Thursday, February 27, 2014

Goin On A Road Trip

Dr. T, Miss Betty’s long time vet is one of the most cheerful people in her profession and at the beginning of Betty’s visit she was all smiles and hugs.  After a thorough exam, she started questioning us about the progression of Betty’s condition. (degenerative myelopathy)  We are fully aware that Miss Betty will not be with us soon, but when Dr. T. actually said, “we are talking months and not years now.” ; it kind of silenced the room.  Dr. T. went on to say that when Betty becomes incontinent, that is the end of the battle.  We had previously agreed that incontinence was the end point, and to hear it from Dr. T.  was reassuring that we would be making the right decision.  DM is a frustrating disease, not unlike Lou Gehrig's disease  (ALS) in humans.  One day you are walking with a perfectly healthy dog, then comes the leg ticks, then the obvious weakness in the hind quarters.  Soon enough the gradual inability to make the back legs carry her any distance.  So at that point your companion resorts to dragging herself out to the garden to take care of bodily function;  with a great heave she would be able to swing her rear end upward propping herself up on constantly wobbling legs in order to relieve herself.   We have no doubt that she is still in a happy frame of mind.  Though she can no longer scoot herself through the house as the weakness has progressed to the front legs, leaving her to rely totally on either the cart we had her fitted for or her devoted humans carry her from room to room so that she never becomes distressed. Normally a very quiet dog only barking her loud Corgi bark when someone knocks at the door, but now even that has become week almost a whisper of what it was.
This March is spring break and since MeMa works with the school district, we take advantage of any time off and have a trip planned south to Arizona for a weeks stay with my twin brother at his new home in Phoenix.  My father lives there with him during the winter months and will travel back to Portland with us on our return.

Our trip back home from the veterinarian was quiet.  Thoughts of cancelling our spring trip were voiced.  I was sitting in the sunroom when I told MeMa that we are going to Arizona in March just as planned with one exception…..Miss Betty is going with us.  We had cancelled our summer trip to Hawaii celebrating our 40 years of marriage because of Betty and I was damned if we would cancel this trip.
When life disappoints, just grab on and don't let go!
We have a wonderful house sitter in our good friend Andrea who does a fabulous job of staying at Menagerie Manor and ministering to all the animals needs, but Miss Betty’s needs are so demanding that we would not enjoy ourselves if we left her home.  There are plenty of dog friendly hotels along the way and Miss Betty is a great traveler.  And another plus is that we would be able to monitor her progression.  I told MeMa that we will purchase some of those moisture pads that are used in hospitals and a supply of dogie depends.  If the incontinence occurs we will be outfitted for it, so if this event should happen we would want to deal with it ourselves, Andrea will have her hands full with these two mugs....

Thursday, February 20, 2014

Patio, Rain or Shine

As the rain came down in buckets I watched two large trucks arrive from the safety of the open
garage. One truck and trailer parked on the far side of the street in front of two of my neighbors houses and the crew offloaded a tractor which rumbled into the driveway and stopped in front of me.
Sorry neighbors
workers load broken concrete into a wheel barrow
 Crew members pulled tools out of the scoop and set about loading the scoop full of broken concrete that was part of a retaining wall that was cleared away from the area that the new patio is going.
After clearing debris the tractor was removed and the second truck drove into the drive.

Despite the miserable weather everything went like clock work. A tripod thingy was set up next and turns out it is a laser level that chirped like a bird as it scanned the terrain, if it was silent they said either the area being scanned was not level yet or I was standing in the way.......oh pardon me I'll just go stand over there.

After leveling the ground they spread a sheet of weed barrier over the soil.

 Next.... load after load of crushed rock
In my day we filled them by hand, now the trucks have a trap door, when opened the rock fills the barrow in two jiffs and off they go. No cardio work out for today's crew.

The last load of rock spread with a rake, the chirping tripod was conferred with....all was level.
This power tamper made sure the ground was nice and firm ready for the pavers.
 From this.......... this.

And now if the weather will dry out for just a bit I will finish the pathways and the landscape.

Wednesday, February 12, 2014

Surviving Winter

The following was an e-mail I sent to my co-workers after four days of being trapped because of weather.....

Day One:   Snowing real hard, fire in the fireplace, real romantic, wonderful meal and wine.....and scotch!

Day Two: Snowing real hard. Had to go out and knock the ice and snow off the greenhouse and put panels back in place. Picked up dog poop with chisel and shovel because Popeye decided that frozen poop tasted good, damn dog. Frozen solid but after my fourth glass of scotch, feeling better. Helped MeMa build two jigsaw puzzles while watching the Olympics.

Day Three: Frozen solid outside, more poop to chisel out of ice, damn dog grazing like a cow. Back side of greenhouse had to be put back together. Tried to get garage door open by sticking shovel blade under door and prying up, broke shovel handle. Have built our third jigsaw puzzle....yippeee! Out of my favorite bread and dangerously low on scotch, hate this damn weather! 8:00 pm going to bed while MeMa works on puzzle and watches more Olympics. What's the big deal with ice dancing anyway? That American dude needs a haircut.

Day Four: How much poop can one dog eat? Don't care, stupid dog! Out of scotch. Looking at houses for sale in Arizona on the computer. Grand kids are coming for the day. Shit, did I mention I was out of SCOTCH? If it does not warm up and melt today please don't bring flowers to my funeral just poor scotch over my grave. If it is still like this tomorrow and I have somehow survived I will walk the ten miles into work. When do these damn Olympics end? Hope that long haired twit lands on his ass. Taking dog out to eat poop, I think I have a bottle hidden someplace in the garden shed.

Saturday, February 8, 2014

Winter Is Back

My last post found the sun shining and the ground cool but easily worked with my spade while I worked on the new landscape.  Miss Betty rolling out to greet this old gardener and give her approval on the new handicapped dog pathways.
But just to prove her point that Mother Nature can be very unpredictable and ever changing, Oregon got slapped in the face with a taste of winter weather.
When I opened the garage door I was greeted with three to four inches of white fluffy snow.  I remember Postman Bill telling me once in earnest that he wished people would not shovel their walkways as it was much easier to keep your footing in snow then it is on a slippery shoveled frozen walkway.  But like every year that we get some snow the first thing I did was shovel the walks.....sorry Postman Bill.
The ancient bird bath in the rose garden never held water very well but it does a bang up job holding snow.
The birds have learned that they always have a supply of drinking water at the koi pond.  Our big family of koi are deep in hibernation so no feeding necessary.  My only worry is that the air hole never freezes as that could be dangerous to our lovely koi becauss gasses would build under the ice that kill fish in a hurry.

The foot bridge over the pond has become a hazard and each year that we get a snow fall I think that I should install some sort of hand rail on either side of the bridge.
Two of the many feeders.  It seems I just get them filled and they are empty again.  It is so important to fill your feeders all year long and not just in the winter as the birds become dependant on us just as a pet bird in a cage.
It is amazing how quiet the garden is in the snow, pathways disappear under winters blanket. The greenhouse is closed up tight.
The Gargoyle sits quietly in the secret garden knowing that this to shall pass and once again the sun will come and flowers will bloom.  In the meantime we are expecting another five to seven inches.