Sunday, 31 January 2016

Birthdays, Phones, Appliances and Bad Luck

Today is another mish-mash of news - a bit like Days of our Lives - just as dramatic I would say. On Wednesday, it was my birthday and birthdays should be a celebration of having made it through another year, but for me, it is a difficult one always because it means I lived another year without Clint and survived. Then there is the other side of the coin that I have Chad and he deserves to have me around for another year. Birthdays are tough and both Chad and I struggle with them and be it subconsciously or consciously, the hurt cuts far deeper on days that should be celebrated. The reminder that Clint is not with us, although the pain is with us every day of our lives, it just screams much louder on days that should be happy occasions.

Black Forrest Cake

I wasn't going to go to work on Wednesday, but dragged myself off and when I arrived at work, Mark said I must go look in the fridge - the workshop staff bought me a cake for my birthday. The only staff we have - four men, put money together and rushed to the local Spar and bought a Black Forrest Cake and 2L coke for my birthday because I always buy cake when it is their birthdays. It was such a lovely kind gesture and reduced me to tears. It made it worse because I don't always buy them cake and I never did last year. I never make a big deal of my birthday and never buy or bake a cake when it is my birthday so they did it for me. Really sweet and the cake was so good.

Rib Eye Steak

We went out for dinner to a new restaurant called Beast. Our favourite Grill Shop closed down and this restaurant has opened in it's place. Initially, it seemed very overpriced, but the food was so good and the portions were huge. Chad and I had Queen Prawns and Calamari and the prawns were the biggest I have ever had. Normally the prawns may look big, but have no meat in them, these were full of meat and they were tasty. The calamari was tender and succulent. The only thing that put me off was that the food came on wooden platters and not plates. I know they have done further research and wood does not absorb germs like other materials and all the uproar years ago of wood in kitchens being full of germs was all a false alarm, I still didn't quite like the wood platters as authentic as what they looked.

Prawns and Calamari
 The staff were very attentive and friendly and always checked that everything was ok. We also had dessert and it was out of this world - I had Nutella Cheese Cake (about that Cholesterol - I know). It sounded like a strange combination, but it worked so well together. Very rich, but decadently delicious and plated up so well with Cream; Cherries and Chocolate drizzle.

Mark and Chad bought me a fancy digital scale; some bath and shower and body creams and a cup cake decorating set. All from Woolworths which I refer to as my last minute gifts, but Mark assures me they weren't. Chad made JD a Hair Dryer and Flat Iron holder from a craft picture she showed him and whilst he was making that he spray painted a piece of wood with a heart and love on for me. He said I can use it for a doorstop or throw it away - a really sweet gesture from my son who is not one to work with his hands.

The reason why I don't have a picture of the Hair Dryer Holder is because Chad lost his phone on Monday and even though it is just a phone and replaceable - all of his photos are gone. Every single one from his Matric dance and the best year of his school career. He never had location turned on so we could not locate it, although I rang it and rang it from Google device trace, I also locked and erased it, but only two days later. It happened at Builders Warehouse and they said often staff hand in phones they find so we didn't lock it straight away. It has really bothered me and I am sure Chad as well that someone is looking at all of his photos - it is such an invasion of your privacy, even though they are just everyday photos and nothing to hide. He has a new phone now and spent the whole day downloading everything and JD sent him lots of photos, but she didn't have many of the Matric dance. On Friday, I logged onto his Gmail account, clicked on his Samsung S5 to try and locate it again and I clicked on erase and lock it again to make sure it was completely erased and it was the wrong device. I reset his new phone to factory settings, because when you click on devices in Google, even though you click on the right device when it goes to the next page, you have to go to the drop down menu and choose the device you want again. I was devastated and he was so angry when I told him what I had done. He didn't know what happened and thought it was the phone when he saw that everything had vanished from his phone. He lost all the new photos, his contacts that he had added on the new phone and the worst thing he had to go to Capitec Bank again to get the banking app on his phone for the third time in a week and a half. He just opened his Capitec account a week ago, then lost his phone, went back to have the app installed on his new phone and then I reset the phone, so off to the bank for the third time. Capitec Banking App is not like other banks where you just download it from the app store, you have to set it up at the branch. Anyway, all is forgiven and I will never go on his account again to reset anything. He asked me to help him with his emails on his tablet that were not working and I said not a chance, but I did and he trusted me to fix it. I think his anger subsided because I was really upset and could not stop crying - it had been quite an emotional week.

