Archives for August 2011

DIY Car Repair

In the midst of the marathon kitchen renovation and the paralyzed wiener dog rehab center, we PhilBillPaul squeezed in a few other DIY projects.

Rachel needed new brakes on her car.

PhilBillPaul put them on as she assisted.

He loves to use these DIY opportunities to teach life skills.

She would have let him do it himself but he got really tough with her. He said he would do it but only if she got out there and helped him.

Ridiculous I know. He’s so demanding.

Because in addition to a fulltime job, handyman and man who never sleeps…

He does car repairs!

Wish I could share the picture of Rachel being grateful and hugging him and thanking him profusely.

But that’s not her love language.

In her defense, she is the only child who actually knows how to use tools.


Two Things You Never Say to a Woman

PhilBillPaul and I were at one of our favorite upscale restaurants for the $4.99 manager’s special.

I was just recovering from a 2 day migraine.

Might not have been looking my best.

Might have worn a ball cap.

Might not have had makeup on.


I need to remind you at this point about my infamous Kroger experience with the Maxine look-alike.

Our waitress was Maxine’s fraternal twin sister with a chipped front tooth and bad perm.

When we inquired about the week day manager’s special, the waitress said she would have to check on it because she just got there.

We said, “Okay, please check.”

To which she replied…

“You know you can get the senior buy one/get one free when you purchase two drinks that will save you even more.”

To which we replied…



Without making eye contact, I said we’d still like to hear what the manager’s special is today.

She walked away.

We looked at each other.

PhilBillPaul said, “Did she say what I think she said?”

I said, “We’re not coming here anymore.”

While PhilBillPaul is just two short years away from maximizing his discount. I AM NOT.

I think you give information about senior discounts IF the customer asks.

Oh, and the other thing you never say to a woman…

I think you already know the answer.

But just in case you don’t…

“When is the baby due?”


Typo Tuesday ~ Hot Summer

I want the job of typing stuff for a TV channel.

I’m sure that’s the official job description if I could just find an opening.

“For hire: Typist need to type stuff. Accuracy not important.”

I probably couldn’t handle the pressure but it sure seems like something I’d be pretty good at.

Bonus for Gwinnett County Residents Only

The reporter announced lowest gas prices around Atlanta and started with Gwinnett County.

Except the screen said Cobb County.

But we all know where Indian Trail Road is, don’t we?


DIY Kitchen Renovations ~ Cabinets

What do you do with 20 year-old honey oak cabinets that your husband loves but you know need to be updated?

He gets cranky when you talk about painting wood.

He likes the real wood grain to show.

After several long meetings with my friend Google, I had enough ammunition to show him some options that we would both like.

I started out this whole kitchen renovation thing with making everything light. I thought we would do light counters and even lighter cabinets. I was thinking of a soft cream with a dark brown antique glaze.

Once the counters were done, I changed my mind completely. I wish I had made the countertops darker when I was using the Giani Granite paint kit. When the tile backsplash went up, I knew we needed to make the cabinets chocolate brown to pull colors from both the counter and the backsplash.

I read dozens of blogs about painting, glazing and stripping cabinets. I was searching for the least labor intensive way to give the cabinets a new look.

Here are some great tutorials that really helped us:

How to Paint & Glaze Cabinets

This was the look I originally thought we would go with.

How To: Reglaze Honey Oak
When I changed my mind about going darker, this was great to read except she sanded and I refused!

How to Paint Cabinets::For Imperfectionists
She’s speaking directly to me!

Deciding on a cross between several methods we read about and eliminating as many steps as we could, we finally agreed to create our own glaze with color kit.

Products we knew we needed:

  • Deglosser (to avoid any sanding – hate it)
  • Glaze
  • Paint (to mix with glaze)
  • Polycrylic (topcoat for glossy finish)

I saw the Valspar paint samples and got the nice Lowe’s man to mix up two chocolate samples for me which turned out to be exactly the right amount of paint we needed for $6 bucks.

