Tag Archives: Frankie

Trying to get some things done

I’m doing all the fussy little things today. Things like making sure I have battery chargers in my suitcase for my trip. I set out my wallet and other glasses to make sure they get packed too.

Then there are things I can’t pack until morning. Things like combs and blood pressure medication.

I used the app to get my boarding pass. It also gave me my employee’s boarding pass, and I hope it doesn’t screw him up. I suppose we can meet at TSA and go in together somehow.

I looked for a Steelers game, but it doesn’t look like there is one today.

After placing some things out, I decided to tackle a few more chapters of Lanternfish. I got through a couple, but there were interruptions.

“Daddy, this looks like fun. Check out my rope toy.”

Meanwhile, Otto decided to go spelunking again.

I’m still remembering things, and getting up to place them out for my trip. I should probably focus on that and get offline for a while.

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This and that

My day was scheduled around being nursemaid to my dog. She stirred most of the night, and was freezing. It wasn’t cold in the house, and she can’t be feverish. She’s loaded with drugs, and I suspect it had something to do with that.

She’s done all the major life activities, and is eating and drinking well.

This means I had to shoehorn bits and pieces into my schedule. I got the guest post scheduled for this site. Then I wrote and scheduled my next post for Story Empire.

I spent a bit of time reading a craft book I bought. It’s good to keep up with story craft and do some studying in the off season.

After my wife got home, and could spend some time with our dog, I did the word searches on Lanternfish. I drafted this one pretty fast, and honestly, I’ve never made so many “it’s” errors in my life.

Word searches are finished, and it’s time to start reading it again. I’ll probably tackle a couple of chapters tomorrow. I saw some wordy phrases during my word searches, and this indicates my mind is ready for the task. This is why authors step back for a few weeks and do something else before editing.

I need to dedicate some time to one last micro-fiction for October. Right now, I’m more inclined to get back to Lanternfish.

I intend to dabble again tomorrow. This is because of my doggie duties. My standard of practice is to hit one project hard and complete it. This isn’t my comfort zone, but it also helps get things done.

I’d like to get Lanternfish ready for my beta readers in the next couple of weeks. I won’t make this a deadline though, because I don’t have any money to put into promotion anyway. The reality of getting it to market might be early 2019.

There is no sense in rushing it either. I’ve published two books this year, and that’s not bad. Maybe we’ll recover from the veterinary bills sometime in January.

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$2,446.96

It’s been a quiet week online for me. The best I could manage in most cases was to hit the like button on some blog posts. I’m trying to post something tonight, but even that is half-hearted.

It all started about 12 days ago. Our female bulldog, Frankie, started throwing up when she drank water. There were no other symptoms, including those of dehydration. She played hard, and drank too much. It happens, and I’ve never owned a dog that didn’t do this a couple of times.

Ten days later this was still going on, and we needed to have the vet check her out. There were a couple of timing problems here, one of which involved payday not happening until today.

The other issue is my work sent me to Moscow, Idaho during the week. This is a long way from home, and involved an overnight stay.

Nothing improved for Frankie, and our vet said he would see her, and we could pay him today. He did an x-ray, and there was something…

No idea what it might be, so another kind of x-rays were ordered. It could have been an ulcer, a tumor, or any number of things.

The barium helped reveal an object in her stomach and throat. He said it looked fibrous, like a sock or something. There was a half day period where the vet thought it might pass, but the clock was against us here.

Our vet doesn’t work Fridays, but he did for us. There are other doctors in the office, and they are all good. Frankie is his patient, and we appreciate him for this. Our most recent update involved the object moving, but not as much as he thought it should. He really didn’t want to do surgery, and gave us the choice.

We’ve been to the emergency vet several times. These people are good, but would not necessarily have the x-rays and diagnoses if we went there in the middle of the night. We reluctantly chose to put her through the surgery.

That turned out to be the right choice. The object was skinny, long, plastic, and pointed. He could not identify it, and we did not get to see it. This would not have passed, and could have led to an emergency situation. (Almost certainly.)

She’s home now, groggy as hell. There is a square shaved on her back from an epidural they gave her. She has a mountain of pills we have to give her too, and a restricted diet.

This is not her first experience with swallowing something, and we have to watch her like a hawk.

I’m not above a bit of speculation, so here goes. If you can imagine her chewing something up first, it sounds to me like it was a piece of someone’s fireworks. These aren’t just for the 4th of July around here. People set off fireworks all year long, and every summer night there are various small pops, and at least a few big sky shells going off.

More than once, I’ve picked up the residue from my yard. If I were to speculate further, I’m not able to cruise the yard before going to work. It’s dark outside. I think there was something in the yard, and she found it before one of us could get to it during the daylight.

I’ll never know for sure, but that’s my best guess.

I usually approach my weekends with a plan, and sometimes a task list. This weekend, I’m kind of dialing it in. I have a post to schedule for a friend, and am waiting for some interview data to come back. Don’t have a plan beyond that.

Oh, “Hey buddy, want to buy a book. I’m trying to raise $2446.96.”

