Saturday, November 15, 2008

Another Day, Another Dollar...

...Or thousands, to be spent.

This fall, the money issues are coming up. Fortunately, my husband's job seems to be secure, and he makes enough for us to live on and have a little set aside for emergencies. However, we have been spending too much lately. And not just on unnecessary luxuries like new TVs (though Hubby did buy one of those, and now it's annoying me because the thing is too big for the stand it's on, and isn't centered on the wall, so from my regular seat -- the one I always sit in on the couch -- the end of the TV overlaps the doorway according to my angle of view, plus the cables and plugs to the TV are all visible on the wall. It's very upsetting to my sense of decor. Hubby doesn't see the point in that, but feng shui, or my Americanized version of it, is important to me!).

Where was I? Oh yes, we're spending too much money. In October, we had the hyperbaric chamber rental. That has been going well so far, in that Hutton enjoys going in the chamber twice a day, and his sentences are getting longer and sound more "typical". We'll see how he does in the weeks to come if he continues to improve. The chamber goes back next week, and if he shows improvement during the "down time" we'll probably want to rent it again, or look into buying one. Did you say that will cost still more money? Oh yeah. Money. So, if the hyperbaric protocol works for Hutton, that's great, but means more money spent. If it doesn't work for Hutton, that just means we wasted thousands of dollars. Hmm. And time. Time is money, right? Well, not if you're a seven-year-old boy or a housewife, I suppose.

I bought tickets to fly home to Nashville for the week between Christmas and New Year's. Originally, we were all going to go for two weeks, and drive down to Pensacola to visit Hubby's family, too, but when that got into the $2500 range (AKA the price of renting a hyperbaric chamber for a month) Hubby balked. So, now the boys and I are going to Nashville for a week, not driving to Pensacola (we'll see the inlaws in North Carolina for Thanksgiving, when we visit my sister-in-law and her family) and we'll save on Hubby's ticket, plus car rental costs, plus Hubby can stay and take care of the pets, so no petsitter costs for that. Phew. But, still, another $1700 to visit family for Christmas.

Then there's the Christmas gifts to be bought for friends and family. I've bought things for a few people already, but still have more to buy, and I'm sure that will quickly add up.

And then, today, I took our sweet Sally to the vet for her annual checkup. She has two fatty tumors that are growing -- one on her leg, the other on the side of her abdomen, and the vet wrote up an estimate for having them removed. She's had these tumors for years, and when they biopsied them, they were benign, but the one on her leg started getting bigger this fall. So, it's possible there's something underneath all the fat. But, do we want to subject our 13-year-old dog to surgery and the two weeks of downtime to follow? Not to mention the $1100 or so for surgery? Sally's a great dog, but as Hubby and I discussed two years ago when she needed surgery for a herniated disk in her neck, it's a lot of money. So, we're going to wait on the tumors for a while, since they aren't bothering her.

I won't type anything else, or I'm sure to jinx us into having more money issues come up.

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

Goodbye, Fergus

This is going to take a while to write, so I'm going to do installments. Here's the first one. Oh yeah, this is about my dog, Fergus, who died Sunday morning, at the age of 15.


Once upon a time there was a girl. Well, she was really a young lady, as she was 18, soon to be 19, years old. She was a rising junior in college, enjoying her summer vacation at home with her mother and stepfather. She worked during the week at a day camp, as the ropes course counselor, although she much preferred to sit and do beading, or to go on creek walks. She worked with some friends from high school, and she hung out with these friends and her best girl friend from high school in the evenings and on weekends. They went to movies, or rented movies or played pool and video games at the arcade, and were generally carefree, staying up too late on work nights, but it didn't matter so much as it was only a summer job.

The girl was going to be moving into a house off campus with her college friends when she returned to college in a few months, and they had spoken about getting a dog, since they could finally get one, as they weren't in dorms anymore. Everyone was excited to be living together, though technically this constituted a brothel in the town, since it was more than three unrelated women living together in a house. (Only three were listed on their lease, though, so they could get away with it.) So, over the summer, the girl thought about dogs, and started reading about puppies, and decided on which kind she wanted, though she'd had a chosen breed in her head for a long time. She looked in the local paper, and one day saw in ad for the type of dog she wanted. Her two best friends went with her to get the puppy. They drove to a town about thirty miles away, where the puppies lived. The man who was selling them owned a Brittany as a hunting dog, and this was the mother of the litter of puppies.

