Kelly In Catty

This blog is Kell's attempt to keep in touch with friends far away who complain that I don't e-mail nearly enough.

Thursday, February 28, 2008

Laid Back Life Lessons

This week, I was talking to Dave’s brother, Tim… We were discussing some family issues – those issues that both Tim’s wife and I are up-in-arms about, while Dave and Tim are – well, not. “Kelly,” Tim said, “Dave and I both just like to sit back and watch things happen….”

I don’t know if that’s a good way to live life or not, but it was put to the test when yesterday, my co-worker’s wife showed up with a 6 month old Black Lab puppy. She handed me the leash and said, “Kelly, Dave needs to get over his mourning. Now. I have bowling tonight; the owner is at a meeting all night, so you have to take her home.”

Ok. Now. Here’s something I know about Dave. Where he may be laid back most of the time, he hates feeling backed into a corner or forced into a decision (even though at times - it might be good for him!). Despite how much we loved Smokey, we were asked to take her at a party – in front of about ten people… Dave felt he couldn’t say no. Thank goodness he loved Smokey and fell for her immediately - he was fine within minutes of seeing her, and was really torn up when we had to put her down.

So now – that I have this new dog in my office, I called to tell Dave that apparently, I had to bring her home – and he had to hang out with her that evening because I had a commitment...

To be honest, I felt like I loved the hearts of my co-worker and wife – who were offering this lovely puppy free of charge – but I felt kind of put out too. Yes, I had agreed to meet the dog – but I wasn’t really prepared to take her home that night. I would have liked to take Dave to meet the dog, have a discussion about the dog, and then make a measured decision about the dog. But now… In front of my co-workers (and screechy office manager... She kept riling the puppy up with “OH YOU’RE SO CUUUUUTE YESYOUARE YESYOUARE!!! EEEEEEHHHHH!!!!”) I had to do something… I had my co-worker take the above photo of me and the dog (Cel cams just suck, don't they?). I e-mailed it to Dave, and then dialed his office:

D: Hello – this is Dave Speaking…
K: Honey?
D: Hi Baby.
K: Look at your e-mail. I need you to know that this was not my idea, but I apparently have to bring this dog home with me tonight – and you have to watch her.
D: What???!!!! (I’ll leave Dave’s actual comments to your imagination)
K: Is the e-mail open? (pause)
D: Look at how small she is! She looks like Smokey.
K: I’m repeating. This was not my idea. If you don’t like the dog, we’ll take her back tomorrow.
D: (sighing an ear-shattering, heart-wrenching sigh) Ok honey. Does she have a name?

(NOTE: I dislike naming dogs people names. I’d prefer to call them things like “Countess Baronnessa Von Wilson Pickett’s Fence”… or “Seven” or “Mercutio…” Dave has, in the past, suggested dog names like “Missy…” Blah.)

K: No. (Looking at the puppy, and trying to placate Dave – so I suggested names I could live with.) How ‘bout ‘Nina?’
D: I guess. (no enthusiasm whatsoever)
K: She kind of looks like a Sophie....
D: I like that better…

So – Presenting – in honor of Smokey – Ms. Baroness Contessa Sofia Von Wheady! (We really just call her “Soph…”)

EPILOGUE: I’m over the initial shock of another dog in my house. I look at it this way. Madeleine L’ Engle, in her time trilogy, wrote something like “A dog should come to you and choose you… You should never choose the dog…” Well, Soph came to us… So – Dave and I have decided to take her in and watch her happen.

Friday, February 15, 2008

NEWS... And Other Things to Catch Up On.

First off - Sarabeth is looking to find a home for a laptop. If you know of any worthy child-recipients, please consult her website for more information. Sarabeth, this is an amazingly sweet thing that you're doing.

OK. Now on to news. There's been a lot of it lately. First and foremost, I'm just going to relay a little conversation I had with my 70-year old father the other day... It went like this:

DAD: Your mother's driving me crazy. She keeps treating me like I'm a little kid.
KELLY: Well, in some ways you ARE a little kid.
DAD: (somewhat whiny) I*AM*NOT!!!!!!!
KELLY: You know what the difference between you and Dave is? Dave at least ADMITS he's a little kid.

