TT: Things I love and hate to hear as a vet assistant

Chewy giving you the “stare”
  1. Things I like to hear “We brought a stool sample.”

Where else can you bring a bag of poop and the employees there are excited to get it. I know I have on many occasions heard, “I’ve brought you a stool sample.” and I’ve replied, “Oh, good. Thanks.” In truth, regular testing of your pets’ stools is very important. Intestinal parasites and general gut flora can be seen in a stool sample. Tape worms and other intestinal parasites can be easily treated with medication. But, if they are left unchecked, intestinal parasites can cause a lot of health problems for your pet. If your pet’s gut flora are off, a veterinarian can proscribe probiotics to help repopulate the good bacteria that should naturally be in your pet’s gut.

  1. Things I don’t like to hear “He’s only talking, he won’t bite you.”

As a veterinary assistant I get to work with a wide range of pets. Everything from cute fluffy puppies to giant terrified German Shepherds, sweet old boxers to hyper young Labradors, and cats of all temperaments. I love working with sweet pets (who wouldn’t) a sweet boxer or golden who just loves you no matter what you do to them are wonderful to work with. I also don’t mind at all working with a dog that is scared. Sometimes a patient will come in scared to death. Some of these pets stand like statues, others try there hardest to get away from you, and others still become aggressive and will bite you. Usually these patients get muzzles, and the owner understands. The worst is when an owner insists that there pet is “only talking.” If I’m about to stick a thermometer up your German Shepherd’s butt and he starts growling and baring his teeth, I don’t think “he’s only talking.” I’m not going to risk being bitten/clawed by a patient because the owner swears their pet is just vocal and won’t bite. I’m going to get a muzzle.

2. Things I like to hear “The vomiting/diarrhea just started.”

Sweet girl Rigby

As a general rule, people don’t want to hear about vomiting or diarrhea, it just isn’t a topic that is usually discussed. Unfortunately, at work I hear about vomiting and diarrhea a lot. It’s one of the most come reasons a patient comes in. When a client tells me there pet has been vomiting/having diarrhea my first question will be ” has there been any blood in it?” but my second question will be, ” how long as your pet been vomiting/having diarrhea?” Too many times the reply to my second question is that it has been going on for a week or two if not longer. Would you let yourself or your child vomit for over a week before seeking professional help? Pets do on occasion vomit or have loose stools without there being any alarm. I know if I brought my cat to see a vet every time she threw up, she would be in there a lot. I’ve long ago learned the sound of one of my pets about to vomit, and my first response is to rush them outside so I don’t have to clean up any puke. However, my pets don’t regularly or daily vomit. If they did, I would see help right away. One of the most immediate concerns with vomiting/diarrhea is dehydration. If your pet is vomiting or having diarrhea several times a day, please seek out medical help. I’ve seen too many pets come in for vomiting/diarrhea for over a week with significant weight loss. I can’t stress this enough, please call your veterinarian.

2) Things I don’t like to hear, “No, my pet doesn’t have fleas.”

I know that “my pet doesn’t have fleas.” is not always a false statement. Some pets don’t currently have fleas. However, that is not to say that they will not always be flea free. It only takes one chance encounter, one flea to claim your pet as her home to cause an infestation. That flea doesn’t even have to come into your house on your pet, it could come in on a friend’s dog that came for a visit, or a field mouse looking for some food, or even your own pant leg. Monthly flea prevention acts as a shield against any such encounter. A good flea preventative will stop an infestation before it starts. While a flea infestation is a preventable annoyance, most good flea preventatives are also tick preventatives. Ticks are truly more harmful than fleas. Ticks spread Lyme disease which can affect your pet for the rest of its life. Lyme disease can cause fever, lethargy, stiff painful joints, an other symptoms. Fleas and flea allergies can cause your dog a lot of discomfort, itchy skin, and other problems, but ticks and Lyme disease tend to be the forgotten evil that flea and tick prevention should be used for.

3) Things I like to hear, “I’m not feeling well, can I reschedule?”

