Tuesday, October 31, 2006

Griffey


I got Griffey about six years ago. He was part of a package deal that a good friend of mine shared – we got two dogs Taubensee and Griffey. Both were named after Cincinnati Red players. Taubensee I wrote about previously. He is a great dog. This post is about Griffey.

Griffey was a funny dog. He was small and black with tan highlights on his face and white fur on his chest. He really liked to please me and was very energetic about doing it. I taught him a few tricks and he was so eager to please that he often went through the cycle without being asked. He even threw in some of his own “flourishes” (such as spinning on his back feet) for good measure. One of my favorite tricks that he performed was the “creep”. Griffey, on command, would crawl with his front paws with his back legs stretched behind him. It was akin to something you would see Lassie do if she was making a war movie and was rescuing soldiers in foxholes under enemy fire.

Griffey was also very afraid of storms. Nothing I could do could ever get him over that. He would shake and pant at the first rumble of thunder. Finally, he learned to crawl under an end table till the storm passed. He was so very fond of dog biscuits, but couldn’t touch them or even a t-bone steak if he was in “storm mode”.

This dog also had the worst breath. I tried dental bones, brushing his teeth regularly – everything. Nothing helped. His breath could take paint off any surface. And, he loved to share that breath. He particularly liked to breathe in the face of all female humans he came in contact with.

My dog also had a penchant for getting into the trash. He knew it was wrong, but if he was alone with a clear shot at it, it was just too tempting to pass up. I knew when he did it, too. Every time I came in the door, Griffey would meet me there full throttle. He would say in body language, “Hey Jeff!!! You’re home!! Come in, sit down, take your shoes off. Can I get you something to eat?!?!?” He loved it when I came home. However, if he had gotten into something he shouldn’t have, he was off in the corner in his dog bed, still and guilty-ridden. “What did you do?” I would ask sternly. It was usually not necessary to wait for an answer because it was usually strewn all about the floor or on my leather couch.

No one could come close to the property without Griffey warning us of a possible intruder. He would bark and if someone knocked, he would jump against the door and shout for all he was worth. It was difficult to even answer the door because of him – the little knucklehead.

Last week, I noticed that Griffey wasn’t feeling too good. He stopped eating and wouldn’t drink and he threw up what little he had in his stomach. He just laid around without his usual energy. Finally, I decided to take him to the vet last Thursday. The doctor put him through all types of tests and then decided that my little buddy had pancreatitis (an inflamed pancreas). He most likely got it from something he picked up while getting into the trash. He sent us home with a battery of medicines and told me to call if there were any problems. We noticed that he was doing a little better after the vet treatments.

Friday came and Griffey threw up again so I called the vet. He gave me a few more instructions and told me to call him the next day. About 11:00 Friday night, I came in and my sister (who decided to stick around and keep an eye on Griffey) told me that he was doing worse. I checked him out and he was unresponsive.

We took him to the emergency vet clinic. They treated him but the vet told me he had DIC as a complication from his pancreatitis. DIC (Disseminated Intravascular Coagulation) is a disease where the clotting of blood is happening all over the body rather than just at the point of injury or infection. It was getting out of control with Griffey in such a short time. The vet told me that the prognosis was VERY bleak. He said when vets diagnose DIC it means “Death Is Coming”. He said we could hope for a miracle, let him bleed out, or mercifully put him down. We chose to be merciful.

I have always had an underlying contempt for people who ordered the euthanism of a pet. Why would they give up? There I was feeling like a hypocrite for allowing this to happen to my own dog. But he was bleeding out and struggling! I still wrestle with it. Even if the slimmest of chances that the DIC would reverse itself, Griffey probably had major organ damage and still had the pancreatitis that he couldn’t shake even with medication. I decided to let his suffering end in this peaceful manner. I pray that I was right. I will never have true peace about it and I guess that is my scar from this whole ordeal when the pain of Griffey’s death is replaced by only fond memories of his life. I will always carry that scar.

I returned home at 2:00 a.m. Saturday morning with what appeared to be a sleeping Griffey wrapped in a blanket. At 3:00 am, Griffey was laid to rest next to my Dulin, the perfect dog of my youth in my mother’s back yard.

Griffey was a fun dog. He was my buddy. Every time I make a move, I instinctively look for Griffey because he always was ready to go or do at the moment I contract a muscle. Now, there is silence and stillness on the floor and in my heart.



Friday, October 27, 2006

Weddingmoon Continued

Prerequisite: "The Only Way to Fly" and "Getting There".

