Posted in daily, Jasper, life

This Entry Does Not End Well.

About a year and a half ago, I was woken up at 4 in the morning by the sounds of Jasper thrashing around in my bedroom. I quickly turned the light on to see what was going on and found him lying in the corner of the room, panting and looking slightly…bewildered at whatever had just happened. I reached out my hand to pet him and comfort him and, right while he was laying there, he had an accident on the floor. The incident was a bit troubling, but I kind of shrugged it off as a bad puppy dream and didn’t think anything of it. I got ready and went to work that morning, and mentioned it to my supervisor, who said, “It sounds like he had a seizure. Has that happened before?”

This was a bit frightening, because, no, this had not happened before. I made an appointment with the vet that week just to get him checked out, even though he seemed normal the rest of the day. She examined him and drew some blood for labs, and said to keep an eye out for any more seizure activity, because if it happened again he’d have to be put on medication.
Cut to last March, when my parents dog sat for a few days and he took a tumble down the stairs. His back and legs hurt him badly. I got him checked out again, the vet put him on an anti-inflammatory, and he improved over the next month, but since that episode there’s been a definite downturn in his activity level, which, with age and arthritis, is to be expected.
A few weeks after the incident my mother mentioned that during the time he spent at their house she’d seen Jasper’s head was jerking as if he was having some sort of spasm. I was concerned, but had not seen him having any other episodes of this, so I brushed it off as a muscle spasm/reaction to the fall down the stairs.
I knew it wasn’t, but I wanted to think it was.
A couple weeks ago, I woke up late on a Saturday morning, and Jasper started seizing, again. Violently. For thirty minutes. His eyes were rolling back in his head, and his tongue was flopping out of his mouth. I called the vet, panicked, and they had me bring him right in. The seizure stopped on the way to the office, and he sat next to me in the waiting room, exhausted. The vet examined him and took some blood to check his cell count for signs of cancer – seizures are oftentimes signs of brain tumors. She placed him on phenobarbital to calm the seizures, and asked that we follow up in a few weeks.
Last weekend was the scheduled follow up, and I was happy to report that, with the exception of one episode, the seizures did not come back, but I could tell when he needed the phenobarbital because he would have the same head spasm that my mother noticed a few months ago. The vet looked at me, sort of puzzled. “Really, because that…shouldn’t really be happening…” She then asked about any other sort of strange behaviors I might have noticed – change in his eating or bathroom habits, or if he’d been pacing around the house or walking in circles.
“Oh, yes, he’s been doing that for a few weeks now. Pacing, pacing, pacing, around the kitchen island. And sometimes he’ll walk around the house and kind of…get lost? Or stuck in the corner of the living room and just stand there for a few seconds, like he forgot where he’s going.”
The vet looked at me then, and I just knew.
“Those aren’t good signs, Jenn. Those are symptoms that he has a brain tumor.”
I knew it. I knew something bad was wrong. I knew this was coming. I just didn’t want to accept it. The vet added prednisone to his medication regimen (poor dog takes more meds than my grandpa, I swear) to calm the symptoms, but from here it’s just a matter of weeks until I have to make the worst decision of my life.
This is where it sucks. Not knowing if today’s going to be the day that I need to call the vet. Waiting. For him to get worse, to start seizing violently, for his personality to change, for him to snap. For him not to be my Jasper.
When it’s time for him to go, I won’t hang on. I won’t let him suffer, I swear. Until then, I’m the one suffering.
Posted in daily, Jasper, la familia, the damn dog

Why There’s Been A Snausage Shortage in Pennsylvania

Last month I went to NYC with a group of local Twitter friends. We spent the day at MoMA, we did a little sight-seeing, we dined al fresco in Little Italy (followed by the best gelato I ever had), and ended the night in an Irish pub. I had a great time, especially because I knew I didn’t have to worry about rushing home to take care of Jasper, since he was spending time at my parent’s house.


Mom and Dad were willing to take Jasper for a few days, but I was lucky to get him back. Or so I was told. Jasper and my parents have a love-love relationship. It’s kind of annoying. They love to have him stay because they miss having a dog in the house, and Jas loves going to their house because there’s so much room to roam outside, and many more things to sniff. Always with the sniff sniff sniffing. I swear he’s part bloodhound. Or coke fiend. Whatever.

While Jasper was at “Gram and Pop’s” (I know, I’m properly ashamed of myself, don’t worry) he got the best of everything — lots of food, treats, and all the toilet water he could drink. He also got a haircut!

Haircut! by you.

Who’s a handsome fella? Who IS? HIM is! *Ahem* Anyway.

With all that good came a little bit of bad. You see, Jasper’s getting on in years, and his back and legs aren’t as sturdy as they used to be. He’s got the arthritis, and some days it’s pretty bad. Most days he’s just a little slow and walks a little stiffly, but some days he doesn’t get up as quickly and whines a little when he first gets going. I’ve been able to quiet the pain down with some ‘over the counter’ medications from the pet store and they seemed to help. But, my parents have hardwood floors in their house, including the stair case, and wood floors + unstable old man doggy legs = trouble, and Jasper fell down their stairs not once, but three times. As a result, he had a much harder time getting around the last day of his stay. He didn’t move much from his blanket on the floor, and when he did, he cried horribly.