Our dishwasher also packed up this week - I have long forgotten what it is like to wash dishes by hand, OK correction I was reminded of that this weekend and I also wash dishes when I bake and I wash dishes at work, but not like after dinner, lunch, breakfast and everything in between dishes. The first load of glasses I washed, I broke one glass (don't know how) and then after drying and packing away, a couple of hours later I found another glass in the cupboard with a weird chip out of it. I had seen the piece of glass in the rinse water, but I thought it was from the other glass I broke.

The worst part of it all is that we have a brand new dishwasher waiting to be installed when we redo our kitchen. Mark bought the appliances because the ones we wanted went on sale last week. We now have appliances and no new kitchen. The person who was going to do the kitchen sent his quote on Monday and just the cupboards and installation, excluding appliances and tiling and plumbing and electrical work, was R140K. The size of our kitchen just does not warrant spending that amount of money on it. Spending that amount of money on a small kitchen will not increase the value of the house proportionately. Now we have to start all over and get new estimates. That is after Mark kept asking the guy for a ballpark figure and throwing out figures that we had in mind on what the kitchen would cost in total. Now besides the broken dishwasher, the tiles that were chopped out in December when we had the burst pipe, windows have also been changed and the kitchen looks like an almighty mess. On Friday after the resetting of the phone debacle, I suddenly remembered that I had turned off the water for the washing machine and Sheila was doing washing - I normally start the washing except on Fridays, because I have cut down on the loads of clothing washing we do, since the water shortage - now I do fuller loads and don't do washing on Fridays. The tap has started leaking, it started when the plumber moved it (I have no idea why) when we had the burst pipe, I fiddled and it s stopped leaking and now it has started again so I turned it off and forgot to tell Sheila and when I remembered I thought the washing machine surely had burnt out, but Sheila had turned it on before doing the washing.

We also have this fancy stand-alone bath in our bathroom and it has a fancy Whirquin Plug that now for the second time has jammed shut and there is no way you can get it out. It is not a popup, it turns from a contraption on the bath. It jammed in November and Mark asked the plumber to change it to a normal popup so he "fixed it" which meant he pulled it out with a plunger or similar plumbing tool and removed the screw, now it can't even be adjusted, not that adjusting makes a difference. On Thursday night, I finish bathing and after 10 at night after a long week, all one wants to do after a relaxing bath, is drain the bath water, wash out the bath and go to bed, not have to drain the bath water with a bucket (which incidentally, I left until the next morning, before my shower).

I know there are bigger problems in the World, like animals dying of thirst and food prices going through the roof because of the drought, but right now these are my problems and my life and my blog and they are massive. Some days, one should just not get out of bed and I have had a few days like that and many nights of not being able to sleep and these little annoyances become massive problems.

As for Nala and her abundance of energy, I won't lie, I have been hiding away from her :D. I took the advice of Nicky another blogger and gorgeous Pit Bull Owner and wash her ball after we have finished playing when she is really exhausted and her tongue touches the ground almost. I take the ball and put it on a Big Jim Plastic Box in the carport where the other balls are and say no more and she politely takes the ball and goes back onto the grass to play. If I take the ball inside, she gets another one. I now leave her to lie on the grass and chew away on the ball, which she seems to enjoy or she pushes it around with her paws and mouth. I am quite concerned that she seems to be getting thinner. She is a tiny slim girl and nothing like a Pit Bull. She put on weight when she first came here (all the biscuits she ate) now I think she is getting far more exercise than she should and she is not getting muscular she is losing weight. She eats well and loves her kibble, she doesn't get scraps like she used to get before, but she makes up for it with dog biscuits. It is not an exaggeration to say that we go through a box of dog biscuits a day - mainly Piggy and then Nala. I now ration (try) them to last two days, but today the finished a whole box of Bobtail Peanut Butter Biscuits that were bought at around lunchtime. Our dogs are not starved nor do they go hungry, she also does not look skinny and underweight - maybe the others are just a bit overweight.

