grrgoyl: (AD Chicken Dances)
Christmas shopping so far this year is turning into quite the nightmare.

First I looked over my sister Nancy's Amazon wishlist, full of lots of $40-$50 sewing items, and a $300 Amazon Kindle. Yeah, that's not happening. So I thought I'd surprise her with something not on her list, that I was sure she'd love anyway -- Wall-E on DVD. My sister is a child at heart like me, has even been known to buy Happy Meals for the sake of movie tie-ins. I emailed my mother in advance asking if she knew Nancy's feelings on the movie. "I'm sure she'll love it" she responded.

I ordered it straightaway. The next morning I opened an email from my mother saying that Nancy had walked through the door last night and announced that she had just bought Wall-E. Grrrrr. She evidently is not living under the same self-buying moratorium Tery and I have imposed in our house. I asked my mom, "Would you like a copy of Wall-E?" She said yes. I said, "Great. Try to act surprised."

However, she will be surprised since I'm returning it to Amazon. For the past three years my mother's wishlist has contained the same two lonely, and currently unavailable, items, a set of mixing bowls and a solar-powered car window fan. This year I decided to make half of her dreams come true and found an equivalent car fan on eBay. "She'll never expect this!" I thought gleefully. True dat, as I discovered yesterday either my mother creates new wishlists and then forgets about them every few years, or there really are five different Marjorie Adamcewiczs on Amazon. Her CURRENT list is made up of almost every Cesar "The Dog Whisperer" Millan product known to man, not a bowl or car fan to be seen. Thus Wall-E is going back for a refund, cuz my paychecks aren't getting any bigger (see previous post), and it's not the 3-disc edition I yearn for.

But all this is nothing to the horror show that is one of Tery's gifts. She asked for a new iron, an iron that must be damn special because Amazon was selling it for close to 80 bucks. Always cutting corners trying to save a few dollars, I went to eBay instead. I got in on a "new" one starting at $9.99. My maximum bid matched what I would have paid at Amazon, thinking winning it for anything less would be a coup.

Sadly, there was no coup, I got into a bidding war, and ended up paying almost my maximum. Fine, still $10 less than Amazon.

The item arrived via DHL, a company I hate so much I had actually rejoiced when I heard about their demise. You can imagine my dismay at this evidence that those rumors were unfounded. It was shipped in a beat-up old shoe box. The manufacturer's box had obviously been opened, but worst of all the entire thing, inside and out, reeked of a foul, pervasive, clinging perfume worn by a ten-dollar whore about 20 years past her prime. Oh my GOD what a stench.

Of course I emailed the seller immediately with my complaint. They responded the box had "only been opened to check the contents" (why would you need to check the contents on a manufacturer's sealed box??) and they didn't remember any smell. Well then, I guess it must have been dunked in the perfume vat at DHL's warehouse, the one they'll never admit to having. However, the seller "regretted my inconvenience" and what could they do to make me happy?

Meanwhile, back at Amazon the price had dropped 20 bucks overnight. GodDAMMMIT. So I came back to the seller with a link to Amazon, not specifying a refund amount but implying a partial one would be a good start. But apparently their offer to make it up to me didn't extend as far as actual monetary compensation. Though I don't know of any dissatisfied customer being appeased with only kind words and feigned concern.

Yep, they stopped answering my emails, obviously hoping to walk away from this with just a negative feedback. I'm filing a dispute with PayPal for intentionally misrepresenting the condition of the item. I'm only asking for $10, because it's really more about the principle than the actual money for me (plus I noticed a negative feedback rating buried back in his shady past complaining they had returned the item and received no refund. THAT would be even worse than dealing with the stink). I don't think $10 is unreasonable, and I just want to prevent this guy from getting off scot-free.

Just in case nothing comes of it, I've removed the iron from the box (saving the box for evidence. If nothing else, it will serve as an amusing illustration when I tell Tery this tale on Christmas Day. Of course, if I ever try to sell my car I might be accused of stuffing a dead hooker in the trunk). I tried powering it on and ironing something to see if there are any odor-related consequences. Doesn't seem to be, knock on wood. MyFriendDeb has generously offered the use of her balcony for a full airing as a last resort.

Don't ask when I'm going to learn my lesson and stop trying to save a few bucks. 'Ain't never going to happen.

My little sister is having still worse luck. She ordered a gift for her new boyfriend, again from eBay, and wondered why the heck it hadn't come yet. Then she was walking with him down the street when five doors down, purely by chance, she noticed an empty box with her address on it among the garbage bags. Either the post office had delivered it to the wrong address, or someone stole it off her porch. Either way, the scumbag opened it and kept the gift. Without knowing who took it, she's left to stew impotently, furiously wishing the worst possible karma on the asswipe responsible -- which isn't terribly satisfying, as I can attest to. She promised me she'd go to the post office today and raise some hell, because I think they bear a large portion of the blame.

Heads up, people. Christmas this year has been cursed. I blame Twilight.

UPDATE!: She went to the post office, and as expected got a whole lot of "What do you want us to do about it?" She was on the verge of filing her own PayPal dispute against the seller, a decision she wasn't at all happy with since she knew he had delivered faithfully, when she called me for advice. Since the seller has a second auction listed for the same item, I suggested she tell him what happened and try to negotiate a bargain on the second one. She'd get her gift without spending twice as much, he'd unload the item (sometimes a reduced price is better than nothing), win-win. She loved this idea. Why can't my own problems be so easily solved?

~*~

This past weekend I had a full house, as to be expected on a holiday weekend. People love their pets, until they have a house full of guests. Among them was my boy Beowulf, who if you'll remember had a grand old time on his last stay the night I decided to let him run around the place. He recognized me when I walked in, and I think remembered what I did, because the whole time I was walking everyone else he was just bouncing up and down, chomping at the bit to get out. He had to wait even longer because I was asked to give another dog a bath in preparation to go home the next day (went better than expected. As Tery assured me, the dog was so terrified at the strangeness of standing in a tub being sprayed down that she didn't move a muscle. It was kind of fun).

