Sunday, January 28, 2018

Pub Chatter #144

     I hear people talk about the high cost of healthcare today. I agree that healthcare is very expensive. However, I am given to wonder about the cost in relation to wages. I honestly don’t know if today’s health care consumes a larger proportion of the family budget than it did when I was a child, and then a young parent. I could study statistics and find out, but I’m not that interested. I do think the present perception is that the cost is less than yesteryear.

     I have come to that conclusion--right or wrong--by observing how families utilize healthcare services today. The willingness of families to access health care is far greater than it once was. A large number of arrivals at the urgent care where I work have tried no home remedies or over the counter medicines. They feel bad for a day or two; they go to the doctor with no attempt to help themselves.

     My parents avoided taking us to the doctor like it was a financial disaster akin to flood or fire. It was only after they were convinced that they could not hold back the waters or extinguish the fire that we resorted to professional health care. As a young parent, I can testify this was exactly the case with taking our children to the doctor.

     Young adults today don’t know any better. They just don’t know what is serious and what isn’t. They Google the symptoms and head for the nearest professional with worst case scenarios playing full speed. There’s no practical knowledge to fall back on. Yes, I know, I’m a nurse, it’s all simple, right? Wrong. I didn’t become a nurse until I was forty years old and my children were finishing high school. I fought the battle like everyone else.

     Not long ago pain was a part of life. You skinned your knee and it was acceptable for it to hurt for days. Our parents reinforced that belief. “Quit crying, it’s not broken (bleeding, serious),” was common and sound parental advice. Pain is no longer acceptable in either illness or treatment. Some parents bring their children in solely for professionals to give medications the parents cannot get their child to take because the kid will cry and spit it out. My parents had their own special treatment for such situations---it also caused tears, but the medicine was taken.

     There’s one other difference---time. It’s not the same anymore and the human body’s healing mechanisms haven’t kept pace with the times. A cold still lasts from seven to ten days with rest and fluids. Our electronics gadgets have not changed that; they have only made us impatient with the process. Furthermore, there’s nothing in the Emergency Room or Pharmacy that will change that by much. Antibiotics take days (not hours) to work their wonders if they work at all. Some medications take weeks to achieve full effect. That’s hard to understand when we are now frustrated when Facebook doesn’t load instantly.

     There’s no real point to this speculation except my constant internal questioning as to why people act the way they do. It’s kind of amazing really because when I was young I knew the answers. Now, I simply shake my head and mumble to myself.

Thursday, January 25, 2018

Pub Chatter #143

      Let me tell you about the time I died. Don’t be like that. I’m being serious here. I know, I know, how can I tell the story if I’m dead? To tell the truth, I’ve wondered about that myself. The best I can come up with is that there are different levels of dead. It makes sense when you stop to think about it. In ventricular tachycardia and ventricular fibrillation your heart is not beating. There’s no pulse. You are dead, but not all the way dead. Apply a sudden blow to the chest from an EMT’s hairy fist or a jolt of electricity and ---boom, you’re back. Then, there’s asystole, the familiar flat line. No one is going to shock that back to life. In some cultures, the line between dead and alive is even more ambiguous. It’s kind of hard for me to say those beliefs are wrong. I mean; here I am.

      It started out like any other day. I hit the snooze for the fifth time still struggling to get my eyes open.
      “Get up,” my wife growled and slugged me in the back.
      I jumped out of bed; blindly reached in the closet for clothes and dashed out of the house still struggling to get my coat on. Steering with my knees, I had my tie knotted by the third stop light. I dodged around a couple of secretaries standing in the hall and slid into my desk as the second hand reached the twelve. It was time for a coffee break.

      Experts say bright computer screens are a hindrance to sleep. Proving them wrong, once again, I nodded while pretending to work until noon. Benny and I decided to go to an Italian place down the street for lunch. He had linguine. I stepped out of character and went for the Alfredo goat cheese and spinach ravioli. I was back at my desk by 1:15, refreshed and ready.

      I looked over the Bimmel file and put it back in the “Not now”folder. I was searching for something a bit easier to start out with when a scream pierced the air.