Just now I was watching Carte Blanche on TV and Nala kept crying by me and nagging me, until she climbed onto me and sat upright on my chest. Turns out she was hungry - Mark and Chad hadn't fed them yet and her bowl was empty. When Mark went to the kitchen she ran to get her food. Their bowls are rarely empty and they eat whenever they want to, but her time to eat is around 8 or later. Chad has now instructed me that she may not play excessively and burn up all her energy - she can't lose weight. I wish I had the same problem.

... AND ... She Needs A Bath

That's all for this week - wishing you a pleasant week ahead and I am hoping I don't have any more appliance failures or go around resetting any more devices.

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Sunday, 24 January 2016

A Little Bit Of This And A Little Bit Of That...

Our Summer rains have finally arrived in all their glory and we have had lots of rain this past week. Heavy flooding downpours, which is great because we have had a very dry spell. Part of the country is suffering from a severe drought and seeing images of dead farm animal carcasses as well as fish on news sites and TV programs is quite soul destroying, so no complaining about the rain - not even when our pool turned into a mud bath as it does when we have torrential rains. The other day, Chad and I were both caught in the storm and the roads were like rivers. I was just up the road so not too bad, but Chad was caught in the thick of it and said his car was like a 4X4 as it made it's way through rivers of water in the roads. Today we have had drenching drizzle for most of the day from around lunchtime on and off so the garden is happily drinking it all in.

Nala, however, has not enjoyed the rain, because it meant no playing for two days, actually three, I think - my memory is like a sieve and I honestly can't remember. On Friday, when I came home from work it wasn't raining, but extremely muddy and I was in two minds about playing, but couldn't deprive her of another day of playing. The week started off with Chad deciding to train her to stop nagging to play every five minutes and she was not happy. Every time she came to me with her ball in her mouth, he would call her and make her drop the ball and lie on the couch. That was on Monday night and it was quite funny, because for the very first time in many months, Miss Piggy went running to Chad's bed and tried to climb on it - she is too short - and he lifted her onto his bed and she slept with him until 4 am and Nala slept on her bed on the floor. It was as if Piggy knew he was cross with Nala. At 4 am when she left, he went and put Nala on his bed. Nala always goes to sleep on her bed and Chad actually picks her up and puts her on his bed and she sleeps right by his face the whole night. He doesn't mind the dogs on his bed and encourages it.

Needless to say their game on Friday was wild and crazy because they had so much built up energy from not playing for so many days. We played for over an hour and Spike was still panting an hour later. Plus with the ground all muddy and wet, they were slipping and sliding more than ever. I also made them run much further because where they normally run from was so full of mud. I thought Nala would be over her nagging to play, but not a chance. On Saturday morning, Mark and Chad went to deliver a car they sold and I fell asleep after they had woken me up and I was woken up by a thud; thud; thud. Nala was sitting by the bed, dropping the ball onto the bed and then onto the floor to get me to wake up.


Eventually, I had no option but to get up and play with her. I made coffee and sat on the step by the front door, hidden from the street by a tree and just threw the ball to her and Spike - this morning I had to do it again as well as throughout the day with another long energetic session last night (Saturday night)

At the end of November, I took my sewing machine in to be repaired and serviced. I lost the foot, years ago, before Clinty died. It was still quite new and who knows how I lost the foot, because it is not something that you take off, but anyway I lost it and the sewing machine sat in my cupboard for all these years.  Finally, I found a place in Randburg called Northside Sewing & Service and took it to be repaired. They replaced the foot and serviced it for R460.00. I was really impressed with their service. I dropped the machine off on a Friday mid-morning and early on Saturday they called to say it was ready. I felt quite bad because I only fetched it on the following Thursday. I just never had a chance to get to go there.

I used it for the first time today, to take in  to try and take in my clothes that are too big. I haven't tried them on and didn't measure them so I am not sure whether I messed them up or not, but either way, they didn't fit so it won't be a major loss. I wish I could sew, but I just don't have the patience for sewing. I also bought a little sewing kit from the sewing shop, because I was going to start sewing - and of course, that is not going to happen. I think I just bought the kit because I loved the colourful pins and cotton.