We stuck with 4 parts glaze to 1 part paint and tested this on the smallest doors.

We also found that the cheap foam brushes worked much better than regular paint brushes. The brushes left brush marks and I hated that look.

Ready to Work

First, PhilBillPaul removed all the door fronts and labeled them so we could put them back in the right place.

Next, cleaning with Dollar Store degreaser.

Doing all this outside or in the garage would be great but since it’s 110 degrees in the shade here in Georgia right now, I set up the cabinet work in the family room.

Next step was wiping deglosser on with a scrubber pad so we didn’t have to sand. This was the strongest smell so PhilBillPaul did this part because smells are a real migraine trigger for me.

I came back downstairs to do the glaze painting. Only three thin glaze coats later…

And three polycrylic topcoats…

We both love the results.

Thank goodness!

He also spray painted all the old hardware with a brushed nickel finish. We can both live with them for now and may get wild and add new cabinet handles later. I’ve marked some on ebay.

Perhaps we ran out of steam and didn’t get the bottom cabinets done yet…

It’s really so you could see the dramatic difference changing the honey oak. 😉

Did I mention that I also thought it was a good time to add beadboard to the island and several end cabinet surfaces?

Again, we went the budget route and used the mdf sheets from Home Depot and I’m fine with it. PhilBillPaul said it was a pain to work with.

He knocked that out last weekend but saved the painting for me. Hopefully when we paint it and he adds the trim to the edges and bottom, we’ll like it.

Cripes, we still have to paint the walls. And eight honey oak stools and one chair.

I haven’t even mentioned the rotting kitchen window. The house may collapse before we get the inside updated.

I promise to post pictures of the complete renovation. If it is ever complete. Check back in 2012 to see if we ever get this dang project done.

Meanwhile, if you missed our other kitchen projects:

The Craigslist appliances
The countertops resurfaced
The glass tile backsplash


DIY Kitchen Renovations ~ Glass Tile Backsplash

Way back in May, we bought glass tiles for a backsplash to use as our inspiration for our kitchen renovation.

We propped one up on the small counter behind the blender as we started making our plans.

Seems like I always like to start off with one blurry photo. Ahem. Better pictures to follow.

I’ve always loved the look of the small glass tiles and knew that a backsplash would add some depth and personality to the kitchen.

Tiles we used were from Home Depot called Desert Sunset. They come in 12 x 12 squares with a flexible mesh backing.

Adhesive kit to hang tiles was very, very helpful!

I let PhilBillPaul handle this part.

Learning what a crooked job your builder did is not fun. We’ve known that since we built the house. But this project brought up those bad memories of a builder who cut corners. And cut them crooked.

Cabinets are not level. Wall is not level. Drives PhilBillPaul crazy. I, surprisingly, let it go 20 years ago. Even though it now has created some challenges hanging a perfectly spaced grid of glass tiles.

I talked him down and we made some interesting adjustments and I convinced him it was a giant improvement and we moved on. Luckily I got over my need for perfection about the same time the darling twins were born.

The fun part was sticking the tiles to the adhesive. Cutting them to fit was like putting together a puzzle.

Final step of grouting was not fun. I let PhilBillPaul handle that part too. We used what the Home Depot clerk told us to buy. It was a non-sanded grout and we chose bone as the color.

Wiping with cheesecloth once the grout dried made them shiny again.

Love. Love. Love.

It’s now my favorite part of the kitchen.

We’re not going with the open cabinet look. We are working on the doors right now.

Cabinet update coming Monday.

If we don’t kill each other over the weekend.


DIY Kitchen Renovations ~ Resurface Countertops

We knew that we couldn’t afford new countertops. Even with all that money we saved buying appliances on Craigslist.

We also knew that even if we could afford granite that it is porous and that skeeves me out in the “my four kids are piglets” category and we didn’t need more hidden bacteria in the house.

Furthermore, we decided granite would be a very unwise investment in these economic times and with the plummeting value of our house.

