Pet Health

Kat & Casey

Last night my office partner got home from work to find her cat sick and suffering. It is always hard to have a sick pet. It is even harder when you cannot afford the medical care, medicine and special diet food they require. Luckily, Kori had a friend to help her with the finances to get Ziggy the care he required. By tomorrow night, he will be home chasing bottle caps and looking for kibble and cuddles.

When we had our dog Casey and our little blind cat Suzie we spent a fortune on veterinary bills. One month alone we spent $1,500.00 on ear surgery for Suzie and $2,500.00 for dental surgery and to remove a small growth for Casey. Even in a good year, our vet bills were in the hundreds.

When we got Kat, I looked into veterinary insurance. The cost is rediculous. There is no way around it, keeping a pet healthy and well takes money and a lot of it these days.

It costs a lot to provide veterinarian services. The equipment, staff, building, utilities, taxes, insurance, administration, cremation charges, supplies, ongoing education and training of staff – it all cost. The bottom line is veterinarians have to charge for their services because they have to cover their expenses and make enough profit to provide for themselves, their families and their own pets.

I don’t know what the answer is, but I know people love and need their pets and want to provide the care they require. With today’s veterinarian prices – I don’t know how a lot of people manage to do that.

Keeper of the Stars

“It was no accident, me meeting you…”. Tracy Bird

It was 1994. With three teenagers to raise and provide for and a recent escape from unholy matrimony (as I referred to my first marriage), the last thing I wanted or needed in my life was a man. My life was good, happy and fulfilling.

For a couple of years things went along great. My kids and their friends filled our home with love and laughter. I filled it with groceries and other basic necessities. As the months went by, we were able to take my mother on an unforgettable family holiday. We moved from our little basement apartment to a much nicer and roomier duplex in a better part of the city. I traded in my battered and worn sedan for a sweet turbo charged convertible. Life was good.

The only downside to my life was that I was grieving the loss of my father who had recently passed away (although I always felt that he was very much with us through those years) and my health. I had lost an unhealthy amount of weight in previous years. I was working for a millwork company and was frequently in the warehouse, which was in the same building as our offices and showroom. I was, and am, asthmatic and seriously allergic to trees and everything tree related – wood, sawdust, wood smoke, feathers (birds have feathers and they live in trees). It still seems rediculous that I would put myself in such a situation but I loved the place and everyone in it.

Although everyone else at work was male, I didn’t really think anything of it and I didn’t really think anyone considered me as anything but one of the guys (who happened to always wear skirts, heels and makeup). A couple of years in, my bosses hired an autocad guy to work in the office. Since said bosses were busy on Dave’s first day, I took him out for lunch to welcome him to the team. He took the opportunity to hit on me. I told him in no uncertain terms that I did not date, would not date and dropped it. He did not, but he was not there long and he just never got anywhere with me. He did however, tell his friend Dan about the company. Dan had years of experience working for industrial steel companies. With a downturn in the economy, the company he had been working for went out of business and he had found himself unemployed.

Soon after, Dan walked into the office and asked to speak to Ken, one of my bosses. I took one look at him and ran to the other side of the warehouse to find Ken and to tell him that there was “a BIG native man there to see him”. (In my defence, I knew very few natives, had never seen a Hungarian before – and I was very sleep deprived at the time).

After a short interview, Ken hired Dan. Dan went home and was to start work in a couple of days. The day before he was scheduled to start, his mother passed away suddenly. He came to the office to explain the situation and his pain was obvious. He was very close to his mother. She was, to him and to all who knew her, a very special woman.

A few days later, Dan returned to start work. He was introduced to everyone and announced to the rest of the guys that he was there to work and marry the receptionist – me. Nobody told me of his plans or that he was Hungarian (which was totally irrelevant but it was hilarious that I was oblivious to the fact until a year later, after we had been living together for a month).  I did however learn that he worked hard, took pride in his work, and that he stood up for himself and supported his fellow workers. 

On July 31st, 1999 we were married. Our family and friends were there to support us. We had a beautiful wedding. We both agreed that as heaven’s gates opened for his mother, my father had been there to welcome her. Together they had conspired to bring us to each other.

By that point our economy had improved, Dan had gone to work at the pipe plant of our local steel factory and I had moved on to a healthier environment. We moved in to Dan’s house (an ongoing project) and we built a good life together. We have definitely had great times together, good times together and faced difficult and heart wrenching challenges together. We have come to love, respect and and admire each other. We have definitely learned to annoy each other and at times to take each other for granted.

