Monday, June 30, 2008

The Plot Thickens...

This is a follow up article to THIS POST (thanks to the anonymous reader who posted the link):

By Diana Bowley

Saturday, June 28, 2008 - Bangor Daily News

GUILFORD, Maine - A second person was charged this week in connection with an alleged assault that occurred last month after a heated Guilford Historical Society meeting.

Police charged Zarvin Shaffer, 38, last month for assault and this week they charged a teenager for assault. Both individuals are expected to make their initial court appearance on July 28 in 13th District Court.

The alleged assault came after a "pretty heated" meeting during which members questioned society president Robert Shaffer about his release of original photographs that were one of a kind, according to Investigator Guy Dow of the Piscataquis County Sheriff’s Department.

As members were leaving last month’s meeting, Zarvin Shaffer allegedly struck member Al Hunt in the jaw with his fist, and the teenager allegedly pulled the hair of Hunt’s wife, according to Dow. Dow said there were witnesses to the assault.

Shaffer claimed Hunt had intentionally bumped into him as they left the museum where the meeting was held, Dow said. After Hunt was slugged, Dow said Hunt’s wife, Laurel Hunt, 44, started yelling and when she did so, the teenager allegedly pulled her hair, he said. The teenager told police he was trying to protect himself.

Dow said Laurel Hunt held up a folded canvas chair that she carried to the meetings to protect herself during the alleged assault.

The disagreement among members was because Robert Shaffer, who is Zarvin Shaffer’s father, had removed some old photographs of the town from the museum for display in a local restaurant, according to Dow. He said his department received a call reporting that some historical society members were troubled that the donated original photographs had left the museum. Dow said the photographs have since been returned to the museum, but the disagreement apparently continued to smolder.

About 50 members attended a meeting earlier this week and voted a new slate of officers as follows: Sieferd "Stubby" Schultz, president; Brian Woodworth, vice president; Cindy Woodworth, secretary; and Laurel Hunt, treasurer.

Schultz said members voted earlier to bar Zarvin Shaffer and the teenager from the historical society meetings and the museum.

Kids + Baseball = Summer

Yes, that is the field.
No, I am not using the zoom.

Since things have been a little stressful over here at BLINKY MOMENTS lately, I thought I’d post something a little more light hearted today to make up for it.

[Note: Uncharacteristically, there were THREE posts on Saturday. Read in sequence, they take you through the range of emotions I experienced in just less than eight hours. If you only saw the one about the tragic passing of Palomo, I encourage you to go back and read the other two.]

On Saturday, June 21st, Bert, Keebler-the-Elf, Melissa and I went to the Roughriders game in Frisco. Yes, this is the night that I should have – but didn’t – bring Palomo back inside. But it was cool, and there was a wonderful summer breeze. No one could have guessed that any harm would have come to the little dove that evening.

Anyway, the game was awesome. Not only did we get in for free with tickets that entitled us to free food and alcohol (thanks to one of Bert’s interns), but our seats were on the second row between home plate and first base. Right next to us was the chute the players took from the locker room to the field, and where the mascots came and went. It was also where the between-inning entertainment was set up.

This is Dixie (Daisy?), the team mascot,
harassing a kid with a better-than-perfect GPA.

It makes a squeaky sound every time
Dixie/Daisy hits you on the head with her/his paw.
(Poor Keebler...)

On this particular night, most of the entertainment was kid centric. And because they are cuter, almost all of the participating kiddoes were under the age of eight.

See kids under the age of eight...

My personal favorites were two little boys named Aaron and Riley. Both were five, and chosen to race around the bases wearing giant Roughrider’s uniforms. In a word: Adorable.

Since our seats were right there, we also got the pleasure of listening to the staff interview the boys before going out on the field. They were just trying to get basic information from Aaron and Riley (what city they live in, their names and whether or not they played baseball) so they could tell the audience a little bit about the two when they went out to run the bases. Here are some of the boys’ answers:

Staff: “What city are you from?”

Aaron: “Texas.”


Staff: “How old are you?”

Aaron: “Five. But some people think I’m six.”


Staff: “Riley, do you play baseball?”

Riley: “Well, I used to, but not anymore.”

Staff: “So, you’re like, what…retired?”

Riley: “[Pausing to consider the question] Yeah. I guess you could say that.”

In the end, Riley won the race around the bases (Aaron got hung up trying to put the giant pants on at first base, and I’m not sure he actually finished). Here they are coming back off the field:

Riley exiting the field...

Aaron (finally) makes it off, too...

Aaron still sporting his GIANT uniform...

How cute are they?!

I thought that Aaron might be upset that he didn't win (or finish for that matter), but he was just as happy as could be after exiting the field. I've never seen a kid so excited about receiving a T-shirt in my life. Way to go, Aaron. Way to go.

In other news, this girl held her fist up like this (see below) for most of the game. At first, I thought she was signaling someone between innings, but the fist went up at random times during the game as well. Any guesses?

Roughrider POWER!

Saturday, June 28, 2008

We will all meet again at the Rainbow Bridge...

Like my hat?!
Just heard from the birdie vet. Palomo has taken a turn for the worst.

It was all looking up for the little dove. This morning, the vet told me that she thought Palomo might make a full recovery. Then, for reasons no one understands, Palomo started having a hard time breathing this afternoon. Concerned, the vet relocated him to a type of birdie oxygen chamber. Two hours later, though, and Palomo was getting worse instead of better. That’s when the vet called me. She was worried that he wouldn’t survive the night. He seemed to be slowly suffocating right in front of her – despite all measures. She wasn’t willing to give up just yet, though, and tried one last thing to save him.

