29 November 2010

Fletcher Update

So, wow... what a few days this has been. Swiss has left for South Dakota, someone has to be there to accept our household goods so he left this morning to head West. My new boss has been nothing shy of wonderful, they have let me postpone my start date until next week so that I can be with Fletch for his surgeries and take him home with me.

We still don't know much more about his diagnosis. Nothing has changed from what we last learned. Right now we are scheduled for an oncology appointment tomorrow and that will dictate surgery dates and give us an idea of what to expect. I know our little guy won't ever look the same, but I know he will bounce back and he'll still be the handsomest little stinker in my eyes. I think Swiss and I are coming to terms with the fact that we won't have Fletcher for nearly as long as we had hoped... it is still a shock to the system and it still breaks my heart, but we have already started spoiling him rotten and ensuring that whatever time he has with us will be full of love and pampering and frolics in the woods... and plenty of treats. I think we figure if we only have a limited time with him, we are going to have to cram in a lifetime of love in the coming months and years.

Our current dilemma is this. Do we stick with the local surgeon that seems competent (if a bit young) or hit the road and have the surgery done up at the University of Wisconsin's highly renowned Vet center? I mean, like my Dad said, do you want to look back a few years from now and wonder what if we had just gone to Madison? Realistically, with the diagnosis given, I don't think either one of them are going to be able to make this thing go away forever... but what if it is the difference between one year with him and two years? What would you do?

In any event, please send more puppy love and wishes Fletcher's way. He definitely still needs it and says thanks for all the kind thoughts and prayers you've already been lobbing his way. I'll keep y'all posted when we know more (hopefully tomorrow).

24 November 2010


So, I'll cut to the quick. My sweet boy Fletcher has cancer, it is aggressive and the prognosis, even after surgery, isn't good. It is rare in a dog so young... and I am kicking myself for not doing more earlier, but how was I to know? We thought is was just a goose egg. No one thought it was cancer. No one. I never saw this one coming, and it knocked the wind right out of me. So please pardon me if I cry as I type this.

We do have some options, the most reasonable one involves drastic surgery to cut away all of the tumor and the surrounding areas that likely house other tendrils of tumor. Since it is on his face, it means that he will never look the same. They might even have to remove his eye. But they say dogs don't care how they look, and I know our savvy little guy will adapt well. But still, this has been devastating news.

I am heartbroken. Swiss had to choke back tears as we turned around on the interstate to head back home with the news. My Mom and Dad are just as upset. I am so very very sad. It is just beyond unfair and so sad and a thousand kinds of not right. He doesn't deserve this. He's been nothing but snuggly and sweet and loving and funny and a kind, sweet soul. He's what got me through so many lonely days and nights during the deployment, his constantly wagging tail has always been there to greet us. His antics were always good for a smile and a laugh. He's been so good at overcoming all of the issues his previous horrible owners gave him. He's come leaps and bounds (both literally and figuratively) since we got him, he's turned into such a lovable and wonderful pet. He is such a sweet, affectionate and funny boy and to have this happen to him while he's still so young is unthinkable.

I am alternately angry and crushed. I am angry that this had to happen to him, after having abusive owners who made him afraid of whistles and any loud noises, owners who penned him up in a kennel with no padding leading to a broken toe, owners who somehow couldn't take care of this sweet soul and left him in a kill shelter with a broken tail and a missing tooth. He's been through enough. This is too much. He doesn't deserve this, not by a country mile. I am so upset that his sweet life may be cut drastically short. And I find myself asking the ever-futile question, why? Why did this have to happen to him? Why do affectionate and loving pets get things like cancer, what kind of world is that? Why so young? Why???

I've done nothing but cry since we got the news last night. I feel cheated and sad and devastated. This isn't what you are supposed to be worrying about with a 2 year old dog. He was supposed to grow old and grey with us. Now? We don't know. 1 more year, maybe 2. 4 if we are lucky. And of course I am hoping for the best, but I can't pretend that this isn't as serious as it is. We aren't going to have our sweet boy for nearly as long as we had hoped. And it just isn't fair.

We have chosen to take him up to the University of Wisconsin Veterinary Hospital for surgery (assuming it is possible, blasted Thanksgiving has put a huge wrench in everything) since they have a set of surgeons that specialize in soft tissue and have likely seen this at least a few times before. I'm going to give our boy every last fighting chance I can. And spoil him as rotten as we can.

Please put our little guy in your prayers or whatever and send lots and lots of good ju-ju his way. Lord knows he's going to need it and I can't do it all myself no matter how hard I try.

21 November 2010

Lumpy puppy.

So Fletcher has a lump on his adorable puppy face. How he got it is a ridiculous story, but there was an accidental run in with a metal tree stand, an ensuing lump, and a month later... after antibiotics, anti-inflammatories and numerous Vet visits... it just keeps getting bigger. Insert sad face here.

