Monday, February 26, 2007

Hello from the valley of the sun

I'm in Phoenix, Arizona, right now visiting my dad and stepmom with P and McKenna, but I wanted to stop in really quick and tell everyone thank you for the condolences about Gabby.

This weekend has been okay, but it's easy to not be sad when you are so distracted with so many wonderful things to do and see in Phoenix, not to mention McKenna, my allergy attack, and the fact that my body is finally realizing just how exhausted it is.

However, the hard times are ahead. Right now, it still doesn't seem real that Gabby is gone. It just feels like she is at home waiting for us to get back from the airport. I think once we get home and pick up the dogs from the boarder, it will be a little better than it was the first night. The first night, we had taken Katie and Simon to the boarder's, and it was just so quiet at home with just us and the other two cats left in the house since McKenna was asleep.

I know she's in a better place and I did the right thing. I'm just going to miss her a lot.

Phoenix has been a lot of fun, aside from my horrible allergy attack and McKenna's ear infection which manifested itself Saturday afternoon. We went to Tortilla Flat, which is an old stagecoach town in the Superstition Mountains, and that was fun. We stopped at this old gold mining town on the way back and I bought a small little "goldglobe" for my desk. It's like a snowglobe, except with flakes of gold and not snow. Pretty neat. Yesterday we went to Arizona Mills and then to PF Chang's in Tempe for lunch. Saturday afternoon, Dad took us to our old neighborhood and I showed P my old elementary school, home and junior high (now a middle school) in Tempe. Kind of strange, but neat.

Anyway, we're flying out today, so I'm off to start packing up.

Thursday, February 22, 2007

Goodbye forever, Gabrielle

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Today is a very sad day for me. Today I said goodbye forever to my dear sweet cat, Gabrielle, who I have had the pleasure of having in my life for thirteen wonderful years.

Last night around 11 pm, I went into the office to check on her like I always do and I found her laying on her side on the floor breathing very heavily and looking very sick. I picked her up, took her out to the kitchen, and she flopped over on her side like she just didn't have the energy to go on. I decided to take her to the emergency vet, and they put her on oxygen and basically got her through the night. When I took her to my permanent vet, she confirmed what the emergency vet had told me...that Gabrielle was having some sort of heart failure related to her heart murmur that was discovered ten years ago and that we could run all kinds of tests, an EKG, an ultrasound, chest x-rays, but that ultimately what would end up happening (best case scenario) is that she would be on medication for the rest of her life, be relegated to constant vet visits to monitor her progress, and would risk every day having a heart attack or stopping breathing. Worst of all, the vet said that all of this would be horribly expensive and traumatic, and that she couldn't guarantee us six months or even six days.

Considering her age and the quality of life issue at stake, we decided to do the best thing for her and let her go. It was the hardest decision I've ever had to make and I have never cried so much as I have today. The vet made me feel a little better about my decision when she told me that after Gabby fell asleep when they started the procedure, blood and other fluids started flowing from her mouth, confirming that she had severe pulmonary edema and that this was an irreversible process. Despite that, she died very peacefully. Her body is going to be cremated and her ashes distributed at a local pet cemetary.

Gabby, I will love you forever. I will never forget all the times I drove from Chapel Hill to Winston-Salem with you curled up on my lap. You were my buddy from my first apartment in Chapel Hill (from which I was evicted because I refused to give you up or find another home for you) and you moved with me to eight places after that. You drove with me from North Carolina to Texas. Even though the doctors told me when you were three that you wouldn't live past the age of six due to your heart murmur, you hung in there year after year after year without complaint. You kept me company and comforted me through many broken hearts, my parents' divorce, my miscarriage, and were there on the bed every day with me when I was put on bedrest. Many, many days were spent with you curled up behind my laptop purring. You were sweet to my daughter and showed such patience with every new person I brought into your house starting with the other two cats who to the day you died you merely tolerated, my husband who only took up your space in the bed, the big dumb Labs that chased you around the house, and finally, my daughter who took up so much of my time that I hardly had time for you the last year of your life. Despite that, you always had a meow, a purr and a hug for me when I wanted one, and even at the last moment at which I had to say goodbye to you, you showed affection towards me by rubbing my hands with your head as if to say thank you for letting you finally have peace and make your final journey to the rainbow bridge.

In response, I say thank you for taking care of me and I hope that you will always find a warm bed to lie on in the sun in heaven.