It didn’t work.

About an hour ago, she called back. Her voice cracked as she recommended we euthanize him – I could tell she was on the verge of tears.

I asked if Amy and I could come to the clinic and be with Palomo as he went to sleep. But the clinic was closed – the vet was working late in an effort to try and save him.

I started to cry, and asked if she’d tell him that we all love him. Let him know he was a good bird. That we’d all miss him.

She promised she would.

Goodbye, little buddy. You were never just a bird to us, and we will keep you in our hearts forever...

From the desk of Deals On Wheels...

To Whom It May Concern:

I don’t know who you are, where you are or why you mistakenly used my home phone number when listing your 2002 Lexus LS 430 online. So far, thirteen people have called to enquire about a vehicle I know nothing about. I’d pass their names and contact information along to you, but – again – I do not know how to reach you. This is probably a good thing since I started receiving phone calls at the a$$ crack of dawn this morning, and want nothing more than to track you down and beat your careless posterior with a small stick (as it will sting more).

Please be advised that the longer I spend online looking for your ad, the more annoyed I will become. Similarly, I am not amused by the individuals I have spoken to over the phone about your car. Here are two shinning examples:

  1. The man named “John” who couldn’t understand why I would list my number on an ad if I didn’t want people to call it. All of my attempts to explain to John that I didn’t list my number on the ad – that it must be a mistake or typo – went nowhere. I also couldn’t convince John to tell me where he saw your ad on the internet. According to John, I should know where I posted my own ad. He also implied that I wouldn’t sell him the car because he was black. Yes, John. That’s right. I won’t sell you a car I know nothing about because you are black. Awesome.

  2. The creepy guy who told me that he lived nearby, and asked if I was keeping the Lexus at my house. Apparently, he had entered my phone number into the Reverse Phone Directory and Google supplied him with my name, address and a map to my house. Mr. Creepy just wanted to, “Swing by to take a look, if that was okay.” Uhmmmm, no. It’s not. I don’t own a Lexus, and never have. The ad you saw listed online listed my number by mistake.

Luckily, Mr. Creepy seemed to take this news very well, and thanked me for my time. If I go missing or am founded murdered any time soon, though, please tell the cops to check my phone records.

In hindsight, I realize that I should have asked Mr. Creepy where he saw the ad. I was just so thrown off by his knowing my name and address that it didn’t occur to me until after we hung up. If any good came from his disturbing phone call, however, it was that I have now requested that Google remove my name, number and address from the Reverse Phone Directory as soon as possible. If I knew who you were or how to reach you, I’d strongly recommend that you enter your phone number into the site and do the same.

Again, I have a small stick with whatever-your-name-is on it…

So, now I am at the mental intersection of “I WANT TO FIND THE AD SO I CAN GET MY NUMBER REMOVED FROM IT” and “I NEVER WANT TO ANSWER MY PHONE AGAIN”. This is not where I expected to be today, and I blame you.

In other words: I hate you and I am not amused.

Deals On Wheels

They Say Bad Things Happen in Three's...

First, Trevor’s grandmother slipped and hit her head on a pew at church a week ago last Wednesday. The injury required stitches, and an overnight stay in the hospital. According to Trevor, his grandmother looks like she was in a bar fight – the wound extends from her upper cheek, around her eye and into the area just above her left eyebrow. How she wasn't more seriously hurt is a miracle.

Then, last Sunday, Palomo somehow acquired his giant laceration from wing to wing and up his neck. Palomo is still alive, by the way. He has been staying at the birdie vet since Wednesday morning. They are feeding him like a baby bird three times a day. The good news is that the tear is his crop seems to be very small, and the thick, brown mixture they are feeding him isn’t seeping into his chest like water does. Also, his x-rays came back clear of any tumors, and his blood work revealed…well, nothing. Other than the injury, Palomo is a very healthy little guy. Even the dying skin around the stitches on his neck may have a silver lining. The vet is waiting for the skin to turn black and slough off, before using the hole to insert a feeding tube and bypass Palomo’s crop. The feeding tube will be temporary and allow the crop to heal. Once it does, the vet will remove the tube and stitching the hole in the skin back together. Of course, Palomo isn’t out of the woods yet (by any means), but I’m daring to hope that even this might have a happy ending, after all. Palomo is a tough, little bird, and is putting up quite the fight. Keep thinking good thoughts for him.

On Thursday morning, I woke up at 6 AM to find a new text message on my phone. It had been sent by my sister on my father’s cell phone at 2:30 in the morning. This is what it said: “Been in ER with dad since 11:30 PM. He fell and has a huge rip in his shin…” And that was it. No additional text messages were sent, no follow up information supplied. No knowing what to do, I texted my father’s phone back, but got no response. I didn’t want to call the house phone for fear that I’d wake up my dad. I had no way of knowing if or when they had released him from the hospital, but figured both he and Amy would be fast asleep either way.

So, I got up, dressed and headed to the gym. I somehow managed to keep myself from calling my aunt (dad’s sister) until a little after 7 AM. I was hoping she might know what had happened, if/when my dad had been released or what hospital they had gone to. Unfortunately, though, my aunt hadn’t heard a thing. So, I got to break the news to her that there had been some sort of accident and Amy had taken my dad to the hospital late last night. We both figured that dad had most likely been released from the hospital – otherwise we would have heard something more from my sister. It was decided that I would wait until 10 AM before calling Amy (if she didn’t call me beforehand). That way, if she was asleep after a long, long night in the ER, I wouldn’t disturb her too early.

