Friday, January 27, 2012

Ready, set. . . Skate!

As the superbowl approaches, I am again reminded of just how disinterested in football I really am.  I get all the hype and commercialism surrounding it-if the Superbowl could be extended into a season, like Christmas, they would.  Oh wait, they have.  An entire season!  Ugh.  I can only say that football has given my movie viewing new life. Each time there is a big game, I am compelled to get myself to the movies and see something really worth watching.  I used to be able to tolerate these games, before I was gluton-free. But now, even the snacks are boring.  If you can't get your hands into a gooey and hot h'ors d'ouevre (sp?)  than what really is the point?  I think football was initially created by the makers of beer.  I mean really, when was the last time a "cosmopolitan" was served at a ball game?  It just doesn't fit. And so, I will most likely take myself to the movies for the big game, and leave the cheering/eating/drinking to the guys (and those girls who love it as well).  I am so inspired by my sister-in-law who really LIKES these games.  I've tried, truly. But I just can't help thinking that I would rather watch last season's reruns than this week's game.  Sad but true.  I actually do prefer watching golf on TV (I am not being facetious here) I really do. Watching g)olf is a lovely way to spend the afternoon.  Usually, the weather is fine (which is always a nice way to spend the day, on the warm and breezy links of Augusta GA), the fans are civilized and sometimes even whisper.  You could have a cosmopolitan, or even just a nice lemonade or iced tea.  Everyone is on their very best behavior, unlike the half-naked team-color painted lunatics who have spent the past five hours in the parking lot getting fired up and ready for the game.  Anything that requires me to stay outside in sub-zero weather, eating sub-standard super-priced food is not on my bucket list.  If I was given superbowl tickets-I would pass them on to those I know would enjoy the game.  It's just not worth the effort of packing to get myself to Indiana. I'd rather be going to FLA if I'm going to be getting on a plane.  Anything done in sub-zero temperatures should involve blades and rich hot chocolate.  Skating perhaps?  We tried it last weekend, and it was a raging success for the five minutes we spent on the ice.  It was a cloudy and cold day, and it seemed like a great idea to get out our skates and head on down to the park at Littauer Field.  They have resurrected this ice skating venue the past two winters, and from the looks of the crowds on the ice (NOT!) it's a raging success.  Actually, I do believe there is a rabid ice hockey following, just not figure skaters.  We managed to get our skates on, which is more and more difficult as we get a little older.  There are no warm benches to sit on-just snow covered football bleachers.  We did our skates on the back of Jerry's pick-up, and without those lace tools that the rink guards at Christopher Morley Ice Rink had, I was unable to get mine sufficiently tight. And so, with weak ankles, off I went.  When your ankes don't have support (i.e. TIGHT!) it is nearly impossible to skate with any authority. I managed a few spins and photo ops, but then I was done.  Sometimes, the bucket list just involves having done it-not the quality of the experience.  Jerry had backed his serius radio up to the rink, and I was wistfully thinking how I would have loved to skate around the rink to the 70s station that I so love, but alas, it was not to be. The rink was still in need of a zamboni, and the divotted, snow-covered rink was in pretty bad shape. It needed a parent or someone to sweep/shovel away the 2.5 inches of partly cloudy that had accumulated on the ice.  Not a smooth surface for a age-challenged skater.  So, we got our shots (both photographic and verbal) and packed it in. The hot cocoa was indeed comforting, and we drove home laughing at our mutual limitations. Anyone for golf?
Jerry having some fun. . .
. . . before the trip, and near miss.

This is what weak ankles look like!

What a beautiful rink!  If only it were ice-ready!

Thursday, January 19, 2012

Extra Strength

I had the opportunity to shop for Peptol-Bismol the other day, as Allison had a stomach thing going on on Monday Morning. I realized that the last time I had purchased Peptol Bismol was sometime when Allison was in kindergarten.  It has, in her world, lasted a lifetime.  We didn't give Peptol before Kindergarten (if I remember correctly), and so she has been working off the same bottle for 12 years.  I imagine that the expiration date was passed long before we finished it, but who checks these things?  Once I've purchased something, unless it is in the refrigerator, it lasts till it's gone. At any rate, we were out of the pink stuff and I wanted to be a better mother than I had been at 6 AM, when I just said "NO, we don't have any", and went back to sleep.  At some point during the day, I remembered that she had asked me a question, but for the life of me I couldn't remember what it was. I asked her after she arrived home from school, and after I got the answer, I vowed to remember to pick some up at the store, even though her stomach ache was gone. At least in the future I'd be more prepared. I stopped off at the dollar general store, which is different from a dollar store. We have a number of dollar stores here in Fulton County, and it does require some translation for the uninitiated.  A YANKEE dollar store, is a dollar store that actually charges a dollar for everything in the store. Yes, everything is $1.  No exceptions unless they are for lesser amounts (such as 2 for $1). It gets tricky for those who don't know the lingo. A DOLLAR GENERAL store means that everything is GENERALLY a dollar.  Sometimes items can be many dollars, but GENERALLY they are less than $10.  If an item's value is more than $10, it doesn't really belong in any kind of dollar store, does it? But I digress. 

