Friday, January 30, 2009

Kitchen Cabinets Arrive.

We've filled the parlor and most of the living room with cabinets. It boggles me to think all these will even fit in the kitchen.

Yes, I'm unemployed, but the cabinets were contracted and had to be paid for. For a few hundred dollars we can put the kitchen back together again with the exception of flooring and countertops. Flooring will be painted or varnished plywood underlayment and the countertops will be either melanime covered particle board or painted plywood.

Friday, January 23, 2009

Wait a Minute . . .

A government bureau / process that's actually easy???

Filed for unemployment benefits today. Couldn't do it online due to working for Atch.Pee. in Washington state, so I had to call the center. The new centers are all online or telephone operators. There's no more actually going down to a building somewhere and standing in line. Called the number and because their answering computer had just crashed the phone was actually answered by a person. I had the claim complete in less than 15 minutes. It was surprising what few questions there were. It seems they have computer access to all the employer and wage instantly (actual efficiency).

With unemployment, Beth's incomes, and our room boarder we should be OK. We won't be paying off much of the medical bills though. Let's hope the recession isn't too long, cause there's a lot of high-tech people getting the heave-ho and the chance of me landing a job doesn't look great.

Wednesday, January 21, 2009

So long Atch.Pee.???

The Newest Rumors of the Rumor Mill.

The newest rumor is "the project is being cancelled." Working in the commercial printer division, there's basically only one project. Meaning, our whole division is being axed.

Just had a visit from the manager. He's asking people how much work they've had lately and on what. I think he's looking for who to cut immediately and who to hold to shut the place down. There was no denying things, I've been rather slow lately. No mention of what's up of course.

The last few guys I've seen laid off ( a few months ago ) were told on Friday afternoon and basically given a few minutes to pick up their things and walked to the door. Such is the life of a contract worker. The rumor though includes everybody this time around.

Tuesday, January 20, 2009

Admitting Mistakes

We lost our little dog only two weeks ago. Last week I found myself perusing the Humane Society website (I still don't know why). Well, Beth got involved and Wednesday we found ourselves walking around the place looking for a companion for Toby. We found one. Nearly an identical copy. A flat-coated retriever mix. The same size as Toby. We made a rush decision and took him home.

It's been a very trying 5 days.

Last night we came to the conclusion that we'd made a mistake. In our grief and guilt over our loss of Marshall we'd made a rash decision. Eddie, the new dog, turned out to be just too much, too soon. He's a 1 year old (Toby's 8 now). Toby never was top dog, but Eddie was all but bullying Toby in trying to establish his place in the pack. Eddie also became defiant against us in training. I know it would have simply been a matter of a few months of training and adjustment, but I'm not ready to go through that right now. I was also feeling miserable for Toby, who should be enjoying his retirement years, not being subjected to harassment by a young pup with youthful muscle and boundless energy.

I've never had many friends in my life and I'm without one at the moment. The main hobby and enjoyment in my life is the renevation of my home. I've worked hard to make it a fine and comfortable home. To have a dog pee on my hard work, right in the bedroom in front of us in open defiance (for the second time) was too much for me to take. I know all the explanations of doggie psychology, but it doesn't make me any less mad. After cleaning it up with the steam-vac I was so mad that I simply put on my coat and hat and went for a walk, slamming the door behind me without saying a word.

I walked my anger off and ended up at the Horse Brass Pub. I haven't been there in forever it seems. I had a pint of Guinness. The Horse Brass is an authentic English pub and serves the best Guinness in the state. I mentioned I hadn't been there is several years. When asked why I responded "Because I'm married". After the pint, I was sampling a half of a fine English bitter called "Ole Speckled Hen" when Beth called and tearfully asked me to come home right away. When asked why I was leaving so soon I said "Because I'm still married." Beth and I had a good talk and we ended up taking Eddie back right away (Beth found it easier to just do it quickly).