This phrase has taken a more important meaning in the past few weeks, but, if you are sick, please stay home. There aren’t many things more disheartening and now a days frankly more scary than going into an exam room with a person that looks or is acting ill. I know that people suffer from allergies and other things of that nature, I’m not talking about that. I’m talking about people that are genuinely sick that still come into the vet clinic to keep their pet’s appointment. There are times that your pet’s health needs to be checked regardless of how you feel. In these cases I implore you to find a family member, a friend, a neighbor that can bring your pet to the vet. I have been in many rooms with people that seem to be sick themselves, and I do my best to take every precaution not to take whatever that person has home with me to my children. But still, anyone that comes into the vet clinic sick is putting my children and everyone else’s children (both coworkers and clients) at risk. Please, if you are sick, reschedule your appointment, and, if you can’t reschedule, please find someone else to bring the pet on you behalf.

3) Things I don’t like to hear, “We only brought $30.”

I know there are numerous people with varying degrees of financial constraints, and I have worked with doctors that try their best to diagnose/treat a patient within whatever monetary limit the client has. I’ve had doctors give out donated medication (that’s what donated medication is there for after all), I’ve also seen doctors not charge for diagnostic tests. Veterinarians do everything in their power to provide high quality medicine for your pet at very low prices. But, sometimes we have a client come in and, their pet has a very real problem, but the client did not bring enough money to even pay for the basics of vet care. I have heard clients say that a “vet should take care of my pet because they love animals!” Unfortunately, this argument completely washes over the idea that a vet clinic is also a small business, and small businesses usually don’t operate with much financial freedom. Me and Emily both rely on clients paying for vet care. If clients are not paying for their visits, the clinic can no longer keep me employed. So, while we will work as hard as we can to take care of your pet, we cannot do it without clients paying for our service.

I hope you enjoyed my post, and, as always, thanks for reading!!

The questions for “How well does Tony know Emily

Alright, we’ve got our questions. I’ve changed some of the wording, but hopefully I captured the spirit of everyone’s question. I’ll list them below so everyone can play along:

1) If Emily had a time machine, would she go to the past or the future? 2) If Emily could have 3 wishes, what would they be? 3) What is 1 thing Emily would change about Tony? 4) What is Emily most difficult case? 5) Where were Emily’s Grandparents born? 6) What is the grossest thing about being a vet? 7) What movie makes Emily cry? 8) What is Emily’s dream vacation? 9) What is Emily’s greatest fear? 10) What is Emily’s shoe size? 11) How would Emily spend $1 million dollars? 12) What do I like most about Emily? 13) Desert Island, choose 1 food to eat? 14) Will Emily write a book? 15) What is Emily’s favorite band? 16) Does Emily want another baby? 17) What does Emily like most about Tony? 18) What is Emily’s most annoying habit? What is Tony’s? 19) What is Emily’s ideal date? 20) Which pet would Emily like to have for the rest of her life? 21) What did Emily most admire about Dr. Pol?

TT: How well does Tony Know Emily?

We’re about to start working on a new video. The video will be (as the title suggests) how well do I know Emily. I’m going to come up with some questions about Emily and see if I answer them correctly. I was wondering if you have any questions you want answered. Remember these are questions about Emily that I will try to answer to see if I get them right. Feel free to ask hard questions. We’ve been together for 19 years, hopefully I know her favorite color (it’s purple especially if it is paired with green.) So yeah, post your questions in the comments. I will pick probably 10-15 questions, post them for everyone to play along, and then we’ll post a video Emily and I playing this fun game. Again, post any questions you have, and I will answer them as best as I can. Get creative.

Why is she licking my nose?

Alright, we’ve got our questions. I’ve changed some of the wording, but hopefully I captured the spirit of everyone’s question. I’ll list them below so everyone can play along:

1) If Emily had a time machine, would she go to the past or the future? 2) If Emily could have 3 wishes, what would they be? 3) What is 1 thing Emily would change about Tony? 4) What is Emily most difficult case? 5) Where were Emily’s Grandparents born? 6) What is the grossest thing about being a vet? 7) What movie makes Emily cry? 8) What is Emily’s dream vacation? 9) What is Emily’s greatest fear? 10) What is Emily’s shoe size? 11) How would Emily spend $1 million dollars? 12) What do I like most about Emily? 13) Desert Island, choose 1 food to eat? 14) Will Emily write a book? 15) What is Emily’s favorite band? 16) Does Emily want another baby? 17) What does Emily like most about Tony? 18) What is Emily’s most annoying habit? What is Tony’s? 19) What is Emily’s ideal date? 20) Which pet would Emily like to have for the rest of her life? 21) What did Emily most admire about Dr. Pol?

