Tuesday, April 6, 2010

Sick Horses, Jesus, and Bureaucrats

Easter cheesecake!

Alex takes a bite of a See's Scotchmallow egg

Happy Easter!

It was quite an eventful day for us, though not in the most pleasant sense. The morning was slow and started off with one of my professors paying a visit, of all things, to sign my thesis form. After we hunted for eggs and found our Easter baskets, of course, and breakfasted on coffee cake. It was a rainy day and when my mom went down to feed the horses, she discovered that Mickey wouldn't get up. That's never a good sign, especially for him since he loves food so much.

We knew he had colic and set about doing what we could to help him. For those that don't know, a horse's stomach is a one-way street. When they get any sort of blockage or intestinal problem, they can't throw up and can quickly get so ill that they will die. When I was 13 I lost one of the greatest friends of my life, my horse Maya, to sand colic (a sand impaction in her gut). The only way to treat colic without the help of a vet is to walk the horse in an attempt to get their guts going.

We walked Mickey lots, and he grazed on the fresh grass every once in a while, which was a good sign. We listened to his heart to make sure it wasn't beating too quickly (a sign of a more serious type of colic) and while it was normal, his heart murmur was frighteningly loud. To compare, I listened to our other horses' hearts, and while I was doing so, Mickey did a huge fart and a poop, which was great because it meant that he wasn't completely blocked.

Black the Communist watches us care for Mickey

We put a rain coat on him for the night and hoped that he'd get better, but he didn't. I had to head in to school to turn in my thesis, so I wasn't there while the vet came, but Alex took these pictures. Mickey was severely dehydrated and that might be what caused the colic in the first place. Sometimes horses won't drink when it's cold out, and it's been unusually cold lately. The vet hooked Mickey up to an IV and gave him three huge bags full of liquids. He started to perk up and ever since he has been doing his best to get better, but he's not back to his old self yet, which has me worried. When he's all better I won't mind looking at these pictures, but for now they're a painful reminder of the discomfort of my friend.

Mickey's catheter for the IV and any medicine

The gallons of saline

Enjoying some grass. We left the catheter in because we had to give him two more bags of saline today and might have to give him another tomorrow.

Chee Chee and Black watch all the goings on

The peacock struts his stuff for Orangie and Bathilda Junior, the hens, while a grossly fascinated Houdini watches

Mickey is making a fashion statement by wearing my mom's tanktop on his neck to keep his catheter covered up

Commie says hi!

I've grown up with Mickey -- he's like my big brother. A part of my soul is in him and a part of his is in me. Which is why the thought of losing him is almost unbearable, but I know it will happen someday. I just hope that someday is far, far away.

On the bus ride to campus yesterday I was finding it hard to keep my mask in place and not cry. I was so worried over Mickey. Memories of Maya kept flooding me, for there was a point where she pooped and we thought she was better and that she would make it, then she died. It was several years before I even rode Mickey again after losing Maya.

Getting my thesis formed signed involved SNAFU after SNAFU that if I shared here, I would sound rather preposterous. Literally everything I did engendered some sort of unforeseen complication. It got to the point where I was ready for something to go wrong at every turn.

One of my professors was down the coast at the time and we'd arranged (and cleared with Graduate Studies) to have her sign and fax my form to me at the university. I waited outside the English Department Office for them to open after lunch, and when they did (10 mins late) the woman who "helped" me smelled of cigarettes and was so disrespectful and absolutely vile that I'm considering filing a complaint against her with the organization that polices state employees.

After first berating me for the audacity to suggest that an office admin would be willing to help me send a quick fax to a colleague, she proceeded to tell me how a signed fax would never be accepted in the first place, and I had to spell out my situation for her and even hand over the e-mail from Graduate Studies to prove that I wasn't a moron. She read every word of the e-mail then handed it back saying "I don't know why they would do that" then snatched the fax from me and sent it, claiming "I have things to do, I can't sit around and wait for your fax to be returned." I wasn't under the impression that short, overweight, dyed-blondes with too much make-up needed to sit beside fax machines for them to work, but whatever.

As I gave her the fax number I almost started crying. Not because she was succeeding in her quest to belittle me and make me feel as guilty as possible, but because all I wanted to do was get home to my sick horse and do what I could to help him, and here was this petty person lecturing me and taking up both of our time. In fact, in the time she took to lecture me, she could have sent and received the fax.

I offered several times to take my business elsewhere but she insisted that she would do it, then continued to complain. I've seen that personality before. The type of person who will assist you but not before making you feel as small and guilty as possible. What a sad life. I apologized for imposing on her and she snapped "It's fine" as she walked away. She was the hyperbole of the bureaucrat.

