Nothing from the vets yet. If I haven’t heard from them by tomorrow afternoon I’ll go round and do the Haggard and Hysterical Hellgoddess* at them, just to make sure (a) they haven’t forgotten to tell me because they’re having a busy day and (b) if they haven’t heard from the lab maybe they should do a modicum of checking up. They could say that their client is a haggard and hysterical hellgoddess** and they’d be grateful to have something to tell her. That noise in the background, they could say, is the client under discussion gnawing holes in the clinic’s window frames.
Hellhounds have eaten four and three-quarters meals in a row—NOT WITHOUT EFFORT FROM YOURS TRULY—and there was a certain falling-off from Chaos on the subject of dinner, but I am hoping this is just a blip and not the return of a recent much-feared trend. Crap production is not finest kind either—not that they ever produce finest-kind but what’s happening now is a trifle ominous. . . . I really hope there are lab results tomorrow and that they are, while probably guaranteed non-definitive, at least suggestive.
Hellterror seems as normal—although ‘normal’ applied to a bullie is a bit of a non sequitur—aside from the continued manifestation of hellhound-type un-finest-kind crap. I’m telling myself that this is, in its perverse way, a good thing. It proves there’s something wrong that we can seek till we find.
And I’m basically so tired I could die. I did finally get some sleep last night, but not enough—‘enough’ at this point would probably be into triple figures—and we didn’t have lunch till teatime*** partly because I let myself lie down for a moment† after breakfast and someone stole two hours like picking my pocket.
Not that the day has been a day anyone would want more of than they could help. It’s the 23rd of May in the south of England and we’re having sleet and hail. Okay, you can get hail any time†† but SLEET? Sleet on the 23rd of May in the south of England is rude.
I have indeed spent most of the day playing stupid word games on Astarte. This is all Rima’s fault. Everybody is cooler than I am so I tend to ask visitors what they’re reading/doing/watching/playing. She has an iPad too††† so I didn’t even have the minor protection of noncompatibility. She got me started on Moxie, which I’m not too bad at‡, and What’s My Word? which I’m terrible at, and I discovered Word Abacus for myself which I’m reasonably good at except for the fact that it keeps frelling crashing. This is less annoying than it might be since it tends to crash at about the point that I’m thinking that I’m tired of being dragged up through the levels just because I have a reasonably good vocabulary and keep failing to fail. YAAY. I’VE JUST CRASHED. I GET TO START OVER. I am so not a games player. But the constant pop-up windows asking if I want to SHARE WITH MY FRIENDS make me nuts. NO. I’M TIRED AND STRESSED AND BRAIN DEAD AND WASTING TIME. THE LAST THING I WANT TO DO IS WASTE MY FRIENDS’ TIME TOO.
But the thing that really freaks me out is that Abacus says Hi hellgoddess! every time I open it up again. Where did it pick hellgoddess up from? I sure didn’t invite it to share that particular joke. I do use ‘hellgoddess’ when some blasted impertinent site‡‡ wants a user name other than my email address and I actually am planning on hanging around long enough that it’s not an unreasonable request. ‡‡‡ But some frelling games company? Arrrgh. The permeability of the loose information out there in internet land seriously squicks me out.
* * *
* with optional thunderbolts. Hunderbolts. Hmmm. I think I like hunderbolts. That would be what a hellgoddess hurls.
** with hunderbolts
*** We literally fell through the door at the mews as Peter was making himself a cuppa, the ginger biscuits already out on the table.
† Note to self: when very tired, don’t get dressed in the bedroom. Where the bed is.
†† As any gardener who has ever opened their private garden to the public the day after a major hailstorm will have no trouble remembering forever. You’re scheduled in the Yellow Book^, it’s not like you can say, tra la la, I’ve changed my mind. Delphiniums? What delphiniums? Roses put up with being thrashed better than most so we had some garden left. It’s still horrible.