I finished with her and out Beowulf came. He immediately ran upstairs, the majority of his territory he claims, which is just fine by me; an intruder would probably have to get in up there. I would just like to see the look on their face when they spotted Beowulf galloping down the hallway at full speed towards them.

I also had Honus the Asshole Beagle of Death, who has settled down amazingly well since the family adopted Travis. But Honus didn't care for Beowulf's preferential treatment, oh, not one little bit. He howled and barked and yapped up a storm. Sorry, Honus. Beowulf is my favorite. Maybe if you were my favorite....but no. If there was some bizarre cataclysmic event that wiped out every other dog on the planet except you, Honus, you STILL wouldn't be my favorite. And even if I had an inoperable brain tumor and decided you were, I hopefully wouldn't forget the last time I gave you free run as a desperate attempt to get you to stop barking THE ENTIRE NIGHT, and you completely trashed the place. No, Honus, sorry. Not again in this lifetime.

Beowulf spent a few happy hours walking his perimeter -- around the top floor, sit by the front door for awhile, then back down to check on me. It was all well and good until I finished my work and lay down for a quick nap. Then his circuit included trotting over to my cot and thoroughly washing my face. On every single pass. Ewww. Meant no open-mouth sleeping, but I tolerated it because it was the most affection he'd ever shown me, and I don't much fancy the idea of saying no when such a large beast has his jaws exactly at face level.

By morning he was literally yawning, could hardly keep his eyes open (I exhorted him multiple times to relax and sleep next to me, but he would have none of it. Not while there was a building to be guarded. Tery's employees should have half the dedication). Tery says the day shift who came in after me remarked about how calm and well behaved he was. Yep, just have me be Beowulf's personal handler. That would be great.


My happy boy


Some more pictures: I found this symbol drawn on every available surface last weekend. I deduced it was Twilight-related.


Where are the fundamentalists who thought Harry Potter was satanic? Too busy getting gay marriage banned, I guess


My Navi Navi, licking her lips and Lomo-fied:



Unrelated, here's another gay ferret boy pic, because I can't get enough of them:



~*~

Finally a movie rec: Right at your Door. A terrorist attack hits LA, and we're trapped in a house with a guy who knows less than us, cuz he didn't read the EW review. ::spoilers? Yep, got those. In spades:: )

Scary? Oh yeah, it plays just right on all the new fears of the 21st century. Terrorist attack, government figures who are even scarier than Muslims, biological warfare on American soil, the media lying to the public -- this movie has it all. Kind of a downer of an ending, which is what I liked most about it. Rent it now.
grrgoyl: (Default)
I had already had an exhausting night Friday. Three animals on fluids, four on medications, a heap of laundry to wash and surgical packs to make, and a filthy, filthy hospital to clean: I barely got in a half-hour nap the whole night. I had a poodle who had undergone massive surgery, mastectomy/hysterectomy, who whined pitifully all night, plus a dachshund on seizure watch, Buster, so I couldn't really leave Recovery for any length of time.

I went in Saturday night praying it would be easier. The poodle was gone but Buster was still hanging out. I thought things wouldn't be so bad, and then I walked the boarders.

The last one out was Brownie, a Llasa apso with freaky blue eyes. Brownie had been perfectly normal Friday. But Saturday he got to the top of the stairs and suddenly froze. He shook his head and began foaming at the mouth. What the...? I thought. Then he dashed madly into the center of the yard, ducking and looking around frantically like a pterodactyl was after him, then flopped over on his side twitching violently.

Oh god.

I ran through the hospital faster than I've ever run in my entire life. Grabbed my cell to call Tery, who was at a party nearby with most of the hospital staff.

"DOG SEIZING" I gasped. Instantly she handed me off to Dr. K, who must have been standing right there.

"Just give him a little Valium in his IV," she instructed casually. She was obviously referring to Buster.

"No, Brownie!" I clarified.

"Brownie? Who's Brownie?"

I'll spare you the full comedy of errors. Long story short, I was supposed to administer 2 cc of Valium to Brownie rectally. But if you think it's easy to find a dog's little bumhole while it's flailing on the ground, think again. Also my brain locked up and I gave 0.2 instead. Fortunately by the time I got back out to him, the seizure was mostly over.

What follows is the post-ictal state, where the dog's pupils are dilated, they are temporarily blind, understandably panicked and more than a little "loopy," as K. put it. K. left the party immediately to come put an IV catheter in for ease of future injections, but until she arrived it was up to me to calm the dog down. This involved crawling into the cage with Brownie and sitting with him, stroking him and talking to him soothingly. The dog meanwhile was covered in pee, foam and the usual dog slobber. I didn't pay it any mind -- this is why I wear scrubs (Tabby laughed at me last weekend when they stopped in to check on a patient. She said she'd wear jeans and a T-shirt if she worked third shift).

K. put the catheter in, told me what a terrific job I did, and was on her way.

Consequently I handled the second seizure with far greater aplomb. It was the weirdest thing: All night the dog was fine. Then come morning I took him outside again and the minute the cold air hit him, he seized again, in the exact same pattern. It was easier to give the Valium via the catheter (the right amount this time) and I'd like to think it was over much quicker because of my actions. I called K. back who had to come in to relieve me, because the dog obviously couldn't be left alone. Back to sitting in the cage petting him, lather, rinse, repeat. So I had to get a picture of Brownie, the dog whose life I may or may not have saved:

You're doing a heckuva job, Brownie! is perversely all I could think
Still post-ictal, so not at his prettiest


Exciting. And now that I've experienced it, hopefully not as nerve-wracking next time. As K. said, your first seizure can be terrifying. Maybe someday I'll be as jaded and blasé about it as K. is.

