Archive | March, 2010

Ode to a Half-Bath

29 Mar

I wanted to share the before and after shots of our half-bath at the new house. The after’s still not completely finished. Still some details. But you can see the new paint, mirror, plug, sink and cabinet.

Before: Old Hollywood + 1970s.

AFTER: Bead board, new sink and mirrored cabinet, yellow paint.

Puppies and Pad Injuries

26 Mar

Wylie wearing a bandage and doped up on doggie sedatives.

We’ve successfully made it through three weeks of recovery from a pad injury. Thought I’d post this for anyone who doesn’t know how to handle a pad injury.

What Happened

Wylie was playing in our local creek (Alum Creek) at my favorite dog park (Wolfe aka Woof Park) with his best friend dog Mo(zart). My friend Anne and I saw some broken glass and cleaned it up.

I noticed that while Wylie¬† and Mo were running around through the woods and in the creek, at one point he yipped. But he kept going, and I didn’t think anything more until we arrived home. I’m now confident that he stepped on some glass that sliced his pad. When I got him out of the car, there was blood everywhere on the back seat. Pads are very vascular, so you’ll have that!

What We Did

At first, I thought it would clot and heal on its own. I cleaned him off in the tub and put him upstairs in his crate to rest. He was tired, so this was no problem. He wasn’t limping or seeming to care about the pad injury.

When I went up to get him out of the crate after about an hour, it was still bleeding. At that point, we knew that we needed to take him into the vet. Of course, this was a Sunday evening, so we were not able to go to our family vet. Off we went to OSU Vet Hospital.

Treatment

We waited several hours, which we expected. For anyone who has an injured animal, be prepared for a lot of sitting around. But OSU is wonderful. We’ve been there many times in the past with previous dogs. The vets are terrific.

They stitched up the pad and bandaged it. We left four hours after arrival with a worn-out and woozy Wylie (post-anesthesia), two weeks’ worth of antibiotics and two varieties of pain med.

The most interesting thing that happened was when the vet told me we’d need to limit the dog’s activity level. “No time running around or jumping in the yard.” Okay, no problem. “Also, keep him from running or jumping in the house.” Um, notgonnahappen. He’s a puppy after all. Was this vet a cat vet? This last part was the reason for the second sedative, to keep his activity level low.

Aftercare

Three days after the injury, we took Wylie back to our vet to have the stitches examined and the paw bathed and rebandaged. Wylie was not a happy camper, and he refused the vet’s liver treat after she was done with him.

Wylie with head hung low, sporting his cone of shame.

Six days after the injury, it was back to our vet again for pad examination and bathing. This time, they left the bandage off, but instructed us to have him wear an Elizabethan collar (aka cone of shame) so that he would not bite out the stitches.

He also had to wear an old knee sock outside to keep mud from getting caked in between the pads. Up to this point, we had to put a plastic bag over the bandage to keep it from getting wet every time he went outside. The sock was less of a struggle.

By this time, he was done with the sedative and back to his usual energy level. The problem with this? Still not allowed to take him for a walk! He drove us crazy during this time. Lots of indoor games kept him occupied.

Ten days after the injury, he went back to the vet for stitch removal. Everything was in fine order, and he was cleared for regular walks and visits to the dog park. They wanted us to keep having him wear the cone of shame, but he did not mess with the pad, so we left it off. He was so dejected wearing the cone, we couldn’t stand to keep it on him.

Pricetag

Emergency vet=$500

Aftercare vet visits=$120

Could have been MUCH worse. We have had pet insurance for a while. I highly recommend it.

Where’s My America?

25 Mar

Politics bring out the worst in human beings. I’m convinced.

This past week has been a case in point. With the health care reform bill now signed, we can look backward — and forward — with a certain amount of pride. And shame.

Pride for having accomplished a feat that puts us on a par with the rest of the developed world. We are finally in a position, as the wealthiest country in the world, to provide for our own people’s well-being, when they are not able to care for themselves. Our bootstraps mentality has gotten us far in this world, from explorers of the New World to pioneers of the Wild West. We have a right to be proud of DIY-ism.

Yet it has held us back from providing a fundamental building block of getting ahead — the gift of health — to millions of our fellow Americans. We’re apt to go around the world and be the hero, saving others from tribal infighting and cruel dictators, but we’ve hesitated for so long to provide for our own. Now we’ve gone and done it.

Where’s the shame in all of this? We have some serious contemplation to do on our collective reaction to the difference in opinion about this reform. What’s my key point here? Difference of opinion is a good thing. If approached without fear, hatred and bigotry, it’s fertile ground for bridge-building.

This is not about pollyanna can’t we just get along mentality. This is about the very substance of our nation, our past and future.

Where’s my America? An America that was born on difference of opinion, seeded by people who left Europe because they were persecuted for their religious beliefs that ran counter to the norm. My English ancestors came to America in 1682 on the ship Submission, leaving behind an England that had them fined, imprisoned and beaten down for practicing Quakerism. So many immigrants have come to these shores seeking freedom from persecution for their beliefs. Our government was built upon humanistic ideals that saw beyond religious affiliation and elitism.

