Archive for the ‘Covid-19’ Category

Covid Doggie Blues

January 28, 2021

We have a miniature poodle, Rudy, whom we love dearly. But, during the past 12 months, sheltering at home with him during Covid-19, we have become even more attached to our “whoo-de-woo’ our ‘buddy boy’, ‘buddy wud’, ‘sweet cheeks’, and in particular instances “Little Lord Fauntleroy”. We’re all part of his ‘pack,’ and he’s crushed when we get in the car without him, or Lord forbid, not take him out on a daily walk. He sleeps between David and me at night, and anxiously awaits in the kitchen every morning to greet each member of the pack, as we emerge from slumber, with his tail wagging, low howls, stepping from side to side, as if to announce “Hey, it’s a new day!”

We got Rudy when he was eight weeks old. Oh my goodness, what an adorable puppy! We’ve had him for … 13 years. He’s been a great dog. But he’s becoming an old dog now, and he’s not bounding up the stairs like he used to. He’s lost his bottom front teeth. He suffers from stiff joints and arthritis in his back, likely due to his antics as a ‘stunt doggie’ in his younger years, leaping up onto and back off our high kitchen stools, and our high bed. Several years ago we installed doggie steps up to our beds. He used to skip up those steps, now he gingerly negotiates each step when climbing up or down. It’s become more difficult for him to jump up on the couch, so I bought him a cushy doggie bed. Oh, did I mention that ‘sweet cheeks’ is quite particular? He tried lying in his bed, but apparently the feel of it didn’t quite suit him, however, it might make a decent head rest:

Or butt support

You’re witnessing one of his ‘Little Lord Fauntleroy’ moments. I’m guessing the bed itself is perhaps too “poofy’ for his liking?

During the past couple of weeks Rudy got sick. He started throwing up and drinking his water bowl dry. He would settle on the far end of the couch away from us, rather than on our laps. I started to worry that we were going to lose him. What if he has cancer? This past Monday we took him to the vet where he was diagnosed with pancreatitis and high blood sugar. We’ve been nursing him back to old doggie health this whole week, restricting him to a bland diet and giving him insulin shots twice a day. We take him back to the vet for a followup next week.

But we’ve had to face the reality: Rudy is fast approaching the end of his life. It’s so sad to think of him growing old and losing his faculties. Our last beloved dog, Baxter, was blind and deaf by the age of 14 – oh how I remember the heartbreak of watching him deteriorate and then putting him down; it just seems untenable to endure that same heartbreak and trauma with our fearless, loving and faithful dog, Rudy, in the middle of Covid, no less.

I know! We should get a puppy! Bring all that young adorable energy back into our house! How else to soften the grief of Rudy’s decline? It’s depressing enough all this isolation during Covid with a dog, can’t cope with even the thought of living it without a dog.

“David, I know! Let’s get a puppy!”

“Absolutely not.”

Wha? I admit to being the dog lover of the family. David, not so much. He doesn’t like a dog in the house, the dog crap in the yard, the dog prints and other mess throughout the house, the barf … or a dog sleeping in our bed. Unless it’s Rudy.

Well, I could pull a coup here, like I did with Rudy, if I bring home just the right dog. First of all, let’s see … it can’t shed. That’s why we like poodles or poodle mixes. But barking is tough to deal with and Rudy is the biggest, shrillest barker around. You can’t have a biting dog either and it has to be gentle with kids. It also has to stick around if it gets loose.

You don’t buy a dog breed because it was cute in a movie, like the Jack Russell terrier, made famously adorable in the movie “The Mask”. Jack Russell’s have no homing sense whatsoever. You open the front door to get the paper, they jet out the door and you never see them again (I know two people this has happened to). Dalmatians are a terrible choice for kids because of their aggressiveness, even though they star in the most adorable kid’s movie ever. Husky’s are gorgeous and have cute faces but they shed enough hair to stuff two large pillows for your couch every year, plus they too will break loose and end up across town. Certain dog breeds are nearly impossible to house train. Like, lots of dog breeds. This link: ‘dogs that are hard AF to potty train’ is worth checking out: listing twelve hard-to-house-train breeds (including the Jack Russell and Dalmatians). Sure, you love your dog, you’re completely attached to it, but hey, it’s peeing all over the house?

