Wednesday, August 29, 2012

Welcome to my house

I saw this photo on Facebook and thought it would be appropriate to write about Charlie's rules regarding visitors. At his house:
  1. I'm easily excitable. You must deal with that mood, and that mood only. I've been called "tazy" before by a little kid. All I wanted to do was jump on him when I was excited. He called me crazy. I was just excited.
  2. When you arrive, I will make monkey noises. Don't question it. 
  3. It is my house. I will greet you. After the monkey noises subside, I will jump on you. Just go with it.
  4. You can sit down if you want. But I will jump on your lap, lather your face with my tongue, wrap my front paws around your face or neck, and smother you with my body. You will love all of this. I love you.
  5. I live here, you can stay and live here too. Really, my parents won't mind if you move in.
  6. My parents don't exist while you are in my house. I will follow you everywhere. Yes, even to the restroom.
  7. My parents claim I'm a good dog. But in your presence... impossible.
  8. I know you have seen all the cute pictures of me being adorable, sleepy, and obeying my parents' rules. None of that behavior will ever be observed by you.
  9. If you don't show me affection, you will be asked to leave my house.
  10. Don't leave me. 

Sunday, August 26, 2012

Neurosis and underwear

Charlie is an incredibly neurotic dog. If he was a human we would need to seek some treatment for him; probably a combination of therapy and some sort of medication. He is extremely particular about many things, so much so that it can cause him to be unable to accomplish basic dog tasks. Like going outside to use the restroom.

Charlie and I woke up early this morning while Michelle was still sleeping. Immediately, I could tell that he needed to go outside to use the restroom. I opened the back door for him. He just sat there. We have trained Charlie to sit at doors and wait for a signal from us, letting him know he has permission to go.

"OK," I said. He still just sat there looking out the open door.

"OK," I tried again. He just looked up at me.

"Charlie, go outside," I commanded.


It had rained last night. The back step was wet, the cement on the driveway was wet, and, of course, the grass was wet. Charlie hates being outside in the rain or when it has just finished raining. So I closed the door and went about my daily morning business until I heard Charlie pawing at the back door in the kitchen while I was in the restroom. I walked over to the back door again and opened it. Charlie, still, would not go out.

"You're so weird," I said to him as I closed the door. "Fine. You won't go outside today. You'll just have to hold it." I truly believe that he can understand my English, even though I know that is not entirely true.

I began to clean up the popcorn bowl, empty drinking glass, and random napkin I left in the living room from the night before. In the kitchen I threw out the filter full of coffee grounds left from yesterday when Charlie began clawing at the door and whining.

"This is ridiculous," I said as I opened the back door for the third time while slipping on my sandals still on the floor. As I opened the screen door, Charlie still sat inside the house just looking outside. I stepped out, in my underwear, to remove the soaking door mat, and hang it on the railing to drip dry. Charlie stepped out as I was bending down. When I stood up, I turned around and he was not in the back yard. There was no way he ran behind the garage that fast. I swiveled and saw him walking down the driveway.

"Charlie!" I sternly half-whispered in my underwear. "Get over here!" I couldn't yell because I was practically naked and didn't want to draw attention to myself, even though it was only 7:30 on a Sunday morning. Our driveway where Charlie was standing was just four feet from the neighbor's house with an open bedroom window.

Charlie looked at me, lifted one of his legs, and proceeded to take the longest pee right on the concrete.

"Seriously?" I said, glancing at the window, fearing our neighbor would not only see my underwear but also our neurotic dog taking a piss on the driveway.

The peeing seemed eternal. The yellow puddle grew larger and larger as the pool slowly crept towards his back paws engulfing them. All I could think about now was Charlie's soaked paws being all over the floor of our house and furniture. He kept peeing, the puddle then overtaking his front paws also. As he finished, he proceeded to step multiple times in the urine puddle, apparently sapping up any left over moisture not already soaked up in his white-haired feet.

Then, he proceeded to take off walking down the driveway toward the front yard. I was standing on the back step at this time. I looked at the neighbors open window. Still, no one was looking at me. The house was protecting me from being viewed by anyone who might be in the front of the house. But it was too late. My dog wanted to go find a dry place in the front yard to poop. And I had to stop him. In my underwear.

I took off running down the driveway after him. "Get back here now!" I yelled this time, not worrying if I woke up the neighbor because I was already in plain sight of anyone who might be in the neighborhood. I grabbed Charlie's collar and pulled him to the backyard. When I turned around, I saw the old man two houses down, sitting out on his back porch, like he usually does early in the morning. I quickly moved back inside where it was safe but it was too late.

Charlie proceeded to prance along the brick landscaping along the side of the garage, like he always does when walking in the backyard. He does this with precision. This is his neurotic routine for walking into the back yard as he doesn't quite like to walk on grass. But he particularly stays on the brick when it is wet outside.

I watched this, shaking my head to myself, resigning myself to the fact that I somehow deserved what had just happened.

After a few minutes, Charlie came running back from behind the garage, heading straight for the back door. This means that he just finished pooping. When I opened the door, he immediately went to walk around on the newly washed kitchen rug, circling, leaving wet, muddy Charlie prints everywhere. I wondered whether or not those rug prints contained urine residue but it was too late. So I called Charlie back to me and wiped his paws dry, probably for no reason.

Wednesday, August 22, 2012


In a previous blog, I wrote about Charlie Rogers, a woman who was attacked in an apparent hate, anti-gay crime. The recent updates in this event are that she has been arrested by the Lincoln Police Department for staging the entire thing. Since the original reporting, there has been speculation that what happened was not entirely true. Everything about this is unfortunate.

