Saturday, June 29, 2013

And just like that, we're back to where we started

Yesterday was a very hard, emotional roller coaster, question the meaning of life, rage against the universe sort of day.

We took Jack to the vet and left him for some tests. I knew when I went to pick him up and asked if I could pay before they brought him out that something was wrong when the nurse said to hold off on paying because the doctor wanted to talk to me. Oh no.

The good news is: he doesn't have mange. The hair loss and dry skin is an over reaction to something like fleas. Or a side effect of the diabetes. Yeah, diabetes. Not confirmed, but probably. But that wasn't the really bad news. The really bad news is he tested positive for heart worms. The good news is: it's treatable. The bad news is: it costs $3,000-$5,000, up to 8 months of not being able to play with him, take him outside, and keeping him calm and quiet all the time, and he still may not survive the treatment. As horrible as it made us feel, we simply couldn't commit to it.

We called the vet and booked him in to be euthanized.

I stayed home with the kids, mainly because I was really worried about Ian. He took the news incredibly hard. Steve took Jack to the vet. And was gone for a really long time. So long, in fact, that I started getting worried and was about to text him, when he arrived home. His first words to me were, "They couldn't do it."

The vets have adopted Jack.

It's only temporary until they find someone who can take care of him, afford the treatments, and don't have a crazy house. He's got a chance. It's more than we could allow ourselves to hope for. He's such an amazing dog, though, and I'm not surprised that the vets couldn't put him down. He's the most friendly dog I've ever met, and I'm so happy that he's been given a third chance.

When Steve took him last night, I kept asking why he came to us if this was how it ended. We got 3 days with him, and then had no other choice than to put him down. It wasn't fair! When Steve came home with the great news, I finally understood, that's why he came. He's going to get the chance he deserves and a home that can truly care for him.

The moral of the story: vaccinate your pets. Please give them the best chance in life. It's so easy to protect them from things like this, but once it happens, sometimes it's just too late. And if you can't afford to take care of them, give them to someone who can. It's not fair to put them through this much pain and suffering when it can so easily be prevented. 

Friday, June 28, 2013

New pack member

Back in February a friend of ours put a message on Facebook asking for help. She had three dogs, and her fiance has two (?) and they were moving into a smaller place and just couldn't keep all the dogs. Her black lab, Jack, she claimed was extremely laid back and they decided he would be the one who could cope best with getting a new home.

It's been an interesting couple of months, but Jack joined our pack on Wednesday.

I really hope we did the right thing.

He's a good dog- she was right he's very laid back, eager to please, and intelligent. But he's also huge! People say how big Zack is (our mutt we brought with from New Zealand), but he's tiny compared to Jack. I've never brought an adult dog into a pack before, only ever started from the puppy stage. I always thought going to straight to adult dog would be so much easier. I still think that's sometimes possibly true, but not in this case. He's not really trained and it's making me really appreciate how well trained Zack is. When going through the feeding ritual this morning, I made Zack sit and wait until I released him for his food, all good. Then I needed Steve's help to get Jack to sit because I'm physically not strong enough to push his backside down. Unfortunately, every time I told Jack to sit, Zack would stop eating and sit and look at me. Poor guy!

I know we'll get there with him. I just wasn't expecting it to be this hard, you know? I'm taking him to the vet today as he has a skin issue. The back half of him has no hair to speak of, and he's itchy and in pain. It's so hard when he scratches and scratches and then looks at you with his big brown eyes and whines like, "Can you make it stop?" We're going to try, big guy.

The other major difference between the two dogs is the way they move. It's hilarious! Zack has quite a bit of huntaway in him, a herding breed from New Zealand, so he moves low and fast. He's very economical in the way he moves, no wasted effort. Jack, on the other hand, is a great big lumnoxing goof ball. He lollops along just happy to be here.

Thursday, June 27, 2013

A step in the right direction

I am thrilled with the recent Supreme Court decision regarding gay marriage. Though I am not gay, I do think that the rights of human beings should be a concern for everyone. When one group tries to deny basic rights to another group based on gender, color, religion, sexual orientation, or any other reason, there is a rift that opens up in our collective energy. I don't think that the Supreme Court's decision to make this sort of discrimination unconstitutional will suddenly make everything better. We have battle scars now, and lines have been drawn quite deep. I am hopeful, however, that this will begin to move our society in a more accepting, forgiving phase of our evolution.

I have to say, though, I still don't really understand why this is still up for debate. I mean, fine, the church says no, but the church isn't supposed to be involved in politics. Doesn't anyone remember, "Separation of church and state"? The only arguments I've heard against gay marriage are based in religion making them completely invalid in this case.

Eh, whatever. Now is not the time to wonder about the apparent insanity of most of our culture. Now is the time to celebrate love, and the fact that the balance is slowly shifting. I'm a little more proud of being human today.

Tuesday, June 25, 2013

Hook, Line, and Sinker

As you may have gathered, I went back to school to finish my Associate's degree that I started back in 2001 (about 12 years ago for those of you keeping score). Now, some people would say that 12 years to get a 2 year degree is ridiculous. And I agree! But I did have my reasons.

