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Yup, still here

I’ve been spending most of my time with my nose buried in Microsoft textbooks for my upcoming MCSE exams, so I haven’t had much time to blog anything… and then I always feel compelled to write a marathon post when I do, recapping everything that happened since my last one, and it’s so much to catch up that I procrastinate and don’t post at all… Instead, this time, I will just give the condensed version.

We discovered Mojo turns into Cujo every time we give him his heartworm meds, so we’re trying a different drug next time for that. He’s now on Phenobarbital in addition to his other medications, and is fairly stable right now. Lilly had some sort of sudden episode where she completely lost her sense of balance, and was better before we could get her to the emergency clinic, she’s been fairly OK since then. You know, other than being older than dirt, half blind, half deaf, and mostly crazy. The rest of the animals are doing OK. The one food in the entire world we found that Olive could eat without getting hives changed its formula so we may have a problem there, we just started the new food and so far, so good.

Joy has a new job! She starts on the 31st and will be lead adoption counselor at one of the local shelters. It’ll be better pay, more consistent hours, and one weekend day off so it should be a lot better. Of course, she’s really nervous about starting a new job again…

That about covers things from here, other than the fact that it is super hot and muggy right now. Blech – looking forward to fall.

That’s “Loser” with a capital L

Because one of my coworkers has been in training all week, I’ve been going in to work a half hour earlier, which means getting up earlier and moving faster in order to get all the feeding, medications, and other morning rituals done in time. I hate getting startled by the alarm clock, so much that I tend to somehow rouse myself and ‘clock watch’ about a half an hour before it goes off, turning off the alarm and then opening my eyes every five minutes or so to make sure I’m not oversleeping. Yeah, one of my many nutty compulsive habits but it works for me…

This morning I was just plain whipped. We stayed up a little later than we’d meant to, discussing the Mojo problem (so much going on with him I wouldn’t even know where to start catching up the blog on this) and other things, and my allergies were throwing a fit so I took some benadryl when I went to bed. I’m pretty sure the active ingredient in that medication turns into brain glue, and it usually makes for a sluggish morning, but having an allergy attack makes for a sleepless night so I took the lesser of two evils. As expected, when my ‘internal’ alarm clock woke me up around 5:30 this morning, I really, really felt like crap and wanted nothing more in the world than to just go back to sleep for another couple of hours. I struggled groggily, fading in and out a few times before finally managing to force myself to stumble, bleary-eyed and foggy, and with a bear of a headache brewing, I might add, off to the bathroom to take a shower.

As a dozen things I needed to do at work simultaneously churned through my head, and I kept one ear cocked for the sounds of tail-chasing from Mojo’s crate (which he’s been doing this week every morning when I shower, unfortunately) I wished that I didn’t have to go to work, and thought about how I was glad that Mindy would be back to work on Tuesday and I would be able to go back to my normal routine. I tried to do the mental math of how many more days I would have to go in early.

And then it hit me.

The realization that I was quite possibly the biggest idiot alive right at that moment.

It’s Saturday. I don’t work on Saturdays.

I suck.

my steering wheel now has fingernail marks carved into it

I may or may not have ever mentioned that I don’t deal well with traffic. I am deathly afraid of Interstate Highways and it is a small miracle I have survived moving to Dallas. My quality of life (and probably my lifespan) improved greatly when I decided to just start taking surface roads and staying the heck away from I-30 and LBJ Freeway. So when I had to replace a couple of phones around the city yesterday, I hauled out my Mapsco to try and figure a way to get where I needed to go without hitting the Interstates.

This was one of those times when I yearned for the simplicity of Tucson. One of the things I liked about Tucson was that everything was laid out on a grid. It was very easy to get from Point A to Point B, and moreover, if you knew where the 7900 block of Speedway intersected, and had to go somewhere on the 7900 block of a parallel street such as, say, Broadway, you could be pretty sure it would be close to the same cross street as the Speedway address. It made life simple. Dallas is about the polar opposite of that. There is no rhyme or reason, streets dead end, change names, or suddenly turn into my favorite, one way streets. You can zip around pretty easily if you take the Interstate, and have nerves of steel, and I believe I’ve already covered how I feel about interstates. I figured I’d find my way around somehow.

A half hour later, hopelessly lost some where in Oak Cliff, I was cursing. I finally got where I had intended to go, a little frazzled, and made my way back. I figured I’d just take the street I was on as far as it went to see what it took me close to. My next major trauma was suddenly having to hit the breaks so as not to hit the hundred pound dead bloated dog in the road. Of course, everyone around me was speeding, cars behind me just zipped around me so that I couldn’t get into the next lane and was left staring into the face of this very dead dog. It was depressing, especially since, bloated as he was, people must have just been zipping around him all day and left him there. Poor dog. Stupid owner.

Finally I managed to get over and continued. Lancaster turned into Corinth — sounded familiar, and I now appeared to be running parallel to downtown without going through it. I felt a wee bit clever even. That feeling ended at the same time the street dead ended onto what appeared to be an onramp for Central Expressway.

