My 50th High School Reunion!

The three of us had a marvelous time at my 50th high school reunion last weekend. Emmy is not used to tight crowds, and when I saw how tightly packed people were, I was concerned for a bit, but she adapted beautifully. She kept pretty much out of the way of people, didn’t block traffic up and down the ramp to the porch very much on Friday night. Greeted people properly (for the most part – she “broke” a couple of times and turned her head to try to lick people who were petting her, but she got it together). People were most complimentary of her!

The event on Friday was just an informal late supper catered by The Varsity (a heartburn-high Atlanta fast-food landmark for 75 or 80 years). The event started at 7pm – the time that we usually are closing down for the night – and was supposed to go on until about midnight. I figured I’d last until about 9pm – and I was right. We started weaving our way out of the recreation center about 8:55, and made it out to the street about 9:15! I was totally exhausted – just wrung out. And I dozed some on the way home, but the Ol’ Curmudgeon had an exhausting week last week, and kept yawning really big and hard, so I had to keep waking up and talking to him. We made it home about 10pm, and actually got to bed about 11:30pm.

Saturday, we dragged out of bed about 7am, and I made breakfast. Then we both napped a little. Mostly rested. I made sure Emmy’s coat was spotless – as were her toofies and her ears. Toenails were freshly dremeled on Friday AM.

We snacked about 5pm because it was a “heavy hors d’oerves” event. It was at a rather decent restaurant in downtown Atlanta – Shout. We had the entire upstairs area. BUT, to get upstairs, first we had to ride down in a wine elevator disguised as a wheelchair elevator. I was very worried about Emmy, because there was a gap in the back and the whole thing was about 2 1/2 feet wide and 5 feet deep! No fooling! So we 3 along with one of the hostesses went down. There was no light, so we went down in the dark. Luckily none of us had claustrophobia! Then we had to walk through a maze of halls to the concierge desk in the Peachtree side of Colony Square. The Concierge took us through another maze of halls to another elevator (a “real” elevator this time!) up to the roof, across the roof and then into the area reserved for our group! It was really Byzantine!

The hors d’oerves were wonderful! little lamb chops from a crown rib roast that were perfect! And panko-encrusted fried lobster. Spring asparagus with a wonderful sauce. Meatball sandwiches. And a bunch of other things I can’t remember. I indulged in a glass of wine. I got to really talk to about 4 people, and had passing “hello-how-are-you-it’s-been-a-long-time” moments with a bunch of others.

{Aside: If you haven’t figured it out by now, I’m a bit of a loner and was almost a total loner in high school. So most of these people didn’t even remember me – except I have a very unusual middle name (that I no longer use, but I did use in grade school and high school), so people remembered that name, that it is a boy’s name and that I’m a girl with a boy’s name. So some of them remembered that part!}

Emmy was in her element. She was most dignified and obedient. Finally, however, we were all getting tired – about 8:45pm, and we began to wend our way out. We decided to not repeat the elevators. I was worried about Emmy in that blasted wine elevator, so we went down the stairs – a lovely curving set of stairs in gold-tones. What we did, was, my Ol’ Curmudgeon took Emmy down the stairs, and I leaned against the handrail and went down the stairs sideways. V-e-e-e-e-e-e-r-y s-l-o-o-o-o-o-o-w-l-y. I was too tired, and the Ol’ Curmudgeon had my pocketbook, but I wish I had been able to take a picture of Emmy! She loves my husband – they romp together when he is up to it. But she only had eyes for me. She watched me coming down the stairs one step at a time, slowly, carefully, hanging on to the rail with one hand and my cane with the other. And she was dancing in impatience (no she did NOT need to “do business!”). Her ears were pricked up, her mouth was open, she danced up and down the bottom step with her forefeet. There was no doubt about it – she only had eyes for me!

We got home about 10:30pm and got to bed about midnight. We dragged up again about 7am, and dozed off and on all day on Sunday.

I could not have done this without both my husband’s assistance and support and Emmy’s assistance and support. I’m so glad we went. This will be a memory I will savor for a long time to come!

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Our Magical Night with PAALS!!

We Went! We Saw! We Conquered!!

Revised (minor) @ 9:30am edt 4/27/09

We drove to Columbia SC on Thursday. I won’t go into all the craziness of packing. Suffice it to say – After all the packing, stacking, getting two of our adorable teen-aged grandsons to take the stuff down to the car and load it up . . . I left my dress and the Ol’ Curmudgeon’s suit at home, hanging in a hanging bag on the back of the bedroom door – where we found them when we returned. {{SIGH}} So the Ol’ Curmudgeon went to the ceremonies (semi-formal optional) in Friday casual. I, fortunately, had a simple black slacks and a black top with white over-embroidered scalloped neckline and sleeves and flowers. One of the volunteers said she wished she could pull “something” out of her suitcase that looked as nice. As I pointed out to the Ol’ Curmudgeon, I looked like a giant blackberry with a string around it, instead of looking like a giant blueberry with a string around it! LOLOL!