I was not willing to buy new laminate counters and have PhilBillPaul deep in another installation mess. Instead, we did extensive research on how to resurface our existing lovely almond laminate countertops.

We looked at options available at our local Home Depot and Lowe’s.

Option #1: Laminate sheets you can overlay and stick on your old laminate counters. Frankly, those are worse than the original laminate, in my opinion.

Option #2: Counter transformation kit from Rust-Oleum®. I wasn’t crazy about the speckled finish or any of their colors.

One Sunday afternoon while I watched Tiger-free golf, I spent the day with my friend Google and found two other options.

One was Granite Transformations which PhilBillPaul nixed almost immediately because they have no prices on their website. He’s a tough consumer and believes you need to at least give a price range or he won’t even call.

The second thing I stumbled upon was Giani Granite. After I spent the whole afternoon reading their website and blog reviews, I knew I had found the winner! I always try to read product reviews from real people in addition to testimonials on the company website.

I took some screenshots of different kitchens on several blogs and then showed PhilBillPaul. We both decided the price was right at $69.95 for a kit that covers 35 square feet. It really came down to us both agreeing that it is paint and if we hated it, we could go to plan B.

(We didn’t have a plan B but we would make one if we needed to.)

Giani Granite Countertop Paint Kit

Our favorite selling points on Giani’s website were these:

  • Water-based safe and low odor 
  • Hides any existing stains, scratches or burns
  • Granite color is adjustable to your decor
  • Durable automotive grade clear polyurethane topcoat
  • 100% Satisfaction Guarantee

Sunday evening I told him I was going to email the company, tell them I have a blog and if they would send me two kits, I would review their product. Nothing to lose and if they didn’t respond, we would order the 2 kits we needed.

Monday morning I received a lovely email saying they would be glad to send me 2 chocolate brown kits for me to review. This was better than Craigslist. Woo hoo!

Then I realized PhilBillPaul was going to make me paint.

Step-by-step counter resurface project

Here is my pictorial review and believe it or not, we did this in one weekend…

98% photo credits to Scary Baby except the first blurry one which is mine.

On Friday night, PhilBillPaul prepared the old countertops by using wood fill putty & spackling compound to repair some chipped and broken places and then cleaned them with S.O.S pads. I stayed in my bedroom because we had a big fight.

He did a good job – amazing how things look better when they are clean.

Yes, we are removing everything from top of cabinets and aren’t re-hanging the goofy baskets, thank you very much. Please stay focused on the countertops.

Since he did do all the prep work, I broke down and painted the black iron core primer base on all the surfaces.

Most painting falls to me because of his failing eyesight. The black primer went on very easily and covered very well. We didn’t even open the second can in our other kit. The black base coat needs to dry for 8 hours before the “fun” part can begin.

After watching the excellent DVD (twice) included in the kit, it was time to practice with the 3 mineral paints that you apply one at a time in the order of numbers on cans. I like simple instructions I can follow.

The kit includes a piece of black poster board and sponge that you can cut into several sizes. At this point, I was apprehensive about ruining our whole kitchen.

We liked the three mineral paint colors but I was paranoid that we didn’t want dark counters and it would make the kitchen too dark.

The practice poster board is very helpful. Maybe we should have picked the lighter kit. Breathe, Sherra – it’s just paint. We decided that I would add more of the lighter two mineral paints to keep it on the lighter, neutral side.

You work in small sections and don’t want to create a pattern. It should be random so it looks more natural and granite-like.

If I was doing it again, I would have left more black and added more chocolate. Dark would have been fine. I’m a spasz.

You have to wait 4 hours before you can apply the topcoat that adds the shine. This is the part I was most excited about. And most nervous.

This was with just one coat! I watched that section of the DVD three times and still wasn’t sure I could do it right.

Four hours later, I added a second coat. The biggest tip is not to dry roll this topcoat as it will leave lines. You have to keep the topcoat product on the roller and roll a very thin coat but not let your roller make that dry sound that happens when you paint walls.

