What should have been a simple thing turned into a 45-minute, really annoying chore.
We received our new Humana ID cards in the mail today. As I got ready to put them in my purse, I noticed that the doctor’s name was incorrect on the back of both cards. I thought it probably didn’t matter, but then I decided to call and make sure.
It DID matter.
First, I had called on my cell phone and they didn’t have a record of that. I got so teed off I hung up and called on the phone beside my computer, also a cell phone, but on a base with a different phone number. I had to go through the phone tree again – ONE OF MY FAVORITE THINGS! – and this time, they accepted the phone number from which I was calling with no problem.
I talked to a very nice man, but it was a long, drawn-out process to finally change the doctor’s name on the back of my card. Then I said, “I need to do the same change on my husband’s card.” Even though we have gone so far as to write a LETTER to put in my husband’s file saying that I have the power to handle any and all things for him, since he HATES bureaucracy of any kind and has the patience of a fruit fly, the man insisted that my husband get on the phone and tell him that it was okay that I handle this change for him. By the time I got back on the phone, the man had at least one fewer layers of skin.
THEN, at the end of what should have been a quick change on our computer records, he tried to get me to schedule my wellness check, my mammogram, and my colonoscopy. Do I need to tell you that his efforts in this regard were totally unappreciated? I gritted my teeth when I told him that those things were between me and my physician, whose name would finally be on my card, if he handled my request.
The end result was that they are sending us new cards, but we had three teed-off people by the end of the conversation.
A couple of years ago we bought 3 rhizomes each of 5 different iris than we had in our yard from Nanna’s Iris Garden. All of them were pretty (I never saw an ugly iris) and we particularly liked a large, yellow one.
The planter is now too full of iris for them to bloom well next spring, so I’m trying to dig everything out, separate the rhizomes, replant some in this planter, and replant all the others around the yard. Doing this is easier said than done!
Today was a perfect day to get started on this. Amber kept me company while I worked for an hour or so this afternoon on the project. I filled a large plastic bucket quickly, then went to get another one – plus my clippers, so that I could go through what I’d dug up, cutting off too-long roots and leaves. I came in when I got too hot and tired, and am about to go put in another session today. I can tell that cleaning out this planter is going to take at least 3 or 4 sessions.
I found a good article on “When and How to Divide Iris” at MyGardenLife.com if you’re interested.
I think we have large, bright yellow iris, some quieter yellow, some blue, and some small purple. I think there is a fifth color, but I can’t remember what it is now.
It was really nice outside today. It’s 73 degrees F. and sunny, with a slight breeze. I dig for awhile, then sit on the edge of the brick planter to cut off excess roots and leaves. Amber found a huge stick. She paraded around with it hanging from her mouth down to the ground on both sides, and then sat down to chew on it. She also went exploring a couple of times but stayed close.
I hope the weather where you are is such that you can enjoy being outside, working or resting on this nice Sunday afternoon.
Since we’re due for a cold front overnight with off and on rain tomorrow, I decided to clean up one of our hydrangea planters, lopping off the branches that hang way down to the ground in front. I brought in some of the nicer blooms so that we could enjoy them in the house.
There are two hydrangea plants in the planter – one pink and one so delicate a pink as to be white. I love these blooms. I just wish they didn’t really hate our hottest weather, plus the rain. I’m hoping that they’ll enjoy the cooler weather, putting on lots of blooms before the first frost.
Amber is super tough on dog toys. Some I’ve bought have lasted 5 minutes or less before she has the squeaker out and is trying to eat it, or has the stuffing out all over the floor, or has completely destroyed the toy, forcing us to throw it away.
I keep the toys after removing the rest of the stuffing and the squeakers, so essentially she’s playing with several different colors of ‘rags.’ Right now she has a dinosaur, a frog, a chicken, a teddy bear, a mallard duck and others I can’t remember in this category. I can still give her one of these and she will chew on it, or try to bring it to us for a game of tug of war.
I have lucked out and bought some toys that have lasted long enough for us to feel that we have gotten our money’s worth. The REALLY tough toys available, that are virtually indestructible, she won’t play with at all, showing absolutely no interest. Since we don’t want to spend money on those, we continue to get different ones that we hope will be wonderful, PLUS last for several days.
Amber is compiling a list of toys to which she has given a “THUMBS UP” rating – that are exciting, fun, and last a reasonably long period of time for someone who really loves to chew and who can figure out the weak spot in a toy really fast so that the toy is dismantled almost as soon as she gets it.
