I phoned my mother tonight to say goodbye as I’m off to Tokyo for two weeks.  I’d love to say I was expecting a “Have a nice time!” or “Enjoy yourself!” or even a “Have fun but be careful!” but I got pretty much what I expected.  A few seconds of ominous silent contemplation after reminding her of my trip and then: “Are your affairs in order?”.   While I’d love nothing better than to head east confident in the orderliness of my affairs, the sad truth is my affairs are decidedly DISordered.  I’m still transferring documents to my new travel laptop, downloading books to my new kindle, prepping, packing, and, most importantly, making sure Christine, the dog-sitter, knows everything she needs to know before I leave. And, when it comes to my dogs, she needs to know a lot.  An excerpt from my Instruction Rundown…

“1. When you wake up, take them out back to do their business otherwise Lulu will go downstairs and poop. Check anyway. She probably already has. If so, there’s some Peroxide in the kitchen for disinfecting.  By the way, Jelly has bad hips and will need to be carried down.  Maximus’s excuse is that he’s fat.  He’ll occasionally be freaked out by the stairs and need to be carried as well.

2. Breakfast!  Bubba gets 3 ½ pucks of raw food.  Maximus gets 3.  Jelly gets 2.  Lulu gets a handful of dry kibble and 1/3 of a can of wet food.  The extra raw food is in the freezer in the garage.

3. All of the pugs get a sprinkling of Recovery SA with their morning meals.  For Jelly, I tend to alternate between the Recovery and a crushed half-pill of Gyco-Flex.  Jelly also gets 2 tablets of Gabapentin breakfast and dinner, and one tablet of Zeniquin each morning.  Also a squirt of Omega 3 oils each meal – but I don’t think she likes it so feel free to discontinue.  Everyday, Jelly also gets a dose of metacam with her breakfast (8 kg), kept in the left hand drawer of the refrigerator.  Jelly is also supposed to get 2.5 ml of Amantadine daily but, at this point, she’s eating more meds than actual food so I’d suggest holding off on the Amantadine for now.

4. Morning and night, the pugs get a dose of tacrolimus for their eyes, while Lulu gets her eyedrops.  Jelly also gets her ears cleaned with a special ear-cleaning solution nightly  Afterwards, I give them all a treat/kibble.

5. As I said, unlike the other three, Jelly and Maximus can’t manage the stairs and will need to be carried up an down.  Jelly and Maximus can’t really manage to get up on the couches or beds – so if you’re inclined to have company, you’ll have to help them up and off as well.  At night, it might be best to leave them in the kitchen to sleep.

6. Never leave the dogs outside unattended! People in Vancouver have had their dogs snatched out of their yards by dog thieves. Also, coyotes have been known to dig under or jump fences for a quick snack.

7. Always make sure the dogs follow you in when you go out with them. Maximus tends to lag and eat mud and, because he is dark, tends to blend in at night. Plus, none of them will come when they’re called. In fact, they’re wanderers so make sure all four are inside whenever you: 1) go out, 2) come in, 3) go to bed.

8. The dogs are allowed in the front yard, but you’re better off taking them to the back because they’re easily distracted and will bark at any passing dog, person or suspicious-looking bicycle left unattended.

9. The doggies are needy and don’t like being left alone for more than about 3 hours at a time. Much longer than that and they will take it out on any available footwear or anything they can get their paws on.

10. Don’t leave food lying around the couch area.  Bubba can and will reach anything edible left on the coffee table, side tables, or kitchen table.

11. Jelly’s surgery is scheduled for Wednesday morning.  Her surgeon is Dr. Sharp.  Jelly shouldn’t have any breakfast on the day of the surgery, but water is okay.  Please drop her off in the early morning (they said between 7:00 a.m. and 9:00 or even earlier if you want to get an early start on your day).  I’ve set aside some things for Jelly to help her through the recovery period: one blanket, one musical duck, one pink flamingo (slightly chewed), one clean black sock, and one t-shirt (for snuggling purposes).”

