family


Miss Meggie Whitestripe, the family beagle, decided to shake things up this morning.  I wish she’d let me know these things ahead of time.

The day started as normal.  Matthew left for class early, leaving Meg and I to our leisurely Monday routine of sleeping until 9am, checking email, making coffee, and going outside for the morning walk.  I had an Arabic exam later in the afternoon, so I had planned to spend the morning studying.  With Meg outside and safely occupied, I got my coffee ready and gathered my study materials.  After about 15 minutes, I called her back inside before the cram session began.

Now, Meg is a beagle, so her stubborn nature is pretty standard, breed-wise.  She sometimes takes her sweet time getting back around to the porch, unconvinced that you really do mean it when you command her to come “Inside!”  This was such a morning.  Also pretty standard, the longer she takes to get in the house, the louder I yell, and I was getting particularly frustrated this morning as she was cutting into my Arabic time.  By the time she made it back, I had a pretty good volume going and made sure she knew how mad I was once she was inside.

Except this time, not standard at all, she simply cowered at my feet, holding her left paw in the air.  Baffled by this, I reached my hand out toward her…and then I saw it: one of her poor little toe nails had twisted backward and was pointing up at her.  It took a second or two to register what I was seeing.  I thought maybe she had just chipped it, that it wasn’t as serious as it looked.  Until I saw the blood pouring off her foot.

When I was little, my dad insisted that I go to medical school.  He figured that since I was a good student, I should be a doctor.  The fact that the sight of blood and gruesome wounds make me light headed and prone to fainting didn’t seem to be a factor for him.  I was destined for medicine.  That random memory was one of the many things flashing through my mind as I watched the drip, drip, drip coming from Meg’s toes.  It was all I could do not to pass out right next to her.  But looking at her big, brown eyes begging me to fix her toe, I realized it really was up to me to figure out what to do.  Ok.  Whooo.  Breathe.

She had to go to the hospital.  That fact was clear.  I called Matthew and told him to meet us there.  Meanwhile, I put Meg in her crate, got most of the blood cleaned up (no small feat, I might add, as it was everywhere), then I somehow managed to carry her safely into my car, despite the fact that she fought me. The. Entire. Way.   This is a dog who refuses to be carried.  Remember the stubborn thing?   She also happens to weigh about 30 pounds.   In an epic battle of wills, despite her constant wiggling, fighting and a few near crashes, I managed to get her into the car and on our way to the emergency care vet.

It took 30 long minutes to get her in to see the vet.  30 minutes of whining, barking, wiggling, yelping, bleeding, and all other manner of doggy drama.  When the vet arrived, I’m not sure who he was more concerned about, I was so clearly frazzled.  Thankfully, despite its gory appearance, Meg’s toe was fine but the nail bed was destroyed.  The vet took her immediately into surgery to remove the nail and fit her paw with a cast, complete with hot pink bandages and covered with purple hearts (for bravery – ha!).

All told, she’ll be given pain medication and anti-biotics for a little over a week to help her recover from surgery.  The nail will never grow back.  We’ve already started calling her “Stumpy.”  The best part of the fiasco was that I’m pretty sure doggy pain meds are at least as awesome as people meds.

As soon as she got home,  she limped straight to the couch, where she basically face planted into the back cushion and slid down until she collapsed.  She’s pretty much been there all day.  We were instructed to watch her closely as she came off the medication, so I never did make it to class today.  Technically speaking, that means I had a day off.

I think the Arabic exam would have been more restful.  Oy.

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You know how your favorite TV shows end each season on a cliffhanger?  Like “Game of Thrones” or “True Blood,” they make you wait months and months to find out what happened to characters for whom you’ve invested your time, energy, and attention.  Will Lafayette be freed from Antonia?  Can Sookie finally make up her mind about Eric/Bill?  Who are the White Walkers?  And will winter ever arrive in Winterfell?!  By the time you get around to the new season, so much time has passed that you’re a little lost trying to remember precisely what was going on when last you saw them.

To that end, I offer you a quick summary of events in the life of super shiksa, since last we spoke:

I started teaching at another university, bringing my total number of jobs to three.

I got engaged,

planned an out of state wedding,

went back to school,

bought a new car,

got married over fall break,

 

honeymooned in New England,

combined households and fur kids,

  

and did it all in time to celebrate three Thanksgivings,

and four Christmases.

Now, back to our regularly scheduled programming.

I wait tables. For this reason, I can tell you: there is a whole lot of Stupid in the world.  Yes, we have a soup and salad meal – it’s the item on the menu called Soup and Salad. No, Moss Point Gumbo does not contain moss. Yes, Walt’s Champagne Chicken Salad comes with chicken.  It’s terribly frustrating, but at least I comfort myself knowing that my encounters with Stupid are as temporary as the time it takes to consume a 14oz prime rib and a side of mashed potatoes. (Surprisingly, this is a lot faster than is probably healthy.)

Unfortunately, a dear friend has struggled lately with a Stupid that lives a bit too close to home. This is a special breed of Stupid, a Stupid that masquerades as a part time grandparent offering ridiculously offensive advice to my friend’s impressionable children. Take, for example, this token of wisdom spoken by the adult family member, who should have known better, to a grieving 7 year old, whose maternal grandmother had recently and suddenly passed : “Don’t be sad or miss her! When you miss her, that’s the devil talking to you.” The poor child laid awake and cried all night, convinced the devil was talking to her because she missed her grandma.  The next week, after mom and dad set the wayward caretaker straight, she changed her approach, choosing to give the girl half a sandwich for lunch while her older sister enjoyed two halves. Why? “Because you’re a bit heavy and you need to be on a diet.” The perfectly healthy little girl would not take her towel off during swim lessons later that day because she was embarrassed by her “fat”. And remember, she’s only 7.

How is it possible that this breed of Stupid has survived without close, careful supervision? What manner of miracle protected this person from the onslaught of daily threats like forgetting to breath in and out or walking into oncoming traffic? And not only has she merely survived, but she has somehow achieved the title “Grandparent.” Her actions are neither grand nor parental! What kind of justice explains her vitality while others, more caring and competent, suffer and fail?

I may not know the answers to those questions but I do know this: I am baking cookies. I am taking them to that little girl and her momma. We will eat them all and we will cry about her grandma.