Saturday, February 17, 2007

So just how old am I?

I bought a car stereo today for my Explorer.

Ever since I turned in my company car, it's been like the money pit with my 1999 Ford Explorer Sport, which is a two-door SUV that we bought about two months before I got my company car in 2001. Due to the fact that it was hardly driven for the last five years while I've been cruising around on free gas in the Magnum, it has less than 70,000 miles on it. However, it has had some things going on with it...we had new brakes put on it, a full tune-up and a plethora of other repairs done on it a few months ago to the tune of about $900, which was not too bad. But THEN, a few weeks ago, both the passenger door and the trunk wouldn't open anymore, and since our electric locks had stopped working years ago, we made an appointment at the Ford dealer to have the doors fixed. Wouldn't you know it...on the way there the check engine light came on and it turns out that we had some kind of a manifold leak. That little trip was $790. Ridiculous, but now the dealers charge you like $200 just to look at the car, so we couldn't not repair it.

So after that, we started seriously talking about buying a new car, but there just isn't anything out there that excites us to the point of making us want to have a car payment other than a mini-van which we can't afford right now, so we decided just to keep fixing up OUR cars and then just drive them until they fall apart. Neither one of them has over 80,000 miles, so I figure we've got a while to go considering all the recent repairs they have had done.

So, the Explorer is getting detailed at some point in the next few weeks, I ordered a CD visor and Carolina emblems to put on the back, we're going to have keyless entry and an alarm system installed soon, and today I bought a Panasonic stereo that is going to be installed tomorrow. Philip's Honda is going to get new rims and a new stereo and a full detail as well. And that'll be our remodeling to the cars to keep the "I want a new car" gremlins at bay.

But I have to say, I never felt alternately so young and so old as I did today. The young feeling came when I was actually contemplating which stereo would give me the best sound and whether or not I needed new stereo speakers to install in the Explorer. I felt like I was seventeen and had just saved up my babysitting and lifeguarding money for months to be able to buy my stereo.

The OLD feeling, however, really came from talking to the 19-year-old (or so) that was trying to sell me a super-nice stereo and telling me how he just spent $600 on an alarm system for his car. All I keep envisioning is my friends from high school that would have the biggest heaps in the world but the most sensitive alarm systems and the best sound systems for their cars.

Next thing I want is some of that undercarriage lighting....IN PURPLE. And I'm getting my name painted on the back in pink and white pinstriping. It'll look great against the black.

Okay, so I'm just kidding. I don't feel THAT young.

Saturday, February 10, 2007

Making the transition to an early bird...

I've been trying to get to work early lately (like 7 am early) so that I can leave work early and spend more time in the evenings with McKenna. So far, it hasn't worked once. I keep finding myself losing track of time, getting behind, and whoops, all of a sudden it's 5:30.

I have a feeling what I'm going to need to do very soon is just set a specific time to leave, and then LEAVE. I don't know what else to do. There will always be a ton of work to do, and this will never change. I hate it, but it is what it is.

Overall, things in supervisor-land are going okay. December was horrible, January was better, and February so far is busy, but a little better than January.

I am, however, scoring some pretty neat new toys:

-a new Dell docking station for my laptop
-a wireless optical mouse
-a new laptop
-a new printer (mine broke on Friday so I bought an all-in-one Lexmark printer today)

...and I'm working on getting my office to approve ordering a new Sprint phone that is Bluetooth-compatible. We'll see...that one doesn't look too good.

My team is doing okay....two of my girls are struggling through their training, and one of the guys (M) is applying to transfer to commercial for a change of pace. He claims it has nothing to do with me, and I believe him. C and C (the other two guys are doing fine) although I finally had to buy a voicemail log book tonight for one of them in a desperate attempt to get him to be organized about returning his calls.

My desk is still staying neat, clean and organized. I even have an ivy plant and Lysol for cleaning it. I also started to use my Sony Clie (PDA) a few weeks ago and since I can download Palm Desktop to use on my laptop, I'm even more organized and don't have a bunch of lists everywhere.

So, if I can just find a way to add about six more hours to every day of the week, I'll be all set.

McKenna is doing great. She can now say mommy, dadda, baby, bye, wave, and walk EVERYWHERE. It's insane...she is quite the little explorer. She's now 30 lbs, 32" tall, and according to her doctor, doing great. I'll try to get a current picture up soon.

So, that's the scoop. We're doing fine. Just staying very, very, very busy.