AMBER’S THUMBS UP DOG TOY LIST
This one squeaks only when she chews it really hard, so that’s a challenge she enjoys. It has almost no wear after having it several weeks.
This toy is really great. The outside is hard rubber with the places she can grab it easily with her teeth. There is a ball inside that tumbles around, making a bit of noise, and tantalizing. The outside squeaks. We’ve had this toy several weeks. It shows a bit of wear but it holding up remarkably well under really hard chewing.
This is a fun toy. Amber likes to carry it around by the tails, or by the head. Even though she deconstructed the top part, resulting in it having to be removed the rest of the way, the rest of the toy was still good. Now she has chewed most of the fabric on the larger round part, resulting in the squeaky part underneath almost coming out now. Even if she gets the squeaky out, it’s made of tougher stuff than most squeakies and she’s not in danger of swallowing it. The fabric part will still be fun to chew on.
Amber really loved this toy. I say, “Loved” because it’s gone now. It did last several weeks. Amber loved it because it bounced really well, even on the carpet, and bounced funny on bare floors, intriguing her and keeping her interest. It also apparently was great to chew on because she did that relentlessly. She finally managed to chew through one of the rings, causing all of the parts to essentially disintegrate. I’m going to get her another one for Christmas, though because it’s a really creative design.
More toys to follow as we discover them.
We are giving the term, “Gated Community” a new meaning in the Lewis household.
After my friend, Cathy, told us about this ingenious gate that keeps doggies in and allows people to walk through, we got one and installed it in the doorway between our living room and the back porch. This has worked wonderfully for us, allowing us to go in and out freely without falling on our heads. The back porch has been Amber’s area, with a box of toys, water dish, food dish, crate, etc. since we brought her into our family mid May.
We soon bought another gate that we installed in the office doorway so that we could keep her in here with us while we worked on our computers. She loves being with us, so she’s very happy with this arrangement. (One interesting thing, if we don’t click the top shut, she uses her nose to flip it up and open the gate now.)
We’re having a cold front move through overnight, taking the low down to 45. Since our temperatures will only continue to cool between now and winter, we decided that now was the time to allow her to stay inside when she sleeps. We have a huge dog bed in the utility area on which Molly and our pit, Bambi, slept. Now it’s just Molly, so today we moved Amber’s crate into the utility area and moved the walk-through gate from the doorway on the back porch to the doorway to the utility area.
Molly and Amber have been doing much better lately – even playing some! – so we’re hopeful this move will be an uneventful one. We’re mainly moving the crate as a comfort thing, just in case Amber wants to actually use it. We have been leaving the door open on her crate at night for quite a while now. She gets into it, gets a cookie, and we go inside. We aren’t really sure if she sleeps in there. If she does, she can continue to do it as long as she wants. If she doesn’t, we’ll move the plush liner we put in the crate to on top of the huge dog bed as a transition. Maybe we can remove the crate, fold it up, and store it at some point.
Since Amber gave us yet another lesson last night on the fact that she isn’t to be trusted (particularly since her owners are too doofus to pay attention) sneaking into the kitchen and managing to steal my just baked, cooling low carb loaf of bread from the very back of the stove and into the living room on her bed without my husband being aware – we’ve just ordered a THIRD walk-through gate. We’ll install it in the doorway between the living room and the dining/kitchen/pantry area so she can’t sneak out and ravage our food.
Labrador Retrievers are said to still be ‘puppies’ until they’re at least 2 years old. Amber is 7 months old now. She has made more progress than her owners on adapting to her new situation and learning to take advantage of any opportunities for chewing, digging, fun or food. It’s a really good thing she’s so lovable, companionable, and cute.
As our temperatures here in Greenwood, Arkansas start to decrease as we move toward Fall, I’m starting to dream about working in my new greenhouse.
Since we built it this past spring, it’s been WAAAAAAAY too hot in there to even think about spending more than a minute or two inside.
We put a regular thermometer in there (the kind with the red mercury in a line up the center) and it got so hot inside the greenhouse that not only did the thermometer not read correctly, the top blew out of it! We literally had to clean up the table and the floor around it and throw the poor thing out. We replaced it with the kind of thermometer that only shows a number, and it went right to 120 degrees F. and stayed there, giving us at least a minimum temperature in there.
I had a folding chair out there that burned my generous nether end through my jeans in the time it took for me to sit on it and then leap back up! Needless to say, I have not spent a lot of time out there, waiting to organize it and start planting seeds until at least mid fall.
