Wednesday, May 28, 2008

Dog Blog: Round 3 - My Tail of Woe

Hey everyone! It's me, Mattie! Mom (you know her as Claire) left the laptop unsupervised, so wheee! I'm going to stretch my blogging wings here on this Claire Uncorked thingy. (For those of you that were around before, you'll remember that I have great fun blogging.) You know, I'm not really sure how my my mom came up with Claire Uncorked...I guess it's because of that stuff that her & Dad drink all the time. Eh, who knows - I've been with her for over 13 years, & I'm not going to question just wouldn't do any good. I'm not complaining, I'm just sayin'.

Let me tell you what's been going on lately. Get yourself comfortable, 'cause I've got a lot to say! I gotta say, I've been through a whole lot.

I went to get my teeth cleaned back in March & somehow the vet discovered that that cancer stuff came back. I heard Dr. Gwen say that word, but I really knew it was back when my mom came to take me home. She looked so serious, & she only looks like that when I have that crap. I don't know why it comes back, it's not like I like the stuff - you'd think it'd know that after I kicked it out of my body twice before. But even had the nerve to come back on the paw where it all started! I guess taking 2 toes the first time wasn't enough so it wanted another one. Mom says cancer's an asshole, & that must be true. Doesn't it have toes of its own?

Two days later, I was back at the vet's office to have surgery. There was a lot of concern about how Dr. Gwen was going to handle it - this tumor thing was on the only toe that I can really stand on, & Mom said I'd be "screwed" - whatever that means - if something happened to it. Lucky for me, Dr. Gwen loves me & managed to save my toe. Not without cutting the dickens out of my poor paw, though! She thought she was being clever when she put a green bandage on me for something called St. Pat's, but I was unamused. I'm wearing it in the picture at the top...I don't look like I think it's funny, do I? No, of course not. Actually, I felt really funny - Dad kept giving me these pills. They made me not mind the embarrassment & torture of that damn lampshade thing I had to wear.

Let me talk for a sec about that lampshade. I've worn those things many times & it doesn't matter - I'll never just get used to it. You try conducting the business of your life with that thing on your head. You can't turn corners, you can't navigate stairs, you can't lay your head down without laying on plastic, & the worst part is that you can't lick your butt or any other place that's bugging you.

I knew what was coming, & I could tell from Mom & Dad's conversations that I'd be headed back to Mizzou for more of that radiation stuff. However, something told me that this time would be different. My mom was really stressed (but she's cool, she tries not to let it show), & they were talking about possibly cancelling their trip to...oh, wherever it was. I was hoping that they wouldn't because I like hanging out with Grandpa. He feeds us a lot of treats & lets us stay outside for a really long time - he doesn't have to go to work, so he's never in a hurry. They decided to take their trip, but that had me a little worried. What was it about this time that had them so freaked out? I figured it was best to just not think about it - maybe nothing was going to happen.

One night, Mom & Dad had a party. A bunch of really fun ladies came over (& Mr. Luce, who watched a movie with Dad), & they drank a lot of my mom's wine. The next day, Dad went to work, & Mom loaded me into the car. Uh oh. We started an all-too-familiar trip, & I knew exactly where we were headed - Mizzou. So much for my not thinking about it - now I was really scared.

Mom drove really fast. Every once in a while, she'd see one of those cars with the things on top, & she'd slow down a little. Not sure why. People are really weird, you know that? Soon enough, we turned onto that exit...the one that I dread so much. Within a few minutes, we were there - at that place. I didn't want to go in, but I could see that Mom was getting upset, & I didn't want to add to that. So, I went inside with her & we waited in this room with a bunch of other dogs & people. Thank goodness there weren't any of those wrinkly dogs - I think they're called pugs. I don't like those.