Yesterday morning I was going through my Instagram feed and one of my "photo a day" photos was featured for creativity by #captureyour365. I was pretty chuffed because I was battling with the prompts this past week because they were all on lighting and I am not a photographer and I just do photo a day for fun and as a distraction from the mundane that is life. It was this photo below and it was last minute as I was running my bath water, the prompt was artificial light and I thought ah ha candle light is artificial light. If I had put more effort in I would have taken away the facial sponge and face wash :)

In other news, Chad still hasn't made plans to study and he is unsure of where to study or whether to do correspondence or full time. We disagree on the correspondence because he is not disciplined enough to do correspondence. He is helping Mark with car sales for a gap year job to earn money. He was going to do bar flaring but thank goodness he thought about it and agreed that driving around the streets of Joburg late at night/early morning is far too dangerous and Chad is also not into the whole club/party/drinking scene so bar flaring wouldn't be for him anyway. He now has the office next to mine and we also bought him a laptop for Christmas and all day I get called to help him with his laptop. I keep asking him if he called his CAT teacher all day to help him :) I enjoy having him around. What I also didn't know is that my son who didn't bother with school stationery loves stationery on his desk and has claimed most of my stationery - not that he has that much work to do :D but it would seem that he has my love of stationery DNA.

I mentioned in this post about Pluto that I received my Animal Anti-Cruelty League Diary on Thursday. I thought it came through the normal postal system, but it actually came by courier. The postal strike from the previous year must have really messed up their sales to now use a courier company. The diary costs R250.00 with a little name tag and although the diary is small, it has so much info inside it. It is well worth the R250.00 considering it is for Charity. It also comes with gift wrap if you have bought it for a gift for someone and a CD with classical or meditation music on it. I have never listened to the CD's, I don't even use the diary, my phone planner is enough for me as I don't have a hectic schedule that needs planning. I just buy the diary (most years) to support the Charity, but for anyone who needs and uses a Home Organiser, this is perfect and has everything you can think of in it and more. You can order the diary from Crossbow Marketing or add your name to their database to be contacted for next year's diary.

This is not a sponsored post and neither am I affiliated to Crossbow Marketing or the AACL, I just think it is a worthy cause worth mentioning.

And that is some of what is going on at the moment. One other thing of concern or confusion if you follow my Instagram feed. I am really struggling to get back onto my healthy eating plan. I juiced for 4 days in the beginning of January and crashed and burned badly on the 5th day. This past Monday I juiced for the day and Tuesday was back to eating junk. My first crash I used hypothyroidism as an excuse and convinced myself that I have to be cognisant of the fact that I do have hypothyroidism and sometimes I have to feed my thyroid or I have to eat because my thyroid is playing up and I am exhausted and can't function without food, more importantly, carbohydrates and instead of going for healthy carbs, I, of course, attacked the bad carbs and have not stopped and it is now past a thyroid issue and more a glutton issue. I have decided that because my birthday is coming up, I will have cake for my birthday and whatever junk I crave but come February I am back on healthy foods.

That's it for my Sunday reflections for this week - wishing you a great week ahead!!

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Thursday, 21 January 2016

A Sad Day and A Happy Day

Last year, on Sunday the 18th of January at around 5 pm, I was in the kitchen cooking and Pluto, my little Daschund came into the kitchen and drank water. He drank and drank and drank and just carried on drinking water non-stop for an abnormally long time. A huge amount of water for a little dog and then he collapsed. I got such a fright and I called Mark and Chad and then he seemed OK. He used to have epileptic fits and they were very bad after Clint died and then they stopped and he didn't have one for about two years, so I thought he might have had a fit. I carried him to his bed and then put his bed in Clint's room so that he could lie quietly without the other dogs worrying him. I sat by him and whenever I left the room when he was sleeping, he would wake up and try and walk to wherever I was, but I would find him by the door just lying down.