When I told Dave about this conversation he said, "I'm a little kid!"

It's like a big club...

VALENTINE'S DAY: What do you do when your romantic Valentine's Day Dinner - goes awry? As the host escorted Dave and I to our table at this restaurant Dave was dying to try, I found that I recognized the people at the next table - and they recognized ME TOO!!!! Four people from my church sat right next to us... We just said hello - and pretty much ignored each other on this - the Day of Love.

DOG NEWS: I hate to say - but on Monday, Dave and I were faced with the worst decision ever... and decided it was *time.* We had to put her to sleep. She had lots of fluid building up, she couldn't breathe properly, she would walk twenty feet and fall... It wasn't difficult to see that her quality of life was sorely compromised. The hard part? Her personality hadn't changed. She still loved her treats, she still wagged her tail, she still loved to be with us... After the vet visit, both Dave and I felt like we'd betrayed her... (even though we knew we didn't) and felt like we'd just been punched. We were both pretty upset - even though we'd only had the dog for five weeks... but what can you do? She was fourteen... Crapcrapcrap. I just can't say anything else about this. Where I'm thrilled she isn't suffering any longer, it just sucks.

In other news, work's been a sea of projects that are piling up - so if you're wondering why you haven't heard from me, it's because life is hectic - and one of the worst February's I can think of.

Saturday, February 09, 2008

Elder Dog 101

I know I've been going on and on about Second Hand Smoke - but what can you do? When you adopt a dog, your life changes... And as she's in her twilight years her life is changing just as quickly. I've lately been making fast friends with a local veterinarian - who is guiding me through my senior dog care with a little tough love.

See? Smokey is aging. At fourteen, she's not as active as she was at 5, 8, and 10...- heck. She's not even as active as she was when we got her. Despite outings, and daily walks, she's slowing down. She's walking slower - she's at times wobbly, and her eating habits are changing... Drastically.

This is partially due to the weekend I spent in New York with my sister (photos soon, btw) - and left the dog with Dave and my nephew, TJ. I don't know the details precisely, but when I returned after an OVERNIGHT stay in the city, HALF of a container of dog treats were gone. I don't know WHO exactly ate them, but I can tell you that Smokey seemed to have lost her taste for Purina Pro Plan. She kind of stopped eating dog food.

And I tried everything. I'd let her watch me pour the tiniest bit of milk onto the Pro Plan. I burried one of her beloved treats into the Pro Plan, I tried the Pro Plan Dry, I tried the Pro Plan wet... I tried giving her her pills NOT in the Pro Plan (she normally took them ground up and mixed in with the food) - Nothing was working.

Finally, two things happened. One - I called the vet. Who gave me an earful as soon as I mentioned that she'd been over-fed with biscuits. I'm paraphrasing - but it went something like this - and it reminded me of reprimands my mother gave me when I was seven:

"Well, first of all, let's change the way you're feeding her. She gets her food at mealtimes - whatever is convenient to your schedule. She must eat it then... You give her fifteen minutes. Whatever she doesn't finish goes out to the birds. If you're moistening her food, it's even more important. It can't sit in water. That's how we get bacteria."

"So I can't leave it for whenever she's hungry?" Then I began to feel sheepish. Yes. I fed previous dogs by leaving food in their bowls at all times... That's the way I knew to do it... but now - with Smokey - well, I was so wrong.

"Look," she said. "You don't feed your children by leaving food at the table for them to come and go as they please - eating for a minute, getting up, then coming back an hour later. That's not how it's done. If you don't feed her table scraps, and don't give her too many treats, then even if she doesn't eat one meal, she will surely eat the next time you feed her."

