Sunday, June 30, 2013

Ruby Rides Again . . .

Too bad it was back to the exotic vet!  Ruby is kinda like a cat . . . she has nine lives.  And she keeps deducting years off my life, which is pretty damn unfair.

I thought this was going to be the last picture of my sweet little piggy . . .
She's a fighter . . . so glad I didn't give up on her!
This was her at the exotic vet Friday a week ago . . . what you can't see is me sobbing uncontrollably in the corner thinking she was going to die. 

Why did I think that?  Oh, because they gave her a less than 50% chance of survival and offered to euthanize her.  No, hell no, you will NOT!

The back story . . .

I gave Ruby all of her meds for a week . . . she was like a piggy rock star!  She was a new girl . . . eating, drinking, pooping and generally putting on a rodent show of hilarity. 

But after three days off her meds, she started to slow down her eating and drinking again.  I panicked and started her meds back up on the fourth day to no avail. 

For lack of a better description, she acted seriously drunk.  She couldn't really walk without falling over, she couldn't get herself back up if she fell, and she couldn't even get her head to work right to take a drink from her bottle.  It was so freaking sad. 

Thursday night I held her for two hours because she appeared to be having seizures, and it seemed to be easier on her if I held her kinda tight so she didn't fall over.  Even her eyes were twitching . . . so scary.  I just cried and cried.  Getzy didn't know what to do with me.

I called the vet from Girl Scout camp on Friday morning, and they didn't have an appointment until that afternoon. I hightailed it out of camp at the end of the day, grabbed my piggy and whisked her off to the vet.

Now one of her medicines was a 7 day prescription, and one was a 14 day prescription.  She was doing so well that I figured after 7 days she was just fine and stopped all meds.  WRONG. 

Turns out the one I stopped early was the antibiotic . . . and clearly I made a bad choice.  Would I stop it for my child?  No.  But hell, it's a guinea pig.  I didn't think it would be a big deal . . . I was the guinea pig savior, right?  Apparently not.

The vet informed me that they are very delicate, and that perhaps I had created a super virus that had made it's way to her brain by stopping the antibiotics course early.  Kill me now . . . I could have caused this?

When my sobbing got out of hand at this news, he also offered the option that she could have a brain tumor.  That usually happens later in a guinea pig's life, but she was showing signs of brain issues.  Even the vet tech who saw her first thought it was cerebral. 

They did make a point of telling me that I have done more than most guinea pig pet owners . . . at least until I almost killed her. 

I tell them to give me the strongest drugs available along with more subcutaneous fluids.  I asked how long before I should see an improvement . . . 24 to 48 hours.  If there wasn't any, then I could bring her back to be euthanized . . . he let me know they had Saturday hours and were open again on Monday.

As you can imagine, the first question Getzy asked me when I get home was not, "How is Ruby?"  It was "How much did it cost this time?"  My answer . . . less than last time!  Bam!
My heart was breaking at the thought that I could have done her harm when my intentions were so good.  So the Ruby vigil began and even into Saturday morning Getzy was convinced she'd had a stroke . . . it seemed while she had perked up a little, her bag legs were just not working.   

And then finally, the guinea pig gods smiled down upon us!  When I was getting ready for my night out on Saturday, I took Ruby upstairs and locked her in the bathroom with me.  I set up a little guinea pig therapy course . . . things laid about to intrigue her. 
Guinea pig therapy . . .
And her little legs started working again . . . praise the sweet baby Jesus.  She puttered about the bathroom floor but mostly she just kept coming back to nibble on my shoe and anklet.  She knew I needed her to show me she was on the road to recovery . . . little did I know I was going out for my 40th birthday surprise party!
Hey, nice anklet.  Oh thanks Ruby, I know!
She likes to sit on the deck with me in the mornings while I have my coffee . . . I think the fresh air is good for her health.  It's part of her wellness plan. 
I think Ruby needs some coffee too!
She is on her second week of medicine and thankfully doing just fine . . . she loves to be dropper fed and makes it so easy on me.  She's eating her salads and hay just fine on her own, but I like dropper feeding her the Vitamin C and critical care food!
Peel the grapes and feed me lady!
So here's my PSA for you today . . . DON'T get a guinea pig.  They will break your heart . . . you will fall in love first and then realize how much work their proper care really is.

They need loads of love and affection, or they can get depressed.  They need their cage cleaned out a lot, otherwise things start to stink.  They need fresh fruits and veggies to supplement their diet of guinea pig food and hay. 