The problem with thinking that a dog needs a companion for when we're both gone all day is "where does it end?" You end up constantly getting new dogs and suffering the loss of the last one. They never simultaneously pass away, so where does it end?

The other problem is someday I like to be able to do things and not have to "make arrangements" for the canine version of a two year old. I'll be 48 this year. Some day I'd like to be done with raising children.

For now Toby is going to be a single dog. He's going to enjoy his retirement years and enjoy being the sole recipient of all the attention. Beth's new hobby of cycling doesn't fit with dogs and I can get back to home renevation without the hopelessness of fighting a losing battle. In less than two hours last night the energy and stress level of the household decreased 300 percent. We all breathed a sigh of relief. Soon Toby was out cold and snoring, and slept solid the whole night long.

Friday, January 16, 2009

Snow Job

I just want to see it snow during Barack's inauguration speech as he says he's going support drastic action against global warming.

We All Scream for Ice Cream

A couple of local creameries in the country are coming out with some seasonal flavors:

For Democrats: "Yes, Pecan"

For Republicans: "Baracky Road"

As heard on Paul Harvey News.

I see dead coffee.

Seven Cups of Coffee a Day May Lead to Hallucinations

Jan. 14 (Bloomberg) -- Consuming the caffeine in seven cups of instant coffee a day may leave you more likely to see, hear and smell things that aren’t there, U.K. researchers said.

People who drink at least 330 milligrams of the stimulant a day were three times as likely to have hallucinations as those who consumed less than 10 milligrams a day,


One 16-ounce Starbucks Corp. drip coffee also has 330 milligrams of caffeine, according to the Starbucks Web site.

I think the first hallucination is the belief that a cup of coffee is worth paying $4.75 for.
OK, let me correct that; That your daily cup of coffee is worth $4.75. (If I'm on vacation or a date I sometimes make exceptions for caffe-mochas).

On a side note; one of the benefits here at HP is the free coffee/tea/cocoa available in all the coffee/vending rooms.

Wednesday, January 14, 2009


video schmideo

Is it just me? Am I the only one who thinks the internet is for reading, not for watching?

Too many news sites are too lazy to type out the news stories and find it easier to post the videos. Am I just of a different generation? I want to click on a story and read it. At my own pace. I don't want to wait for a video to load and be forced to watch a commercial and then sit and listen to the banter of some talking head.

Tuesday, January 13, 2009

Whoa! . . . Stop that! . . . Too Soon!

I was just saying a couple of days ago, "It's too soon to think about another dog". I don't want to house train another dog in this weather. We should wait a couple of months. There should be a proper mourning period.

But look at this face . . .
Although Marshall wasn't much of a play-mate in the last 6 months, he was a companion for Toby. We've always thought that dogs shouldn't be single children left at home alone. So at some point we'll get Toby a friend.

But not yet . . . so why am I looking at the Humane Society web site???

That's Sara by the way. A Flat-Coated-Retriever / mix, 7-1/2 years old. Toby is a Flat-Coated-Retriever and is 8 years old.

Update: Beth works Tuesday nights, so on my way home from work I detoured to the Humane Society to look. Just to look . . . Ok, Sara here is much bigger than I pictured. The only one that screamed "take me home" was a 14 year old small dog whose owner had to go to a retirement home. The little dog is scared stiff and just sat there and shook from head to tail.

Monday, January 12, 2009


Last week was the first 40 hour week I've put in in nearly a month. Saturday and Sunday I slept til 9am and took naps also. I was beat. In addition to that last week was emotionally rough with losing Marshall Monday morning.

At work: last month there was a mix up of whether I had been laid off or not and the I.T. department began canceling my computer access and accounts. We got that straightened out shortly before the break. This last week I went to make an outgoing phone call on Thursday to discover my phone has been dis-connected. It still had a clock date/time on it (until I tried replugging the cord in). Anyway, sent in an online request to get that reconnected and then sent an email to my engineer and manager. I was laughing about it, but the manager was upset. I'm a "first responder" from our department to the other departments to fix problems and he was not happy to have other departments unable to contact me.