As if I didn’t have enough to worry about, now it looks like Maximus is coming down with an eye infection.  I’ll have to swing by the vet’s tomorrow and pick him up some ointment to add to the pharmaceutical cavalcade.

Off to finish my prep!


50 thoughts on “December 5, 2010: Preparing for departure!

  1. Hello Joe.

    Have a safe flight. I am sure that everything will be okay with the dogs back home. Speaking of which, as soon as you hear, let us know how Jelly’s surgery goes!!!

    Best wishes for a great vacation. You guys have earned it!!!


  2. When the hell do you find time to write??!

    *Note to self: Stick with cats.

    Joey, wishing you a trouble-free and funsie trip! And NO drunk cuddlin’ with Ivon!!! 😀

    @Sparrowhawk – I finished Still Life With Crows! I think I’ma gonna have nightmares. 😛 Also, Pendergast has some issues, as Corrie finds out. 😉

    @ Tammy Dixon – That’s pretty cool. How did he come to pick that subject – was it assigned, or his choice? Did he by any chance touch on the killing of albinos in Africa? That’s just something I can’t get out of my head.

    Of course, if I ever did a paper on albinism, I’d spend all my ink writing about how pretty their hair is. 😛 I think I need to see a shrink sometimes. 😳


  3. Good grief! After reading your instructions, Christine must be an angel. Have a great trip!

  4. Aw……your ‘children’ are well cared-for….or spoiled, but they desire every bit…;-)

    Safe travels!

  5. I’m always envious of your Tokyo trips, because they are without fail, far, far more exciting and glamourous than mine (I went before Thanksgiving for 4 days to see 2 concerts and am going yet again for New Years). This time, I simply hope you and Ivan enjoy the time, good eats, good company and fair weather. I also hope for good news about Jelly on Wed, so you can relax and breathe a bit.

    Can’t help but wonder if the T-shirt is one you’ve recently worn, to provide the little darling with something soft with your scent on it…? 🙂

  6. I’ve traveled, leaving 6 kids at home, with less instructions!
    Enjoy your trip.

  7. My wife was complaining to me about how needy my 2 children are. I read the above list to her and now she feels she doesn’t have it so bad.

  8. Have a nice trip in Japan Joe, I’m really envious, I love Japan, and think Japanese people rock, and the girls are damn hot obviously.

    So have a drink for us folks around the world that haven’t had a chance to visit Japan yet!

    By the way, TRON: Legacy seems to be opening in Japan on the 17th, you gonna drop by a Japanese cinema and enjoy what is probably the first “true” 3D requiring movie so far?
    I’m assuming that the Japanese has some good digital and 3D capable theaters, like Norway which has pretty much digitalized almost all of it’s theaters, and half are 3D capable even (at least in my city).

    If you had a chance to make a 3D episode of SGU, how would you do it?

    1. Would you go all hollywood and throw things into the eyeline of the viewer,

    2. Or would you do it like I would, by simply using the 3D to enhance the depth of scenes, like the observation room of Destiny, or the Bridge, or the Dome, or to make the structural terrain of the ship’s outside be noticed more,
    and maybe let some HUD or monitor displays “pop” as if they where using some kind of ancient hologram/3D projection, or for dramatic effect when a character is alone in a room as the emphasized 3D depth could add to the loneliness (Chloe).

  9. “Mercy writes: “Are we ever going to meet aliens that are actually human or decendants of humans from Earth?”

    Answer: Oooh, there would have to be a damn good reason for why we’d encounter humans this far out. Yep. A damn good SF reason…”

    If they speak a modern language the Destiny crew knows with no explanation, then yeah that is a toughie.

    But considering the fact that Human life evolved from genetic material that “landed” on Earth it may not be so odd to find a parallel evolved or even Proto-Humans.