Thankfully we know it isn't cancer. But it is a tumor that is growing and the poor guy's upper jaw bone is already bending to this tumor's will. Insert second sadder face here. So tomorrow we head off to the specialist surgeon. Our Vet isn't comfortable navigating the complicated network of nerves on his face, lest we end up with a dog with a non-working eyelid or tear ducts, so specialist it is.

We know there will be surgery involved, we don't know how intensive it will be, how complicated it will be, what kind of time line we are on, just that it has to happen or this tumor will destroy his upper jaw bone. Yes, insert third sadder sad face here. We leave for South Dakota after Thanksgiving, but thankfully my parents have offered to take care of everything and babysit/nurse him back if we can't get it all done before I have to report to my new job. God bless my parents. And thank the Lord they are bigger dog people than we are.

So blech, I'm a nervous Nancy and just hope this is a one-time surgery without complications. Wish Fletcher luck and send good thoughts his way, he's such a good little guy and I can't help but feel like he doesn't deserve all this. Hopefully, things will go off with nary a hitch and Fletch will only have a badass looking scar on his face as a souvenir (which I think will work wonders for his mystique as the new dog in town, no?). I'll keep y'all posted and to those of you who already know the deal, thanks for the kind words and thoughts.

UTA: Apparently our little mutt has the mystery ailment for the ages and the surgeons (yes, plural) don't know what the deal is. So after inconclusive dental x-rays, they are just going to pull the tooth in question and hope to find the cause of all of this while they are surgically axing out his pre-molar. If you ask me, I'm not thrilled about them yanking a (apparently) perfectly good tooth, but if it is going to fix our little guy, I guess go ahead. Sigh, nothing is ever easy, is it? I'll keep y'all posted...

19 November 2010


This. Seriously hysterical. If you have a dog and you have moved... you will understand. And the illustrations? I die. And I'm still laughing.

13 November 2010

On (to) Wisconsin!

So, Swiss, Fletcher and I are bound for Wisconsin today. After two-ish weeks hanging out with his family in the great (and snowy) state of Minnesota, we are off for family bonding on my side of the Mississippi over cheese and beer. 

I am already starting to try (emphasis on "try") to get myself mentally prepared for going back to work. Thank the heavens above that my first week back is a short one! It will, however, be awesome to have Swiss at home manning the house and all of the stuff I loathe about moving. Calling the electric company, the cable folks, getting internet, getting our mail set up and working with the Transportation Office to get out stuff ASAP. 

But, lets not hitch the horse to the cart just yet. We've got 2-ish weeks of vacation left and I'm going to enjoy it. Because once its over? I'll be joining the ranks of your poor working stiffs (I kid! I kid!), logging in my 40+ a week. Boo his! 

So, go enjoy your weekend everyone and know that someone in Wisconsin <3's you!

12 November 2010

Stemming the tide of beige.

So this is our new house. Do we love it? Yes. It is all shiny and new and there are no signs of 30 year old vinyl tiles (unlike our last place) and it sits on 3 acres (Fletcher is going to be so happy he'll pee) with beautiful views of the black hills. However, as everyone who knows me in real life is well aware, I'm not really a beige girl.

To be fair, our couch is beige/cream, as are two antique chairs and a large area rug as well as some curtains. But they are beige because our walls are usually something like Impressionist Blue or Faded Silk or Spiced Plum or Marmalade Glaze or Gertrude or whatever other strange name they give to pretty paint colors (which BTW is totally my dream job, naming paint colors, weird I know). However, when faced with a newly painted beige house, all of our beige stuff sort of makes it feel like we are living inside a milk carton. Blech.

Solution? Swiss and I are off to IKEA today for an impromptu trip to de-blandify our new digs. There will be new curtains, some new lamp shades, a few accent pillows and some frames... maybe some fabric and kitcheny stuff. And you know what? You can color me excited and order me up some Swedish Meatballs pronto! Wish us luck!

11 November 2010

The Quiet Side of Being a Soldier’s Other Half.

By the ever wonderful, incredibly talented (and fellow MilSpouse Alumnus) Lily Burana. She nailed it. Again. Like she always does. Take a minute and read it, it is beautiful and touching and spot on.

The Quiet Side of Being a Soldier's Other Half.

10 November 2010


Fletcher, originally uploaded by Awesomesauce Studios.

Awww, who is the good reader???


Yes, we got ourselves a house. DOUBLE HOORAY! We are a bit out of town and while that means a longer commute for me, it also means a 3 acre yard for us and Fletcher as well as spectacular views of the Black Hills and the solitude that our homes have been lacking for, well, forever.

I will post photos some day once we get moved it, but thanks for all the well wishes and we are thisclose to starting up the next big chapter in our lives. Bring it on!

08 November 2010

I might be a commuter pansy.

So we are in South Dakota now looking for a house to rent. Up to this point, the only ones we really like and would consider renting are all in the surrounding towns. Which means a 20-30 minute commute. And, seriously, I'm all wah-wah-waaaaahhhhhh about it. Because I used to be able to walk to work in 12 minutes. And Swiss used to be able to drive to work in 5.

