Things Got Better …

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Shaggy was dehydrated so they put him on an IV first thing.

After getting Shaggy to the vet, things got better, until they got worse. Shaggy was doing great  for a few days but when Tony got home, Shaggy took a turn for the worse. I’m glad Tony was here to help!

Shaggy had gone two days without being sick since I took him to the vet. But Friday Shaggy started throwing up again and this time he was showing signs of dehydration. Tony and I took Shaggy back to the vet.

The first thing they did was set up with an IV to rehydrate him. Then after a few more tests they found out his intestines were filled with gas.

Now, you should know that last month I took him in for allergy testing. We had not gotten the results yet. So while we were there this time, we asked about the results and it turns out our dog is very allergic to pork and beef. Who would have ever thought a dog could be allergic to pork and beef?!

For months we had been buying Shaggy big ham bones as special weekend treats. Who knew we could be killing him with that. So for now, Shaggy is on a diet of chicken and rice and, after a while, he might get lucky and get a few more veggies mixed in.

As for me, I’m tired!

So, This is How Today Went …

13726668_10208648792968933_731683325503284684_n(WARNING: Ridiculously long note after an incredibly insane and stressful day. And, only one of us ended up getting good drugs, it wasn’t me.)

 

Shaggy was sick yesterday. He started throwing up about four hours after Tony left town, of course. He didn’t seem to feel bad. He was still running and playing and bugging me so I figured he just ate something that didn’t agree with him. I was keeping an eye on him for signs of dehydration or getting worse. I figured if he wasn’t able to eat today I would take him to the vet tomorrow or if he would get worse I would take him to the vet ASAP.

 

Shaggy was still doing okay today. He did get sick this morning but by the afternoon he had been able to eat a little and keep it down. I though the was on the mend. I was wrong.

 

This evening about 6:30 Shaggy came running to me panting and shaking. I felt his nose and it was hot. I was very worried so I tried calling the vet to see if they were still open. I have never had any luck trying to call anyone from our landline. I don’t know if I’m dialing too many numbers or if I’m not dialing enough but I usually end up either hearing odd tones or recorded messages in German I do not understand.

 

I couldn’t call from my cell because Tony has it set up on a plan through these guys at the train station and we normally just stop in there and buy the phone minutes when we are on the way somewhere, I was out of minutes. I could, however, use the wifi and text Tony in Whatsapp and tell him to call me, which is what I did. I gave Tony the number to the vet and asked him to call them and make sure they were still open and could see Shaggy. Turns out, this vet is open 24 hours a day, hallelujah!

 

Now, we have been to this vet a few times and I’ve even gone there with Shaggy by myself but these previous visits were all just to get him set up with a local vet, get puppy shots, and have him checked for allergies because he was scratching a lot. It was nothing like this where I’m practically frantic.

 

Shaggy is shaking so hard I don’t think he can walk to the vet. He’s not good on a leash as it is but with the way he’s feeling I’m thinking this is not going to be good. We do have a soft-side dog carrier you can hang over your shoulder like a duffle bag. I opted to carry my dog, knowing full well I will be paying for this tomorrow.

 

Shaggy isn’t fond of the bag and starts fighting me, to make a long story short, by the time he’s in the bag, I’m crying, Shaggy’s panting harder and all sweaty and I’m contemplating just calling a cab, but then with my phone situation, how?

 

I get to the train stop in my neighborhood and I’m sitting waiting for my train talking to Shaggy trying to keep him calm because he really doesn’t like being out where there is traffic. As I’m talking to Shaggy I start smelling burning paper. I look up to see the trashcan by the train stop is on fire. Sure, okay. Nothing is phasing me at this point.

 

We get on the train and get to the main station. Here, I have to switch trains to get to the vet. I can’t remember the name of the street the station is on where I need to get off to get to the vet but I know I take the train toward the airport and get off at the first stop.

 

I check the departures board and it says there is a train leaving for the airport on platform 17. Shaggy and I get there and catch the train. As the train keeps picking up speed, I realize it’s not making stops. I got on the express train to the airport.