It’s just a little crush; and other marriage obstacles

**Disclaimer: I am not a psychologist nor did I study psychology, these are simple observations from my own experiences.

Our first Christmas in Virginia

Marriage or any long term relationship is not the “happily ever after” we assume once the vows are said. They’re often not a fairy tale even getting to that point. I’ve often day dreamed about different fairy tale scenarios where you phase in on a scene 1-2 years after the magical wedding when The Beast has really not changed (cause they never really do) and is losing his temper, but by now, Belle has had enough of his crap and has locked herself in the library looking up a way to turn him into a much smaller beast.

My first time skiing

So, what are some obstacles Tony and I have come across during our 19-year relationship and 13 years of marriage? Let’s start with our two break-ups before the wedding. The first one was when I was 18 and thought God was telling me to break up with him – lasted 3 hours, then we got back together. The second was when I was in my first year of vet school and was super stressed with exams and other issues. We were engaged and I got cold feet – I was worried that I would get bored of Tony or that he would eventually resent me since I was his first ever girl friend and that maybe we should date around. He gave me his engagement ring (yes, I gave him one too – if I have to be marked, so does he) and went off to work in the vet school hospital. An hour later, after one class of bacteriology, I ran down three floors to the hospital and gave him his ring back and it was okay again.

City Museum – St. Louis, MO – get knee pads!!

Those are such frivolous problems, though, in the scheme of relationships and trust. One if the challenges we’ve face, especially since having regular jobs and raising children is our lack of alone time together. We have a hard time getting babysitters and keeping them around (they tend to grow up – or move away and steal your horse trailer – I digress). If Tony and I do not get a date night every now and then, or at least make it a point to pay attention to each other and not just stare at the TV or our phones after the kids are in bed, we tend to gravitate toward roommate mode. In this mode, we work well together, we always have, but it’s business only. We discuss the dishes, laundry, kids’ homework, kids’ behavioral problems at school, common issues at work, but nothing about these things separates us from a casual relationship.

Mount Shasta, CA

I can see this happening and worry as I DO NOT want to end up like some couples I see that do nothing but complain about being married and how big of a mistake it was. I will try to pay a little more attention to him, try to be flirtatious, try to plan things for us to do that is different from the norm. He is not as good at this and often does not even recognize when I am trying. I don’t want to ask him to be flirtatious or complimentary of me, but I figure if I pour it on him, he will return. Not so much. Men are a little dense when it comes to that kind of stuff.

Roller blading – rail trail Clare, MI

The biggest challenge to a relationship, though is the potential loss of trust. And the biggest obstacle to that precious, extremely fragile jewel that is trust is the f#&($ng crush! (pardon my language – but it deserves it) Crushes are like little demons that infiltrate your stupid brain and completely blind you to the truth and only let you see what tiny little things they want you to see. Tony may not be the most romantic man in the world, but I think we all need to give him a huge hand for dealing with my crushes over the years like a champ. I’m so afraid of hurting our relationship (as well as a general fear of getting into trouble) that I’ve always told Tony about my crushes, usually after I’ve fought them (the idea, not the people) but after they’ve already taken over my brain. He claims to not get mad or jealous, sometimes he just laughs at me because my brain’s choices are atrocious, but really, it isn’t fair to him. I unload my guilt by telling him what’s going on in my head and he just has to deal with it gracefully (which he totally does). He also claims to have never had a crush other than me. He could be telling the truth, but I mostly just accept it, because unlike him, I would NOT take it gracefully and it would be ugly.

