In like a lion?

I have to say, March has not been my month. More to the point, this week in March has not been my week.

For starters, the weather has been so bleak and dreary that it's difficult to keep my spirits up - nothing but gloom and gray comes through the windows. Then there's Hero and hot on his stubby little tail the never-ending roller coaster of questions: do we keep him? Can we rehabilitate him? Is he too much stress for one already strained household to manage? Case in point: Hero got into a dumpster at the park and ate a huge chunk of steel wool (probably left over from scrubbing the open-to-the-public grills and thus positively seeping with old food nastiness), which resulted in much dog vomit and a $300 trip to the vet to insure that his insides were not ripped to shreds. Add to that the fact that both Hubs and I sustained some skin-breaking bites and all in all I'd say Hero added far more despair than joy to our lives this week.

We've abandoned the Dog Whisperer (and the vet's) recommended regimen in dealing with a dog with dominance aggression. We've decided to stop challenging him. We'll still enforce our alpha-ness in more run-of-the-mill daily routines, but when it comes to trying to take back stolen objects, we're no longer willing to send in the troops and sacrifice our men. Even though everyone tells us that comforting Hero and soothing him is the worst thing to do in that case, it's also the only thing that seems to work. For whatever reason, Hero can't handle it when the pressure mounts. That could be his dominance aggression and his refusal to be challenged or it could be that he starts the situation and sees no other way to finish it. Regardless, when we're calm, he's calm, and although technically that means he 'wins', right now we're just aiming for a harmonious living situation. At the end of the day we're around him 24/7 and we've studied him inside and out (not because we want to, but because we're forced to). So maybe we actually do know something the 'experts' don't about how best to handle him.

Aside from the Hero drama, I'm not sure what else to report. He's pretty all-consuming, which my friend C swears is my coping mechanism for dealing with the IF. She could be right. Most days I'd just as soon get rid of Hero and wallow in my own issues for a while, but maybe C sees something I don't in my own behavior. Maybe I use Hero to escape. He makes for a pretty crappy diversion, but I'm not above admitting that coping mechanisms - even my own - often make no good sense.

Speaking of IF, my lab results came back and all the hormone tests were 'normal'. I didn't see any actual #s, so I don't know which tests were run and what constitutes 'normal' according to my PCP. The labs will be sent over to the OB, so I'll probably get more answers from her.

So that's where I'm at right now. This weekend I'm going away on a spiritual retreat, which at the moment is the last thing I feel like doing but hopefully it'll be good for me. Either way, April will be a fresh start and hopefully a long-awaited turning point. Please please please let March go out like a lamb. Lambs are happy. And they don't bite. (As far as I know, which isn't actually all that far come to think...)



I think part of my icky feeling yesterday was actually just hunger. The literal, not metaphorical, kind.

It's still rainy out today though - I miss the gorgeous sunshine! That's one thing about having a house with a ton of big windows - you notice.


Like nails on a chalkboard

It's been a very weird weekend. We were up late hosting a belated St. Pat's day party on Saturday and I woke up Sunday with the feeling that my insides were just crawling - like I'm suddenly aware of everything that exists under my skin. Not in a good way. I can't explain it any better than that. I feel anxious and tweaky under my skin. I'm restless and can't settle down.

It's pouring rain today and that's my only consolation. Apparently the universe feels as dark and stormy as I do and I take a small measure of comfort in her company.


Nothin' to see folks: from now on, admission is free

If you've been wondering what's going on in my world, you're lookin' at it. Apparently moving the study upstairs and turning the underwater room into a normal, non-psychedelic living space is a *huge* undertaking. Removing that God awful border alone was a two day project. Now I'm priming and crossing my fingers - as I whitewash over various ocean creatures and happy sea flora - that it will someday be possible to sit in this room and not see a shadow of Nemo or Moby Dick lurking on the wall behind you.

I know I'll be thrilled when this room is finished. Were it not for the seven other projects on my to-do list I'd be over the moon when this room is finished, but sadly more nasty border print is darkening the doorstep of my near future.

I thought I would be sad to see the Mac's personal aquarium disappear before my eyes, but I'm not. Good riddance to bad coral reef.


Beta blues

It's on: the alpha struggle. Hero has been diagnosed with 'dominance aggression', and hence it's our job to knock him down several pegs to the beta position or die trying. This following a particularly stressful visit to Mookie's where Hero drew blood (mine and Mookie's) on several occasions. Yesterday we had a lengthy vet visit and were told to "crack down" on the little monster. Tough love isn't easy for us (we're softies), but it's for Hero's own good - he's facing the unpleasant end of a euthanizing needle if we can't gain some semblance of control and lessen the liability. Tears have been shed, scars swell angrily on wrists and hands and fingers, and hope has seesawed time and time again. Now we get down to business.