^ http://www.ngs.org.uk/ There are plenty of other private-garden-openings for charity, but this is the big famous organization. We used to open at the old house.
††† Although her cover for hers is orange. With mine in blistering pink on the same table it was kind of War of the Kindergarten Colours. Anybody out there with a lime-green cover for their iPad? Come play with us.
‡ Also I like it when it says twaddle which is a trifle counterproductive since this costs you thirty points.
‡‡ I was trying to buy cheap fleece blankets on line tonight—during breaks from Word Abacus—because with three hellcritters I find I run out of bedding as soon as there is any extra strain on the system—a hellterror bitch in heat, say.^ This frelling site wanted my birth date ‘for added security’. What the bleep does that mean? They lost that sale. Now I need an alternative source of cheap fleece blankets for critter bedding.
^ Ref Diane in MN’s comment on the forum, you have Great Danes. I’m not expecting to need to put pants on something that weighs less than thirty pounds and presumably has appropriately teeny ooze-producing female parts. Ask me next autumn or thereabouts when she comes in season again. At the moment I couldn’t keep pants on her if I wanted to: she’d chew them off. She’s still in a collar rather than a harness because she still doesn’t sit particularly still for having same put on, and I therefore leave it on all day (it comes off after the last brief night hurtle). She can’t reach the collar. She’d chew the body band of a harness off with great dispatch. Which is another reason—aside from her present interesting condition—that I’m not pursuing my experiments in having her clipped into the seatbelt next to the hellhound box in Wolfgang.
‡‡‡ Ravelry, for example, as some of you know. Also the Rowan yarn site. This for some reason amuses me. Probably because Rowan is so earnestly fashionable. Did I tell you that my Big Wool arrived, for my heart jumper? It is very pretty. And the yarn is deliciously soft. If any of you are considering a similar purchase.
And to add to the joy of nations* Pav has done a u-turn and decided to finish being on heat after all. And is dripping thick gooey blood all over the landscape. ** What a good thing she stays in the kitchen at the cottage—on the lino. And for the moment there is No Rioting at the mews. For more than merely the sake of the carpets. Rioting might create excitement. At the moment while hellhounds are VERY VERY INDEED VERY interested in her rear end, they’ve always been far too interested in her rear end and this interest doesn’t seem to have mutated into anything alarming. Yet. There has been no singing in the small hours*** and no manifestations of Mr Hyde from either of my Dr Jekylls. Nor are Pav and I being followed around town by drooling swains . . . yet.†
The good news is . . . hellhounds have eaten three meals in a row.†† This is a first in some time.††† Last two days there has been some really epic melting down by the hellgoddess—not that it does any good.‡ It’s still not like three meals in a row means we’re headed back up out of the pit of despond and self-starvation again—the reason this bout has been so appalling is because every time they look they are coming out of it they slide back in again—but I will take what I can get.
The bad news is that I had (maybe) four hours of sleep last night, mainly due to Night Horrors‡‡ but also because Pav took exception to the herd of rhinoceroses trotting up the cul de sac at about seven a.m.‡‡‡ and barked her frelling little head off. SHUT. UP. I COULD USE A NICE FURRY HEARTHRUG YOU KNOW. For someone with ME my adrenals can sure spike it out there, given the (unfortunate) chance.
So . . . we’re waiting for the first lot of lab results. I took several unpleasant little bags and bottles to the clinic on Monday and ranted at length to one of the two senior vets. Who listened.§ I was told they should hear something by the end of this week, but I’m resigned to the almost certain fact that this is only the beginning. After all, we did all this six years ago with the hellhounds.
. . . I was planning to answer some of the comments on the Bad News thread plus respond to some suggestions I’ve had by email but I am so tired I’m not sure how many sentences I have left in me tonight. Water, which several of you have mentioned: I’m putting us back on bottled water, although water was about the first thing I thought of six years ago, and bottled water didn’t make any difference then§§, although if it’s a parasite that’s closing the door after the horse has hit the high road. It still gives me a faint spurious sense that I’m doing something. Electro/environmental sensitivity: I’ve thought of that too because I’ve wondered for thirteen years now what relationship that may have with the mutable beast that is ME.§§§ I’m hoping this is something they can see under a microscope.