Jealous India

So, what makes a crush so much like a dirty little demon? It makes you think that you may be in love with that person that you barely even know. It makes you focus on only the positives of that person and not see the million other things that make that person a terrible match for you. As my brother told me once when we were discussing this topic when I asked why I get crushes, he said “because that person somehow validates you, makes you feel good about yourself”. It’s like that one movie I saw with Janet Jackson (I think) where they talk about the 80/20 rule. When I’m mad or bored or depressed, I may only see the 20% Tony is lacking and wish for just that, then when another person comes along and provides that 20%, they seem perfect, but I’m not seeing the 80% of them that just doesn’t fit with me.

Flying somewhere, I’m sure

I’m happy to report that I have never acted on any of my crushes. The closest I got was to tell the person I had a crush on him, knowing that I would be overcome with embarrassment when we were together in public and it totally worked. I have told Tony everything I’ve ever done or thought and have even showed him all the texts I send or get if I feel that he may find them by accident and question me. I have now been crush free for 4 years! I continue to keep my eyes out though and if I even start to have those stupid, ridiculous feelings about anyone, I cut it down. Tony is the best person for me, he puts up with a lot and I never want him to hurt because of a stupid decision I make and lose that precious jewel of trust we have kept intact.

I love his face on this one

TT: COVID-19 update: Surviving Quasi Quarantine

We’re getting comfortable around the house.

Sorry for how long it’s been since my last post. First we had a rough bout of flu sweep through the house, then we had some technical difficulties with our computer. But finally everything seems to be up and running again. We are all health and happy, and we bought a new computer to replace the one that was broken. Now we are in the grip of COVID-19. The kids’ schools are closed for at least two weeks, and I’m sure daycare will close soon. Once daycare closes, I will have to stay home from work. I can’t imagine I will have enough sick leave to get paid through the two weeks. Emily (being a doctor and all) will still have to go in to work. Pets still get sick and injured after all. On the plus side (if daycare closes and I become a temporary stay at home dad) I will have more time with the kids, and frankly more time to post on this blog as an outlet for being a stay at home dad. Good conversation is hard to come by when you’re home with the kids all day.

We went to Target today to do a little supply stocking. While there I saw a person wipe down a shopping cart with Lysol wipes. My first reaction was to think that wiping down a cart was over kill, but I quickly changed my mind. I have no idea what “overkill” is these days. We didn’t go crazy and buy 144 rolls of toilet paper, but we did by some frozen foods that will keep for a while, some extra cereal for the kids, and (of course) ice cream. We’ve got a couple of loaves of bread in the freezer, a good amount of canned foods, and plenty of rice. I think we’ll be fine. But that is the real problem with COVID-19 in my opinion. I really have no idea if we are over prepared or grossly under prepared. There is so much information out there and half of it contradicts the other half. Some things you see on the news talks about this as a global crisis that could be devastating, while others refer to COVID-19 as little more than a joke. The idea of “Just wash your hands” doesn’t jive with people fighting in stores over the last roll of toilet paper.

India has made herself a little pocket with a fitted sheet on the couch.

Social Media is no help at all. I know that Facebook should never be a trusted source of information, but most of us spend a significant amount of time on social media. We get bombarded with misinformation about this disease to the point of exhaustion. And, for me, exhaustion is the point where I stop caring so much. I truly don’t know if I should be terrified or if this whole thing is a big joke. I know places like China and Italy have been hit extremely hard, but is that going to happen here? I feel like there was a big push to make us not worry about COVID-19 for a long time, but now we’ve hit the panic button.

Our response as a nation has been confusing. We’ve closed the borders as far as international travel is concerned. India and Oscar’s school is closed for at least the next two weeks, but daycare is still open. Oscar has soccer practice on Tuesday that is still scheduled to happen. The government downplayed COVID-19 for all most a month, but now we are in a national state of emergency. Should I take the kids to daycare and go to work Monday? Emily’s and my line of work can’t stop. Animals will need help no matter what is going on in the world and where there are sick animals, there will be their potentially contagious owners. If an owner is sick and infects me, and I bring it home and infect my kids…I don’t know. It would be hard to deal with. On the other hand, spreading disease to my family through contact with others is something I’ve risked long before COVID-19 was a concern of mine.