 

Once there I check the boards to get back to the main station. From what I read it says platform 6 but I’m so frazzled I do not trust myself and I go find someone wearing a Bahn (train) vest and ask them just to make sure. He tells me the next train to the Dusseldorf main station is leaving in two minutes on platform 4. I think, thank God I asked! I do not want to delay Shaggy getting medical help any longer that I have. I get to platform 4 and the train is just pulling in. I look up at the board that tells you where it’s going and it’s not the main station, at least, not in Dusseldorf. It was going to a different town. I look over at platform 6 and I see the Dusseldorf train pulling out. I want to cry.

 

I go over to the correct platform, number SIX, and sit on a bench and wait for the next train. For several minutes I go back and forth thinking I should just go to the airport and take a cab but I don’t have the address and since my phone is out of data and phone minutes, I can’t call anyone or even look anything up. I can’t even use my translator to ask anyone for help if they don’t speak any English because my German is only about a kindergarten level. If being able to say in German I am a vegetarian, the color blue is pretty, or I am 48 years old could help I would have been golden but it didn’t and I wasn’t.

 

Finally, a train for the Dusseldorf main station comes and it’s another express. I get to the train station and just head straight to the phone guys to buy some minutes so I can call Tony. I tell the guy behind the counter I need buy more time and he begins to name off all the packages they have. I have never wanted to yank anyone across a counter by their throat so much in my life. I’m sure he could tell I was trying very hard to control my anger because after he looked up he quickly got me set to make calls. I can only imagine the look I had on my face.

 

I tried to politely thank the man for his help but I’m not so sure I was convincing. I go outside and call Tony. It took three calls and a text to get a hold of him. It was very hard for me to not use the F-word about every other word when talking with him. I know this is not his fault but he’s not here so … it’s his fault for not being here. Yes, I know that is not fair, or true, but I’m freaking out about my dog and I was not thinking straight and I knew it. As I talk to him, I notice I am saying “sweetie” in such a way that it sounds, at least to me, like I’m saying asshole.

 

So, I ask Tony to please text me the phone number to the vet. I was planning on taking a cab to their office at this point and I needed to get their address. Tony begins to tell me he will have to go back to his hotel and get their number where he wrote it down. I told him no he didn’t, since he called from his cell phone the number will still be in his phone and would he please, sweetie, just text it to me. He says he will and hangs up.

 

I go lean up against a wall and try to take some of the pressure off of my back where it’s being pulled very out of whack with a nine pound (yes, he’s still underweight), shaking, sweating, drooling, panting dog hanging, basically, from around my neck. He had sweat and drooled so much the canvas carrier bag was soaked through in places, and so was I for that matter. Part of all of the moisture was from Shaggy and I’m sure some of it was my own sweat from running all around Dusseldorf carrying him.

 

After several minutes passed, I tried calling Tony again, I got voice mail. Eventually, he called back and started to tell me the number. I had to tell him I didn’t have anything to write it down and he would have to text me the number, sweetie. In the next minute or so, Tony got me the number and I called the vet. I got one of the women who speaks English very well and told her my husband had just called a little while ago about me bringing our dog, Shaggy, in but I was lost and wanted to just take a cab and would she mind telling the cab driver where to take me. She said, yes, not to worry.

 

So, we get a cab, the lady tells him where to take us and we finally make it to the vet. On the way, the driver rolled down my window for me and I’m not sure if it was to give my panting dog air or if we both smelled like wet dog mixed with a little dog vomit and he’s just airing out the cab, either way, it was a good thing. I would get away from our smell too if I could have.

 

At the vet’s, I let shaggy out of the carrier and see if he wants some water, he didn’t. He never likes to drink or eat when we are out in public, too nervous. We get in to see a doctor in less than twenty minutes. She speaks English very well and starts to examine Shaggy. She squeezes his tummy and he basically projectile vomits toward me but misses me, thank you, God.

 

After the exam, she says he has gastroenteritis. Basically, he has the flu. She gave him three shots in his hips and he was not happy about it. Poor baby had such a rough day and now we still had to get home. I go to check out and Shaggy also got pills I have to give him the next three days. If he gets worse or keeps throwing up I have to go back. I’m taking a cab from home if I have to go back. I’m not going through all of this again with a sick dog.

 

Luckily, the pain meds seem to be kicking in and Shaggy is fairly calm for the trip home. I keep thinking, I’m so glad I have some Valium at home and I just want to get him to bed and take one. But it was not to be.

