Tuesday, April 28, 2009

Feces, Or Something

It has probably been mentioned a time or ten that Danielle works in an animal shelter. For over a year now she's worked exclusively within the clinic portion of the shelter. Usually, her work day stories involve some fantastical surgical thingy she was lucky enough to witness. But every now and again, she has a "dealing with the public" story to share.
A woman brought in her 5 month old ______ (breed escapes me) male to be neutered. The staff noted junk in the pup's rear-end. Danielle drew the short straw to talk to pet parent about examining her pup's anus and surrounding area and removing any feces or any other obstructions she may find. The pet parent trained a "deer in headlights" look at Danielle and queried, "feces"? Yes, Danielle continued to explain about poop not expelling all the way, sometimes getting caught in the hair. She went on to suggest that the woman clean the pup, clear the hair from that area routinely and examine the pup regularly. Explaining how the obstructions were probably making the pup uncomfortable and how a prolonged build-up might prevent the pup from wanting to poop.

Again, with the d. i. t. h. look of the eyes and query on the lips. Now, understand there was a time when Danielle would have (nearly) screamed, "clean the shit out of your dog's ass!" at this woman or any customer / client / pet parent who didn't seem to grasp even the most obvious and routine words and concepts. And she may have this time had it not been for Ellen, a co-worker, who passed on a look of her own that said, "Danielle, be niiiice." And so, Danielle explained to the pet parent a third time about clearing her pup's butt area of feces (and such). And she was nice about it. Until she got home of course, where she let it all hang out.
*No, "The Boys" don't have anything to do with this tale except that Danielle shot these pics when I wasn't around to prove that (her cat) Buttah is always "topping" (my cat) Pete. She promised she rescued Pete shortly after snapping the shots. Pete though, can toss Buttah whenever he wants.

Thursday, April 23, 2009

Our Game Day

My son and daughter both played soccer when they were very young. The first experiences were "just for fun" park district skills and games. Later, as their skills and interest level grew, they participated in a still, "everybody plays" league, but one more focused on skill development. Their experiences with the game were my first. I knew nothing of soccer during my youth.

Michael played with the "everybody plays" league until around sixth grade. He wasn't interested in the more competitive league, deciding instead to move toward basketball. Danielle moved to the more competitive league. The traveling "club" played other "clubs" statewide. In addition to playing with the traveling club, she played for her high school, having earned a spot on the varsity squad as a freshman. For a few years her life revolved around soccer. For a few years my life revolved around soccer. I learned the game and along with Danielle grew to love the game. Especially, the women's game.

We get tickets to see the Women's National Team whenever they roll through town. We were bummed when Chicago didn't field a WUSA team. Even more bummed when the WUSA folded it's tent. We were overjoyed at the announcement of creation of the WPS (Women's Professional Soccer) . We were gleeful of the news that Chicago would field a team and that team would play in the nearly brand new soccer specific stadium where the men's MLS play. Whooooopeeee!!!

This year is the inaugural year. Sunday was the inaugural game. We were there. And don't let the pout fool you, though it rained all day, all during the game, she had a blast. In fact,

we had a blast. The Chicago Red Stars and Sky Blue FC played to a 0 - 0 tie in the first WPS game played in Chicago (well, Bridgeview).

And we were so soaked stoked to be part of the experience.

Wednesday, April 22, 2009

Banking. Friendly. Husband.

A couple of years ago the big bank the company used was swallowed whole by an even bigger bank. It has taken the two years for the institutions to transition from one corporate identity to another. Now, the transition is complete and beyond the name, corporate logo, and color scheme changes, nothing about the banking process has changed.


This new, larger, brighter bank is also friendlier. The employees all say hello. They say it chirpy, like we’re friends or something. This bank even has designated greeters. It’s eerie.


On a recent trip to one of the 4,000 (maybe not that many, but, it is a big bank) local branches, one near my home (instead of near work. I cut out early some Fridays with the premise of going “to the bank”) I’m met by a greeter who turns out to be the manager of this branch. I know because he told me in so many words, “hi, I’m John Williams. I’m the manager. I’ve spoken with your husband many times. It’s nice to meet you.”


1. I don’t have a husband
2. I haven’t had a husband (thank YOU very much!!) for eleven years
3. When I DID have a husband, THAT husband did not ever (ever) have convos w/bankers.

I didn’t correct John Williams as he seemed so pleased with his recognition. I was curious as to how he connected my company’s deposit slip with that of this MR. he has spoken with on so many occasions. But, I didn’t ask. I smiled, nodded and counted the seconds for BMF* Williams to hand over my receipt.

I do find myself wondering how long it will be before this bank is swallowed whole and what changes that might bring to the company's banking experience in general and mine in particular.

