windowsill, as if to say "Yea, and what are you gonna do about it!" They are intelligent creatures.

We both stood as she approached "We don't have any exam rooms free, do you want to sit while I review her aftercare?" I looked her square in the eye and said "No thank you, we've been sitting for an hour". It was enough to satisfy the impatient one's irritation as well as relaying my annoyance. She muttered an apology and went right into what we should watch for and expect. She nervously stuttered a few times, that was almost satisfying to me. Vets charge outrageous fees for their time - is mine any less valuable? There were 4 women shuffling in and out of the front desk admitting new patients and releasing old. There didn't appear to be any kind of system to speed the process along, it was chaos. People that came in after me left before me, it really seemed like they had no clue what they were doing. I also think it's just plain rude when you're standing right in front of them and they ignore you while reading a computer screen. A simple "I'll be right with you" isn't too much courtesy to ask for. I'm glad I had more confidence in the Doctor than the administrative staff.

She was finally brought out in her travel cage, silent and clinging to her perch. My heart fluttered when I got a low wolf whistle at the sound of my voice. I had to ask for the towel that I had brought in covering her cage. My son took her to the car and I could see the relief on his face.

I then stood at the counter waiting for the headless chickens to get it together enough so I could pay my bill. After 10 minutes more it was handed to me, $100 more than the estimate. I scanned the charges and noticed that they had included the charge for the Hystology (biopsy). "I spoke with the Doctor earlier today and she said she was going to have the hystology done but not charge me for it". I quickly got another printout without the charge. The total was $30 less than the original estimate. I wonder how many people actually just pay the bill without reading it over first. I wonder how much money they have literally stolen from distraught pet owners. What a racket. I think I will write a letter: commending their treatment of the animals, but protesting their treatment of the owners.

The cage was in my sons lap the whole ride home. "She's acting funny" he worried. I explained that he would be wiped out and acting funny if he had been deserted at a strange place where they plucked out his tail feathers, put him to sleep, and if he woke up alone and confused with a sore behind. I told him that she would be her old self in a couple days, with more confidence than I felt. She managed to nibble at his fingers and give a few low whistles, though it was much too subdued to ease my sons concern.

As I was cleaning her 'home' cage, my son had taken her out of her travel cage and she flew, hitting the floor much too quickly. I had clipped her wings right before her trip to the vet, she didn't know she couldn't fly anymore. I knew that her landing probably caused her a lot of pain and I spoke much too sharply at my son for taking her out of the cage. I backpeddled and told him why she has to take it easy and be left alone and quiet to recover. "We don't want her opening up the incision, you have to give her time to heal hon". He was excited when she hopped over to her newly filled dish and started eating. Mom could possibly be right.

I uncovered her the next morning to fill her dishes with fresh water and food. As soon as the cover came off an excited chirp filled my ears as she raced to the door and started rattling it as if to say "Let me out!" She was feeling better and decided to launch herself from my arm. With wings flapping furiously she landed on the floor. I could feel her pain. I scooped her up and deposited her back in the cage. She ruffled her feathers and shook as if to say "Ouch - that wasn't supposed to happen!" It wasn't so painful as to prevent her from shouting at me as I headed out the door to work. "Where are you going? I'm feeling much better - stay here and play with me!" I only wish I could have.

I was the recipient of a hearty welcome and a bit of a scolding when I arrived home 10 hours later. She was her old excited self clinging to my fingers with her beak up against my mouth and tickling my nose with her feathers as she chirped and waited for my response. She was even feeling well enough to wrestle with my thumb as I held it up to her face. She feels lighter, maybe it's my imagination. Her tail pulls a bit to the right now because the incision went around her body to her back. At least there was enough skin to close the incision. Hopefully it will straighten out as it heals. I won't love her any less even if it doesn't.

Monday, May 09, 2005

She's OK!

I just got a call from the vet. Galileo's surgery went well, they found a second cyst starting to form which they also removed. The Dr. is sending out the tissue for biobsy - no charge to me (I'm liking this Dr. more & more!) I'll pick up my son from track and then we'll pick up our bald butt lil bundle of personality.

You know I'm heaving big sighs of relief, and yes, even a tear or two. It's amazing how the non-human beings that live with us can work their way into your heart and become a member of the family.

Wednesday, May 04, 2005


My son knew I was home from work, and knew I was taking the bird to the vet. He phoned about 2:15 and pleaded with my to pick him up and take him along. "If you are going to put her down, I won't even have a chance to say goodbye". I couldn't argue with his logic, or his feelings.
He held the cage in his lap as the bird hung on the bars directly in front of his face chattering and whistling. It was a sight that both warmed and broke my heart.