 

So, we finally get home and I realize I went off and left laundry in the machines. I need to go get Shaggy situated and then go to the basement to finish my laundry because we are not the only people who use the dryer. I get in and let Shaggy out of the carrier. He shakes then runs straight to the extra bedroom, where I had forgotten to close the door, and promptly crawls under the bed to hide, which is why we keep that door closed.

 

It takes quite a while but I finally get him out from under the bed and out of the room. I feel like I’m covered in dog spit, dog sweat, possibly a little dog vomit, and maybe even a little dog pee. Shaggy pees when scared. So, after I get him bedded down, I go straight to the shower and dress in my PJs. Then, I remember I still need to go get the laundry. Now, normally I do not go walking around the apartment building in my PJs but at this point, I think (and pardon my language here but,) fuck it.

 

I go down and take the sheets out of the dryer I need to make the bed up so I can go to bed later and (OMG! A large spider just ran across my lap while I’m typing this. Thank God, there a loveseat next to me because my laptop went flying onto it as the throw on my lap got flung to the floor. Thank God the spider was on the throw and not me or I probably really would have been startled. Shaggy came to see what was going on and sat on the throw. Now, I can’t find the spider. I think I will be finishing this in the bedroom. WTH is going on with today?!)

 

Okay, so, I go to the basement to switch my laundry at about 10:30 PM. I am tempted to just take the laundry out of both machines and bring the wet stuff up to put on the drying rack but I decide to go ahead and stay up and dry the last load. This is quite a commitment as the machines here take two hours per cycle. Yes, you read that right, it takes four hours to complete one load of laundry. Laundry day is pretty much JUST laundry day. Doing three loads, which is normal, takes eight hours to complete.

 

I go to put the laundry in the dryer and catch my arm on the latch on the dryer door and rip my skin and start bleeding, Luckily, I just happened to be doing a load of reds and didn’t worry too much about staining anything.

 

Now, I go back to my apartment and I hear Shaggy hack but he doesn’t throw up; a good sign. He signs he wants food (yes, I taught my dog some sign language), another good sign, so I give him a little boiled chicken and rice I had fixed him earlier. He ate some and, so far, has kept it down. I had not yet picked up his water and he started drinking like a madman but I got it away from him before he overdid it. I replaced the water with ice chips. All things the vet suggested.

 

I called my mom to vent a little because I was just too wound up after all of this. My alarm has gone off letting me know the last bit of laundry should be done so I can go get it and eventually go to bed. I still have to make the bed though just laying on the sheet pile on the bed sounds good at this point. Getting any sleep after all of this is another thing entirely!

 

So, how was your day? Better than mine, I hope!

My Crazy Life …

I have been so bad about posting in here because I have been so busy posting on my other sites. I have been very careful to keep this page as anonymous as possible but I’m not sure how practical that will be going forward.

I want to be able to share by books and my writing as that is where most of my time is devoted now but at the same time that kind of takes away from what I’m doing on this page. I will worry about that later. For now, I have interesting experiences to share about my life in Germany.

For a while now, I have been trying to learn the German language. We will be living here indefinitely at this point so I want to be able to speak the language very well, especially since I do not find as many English speakers here as I did in our small town in Denmark.

I started out taking a quick course at Goethe so I could pass a basic test to get my temporary residency. The people there were wonderful, the teachers were great, the facility was fantastic. They even had social programs to get you out in the public meeting locals and experiencing the culture. If I could finish all my classes there I would love to do that! However, it is not to be. The government here requires resident applicants to attend 600 hours of German classes at specific schools here in town to be eligible for a permanent residency visa. Sadly, Goethe is not on the list.

The government here requires resident applicants to attend 600 hours of German classes at specific schools here in town to be eligible for a permanent residency visa. Sadly, Goethe is not on the list.

Some people do not agree with this language and culture requirement for residency but I personally think it’s great! All countries should require it. The government will even reimburse you for part of the costs when you finish your course. Knowing the local language and culture will make it so much easier to function well in this society. Unfortunately, the experiences I have had trying to fulfill this requirement has not been wonderful, yet.