We then met Jen, who was to be my student while she was on the oncology rotation, whatever that is. She really wanted to be my friend, but I was really leary. Then Dr. David came in - & I was so scared that my teeth started chattering. You see, Dr. David is a nice guy, but his being there only confirmed what I knew - I was going to get burned again. Dr. David took care of me last time, & I remembered him since I'm such a smart girl. He felt really bad about my being scared, & I felt a little bad about his feeling bad, but hey - I was the one that was going to get hurt here, not him! Dr. David & Jen talked to my mom for a bit, & then they told her something that made her pretty happy - I wasn't going to have to stay at the hospital alone in a kennel every night, I could go home with Jen. Now, I've always hated being fenced in, so this sounded like a pretty sweet deal. I wanted to go home, of course, but it became clear that I wasn't going to do that when my mom hugged & kissed me & told me she'd see me soon. Looking back, I know that was hard for my mom to do.

I made friends with Jen that day at the hospital - what a nice girl! She knew I was freaked out & sad, so she talked to me a lot. She actually talked to me like Mom does, so that made me feel really good. She even told me that my mom got something called a ticket on the drive home - apparently, she got caught driving too fast by one of those cars with the things on top. Whoops. When we went home that night, I got to meet her dog Nora, & I was overjoyed to have a new playmate. I was so tired, though, that I waited until the next day to really play with her. That weekend, Jen's boyfriend Todd came to town with another dog, Roxy. What fun!

Here we are! That's me, the cutest one on the left (duh), then Jen, Nora, & Roxy. Jen & Todd took us to the park where Nora likes to swim in the creek. I don't join her, though - I hate, & I do mean hate, to get my feet wet. Swimming is silly, but I see a lot of pictures of Mom & Dad swimming in a really big creek called an "ocean". They like it, & so does Nora, but I just watched her swim & then avoided her when she shook the water off of her fur. Oh, & Todd took the picture. I really like Todd, I became quite attached to him that weekend. Jen really likes him, too - they're getting married! Dad's not doing their wedding, though...

As if my weekend wasn't great enough, my mom & dad came to see me! I was so very happy, & so were they, but I was really confused. We didn't go to the car. We just walked around Mizzou. We watched a bunch of girls playing some game with a ball & flags. That was cool, but I really just wanted to get in the car & go home! I mean, I was having a great time with my new friends, but home is home! After a while, we walked back to the hospital, & my parents left. I was really sad, but then Jen & Todd took me to back to play with Nora & Roxy.

Jen took this picture before Todd & Roxy went back home. I know I don't look like I like Roxy very much, but I really, really do! She's a fun little girl, although I have to say that she's a lot smaller than what I'm used to having around me. I'm not so sure she'd fit in at my house very well, but she's so cool that we'd find a way to make it work. Anyway, Todd & Roxy went home, & then Jen & I were very sad.

This thing called radiation therapy really wore me out. I was getting it in 2 places, my paw & my shoulder, because Dr. David said that would make me better. They had to make me go to sleep every day while they did it, & then I went back to my kennel until Jen finished with her work & then took me home. Jen always fed me while I was there, but I liked eating at her house much better. As I said, I hate being in any kind of cage, so I always knocked my bowl over. Dr. David & Jen thought that was really funny, & Dr. David said that I wasn't afraid to "express my opinion", whatever that means. I've heard the same thing said about my mom & dad, so I'm sure it's nothing bad. If it is bad, there are a few people who are going to see my wrath. (I don't really know what that is, I've just heard that on tv.)

A few days later, Jen seemed really sad & her house was all boxed up. Uh oh... I knew what that meant. Her eyes were getting a little watery when she talked to me. When she put me in my kennel at the hospital, I didn't get a good feeling, so I made an awful racket until she kept her with me. In the end, it didn't matter... I knew Jen was leaving. I met 2 new guys, Jeremy & Jeff, & Jen told them everything about me. By noon, she was gone, & Jeremy came to take me to my daily appointment with Dr. David. He took care of everything I needed that day, & then Jeff came, leashed me up, & put me in his car.