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Back to the grind tomorrow.

Today was my one chance to work on things I wanted. I spent the early hours assembling some upcoming guest posts. Then there were the inevitable bulldog needs. My back started bothering me again, but just slightly. I moved the doggie bed out to the foot of my chair in hopes of avoiding some of the cuddles today. — Didn’t work. I’m fine, but there was a certain amount of twisting and adjusting so I could type.

There must be a dozen Lisa Burton Radio questionnaires out right now, but nobody returned one this weekend. I have a show for this Thursday, but might not have one the week after at this rate. This has become a pretty popular spot, so if you’d like to take advantage of it drop me a line.

I opened my work in progress, and managed about 1700 new words. Of course I deleted about a thousand of the old words, so it’s about a push. I have this habit of reading the last dozen or so pages before I start writing. I find a lot of mistakes this way. I’m also working with some important plants for later payoffs and I want to make sure everything is in place. Plants and payoffs always work that way for me; two steps forward and one step back.

Overall, I killed three people, captured a runaway slave, and set the stage to free said slave the next time I can tackle new words. No idea when that will be, because I have some things going on next weekend. I need to think up some kind of hinkey slave name for this character now. Maybe something will come to me during my commutes this week.

We discovered another piece of pink plastic in the back yard yesterday. That’s one more than we expected. On the other hand, Frankie is feeling pretty feisty and is back to her crazy old self.

Our new oven works just fine. My wife created some kind of beer braised meatballs that were awesome. She added in some mashed potatoes to go along with the extra gravy they produced. We’re pictures of health around here, but we’re generally pretty happy. Hope all of you enjoyed your weekend too.

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A small miracle

Here is some great news on the Frankie front. Weeks ago, a piece of a toy went unaccounted for. She was chewing on it when I spotted the rubber arm of this squeaky toy missing. My wife and I looked everywhere for the missing piece, and decided she had to have swallowed it.

She vomited in the middle of the night about two weeks later, and aspirated some of it. Bulldogs are notorious for breathing issues, and this is about par for the course. She wound up with pneumonia from this and was really sick for a day or two before the meds kicked in. I mean middle of the night emergency vet sick.

Two rounds of X-rays, plus an ultrasound later, and there was no sign of this missing chunk of rubber. We knew rubber wasn’t likely to appear on an X-ray or an ultrasound, but the vet said other things like blockages and stomach lesions would show up. Nothing did.

Earlier this week, a big chunk of pink rubber appeared in our back yard. The culprit was Otto, and it passed through. I was not convinced, because the chunk wasn’t big enough.

Otto is huge, 65 pounds. Frankie is pretty tiny. She weighs in at 35 pounds, but bulldogs are so dense that it equates to about the size of a Scottie. (She was the runt of her litter.)

Last night I woke up to the sound of a dog horking on the floor again. I jumped right up, because she had that emergency trip recently. This time, I found more than froth to clean up.

The squeaky toy was some kind of monster, with rubber arms that ended in crab claws. That’s my key ring for perspective. I can’t believe she swallowed the damned thing in the first place, and it’s a miracle that it ever came back up. It would have had to line up perfectly just to fit back in her throat. If it had started out the other end, it could have killed her.

Surgery to remove a swallowed item starts at about $1500, but bulldogs need special intubation to make sure they keep breathing. We may have dodged that bullet.

Oddly enough, she had no other symptoms. I’m sure the aspiration pneumonia is related, but she’s been eating like a little horse, playing hard, and going potty regularly.

Now all we have to do is worry about the next damned thing. She and Otto chewed up the backing underneath one of our rugs yesterday. Underneath.

Our daughter swears she picked up handfuls of the stuff, and doesn’t think they ate any of it. This is all Frankie’s doing, no doubt. She’s psycho, but Otto will play her games if they look fun. I swear I need to start tranquilizing them when they’re out of my sight.

But we love you, Dad.

Note: I wrote this about 2:00 this morning, because up is up at that time. I scheduled it for tonight so Joan got to be the spotlight post of the day. If you missed Lisa’s show, check it out by rolling down the page to the previous post.

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A small update

I’m still not getting anything done. That stresses me out, but life comes up sometimes and we have to deal with it.

Frankie is on the mend. I was at the vet before the sun came up for her ultrasound. The ultrasound is kind of a mixed bag, because there is a chance of no answer at all. The missing part of a toy is either hard rubber or plastic and that rarely shows up on an ultrasound. There are other symptoms that can show up during the procedure.

Our vet was training on the ultrasound, or he was updating his skills, something to that effect. He said he would only charge us about 60% of normal if they could look at Frankie as part of this. That’s a bonus for us right now. I also had the expertise of the trainer to go along with our own vet.

The results: They did not spot the piece of the toy. This is not definitive. The device could have missed it because of its makeup. That leaves us with exploratory surgery, or watching and waiting.

