Of testing and cautious optimism…

I took the morning off today, to take the youngest pup in for another round of testing. The blood tests and urinalysis done over the weekend pointed steadily at major problems with his kidneys, perhaps even towards renal dysplasia – basically a developmental anomaly that would all but guarantee kidney failure in fairly short order after the initial onset of symptoms. That wasn’t what I was expecting to hear, but I spent most of the night last night reading every article and journal entry I could get my hands on without a subscription. If that was, indeed, the worst case scenario, I wanted to know what we were up against. Nothing I read gave me a warm fuzzy.

This morning’s round of testing has given cause for a bit of cautious optimism. Jorah’s urine was concentrated, had appropriate color and smell, and its specific gravity was low, but still in the target range for normal. Those things wouldn’t likely be in the case if his kidneys were in the process of failing. He’s schedule for a trip through south eastern Pennsylvania on Friday to see a specialist and get an abdominal ultrasound. Barring an invasive biopsy, it’s the surest way to verify that his kidneys are correct in size and shape. Cautious optimism.

Since the mass consumption of water is something Jorah’s done since the day I brought him home and we’ve established that his kidneys are concentrating fluid and his blood isn’t showing any of the other likely issues, one of the remaining outliers could be that he’s just obsessed with drinking. The fact that it’s possible I gravitated, in a building full of dogs, to one that could have a touch of good old fashioned OCD probably shouldn’t be in any way surprising.

We’re still a ways off from having a truly definitive answer, but moving the one that’s effectively a short term death sentence more towards the unlikely column feels like a pretty good day’s work.

The voyage home…

My regularly scheduled Christmas voyage home has come to an end. I’m sitting at my own keyboard, at my own kitchen table, listening to my own television at a reasonable volume. George is happily munching on a couple of handsfull of fresh greens and the pups are already laid in for a good night’s sleep. For the first time in six days I can shed the feeling of needing to be “on”… and that’s a good for the ISTJ soul.

As always, the retreat back to my own domicile of record is a combination of joy at being able to throw on a pair of shorts and a tee shirt with holes in it and guilt at not spending enough time visiting and being seen. It’s a balancing act at the best of times and the mad dash that is always Christmas doesn’t make it any easier. So, I’ll be doing my best to suppress my natural sensation of guilt about carving off the last few days of the holiday just for me. Whether I’ll be able to tick off the items on the inevitable list I make when I have free time remains to be seen, of course, but getting a few thinks into the “done” column would certainly help assuage the feeling that I should have done more with my time off.

Now if you’ll excuse me, having a giant pile of “stuff” I just brought in from the truck sitting in the middle of the living room floor is about to drive me to distraction, so it all needs put away or there will be no rest tonight.

Fooling myself…

After a day of working in the yard, doing laundry, running errands, and making a passing effort at starting dinner, it’s becoming increasingly obvious that we’ve entered that time of year where some activities are going to have to get thrown over the side. I’ve talked before about some of the unique challenges of being a one man show, but the simple fact is if there isn’t enough time to get to everything, the stuff I don’t particularly like doing is going to be put off indefinitely – I’m looking at you here vacuuming, mopping, and dusting. Frankly, I never much liked you anyway and since you’re in head-to-head competition with working in the yard, you never really stood a chance.

It’s one of those times I wish I wasn’t quite so OCD about things being “just so,” but I’ve pretty much given up on ever letting things slide with being good enough. So what’s really going to happen for the next five months is a cycle of ignoring the interior dust and dirt until I get twitchy, launching an all-day cleaning binge about once a month, and repeating as necessary until the grass stops growing in the fall. Sure, I could hire it out… but then I have to deal with the awkwardness of having strange people wandering around in the house. I’m sure you can guess how anxious I am for that to happen. So in the spirit of spring, here I sit trying my best to ignore every rug that needs vacuumed, every stray bit of dust and dog hair, and don’t even get me started on the wood floors that need mopped.

OK, so I could have probably spot cleaned the kitchen in the time it took me to tap this out, but let’s face it, writing isn’t one of those things that I’m very likely to give up in favor of cleaning now is it?