    Besides, it wouldn’t be so unlikely to stumble across a lost ancient expedition team or even two.

    Another thing is that the Ancients, did they originate on Earth? I seem to recall they interbred with Humans, which means the ancients are proto-humans? This means it might be possible for the Destiny to run into abandoned ancient ships or structures.

    It is also possible that the Destiny may run across precursors to the ancients (aka ancient ancients or proto-ancients?) the closer to the structure (and galactic core as well?) the ship gets?

    In any case, SGU is probably the best exploratory Sci-Fi made so far, you and the rest of the production team rock Joe 🙂

  10. Dr. Sharp, the surgeon? That’s his real name?

    Other real-life appropriate Dr. names:
    Dr. Toof, orthodontist
    Our very good friend Dr. Hacker, eye surgeon /opthamologist
    (Come to think of it, his wife’s first name, Hope, is also appropriate. Her MD specialty is physical medicine & rehabiliatation.)

    Happy packing!

  11. Safe trip Joe,

    Have fun and take as many snaps of those delicious meals for us. Oh yea… and kindly, GO EASY ON THE SAKE.

  12. NOTE TO SELF: Stick with DUSTBUNNIES!!

    And I thought I was having *fun* when I had to do my Dad’s cataract surgery meds for 5 weeks!

    Go safely Dude!

  13. I leave similar instructions for my pet/house sitter too. My five are a lot younger than yours though. Much less of the drugs and special diets. More of the just make sure no one is missing kind of stuff. I have one cat that refuses to come out when we are gone. He does get spotted on occasion though.

    Have fun on your trip!

  14. Hey Joe,

    I am sorry…but I am very grateful my children didn’t come with instructions like that. But it is wonderful to see how much you love those sweet little pups. You know every nuance…and have shared it with us. *giggles*

    Enjoy your time out…with Ivon…*giggles more* OMG…you do NEED a vacation.

    Best to you Joe,
    Cheryl 🙂

    P.S. I really did giggle the entire time I was reading your instructions. *giggles more*

  15. Selamat jalan! and all that. I’m feeling a bit down, so what better way than to write something slightly nonsensical. Please note that what will follow is either untrue, slightly true or plain rubbish. Therefore feel free to ignore at your own ease.

    So… the bee danced around the apple tree in the breeze of the happy flapping silly. In a cup was a fizzy dream for wandering. An easy nectar for the hive, provided going home it could still be finding. By the by a flower grew and a petalled blossom flew, making a pretty hat to sit askew and tricking trouble to ensue. Huffing, puffing, flames grew higher. Muffing, stuffing for the dryer. In the end the bee danced on, telling friends that nothing’s wrong.

    Somehow, that didn’t turn out right… Hey look, sugar flowers! Hang on… they’re real. As in, not sugar flowers. Ummm… Are orchids poisonous? Should I be worried? Who puts real orchids on a cake, anyway?

  16. Hi Joe, you sound like a Jewish mother (or maybe Italian, they may be interchangeable…)! Whenever my daughter and her husband come for a visit, we usually leave him at home for a day to take care of Elway (and the Cockers) so we can go to Tampa to get haircuts, visit my son, shop, etc. They think my neatly typed lists are hilarious, but better safe than sorry 🙂 Not long ago, somebody tried to pluck Molly out of our back yard (shit, is it “back yard” or “backyard” – the latter always seems wrong to me and I’m too lazy to look it up right now). Luckily, I was just on the other side of the door and the guy didn’t see me until he made his move, at which point I let Elway out, and he wasn’t happy. That took care of that. Hmmm, maybe you should consider getting a big dog at some point?