You’re looking through the open doorway to the greenhouse here. You can see the exhaust fan we mounted in the end. With the door open, the exhaust fan on, and the people fan on, soon I should be able to work in there. This picture doesn’t show all the ‘stuff’ I’ve moved into the greenhouse – starter trays, a trashcan full of Mel’s Mix, water sprayers, planting tools, etc.
This morning I harvested a bunch of seeds from tomatoes we grew. They are drying on a paper towel on top of the microwave. When they’re completely dry, I’ll put them in a baggie in preparation for planting them in the greenhouse. I’m hoping to plant lots of things in the hope that the plants will be ready to transfer to my square foot planters outside in the spring.
I’m like a kid waiting for Christmas morning, standing on one foot and the other waiting for the cold front tonight, and hoping that we are, finally, on the way to cooler temperatures and I can start to play. I’ll do a lot of reading and planning, plus get the greenhouse organized and set up for lots of seed starters. I have two tomato plants I plan to dig up, put in pots, and put in the greenhouse at the first threat of frost. I also plan to winter-over a couple of non-hardy plants, – an elephant ear and a pretty purple plant my friend Laufrain gave me. I already have all the seeds I need, so I just need to exercise a whole lot of PATIENCE now…
The high today is forecast to be 90+ with 70% humidity. UGH. Overnight, though, a glorious cold front is supposed to come through, bringing much welcomed rain and a high of 71 tomorrow! AHHHHHHHH! I worked out in the yard for a bit yesterday, just planting some hyacinth bulbs and cutting back some hydrangea leaves. I had to take a shower when I cam in. I’m really ready to be outside more, organizing my new greenhouse, dreaming of the seeds I’ll plant, trimming back things in the yard, working in my garden. Tomorrow can’t come fast enough! :0)
We’ve had a really nice day today.
The weather is a bit warm, but I really can’t complain. We used our attic fan last night. I woke up at 5 freezing to death, reached up and turned on my electric blanket and was immediately flooded with warmth. Just before I fell asleep again, I turned it off. Perfect.
We enjoyed our good friends Kay, Linda, and Dee at Lunch Bunch. All of us were well and happy – a really good thing.
When we came home I started some eggs to hard boiling on the stove since we were almost out. When I had them going, I started some low-carb bread in my bread machine. I then cut up stuff for a beef stew and put that in the crock pot. I have many devices to make my life easier, and I love it when I can do a lot in a short period of time.
Since our bellies were full from Lunch Bunch, my husband and I surrendered to the sleepies and each took a nap. When I awoke, Amber and Molly were on the carpet, taking naps with us. Smoke, one of our cats, was sleeping beside my husband in his chair. I sat comfortably, glad we were able to catch up a bit of some missed sleep, thinking how very lucky we are.
We’re all up now. I’m about to take Amber out and figure out where I want to plant some hyacinth and snapdragon bulbs we got recently. In another few days, we’ll finally be finished with summer and I can look forward to getting my greenhouse set up for the first time. I have no clue what I’m doing, but I’m having such a wonderful time dreaming!
I have some ideas about gifts for friends for Christmas, and soon it will be cool enough to work in our shop without the air conditioning.
We’re almost to the point where we think we can mow the lawn for the last time of the season. I particularly enjoy the last time, taking more care with the edging and weed whacking so it’ll look like someone cares about our yard over the winter months. I’m getting ready to do another round of weed killing with the new spray I got. (Thanks, Cathy). It works quietly and well. You THINK it’s not doing anything, and then the weeds turn brown. :0)
This is rambling, I know, but I wanted to share how how happy I feel today, full of gratitude for being spoiled, enjoying all that we have, being thankful I have someone to share my life with, looking forward to a possible visit from our son in February or March.
Could life be better?
As the temperatures are finally dropping (by Sunday – today and tomorrow we’re still having summer) we talked about the fact that we need to move Amber’s crate somewhere inside. This is not a simple issue because we have been leaving the door to the crate open, so she’s not confined at night. She gets into it when we put her to bed for the night, but we’re not at all sure if she actually sleeps in it. Sometimes she is in it in the morning when we open the door to the back porch, and sometimes she isn’t.
We can’t trust her on her own, yet. If she’s inside, we find she has dumped a trashcan. In the mornings, the first thing she does after going outside and then having her breakfast, is dash into the pantry to see if we’ve forgotten to pick up Molly’s dish. If we have, she brings it out and starts chewing on it. We either close the people gate that is in the doorway to our office to keep her in with us, or we go into the living room, telling her to get in her ‘place,’ the huge dog bed in there. We have found out the hard way that we need to monitor her, inside and out.
