Welcome to the Misadventures of Widowhood blog!

In January of 2012 my soul mate of 42 years passed away after nearly 12 years of living with severe disabilities due to a stroke. I survived the first year after Don’s death doing what most widows do---trying to make sense of my world turned upside down. The pain and heartache of loss, my dark humor, my sweetest memories and, yes, even my pity parties are well documented in this blog.

Now that I’m a "seasoned widow" the focus of my writing has changed. I’m still a widow looking through that lens but I’m also a woman searching for contentment, friends and a voice in my restless world. Some people say I have a quirky sense of humor that shows up from time to time in this blog. Others say I make some keen observations about life and growing older. I say I just write about whatever passes through my days---the good, bad and the ugly. Comments welcome and encouraged. Let's get a dialogue going! Jean

Saturday, June 17, 2017

Broken Dog, Air Conditioner and Irrigation System



Can you believe it, the dog has been on a diet for only one month and he has already lost an impressive amount of the weight, dropping from 31.4 to 30 pounds. Three more pounds to go and he’ll be at his ideal weight. He was so cute when he sat on the scales, looking pleased and lapping up all the praise lavished on him by the technician at the vet’s office. We were there to get Levi’s teeth cleaned. I had to drop him off at 8:00 and when I called at noon to check on him he was just going into the surgery room. It ticked me off that he had to spend that much time cooling his heels in a cage. Last year he had so many teeth pulled it’s a wonder he can still eat. This time, He got to keep all the teeth still left in his mouth but they put some junk (like cement) along his gum line to help him keep the teeth he still has left. Schnauzers and other bearded breeds have a reputation for having bad teeth and gum issues. 

That day---Tuesday---on the scales was the last time I saw Levi happy and pain-free. The day after Levi’s dental procedure he was still acting like a burned out druggie. He didn’t want to move, drink, eat, pee or poop and he acted like his leg was broken only he didn’t whimper in pain when I poked around his leg and paw, looking for a reason for his reluctance to put weight on it. I could have understood it if it was the leg where they put the IV line in but it was his other front leg. I've had to keep an ACE bandage on the shaved patch where his IV line was attached because otherwise he licks it until his skin is beat red. I wish Levi could talk like Martin in the new TV series, Downward Dog. Have you seen that new summer ABC series? It’s really cute. 

Thursday I took Levi back to the vet. She checked out his joints, range of motion, shoulder, and paw and she felt around his bones and muscles. She couldn’t find anything to explain why he’s impersonating a three legged dog. Mostly he’s been sleeping, with me waking him up once in a while to try to get him to eat and drink or to carry him outside for potty breaks. By evening he finally did it all. The vet gave him some pain pills and me instructions to virtually keep waiting on him hand and foot all weekend so he stays as still as possible. The hope is that whatever is wrong with his leg will heal itself. That will be $55. Thank you very much. It's a good thing I’ve been working out at the YMCA because I can actually lift a drugged out dog. Friday (today as I write this) he barked for the first time since his saga started. Just one pathetic bark when someone came to the door but that’s progress. If he continues not to want to put weight on his leg by the time Monday rolls around I have to make an appointment for him to get x-rays. 

This has been a weird and expensive week. One day I had the air conditioning guy come out to do a routine check on the unit. I didn’t want to turn it on this year because I could look down into the housing for the outside fan and see where mice had spent the winter. I was afraid if they chewed on the wiring it could start a fire or compound any problems that damaged wiring might cause. We’ve had weather in the 90s and I was pleasantly surprised that I was able to endure it without being too miserable without the AC running. That $84 base for the call turned into $210 which included topping off the Freon, the pricey part. Of course, the guy tried to talk me into their ‘membership program’ where you pay a monthly fee but your service calls are all supposedly free. I hate those programs. When you do the math you’re just paying in advance for service calls you may or may not need in any given year and you know they wouldn't offer the program if they weren't making money on them. If I was on a tight budget or had trouble saving money, maybe I’d make a different choice but I’m not and I don’t. 