Anyway, flash forward to my saving grace: online school. As irritating and pointless as it all seems, it does get the job done. I went with Kaplan University, for no other reason than the recruiter said it was affordable. Yes, I'm a dumbass.

I began taking classes while trying to sort out the muck of financial aid. Since we came to the US at the end of 2012 and Steve was still getting paid out of New Zealand until April 2013, our tax situation is really complicated. So complicated, in fact, that we have nothing to do with it. There's a big company that is in charge of filing our 2012 and 2013 returns, and they've got an extension until October to file the 2012 return since it's beyond complex. Honestly, splitting an atom is probably easier.

Why am I bringing this up? Because in order to get financial aid sorted, they have to see your tax returns. I don't really get it, but that's where it is. So I had to explain, repeatedly, to several different people in Kaplan's financial aid department about the tax situation. The end of each of those conversations was always pretty much the same: "I don't know how to do that, but I'm sure it'll be ok. I'll look into it." Which of course they never do.

Last week, it all came to a head. On my Kaplan portal in the financial area, where it's always said $0 due, it suddenly said $2,400 due August 1st. What? And that was after a $1,400 grant was applied, and another $100 "other" grant. What the hell is an "other" grant? The grand total for one term of classes was damned near $4,000!

One part of me was pissed off that I've been trying to work out this whole financial aid thing and just been running into one wall after another. The other thing that pissed me off was that I was told I qualified for a scholarship to take up to $12,000 off the cost of the degree. The final thing that pissed me off was that when I enrolled, I was told the total cost of getting the degree would "only be a couple thousand." Couple=two. Two thousand dollars, which was surpassed in the first term!

Oh, and that scholarship? Up to $12,000 for a bachelor's, up to $6,000 for an associate's, but you have to apply for it BEFORE you enroll with the school. What? No one told me that. I kept bringing it up during enrollment and was fobbed off. Yeah, yeah, we'll get to that later. Already enrolled? Can't do the scholarship now!

So I went into a really dark place. Darker than I've been for a long time, and if you read this with any regularity, you might be able to guess how scary that is.

That was Tuesday last week. Wednesday, I had my seminars, and even though I was 90% sure I would have to drop out because I can't afford the tuition, I went to the seminars. In the second one of the day, someone made the mistake of asking me how I was doing. I unloaded about being angry about the financial aid cock up. The professor responded with a "shut up and go away" response that felt a bit like a virtual slap across the face. The message was clear: we only want to know how you are if everything is fine.

Well, it's not fine. It's far from fine.

Wednesday afternoon, even more information came to light. Steve started doing some digging online and quickly discovered a few things about Kaplan that is disturbing to say the least.

Kaplan University has had multiple class action lawsuits brought against them for poor business practices. They use manipulative and hard selling techniques to recruit students.

Kaplan University charges close to 10 times the amount that other, similar but reputable colleges charge.

There have been instances when people have earned their degree from Kaplan University, but then told that until they pay what's owed, they will not receive said degree.

Even more disturbing, it appears that Kaplan University is using an online job board, Gigats, to recruit. It's how I got caught up in all of this. I applied for a job online, and was told to contact Gigats to do an online interview process. During the conversation with the representative at Gigats, I was told that getting my degree would greatly help my job search. Then, I was transferred. There have been other people, it turns out, that have said they are not interested in furthering their education and they get hung up on. Some have then called the hiring company directly only to be told that the company does not use Gigats, never heard of them, etc.

Anyway, I'm trying to withdraw from Kaplan, but having a few issues doing that. They seem to have lost my contact information. I'm really beginning to wonder how bad this is going to get. So now, instead of being back at square one, I'm a few steps back. This is frustrating.

Friday, June 14, 2013


I'm really feeling like I'm approaching the end of my abilities as a human. I watch people around me grow and acquire new skills. At first, I'm far superior due to a natural inclination, but it doesn't take long for people to pass me by until I'm left in a cloud of dust so thick I start coughing up bits of my own lung. I don't know, maybe I'm just a really slow learner. So slow that people give up on me because at first it looks as though I get it. But I plateau prematurely. It's a bit of a let down really.

I'm unable to move forward with anything I've started. I'm at a plateau with business, craft, dance, life in general. I hate so much, and it's taking all my strength to stay out of the fetal position so I have no energy to do anything else. I'm bored with classes and disappointed in myself for my lack of motivation, intelligence, and talent. I'm tired of being in pain. I'm tired of being fat. I'm tired of being a waste of space.

One of my daily reads is The Blogess. Today's post was her talking about this crippling bout of depression she's been going through for the last few weeks. Yeah, I'm right there with ya honey. The problem is, she keeps saying that depression lies, that it will get better, that you'll come out of this. Well, I don't really believe that anymore. Maybe I'm depressed because I really am the horrible person I think I am. I've been in this state for 20 years, it's not going to get better. I'm not coming out of this. This is who I am. I am a horrible, sad, angry, stupid person. Maybe my focus shouldn't be on getting better, but rather making peace with the fact that I will never be likeable.