    Otherwise, I’ve been up and down all night, trying to keep the “stray” cats warm. It’s freezing here and I worry, especially about Todd and Bob (yeah, I know…) who refuse to find shelter and sleep on top of the kennel I keep in the front. So, it’s heating pads and blankets. Another cat sleeps inside the kennel and stays toasty, but there’s more than enough room for all of themin there. They’re not having any of that. Meanwhile, our “original” stray cat, Spot (who was supposed to be put down weeks ago and is still with us), has a gigantic cage on the back patio. It’s covered in plastic and old comforters, and he’s pretty toasty in there with tons of warm blankets. It’s a lot of work, and the house looks like an insane asylum or crazy cat lady’s house, but whatever, they’re doing ok.

    I hope you and Ivon have a wonderful trip 🙂 Looking forward to hearing the good news on Wednesday!

  17. G’day Joe

    You are a very good doggyDaddy.

    Try to have lotsa fun on holidays. You have certainly earned it. Do not stress over the kiddies, sounds like they are in very good care.

  18. And that didn’t scare Christine off? She’s one in a million.

    Joe, is there anything you want me to do while you’re gone?

    Have you both remembered all of your chargers?

    Take care, relax, enjoy the food and drinks and call us if y’all need bail.

    Cheers, Chev

  19. Coucou!! Comment ça va ?

    Moi très bien, j’ai passé un week end fantastique!!

    Ehéhéhé Hello Japan !!! =P J’espere que vous allez en profité, je ne me fais pas de soucis pour ça ;)!

    Tout les Canadiens prennent aussi soins de leurs animaux où c’est que dans votre famille? C’est drôle à dire mais je crois que chez vous, ça prendrai moins de temps et d’argent de faire un enfants que de vous occupez de tout vos chiens lol …!

    Gros bisou

  20. Wow! That is some list of instructions. So Maximus is too fat to go down the stairs? Ok, so now I don’t feel so bad about my 26lb cat. 😀 Have a great time! Let us know how you like the book reader when you return.

    Das: son says that he read about the killings of Albinos in Africa but he wanted to keep his paper more clinical. It was assigned in biology class.
    I met an African American albino once. He was a nice guy but it was hard to not stare at him. I’m sure he got that all his life.

  21. Joe,
    I’m late weighing in on the past few episodes, but I just wanted to say….
    As an avid SGA fan who was heartbroken when it got cancelled, I can officially say that I really hope SGU gets renewed for a Season 3 because it’s really, finally, feeling like the kind of scifi show that I love. The episodes this season have focused much more on the exploration and discovery and science I personally look for in scifi – as opposed the soap opera that happens to take place in space, which is the way it felt to me in season 1. Yes, I know the producers felt the need to set up the characters and develop a tone different from SG1 and SGA – but I’m real glad the heavy work on that seems to be done because I don’t think I would have stayed with the show for much longer otherwise.

    I love the scenes of Young and the scientists in the control room on Destiny. I admit that it reminds me of Star Trek with the captain and crew on the bridge trying to figure out what the heck is going on now. But what attracts me to that scene is the sense that the crew is part of a team — and that, obviously, wasn’t the case in SGU’s first season. Now it’s beginning to happen and it makes me smile – and eager to see what happens to them next and how they handle it. I’m loving the interactions between the characters now … and, yes, the sprinkle of humor.

    Don’t get me wrong – I know conflict is necessary to keep things moving and interesting. And I can see there will be plenty of opportunity for conflict in future episodes and seasons – probably at Rush’s hands. Rush is a fascinating character. For me, he’s gone from being the Evil and Possibly Crazy Doctor Who Must Be Stopped to being something like the tragic heros in ancient Greek plays – the ones who can be sympathetic and capable of compassion and love, but who have a tragic flaw that eventually leads to their downfall. Not sure what you have planned for Rush over the
    show’s 5-year storyline, but it now looks like it could be pretty interesting.

    So…science, exploration and discovery, a team, conflict to build drama, a sprinkle of humor and, finally, a mission. THAT’s what I love in scifi shows. And that’s what I’m now loving about SGU. I hope it keeps up. Fingers crossed for a season 3 at least.

    Enjoy your trip!