There were other dogs there of course. I had Honus, who now has a little brother, Travis. Surprisingly, having a younger beagle nearby has cured Honus of his assholiness more than chemical sedation ever could.

Honus y Travis
Travis had an ear infection when very young, and ever since has had this little head tilt giving him a perpetually quizzical look


And now, ladies and gentlemen, I would like to present to you the BEST dog that ever lived:

A dog I would consider stealing
Willie, my love


Willie is a Basenji mix, a breed from Africa that doesn't bark (the first thing I love about him). In case you can't be arsed to check out the Wikipedia article, they also share some traits with cats, i.e. fastidious hygiene and high intelligence. Willie is every bit as soft as he looks, and very loyal to even me, who he sees two nights very infrequently. For example, I was a little freaked out when I walked him in the morning and noticed a palette propped in front of the back shed to keep the dogs out was knocked over. As I tiptoed around trying to investigate, he stuck unwaveringly to my leg throughout. And when I offer him a treat for "kenneling up," he takes it from my hand so gingerly and slowly, taking exquisite care not to bite by accident. Yes, if ever there were a dog I would consider kidnapping, Willie would be the one.

On the way home I pass a 24-hour McDonald's, and on Sunday morning, though there wasn't yet a hint of a sunrise, I decided I bloody well deserved a break today.
grrgoyl: (satan)
I went into my Saturday shift at the kennels determined to atone for the major slacking I did Friday night. Everything started well: I had only 7 dogs, 1 cat and no postops. I did my normal routine and, predictably, Honus started in on his whining-as-a-prelude-to-barking the minute I was out of sight. I called to ask Tery a question and, while pacing back and forth in the corridor chatting, I noticed the canine peanut gallery was completely silent. This will probably come as no surprise at all to people who own dogs, but as long as they could hear me, they were content.

Normally I spend the night tiptoeing around to avoid setting them off, but tonight it occurred to me how silly that was. It's not like they have to get up for school in the morning or anything. With this revelation, I went to work with a passion. Cleaned dishes, organized food, swept, mopped, laundered, wrapped surgical gowns, all while listening to my iPod and singing at the top of my lungs. I'm sure I sounded appalling, but every time I stopped I would hear Honus start to gear up again into one of his jags.

I kept it up until midnight, when I literally had done everything I could possibly do in the way of cleaning. I was on FIRE. Really, you can get SO much more done when you don't worry about doing it quietly. I was flushed with a feeling of accomplishment and decided to head upstairs. Usually again this is reason for Honus to start in, but not a peep. And so it was all night long, to my complete astonishment. When I went back downstairs to feed and walk everyone one last time, I heaped on the praise liberally, thanking Honus for being so good. I gave him an extra helping of food, fluffed his blanket and even took some time to pet him when we went outside.

Then, it all came crashing down. We came back in, I tried to return him to his kennel, and he went back to being the pain in the ass, very bad dog that he was before. He sees our destination and hunkers down, tries to back up, thrashes and wriggles, tries to dash between my ankles, even once he's inside the cage. And tonight as I wrestled with him, he turned around and bit me. Didn't draw blood, but I'm still feeling it today. He meant business. This totally put an end to our magical evening together. This is why a long-term relationship between us simply wouldn't work. The best we can hope for are temporary truces.

I get it. He doesn't like being caged up. I can't say that I blame him, but sadly being allowed to run free in the hospital just isn't an option.

Here's a pic I took with my fabulous, vastly superior Razr:

Honus, Asshole Beagle of Death

I know what you're thinking. "Awwwww, the baby. How could you be such a monster?" We-l-l-l-l-l-l, that's the picture AFTER I thoughtfully photoshopped it. THIS is the original:

Honus, Asshole Beagle from Hell


(Okay, I took a little artistic license. The horns were my idea, and as I chuckled evilly to myself Tery initially protested. However, it was a very short leap indeed from "What if his owners ever see it?" to "Wait, he needs a tail!")

~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~

I try whenever possible to avoid internet debates with strangers. I've spent enough time in the AOL chatroom and IM trenches to have learned that I will never change someone's opinion, ever (and vice versa. I have yet to have my opinion changed by anyone). But a few days ago I was distracted from working and decided to surf YouTube looking for opinions on gay marriage. I found this guy's and the trouble began.

My first, unfair assumption was that he would be against gay marriage. Once again, books and their covers and all that. He spoke slowly, deliberately, but matter-of-factly and to the point about why he believes gay marriage should be legal. He narrowed it down to two protests, 1) it's a sin (he argues that you can't legislate against Christian sins as that would be imposing one religion's beliefs on the entire country. Quite right), and 2) ye olde "sanctity of marriage" argument (he unfortunately addresses this too briefly, saying only that marriage as an institution ain't so sacred anymore).

What followed were the usual assortment of comments for and against. A lot of morons tried using the "Well, if we can't make sins a crime, why is murder illegal?" argument, but they were being dealt with handily. What bothered me were the ones arguing "Just because marriage is already broken doesn't justify breaking it more." They were going unchallenged, so I (foolishly?) decided to step into the fray. Ahem:

Kildars: Just because marriage is already messed up -- that doesn't give a good reason to mess it up more. Saying that something is already broken and validating breaking it more is a bad argument.

Grrgoyl: I think the point is that people so desperate to protect the "sanctity of marriage" aren't concerned with the extremely high heterosexual divorce rate. If they want to keep the institution of marriage sacred, they need to look at ALL marriages. Unless, of course, they are just homophobes.

Kildars: All marriage are heterosexual? If I'm not mistaken the first gay marriage that was allowed ended the two gay guys were beating the shit out each other and police had to break it up.

What? What does this have to do with the price of beets in Belgium?