Calvin found some vampire teeth from Halloween

So, yeah. I know this is a ranting rambling post, but it is an honest post. And, I bet a lot of people feel similarly to me. I don’t really know what to think of COVID-19. Is it similar to the flu (and thus not to be feared [I know the flu so I don’t fear the flu]) or is this a new much scarier upper airway disease. My true fear is for India. She has asthma and I am truly terrified she will get sick and end up in the hospital again where there could be a shortage of hospital beds. I don’t want her to know my fear and spread my fear to her. I want life to go on much as it always had, but I also don’t want to bury my head in the sand and pretend like COVID-19 doesn’t exist or pose a threat to my family.

Last but not least, Emily and I were recognized and thanked for our posts in Target. Shout out to the lady that saw us in Target, I wish I had asked your name, instead of just saying “thank you.” Tell us if you guys are afraid of what’s going on with COVID-19, or if the disease doesn’t scare you. And, as always, thanks for reading.

Cheers, just trying to survive COVID-19!!

Honeymoon in Greece; a flop

When we were considering places to go for our honeymoon in May of 2007, we considered our ancestors. My family comes from, mostly, the United Kingdom and Tony’s Great grandfather came to the US straight from Greece. As poor college students, financial concerns definitely played a role in the final decision, and we decided to go to Greece (half the price of Scotland). Being a very sensitive person, I decided I was going to learn the Greek language so that I didn’t have to be an annoying tourist. I bought a CD and popped it in my radio of my Toyota Echo and played that thing every – almost – every time I was in the car (it was boring) for over a year before the big trip. We researched and planned, we bought books, Tony made all the day to day plans and where we would visit and all the transportation and hotels. We were ready!

Athens, Greece and as close as we were going to get to the Parthenon

First thing that comes to mind about the trip was the plane ride. I was something like 15 hours on the plane where I could barely fit in the seats, not to mention Tony’s extra 4 inches of femur. That’s something that scarred us enough that even 13 years later, when people talk about far off fabulous trips, Tony and I still think “ugh!! the plane ride!” Then we made it to Athens, finally able to live out our wonderfully planned vacation as newlyweds. The first thing we found out once our plane landed was: The entire transit system – including ferries – was on strike. How were we going to get around to all of our reserved hotels and destinations without transportation? There were some taxis still working, but they were expensive and not in our budget for all the traveling we needed to do. We were not able to visit major sites like The Parthenon, but did wander around the city and explored the National Gardens. The next thing we quickly learned was that my Greek was worthless. I would go up to people and try to speak what I thought was the Greek language, only to have them find out I spoke English and say “oh, thank God.”

National Gardens, Athens, Greece

We quickly learned where NOT to get food on a budget. There was a guy who came up to us and told us that he worked for a travel agency and had a restaurant recommendation for us and led us a few blocks to this pretty outdoor patio area. The guy there said he could offer us a special of a sampler platter for 30euro which was way more than we wanted to spend at that time, but we were also wanting to be polite and accepted. He ended up charging us 45euro, the food was good, but we were ripped off first thing.

National Gardens

That night, about 1 am Greece time, I woke up and was starving. I went down 6 flights of stairs to get to the lobby (no elevator) and asked where I could find food at that hour. The front desk guy gave me directions so I went and got Tony and dragged him on the streets at 1 am to get some food. Now, THAT is where we found Greece’s best secret – street Gyros – AMAZING taste and only 1.5euros (and they stuff them with fries).

The next morning, we were scheduled to go all over Athens to see all the sites and then go to Pireaus to get on a ferry to Crete, but with all the transportation strike going on, our ferry got cancelled and the only way to get one now was to go and reserve one on a first come, first serve basis. So, we packed up, said goodbye to Athens, then went and tried to beg a taxi to take us to the port. The taxis were just doing circles, asking people where they wanted to go and would decided whether or not they wanted to drive that and tell you yes or no. Except their no sounds like “okay” with a head nod and their yes sounded like “nah” with a quick head shake. So, while we thought one guy agreed to take us and we’re grabbing our bags to put in the car, he’s driving away, and then when one finally agreed, we looked disappointed and started to walk away. Yes, I had studied Greek via the flawless method of in-car CD learning, but when you’re in the situation and everything is fast-paced, it’s hard to decipher when the mannerisms are so opposite of what you’re used to.