The vet said they’d test for ‘everything’. I’m compiling a list and will measure his ‘everything’ with mine after we get these first results. And then I’ll try to decide what to do next. I agree that we’re probably looking at specialist diagnosticians here but . . .
. . . I’ll think about it tomorrow.
* * *
* This is one of Peter’s phrases. As, he says, is the one about you can’t call yourself a gardener unless you like to weed. I certainly remember first hearing that more or less the moment I moved over here—I’ve told you that his first official fiancé’s gift to me was a pair of secateurs, haven’t I?—and by extension then from Peter. But I hadn’t realised it originated with Peter.
I spent nearly three hours today weeding. Yes. It was good. Except for the standing on the plants you’re trying to save and the being clawed to pieces by your roses. As Peter also says, Roses don’t know who their friends are.
** Ah, nature. What a dratblasted dinglebrained system. This comes of creating a world in six days instead of taking your time in the planning stages and thinking things through carefully.
*** Except by me.
† Right now is when I REALLY REALLY REALLY don’t want to meet up with Toxic Purulence Dog. We last saw him the day before Pav started dripping. Eeep.
†† Pav has eaten a small airplane hangar and a Honda Civic.
††† See this grey hair?
‡ If I threw thunderbolts like Zeus, this entire town would look like the surface of the moon.
‡‡ The kind where if you shut your eyes everybody dies. Ordinarily I sleep very badly in daylight and it’s a nuisance it gets light so early this time of year but lately I don’t think about turning my reading light off till the sun has taken over outdoors and is leaking through the curtains.^
^ Or the curtain-equivalents, as the case may be, as it is in my bedroom.
‡‡‡ This would be approximately an hour after I got to sleep in the first place.
§ More than one of my animal-oriented friends don’t like my vets, and it’s perfectly true they’ve got some stuff spectacularly wrong. But they have virtues. One of them is demonstrated here: they listen. There’s no nonsense about they’re the experts and they know best and stop complicating matters by trying to tell them about your individual knowledge about your individual critter^. They’re also always available. Their emergency out of office hours phone answering system WORKS as I have way too much occasion to know. Rowan of the previous generation was accident prone, but her accidents only happened out of office hours and on weekends. And when you come to the end of the line and need to have someone put down—they come to you so your critter can die at home. And if this needs to happen on a Sunday afternoon, that’s okay too.
^ My loathing of most standard doctors is leaking through here
§§ I filter our drinking water at the cottage although it’s just one of the basic little charcoal dealies, and it wouldn’t protect us from anything serious. It’s doing something, because I like the taste better than what comes raw out of the tap. Peter doesn’t filter the water at the mews but he’s the only one of the five of us who does not have intestinal strangenesses.
§§§ I was nearly the last person I knew to go over to wifi, because I worried about all that extra signal washing around. But when everyone in your neighbourhood has wifi you’re swimming in the stuff anyway, so you might as well join the fun.
Life is an ugly pond-scum rat-assed bastard and then you die.
This not-eating spell with the hellhounds has been grinding on and on and on and on and on and on and on and on and on and on, and they’re moving into serious weight-loss and loss of condition territory. You can see there’s something wrong, especially if you know them from a good patch. Darkness is as bad as I’ve ever seen him. He had another double-ended geysering fit last night, during which he dragged me across half Hampshire; today he had what I call ‘colic’ and what it means is that his guts howl like rabid hyenas and he won’t eat.
Usually we cycle through these spells and come out again without too much damage except to my sanity. Not this time.
Okay, here’s the promised bad news: Pavlova is going the same way. Oh, she eats. But . . .
