Tuesday, December 30 2003
I forgot to mention this, but the other day when I was installing the new kitchen sink and battling with the Price Pfister poorly-conceived quick connect technology, Gretchen happened to notice that I was displaying a particularly egregious case of plumber's ass. There were two factors that made my plumbers' ass stand out. Firstly, unlike, say, Matt Rogers (or the ugly chick we saw one night in the Hurley Mountain Inn), I never display plumbers' ass under normal circumstances. Secondly, I was doing plumbing at the time. Plumbers' ass must be an unavoidable consequence of stooping into nasty, uncomfortable places.
At some point yesterday, probably during the dogs' morning walk (normally lead by Gretchen these days), Eleanor sprained one of her ankles. We didn't really notice until I came back from my errands yesterday and she refused to get out of the truck. When I finally carried her out, she ran around favoring one of her hind feet. By this morning, whenever she aggravated her ankle, the resulting pain made her shiver with anxiety. She's a tense dog anyway, always eagerly (but silently) waiting for a cue and then not really knowing what to do when it comes.
After a careful examination, Gretchen found a swelling in the normally empty spot between Eleanor's Achille's tendon and her heel joint. We wondered about what to do. If we took Eleanor to the vet, we knew he'd charge us $100 to tell us to keep her from moving around too much until her sprain had healed. Eleanor is unusually accident prone - we'd be broke if we took her to the vet every time she favored a leg, contracted a rash, broke a rib, or was run over by a car.
Usually when I put on my shoes and coat and go outside, the two dogs get really excited in hopeful anticipation that we're about to do the things each of them likes to do best. Once I'm out the door, Eleanor runs for the woods, hoping that we're going for a walk, but Sally trots over to the parking lot, in hopes that we're going for a drive. When I was leaving for a housecall today, Sally could tell from my attitude that it was a lost cause. But Eleanor's sprained ankle had her behaving strangely. She streaked ahead and leapt into the truck in a manner more aggressive and certain than even that normally displayed by Sally. In most situations I would have insisted that she get out, but since she was injured, I decided to let her come along. I had no idea why she thought she'd be happiest in the truck; normally her attitude about car trips seems ambivalent, at least in the face of Sally's enthusiasm.
I made Eleanor stay in the truck for the entire housecall, which went on for three whole hours. I was in there setting up a new computer which a spoiled teenage girl had received as a present from her father (who happens to be a prestigious local politician). Most of this set up involved moving a bunch of illegally downloaded music from the girl's old computer to her new one. She had over 500 songs, most of them either Nu Metal or Nu Punk, the kind of music played in heavy rotation on ClearChannel rock stations. This girl is not the kind who would every allow herself to be caught listening to music that wasn't registering somewhere in the charts. Despite the delicious schandenfreude possibilites, when I set up KaZaA Lite on her new machine, I was sure to turn off file sharing so she'd stay beneath the RIAA radar.
I'd like to say a little something about the ongoing Mad Cow crisis in the mega-consolidated American beef industry. Firstly: it's about fucking time! I've long considered the "absence" of Mad Cow cases in the United States as evidence of an organized industry cover-up (the blame-shifting to reliable patsy-neighbor Canada being supporting evidence).
Now, as for the one lonely cow with Mad Cow Disease: the story about this poor creature is that she was an old dairy cow, one who was termed a "downer" because of her inability to even rise to her feet. She was a sick cow, unable to walk, and so she was sent - nay - carried to slaughter. Under the existing rules, her meat wasn't headed for dog kibble; it was destined to become prime rib at fancy restaurants. I kid you not. Since she was a dairy cow and probably leaner than your average beef cow, this sick cow's meat was probably going to cost just a little bit more. Once the bulk of her meat was sliced away, what scraps remained were plucked off by special machines. Such tiny slivers of beef generally find their way into ground beef. Ever wonder why sometimes there are little nodules of crunch in the cheap ground beef you find in your school luncheon? This means those special machines cut just a little too close to the bone.
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