So, we hopped in a taxi, paid another whopping 45E and made to to Pireaus just after the crack of dawn, and once the travel agency opened, we were able to secure a spot on the next ferry – leaving at 8pm. 12 hours later. We didn’t want to spend another 45E on a taxi and not be guaranteed to get back in time for the ferry’s departure, so we decided to wander the bustling streets of Pireaus – they were not bustling – it was a tiny little port town (at the time). We did learn some valuable lessons while wandering the streets – after finding out that the archaeological museum we were planning to see was closed (after a 30 minute hike to find it) – we learned that towns that are more tourist-based are not as bad and we once thought. Public restrooms were not widely available or available at all, except in McDonald’s. Yes, we hated going to such a familiar place while in Greece, but we could buy a McFlurry (or a Heineken, oddly enough) and just sit and rest and use the bathrooms. We did find a fabulous bakery that, to this day, served the absolute best baklava I have EVER. HAD. Also, in this pre-cell phone era, churches were great for their clocks.

Pireaus, Greece – port city – best baklava ever

Eventually, after studying the in-depth idiosyncrasies of pigeon social hierarchy, the day passed and it was finally time to board our ferry to Crete. We had, in an effort to save money, purchased the least expensive tickets to get us over to the large island – deck seats. I’m not 100% sure what we were expecting, but the deck seats were literally metal benches on the deck of what looked like a cruise ship. We sat down, excited to watch the romantic sunset as we were whisked away to the beautiful island of Crete. As we left the port and started across the Mediterranean sea with the sun setting, it very quickly got cold. Very cold. I found myself wishing I had not packed my jacket in the suitcase that was stowed under the boat.

Iraklion – port city of Crete

We stayed out on the cold deck for as long as we could stand, which was not very long, then wandered inside. Just inside, there was a hallway with a large room with closed doors on one side blaring club dance music. We knew that we had only paid for the deck seats and knew that we could upgrade to an actual room with a bed, but for a lot more money that we were not prepared to spend. So, we settled just a few yards into the hallway from the outside, afraid of getting into trouble if we ventured too much farther. There was a small reading desk with a lamp, one wooden chair sitting next to a window with a large, heavy red drape. We sat on the floor, huddled together for warmth, and finally, seeing as it was an overnight ride, I lay on the floor with Tony’s leg as a pillow and did my best to curl up in the drape to stay warm. Tony just read a book and let me sleep – or at least rest as it was freezing, I was shivering all night, and the music from the adjacent room was never ending.

Finally, the ship arrived in Crete at the port of Iraklion at 5:30am. We got off the ship, set off to find our hotel, and promptly got lost. We walked with our rolling luggage far past where we were supposed to turn and ended up in a not-very-touristy part of town. An older lady took pity on us and, even though she didn’t speak English, led us to a bus stop and told us to go to Astoria. We eventually figured out how to buy a bus ticket and got on the bus. We had no idea when we had gotten to our stop except a nice passenger told us to get off. We finally found our hotel, but it was way too early to check in, so we went and got breakfast.

Iraklion city

We then hiked to the other museum that was on our schedule to see, but it was also closed until August. After some more wandering and time killing around the city, we were able to check into our hotel at 11 am, promptly fell asleep and slept until 7:30pm – we’d slept the day away. Better rested and with at least something going according to plan – we had a roof over our heads – we set off to explore the city and get dinner. The city itself was actually quite beautiful on well-rested eyes – many shops and restaurants.

Iraklion – don’t mind the reflections

When we finally settled on a restaurant, Tony ordered a beer and I ordered the “house wine” known as Raki. Quick tip: Raki is NOT wine. I thought it was odd that they brought it to me in a resealable glass bottle with a shot glass, but figured it was the way Greeks drink their wine and started to drink – or inhale what immediately evaporated upon contact with a warm surface. I don’t even remember the rest of the meal; I have some memory of cuttlefish, but don’t know if either of us actually ordered it. We then stumbled back to our hotel (after buying some cookies) and crashed again.