First of all, the process to even find out information is next to impossible if you don’t already speak at least basic German. I have called many schools and said, in German, I do not speak German well, do you speak English? This has been answered  with everything from a polite yes or no to people just hanging up on me (I was even hung up on when calling the school I was taking classes in after saying, in German, I’m a student in your school … click). I decided trying to call was never going to be a good idea so I went to check places out in person. I mean, people are less likely to be rude to your face, right?

The people I met at the first school I tried to enroll in were very dismissive, gave me incorrect information, then acted frustrated with me when I got things wrong. They had me take the wrong test to be placed in their school then acted as if I should have known it was the wrong test. This was all on the first day just trying to get enrolled. I finally gave up and went home.

I did go back again and try one more time to get into the school. I went to the room I had gone to before and the door was locked with a sign on it, all in German of course. A man came out and I tried to ask him a question but he just pointed at the sign and walked off. I wondered around until I found someone who spoke English. She told me to go into a room and wait. I walked into the room she had pointed out and it looked like they were having a meeting. A man turned around and spoke German to me. I said I was sorry but I do not speak German yet and was told to come in here. He just turned his back to me and kept on with the meeting.

Now, I am a very strong person and I don’t usually let things get to me but I will admit at that point I really wanted to cry. My level of frustration was through the roof. I walked out, went home, and never went back to that school. A few days later someone from the school called and asked if I was going to come to school or not, they were holding a place for me. I told her she couldn’t pay me to come to their school. I hung up and never heard from anyone from there again.

The second school I went to was much better at the beginning. The staff actually spoke to me and one lady even spoke English very well so she could help me get everything filled out. I have to say considering how many foreigners speak English  (and most are not from countries where English is the primary language. I had classmates from Syria, Turkey, Africa, and a few more countries and they all spoke English to some extent) I’m surprised these schools, which cater to people who do not speak German yet, do not have more people on staff who speak English.

Now, don’t get me wrong, I do not expect the German people to adapt to me and my language. I want to adapt to the German language and culture but when you go to a school that is specifically set up to cater to people who do not know a word of the German language or anything about their culture past Octoberfest and the Berlin wall, you’d kind of expect them to be able to help you a bit more. At the very least, not treat you like you are putting them out by not knowing the language already.

I was at the second school for about a month and pretty happy with everything until my teacher, whom I love, had to take a sick day. The woman who had been so helpful in the office came down and substituted for our class for one day. While I had really liked her as an administrator, I was not so fond of her as a teacher.

Our regular teacher had been teaching us basic conversations. When asked what I did for a living I had said Autorin, a female author. My regular teacher said Autorin was the English version of the word and taught me the more common German word which is Schriftstellerin. When the administrator asked me what I did for a living I said Schriftstellerin but apparently I didn’t pronounce it very well. She started making fun of the way I said it and pointing at her shoes. I had no idea what she was trying to tell me but I was very aware she was making fun of me. I guessed later she thought I was saying more like stiefel instead of steller. Steifel means boots. It’s the only thing I could come up with that made any sense for her to point at her shoes.

Now, like I said, I’m not one to let people get to me, usually. I’m used to people making fun of me. I’ve always been taller than everyone else, I was a fat kid, I’ve had 6 brain surgeries and now have practically no short term memory so sometimes have trouble understanding and remembering, I’ve learned to just go with the flow.  This was just different somehow. This was a person whose job it is to teach people like me who don’t know the language. She should have corrected me, explained what I did wrong, and helped me to do it right, not make fun of me in front of the entire class. It’s not surprising that no one else really wanted to speak up the rest of the class after this display. I know she pissed me off.

The next day when our regular teacher returned we found out we weren’t the only people having issues with this administrator. Apparently, she had been treating our teacher the same rude way, and our teacher is German! After the second month of classes, our teacher announced she would be leaving the school. Most of us in her class dreaded the thought of staying there without her.

With the neurological condition I have, stress makes my symptoms worse. By the end of the second month, I was having a lot of neuro problems and had to drop out of classes for a while. Now, I’m faced with going back to the same school without the teacher I love and with the administrator who made fun of me. I’m not sure I can stand to do that.  I have until the 22nd to decide if I want to go back or not. Until then, I might try a few more of the schools on the list. I’m sure there has to be a good one on there.

