Wednesday, April 26, 2006

My Bisexual Tree

Not quite a year after we moved into the house we live in now, we discovered that our tree in our front yard has an identity problem, and ever since, we've affectionately referred to it as our bisexual tree. I don't know quite how it works, a landscaping guy tried to explain it to me, but this tree is two distinctly different kinds of tree at once, a mutant of sorts, I suppose. For all but maybe two weeks in April, you'd never be able to tell, but for those two weeks, part of the tree blooms with wonderful little white flowers (dogwood, I think), and the other part blooms not just a different color, but a completely different pink flower.

Whatever the case, it's a happy little tree(thanks Deb!) just as it is. There must be something attractive about it, because the week the white flowers open, the front yard sounds like an airport with all the bumble bee traffic. Fortunately, they are too concerned with the flowers to worry about people.

(click to enlarge)

Here's a shot of the Easter eggs my son made, I was just playing around with how close i could get to an object and have it still be in focus, but it's still fun.

And finally, I have to give Mrs. Dave mad props for the cake she made for my son's birthday. Because she made not one, not two, but three of these things! One for my son's daycare class, one for his nursery school class and one for his birthday party. I don't know how she has the patience for it, but bless her, she does. Each car was a little different, but this was the basic idea. Strangely enough the biggest problem she had was getting the number 4 right on both doors. On two cakes the passenger side door 4 was backwards. Small potatoes, though. And yes, it was a "Hot Wheels" themed party in case you were wondering. One thing has concerned me with the flame style though, and I've seen it many more places than just in Hot Wheels stuff. When did flames start all looking like the Grinch's hand as he's about to pluck an ornament of some poor Who's Christmas tree? Look around, you'll see what I mean.

Monday, April 24, 2006

And Curses Again!

I went out to my car to get a CD I'd left in it. On the curb was what looked like maybe a broken branch of a tree with a leaf on it or something. It was a little breezy and for whatever reason, I noticed that it wasn't moving when the wind blew, at least not as much as you'd expect. I looked a little closer to see why it was stuck, and then I realized that it wasn't a leafy twig at all, it was a gorgeous butterfly. I've never seen this kind of butterfly before, probably because it's camouflage is so good. It's wings were green and were attached to it's body by reddish brown stems that looked very much like branches.

I don't know if it was just emerging from its cocoon or not, but the body was fuzzy and white with red legs, though I couldn't really see anything that looked like a head from my angle. It's wings had "tails" for lack of a better word, like a kite, in flight they would dangle down below the wing. But it was resting on the side of the curb, and the tails stuck straight out behind it. If I can figure out how to get the photos off of my phone, I'll post what I can. That's the reason for the "Again" part of this post.

I didn't have my digital camera with me today, so the phone was all I had. Complicating matters was the fact that it was sunny and I couldn't see worth a damn what I was shooting with the phone. I feel like I'm telling a parallel story to "I once caught a fish this big!" When I got inside, I saw the pictures are Ok, but don't really show what a beautiful creature this thing was.



I either forget to bring my camera with me or the cord to connect it to the dang computer.

I look forward to this baby being born if for no other reason than Mrs. Dave will hopefully feel better soon after. She doesn't seem able to eat much of anything that agrees with her, so she's often in that semi-nauseous mode.

Poor kid had a 24-hour something-r-other. You could tell he didn't feel 100%, but we went to have dinner at Pizza Hut, and he was coloring his placemat, then said he didn't feel good again, and wanted to put his head down. So he sat in my lap and within 5 minutes he fell asleep sitting up. I laid him down on the seat (he had his hoodie sweatshirt still on) and he slept all through dinner. We took him home and got him to bed and he slept for about 11-12 hours. He was downright springy Sunday, though.

We continued to strip the wallpaper from our spare bedroom, which will become the nursery. Mrs. Dave is hooked on doing some kind of wood crown molding or something. It will be easier this time around because all the corners are square, but I don't know if I'm sold on the idea. We shall see. If it works with the rest of the room (which will probably be orange and white) I'll go with it. Good thing is that we have a minivan this time around, so we won't have to cut the boards short to fit them in the vehicle. Last time we only had an Acura Integra and the boards needed to be 10' long and we just couldn't fit them, so we have these seams at the midpoints of three sides of my son's room. You don't really notice if you aren't looking for it, but I know it's there. But Mrs. Dave also wants to paint the top part of the wall with the letters and animals in the crib bumper. Should be interesting, if nothing else!



Monday, April 10, 2006

Weekend Grosses

If it wasn't for everyone else doing it, I think I'd get sick myself. This past weekend was one of the oddest, most disgusting periods of 48 hours I've ever been through. I won't go into too much detail here to protect the squeamish, but ick. It started off on Thursday. Our dog has a serious garbage problem. He will wait and wait and attack the trash can in our kitchen at every opportunity, as I have mentioned on this blog before. Well, Thursday was the big score for him. He got a huge chunk of my son's birthday cake and who knows what else. Well, we expected him to be barfing quite a bit as a result, and he didn't let us down. He has a very sensitive stomach, and whenever he eats a lot of something other than his regular food, he barfs.