I saw a side street — Hickory — and thought, AHA, I know that street, it runs near to where I work. I zipped down it, only to hit a dead and and what I think was the back side of the Pilgrim’s Pride poultry processing plant. Lots of workers stood watched me get the car turned around, wondering what the hell I was doing. I was wondering that myself. So back to the ramp I went.

Looked at the signs… I didn’t want Central Expressway, and the other sign was for I-30 east, which was the direction I had to go anyway. I thought, maybe I can just creep along the highway access road until I get to a street I recognize, so I turned onto what I thought was the access road. Saw the sign that said “HOV Lane” just after I crossed the point of no return…slowed down and panicked a bit, and the pickup truck that had zoomed up behind me decided I was going too slow and he was going to pass me on the ramp. He rocketed by doing about 80 MPH and blared his horn, scared the crap outa me and missed my fender by inches.

OK, so now I am on I-30 during Rush Hour, and worse, I am in the special commuter lane for vehicles with two occupants or more so I am driving illegally on top of being where I don’t want to be. Speed limit is 55, everyone’s doing 75, and there’s no way off. I am pretty sure my fingernails were embedded in the steering wheel at this point, and I was sure I was about to get pulled over and ticketed. Finally I saw an exit for Ferguson Rd, which was perfect. Relief surged through me until I started to ponder why the other 5 lanes of I-30 were to the right of me, and the exit ramp heading towards them. Ah, a lefthand merge lane, the fun never ends… Now I had to get across all of the lanes of traffic to my exit without getting creamed. Keep in mind that I am possibly one of maybe 5 residents of Texas who is not driving an SUV the size of a tour bus.

I made it, and resisted the urge to pull over and kiss the ground, however I did march straight into the house and down a shot of vodka when I got home. A nice surprise was that Joy was baking brownies. An even nicer one was that she’d saved me the bowl and spoon she’d used to mix the batter.

MMMM…. I can attest that brownie batter and vodka is a very effective cure for stress. I’m surprised it’s not a Ben ‘n Jerry’s flavor.

UGH

From the alert that just popped up in my Desktop ‘Weatherbug’ which currently reads 101 with a 109 heat index:

HEAT ADVISORY FOR DALLAS AND TARRANT COUNTIES REMAINS IN EFFECT
UNTIL 7 PM CDT WEDNESDAY
Urgent – Weather Message National Weather Service Fort Worth TX 203 PM CDT Tue Aug 3 2004

1100 – Dallas – Tarrant – 203 PM CDT Tue Aug 3 2004

… Heat Advisory For Dallas And Tarrant Counties Remains In Effect Until 7 PM CDT Wednesday…

Hot And Humid Conditions Will Continue Over North Texas Through Wednesday Afternoon With Afternoon Heat Indices Between 105 And 110 Degrees. Overnight Lows Will Be In The Upper 70s To Around 80 In Dallas And Tarrant Counties… And Slightly Lower In Rural Areas.

The Excessive Heat Will Moderate Thursday As A Cold Front Moves Into The Region… Bringing Slightly Cooler Air Into North Texas That Will Last Into The Weekend.

Children… The Elderly And People With Chronic Ailments Are Usually The First To Suffer From The Heat. Heat Exhaustion… Cramps… Or In Extreme Cases Heat Stroke Can Result From Prolonged Exposure To These Conditions. Friends… Relatives… Or Neighbors Should Check On People Who May Be At Risk.

Stop Outdoor Activities… Drink Lots Of Water Or Other Non – Alcoholic Beverages… Wear Light Colored/Light Weight Clothes… And If Possible… Spend More Time In Air Conditioned Or Well Ventilated Places.

Do Not Leave Children Or Pets In A Closed Vehicle… Even For A Few Minutes. Temperatures Inside A Closed Vehicle Can Reach 140 To 190 Degrees Within 30 Minutes On A Hot… Sunny Day.

This is in addition to the ‘level red’ pollution warning we are currently under. I hate Texas summers. I don’t know what’s worse, living in an oven (Tucson) or a car tailpipe (Dallas) though at least the murderous heat is a little shorter duration here.

Why won’t anyone pay me to sit around, eat junk, and drink homemade Sangria?

We had a couple of days off together last week and it was a really nice break from Joy’s erratic work hours and the usual busy-ness here. Only problem is that I got very used to it and am having trouble adapting back to the ‘real’ world. Maybe we just need to play the lottery more often…

Out of the huge list of things we’d thought of to go out and do, we ended up just spending a lot of time unwinding and relaxing. We did go out to the movies one day — saw Fahrenheit 9.11 which just made me mad, as I knew it would. We also made homemade Sangria from a recipe we found on the Internet and adapted a bit, and also Jamaican ‘beef’ patties which turned out pretty good. Growing up in Toronto, these little curry-pastry half moons were something available from little heated ovens at just about any convenience store and I loved them. I always said I’d try to find a recipe and make them myself, with veggie burger since I no longer eat meat. The recipe worked out well except I think there was a typo for the amount of water in the pastry dough – it said 5 teaspoonfuls? and the first batch was a disaster. Tried again with 1/3 cup of water and it came out great. We just ate the last of them yesterday. Mmmmmmm…

A few other interesting things happened, like the doggie houseguest we had for a day and the ‘ant incident’ but I’ll save for separate entries later.