Monday, July 13, 2009

The Tale of the Dog ...

When last we left off in the tale of the dog; we had just brought our Chihuahua, Hershey home from Mexico. We were all getting used to having a puppy and loving every minute of it. Fast forward, seven months later and we are STILL loving every minute of it. We are all enamored with Hershey, and she seems to have this effect on all who meet her. No, Hershey is not like most Chihuahua's ~ she loves to snuggle and play. She is very endearing, and affectionate, until she's not. You see Hershey is a monogamous dog, at least "in the moment;" which is to say that if someone is loving on her and someone else comes along and tries to pet her or get her attention, she responds quite adversely. It starts with a low gurgle of displeasure and it then can build up to all out snapping. Now although she has not hurt anyone thus far and we have all learned how to tame this beast; we have a bit of a conflict because although Hersh enjoys momentary monogamy, my kids are more of the orgy type; which is to say that just as soon as someone sees Hershey enjoying the company of someone else; they think it looks good and they HAVE to get in on the act. Of course Hershey would prefer to love the one she's with, so a conflict ensues; and I probably don't have to tell you who her biggest opponent is ~ that's right, it's Kelsie or as she'd be known if she was Native American "Hated by dogs." I had actually thought that Kelsie and Hershey just had a love / hate relationship but then today Kels tried to befriend Tina's dog Max, in her typical dog tormenting fashion and I heard that same displeased gurgling sound rising up from Max and so I've come to believe that my girl just might not be a dog's best friend. Now don't get me wrong; Kelsie isn't what I would call mean to Hershey (because I wouldn't stand for it, ) it's just that they are so much alike they tend to butt heads. Both require a lot of love and attention (and it's my pleasure to give it to both of them.) Both are strong willed, both can be mischievous, both like to have what they want when they want it, both like to bark and whine and both can nag like there is no tomorrow (oops, nope that's just Kelsie.)
Now, although Hershey gets very frustrated with Kelsie, they both love each other regardless. (This picture is the perfect example of the Kelsie / Hershey dynamic. Kelsie was so happy to be taking a picture with her puppy, and Hershey is devilishly biting on her.) Regardless of how Kelsie can annoy Hersh, there have been many times when Kelsie has fallen asleep downstairs, and Hershey has laid down right on top of her or right next to her, as if to protect her. I know that Hershey loves Kelsie; she just seems to like her better when she is sleeping.