So, usually it works itself out within a day. But this time, it kept going through Friday night and into Saturday morning. We got worried that it was lasting so long. Because he was becoming rather lethargic. So we took him to the vet. They put an IV in him to rehydrate him and gave him some medicine to settle his stomach. He came back home with some new food, and he seemed to be in better spirits, though still not 100%. When we got home, it was almost time for my son's birthday party. So we put the dog's cage upstairs an let him rest in peace and quiet up there. He was fine for a while, but still seemed somewhat out of it. The party was over and we let him back downstairs. We offered him some food, but he wasn't interested. We gave him some pain medication the Vet gave us and went to bed.

The next morning, all seemed well, though the dog was still not quite his usual energetic self. I offered him food again, and he didn't want any. So I gave him another pain pill, and he relaxed in the corner of the kitchen as he often does. Then he was moving about a bit and he laid down where his food and water bowls usually are. This was unusual, but we didn't think a lot of it because he was probably sleepy from the pill. We went into the living room and a few minutes later, we hear the dog's paws scrambling on the kitchen floor like crazy. He is in a full-fledged grand-mal seizure. We did our best to make sure he wouldn't hurt himself, but he was disoriented and probably scared and snapped at Mrs. Dave when she tried to calm him. Then he more or less relaxed and acted as if nothing happened.

Well, I got dressed and took him to the Pet ER immediately. After waiting around for a long time, they did some blood tests, but really couldn't find any cause of the seizure. 3-4 hours later, we finally head home again. The dog seems to still be in that less-than-100% mode, but we go for a walk, and he seems happy to be out. He ate some dinner, and was relaxing in the living room. In the meantime we ate dinner. our son was eating slowly as usual and complained about his stomach being upset. Since we had been talking to him about how the dog's stomach was upset, we figured he was just trying to get out of eating dinner and using it as an excuse. We just told him to finish his dinner. That was a mistake. Within 5 minutes, he was barfing his lunch and dinner. Ick. So we cleaned that up. And finished what we could of our dinner. Then we went to the living room to watch a little TV before taking my son up for his bath.

That's when seizure #2 hit. It's a very odd thing to see this happen to a dog, especially since there's not a damn thing you can do about it, other than make sure he can't hurt himself. He was lying down on the floor and suddenly his head pops up, and he shakes it uncharacteristically. His nose starts to quiver first, followed by hard, uncontrolled opening and closing of his mouth (biting his tongue in the process). His head started to shake, differently from at first, now more like he didn't know what it was doing, then it seemed to pause for just a second, though his body was tensing up, before it shot through his neck. Then he jumped up on all four legs, and ran around in a circle. A funny thing to note while observing this horrible event, was that my son has a toy tower thing with cavemen, sorta like Fred Flintstone. But the whole idea is to build the tower and knock it down. Great fun. Well, the dog was laying on the floor next to that toy and as he was up and running in a circle, he collapsed, but crashed right into the tower, sending pieces everywhere, like a bowling ball hitting a strike. Overall, tragic, but funny at the same time...Anyway, he fell on his back and his legs flailed wildly, then simply became rigid. The poor thing looked so lost and confused. While his legs were still rigid, he started to heave and threw up his dinner. So we cleaned that up and I took him to the Pet ER again.

It's about 8:45 pm. We sign in, and shortly we're put in an exam room. The tech takes the dog's vitals, and leaves. Then we wait. And wait. And wait. Now it's almost 10:45 pm. So I go up to the front desk, not realizing how much time had passed and asked if anyone was coming soon. The doctor was in in less than 5 minutes, very apologetic, he was either told incorrectly or misunderstood that we had left. So, they take the dog and put him on an IV again, and put him on "seizure watch". I call home and find out that our son hasn't stopped vomiting, and Mrs. Dave isn't feeling so good either. She can't even stay on the phone long enough for me to tell her about what happened with the dog.

I get home and try to make everyone comfortable, but the night is only beginning. The boy barfs several more times and so does the wife. Let's just say things went downhill from there and I spent a good portion of the next few hours cleaning up after everyone. Doing so, I'm almost getting sick myself from the smell. Then we get a call from the Pet ER, the dog has had another seizure. Oy! Not sure what to think now. So, around 2 am, I'm able to go down to the couch (my wife and son were keeping their misery company with each other in our bed) and catch a few z-s. At 5:30, I hear my wife yelling out again, so I'm there to clean up again, and get them anything else they needed. I call out of work, then try to go to sleep again. Fortunately, I woke not to my wife yelling that she or the boy had just made a mess, just that she wanted more ginger ale. My son woke and came downstairs and ate some cheerios and ginger ale. He watched Noggin for a while. Then I got up to take a shower and get the dog.

