Sunday, July 17, 2011

The Ugliest Chair Ever

I see a lot of ugly furniture in my line of work, but this one takes the cake.

This chair is from Sicis, a company that makes beautiful glass tile.  Why on earth are they making furniture?  They have absolutely NO business making furniture.  And I'm sure it's expensive, too.  Please, people, stick to what you're good at.

Sunday, July 10, 2011

I Feel Like a Bad Mom & Holy Cow the Dog Kennel is Expensive!

When I go to Portland next week I have to board Lulu in a kennel for the second time in her 11 1/2 years.  I am (ridiculously) upset about it.  When I was researching kennels online I was actually crying thinking about how abandoned Lulu is going to feel.  Which is why I feel like a bad mom.

The first time I boarded Lulu was when she was still a puppy.  I was traveling a lot for work and one of my trips coincided with my parents summer vacation.  We decided to board both Lulu and Zelda at a kennel that was recommended by my aunt.  This was so long ago that it was before the days when everybody really pampered their pets.  It became such a hassle.  First, they didn't want to keep Lulu and Zelda together because Lulu is a small dog and Zelda is a big dog, and they usually separated the dogs by size.  Then it was a huge ordeal to feed them their own food, an ordeal to feed them a mixture of wet and dry, an ordeal to feed them twice a day.  To me those things should just be standard operating procedure.  They wouldn't allow them to have their own beds or toys.  I would think that those items from home would help with the separation anxiety.

Even with all those problems, we felt like the dogs would be okay there.  When I picked them up, I decided that I would try to never board my dog again.  And I would definitely never board my dog there again, if I had to board her at all.  Lulu was pink when I picked her up.  PINK!  She had been wearing a pink halter collar and during her stay she chewed it off of herself.  The kennel employees never bothered to take it away from her, so she kept chewing on it and turned herself pink in the process.  Nor did they bother to give her a bath to remove the pink.  Thanks.  They never returned the container that held Lulu's food (which was a nice one!) nor the 1/2 cup scoop that portioned out her food.  I still have the rest of the set of measuring cups and every time I see that the 1/2 cup is missing, I'm irked all over again.

For the last 11 years, my parents and I have always made sure one of us can take care of the dogs because of that kennel experience.  But now since all of us, as well as the rest of our family, will be in Portland for Kristen and Stacy's wedding, we have to kennel them again.

After some research and talking to my vet about it, I decided on the PetsHotel at PetsMart.  It's expensive!  $28 per night for their regular room.  But included in that is two feedings per day, and they actually provide the food!  It just so happens that they use the same food Lulu already gets.  It's absolutely no problem to feed a combo of wet and dry and they'll even include the green beans Lulu now gets (part of her diet) if I provide them portioned out.  And they didn't bat an eye when I told them the particulars about how much she eats - 1/3 cup of dry food, 1/10th can of wet food, and 1/4 cup of green beans.  No biggie.  They also said that it's fine to bring her bed.  Because its makes the separation easier to have something from home.  Of course you can bring a favorite toy, just no squeakers because it's a choking hazard.  They also walk the dogs multiple times a day.  If Lulu wasn't so old and wasn't such a bitch, she could also go to the doggie day camp to play with other dogs.  It would cost me and extra $16, but since she doesn't really like other dogs, I don't have to incur that expense.

Turns out that my parents plans for Zelda fell through and she has to be boarded, too.  We thought it might be nice for Zelda and Lulu to be near each other, but they do get sick of each other and definitely need to be separated at meal times, so a shared room wasn't a great option.  The PetsHotel people had a wonderful solution!  Adjoining rooms with a close-able door between them - perfect!

They will give your dog special treats - a treat filled kong or doggie icecream ($4 each), and will give your dog a bath before you pick it up ($11).  They will give your dog it's medication ($2 per day).  You can give your dog individual play time, I guess for if your dog isn't good with other dogs ($9).  They actually even have what they call a Dog Suite - it is a larger room, with a better bed, and a TV tuned to doggie programs. :)  That once costs $38 a day.

I had to fill out a three page form about Lulu and her history.  It was really quite funny.  I had to provide a local emergency contact, too.  Since, again, my entire family will be in Portland, that honor goes to Michelle.  Hopefully she doesn't actually ever have to go get Lulu, though.  Although Lulu absolutely LOVES Michelle and Russ, she doesn't exactly care for Tuli or Mira's method of love by smothering and hugging to death.

I feel so much better about the situation knowing that the PetsHotel people have figured out how to make it work for us.  Although I'm sure I'll have a shock when I pay the bill, I know it's worth it for my precious baby Lulu.

