#fiercelyhappy Archive

Giving New Life to Old Projects

Posted February 25, 2021 By kmarrs

As you may know, I wrote a memoir about 6 years ago. However, I’m far enough out from the project that I know I could have done better. Like better editing for one.

Anyway, I paid the editors that my friend Joy Demora works with (read her book!) to give it a read to see if I had, I don’t know, I guess solid bones. Did I have a book worth spending hundreds of dollars and hours to edit was the question?

Turns out I in fact do!

My initial book is too ambitious trying to be like 3 things at once and that is not working. But they like my voice and they suggested a focus that will potentially sell.

So I’m going to spend the next year or so in rewrites with that focus in mind and resubmit my book to them and get started on editing with my tax return that I’ll see next year.

I have a lot of work to do but I feel confident that I have a story worth telling and the voice needed to tell it. I feel really good about this.

In related news, I also have a children’s picture book I released around that time that is currently undergoing a major art overhaul featuring the art of my good friend @ain-individual. I have seen sketches and concept work and am really excited for this project! I’m not sure when that book will be re-released into the wild as art takes time and 2020 was shit so it’s only recently been kicked into gear but it’s cute and I’m excited to share it when it’s done!

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Piecing Myself Back Together

Posted February 12, 2021 By kmarrs

This is late because I failed to write a post on Wednesday to schedule for the usual time Thursday, but I’m just going to let that be ok.

Physically I’m on the mend. I got an iron infusion on Wednesday so here soon I should have some blood. I already have more than I did when I went to the ER a couple of weeks ago. Not a lot more, but when I got labs done right before the infusion, I was up a tenth of a point. This means the mass amounts of B12 I’m taking is actually working. There was just no recovering from Covid without an infusion, no matter how much B12 I take.

Ziggy is doing better. We have hired a trainer to give him 4 private lessons. As of this point, he’s just had his third lesson, and while he still has work to do, he’s come a long way. He’s 95% stopped being aggressive and we’ve had the start of a breakthrough with the chewing on people to play and show affection. Again, we have work to do still, but I feel hope.

We had a setback for a couple of weeks there where despite taking him out hourly he was peeing in the house. But it didn’t seem to me like he was marking. It seemed like he legit had to pee all the time and couldn’t hold it any longer so he’d just stop what he was doing and pee where he was. So I took him to the vet so they could check for a UTI. While his pee looked clear and healthy, there was noticeable swelling still from when he was neutered a few weeks prior, so the vet went ahead and put him on antibiotics. And within a day he stopped peeing all over my house. After a week of taking him out hourly, and him not having accidents, we pushed things back to where we were taking him out every 90 minutes, and still, he wasn’t having accidents. We’re now on the first day of taking him out every 2 hours. Here in a handful of days, if he still isn’t peeing all over my house, we’ll inch it back to every 2.5 hours. Eventually, we’ll get to where he can go 6-8 hours without being taken out. I know it’s possible because he can make it overnight as long as he’s taken out at 9 pm and again at 7:30 am. That’s a long stretch and he does it well. I am taking it slowly during the day though because while he’s a dog and doesn’t notice the difference between 90 minutes and a full 2 hours, he will notice the difference if we jump from, let’s say, every 2 hours to 4. I need him to have faith that we are aware he needs to potty regularly and we’re never going to fail to take him outside to do so.

I don’t think his previous owner was as thoughtful. While Ziggy is obviously housebroken, I don’t think he spent his first year of life in a loving and thoughtful environment. If he had, they would have trained him. I think they just bought a dog expecting it to be easy and then when they didn’t train Ziggy became a handful, and then when he was a handful he was abandoned. Now we have an energetic untrained dog with separation anxiety.

So we’re doing what should have happened a year ago. We’re loving him. We’re training him. We’re using positive reinforcement. He’s a good boy and we’re helping him be his best self.

Finally, a story to tie the physical health beginning of this post to the Ziggins update.

Ziggy tends to his momma at night when she’s going to bed. Her anxiety is at it’s worse then and he helps comfort her. But Zigs is aware that I’m not well and he’s very fussy about me. Anyway, when I got home from my iron infusion on Wednesday I sat down on the sofa with him and Sammy and I must have smelled different with that much pure iron coursing through me because he thoroughly smelled me all over investigating the difference. He’s a good boy and will make a good ESA.

Have a happy dog cuddling his grandmother.
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Zachary

Posted January 21, 2021 By kmarrs

Meet Zachary! He’s high strung and mouthy but he’ll settle in. Need to train him out of chewing on people as a sign of affection. But it is affection and not aggression. So we’ll work with him.

So Zachy is a year old pretty much exactly. And whomever he lived with before did like zero training during the crucial training time.

He likes to chew on hands and arms to play and I need to break him of that. We’re responding like a hurt dog would, crying out in pain and going limp in the arm and it sometimes works. We’re also distracting with his favorite toy. But with the idea that he needs to play with people, we’re also teaching him fetch as a safe outlet for play with humans and a release of energy.

He is a chewer in general. We’ll work on that next. For now certain bedrooms are off limits and Sammy’s lovies are living on the top bunk.

He’s also having accidents inside. Of both types. He’s being taken out every 3 hours almost around the clock but we need to step it up to every hour or 2 as long as someone is awake. We’ll also start dispensing treats and praise when he goes outside. And shame him when he has an accident inside.

Then of course we’ll work on basic commands. I think I’m going to enroll him in obedience school. I was planning to train him at home, but I think we might need help. The catch is everything is closed because of covid. So we’ll work with him in the meantime and see what happens. I’d just really like him to learn leash manners and recall so the 9yo can walk him solo. That is a ways off but it’s a goal for the future.