About Fuzz-Butt: I'm doing better this week. I've worked through the worst of the grief and confronted the guilt also. The guilt over not noticing something or not doing more. We did all we could for the knowledge and understanding we had at the time. My way of working through that was to talk to Marshall in heaven and to ask for and receive his forgiveness. Friday (or was it Saturday) Beth ended up crying at night and when we talked it seems she's feeling the same sort of guilt. We're both good at beating ourselves with sticks. I told her what I had done. Hopefully she'll get through it also. She's good at trying to swim across that river "De-Nile".

The Neck: I'm doing better every day with that. Sunday and today I've been drug-free, not even aspirin. I still have some soreness which comes and goes. Still on my right side, which is opposite of the original problem. I occasionally have a shooting spasm or electrical jolt which freaks me out. But they're rare enough not to worry about. Had one Sunday night while watching tv. An electrical shock that went from my neck across my left chest to my left hip and at the same time through my left elbow area. Made me jump I'll tell you. When I told Beth, the first thing she thought was heart-attack. No. . . I don't think so.

At Home: In addition to her Quilting obsession Beth is becoming obsessed with biking. I think this is mainly for getting in shape along with her weight-watchers. Her brother took up bicycling a few years ago and has drop 30 or so pounds. Beth has outfitted both the bike and herself for all-weather riding and is trying to ride every day I think. Rain or Shine. I said no thanks and stayed home with the dog and read a book. I'm more of a fair weather sort of biker. Besides I'm not ready to brace my shoulders against the handlebars of a bike for hours. Not with a neck not fully healed. I may get fenders on my bike for the days of sunshine on wet roads in between showers, but pouring rain is not my idea of fun riding.

Friday, January 9, 2009

Oedipus Dog

The Woof has a post relevant to my thoughts this week.

In this case the dog lives longer than 20 years. As I understand it small dogs usually live longer than large dogs. Large dogs making it to 20 I think would be rare. Beth's Mozart, a 15 pounder, managed to make it to 20. I think Sasha made it to 10, she was 80-100 lbs. Marshall made it to over 10, weighing in at 37, but then he may have had the "long-dog" back issues like dachshunds.

Thursday, January 8, 2009


The week drags on. Things are slowly getting better, but it's been a really crappy week. Even this morning I had a hard time when I thought about how I'll never have Marshall (Fuzz-Butt) sitting in my lap again.

Other things. Work continues, but with all of last years layoffs the place seems slow and quiet. Last month they had a mix-up and I.T. started deleting my email, accounts, and computer access. Today I tried to use my desk phone and found it's been disconnected. I'm still in the mode of being surprised each monday morning to find whether or not my badge opens the door and that I'm employed another week.

Was thinking yesterday about why losing Marshall has been so difficult. A couple of years ago I gave up a friendship with an old college buddy. He never grew up and his sense of humor became intolerable, among other things. Anyway this has left me essentially without any friends. Add to that having changed jobs several times, the work friends have come and go. The closest friend at Atch.Pee. is now gone, layed off last month. Without friends, Marshall was the best friend I had.

One day at a time . . . I just need to get through this week . . .

Monday, January 5, 2009

Round Hound, U.S. Marshall

His name was U.S. Marshall, his family name was Round Hound. We called him; Round Hound, Marshie, and Fuzz-Butt. He has left this world. He was Ten.