I have met some great, kind, helpful people here in Germany. I love this city and feel safe here. Which is why it saddens me that I’ve had such bad experiences with these schools so far. If a person comes here and doesn’t get out and interact with the public at large they might think everyone will treat them the way these people at the schools have treated me (assuming, of course, I’m not the only person being treated this way) and this is not a good representation of the German people.

Many people I talk to out in public are very willing to help you when you are at least trying to speak German. Many will tell you how to say something right if you say it wrong. I don’t mind being laughed at once in a while when I make a mistake as long as they explain what I did wrong and tell me how to say it right. I know I’m going to make stupid mistakes, I’m just starting to learn, that is expected.

All I hope for is for people to help me learn to do it right so one day I will be able to speak German well and be a real part of this great country. Whether I get help or not, I’m determined to learn the language and culture even if I have to try every school in town to do it!

 

Where did the time go?

So much has happened since my last blog. I can’t believe the twists and turns my life has taken.

I am a published author, writing westerns of all things, using two of my names. I believe I have mentioned before (or maybe not so much goes on in my head I’m not always ure what I’ve shared with you and what I haven’t) I have a very long crazy name since getting married. I kept my original three names and tacked on two of my husbands. When I tell people my whole name I always get odd looks.

I took my maiden last name and dropped the final “s” and my married last name and am currently writing a western serial collection under a male pen name. I am using photos I took of my father at my age as my publicity photos. My publisher really wants me to switch and write the books as a woman. They are looking to promote more female writers. While I think that is great I also know the general public often have a preconceived notion about gender and certain genres. For example most people expect women to be better romance writers and men to be better at writing things like westerns.

I told my publisher I would be happy to switch to my own name and photos after I have a chance to get a good base following for my work. So far my book has been getting great reviews from readers. The only real complaint I have had on my writing is everyone always wanted more. Best complaint I could ask for.

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With luck this will be our new rescue dog        from Russia, Niko

A few weeks after my book was released my stepdaughter moved in with us. The first two weeks was a little uneasy as we all got settled in with each other but after the initial getting to know you stage things have been great.  My stepdaughter could not be more like me if we actually shared DNA. It’s crazy how much we are alike. The only thing we really differ on, besides the fact she is a petite adorable girl and I’m a big amazon of a woman, is she is very shy and can be timid at times and I have never been shy a day in my life.

Sadly, her residential visa was denied so she will have to go back to Chile on the 21st. Our plan is to apply again in a year and see if we can’t get her here permanently then. We are even planning on trying to get her twin sister here next year too. I think it was a good baby step for us to have her here for these months and then both of the girls here next year. Suddenly being the parent of gorgeous twin teenage girls might have made my head explode.

I am getting ready to release the second installment in my western serial in a few weeks. Then I have to design a cover and record the audio versions for book one and two. Besides writing the books I have been working on websites and social media promotions. With Twitter, Facebook, Goodreads, Google+, Author pages on sales sites and my own webpages with daily author blog, I’m lucky to get any books written or housework done.

Last but not least I have to start more language lessons and a cultural integration course that my permanent residency visa is dependent on. I have until 2018 to complete it but I really need to get started as soon as possible. When you don’t have reliable short term memory, it can take a while to learn new skills like languages.

Also after months of trying to find a dog, many many disappointments, we are finally expecting to receive a rescue dog from Russia for Valentine’s Day. He is a Chinese Crested mix and just as cute as can be. We’ve named him Niko and have already bought him loads of goodies in preparation for his arrival.

So, new daughters, new books, new classes, new dog and sometimes I even get to sleep.

Christmas is Coming!

I’ve never been big on Christmas. The holiday has always been more nerve-wracking than enjoyable. For years I used to do just about everything I could to celebrate the holiday as little as possible.

Many times I would stay home by myself and watch horror movies while eating Chinese food on Christmas Eve then late in the night I would finally put up my tree. Christmas Day I would spent time with family, exchange gifts, cook dinner, and visit. Then the day after Christmas I would quickly take everything down and put it away.

I know this anxiety stems from family issues that I really don’t want to go over in detail but let’s just say there were many unpleasant holidays in the past, enough to make me want to avoid the holiday as much as possible. But now things are different.