The maximum third topcoat was added on Monday morning after spouse peer pressure. I should have stopped at two. I used every last drop of 2 cans and I liked it better with two coats. Yes, I’m blaming PhilBillPaul for this bad call. No one can tell except us. In the right light and if you bend over and hunt for my mistakes. Please don’t.

All in all, I did a pretty good job. Our pictures would be better with some daylight. We are night owls and do our best work after dark. Then again, with more light you might be squinting at your computer trying to see my roller lines.

Giani recommends that you wait 72 hour hours before putting your small appliances on the counter. Since we were going to put up a backsplash and work on our dated honey oak cabinets, we decided to ban the children from the kitchen. We may continue working in the kitchen indefinitely so they stay out of it.

Seriously though, while we are doing other work, it has given the counters time to cure and harden properly. We are very, very happy with the results!

I think the big box stores need to work with Giani Granite and get their kits in their stores. Immediately.

Suggested Improvements

Things I think Giani Granite should change:

  1. Put everything in the kit. They have a “Save-a-trip” kit for $12.50 that is buried in 2 or 3 clicks and hard to find. I would raise the price of the whole kit to include everything you need. This still keeps the kit under $100 and that’s a win/win. Please don’t make me go back to the store with PhilBillPaul on the weekend!
  2. Add a trial size of their cleaner to the kit. Make us fall in love with the cleaner so we’ll order it but you’ve got to reduce the shipping on that. Right now, I can’t see ordering a bottle of cleaner for $4.50 and paying $9.75 to ship it.
  3. Hire me to re-do their website. Needs BIGGER, gorgeous photos of all the before and afters. Type is too small. LOTS of material for Typo Tuesday. Make the shopping experience more user-friendly. Don’t make me click the “Add to cart” button to see the price. Embrace your fabulous price point and put it everywhere!

Even if they don’t change anything and they don’t hire me, this granite paint kit is hands-down the best thing on the market to give your kitchen counters a new look at a fraction of the price of new counters. Giani Granite really made us say “WOW” at every step.

PhilBillPaul has brought people into the house to show them our handy work. LOVE having people stop in and see our giant mess.

Let me know what you think and if you would tackle a DIY project like this. With or without your spouse?

Disclosure: While Giani Granite provided us with two paint kits to review their product, our opinions are our own and you know I’m not afraid to share my true and unbiased opinion on most anything. 😉

P.S. In my dream kitchen, I would get new recycled glass countertops.


DIY Kitchen Renovations ~ Appliances

Craigslist, eBay, Ikea. That gives you a snapshot of our budget.

That’s where we PhilBillPaul shopped for appliances, parts to fix the appliances and new light fixtures.

We started with the new refrigerator last November. New as in used on Craigslist when Everett saved the house from certain fire.

$300 on Craigslist.

It’s a shiner even though the icemaker has crapped out again.

Next, it was definitely time to get rid of our 20 year-old double oven that barely got to 350 degrees when I wanted to bake.

I prayed over it each holiday as I started my baking frenzy. I didn’t dare to imagine an oven that preheated to the correct temperature.

Not to worry, PhilBillPaul found a used and exciting stainless and black Frigidaire gas stove.

Better picture of stove and all appliances coming tomorrow so check back.

$75 on Craigslist. $50 in gas because it was 90 miles away.

Exciting as in it made a loud boom noise while preheating that sounded suspiciously like a gas explosion. PhilBillPaul assured Roger Leroy and I that it was nothing as we ran screaming from the kitchen. Call us crazy but we are scared of fire and explosion.

Our friend Google said common, slight/minor gas leak because of worn out ignitor and gave him repair advice. Mr. Handy said he wouldn’t endanger us and after $50 in parts on ebay we now have a lovely, working range.

Can someone keep track of all the money we’re saving? I hate math.

What would we have done without Everett and his friends to help PhilBillPaul get the old oven monstrosity off the porch?