BMF (bank manager friendly)

Saturday, April 18, 2009

Take This Dream

My dad is a mystery to me. I know his name, can still envision his face (provided he hasn’t changed too much in 15 or so years), and feel like I’d be able to recognize his voice were he to speak to me today. However, I’m at a total loss to relate any of his favorite foods, whether or not he’s into comedies or dramas, or even if he watches movies (or television) at all. I don’t have any inkling as to what even constitutes a typical day for him. I’m not a part of his life, nor he mine.

Imagine my shock and awe to find him, his dog (I don’t even know if he really HAS a dog), and his truck starring in my most recent remembered dream.

The scene opens somewhere in the middle, as usual. I’m on a street in the neighborhood I lived with my brothers and mother when I was about 15. My dad and mom had been separated / divorced for 7 or 8 years by that point. Though he was still in my life, it was sparse and growing more so with each passing day. So, my dream opens with me on this street, in my current adult incarnation. I have Diamond. No one else from my current life is visible.

I’m walking Diamond down this street and we meet my dad and his dog, a greyhound puppy of indeterminate gender. Diamond goes nuts over this dog, she won’t back off from sniffing the dog’s butt, making the younger pup quite nervous, which makes my dad nervous. Yet, he never says a word. The dog sniffing and related dance goes on for some minutes when, inexplicably dad reaches into his pocket and hands me keys and points to a truck, his truck, I surmise.

In the midst of sniffing, dancing, yapping dogs, he motions to the truck, picks up the greyhound, turns tail and breaks into a full out run. A perplexed Diamond barks louder, then whimpers as they disappear from view. She looks up at me and I shrug. I grab her up and head for the truck. It is the truck from my youth. A 1965 or ’66 green GMC pick-up. I’m curious and excited. I get in and crank ‘er up. Vrrrroooooom. I drive around a couple of blocks, turn another corner and plop, find myself smack dab in the middle of a muddy field. Well, shit.

Every effort to extricate the truck from the mud fails miserably. I grow increasingly nervous. I look across the field to see another truck, full of people of indeterminate gender having some sort of party, or something and several start to make their way toward me, Diamond, and the truck.

As they draw nearer, my brain snaps me awake. I look at the clock-radio and realize that the song I thought was playing as part of the dream was not, or was but has leaked over to my conscious life.

Saturday, April 11, 2009

Her Cat. My Cat. Our Cats, The Boys

Her cat is newest to the fold. He's also the youngest of the two cats. In fact he's the youngest of the three fur babies. Diamond, D-dog, the Diva is the grande dame (she'd be so even if she weren't seven, going on eight). Her (Danielle's) cat is Buttah. He came to us last August. Since then, he's celebrated a birthday (he's 2) and has become quite the fixture. He never passes an opportunity to be petted, hugged or fed. He and Diamond aren't the best of friends, but they aren't mean about it, they just give each other a certain amount of s-p-a-c-e. My cat was the first fur baby to arrive. Pete too, was a resident of the Animal Care League. He had been surrendered and was only a few months shy of his second birthday when he came to us in August, 2007. It took Pete a little longer to feel "at home" probably because he was the first and for a few weeks, the only, with Diamond arriving some weeks later. Diamond and Pete weren't instant hits, but they warmed to one another soon enough. Pete let Diamond have her way (and her way with him) and she since that's the way she wanted it, golden.
The two of them, Pete and Buttah, or "the boys" are more often than not, in the same place at the same time. Buttah, the heavier of the two, powers Pete aside from a feed bowl, rather than seek out the other bowl. Buttah usually initiates the romps as well as their other interactions, despite Pete being the more aggressive of the two. However, Pete is also more skittish. Pete jumps at nearly every noise, he is particularly dis-trustful of plastic bag rustling and aluminum foil ripping. He likes to be held (for about 30 seconds) and tends to be picky about moist food. He doesn't seem to hold any preferences when it comes to the dry kibble. By contrast, Buttah will eat anything wet, balks at the kibble, but will, if desperate, gobble it up as well. Buttah is not skittish. All hell can be breaking loose and he won't budge, especially if food is in the vicinity.

We love our boys as much as they love one another. Individually they are fantastic. Together they are simply, the best.

Tuesday, April 07, 2009

Better Late?

I probably should have let this in drift away, especially since I've missed the deadline by a few days. But, for some reason it wouldn't let me go. For March Wordsmiths Unlimited.

It is this kind of day, dappled sky, calm wind, and placid water that Lexi has grown to despise. It is this kind of day that finds Lexi fighting to maintain the tenuous grasp on her all-togetherness. When she woke to find the mocking cheeriness, she repelled a strong desire to return to bed, cover her head, and wait out the storm of bright, sort of sunshiny day.

Bring on the dark clouds, rolling winds and waves.

Having no choice but to face this day, Lexi lumbered from her bed with combat boot-like clumsiness. She made her way to the bathroom. Once there, a look in the mirror revealed the horror that was the night before. Gin held the starring spot with tonic playing a bit part. And though the horror that is too many gin and tonics was playing out on her face, Lexi decided that a few more would have minimized the assault of this mocking sky. Frigid water to the face did little to jar the memory from Lexi's mind. The shock of the water did little to silence those chirping...whatever brand of bird she heard chattering away just outside the bathroom window.