I realize that some of you dear readers deal with ridiculous traffic that makes what should be a 15 minute commute into something more like 40 minutes. So yeah, don't slap me. Just tell me that this is totally  normal and that I shouldn't fret.

And that a 3-6 acre yard is worth it.

06 November 2010

House hunting.

Well, tomorrow we are off to find us a house to rent. I'm annoyed by how hard this has been so far (can we say spoiled by being near a military installation?). Our options are SUPER limited and I desperately want a place with a decent yard for poor Fletcher who has been relegated to postage stamp yards for far too long. In any event, wish us luck!

Have a stellar week everyone!

05 November 2010

Fort Hood.

I'd be a bit remiss if I didn't talk about the 1 year anniversary of the shootings at Fort Hood. Upfront, I should tell you that neither Swiss nor I were there that day, though Fort Hood was our duty station at the time. Swiss was on his way back to Iraq after R&R and I was still in Minnesota. But, none of that matters.

Fort Hood was home for us. It was a place we felt safe and more than anywhere else I've been, we felt like a part of a community. No one ever thinks something like that will happen at their home, happen to people they know. But it did. It was senseless, horrific, tragic and beyond comprehension. And the flowers, ribbons and notes in the fences around that building served as reminders every single day of those who lost their lives, those who were deeply affected by it, and those who did all they could to help the victims around them.

I don't have anything more poignant to say, just that today you should take a minute to remember those families, remember those who were lost so senselessly, and thank those who risked everything to end the events of that horrific day.

Michael G. Cahill
MAJ Libardo E. Caraveo
SSGT Justin M. DeCrow
CPT John P. Gaffaney
SPC Frederick Greene
SPC Jason D. Hunt
SSGT Amy S. Kreuger
PFC Aaron T. Nemelka
PFC Michael S. Pearson
CPT Russell G. Seager
PFC Francheska Velez and her unborn child
LTC Juanita Warman
PFC Kham S. Xiong

04 November 2010


From here on out I'm referring to my period as Shark Week.

via Pinterest

03 November 2010

Informal Poll Please.

This one is for you MilFolk types. When it comes to reading other MilFolk blogs do you prefer:

A) the Everything is Grand and Deployments Don't Really Suck and I Also Poop Rainbows and Fart Fairy Dust in the Face of Any & All Military Diversity! types
B) the Let's Get Real, This Shit Sucks Sometimes and I Might Need Heavy Sedation if I Go On Much Longer Thinking I'm Abnormal and/or a Failure For Thinking it Sucks type?


via Pinterest (again).

02 November 2010

Hmph. Chopped liver you say?

So my new job doesn't start until early December. BUT, my boss and the HR department were planning on hiring another one of me, only fresh out of school, so younger, less experienced, etc, thus making me the Lead/Senior/quasi-supervisor. Thankfully they included me in the process (as best as they could via phone and e-mail updates) since I'd be working with them closest. We narrowed it down to two... one excessively shy but incredibly technically proficient guy and one exceedingly friendly and of average technical skill girl. After much consternation (and consultation with references) we chose the guy. Only time will tell if this was a cataclysmic mistake or utter genius.

But, I kid you not, I lost count of how many times they told me how wonderful he is and how incredibly talented he is and how lucky we are to have him.

Hmmph. Naturally(?), now I'm a little butthurt. I mean... what am I? Chopped liver?   ...    I kid, I kid. Well... sorta.

See, I would be totally lying if I told you I wasn't a little intimidated by this kid and his Harry Potter-esque abilities. I don't want to be the dumb one in charge! That would make me the lab equivalent of Michael Scott from the Office. No one wants to be him! I really just don't want to look like an idiot next to this kid. What if I end up being the weak link in the lab? What if its like he's John Elway and I'm no better than an armchair quarterback with Cheeto crumbs on his shirt?

Now, all that insecurity aside, I do have quite a bit more experience than he does and if the job goes the way I think it will, my skills will be more focused on the quality control side and the legally required stuff. But yeah, I'm worried about working with a prodigy. I bet this is totally what the doctors at Eastman Medical Center felt like working with Doogie Howser, MD (Thanks Wikipedia!).

Anyway, I am sure it will all work out fine. I am sure that, in the end, he will push me to be better. But I can't hide it. The kid makes me nervous. And I'm sort of wishing we hired the other girl just so I could be the Smart One. I know, terrible, right? But what the heck is the point of an anonymous blog if you can't be honest?

Okay, so yes, that is my rant for the day. Go Vote and keep an eye on South Dakota. It might be legal to buy pot there after today, but no, you can't crash on our couch and eat all our junk food if you are stoned. Just so you know.

01 November 2010

A pioneering family.

This is what happens when your husband gets a one-man crosscut saw for his birthday and you stick him in the woods for a few weeks. Family lumber jacking.

But I must confess: It is a ridiculous amount of fun (and a good work out to boot!). Ridiculous!

Anyway, this is Swiss and me with Kid A (who is SO tall now! Crazypants!), Fletcher and my MIL and SIL. Bearded and mustachioed to protect their innocence and anonymity. I'm thinking maybe this could be career plan B? HA!