The move began in the dark and I heard an enormous crash.

I only wish I had a picture of the oven laying on its side with me frantically asking “Where’s your dad?” while Everett and his stunned friends stared at me and said “Who?” as if PhilBillPaul might be smashed under the oven on the sidewalk.

Not funny.

Instead I got a picture of them picking up the bent racks and pieces of the stove/oven while PhilBillPaul aired up the flat tire on the hand truck in the garage that perhaps should have been done prior to loading the giant double oven on it. Just sayin’.

Look how helpful they are supervising PhilBillPaul as he moves the giant appliance on his own.

Always nice to have strapping young men around to help with heavy lifting.

I was just excited he was finally getting the burned up refrigerator out of the garage. He drove both to the scrap yard the next morning and they actually paid him $65!

The double oven left a hole in wall and cabinet area so the next search was for an under the cabinet microwave.

Back to Craigslist for an amazing score of a $50 broken microwave he was sure he could fix.

He kept telling me it was a GE Profile and it was worth a lot more than $50. After working feverishly during the month of June and spending $42 on parts he finally conceded defeat and searched for two weeks until he scored another bargain.

New in box, bought in a shady warehouse where a tiny Asian man gladly took his cash and loaded the microwave into his truck for him. $95.

In the midst of this, the dryer broke.

I’m now living in appliance hell.

Everett to the rescue again.


The darling twins were at drill so PhilBillPaul had to rely on his not-handy son to help him.

Which consisted of holding a flashlight and getting yelled at.

I know you are all jealous of PhilBillPaul’s handyman skills. Let me assure you that no one here ever volunteers to be his helper.

Phew, glad we aren’t on a tight timeline to renovate the kitchen. Eight months later, all the “new” appliances are in place. We knew our next jobs would include resurfacing the existing counters, removing the 20 year-old wallpaper and updating the honey oak cabinets.

Tomorrow I’ll show you what we did with the 1991 almond laminate countertops.


Mom, I’m Not An Idiot

I confess we were a wee bit excited when the darling twins got their orders for Annual Training for the Army National Guard. With just 4 days notice they were off to Ft. Stewart in Savannah for 20 days in July.

Rachel came downstairs to act like a goober model her new gear – helmet, eye pros and IBA (interceptor body armor) that she would be wearing as an ammo guard at the training site on post. I wasn’t crazy about this but it’s not like I have a say in any of this.

I worry. It’s my job. I’m good at it.

PhilBillPaul and I were looking forward to a little bit of calm in the chaos that is our life with 3 now twenty-somethings and a 12 year-old. Fewer messes, less noise, quiet evenings. We like to miss them.

They arrived on late Thursday afternoon and at about 9:00 p.m. the same night, I got a phone call that Rachel was hurt. I could barely understand Elizabeth as she tried to tell me what happened.

Lucky for you blog readers, I have re-enactment pictures.

Along with the actual injury site.

Text from Rachel the next day. “This is the bunk I face dove off of”

Our tough Soldier fell out of her bunk bed

And she was awake.

Re-enactment photo #1

Top bunk which she also sleeps in at school in the cadet dorms.

Re-enactment photo #2

Her foot somehow got caught as she was swinging herself out of the bed.

Re-enactment photo #3

She caught herself with her left palm taking the brunt of the impact but most certainly avoiding obvious head injury from concrete floor.

Elizabeth said she couldn’t balance on just one hand. Glad she didn’t try or we’d have a 2nd injury I’m sure.

Re-enactment photo #4

Thankfully I pressured Elizabeth into taking these photos because I told her it was very hard to explain to people how this happened.

When she called, Elizabeth was laughing so hard which is why I couldn’t understand her. Because we all have inherited this sick trait where we laugh hysterically when someone falls.

Please understand this is our “circus baby/tough nut” child who is very coordinated, athletic and makes everything look easy. She masters anything she sets out to do.

