Goodbye Bailey…You’ll Be Forever In Our Hearts…

I’ve seen things this week I thought I would never see in my lifetime…about a week ago Bailey stopped eating his food so we figured a flavor choice was all that was needed…to make a long story short…Bailey turned his nose up at everything that we put in front of him…if you’ve ever owned a beagle or are fortunate to have one in your life now, you can imagine our Shock  since there’s not too many things they won’t eat and they will always let you know when it’s time to eat…always…

After a vet visit…a trip to the hospital for an ultrasound…multiple medications for pain from his newly diagnosed ulcer and pancreatitis…Bailey’s was now taking 7 different medications…I wondered if it was us who were actually killing him slowly…Bailey still had no appetite…no longer made an effort to get off his bed to greet anyone who walked in the room…his tail which always gave his happiness away no longer wagged…he just had the soulless and sad look of a dog who had nothing left…he could have been one of the dogs on an ASPCA commercial …it was heartbreaking to see him that way…

Bailey came to us as a puppy and has meant more to our family than we ever imagined he could…over the years he developed relationships with each member of the family…when my daughter came home from school, he never left her side…on nights when my son would fall asleep on the family room floor, Bailey laid next to him…my wife returned from a business trip?…he was first at the door to greet her with the happy tail…it also led to the question, “Why does Bailey always greet me at the door first?”…and when both the kids were at school and my wife was traveling?…Bailey sat with me…of course I also fed him so that probably had something to do with it…

Bailey looked and acted as if he’d given up…the hair on both sides shaved so they could do the ultrasound…he no longer had that signature hound bark…his huge brown eyes Bailey&ducksaw us, but failed to move his happy tail the way they did before…he would only take his food through a syringe we inserted in his mouth…he no longer told us when it was time to go out, walking had become difficult for him, so he mostly used a spot of linoleum flooring in the laundry room…we became so concerned about the direction of his health on Sunday that I stayed with him on the floor of our family room all night…

On Monday Bailey stopped walking altogether…he began panting as if he were gasping for air…we laid Bailey in an over-sized laundry basket cushioned by towels to make carrying him easier and rushed him to the hospital…they wanted to keep Bailey for the next two days to treat him around the clock…the vet who saw him thought he had no more than a 50/50 chance of making it through the night, but we felt we needed to give him that chance…

Sadly…very sadly…today we decided to let Bailey go…he didn’t respond to any treatment from the vet at all, looking weaker than the day before when we dropped him off…they let us take him to a private room where we could spend some time with him and say goodbye…we were happy when he lifted his head to look at us…but within a few minutes he began to moan and it became obvious that he was in extreme pain…Bailey raised his head and looked at each one of us…his pained and saddened look brought us all to tears…and it would be cruel of us to make him stay any longer…his end came fast and with so many more tears…a cruel irony for the simple life of a pet who brought so much happiness into our family…

I had always hoped Bailey would live a pain-free life and one day just pass in his sleep at home with us…he deserved to…it’s terrible to think of what his last week of life was like…the pain…the forced feedings…I often wondered this past week if he grew to mistrust us…

I wanted to post this yesterday, but it became too difficult to write it…as much as Bailey was a family pet, because of all those nights spent by ourselves…his morning walks at breakfast time and his treat and last walk of the night I always gave him…playtime and our wrestling matches for the one true duck he would never give up…he was mine…I was his…and even though this is the morning after, I’m still crying…still mourning his loss…struggling to cope with the fact I’ve lost him and in some ways failed him…he gave us so much happiness, and our lives were forever changed when he was with us…his sudden loss has left a hole in our family…one which will never be filled…

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I’ve written other posts about Bailey in the past…I hope you’ll take the time to read them…

Bailey and Us…I Remember When

Bailey…Our Pet Store Beagle

When Bailey Lays Around the House…

So Long 2017…You Sucked…You Sucked Hard…

It’s New Years Eve and I’m spending the last few minutes of the year watching some King Arthur movie on television…it’s not even a good one with Sean Connery or anything…my wife and son are both sick…struck down by their first colds of the winter season…even my loyal dog Bailey has abandoned me for a better spot on his bed in front of the fireplace…to be quite honest?…I’m okay with all of it…2017 hasn’t given me a whole hell of a lot to celebrate anyway…

