Thursday, January 31, 2008

System Overload

Getting older is damned hard. I feel like I am deteriorating in all functions at the same time. I went to my regular doctor last week, and I told him I felt lousy all the time, nauseated, GI icky, pain in my joints, blurry vision, my skin is itchy and painful, you name a part and I feel rotten there. I was hoping for at least something I could take for the nausea (like phenergan), because there isn't anything OTC that works worth a damn. I mean, what, Pepto Bismol? Emetrol? I toss a slug of them down, and it comes right back up, none the worse for wear. I have grown so used to feeling queasy that some days the first time I become conscious of it is when I realize I am clenching my teeth to the point that my jaw hurts. Anyway, doc's response was to have me discontinue everything I've been taking that isn't "critical", so now I don't take multivitamins, glucosamine, omega-3, aspirin, Zetia, or antibiotic. Result? The nausea is worse. Much worse. Go figure.

I am still trying to sell our many many books on and orders have been dwindling this month. Today I got an order for a $2 paperback, an ex-library one no less, so the condition is only fair. But the guy ordering it is in the UK and the shipping charge is $9 ! I mean, why bother? I guess the dollar is doing so badly compared to the pound that this must seem like a bargain? I still have thousands of books to enter in the database, and when I feel bad this is the last thing I want to do...

And the rotten weather! The temperatures have been OK for January, but the last three nights the WIND has howled so much I can't sleep. We have trees down, part of the screen around the pool wrecked, trash can lids disappear, and why don't they sell the lids separate? The fireplace chimney funnels the sound down to the bedroom while also imparting an echo-y other-worldly WHOOOO to it, and the power, cable, and phone have all gone out over and over. Can't we send for some boring old drizzle?

I know, this isn't a very uplifting post, and that I am repeating stuff I've written before. And at the same time, I know that it doesn't really matter because the main proportion of readers here have surfed in via BlogExplosion, and are only waiting for the thirty second timer to release them, and they won't be back. So if that's you, your thirty seconds is almost.....

Saturday, January 26, 2008

Dogs + horse meds = vet

The formula above sums things up pretty well. Yesterday, between dog breakfast at 9 am and us going back to the barn at 11 am, the dogs managed to paw the door to the tack room open. In addition to making a mess of plastic bags, insulation, and whatever was in reach, they got hold of a tub of "Equiease", a palatable horse supplement that we give to the 24 year-old mare to help her with aches and pains. The active ingredient is aspirin, and dose is 2.5 grams in a single scoop, with around 55 scoops in the tub. There are 10 or so scoops missing, as nearly as we can estimate, which for a dog is a HUGE dose of aspirin. How much they ate versus scattered on the floor is unknown. We called our vet, who is of course out of town. Then we called the horse vet, who said to make them throw up, so we squirted two 15cc doses of hydrogen peroxide down each, and shortly received three enormous puddles of ex-breakfast. We kept an eye on them all day, hoping that all that food in their bellies prevented the aspirin from being absorbed. Maggie, the 7 month old, seemed fine throughout: excited, hopping about, moving well, normal. But by 11 pm, Raven, the 13 month old Newfy, was subdued, reluctant to get to her feet or walk, very fast respirations. A call to the emergency clinic, and off we went, where they kept her overnight to give tummy meds, IV fluids, blood work, etc. She came home this morning, and seems pretty subdued, but not distressed, so hopefully there will be no further problems; she also came home with a bag of meds and instructions for a repeat blood work-up next week.

Cost? The tub of supplement =$50. The vet visit = $400+

There is a new latch on the tack room door.

Sunday, January 20, 2008

Ding ding! Tax time!

I started the annual Gathering of the Papers today, in preparation for The Submission to the Great IRS. I don't actually DO the taxes now, because we always end up paying, and I don't want Uncle Sam to get money (more money) from us any sooner than legally necessary. But I like to get things organized a little at a time so I don't have to dig through 16 months worth of unread magazines to find that receipt.