Elizabeth is the one who is a bit clumsy. Falls, trips, has lots of bruises and bad luck (remember the golf ball incident x2?). She did not miss the humor of witnessing her darling twin fall out of bed before their job even started.

Rachel soon learned that having your twin in the same unit has its benefits. The next morning Elizabeth was there to fasten her pants, button her blouse, help her with her boots and put her hair in a bun.

They put her in a sling. An x-ray the next morning at the hospital with a follow-up visit scheduled for SIX days later.

Her pain threshold is abnormally high but I knew she was in pain. I aslo knew from her darling twin sister that she didn’t take the horse pills 800 mg ibuprofen the medic gave her the night before because very much like her delicate father, she can’t swallow big pills.

She was mildly irritated with all my questions. I was worried about further damage. My most favorite line from her during our first call after the hospital visit…

“Mom, I’m not a an idiot.”

Really? Didn’t you just fall out of your bed last night?

They gave her tramadol which she took in the afternoon and then experienced a migraine (inherited from her mother – so sorry) that scared them enough to drive back to the hospital. Upon arrival she insisted on going back to the barracks, threw up, took a nap and recovered enough to have dinner.

On the follow-up visit, another doctor released her for duty without examining her thoroughly or reviewing her x-rays – of course, that’s just my opinion.

The next week she went to the hospital with another Soldier to pick up her records and the original doctor asked why she thought she was cleared for duty. He said she should not have been released and they needed to do a cat scan on her arm. She scheduled that for Friday and headed home on Tuesday. No word on cat scan results.

I’m told that they would call if anything was wrong. I wish that made me feel better but it doesn’t.

She’s back home and packing to go back to college.

I’m working on my control issues and letting go. Even when they are hurt.

The mom gig is still difficult no matter how old they are.


The Trouble with Roommates

Before I begin my roommate rant, I wanted to send this special message out to my oldest and hardest working roommate…

Happy Birthday PhilBillPaul!

Begin rant:

They will be the first to tell you, with their eyes rolling, that our rules are ridiculous and we are ridiculous every single day.

The struggle to transition into the adult world while living with your parents is intense. Too many “adults” in one house gets crowded. Especially when the adults are your children.

I prefer to call them semi-adults.

You remember – the days of independence and freedom. If it wasn’t for those nagging parents who would like you to be home at a reasonable hour. 1:00 a.m. is way too early when you are young and cool. Then those same parents expect you to get up before noon. Seriously?

It’s been a long, hot summer.

In more ways than one here at the Humpfreeze house.

They don’t really carry their weight in terms of normal things it takes to run a household.

I’ve had roommates. We cleaned, we took turns, we helped each other.

It was a big day when the almost 22 year-old pumpkin bought this giant package of toilet paper. I swear PhilBillPaul was so impressed by the size of the package and the fact we only buy 12 double rolls at a time that he was going to pay him back for it. I pointed out that I thought he could contribute 24 rolls of toilet paper to the household without reimbursement since we had kept it stocked for him throughout his life.

Please note that the giant package stayed in the hall just outside of the linen closet for over a week.

Yes, I have dug in and refuse to do the things I did for them when they were toddlers.

Yes, I know it would be “easier” to put the toilet paper in the closet than to take a picture of it and blog about it.

Perhaps this has rubbed off on The Grunter who, for the record, is the neatest, cleanest of the four piglet children.

He sent me this text and email last week.

“All the black dots are ants.”

Back in my roommate days, we didn’t send each other pictures of messes left behind by others. (Okay, so we didn’t have cell phones back then either.) But I also don’t remember anyone drinking hot chocolate in the bathroom.

We didn’t have big discussions about who was going to buy toilet paper or whose turn it was to empty the trash.

It usually didn’t crawl up the wall.

He sent me a slideshow of the bathroom he is “forced” to share with his sisters.

I’m only sharing 3 pictures from the slideshow and his comments are edited to keep the gross factor at a minimum.

There are also 8+ razors between the three of them.