Some bloggers at this point might break into a lengthy diatribe about Narcissistic Number 45 or our dysfunctional Senate and House of Representatives…how the new tax plan will only benefit the extremely wealthy…like them…or about the abuses that have come to light by so many men of power and influence…but no, this year has sucked for me for so many other reasons…reasons I wouldn’t wish on anyone…

For the second time this year, I’m watching as my wife struggles to find another job…as a consultant we always understood that she would be going from contract to contract…this last one ended much earlier than we anticipated…not to mention it comes at a time of year when companies just aren’t hiring…in 2017, thanks to job changes, our family was covered under 4 different health insurance policies…each one progressively more expensive than the previous one…after so many years of stability…healthcare had become a huge financial burden for us…

In October, after a short illness, my father-in-law Joe passed away…Joe accepted me into his family…despite all of the negatives I brought with me as a young and immature man…and he treated me more like a son than a son-in-law…unfortunately, I didn’t always show him as much loyalty as he deserved…

My daughter chose that weekend to also deliver a gut punch that has changed our relationship…she will be going into the Navy in January…yes, I should be happy and very proud of her decision, but I’m not…when I hear her talk about it?…she sounds like a commercial and her reasons just don’t ring true with me…part of my disappointment with her decision comes from my own past…I never went to college…it was something my family could never afford…I turned 18 and went to work at the sewer plant…I literally shoveled shit for a living…my wife and I put my daughter through 4 years of a very expensive private college…maybe I expected her to graduate…get a job I approved of…start a family…all of those things are on hold now while she pursues a career I’m not sure she really wants…then again, maybe I don’t know her as well as I thought I did…

But 2017 wasn’t done yet…the final blow coming when I learned a close friend who I grew up with in New Jersey was killed in Maryland…as painful and as difficult for me to accept that he’s no longer here, I can’t imagine the pain his wife, his sons, his parents and his brother are feeling now…

I included links…my own little depressing year in review if you will…hope you will take the time to read them…

Worst Christmas Card Ever…

And Then She Broke My Heart…

Oh Joe? Sadly, Won’t See Him No More…

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I can honestly say that not everything about 2017 was bad…I landed a new job…I’m no longer a truck driver…I’m a grocer…more about that here…

The Best Worst Decision I’ve Ever Made?…

I participated in…to say I competed in would be too much of a stretch…my first half marathon…and I raised more money for St. Jude’s Childrens Hospital while I did it…

I have a lot to learn in 2018…my training as a grocer is much more extensive than you would think…definitely more than I thought…but it also allows me many more opportunities for success than a life of driving…I hope…

I know my wife will land a new job this year…she has too much experience…she’s too smart…too driven not to…I think if I have one concern right now it’s this guy (this post is short, I promise)…

When Bailey Lays Around the House…

Oh, and my son finally finishing college and finding a good job…but, at least I have my health…some health…maybe we should wait on that Conversation  …I’ll let you know after my physical on the 8th…

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Bailey and Us…I Remember When

I remember when we saw him for the first time…his ears too big for his puppy-sized head…his bark short and comical to hear…his hound voice yet to be discovered…his brown eyes and his birthday, both same as my wife’s sealed the deal…

I remember picking him up at the mall…that’s right, we bought him at a pet store, and after 14 years turns out he was a helluva deal…him and the kids went through obedience training, but it didn’t take…God love ’em, those kids were too crazy…

I remember the night we bought him home from the vet’s office…drugged up on pain medication…castration they called it on the bill…responsible ownership they told us…in the back of my mind I still think cruel and heartless…

I remember when curiosity got the better of him…an introduction to electricity and the hazards of chewing electric cords…so that’s what fried beagle smells like…it only ever happened once…I remember how he chewed the rug in our family room…the vote was close…should we replace just the rug?…or him too?…

We all had our nicknames for Bailey…Bailsey, Beagle, Baileydammit…the last one mine, reserved for those times he decided to take a run around the neighborhood…never said we were very creative…

I remember stuffed mallards, rubber balls, and any number of other toys he would fetch and wrestle over…the way he would shake those stuffed mallards as he ran with them…drop a ball at your feet and howl a beagle howl to go again…how he ran up the back stairs in the house, down the hallway to the front stairs, then down and around to the back again…throw it again he dared…

Bailey’s 14 this month…he can’t run the stairs and he only walks when he used to run…he’s come to some kind of agreement with the rabbits in the yard…they don’t even Scamper  for the trees at the sight of him coming out of the house anymore…he walks with a limp…sometime front, sometimes back(?), depends how he slept…he still has most of his teeth, just not all…and apparently there must be male-pattern baldness in his family, how can a 13-inch beagle lose so much hair?…

…he sleeps more now…but as always, there’s never a meal or a treat he’ll pass on…the vet says his heart is good, so we’re looking forward to another year of remembering Bailey when…

 

My Family…Caring And Supportive…Or Batcrap Crazy?

