House Call

Uschi lying on the sofa looking a bit forlorn

Uschi spent most of the morning hiding under my bed. I can only guess this was because she was fully aware of her vet appointment today. She’s been having issues with her eyes again, but this visit was more specifically to get her anal glands expressed.

Unfortunately, last year she’d had this done and it was not a pleasant experience in the least. Uschi has always been strangely aware of her rear end. She doesn’t necessarily mind it being touched, but she always reacts. And I’m sure coupled with the discomfort of having full anal glands, it is not a pleasant experience to have them poked at. I warned the vet about this, and very strongly suggested I accompany her in the back because of this. He wouldn’t let me and when he came back he was cagey about what exactly happened. I don’t know if he was unaccustomed to shepherds and how ridiculously dramatic they can be about everything1 or if he actually hurt her, but she was very freaked by the experience.

Anyway, for this and several other reasons Uschi’s seeing a new vet now. It’s actually really awesome for me because the vet does home visits!2 It was still a rather awful experience for Uschi, but her anal glands are done now and hopefully she’ll be the happier for it. She’s also on new meds for the inflammation around her eyes.

  1. I’m sure she whined and jumped around and was completely uncooperative, much like Yara is with nail cutting.
  2. We were only seeing the other vet because our original vet had moved to a different practice and it is a bit beyond my travel ability.

Not Really Answering the Questions

Doctor’s office called Friday afternoon with my test results from my blood work and ultrasound, but I missed the call and didn’t notice until well after the office had called. The ultrasound “showed nodes on both sides of my neck” and the office is making an appointment with an endocrinologist. I will say that my throat has been feeling really funky since the ultrasound, but I’m fairly sure I’ve got a cold or something so it could just be related to that. My blood work came back normal save for a Vitamin D deficiency, which I presume is probably from being stuck in an office all day even though I do drink milk. Anyway, I’m now on a three-month supplement for that.

For some reason the actual pain stuff wasn’t covered and I inquired about exactly what was going on with that. My understanding was that the appointment for the ultrasound was also supposed to incorporate checking out my shoulder. I also noted that the negative Lyme test doesn’t really mean much to me given they often return negative and I want to pursue that more aggressively, e.g., start taking antibiotics. So, basically, I’m still waiting on answers and I’m mildly annoyed that there isn’t more of a sense of urgency from the office about all of this.

In other news, Uschi had her yearly and she’s healthy as can be aside from some funky growth on her back foot that I thought was nothing, but is apparently something to be alarmed at. Also it seems they neglected to charge me for some of the tests that were run so I have an outstanding balance to be paid. Given how much I paid for the visit in the first place it doesn’t really faze me but it’s still an annoyance.

And on a mostly unrelated topic, today is Blind Americans Equality Day. (Formerly, and still more commonly known as White Cane Safety Day.)

Random Rundown

Apparently, I no longer blog about things. I mean, there are things to blog about, but I can’t seem to find either the time or desire to actually write them. Actually I’m not doing any better at any other online haunt so maybe it’s more accurate to say I just don’t bother with my computer for non-work or school things.

So, in no particular order here be some things going on around these parts:

  • Uschi had her yearly eye exam. Aside for being watery for no reason we can determine her eyes are completely healthy. The eye doc didn’t seem any more concerned than our vet about the watery thing since her eyes aren’t irritated and the discharge is clear. I was told to come back next year unless something changes. This was so much like my own eye doctor visits I had a moment where I thought perhaps I broke reality.
  • I finally broke down and read some of the DCnU comics. I am totally underwhelmed. What I read (mostly the new Batgirl, some Nightwing, Batman and JL) wasn’t bad. It was just…well, lacking.
  • I also watched Young Justice. Um. That was a mistake. I mean, it’s not as horrible as I thought it would be and I probably am not as disgusted with it had I watched it live. But much like the DCnU it has a lot of potential and it’s so not living up to it.
  • If that wasn’t enough to make me miss the DCAU something hard, I also discovered the new Batman series coming in 2013. It physically pains me to think about.
  • I’m taking Japanese this summer. The announcement of this on Facebook was met with far more intensity than I thought it would. I’m still not sure why. As it stands right now, I feel buried under the work. Probably because I’m currently a week behind. Oops.
  • I have been watching a lot of anime and reading a lot of manga, though. I count that as classwork even if no one else does.
  • Went to two cookouts this weekend. I think I’ve eaten my quota of food for all of June. Also, Uschi broke herself. And then got sick. But otherwise it was totally awesome.
  • A bird built a nest in the wreath on my front door. I was going to evict it, but then I discovered eggs and I couldn’t kill the unborn baby birds. All bets are off if any of them take a crap on my head, but so far they seem totally unfazed by the fact that their home randomly moves a few times a day. Uschi is mildly intrigued by their presence, but the bird hasn’t been stupid enough as yet to get close to her. It did fly in my house one day, though and that caused something of a crisis trying to shoo it back outside.
  • My dissertation has a due date. *panics*
  • Oh, my birthday happened. I was commandeered by some friends and had activities and foodstuffs thrust upon me. I also might have gotten a bit drunk. I don’t remember the drunk part so much, but the activities included a showing of Avengers and the foodstuffs were yummy. Then I came home and there were flowers waiting for me. All in all, it was pretty fun and it was a most gorgeous day, too.

