The start of a beautiful friendship.
Our housekeeper took off this week as my large family invaded (and I say that lovingly!) for the holiday. She usually vacuums the house twice a week and MaGee’s two beds at least once a week to keep the black tumbleweeds of fur from taking over the house. Now I do my part and my aides swiffer my two rooms and the hall as needed or run the new electric sweeper, but without back up from the monster vacuum this week, the dog fur multiplied like rabbit fur! We had to have a new strategy.
We started the battle by daily targeting the individual tumbleweeds, but soon realized many were slipping through our lines and creating havoc where they had never gone before. So out came the sweeper every other night to join the fray on the living and dining rooms rugs. In the afternoon, we’d mine-sweep the hallway with it. Still tumbleweeds escaped and I’d hear, “Oh my god, there’s a dog under here!” when a piece of furniture was moved and a new tumbleweed den was revealed.
It was a valiant effort against a formidable foe for which I credit my aides and offer much appreciation. Our effort was validated last night when my stepmom dropped a piece of turkey on the floor.
"Eeww, you’re not going to eat that, are you?" I asked her. She looked it over thoroughly.
"No dog hair. It must have hit a clean spot," she said and popped it in her mouth.
Fall is Not My Best Season
The only good thing about fall is football and with the way my teams are playing this year, I’m finding very little good about this season.
Why don’t I like fall? You want a list? First, the shorter days. I need the sun and this summer was so cloudy and rainy that I surely didn’t replenish my sun rations from last winter. I’m losing vitamin D daily.
Second, when I get cold, I literally freeze up. Cold, normally weakened muscles don’t work. I have trouble driving my chair or anything that calls for fine motor skills. I can’t wear gloves or mittens because that would be just one more thing my hands would have to fight against.
Third, I don’t like to wear so many clothes, in particular clothes with sleeves. Sleeves, like gloves, are just another thing I have to fight against. But I have to layer up to walk MaGee three times a day. I’m lucky with her since her iron bladder is the size of Lake Superior! Kia had to be walked at least every three hours because she was spay incontinent and she would “leak” if her bladder got full. MaGee once went 72 hours(!!) before relieving herself at all! So I’m lucky but still layered and cold.
My final reason for hating fall is things die in the fall. The year ends. Everything turns brown and I get another year older. While getting older beats the alternative, it’s not for sissies. (Thanks Famous Person who I can’t remember at the moment because I’m old.) And I wasn’t supposed to live past the age of two, let alone 52, so I am grateful to the powers to be that gave me a steely immune system, but just think how grateful I’d be if I could have this steely immune system AND live where it’s 80 degrees even on Nov 10th! It might change my mind about fall. Maybe.
The People That You Meet
A couple weeks ago, my aide Evan and I were having dinner at Chick-fil-a before hitting the mall to train with MaGee. As we finished up, an older woman stopped at our table to admire MaGee. She started with the usual questions: “What’s her name?” “What kind of dog is she?” “What does she do for you?” Then things got strange.
"So what’s your problem?"
I paused as I decided to answer her. “I have a neuromuscular disease.” I returned to eating. Evan was intent on her waffle fries.
"Is that like MS?"
"No, like Muscular Dystrophy. I’ve had it all my life." I spoke with my mouth full in hopes to discourage further questions. Not a chance!
The woman interrogated me and Evan for at least 10 minutes more asking everything from “Do you have to be turned at night?” to “How old are you?” Then she revealed she had scoliosis and how she struggled with it before finally cooing at MaGee and bidding us goodbye.
Now, you’re wondering why I didn’t shut her down. Well, she was probably close to 80, bless her heart, and good southern girls were taught to treat their elders with respect even if they don’t return the favor.
As we were getting in the van, Evan said,”Remember when you told me your chair brought out the weirdos? I think that was one of them.” Yep!
What a Difference a Week Makes
I should have written last week.
