Whenever I set my mind to do something, it just seems that all of Nature conspires against me. When I heard the school district was going to float a $152,000,000 bond, I felt I had to do something about it. I decided to write an “Argument Against” for the ballot pamphlet.
And then life around my house started going, as my dad would put it, “completely ape-shit.”
I always hesitate to commit myself to anything involving a time schedule, because I know the ape will insert himself and try to prevent me from fulfilling my obligation, or at least make it very, very hard. So, I try to keep my life simple, unscheduled, try not to make any promises what-so-ever. But when I see something on the horizon that spells trouble ahead, I look for something I can do. Did you know, any individual who is eligible to vote in the election is allowed to submit an “Argument Against” for consideration in the voter’s pamphlet?
The school district has been talking loudly about needing to make repairs at various schools, whining about playground equipment in disrepair, leaky roofs, peeling paint – but quietly, they were talking about increasing pension costs and declining enrollment. I won’t blame the district entirely – this information is in the agendas and the minutes, but it seems neither the media nor the public at large is interested enough to look at it. All I had to do was ask for the budget, which told me everything I needed to know – like CARD, the school district has “deferred maintenance” of their facilities – actually, our facilities, which we have put in their care – in favor of spending 10’s of millions on their own pensions and benefits. I couldn’t walk away from that.
The deadline to submit measures for the ballot was sometime earlier this summer, so I watched the county clerk’s website. Finally “Measure K” popped up. The clerk gave me a deadline to submit my “Argument Against” – August 19, 5pm. The instruction booklet is on the clerk’s website – 300 word limit, no cussing, no spitting, no lying, and leave two inches at the top for the clerk’s stamp.
Given the number of 250 word letters to the editor I’ve written over the last 20 or so years, this was a piece of cake. I just argued against the claims made in the measure, adding that district taxpayers were already being hit with utility increases. I made my Argument Against, learned some new stuff about Microsoft Word and my printer, and turned it in with almost a week to spare.
The clerk told me I’d receive the “Argument For” on Friday afternoon, after the deadline passed. At this point the Ape stepped in – I began to have “service interruptions” on my computer. I received an e-mail from the clerk that she had tried to send me an attachment but it had come back on her. I decided I would have to go back to Oroville to pick it up on Monday, but over the weekend, the attachment magically popped up in my e-mail box, and I was off and running on the rebuttal.
But here’s where the Ape really got his foot in the door – my dog Badges started to act sick. Sheesh, have you people heard enough about my dogs yet?
Badges is normally a pint-size energy pack and has an appetite to match. Suddenly he didn’t want to play or eat. And, we noticed, he was having a terrible time going to the bathroom, really constipated. We worried he’d eaten a piece of baseball skin, or a stick that got stuck, so we watched and watched, wondering when we should try to get him into the vet. Trying to keep up with my chores and the little ditty I wanted to write for the clerk, I watched him from my kitchen window, I followed him around the yard, or he trailed at my husband’s heel, and my husband watched him. All the sudden he went out onto the lawn and took a messy dump – you know I was all over it.
I’ll spare you the real details, but we were happy, frankly, to find a big chunk of plastic from some sort of lid – he must have been in the garage when my husband was sorting recycling.
His behavior changed immediately, he wanted food alright. We put a little rice in his chicken to help get rid of the diarrhea, and he ate it all up, wanted more. We decided to watch him longer before we obliged. That evening he was himself again, really playful, wanted petting, wanted to go for a ride in the car, etc.
So, we went to bed, trying to tell ourselves everything was alright. I’m still jumpy after all that diabetes stuff with Biscuit. And, they still sleep in the house at night since we found we have a serial skunk.
I woke up the next morning with more than enough time to work on and turn in my rebuttal, I was feeling pretty confident. I’d read the district’s Argument For a few times and had some good information from the budget. I felt pretty good.
And then my husband rolled over and said, “What’s that smell? Did you leave the stove burner on or something?” At almost exactly that moment I was turning on the living room light. I was worried that maybe the gas was running, but as soon as the lights went on I could see the source of the smell – “oh my Goddddddd! Badges crapped all over the living room!”
Poor Badges, I think it had just happened, he was running around in circles as though something had him by the ass. He wanted out alright, so I let him – I swear, at this point, I was more worried about him than the rug, my husband’s a flooring installer and one of our best friends is a flooring salesman.