The girl wanted to get a liver and white dog, as she liked the color, and the fact that she and her dog would have the same color hair. (Yes, she was a bit odd.) There were three liver and white dogs in the litter, and the breeder wanted to keep the female of the three, so that left two dogs to choose from. The girl, of course, chose the feistiest of the two, a little puppy the breeder called "Ace" though of course, the girl had no intention of keeping that name. She already had a perfect name picked out for her dog: Fergus. She'd found several names she liked in a baby name book, and once she picked her puppy, Fergus seemed to suit him best.

The girl took Fergus home to her mother and stepfather's home, where he had many accidents while becoming house-trained, though he was cute enough that even her neat-freak stepfather didn't mind. In the afternoons after work, the girl would play with Fergus, and many times they would nap together on the floor, though soon Fergus would graduate to sleeping on the bed with her.

Then, the summer drew to a close, and the girl packed up her car to return to college, with Fergus riding shotgun as they drove the eight hours to the college town, stopping at every rest stop along the way.

When they pulled into the house, the girl's housemates were very excited to meet Fergus, their new pet. Everyone loved him almost instantly, and who could blame them? Look at how cute he was!

Wednesday, November 05, 2008

Historic Day

Today is the day after the big election. Being in the west, I knew the results in the early evening last night, and the boys were awake to watch the Obama acceptance speech with me. I clapped, I laughed (the puppy line), I cried (Jesse Jackson and I have that in common). I had to watch it on my laptop, instead of the fancy new TV, because I can't get the TV to work. It's one of those things that Hubby's computer controls, and I tried to reset his computer, but it didn't work. Oh well! Just gave me incentive to not stay up all night watching returns on my laptop.

Harrison went with me to vote yesterday. He wasn't into it, even though it was such a special moment for me. I had a good feeling about Obama's chances of winning, (I was wearing some "Blue State" blue underwear as a good luck charm) and this was the last time I would vote at the polls in Washington state. The state's elections are going to be all mail-in ballots from the next election on, and I will miss voting in person, though Harrison won't miss going to the polls with me, I guess. Hutton asked about voting after school, so I think I took the wrong son with me to vote!

As I watched the results come in and got excited about Obama's wins, Harrison told me he didn't want Obama to win. He wanted McCain to win. WHAT?! I didn't even know Harrison knew the names of the candidates, let alone that he'd already made up his mind as a four-year-old non-voter. Harrison told me again this morning that he didn't want Obama to win, that he liked McCain. He may just be doing this in the classic four-year-old, I'm going to do the opposite of what Mommy does to annoy her an assert my independence. I tried to convince him of the superiority of Democrats over Republicans, but I didn't delve into it too deeply, and I tried not to taunt him with too many Obama happy dances, although he laughed when Sally our dog danced around with me, so there's hope.


North Carolina is interesting right now. I am very pleased that the beautiful state where I learned a great deal about life, met some of my very best friends, and voted for the first time (I went to college there) is "purple", and not red. I'm even more pleased that Kay Hagan beat Elizabeth Dole. Dole's nasty campaigning appears to have back-fired. Thank God! (That coming from someone who would consider herself a godless American.) I was excited to hear Hagan's name a few months ago, as that is my maiden name, and learn that she was Democrat.

Saturday, November 01, 2008

Melancholy Mama

Today is one of those melancholy days around here. It's the first day of November, the leaves are on the far side of pretty -- the trees are either half-leaved or have lost them, so they look bare and cold. Just a few days ago, when I went with Hutton's class on a field trip, the trees still looked very pretty, with lots of red, yellow and orange leaves. Once the leaves go, and the rain starts, the late fall blues are not far behind! Considering tomorrow daylight saving ends, too, I know on Monday we'll be walking to the school bus in the dark.