What’s next?

It doesn’t happen very often, but from time to time I hit a point in a weekend where everything I wanted to get done is finished long before I planned on it being that way. As it turns out, I’m not particularly comfortable with sitting around without something that needs doing. Most of the time I try to cram my weekends sufficiently full of projects that I’m still scurrying on Sunday after dinner to get the all finished before the curtain falls. Since I’ve clearly misunderestimated the time needed for things this time around, I’m going to have to call an audible… Now if I can just figure out what else needs done around here I’ll be all set. If all else fails, I can always sit down with a frosty adult beverage, which is a virtual guarantee that I’ll be asleep within five minutes. In a real pinch, I could go ahead and do laundry… but then my plan for Sunday is wrecked before it even gets here. Have I ever mentioned that OCD is fun?

OCD strikes again…

I want to sit here and spend the whole weekend with my nose in a book. Between houseguests, tending to the sick and injured, and the general surprises that life throws at you, the last couple of weekends have not been the model of peace and tranquility that I tend to favor for my days off. That’s not a complaint, by the way; it’s just a statement of fact. I really, really want a nice quiet weekend in which I can try to work through the “to do” stack and bring a little order to the chaos. Most people reading this will surely know my abhorrence of half done things sitting around on every available flat surface. Yeah, I get a little irritable when things aren’t just so. It’s my OCD after all and I’ll piss and moan about it if I want to, thank you very much.

So yeah, my plan is to hit the ground running early tomorrow and take care of the must do activities – picking up groceries, going to the dump, getting the grass cut. Then if I can manage to at least get the downstairs cleaned up, that will go a long way towards reducing my current anxious state. It’s surprising how much ephemera piles up when you and two seventy pound dogs do most of your living in about 400 square feet of a 1200 square foot house. Have I mentioned how glad I’ll be when Winston gets the all clear to start moving around again? Let’s just forget for the moment that it’s still about eleven very long feeling weeks away.

OCD Takes a Night Off…

One of the ongoing challenges with my self-diagnosed mild-OCD is that there are a whole bevy of things that normal people seem able to put on a back burner that stay a priority for me no matter what else is going on. That shaggy grass is going to get cut no matter how god awful the neighbor’s yard looks – and it’s going to get trimmed to. The laundry is going to get done once a week even though I could probably go three or four weeks without technically needing to wash clothes. Things are going to happen on a schedule even though there’s no rea practical reason why they need to. I’m a creature of habit, we all know this.

Tonight was the first night since I’ve been in the house when the compulsion to “do things” hasn’t been triggered the moment I walked in the door. The guest bedroom still needs put together and the basement looks, well, like a basement, but tonight I just came in, sat down and watched television rather than listened to it while doing three other things. It was sort of nice in a complete slacker kind of way. That’s not saying that the little voice inside my head that likes everything to be “just so” won’t make himself known again by this time tomorrow, but for tonight, everyone including the dogs seem content just to let things be.

Size matters…

When I was 20, I moved into and out of the dorms with all my worldly possessions in a 1991 Chevy Cavilier. At 23, I needed my first u-haul; the one that looked like a S-10 pickup truck with a panel van body. At 25, and heading from Southern Maryland to Petersburg, VA I needed the 17 foot model. at 28 and leaving Maryland for Memphis, they brought the 26 foot truck. A few days shy of 33, I’m looking at the pile of boxes that now fill every room and really think that unless they bring a full semi trailer or a 40 foot shipping container, these guys are going to be in for some serious trouble tomorrow. I’m even starting to second guess the pile of boxes earmarked for the Tunda. I’m not going into a philosophical discussion about wants versus needs or conspicuous consumption, because my brain just isn’t working on that level at the moment. Actually, it’s just barely one step above the “grunt and point” level this evening, though the fact that I’m able to communicate at all after the whirlwind weekend should be testament to human resilience.

If you’ll excuse me, I’m off to obsessively check every drawer and cabinet a few more times before collapsing into my nice comfy bed for what will probably be the last time for a few weeks.