I have a husband and, with any luck, we will have one of his daughters living with us this Christmas. I want to make the holiday nice for them but I’m fighting my own anxiety over it all. Last year was the first holiday with my husband and it was a bit disappointing. He and many others were laid off the weekend before Christmas. We had known it was going to happen. They told us it was coming. His last day was the Friday before Christmas, on our first anniversary. Because money was going to be short until he found a new job, we agreed to not do much for Christmas. We didn’t get a tree, or give each other presents. What decorations I put up, I made from things we had in the house.

This year Tony has a great job and we are in a wonderful apartment and we should have a teenager with us to celebrate. I want to make this year nice for her. She has anxiety issues too and I think that is something I can help her with. I want to give her a lot of good memories while she is with us. I think a great Christmas is a good start.

Tony and I have already planned where to put a Christmas tree and where to hang our stockings. I want to bake cookies and make homemade decorations. I want to take her to the holiday markets they have here in Germany, the stalls are already going up around town.

Even though I don’t usually like Christmas, I find I am looking forward to making this a good holiday for my step-daughter.  With any luck this will be the start of our new family really coming together.

Halloween in Europe

I love Hallo67373_1538336310033_4844204_nween, I always have. Back in the Kansas I was known for my Halloween displays and for giving out great candy. I always dressed for the occasion too. I had trunks of costume bits and pieces, make-up, and even had special-effects contacts and a voice changer.

So as you can imagine I have been a bit disappointed at the level of celebration, or lack there of, they have here in Europe. I will say it seems to be more of a celebration here in Germany than it was in Denmark. I actually saw Halloween decorations in the stores back in July but still not like the US.482951_4254342848499_300130885_n

Many American’s are crazy for Halloween. We have blow-up monsters, animated ghouls, skeletons, screaming devil babies and crawling zombies. Every year the theatrics seem to get bigger and more elaborate. My displays were very well-known among the kids in our area. Parents would bring vans of kids to our neighborhood just to Trick-or-Treat at my house.

If there had been anyway to ship all of my Halloween decorations over here, I would have. I had really been going big the last 20 years. Every year I added a new piece to the collection. Many were getting old and starting to fall apart but for some Halloween decorations the more decrepit they looked the more appropriate they were.

When we get a house here I just may have to start building up my Halloween arsenal again. I may have to make shopping 67577_1546538075072_2619_ntrips to the US to get some of the things I want if I can’t figure out how to make it myself but I think my mother would be happy to help me in that endeavor.

Sadly, my husband does not share the Halloween spirit with me. He is not a fan of scary movies or weird costumes, unless they are of the comic-con variety. That is fine, I have never been afraid to go it alone. I do have a sneaking suspicion that at least one of my step-daughters may be willing to share in my enthusiasm, if her Netflix  viewing habits are any indication.

One of these days I will once again have a yard full of plastic skeletons, demonic rats, and more body parts than the local morgue and earn myself the reputation for being the crazy Halloween lady, and I am fine with that!

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Alone Again

Today has been another grey misty day here in Düsseldorf. It fits my mood for the day very well. Tony left for München and will be gone for three days. This, just a week after he got back from ten days in Chile. Next week he’ll be in Stuttgart.

While I’m happy for Tony’s success at work and that he was able to spend so much time with his family recently with the losses they have had in the family, it’s still hard to spend so much time away from him.

Just this week Tony finally got his official paperwork saying he had passed his probationary time at this new job and had received an excellent report. But with this excellence comes more responsibility and more business trips. I’m happy for him because he is very happy with this job and the people he is working with. But is does suck for me.

Tony works long hours and we only get to have a few hours a day together during the work week. The perk has always been we got entire weekends together. Now with these trips, the job is taking up our weekend time together. I know I’m being selfish but honestly I don’t care. I love my husband, and I love spending time with him, and I’m not one bit ashamed that I hate that his work is eating into our together time.

That being said, I will never give him grief about having less time with me. I will however do everything I can to make sure that the time we do have together is amazing. Even if we are just sitting at home watching TV, I will do my part to make it relaxing, fun, and memorable for us both.

We already have our tickets for the midnight showing for the next Star Wars movie coming out in December, that’s good start.