She’s been having irregularly squishy crap for several weeks. I’ve tentatively put it down to the hormone storms of first heat. But it’s worrying. And I’m a little oversensitive on the subject of critter digestion after almost seven years of the hellhounds.
Then about a week ago she produced a gigantic mucousy thing . . . followed a few hours later with the Yellow Geysers. Noooooooo . . .
I took her to the vet. The vet said ‘colitis’—which is one of those fancy no-help non-diagnosis words, it just means inflammation of the lower gut. We knew that. He gave us some stuff—including some stronger or different or more comprehensive probiotics, in case this was a result of the antibiotics she’d been on for the skin infection on her forehead after the Malign Encounter in the Churchyard.
We went home.* Her output has been better this week, but not that much better. This has made me unhappy. Meanwhile there are the hellhounds. My stress level could fuel the energy grid of Hampshire, and possibly the entire south of England.
This morning, while she is still on what the vet gave us for ‘colitis’, she produced a gigantic mucousy thing . . . followed a few hours later with the Yellow Geysers.
The Yellow Geysers, which is exactly what the hellhounds have. Have had for almost seven years. It’s not just the runs, it’s a specific form of the runs.
I am so going to the vets again tomorrow. This changes the entire game, you know? If the totally-non-related, different-frelling-breed Pavlova is going down with the same damn thing that has haunted hellhounds and me for seven years. Whatever it is. Doesn’t it almost have to be parasites?** But WHAT parasites? Hellhounds were exhaustively tested for everything known to veterinary science—when they were first geysering. As my bank balance still remembers.
Meanwhile . . . you’ll forgive me if I don’t burble on tonight. I’m not feeling very burbly anyway, and immediate circumstances include that I got four hours of sleep last night. Er. ‘Night.’ Starting about 6:40 this morning. . . .
* * *
* I can’t starve her or she eats her bedding.^ She gets a little rice boiled to mush in chicken stock after an acute attack. This week she’s been on chicken as well as chicken stock and rice.
^ She’s in my lap+ as I write this.++ She’s trying to eat the left mid-thigh of my jeans which I appear to have spilled something INTERESTING on.+++
+ It’s okay. Hellhounds had a sofa earlier.
++ One-handed typing oh joy. What price voice recognition software that actually, you know, recognises, rather than expressing its unique creativity?
+++ No, she’s gone to sleep with her nose on the wet spot she’s been licking. Maybe it will give her tasty dreams.
** Unless I’m the vector.^ Toxic hellgoddess. Yellow Geyser Mary. I also don’t see any escape from the articulated lorry-load of GUILT when—that’s when—we finally find out what this is.
^ And in case anyone is trying to think of a tactful way of making an inquiry of a personal nature . . . I was diagnosed with IBS over thirty years ago, before anyone had frelling heard of it, including me. And Digestive Issues are dead common with people with ME. If this is a trans-species parasite I wouldn’t have a clue. I wouldn’t know normal if it bit me.
The very last thing I do every night is put Pav out for a final pee*. When this happens EVEN LATER THAN USUAL because, say, I’ve been reading something and HAD TO KNOW HOW IT ENDED**, it may no longer be awfully dark outdoors by the time we get out there for this ritual moment. Hey, it’s barely a month to the longest day, it gets light really really REALLY early, okay? So it was like twilight out there this morning, and I was standing there in my nightgown ready to fend the little varmint*** off the rose bushes and my peripheral vision was caught by movement where no movement should be. . . .
There was a big fat mouse lowering the bird-seed level in the feeder by a rate of knots. ARRRRRRRGH.†
This is my fabulous squirrel proof bird feeder, you know? The one with the integral cage that only little birds can get through. Little birds and the occasional frelling mouse—who was soon going to be too frelling bulgy to get out again. I picked up a stake that didn’t happen to be propping anything important and gave the feeder a move-or-die whack. Mouse leaped out into the shadows—Geronimoooooooooo!—and disappeared.††
The real ratbag about this is that I’ve pretty much decided that the birds don’t like this feeder. I have lots of birds in the garden, and the suet block in the other feeder is eaten down pretty reliably. Er. By birds: I see them doing it. This one—nope. I assume they don’t like the cage.