Don't get me wrong . . . I have professed my love for Ruby time and time again . . . but the parent has to want a guinea pig because it's more than a child can be expected to handle.

So to keep her safe, I've decided to get Ruby this new outfit . . . I just can't be too careful these days. 
Ruby the Warrior Princess!
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Tuesday, June 25, 2013

Chicago's Navy Pier plus Prom and a Graduation

Time slipped away from me, and I haven't had a chance to finish up my Chicago road trip story . . . we start 'Mommy Adventure Week' today so I thought I should get caught up!

The whole reason we made the road trip was to celebrate my niece graduating from high school . . . and her prom was the same weekend on Friday night!  She was absolutely gorgeous . . .
My brother and his family . . . I miss them like crazy!
On Saturday we headed into Chicago to do some sightseeing!  We took a train from my brother's house into downtown . . . I loved watching them gaze out the window!
Such pensive looks watching the scenery . . .
We got off the train and then took a Water Taxi to Michigan Avenue . . .
Such a cool ride for the kids . . . and the draw bridges for the sailboats were a site to see!
And then boarded a free Trolley to head to Navy Pier!  I must say, Navy Pier was amazing!  My sister-in-law's brother and his family joined us on our adventure into Chicago, and we had a blast together. 
It was a windy day in Chicago on the water so the Ferris Wheel was extra exciting!
We purchased a 15 ticket package so we could ride the Ferris Wheel, the Swings and the Carousel . . . it was a much better deal this way!  Hands down the kid favorite was the swings!  They went so high and so fast!  And of course I had to get in on the action . . . flip flops in hand so I didn't lose them!
Flying high . . . so much fun!
And finally, we enjoyed the carousel, but it was way too tame after the swings!  And the boys tried to pick the weirdest animal. 
Crazy kids . . . the ride was a bit of a snooze but who can resist a carousel?
We lunched right on the water and then the kids wanted a funnel cake . . . delicious!
Good eats on the Pier!
We walked all the way to the end of the pier . . . the anchor was a perfect photo spot!
Now that's big . . . from the USS Chicago!
And then we headed over to the Bean in Millennium Park . . . this is a huge tourist attraction . . . I can't resist a touristy stop, but I can't say that I "get it."   
But it is cool to see your reflection in the Bean!
And then our day in Chi-town was over . . . I walked every one's legs off to make it back to the train on time . . . I was not waiting around for an hour until the next one arrived!
And finally, the big event!  I am so proud of my niece . . . I can't believe how fast she grew up . . . it seems like just yesterday she was a little girl . . . I love you JW!

The big day . . . so proud!
And one last pic of my nieces and their dogs . . . they love their animals as much as I do . . . they make me happy!
My girls and their furry babies . . . love them!
We loaded up the family truckster and hit the road bright and early Monday morning!  It took us 13 hours, but we made it home and slept in our own beds that night!  Counting our blessings for another safe and successful road trip!