My poor baby.

So I brought him home and let him rest. For the next day, it was much of the same, as far as the not moving and crying went. He wasn’t able to curl up in a ball and lie down, so when he slept he was sprawled out all weird, and when he’d try to get up – oh, the crying – it broke my heart. He’d wake up in the middle of the night with it. I felt so helpless because I couldn’t help him – he’d growl at me if I tried. So I made an appointment at the vet for him to get checked out. He needed his yearly check up anyway, but this problem was enough to push me to call sooner rather than later. X-rays, blood work, exam, medications, and one mortgage payment later, and the vet told me there was no fracture, that yes, he has arthritis, but it’s manageable, and it was probably the falls down the steps that just aggravated his condition, not to mention throw some ligament damage in for good measure. So he’s on Tramadol, which must be bitter as hell, because let me tell you – it is a joy to try to get him to swallow those things, and has a follow up appointment tomorrow.

He’s feeling much better, but it’s taken a toll on him, I can tell. He’s slower to get up the stairs, and is still not fond of sitting or lying down. The Tramadol makes him thirsty as hell, so he drinks more, and then of course needs to pee more, and if I’m not letting him out the door toute de freakin’ suite…well, I don’t have to tell you. It’s been a trying time, but he’s improving, and that’s what counts.


Throughout this whole ordeal I’ve had to really think about what it’s going to be like not having him around anymore. Before I took him to the vet my dad said that I might ‘have to make a hard decision soon’, and I did not want to even entertain that idea, but you know…it happens. What if he had a fracture? What if he needed surgery? What if it had been inoperable? What if it had been cancer? I thought about these things, listening to him cry at night, and I cried right along with him.

I knew from day one with Jasper that our time together would be limited. He was six years old when I brought him home, I’m not delusional. And yes, he’s just a dog, but he’s my baby. He’s been with me for six years, waiting at the door when I get home, getting underfoot when I’m at the stove, sitting by my feet when I’m on the couch. I know he’s going to leave me, and I know it’s going to be soon. And it’s going to hurt like hell.


But I am so not ready yet.
Posted in daily, Jasper, Uncategorized

We Need a Little Christmas! Right This Very Minute!

I got my Christmas tree Saturday morning, and for the first time in six Christmases in this house I succeeded in buying a tree that A:) took less than 15 minutes to find, and B:) does not take up half my living room. I have a tendency to fall in love with trees that are 8 feet tall and 5 feet wide, and in a 900 square foot home that’s asking for trouble.

I’ve really scaled back on the decorations in the house this year. I think it’s a combination of being tired of the both the type of decorations I have (very country Christmas-ish; I’m over it), and the amount of decorations I own (wayyyy too many; I’m also over the clutter). I’ve shelved a good 75% of my stuff, and bought just a couple new things to mix it up. I didn’t want to spend too much money on something as frivolous as new Christmas decorations. That is, after all, what the day after Christmas is for. Ahem.

Anyway, back to the tree. Since I bought the smaller tree, I needed fewer ornaments. This is a shame, since my ornaments are ridiculousy adorable and thus need to be seen.

cuppycake by you.

A Christmas cupcake? Oh, for cute.

bulldog by you.

Seriously. A bulldog puppy? Seriously.

Gossamer and Bugs by you.

Yes, that is Bugs Bunny and the monster (his name, btw, is Gossamer). That’s probably my favorite.

no crocodiles. no rhinoceruseses. by you.

That picture is terrible, and I apologize. But LOOK HOW CUTE. It even plays THE SONG. The cuteness, it cannot be denied.

KITTY! by you.

Pssh. Please. Like you didn’t see this coming. I need to stay out of Target before Christmas, because every year they inevitably have new Hello Kitty ornaments, and if I’m not careful I’ll end up with a very Hello Kitty Christmas.

WAIT A MINUTE.

Kidding. Kind of.

Anyway, here’s my tree, in all its glory, and my dog, totally not giving a rat’s ass:

Oh, Tannenbaum by you.

Posted in daily, Jasper, life, the damn dog, The Joy of Homeownership

Eviction Notice

Dear Canine Resident at (address redacted), Allentown, PA:

It has come to management’s attention that recent actions and activities in which you have taken part are in direct violation to the residence and cohabitation contract you entered into in April of 2004.

Upon agreement of said contract, it was management’s responsibility to provide the shelter, food, and water necessesary, with additional needs such as bathing, grooming, walks, and veterinary visits included on a strictly as-needed basis.

Not exclusive to contract were fringe benefits such as treats, belly rubs, ear scritches, and couch time. During initial negotiations management agreed to forgo the need for Snuggle Time directly related to Resident’s ‘Good Boy’ status, seeing as Resident was initially and continually resistant to said Snuggle Time.

