Tuesday, November 10, 2015

Holiday blues

Last week, Jenny Lawson, aka The Bloggess, tweeted about having an embarrassing encounter while on travel.  What ensued were hordes of tweets about the embarrassing things or awkward occurrences that others have had.  Jenny has an awesome following and the tweets they shared are absolutely hilarious.
You can see them here or here.

I attempted to tweet about one of my most disconcerting experiences EVER, but alas, my mortification is such that it cannot be condensed into a 140-character synopsis.
My story begins shortly after Christmas, some time in the early 90s.

Jeff and I had been out somewhere.  It was really, really cold and wet and nasty out and Jeff had gotten a chill that he couldn't shake...so he decided to hop in the shower when we got home.

Jeff: Marianne!  Come here!

Me: What? What's wrong?

Jeff (pulling the shower curtain back and tilting his left upper body out): Look at my left arm and chest!  It's all blue.

Me: Ohmygod!  Do you feel okay?

Jeff: I dunno...it kinda feels a little tingly or something, I think.

Me: Get out and dry off!  I'm calling an ambulance!

Jeff: No, don't do that.  Hold on.

Me: Hold on!  Hold on?  You could be having a heart attack.  How does your chest feel?

Jeff: Well, now that you mention it...maybe it does feel a little funny.

Me: We're going to the hospital!

Jeff: Well, don't call an ambulance, we'll just drive.

Me: You are NOT driving!  I will.

So he gets re-dressed and we bundle back into the car.  I drive like a bat-out-of-Hell lunatic to the hospital.  The whole way is like:

Me: How are you doing?

Jeff: I dunno.  I think I feel a little funny.

Me: Anything hurting?

Jeff: No.  But I think I might be a little short of breath.

More acceleration

I practically skid into the Emergency Room parking lot sideways, pull up straight to the door and go in and grab the first medical-type person I see: "My husband is having a heart attack!" They grab a wheel chair and unload him from the car.
I quickly slam into the first parking space I can find and race into the ER where they have him on a gurney and are taking his blood pressure and temperature.
Then a nurse comes up with a bag of  saline and tells him to take off his shirt and put on a hospital top so that she can start an IV.
She gets everything set and takes his arm to put the IV in...gets out an alcohol prep and disinfects the crook of his arm with it. She also rubbed the blue off.
She held the swab up  so we could all see with a look of "Huh?" on her face.
That's when it all clicked.
My grandmother had given Jeff a brand new Tommy Hilfiger shirt for Christmas.  It looked a lot like this:

Jeff had worn it for the first time that night in the cold rain.
He hadn't washed it prior to wearing it and the indigo dye had rubbed off on his skin.

Jeff and I looked at one another across that ER triage room as we both came to the same realization.
Jeff calmly took the blood pressure cuff off of his arm, the oxygen sensor off of his finger and changed back into his shirt.  He got up off the gurney.  As he walked past me, I handed him the car keys.  He never uttered a word.
I was left there to explain to the doctor and two nurses what had happened and to close out the paper work.
I am sure that it is a story that they still tell to this day.  Luckily, they were all chortling so hard, they didn't charge us anything for our whirlwind visit.
So even though Jeff was the primary focus of this tale of chagrin, it was still pretty embarrassing to have to apologize to the Emergency Room staff for not washing my husband's new shirt before he wore it.

Thursday, October 29, 2015

The glaring facts about my household

Did you know that a group of cats is called a glaring?  I have enough feline population in my house to actually say I have a glaring.
In honor of National Cat Day, I'd like to formally introduce my brood:

First up, Kendall:

She's our oldest cat...somewhere around the 13-14 year old age.  She recently cost me a small fortune and the better part of my day off when I thought she was dying of terminal cancer that was bloating her body and causing her distress.  Turns out she was just fat and had a UTI.
Also?  Every time our daughter has had a boyfriend of any duration, when they'd break up and the guy quit coming around, Kendall would go into mourning and groom all of the fur off of her stomach.