My back is starting to make it known that I’ve been sitting here too long so I’m going to have to end this babbly stream of consciousness. I fully intend to post something proper one of these days, but when that might be is anyone’s guess.

Bye for now.

Thursday Things

Thing One: Either there is a strange lack of interest or everyone is trying to stress me out by waiting until the absolute last second, but in case I haven’t been clear the deadline to submit your post for the fifth Assistance Dog Blog Carnival is THREE DAYS AWAY!!! All the details are at the aforelinked post and, of course, you can always email me if you have any questions, concerns or comments. Including, but not limited to letting me know that you may miss the deadline.

Thing Two: Uschi had her follow-up vet visit for her Lyme booster. She was equally as nonplussed by the experience as her initial poke-and-prod checkup. Her behavior around the other dogs and cats was also such that I am inclined to believe the park trip was more a fluke than her regressing into crazed distracted guide dog. She was definitely aware of the other animals and was shockingly whiny, but was able to refocus back onto me easily and she didn’t lunge at anyone! In fact, the only time she showed any lack of restraint was when I let her off harness in the exam room and she determinedly sniffed every square centimeter of space.

Thing Three: I am 95% sure that I will have completed my cupcake catchup by the end of this weekend, including a treat for Uschi’s birthday which I will likely talk about another time. That means anyone currently waiting for a package from me should expect them to be mailed out first thing Monday morning. That also means I have ample time to get Halloween cupcakes made. I’m excited about this even if you aren’t.

Thing Four: I’m making lasagna tonight. I cooked some sausage, made meatballs and started a sauce last night and it was all yummy enough for a makeshift dinner all its own so I anticipate the addition of copious cheese and noodles will only increase this fact. My mouth is watering just thinking about it.

Thing Five: Related to all this cooking and baking is the fact that my heat is broken. There appears to be a clog in the pipe that pumps water through the furnace and so not enough steam is being produced to actually heat the entire house. Thankfully, we have two other sources of heat through some parts of the house, but it’s not wholly efficient for my taste. My mother, on the other hand, doesn’t seem to mind the house hovering around 60. Anyway, the plumber can’t get out here until Tuesday, so I’ve found it’s been a good incentive to keep the oven going. Incidentally, I got a rather surprising bill today from National Grid and have been dealing with that, too.


Without a doubt yesterday morning was one of the top five most aggravating mornings of my life.

At some point on Sunday my Droid clued into the fact that I have ordered an iPhone and promptly ceased cooperating with me. Initially I thought it was the same glitchiness I’ve been dealing with ever since updating the Android OS because while trying to send a tweet the screen would freeze while I was typing and then my Twitter app would crash. It became obvious, though that typing in general was an issue and neither the physical keyboard nor the onscreen one were functioning properly. I did a reset and that didn’t work and so I went to bed hoping that it would magically fix itself and expecting to call Verizon in the morning.

Well, it didn’t fix itself because electronic devices don’t do that, especially not in my house. So, I called Verizon and after an hour of the tech support rep making my phone perform virtual gymnastics we fixed the typing issue. Except it wouldn’t log into my Google Account. If you’ve ever had a cell phone issue, I’m sure you’re aware that every problem is supposedly fixed with a reset, this started a long sequence of doing just so. I say “long” because apparently there are countless ways to reset my phone. I knew we were heading down a bad road, though because every time the phone booted up and I went to log in and couldn’t the rep got just slightly more baffled. Eventually, he exhausted his database of helpful tips and sent me on my way to Motorola where the heavily accented rep there had me repeat about 65% of what I’d done with Verizon before hitting on the new tricks that finally made my phone believe my password was too correct.