So today, which was a lovely day†††, I spent a good bit of in the garden. ‡ And one of the things I did was tie the clematis and the rose-bush that are the likeliest mouse-access-providing culprits away from the seed feeder.
* * *
* Hellhounds scorn such wimpery. Pav is extremely continent^ but she’s also always delighted to be allowed to burst out of her crate and attack something. If the price for this indulgence is that she stop attacking things^^ long enough to have a pee, she will do that with reasonable grace.
^ Barring the standard canine disasters. My latest trial is that she’s decided that sheep crap is a delicacy. ARRRRRRRRGH. Even if I hold her upside down and shake, the stuff is kind of friable, you know? It doesn’t all hold together neatly and pop out in a nice cohesive lump.
^^ Dirty laundry, nightgown hems+, feet, towels hanging on the Aga rail, etc. If she’s desperate, dog toys.
+ She has, relatively recently, discovered the joys of rocket-launching her solid little furry self upward inside the circle of hem of the nightgown you’re wearing YAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAH.
** I’ll tell you all about it. Some day.
*** With the little glistening varminty eyes
† Speaking of ARRRRRRRRGH. ARRRRRRRRRGH.
†† Pav was sure she’d missed something. I’m glad to say the mouse leaped into the shadows on the far side of the little courtyard fence. I don’t like mice, but I didn’t in the least want my hellterror catching one.^ Or diving through a rose-bush to try.
^ Either she’d eat it—and its unknown but guaranteed undesirable parasites—or she’d just mangle it a little. They scream, you know. Like bunnies. Bunnies scream. Dog owners need to know how to kill things. Whimper.
††† After we got down to a NEAR FROST last night. One of my pathetic and ridiculous excuses for staying up reading was so that I could keep an eye on the frelling thermometer. The temperature had turned around and was going up again by the time I turned the light off. I get to do this again tonight. Or not, of course.
‡ Have I told you I have two lots of American visitors coming next week? I have maybe half a dozen overnight-staying, pond-crossing visitors in an average year . . . and I have THREE of them NEXT WEEK? WHAT? One of them is an old friend, and if the house(s) is a tip and the garden(s) is a jungle, eh, she’s seen it all before. The other one—and her husband—I’m a little afraid of. Sigh. But nothing is going to turn me into a magnificent housekeeper, a sublime gardener and a superlative hostess in the next ten days, so we’ll just have to muddle along somehow.
Somebody tell me why a bull terrier counts as a mastiff type? http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_Mastiff_Type_Breeds *
Is this the Funny Face category or something? Although I was interested that part of the description is that while these dogs have been put to a variety of purposes, they are most often used for guarding because they generally have a strong guarding instinct. Pav is a surprisingly good guard dog, not something I was expecting.** The hellhounds are hopeless guard dogs.*** And on the one hand you think, if it came to that, how seriously is anyone going to take something about fourteen inches high at the shoulder and weighing not quite thirty pounds? And on the other hand you look at that bull terrier head, even the small, streamlined version, so clearly built for biting, and, having bitten, holding on, and possibly you think . . . uh. I quite like my shins in their current configuration, and having feet on the ends of my ankles. Maybe I’ll go burgle someone else.