Saturday, July 2, 2011

A Twofer! - What I'm Reading and a Little Rant about Equality

I finally read Jodi Picoult's latest book, Sing You Home.  It came out in March and it's been sitting in my "to-read" stack since then.  I always like Picoult's books.  She writes about current, hot-button topics, and doesn't shy away from controversy.  She's written about teen suicide, autistic kids and murder, and this one is about infertility, gay rights/equality and evangelical Christians.  There's some serious controversy for you!  A lot of Picoult's books trade off narrators in every chapter, which I really like.  It lets you see different characters point-of-view.  It was especially helpful in this book because the main characters have such VERY different points-of-view.

In this book, Zoe and Max have been trying to have a baby for ten years.  Their infertility has taken over their life.  In-vitro treatments have cost them a ton of money.  They have had multiple miscarriages.  And after they lose their baby, a still born at 28 weeks, Max decided that he can't do this anymore and wants a divorce.  Max, an alcoholic, copes with the loss of their son and their marriage by drinking.  Then one night, after a drunken car accident, he finds Jesus.  He joins a "born-again" church and becomes a completely different man.  Zoe copes by finding a new best friend, Vanessa.  Vanessa happens to be gay.  Zoe and Vanessa fall in love.

Now, I'm probably going to give too many spoilers for people who want to read this book, but I have to talk about the rest of the book.  I have read many, many books.  They've made me sad and I've cried, I've laughed, I've been bored, I've been confused.  But I don't think that a book has ever made me so angry.  I'm sure that part of the reason I got so angry is because my sister is gay and I see all the time how the world treats her differently because of that.  But I also know that I would feel this way about gay rights even if she wasn't gay.  My sister is getting married this summer, but gay marriage isn't legal in the state of Oregon.  I think that absolutely sucks! 

And full disclosure here, I'm not religious.  I was raised Catholic and I have found that my beliefs and the Catholic church don't match up well at all.  My ex-boyfriend considered himself a born-again Christian, and though I went to church with him and his family and I enjoyed the music, that didn't fit me either.  I don't feel like I'm missing out on anything by not having religion in my life, but I don't begrudge people their beliefs and their religions, even if I don't exactly understand it all.

 In the book, Zoe and Vanessa go to another state to get married.  They discuss their options for having children and Zoe remembers that they still have three fertilized eggs from when she and Max were going through treatment.  She wants those eggs and the children they might produce.

When Max finds out that Zoe is gay, he is understandably shocked.  That news would be shocking for anybody's ex-husband, but it is doubly so for Max because he is now so ultra-religious.  His church believes that gay people are..., well, basically, the devil.  He and another member of the church, a women who was formerly "gay-identified" (because being gay is a choice, and now she chooses differently), try to talk some sense into Zoe.  They quote bible passages at Zoe and Vanessa, trying to get them to see the error of their ways.  At the end of the visit, Vanessa finally goes off on them and says: "How dare you tell me that what makes me me is wrong?  How dare you say that you're tolerant, as long as I'm just like you?  How dare you suggest that I shouldn't be allowed to get married to someone I love, or adopt a child, or that gay rights don't qualify as civil rights because, unlike skin color or disabilities, you think that sexual orientation can be changed?  But you know what?  Even that argument doesn't hold water, because you can change your religion, and religious affiliation is still protected by law.  Which is the only reason I'm going to ask you politely to leave my home, instead of throwing you out on your hypocritical evangelical asses."

I wanted to clap when I read that passage!  Good for them!  I'm sure that any gay person who has been preached to about how wrong they are, in the name of God, has wanted to have a retort like that.

The rest of the book is about the lawsuit that happens when Max doesn't want to give Zoe the fertilized eggs.  It becomes a fight between gay rights and the evangelical Christians.  It gets messy and disgusting.  Most of the arguments Max's side brings up pissed the shit out of me, to be honest.

At the end of the book, one of the characters says, "Jesus didn't make exceptions, Max.  He didn't say we're supposed to love ninety-eight percent of our neighbors...but hate the ones who play their music too loud or who always drive over our lawn or who vote for Ralph Nader or who get tattooed from head to toe.  There may be days I don't really want to love the guy whose dog ate the heads off my day lilies, but Jesus says I don't have a choice.  It's not love if there are conditions."

That's they way religion is supposed to be.  There isn't supposed to be hate or condemnation.  Everybody should be accepted, no matter what.  And no matter what your sexual orientation is, you should be allowed to marry the person you love and have children how you choose to have them.  Last week New York passed a law giving gay people the right to marry.  Though they are not the first state to do so, they are one of the largest.  And it seems like it got the most press.  Now we just need to rest of the states to do the same.  This country was founded because people wanted freedom from England.  How is this freedom any different than that?  I have to believe that our country will eventually do the right thing, because they have always done it in the past.

I highly recommend this book, and any of Jodi Picoult's books, but reader be warned that this one may stir up some serious feelings and thoughts.