I thought, “My day can only improve from here,” and so I was immediately brought back to reality when I checked the mail and discovered the boxes of cupcakes were still sitting on my porch. The mail was delivered, complete with a carrier pickup notification that didn’t give me any information whatsoever as to why my boxes were not picked up and instead lounging in a late morning sunbeam. I called my post office. The line was busy. I called USPS and maneuvered through their automated system trying to reach a human being while ignoring the message about their “unusually high call volume.” The human being gave me the phone number I just called and assured me they were the ones I needed to speak to. I called again and the phone rang continuously until the line went dead on me. I called USPS once more and got another human being who apologetically reaffirmed the previous human’s statement, but transferred me to her supervisor who accidentally? hung up on me. I spent about 30 seconds having a temper tantrum wherein I nearly threw my newly functioning Droid across the room and then called the post office once again. Someone picked up on the second ring and I nearly died from relief. He very politely listened to my dilemma and assured me that he would send the carrier back out to get my perishable packages.

Meanwhile, I have gotten the mail which included an item from Amazon that I accidentally ordered. I had intended to refuse the package as a means of returning it, but noticed the return address was not Amazon’s even though it was “fulfilled by Amazon.” So, since I’d already spent the better part of my morning with my cell phone pressed against my ear, I called Amazon. The CSR who came on the line wouldn’t even acknowledge my question until she gathered the required name, email, billing address, and order number. After which she finally let me ask about the return and responded by regurgitating Amazon’s return policy word for word. When I emphasized the fact that I just needed to know if I could refuse the package or if I needed a return label to send it directly to Amazon she told me she would send an email detailing how to do a return because clearly her verbal read-through wasn’t enough. I explained again that I am quite familiar with Amazon’s return policy and process, which is why I wanted to know what would happen to this package since the return address wasn’t Amazon’s. She said she would send me an email about returns. I asked to speak to someone else. She told me they would say the same thing and would only send me the email she was going to send. I told her that wasn’t an answer to my question and asked if she would kindly let me speak to someone else. She started to repeat the bit about the email and I cut her off by hanging up. And so I had to call back again and I got another CSR who I immediately apologized to because I was sure to cross the line into “irate customer on the phone” land. I had to repeat myself a few times to this CSR, too, but she did eventually answer my question by stating the item needed to be sent to Amazon not the address on the box. She even created a UPS call tag for my package.

Throughout all of this I am most surprised by Uschi, who showed a new level of concern for me. She followed me around the house as I paced, nudging me in the leg or arm now and then to remind me she was there. When I finally sat down on the sofa she promptly joined me and snuggled up against me. And when I was finally done with my hours of phone calls, she crawled into my lap and was shockingly gentle in her exuberance for attention. As cranky as everything had made me I have to say it was difficult not to thaw a bit from that level of love. It was certainly more attentive than I was the other day when we came home from grocery shopping and I didn’t realize she was still harnessed more than an hour later. She was a good sport about it, though.

In other news, I made more cupcakes yesterday. They were only a slight fiasco in comparison to my usual baking/decorating adventures. I ended up having to do the Tootsie Roll ears three different times. The first batch burned and I put the blame squarely on the microwave which was mysteriously set for an entire minute and thus the taffy globbed into a boiling inferno. The second batch ended up being the perfect size for pug ears. Except, of course, I was making chocolate labs. Also, the design instructions I was following clearly say to use dark chocolate frosting, which I thought was too dark but I’m not above being frugal and I had made dark chocolate frosting the other day as it’s the best to dye black since it requires the least amount of tinting added, which can make things taste funky. Black frosting is required for pretty much every cupcake I am slated to make lately. I only did the two in the middle because I found them unappealingly dark and the ears don’t match as nicely, so the rest are just a more milk chocolate brown a la chocolate buttercream. And now I am very nearly out of semisweet chocolate, which means further baking is on hold until that is rectified. Oh, and if you were wondering, they have orange tongues because apparently while making monsters, my brother also ate all my pink Starbursts.

Anyhoo, today Uschi has her Lyme booster. So, we’ll be taking some chocolate labs to share at the vet’s. If last year was anything to go by, I anticipate these will be very much enjoyed.