This week, I realized how very much I love Dan, appreciate him and how perfectly suited we are for this life that we share. This week, Dan had a few days off between shifts. On Tuesday, I called him from work to tell him I was was very sick and struggling to breathe. He rushed over to pick me up and took me to the hospital emergency ward. He stayed by my side for six hours, on his last day off this week, to support me. When we got back home, he went to get my medication and pick up supper. The next evening, when he returned home from work, he told me some silly anecdote from work that made me laugh until my sides hurt. Last night we started talking about people winning large lotteries. I said my biggest concern, if we ever won, was that we would want such different things that it would be hard to find workable compromises. Dan agreed. Then we started talking about what each of us would want and our thoughts on the matter were almost identical. We had even both always thought of how important it was for us to show our appreciation to two special doctors. A few years ago Dan went to the emergency department with a blinding headache. A young doctor looked up from from his paperwork, yelled “get that man on a stretcher – he is septic” and proceeded to save Dan’s life. He was fantastic. My special doctor, went above and beyond to take care of me and keep Dan fully informed of what he was doing, after my lung collapsed and no one could repair it. He saved my lung (without surgery) for which I will always be grateful. Both of these men were such gifted physicians and such dedicated humanitarians – and they were both high on both of our lists of ‘lottery win’ priorities. (In the guise of their dream medical equipment I would expect).

I know – I had no want or need of a man in my life. Until he met me, Dan was quite content with his sports and his cat Hank. I am however, eternally grateful that my father and his mother felt otherwise.

‘I tip my hat to the keeper of our stars. They sure knew what they were when they joined these two hearts.’

Investing in the Future

Last night Dan was on night shift. I was here, ready to relax with my dog, a bag of pistachios, a glass of wine and a bit of classic Tom Cruise. Then, I heard the unmistakable sound of teen giggles and realized that our granddaughter, Genie, and her friends were bounding down the walk and about to invade. So much for the wine. I really did not mind. I love to see any of the grandkids and their friends. Soon they were inside, shedding jackets and winter boots.

We all got comfortable and they started telling me about their week.   They had semester final exams. Some fared better than others, but they were all ready to accept the grades they received.  They talked about their friends.  A little drama, but nothing out of the ordinary.  Then they talked about work.  They all work at Superstore.  They all work front end, with Genie having the additional responsibility of being a supervisor.

It is really funny hearing Genie and her friends talk about work. They do not complain about work. They do not complain about their bosses, their co-workers or the work they have to do . They do not complain about the personal sacrifices they make for their work – the early morning shifts, the late evening shifts or the time with friends and family that they miss. They do not complain about their wages.

For the most part, Genie and her friends talk about their customers. Mostly they talk about the customers who made their shifts better. They talk about customers who were super happy or particularly friendly. They talk about any compliments they received and any genuine appreciation they experienced. They talk about the customers they saw who were just extra nice and considerate to those around them. These customers make their shifts memorable.

Of course there are the customers who make their shifts more difficult and those get mentioned as well. They are the customers who are miserable before they ever approach the cashier or the service counter or the ones who are upset by a store issue and decide to take it out on someone who is trying to help them. There are the customers who will disrespect Genie and her friends simply because of their youth or make inappropriate remarks and suggestions because of their gender. Others will be disrespectful and rude simply because they feel superior to cashiers, price checkers and fellow shoppers.

These young people take their jobs really seriously. They take positive and negative interactions really seriously. They truly want to help people to have a positive experience at Superstore. They are excited about taking one of their first major steps to being responsible adults and they want to get it right.

Genie and her friends are not that unique as young employees go. This week, it would be really nice if we could all try a bit harder to notice the young employees we encounter. An extra smile and a kind word will really make their day. It will also encourage them to hold onto that work ethic and attitude – through this job and those that will follow. In the long run, it will be an investment in the future – ours and definitely theirs.

Saturday Shopping

Saturday Lunch

Tomorrow is Saturday, which means Saturday morning shopping. Shopping is right at the top of things I do not like to do. When I have to go it alone, shopping is even worse. Dan is working nights this weekend, so alone it is.

The only good thing about Saturday morning shopping is going out for Saturday lunch. Since going out for lunch isn’t the same when Dan is working, I just go shopping. This obviously makes the shopping worse.

Finally, Dan and I have both been sick for a week or so. Last Saturday, Dan insisted on coming shopping, but once we got there he decided he didn’t feel well enough to actually shop, so I ran into Superstore to pick up a few groceries. The store was a zoo. Our Walmart, which is the only other ‘supermarket’ on this corner of the city has been closed for weeks due to cleanup from a small fire. Everyone has been shopping at Superstore.

I zipped through the aisles on hyperspeed, bypassing anything we didn’t need, I could not find, or was where I would have to play bumpercarts with those obnoxious customers who obviously knew what they needed and where it was. Not wanting to keep Dan waiting any longer than I had to, I zipped through the express cashier. I ran out to the Jeep with my haul – two sweaters, a scarf and a bag of Doritos. Dan decided he felt well enough to take me for lunch. (Maybe he just wasn’t hungry for Doritos)

This week we obviously need groceries. I will be on my own but I’m going to have to get it done. At least Walmart reopened a few days ago so us shoppers can spread out!

International Hug Day part 2

Yesterday, I may have been a little dubious about the power of hugs but as usual, our granddaughter, Genie had to pop in to convince me to rethink matters.

