Tuesday, September 21, 2010

Three Dog Night

We're gearing up for our first real trip with the dogs. We've always taken them to Mom and Dad's during our vacations, but this time we're including the whole family. We've been doing a lot more activities with the dogs lately. Especially on the bicycles now that we have the trailer. So we're anxious to see how this mini-vacay goes.

Bug and Jack have been on the occasional excursion with us: Garden of the Gods, Falls of the Ohio State Park, etc. But never a 4 day, 3 night motel stay. Which by the way is going to be at Motel 6 because they claim to be totally pet friendly and they don't charge extra fees.

Jack is a pretty good travel companion, mild mannered and quiet. Bug is a whole other story. I like to say he has "special needs". And by special needs I mean he's nearly 10 and has arthritis. We've worked around it with the stroller and the bike trailer. But hiking is a new problem. Most trails are not stroller friendly and Bug can only go so far before his little legs give out. Like half a mile. Meanwhile Jack can go for miles and miles and miles...

So even though he weighs 30 pounds, I'm looking for a baby carrier for Bug. I've started the search on eBay and craigslist because I really don't want to spend a lot of money. I've already tested out the theory with various bags at home, but none seem to work well. Plus, Bug is heavy. I know my back is going to pay the price for this, but he's got to be able to go with us on our outings. He's just gotta.

Another issue is what to do with the dogs while we're out places that don't allow them. Namely stores, wineries and restaurants. Most of our activities are planned outdoors but we would like to visit some other places. Looks like there won't be any sit down meals for us. More like fast food and takeout. But I think we can manage. I just don't feel comfortable leaving them in a motel room by themselves. The only other option I can think of is leaving them in the car while it's running.

So as I continue to look for the perfect Bug carrier, take a look at my vision that Jill Lyman brought to life with PhotoShop:

Wednesday, September 15, 2010

Talk to Me

My mom often asks me, "Have you talked to so-and-so lately?" And I'll say:
"Well, I texted her the other day."
"He wrote me on my Facebook wall."
"I chatted online with her the other night."
"I got an email from him yesterday."
"Saw a tweet from her today."

You get the idea. My question is, can I just shorten these responses and just answer, yes? Do I really have to explain what the specific form of communication was used? Especially to my mom who doesn't know what any of those things are?

There are so many different ways to "talk" now without actually speaking a word. I used talk to my husband several times a day. He'd call me in the morning while he was at work. I would give his cell phone a ring at night when I was at work. But now we mainly text back and forth in the morning, in the evening, and usually only speak to each other when we're in each other's physical presence.

A similar evolution has happened with my out of town friends. We used to call now and then but for the longest time it's been mostly emails. Then the birth of Facebook changed all that and that's how I "talk" with everyone now. But the great thing about texting is if I'm thinking of something, right that very moment, I can shoot my friend a quick text about it. I don't have to dial. I don't have boot up the computer and log in. Unless it's late at night, because many of my friends are in that thing called the eastern time zone and I work late. But texting is nice, especially for things like movie quotes, song lyrics and other things that spark old memories. And general frustrations of life.

I always marvel at the fact that most of my plans are made without talking on the phone. Especially with groups. It's like having everyone on a conference call. Ah, the magic of the mass email or multi-messaging on Facebook. We can meet in a park, on a certain day, at a certain time, with all the makings of a great picnic without ever hearing each other's voices before that moment.

So the next time Mom asks if I've talked to so-and-so, I think I'll just say yes. Does it really matter whether we texted, tweeted, Facebooked, emailed, chatted or whatever else we do besides speak to each other? Not really. Truth is I probably wouldn't know as much as I do about my friends and family if it wasn't for all those forms of social media. And that's something to "talk" about.

Monday, September 13, 2010

Doctor, Doctor, Gimme the News...

I feel like a doctor's office should be like pizza delivery. If you have to wait more than 45 minutes, the service should be free.

I spent a lot of time in waiting and exam rooms last month. The dentist, the vet, the chiropractor and the ever popular gynecologist, just to name a few. All in a matter of just a few days. And most of that time I spent waiting. I don't understand why.

It should be simple. 15 minutes to check in. 15 minutes to do the exam. 15 minutes to check out. I should not have to block more than an hour out of my day to go to the doctor. It's ridiculous. I know there are other patients. I know there's paperwork and insurance. But get it together. Learn efficiency and multi-tasking. The rest of us have to do it.

If I was a doctor, I'd see 3 patients in 15 minute increments and take the last 15 minutes of the hour for myself. To do whatever other doctor things I needed to do. Catch up on paperwork. Make phone calls. Whatever. That way I wouldn't be rushed and I would have time to spend with everyone accordingly. I also would not overbook patients. I believe that happens, too. And if you're not there on time, I'm skipping over you and going to the next person.

My last trip to the dentist was really irritating. She's super nice, almost cheesy. But I sat in the waiting room for at least a half hour before I got in the chair. Already, I've wasted time. My cleaning with the dental hygenist went quickly and I was ready to go on about my day. But no, I had to wait for my dentist, who didn't even work on me, to look me over before I could leave. I swear I waited another half hour for that. When she finally came in, she tried to make small talk but I just wasn't into it. I wanted to get the hell out of there. I felt like a prisoner!

Here's the thing: I'm 31 years old. I'm not an 85 year old woman who has nothing else to do but go the doctor. That is not the highlight of my day. I have a job. I have housework. I have groceries to get. I have banks and post offices to go to. I have a husband. I have dogs. I try not to be in too much of a hurry, but my time is just as valuable as the next person. Great, now I have an image of me barrelling down the highway in my car, passing my grandma who's driving 30 with the emergency brake on, eloquently saying, "Now just what is her damn hurry? She'd better slow down!"

During the healthcare debate, I read an article written by a woman originally from the tri-state who used to live in Switzerland. Or maybe it was Canada. Anyway, it was another country where she described the medical system as a very well run machine. Very little wait, low to no copays, etc. I wish I had saved that article. I could take it into the doctor and use it like a competitor's coupon. "Can you match this? If not, I'm taking my business elsewhere." But then I guess I'd have to go to Switzerland to get my teeth cleaned. Damn, that's not going to work.