I’ve done more than my share of self loathing lately. But then, I’m what you would truly call a miserab, and disliking myself and my actions are all a part of the experience. But there are other reasons, external forces that help create and when needed, re-enforce my true miserable-ness.

So what is it that drives me batcrap crazy? It would be easy to tell you it’s the political shitstorm we’re all subjected to everyday, but that’s not it, at least not yet. Lack of friends, snooty neighbors…probably, but they’re for another day…

No, the number one thing on my list is family. Don’t judge me just yet, if you’re reading this I’ll bet you’ve said the same thing before, only to yourself and not in print where anyone in your family will read it. I can honestly say I have no worries there…no one in my family has ever read, or asked to read a single word I’ve published. But I’m not bitter. Let me introduce them…

My wife may be the smartest woman I know or have ever known, and it ain’t because she hitched her wagon to this horse’s ass. Her one major flaw…she doesn’t listen, or maybe it’s respect…a word I tell her. Sure she’ll ask for my opinion, but most of her time is spent performing this painful monologue where she speaks and I only move my mouth when she puts her hand in the back of my head like I’m some sick sort of wood dummy. On the rare occasion that I do spout a semi-coherent thought, she chipmunks it away in her brain, only to see the light of day again if someone she actually has respect for confirms it as a good idea. But then it’s, “(Fill in any name here) said this and it seems like good advice.” You’ll notice there is no mention of me as the original author of that good advice. But that’s okay.

Now, my wife, is also a mom, just ask my son. They have this relationship, and I swear they do it to annoy me, where one minute she’s the loving Italian mother talking to the son who would do anything for her, and the next minute I’m looking to hide all the cutlery in the house. It can turn that quickly. There is a saying that goes, “Pick which hill you want to die on”, and there isn’t a hill in our house, in our lives, that isn’t out of their war zone. They’ll debate his grades, his job, religion, politics, food, beer…anything, it’s all up for grabs, and I find it’s best to duck when the verbal bullets start flying. Things get heated and that’s when my wife drags me into the fray. I’m the human shield, I’m that thing that signals to my son that he can’t win this one, run and live to fight another day…and then like that, the relationship is back to loving mom and adoring son (kinda)… I’m left in a state of not ready to let it go yet…next thing I know, their off to a movie, to the mall, to grab a sandwich…and everything is right in their world…it’s me who’s left holding the bag labeled “Hostility”.

My son, God love him, is the most over-confident student currently on academic probation that I know. He’s also a bit of a beer Buff and there isn’t one he won’t try, which might shed some light on his academic probation status. But he has a dream, a vision of opening a brewery and cooking his own brand of beer, a part of society so underserved that as of last year there were only a mere 5,000 brewers in the United States. But I give him credit, it’s his dream and I won’t squash it, there’s already over 5,000 people in line for that job.

I also have a daughter. She was smart enough to move to Florida after graduating college, thereby avoiding all of this familial strife. It also allows us to take our show on the road a couple of times a year, possibly educating other families, especially younger ones, in new and sometimes brutal ways of dumping on each other. Now, my daughter, she’s truly crafty…she has made it known to each of us separately that she enjoys us coming to visit her…one at a time. It gives her more one-on-one time with each of us… and thereby avoids the hysteria that accompanies a full family visit. It’s her brand of divide and conquer strategy…and to be honest, it works like a charm.

I have a beagle. His name is Bailey and he’ll be 14 years old this year. That would make him 75 to you and me, and just like me, he’s got bad feet, he’s a little overweight for his size, and I think his hearing and sight are starting to go, and occasionally he’ll have a senior dog moment when he walks into a room with no clue as to why he wants to be there. He’s a great dog though, except he has his days and nights confused. I also think he has some separation anxiety as well, and nothing cuts into my sleep faster than a beagle howling for attention at 3:00. That’s A.M., after midnight, when we should all be asleep. So for the next half hour, we go outside, we might wrestle over a toy, maybe have a biscuit or two (him, not me), whatever it takes to settle him down.