  22. Wow, the puggs really take the concept of “high maintenance” to another dimension. You obviously love them very much. Srsly, I’ve had girlfriends who are less trouble … well, some of them … I mean … well, there was one, I guess … she, on the other hand … oh, forget what I said.

    As usual, I find myself oddly excited about *your* Tokyo trip. We’re all counting on you, Joe ^^

  23. you need an au pair for the dogs, not just a sitter. Preferably one with medical and/or vetinary training. And maybe with some experience working with circus animals. Given the detailed care needed for the pooches, it’s even more impressive how you find the time to actually work, much less head off into the wild blue yonder. Have a great time, and hope your new laptop performs flawlessly so we can vicariously share in your fun.

  24. Hey Joe!

    Well, it’s almost anti-climactic to comment on the show that was commented upon earlier in the week, but, I liked it. I was particularly happy to see Varro again. I think that Varro and TJ would make a good couple, romantically. But failing that, would work well together in a story arc fraught with stress, not necessarily romantically. I also liked the way the bridge of the ship was being successfully “owned” by people learning on the job and becoming a team. Yes, the monolith remark brought immediate memories of 2001. I WANT SEASON 3, 4 & 5 AND MORE IF POSSIBLE.

  25. SG1 – 2010

    I just watched the above episode which was about a 10 yr anniversary of the Earth-Aschen alliance. Earth, represented by the DC area, and travel through the star gate was being tightly controlled. One of the scenes showed people being checked and wanded before heading into the gate… talk about fiction becoming fact….

  26. If I’ve said it once, I’ve said it a thousand times: Dogs are like 2-year-olds who never grow up. Do you really WANT to bring a permanent toddler into your home? Well, you’re a better person than I.

  27. I just wanted to wish you and Ivon a great trip. I hope that you get to do all you have on your list, and more. I know it’s not going to be easy to leave Jelly, but it sounds like everything is in control as much as it can be and you have a wonderful person looking after the puppies. I know there are many people waiting to hear how the operation and recuperation progresses as well as all the adventures in food you have. I’m waiting with bated breath… 🙂

  28. Have a safe trip Joe and Ivon, take care of each other!

    I’m with das, when do you find time to write with all that devoted doggie care? You are a wonderful, caring, doggie daddy Joe. Bless your heart.

    My prayers are with you for comfort Joe and with Jelly for courage and strength. She’s a trooper and the surgery will go well with fab results!

    Geez, I thought I had a lot to manage with 2 cats, one elderly at 15, who has diabetes and hyperthyroidism. The other, a little bit of Miss Mischievous, a vivacious 2 yr. old female calico.

    Just saw a photo of a Russian Siberian kitty and now want one. The breed is very rare in the U.S. , so fat chance getting a kitten. The waiting list is supposedly lo-o-o-ng. Ah well, maybe I will one day come across a mix at a shelter. That’s usually where I find my furry buddies anyways.

    G’day all,
    2cats in New Jersey, where the snow flurries are a-fall’in

  29. Joe,
    Wishing you a fun and relaxing vacation. Be safe and don’t get into too much trouble with Ivon. Praying for good results for Jelly, too.
    Enjoy! 🙂

  30. Love the way you write. You’re a good read. Hope you have a safe trip to Japan! By any chance you going with @ivonbartok? He said he was headed to Tokyo too. Good thought for Jelly

  31. I agree with @das, cats! I now have four, my two boys and dad’s two little girls. I have to keep them apart, there has been blood drawn. The boys are easy, make sure the dry food and water doesn’t run out, scoop the box daily, change it weekly, don’t let them outside because they’re morons. You won’t see Harry, the 20 pounder, he’s shy. Oide will mug you as you come through the door. Pet liberally. Same for the girls, but add one can of wet food per day and try to keep them in the guest room. Yes, it is sad to lock them up, but better than WWFeline. Fortunately, they’re all still relatively young and in good health.