We checked in at the front desk and were shown to an exam room a short time later. "How do they put her to sleep?" he queried. "By injection - and it's over pretty quickly". The damn was starting to break and the tears started flowing down my son's cheeks. I hugged him. He finally excused himself to the car because he just couldn't take the waiting anymore, and there was no way he would be capable of staying for the end.

The Dr. came in with a big smile and introduced herself. We discussed what was going on and then she examined the bird by holding her with a paper towel. Galileo was not pleased with the indignity and ran to my shoulder for protection from the big bad lady upon being released. She preened her ruffled feathers as the Doc and I discussed options.

Doc had very positive thoughts on our situation. She explained what she thought it was and how she would handle a surgery and what the outcome would most likely be. She explained things in medical terms I could understand without talking down to me or oversimplifying it. I liked this woman. She was direct and honest and answered all my questions about the riskiness of anesthesia and the prognosis for recovery. She excused herself to write up a cost estimate. I had already made the decision to go for the surgery. Surgery will greatly increase her quality of life, and if she lives her lifespan of ten years the cost is negligible since she is only a year and a half old. I thought of my poor son grieving in the car and got a flashback of an almost identical situation from many years ago.

I had grown up with a black lab mix named RivCor. I still remember the day my Dad brought him home. He was all teeth, puppy breath and belly at 8 weeks old. All black with white boots and a white tipped tail, he also had a white triangle on his chest and on top of his snout. He was a smart dog and learned all kinds of tricks that I taught him: sit, lay down, roll over, speak, play dead. He understood his command by voice or hand. He could balance a treat on his nose and stay perfectly still until given the command to snatch it. He had soulful brown eyes that spoke of his intelligence and understanding when he looked at you. He had a gentle nature. He didn't growl or bite me the day he got hit by a car and I had to drag him out of his carpeted whiskey barrel bed to assess the damage. He was frightened and shaking, he had a large open wound from the inside of his back leg all the way up to his belly. But he knew me, and he knew I wouldn't hurt him. He was my buddy. I would stop by to visit my folks and my buddy even after I left home to start my own adult life.

RivCor was about 15 years old and showing his age when my Dad called me to tell me he was making the trip to the vet. RivCor was having problems standing, he would list and fall over like he couldn't get his balance. My parents didn't want him to suffer. He had become frail in his old age. His once shiny coat was now coarse and dull with smatterings of grey hairs throughout it. I had told my Dad once that he wasn't to make that trip without me. I wanted to be there to say goodbye to the dog I had grown up with.

I sat in the back seat next to him, stroking his fur and telling him how much I loved him. By the time we got to the vet I was already crying. I couldn't bring myself to go in with them. I sat in the car and sobbed for my loss. The vet office was a small building, behind that was a large barn that contained the kennel and the incinerator where those less fortunate animals were cremated. I sat in the front seat of the car as the years of memories trickled down my face. Two people appeared at the back of the office building carrying a large trash bag of what had to be the remains of my beloved RivCor. Seeing this opened the floodgates of my sorrow. I sat, brokenhearted and filled with grief.

Dad entered the vehicle with a slight smile on his face. I looked at him in horror as he told me that the vet thought it was a treatable inner ear imbalance that elderly dogs get. They would keep him overnight and Dad would be able to pick him up in the morning. He hugged me when he saw the anguished relief on my face. I related what I had seen and he simply stated "No wonder you are such a mess".

RivCor did come home the next day and he did improve. Slowly, old age finally got the better of him though. He had to be carried up and down the stairs of their deck in order to do his business. He actually became quite senile and would be at the door 5 minutes after he had just gone out - forgetting he had just made that trip. There were times when he didn't make it to the door in time too. It was about a few months to a year later when my Dad called me and told me he had taken RivCor to the vet to end his suffering. He didn't want to put me through that again and I was thankful for that.

I grieved for the loss of a wonderful companion and to this day, I still do. I miss my buddy.

I used my cell phone to call my son in the car and give him the news. I think he ran back into the exam room. We took her home (much to her relief). Surgery is scheduled for Monday morning. I am hopeful that all goes well with our sassy little brat, Galileo and we will still have many years to be blessed by her presence.

I am working on figuring out how to post pictures and hopefully you will be able to see the little lady and RivCor very soon.

Tuesday, May 03, 2005


An emotional trip to the vet yesterday ended with a weight being lifted from my shoulders. Surgery is scheduled for next Monday and the Doc says the prognosis is good. I'll be posting about the visit later today.