I didn’t take pictures of the sink because they “cleaned” it already. There were 7 cups sitting on the counter, some food… Also an unplugged hair straightener and a spilled toiletry basket covered the sink. Toothpaste was everywhere and there was toilet paper stuck to the mirror.

In addition to all of this I would like to list my items which are ALWAYS put away in my basket on its shelf, and not in anyone’s way:

  • 1 Toothbrush
  • 1 Toothpaste Tube
  • 1 Deodorant
  • 1 Razor
  • 1 Tube of Shaving Cream
  • 1 Shampoo Bottle
  • 1 Body Wash

He included his list of what he thinks should be the max for each person. Perhaps my little Virgo has too much free time.

I’d like to add that with the exception of Scary Baby’s items, they have purchased all the aforementioned toiletries, not us!

I asked the darling twins to clean up their room to “guest room standards” before they left for their Army National Guard Annual Training for 20 days in July.

They insist they did and I’ve been informed that Scary Baby and her friend were responsible for some ALL of these clothing piles.

She claims no responsibility for the closet but the darling twins are calling her out on this too.

Like I believe anyone around here? The messes never end.

Roommate Applications

My biggest issue is that if we were accepting roommate applications, my own semi-adults would not have gotten through the screening process. If they slipped through, they would most definitely lose their damage deposit and we’d kick them out.

I’m open to constructive suggestions or words of encouragement.

I will feel better if someone else will admit that they have messes like this and they don’t constantly clean up after their children (beyond the toddler years). Or tell me you shut the door to their bedrooms and didn’t go near them for several years. Be sure to confirm your house did not fall down nor was it condemned by the health department.

They are still with us because, in spite of their piglet ways, they are all enrolled in college full-time, they all have part-time jobs and have paid for their own cars, car insurance and entertainment since they were 16. I know this is way more than most of their peers are responsible for even in their twenties. They are doing the *BIG things* right and I’m trying to keep that in perspective.

For now, I’m taking lots of deep breaths to get through these last days of summer.

Because I do love them. Even when I don’t like them.


Wiener Dog Rehab

Of all the things I could tell you about how we spent our summer here at the Humpfreeze house, I just could not have predicted that dog rehabilitation would be on our schedule.

Our Dudley the Dachshund Rehab Story

Dudley collapsed in late June after a regular run up the stairs to see the darling twins in their bedroom.

Bad dog owner tip #1 ~ Carry your dachshund up and down stairs forever.

PhilBillPaul said his back legs weren’t working. He could not stand. We are aware that dachshunds can have back problems associated with their very short legs and long backs.

The first thing I said to him quietly and privately, “Please tell me we’re on the same page and we’re not going to do that wiener dog wheelchair thing, right?”

He agreed.

Everyone had to work so Roger Leroy was the only one available to take him to the vet. She is not the most compassionate person in the house. She comes by that naturally. Ahem. Not naming names but one of her parents may be like this too.

She was a little irritated that she had to sit with the dog for hours awaiting an x-ray and evaluation. She called me several times with estimates of $500+ dollars for various tests. At that point, it was time to call Dad and have him talk to the vet and keep costs down and get assurance that the dog was not in any pain. Roger Leroy did have to leave him at the vet because she had to go to work.

By the time I got home, Scary Baby was home from a sleepover at a friend’s house and only knew from Roger Leroy that Dudley was at the vet. She was obviously concerned and she and her friend Cloret asked for details. I tried to downplay the seriousness of the situation and told them that we were waiting for more information from the vet.

Scary Baby said brightly, “If he can’t walk and he’s paralyzed, we can get him a doggy wheelchair. The internet has pictures and they can lead happy, productive lives.”

Momma said “We’re not getting a doggy wheelchair.”

Scary Baby said “WHY? He can be happy and it’s like a little wagon or cart…”

Momma said “We don’t have information from the vet so we don’t need to have this discussion right now. Please give Sabu some extra attention since he’s probably very confused about why Dudley isn’t down in the basement with him today.”