      The sound was followed by automatic rifle fire. I peeked out my office door. I coast was clear. I ran---right into Benny. It took a moment to untangle our limbs.
      “The other way,” I told him. “C’mon.”
      We made it to the first floor unscathed only to find a second terrorist had the front door blocked. We took refuge behind one of the receptionist’s desks. I groaned as my stomach began to rumble and churn.
      “Oh no, not now,” I whispered.
      “Seriously?” Benny asked. “Now?”
      The Bible says there’s a time for every purpose under heaven, a time to fart and a time to refrain from farting. Well, not quite exactly like that, but you get the idea. Unfortunately, my digestive tract has a mind of its own and is not much on Bible reading. Still, I prayed.

      My prayers were answered. The passing of silent gas was never so welcome. It didn’t last. I heard the terrorist inhale deeply. Footsteps, he was searching.
      “Mara?” the terrorist said. “Mara is that you? Where are you, you naughty little goat? I know you’re here somewhere.”
      From the corner of my eye I saw guy with a dish towel on his head searching the desks on the other side of the room. I shoved Benny to his feet. He bolted for the front door with me on my heels.
      “Infidels, come back with my goat.”
      The glass doors shattered in front of us. Bullets flew above our heads. I leaped through the now empty door frame and ran into the street. Curses and gunfire followed. Benny’s quick and has this big 'fro. I kept my eyes on that hair and ran. Suddenly, Benny went down to one knee. I thought he was hit, but my despair turned to joy when I saw the black and white parked in the middle of the street. I’m not politically inclined. I hurdled over Benny as he sat there on one knee.

      I was by the cops before they opened fire. From the shelter of a parked car on the far side of the street, I pause for a look back. A round took Abdul in the center of his chest. His arms flew up into the air as he twisted with the impact. His finger closed on the trigger in a death grip and the weapon came to life. Lead filled the air above the narrow street. The terrorist went down, but not before he inflicted more damage. The wild shots ripped through the support struts of the giant donut atop Jerry’s Donuts. The ten-foot pastry crashed down from the roof and rolled down the street.

      It was the first time a donut ever ate a cop. Both policemen were down, their cruiser crushed and covered with giant sprinkles. The donut was launched into the air. It bounced on the corner of Lemon and Maple and continued rolling down Maple Street.

      In the intersection, a semi with Lays printed on the side swerved to avoid the runaway donut. The truck jackknifed. The back end of the truck clipped a Dominoes delivery driver. The doors of the truck flew open strewing Maple Street with hundreds of bags of assorted Fritos and Cheetos. The odor of corn, chili, and processed cheese filled the air. I was surrounded by the sound of wailing sirens.

      I wasn’t out of danger yet. The Dominoes driver hit a light post and was spinning out of control right for me. Someone was calling my name.

      “Jack, Jack wake up.You’re having a nightmare. I told you midnight junk food would kill you. Don’t you ever listen?”

Pub Chatter #142

      As days go Monday gets a bad rap. It’s not altogether unearned. Mondays are bad news where I work. All the accumulated sickness and disease that developed over the weekend becomes unbearable on Monday. This holds true even on Monday holidays. Today, I’m giving a big shout out to last Monday. Somehow in the middle of the mother of all Mondays, the clouds parted and the sun shone down again. This is Washington, so you know I’m speaking metaphorically.

     I tend to whistle ( or hum ) while I work. I think it works sort of like the little valve on top of a pressure cooker. A co-worker at my last job said she knew when I stopped humming---shit was about to get real and she gave me a wide berth. On reflection, I found what she had to say had merit.

     Three or four months after arriving here in Washington, the humming stopped completely. I didn’t really notice at first. The occasional shocked look on the new faces around me didn’t seem to register. Thing got bad and things got worse, I guess you know the tune.

     Suddenly, in the midst of a shit storm Monday---I started humming. I don’t know why. I don’t know how. I don’t really care. I’m back and that’s what matters. I’ve kind of been riding the high and haven’t gotten the usual volume of writing done, but it’s only a matter of time. I think quality will benefit as well. Y’all will have to be the judge of that. I’ll give you a sample later tonight.

Saturday, January 20, 2018

Pub Chatter #141 ---- Dog Blog #6

     We are about to start week three of our foster experience with Hope, her seven puppies, and Journey Home Rescue. The puppies all have names now. They are filling out and venturing all over the backyard. Journey Home is now accepting adoption applications. By the time they are ready to go to their forever home, the puppies will have microchips and their first shots. Hope will be spayed before going to a home.
This is Daisy

     This little family was days away from being euthanized. Thank you Journey Home for stepping in to rescue them. Puppies are hard work, but the effort has been very rewarding. I can tell seeing them go to forever homes will be bittersweet for all of us.