I slept in Clint's room, but barely slept and then took him to the vet first thing in the morning. The vet did blood tests and there was no infection, but his bladder was distended and he had not urinated at all from before the huge amount of water he drank. The vet wanted to keep him at the clinic and do more tests and I was very reluctant to leave him because I kept thinking he would die all alone in a cage and I didn't want that to happen. We had just recently started going to that Veterinary Clinic - well we had only gone there a few months previously for their annual injections after ending the relationship with our other vet after many many years of his bad attitude and moodiness. After going to this new vet, which is within walking distance of our house, we read somewhere online that someone took their sick old dog there and the vet on duty gave the dog an injection, before asking the owner what was wrong and had actually euthanised the dog without permission.

Whether that was the whole story or even the truth, it was at the back of our minds and Mark did not believe that Pluto was very ill, because not even an hour before Pluto collapsed, he went running to the car when Mark and Chad came home from the shops or wherever they had been. It made no difference to Pluto if we had gone out for two minutes; two hours; two days or two weeks, when we came home he went crazy like he hadn't seen us for months. He ran those little legs almost right off. It also made no difference if one of us came home or all of us. He was ecstatic to see us.

I voiced some of my concerns to the vet about Pluto dying alone in a cage and instead of leaving him there could we try medication and instead of being monitored in a cage, could I monitor him at home and bring him back in the afternoon. He was given a strong dose of a diuretic because he had to pass water. I was convinced he would die in a cage, for one he would stress because I left him. I stayed at home and stayed with him in Clint's room the whole day and each time he stirred, I carried him outside to urinate, but he couldn't and his stomach got more and more distended.

Mark said we must take him for a second opinion, each time I sent a photo of him to Mark at work. Mark was told about this very good Vet, that was a "dog whisperer" was not in it for the money and could heal any animal. Mark said we should take Pluto there because he didn't trust what this other vet said and the medication was not working he was getting worse. After Mark came home we went to this vet on the other side of the world and when we got to this place, we should have turned around straight away. The guy was not a qualified vet, he wasn't a vet at all,  he was a con artist (after searching him online I found this out), who did not know what he was doing and the situation was getting quite volatile and to be honest, we were lucky we left when we did. He put my poor little dog through so much pain Ă«xamining him and trying to catheterize him and who knows what else. Poor Pluto did not make a sound and Chad and I were rubbing him and tears ran out of his eyes silently, pleading with us to help him, he did not even whimper from the pain and then I said we are going. Mark paid him and we left. Mark was surprised that I even went in there, but he always tells me I judge people before I even know them so I thought, this time, I wouldn't... and I am ALWAYS right when I judge people on first impressions.

Looking Out For Her Best Friend

We were going to take him to the emergency vet after that, but I knew Pluto was going to die. I have no idea why but I just knew he was going to die. After a long night of researching vets and keeping one eye open watching Pluto and having nightmares about the situation we put not only ourselves in, but also and most especially my poor dog, I decided to go to another vet my mother suggested. I spent most of the night on Google - not Googling Pluto's symptoms but complaints about vets. We decided to forget we ever met the con artist because of the possible repercussions for the person who recommended him to us.

On Tuesday morning, I took Pluto to Radiokop Veterinary Clinic, I told them the whole story and they were so kind and compassionate and the vet told me Pluto would have to stay there so they could do tests. That night after work, we went to see him and he was so perky and he started his excited crying and barking long before he saw us - he just heard our voices. The vet had catheterized him and he emptied his bladder, put him on a drip and gave him antibiotics and pain medication intravenously. He wouldn't eat and they said I must come in the morning and bring him some chicken and everything looked so good. He had a collapsed lung and an infection, but medication would heal it and they would monitor the lung

Before I even left home in the morning, the vet phoned with bad news. He decided to do a scan before he went home the night before, just because something was bothering him and Pluto had a massive tumor in his stomach, which the X-rays from the day before hadn't picked up. The prognosis was not good and he didn't believe Pluto would survive an operation with a collapsed lung and the tumour was really very large and we had to decide if euthanasia was the best thing for Pluto and the vet's advice was euthanasia.