I called my sister at a little after 10 AM, and got a very sleepy, “Hello?” from the other end of the line. Although only half awake, Amy was gracious enough to fill me in on the details of the last twelve hours:

Apparently, she had just turned off her TV to go to bed when her phone beeped with a new message. It hadn’t rang, but she decided to check her voicemail anyway because my dad’s house is known for being a black hole when it comes to cell service.

[BRIEF PAUSE FOR SUPPLEMENTAL INFORMATION: Amy’s apartment lease ran out earlier this month, but she was unable to find a new place to move into that she could afford and took pets. Consequently, it was decided on Father’s Day that Amy would move her stuff temporarily into a storage unit and live with my dad for a month or two to save money and continue the apartment hunt.]

Anyway, Amy checked her voicemail and got a message from my father saying that he had fallen down in the garage and was badly injured. Immediately, Amy dashed through the house, and out into the garage. She found dad lying in the middle of the garage bleeding. He had a roll of paper towels and he was pressing them to his left shin. When he saw Amy, dad moved the paper towels out of the way long enough for Amy to see a huge gash. Something was poking out (later to be revealed as partially torn tendon), and the cut was so deep that my sister was sure she saw bone. Not wasting any time, Amy announced that they were going to the ER and ran back in the house to grab her purse and car keys.

Back out in the garage, Amy helped dad to his feet. Luckily, nothing seemed to be broken, but when dad stood up the wound in his leg gushed blood. Amy managed to get him over to the car, but dad won’t get in the car until Amy takes both a broken shredder and a bag of golf balls out to the corner for bulk trash pick up in the morning. Apparently, he would have continued to make her haul item after item out to the curb, if Amy finally hadn’t screamed something along the lines of, “Look! I am NOT going to clean out your garage at 11:30 at night, while you stand there and bleed to death in front of me. Now get in the damn car!”

Shocked back to his senses, dad complied.

Amy took dad to the ER at Presbyterian, and things were going pretty quickly until two victims of a knife fight were brought in for emergency treatment. The severity of their wounds took precedence (obviously), and Amy and dad were left alone to witness the resulting chaos.

Apparently, the male victim was the most severely wounded. The knife had opened an artery, and blood was literately squirting everywhere.

The male victim’s girlfriend wasn’t much better off, although she was conscious. Amy said she was all cut up and bleeding. She had to carried into the ER by an officer, and wouldn’t stop screaming.

The male victim was given a blood transfusion before both he and his girlfriend were medivaced to Parkland.

Somewhere in the middle of this scene, the police started to arrive with suspects in handcuffs. Amy said they were rough looking characters that kept yelling obscenities and giving the cops additude.

After everything calmed down, the doctors were able to return their attention back to my father. They numbed the wound before flushing and cleaning it out. To close it required 16 staples (not stitches – STAPLES). They discharged him around 4 AM with instructions to stay off of his leg, take it easy and see an orthopedist in the next several days (apparently, tendons generally don’t heal without surgical intervention).

Dad and Amy got back home around 4:30 or 5 AM. Both were exhausted, and – after hearing about all happened – I guess I can understand why Amy didn’t think to send a follow up text message.

While I like to think of myself as “good in a crisis”, this is definitely one situation where I am glad it was my sister that got the call instead of me. Amy used to work in a gynecologist office, has sat in on surgeries and used to dream of being a vet. She can watch things – like the doctor numbing my dad’s wound with a giant needle – without getting the slightest bit squeamish.

I, on the other hand, probably would have fainted or thrown up when I saw dad’s wound for the first time. And I definitely wouldn’t have been able to watch all the chaos in the ER. Stuff like that is fine when it happens on fictional primetime TV hospital dramas, but I don’t think I could have witnessed blood squirting out of a person in real life without completely losing it.

Even my dad told Amy, “Out of both of my daughters, I’m glad you were here instead of [Deals]. She would have passed out.”

Fair enough, dad. Fair enough.

All in all, it has been a hard week. Last night I found myself crying for no reason. At least, I had a place to go and was able to surround myself with friends. I guess I’m just stressed. Work hasn’t been a picnic, either, and I’ve noticed that my ability to “take a joke” lately is almost nonexistent. I just hope everyone can put up with me long enough to pull myself back together.

At least my two week summer vacation is coming up at the end of July. Maybe things will calm down a bit by then. Here's to hoping!

Thursday, June 26, 2008

"To demand 'sense' is the hallmark of nonsense." -Ayn Rand (1905 - 1982)

Is it just me...

....or are these two articles (shown below with yellow arrows)
in direct opposition to one another?

I’m just sayin’, is all.

Wednesday, June 25, 2008

Coo-ca-roo! (oy-ee!) Coo-ca-roo!

"A bird doesn't sing because it has an answer,
it sings because it has a song."

- Maya Angelou

Almost 20 years to the day, my mom and siblings found Palomo in Versailles Park. He was just hanging out, and let my brother and sister pet him. Our family had recently adopted a puppy – a chocolate lab we named “Cookie” – and while everyone was distracted by the tame, white dove in the park, Cookie ran up from behind and ripped all of the bird’s tail feathers out. My mom panicked, grabbed the bird and brought him home. He’s lived with us ever since.

We named him “Paloma” - Spanish for dove – but changed it to “Palomo” when he never laid an egg and started crowing. Palomo has always been very tame – sitting on our heads, doing our hair, flying around the house and crash landing into the furniture. My brother even taught Palomo to fly to him with a series of “Here Boy” calls and finger movements.