Oh to love a dog the way that we all love Hershey is not anything that I expected. When we took Hershey for her Rabies shot,our Vet had asked about getting her spayed. Up until that point we honestly hadn't thought about it, although Michelle K did express an interest in having one of Hershey's puppies if ever she was to have any. The Vet explained that if we were going to breed Chihuahuas, we would need to have a couple thousand dollars saved in the bank as often times Chihuahua's require emergency C-sections. I asked why and the Vet explained that because their heads are so big, they often have a hard time with the delivery; and even though I am pretty sure that most Chihuahuas in Mexico were not born via C-section; we decided to have her spayed because we didn't want to risk her life.
We took Hershey to the Spay clinic at our Vet's office but it was a very emotional experience. No matter how many times I explained the procedure to Lyndzi, she couldn't help but be upset. Based on what I had heard form other dog owners I had told the kids that Hershey might have a little space collar on to keep from biting her stitches, and even though I offered to show them a picture on the Internet, Lyndzi declined, but proceeded to get hysterical. She actually said, in between sobs "I don't want her to live like this!" I explained that Hershey was not sick and she was going to be just fine, but Lyndzi asked if she could stay home in the morning as she didn't feel that she could leave Hershey at the Vet's office. I agreed; and took Kelsie with me. Kelsie was wonderful ~she held Hershey in the car and gave her a pep talk and then when we got home, she reassured Lyndzi that Hershey was going to be just fine.
Time passed very slowly on Spay day as we awaited the Vet's call; but once we got it, we were all overjoyed to hear that Hershey was doing well. The kids could not wait to bring her home, and so I rearranged my schedule so that I could go and get her. When we walked in to the Vet's office, one of the Vet's assistants was telling us how adorable she thought Hershey was, but no sooner were the words out of her mouth, another assistant came out and said "I'm going to let you get her because she is growling at me." I picked up my little angel and we brought her home. She was doing well, but had an accident and peed on the couch. The kids kept telling her "that's OK Hershey, it was an accident, we know it was an accident;" and I'm sure she found it very reassuring in a Charlie Brown teacher's voice kinda way, but I think they were more so trying to reassure themselves because they thought that Luis would get rid of her if he knew that she had peed on the couch. Well I'm on their team so they needn't have worried about my reaction. I peeled the slip covers off of the pillows and threw them in the wash, and just in the nick of time, I zipped up the last pillow as Luis walked through the door. I mean I was like Tom Cruise in "Risky Business" when he finished placing his mom's Faberge egg on the mantle JUST as his parents walked in the door. I took a deep breath and let out a sigh of relief, and then asked Luis if he could pump up our Aerobed because we all wanted to sleep downstairs with Hershey in case she wasn't feeling well; since we knew he wouldn't let her sleep with any of us. We ALL slept downstairs for a week and Hershey made a lovely recovery just in time to go camping.
Hershey enjoyed the camping trip (from what I could tell) and she has been such a good traveler that we just assumed we would be bringing her on our next vacation with us. We changed our plans so many times that we never thought that we would be taking a trip that she wouldn't be able to join us on; but alas that is what happened. We were supposed to meet my friend Susie in Vegas, and since Paris Hilton and other pet toting celebs seem to take their pooches everywhere, it never dawned on me that the MGM Grand might not allow pets; however, they do not. Perhaps one day when I am "Observational Humorist ~ Paige Ramos" rather than "just your average girl next door," but for now, NO DOGS ALLOWED. We revamped our trip and changed Susie's flight, however, we could not plan a cost effective trip that included Hershey, so I needed to make pup care arrangements. Now, asking for a favor does not come easy to me, even though I would give a friend the shirt off my back. I did bite the bullet and ask a couple of friends but for various reasons no one could take care of her. I called the Pet Smart hotel to see how much they would charge and although I didn't think the $27 a day was bad I didn't think that walking her twice a day would be enough; so I made arrangements with my babysitter who agreed to come over four times a day to let her out, feed her and play with her. I was concerned about the time that she would spend by herself; and so when our friends Russell and Shelly came over the other night and Russell was snuggling with Hersh, I asked if he would be willing to come check on her while we're gone and then he magnanimously offered to watch her the whole 4 days. Whew - what a relief. I let my babysitter know that we had made other arrangements for Hershey; just because we thought she would do better with more attention and she was clearly disappointed and I don't think it was just because of the $100 I was going to pay her. I then worried if we were doing the right thing. I mean I liked the idea of Hershey being in her own home, I just thought that she would be lonely; and I liked the idea of Hershey having company and being well cared for at Russell and Shelly's I just worried that she would think that they were her new family and that we gave her away. Both Michelle K and Rachel have assured me that staying with Russell and Shelly will be the best thing for her. Rachel suggested that I put one of my shirts in her kennel so that she can smell me while we're gone and I think this is an excellent suggestion; so I will make sure to bring over a shirt, along with my picture which I would like them to show her several times a day - LOL (just kidding ~ OK maybe I'm not.)
I honestly don't know how we are going to survive this vacation without her considering how poorly we did while she was at the Vet's but maybe that was because we knew she was having surgery. It's funny how a little animal can change your life. We all love her more than we ever thought possible; especially Nicky who never even thought he wanted a dog. I guess the universe really does give you what you need.
Till next time...

Wednesday, July 1, 2009

You Know You Have A Problem When...#6

You Know You Have A Problem When you feel the need to conference call the latest restaurant that you're going to boycott, to inform them that you're going to be boycotting them. ( Need I say more? But you know I will...)