In the end, she sent the fax then sat in her office for the rest of the time I was there. I picked up the received fax myself, and when my professor called to make sure I received it, I warned her that she might get a complaint because the staff wasn't happy that I asked to use their fax machine. My professor asked who complained then went on a short tirade of what I should tell her -- that my teacher had requested it and that if she had any problem with it, she should talk to my teacher and not me.

Once I had the fax I stopped by Graduate Studies to double-check that they would accept it, and the woman who helped me there was very polite and kind and laughed when I said that a woman in the English office thought the signature wouldn't be accepted, because my e-mail giving me permission was from the thesis coordinator herself, who is far above any office employees. "Someone's power tripping!" she said when I made a brief comment about what I had to go through just to get the fax!

Anyway, after many miscommunications, bureaucrats, names on a page and editing of my manuscript, my thesis is turned in! I await Graduate Studies' requests, and will take my MFA exam this coming weekend, but there is a light at the end of the tunnel.

Oh, and on Easter, when we went into Mickey's stall to check on him, Alex pointed with wide eyes, too shocked to speak. I stepped into the stall and followed her gaze. A pristine white dove was nestled by Mickey's feeder. When I went to pick it up, it flew away a little bit, out into the rain, yet clearly didn't have the strength to fly very far. Since it was Easter, I immediately shouted "Wait, Jesus come back!" I had to chase Jesus a bit, but eventually caught him/her and tucked it into my raincoat.

Jesus, our guest

Jesus took shelter in our barn from a storm, but he clearly belongs to someone. Today we took Comanche out on a walk with us as we posted "Found White Dove" signs up. Hopefully someone with information will call soon, because Jesus isn't fond of our dogs, who are very fond of him. Chee keeps pawing at the cage and wagging his tail, enjoying the reaction of the bird running around. We've since covered Jesus' cage up so that he can get some peace and quiet.

Comanche watches Jesus

Tracie -- Yeah, he scares me, too. I think he looks like an Ewok. And thanks for your encouragement!

the other amanda -- There's a chance that Winnie the Pooh chair is still out there! ;)

Mackenzie's Momma -- No worries, sweetie. I'm glad you took the time to stop by again but am sorry to hear of the stress lately. How's your grandma doing? Yes, he is a Persian, and thank you for your support! :)

Friday, April 2, 2010

Strange Junk

We've been getting some lovely April showers of late, and they are most welcomed. Here are some more flower pictures after a rain.

I also recently made a chocolate truffle torte. It's similar to a flour-less cake, except that it has a roasted pecan Graham cracker crust. This time, I added my own touch by making it with 60% cacao instead of semi sweet chocolate, and man... was there a difference. I probably gained a few pounds by eating a slice every night, but it's so good it should be illegal. Like, seriously. It's probably the best chocolate dessert I've ever had. And hey, the dark chocolate makes it good for you!


While visiting our cousins in suburbia, we once more chanced upon the phenomena of the week when people throw out all their junk onto the streets for everyone else and the garbage trucks. Since this phenomena is a novelty to us, we were quick to make the rounds, dragging our cousins along with us. Alex found a shopping cart that someone was trying to get rid of and practiced for her life as a homeless woman.

We passed by this lemon tree -- proof that the soil of the Silicon Valley still is intensely fertile (though covered in cement). The lemon in the center was at least the size of a grapefruit!

This is my aunt's cat, Forrest. He was, literally, stoned by that catnip mouse.

Alex is doing the Mighty Boosh skit of Old Gregg for the talent show and we picked up this little delight to play "Curly Jefferson."

At least an hour later, Forrest still hadn't moved

Out of all the items to put on the curb, a Kleenex box? Really? Why? Because it had a hole in it? Seriously???

I've never seen such a chair. I am as intrigued as I am disturbed.

So the other day I got the pleasant surprise that my thesis was due to Graduate Studies and Research by Monday. It would have been nice to a) have known that ahead of time and b) have had my professors at least tell me if they were approving my thesis, much less read their comments. As such, I've spent the last few days editing my book and scrambling to get everything together, on top of studying for my MFA exams next weekend, planning that trip to Vegas, and writing a script for a manager. And this is my semester "off"!

Anyway, yesterday, as I edited, I noticed two deer outside my window and decided to film them. While Johnny Cash played there was a surprise ending.

Tracie -- Whoa, thanks for the link, that's cool! And my interest in Egypt began just slightly before Stargate. I'd been studying Ancient Egypt in school in 6th grade and loving it, then for a reward, our class got to watch the Stargate movie (well, part of it) and I was in love and awe.

Hammy -- That's a great point about people being charged for animal cruelty but not child abuse. Wow. But doesn't that ring true so often? I think people would be more willing to donate money to an organization with an ad featuring wounded dogs than an ad showing starving children. We live in strange times.