Of course, it hasn’t always been fun and games. My cat, “Tootsie”, managed to catch Palomo on two occasions. Cat saliva is venomous to birds (which is why a bird will die from only a small bite from a cat), and Palomo had to be rushed to the vet, stitched back together, and given round after round of a Pepto Bismol pink colored medication. I vividly remember my grandfather coming over and helping my mom nurse Palomo back to health. That same grandfather passed away over thirteen years ago.

More recently, Palomo was caught by my mother’s dog, Schnitzel. My mom discovered Palomo pinned down in between Schnitzel’s front paws on the back porch. The dog – thinking the bird was a glorified chew toy – was systematically ripping Palomo’s feathers out. Luckily, Palomo’s injuries that day looked worse than they actually were, and Palomo made a complete recovery.

When my mom left for a two week vacation on Friday afternoon, she called and asked me to check in on Palomo and water the plants. She had left Palomo on her covered back porch, which is pretty typical this time of the year. Palomo loves to be outside. He sings to all the neighborhood birds as he hops and flutters around his three-story, white bird cage.

I considered bringing Palomo inside on Saturday afternoon, but the Weather Channel was calling for a pleasant evening with a cool breeze. The rest of the week looked like it was going to be hot, so I figured I’d let him enjoy one more day outside before bringing him back in my mother’s house. Plus, Palomo has a history of self mutilating (this is common in birds), and pulls his feathers out when he gets bored or lonely. This generally gets worse when my mom goes on vacation and the house is quiet. We always leave a TV or radio on for Palomo, but sometimes even that isn’t enough to keep him from picking at himself. Since he seemed so happy outside, I figured one more night on the porch wouldn’t hurt.

When I went to check on him Sunday afternoon, Palomo – at first glance – seemed fine. I moved his cage back indoors, and placed it next to the French doors so he could still see the goings on in the backyard. Then, I started the process of cleaning out his cage, giving him more seeds, changing his water, etc. I did notice that Palomo wasn’t singing (he always sings to me when I give him more seeds), and seemed to be having some problems hopping from one perch to the other. I didn’t think too much of it, though, and ventured back outside to water my mother’s plants.

On the porch, I noticed a few feathers here and there. I took this as a sign that Palomo had still been self mutilating despite being outdoors, and made a mental note to find an upbeat radio station for him once I got back inside.

While I was setting up the radio, Palomo started grooming himself and I noticed something rusty colored on his neck. Worried that he had ripped a feather out and it was still bleeding, I went into the kitchen, found a bowl, filled it with water and took it into the bathroom. Then, I went and got Palomo and dipped him in the water to rinse him off and check him over. At first, I saw nothing wrong, and was about to put him back in his cage to dry off. But - at the last minute - I decided to turn him over and lift up the feathers on his breast just to make sure everything was okay. That’s when I saw the blood. Because of all the feathers, I couldn’t tell how bad the injury was (but it seemed pretty severe).

Not knowing what else to do, I called the emergency vet near my house and asked if they knew of a bird vet in the area that could see a dove on a Sunday afternoon. As fate would have it, there was a bird vet that was at the clinic until 6 PM. Unable to find Paloma’s travel cage, I dumped out a large tin containing pretzels, filled it with newspaper, carefully placed Palomo inside, and loaded him in the car. I was at the vet less than ten minutes later.

Once at the emergency clinic, the veterinary staff whisked Palomo into the back for evaluation. I was sent into a waiting room, but didn’t have to wait long before the vet returned holding Palomo in his hands. He had removed the feathers on his breast, so the injury could be seen clearly – and it was horrible. Much, much worse than I had anticipated. I’d later learn that the emergency vet didn’t know that Palomo was family pet – he thought I had just found the bird, caught him and brought him for medical attention when I realized he was injured.

Palomo had an almost two inch long laceration that extended all the way across his breast from his left wing to the right and up the side of his neck. You could clearly see some of his internal organs. This was definitely not a case of an injury that “looked worse than it actually was”. It was severe, and Palomo’s life was – literately – on the line.

The vet said that he could clean out the wound, check for any organ damage and stitch Palomo back together. In order to do this, though, they would have to anesthetize Palomo, and there was a real chance that he would never wake up. Anesthesia was risky for even the healthiest of patients – even more so for a twenty year old bird.

The other option was to humanely euthanize Palomo. This was a call I didn’t want to make by myself. After all, Palomo is a family pet, and the family should be involved in deciding the best course of action for him.

Sobbing, I called my mother in Colorado and asked what to do. This was the first she had heard of the injury, and had a hard time understanding me through my tears and borderline hysteria. Realizing that I wasn’t doing the best job of explaining…well, anything, I asked the vet to speak to her. Unlike me, he was calm and described the situation, our options and what he would recommend as our best course of action: Namely, clean out the wound, see what we are up against internally and proceed from there. Both my mother and I agreed, and the vet whisked Palomo to the back to get started.

I spoke to my mother for a few minutes longer, before hanging up and calling my sister. I was still crying, but no longer hysterical. I explained the situation to her and told her what mom and I had decided. She asked where the emergency clinic was located, and both she and my dad arrived shortly thereafter.

My dad, sister and I waited for about an hour before we heard anything. I was starting to think that it wasn’t going so well, when a young veterinary assistant came into the room and handed me a Ziploc containing a small, plastic container with a tiny amount of liquid antibiotics inside and an eyedropper. She then started instructing us how to medicate Palomo, how often, etc. I finally had to interrupt her and ask, “So, he survived?” The veterinary assistant gave me a blank look and blinked a few times before saying something to the effect of, “Uhmmmm, yeah. I think so, at least. Let me go get the vet, though, just to make sure.”