The next day we were scheduled to travel to Knossos – and, surprisingly, we did make it there and had a great time. Pictures:

Next on our schedule was to travel to Chania – first we got lost finding the bus to get there, then as we were travelling, admiring the beautiful dramatic views of sharp mountain peaks with glimpses of the gorgeous Mediterranean sea far below us, we noticed that our hotel whizzed on by. We knew we weren’t anywhere close to Chania where the address for the hotel was, so we figured there was just another hotel with the same name and didn’t say anything. About 45 minutes later, we arrived in Chania and went to a travel agency where they told us we would have to get back on the bus and go back to the place we had seen. So, we caught the next bus and Tony tried to talk to the driver to discuss where we needed to stop or find out the closest stop, but he didn’t speak a word of English so we sat down and formulated a plan. When we got to where we thought we were close and the bus stopped, I went up to talk to the driver to “distract” him while Tony grabbed our luggage, because at this point, we were prepared for disaster. Once I saw that Tony had our stuff, I leaped out of the bus and Tony and I practically high-fived at our level of genius.

Countryside of Crete around Hotel

We began to walk – large rolling pieces of luggage in tow. Countryside. No sidewalks, no real shoulder. Just the road and rocks. We walked. We passed some very small goat herds. And then we walked. The wheels on our luggage were started to get pitted and not roll as well. Then, we walked some more. Like a couple of idiots, there we were, walking with rolling luggage in the middle of nowhere, sure that we would never see our home in Georgia again, for 3.4 miles before we caught a glimpse of our hotel. It was beautiful, and ended up being a German resort (I hadn’t practiced this language) with lots of older naked folks. There, we got to take our first dip in the Mediterranean which was cold but absolutely beautiful!

Tony laughed at how touristy I looked – hey, I had to walk a lot of miles

We explored that area for a couple of days, finding a tiny temple out in the sea that could only be accessed by traversing rocks that were barely projecting from the turbulent waters, as well as a little outdoor restaurant hut that we ended up going to twice as the owner was so nice. He kept bringing us samples of different kinds of Raki (now we knew better) and taking shots with us. He and the staff were all singing and drunk and swinging their Greek Orthodox beads around. He even offered for us to stay at his house the next time we visit (he was very drunk). The food (like all the food we had in Greece) was AMAZING!

Mediterranean Sea
Temple out in the middle of the sea

The next day it was time to go back to the mainland and back home. We made it uneventfully to the port but still had several hours to spare before our ship was leaving so we caught a bus to the main city of Chania. This was my favorite place so far. The streets were beautiful, the shopping/restaurant area next to the sea was spectacular! If you’ve even been to Savannah and know the Riverwalk – it was similar except more open air with blue waves of the Mediterranean crashing on the rocks while you shopped or ate.

Seaside walk in Chania

Then came the absolute worse part of the trip. Yes, it could get worse. We had (smartly *winky face) reserved a faster boat this time which they called the “Flying Dolphins”. We sat in our seats (inside the boat this time) and had to strap in like you would for an airplane. There were about 10 rows of 6-7 people in the room we were in. Then, the trip started and it was like riding a speed boat in the ocean with high waves, with no breeze for 1.5 hours. I get motion sickness very easily, but, apparently, it didn’t matter on this boat. EVERYONE was rushing to the bathrooms by about 20 minutes in. There was so much vomit, it was running down the floors. I was able to hold on for about 30 minutes, then I exploded as well – but was able to make it to the toilet. It was the sickest I have ever been on a trip – there was a line to vomit and people weren’t making it.

Cat scavenging food while we waited for our ship back to Greece

Last bit of hell – we got to the port at 1am, the airport at 2am (with Tony practically carrying me at this point) and then arrived back in Atlanta, GA. Eighty. Hours. Later.