Today, I dropped Hubby off at the airport, which is another reason for melancholia. He's going to Barcelona for a week; he'll be giving several talks at some conference. We'd talked about everyone going at one point, but after our summer of vacation spending (Disney World and California) and the fact that Hutton will already be missing several days of school so we can go out of town for Thanksgiving (another expenditure, as well), we decided against it. I do feel sad to be left behind, though, and although a few days here and there of solo parenting are fine, a whole week is hard, especially when it's fall.

Another thing, is that Hutton and I (and Harrison a few times) have been spending time in the hyperbaric chamber, which is where I am now! This is great, in that I have high hopes it will have positive results for Hutton, but also tiring, as on school days, I have to get up at 6 a.m. so we'll have enough time to get a session in before school. The protocol calls for two 90 minute sessions a day, with at least 6 hours between sessions, and the 6 a.m. session, and one after school, works best with keeping our schedule as close to normal as possible. After waking up at 6 a.m. since Monday, though, I'm getting worn down. Although Hutton and I sleep during the morning sessions in the chamber, it's cramped and not exactly restful when we're both trying to share a pillow, and Hutton is a wriggly sleeper. So snoozing is more of a description of what goes on. This weekend I plan to do a lot more sitting on my butt and sleeping in to recover.

The past week was tiring in that it was the build to Halloween, as well. Thursday, Hutton's class had a field trip to a local farm, where there's a pumpkin patch, hay maze, corn maze, and petting zoo. I chaperoned, along with several other parents, which was fun, as I missed the trip with Harrison's preschool. Friday, Hutton had two Halloween parties I helped with. The first was the mainstream first grade class Hutton eats lunch with. They had a cute art project, but otherwise, I preferred Hutton's "real" class party. I know the teachers and other parents and kids in there.

Oh yeah: Crush alert! There's a father of a fellow student in Hutton's class I've seen several times over the years. His daughter was in Hutton's kindergarten class a few years back, and I've seen him at various class functions, including the field trip on Thursday. But yesterday was different. Why? you may ask. Well...he was in uniform! The man is a cop. I never thought I was into that, but seeing a normal looking guy suddenly transformed into crush material in just a day was pretty impressive. I don't know if it was the gun and clips in the holster, the badge, the tight pants.... Anyway, his wife was there, too, and she's very nice, as is the husband (I mean, he's at an elementary school Halloween party, for god's sake!), and I did my best not to stare. I did make a stupid joke to him about liking his Halloween costume. Duh. Hey, another mom in the class said the same thing later on, so I guess I'm not the only one.

Friday night, Hubby and I took the boys trick or treating at the outdoor mall. We joked about how it was just like when we were kids. (No, not really. I had a great trick or treating neighborhood growing up, and we'd spend hours trick or treating on Halloween.) Our neighborhood now isn't good for trick or treating (no street lights, a few houses spread too far apart), and the boys had a great time at the mall (Harrison pronounced it the best day ever -- hey, he's only 4!) even though some of the stores gave out lame candy, or worse, stickers. The boys didn't seem to mind, and Hutton did a great job of saying "Trick or treat!" and following up with "Thank you!" after getting candy. (Though I was reminding him often.) After trick or treating, we went out to dinner at a Thai restaurant. Plus, one of the mall restaurants gave us a $20 gift card with the boys' candy, so Hubby and I will have to go back on a date.

After the boys went to bed, we watched The Fifth Element on BluRay. Hubby got it from Netflix, as he's been trying to rent good BluRay type films since he just got the fancy new equipment (he bought a new, bigger TV as well, that we don't really need and can't really afford right now. Hey, we're doing our part to help stimulate the economy!) About halfway in, I leaned over and said to him, "You know this movie is visually stunning, but seriously sucks." Hubby agreed, and we laughed about that as the movie continued and got weirder and suckier.

So, that's what's been going on this week. Man, I have to pee, and have 15 more minutes of HBOT time. Can I make it? I gave myself a UTI by waiting too long/running to many errands without stops last week, so I'm pressing my luck.

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