Meanwhile: there is a small earnest explosion in response to All Suspicious Noises,† which, if it happens in her crate, is all very well, but if she’s in your lap at the time it can be a trifle disconcerting. She means it too: most of the time there’s a twinkle in that sweet, evil little eye††, especially when she’s having a go at the slippers you foolishly left in the middle of the floor or the shopping bag you’re trying to carry in your non-lead-holding hand††† but she is all business when she’s Responding to a Threat, and if I tell her to shut up too soon she will remain on alert, giving me a brief pitying look because I am not taking her professional assessment seriously enough.‡ I write fantasy so I may be imagining some of this‡‡, but it sure seems to me that the best way to get her to shut up is to appear to be listening intently to whatever it is she’s hearing, and then relax. Oh, she says. Well, if you say so. And she stands down.‡‡‡ Of course if it’s some legitimate disruption, like, say, the delivery man bringing my latest consignment of on-sale yarn,§ or Raphael the archangel come to sort out the latest 4,715 little peculiarities across my range of demon-possessed technology§§, there is an interesting metamorphosis from Red alert! Red Alert! Woop woop woop woop woof! to, Hey! There’s something going on! The hellhounds are having FUN and I’m NOT! Let me OUT OF HERE!§§§
* * *
* But when I tried to click on an outside link I got this:
You don’t have permission to access /m/articles/view/Molosser-and-Rare-Breeds-List-Part-1 on this server.
Additionally, a 403 Forbidden error was encountered while trying to use an ErrorDocument to handle the request.
Cheez. What is this, the secret Homeland Security site about the creation of a new breed of anti-terrorist dogs which can leap tall buildings with a single bound and when stressed put out a pheromone that neutralises all explosive material in a 30-foot radius? The FBI has had worse ideas.
** I will now receive a cross email from Olivia saying that she told me. Well, she may well have done, but she hasn’t hit menopause yet and doesn’t know about Menopause Brain.
*** Is it a friend? Is it fun? Can we chase it? . . . Never mind, we’re asleep.
† Some of them inaudible to the third-rate human ear. I will not demean my noble, responsible watchcritter by suspecting that some of them may be imaginary.
†† Southdowner sent me a quote from someone on her bullie list: ‘Flipping through the BTCA Record for 2012. How can you resist a breed praised by judges for “a wonderfully evil expression” and “stunning varminty eyes”?! Somehow I don’t think Labradors or beagles are prized for rottenness…’
††† It has fascinated me for over five decades the way dogs figure out some of what pisses you off but not all. Pav knows perfectly well I’ll come down on her if she bites her lead, for example, or if she runs off with one of those slippers—indeed she runs off with a slipper looking over her shoulder with a wonderfully evil expression in her stunning varminty eyes and she doesn’t just run, she bounds, which is ‘nanny nanny boo boo’ in dog language. But she will not get it about the dirty laundry. When I take a slipper away from her she’s all heh heh heh heh heh. When I take my knickers or my socks away from her she’s all sad and disappointed and it takes her a good two seconds to recover her spirits and find something else to destroy.
‡ The hellhounds may half-open an eye at this point and murmur, You sort her out, Pav, we’re holding the floor down. We need to conserve our strength toward resisting our next meal.^
^ Snarl. —hellgoddess
‡‡ Also I am critter soppy.
‡‡‡ I am not imagining it that she lets me take stuff away from her however. I can put up with a lot of torn knickers and scalloped slippers for the fact that she doesn’t gulp down whatever it is in the two-thirds of a very long second it takes me to reach her end of the long extending lead. In fact chances are she’s just standing there looking resigned. She let me take what proved to be most of half a sandwich away from her today. How amazing is that?^
^ She’s not a bull terrier. She just looks like one. As I keep saying.
§ This is my favourite delivery man. Not only does he actually LEAVE STUFF BEHIND THE GATE THE WAY I ASK DELIVERYPERSONS TO DO^ but he has a dog that rides around in the van with him.
^ Has anyone ever seen a female deliveryperson? Female postpersons are totally common, but I’ve never seen a woman deliveryperson. It can’t just be brute strength; some of the blokes look like they have trouble lifting a medium-sized yarn shipment.
§§ It’s been a long day.
§§§ ‘Here’ may include my long wiry tower-bell-ringing-toned spider-monkey arms clamping her to my chest.