Last picture so I can have one associated with the blog

TT: The Great Race

Emily galloping with Jinjer

There have been many great horse races in history: Secretariat winning the Belmont Stakes by 31 lengths, Seabiscuit beating War Admiral, and all of Man O’ War’s races. However, there is one race that slipped through the annals of history, one race that rivals these great races. That race was Jinjer vs Orion. Before I go any further, I’ll give you a little back story. Jinjer was a stocky, middle aged quarter horse mare. She was a very trustworthy, although, she could be very stubborn. If Jinjer didn’t want to run, she didn’t run, if Jinjer wanted to go back to the barn, she would turn toward home no matter where she was on the trail. Orion is Jinjer’s son, at the time of the race he was a young appendix quarter horse (quarter horse x thoroughbred). Where Jinjer was stocky, Orion is lean, where Jinjer was trustworthy, Orion is skittish. These two horses were a study in opposites.

Emily on Jinjer, she was a fuzzy little horse

The day of the race: it was a hot Georgia summer day. There wasn’t a cloud in the beautiful blue sky. Emily and I went out to her barn to prepare our horses. We gave them each a good brushing, we cleaned out their hooves, and we tightened our tack. I was going to ride Jinjer (imagine a gangly 150 lbs nineteen year old on this stocky short mare) and Emily was riding Orion (a petite beautiful girl on a tall strong horse). Emily and I walked our horses to the edge of Emily’s property and the neighboring field. There was a track around the field that was about three miles long square. This was to be the site of our great race.

I got on Jinjer and Emily mounted Orion, you could almost hear the trumpets from Churchill Downs floating in the light breeze. Emily looked at me and I at her, we shared a quick nod, and Emily shouted, “GO!!”

I think I surprised Emily with my strategy, instead of bursting from the proverbial gates at a gallop or even a canter, Jinjer started out at a slow trot. Emily and Orion were gone, they were way a head while Jinjer and I just plotted along. Emily pretty quickly pulled up, circled around, and came back to check on us. I told her that Jinjer was fine and that this is the pace she decided to start with. Emily, curious to see how this was going to go, settled in beside us. Emily and Orion would occasionally slow down even further just to gallop back to us. Once, Orion dropped pretty far back, and, once Jinjer and I had a good lead, I gave Jinjer a click and a nudge and Jinjer took off at a gallop. To be fair, Jinjer’s gallop was probably Orion’s canter, and they caught us with little effort.

We played this new game for a while, Emily would concede a sizable lead, I would try and stretch the lead, and Emily would eventually catch back up. The race was now two miles gone and just one more to go. I think Emily and Orion decided to put the race in the bag and be done with it. After falling well back and galloping up, Emily passed us at a good speed and she wasn’t slowing down this time. I could read the writing on the wall, it was now or never. Jinjer and I could either push for the win and make it respectable or we could give up and let them win. Fortunately, I had three things in my favor: the last mile of the race was toward the barn (Jinjer loved to go back to the barn), Jinjer was a quarter horse (she wasn’t good for long distances, but she had a great burst of speed if she wanted to), and lastly Orion was skittish. I gave Jinjer a harder click and a harder nudge and Jinjer leapt forward. She reached a gear I had never felt her reach before, and we were catching them. Jinjer closed the gap with Orion and came within a couple of lengths of him. Orion was not expecting this. He snorted and jumped to one side. Emily had to pull Orion up to get him back under control.

Jinjer and I cantered to the finish line, the sun setting into a pink sky behind us. I got off Jinjer and was taking off the saddle when Emily and Orion came trotting up. We both walked our horses for a while in the slightly cooler evening air, letting them eat the grass that grew tall on the field’s edge. (I love the sound and smell of horses eating grass.) As the sun lowered in the sky, we walked the horses back to the barn (not really talking between us, just enjoying the evening [at least I was enjoying the evening, Jinjer and I won the race]). As a reward for a great race, Jinjer got some extra sweet feed that night.

And that is the story of how the stocky old quarter horse mare beat the young thoroughbred gelding in a three mile race. Feel free to leave a comment, and, as always, thank you for reading

One of Emily’s wonderful pieces of art

Vlog Cuts and Outtakes

Hopefully you’ve seen our video blog q&a, if not, catch it here:

We did have some pretty good outtakes and cuts that Emily and I thought you might like to see, hope you enjoy.

If you like what you’re seeing, be sure to share with your friends, leave a comment, and give us a like. Hope you enjoy, and, as always, thanks for reading!