     Hope is slowly, but surely conquering her anxiety. Our Ottoman has become her comfy napping place. She gets along well with others and is very good at coming when called. She and Snoop have become playmates. However, Hope has the same problem I do when playing with Snoop---convincing the big guy that playtime is over. The difference is Hope is still young and full of energy. She can still play almost as long as Snoop.

     If you are interested in adoption email or Like them on Facebook-     Below is Pepper.

Pub Chatter # 140

   Spent the evening watching the pink hats march in Seattle and Olympia. Damn these people are filled with venom and hate. Of course, they don’t see it. Self-righteousness makes for poor vision. In his book Mere Christianity, C.S. Lewis said that a good person is aware of his faults; he knows how bad he is. An evil person sees their self without faults or shortcomings. That little bit of wisdom always seems to play in my head as I listen to snarling people rant about all the hatred, bigotry, and racism that surrounds them and holds them down.

     Love is more difficult to practice than indifference and hate. The tradeoff is that it is more rewarding. Love isn’t silent, however, love doesn’t parade itself. It doesn’t wear a sign saying, “Look at me.” Love bears the wrong done it without surrender. Love does not demean or degrade, not even for the most righteous cause. Love makes no demands.

     Our government has been shut down by those who see themselves as saviors of the downtrodden. They have sold it to the media and sound the trumpet before their benevolence around the clock while vilifying any who disagree. Be not deceived by their self-applauded, nor their so-called altruism. Love is just and justice requires atonement. The “dreamers” are not children, have not been children for years. Neither all they all the college students their benefactors hold up to the public. Their parents entered this country as criminals, maintain them as criminals, and passed on the heritage of lawlessness to these adults who continue to thumb their nose at the laws all the rest of the world obeys.

     Go back to the beginning; enter through the door and then, you will be welcomed. A corrupt party in the government just might extort an amnesty for you, but this will never win you welcome or make you Americans.

Sunday, January 14, 2018

Pub Chatter #139

Dog Blog #5

     We are coming to the end of our first week with Hope and her puppies. Everybody is beginning to get settled in. The puppies have begun to explore the entire backyard and produced some amazing sights. Yesterday evening Snoop, our 120 pound Malamute lay down on the patio and let all the puppies swarm on top of him. He really is a gentle giant. Hope is a little less anxious beginning to play Snoop. Getting that much dog wrestling around the living room gets a little loud.

     HyDee loves having dogs her size running around the yard even if they do pull her beard. All seven pups at once is still a bit much for her taste. She uses a whiskey barrel planter as a fortress against the swarming horde. That won’t last long. In another week they will be able to climb in too.

     We are seeing personalities begin to emerge as the puppies get acclimatized to their new surroundings. We are going to be writing bio’s for each of them in the near future to give prospective parents an idea of what to expect. Taking a puppy into your home involves work, commitment, and some expense. I say that not to deter people, but to prepare them because it is the dog that ultimately pays the price for their human’s unpreparedness.

     Dogs are not something a person can morally toss away when the novelty wears off or because they become too much work. They are living, feeling, creatures that form strong attachments to their people. They meet you at the door and miss you when you leave. They will love you when you aren’t very lovable; comfort you when you are blue. Every day they earn their title as man’s best friend.

Saturday, January 13, 2018

Pub Chatter #138

     I judge people every day; it’s my job. If you happen to be the sickest person in the Emergency Room, you may welcome my judgment. I am the triage nurse. Who gets care first is my decision so I damn well better have good judgment, lives depend on it. I am not swayed by race, religion, or beauty. I am prejudice in favor of the very young and the very old and have no trouble sleeping with that. I judge, but I do not condemn.

     Those who say they do not judge are either willfully ignorant or liars. Life is a series of judgments that we must live with forever. Our greatest failures and greatest successes are direct outcomes of our ability to discern and act on our judgment. It is when we allow our judgment to sanction condemnation that we have overstepped our humanity in favor of self-proclaimed divinity.

     Personal liberty is the freedom to formulate our own judgments and decide our own values. Unless we are willing to allow each person to do the same, no one is free. I am a gray-headed, fat, white male. You may look at me and think, “Freaking geezer.” You are welcome to do so. Furthermore, you are not required to throw your arms around me and embrace my geezer-hood. When you deny me the right to be a freakin’ geezer or deride me for my choice, you are not judging--you are condemning me for not adhering to your idea of what a person should be.