Bring on the dark clouds, rolling winds and waves.

Lexi blamed the day, the drink, the dark moodiness on the channel 7 weather girl, rather, woman. The cheerful young woman waxed poetic about perfect boating weather. The moment Lexi heard that forecast yesterday, the rest of the day threatened to spiral woefully out of control. A will of steel kept her from throwing in the towel at work. She was, however, on the verge of biting off the head of every project manager who crossed her path. She was able to contain pressure bulge through the commute home. But once home...heeeerrreeee's Gin and Tonic!

One drink turned into two, two turned into ten. Still, throughout the night, Lexi couldn't erase the audio running in a constant loop "this is not the answer, Lexi" chirped Roxanne's disapproving voice. Each loop brought another sip. Lexi eschewed the audio's message, rationalizing Roxanne's absence justified continuing. "You're not here anymore. I can do what I damn well please", Lexi screamed to the air.

Roxanne left Lexi on a morning much like the one the channel 7 weather woman predicted, much like the one that was in fact, here. The perfect boating weather had done Lexi in. Roxanne and Lexi had planned a boating outing boating weather day. A filled cooler full of soda, drinking water, sandwiches, and salad sat in the foyer for the next two days. After Roxanne’s exit Lexi was unable to move it, or herself, for that matter.

There was no discussion, no re-course just silence and rotting lettuce.

Now, on this day that was so much like that day, there is the aftermath of too much gin and not enough tonic.

Lexi spied her image in the mirror wishing for dark skies, rolling winds and waves for the third time this morning.

Monday, April 06, 2009

Beach Boys

I'm not sure what they are discussing. If I had to take a guess, I'd guess that Pete is trying to negotiate a little alone time. Buttah is probably trying to negotiate Pete out of his share of kibble.

Wednesday, April 01, 2009

Keys, Mice, and a Possum

I may have mentioned a time or two that I don't dream often. Well, it is probably more accurate to say that I don't remember my dreams often. Point is, more often than not, I sleep. I wake up. Whatever happened in-between is lost, forever.

Tuesday night / Wednesday morning was one of those rare occasions where I dreamt and I remembered.

Open scene:

Mom and I were in a library. I don't know why, my mom and I have not ever been in a library together.

Anyway...we were in a library, a very large library. We were in the children's section so identified by titles and decoration.

We seemed to be on a hunt of some sort, as mom had me going to and fro (while she sat) retrieving various items from various areas of this very large library. I found it odd that we were
1. in a library
2. none of the items being retrieved were books
3. we seemed to be the only people in the library

Whenever I questioned what we were doing she would reply, "it must be done."

Several times I had to go through a door to access a particular area. All the doors were locked and required special keys. Mom held the keys. Whenever I reached a locked door I had to return to get the keys.

Many, many trips and items later, we were done. We were leaving the children's area of the library with a wagon-load of items. (Not clear what the items were.) Mom stopped before we reached the final exit, turned and asked, "where are the keys?"

I'd left the keys...somewhere.

She implored me to go back and get them, insisting that they were too hard to replace, too expensive, too precious...I don't know what all, but back I trudged to retrieve the keys.

Once I reach an area where I thought I'd left them, I see a table I hadn't seen before and a mound of what looked like the bundle of keys. I move closer to the table and the closer I got, the more I see the mound isn't keys, but still not clear what.

I reach the table, upset that the keys are not there, but curious about this mound, which is something covered with a silvery-gray blanket. I make a move to look underneath the blanket.

Possum. Dead I think.

I don't study it too long, distracted by scurrying mice and my blood curdling scream.

3:30 a.m. awake for the duration.

End Scene.

In addition to the dream memory, the other aberration is my sleep pattern. Where before, months ago (and for years) I had trouble getting to sleep. Now, I fall asleep pretty much minutes after hitting the hay, shortly after 10 p.m. most nights. And sleep quite soundly, for about two hours, dream or no dream. I don't (usually) have too much trouble going back to sleep, but then within an hour or so, I'm awake again.

At one time, the cats were impacting my sleep. But that hasn't been the case (though, they do still start the "feed me" banging at 4ish but since they can't get in the room I'm now conditioned to largely ignore all but the most obnoxious of their noises) for a little bit now.

For a few weeks there I'd been able to get up at 5, pert and perky enough to stretch, exercise, even go out for a short ride, before work. Now, over the last week or so, what with the broken sleep, I'm lucky to lumber out of bed by six.

I'm having to get my exercise in during the course of the day and / or after work, which is fine, mostly, I guess. But I felt better when I did something before work. Plus, if I did something before work, during the day AND after, more exercise, better weight loss results.

I'm not sure if it's one thing or several roaming around my mind working to upset my pattern, whatever it is though, I have to find a way back to the previous patter as IT seemed much more agreeable to my over all well-being.

And I haven't a clue as to what that dream meant.