She and her friend went down to the lounge to watch a movie.

I consulted with my friend Google and then talked to the vet. The news was not good.

Next I called PhilBillPaul who was driving home from Macon.

And promptly burst into tears.

I cried about the dog, the choices, the outcome, the doggy wheelchair, the money, the well dog who would be traumatized, the children who would be traumatized and why this is the exact reason I did not want dogs,

PhilBillPaul who is a giant dog lover said, “I can’t do this now. I could pull over on the side of the road and bawl but I’m just trying to get home. We’ll figure it out when I get there.”

A little while later, Scary Baby says through my closed bedroom door, “We’re going to take Sabu on a walk and might go down to the neighbor’s house with him.”

Thought that was very sweet and good for the well dog. I carried on until PhilBillPaul and Wizzy got home and they went to vet to pick up Dudley.

They arrived home with Dudley and I had already told all the big kids to be home and help create a quiet night with no extra people at our house.

Side note: Due to time constraints and the ridiculous length of this post, I’m leaving out the screaming fight we had when Roger Leroy announced a friend was on her way over and we told her we weren’t having company with the sick dog and then the friend arrived anyway and they both went upstairs to get Roger Leroy’s stuff because we told her to leave, Sabu went crazy, ran upstairs, peed in Scary Baby’s room and at least 2 of us started crying again.

We were busy setting up his crate with Wizzy’s memory foam pillow that fit perfectly.

We were all very emotional and unsure of what would happen next. The vet recommended a neurological consult which PhilBillPaul scheduled for the next morning.

In walked Scary Baby with two neighborhood friends and they were holding a jar of money. They proudly told us that they had collected money for Dudley and had almost $200 in the jar.

After the friends left, Roger Leroy and I interrogated calmly asked Scary Baby what exactly they said to neighbors about the dog?!

Bad dog owner tip #2 ~ Don’t let your 12 year old hear you crying on the phone about the sick dog.

With some prodding, she confessed “We just said we needed money for a doggy wheelchair for Dudley. And he might need surgery. And I printed this picture to show them.”

Roger Leroy was mortified.

I said “Welcome to my world.”

Did you know there are neurologists for dogs? We didn’t. Treatment options were steroids and 6-8 weeks of immobilization or surgery.

After the neuro consult, we opted for steroid treatment and about 3 other drugs I can’t even remember.

The next day our Wiener Dog Rehab begin in full force.

I went to the store and bought dog pee pads and poster board.

We found great information on IVDD Disc Disease and excellent tips on wiener dog crate rest from other wiener dog lovers on the internet:

  • I cut the long end of an old fleece blanket to make a “butt sling” to help him go to the bathroom outside.
  • We froze chicken broth for ice cube treats because it is full of cartilage-building proteins and amino acids.
  • PhilBillPaul cut the top of the crate so we could lift him in and out more easily.
  • We bought a kiddie pool for water therapy.

We were hopeful but tried to be realistic. We saw slow and steady progress and had two follow-up visits with the vet.

We sent Scary Baby back through the neighborhood with envelopes with a special note attached.

Wasn’t it smart of the girls to keep a list of donors and amounts donated?

After 5 weeks of total crate rest, the vet said we could start introducing him back into his area with Sabu. His prognosis is excellent.

What life lessons have we learned from this wiener dog rehab experience? For me, it just reinforced what I already knew that dogs are expensive and the emotional investment is even more expensive.

Oh, we also all learned one more thing…

Nobody at our house volunteered to learn how to express the dog’s bladder or bowel once I explained to Scary Baby about what would be involved with a doggy wheelchair.

Dudley is our vet’s favorite miracle story.

We are so grateful that he is better.

And that we didn’t have to buy a doggy wheelchair.

Even if he hops a bit like a rabbit.

Guess how much dog neurosurgery costs?

Leave a comment and person who comes closest wins two wiener dogs!

Just kidding. Guess anyway. I think it’s illegal to give away wiener dogs as a prize for a blog contest.



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