Another day I had an appointment with my irrigation company. What a frustrating mess that company made out of my yard this year! My grass is burning up and one of my neighbor is getting too much benefit from my water. I’ve used the same company since the day we moved in over fifteen years ago but something has changed and the crew they’ve got working this year are not up to their usual professionalism. They had my watering times set so short a yard full of cactus would have had a hard time living out there. Before my sister-in-law moved into a nursing home she used to say she wanted to go because she didn’t want to deal with the endless chores around the house and yard anymore and I’d tell her, “At our ages all we do is make calls and write a few checks. How much trouble is that?” Fast forward a couple of years and I’m beginning to understand her point of view. I’m not there yet but having the irrigation company reschedule me three times and having me getting up at the crack of dawn twice for nothing really was a pain in the patootie.  ©


34 comments:

  1. I hope Levi is soon back to his usual self.

    Gym fitness and increased agility is sure paying off for you! can't imagine you being able to lift Levi earlier.

    I agree regarding those "service contracts". I don't like them either. I also don't like direct debits for my utility bills. I prefer to pay the bill myself, and since I don't have any issues saving/keeping money, the attraction of "even-payments" is just not there.

    Your last paragraph strongly resonated with me. Its the same conversation I had with my son some months ago.
    Me: I'm finding it hard to cope with the house and backyard.
    Son: just call people and pay! Np.
    Me: Even calling tradies and organising all that is just too much.
    Son: :eye-roll:

    I'm now seriously thinking of moving into an apartment. The trouble is I don't know how I'll feel about the body corporate overnighting my every action, plus issues of possible noisy neighbours. No easy solution. ~ Libby

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    1. I don't use those even-payment plans either or have utility bills automatically paid by my bank account.

      I only lived in an apartment for one year, a very nice one, but the lack of true privacy I hated. Maintenance would come in with 24 hour notice at a time of their choosing to inspect, replace or fix things you didn't report, neighbors on top of each other, no place to sit outside without eyes on you, etc. No garage. In that year fire trucks came to the complex three times---one kitchen fire and two unattended candles that caused damage.

      I was in serious condo shopping mode a summer or two ago and decided I wasn't ready, mainly because of the privacy thing and the dog and how having to walk him every day instead of him having his own yard would dramatically change my life. Having him so sick this week has brought that whole issue to the forefront again. If something happens to him, do I get another dog or look for a condo again? I can't imagine living without a Levi in my life but I fear that time will come someday.

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  2. Poor Levi! Oh, proud that he is losing the pudge, but he looks so sad about his foot. Jack had an ailment similar and after x-ray, she decided he had inflammation. He went on some anti-inflammatory for a couple of weeks and was good as new. Jack does a lot of jumping ... Rough had a lot of dental issues too, I can relate. Hugs for the little guy!
    I hope you get your yard problem straightened out. I wouldn't want to be paying for the neighbor's lawn to put me to shame.
    Even now, I don't really know if I would want a condo - I like having a yard. It may not be gorgeous, but ...

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    1. I've had to put a sock on his IV leg all the way up his shoulder to keep him from licking his shaved spot and I'm using cooling gel besides. He's not happy. I'll be glad if it turns out to just be inflammation in a joint. I can identify with that. Glad those meds worked for Jack. Levi likes to jump, too.

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  3. We LOVE Downward Dog! His voice and what he says is just hysterical!

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    1. You're the first person I've run across who has watched the program. With all the animal lovers in the world, I can't believe it's not getting the attention it deserves. Martin has quite the personality and that sad-sag look on his face and this thoughts ARE hysterical. Tuesday nights, people on ABC or on-demand.

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  4. Poor Levi. Hope also it is just inflammation. I once took my last dog Mighty to the groomer and he came back three legged. They messed up his anterior ligament--like a football player and it was surgery and long recovery. That would have shown up in any x-rays they took though so just baby the fellow and hope he is fine soon.

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    1. I've never had a dog go through surgery except for neutering and dental work. I can't imagine how hard that would be. If he were to need it, I'd be looking for a little kids wagon to help carry Levi around.

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  5. I'm hoping Levi's showing some signs of perking up by now. There's a mallard down at the marina I'm really concerned about because of a damaged foot or leg. Since it can fly, catching it to take it to a rehabber for a look-see would be just too traumatic, if even possible. But, since it can fly, I'm spending the weekend hoping it gets better over the weekend, and he's still there when I go back to work on Monday. I'm not even sure he can swim, or get in the water to eat -- but, nature does what nature does, and if he can't survive, so be it. It certainly isn't as though we're short on mallards. But, still....

    As for the AC and irrigation troubles -- that's what I love about apartment living. My AC thermostat wasn't doing its job last week -- wouldn't turn off. I called the office, and voila! the nice man shows up to take care of it. Even better, the girl in the office made sure that I had AC. She said if it wasn't cooling, they would have someone there within the hour. You can't beat that.

