"Well, that's just, like, your opinion, man."

Two Steps Back

7/6/15, 2:12 PM

I'd intended to call this post, "Summer of Suck," but I'm trying to be a little less negative.

Back in March, my girlfriend broke her ankle severely, requiring a surgical fix. She's just now getting back on her feet, but also coping with some unexpected complications. The injury forced the cancellation of our planned trip to New York City and the Albany area to visit respective members of our families. We spent most of the spring sitting on the couch watching Netflix.

Two weeks ago I was out walking Bodhi when he started one of his silly, high-speed sprints in a circle at the end of his very long leash. He screamed, which is a sound I'd never heard a dog make before and hope to never hear again, and fell at my feet. It turns out he very likely tore his anterior cruciate ligament (ACL).

So just when my girlfriend is getting mobile again, my dog goes down! I've moved in with my girlfriend temporarily, as Bodhi can't manage the stairs up to my condo, and I can't carry an 85 pound Golden Retriever up and down the stairs twice a day. I did it a few times, but a regular effort would likely see us both in the hospital at some point.

I'd been planning to head up to Albany the middle of this month to visit my mother and help her move into a new apartment, and then drive to Canastota for a weekend get-together with my high school class. Well, that trip's been cancelled as well.

Perhaps worse, I truly miss my several-times-a-day walks with Bodhi. He's back to feeling like himself, but he can't put any weight on his left rear leg and I'm trying to keep him from injuring the other one.

We go back to the vet next Thursday for some x-rays, then likely a referral to an animal surgical hospital for a repair. I'm told the surgical outcome is likely favorable, and he'll be able to make it up and down the stairs on his own once it's healed. I've been told to expect about an eight week recovery.

In the mean time, I hope to get back into my condo by building some kind of hoist for him. I've purchased a harness that people use to haul dogs up and down rock faces while rock climbing. I've been doing some drawings and I think I can put something together with 2x6 lumber and a 12v winch. I can't mount anything permanently to the exterior of the condo, so this thing will be mounted on wheels, and able to be unbolted and disassembled after he recovers. I'll likely need it again in a few years when he gets too old to make it up and down the stairs.

One of the modest benefits of my current dilemma is that it has taken me out of my comfort zone. My girlfriend has a lovely new townhome, but it's not my place. Nothing is where I would have put it, so I'm always fumbling around trying to find things. Things I use all the time in my place are in easy reach, not so much here. She has Comcast basic internet access, which is theoretically 5Mbps. In reality, it's like dial-up. Seriously, it's incredibly slow. I've even been on the phone with Comcast trying to fix it and nothing's worked. That should be plenty of bandwidth for streaming video, but we struggle now with my computer on the network and trying to watch HBO Go.

And forget about iCloud Photos! If I go out and shoot a couple of dozen pictures, it takes all night to upload them to the cloud. I shot over 400 on the fourth of July and took them home to my iMac to upload to the cloud. That was over a day ago, and they're still not all showing up in Photos on my MacBook Pro here. I get 77Mbps downstream, 12Mbps upstream at home, and this situation is just unworkable here.

I'm looking after my two granddaughters this week, so I figure I'll start fabricating the hoist a week from today. Hopefully by the time we get back from the next vet visit, I'll have something working.

But being out of my comfort zone has made me appreciate where I live and how much I value Bodhi's companionship. I can grab a camera and go out and take a walk here, but it's all new construction and there's very little of any real interest to shoot. I don't see any of my neighbors I'm accustomed to seeing while walking Bodhi at home. My girlfriend isn't fond of my extra-firm mattress (think "sleeping on the floor" firm), but my back is missing it terribly. I can run here, but I run before dawn and now I have to try not to wake my girlfriend who works and doesn't sleep well due to the complications from her injury. A1A is not an ideal "scenic highway" (at least where I live), but it's better than this suburban sprawl freeway my girlfriend's development is located on.

I often get frustrated with my condo, and dealing with association business; but right now all I feel is, "There's no place like home."