When I leave, I notice my son has fallen asleep on the floor, so I just cover him up and head out. I get the dog from the ER, and he seems to be in much better spirits. He was happy to see me, and had no problem hopping in the car. So I took him to the his regular vet (who is also on of the head honchos of the Pet ER) and they have found some blood levels that indicate he has one of the highest levels of something, and it definitely pointed to pancreatitis. So, he kept him for the afternoon, just to make sure he didn't have more seizures and to make sure he was hydrated.

So, here I am this afternoon, Mrs. Dave and Dave, Jr. have been sleeping much of the afternoon, thank goodness. I've just been surfing the web a little and taking far too long to write this. I'm going to pick up the dog to bring him home shortly, and hopefully he'll be back to normal. We'll see.

But I just really don't want to clean up anything else that either came out of the right end the wrong way or wrong end the wrong way. I'm grossed out this weekend and on top of everything else, I have jury duty tomorrow. Blech. Wish me luck, and thanks for reading all this, if you bothered.


Friday, April 07, 2006

Feelin' Blue

Well, only sorta. Our OB does ultrasounds in his office at almost every appointment. He has a machine that he says "is long since paid for" and doesn't charge for it. He does it mainly to just make sure everything is going as it should and the baby is the right size compared to the due date, etc. Well, last appt. he took a look and asked my son what he thought it was going to be. My son wants a brother. So, the doctor moved the sensor around and such and though it was fuzzy, it's looking like it's a little boy! The doctor said he couldn't say with 100% certainty, but based on his experience, that's where he would put his money.

I'm just thrilled that it's healthy and progressing normally. But I'd be lying if I were to say I'm not a little disappointed it's not a girl. This is, in all likelihood, the last child I'll father, and I just wanted it to be a girl so I had one of each. Another reason is because I've always wanted a daughter named Cora. I've just loved that name since I knew a girl in college named that. It wouldn't be naming the baby after her, I just really liked the name a lot. So please don't think I'm not excited that it's a boy, it's fantastic! I just realized that I'll probably never have Cora, and that made me just a little sad.

But don't go buggin' me for the boy's name! I'm not tellin' til he's here.


Monday, April 03, 2006

In Hot Water

As if what we knew wasn't enough, more info is being revealed about my niece's father (just no way I'm going to refer to him as any kind of brother, in-law or otherwise). My niece is now seeing a counselor to help her deal with what has happened to her. I'm getting this information second hand, but it's from a very reliable source. She is responding better than we ever expected. This doctor must really know what she's doing. In just a few sessions she has manages to get my niece to reveal that in addition to the other crap her father did to her, she has also been locked up in a dark, cold crawlspace under the house (it doesn't have a basement as most people would think of it) for periods of time and in addition to the cold water treatment mentioned a while ago, she was also given the same treatment with very hot water. That's more than any of us have been able to get out of her...ever.

The rage builds and builds for anyone who actually cares about this little girl. And the rage still burns in my niece. I saw a full-fledged - well - temper tantrum, but that hardly begins to describe what she does. You can never really be sure what might set her off, but when things don't go her way, particularly after she has had a visitation with her father, she loses control. Unfortunately, the target of her rage is often the grandmother she lives with now. But my niece will try to hit, kick, scratch, bite, try to break her grandmother's glasses and basically inflict as much damage as she can. I'm no psychiatrist, but the difference between that and when she's her normal self is the closest thing I've seen to split personalities. Her screaming is piercing (though not as bad as it was when she was a baby, that was unbelievable) and these fits can last a long time. When we were there, she also took off her clothes and I didn't see it, but she apparently also has taken to banging her head on furniture/walls etc.

For the first time, I was actually scared of what she might do during one of these fits. My son goes to daycare, so when he hears another child crying, he doesn't get too alarmed, because someone is always crying at daycare. So, while my niece was having this fit, my son was playing with one of her toys on an end table. She hadn't been at all concerned about what he was playing with before the fit started. But during this one, she suddenly noticed that he had her toy. She broke away from her grandmother and ran over to my son. I saw her head rise over his shoulder, then fall quickly. I thought for sure she had bitten him and braced for the scream of pain, but was relieved when she ran away with the toy and he wasn't crying and hadn't been hurt. Then later, after she calmed down, she wanted to give kisses goodbye and she came over to me and went to give me a kiss on the cheek. From the corner of my eye, I saw her mouth open wide, and when her lips touched my cheek I flinched because I thought for sure she was going to bite me. But that was just her new kissing technique, and she and I were fine.

It's just so absolutely maddening to know that this is all that creep's fault and that he probably won't have to lose anything in his life because of it. Oh, he may very well lose his child, but he obviously doesn't care about her, and judging by the way he shoved her off onto anyone who would take her, would be glad to be rid of her. The only reason I think he is putting up any kind of fight is to save face, of which he's doing a terrible job. His lies seem to be ganging up on him now, and this counselor my niece is seeing is certain that my niece is suffering from the classic symptoms of an abused child.

I hope there is not more to come in this regard, but we'll see.