I liked Jeff, he was really nice. He showed me his place, & I took a nap. I must've been out for a long time. When I woke up, Jeff was sleeping right next to me. We never went to bed, & my new pal was sleeping on the floor. Whoa. He must've thought I was really cute! Well, he's no dummy, because I am, but I'm no dummy, either...I got on the couch!

We went to school & back for a couple more days, with every night ending up in the living room. I heard Jeff tell my mom that he was worried that my fur would wreck his "suede comforter", whatever that is, so he didn't want to sleep in his bedroom. Bummer. I tried to tell him that we could just take the suede thingamajigger off the bed, but he didn't get what I was saying.

One day after the hospital, we got in the car & went for a long ride. It was fun, & I looked out the window the whole time. I was a little worried, though - we weren't headed to my house. We saw a whole bunch of stuff that Jeff called "corn". A couple of hours into the trip, we pulled into a town called St. Joseph, MO. Jeff said he was home, but that didn't make a whole lot of sense to me. I met his parents, & they were also really nice to me. We stayed there for a couple of nights before going back to Jeff's real know, where we sleep.

Not much else happened, really. Jeremy & Jeff said that Mom & Dad were in Mexico - I really don't get why they go there - & that they had to email them every day. My treatments continued, & it seemed like they made me a little more tired every day. Jeff would always take me home, I'd sleep for a little while, & then he'd take me for a nice walk. Dr. David lived right by Jeff, so I'd see him sometimes, too. That was ok, I decided I could forgive him for what he did everyday because he's just so nice. He really wanted me to like him, too, & I felt really bad for him, so I let him pet me & walk me. Yeah...I liked him, too. But I really grew to love Jeff, & he kept me with him all the time. He even took me back to his parents' house while he did something called "the Guard". He looked really funny - he had to wear clothes - "camo" - that people wore in this place not far from our house. Valley Park. That's the name - Mom & Dad drove me there when the river was really high, & we saw all of these people in "camo" drinking beer & watching the river. What a strange thing to do. Anyway, Jeff was really busy, so I hung out with his parents. They thought I was really cute, too. (That's because I am.)

Time went on, & I was really missing my parents, my house, my sisters...I was the only dog at Jeff's house, but he did his best to keep me busy. I really slept a lot, I was so tired, & my paw really started to hurt. Jeremy spent as much time with me as he could, which was good because I really liked him. A lot of the other dogs were mean to him, so he'd come to me when he wanted someone to be nice to him. Everyone was constantly looking at my paw, & I really just wanted them to leave me alone. And then the worst happened....the lampshade came back & rarely came off of my head. Damn! My paw started to get redder, & I just didn't want to use it, so I walked on 3 legs most of the time.

Hang in there, guys - I'm gettin' there.

One day, Jeff was acting sad, just like Jen did before she left. Oh no...not again. And then my new daytime student, Tina, gave me a bath. A bath!!! I hate to get my feet wet, but since she was new I decided to go along with it. You see, Jeremy went to another "rotation", so she took over. Anyway, I was wet & smelled funny. Jeff came back to see me & I got all excited, thinking that he really wasn't leaving & that we were going to his house! But no....

Tina put my leash on & walked me out to the front. Heh...time to get the lady behind the desk to give me a bone, I guess. Nope, no bone - something better! My parents were there!! So was Bella!! My mom yanked that lampshade off of my head & they were both on the floor with me, hugging me, & Bella was all over me, too. I was so happy, & so were they. Then, Dr. David came out, & a few seconds later, Jeff & Jeremy! It was a real party, & it was for me. ME!!! Everyone was petting & kissing me, which was great, but after a few minutes, I just wanted to hit the road already. Apparently, Dr. David had quite a bit to say, although all I paid attention to was the many times that he talked about how cool I am. I'm tellin' you, these folks at Mizzou are really, really smart! For the rest of the time, I just pulled on my leash, headed towards the door. Finally, everyone said goodbye, & this time...I left with Mom & Dad, got in my own car, & headed HOME.

Ah.....home is a wonderful place. I'd been gone a whole month!!!