So today I started to gather the checking account statements together. We hardly ever write checks anymore, we mostly pay electronically, and we track the balances online too. So the statements are really only necessary to document charitable contributions, medical co-pays, and so on, and thus when an envelope comes from the Bank, we don't open it, just stow it in a handy wicker basket until the end of the year.

I started noticing several months ago that we seemed to be getting a LOT of mail from the bank. Like, daily. Usually three envelopes a day. We'd joke and call it our daily bank correspondence.

Tonight I opened it all, and within the first 4 envelopes it was plain what the situation was. We have three accounts at the Bank, a checking and two savings. Somewhere in the inner workings of the accounting office, a wrong entry was made, and starting in mid March of 2007, they have been sending us a DAILY account statement. NOT monthly like any sane place would do. I counted the checking account statements for 2007, and there are---tada---207 of them. We actually wrote fewer than 100 checks for the entire year. The mailings came to around 33 cents in postage, times three for all three accounts, times 200 for the year= around $200 in postage alone. Why not deposit $200 in our account, keep all the statements, and I'll swing by in January and scoop the lot?

Far too sensible. Tuesday I'll go to the bank and see what can be done for this year. Meanwhile, the wicker basket is straining pretty badly to hold all this vital information, but heaven forbid I pitch any of it, an audit would certainly follow, right?

Wednesday, January 16, 2008

Happy new-ish year

I hadn't intended to be quite so lazy about posting. I've had a change in meds, and they have left me either 1) Too tired to get dressed, or eat, or even read, or 2) So wired I jangle and quiver whenever I stop moving. In between these mood swings, I have a short little span where I am awake and focused, but instead of blogging, I seem to do things like scrub the bathroom, straighten the linen closet, OR... shop! The sales! The springy weather (well, except for the 10 inches of snow). I've sold some more books on, several of them the high-priced SF classics. I wish it didn't take so much effort to list each book. I have to describe the condition of the book (cover faded, corners bumped, 1/4 inch tear at top right spine, bookstore stamp inside) and then I add something to describe what the book is about. Sometimes I just copy off the cover teasers, but sometimes they don't really say much. So instead I write a little 3 sentence plot synopsis; it's a little like writing a book report, only doing one hundred a week. I still have to do a price comparison (can anyone enlighten me why a paperback book by Eve Forward called "Villains by Necessity" is selling for $25-40?) and then decide if my copy is equal, better, or worse. Rinse. Repeat. At least there is a database program to organize all this.

The puppies are about the same size now, Raven the one-year-old is heavier and longer through her body, while Maggie is just as tall, but of slimmer build, at 6 months old. They enjoy being outside where they can run in and out of the barn and the back yard, or they come up on the back porch for a nap, or come in to torment the cats. They track in a HUGE amount of dirt, as you might imagine.

Update: Man, I have really sloughed off on getting this done. Let's see: tonight the low is forecast to be 9 degrees. We rugged up the horses in their down-filled blankets (oh, they are so spoiled), and switched the water buckets to the heated ones. This is the first winter with the new barn, and it holds in the heat very well, as long as the doors are shut, there is a small oil-filled electric heater for the corner where the dogs sleep in the hay, and some heat from the two heated rooms. The ceiling is insulated, and all the stalls are double walled, and one fourth of the barn has 600 bales of hay stacked to the rafters, which is a really thick insulation itself. [ Edible insulation! What a great idea... you could put it in your house too for the winter, a nutritious mix of bags of marshmallows, shredded wheat, crackers, flour sacks, you get the idea, and then in the summer you eat it all up so the wind can move freely through. Then the next winter you won't need to replenish the insulation, because, like polar bears and whales you now carry all that, um, fat, to keep you warm, your own biodegradable, 100% natural body insulation.] And of course the horses themselves throw off a lot of body heat too. I'm writing this mostly to convince myself that it will be OK. If this turns out to be a rough cold winter, I'm going to see about getting an industrial force air heater/blower before next year.

I think I have bored everyone enough so far, the two readers who have made it this far show your fine perseverance, I thank you both.

And now I'm going to sleep... perchance to dream... ah there's the rub!
Nothing like stickin some Shakespeare in to classy-up the blog...