Ella spars around a Japanese maple with her arch-nemesis Nyla for four and a half tranquil minutes, accompanied only by the soft, soothing sounds of news radio. Pure bliss-out:
What I didn't say in the previous post is that today's visit is the last visit Ella will make to that vet. We've been with this vet for over two years, and while we haven't always been happy with the service, we've felt some loyalty. But today was absolutely the last straw.
I was waiting in the exam room while Ella, sedated a bit, was getting her X rays. When the orderly, a Neanderthal bruiser I'll call Frank, brought her back into the exam room, he set her down on the floor. She sort of slumped there in a boneless, trembling puddle, then started bashing her head against the floor.
I immediately got down on the floor and lifted her up to keep her from hurting herself. "I can put her in a crate, like usual," said Frank, "or you can hold her in your lap to keep her from hitting her head."
Now, Frank doesn't seem like he's cruel, just like he's not all there. "I'll hold her," I said.
Before today, I had never had the opportunity to help a friend come down from a bad trip.
It turns out that the sedative the vet used today to calm Ella down enough that a steady X ray could be taken is in fact a hallucinogen. After the X ray, I sat on the floor of the examination room and held her in my lap while she twitched and trembled and weaved her head around like a snake charmer, or Stevie Wonder. According to the vet, Ella was seeing colors. She would sniff or lick my face as her nose went by, but only in passing. Her eyes were completely dilated, and if I hadn't held an arm around her head she would have bashed it repeatedly against the floor or the wall.
This was not nearly as cute as it might possibly sound. It was fairly disconcerting.
It was a jam-packed weekend. Most critically, I finished the long overdue final draft of a novelette called "Not of This Fold," which is about Mormon missionaries and alien first contact. That goes into the mail today, and means I can get back to my novel Inclination. The goal is to finish the first draft of that by the end of the summer, so I can finally shave this beard off.
Saturday night, Laura and I went to a dinner party in Brooklyn with some friends we don't see often enough and who are now moving to Maryland. Why didn't we hang out more??? Because we're bad people.
Ella spent last week doped up on an anti-inflammatory because of a slight limp in her right hind leg. She still occasionally pulls up the leg and hops along on three legs for a few steps, but otherwise we don't see much sign of the limp. Still, she goes in for X rays today to see if there's anything to be seen. The poor fuzzball will have to be sedated. Our Maryland-bound friend's guide dog recently was treated for Lyme disease, so we're also going to have the vet check for that.
I got my hair bleached and cut yesterday, and also spent some time recording future Accidental Terrorist chapters for my podcast. Plus, I squeezed in a viewing of the French film Irréversible, which is probably the most profoundly disturbing movie I've seen1.
Our tulips, which we didn't plant but were just waiting for us, under the ground, have been opening slowly in sequence from the front of the yard to the back along the north fence, then from the north to south along the back fence. This reflects the amount of sun falling on each portion of the yard. There are yellow and pink tulips along the side, red along the back. Ella likes to lounge amongst them. If you look closely enough, you can see the fallen soldier she has crushed beneath her monstrous fuzzy body.
Ella went to the groomer yesterday. The cut will look good once it's grown out a little and gotten some curl back. But for now she is soft as satin.
For the past few days, I've thought I might smell just a dash, just a soupçon, just one wafer-thin mint's worth of natural gas in the kitchen. I would sniff, and Laura would tell me I was crazy. It happens.
Last night I thought I smelled it, and this time Laura allowed as how she might smell it too. I didn't call ConEd immediately, having a vague memory of a similar situation in my Brooklyn apartment and being made to understand by the man who came to check it out that I had been kind of silly not to know this wasn't the dangerous kind of gas smell.
So I called up ConEd very late this morning, from work. In the voicemail treet, I deliberately did not choose the emergency options. I waited for a customer service representative. I said I might have smelled a little gas in my kitchen.
"What's your address, sir?"