4pm KennelCare, Inc.
We napped most of the day on Friday, then gathered up Emmy and went to KennelCare. What was going on there? A giant Meet-Up with all her old doggie friends and the new puppies! There are 6 puppies in the program at the moment – and we met them. Emmy was sooo good. She met her old friends, did some doggie dancing around and sniffing of those parts we humans get embarrassed about, and generally had a wonderful time. Then all the old friends went to different corners of the room, and one by one the puppies were brought in to meet the older doggies. I can’t remember all their names. There was Katie – a little “mini-me” of Emmy! Black and with so many of the same characteristics it was uncanny! There was Caspar – a big blonde boy! He’s going to be a super-start. And he probably will top out about 80# or so when he’s grown. He’s gorgeous! Spirit was the youngest and smallest. She was a black lab, but “fuzzier” than most. So cute. She tilted her head from one side to the other so cute and made you just want to go hug her! The others, Jill and the other, were all just as cute, but were not quite as memorable to me as Katie, Spirit and Caspar. Goodness! Mostly, the doggies played with their Gentle Leaders on to reduce excitement and nipping. The doggies had a wonderful time!

The people at KennelCare were wonderful to us! Thanks to them for letting us use their “doggie daycare” playroom!

5:45pm Left KennelCare and went for a light supper. Please understand that we usually eat supper at 5pm and are on our way to beddy-bye by 8:30pm. This evening was a very late one for us. So we wandered around Columbia until we encountered Two Notch Rd, which we knew about. Went to Arby’s and got their smallest sandwich and some iced tea (milk for the Ol’ Curmudgeon).

Then back to the hotel to change into decent clothes. The Ol’ Curmudgeon looked so nice in his yellow shirt and navy pants and navy suspenders! As I said earlier, I looked like a giant blackberry with a string around my middle (my fannypack with doggie treats, poop bags, etc). We took a couple of wrong turns, but arrived at the graduation site only 10 minutes late! Thank goodness we weren’t the last to get there!

7:00 pm Graduation Ceremony, Windermere Country Club
Oh my! There was a little slide show for each of us graduating. They were set to music, and Emmy’s song was “I’ll be Your Hands and Feet.” It was a real tearjerker. There were slides of Emmy as a little pup learning to pick up items, carry things, get things. Aubrey’s was “Best Friend,” and I’ve forgotten what Yeat’s song was. Shame on me! Steph, if you would leave a comment with that song???

Erin and her family came up to talk about how Aubrey has helped their son who has Autism. Even their son spoke a few words! That was very hard for him to do, and shows how far he has come since getting Aubrey. Aubrey helps him get up, and helps him get dressed by getting his socks for him. When S. has a “meltdown,” Aubrey drapes herself over his lap and helps him feel “grounded.” This is very important for people with Autism.

Steph and Yeats went up second, and talked about facility dogs and how they help people who have strokes, brain and spine injuries, and other things that require physical therapy. Yeats has been instrumental in helping her treat patients. People have started getting up, moving their arms and legs in wider arcs, walking in the parallel bars. Yeats carries clipboards to the desk and does other things within his facility. Now, Steph is working at a senior living facility, and Yeats is helping the patients there, too.

The Ol’ Curmudgeon and I went up together for my 2 minutes of fame at the graduation. I spoke very briefly, but remembered to point out that across the US only 750 service dogs were placed each year, while there were at least 1500 to 2000 KNOWN people waiting. Some of the people aren’t even on the counted waiting lists because they weren’t yet on the lists – they were below that level! So the actual number of people needing and waiting for service dog placement probably was twice to three times the known numbers! Then I told the gathering how humbled and yet proud I am at the same time to have been the recipient of a service dog from PAALS’ first class. I told them I was able to go to the grocery alone – with Emmy. No fears of dropping cane, dropping items. She can pick them up for me! Throughout the evening, I spoke to a number of people and told them about some of the very important things Emmy has done for me.

7:30 pm Fundraising Event Drinks Served and Silent Auction Opens
The Ol’ Curmudgeon had built a couple of “dog-proof cat-boxes,” and one of them was entered into the auction. We told the people that the minimum bid must be $250 – and if other folks wanted one, the cost would be $250 each. The difference between what the supplies cost and the price we set, would be donated to PAALS. These structures are quite complicated, and take a good bit of time to build them. The material costs are high – about 50% of the price we set. We don’t charge for labor.

8:00 pm Dinner Served
It was a lovely buffet with lots of seafood, and some other things. I didn’t visit the buffet because trying to handle me and handle Emmy around a buffet full of great smells is a little much for my hands. So the Ol’ Curmudgeon went up to get food for us. I had some wine and was quite mellow.

8:30 pm Entertainment (Master Of Ceremonies & Magician- Bill Grimsley)

9:00 pm Silent Auction Closes & Live Auction Begins (provided by Holiday Auctions)
Actually, these two events were reversed. The Silent Auction closed at 9pm, but we were running a bit late, so the Live Auction began immediately, with the entertainment pushed to the end of the auction. WOW! The donations to the auction were incredible! So were the bids! At the end, Jen and Shari got on the little stage with Akira and Charlie. When Akira comes into heat again, Charlie will be mated to her. The cost for each litter is $2500. So bids went up for paying for the litter. One bid after another, pieces of bid at various levels, bids for bags of food, bids for vet care, bids for toys, bids for leashes, bids for bedding – all in all, enough bids were received to pay not only for this litter, but the next 2, also!! YEAAA!