I remember not wanting to get my hopes up – just incase the vet assistant had made a mistake. Two minutes later, though, the vet reappeared and confirmed that Palomo HAD survived and was in recovery.

The vet was extremely guarded when discussing Paloma’s prognosis and recovery. Apparently, they had started to lose Palomo on the operating table, but were able to bring him back around at the last minute. And the injury wasn’t “clean” either. Palomo’s crop - a thin-walled organ used for the storage of food prior to digestion - was torn open, allowing digestive fluids and bacteria to enter the chest cavity and increase the risk of infection. The doctor had been able to repair it, and had tested the organ’s competency by filling it with water and checking for leaks. However, there was no guarantee that the organ would heal or rupture again. It was just a game of “Wait and See”.

They brought Palomo back into the room shortly thereafter in a cardboard box with holes poked in the sides. He looked like the birdie equivalent of Frankenstein. My poor sister hadn’t seen him, yet, and the sheer size of the injury was shocking. I couldn’t believe he was still alive.

We thanked the vet who performed the procedure profusely, paid the bill (just over $500), and gingerly loaded Palomo into my father’s car. My sister and dad took Paloma to their house, while I returned to my mom’s, located the birdie travel cage, rounded up all of Palomo’s food, vitamins and toys (just incase) and drove to meet them. Once there, Amy and I set up Palomo’s temporary apartment, created a make shift nest for him to lie on, and found several towels to cover his cage and help keep him warm.

Finally, once everything was ready, we gently picked up Palomo out of the cardboard box and placed him inside. Within moments, Palomo went to his water dish and drank – something I saw as a good sign. After watching for a few more minutes, we covered his cage with the towels and let him go to sleep.

The next morning, Palomo was still alive (which was very exciting considering the vet wasn’t sure he’d make it through the night). I gave him his first round of antibiotics (which was much, much easier said than done) and watched him for awhile before leaving to run some errands (note: I had a scheduled comp day off so I didn’t have to go to work). When I returned, I was encouraged to discover Palomo sitting on his perch instead of the cage floor. He seemed more alert, too – all good signs that he was recovering. My sister helped me administer the second round of antibiotics later on that evening, and I went to bed with a newfound hope that maybe (just maybe) Palomo was going to survive all this, after all.

Tuesday was even more encouraging. Since I had to work, Amy and my dad gave Palomo his meds and monitored him during the day. When I dropped by to check on him yesterday afternoon, I was pleased to witness Palomo grooming himself. Well, that is until I saw him also pick at his stitches with his beak. Concerned, I called the Palomo’s (quasi)regular doctor, and made an appointment for the vet to see him at eleven this morning. Apparently, it is possible to make an Elizabethan collar (i.e. a lampshade) for a bird, but it must be handmade (and measured) by a birdie vet. I figured Palomo definitely needed the Elizabethan collar (especially considering his habit of self mutilating and picking at himself), and an overall check up to make sure his recovery really was going as well as we hoped it was.

So, Amy took Palomo this morning…and, well…the news isn’t encouraging. Amy had noticed that Palomo seemed to be having a hard time drinking on Tuesday, and reported this to the vet. To be safe, the vet conducted an experiment to check the competency of the recently repaired crop. Using an eyedropper, the vet gently squirted water into Palomo’s beak. Instead of going into the stomach, though, the water leaked out externally…through the stitches in Palomo’s neck and breast. Not a good sign.

Additionally, the skin around the stitches is dying – most likely due to the fluids and bacteria being released from the torn crop. In a real sense, Palomo is digesting himself. Slowly.

The vet was hesitant to recommend that we put Palomo down immediately, though. Instead, she suggested we leave him at their office over night so they could give him fluids and calories intravenously. In the morning, they are going to draw blood and see how Palomo’s other organs are doing, and if he could potentially survive another surgery to repair the damaged crop and skin around the stitches. More likely than not, though, the blood work will show signs of organ failure. Depending on which organs are failing (and at what rate), the vet will be able to determine whether or not the most humane course of action will be to euthanize him before the weekend or allow Palomo to return home with us and slowly slip away when he is ready.

I guess it is also possible (although very, very unlikely) that Palomo’s blood work will reveal nothing wrong, and the vet will recommend attempting another surgery to fix him.

At any rate, the next 24 hours are extremely touch and go for little Palomo. I know some of you out there probably think we are all crazy for worrying so much over a bird. It’s is just that Palomo has been in our lives for 20 years now. I was 7 when we found him. He’s a member of the family. And it rips my heart out to know that I may never hear him coo again.

So, if you think of it, please consider saying a little prayer for a sweet, little, white dove that has brought smiles and happiness to my family for almost two decades now.

The Prayer of Saint Frances (the patron saint of the animals):

Lord, make me an instrument of Thy peace;
where there is hatred, let me sow love;
where there is injury, pardon;
where there is doubt, faith;
where there is despair, hope;
where there is darkness, light;
and where there is sadness, joy.

O Divine Master,
grant that I may not so much seek to be consoled as to console;
to be understood, as to understand;
to be loved, as to love;
for it is in giving that we receive,
it is in pardoning that we are pardoned,
and it is in dying that we are born to Eternal Life.


Tuesday, June 24, 2008

An update on something disturbing...

My ear is almost 100% better.


There is a small bump still inside, but even that is almost gone. Especially after this morning.

What happened this morning, you ask?

Well, I was getting ready for work and absentmindedly touched my ear. Not hard or anything. Just brushed by it with my hand. So, imagine my surprise when I felt some sort of hot liquid pour out of “the bite”.

