Sunday, August 8, 2010

My Summer Vacation . . .

Well it isn't much of a vacation but I'm just finishing up my second rotation in Mobile, AL. I've been out here making maps for the NRDA (Natural Resource Damage Assessment) response to the oil spill. It's been super interesting not only being involved in the response effort but also spending time in the South. Check out this video of the BP Command Center in Mobile.

I haven't been working in the Command Center though. It was too crowded a couple months back and our group was moved to a conference room in the Marriot Hotel. It's been really nice--much quieter and lots more room. Though, the latest gossip around the proverbial water cooler is that we will be moving back to the Command Center later this month.

This is me at the Marriot. Notice the chaos! It's 7 days a week, 10 - 12 hours a day. I make maps for the field survey teams and then manage the GPS data they bring back. I'm currently on a 2 week rotation (2 weeks working in AL and 2 weeks working back home). Everyone I work with is really great but 2 weeks is a long time. Actually the truth is that 2 weeks feels like a long time when I'm away and a short time when I'm home.
So, you are probably wondering what Jonathan has been doing for his "summer vacation".

Well, that's him with his head under the sink. We had 2 leaky faucets and so he has been doing some home maintenance. Unfortunately, what could have and should have been a fairly basic process turned into a major difficulty. The gentleman that lived in the house before us apparently wasn't much of a plumber. He did several poorly executed patch up jobs. Poor Jonathan ended up replacing 5 faucets and even some piping.

However . . . we now have beautiful bathroom faucets. So here is the before shot.

And this is the after.

Aren't they pretty? What can I say . . . I married a man with skills.

And what about Otis you say? How is his summer going?
Well it's all fun in the sun to him.

Thursday, April 15, 2010

Fur Kids

Forgive me friends for I have sinned. It has been 4 months since my last confession (I mean blog).

Well much has happened at the Clare house but this post is devoted to our furry, four-legged, kibble-crunching children. First and foremost let me introduce Otis.

We got Otis from a shelter in December. He 's a red smooth hair dachshund just like Jonas but he's a miniature and weights about 12 lbs. As you can clearly see he is ADORABLE. He is also willful, high-energy and obsessive (doggy OCD for sure). He loves toys. If he glimpses something that might be a toy on a desk or a counter he will sit in front of it and whine until you pick him up and let him inspect. He'll pick a favorite toy and carry it around for days. He'll take it on walks. He won't eat unless that toy is next to his bowl or in his bowl. If you put it away he will look for it . . . for hours. He always remembers where he left it the day before. And his greatest joy--and surely his purpose for existence--is to play fetch.

If you get tired of throwing the ball to him he will throw it for himself. His second favorite game is to "lose" the ball under a bed, couch or ottoman and make you fish it out for him. He'll even point his nose to show you right where it is.

On New Year's day, after we had Otis for less than a month, he slipped a disk in his back. We took him to the vet and he gave him a shot and told us to keep him quiet for several days. Two days later his back legs were paralyzed. He didn't seem to be in pain but his eyes had that pleading "help me" look. We took him to our regular vet and then on to UC Davis Veterinary Hospital for emergency back surgery. They removed 4 discs in his back.

Here are some pictures of his staples and his shaved back. Poor little Odie!

The Hospital kept him for several days and then we brought him home for 4 weeks of crate rest. At first we weren't sure if he'd be paralyzed forever but after a couple days he started wagging his tail. And then gradually his back legs could support his weight. We weren't supposed to let him walk around but sometimes we would open the crate and he would dart out and run around the room legs flailing. I guess it never occurred to him that his legs might not work right. He improved day by day.

This is a picture of Otis last week. His legs are strong and he runs and moves just fine. He is back to playing fetch and whining for toys . . . just as he should.

Here's a picture of Jonathan with Dante, our other fur kid. We got Dante in October of 2008. Unfortunately, Jonathan is allergic to cats and some dogs (although he hasn't had a problem with either of our dachshunds) so Dante was an outside kitty but he slept in the garage. Well after we got Jonas we started to feel a little guilty. Did Dante feel sad or unloved because the dog lived inside and he didn't? Surely he knew that the dog got lots more attention than he did. Did it hurt his feelings watching Jonas and then Otis coming in and out for walks, or taking rides in the car?

This is Dante with his BFF Smokey.

Well a about 2 weeks ago our next door neighbor came by to make a confession. He had been feeding Dante and having him in their house. He told us that he and his wife just loved Dante. They are an older couple and they live by themselves, their kids all grown up. Jonathan and I were so excited. We went back to the neighbors and offered them the cat. They were ecstatic! We gave them Dante's bed, food, kitty litter, toys, etc. So now he is a mostly inside kitty. He sleeps in a house and gets lots of loves. He comes to see us sometimes and he is all soft and well brushed. He was meant to be their kitty.