Gifts for Grandpa🐞

I love teenagers. When my kids were teenagers, they were the best and they had the best friends. We were ‘the house‘. Having left my husband, to raise and support three teenagers alone, it was not the biggest or the fanciest house. It was a safe house, a secure house, a peaceful house, and a happy house. That is all my kids and their friends wanted. A place to watch a movie or play a board game or eat a week’s supply of homemade stew at one sitting. There were not a lot of rules, other than the obvious ones like no drugs or alcohol but the first rule was always RESPECT yourself, RESPECT each other and RESPECT Mrs. N. (This was before I remarried and became Grandma D.) They all had their moments and no doubt a few challenging days but they were adorable. Nowdays, my kids and their friends are all in or close to their forties. They were good, responsible teenagers and they have all become responsible adults with children of their own, who are coming into their own as teenagers.

This brings me back to Genie and her friends. Genie is amazing. She is smart and beautiful and kind and (generally) responsible. Her friends seem to be likewise. They are all really good kids – until the DRAMA kicks in. Then they are still good kids but more dramatically so. When did teenagers become so insecure and stubborn and dramatic?

Yesterday, Dan and I were watching the news, while supper cooked, and Genie came crashing in with her friend Lucas. Earlier she had texted to tell me she had gotten a 95% on her final English exam for the semester. She was beyond excited. Yay, Genie! She comes bouncing in dragging Lucas behind her. Lucas did not fare as well and unfortunately came up short on his math exam. Genie had taken Lucas to the Cornwall Centre to meet up with friends in an effort to cheer him up. It obviously did not work very well so Grandma and Grandpa D’s it was. We visited for half an hour, chatted with Genie, commiserated with Lucas and it was time for them to head out. Grandpa gave Genie her usual bear hug, as did I, then I turned to Lucas and offered him a hug as well. (I knew from previous visits that he was a hugger). He jumped at the offer and smiled for the first time during their visit. He looked better for the hug and Dan and I both assured him that in the overall scheme of things, he would be fine.

I may not be totally convinced but I do think my hug for Lucas yesterday helped him turn a corner on his day. I certainly hope both Genie and Lucas did well on their exams today. Fingers crossed.🤞

International Day of Hugs

Today is the International day of hugs.  I have to admit, I am not the most touchy feely person and I am rattled more than a little when someone spontaneously hugs me, especially if it is someone I have just met or someone I do not know very well. Occasionally, someone will ask if it would be ok to hug me. I generally agree although there have been times when I have just declined with a simple “No, I’m good”. Actually it was one time and he was a pre-plan funeral salesman. It was just wierd.

Despite my reluctance to hug willy-nilly, there have been a number of studies that have shown that hugging has potential benefits – physically and emotionally. Newborns, are known to thrive when the they are hugged, compared to those who are deprived of such physical interaction. The same theory must also be popular with seniors. I am pretty sure one of the prerequisites for working in a nursing home is the ability to pass around hugs like hard candies – which is another story of mine altogether.

I honestly do admire people who are capable of giving out spontaneous hugs to anyone in their immediate vicinity. I had a brother-in-law who gave the best bear hugs. He was an amazing man with a big heart and a total joie de vivre. Unfortunately, he died in a vehicle accident many years ago. The likes of Paul are few and far between. My kids are all good and natural huggers but they are all a little cautious about who they hug. My grandchildren hug anybody, their friends are huggers, it is somewhat of a ‘thing’ with the lot of them.

& kisses

Happy ‘International Day of Hugs’! It is only one day of the year, make the most of it.  Hug your mother, your friend, your sister, or your dog. Hug a stranger – but like not me. I’m good🤗

Positivity

If one is happy and grateful and stays focused on seeing the best in life, every day will be rainbows and unicorns. Except when it isn’t. 😟

Today it wasn’t. Today started with a windchill of 48 below zero. I got to work and my ex showed up. I haven’t seen him for years. I was fine with that, but today he showed up. Then his car froze, so he could not leave for hours. Then I had a tense discussion with my boss about a messy tender that I have been working on, followed by an argument with his son. Lunch was wieners and beans, leftover wieners and beans! The afternoon brought two more messy tenders and too much work for too little time. By the time I got home, I was struggling.

I fed my dog, worked on my jigsaw puzzle and made myself toast and jam for supper. Still struggling! I finally went to take a hot bath.

In the tub, I suddenly remembered a moment at work today. A client called to complain that he couldn’t find an email we had sent him. My boss told him to look in his junk. Ok, my bad but I thought that was too hilarious. 🤣

Then I remembered that my husband had brought home cinnamon buns for me and my office mate, Kori this morning. I remembered Kori had picked me up for work because my car is in the shop. I remembered my son had thanked me for being understanding and civil to my ex. I remembered the power had come back on when I got home so my house was warm and toasty. Best of all, I remembered tomorrow is FRIDAY!

My husband (with Cason)
Kori and I at Civic Night🥃🍺🍷🥂
My son (with his son)
My Dog, Kat

Bottom line, today was not all rainbows and unicorns, but it had more than a few good moments, good people and a pretty good dog. I have enough warm and fuzzy memories to get me through the night and off to a fresh start tomorrow. Today, I will take that as a win.👍