Alarmed, I rushed into the bathroom, grabbed a Kleenex and started dabbing at the source of the hot liquid in my ear. I was convinced I was going to see blood, pus or some combination thereof when I pulled the Kleenex away and looked at it. But, no. All that was there was some sort of clear liquid draining from last week’s wound.

After it finally stopped oozing, I decided to try and see the source. Of course, it hasn’t gotten any easier to see inside my own ear since last week. So, I had to resort to the same two mirrors and neck craning I described to you before. And what did I see? Two distinct puncture wounds in my ear.

That’s right: I was bitten by something with fangs, people! FANGS! And it bite me while I was asleep (creepy) IN MY EAR (really creepy). And thanks to Google, I am now almost 100% sure it was some sort of spider (extremely creepy).

Yeah, not cool. I’ll be having nightmares for weeks after this.

Monday, June 23, 2008

Can you believe it has already been TWO years?!

My pink piggy...

For Haskell's "rebirthday" (i.e. the 2nd anniversary of the day I found him) he received his first BIG BOY BED. He is very excited.

I made the decision to buy Haskell a new bed (note: Gypsy got one, too) after a slue of incidents where Haskell got stuck in his box during the day. Yes, tragically, my sweet (but not-so-bright) dog got himself trapped in an unlocked crate on multiple occasions. Just as I was getting used to liberating Haskell from his box every afternoon, he suddenly realized that all he had to do to escape from his crate was paw at the unlatched gate.


This epiphany was followed by a week of Haskell EXPLODING forth from his box every afternoon. I swear he did it on purpose. All afternoon he’d lay in wait for me to get home from work, realize that he was missing (presumably stuck in his box), and go into the guest room in search of him. Of course I’d find him sitting in his crate. But before I could get to him, Haskell would hit the gate with his paw and LEAP out with this giant, stupid doggie grin on his face.

These “Haskell explosions” continued on an almost daily basis until the unfortunate afternoon when Haskell accidentally missed the gate with his paw. There he was – poised to leap out of his crate. All he had to do was hit the gate with his paw…and…well, he missed. If he had been playing basketball, it would have been an air ball. Suddenly, Haskell really was trapped in his unlocked crate again. He looked up at me with these pitiful brown eyes and let loose a defeated, “Squeeeeeeeek!” No matter how much I coached and encouraged, I never could get Haskell to try hitting the gate with his paw again. It was like he'd resigned himself to just being stuck.

The whole thing was depressing (in a FLOWERS FOR ALGERNON kind of way), so I made the decision that Haskell needed a comfy place to sleep that couldn’t…well, trap him. Hence, the new bed.

Of course, the new bed took some getting used to. Haskell’s box always had to be entered from the right (as that was where the infamous gate was located). However, the new bed has no gates or walls, and Haskell has the luxury of entering/leaving it any way he pleases. Yet, for the first several days after I first gave it to him last week, Haskell insisted on entering/leaving his bed from the right – just like he had done for years with his old box. It was actually pretty funny while it lasted. He honestly couldn’t figure out how to get in the bed except through his make believe gate.

Poor Haskell. I wonder what I used to write about before he came into my life?!

Happy Birthday, Hasky!


Stop taking my picture so I can go nite-nite...

Wednesday, June 18, 2008


"Look, you fools. You're in danger. Can't you see? They're after you. They're after all of us. Our wives, our children, everyone. They're here already. YOU'RE NEXT!

- Dr. Miles Bennell, Invasion of the Body Snatchers, 1956

My ear hurts.

My left ear specifically.

On Monday it itched like crazy. It took two mirrors and a whole lot of neck craning to confirm that something bit me IN my ear. This worries me greatly because I’d like to think I’d notice a bug flying or crawling in or near my ear…unless I was asleep or otherwise knocked unconscious. And the thought of something bug or spider-like hanging out IN my ear while I am asleep does nothing but freak me. I haven’t slept well since the night I acquired the bite because I keep envisioning evil bugs and spiders just waiting for me to fall asleep before crawling all over me (in and out of my ear, in my month and out my nose, etc.). I think I need to call Terminex.

Anyway, my ear started to itch less and hurt more yesterday, and today it just plain aches. My entire left ear is bright red, and I think the bite may be infected. Another round of mirrors and neck craning this morning revealed that the bite now looks more like a zit, which – other than hurting a whole heck of a lot – is just plain gross.

Well, gross and disconcerting. I keep thinking back to this stupid scary story I read one summer at sleep away camp. This girl got bitten by a spider on her cheek while she was sleeping. But when she woke up, she assumed that the bite was just a zit and covered it with makeup. Every day the “zit” got bigger and bigger – until one day it finally popped and out came hundreds and hundreds of baby spiders. Even though I seriously doubt my ear is currently incubating a nest of tiny arachnids, I still find myself considering where the spiders would go if they hatched out of the inflamed bump in my ear. Mainly, how many would first venture down my ear canal? Like it wouldn’t be bad enough that my ear zit/bug bite just ruptured and a gazillion baby spiders were suddenly crawling in my hair, over my face and down my clothes. No, no. I keep wondering what would happen if they went deep INTO my ear, and imagining the noises they’d make. Oh, horrors.

Then, during lunch, one of the museum volunteers told me about a movie he saw once that bothered him for years afterwards. It was all about these insects that crawled into noses, mouths and ears of sleeping people, and proceeded to feed on their brains. Thanks, Martin. That’s JUST want I needed to hear. If I get a headache this afternoon I won’t be able to convince myself that it isn’t bugs slowly eating away at my brain.