The Good Old Days-No Strength choices!
I  made a quick trip around the Dollar General store because I was also looking for Bachman's Sweet Potato Chips (anyone know where to get these?  They're unbelievably delicious!)  but I wasn't having any luck there, so this also happened to be my third stop on the quest for these. After the sweet potato chip disappointment I immediately went to the medicine aisle, which is the world's biggest bargain. You can usually find whatever medicine you are looking for in the store brand.  It is a big value for your dollar and doesn't have any difference that I have ever found, and I am quite knowledgeable about medications, believe me.  This I know to be true-I have checked the labels ingredient for ingredient.  But I was stopped in my tracks when I saw the store brand of Peptol Bismol in REGULAR and EXTRA STRENGTH.  What is this?  I was confused.  I ask you, if you are experiencing stomach pains, do you classify them as regular or extra strength?  I do not. When I am experiencing stomach pain, I want the national guard called out to relieve my pain. I'm not taking anything less than the most to relieve that particular ailment.  And if you are buying medication for TODAY'S stomach ache, who's to say that TOMORROW'S stomach ache will not be extra strength?  This seems like the cruelist form of marketing. Are they saying we need two strengths of PB in our medicine closet?  That is ridiculous.  That is like taking only regular strength ibuprofin because your pain is less than raging?  I think not.  When I go in with pain meds, I want the biggest strength on my side.  I don't want to find that midway through the dosage time it was the wrong strength, and I am now in raging pain.  What do you do then?  You wish you had taken Extra Strength and suck it up? This is why you should take that in the first place.  Then you have no regrets.  And so, I headed off to the register only to be told upon ringing me up that the store brand of extra strength peptol bismol had been recalled.  I walked back to the section on stomach remedies and picked up the regular strength peptol bismol which was, upon registering it with the cashier, perfectly fine and under no recall.  I left the store with my pink bottle and headed home, wondering if I would have buyers remorse in the middle of a raging stomach flu.  Oh well, live dangerous I always say.  Isn't that the point of dollar store medications anyway? I now have a raging headache.  I wonder why?

Saturday, January 7, 2012

Tubby Time

Today was bath day at Blue Line Farm.  The human inhabitants shower every day. Hopefully, that would go without saying. Not so the animal population. It is hard to get Jake from one room to another, no less carry him into the tub.  But he was long overdue. Bailey has other issues. He could jump into the tub if he wanted to, but the truth is, he doesn't want to. Anything other than walking or running is, in Bailey's mind, a scary and unnecessary activity. He is simply not interested.  Daphne had a bath yesterday, and that is a whole different ballgame. She loves her tubby. She revels in it.  It is, just as any woman knows, almost a religious experience. Sinking down into the warm, soapy water. Just closing your eyes and enjoying the healing heat on your tired, achy muscles.  That was yesterday. Today we chose Bailey first, hoping to jump on the element of surprise. Once we got him into the bathroom, he began to shiver. Not from temperature, but from fear.  We had prepared the tub with a mat on the bottom, so as not to scratch the surface permanently. The water was running with a nice warm and gentle spritz. Jerry lifted him into the tub, and he settled down quite nicely. Not scrambling to get out, as I suspected he would. He stood quietly whhile we hosed him down and lathered him up. We use a nice "tear-free" shampoo made specifically for dogs.  The lather and massage was something that he was enjoying, and we were able to get him done rather quickly. The drying was also a lovely rub-down that he completely enjoyed. One down-one to go.  Jake was coaxed into the bathroom but wasn't quite feeling the experience. Jerry lifted him too-not an easy task, but he went quietly. As soon as the warm water hit, you could almost see him sigh.  As a fellow arthritis sufferer, I could feel his relief. He was loving every minute of this bath. The lather and massage were glorious-I could tell he was in his finest moment. We kept him in an extra few minutes-it was worth it to see him enjoy himself so much.  I think we need to be bathing him more often.  We dried him off and again, that rubdown with a plush thick towel was perfect-he clearly enjoyed himself. I laid a fresh towel down on his bed so he wouldn't get that all wet and have to lay on it all night, but he chose instead to lay down on the rug. I guess he didn't want to mess up his bed AT ALL. I know how all of them feel-there is nothing like a tubby. Here are a few pictures of our CLEAN dogs.  They are ready for their closeups!  Now that the tub has been cleaned and bleached, I may just take that on tonight.  A warm and lathered tubby with a beautiful view out the back window.  Sounds like a plan!