     This means we do not have to believe alike, look alike, or act alike. We do not have to like people who are not like us. However, we must allow one another the freedom to be who we chose to be. The polarized factions in our society live to condemn, demean and ridicule others as a means of climbing to the top of the moral scale.

     I leave you with a thought from C.S. Lewis. He wrote that a good man knows how bad he is and the better the man, the more clearly he sees his own faults. An evil man thinks he is perfectly okay.

Friday, January 12, 2018

Pub Chatter #137

Dog Blog #4

   Great day on the foster front. Puppies got their shots and everybody did well with the trauma of it all. Next up--microchips. The puppies are venturing farther from the house, climbing the rock wall around the patio, exploring the garden spots and using the automatic watering bowl. The entire group is beginning to form bonds. HyDee has adopted one pup and runs from the rest. The little black pup has chosen Snoop as a surrogate father and playmate. We were especially glad to see Miss Hope and titan touch noses today. That was a big step forward.

     Miss Hope went to see the vet today. She has been extremely anxious since she arrived. The anxiety seems to be triggered by the sound of passing cars. As the crow flies, we live about a half mile from State Hwy 3 and when she is outside the almost constant sound of traffic causes here to race back and forth across the yard. It’s like pacing at flank speed. Cars passing on the street outside our house escalate the behavior even further. We have encouraged her to sit next to us and supplied a generous amount of petting and love. The last few nights Hope has been sleeping on a dog bed next to Faye to help socialize her. I don’t think her previous home environment or foster care stop was very good situations for her or the pups, but Hope is showing it most of all. She was started on doggie trazodone today and we can already see improvement.

     With continued love and attention, she is going to make somebody a great companion. I think she could be a champion Frisbee or agility dog. She is quicker than an illegal border crosser. We would like to do some on leash training and maybe take her to a quiet parking lot to desensitize her to cars. Slowly but surely she is learning house manners. We have a doggie door and to my knowledge, she has never had an accident in the house. All that and a good looker too.

     Have your pet spayed or neutered. Don’t buy, adopt.    

Thursday, January 11, 2018

Pub Chatter #136

Dog Blog #3

   I discovered today that Missy’s real name is Hope. I’m going to call her Miss Hope. She did great yesterday allowing me to insert her microchip. Today, we gave her some calming treats today as anxiety seemed to be getting the better of her. Snoop decided to help and engaged her in some roughhousing that sounded like thunder in our little living room. We are working hard to get her to just sit still beside us for some petting.

     Some of the pups are getting better at that too. We took pictures today to send to Journey Home Rescue. I will be posting these shots and some short bio’s here a few at a time. I hear they will be ready for adoption near the end of February. They are weaned and putting on weight every day. It’s not surprising. They attack the food dishes like CNN reporters after a Trump tweet. They still have to get their chips and puppy shots before being adoption ready. 

     HyDee, overcome by curiosity, let the puppies up close today. She decided their bouncing and tail wagging meant to play. Being a Schnauzer, barking is an essential part of everything HyDee does. The puppies were a little put off by the noise but continued to chase after her. Snoop came up with a new game for the puppies in which he tries to pick them up and when they roll over and submit---he wins. I’m surprised at how gentle he is with them. He is a bit of a klutz. Titan and Sam give the wiggling, scratching kids a wide berth. There is just too much energy in those tiny packages.

     Tomorrow---puppy shots by Nurse Jack.


Tuesday, January 9, 2018

Pub Chatter #134

Dog Blog #2

   Today we made progress getting the puppies settled in and establishing a routine for feeding and outside time. Everyone was more at ease. The puppies took time to enjoy the yard and chase the older dogs around. One pup got up the courage to bounce up to Snoop and try to get the big guy to play. Snoop was a good sport and very gentle with the puppies. Our other three dogs are still not sure about the wiggling, little nippers with razor sharp teeth and claws like needles.

     Tomorrow is picture day. The puppies will get individual pictures and numbers. It’s tempting to name them as personalities are emerging, but we have to stick with numbers for now. They will get their forever names when they are adopted. In the days ahead we will be sharing with you the personalities we see.