Then she got personal - and spoke to me as if I were well-meaning but slightly ignorant child (or spouse!!!) It was like I was given a C- in Elder Dog 101:

"And regarding treats. Buy the smallest possible biscuits. I'm constantly battling my husband because I used to give our dog big biscuits and break them in half. I came to find out that he'd been giving her handfuls of big biscuits... You do that and there's no wonder she's not eating. And don't worry. Your dog is very old - and her eating habits are going to change. As her activity level changes, she'll need less and less food."

Ok. So I went home that night, and though it pained me, I didn't give Smoke any tablescraps. I only gave her one biscuit. I told my husband it was painful to watch her beg. He agreed. We held our ground though... somehow...

Eventually, Smoke had no other choice than to amble over to her food bowl... Which she sniffed at and started to walk away... Then, I stumbled upon my second flash of inspiration. I took a handful of the Pro Plan - and put it on the floor. She immediately gobbled it up. I cautiously put more on the floor. It was gone in seconds. I got brave and dumped the remainder on the floor. Within a moment, it was like the vaccuum cleaner had sucked the floor spotless.

I have no idea why that bowl is now anathema, but the dog is eating again... So I don't mind. I guess it's part of taking care of the elderly pooches we've fallen hard for.

Sunday, February 03, 2008

The Only Thing To Fear - is A Top Ten Phobias List

I've been reading lately this book my stepdaughter bought for me for Christmas, called Take Me To Your Leader. It's just a compendium of minutia... Everything from drinking etiquette around the world to the oldest tattooed lady - to urban legends.

I try to read a page or so a day (while I'm drying my hair in the AM) - and the thing that kind of intrigued me the other day was a top ten list of phobias... It was a nutty list to me...

Top of the list? Not death, not being the victim of a violent crime, not global warming or terrorism... The number one fear, according to this book - is SPIDERS - those insey weensy creatures crawling up our water spouts... Here are the rest... After I give you the OFFICIAL list, I'll tell you about some of the things I'm a little afraid of...

1) Arachnophobia - fear of spiders
2) Social Phobia - fear of being evaluated negatively in public
3) Aerophobia - fear of flying
4) Agoraphobia - fear of leaving home (or a short radius from home)
5) Claustrophobia - fear of close spaces
6) Acrophobia - fear of heights
7) Emetophobia - fear of vomit
8) Carcinophobia - fear of cancer
9) Brontophobia - fear of thunderstorms
10) Necrophobia - fear of death

Here are the things that skeeve me... (in no particular order)

Rejection, slugs, The horse head scene in "The Godfather," pain, blindness, failing at work, falling too far behind, missing out on life due to being too busy, botched surgery, broken bones, poor health of my family, stupid people, social leeches, people with unpredicitable mood swings, weight gain, oversleeping, my personal disorganization, rising gas prices, poor public policy, alligators (they just gross me out... ), addicts, overcommitment, my own shortcomings... You know. The normal stuff.

Of course, without tyring to sound neurotic, I've also at some point in my life experienced all the normal fright-night dreams - being unable to run from a pursuer, being in a play and not knowing my lines, taking a test when I never went to class, being in public without my pants... These never bothered me because there's research to support that everyone has these dreams. They represent universal fears... (and universal fears do NOT include spiders... who eat the insects that I really have problems with...)

What about you guys?

Friday, February 01, 2008


I've been tagged by Sass (I sort of forced her into it... Sorry Sass. I'm a pain in my poetic a**)

Here are the rules: the rules:

* Link to the person that tagged you.
* Post the rules on your blog.
* Share 6 non-important things/habits/quirks about yourself.
* Tag 6 random people at the end of your post by linking to their blogs.
* Let each person know they have been tagged by leaving a comment on their website.

1. My secret hidden pleasure is reading celeb gossip...

2. "Terms of Endearment" made me weep... Like I'd lost a sister.

3. I can waste an hour playing quizzes on Facebook.

4. I've launched a few careers - and am wondering someone will launch MINE.

5. My husband is still upset that he fell for me first (hi Honey!!!).

6. I owe my fashion sense to Stacy and Clinton.

I'm tagging Trixie, Sarabeth, and Tiecen... That's all.