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I have had it with Maggie’s skin issues. If it’s not one thing, it’s another. She is almost never completely free from some malady, and I am so tired of vets giving us vague suggestions. “Try switching her food- maybe she’s allergic to something?” Well, WHICH food should I try? WHAT ingredients should I avoid? “Try this medicated shampoo.” Ok– didn’t work. “Let’s take some skin scrapings“–nothing shows up.

I am taking her to a new vet tomorrow afternoon who specializes in second opinions. I guess the first visit is free, so if he can’t give me some straight answers and concrete suggestions, I won’t have wasted much besides my time. It’s just especially frustrating because her problems seem to change and move. Sometimes the problem is on her chest, sometimes her hind legs, sometimes her ears. Sometimes it’s scabby, sometimes scaley, sometimes swollen. And since Lulu never “catches” whatever Maggie has, it’s seem like whatever it is can’t be all that contagious. So maybe it’s not bacterial or fungal? Maybe it is an allergy? This picture gives you an idea of how splotchy she is… :o(

*sigh* I don’t know–I’m not a vet. But my goal is to have Maggie looking like a champ by New Years! Wish her luck tomorrow! Hopefully she doesn’t get so nervous she pees…

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That’s what I call my parents’ house: the spa. It’s sort of strange that I still find a visit to their house as relaxing as I do. I used to LOVE coming home for the weekend when I was living the poor-college-student-lifestyle. And that’s pretty understandable. Home-cooked food and clean sheets are a big draw when you’re living in a moldy apartment and subsisting on noodles and butter. And don’t get me started on the joys of watching cable TV. I would bring home and entire car full of dirty laundry and arrive with only drops of gas left in my tank. And I would leave 48 hours later with clean clothes, a tank full of gas, and tupperware filled to the brim with goodies.

Now that John and I are living a less spartan lifestyle, we can afford to do our own laundry and buy our own gas, and we eat decent food. We have most of the same amenities that my parents do. And the house my parents live in is not the house I grew up in. They moved after my brother and I went off to college. They are in the same city, but on the outskirts now. Yet even with our improved lifestyle and the lack of nostalgia that comes with this new house, I still enjoy a weekend at the spa.

Something about visiting is still awesome. It’s like a magical land where generic brands don’t exist and soft water runs free. I can eat the expensive cereal I love with the walnuts in it. Yum! We get to eat out at local restaurants and my parents insist on footing the bill. Or they make some kind of homemade feast with expensive ingredients like shrimp… or saffron! For breakfast this morning we had french toast rolled in craisins and almonds! Did I mention that my mom took gourmet cooking classes? And I can take a long, hot shower and use the shampoo, conditioner, and body wash that I know each cost at least $7 for the smallest bottle. I can do my hair using the salon-brand hairspray. I always have commercial-worthy hair, thanks to the soft water. I feel like a wind machine should follow me around to maximize the magnificence. There are always fresh flowers on the counter. The dogs can frolic in my parents’ huge yard and chase the squirrels and chipmunks.

The other fun thing about the spa are the resident cats. I am not a cat person or a dog person really. I like both. My mom is on the board of directors of the local humane society, so they have multiple cats- 3 to be exact. The veteran cat is my old cat Gracie, who I had to give up due to John’s allergies. Then there is Sophie, and the baby is Mini Cooper.

This is Gracie, as seen through Mini’s whiskers.

Sophie spends most of her time admiring herself in the mirror.

And the life of the party, Mini.

The itinerary for our spa weekend thus far: dinner out, Sam’s Club shopping, some homework, a nap, eating ice cream out of the carton, a visit from Sam the baby, a bonfire, french toast breakfast, a car wash, a visit to the pet store, another nap, and a roast for dinner. Some people have the Hamptons or the Berkshires, but I have good old Janesville, WI.

I skipped my loathsome contracts class this afternoon. We were just going over the answers to the midterm, but we weren’t getting the midterm back. I’d rather not torture myself knowing what I should have written but didn’t. So, instead I came home and played with the pups. Yes, that’s a bad attitude to have, but you try saying no to these little hams.

Besides, when Maggie looks this pathetic, you know it’s fun time.

This is her favorite toy- she has such hatred for this thing.

This is what the toy used to look like when it was new:

Look at those claws!

And then there’s Lulu… always a little slower and calmer. She always wants to play with that stinky octopus, but I don’t really want to touch it anymore…

Therefore, we shall move on to the mini tennis ball!

Her little pug jaw is just big enough to carry it around.