     The puppies have their own room in the house with a piece of plywood blocking the open doorway. Today we had our first puppy escape. I was surprised by the culprit. My money was on the little black pup who had already demonstrated climbing abilities. But, the winner was a little dapple male. He has scaling the wall down to about 30 seconds. We had to raise the bar. So far, no more escapes.  

     More puppy pictures to come. Meanwhile, please like Journey Home Rescue on Facebook and keep following Missy and her puppies progress.

Monday, January 8, 2018

Pub Chatter #135

Dog Blog #1

     Faye and I have set out on an adventure. We are fostering a mama dog named Missy and her seven, count ‘em, seven puppies in conjunction with Journey Home Rescue. Missy and the pups arrived on Sunday night just a day after the adoption of our own rescue dog, Snoop.

     Snoop is a 120 pound Alaskan Malamute. He’s just over a year old. He’s had a few run-ins with the law for escaping his yard and exploring on his own. Nevertheless, he’s a good boy, full of energy and loves to play. I do need to find him a new chew toy. My hands are worn out. I think he has managed to trod on everyone’s toes at least once so far. He doesn’t seem to realize how big he is until he wants something and puts all his weight into pushing for it.

    Missy and her pups arrived last night from Portland. After a brief introduction to our backyard, they came to dinner. Now, we have a couple of real chowhounds of our own, but the seven prong attack on the pups food dish put them to shame. One little one finding now room to get her head into the dish simply climbed on top of the pile and bored down from above. She ends up standing in the bowl.

     The big dogs haven’t quite figured out what to do with the wiggling, wagging balls of fluff. Sam is ignoring them as long as they stay away from his place on the couch. Snoop barks and wants to play with them. The huge Malamute bouncing around her pups terrifies Missy. Titan seems rather bored with the whole process. HyDee is confused. She’s torn between the fascination with having others her size and apprehension over their constant swarming energy.

      Missy is a sweet dog. She loves attention and is high energy. She looks to me like an Aussie Shepherd/Whippet comb. We tried a baby gate to block a door and give her and the pups their own space. Missy immediately jumped over it and announced that for her next trick she’d like do something difficult.

   It’s been a full day, to say the least. Baths for seven stinky puppies was the second order of the day. The first? Well, we all know how cute puppies are, but the thing new puppies owners quickly come to find out is that puppies are pooping, peeing machines. Kennel patrol is a continuous process. Like with all children the most wonderful time of the day is when they are all taking a nap. Like now, ahhhh, peace and quiet.

Saturday, January 6, 2018

Pub Chatter #133

   There was a bit of an uproar in my little hometown this week. The owner of a local consignment shop was asked to sell an authentic WWII Nazi flag. I don’t know if she was being mindful of the recent flap over a shop owner’s right to do business or not do business with whom they please. It’s a moot point really since the government has declared itself the final arbiter of business decisions. Anyway, whatever her feeling may be, she put the flag on a sale display which resulted in death threats and an avalanche of wounded snowflake feelings.

     Somehow the very people who would force a shop owner to display a rainbow flag over the owner’s objections have no qualms about requiring a shop owner to refuse to sell a Nazi flag. Am I the only one to see how hypocritical this is? Hypocrisy aside, such reasoning demonstrates a clear deficit of logical thought.

     Although I have not personally examined the flag, pictures and reports indicate this is no nylon, mass-produced flag suitable for a KKK rally. It is likely a war souvenir brought home by a WWII veteran. Some people have said it belongs in a museum. That’s probably true, however, there is a large, profitable market for WWII memorabilia and serious collectors are not squeamish about which side the artifact came from. Buyers and sellers are marketing historical collectibles, not political ideologies or racial hatred.

    The sad part of all this is that there are so many pampered, weaklings looking for something to offend them so that they may exalt their victimhood. This kind of attitude seeks only to feed the ego and elicit sympathy where none is due.

     I stand for the Stars and Stripes. I served in the military that flew it. I am known to salute the Stars and Bars too. The US is the greatest country world and I’m proud to be American. It is honesty that compels me to admit that ours is not the banner of sainthood. I believe that men have pillaged, murdered and even committed genocide, under that banner. But, it’s my banner and if it offends you, too damn bad. That flag is still a symbol of freedom in a land where business owners once had the right to do with their businesses as they willed.

     Oh, by the way, does anybody know if that Nazi flag is still for sale?