I worry that it discredits victims of crime in general. Sadly, some are already reluctant to come forward for fear of retaliation, embarrassment, stigmatization, or undue/unfair questioning of their motives. We need more people to come forward and report hainous acts, not fewer. And we need them to be taken seriously one hundred percent of the time. Especially for those people whom are marginalized in society. Often assault (of any kind) goes unreported. Any type of violence against another person should be taken seriously and I want those victims of violence to not be ostracized or concerned of the consequences of reporting such horrible acts. Unfortunately when events like the one with Charlie Rogers do happen, it may open up the door for those who may want to deny that violence, hatred, intolerance, or despicable acts do occur. There was an article in the Lincoln Journal Star that, I feel, addresses my concerns. Read it here: Supporters: Don't let arrest erode anti-hate efforts.

In moments like this I know I must trust and put my faith in humanity, hoping that we are able to see the complicatedness and complexities of life rather than making assumptions and rash generalizations. I also pray that it brings community together, uniting people rather than dividing them. I'm proud that after the first reports of the assault people in Lincoln came together to stand up against intolerance. This unity was not in vain. Intolerance still exists in a myriad of forms. And we must continue to show our solidarity against it.

Neal Obermeyer is a political cartoonist with extreme talents for adequately touching upon current issues at hand.

Sunday, August 19, 2012

Mononucleosis and strep throat

So I've definitely been neglecting this blog. I have an excuse. Well, no, actually my excuse may not be acceptable to the blogging gods. The reason is a general sense of lethargy... and a case of mononucleosis with a pinch of strep throat.

It all started soon after July 4th. I just did not feel like my normal self, lacking energy and having bouts with extreme headaches defying rest and pain killers. This all lasted about a week. Then, strangely, I began to feel like I was bloated or "full" all the time even though I had not excessively eaten. I found this strange but nothing odd. Really.

One night I felt the need to take my temperature. Which I did. And discovered it was 101. This was the confirmation I needed that I was ill. I began to monitor my temperature on a regular basis. It fluctuated from 101 to 103 for about a week, when I decided it was time to go to the doctor. My theory regarding doctor's visits go like this: wait as long as possible to ascertain whether or not symptoms will magically go away by themselves. I was sticking to that philosophy. I made an appointment with my physician who asked many questions, then kept asking, "Do you have any other symptoms?"

I answered, "No."

He asked that same question about three times, then stated that he wanted to do a blood test to determine if what I had might be bacterial. He told me he was certain I had virus but wanted to do the blood draw to be sure. Of course I found it strange that my diagnosis was "a virus" which seemed awfully vague. I received a call later that day to confirm I had a virus.

So I went back to work and tried to power through my days. This did not work very well as the week seemed like an eternity. The fevers persisted. I stared having cold sweats. And then I got a sore throat. I scheduled another appointment at my doctor's office; since he was not in that day, the physician's assistant saw me. Immediately she postulated that I had mono. When I told her about feeling "full" she was almost certain. Apparently one of the symptoms of mono is an enlarged spleen and liver which pushes against other internal bodily matters. She ordered the mono test and it came back positive.

The saga does not end there.

I took off work to rest, eat well, and drink fluids. That is how mono is treated. For someone who doesn't take sickness well this was a doomed prognosis. I did the best I could to follow the course of action against this mono. Mono was winning. My throat became extremely irritated to the point that swallowing, eating, and practically breathing became torture.

As a whining sick person, I scheduled another appointment. Not with my doctor whom I was still perturbed with for his vague viral diagnosis. My PA was my go-to savior. She was nice, empathetic, and wanted to do her best to make me comfortable. I joked that I'm not a good sick person. She said her husband isn't either. She basically said guys are wussies. Well, she didn't really say that, but essentially that is what she told me. I didn't care, because she was still being nice and sympathetic. She checked out the white grossness that was canvasing my entire throat and decided to run a strep test. If that didn't come back positive she wanted to take a culture to be definite I was okay. At that point I decided I was going to schedule all appointments with this PA. I became more disgruntled against my doctor who apparently didn't care to be as thorough as her.

The PA walked into the exam room. "You're falling apart," she stated. The throat culture was not needed. I also had strep.

I left the office with an antibiotic prescription and what the PA called her "secret concoction" that I could use for gargle to control the throat pain.

From that point forward, each day became painfully, yet slowly, better. The clingiest dog in the world received his greatest dream: his father sequestered in the house with him, unable to leave. Charlie followed me everywhere from the couch where we lounged, to the bed where we slept. He was my faithful companion. I have no idea how I got mono, and I'm still slightly convinced that maybe Charlie had the canine mono while I had the human mono. Together, we enjoyed countless hours on the internet (reading, amongst other things, everything there is to know about mono), viewing Olympic coverage, and watching season DVDs of the TV show The West Wing to pass time. I enjoyed revisiting episodes of my favorite show, relishing in the genius of Aaron Sorkin. While Charlie loved out time together, sitting around the house has never been my thing, and, I became restless. There is only so much I can do in the confines of home before my mind becomes anxious and I miss people.

I attended my sister's wedding, because, let's face it, mono was not going to make me miss that. But I was miserable.

I missed:
  • David, my brother-in-law's baseball game
  • Katy, my sister-in-law's birthday
  • A Counting Crows concert
  • My plan to take time off of work to finish my kitchen remodeling project
And, evidently, mono makes you also forget that you have a blog. And I'm happy to say my energy is back. And it is great to be amid the living.