We took on a challenge of a dog with special needs and I had an idea of that going into it. He’s a good dog and he means well, he just had bad humans before. I refuse to fault him for that even as I strive to correct him and train him. He’ll be a fine ESA dog with some work. He’s already made Sammy happier. So the future is bright.

I figure most the people in this house have special needs of one type or another. We all need a little extra help and love. So I have love and patience for a good dog that needs extra care. It’ll pay off in the end.

It’s like… ok…

My 13yo chews to stim. He used to chew on charging cords cuz good stim texture. Drove me crazy. But I discovered stim chews necklaces and keep him supplied (his current one is shaped like a sloth. Sloths are his current Special Interest.) and as a result he’s stopped chewing charging cords.

So I’m going to directly compare to the dog that chews. We’ll teach him not to chew humans and other things and we’ll keep him supplied in his favorite chew toy, and it’ll work out.

Both autistic kids and poorly trained dogs, while not generally comparable, do require extra patience and consideration as to how you can meet their needs safely. In this, there is no difference.

Please know 2 things.

1. I would not trade my 13yo for anything.

2. Unless this dog becomes aggressive and my kids are in danger, I will lovingly teach him better habits. And would not trade him for anything.

I love with my whole heart and unconditionally.

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Serotonin Boost

Posted January 14, 2021 By kmarrs

Sammy is majorly obsessed with snails. Just really seriously obsessed with snails. She is a Weird Girl with a capital W and I love that for her. Also, I have a local friend who breeds snails, among other things. So for a very small amount of money I was able to hook Sammy up with a couple of snails and an enclosure. Sammy had a serotonin boost this week that’s for sure!

(I gave them too much food. I’m still learning how much they eat. Don’t @ me with how much food is in there. When it starts to go bad I’ll pull what’s left out and give them fresh food but less.)

There are 3 of them in there. 2 adults and an adolescent. They are good little buggers. I’m rather fond of them myself.

Sammy spent the first couple of days terrified she’d do something wrong and kill them. Especially when they stopped moving long enough to sleep. But she’s mostly worked through that anxiety now and is really enjoying having them.

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New Car

Posted December 31, 2020 By kmarrs

In lovely news, I have a new car. Car insurance paid for about a third of it. My parents paid for the rest. She is a 2014 Ford C-Max Hybrid SEL. My favorite part is that she is Bluetooth compatible so I can play my phone music through the car speakers. I’ve been wanting to be able to do that for a long time. She has fancy things like a push-button ignition and seat warmers and that is all lovely. But really, she gets me where I need to go, plays my music, and isn’t at risk of falling apart on me. So I’m over the moon.

Isn’t she pretty? I haven’t named her yet. I’ve had her for a few weeks at this point, but I immediately got Covid so I have barely driven her. Since she’s a C-Max I almost want to name her Max, but that’s my name and I don’t feel like sharing it.

Hmm. Actually. She’s an SEL. Maybe Selina?

Anyway, the Matrix that died in the accident was old and needed replaced. I wish I too hadn’t almost died in the process. I would have liked to have taken it out back and shot it when I was damn well ready. But it was nice to have insurance money to put towards this one. I got about 2.7k. So silver linings, I guess.

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Toby

Posted October 8, 2020 By kmarrs

I work evenings now. I’m usually gone when Sammy goes to bed. Which wouldn’t be a problem, if Sammy didn’t have crippling anxiety.

Unfortunately, Sammy does have crippling anxiety, with a side of depression. The worst of it is at bedtime.

One night I was lamenting that I would give anything for Sammy to have a dog that could go to bed with her every night. A furry friend that Sammy could find comfort in when I’m not there. I’d train the dog that Sammy was his human and he could help her not be scared.

The catch is, our rent goes up a couple of hundred dollars and we’d need to pay a hefty security deposit if we got a dog. And while we could mostly afford the basics of dog ownership, we can not afford extra rent.

Then my best friend suggested an ESA dog and it’s like suddenly the skies had cleared. ESA dogs and their disabled humans are a protected class and legally our landlord can not charge us extra rent or a security deposit for one. And Sammy is in for real, legitimate need.

I spoke to Sammy’s therapist, and she is in huge support of the idea. She’s looking into what she needs to do on her end, then she’s going to write a letter that basically prescribes Sammy with an ESA. We’ll take that letter and a print out of the law to our landlord and have them add that to our file.

Then we’re going to go to the shelter and find a pitbull or pitbull mix that responds to Sammy as the sad puppy she is. Pitbulls make excellent ESA dogs.

Together we’ll train him with the standard set of obedience commands like sit and stay. I’ll also train him to sleep in Sammy’s room at night. Since he won’t be going to the grocery store or other errands, the basic discipline commands are all he really needs. I’ll also train him on how to be walked by the 9yo, who isn’t very strong. We’ll walk her together right now, but as she gets older I want her to be able to take her dog around the neighborhood by herself, without the dog pulling on the leash.

I told Sammy about the decision a few days after I made it. She’s in research mode very concerned with learning how to train, the best food options, the best dog beds and toys, and “we’re going to get the dog chipped, right mom?”

It took her all of 24 hours to name the dog we don’t have and that we’ve never met. I campaigned for Ativan since the dog would be helping her with Anxiety. She considered it but eventually settled on Toby. Her only concern was the Toby was a boy’s name and the dog might be a girl. I pointed out dogs don’t have a gender and that blew her mind but settled the problem.

We’ll welcome Toby into our life within the next 6 months.

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