Tuesday, January 3, 2012

The thrills of January

Ah January, that time of year when we clean up our acts, our houses and our calendars. A clean page with a clean year followed behind it is motivation to use a nice new pen. Print carefully and legibly those dates that you want to remember, and vow to keep it up throughout the year. Inevitably, by the time I get to June it is a scribbled mess of appointments, names, numbers and travel plans. But each year, I try. I do this house cleaning because of taxes. It is impossible to prepare for taxes when you haven't got your house in order. Because the scamble for receipts, Dr's statements and all the other things that are needed cannot be accomplished if the Christmas tree hasn't been removed and stored efficiently. It's an overlap of events, and it doesn't work. But in January, there is a sort of two minute warning (in football terms) where you really have to hustle to get it together. I go over the last year's calendar and carefully write in birthdays and anniversaries, graduations and road trips. It is a history of our lives, those calendars from 2011. If only I could make out the notes I have made along the way. There are numbers written in the margins that must have been important at that moment. But in my rush to get things done I neglected to write a name next to that number, and now I have no idea who that person is, or how to get in touch with them. If you haven't heard from me in a while, it might have been you. Sorry!  I am also inclined to clean my wallet and my pocketbook in January. This is a large task which coincides with tax time. I know my wallet is holding important receipts that we will definitely be needing soon. I transfer all receipts to the newly emptied wallet, and hope that they will make sense when I am actually handing them over.  And wallets and bags can be filled with incredible junk that I am not sure how it gets in there. I believe there are people out there who, like pickpockets, are agile at placing their garbage in my bag.  It's the only way I can explain alot of trash-someone must have walked up behind me while I was otherwise occupied, and dropped in post-it notes with cryptic messages written in unfamiliar handwriting. "Gina 7 PM on Thursday".  Who is Gina and which Thursday were they referencing, because the post-it is absolutely ancient and crumbled.  Never wrote it, I swear.  Now my family is convinced that these are my idiosyncracies and I should own them, because I do have a bit of a memory problem, probably due to medication. That's my story and I'm sticking to it. Recently while organizing my tax-list of medications, I was picking through  my medical file and found an EOB (Explanation of Benefits for the un-initiated).  I was reading the list of diagnoses printed on this insurance sheet and was surprised to find that "giddy" was one of the diagnoses the Doctor had listed. Now, the insurance code next to it also referenced another condition "dizzy".  This I will own. On occasion I will be walking along and simply list to the right or left. It's usually something I can catch, and am always happy when I am with someone who would be able to identify me if I keep over. And I have certainly been referred to as a "flake" sometimes, because I can have a serious conversation with someone, and five minutes later forget that we had just run into them. I don't think that's the kind of dizzy my Doctor meant though. But Giddy?  I have not been giddy since the 10th grade when I found out I made the Cheerleading Squad.  Really.  I would not have been surprised if I had read "sarcastic" or even "cynical". But I was completely taken back by this new diagnosis event.  I'm not sure how I feel about it. Being giddy is not necessarily a bad thing. Look at Richard Simmons.  He is giddy on a regular basis, and has actually made a career out of it.  (He and I are meeting in the morning for about one hour-strictly voluntary-not a diagnosis) Tom Cruise was giddy about Katie Holmes when he met up with Oprah, but just such a scene is what I'm afraid of.  I wasn't a big fan of Tom after that. I just  kind of felt like he made himself look like an idiot.  I don't want to look like an idiot, and so I will make the extra effort to contain my giddiness. However, this piece of paper is in the tax file, and I'm not sure I want the accountant to know that I have been professionally diagnosed as giddy.  Would he think me foolish? Thankfully, I do have Jerry kind of running this show, and he always has my back. I simply have to stop cracking myself up all the time, which is something else I do, but has never been professionally diagnosed. In the insurance codebook that might read Crack-up/Crazy.  I'd better be careful.