Ok, I'm tired of typing, I've been going at it a while. Let me show you some pictures - some of them are kind of yucky. You've been warned.

Here I am, at home, on my NEW bed. It's mine...all mine.

Ok, so there's a close-up of my foot. Looks painful, doesn't it? Well, you're only looking at it.

Here's my foot a week later. It's better, but I had something called an infection.

Yuck. Never fear, Mom & Dad gave me pills & soaked my foot every night in this blue stuff. I hated it - remember, I hate to get my feet wet - but I gotta admit, my foot did get better.

See? It's not as bad as it was.

Here I am, again. I thought you guys might want to see me since I'm so adorable. I know I am because everyone tells me so. They also tell me that I'm very strong & a fighter. I say I'm tired & would really love to have the lampshade off my head.

One more time - this was taken last night.

MUCH better!! If you look to the right side of the picture, you'll see a pink little stub. Well, I was at Dr. Gwen's for a check-up/show-off, & my whole toenail fell off!!! Ew. I'm ok, though...there's one growing back already.

(I apologize if these pictures are placed funny. I'm just a dog, after all.)

Mom still keeps in touch with Jeff & Jen. She says that they both tell her that they miss me a lot. I think I'm going to see them again soon, & that'll be really nice. I've missed them. My mom's also heard from Erica, my first vet student from my first go 'round, & she's moving to St. Louis soon! I know I'm a super lucky girl to have so many people that love me. In the meantime, I keep getting better & better, I have my very own bed for daytime, & I sleep on my mom's side of her bed at night. Oh, & I know Dad's only kidding when he tells me I need to get one of those jobs... That just doesn't make sense, they don't like their jobs, so why would they want me to get one? People. I'll never understand.

Ok, so thanks, everyone, for reading my story. I really appreciate it. The lampshade is still on, but I think I've almost got Mom to let me sleep without it....almost. She says hopefully sometime this week. I sure hope so. It's awful. They do let me go without it for a little while, but only if they can see everything that I do. I really, really want it to be gone by Sunday. Mom says that the Luce Whippets are coming over... I have a rep to protect, you know.

Monday, May 26, 2008

Weekend Yum

Doug & I went to a wine tasting & dinner with some friends on Friday night. The tasting was at one of our favorite stores & Robin, one of our favorite wine reps, was pouring. We love her tastings - not only has she become a good friend of ours, but her pours are heavy & she brings food as well. Not just crackers & cheese, but things like chicken salad, flank steak, & shrimp! She really likes to showcase the relationship between wine & food, & in ways that just about everyone can pull off.

For example, she suggested the chicken salad with Cycles Gladiator 2005 Pinot Grigio, & it was delightful. Normally, I'm not a huge fan of Pinot Grigio, although I must admit that the Italian girl in me really wants to love it. I find it leaves me wanting & bored, especially after having some lesser-known Italian whites that I like much better, like Verdicchio. This Pinot Grigio, however, has a touch of Riesling in it - 6%, to be exact. This really added interest to the wine, & at about $10 a bottle, we snatched a bottle immediately. It's going to make a really nice summer quaffer, & we'll very likely buy it again.

Robin also surprised us by bringing a bottle of something that she doesn't even distribute (her former company does), & I could've kissed her for it (I didn't). She wanted to introduce the owners of the store to this winery, & she also suspected that we'd be popping by, too. That's happening more & more - our rep friends are bringing special bottles that they've picked out because they know that Doug & I will love it. They don't include it in the tasting, but they have it hidden & pull it out when no one is looking. Hehehe... tasting on the sly. Anyway, back to the wine - it was the 2005 Dare Cabernet Sauvignon, & it was amazing. We're huge fans of the Dare Cabernet Franc, which we bought without tasting on a recommendation from someone we trust in the wine business. Since then, we've turned some of our friends on to that bottle, & it's become a favorite. The Cab Sauv could also easily share the same popularity, but at about $40 a bottle, maybe not right now. Damn gas prices.

