Monday, August 29, 2016

Home and loopy

Mom is home and ok. Didn't need a total rotator cuff repair which is great news. Still have some recovery time and rehab to go. And lots of pain meds. Loopy pain meds.
More when mom is up to it.

Saturday, August 13, 2016


First, cute pug picture to ease you into this.

The verdict is in. Mom's having shoulder surgery on August 29. The MRI showed a partially torn rotator cuff (50%). However, the doctor couldn't tell if it was torn badly enough for a total rotator cuff repair because the tear goes under the bone. There's a bone in the shoulder called the acromion. Mom's is curved downward, and it's been tearing into her cuff. Her's is a Type II.

The surgery will be to shave the bone down to stop it from tearing the cuff. If the tear isn't too bad, it will heal with rest and therapy. If, when the doctor gets in there, it's worse than she could see on the MRI, mom will have the rotator cuff repair surgery too.

Best case scenario, mom will be home from work for 2-4 weeks depending on how well she heals (and how compliant she is with rehab). Worst case, 6-8 weeks off work because mom has a standard transmission car. Fortunately (depending on how you look at it), she's been working so much without any time off, she has at least 9 weeks of paid time off saved up. Plus, she earns at least 2 days off each month, even when she's on leave. So, we'll be ok as far as treat money!

Our Nana is flying up from Texas to stay with us for a while since mom won't be able to drive for a while. That ought to be fun. Nana is a total sucker for sad pug eyes and should be good for extra food! Plus, mom will be on pain meds and won't know!

So mom has two weeks to get everything ready. Scrub the house top to bottom. Is the house ever clean enough for a Nana? Probably not. Especially since mom has been basically crippled since February, things have seriously slacked off. Not like she was a stellar housekeeper before. Anyway.

Mom's making 6 weeks worth of dog food for us, so you see where her priorities are! She has bought a few new undergarments and dresses that she can put on with one arm. She's going to make and freeze food for her too. Nana won't be able to stay the whole time. One, she has her own life and her own dog and our grandpa. Two, despite pain meds, this house is not big enough for two large personalities like Nana and mom. And us. And no cable like Nana is used to. Mom won't be able to be a good hostess like she tries to be when Nana visits. Nana will be a mom. It's hard to be mothered when you are 42 and very used to doing things YOUR way and taking care of yourself. It will be hard for both of them.

BUT it will be good practice (and maybe a clear indicator) for when mom and Nana and Papa eventually all live together somewhere else. When we move and they move. In a few years. But having separate spaces, not on top of each other. And not during a crazy election season. Thank pug we don't have cable!

Deb has offered some survival tips, but we are open to more if you have any. We are working on a thingamabob to help mom open jars and bottles with one hand with a friend. Looking for an electric can opener that's easy to use with one hand. Mom's ambidextrous, so this won't be as hard on her as it has been on others. She spent last weekend in a sling to see where the problems would be. Baby gates will be tough. Bottles and jars as mentioned. But she can wash and comb her hair, take a shower, brush her teeth. Sweeping is out. Boo hoo. ;)

So if you have any hints, please let us know. As always, we would appreciate any prayers, good juju and positive thoughts for a speedy recovery and good attitude.

One last cute pug picture to cleanse your palate.

Sunday, July 31, 2016

Super wordy post

Apparently, we can only blog once every six months. Here's a picture of a merpug to apologize.

Look, life hasn't been going so great for mom. We pugs are okay. Well, Tallulah has had some med changes, but overall, we're fine.

This is supposed to be a fun pug blog, and we don't want to bring everybody down. However, we do want to explain our absence some.