Grrgoyl: Ummm, way to completely miss (or ignore) my point. But to respond, yes, with gay marriage would come gay divorce. We're all only human. Are you saying straights never beat each other? Why is it so noteworthy just because gays do it too?

Kildars: What was your point? You don't have a case because your argument was based around that marriages are something other than heterosexual, which they aren't. So how is your argument valid?

Yeah. Right about now I remembered why I try whenever possible to avoid internet debates with strangers.

Grrgoyl: "Sanctity of marriage" people don't care about how straights take it for granted and get married and divorced so casually every single day. How would gays marrying violate the "sanctity" more than Britney's whirlwind 55-hour Vegas nuptials did? I've had rolls of toilet paper that lasted longer, but because it was between a man and a woman, the "sanctity of marriage" people are A-okay with it. That's hypocritical and insulting to the lifelong gay couples who are denied this personal right.

Kildars (or, as I started to think of him, "Obtusey McStubbornson"): How is the, "Well it's already broken, it's okay to degrade it some more." argument okay? That's a bad argument. If something is already broken the best choice is to fix it, not to further degrade it. Find a new argument.

Using the same words in a slightly different order doesn't strengthen your case. YOU find a new argument.

Grrgoyl: I'm interested in hearing why you think that two adults who love each other and want to commit to each other who happen to be the same gender "degrade" marriage and "break it" further. They aren't hurting anyone, they certainly aren't affecting you directly, how do they "mess it up more"?

Obtusey McStubbornson: The burden of proof lies on you, not me, to convince whether or not they should be allowed to marry. I'm interested to hear why you think allowing homosexuals to get married is good for the reputation of Marriage we have in this country, and why it should be allowed. It seems people agree with me over you, www dot msnbc dot msn dot com/id/6383353/. Go to that link.

Oh my god. It's a bit like trying to juggle egg yolks.

Grrgoyl: Really? Voters are defeating gay bills? I had no idea. I personally am not concerned with the "reputation of marriage." I was only elaborating on what altebanger said about how the institution of marriage isn't so sacred anymore. This is supported by the 40-50% divorce rate among legal marriages. So "the sanctity of marriage" is pretty empty as catch phrases go. Which is what I've said 3 times now and you keep dodging the subject, so we'll have to agree to disagree.



ARGH. He'll probably insist on having the last word, regardless of how little sense it makes or how irrelevant to the topic, but I'm done. When the revolucíon is won, I nominate this guy as the first to the gallows, but only AFTER receiving his mandatory gay marriage.


The Internet: Bringing you in contact with bigoted idiots from around the world since 1990.
grrgoyl: (jayne calm)
I'm gettin' all Creative Writing 101 on your ass this weekend. I don't know why, it's just what's in my head. Apologies in advance.

Impressions from a Laundry Room Floor


by Elaine A-damn-sea-witch*


It's been a rough night. Not many dogs but a mountain of laundry, a Shih Tzu with pneumonia that needs her lungs pounded every 2 hours just to stop gasping, and Honus. Again.

It's 1 a.m. before I can take a breather. There's stuff I could do. There's always stuff I could do. But do I need to be the overachiever every weekend? I've been in the hospital during the day shift and watched a vet tech sit in the corner and read magazines for 2 straight hours. I decide I deserve a lazy night.

I retire to the laundry room so I can monitor the machine cycles and still hear any alarms that might go off in Recovery. I pull out one of the big blue pads that are used for large dog beds. I fashion a pillow from a towel, shut off the light and lie down, pulling my sheepskin-lined corduroy jacket over my upper body. It makes a lovely blanket but leaves my lower half exposed, and I'm learning that scrubs, while being the feel-good comfort fashion of choice in the summertime, leave much to be desired in the insulative category in colder weather (and are 10 times worse without underwear; don't ask). I lie there shivering for probably 45 minutes before it occurs to me that 3 feet away is a rack full of dog blankets, some even toasty dryer fresh. That's how I roll at 2 in the morning -- stupid and unthinkingly. I select a large fraying, quilted number and curl up again. Ahhhhh, heaven.

Well, it would be heaven if not for that damn Honus. No matter how deep under the covers I bury my head, there's no tuning out his desperate, needy, high-pitched bark. I lie in the dark and entertain sick, violent fantasies about him. Fantasies so violent that I'm ashamed to elaborate and frankly a little scared that such thoughts could actually come from my brain. I burrow a little deeper under my jacket.

I turn my mind to less dangerous thoughts. It's right about now that I realize I've overdosed him on his sedative; he's supposed to get 1-1/2 tabs and I cut a pill in half but then, without even thinking, put both halves in the meatball. I speculate how much worse Honus would be behaving right now if he had gotten the proper dose.

I wonder if the other dogs are not bothered at all by him, or if they're thinking exactly what I'm thinking: "Shut up, you pathetic shit, would you just go to sleep, shutupshutup would you just shut the fuck up????" I wonder, if dogs can smell fear, can they smell hate? If so, I must reek of it. And what would hate (or fear, for that matter) smell like? I decide one of them (not sure which) would probably smell like burnt onions sautéed in blood.

I wonder what Honus is thinking. I compose a journal entry for him. "Dear Diary: Hour Three. Still stuck in this hellhole, but I feel certain my luck will change any minute now, if I just keep barking. I can't figure that girl out. What's her game? One minute she's screaming at me, the next she's feeding me and letting me outside. I'm trying to keep my eye on her, but the only way to get her near enough is to keep barking. These other dogs don't seem to understand the danger we are all in. I am in despair."

Hour three. I theorize that if the definition of insanity is performing an action repeatedly expecting different results, then Honus is certifiable.