There you have it, an attempted humorous look at my family, the folks who irritate me, promote self loathing within myself, and drive me absolutely batcrap crazy on occasion,  and with whom I couldn’t do whatever it is I do if they weren’t in my life…

 

Featured Image via from Dorkly via flimsyspoons

Germs, Your Dog, & The 5 Second Rule

Fun things you can do at home to test your level of tolerance to bacteria and their ever-present place in your home!

We all grew up under the same simple rule of food handling we know as the 5 second rule:

Drop a piece of food on the floor and it’s safe to eat if you pick it up within 5 seconds.

We’ve always applied that simple rule to food dropped on the kitchen floor, but can it be that cut and dry? To what degree you hold it to be true is up to you, regardless of what others may think of your questionable eating habits. Who of us hasn’t dropped a pretzel or a potato chip on the floor and simply picked it up, shaken off any loose hairs, and jammed it in our face without thinking twice about it? But what about other everyday food stuffs. Consider that piece of jelly toast now feeding and shielding the bacteria on your floor from harm. Do you just pick it up, clear it of any visible foreign objects, and then send it to your stomach to deal with any hitchhiking bacteria, or do you simply throw it away?

Before you continue with the experiment of your body to digest and protect your organs from being scorched by the bacteria colonizing your kitchen floor, there should be a set of control questions in place to aid imageyou in your potentially fatal decision to pick up and eat that slice of jelly toast, and it’s best to have those answers in place before you drop that piece of toast since 5 seconds doesn’t give you much time to conduct a potentially self-harming experiment. I’ve provided some sample questions based on my own kitchen floor. Feel free to use them or tailor them to fit your own potentially hazardous decisions:

  • How long was the toast on the floor? Use the scientific 1 Mississippi…2 Mississippi…method of counting since it’s more precise than just counting to 5.
  • Is the jelly toast for breakfast (the most important meal of the day), or just a snack meant to help fulfill some long denied eating disorder?
  • Is it the last piece of bread? The potential to make another slice could aid in protecting your body from infectious diseases.
  • Was this the last of the jelly? Choosing to eat this slice of toast from the floor could be akin to swallowing a Petrie dish full of germs.
  • What kind of spread is on the toast? Was it your everyday Welch’s grape jelly or the more coveted Smuckers strawberry preserves? The decision to throw away strawberry preserves should not be taken lightly. For those of you with a microscope it might be fun to drop a slice of each and then count the bacteria on a sample size piece of toast to see how many different strands of bacteria are present on each slice.
  • Do you have a dog and was he present when you dropped your toast? I just happen to own a dog, but you can use a cat or a ferret if those are the pets you own.
  • Did your dog come away with some of your potential meal and how offensive do you find it to share your meal with him? If your answer to this question is extremely offensive, then feel free to discontinue your control questions here.
  • Does your dog scoot in the eating area of the kitchen after enjoying his morning constitutional in the yard? Scooting is the action of your dog sitting up straight and dragging his hind quarters along the floor. If the answer is yes, feel free to discontinue your control questions here.
  • Does the amount of loose dog hair on the floor seem to make it hard to discern where the dog ends and the floor begins? If the answer is yes, feel free to discontinue your control questions here and grab a broom or your other sweeping tool of choice.
  • Is your health insurance policy paid and up to date? This last question can’t be stressed enough, and if the answer is no, you might want to discontinue the control questions, give any remaining jelly toast to the dog and go get a nice apple or other piece of fruit to eat.

Can the 5 second rule also be applied to items other than food? To surfaces other than the kitchen floor? To other rooms in the house? The scientific answer to these questions lies not with the Environmental Protecrion Agency, or the Centers for Disease Control, or the American Medical Association (although I’m sure they know), but in your own house and with your own thirst for the knowledge of what the hell you’re eating or putting next to your skin.

Fot more scientific fun you can do at home, try these fun experiments (NOT RECOMMENDED, SERIOUSLY YOU COULD GET REAL SICK):

  • Drop the last slice of pizza or ice cream sandwich on your dog’s bedding; count to 5 Mississippi and then see if you have the chops to eat it.
  • Accidentally knock your open stick of deodorant into the toilet, again count to 5 Mississippi, and then roll it on. The results of your experiment should include the amount of time it took to get back into the shower and the cost of a new stick of deodorant.
  • For a period of one week use one iPad only in the bathrooms in your house and a different one for the other rooms. Complete the experiment by using the ultra-violet light emitted by your Star Wars light saber to detect and count the bacteria on each.
  • For a period of one week, in your bathroom, count the amount of hair around your shower, the toilet, and your sink. Your results should include how many, the average length in each area, color (if necessary), and what it is you think doing this proves, because I can’t think of anything.