After the hair-raising bus ride, we finally pulled up to the beautiful Sandals Dunns River resort. Here the whole hassle experience morphed into one of relaxation and luxury. We were met at the bus by employees who handed us cold towels (much welcomed) and champagne. Then, instead of waiting in line to check in, we were escorted to the lobby lounge where we sipped champagne and did the minimal paperwork and listened to one of the hostesses tell us about the resort.

After the paperwork, the hostess told us that we arrived before check-in time so she told us to pick out an on-site restaurant to have lunch and afterwards our luggage would be waiting for us in our rooms. We ate at the Columbo Room where the buffet was one of Carribean favorites. It was prepared well and was quite a nice way to start our stay. The great thing about Sandals is that even the inconveniences were not inconvenient.

After lunch, my bride-to-be went up to our room. It didn't disappoint. One of the best things was the view that we had from our balcony. Any time we wanted to, we could step out there to read or relax and see this:

I spent every morning as the sun came up over the water out on the balcony with this view. Even as I write this, I am pining to get back.








Tuesday, October 24, 2006

A Little Shut-Eye, Very Little

I will resume the Jamaican wedding story at some point. Now I have something a little more pressing. My new wife and I have encountered something that is putting a little strain on things - our sleeping behavior.

My wife likes to sleep balled up. This translates that I do not have maneuverability room. I can't make any movements without running into a knee or an elbow. Add to this that our bed is small!

I am used to a queen-sized waterbed. Now I have a full-sized regular bed that I only have access to about 38% of the available bed surface (because apparently my tiny wife requires about 62% of it). I am also one of those people that have to adjust frequently (less frequently with the waterbed). It is horrible. I feel like a prisoner.

We are on the verge of solving some of these problems by getting a bigger bed. It still will not be a waterbed, but it is going in the right direction.

However, we have a bigger problem. Apparently, I snore. Here is some advice: If you get accused of snoring by your spouse and you don't think you do, accept that you are wrong. I have been told that I have been snoring when I could have sworn that I was lying there awake. The fact is people snore and they don't know it.

I have tried a few things to help resolve this problem, but not with very good results so far. I have been using breathe-rite strips. They do help me breathe, but it hasn't solved the problem. I also take this pill thing, but I don't think it does anything. It tastes like an antacid. I am going to try a couple of other things, but if anyone has found a solution, I would love to hear it.
I read that nearly half of adults snore. Surely, there are solutions out there or everyone would be single!

Monday, October 23, 2006

Movie Review: "Man of the Year"

I am going to take a break from my weddingmoon and to discuss a movie that I saw this past weekend. I want to do it while it is still on my mind. I always have trouble trying to write about movies without giving it away. However, I will endeavor to do just that.

Actually, I saw a double feature Saturday night. I saw a comedy and a suspense/thriller movie. The comedy was, of course, "Man of the Year." The thriller was . . . uh . . . "Man of the Year." They were both pretty good, however comedy and suspense is usually not a good marriage. It wasn't here, either.

The movie started out as a comedy as Robin Williams character Tom Dobbs, a comedy-news show host, decides to run for president because he is sick of party politics. This part of the move was excellent - especially for me, because I share almost all of the same sentiments that Williams' character does. Plus, as you can see, Williams does a great Barabara Bush immitiation.

Somewhere towards the middle of the motion picture, it morphs into a suspense/thriller. There is intrigue concerning the calculating of the votes in the election. This is a pretty good storyline also. Either movie would have been good on its own. The trouble is that it isn't all that great together.

I was laughing and enjoying the comedy. I wasn't in the mood for the thriller. I wanted more comedy. I reluctantly stayed interested, but I longed for the comedy while the thriller aspects of the piece played out.

I can still recommend this movie, however. I think the message of the movie is important and the intrigue was fascinating. It is too bad that the movie couldn't make up its mind on what kind of movie it was going to be. Either one would have been great. Really, it would have been wonderful if there had been three movies. The process of Williams getting in the race would have been another good movie. In this one, we were ushered into the campaign by Dobbs' manager's (played by Christopher Walkin) narration of the accounts.

I give the movie a "B". There is always room for the "it would have been better if"s in movies. That is what gives us something to talk about and me an opportunity to get off my own nuptual story - for today, anyway.




Thursday, October 19, 2006

Getting There

When we arrived in Jamaica, the experience at the airport in Monteray Bay was only slightly better. The air conditioning was out so it was uncomfortable waiting in the "immigration" lines. In Jamaica, they open and examine all your luggage for plants and things like that. The people were a little kinder than those in St. Louis, however. And, the most important thing, I wasn't singled out as some kind of criminal-in-training.