Then there is Izby:

He was the runt of the litter of a feral cat living underneath one of Mileena's friend's house.  We got him when he was teeny tiny. Being the runt, he always had sort of a fragile constitution.  He is also incredibly bow-legged:
These days, he isn't such a delicate flower anymore.  He does have a weird fascination with the sticky sheets from lint rollers.  He begs for them.  Seriously.  He'll hear you using the lint roller, come running and meow at you until you tear off a sheet and stick it on his back.  At that time he will act as if his back end is paralyzed:

But after he's schlumped around the house dragging his back legs behind him for awhile, he stops and pulls the sheet off his back and eviscerates it:

Then there's Daisy Faye:

Isn't she precious?  Daisy only weighs a tich over 5 pounds, and she's two and half years old.  We just got her spayed because the vet really wanted her over 5 pounds pre-surgery.  Being such a dainty, sweet looking thing, you'd have no idea what a whirling dervish she becomes when you try to do anything besides pet or play with her.  Cleaning ears, clipping nails, administering medication?? It's about like oiling a running chainsaw.  I took her back to the vet's office to get her stitches removed and the vet was, "Would you like to hold your baby while I get these stitches out?" and I was all, "Hell no, I'm not paying $50 for this visit just to bleed my own blood, thank you very much." It took the vet and two techs to get the four stitches out.  I was the only one unscathed.  That was half a Benjamin I got my value out of.

Here's Daisy having a Maury Povich-style throw down for squatting rights to the world's most cherished cat-possession: a cardboard box.

Finally, there's Maxx:
Maxx is 18+ pounds of Laid-back dude.

And I mean LAAAAAAID back.

There are only a couple of things that get him riled.  One of the things that Maxx does not care for?

Birthday hats get on his nerves...but he really, really hates hats that are foreign.  He is not one who appreciates the celebration of Cinco De Mayo...lemme tell you.

The other thing that Maxx cannot stand? (and that I cannot explain?  Because let's be honest, the hat thing surprises no one.  Cat in the Hat, my butt, Dr. Seus. Find me a tam o'shanter wearing tabby that is happy about it. I dare you.)
Anyway, where was I? Oh...Maxx's other peeve...the HVAC system in our house.
He goes around the entire first floor pulling the vent covers off:

I've even caught him attempting to pull apart the return grill.

Jeff's of the opinion that Maxx doesn't actually hate the HVAC system, but thinks that it is a potential escape route to the great outdoors.  He (Maxx, not Jeff) is very convinced that he is a wild beast that needs to poop in real dirt (honestly, the few times he's gotten past us and darted outside, he ran to the nearest bald patch in the yard and dug a spot and pooped. What's up with that?)  But since he is basically the color of smoke and shadows, we can't let him out or we'd never find him again.

So this is my clowder (that's another word for a group of cats).  Hope you enjoyed meeting them.

Tuesday, October 27, 2015

Doctor's Orders

The About 3 years ago, our Golden Retriever, Simba, (then only two years old) started having seizures.  They were very frightening, but were infrequent. 

The very first one happened in the peak of summer while playing his very favorite thing in the world: fetch the tennis ball.

(I wish that ANYTHING made as happy as a tennis ball makes Simba.)

We had been playing ball for quite some time in the middle of the afternoon on a hot-as-the-hinges-of-hell Alabama summer day...so when Simba started staggering and looking disoriented, we thought we'd let him over-do it and that he was having a heat-stress related episode.

A couple of months later, it happened when we were inside and nothing special was going on...we managed to bundle him in the car and get him to the vet's office...at which time he had completely recovered and the vet couldn't really determine what had happened.

As time went on, we managed to record an episode...we went back to the vet and they determined that he had mild epilepsy...not uncommon in goldens.  They put him on a six-month regimen of anti-seizure meds and told us to keep track of any episodes.  After six months, he had only had one very quick, very mild attack.  So we went back for his checkup and the vet said we'd keep him on this medication.
However, the cost of the medication had gone up significantly...when they gave us the 6-months supply, the cost had been about $70.  Now, a one-month supply was gonna run about $60 at the vet's office. The vet tech on hand suggested that I call around local pharmacies and see what their cash price would be.
I did...and CVS (where we humans in our family get our meds filled) had the lowest price...$16.29 for a month.
The vet gave me the written prescription and I dropped it off.  The pharmacy chick asked me what Simba's birthday was...I told her I wasn't sure on the exact date...but that he'd been born in November of 2010...so she tells me that she's just gonna put 11-01-10 into the system.  I told her fine...that I'd be by the next day to pick it up.