PS As a strange aside, "likable" and "likeable" both show up as the correct spelling of the same word. So I keep adding the "e" then taking it away again because I can't decide which version I like better/least. Neither one looks 100% correct. I feel like this should trigger some amazing metaphor for life, but I'm coming up empty. Again.

Sunday, June 9, 2013

Something great

Mediocrity is the ban of my existence.

I want to do something that I can be really proud of. Maybe the problem is that my expectations are too high. Or maybe I'm just a mediocre person.

I always seem to be somewhere in the middle. Never the best. Never the worst. Just a grey slab of meat using oxygen. I want to be the best at something.

I just have no idea what.

Thursday, June 6, 2013

Positive thinking

In one of the courses I'm currently doing, we talked a bit about thinking positive, positive self-talk, and all things positively positive. It's a real happy feely mentality that is almost completely foreign to my brain. I've tried that positive thought coaching before. It turns into a bit of a bum fuck for me.

If you're unfamiliar with the theory, you've probably been living in a cave for the last 20 years. Basically, when you catch yourself thinking something negative, "I'm a horrible cook," you should instantly force yourself to make it positive, "I made a yummy diner." I struggle with this because my negative thoughts tend to be true. And if I feel positive about something, it takes approximately half a millisecond for someone to tear me down about it. Sometimes without even realizing they're doing it.

Goddess help me, I am a stubborn mule. I'm making huge efforts at this whole positive thinking bullshit once again. I figure, though, that positive self-thinking is a bit advanced for me. I mean, I usually just jump into things head first, sink or swim kind of thing, but I've already failed at this positive self-thought, a lot. So, I'm dialing back a bit. Baby steps, you know?

Positive thinking about others! Finding something good in everyone is easy!

No, it's fucking not.

People are making this whole positive thinking about others more difficult than positive self-thought. I mean, there are some people, most people in fact, in my classes that are perfectly lovely. Being the grammar Nazi I am, only second to Steve's grammar Naziness, I do, in turns, laugh, cry, and cringe over some of the most incredible spelling and grammar mix ups I've ever encountered.

But there are some that I simply cannot find redeeming features in. Quite possibly if we were in a brick and mortar class, there would be something. Really great hair, snazzy dresser, or clean fingernails. Something to detract from phrases like, "I don't really like reading other people's discussion posts. They're boring." Or, "Reading isn't really my thing. I'd rather wait for the movie."

I wish more than anything that I was making those up or at least embellishing. But no. No, I'm not. Not only do people really think that way, but they say it in a classroom setting, and THEY'RE BREEDING! I wouldn't be so upset about it because there is a real need for laborers who, through no fault of anyone, just are....what's the pc term for imbecile these days? The fact is, though, this is a business course. People in the class are here because they want to own a business, or be a high roller in some random company, or at least get that promotion to store manager.

But there are some I wouldn't even trust to wipe my dog's butt.

Tuesday, June 4, 2013

Wasting time

This isn't a real post, it's just me procrastinating. I have a lot that I should be doing, but zero motivation.

I should be sewing. I have a dress that's most of the way done. It's not for me. It's not for anyone. It's supposed to show what I'm capable of to bring into the local sewing shop to show the owner so she'll start referring clients to me. This could be the answer to my next "should be" topic.

I should be applying for jobs. I applied for one this morning but it's getting really hard for a couple of reasons. First, I've applied for countless jobs without even receiving so much as a thanks but no thanks letter. It's depressing. At least give me the satisfaction of being rejected. I hate being ignored. And second, all the jobs listed that I'm interested in and/or qualified for, I've already applied for at least once, in some cases multiple times. And how depressing is that? If someone does finally call, it's because they're so incredibly desperate after months of begging everyone else that they're now scraping the bottom. Of course, like the geek I am, I'll jump on that call and pretend that I was their second choice all along.

I should be preparing for Tribal Fusion camp. It's next month. I wanted 3 complete outfits ready to sell as well as some jewelry, hair falls, and dream catchers. Not to mention finishing the tent and making cushions. Meh.

I should be doing coursework for my 2 classes. I have seminars tomorrow to prepare for. Reading to do. Questions to answer. I repeat: Meh.

I should be exercising. The doctor told me not to because I have crippling shin splints. Doctors don't really know. I should be exercising. I'm just sitting here getting fatter. But then I feel guilty enough to exercise, stand up, and collapse in a twitching heap because my body hates me so much. Touche body. I'm not real keen on you these days either.

I should be cleaning. This place is a pig sty. It's gotten to the point where it's too big a job. It's scary. I should invite someone over for a visit. Then it would have to get cleaned.

So, there's a lot of things I should be doing. Some of which I actually want to be doing, but can't seem to get started. I'm a great planner, but a lousy executioner. And because I've given up on Gestapobook, I'm not particularly adept at procrastinating either. I'm at loose ends.