Suddenly, difference of opinion means that we cannot meet in the middle. It assumes that there’s a “right” and “wrong” way to believe. Absolutism reigns, to our collective detriment. The ideologues on talk radio — both sides — are becoming our puppeteers. They create the spin, and we parrot their messages. I am so tired of hearing recycled ridiculousness from the pundits. When did we stop thinking for ourselves, reviewing the information at hand and coming up with opinions that we could stand behind?

Right here in my hometown, Columbus, Ohio, we’ve hosted Tea Partiers who publicly ridiculed a man with Parkinson’s disease, insinuating that he was a beggar who did not deserve “free” health care.¬† A sad case of misinterpreting someone’s circumstances.

Political discourse should not mean that citizens — and our elected officials — need to shout or threaten one another over something as trivial as a disagreement over beliefs. Theoretically, our political beliefs stem from the same set of facts. We just interpret them differently. That’s what makes them opinions. Somehow, society seems to be confusing beliefs and opinions with facts.

We need to get back to talking with one another, not accusing each other of being “baby killers” or “liars.” We’ve got to remember that our system of government was designed to blend difference of opinion and make something of it, not fail to participate in compromise and solution-building. The current landscape is an embarrassment to our country’s heritage of open debate. We’ve had our moments in history where we’ve strayed from the freedoms of thought and speech that formed the basis of our nation. Let’s not be tempted to let our America stoop so low again.

People Being People

17 Mar

I’ve been thinking a lot about a post put up a few weeks ago by Mark Henson of Sparkspace.

Most managers will identify their biggest inspirations and disappointments in terms of people. Our bests and worsts all come down to personalities, tendencies, strengths, weaknesses, potential (untapped or activated) and interactions with other team members in accomplishing our work. Sounds like an obvious statement, doesn’t it? Here’s why:

  • People get the job done and interact with team members to achieve results.
  • People make mistakes and learn how to better do the work.
  • People are incredibly productive and creative, providing services and products never before imagined.
  • People fail to get along with other team members and make small problems bigger over time.
  • And people take up time and energy. A lot of it.

Mark’s post is about what he calls “killer whales” in our workplaces. Here’s his definition:

I’m talking about those people who just seem to create damage everywhere they go. Maybe it’s through a chronically negative attitude, or gossip, or laziness, or spreading “victim mentality.” Killer whales in companies have also been known to be brown-nosers, ladder climbers, big talkers, and otherwise selfishly ambitious snakes (oops, sorry, we were talking about whales, not snakes, weren’t we?).

I’ll add one to the list: the under-bus-throwers.

The post made me think about the various work environments I’ve experienced over the past 20 years, as a manager and an employee. Who among the people of these workplaces has been most memorable? I can quickly identify my favorite leaders and coworkers, the ones who challenged me and truly embodied the word “colleague.” I also have clear memory of the leaders and coworkers who at times seemed to actively PREVENT me from accomplishing work. Some of these individuals became the “characters” in my working with difficult people series of posts last year. Most everybody fell into an in-between category…sad but true. I guess it’s not unusual to remember the best and the worst.

Negativity and me-ism has no place in a team environment. Managers have a responsibility to hold the mirror up to the killer whale and help them to self-assess and self-correct behaviors that become unproductive, however well-meaning. Mark’s right in that sometimes the killer whale needs to be released into the wild. There are humane ways to make that happen, but running from reality and ignoring your organization’s killer whales will send other staff the wrong message.

For the sake of the common good, who among us is brave enough to confront the killer whale?

Kindness

16 Mar

Small acts of kindness have been standing out to me lately. Today while I was in a long line at the gas station counter, a woman at the front of the line paid the cashier and spilled her coffee all over the countertop. As she cleaned up the mess, the cashier kindly reassured her that it was okay and encouraged her to get another fill-up.

An extra three minutes in line for everyone, but I admired the cashier’s sympathy and calm way of finding order in the chaos of impatient morning travelers.

Some people meditate daily, by themselves with legs crossed sitting in front of a candle focusing on a private flame. Kindness openly expressed to another human being is an active meditation that brightens the giver and the recipient.

Everyone else in line caught a ray of that cashier’s light today. The beauty of it? I don’t think that she even realized its radiance.

BlogPaws Conference

13 Mar

Are you interested in pets and blogging?

Join me for this conference in Columbus, Ohio, April 9-10, at the Westin downtown (pet-friendly hotel!).

More than 250 bloggers, writers and companies passionate about pets will come together for networking, learning and fun.

The best part? You can bring your animal with you. Wish me luck…I’m on a panel for Building Your Blog Strategy, and the puppy will be joining me.

We’re involving in Columbus All-Breed Basic Obedience starting next week, which should help us out tremendously. Meanwhile, let’s hope that he doesn’t have to wear his Elizabethan collar to the conference. It’s not very stylish. Wylie’s currently recovering from a pad injury.