In other words: I am not amused.

Tuesday, June 17, 2008

Not going well...

Incase you were wondering about my next door neighbors, the Toolsons, here is an update. Brace yourself:

  • I came home to find Jet, now three, standing on the roof of the black jeep that has been rotting in the Toolson driveway for the past nine months. Jet, wearing swim goggles, brief underwear and a blue blanket tied around his neck like a cape, was preparing to launch himself of the top of the vehicle. He clearly expected to fly. No one was out there with him despite the fact that the three year was approximately six feet off the ground. Assuming this could only end badly with an emergency trip to the ER, I talked Jet off the roof of the Jeep and back onto solid ground. Jet’s mother appeared shortly thereafter. She claimed to have briefly lost track of Jet while changing Savannah’s diaper: “One second he was in the living room, and then he was gone”.

  • I’ve come home twice now to see the kids playing unsupervised in a blue wading pool in the driveway. The other day, Savannah was in there by herself – splashing away. Not only were there no adults around watching her, all the doors to the house were closed. I was about to knock on the door, when I heard yelling coming from inside the Toolson’s home. I have no proof, but I think Chase is using drugs again. The yelling seemed to be escalating, so I decided to watch Savannah play in the pool (under the guise of watering my plants incase Chase or Jane emerged from the house). I was out there for about 20 minutes before Jane finally came out to check on her daughter. Unbelievable. Don’t they know how quickly babies that age can drown in water?!

Sigh. Things seem to be heading downhill next door. Although, I think CPS is now involved. Thank goodness! Hopefully, they will be able to talk some sense into Chase and Jane before something happens to their babies!

Monday, June 16, 2008

Following up...

The following appears HERE on the SPCA of Texas' website:

You can also visit the Dallas Animal Advocates Blog to learn more about how you can help or to sign the new petition.

Friday, June 13, 2008


Watch me and be happy!

Thursday, June 12, 2008

Farther north than Ikea (and they said it couldn’t be done!)…

Dear Kelly,

I wanted to meet you and your darling little girl, and was sad that you left immediately following your comment to Trevor about how your baby was no longer leaking.


Also, just incase you were wondering why Trevor isn’t a father yet, he:

  • Only thinks your daughter’s name is “Madeline,” and promptly followed his guess with, “But don’t quote me on that”.

  • Told me that your baby was “something like eight months old.” To which I responded, “Wait. Isn’t Kelly your coworker that gave birth last June?” Why do I know this and not Trevor?

Of course, the Boy Wonder does have his redeeming qualities. For example, the first thing Trevor told me when I FINALLY found him tonight (I had been walking aimlessly around the stadium FOR-EV-ER) was, “Guess what?! I got drooled on by Kelly’s baby!” He was absolutely thrilled (in an “awe-cute-Trevor-likes-babies” not “ew-weird-Trevor-is-a-baby-stalker” kind of way).

Anyway, I was sad that you left before I could be drooled on by maybe-Madeline as well. I only got a brief glimpse, but she was adorable.

Hopefully, we will meet someday soon.


P.S. If Trevor ever tells you that there are two sides to every story, please (please, please) call his bluff and ask him what his side actually is. Because, when it comes to Trevor, I never need to exaggerate.

P.P.S. I think the ROUGHRIDERS won. Trevor and I left at the conclusion of the seventh inning. The score was something ridiculous like 14-0.

The bottom of the seventh and the bases are loaded...

Am I the only person who has never heard of the so-called "famous" chicken?

And exactly WHY was it such a big deal that the chicken was in Frisco tonight?

Wednesday, June 11, 2008

Six years since our first real date and he's still putting up with me...

Happy Anniversary, Trevor!
I love you!

(Especially when you do your award winning impression of David Duchovny...yum!)

Sunday, June 08, 2008

Well, boo…


So, I was driving south on 67 in the Hill Country when I was passed by a gravel truck heading north. Said gravel truck showered my windshield with pebbles, and now I have three or four small dings (two of which look like spider webs the size of my thumb nail) decorating my view of the road. Obviously, it is only a matter of time until all the dings spread, and I have to get a new windshield. However, I remembered listening to your show several weeks ago and hearing that it is possible to inject something into windshield dings that seals and prevents them from spreading into giant cracks. I’ve called three or four different companies so far – including my dealership – and either:

  1. No one knows what I’m talking about.

  2. They used to offer a service like that, but no longer do.

  3. I’m told it is easier just to get the windshield replaced (and they’d be happy to do it for the bargain price of [insert large number here]).

I recall that you recommended a company for windshield injections – any chance I can get their name and number? When I heard it on your show, I made mental note of the topic, but didn’t think to write down any of the contact information you disclosed on air (my windshield was still fine at the time). Or is there any other advice that you can offer?

Thanks in advance,


I am going to say that with 4 places to fix, it will be cheaper to just replace it. Each place takes a significant amount to time. If it were just one place, it might be cheaper but I doubt it in your case.

The good news is the same place does both so he can tell you for sure. Call Troy at ASAP Auto glass, (214) 476-XXXX.

Best of luck! I appreciate you listening to the show very much my friend.

Jerry Reynolds
Talk Show Host

My new plan of attack is to wait for the cracks to spread and/or become irritatingly unbearable before calling all over the metroplex researching and gathering quotes.

Sigh. Why is nothing ever easy?

I'm sure the new windshield will whistle after I get it installed. Because I'm lucky like that.