    I was trying to figure out how long I've been in this place, and I think it must be twelve years. I've never had a problem -- not with noise, not with maintenance, etc., even though ownership has changed twice and the management companies three times. Part of it's that the apartment complex is part of an HOA, so there are rules and regs beyond what a regular apartment might have. I'm glad.

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    1. I just got home from the grocery store and Levi made an attempt to meet me at the door. So I know he's feeling better. He's putting weight on his leg but limping, not sure if that's progress or just the pain meds making the leg better.

      Poor mallard. I hate to see things suffer and not being able to eat until it dies, it would.

      I did miss being able to call maintenance when things needed repair the year we lived in an apartment. They had a 24 hour policy so I'd have to make sure not to call if I couldn't be home over the next 24 hours. We had a dog and I didn't want maintenance along with my dog.

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  6. Poor baby Levi! They're our furkids - and main companion so it's hard to watch them be miserable.

    It's a shame you had the other two things happen this same week. I can't stand having strangers poking around my house and property for the very reason you mention; they sometimes make things worse!

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    1. I have a bad habit of scheduling maintenance appointments back to back but even when I don't do that, weather usually plays a part in changing thing. Like this coming week I have a guy coming out to clean my eaves and windows but we're expecting heavy rains all week so I'm betting he'll be calling with a change because he'll be behind.

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  7. I just read your reply to shoreacres, and I'm glad Levis met you at the door. That's a good sign, but I wonder what happened to his leg. It did happen while he was at the vet, right? I hope he continues to improve. Congratulate him on his weight loss for me.

    I hate maintenance issues. It's the worst part of owning a house.

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    1. I'm not sure how or where he got his leg hurt. Kind of hard to tell since he got carried so much that first half day at home. He may have tried to get in the chair he likes to sleep in and fell trying or I picked him up wrong. I haven't been up long enough today to see him walk but last night he was definitely more active and limping less. One more pain pill then I'm going to see how it goes.

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  8. I hope Levi gets to feeling better soon, it's hard when our pets are hurting.

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  9. Thanks, he's doing better today.

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  10. Levi is just the cutest guy! Get well soon, Levi!

    I have an $800 bill from our irrigation guy -- fixed a bunch of sprinkler heads, added a couple...I don't know. The crew worked for a long time, but sheesh! And I STILL have to hand water my raised beds because we added them later and the whole thing would have to be re-done to make water get to them. Houses are a money pit!

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    1. A year of two ago I got a quote on adding a line for flower beds and they wanted several thousand dollars. I didn't have them do the work so I'm still hand watering my beds along the deck and they were on the landscape plans when the company put the system in. They want to be price competitive so they do stuff when bidding a brand new systems and home owners don't catch up.

      I've got to see Levi without pain meds on Monday but I'm guessing, now, he won't need x-rays. He even went to the window to do his rabbit patrol this afternoon for the first time since his surgery.

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  11. What a lovely dog Jean. I hope Levi is feeling better and your checkbook is better?
    As far as the AC, I try to have the machine checked every of year. Usually they just have add the Frezone and yes it's a little expensive but to be in the house with no AC, it's like living in hell.
    Have a great week my friend. See ya.

    Cruisin Paul

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    1. I got my AC checked out just in time for the cooler weather to get here. LOL That's okay, I'm sure the heat will be back. I don't have my AC checked but every third year and my furnace that same. I suppose that's not good but I know people who never have them checked at all until they break down.

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  12. Poor little fella, hope he pulls through and gets back to his old self. Hang in there and have a nice week!

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    1. Thanks! This morning is his first morning without a pain pill and he seems to be doing well. If this continues through the day, I think he's out of the woods. He's putting weight on his leg now but still has a slight limp. Great progress from holding his leg in the air and walking 3 legged.

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  13. I'm glad Levi's getting better. He's been the steady Eddy in your home <:--] Best wishes to him!

    Argh. That irrigation company is being really crappy to its customers. You're probably not the only one. Can you call them out, with a review on Yelp or something? Prospective customers should know about how they're treating long time customers.

    Some folks around here have sprinkler systems and outdoor A/C units. Now I have an idea how much money they've spent on them and how much money I've saved!

    By the way, no mice moved into my RV last winter! I put two sonic deterrents inside, plus mothballs in cupboards and cavities underneath. I fished out two bird nests in the A/C unit on its roof before the birds laid their eggs. I love that RV, but it's showing its age. I'm told this will be its last year.