Now you’re dropping science!
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Take Down Those Lights and Put That Tree Away!

“Then the Grinch thought of something he hadn’t before! What if Christmas, he thought, doesn’t come from a store. What if Christmas…perhaps…means a little bit more!”

It happens every year and the older I get the worse it gets. It could be a neighbor, maybe a Target or a Kohl’s, or even a grocery store. The Christmas season envelope gets pushed further and advertised earlier than it ever has in the past. Raise your hand if you’ve already seen a TV commercial or department store display aimed at potential Christmas shoppers. Enough already, I haven’t even given out my first fortune cookie for Halloween yet. It is amazing how many of these you can save up after a year of eating take-out Chinese food. If you were a kid which would you choose, the cookie that could explain your future or some nasty old pennies wrapped in Saran Wrap and tied with orange ribbon? The cookie I’ll bet.

The point, which I’ve obviously lost track of, is I’m a kid from the 1960’s and for me, October through December was defined by the celebration of three events, Halloween and the preceding night, Mischief Night,  Thanksgiving and all of the creative ways to cook left-over turkey, and Christmas with all of its toys and the birth of our Savior. I would be a liar if I told you as a kid the birth of Jesus ranked ahead of getting a year’s worth of new toys. Anyway, with each of these three important events, there were TV specials that defined that holiday and triggered a series of events culminating in Christmas and the just as important, Winter Break in the Evesham Township School District. And the birth of our Savior.

Charlie Brown and the other apparently parent-less Peanuts kids had no competition when it came to shows celebrating the joy of Halloween or the feast that was Thanksgiving and the importance of having enough bread to make all of that toast. Or for wandering the neighborhood at all times of the night. A Charlie Brown Christmas had much more competition, but even at my advanced age remains my favorite, sorry Grinch, mostly because we both have Beagles. Maybe if Max were a beagle I would feel differently.

My point is, each of these holidays owned a portion of the calendar, not to be infringed upon by either of the other two. You didn’t make out your Christmas list or mail your Christmas cards at Halloween, you didn’t wear your Halloween costume at the Thanksgiving dinner table (unless you were an Indian or a pilgrim for Halloween, then you could probably pull it off), and your parents didn’t start decorating the house for Christmas until at least after the leftover Thanksgiving turkey and stuffing were disposed of during the long 4-day weekend. In my parents house, the end of the Thanksgiving holiday signaled my father to send a kid up in the attic to retrieve the outdoor Christmas lights and to go into the garage and retrieve the 4 x 8 sheet of plywood he used to begin the month long construction of the train platform my family enjoyed every year.

If you’re still wondering the reasons for this semi-incoherent rant; it would be the neighbor who this week I saw has already put out Christmas lights. No, they’re not Halloween lights, these are the red, blue, and green lights of Christmas, not the orange lights one would expect in October.

And the small package Halloween costumes I used to deliver have been replaced by giant artificial Christmas trees. Already. In October. Before Thanksgiving even.

And the oversized Amazon boxes containing the biggest toy a parent can buy. No, not big as in popular, big as in the bigger the toy, the more a parent must really love their child. Whatever happened to love comes in smaller boxes? And nothing says love like a nice 6-pack of tube socks or underwear.

And the endless arguments about stores opening or not on Thanksgiving Day. How about retailers (and FedEx and UPS) give employees Black Friday off as well. Consumers will still spend their hard earned money 24 hours later. You can call it Cafe Noir Saturday which is the color of brewed coffee, but still a shade of black. Think of the impact to the coffee industry from  consumers saying Cafe Noir Saturday instead of just Black Friday.

I’m not trying to dictate how people should enjoy their holidays because not enough people will even read this to make a difference. People should do as they please no matter how over the top it appears. And if you’re the only one in you’re neighborhood who already has their Christmas lights up, I would be willing to bet you’re neighbors are saying the same thing, just behind your back.

It’s not Halloween yet and I’m already pushing burnout from the overselling of Christmas. 

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