Enough about the freakin' wine, already. Let's talk about fun with beer.

We had dinner reservations at Big Sky Cafe, & while we were waiting for our table to be ready, the bartender made the most wonderful suggestion: the Shandy. None of us had heard of such a thing, but it was love at first sip. My shandy was made with fresh-squeezed lemonade & a raspberry Hefeweizen beer, half & half. Crisp, refreshing, & just downright lovely, & light in alcohol - perfect for a hot summer night. My friend's shandy was made with the lemonade & a peach beer, & that was really good, too. That one was a tad bit sweet for me, but I wouldn't turn it down if someone made one for me! I think Doug & I will have to have these available at our next party...but I'm sure the lemonade will be Minute Maid or something like that, which I'm confident will be just fine.

Oh, Shandy...insert bad Barry Manilow parody here.

But hey, let's not just talk about booze... the food at Big Sky is pretty good, too! Our favorite was the Cheddar Cheese Macaroni - with fresh sage & bacon. Mmmmmm... I could make a meal out of just that dish, but then I'd probably have to buy all new pants the next day.

That wouldn't be good.

Wednesday, May 21, 2008

Determined Wednesday Wine

After a rough day at work today, I was so happy to get home. We'd had dinner plans, but they were canceled due to a nasty cold caught by our friend. It was for the best since she wouldn't have been able to enjoy her wine, & now we have something to look forward to once she recovers. It also freed up a little time for some basic grooming - Doug's hair was getting "long" & I needed an eyebrow wax so badly that I was beginning to look like Chewbacca. Eeek.

While it was nice to be able to get these things out of the way, we had our minds set on enjoying some vino. The weather's been warm, & we were in the mood for something light & refreshing. Yeah, like a rose'. Or maybe a Sauvignon Blanc. Mmmmm...

Small problem - while we certainly have a decent selection, we haven't done a very good job of stocking warm weather wines. When we go to tastings, we're drawn to the reds. If we buy a white or a rose', we drink it within a few days, & that leaves us in the very position that we found ourselves in tonight.

Note to self: Knock that off!

Ah, someone like me is a wine store owner's dream. It just so happens that there is a small wine store nearby, one that we don't frequent but small enough that we are recognized, so I decided to stop by on my way home from being de-Chewied. (Heh, that's funny.)

The young man that owns the place was thrilled to see me, even though I'm pretty tough on the guy - in a nice way - whenever we're there. He followed me while I performed a quick scan of his inventory, making small talk. After telling me that he is - & I quote - "struggling & desperate for your business", & that he'd been wondering when we were going to stop in again, he offered me a sample of a rather nice South African Sauvignon Blanc. Perhaps to prevent me from choking on the rather poorly executed guilt trip he was trying to shove down my throat. I glanced behind him & noticed that he had taken one of my suggestions from long ago, which was to stock some decent rose' in the cooler. Good boy! He had one of our favorites, the Crios Rose' of Malbec, chilled & ready to go. Really good boy!

Not so fast... the lad saw what I was looking at & immediately pointed me to another rose' - Coto Hayas Rosado 2006 (a grenache-tempranillo blend). Never heard of it, but hey, I'm open-minded. And wow - this Spanish rose' was actually $3 cheaper. Now, I'm not extremely savvy in business, but even I know better than to downsell to someone with whom I'm not all that familiar. (Certain wine stores in the area know that they can do this with us because we usually pick something else up as well. This lad doesn't know us that well.) Dumbass...I bought it just on principle.

I also bought the Sauvignon Blanc, but what this guy didn't know was that I was already buying it. For a guy that's so desperate for our business, he should thank his lucky stars that I didn't take his cheaper bottle & run.

Ok, I know what you're thinking - Claire, your story is funny, but tell us about the wine!