My last thought before finally dropping off to sleep is the observation that when you scream incoherently at one dog, it seems all the other dogs are suddenly much more willing to cooperate with you. This is one of the reasons I have no qualms about screaming at Honus. I sleep with my back to the door, unafraid of potential psychokillers attacking because a.) I'm hoping they will kill Honus first and b.) even if they don't, either way it will put an end to listening to that goddamn dog. I also sleep secure in the knowledge that my internal alarm clock, which is uncannily accurate 98% of the time, will wake me precisely at 3:30 to start feeding everyone.

The irony is that tonight falls into that 2% range, and it is Honus barking that wakes me precisely at 3:30.**






* A handy mnemonic that rhymes with my last name, in an effort to preserve my RL identity.
** And with this, I do believe Mr. Honus has earned hisself his very own LJ tag.
grrgoyl: (frankLOL)
Now, I'm not saying that Tracey Crankwhore and I are BFF all of a sudden, so don't jump in my shit. After two nights of pre-dawn moving activities, I left a very polite note on her door requesting that she try to be quieter if there was really no other time of day she could do it. In a perfect world I shouldn't have to ask, but we thought maybe because she never hears any of us considerate neighbors that she assumed the doors were thick enough to cover her. Well, we haven't heard a peep since. Lovely, and completely unexpected. This doesn't mean that she's ponied up the money to test our attic, but that isn't keeping us awake nights. Baby steps.

By contrast, I decided I've had enough of the Alcoholic using her handicapped space or not based on the position of the planets and I bloody well left a somewhat less polite note on her door telling her what I thought about it (anonymously, not out of cowardice but out of unwillingness to start a pointless neighborhood flame war). The next day she went out and came back again, and again parked in a regular space. So YOU tell ME who the worse neighbor is. I'm getting very sick and tired of people being such selfish, thoughtless asshats, which I guess is bad news for me since it isn't likely to change soon.

Is it any wonder I dreamt about buying a house out in the middle of nowhere, with no neighbors for miles around?

~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~

I never finished talking about the kennels last weekend. One of the reasons I was soooo happy to have an excuse to leave was because I was rejoined by my arch-nemesis, Honus, the Asshole Beagle of Death. He was slightly better behaved, in that I didn't even notice him until I was filling out my rounds sheet and I came face to face with him in kennel #7 at the end. "Helloooooooooo, Newman Honus" I hissed in recognition. He looked up at me utterly guilelessly. It didn't take long, however, for him to remember the way of things and return to his annoying, whining, yelping, ceaseless barking.

This time he was prescribed a tranquilizer. It was scheduled for 2 a.m., but by 11 p.m. I had had all that I was going to take. I gave it to him and he still wouldn't shut up, so I called Tery. She suggested I take him upstairs with me, maybe he just wanted some company. Yeah, I'm sure the poor thing is just misunderstood. He seemed happier upstairs, probably because it gave him the opportunity to make twice as much work for me. He spent more than an hour after taking the tranq spilling every trash can in the place, and even climbing onto a few doctors' desks and knocking all their papers on the floor. Fucking ASSHOLE. He never stopped moving once, so I figured the little field trip wasn't doing any good and brought him back downstairs. Where he proceeded to bark the rest of the night. My hatred for this dog knows no bounds.

So I happily left him barking his fool head off to go to the Halloween party on Saturday night. The problem with this was when I returned and slid my key into the front door of the hospital, I felt like I was returning to a jail cell, with Honus as my jailer. I tiptoed through the dark as long as possible to delay the inevitable, but at the first creaking floorboard the basement erupted into a cacophony of barks and howls with Honus leading the pack (this is why I've taken to removing my shoes and going about in stocking feet all night). A comfortingly yelled "It's okay, babies, it's just me!" shut everyone up except for you-know-who. He KNEW it was me, that's why he was barking, the fucker.

The good of the weekend was probably these two dogs:

Warning:  Objects in picture are much larger than they appear

This is Nishika the malamute and Kava the Great Pyrenees. Sisters, and fortunately both very sweet and docile, because if one of them decided they didn't want to return to their kennel, I'm not sure what I could have done to make them. Still, I found it very hard to wrap my mind around the logistical nightmare that daily life with 200-odd pounds of dog would entail.

~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~

I'm getting a new phone. Our Lady of the Contemptuous Scorn of All Things Cellular is now on her first upgrade. It's Tery's fault, sort of. She asked me what I wanted for Christmas, and the first words out of my mouth before I'd given it any sort of thought were "Motorola Razr." Here I'd been so proud of myself for resisting its allure when it first came out, and unbeknownst to me deep in my heart of hearts I had continued to covet it all this time. Of course, now that the desire was out there, there was no question of waiting for Christmas (not to mention Tery knows nothing about the workings of cellphone plans/upgrades, etc., so I knew it was all up to me). The guilt of indulgence was softened considerably when I idly browsed T-Mobile's site and saw a deal on this one for only $30 after rebate. T-Mobile's very reasonable asking price was merely that I sign over my soul to them for the next 2 years. Well, they can have it -- it's black and brittle and used up anyway (oh, angst!) Sure, it's a V3 which is probably considered ghetto compared to the many new versions that have since been released, but my cellphone needs are still pretty basic and I'm sure that any shortcomings in features will be more than compensated for every time I fondle the Razr's sleek, streamlined body. Yep, this phone will be bringin' sexy back (into my life, at least).

It hasn't even arrived yet and I've started tricking it out (or "pimpin' my talk" as Tery puts it). I spent far more time than necessary last night on Tery's office computer looking at accessories on eBay. She's got dial-up, so you KNOW that's some shopping dedication when every web page change requires at least a 5-minute commitment. Ugh. Dial-up suuhuuhuuhuuhuhuuhcks, in case anyone didn't know that by now. Still, I managed to find a pretty sweet case that hopefully will arrive about the same time as the phone. I'm damn excited about it, for someone who still practically never talks on the phone.