Next day, new pharmacy chick:

Me: I'd like to pick up a prescription I dropped off yesterday for Arensmeyer

PC: Yes ma'am.  Oh...you should know that your insurance didn't cover this.

Me: I know.  Simba isn't on my insurance.

PC: Oh. Okay.  Well, I need his driver's license number, because Phenobarbital is a controlled substance.

Me: Simba is my dog. He's also only five.  Either way, no driver's license.

PC: Well, I have to have a driver's license number.

Me: Why don't I give you mine?

PC: He has to be a family member.

Me: He's my DOG.

PC: But this is a controlled substance.

Me: Can you use my driver's license number if I say I'm his mother?

PC: Yes, but your insurance will probably still not cover it.

Me: (sigh) I understand.  BECAUSE HE'S A DOG. It's okay. Don't try to run it through insurance.

PC: I really am supposed to have some identification for the patient.

Me: (Heavy sigh) Well, he's a dog, so he doesn't have any identification.

PC: What is your son's Date of Birth?

Me: (Heavier sigh) November 2010.

Hope it's not this complicated every month.

Friday, October 16, 2015

My Friday Off

It started well enough.
Slept in 'til about 7:30, made a cup of coffee, went out onto the back porch with Simba to enjoy the crisp October morning.

Then I check my phone while I'm enjoying my morning java and see the text from Jeff that he sent to me.  He'd had to work today, and so was up early and fed the animals.  He also had to deal with cleaning up cat scat.  For the past few weeks, we'd been having some inappropriate bathroom (or lack thereof) behavior out of our oldest cat, Kendall.
Also...while she has never been the most petite flower in the garden, she had seemed to put on some pretty significant weight lately.
I gathered up my relaxing, coffee drinking paraphernalia and went inside to gather up the cat to take her to the vet.
I went in to the vet's office really thinking that he would tell me that she had abdominal tumors. They are common in cats her age (13), particularly tabbies.
Well, 3 1/2 hours later, a significant loss of hair by Kendall:

Yes, I wore yoga pants to the vet's office.  Turn me in to What Not to Wear...anything Clinton and Stacy would've put me in would have just been covered in cat hair too.

And a significant DECREASE in my bank account:

and the verdict came back...Urinary Tract Infection.
The vet WAS pretty certain that something was up with how large her girth was.  He sonogrammed for tumors and/or fluid, he even did a abdominal tap with a syringe...final diagnoses was TFA (The Fat Ass).
He gave me a prescription antibiotic ($56.44) and told me to keep her isolated with her own litter box until things were better.  He also suggested that I monitor her caloric intake while she was not eating with the collective. (To counteract TFA).
Since Mileena is away at college (probably won't be home until Thanksgiving) I decided to sequester Kendall in her bathroom.
For the past hour Kendall has been loudly singing the song of her people in protest of her incarceration.
The others have set up a vigil to show their solidarity in the face of this injustice.

I'm out $300 and the larger part of my "day off".

Friday, October 9, 2015


Now, I don't get political on my blog.  This is...99% of the time... a fun and goofy place.  And I don't want this post to be political, per se.  Even if it is about a politician....it's not about that politician's politics...if you get my drift.

But I do have to bring to your attention a very serious issue that the media seems to have largely ignored.  An issue that something has GOT to be done about.  Not just for the good of our nation, but for the good of mankind.

I'm talking about Hillary Clinton's horrible collar choices.

It's been an issue for YEARS, but her absurd collar facination reached its peak hideousness at this year's Iowa State Fair:

Who let her appear in public wearing this?  She's running for  the highest office in our great nation...doesn't she have a campaign manager or something?  The gingham print...I guess I understand because she was going to a state fair.  But what is with the gigantic neck hole bordered by a 4" tall stiff collar?  Is it so she can take it on and off without unbuttoning it or messing up her hair?

