Monday, August 20, 2012

Got 'Em!!

I've been holding off on this post for a few days, waiting to see; and I think I can officially say that Zoey is flea free!  (Now that I've said that, I'll probably find them crawling all over her in the next five minutes . . .)  I've checked her repeatedly all weekend long and have yet to find any evidence of their continued inhabitance.  She does still seem itchy, but I figure that's because she's got residual bites all over her poor little tummy.  For now, I'm reveling in my all-natural victory!

And she still smells like restaurant lemons . . .

Friday, August 17, 2012

Soap Box FTW!!

So my original mission statement for this blog said something about not ranting and raving and boring people, and trying to always be entertaining; but since being funny on demand is hard, and since probably about three people read this anyway, I'm just gonna change that right now and start ranting.  Or . . . did I change that with the first flea post?  Regardless, it's changed.

Topic of the day is: Discrimination and Double Standards.

Let's set the scene: Today my little brother and I finally made it to the local zoo after three months of trying to make our schedules coincide. (Boy Scouts hog a lot of weekends!)  The zoo itself was wonderful and did not disappoint.  We both had a blast.

The trouble came from a different quarter: open carry.  The zoo website had no rules nor regulations listed anywhere.  So I googled them instead and found a website/message board dedicated to gun owners that had a thread discussing this very topic.  They all agreed that they'd either open carried there in the past without trouble, or they knew the owner (it's a privately owned zoo) and didn't think he'd have any kind of problem with it at all.  Thrilled, I decided to take advantage of that and not wear one of my "concealed carry T-shirts" which are much hotter than my "open carry T-shirts."  It had the added advantage of allowing me to carry on my hip to save on back pain as I was also carrying a huge backpack.

Even with the research I'd done, I had that, "Ho-m'gosh, someone's gonna throw me out!" feeling that comes from living in the modern age.  But we made it into the zoo no problem and I immediately found the list of rules and regulations on the map they'd given us.  Nothing was mentioned regarding firearms in any way, shape, or form.  So I really relaxed and just enjoyed the day.  No one mentioned it.  We rode the "Sky Ride" (fancy name for a ski lift) and the lady helping us on definitely saw it, but made no mention of it and remained friendly.  Large groups of daycare kids on field trips were all around us a lot of the time and none of the adults with them seemed nervous in any way.

But then when we were going through the gate to board the "Safari Train," the attendant stopped me and asked, "Are you a police officer?" and I knew exactly what was coming.  I politely told him, "No, sir, I'm not," and he informed me (in a very nervous tone of voice) that technically firearms aren't permitted in the zoo.  He hastened to add that he had spoken to the zoo director who said that I was fine to finish my stay for today, but please don't bring it back next time.  He explained that he had to ask if I was a cop because off-duty police are permitted to carry in the zoo.  And that is where my beef comes in.

What makes police officers so special that they have the right to protection on and off duty?  I mean, I know they have a much more dangerous job than I do (generally kids you've disciplined don't come after you with their gun-toting preschool classmates), but should that make that much of a difference?  And yes, they have more "official" gun training than I do; but I've been shooting handguns since I was thirteen.  And let's just say that an off-duty cop has brought his kids to the zoo, unaware that the gang member he busted for drug possession two days before is out on bail and brought all his dope-head, gang-banging buddies to the zoo to "teach him a lesson, man!"  Are we going to leave that poor off-duty cop all alone to protect his children with only his own gun against ten or more?  Shouldn't the entire zoo be packing heat for just such emergencies?

I know, I know - it's the same old circle that 2nd Amendment defenders argue around time and again; but it doesn't make it any less true!  Why do cops get their basic human right to self-defense and the rest of us are left to hope we can hide behind a giraffe and not get shot?

And while we're on the topic . . . why do cops get to drive at ridiculous and dangerous speeds without getting a ticket?  Because they have "special training?" Or because there's some serious nepotism within the Brotherhood?

Thursday, August 16, 2012

Round Two! DING!

So apparently the Frontline was expired . . .  There seem to be fewer fleas; but I can still pull one or two off of her whenever I want to (which isn't very often, actually).

SO!  I have invested in a new sort of flea and tick control! This stuff, right here. It has the added advantage of keeping mosquitos away, too.

Supposedly it's all natural, using geranium oil (geraniol) and peppermint oil, mixed together with almond oil.  Apparently geraniums have been planted in window boxes for generations in an effort to keep fleas and ticks out of houses; and the peppermint is poison that the little buggers can smell, so they won't even bite - unlike with Frontline which they have to ingest by biting before they die.  . . . Does anyone make a peppermint perfume??

I put it on her tonight, so we'll see how she does over the weekend.  So far she just seems a little more subdued and nervous; but that may be because she was scared out of her mind by the ziplock bag I stored the two extra tubes in . . .  She also smells like restaurant lemons, which is weird because there's no citrus oil in the stuff.  But she was a very good girl while we put it on her; so she got a cow ear which I also ordered from the same website.  That she liked.

Sunday, August 12, 2012

Letters to God

I know, cliche Bible-beater movie title.  But bear with me.  My sister's post over on Riding Shotgun inspired me to share my most recent spiritual discovery: letters.

I'm betting that most of us have been there: in Adoration, meditating on God and basking in His presence.  You're feeling holy and blessed to have found the time to squeeze Him into your busy day-to-day, especially since this is actually the second First Friday in a row that you made it happen!  Twice in the last two months!  Whoa!!  So you contemplate His awesome gifts to you, His will for you, and His actions in your life.  Then you spend a few quiet moments just enjoying the silence with Him.

Under the guise of stretching your aching back, you discreetly sneak a glance at your watch, certain your hour is almost over.  At best, fifteen minutes have passed.