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    1. If the irrigation company mishandles my fall turn-off I will find another company for next year. I understand the management put someone in charge of service and they are getting lots of complains. No one in this neighborhood used hoses to water and some townships you can't sell a house without central air.

      I'm glad you gave a review of your sonic deterrents inside. The mothballs are kind of responsible for them being in my AC. I have a little storage cupboard near by that has always had mice and I put the mothballs in it last fall so instead of them nesting there, they nested in the AC for the first time ever. The are evil!

      Have you thought of renting an RV when you want to use one? We used to do that and it used to work out good.

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    2. I've thought about renting one, and I'm glad to hear it worked out well for you. I've just heard the horror stories. While I'm up in Maine this summer, I'm going to look into an adorable B & B I've had my eye on. Granted, it's more expensive per night than a campsite, but when you add in the RV repairs, upkeep, insurance, and the cost over its lifetime, I could spend two weeks there and still save money. I could visit my favorite campground during daytime hours. That may be enough. I'll try it next year.

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    3. Not to mention all the time involved in cleaning and supplies a RV, then getting it ready for winter. Lots of trouble. B & B's sometimes give some good discounts if you avoid the major holidays and and weekends. When my niece and I went we got a discount for promising not to use the hot tub, so they didn't have to clean it after we left.

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  14. Poor Levi!! They probably hit a muscle or tendon when they put in the IV line! I don't water my lawn. It is suppose to go brown in July--that is only natural and I do not fertilize. I like having to have it mowed only twice a month. I have an appliance service plan through DTE and it has more than paid for itself already this year. I have 20 year old appliances, so I need the plan. :-)

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    1. That would make sense if Levi's IV was put in the leg he wouldn't use but it was the other front leg.

      It costs a lot of money to put a lawn in and houses sell better when yours looks nice in a neighborhood of nice lawns. So as long as I can afford to maintain the investment, I will. But it is a pain!

      My appliances are all getting up there in age, too---15, 16 years---but, knock on wood, I've never had one fail me. When they do, I'll buy new rather than put money into something that old. It will help with resale value when I need to downsize to have new appliances. You're already downsized in your forever home.

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  15. Sure can empathize with your frustrations. Do hope your dog comes around. Strange about the leg. I agree about the a/c service plans. Am debating now if I should get a seasonal service as we're having our first heat wave. Haven't had service for several years, so probably will be wise for me to do so on this older system. Likewise, tho the drought upset the routine, the gardeners have not kept the grass as when my husband was living. Not sure what he did with them that I don't.

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    1. My husband was so proud of our lawn---the best on the block---so it's extra sad to see it so brown this year. Maybe your husband fertilized your lawn more than its getting now?

      I'm going to get my furnace checked out this fall because that is one thing you don't want to break down in Michigan's winter.

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    2. Yes, I think you're correct as I haven't been as meticulous about a lawn fertilization schedule as he was. Initially, I thought the gardeners automatically rode herd on that, then the decreased watering schedule last year adversely affected the grass, too.

      For sure, you want the furnace working well in the winter just as I need the same for my a/c during summer heat. Had a breakdown once in the midst of high temps years ago and had to wait several days before service -- so had to rely on fans I have. Reminded me of life before any of us had a/c years ago in the Midwest.

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    3. Reminded me of those days, too, without my A/C for a few days. Those were the days we'd be at our cottage when I was growing up. And my husband and I would in the 70s and 80s would go to Lake Michigan and sleep on the beach when the heat was unbearable.

      I have a fertilizer service separate from my lawn care guy takes care of that aspect automatically as needed. He does all environmentally friendly treatments, no chemicals, which isn't true of all of those kinds of services. Costs 3-4 dollars more per treatment but it's worth it to me.

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  16. Home maintenance is perpetual and frustrating. I share your dismay. For years and years, I would have at least one major appliance hit the skids at Thanksgiving and/or Christmas. I was sure they were out to get me.

    I will keep only The Best Thoughts for Levi. Animal empathy (and a little anthropomorphizing) is largely what keeps me from being able to volunteer at our local animal shelter. So I send generous checks instead and adopted our own pets from it. Glad to read above that Levi's spirit is returning and he met you at the door.

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    1. Thanks! I wish he'd start eating! He doesn't want the soft stuff he needs for another week because of his dental procedure. Otherwise, he's almost back to normal except for me having to dress his IV spot so he doesn't chew on it.

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