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Monday, June 24, 2013

The Fur Bus and a Surprise 40th

Getzy deserves serious props and accolades for pulling off a grand caper this past Saturday night . . . a surprise 40th birthday party for me!  Here's to my fabulous husband . . .
My favorite cocktail . . . 1800 Margarita!
I could not have been more clueless . . . it's not typically easy to pull things over on me.  Here's what I usually tell Getzy and the kids . . .
But after two weeks of scout camp and another Ruby incident, my sleuthing skills were kind of lax.  It also helps that my actual birthday isn't until July! 
I knew the plan was to go out with our friends on Saturday night to attend a rescheduled brewery tour.  I was whining to Getzy about going . . . not because I don't love to hang out, but because I was just so tired and worn down. 
He was all like just get up and get ready . . . we're going.  Thankfully I decided to put on some make up and a mostly cute outfit.  I put on flats because I was feeling so dang lazy.  I had to pull my hair back because I fell asleep after my shower with a wet head.  Nice.
So our friends come to pick us up . . . they had devised a story about why there were coolers and bags in the back of their car, but I didn't even notice.  The only time I started to question things was when we drove a different way than I thought we should be going. 
Getzy said he forgot something at a friend's house but then took the long way there.  Two things Getzy never does . . . leave stuff behind or drive the long way any where.  Suddenly my suspicions were raised.
We drove into our neighborhood pool parking lot and guess what I found there??  The legendary Atlanta Fur Bus.  I have heard about this crazy ride on the radio and have even seen it around town a few times, but . . . 
Oh yeah . . . who doesn't love an Extreme Limousine!
Imagine my delight when I realize the Fur Bus was dedicated to me for the night!  I get on the bus to find some of the greatest friends a girl could have . . . I was so shocked I was shaking!   
My chariot and my prince . . .
My best girlfriend mixed up some party drinks to go . . . the SPF 40, a delightful coconutty mix that tasted like the beach . . . and had the cups, straws and little umbrellas to complete the effect!
We headed to dinner at this fun Cajun restaurant called Henry's!  The owner is from Louisiana and loves to wander about the restaurant and flirt with the ladies . . . and pass out beads! 
He was also very generous in the shot department . . . he brought me a special birthday shot and then one for each of the ladies . . . they were a delightful cherry flavor!
Shots for the ladies . . . we love us some Chef Henry!
Then he made a restaurant announcement about my birthday and brought their famous bread pudding . . . so tasty!
I wished for . . . duh, so not telling!
So it's back on the Fur Bus, and we head out to a fun dancing spot . . . Johnny's Hideaway.  It's a well known fact that I LOVE to dance.  Getzy and I used to go out to the clubs in Washington D.C. and dance the night away.  It's no secret that his dance moves were a huge part of my attraction to him . . . and his cute face. 
Now it's hard for the married and in their late 30's/40's crowd to find their dancing niche.  Johnny's is more of an older divorcee crowd, but the alternative was a young wild club.  Our motto is always to opt for the spot where you're going to be the youngest and most fun, so Johnny's it was!
We danced like it was the only way into heaven . . . so much fun!  And I feel like I should apologize for the randomness of the photos, but in all honesty . . . I'm sorry I'm not sorry! 
I should probably be embarrassed . . . but I'm not.  You can still have fun at 40!
My only regret from the night is that I wish I had more and better photos of each person who joined me.  It just wasn't in the cards given the alcohol, moving vehicle and cover of darkness. 
Each and everyone of the folks who celebrated with me should know just how much I love them. Like pink puffy heart them.  
And I hope Getzy knows that he could not have arranged a more perfect 40th birthday for me . . . and it was such a bonus that it was a TOTAL surprise!  He just nailed it . . . and made me so happy!  Talk about pink puffy 'hearting' someone. 
And one last photo. . . these two crazy ladies make my life better . . . I love them.  A lot.  And bonus points to Getzy for the photo bomb! 
My ladies . . . they are 'klassey' with a "K"!
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Thursday, June 20, 2013

I'm the new President of Vol-Anon

Uh, yeah . . . I need to stop the madness.  It has been determined by me . . . after careful study . . . that one can volunteer too much.  There, I said it. 

Thus, I've nominated myself as the President of the first ever chapter of Vol-Anon.  You know, it's kinda like one of those 'fill in the blank' anonymous organizations for people with addictions, mine being volunteering. 

Vol-Anon is totally fictitious.  But maybe it shouldn't be? 

Here's what I look like most of the time . . .
People know I'm a sucker . . . and not to toot my own horn . . . ah, who are we kidding . . . I'm tooting, except not literally . . .
I've got some mad skillz.  Yeah, I said it with a "z" . . . that's how awesome they are!! 

I can organize the hell out of some stuff.  My ideal job would be to try out products or come review your business practices, and then criticize the crap out of them to make them better.  You're welcome.

I like money and numbers so really, could you find a better treasurer?  I think not.  Oh, and I did pass the CPA exam. 

I'm usually funny and peppy . . . at least until I'm tired and . . .
I like kids.  Well, I like my own kids anyway and sometimes I like their friends.  If I like you, I'll generally put up with your kids too!
I'm extremely social.  I like to join things and be a part of the team.  So I guess I'm 'teamy.'  Not to be confused with steamy . . . unless I'm outside all damn day at camp, then yes, you could say I'm steamy. 
I'm just nosey.  I like to be in the middle of things and know all the latest gossip just exactly what's going on at an organization.
And finally, I feel compelled to volunteer because I'm fortunate enough to be a stay at home mom. I mean really, what else am I going to do? Or at least that's what I thought until this year.
For the first time, it's starting to make sense about taking care ME, not just my family.   
This year, I didn't just start a New Year's resolution diet and exercise plan only to quit in February.  I kept up with boot camp (at 5:30 a.m. thankyouverymuch) and just about finished the Couch to 5K running program.  I was monitoring my eating habits and tracking my food on My Fitness Pal.  I started blogging and holding myself accountable . . . and then . . . dun, dun, dun . . .
The crazy bidnazz of the end of the school year happened.  And I agreed to volunteer two weeks straight as a leader at summer camp (one for Cub Scouts and one for Girl Scouts)
And then I quit exercising because I was so worn out and ate junk food like it was a real job . . . because I "deserved it" . . .  after spending all day with random kids outside in the heat of summer. 
So maybe I ought to rethink this volunteering thing and focus more on the ME thing.  It's quite the conundrum because then I'd miss moments like these . . .
Kyle getting not one, but four, bulleyes at Archery and earning the Sharp Shooter Award for BB guns . . .
Amanda learning to dive and her first time in a canoe . . .
I'm sure how I'm feeling about volunteering right now is much like childbirth . . . over time your forget "the pain" . . . and I'll go back next year to do it again.
This quote keeps coming to mind . . .