~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~

And.....speaking of killer eBay finds, I don't think anyone in their right mind who knows anything about me could possibly expect me to resist this when I discovered it during a casual search for overpriced Frank the Bunny Halloween costumes (don't worry. I didn't pay anywhere close to the price in the link). Oh. My. God. The head interchanges with Frank's human head and it says 7 phrases from the movie. It's almost as if someone IS listening to my fantasies.....
grrgoyl: (sissy)
I called Tery on Friday afternoon and idly asked her what kind of weekend I had ahead of me in Kennel Land. She said, "I'm not sure you want to know." I temporarily forgot to breathe. "What?" I demanded. "Honus is coming in later this afternoon," she blurted out, barely suppressing an evil chuckle. "You are fucking kidding me" was my response. I was far, far from amused. I had promised Tery I would quit if I had to spend every weekend with that goddamn dog, but I had no idea how much of a possibility it was. I should have been clued in by the frequent boarder discount card (get the 7th visit free) in the chart. What the fuck was up with this dog's owners? Could they not bear to spend a single weekend with their own beloved pet?

I'm afraid I had quite the childish tantrum over the phone, perhaps stepping out of line for working there less than a month, but there had to be some perks for being married to the boss. I demanded she require the owners leave a bark collar, or at the very least some powerful sedatives. I ranted at great length about stupid, lazy people who can't be bothered to train their dog and then leave him to become someone else's problem two days out of the week. I tried to make it a less selfish request by pointing out how much he disturbs the other dogs in the kennel, how I'm sure no one sleeps a wink all night long, and how unfair that is to her other clients. Tery bore my tirade patiently as she does all my tirades, and promised to do what she could.

She called back a short time later with good news. He was only staying Friday night, and was having warts removed from his paws so would probably be knocked out on painkillers. I felt these terms were acceptable. To torment me, she sent me this on my phone:

Honus: Asshole Beagle Extraordinaire

"Awwww," you may be thinking. "The poor thing. He doesn't look so bad. How can you be so heartless?" I didn't think it was possible either, but there we are. I simply loathe this dog. And I guarantee you would too after a few short hours of listening to his ceaseless and increasingly desperate barking.

It turned out the surgery had humbled him somewhat, although he was no longer unconscious by the time I arrived. Instead of barking he was letting out a persistent, high-pitched whine with every breath. Don't get me wrong, this was far better than the barking, but at the end of 8 hours felt exactly like having an ice pick driven millimeter by millimeter through my skull. He was in Recovery where I do all my paperwork, and I had hoped that having me in sight would alleviate what I assumed was separation anxiety, but no. Perhaps his anxiety wasn't helped by being with someone with almost visible waves of animosity radiating off of them, but I couldn't help that. I would hiss sharply, "Honus!!" and he would stop for a breath or two, and then immediately start again. Stupid, stupid, asshole dog.

But the night wasn't a complete loss. This picture was taken primarily for [livejournal.com profile] citizenjess. I give you.....wiener puppies!:

Cute Overload
Tootsie (4 months) and Schotzy (4 years)

I wish I could have gotten a pic of them sleeping curled up together, but opening the kennel door was always a cause for great excitement. Too, too adorable.

~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~

Blockbuster update: Tery and I got to spend our first Sunday alone together without me having to go to some foolish inventory at night (I am, in fact, missing Whole Foods, which fills me with such happiness I feel like I'm born-again). To celebrate we decided to rent a movie. She had a gift card from Blockbuster and I agreed to go, despite having successfully boycotted them for almost a year and a half now. We settled on The Squid and the Whale, but that's not the point. I somewhat self-righteously observed that their customer service skills have actually deteriorated, if that's possible. We waited in line for the one cashier while his co-worker obliviously sorted returns for reshelving, ignoring us completely. When I got to the counter he had to re-enter all my personal data since I hadn't been there in so long, an exchange that took place mostly through a series of grunts on his end. As we exited the store I told Tery this is precisely why I refuse to go there anymore. They have more competition these days, with Netflix and now McDonald's, and yet their employees are more sullen and unfriendly than ever. Only the magic of a free rental card will ever lure me there again.

After Blockbuster we stopped in the grocery store for a few things. As we were waiting in line at the self-scan checkouts, a woman got behind us carrying a single bag of ice. She started huffing and puffing in outrage. When the man in front of us offered to let her go next, she indicated the cause of her anger: a woman with a 1/4 full shopping cart was blithely using one of the self scans, which are marked 15 items or less. We all watched as Ice Woman loudly sputtered her rage. She was a woman after my own heart, not holding back a single thought. Inconsiderate Woman seemingly didn't even hear her, reaching in and delicately scanning each item with such agonizing slowness you'd have thought she was the only one in the whole store. Tery was uncomfortable about Ice Woman's aggressive display ("She's going to walk out with a bag of water, she's so steamed!") but I agreed with her wholeheartedly. By the time we finished our transaction and walked away, Inconsiderate Woman still hadn't gotten down to 15 items in her cart. What's wrong with people? Everyone thinks only about themselves, and THAT'S what is destroying society, not gay marriage. Mark my words.


Coming soon: V for Vendetta
grrgoyl: (sissy)
Another weekend at the kennels and not a single dull moment for me. Tery had informed me with sadistic glee that my favorite beagle, Honus, was on the books to spend another weekend with me. Then she called me from the road Friday and said when she left he still hadn't shown up, so perhaps the owners had cancelled. I hoped and prayed, but the minute I pulled into the driveway later that night I could hear his unmistakable yappy, whiny, desperate bark clearly above all the others. I really, really hate that dog.

While receiving additional training from my friend Laura on Thursday, I mentioned him and she commiserated 100%. "That dog's an asshole," she proclaimed. "There's just no other way to put it. He's a real asshole." Laura is a tech and has made the veterinarian field her career, so I felt that my hatred was perfectly justified if even she hated him that much.