Are you a big dog person or a little dog person? I like medium-sized dogs. I like the idea of a rescue dog, except, boy you just don’t know what you’re getting. Currently there are lots of pit bull mixes and cattle dogs available for adoption locally, all who potentially shed, bite, run away or pee in the house. You can end up with a dog accidentally if, say, a close relative or friend asks you to take in their dog ‘temporarily’ while they resettle, which can turn into ‘you’ve adopted a new dog’ which is what happened to my brother, who is a cat lover to begin with. The way he tells it, his relative’s dog was a cross between a Rottweiler and a Bassett Hound, which he declared the dumbest animal on the planet, a hybrid he labeled a ‘Rotten Bastard” which he got stuck with. I don’t recall the details of how he got rid of it …

Well anyway, that’s where I’m at. We have an old dog. And you always get to this point if you adopt a puppy or a young dog; if you have the happiest, most cared-for dog on the planet, they still will only live about 15 years max, the bigger the dog the shorter the life span. And you’re totally broken hearted at the end. But a dog lover facing the possibility of not having a dog? That just seems impossible. Especially during Covid.

The Mother’s Day Gift that Keeps on Giving Through Father’s Day

June 21, 2020

Our son, Aaron, flew out to Idaho with his two kids on April 15, 2020 after their daycare in Alpharetta, Georgia, shut down because of Covid-19. How could he and his wife, Wei, both work full time jobs from home and take care of four-year old Franklin and 14-month old Bailey running wild at home? The Georgia Covid numbers were much higher than here in southeast Idaho. We wanted to help them. So we developed a plan – he’d fly out here with them, grandma and grandpa (David and I) and aunty Megan would babysit the grandkids, while Aaron worked remotely from our home office. Wei stayed back in Georgia working from home, we’d figure it all out as time went on.

Fast forward to mid-June. All told, Aaron, Franklin and Bailey stayed with us two months. Georgia opened up again, and Aaron and the kids flew back to Atlanta on June 11.

We enjoyed lots of adventures sheltering in place at our house in Idaho over that eight-week period with Aaron and our two grandkids. We took family walks around the neighborhood on some fine spring evenings (maintaining social distancing of course):

April 26, 2020

In retrospect, it’s a wonder to me how David and I raised three kids. How could I have been a stay-at home mom?  While the grandkids are precious, filling our lives with constant delights and surprises, it is honestly quite exhausting to entertain a 4-yr-old and 14-month old at home throughout the day, every day. From the moment they wake up (with the birds it seemed) each wanting different breakfasts, to the moment you finally get them both tucked into bed at night, you run around like a staff of five, with the feeding, diaper changing, cleaning up spills, pulling toys and games out of your butt to entertain them, in this case, separately, because Bailey is too young for legos, and loves to step in and destroy whatever Franklin has built with one stroke.  Thus, our dining room table, and kitchen counters were quickly relegated to Franklin’s legos, and airplanes, and … whatever else got tossed on on them out of Bailey’s reach.

‘Situation normal’

Although, Franklin was a big help to David when mowing the lawn.

Megan and Bailey were best buddies at the get-go. Girl Power!! At age 4, Franklin is absolutely certain that he’s too old for naps.  I would beg to differ on most days as he would fall into a perpetual whine by 4 pm, lying underfoot as you attempt to make dinner, dragging his ‘pillow’ around. Bailey is down to one nap a day, our strategy was to keep her active and busy till 1 pm, give her a bottle, then nestle her in the pack’n play for hopefully a two-hour blissful reprieve.  