The last 18 months has been really hard.
We lost two kitty siblings in the same weekend. It was traumatic, and our remaining kitty has had a hard time adjusting to being the only one.
Mom is not in her PhD program any more. She failed her exam. Six years and sooooo much money gone. This shook the foundation of her being and made her question her life. Completely changed the course of what she thought the future was supposed to be. When your whole life was based on an assumption and that assumption turns out to be wrong, what are you left with?
In February, mom's shoulder and neck really started hurting. She gets care from the VA (disabled veteran) for some things. After months and months of waiting (and finally a threat to go to the media), mom finally got an appointment with an orthopedic doctor. Last week. There's a strong possibility that she has a torn rotator cuff and will need surgery. So that's been fun.
Since June 2015, she's been doing her own job and another person's job. That person retired. Then she got a third person's responsibilities in January 2016. She was promised a raise and someone to help with all this work in February. In June of this year, she found out that was a lie. Then the person who promised the raise tried to get her fired. She still has her job, but it was scary.
With all this work turmoil, mom decided it was time to look for new work and move. That means taking a hard look at our house and fixing it up. We had our contractors and a realtor come through and give us an estimate on what it would cost to upgrade our 120 year old house to compete with the brand new houses in the neighborhood.
It would take $50,000. And the realtor said that even with those upgrades (and stripping out all of the character out), we wouldn't be able to sell the house for enough money to cover the cost of the renovation plus the mortgage. Our contractor and the realtor agreed that it would be better if we didn't do the renovation at all. Put some money into curb appeal, scrub the house top to bottom, clear it out and sell it as is. The new houses are new with open layout, blah blah blah. Our house is old. It has walls. It has original features and quirks. Thank pug for an honest contractor!
Hearing that was a relief, actually. Going through the house with the contractor made mom cry. The contractor recommended (against her own *personal* taste) that we paint all the woodwork white, that all the walls be painted beige, that the solid wood, handmade cabinets be painted too. When you sell your house, you are *supposed* to depersonalize and let go. It's one thing to paint your blue walls to a neutral color. It's another to paint real wood (not crappy plywood) cabinets, crown molding and doors.
So that's what we're doing. We had the front porch and back deck painted. A new storm door and the porch railings fixed. The house was pressure washed and the window frames were painted. Inside, mom has been going through stuff. She's made several trips to the dump, thrift stores and recycling center. She has even more to go. We have nearly 1900 square feet of house plus a shed crammed with stuff. Plus a bunch of outdoor stuff like patio furniture. The plan is to reduce the amount of stuff we have so we could move to a smaller apartment with a storage unit.
Oh, and mom's teeth are cracking from clenching her jaw. She's been to the dentist three times in a month. Got another appointment next week. They fix one abfraction and another pops up. She's gone through four over the counter mouth guards since January. She has to get a cavity filled then she'll get fitted for a professional one that will hopefully last longer.
That's pretty much the lowlights of the last year and a half. There have been other smaller dramas, but those are the biggies. It has not been fun.

BUT, here's what we're doing about it.
Mom is applying for jobs. Many jobs. In other states. There's one in particular that she really wants that starts reviewing applications after August 15.
When she gets home from work, she does about an hour of sorting of stuff (usually). She has a lot to go (hasn't even touched the shed or the holiday decoration boxes), but she is making some slow progress. Even with one working arm.
She had a MRI last week on her shoulder. Her appointment is August 11 to see if she needs surgery or not, but we're hoping she gets in earlier. If she needs surgery, our grandma will come stay for a while. Fortunately, mom does have lots of vacation time from work. The doctor thought if she needed surgery, it could be scheduled in two weeks. Rotator cuff surgery recovery seems to be about 6 weeks.
So while mom is home recovering from surgery, she can use that one good arm to sort through stuff. She may not be able to lift a box, but she can sort with one hand into keep, donate and trash piles. She  may be able to pack a little too. She can definitely paint a wall or trim with one arm, at least for a while.
When mom does get that new job and we do move, we'll be ready. We hope to be out of here by Christmas. Earlier if possible. But moving in the summer would be miserable. Moving after she recovers from surgery would make a lot more sense. October would be great.
If you pray, please pray that mom gets the right job for her. We have faith that God has a plan, and we want to follow the plan. It's not knowing the plan that makes mom nervous, but that's the point of faith, right? So maybe just pray for us in general.
We are going to try to blog more. No promises though because obviously we haven't kept them in the past. It's hard because mom is working 10-11 hours a day then coming home to work on the house. Then applying for jobs. But she'll try.
Also, if anyone wanted to visit us in Virginia, you should probably schedule it soon. Paws crossed, our guest bedroom will be full of boxes in a few months!