Earlier this year he stopped playing/wrestling with our other dog Toby. We figured age had started to catch up with him. In October he had a case of diarrhea which a bland diet for a week and a half seemed to cure, though his stools were not the same since. Over the holidays we got rather snow-bound and he didn't get his daily walks for a week or so. Round Hound is a rather sedentary dog otherwise, always has been. When we started walks again last week he would make a block down the road and then start gimping. One of his back legs would go "peg-leg" for a while and sometimes he would just sit down. Most walks I had to carry him back. Over the last couple of months he's acted like his tummy has bothered him off and on. Occasionally throwing up or having a bloated belly. Now with both problems we took him to the vet Saturday and got an exam, no definite diagnosis was determined. The exam included lotsa poking at his hips and knees on his hind quarters. They took a stool sample and a blood draw, then gave us some pain killers and some antibiotic. If it continued the next diagnosis would be an xray.

Saturday evening he had an antibiotic with dinner, on a cracker with peanut butter. Sunday morning we put the antibiotic the same way into his breakfast bowl. He ate around the peanut butter cracker and at one point picked it out and put it on the floor. We then put it into cheese and also gave him half a pain med also. After breakfast he suddenly had trouble with his legs, he would pull them out from under himself and sit down as if he was suddenly hunching/tucking his belly. I sat and comforted him, rubbing his belly for nearly an hour until the pain med took affect. We thought the antibiotic was causing intestinal pain as it killed off the bad bugs that were causing his digestion problems. The one gimpy leg we thought was just lack of exercise. I went to Petco and got some pro-biotic (the vet wanted this also, but was out), I also got some glucosamine/chondrotin for his joints. We carried him up the stairs Sunday, but other than that he seemed to be getting around ok, even barked and ran to the door when Toby did. Sunday evening more antibiotic and another half a pain med.

Our house has doggie-doors and the dogs usually go out in the middle of the night to pottie. Anywhere from midnight to 3am is typical. I woke up at 2-am. I thought I heard something, a low dog howl, or a train horn? I then heard a train horn in the distance. I knew Fuzz-Butt wasn't feeling good and it was time for their nightly pottie so I looked around the bedroom to check on him. He wasn't there. I got up and checked the office where he used to sleep under my desk. I went downstairs checking as I went. I found him outside sitting by the corner of the house in the flower bed just outside the back door. He didn't want to move when called. I picked him up and carried him inside to the bathroom. No idea how long he'd been out, I turned on the heater and started to check his legs for cold or numbness. Then I saw his back toe nails. He'd chewed them bloody.

I went and woke Beth. We turned up the furnace and carried him upstairs to his bed. We had to hold him to keep him from licking his toes. I looked closer and realized he'd pulled the nail completely off one toe on one hind leg and all the toes of his other. We managed to get a pain med down him. In Portland there's a non-profit vet clinic that runs a 24-hour clinic. I googled the location and called them and we rushed him there at 2:30 in the morning.

The exam showed he had gone paralized in his hind quarters. Either a slipped disc (exactly what I just had surgery for 3 weeks ago and know about the pain aspect), or a clot in the arteries cutting off blood flow. Either one painful enough he chewed his nails off. They had given him an injection of pain meds in the interim. Both we and the vet came to the same decision. They gave him another injection for anxiety and brought him to us in an exam room. He was pretty doped up by then. We said our goodbyes, and cried a lot. The vet came in and we held and petted him while the vet ended his pain. We cried and said more goodbyes and kissed him. We went home and cried some more.

My stomach was wrenching so I made hot chocolate and took a prilosec and then a vicodin for my shoulder. Beth took a benadryl for sinus stuffiness and to help sleep, I did the same. We cried and comforted some more and tried to go to bed. I got up and sat. I finally fell asleep in my chair at 5:40 or so. I missed the 6:00 alarm but heard the clock chime 7:00 and got up. It's the first day back at work in three weeks. I had to go.

We've been through this twice before, though not this suddenly. It does not get easier. When you don't have children, pets sometimes fill a part of that part of your life. It hurts.

It hurts a lot.

Dear Lord God in Heaven,
If there's a place in Heaven for Dogs, take my dear friend Fuzz-Butt. Let him play and live with our other pets Sasha and Mozart. Let him be pain free and happy. Hold him in your care until we meet him again.

Yes. . . It hurts a lot.