Imagine the ecstasy I felt on Mother’s Day, May 10, when, miraculously, both Franklin and Bailey went down for naps at 1 pm. Megan retired to the basement to watch Netflix, David sat at the computer to do crosswords, wow, perfect time for me just to crash on the living room couch, grab a power nap, bask in the quiet, reflect on the legacy of my motherhood …. lying there on the couch looking up at the ceiling, hey, what’s that? I hadn’t even fully positioned my body into comfort mode when I noticed a wet spot on the ceiling above me.  What?  How can that not be a water leak?

I called to David to come down and look at the ceiling in the den.  Well, what do you know?  A Happy Mother’s Day gift from the upstairs toilet. What the hell? We should deal with this right now, while the kids are sleeping. David cuts the wet chunk out of the ceiling. Chunks of plaster come raining down, he pulls out the saturated insulation. “Go flush the toilet and see what happens.”  Sure enough water hits him in the face from the hole in the ceiling, dang we weren’t quite prepared for this.  We spend the rest of nap-time getting the plaster mess splayed over the carpet and couch out of there before the kids are into it.

What’s wrong with this picture?

So, yeah.  I guess when we replaced the tile in the upstairs bathroom, like, five years ago, the toilet hadn’t been reset properly and had been slowly leaking all this time.  Except we didn’t flush it that much, so the spills didn’t penetrate the ceiling till Aaron and the grandkids were using it.  

For God’s sake! Don’t flush the upstairs toilet! Not pretty.

David just set the wet chunk of cut-out ceiling on top of our heating/air conditioning unit outside to dry out.  

Which it has.  Like, weeks ago.  Sitting atop that unit suits that piece of ceiling just fine.  

Meanwhile, we’ve been carrying on as if nothing is awry in our den.  

Except one morning we looked up, there was Tigger. He had apparently bounced so hard he crashed into the ceiling.

What mischief had he and all the other stuffed animals been into during the night?

 

Frankly, over the past 8 weeks, Tigger has been bouncing all over the house. Meanwhile, I’ve taken several still-life photos of the ceiling situation, and honestly, could that hole in the ceiling somehow, if you will, look like it was carved out purposely to complete, say, a three-dimensional wall/ceiling abstract grouping?

Good feng shui? Nice balance with the new ceiling treatment

I had about convinced myself that I could actually just live with it. What the hell. The hole in our ceiling is not hurting anything. No one ever sees it now except us, with this Covid-19.  Besides, it would serve as an interesting conversation starter if or when we entertain guests in our home again.

Alas, Aaron and the kids are gone now, been gone for … 10 days. We’ve cleaned the house, spic and span, restored the dining room to its old self. (How do you spell peace and quiet?)

Wow! We no longer have to eat standing up!

All the kids’ toys are put away, down to the last lego we discovered yesterday under the dishwasher.

“Hello!”

Boy does the house look spiffy! Uh, except for the gaping hole in our den ceiling.  It has to go. 

David is on it.  I say that because, well, I’m not. Can’t even cope with the thought of hiring someone.

Happy Father’s Day, honey. Kinda funny how this ended up ultimately being your gift on your special day. Something about … uh … balance? I dunno. One of life’s unsolved mysteries?

Meanwhile, we’ve got the memories. And about 1000 photos and videos of the grandkids. This is one of my favorites, appropriately shared on Father’s Day – Franklin and Bailey with grandpa:

 

Yes, we’ll miss them. But I think we’ll manage. We have accumulated a sizable to-do list here. 

 

 

A little Easter Miracle during Covid-19

April 12, 2020

April, 2020 – Spring in southeast Idaho! We’re sheltering in place – David, Megan and I – doing a lot of puzzles at home. I make runs to the grocery store. We do venture out for long walks through our neighboring park, Tautphaus Park, weather permitting. We skipped our walk on April 2:

April 2, 2020

I know the fresh snow is beautiful – pristine! You just have to dress for it, right? Wrong. That much snow is flat out ugly this time of year. But yes, just wear your down parkas, pull up your boot straps and your hoods, don’t forget your gloves! Early spring in Idaho is just like winter. The highs in early April feel like the highs in February.