It was two weeks ago that I was feeling a bit like Mommie Dearest where Nicky was concerned. On Monday I took him to the Orthodontist to have his bottom spacer put in and it was not quite what we were expecting. He's had the top spacer for almost a year now, and it's a small piece of plastic (like a MINI retainer) that is affixed to the roof of his mouth and attached by thin wires to two bands on his top, back teeth. I had expected the bottom spacer to be similar, having the plastic sit flush up against the back of his teeth, but this was not the case. Instead, there was no plastic, only a thicker wire, (somewhat like a fat paper clip) in the shape of a U (for lack of a better description) and it backs up to but does not touch his teeth. It just looks like a metal barrier and suffice it to say, I wouldn't want it in my mouth. Nicky was none too happy about it and I apologized profusely but in the long run there was nothing that could be done to make it better; so instead, I made it worse. Nicky's Orthodontic plan for the summer not only included the spacer implementation but also the removal of two permanent teeth and as I had no idea that the spacer would be so unpleasant, I had scheduled his Dentist appointment for Wednesday, FOLLOWING the well checks that I had scheduled at the Pediatrician's for all 3 kids. Thankfully none of the kids needed any vaccinations; so Nicky got a temporary reprieve, but the extractions were unavoidable and my guilt was IMMENSE.
Nicky came through with flying colors and although he was experiencing some discomfort, he did not complain and took it all in stride. Nicky had been given Nitrous Oxide prior to the Novocaine and when I asked him if he had felt the shot, he said "it was just a little pinch." The next day I had an appointment to get a small filling and though I went through my typical anxiety over making a trip to the Dentist; I kept telling myself that I would be brave like Nicky and follow his example, though it may have been a little easier for me if I had Nitrous too. Nonetheless I will admit it was a quick and painless procedure and I think I did Nicky proud.
As all mouths were doing fine, the kids and I went to their swim meet; but we didn't finish until 645pm so I was challenged to find something for dinner that would be both quick and soft, so that Nicky could eat it. I suggested that we get Chinese food from Big Heng because Nicky liked their Lo Mein noodles, no meat, no veggies (which I could order as a side dish) and the girls shared egg rolls and a combo of Terriyaki chicken, and Lo Mein. I didn't order anything for me ( I refer to my list of 100 things #81. Since I try not to eat carbs at dinner, Chinese food has lost it's appeal.)
When I picked up the food I noticed that there were no fortune cookies in the box and since my kids are actually fans of fortune cookies I asked the cashier if I could please have 3. I knew that Nicky wouldn't be able to eat his that night, but I figured with their extensive shelf life he could have it once his mouth had healed. The cashier then informed me that she could only give me two cookies based on what I had ordered. I politely explained that the Lo Mein was for one person and the combo was being shared by two others and the cashier begrudgingly provided me with a third cookie as she was advising me that she would do it this time but her boss would be very upset with her about it. I handed back the third cookie, and told her that she could keep it, but that I wouldn't be coming back. I then proceeded to call Michelle K and say "this is even more shocking than Michael Jackson passing away." I told her the story and then she told me that she had actually ordered food from the same place the night before and that it had been lousy. Then when she took a moment to think about it, she realized that they hadn't been given fortune cookies either, although it didn't bother her at the time. In typical fashion we both agreed to boycott Big Heng; but Michelle really wanted to let them know about it; so we conference called them. I know, I know; WE have a problem; hence the title of this post. Michelle called and asked to speak to the manager which the person who answered the phone claimed to be. Michelle explained that she had ordered $43 worth of food the night before and it wasn't very good AND they weren't given fortune cookies. She then went on to say that her friend had just called and informed her that she had been denied a third fortune cookie with her order. The woman asked what I ordered and I explained. I also informed her that I typically ordered food there once a week and as it so happened I had ordered food twice during this week, but that I would NOT be coming back again. Michelle then asked why the restaurant would give her a free order of Crab Puffs but deny a customer an additional fortune cookie, and that is when we found out about "THE FORTUNE COOKIE POLICY." Yes, you read that right, the "Manager" claimed that I could only have 2 fortune cookies because of the fortune cookie policy, that you receive 2 cookies per entree. The Manager told us that sometimes people received handfuls of cookies and then they didn't eat them, so they installed the fortune cookie policy. I assured her that I wouldn't have asked for the additional cookie if I didn't need it. I asked how I was supposed to get 3 children to share 2 fortune cookies and she told me that she would speak to her boss about changing the policy. I of course told her she could do as she liked, but that I was not going to be coming back, nor was my friend nor whoever else I decided to tell about "The policy." Of course the manager brought up the poor economy, so Michelle suggested that they not give away FREE crab puffs with a $30 order (another unannounced "policy") when cream cheese cost far more than a fortune cookie. I also advised that the effects of losing clientele would be far worse for the restaurants economy than the cost of providing me with one extra cookie. The manager agreed and said that she was going to have a meeting with the boss to discuss the fortune cookie policy. Michelle then asked if it would be an open meeting that we could attend and asked if there was an overcooked Broccoli policy as well. As we laughed like loons, I knew that there was nothing else that needed to be said; and we ended our call.
When I got home the kids immediately asked why there were only 2 fortune cookies and I had to explain to them about the fortune cookie policy. I also explained that we were now going to be boycotting Big Heng and the kids fully understood why (maybe that should be problem # 7 - LOL)

Now do I feel GOOD about the boycott; no not necessarily, but hey it's a matter of principle and I am the Queen of PRINCIPLES. I mean you may read this and think that I am absolutely out of my mind and think that there are far more important things to worry about or focus on, and I don't dispute this; but this "policy" was so ridiculous, and so the type of thing that I encounter all the time, that it just had to be shared because (say it with me) "Who could make this stuff up?"
When Luis called to say he was on his way home, I told him that we were now going to be boycotting Big Heng and he said with a laugh in his voice "Oh I can't wait to hear this one;" and as soon as he walked in the door the kids regaled him with the inane story of the fortune cookie policy. Hmm, Mommie Dearest; maybe not quite but it's going to be an interesting ride for them NO DOUBT ABOUT IT.
Till next time...