When I got downstairs to the kennel area, the first thing I noticed was the asshole had pooped in his cage, causing an almighty stink that had to be making the rest of the dogs crazy. I wasn't trying to be cruel, but my reasoning was he'd already made all the mess he could so it was more logical to get the rest of the dogs walked first before they also made one. I had almost made it through all of them when I absolutely couldn't take the stench anymore and gave Honus his turn a few doors ahead of schedule.

Remembering the battle of wills we had experienced our first weekend together, I thought I'd try a different tack and treat him like a king. Maybe THEN he'd be happy. I switched him from the smaller cage behind the door to an empty run-through double cage. All this meant was that he could bark at me from both sides instead of just one. I noticed the terrier in the kennel above him hadn't touched his afternoon meal at all and, rather than throw all that food out, I slipped it to Honus, who ate it greedily and then immediately resumed barking at me. ASSHOLE. But the last straw came at the end of the night when I let him out not once but twice, figuring he'd eaten so much. Not only did he just pee after gorging himself but when I tried to get him back inside after the second trip, he put up such a fight I can't even tell you. Even though I had a choke leash on him he fought and ran and dodged and slipped between my feet, until I jerked that leash as hard as I could (felt pretty damn good, I'll admit it), whereupon he cowered in the corner but STILL made me drag him bodily back to the cage, and then tried to bite me when I pulled the leash off. What a FUCKING ASSHOLE.

I asked Tery later what could be done about especially disruptive dogs like this. Surely they could require the owners leave him with a bark collar at least. She said all they could do was "politely suggest" sedatives. Because god forbid people ever hear how badly their precious babies misbehave when they're away from home. I promised her if I had to spend every weekend with that fucking dog, I WOULD quit. If I ever own my own kennels, I will accept only cats and ferrets, and that breed of dogs that never barks.

Diametrically opposed to Honus the Fuckwad was a female beagle puppy, Jenny. Jenny was so quiet and unobtrusive that I thought I'd finished the entire ward when I turned and spotted her in a top kennel and my mouth literally dropped open. It was like she'd appeared there by magic or been snuck in behind my back, I had no idea she was there.

Meanwhile, in the cat ward there was a teenaged cat named Baby. Baby was slightly cross-eyed and spent the entire time crouched in the far back corner, eyeing me suspiciously. I got out her bowls and litter box to clean and refill them, leaving the door wide open, figuring she was so nervous and shy she'd stay put. Well, you guessed it, by the time I returned, her cage was as suddenly and magically empty as Jenny's was full. I was fairly sure she couldn't leave the basement of the hospital, but then again I've seen a rat terrier that couldn't have weighed much more than Baby push open the swinging door at the top of the stairs with far less motivation. I swept through the entire floor quickly twice, calling her name even though I realized the odds of her coming to me were about the same as the odds of me ever wanting to adopt Honus. I called Tery for suggestions but evidently everyone else who works there already knows better than to leave a cat's cage wide open. I searched again, reminded of the day we were all packed and ready to leave for our cross-country move to Colorado from Tery's parents' house when we noticed Alsatia had gone missing. Some two hours later she had been discovered deep in the bowels of a sofa, so I knew perfectly well how cats can disappear when they really truly want to. Long story short, I eventually found her way back behind an ancient filing cabinet in the dustiest corner of the recovery room. One more lesson learned the hard way.

Lastly, in my charge was a Shih Tzu puppy no bigger than the palm of my hand. He had some neurological problems, like being unable to lift his head or move his legs properly, etc. I was supposed to feed him every 3 hours, cupping his little body in my hand and mopping him up when I was done, because he was an understandably very messy eater. It was probably after the second feeding that I noticed when he woke up and didn't see me there he would start crying like a newborn baby, rolling over clumsily until he was lying against the door of the cage. I would go over and pet him and murmur to him, and he would eventually fall asleep as long as I kept stroking him. I'll admit, by the time the sun came up I felt myself falling a little in love with him. I mean, look:

Unidentified Puppy

I loved the way his Marty Feldman-like eyes gazed in my general direction the whole time he was awake, and his soft, soft baby fur. The doc in charge of his case said he wouldn't make it, but by the time I left he was sitting upright and moving a little more normally, and ultimately got to go home Monday afternoon. I'm sure the doctors had something to do with it, but I can't help feeling that I'd helped just a little bit. And there's that feeling of satisfaction again. Made it possible to forget all about stupid old Honus.
grrgoyl: (amelie dog)
I started the vet job this weekend under the supervision of Tery, who thoughtfully stayed with me all night after working her regular shift. That's the kind of considerate boss she is. I absolutely needed her to, because there is so much more to it than I expected and the woman who's been at it for 22 years doesn't have a lot of experience training people for it. She just hustled me through everything really quickly and superficially, doubtlessly anxious to avoid having me cut into her break time too much. Still, from working this weekend I'm optimistically thinking that I'm really going to enjoy this job.

Doubleplusgood #1: The uniform. I get to wear scrubs, and if you can't work in your underwear like I do when I'm working from home, then scrubs are the next best thing. So comfy and soft like pyjammies, and, unlike the cheap-ass material RGIS uniforms are made from, won't rip at the seams every time you reach above your head. I also love the Einsteinian decision-making the scrubs make of my regimen. Now when I'm dressing for work the only question is dark blue or light blue? (Leaves my brain free to consider other loftier issues.) Plus I'm sure it's making the Alcoholic, who monitors my every movement, insanely curious as to why I'm suddenly wearing medical garb when I leave the house.

Doubleplusgood #2: The solitude, the blessed solitude. I was right....having only animals for company is blissful. Being in the hospital after hours isn't as creepy as I feared, but of course I haven't been totally alone there yet. That might be a different story. It's in kind of a dodgy part of town and they have problems with homeless people and car windows being smashed in occasionally, but inside is reasonably secure. If it's safe for Joyce (the 22-year veteran) who's about 100 pounds overweight with hypertension and tendinitis, then it's nothing I can't handle, I'm sure.