Sunday, January 3, 2016

Merry Christmas!

*Updated* The darn scheduler didn't work. This was supposed to go up on Christmas Eve. Oops.
We wish you all a Merry Christmas, a wonderful New Year and peace on earth all year round!

Certain naughty pugs would not keep their wings on so the photo that mom wanted did NOT go as planned. This is what we got instead. 

Wednesday, November 11, 2015

Veterans Day 2015

It's Veterans Day. 
Southern Fried Pugs mom here. 
Some of you know that I was in the Air Force. I am not a combat veteran. I only went overseas for three weeks to support a training mission to Egypt. It was an awesome experience. 

I served for 10 years. The Air Force helped shape me. It helped change me from an idealistic, naive, somewhat entitled, privileged white girl to a more focused, more disciplined woman. 

I still have a spirit of idealism, but it is tempered with reality. I learned balance (ok, still learning). 
I learned leadership, what good leadership looks like and what an absence of leadership looks like. 
I learned how to work as part of a team. 
I learned how to follow. That wasn't easy. 
I learned when to follow and when to lead. 
I learned about how to be a good supervisor, how to motivate people, different kinds of people. 
I learned that if you take care of your people first, they take care of their job which lets you do your job. I learned that you have to be flexible and adaptable, yet prepared for anything.

I am proud to have served my country. 

There are serious problems and mistakes have been made, but this is my nation. I am not a blind patriot. I am not a mindless flag waver. I am a person who gave 10 years of my life in service to my country. 
I would do it again. I am one who still serves, just in a different capacity. 
I am not posting this to ask for thanks for me on Veterans Day. Most veterans will be a little embarrassed when you do thank them. 
In 2015, we've come a long way in appreciating veterans and their service. 
I ask that you look around you for other veterans who blend in. 
Don't just thank a vet on Veterans Day. 
Thank them all year long. 

Senior Airman Ramsey, circa 1997

Saturday, October 10, 2015

A fellow blogger in need

When you join the blogging community, you start building a network. You get a comment on your blog so you go visit that blog. Then you click on a link that another blogger is following. Pretty soon, you're connected to blogs all over.

That's how I found Our Forest Haven. Naturally, there was a pug connection. Donna wrote so lovingly of her home in the forest and her adorable pug Douglas. We became blog friends. She has inspired me to find my own forest haven somewhere. Somewhere warmer than Canada though.

Donna and her husband have a farm in Canada for misfit animals, as she calls them. A blind ram named Braveheart. A pony no one wanted. Prairie dogs that people abandoned. For the last few years, Donna has been suffering with health problems. She's had a few surgeries and been on some medications that help, then knock her down. Then she was diagnosed with Crohn's Disease. Kevin had been doing all the work with the sheep and goats with help from Jim. Before she got so sick, Donna was right there with them. It had been killing her to have to stay in bed, but that's what illnesses do to you.

Last week, Donna lost her husband to a heart attack. It's just hard to process this, and it's not even my life. I read about it on Calamity Acres, thanks to Mary Ann.

One of Donna's friend's has set up a Go Fund Me for her. If you can, please consider a donation to a fellow blogger. If you can't, maybe you can share it on Twitter or Facebook?

Let's surround her with love as much as we can. We may not be near her physically, but we can send her love, peace and comfort. We can wrap her in a blanket of pug hugs.

Monday, October 5, 2015

We're ok!

Fortunately, the hurricane moved east! 
That still left us with the nor'easter (kind of like a hurricane in that it's a system instead of a storm that rolls in and out, but it's not tropical) to deal with. 
We are still dealing with high tides and winds, but overall, we're ok. 
We slept through most of it. 
It's super soggy here, there's branches to clean up, 
but it could have been SOOOO much worse. 

Any good juju you were sending our way, please redirect to South Carolina. They are dealing with catastrophic floods. We are used to floods. It's called Tidewater here for a reason. 
This is a once in 1000 years flood for them. 
We pray that all the people and animals can get to safe, warm and dry places.