Then just like that the temperature sails up 20 degrees. You’re in the middle of your walk and you’re burning up in your jacket. You peel it off and tie it around your waist. This happened to us this past Tuesday, just five days after that snow storm. We were walking toward home in a big open area at Tautphaus Park, when I peeled off my jacket, then turned to Megan, grabbed and jerked her arms out of the sleeves of her winter jacket – whew! love it! Spring is here!

But when we got home Megan said, “Mom, my bracelet is gone.” Oh no! It must have come off with the coat! Suddenly in my mind, there has never been a bracelet more loved, more precious, than Megan’s bracelet. We had bought it at a flea market in Beacon, New York – last September – when we were visiting Adam and Meredith – Megan’s oldest brother and his wife. Oh what a wonderful trip that was – all those great memories embodied in that bracelet. Oh why had I been so careless? I loved that bracelet.

The next day, last Wednesday, I said, “Hey Megan, let’s go back and try to retrace our steps on that walk – see if we can find your bracelet.” (Okay, super long shot here, but what the heck, we have to try, right?) “Oh yes, I remember – first we passed that huge old tree with a raptor perched up high in it – then we turned on the street by the skate park past the huge cottonwood forest, then we walked diagonally across that wide open field by the fountain. Half way across that field, that’s where we got hot and pulled our jackets off.”

We were at the wide open area now, with our eyes scanning the ground in circles looking for a stretchy bracelet made of turquoise nuggets and silver beads. Uh-oh. Oops. There’s a guy hitting light golf balls right in our direction. Shoot! Well, lets zig-zag our way quickly toward him – he’ll just have to be patient with us while we look till we get to him.

Sadly, we didn’t find the bracelet. When we made it up to the golfer and his female friend I explained (from ten feet away, of course) our situation. That Megan had lost her bracelet here yesterday and thank you for being patient with us while we looked for it. He said, yes, he’s lost a lot of golf balls too. But he would keep a look out for the bracelet when he’s retrieving his balls. Yeah, sure. Oh, if you happen to find the bracelet, maybe just leave it at the base of that tree over there. He nodded.

Darn it! Oh well. Easy come, easy go. Well, not really, but I’m trying. The following day, Thursday, the three of us, David, Megan and I (and Rudy of course) repeated that walk we had done on Tuesday through Tautphaus Park- past that tree where the raptor was

Some kind of Raptor

(I had taken a picture of it on Tuesday.)

and the huge cottonwood forest

Tautphaus Park

Although, it seemed pretty futile at this point, finding the bracelet. It was a goner. We got all philosophical about it on the walk … “You know what?” I said. “We were lucky to have found that bracelet in the first place. It was really special. Likely made by an American Indian. The Great Spirit led us to it and now the Great Sprit has freed it back to the Universe – to anoint the life of another living creature.” “Yes.” said David. “Maybe a crow.”

“He picked the bracelet up in his beak and flew off with it to drop it in his nest as a bauble.”

“Or perhaps a squirrel. They are very busy this time of year.”

As sad as I am about losing that bracelet – don’t think I’d climb to the top of a tree to retrieve it from a squirrels’ nest.

We’re back at that huge field near the fountain where we took our coats off:

The three of us fanned out to scan a wider area, searched quite thoroughly, as we worked our way to the end of the field. Oh well. No go, Joe. It’s okay. Oh wait, let’s just check the base of that tree, can’t hurt …

What? Megan, come see!

What were the odds? It feels like a miracle!

Back at home we signed a thank you note.

Set it at the base of that tree right where we had found the bracelet.

The next day, Good Friday, we walked over to the park again. Was the note still there?

Megan! Come look!!

It’s an Easter Egg!

We brought it home. Washed the plastic egg with soap and water, of course, wiped it down with a disinfectant wipe, then set it out in the sun for the afternoon, take that, Covid-19!

As always Megan puts her bracelet on first thing every morning.

And Rudy keeps his eye on that wiley squirrel in our back yard,

April 11, 2020

who is expert at social distancing himself from Rudy.

Saturday, April 11, 2020