Doubleplusgood #3: Driving to work at 9 pm. Means most of the idiots are safe at home, not out terrorizing me because I don't want to go 85 mph. Of course, this means (like tonight) that I'm that much more intolerant when I DO encounter the idiots because I've seen how much nicer it is without them. There's the passing lane, right there. Totally empty. USE IT, motherfucker.

Doubleplusgood #4: The job requirements. Cleaning shit doesn't bother me in the least, with two free-range ferrets who only remember the litter box about 1 time in 10. My biggest squick about the job was the threat of having to take rectal temperatures. Luckily for me this weekend I got to work with Roxie, a parvo puppy who was so starved for attention she didn't care what I did to her as long as I pet her while doing it. I'm not saying that I now look forward to taking temps, but I was glad I got to face this particular fear head on.

Doubleplusgood #5: The animals. The whole point, after all, is the animals. Here is the more memorable cast of characters (for this weekend anyway):


  • There's Blackjack, a 6-month-old Sheltie puppy. He's like a ferret in dog form and so adorable I could've eaten him up. He plays this game where he dances around just out of reach, becoming more and more excited the closer you get, until he lets you scoop him up into your arms. When he's not being carried he prances around like the cock of the walk. Sooooooo precious.


  • There's the Corgi herd, Pokie, Gizmo and Speedo, who line up like perfect little gentlemen to get their treats before returning to their kennel. Who doesn't love Corgis?


  • There's Shanahan, a big white German shepherd, who never barked and who stared up at me with complete adoration in his big black eyes.


Then there were the not-so-good animals, which I expect is also inevitable in the job. #1 on this list is undeniably Honus, a beagle. Honus barked and barked and barked and barked all. night. long. I'm telling you, I could have cheerfully strangled him by the time the sun came up. Tery implored me to give him a pseudonym here on the infinitesimal possibility that his owners read my blog, but I said if they didn't know by now their dog can bark for 8 hours straight without stopping for breath, they needed to know. I secretly believe they aren't away on vacation at all, merely boarding him so they can get a good night's sleep for a change. He barked so much that when I finally got home and lay down to sleep, I could still hear him echoing in my ears.

The second of the most ill-mannered boarders was Buddy, a huge white shorthair cat. "Buddy" it turns out is the grossest misnomer ever, because the cat it belongs to is surely one of the most vicious creatures on the planet. I thought I could handle Buddy; I adore all cats. But no matter how sweetly or softly you spoke to Buddy, all you received in return were growls, spitting hisses and baleful glares of stabbity death for your trouble. I could only clean his cage and feed him with the aid of a squeegee in one hand and a broom head in the other, crouched in a lion tamer position. This cat was big enough and strong enough that he literally almost batted the squeegee out of my hand, and I wouldn't have been surprised if he had broken it right in half. No, Buddy wasn't to be trifled with or underestimated. "Mad at the world," was written on his chart. I suppose if I had to sleep with that beagle barking his fool head off next door all night I would be a little peeved too.

So that's my night. Cleaning cages, doing laundry, feeding animals and watching them poop, giving meds to patients, with a good 2 or 3 hours in between where there's nothing at all to do and I can nap, or read LJ, or watch a movie, or whatever. For this weekend I brought no entertainment and unfortunately the breakroom is equipped only with an ancient TV with an antenna. Last night I learned there isn't much to choose from at 2 am besides Spanish channels, a free Abba concert (worth every penny) and Weird Al Yankovic's opus, UHF. It turns out the latter was perfect to doze to and so I did, mightily.

Again speaking optimistically, the biggest difference I can see between this and RGIS is that at the end of the night I have a real sense of accomplishment, of feeling like I did some good in the world. Because of me, these animals are fed and sleeping comfortably on clean blankets (overlooking the matter of Honus, which was absolutely beyond my control). This must have been what Tery was talking about when she called inventory a soulless, meaningless job that did nothing to enrich her spiritually. Perhaps that's been my problem, I've been suffering a karmic drain all these years.

As I work these last nights of RGIS, I can't help mentally going through all the things about the job I won't miss. I won't miss roasting in mall stores all night (the hospital has lovely central air that's kept on all night long). I won't miss having my break dependent on the whim of a supervisor who has 40 things on their mind and my personal comfort is #39. I won't miss being trampled by customers or being treated like a moron by store people. I won't miss going to work with no idea how long of a night to expect, and relying on co-workers who I swear are people who applied to RGIS to appease the unemployment office, and then suddenly to their shock and dismay found themselves actually being hired. I won't miss having to watch increasingly stupid decisions being made by my "superiors" as this company thinks more about the bottom line and less about incentives to keep experienced veterans working for them.

This is the epiphany I had while talking to Tery. I believe people go through stages when they work for a company for an extended time. When you're first hired, you're optimistic, energetic and usually fairly ignorant about the detailed workings of the job. Ignorance is most definitely bliss, for it is ignorance that allows you to come to work, do what you're told and collect your paycheck happily at the end of the week. But if you stick around long enough, ignorance is lost as you learn more and become more experienced. This is good in terms of comfort level at work, but bad because it means you're relied upon to do more of the dirty work they don't give newbies. And if you stick around really long enough (like, say, 14 years), you have time to realize how things are supposed to be done and can therefore become frustrated and bitter when they aren't done correctly and aren't being run as smoothly as they could be (assuming you are a conscientious person who cares about doing a good job). That's about where I am right now. That's where Tery is at the hospital, only she's management now so she has more control over seeing things are done correctly. I figure MyFriendDeb has gone on to stage IV -- she knows things could be better but she's willing to turn a blind eye because it's easier than finding another job. More power to her and to everyone else at this stage, I say. Me, I need something more. Let's hope I found it.

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grrgoyl

December 2011

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