The doctor said they saw no lesions, no hot spots, gas pockets, or anything else that would indicate a foreign body. He recommended the watch and wait method. This drives me nuts, because I like real answers. We discussed the likelihood of this thing passing into her bowel. It is 2.5 to 3 inches long, so it would have to line up perfectly before it could move on. He said he’s removed objects that were in the stomach for six weeks or more.

I asked about the possibility of it digesting, at least in part. He said it would not, but it might lose the bright pink color, or even become softer like old gum. That might make it easier to pass. Or… it isn’t there at all. The only thing we know is she was chewing on the toy and the piece is unaccounted for. For all we know, Otto could have swallowed it, and as big as he is it would likely pass.

Here’s my thought tonight: It isn’t there. However, I wouldn’t like to have an emergency situation while we are out camping a hundred miles from town either.

The aspiration pneumonia happened. Frankie was like a bear rug for a couple of days. She barfed up a piece of cloth about five days ago, something like the tag off a tee-shirt. It’s possible she aspirated some of this, and caused the bigger problem. She got an injection for that yesterday and we brought home some pills for her. Today, she is not her old self, but she is happy and animated. (She’s normally bat-shit crazy, and climbs on the back of furniture like a monkey. I expect my monkey child to be back tomorrow.)

We simply need to be better pet owners than we have been. Frankie is limited to her ball for brief periods and a few Nylabones that she can only get tiny slivers off of. We aren’t ready to turn the whole house into a white-room, but that’s about what she needs.

I was sick all day yesterday too. My nose ran all day, I had chills, aches and pain. I actually went to bed about 7:30 and don’t regret it all. I feel better today.

Some of this put me behind on Lisa Burton interviews. I now have two complete ones to schedule, but it won’t slow down my guests at all. I’ll just have to schedule two of them on Saturday instead of one. Eventually, I’ll get some new words of fiction down.

Back to the paycheck job tomorrow.

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My new pillow

You get a little bit of everything when you visit Entertaining Stories folks. Tonight, I want to talk about pillows.

Guys never really worry about stuff like this. It’s wives that are the catalyst for change over such things. New sheets, towels, that kind of thing. In early Fall, Old What’s Her Face said we needed new pillows. I think I may have answered something like, “Uh- huh.”

I’ve used the same old pillow for years and years, and had no problem with it. One day she met me at the door and said, “Our new My-Pillows are here.” You know the ones they advertise on TV and radio with those annoying ads. I think I said something insightful like, “Cool.”

We both commented about how awesome they were. Truth is we both hated them. I caved first and told her I hated my new pillow and asked where my old one was. She breathed a sigh of relief and admitted she hated hers too. These things are overstuffed, smothering, heat retaining, torture devices.

I happily went back to my old pillow. Then fate struck me a cruel blow. See, the dogs like to play on the bed. They’re fun, they bounce around and act all crazy. For some reason (I wasn’t home at the time) my pillow didn’t have a pillow case. Frankie had been outside and didn’t properly clean herself. I wound up with a large fecal stain on my pillow; the one without a pillow case. After playing Taps over the garbage can, I sadly returned to My-Pillow.

Really sorry, Dad.

It took me one night to realize this was never going to work. Somewhere about this time, I started sleeping in a chair because I hurt my back. This means it had to have been about early December. When I finally returned to our bed, I grabbed an ancient throw-pillow and used it. It was so much better than My-Pillow. It was old enough that I could fold it and sleep on my side, or use it as-is to sleep on my back.

Still, this isn’t a long term solution, and I needed a new pillow. About twenty years ago I heard of this odd pillow that always intrigued me. Lo and behold, they were still around on Amazon. I showed my wife and she secretly bought me one. I am the proud owner of a new buckwheat hull filled pillow.

Unfortunately, she measured and ordered one that is too small for our king-sized bed. The pillow is about the size of a big computer screen. Not to be deterred, I had a new pillow and needed to try it out. It’s still bigger than the throw pillow I’d been using.

I love the damned thing.

First, they shipped it with extra hulls in case I need to add more. It comes with a zipper that is well hidden and I can remove hulls too if I want. I haven’t done anything drastic, but I may remove a cup or two. My-Pillow should have thought of that. I would have gutted it like a fish and tried it again.

This thing shapes to my head, then stays there. I can punch it up or spread it thinner depending on what I want. This is a big plus because I sleep on my side and my back. Here is another fun thing. I may be unique here, but I’ll admit it anyway. Sometimes I wake up with a pain in my ear from sleeping on it. It folds or crushes, etc. Like I said, I could be unique. The buckwheat hull pillow takes one more small dent with a finger and leaves a place for my ear. It’s awesome, I’m telling you.

Finally, this thing stays cool all night. I hate hot pillows, and the promos say it’s because air can circulate around the hulls during the night. Whatever the reason is, I’ll take it.

I’m still in the test drive phase, but one week in this is looking like a winner to me. I’ll give it more time before deciding if I’ll remove some of the hulls.

It’s kind of like a sandbag, but buckwheat hulls are larger than grains of sand and lighter too. You can bet it’s in a frigging pillow case now too.

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