If I had written last week, I could scream how wonderously marvelous and awesome my dog is. She still is wonderously marvelous and awesome but I can’t prove it this week. I should have written last week.
Last week we went to the mall to train Sit Me Up on the ramp. We always come in at the store on the opposite end of the mall from the ramp. We all need the exercise. When we arrived at the elevator, MaGee reared back and popped the button on the first try. Yay MaGee!
When we got to the ramp, we picked a steeper part. Evan pushed me over and MaGee stepped up and BANG! I was sitting upright! Yay MaGee!
We ran through it three or four more times and she got me up each time, though not quite as fast as the first. Then we head out. She handled the elevator with ease and when we got to the door button that’s really high, I had Evan hold a treat in front of it. MaGee nailed it. Yay MaGee!
When we got home, we did a demo for my sister and her family visiting from California. BANG! I was up in a flash. Yay MaGee!
Now we come to this week. At Chik-fil-a, she was very good, showing off for all the frat boys I guess. The place was crawling with them! No snarfing off the floor attempts, sitting patiently as we got ready to leave, all very good service dog skills. Yay MaGee! At the mall, however, it was a different story. MaGee wasn’t bad; she just acted like I was speaking Chinese. Instead of trying to bump me up, she wanted to lick my face. She kept a keen eye on the treat cup too. So after a few moderately successful attempts, we moved on.
At an empty kiosk, we attempted Go Pay. MaGee held her wallet until I said Go Pay. She tried to nose it up on the counter but dropped it. Then she just wanted to sniff the kiosk doors and drawer handle. After a few repetitions, I got her to give me the wallet, then I had her put her paws on the counter without the wallet.
"Ok, I know you can do this," I said, treating her. I gave her back the wallet and had Evan tap the counter again. "MaGee, Go Pay."
She reared back and slapped her front feet on the counter.
"Yay! You did it!" I shouted, handing over several treats before I sent her back to get her wallet. Up she went, snatched the wallet then deposited it in my lap. More cheering and treats!
"It makes me want to cry," said Evan.
"Why?" I kind of laughed.
"Because she did it!"
"Well, guess what we’ll be doing next week."
What kind of difference will it bring?
MaGee & Me are Beat!
It has been a busy week. Monday we met with Casey and MG’s bestest friend Emma to try calmly walking the dogs together to the coffee house down the street. Last week we had a 20 minute rodeo as we tried to convince them (mostly MaGee) this was NOT a play date. This week the rodeo was more like 5 minutes. If we go again this week, maybe there won’t be a rodeo.
Tuesday MaGee & Me and my aide Rebecca had lunch with my co-worker Zu. Hadn’t seen her in a while because although we work together, it’s mostly by email. We ate on the deck at Your Pie pizzeria. Zu calls it My Pie. :-) It was good and a great day for dining alfresco.
Then Friday I got to see one of my oldest friends. Eric and I met as Freshmen in high school. He’s retired from the army and now works for Dept of Education, which would make his parents very proud! They were both career educators. We guessed it had been 2 years since we last got together. It was fun catching up. That was in the morning.
In the afternoon, MaGee & Me went to see the Wizard of Oz in IMAX 3D. MaGee once tried to take on a black bear at the Philly Zoo so I was worried about her and the flying monkeys! My dad (the vet professor) point out that dogs don’t see 3D but I was still glad to be able to lay her down behind a row of seats hidden from the towering IMAX screen. I was also please to be able to see the 3D effect. Usually I can’t. (Yes, I do wear the glasses!) I did find it distracting though, and during one preview trailer, disturbing with figures seeming to run by at the end of my nose!
We had a close encounter with a gaggle of grasshoppers when we got back to Scarlett the minivan. Two or three had to be chased out the windows before we could leave the parking lot. At least they weren’t spiders. I had one of them on me earlier in the week—not pretty.
So MaGee & Me are taking things slow this weekend. So far three things are on the docket for next week. Whew!