    I feel terribly guilty I can’t convince them to get along and the girls are “caged”. Better than the shelter or my niece with two small boys and three large dogs and not an ounce of sense.

    Safe journeys, Joe. Christine sounds like a gem. Wish I could find reliable sitters. Try to relax and have fun, your doggie family is in good hands.

  32. Oh. My. Gosh. That is some list! My dad and mom are both sickies and it’s funny that this list matches my folks to a tee, down to the potty issues and eye drops.

    I spent a back breaking month caring for my folks with The List; towards the end I’d gotten the eye dropping, pill giving and ointment dosing down to a science but I was worn out and it took months to recover, so I’m glad you’ll be getting a nice break in Tokyo to recharge.

    The list is Love, cuz it takes love to provide such good care for your little loved ones.

    The affairs in order query made me laugh out loud in my Cubicle de la Muerte. Actually I was told the greek word for my crappy day job is Synocure, as in “synocure sucks.”

  33. @ Tammy Dixon – Growing up I knew an African American fella who had albinism. I knew him and talked to him, but I never saw him as ‘different’ – maybe because of how others accepted him. I knew he was black, and that he was an albino, but to me it was quite normal. I had no idea it was a genetic disorder. He was from Philly and so I only saw him about once a year when visiting friends. Last time I saw him was about 10 years ago.

    Thing is, I don’t know WHY I thought his condition was normal (normal, as in not unusual, common). I didn’t go to school with any kids who had albinism, I think he’s the only one I knew. Maybe it’s because of the way my mom first pointed him out to me (I might have been about 10 or 12), she was like, ‘Oh, neat. That boy is an albino’, like it was really cool, but at the same time she was real laid back about it. Mom used to get National Geographic, so I may have seen pictures of African albinos as a kid, and thought that it was a common thing for some Africans to be ‘white’. I do know that – up until I first saw the Winter brothers – I thought albinism only affected black people. 😛 Of course, some people with OCA2 or OCA1b can develop some pigment, so a white person with fair hair and skin may just be considered ‘blonde’ when they really have albinism. It’s the OCA1 types that stand out because they usually have pure white hair and pale skin, and that is so very eye-catching (in a good way!).

    Yeah, I’m shutting up now. 😛


  34. ((((Joe,)))) *hugs* I can tell you love your baby doggies very much, and they mean the world to you. 🙂 Well…they are certainly lucky to have you as their daddy. You really know how to take care of them. You enjoy your trip to Japan. I’m sure Christine will take good care of them. 🙂

    I can’t wait for your blogging while in Japan. I’m looking forward to your teasing us with scrumptious food there. 😉

  35. Paul complained it was too subtle, but did anyone else catch the the 2001 reference in Eli’s “big black monolith orbiting a planet” line?

    No it was not oo subtle. We catch it and it was very funny.

    Have a nice trip in Japan, you deserve it.

    And do you know the french TV series “Kamelot” ?

    It is so good. It is “Le dîner de con” with King Arthur and the knights or the round table.Bur during 5 seasons tv show. You should see wat they do with King Arthur legend. Thousands light year from SG-1 season 9 and 10 !

  36. Have a fun trip to Japan with your new wingman Ivon. The dogs should be fine with Christine, she already dog sit for you before.

    Maybe we will even get some news about the Stargate franchise while you are in Japan.

  37. :0 oh the poor girl! She must really love dogs. A friend of mine has just left for England and installed her ancient (18yrs old) cat at the vets – just in case; but the medications that cat has *rolls eyes*

    Have fun!!

  38. Whew! Relieved to hear that downloading to the Kindle is not giving you problems. It was a HUGE problem when the Kindle first came out, and people who bought them but didn’t live in the US discovered they couldn’t load the books they’d bought because of territorial issues. (Australia is still waiting to even get the Kindle, much less to actually download things to it…)

    Enjoy the trip!

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