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Tuesday, June 18, 2013

Boy meets girl . . . in a bar

The year was 1997 . . . back when Seinfeld was the hottest show on TV and Titanic was the popular movie . . . and we all wanted to be Kate Winslet on the bow of the ship.  Am I right?  Well, I walked into a bar, met the man of my dreams and the rest, as they say, is history. 

OK, that sounds ridiculous, even to me . . . but it's mostly true! Certainly nobody is perfect, but sometimes you find the person that is perfect for you! It takes a special man to put up with my crazy, and Getzy has done a bang up job so far!
Our 1st photo together . . . at his brother's wedding in
Florida . . . and probably the hottest day ever!
Here's how the story goes . . .

I have two great friends with today as their birthday (shout out AF and KH)!  Back in 1997, both were having birthday happy hours at the same bar, Old Ebbitt Grill, in Washington D.C. 
The scene of the magic!
I get all fancy and head to the bar.  I still have the dress I was wearing . . . hoarder!  I kid, but it was very sentimental to me so I still have it.  I remember I also had on some awesome wooden platform Candie's shoes . . . and yes, they were cool back then!
Didn't believe me?  Here's the evidence.  It was cute on!
It still seems like yesterday when I was walking to the bar that night in the June heat, before the sun went down.  I have such fond memories of my days spent in Washington D.C. . . . I could go on and on about the fun I had, but I digress.

I remember my friend Liz was sitting at that very bar pictured above, and I was standing near her.  We were  enjoying the atmosphere and chatting it up like always.  She was engaged at the time, and I remember asking her if she was planning on taking the guy's last name. 

Being the independent girl that she was, the answer was no.  This cute guy, wearing a business suit, leaning back against the bar chimed in and said, "You're not going to take the guy's last name?"  And she confirms that no, she wasn't interested. 

I speak up and say that it would depend on the name as to whether I would take it or not.  I said I was dating a guy with the last name Smith, and I didn't want such a plain last name given my unusual maiden name.  I also mentioned that I had briefly dated a guy with the last name Slappey, and I sure as heck didn't want to be Amy Slappey. 

I look at the cute guy in the business suit and say, "So, what's your last name?"  He says, "Getz."  I smirk back and say, "Well, that's a take-able last name."  Bam.  I love to tell that story!

So my friend Kim and I are going to another bar in Arlington, Virginia.  We make an open invitation for everyone to join us.  The cutie in the business suit says that's he lives near that bar.  I negotiated with him saying if he would walk me to my car, I would drive him home. 

As we are leaving Old Ebbitt Grill, the cutie thinks he's funny and says, "Do you always offer to drive random guys home from bars?"  I look at him and snark back, "Only when I know their friends and can find them and prosecute."  He laughs and says, "Prosecute.  Not a word I was expecting to here!"  Ha!

At the time, I drove a rocking red hot Saturn (does rocking red hot and Saturn even go in the same sentence?) . . . such a girl car.   

Not my actual car . . . but what it looked like, spoiler and flip lights included!!
As we are walking to my car from the bar, I see this beat up old Honda civic parked right behind me. I walk up to the driver's side door and make like the crusty old civic is my ride.

As he's looking at it all funny, I laugh and say no, it's the red one in front.  Then, he kinda looks around a little and ducks inside my car.  I ask him what he was doing and he says, "I just didn't want anyone seeing me get into a Saturn."  Smart ass. But I liked it.

We are heading to Virginia out of the city, and I make a wrong turn . . . into the Vice-President's home.  And yes, I'm serious. 

Al Gore's home, at the time of my wrong turn.
Cut me some slack, I was all distracted by the cute guy in my car and it was dark.  I ask the Secret Service agents manning the gate how to get back to the Key Bridge, and we make it to the other bar, finally. 