Case in point: Last month I was supposed to go camping. I was meeting everyone at the lake around lunchtime. Except I didn’t actually LEAVE for the lake until after 5 PM. A screw had punctured my back, left tire and I spent the afternoon at NTB getting it sealed (they were busy and fixing my tire wasn’t a high priority). And then I got lost trying to find the lake. As in I’m-not-sure-where-I-live-anymore kind of lost. Great day that was…

So, yeah. The new windshield will whistle. Mark my words.

Thursday, June 05, 2008

For those of you who thought history was boring...

Thursday, May 29, 2008 - Bangor Daily News

GUILFORD, Maine - A "pretty heated meeting" among Guilford Historical Society members over the display of old photographs turned uglier Tuesday when fists and hair started flying.

As members were leaving Tuesday’s meeting, the society’s secretary, Zarvin Shaffer, 38, allegedly punched member Al Hunt, 48, in the jaw with his fist, and Shaffer’s teenage son allegedly pulled the hair of Hunt’s wife, according to Investigator Guy Dow of the Piscataquis County Sheriff’s Department.

Shaffer, who was charged with assault, claimed Hunt had intentionally bumped into him as they left the museum where the "heated" meeting was held, Dow said. After Hunt allegedly was slugged, Dow said Hunt’s wife Laurel Hunt, 44, started yelling and she picked up a chair reportedly to protect herself. When she did so, Shaffer’s son allegedly pulled her hair, Dow said. The juvenile has not been charged but the matter is still under investigation, he said.

The disagreement among members was because Robert Shaffer, society president and Zarvin’s father, had removed "one-of-a-kind photographs" of the town from the museum for display in a local restaurant, according to Dow. He said his department received a call last week reporting that some historical society members were troubled that the donated photographs had left the museum’s safe surroundings. Dow said the photographs have since been returned to the museum, but the disagreement apparently continued to smolder.

Robert Shaffer, society president and father of Zarvin Shaffer, told Dow that club members had voted to place some of the photographs in the restaurant for viewing.

Tuesday, June 03, 2008

I'm fine. Really.

Well, I’m back in support hose after yet another vein procedure. My legs ache and itch like crazy, and I am more or less a whiny, pathetic puddle on my couch right now.

But don’t feel bad for me. Feel bad for Haskell. He got pooped on by a bird.

Puts it all in perspective somehow, doesn’t it?

Poor Haskell.

Putting the FUN back in FUNeral (or something)...

Promotions - Details

When: 06/03/2008 | 06:00 PM
Event title All HOGS Go To Heaven- Funeral Giveaway!
Where: QuikTrip Park at Grand Prairie - Grand Prairie, TX
Category: Promotions

Event description:

All Fans are encouraged to WEAR BLACK tonight for the "All Hogs Go To Heaven- Funeral Giveaway"

Fans will compete in pre-game FUNERAL MARCH, between-inning casket races and much more!! One LUCKY AirHogs Fan will win an all-expenses-paid trip to the afterlife! Sign-up TODAY for your chance to win this once-in-lifetime deal!

All funeral arrangements will be provided by Chapel of Roses Funeral Home. Burial space and arrangements will be provided by Oak Grove Memorial Gardens.

AirHogs To Give Away Free Funeral
06/02/08 - American Association (AA) Grand Prairie AirHogs

Grand Prairie, Texas - The Grand Prairie AirHogs Professional Baseball team will be offering one lucky (or unlucky!) fan a free funeral as part of a promotion during a Tuesday, June 3rd 7:05 PM game with the El Paso Diablos. All expenses will be covered by the Chapel of Roses Funeral Home and Oak Grove Memorial Gardens, both located in Irving, TX.

"We thought this promotion was a great opportunity for us to showcase Irving's newest funeral home," said Chapel of Roses Funeral Director, Charlotte Chism Waldrum. "We are excited to be partnering with the AirHogs in their inaugural season."

As part of the package the fan will receive a certificate for a casket with choice of color, along with professional fees, burial preparation, use of facilities, and vehicle services; all courtesy of the Chapel of Roses Funeral Home.

Oak Grove Memorial Gardens will be the providers of the burial space. They will include the opening and closing of the burial service, as well as a 24" x 14" granite marker with a zinc base.

Fans of all ages are welcome to participate in the promotion. Registration will be accepted immediately and will continue until 6:15p.m. on June 3. Fans can either call to register at (972)504-9383 or can visit the fan assistance booth before the game. Twenty people will be selected randomly from the pre-entries and will be announced after the pre-game funeral march. Throughout the game, competitions will be held between the twenty selected to determine who will be the winner.

Some of the in-game-festivities will include: pallbearer races, mummy wrapping, eulogy deleveries, and much more! Fans are encouraged to wear black to the game.

Monday, June 02, 2008

My favorite story from last week…

One of the museum’s board members came in last week to work on a project. Technically, her assignment did not require the assistance of any of the museum staff (as this particular project only required putting together binders of information for an upcoming meeting).

So, imagine our surprise when said board member:

  1. Needed help designing multiple Excel spreadsheets (Okay, Excel can be complicated…).

  2. Asserted that she didn’t know how use the museum’s copy machine (I guess strange machines are intimidating if you aren’t familiar with them…).

  3. Denied knowing how to use a hole punch (Hole punches can be trick…Uhmmmm, wait. Whaaat?!).

The thing is, had the board member just stuck to needing help making spreadsheets and copies, no one would have doubted her (she’s older and seems to fear computers and machines), but…c’mon! A hole punch?! There haven’t been very many advances in hole punch technology…like, ever. You just stick papers in the slot and push the lever down – Ta-Da: holes! It couldn’t be more simple.

The lady doth protest too much, methinks…