My husband – a lover of simple decisions, just wants to start leaving her inside, hoping that she and Molly will share the huge dog bed in the utility room. When I pointed out a lot of other considerations, we agreed that the subject was a bit more complicated.
We’ve now agreed that my husband will move the people walk-through gate from the doorway to the back porch to the doorway between the utility room and our dining area. This will confine both dogs to the utility room, plus cut off Amber’s access to the pantry. I don’t even want to THINK about the damage she could cause – happily eating her way through the night and dumping whatever she didn’t like or had trouble reaching. We’ll move Amber’s crate, with liner and towels, into the utility room. I want her to have her safe area if she wants it, at least until we see evidence that she and Molly are doing well with the new sleeping arrangements. Since Amber and Molly are actually playing a bit now, I’m hopeful that this move will go relatively smoothly. Tomorrow night will tell…
“Everybody gets so much information all day long that they lose their common sense.” ~ Gertrude Stein
These technically aren’t Jack-O-Lanterns, I guess, but I LOVE the creativity!
I FINALLY got a reasonable picture of Amber with one of her toys. She loves this one, throwing her head back – almost looking like she’s laughing – as she chews madly.
My husband and I were agreeing that it’s a really good thing we didn’t wait to get Amber because even with the two of us – she’s more than a handful for two old fogies. We also agreed that it’s a good thing she’s cute and loving. It goes a long way in making up for the fact that her alter ego is “Destructo Dog.”
Case in point –
This morning I took her out, walked all around the yard with her, out to the square foot garden and the shop, then the other way out to the greenhouse, and then I finally sat down on the front porch to watch her play a bit. We came in, but within 10 minutes or so, she was flipping my arm up over and over while I was trying to type – her sign that she needs to go out – NOW!
Since I wanted more coffee and needed to go to the bathroom, I did, checking on Amber when I got back. In that space of time she had again wreaked havoc on the front porch, the front porch pad, and the impatiens pot. I don’t know why she has it in for this pot, but I finally gave up, dumping it out, hosing it out, and putting it on my counter in the garage.
I then scooped as much potting mix as I could with the metal dustpan, dumping it back into the brick planter by the porch. Then I swept. By the time I finished that, my husband had the hose ready. I hosed everything off and then took the dustpan and the broom back to the garage. On the way, I discovered she had also dug in the 2nd Rio Samba planter. I stopped and cleaned THAT up.
We put Amber on the porch so we could all calm down and rest a bit. Just now when I went out to get her, I noticed that she had apparently used some of the time while we were cleaning up to lie down in the mud and water. Her whole underside and back legs were black.
I called my husband out and we took Amber out on the deck and hosed her down, putting her back on the porch to dry. I took a couple of towels out there to dry her off some, but she was trying to chew on my arm while I worked on her, so I didn’t do much.
We have now agreed that we won’t take her out without her wearing the shock collar and our having the remote in our hands. We won’t just let her out by herself until further notice. We will be ready to zap her if she starts digging. Hopefully, we can break her of this before our weather gets cold…
On one of my outings with Amber today, I brought my camera. I got only a few pictures before it showed me the battery needed to be charged, but I wanted to share these with you. This is an elephant ear plant my friend Laufrain gave me recently. Part of the time I worry that it will be completely eaten by insects (see leaf on right), broken by mysterious forces (see leaf on right), but it seems to be doing well overall. I plan to move it to the greenhouse for the winter when we have frost warnings and see if I bring it through to the spring for replanting.
This plant was also given to me by Laufrain. I don’t know what it is called, but I love the purple leaves. Today I noticed it was blooming! See the sweet, delicate pink flower?
I’m just delighted with all the delicate little blooms. I’ll have to ask Laufrain if I need to dig this one up, too, for the winter.
I harvested these two tomatoes today. The new tomato plants are still alive. I really don’t know what to expect from them, but I’m keeping an eye on them. I picked another small tomato, but it wasn’t good. I threw it toward the group of evergreen trees toward the back. Amber saw me and went crashing into the trees, retrieving it. She brought it into the front yard, chewing on it. She spit it out onto the ground, then picked it up again running all around the yard. She wasn’t really sure what she wanted to do with it, but she had a great time.
I’ll try to get more pics to share as soon as my camera battery is charged again.
Oh, I almost forgot to tell you! I checked on the temperature inside my greenhouse today and it was 70! I’ll keep an eye on that and see if I can figure out if I can actually start some seeds in there soon…