We hung out and chatted with everyone for awhile, but I had to get home for work the next day.  It was a Wednesday, after all.  So I tell the cutie I'm ready to go and drive him to his apartment.  We exchanged business cards and said our polite good nights.  Damn, we are old!  Do people still have business cards?  And technically here's where the story ends . . . but really it was just the beginning. 

I loved that Getzy didn't play any games.  He emailed me the next day, and we ended up chit chatting via email for a couple of weeks.  Just so you know, I'm not a "cheater."  I broke up with the Smith guy before I ever agreed to go out on a date with Getzy.  That was a leap of faith, and I'm sure glad I took the jump. 

Throw back photos from the '90's . . . I love his smile!
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Tuesday, June 11, 2013

Too much stress . . . over a guinea pig

So lots of things are happening that I want to write about . . . but it's the odd stuff that I just have to share . . . guess where Ruby went on a field trip this week?

Uhm, yeah, that's the vet's office.  Well, to be more specific, not my usual vet for the dogs, but an exotic pet vet.  Didn't know there was one of those now did you??

A little history . . . it's no secret Getzy is not in the Ruby Fan Club (of which I am the President).  He dutifully changed her food and water and gave her carrots every day while we were gone to Chicago . . . he just never got her out and cuddled her.  So when I returned and noticed she wasn't eating or drinking as much, naturally I thought she was depressed.  Guinea pigs get depressed . . . didn't know that either, right?

So Amanda and I held her all last week like it was our job . . . the boys helped out when they weren't too busy playing video games. 

I cleaned her cage and put her bowl, water bottle and plastic house through the dishwasher in case it was dirty.  A little known fact about me . . . basically everything I own is fair game for a run through the dishwasher.  I like things clean and sanitized.  Things like plastic stools, toys, pet dishes, toothbrushes, and even the potty chairs when my kids were little (by themselves of course because eeewwww) . . . my deep seated need to kill germs knows no bounds. 

Ok, back to Ruby . . . I googled favorite guinea pig foods and served them up . . . I went to PetSmart and got her Timothy Hay, vitamin drops and a hay manger . . . for the baby Jesus . . . I mean Ruby.

I emailed the teacher to see if she had any advice . . . Ruby had her stumped.  I asked a question about sick guinea pigs on my neighborhood Facebook page.  We even prayed over Ruby at dinner, and I had a good cry about her to Getzy on Sunday.  She wasn't just depressed . . . something was seriously wrong.  And for the love of St. Francis . . . no class guinea pig is dying on my watch . . . at least not without a fight. 
So after a long day at Cub Scout Camp on Monday (yeah, me with 12 rising 5th grade boys for 8 hours . . . be jealous), I came home long enough to find an exotic pet vet, and the Princess and I loaded her in the car for our "adventure."
They were super lovely at the vet . . . very knowledgeable about guinea pigs . . . except the didn't really know what was wrong.  I guess that was mostly because I opted out of having her X-rayed or put under anesthesia to check her back teeth, which could be a problem. 
I basically felt like an ass for "not going the distance," but seriously?  So the cheapest route to cover all our bases was this . . .
And yes, I nearly "shipped my pants!"  You know what I was thinking . . . Getzy is going to kill me.  So I start texting my best friends while I'm waiting for all Ruby's medications to get ready.  I've just told my MFFF about the bill, and how I think Getzy will react . . .
And to make sure I can see the laughter in all situations, by GBFF offered her support . . .
And yes, they show me how to give Ruby her medicine but apparently the exam and dropper fed medicine were just too much and she had a seizure.  And I cried.  They told me it was normal after so much handling, but it was hard to watch.  I was grateful it was over quick. 
So after receiving subcutaneous fluids at the vet (thankfully in the back office), she came home with antibiotics, pain medication, an anti-inflammatory, Vitamin C and critical car food . . . that needs to be dropper fed to her . . . the food every 4 to 6 hours.  Did I mention I have a life?  Yes, one currently dedicated to a guinea pig. 
Yep, that's a mortar and pestle that I use to grind up her Vitamin C, and then I put it in the green food and dropper feed her . . . she's actually loving it . . . she's a sucka! 
Here she is ready to get her medicine . . . she's much perkier today! 
I need to give Getzy credit . . . he just quietly nodded at my declaration of the bill amount . . . at some point he just admits defeat and knows the pets always win.  After all these years together, he deserves endless beers and buckets of gold to pay for the pets

So all my Internet friends . . . say a quick prayer that Ruby makes a full recovery, and I don't get the reputation as the killer of the class pet. 

And Ms. G, if you're reading . . . I might just be getting you a new class guinea pig because no one will ever love Ruby as much as me!