After getting past all the hub-bub of airport beuracracy, we found the Sandals desk. There, they escorted us into a hospitality room where food, drinks and plush furniture was provided for Sandals guests. We waited there till our shuttle to the resort was ready (only about 5 minutes). Guys took all our luggage and loaded it without being asked. A modest tip later, we were on what appears to be the only road in Jamaica (tic).

The ride to the resort was very adventurous. First of all, in Jamaica, they drive on the left side of the road with the steering wheel in those vehicles being on the right side. It is totally opposite of the US and I guess the same as Great Britain. Even though there are posted speed limits, no one observes them. There is a constant flow of passing cars on only two lanes. There are no "no-passing" zones or else they are ignored. Our ride was chocked full of close calls involving head-on collisions. Miraculously, I didn't see any accidents. They are used to this kind of driving and do it well enough. Our driver was a speed merchant and dare devil. Yet, he makes three round trips a day from the airport to Ochoa Rios and never gets in an accident. It is amazing.

People tend to congregate on the road in Jamaica. We must have seen hundreds on our 67 mile trip. There are goats running around and various large birds (that I found out later were buzzards). What struck me the most was the poverty among the people. Little square shacks housed families. These families are walled out of the most beautiful beach fronts in the world so rich (and lucky) Americans can c0me and take advantage of Jamaica's most precious resources. I have to admit that it made me feel a little guilty. Others rationalized that the tourists were the reason there was an economy at all in Jamaica so these peasants are grateful for the set-up. Maybe so, but the exclusiveness of the system still haunts.

Tuesday, October 17, 2006

The Only Way to Fly

It is only fitting that my 50th post is the beginning of the account how my life has dramatically changed. I made it back from Jamaica with my life and wife intact. Jeff, a married man - never thought it would happen. Don't ask me how it is because I still have no clue. It is just different - surreal.

The trip had a rocky start, however. I hadn't flown since before 9/11 and I hadn't really wanted to. I understand all too well why that is. It is horrid.

I was randomly picked out to be run through the ringer. If you ever receive your boarding pass and get "SSSSSSSS" written on it, be prepared to go through an ordeal. In St. Louis, this happened to me. I was whisked away like a criminal to the "we have ways to make you talk" line of security. Once I was interrogated there and was able to join the rest of the group on the other side of the security, I thought the worst was over. I was wrong.

While trying to board the plane, the gate agent saw my "SSSSS's" and again called for security. "I already went through that mess," I pleaded.

"I am sorry, sir, but no one stamped your pass." After about five minutes, a security guard whom I already had a nice discussion with came down to the gate adorned with the obligatory and creepy rubber gloves. He said, "You? I already saw that you were okay. What's the deal?"

"No one stamped my pass," I replied in a hopeful tone.

"Sorry, I still have to check you."

So again I was searched and my bag was emptied. When he finished, I asked if he would stamp my pass to avoid any furthere confusion.
"Not necessary. I am right here at the gate." He was wrong. They had to call him back to initial my pass. So I left St. Louis with my fiancee and my abused carry-on with my nerves frayed and my panties wadded.

(to be continued)

Friday, October 06, 2006

Weddingmoon Prep Week is No Festival


I have been somewhat negligent to my blog this week. It is understandable, though. This is preparation week. All week I have been trying to make sure everything is set for the big Weddingmoon. I leave tomorrow for St. Louis - then on to Jamaica early Sunday morning.

This has been a rough week. My fiancee (one of the last times she will be referred to as that) has been stressed all week. In many ways, I had to bear the stress for both of us. For those who know me, that sounds like an impossible task. However, God is merciful. The last day or so, the stress level has risen, but the affects have lessened (for both of us).

To top it off, this is the big West Side Nut Club Fall Festival week here in Evansville, IN. It is the second largest street festival in the country (Mardis Gras is #1). Here in the 'ville, we can't mention the fall festival without including the whole "it is the second largest . . .". It is just something we do. Anyway, it is tradition for me to try to get there every night. Have you ever tried to prepare for your wedding and be at a festival nightly? It can't be done. I missed a night - and will probably miss tomorrow. It hasn't been exciting this year which is a shame.

I am not sure when I will be signing on again. I doubt I will be able to next week, but who knows. Hopefully, things will fall back into place soon after I get back - even if I will be banded from that point on.