I was so afraid Badges was really sick. I wandered out into the 4:30 am darkness and there he was, running up to me for pets, as if nothing had happened. He seemed relieved again, like before – this wasn’t any comfort, I thought, there’s more plastic stuff in there, it’s moving around tearing up his little guts!
My husband was already out of bed, surveying the damage. The first thing we had to do was get it cleaned up, just so we could move around the apartment. Having cleaned up after Biscuit when she was sick, we had all the stuff we needed – a box of vinyl gloves, a bundle of store-bought rags, a couple of bottles of enzyme cleaner, stain remover and smell remover. This stuff is pretty good, it worked quickly on the smaller spots. But a big spot over in the corner had soaked all the way through, and nothing was going to get rid of it. My husband had at first thought he could cut the spots out and replace them – we have a very common “apartment grade” carpet, easy to patch. But no, the entire rug was a disaster site, had to gooooo.
So much for my plans to tilt at windmills. I spent the rest of the day moving furniture and helping my husband and son get the carpet out of the living room. We shop-vac’d the sub-floor for what seemed like hours and then I sprayed it with bleach. We went to bed like the walking dead.
The dogs slept outside, and didn’t even question it.
Probably the most productive thing I did was clean off my desk, route through old meeting minutes and notes, which I sorted out and set in files in my filing cabinet. I usually put these things in one of those plastic file caddies on my desk, just shove them in there, and then dig through when I want something – some things get forgotten. I just happened to find the old survey that CARD sent out in, what, 2012? Not sure, I’ll have to look at it again. That survey asked people to put a hundred or so dollars on their homes to fund CARD, and it came back “negative,” according to the consultant, who got $25,000.
So, good thing my dog shit all over my living room, or who knows when I would have gone through the paperwork on my desk. My desk all cleared, my husband set our computer up in the bedroom for me, so I could work on the argument while he and my son went about replacing our living room floor.
Of course I couldn’t forget Badges, although, his behavior was perfectly normal, the diarrhea sure wasn’t. So I kept the dogs next to my desk chair and took them out at regular intervals, following Badges around the yard as he looked at me over his shoulder like some Peeping Tom.
Pay Day came later that afternoon when he produced a very nice pile of well-shaped and good-colored turds. Excuse me – at least I didn’t take a picture. Since that day, I am still fixated with watching him poop, looking for the slightest irregularity.
It was Tuesday and I needed to get the rebuttal to O-ville by Thursday. We had a bunch of stuff to do that week, and we wanted to make a Friday trip to Reno to take supplies to our kid. He’s enrolled at UNR, and living in a very nice student housing complex near the campus. He had forgot some odds and ends when he moved a couple of weeks ago, and we were also anxious to go down and see how he’d settled in. First we had to get the rebuttal to O-ville, and then we had an appointment at the vet Thursday to get Biscuit’s glucose checked.
Well, that is where the ape managed to assert himself again – Biscuit’s glucose reading was 100 points above normal. I don’t know what that means because our vet isn’t exactly a bubbling fountain of information. It seems as soon as we started ordering Biscuit’s insulin online instead of paying the vet twice as much per bottle, we were put on the “we see you but we don’t acknowledge you” list. I’ve had to talk to the vet, even when she’s standing right in front of me, by way of her receptionist, Doc won’t even look at me. For the glucose test we get one or another intern. They are nice, but one of them walked into S&S Market one afternoon and told a friend of mine who checks there that she hadn’t been to bed for over 24 hours. So, I’m supposed to trust this gal to take a blood test on my dog? It was very upsetting. We were told, very cheerfully, to come back in next week for another test. In the meantime, she upped the insulin, which is a concern to me – I’m still not convinced she did the test right.
So, yeah, we have gone out and bought a human glucose tester and we’ve been trying to learn how to use it on our dog. We’ll probably order a pet tester to use for calibrating the human tester, but the pet test strips are about 4 times as much as the human ones, as you’d expect. Seems the veterinary world is out to make money, so much for “All About Pets”.
What’s really frustrating is, Biscuit was acting perfectly healthy and happy before we took her to the vet.
So, guess who came to our rescue – Walmart. Not only to they have everything you need for human diabetes at the store here in town, we can order the pet tester and supplies for a reasonable price through their online store.
And yes, I got my rebuttal off to O-ville, the clerk counted it and checked it and stamped it. When I went to the website I found my Argument Against has been posted, they should be posting the rebuttal tomorrow. You can also read the Argument For and, when it’s posted, the rebuttal to my Argument Against.
The ape still hangs around my door. We’ll see what he has in store for me today.