I asked the Vet if I could take him home - I still believed he would die at home - so that his last smells and memories would be of his home and not the smells of the vet and the trauma he had been through. Also Chad was at school and couldn't say bye to him. Pluto and Chad were not that close, but Pluto had been in Chad's life from when he was two or three - it was his whole life. The vet obviously didn't want to seem insensitive, but obviously thought I had plans to not pay and take Pluto without paying, so he phoned Mark to make arrangements for the payment. Mark met me at the vet, they got Pluto all ready to be euthanised so all I had to do was come at 2 and go straight in and give him the injection. The cannula was inserted already. As soon as we paid they brought him out to me.

I took him home in his bed and lay on Clint's bed with him in his bed on Clint's bed the whole morning. He just lay there sleeping or looking at me as if he knew. I wanted Chad to come home early and even his one teacher asked him why he was so quiet and he said  because our dog was dying she said why don't you phone your mom and tell her to fetch you and he said it was ok.

About 30 minutes before it was time for Chad to finish school, Pluto cried for the first time through the whole ordeal and I sent Chad a message to say if he cried again, I will just have to go to the vet without him. He cried once in the car on the way to fetch Chad from school ( he didn't have his license or car then only learners). We got to the Vet and a different Vet, also very kind and compassionate was all prepared and ready for us, the other vet told me he would not be there in the afternoon, but it was my choice.

It was so sad, but all done very compassionately and the main thing was that he was in my arms when he died and not lying alone in a cage and his last memories would be of home, Clinty's room, the other dogs and us - not a strange cage with strange smells. Reading this may seem as if we treated Pluto in a cruel way, but that was never the case, not even the bad judgement call going to the person who was not a vet. There was absolutely no sign that Pluto was ill or in pain until the day he collapsed, which is why Mark did not believe that he was very ill and I have honestly no idea why I thought he was going to die. He slept more deeply for some time and I often wrote about it on my blog. I wrote in this post in December that I worry that Pluto and Garfield will die in their sleep and that I often think Pluto is dead when he sleeps. Other than that there was no indication that he would die. All I know is that when Jingles and Garfield get sick or collapse, I am going to euthanise them and not try and save them and put them through all that trauma and pain. Garfield will be 18 in July - that is really old and this year she is starting to show her age.

Anyway, when we left the Vet, after saying good bye to Pluto, Chad did not stay for the injection part, he waited in the car and then drove so I didn't have to. After a respectable moment, he said, mom I know this is a very sad day and I feel really bad, but I have some news - good news and he proceeded to tell me about this girl. They were friends on Facebook for a couple of months, but as facebook goes, half the friends on it don't even know you in real life or they walk past you and don't even know you. Well, the day Pluto died was the day that JD and Chad started their romance, whatever you want to call the beginnings of their relationship. There were loads of ups and downs and Chad actually forgot that the 21st was an aniversarry of sorts until I reminded him the other day. So Pluto's death date will always be a reminder of Chad's romance date.

JD has not been here since Saturday, because school started on Monday, but today, because it was their first anniversary, but not the official anniversary, Chad fetched her from school and they went to lunch and when they came home, she sat in the lounge and Spike saw her and went jumping across the furniture and jumped all over her and wouldn't stop licking her and barking his excited bark. He loves her so much and has missed not having her here.

Healthier Times

Always comforting and loving

A Year Before

My Beautiful Dog

Another coincidence, I wrote this post about the Animal Cruelty Leauge Diary, I never ordered last year and I was thinking about it after leaving the vet with Pluto's ashes last year and then they phoned the following night out of the blue to ask if I would please order one as they have so many left over because of the postal strike, so I bought one. Well, this year I ordered one in October and still had not received it in December. I tried phoning to enquire about it and couldn't get to speak to anyone. I went to the Post Box often to look out for it, because I gave my postal address and a postal slip always goes to our Post Box and you then have to fetch it from the Post Office. Today I came home from work and there was my diary on the dining room table. It was delivered by the postman to our home adress - so it turns out they used my physical address and not my postal address, but what a coincidence that it arrived today on Pluto's death anniversary.

The Perfect Pillow

Dealing with Pluto's death was made easier knowing that he would be with Clint and if anyone believes that there are no animals in heaven, then heaven must be a terrible place with only humans and no animals. If there is life after death - then Pluto is with Clinty that I know.

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