Stifling your sudden impatience and lack of pious enthusiasm, you meditate on His Passion, His mother, and the lives of a few of your favorite saints.  You spend a few more quiet moments before again checking the time.  Five more minutes have gone by.

In desperation, you pull out your Rosary.  Once that's done, you add on a Chaplet of Divine Mercy just for good measure.  Surely that's finished off the rest of your time, right?  . . . Ever notice how Rosaries and Chaplets don't take as long when you say them quietly to yourself rather than with a whole group of people?  Yeah, still not done.

And this is actually an amazing feat so far, if you've managed not to mentally review your To Do List, plan an email you need to send later, recite song lyrics in your head, or do mental highlights of the movie you watched last night!  Good job!

Yes, that is definitely me in Adoration.  I'm a huge offender when it comes to the song lyrics and the watch checking.  My mind just doesn't focus on anything worthwhile without help.  So that's why I stopped going to First Friday Adoration - it just seemed rude to go and think about other things, and somehow not going seemed like the holier option in that case.  Slowly the rest of my "non-family-mandated" prayer life started to fall apart as well.  But I knew that had to change.  Especially when I found myself sitting amidst  the pieces of my life, unsure how they all fit together, and ready to burst into tears at a moment's notice.  Yes, this girl really needed a long heart-to-Heart with God.  "But how?  I can't focus!!" my brain cried, lost in its hopeless little world of self-pity.

I'm convinced God answered my brain's plea, and His answer was, "Write Me a letter."

So I grabbed a pen and a hardback journal that I had laying around and headed off to church, unsure whether this was really a good idea.  It all still seemed a little disrespectful both to God and to the other people in the chapel.  "Won't my pen be too loud?"  "Will it be distracting to other worshipers?"  "Am I not supposed to be looking at Blessed Sacrament instead of down in my book the whole time?!"  But I knew I had to at least try.

I chose a pew near the very back and began with a few simple prayers, hoping to get my mind in the right place, and show God that I was trying to be respectful.  Really.

Then I sat down and opened my book to the first page, unsure what to say.  But grabbing the bull by the horns, I wrote it like it was an actual letter - complete with salutation and opening pleasantries.  Before I knew it I was knocking out my issues one by one, and actually getting answers!  Admittedly He did leave a few for me to ponder some more; but at least half of the major worries I had were laid to rest.  And the first time I checked my watch, over an hour had passed without a single song lyric to torment me.

That was the First Friday of July.  I tried again this month, and again I got answers; and again I spent over an hour without realizing it.  I come away feeling completely revitalized and reassured, and I'm actually starting to look forward to Adoration!

On the flip side, after I finish my letters, I usually close with a Rosary.  I cannot begin to tell you how distracted I am during those five decades.  I have to move my lips along with each prayer or I literally lose all track of what I'm doing.  Five minutes of daydreaming takes place every third Hail Mary.  The difference is night and day.  And, yes, I know I need to work on that too; but that's another post for another day.  Right now just enjoy the fact that I've posted twice already this month!

Tuesday, August 7, 2012

Death to You, Evil Parasites!!

Several weeks back I discovered a single flea on Zozo's tummy, with a few small spots of flea dirt.  Acting quickly, I beheaded the little bugger and removed his mess; but I couldn't help noticing that he was walking instead of hopping.  It seemed odd to me, so I attributed it to the garlic and brewer's yeast pills we've been giving her - a drunk flea? Why not?  Surely this all natural preventative has some effect on its intended target, right?

Happy in that knowledge, I went about life as usual, periodically checking her for the insidious little critters.  Found one more a few days later - also sluggishly making his way across her tummy - and likewise beheaded him.  Then there was about a week of peace without even a sign of disgusting creepy-crawlies.

Last Monday I took her to work with me and, while giving her a tummy rub in the middle of my boss's living room rug, I was horrified to find three of the nasty little dudes very happily setting up shop.  That evening I warned my boss and she was kind enough to let me borrow the flea and tick shampoo they had on hand.  Apparently our lack of a real winter this year makes for a mega-batch of fleas, and their dog had also gotten some earlier in the spring.

[Just a quick note here: you know how all someone has to do is mention the word lice and your head starts itching?  Well, apparently fleas work the same way . . .]

But as I was saying, quite against her will, Zoey got a good scrubbing and soaking as soon as we got home that night - thankfully I had a very capable assistant, or the whole ordeal would've been even more blog-worthy.  I know, would've made for a better read; but I prefer it this way, thankyouverymuch.

While Zoey dried in her crate, her beds were getting a good washing in hot water.  I actually feared that I had broken the washer when I opened it and a huge cloud of steam came out.  But all went well, and I was satisfied that no flea could've survived all of that.  And it seemed that I was right.  Daily flea checks were coming up clean and I was convinced that I had been victorious in ridding my dog and our house of the infestation.

Apparently I forgot to cleanse the yard; because tonight I discovered several more fleas, and lots more dirt on her tummy.  She's also been scratching her head as if they're up there too. [Dangit, now my head itches again.]  And these guys are resilient!  I tore one in half, then watched his head (with legs attached) crawl across my hand in search of some place to hide and recuperate.  I'm fairly certain I heard a snarky little flea voice saying, "It's only a flesh wound!"

So, despite my misgivings, I dug down into my crate of dog paraphernalia and found the last dose of Frontline Plus that I've been hanging onto simply because I couldn't bring myself to throw it away after spending money on it.  We switched to the all-natural method shortly after I got her because it seemed that Frontline was making her sick; but desperate times call for desperate measures.  According to the box, it'll kill them in all their stages, and prevent a re-infestation for up to three months.  Yes, please.

Having unleashed my chemical weapon, now I have only to sit back and wait.  Will they die?  Oh, I hope so.