For $8, I can't really complain. I liked the color a lot - it was a very deep pink, reminiscent of last year's vintage of Turkey Flat's rose'. As nice as that is, I can only look at the color, so let's move on already. I had to give my glass a hearty swirling in order to pick up any nose at all, but once it was detected, it was faint but nice. On the palate? Medium-bodied with strawberry flavors, along with just a tiny hint of creaminess. Decent finish. Overall, not too shabby. Would I buy it again? Sure, if the wine store I bought it from was out of Crios rose' in the cooler.

Don't get me wrong, I'm not bitching about the wine. It's decent enough, & at that price, more than acceptable to serve at your next summer soiree'. Unfortunately, I thought the story leading up to the purchase was far more interesting......

In the end, we won. We saved a few bucks, & got what we were craving. Yay, us!


What a great word, "simplification"!

With our schedule the way that it is, we've been trying to employ more of this theory into our lives. Unfortunately, it sometimes takes a lot of work to declutter & organize before you can set things straight & orderly.

Take, for example, our house. It's a mess. I would love to have one of those houses where everything is always put away in its place, & dust, dog hair, or general dirt is at a minimum. Instead, I have piles of clutter, dishes in the sink, laundry in the basement, & dog hair & dust is at a maximum at the moment. Ick. I have the best of intentions, but very little time or energy. Well, that & it's just going to take a lot of effort to get things the way that I'd like them. We hope to tackle the problem areas one at a time very soon.

The most organized part of our house is our wine. Sad to say, I know...but true. We'll get around to the rest, but first things first! We have 3 different racks at this time. I say "at this time" because we're talking about getting more. Don't you judge, you know you'd drink our wine at our house.

Let me take you on a little tour.

One is a pretty grapevine designed rack that we bought at Balducci's Winery for our anniversary a few years ago. It doesn't hold a lot - maybe 7 bottles - so it's not all that practical, really. We use it to hold our cheaper, "pretty" bottles, with the requirement that "cheaper" & "pretty" must also equal "drinkable". In other words, you won't find any Georges Duboeuf Beaujolais Nouveau bottles there, no matter how brightly colored. (As an aside, I do occasionally enjoy a little Gamay, but really, should never store that Koolaid anywhere, it's meant to be consumed & done quickly before your better judgment wakes up to advise differently.)

We bought another rack last summer to hold 34 bottles. We didn't want anything too kitschy, but we also didn't want to spend to much time looking, either. We saw one at World Market, & took it home that day. Now, this rack holds our mid-range bottles. These wines range in price from $7 to, oh, let's say $22. However, as in almost everything Doug & I do or say, we reserve the right to make changes as we see fit, so you might find a higher-priced bottle in there from time to time. Anyway, these are the bottles that we typically reach for on a Tuesday, or when we have company that enjoys wine but won't get the difference between those bottles & our "reserve collection". Heh, that makes me sound rather posh, doesn't it? This rack is also the place we keep the ever-important 2nd, 3rd, 4th (& so on) bottles for when we're settling in with our fellow winos for some serious "analysis" (ok, ok - drinking).

I mentioned our "reserve collection", so let me tell you about where that is stored. A few years ago, before we were really even "into" wine but had the idea in our heads, we bought a wooden bar with a wine rack that could double as an island. We really wanted to use it as an island, but we realized after getting it home that it just wouldn't work in our kitchen. It was too big & we were worried that Bella (one of our dogs, for those of you that don't know) would give herself repeated concussions during her constant & completely unnecessary charges to the back door. Why she thinks it's a race I'll never know, but for her safety as well as our sanity, we decided to put it against the wall. In addition to storing our "reserve collection", this unit also serves as our bar, & it's really quite full. Anyone that's been to a party at Casa Claire y Doug knows this to be true!

But I digress...the wine, I was talking about the wine! In this collection, we have the bottles that we treasure a bit. Like the Anderson's Conn Valley 2004 Cab (I think it's 2004, anyway) & the Elderton Command Shiraz (I think it's 2002, but I'm not looking at it right now). That's just off the top of my head, there's more. Generally speaking, these are the bottles we are proud of, looking forward to, & pretty much only willing to share with those that would appreciate them. Not all of them are high-priced bottles, but they might be harder to find than some our trusty standbys. So, if you are at our house, & you see me looking through this rack (me, not Doug - he'll grab almost anything), it's a safe bet that I think you're worthy of really good wine!