That's when I started looking at older photos of Hillary and realized that this affliction of hers for bad collar choices has been building for some time.

I think it started innocently enough.  Who among us hasn't donned a Mandarin style collar and found it flattering?

But then the collars started getting a little too stiff

And a little too high

And then the neck holes started to grow

Yet no one said anything and the travesty continued its downward spiral.

Don't you try a charming wink at ME, Hillary.  That collar is out of hand.

And you can't just put lace on it and call it "fancy" either.  You look like your neck is the center tier of a wedding cake.

I think it is about time that we, as a nation, demand that these collar atrocities cease.  Need I point out AGAIN that Hillary Clinton is running for President of the United States?  Do you know how much influence such a person can have on the fashion trends of the times?  Just look at Sarah Palin...love her or hate her, there's no denying the hair bumps that started appearing EVERYWHERE after she became the Republican VP nominee.  If we don't stop this collar aberration now...we will all be walking around in jackets that look like we're wearing a dog's cone of shame come election day 2016.

Also...I have a theory about from whence Hillary's collar pathos came.

I have read numerous accounts of how, when she was a child, the young Miss Hillary Diane Rodham wrote a letter to NASA, beseeching them to allow her into the Space Program.  She claims that they wrote her back telling her that women couldn't be astronauts and crushed her ambition for participation in manned (wommaned?) space flight.

I think that Hillary's crushed dreams of being part of a mission: to explore strange new worlds, to seek out new life and new civilizations, to boldly go where no one has gone before created a deep seated unrequited longing.  A longing that has manifested itself in her poor clothing choices.

Observe and tell me I'm wrong:

They allow women in space now, Hil.  It's time to let it go.

Wednesday, September 30, 2015


I do not spend a lot of money on luggage.

I do travel a good bit, but it's usually on business and no one who knows me ever sees my bags.  All I care about is how much stuff I can get in it and how easily it rolls.
My current "go to" piece of luggage was purchased at Walmart about 10 years ago.  I like it because it has a pull handle and you can either roll it behind you, or you can roll it beside you...the wheels are "spinner" type wheels so they are multi-directional.  There's even a zippered expander for the main compartment.
I can get more stuff in this bag than I can afford for it to weigh. (Anything over 50 lbs will cost you more on most airlines).
I think I paid $48.95 for it.

Two weeks ago, I flew to Maryland on a business trip, and my luggage served me just fine.  Before I left, I had to get the lint roller and de-cat-hair the outside...because the cats LOVE my luggage. I got home from that trip and unpacked and then repacked to go stay with my mother for her knee surgery.

My mother says that my bag has to go.

She was hopped up on pain pills when I went down to the car and brought my bag up to the hospital room, and she was brutally honest with me.

Iz good to stand besides and sharpens your clawz

Iz also good to stand on top of and sharpens your clawz

On the other hand, you know how there's signs at the airport that tell you to look carefully before you take off with your luggage because lots of bags look alike? I don't have that problem.

Plus, no one is ever going to try to steal it.

She told me that my bag was an embarrassment and made me throw a blanket over it so the nurses wouldn't see.
I really had not taken a good hard look at it in awhile...because it was still functioning just fine.

But she may have a point.

I think my next luggage purchase will need to be a hard shell.

Thursday, September 24, 2015

The long and short of it

My daughter took my hand, leaned in close and looked me square in the eye.

"Mom." she said firmly, carefully enunciating her words. "I think it is AWESOME that you can fit into the shorts that you haven't been able to wear since the 90's. I. Am. So. Proud. Of. You."

"Awwww, sweetie, thanks! That means..."

"Hold on. I'm not finished.  I DO think it is awesome.  But I'm going to need you to do something for me."

"Huh?  What?"

"When you get home, I need you to take them off and throw them away."

"But why? I don't underst...."

"Mother.  Listen to me."


"Those shorts are corduroy. And faded. And well, they are just horrible."

"It's a narrow wale corduroy! I mean it's not like..."

"Mother, I swear to God, I will light them on fire right now."

"Fiiiiine.  I won't wear them again."

Are they really that bad?