I can’t begin to add up all the bids, and I have no idea how much was received via the Silent Auction. But I do believe the evening was a success, fund-raising-wise.

Bill Grimsley (the magician) was great. The Ol’ Curmudgeon takes great joy in watching really good sleight of hand, and smiled and chuckled OUT LOUD throughout the performance! A great success. I was so happy to see him like this! I believe it was just what he needed.

Of course we stayed up late. Really late! Didn’t get to the motel until nearly midnight, and didn’t get to bed until after 1am! Needless to say, we slept in – really late (for us)! I staggered up about 7:45am, got coffee, put out pills, and Mr. Grumpy growled at me. I encouraged him to go ahead and take his meds.

He took them, then went back to sleep for a couple more hours. We left about 10am, stopped for gas, stopped for breakfast at a Waffle House down the road (I LUV their pecan waffles), and drove straight on home. We stopped for gas at our favorite station about 4 miles from home. The Ol’ Curmudgeon went for gas while I went to the grocery. By that time, Emmy was nearly hysterical with fatigue and wanting to be HOME! She behaved very well at the grocery, but I can “read” her. She just wasn’t happy. Went to the car and she leapt into the FRONT seat – she’s never done that before! I managed to get her OFF, then she leapt into the backseat before I could get her seatbelt harness on her. I had to get her OFF again, and then put the harness on her, then get her to JUMP again. Actually, that last part was the easy part. She kept shifting from foot to foot. I could hardly get the harness on her.

When we got home, I called the two teen grandsons from next door to help us unload the car. After we got the groceries in the refrigerator, we kind of napped in our chairs for a bit. Finally, we had supper about 6:30pm. Yep, we were still “off schedule.” I reckon it will take us 2-3 more days before we are settled back in our skins.

Emmy first headed for the back yard and afterward finally collapsed on her “place” in the living room. She roused long enough to eat and visit the back yard again, then went back to sleep. Have I shared with you that she SNORES??? And she also “whuffs” in her sleep! So funny!

So we spent the night with the Ol’ Curmudgeon mumbling in his sleep, and with Emmy snoring and whuffing in her sleep, and me trying to stay asleep with all that going on. Believe it or not, I did sleep. Hard! And woke up around 7am to Emmy licking my hand and wanting to go OUT – NOW!!

We made it up – drank coffee (uummm! My own coffee is soooo good!) and had our soft-boiled eggs with toast and a little grilled hog jowl. The Ol’ Curmudgeon ate ALL of his hog jowl – didn’t even give me the rinds like he usually does.

And so we are HOME! We enjoyed our trip, but we are very, VERY happy to be HOME again! The “Magical Night with PAALS” was well worth the trip to Columbia, but we are VERY happy to be HOME-SWEET-HOME!

Going on a Trip!

If the cardiologist says “ok,” the Ol’ Curmudgeon and I will drive to Columbia SC on Thursday for Emmy’s graduation ceremony on Friday. There are lots of activities planned, and it will be an exhausting time for us. I worry about the Ol’ Curmudgeon. After 31 years, I love him even more than I did when we married. Don’t want to lose him!

So we will leave on Thursday so we can rest for a day before all the events. Friday will be the Magical Night with PAALS events – graduation, silent auction, dinner, open auction. For people who tire as easily as the Ol’ Curmudgeon and I, this will be a just totally “wipe-out” evening.

On Saturday there are two fairs to choose from to attend: The Lexington Family Days or the Sparkleberry Country Fair. We’ll see how wrecked we are after Friday night.  I’m not even sure we’ll be able to get through much past the Friday night dinner.

We may need to bow out of the Saturday events. We will have the drive back to Lawrenceville either on Saturday afternoon or Sunday morning. We may turn around and come home on Saturday, depending on how we are doing. We have the option – we can check out a day early.

So we are packing up. Yes, already. Emmy’s grooming materials are packed in a cosmetics travel container. Just like mine are. Her blankets are being washed and will go with us. Emmy will go to the groomer at 8:30AM tomorrow, and I will continue to brush her within an inch of her life every day we are gone! I won’t pack her travel-kennel until the morning of leaving. The pad that is in it, however, won’t go with us – it needs washing, and I won’t have time to do that ahead of time. I’ll wash and take with us one of her other pads we have around the house.

Leash & cape she will wear. OOPS! have to vacuum off the back seat! Don’t forget the pooper-scooper (SASI)

We’ll need our son to load the dog-proof litter boxes we are donating to PAALS, and I need to take a few other things we are donating to them, also.

Computers, our clothes, our undies, shoes, the Ol’ Curmudgeon’s ditty-bag, my cosmetic bag. Snacks for the trip – no eating at restaurants on the way! Take bread and butter with us, too. Books to read.

I think I have thought of all we will need. Hope so!

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