Eventually, we will reserve an area in our basement for more proper wine storage, but we keep getting distracted by the Caribbean & vet bills. We're also looking for wine coolers (no, not Bartles & Jaymes) to store wine at a more proper temperature. We aspire to be more like our friends the Luces, but lack the time & discipline. Someday, maybe someday. I'm also working on a wine database that I will send to a sommelier pal of mine. How will this simplify things (after all, that is more or less the inspiration here)? It'll keep us from holding on to bottles for too long, that's how!

Ok...enough about wine. After all, it's barely 9 a.m. & I'm supposed to be working. (Shhhh..)

Since I've been talking about simplification, I want to take this opportunity to give a shout out to Google for developing the Google Reader. What a great way to keep track of all of the blogs I read, & in most cases, without having to hit another site! My only wish is that they would make it possible to comment from the Reader, but alas, I can't have everything. Anyway, check it out! It'll simplify your daily reading!

(See, I can keep on subject when I want to, & I didn't talk about wine the whole way through the blog.)

Tuesday, May 13, 2008

Who's That Girl?

She's the virtual me, thats who. Oh, if I only had that body, & hair that looked good every day, but hey - I actually get to drink the bottle of red wine, as well as interact with my not 2, but 4 dogs.

The downside? The occasional hangover, constant lint-rolling & pooper-scooping. Virtual Claire doesn't have to deal with that, but I do. Eh, it could be worse.

So, where did she come from? I must credit my friend Lucy for the discovery of Design-her Gals. (Go ahead, check it out!) Yeah, there I go again, being a lemming....but it's for a most important cause - supporting Stage IV breast cancer patients.

Breast cancer scares the bejeezus out of me. I mean, I have breasts, after all, so that's a given. As much as I hate them on some days, I certainly don't want anything to happen to them. I also don't want my mom or my friends to have to suffer from breast cancer, either.

So, check out Design-her Gals. You can have a little fun dressing a virtual you (or make your own Tina Turner, if you want), & give some exposure to this wonderful company. You can even put your virtual self on notepads, cards, or whatever else they have, & you can benefit someone else. Yay, you!

Tuesday, May 6, 2008

A Dirty Little Secret No More

Doug is a very handy man, which is a good thing. A blessing, in fact. While he knows a bit about almost every trade, his least favorite tasks have to do with plumbing. As luck would have it, he had to do a bit of that since our return home.

Our hall bathroom's tub was draining slow (mind you, I didn't notice), so Doug decided to explore the problem. In doing so, he knocked a clump of hair further down the drain & was unable to retrieve it, making the problem a lot worse. Apparently, this clump of hair was colossal, because even after going downstairs to work at it from there, he couldn't knock it loose. He even cut his arm trying to take care of it! (His arm is fine.) As I said, Doug hates plumbing, so after a while he started to get pissed & decided he needed to quit for the night.

After Doug's shower this morning, he had to bail out the tub so that I could take one. He felt confident that after some time away from the problem, he'd be able to approach it with a fresh attitude this evening. But there was this one little problem....

While I was drying my hair in the master bathroom, I noticed that the shower was full of water. Oh no. I called Doug, & upon seeing this, he let loose a blue streak that could rival...well, me. It wasn't just the water in the shower...there was a bigger issue.

Let me give you some background.

When we moved into this house 7 years ago, I used our miniscule - & I do mean miniscule -master bathroom for showering & getting ready for work in the morning. Until one day.... I was in the shower, & all of a sudden, I felt something hit my ankle. I looked down & realized that the shower stall was flooded. I was afraid that I'd flood the bathroom if I opened the shower door, so I yelled for Super Doug to come to my rescue. Once the water went down, he checked it out & declared that there was a crack in the shower & that we'd need to replace it. Until we did that, we could no longer use the shower. No problem, I'd just shower in the hall bathroom. The water did cause irreparable damage to the tile floor, so he took all of that out. So, every morning, I dry my hair & put on my makeup standing on subfloor. Joy. Even so....