However, in light of recent incidents in which Management’s living room carpet has been used as a restroom, Management has deemed it necessary to remind you of your ‘Good Boy’ obligations, wherein it is your responsibility to conduct your Important Business outside the Residence. To facilitate the carrying on of Important Business outside the Residence, Management has agreed to participate in additional outings and longer walks.

Should Resident continue to befoul the inside of the Residence, Management will have no course but to help Resident find other accomodations, perhaps at (address redacted) in the Poconos, PA.
Thank you for your kind and prompt attention to this matter.

Sincerely,
Jennifer C.
Management, (address redacted), Allentown, PA.

Dear Management,

Kindly suck it.

Sincerely,

Jasper

Posted in daily, Jasper, life

Yes, I did just cut and paste an email I sent to my mom and think it suitable for use as a blog post. Kindly get the fuck over it.

To: Momma-San

From: JC

Subject: Fun Night

Hey momma. It’s 9pm and Jasper and I are just getting home, I didn’t want to call and bug you. Cindy’s sons’ band was playing a small outdoor show in downtown Bethlehem – they call it Tunes at Twilight – and I went tonight. I took ‘the boy’ because I knew he was cooped up in the house all day and I felt bad about leaving him, plus downtown Bethlehem is very puppy friendly – some places even have water bowls outside – so I figured we’d give it a try…worst we’d have to do is turn around and go home.

My friend Cheryl met us and we listened to the band awhile – we even saw a few people from work. Jasper was very popular – lots of people petting him and saying how pretty he was! He was very good for the most part – he only really ‘met’ one other doggy there, named Spike (Big doggie!), they sniffed each other for a bit, then Jasper backed off (the pussy, ha ha). The kiddos that were around didn’t really bother him – if they wanted to see him they all asked first, and I just said, “Thanks for asking, sorry, but he’s just not that friendly with kids.” And they were ok with it, didn’t bug him or anything, plus if there was a little kid close by he pretty much walked away from them.

After we listened to the band awhile, Cheryl and I were hungry for dinner, so we walked up to the Brew Works and sat down outside to eat – we split onion rings (beer battered, with a Parmesan peppercorn dipping sauce, yum), and I had a spinach and strawberry salad with toasted almonds, goat cheese, and an orange vinaigrette. Oh my goodness so good. I’m so going to make that at home! Best part is Cheryl insisted on paying because of all the cooking I do when they come over here (score). I gave her money for tip, though. I didn’t want to be a total mooch.

Jasper was…okay during dinner. I got a bowl and poured some water in it, and I had treats with me, but every once in a while he’d bark at people walking by. It just got a little…embarassing. I felt like he was disrupting people’s meals…now I know how people with screaming little ones feel in public! But again, even at dinner, people just kept coming up and petting him, and saying how soft he was and how pretty and how they couldn’t believe that he was over ten years old.

The little attention whore ate it up.

But we’re home now, and he’s passed out on my feet. It was nice to get out, and such a nice night, too.

Talk to you soon.

Love,
Jenn

Posted in daily, Jasper, Kitchen Remodel, The Joy of Homeownership

The Inevitable Snag

The beauty of an eat-in kitchen is in the name: You can eat. In your kitchen. There’s room to cook and serve a meal. And when you renovate said eat-in kitchen, there’s enough space to move all your shit to one side of the room while you work on the other.

And that’s what I’ve been living with for the past week. Everything from the countertops was pushed onto my table and everything in the drawers was put in a box and dumped unceremoniously in the living room.

Like this, only more stabby.

And that’s how I was living with my kitchen for over a week. I dealt with it, but my latent OCD was thisclose to making me flip the fuck out.

Saturday, we didn’t make a huge amount of progress, but finished painting all the cabinets and doors, and finished sanding, priming and painting the ‘kitchen’ half of my kitchen. So that’s all done, which enabled me to move everything back onto the countertops and off my table, which allowed me to breathe again. The twitching and the voices stopped, too, so, you know, bonus.

We tried to get the doors hung back on the cabinets, but alas, as it always goes when I attempt a home improvement project, it turns out I bought the wrong effing hinges. I’ve sinced returned the wrong effing hinges to the hinge store and proceeded to purchase the correct effing hinges, but have not attempted to hang my cabinet doors back up due to my inability to screw in or nail anything in a straight line.

So I continue to live like this, with my freak doorless cabinets, wide open for the world to see.

I know, white people’s problems.

At least I’ve got one door up. (I had to make sure I actually did buy the correct hinges and that they worked correctly. You should have seen me trying to hang this damn door. There were quite a few sons of bitches in my kitchen the other night, and it’s TOTALLY THE DOORS’ FAULT.)

Isn’t it beautiful? I stare at it all day. I stroke it lovingly and dream of the day all my cabinets will have doors.

Why, no, I don’t think I have a ‘problem’ at all.

“I do. I’m so over this shit. I can haz Snausages nao?”

Coming up this weekend: Picking out granite at the remnant sale (SQUEEE!), actually making a fucking decision re: the new flooring, and, whattayaknow, more painting! Huzzah!