Hubs and I are gentle people, so dominating a dog isn't really in our nature. But in order to save Hero's life we're channeling our inner alphas. Hero's been fitted with a Gentle Lead nose collar

Get it off! Get it off! It's an instrument of The Man! Get it off my head!!!!

that subdues him considerably; he's not allowed on any furniture (this was particularly heartbreaking when he jumped in bed with me this morning to snuggle and I had to refuse him); he gets hand fed only after earning each morsel; when he steals things, he gets forcibly restrained until he drops them. He's visibly depressed. Turns out he doesn't like being bottom dog on the totem pole. Oh well. We don't like his teeth (which I painstakingly brush daily - the irony!) sinking in to our flesh all that much either, so someone's got to be left disappointed at the end of any given day.

Recently I've decided that for one month, I'm going to look at everything that happens to me as part of the universe and/or God's plan. I read about a study that showed that spiritual people are generally happier, and I think this is part of the reason why. It's a "let go and let God" sort of thing - if it's always assumed there's a reason why, it's harder to get too upset when you encounter bumps in the road. So when snow kept me in Missouri a day longer than I'd anticipated, I tried to see what good came from that: maybe it was predetermined so that I could return to Mookie's gym and find my favorite comb that I'd lost in the locker room the day before; maybe it was all arranged to allow Mookie and I one final dinner out together, just the two of us. I was amazed by the sense of calm I felt imagining it was all playing out just as it was intended to.

The tricky thing is trying to fit Hero into my month's experiment. What good comes from the unfortunate twist of fate that brought a hyper-aggressive ball of fur into our lives when we'd been anticipating a baby, not a demon dog? What good comes from all the stress, the ups and downs, the emotional roller coaster of having a dog you can't trust with the simple task of not harming you!? I can see how this situation benefits Hero: I firmly believe less tolerant, less stubborn, or less devoted people would have put him down or worse, passed him on to some unsuspecting family by now. I see how we're important to his life. But I have to believe he's important to ours. He must be teaching us something. He must be here for a reason, or else it's just sh*t luck that we got such a nasty pet when we need a faithful companion more than ever right now.

Whatever the reason, I'm not one to give up easily. I'll fight for Hero with all I've got. We've already thrown endless amounts of money, time, and energy at this problem. What's a little more? Well, time and energy. Hero's burned through his 'bad dog fund' so there's nothing left of that (of course as I say this we're waiting on delivery of an exorbitantly expensive correction collar, so clearly dollars continue to get spent on his behalf).


Catch up

It's been a while since I last posted. There's not a whole lot going on, although it seems like we're constantly busy. This past week we've done a ton of redecorating. We're turning our downstairs study into a formal sitting room because we were given a gorgeous sofa and love seat set from some friends (with very expensive taste) who are upgrading. They go perfectly with the paint and window treatments in our former study, so it really couldn't have worked out better.

That one project blended into many others as now several pieces of furniture have been displaced and thus re-placed throughout the house, necessitating changes in wall art, photos, and spurring a list of painting projects that will take place over the next few weeks.

I'm excited to turn the underwater room into a study and finally get on with assigning those upstairs rooms a purpose. They've been pretty much vacant since we moved - we intend them eventually to be kids rooms, but leaving both unoccupied until that point seems a bit of a waste. The fluorescent pink room will be the first nursery, so it'd be years before the underwater room saw any action anyway. We'll start working on converting the fluorescent pink room soon, and hopefully that won't be a terrible mistake. If we create a nursery and no kids come our way, that would SUCK. But then again in its current state it blinds any and all who enter with its Pepto-Bismol vibrancy, so leaving it untouched is a hazard all its own.

Speaking of kids, we had our first visit with our primary care doc to talk the situation over. He's (shocker) not very worried and that's frustrating more so than comforting. But he did suggest we skip to the next step and he referred us to an OB/GYN who does endocrine workups as well. Apparently in the Midwest things aren't quite as specialized, so the bulk of IF diagnosis and treatment gets done without an RE. Different from Boston, but who am I to argue. He did run some preliminary tests (hormone, thyroid, hemoglobin). Turns out I'm not currently anemic, so go me! My diet is pretty good if I do say so myself, but it's nice to know I'm getting enough iron since that's always been a struggle. As for the other results, they're not in yet. Our next appointment is April 7th, so unfortunately we have a wait on our hands.

My friend C's sister is sending her premo OPK in the mail (the fancy kind that's all electronic and what not) so in the meantime I'll see what kind of results I get with that. When I told Dr. S about the 20-day results from the First Response OPK he said, "Well clearly that's not reliable." I wanted to point out the reliability issue probably rests with my body, not the test - but I just kept my mouth shut.

While we wait, we'll just keep trying Russian roulette style and cross our fingers. Who knows what could happen? Plus, that's just good fun.

In other news, I'm off to see Mookie tomorrow. Hero and I are making the nine hour road trip so wish us luck. I'll be there about five days. I'll be sure to report on my dinner with the Hef biographer. I'll try to gather as much good intel as possible :)