One day, I walked into the master bathroom to brush my hair (I still used the room to get ready), & I gasped at what I saw.

Me: "Doug!!! The shower doors are gone!"

Those damned shower door stealing goblins can be sneaky, you know...

Doug: "I know. I've never liked them, so I took them down. They're at the curb."

Huh? No goblins?

While I was watching a movie - clearly, I was very into it, whatever it was - the master bathroom had been bombed. Or at least, it looked like it had been. Not that it was showroom quality before, but it looked AWFUL. I never thought that I would or could ever actually hate a room, but over time, I did.

You see, we never replaced the shower or the floor. Our money went to vet bills, Gordon (my dad, for those of you that don't know me - you will if you keep track of this blog), a 50" HD plasma TV, or to finance our obsession with the Caribbean. NOT the house, where perhaps it should've gone.

In the meantime, I used the broken, outdated, doorless shower stall as a catch-all... I tossed everything in there - magazines, books, catalogs, hair appliances I wasn't using, purses, etc., etc. Funny thing is, I hate clutter, & I really do try to keep our house clean (5 dogs & a man live in this house - it's a must). In spite of this, the master shower became of pit of...crap. My dirty little secret...or at least one of them. Heh.

Until tonight.

While Doug went downstairs to tackle The Beast, I, armed with trash bags & rubber gloves, fervently attacked The Dump.

Wet books, magazines, purses (sob!), a curling iron, velcro curlers, a bathmat or 2, some photos of my nephew - yeah, I'm not so sure how those got there, either - & various other unrecognizable items were all thrown into trash bags. Beyond saving. Covered in stinky black drain sludge. Foulness. Nasty, nasty, nasty.


After all of that unpleasantness, I'm happy to report that the drain is no longer clogged & my dirty little secret is no more. It ain't spotless, but it's a start. I don't know when we're going to get around to re-doing the master bathroom - it was supposed to be this summer, but we're going to be hit with another big vet bill on Friday. Oh, & we've been to Mexico....& we have our Christmas trip booked. (You guessed it, the Caribbean. Jamaica, to be exact.) However, after what I've been through tonight, I'm not going to hate on our master bathroom anymore, regardless of whether it's "done" or not. Honest - I've learned my lesson... hating a room is just silly.

Now that I've told you mine....

Monday, May 5, 2008

New Beginnings

Call me a lemming...go ahead, I dare you.

On second thought, that wouldn't be very nice of you, so maybe you shouldn't call me such a name. But I'll admit - I am following...following other sailors jumping a seemingly fast-sinking blogship into what promises to be a much sounder vessel. Ah, what an image I've created... I've been accused of cussing like a sailor enough times, it just seemed fitting.

So here I am...

I'd like to thank Blue Ice Dave for the name suggestion. Sure, it might have come to me on its own - I think I'm quite clever - but in case it hadn't, I think he hit the nail on the head. Better hit the nail than hit me - he's a pretty serious softball player, & I'm sure he packs quite a wallop.

As for the current events, Doug & I have just returned from Mexico, & are feeling a bit of malaise, very likely related to that trip. Ugh. The trip was great, but I'm not feeling up to going into that just now. Maybe later. I will, however, spare you the details of said malaise....

Perhaps I should introduce Doug. Some of you know him, but others of you that have just stumbled across this page do not. Doug is my tremendously wonderful husband of almost 8 years. That is one of the few statements I can make without jamming my tongue into my cheek...or my foot into my mouth, for that matter. Doug rocks. We have so much fun that it should be illegal, but thank goodness that it's not.

On that note, ladies & gents, I must sign off of this very first post. I'm waiting for a terribly important phone call, & my bed is calling me.

Hey - I know it's early. Don't judge.