Sugars

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All My Children (A graphically violent bit of writing therapy)

Published September 29, 2013 by Carmen Lamiarum

I was going to write a blog about week two of having the gliders, and Ayla’s escape last night. (Lucca distracted us after playtime last night and Ayla snuck out and downstairs into the man cave. Fortunately, she came right to us when we caught up to her.) But now I want to write about something else. I’ll put this in the gliders section because it’s applies to them, and because I don’t have a section for Laci and Griffin (my two dogs, if you didn’t already know). Bear with me though…even as I write this, I don’t know what it is I want to say exactly. I don’t know what my message is, or if I even have one.

Over the last couple of days, I have been spending my time watching videos on a site called http://www.upworthy.com. I don’t really know why. Maybe subconsciously I just needed something to feel good about. I’m not feeling well this weekend, and so it’s been a pretty good distraction so far. It’s at least gotten me hooked on a book about the introvert/extrovert spectrum and something called The Extrovert Ideal, which has made me think a lot, and left me feeling a little frustrated. Anyway, the book is by Susan Cain, and it’s called Quiet. I haven’t finished it yet, but I already recommend it, and might make a post about it after I’m done reading.

I saw Patrick Stewart lose his cool over the mere idea of a man ever putting his hands on a woman in a violent way. I already love Patrick Stewart, and that just made me love him more.

I also saw countless videos of people helping the homeless, rehabilitating victims of sex trafficking, infecting strangers with laughter, and in general just bringing goodness into the world in unique and creative ways. I’ve been stuck on the community and inspirational sections for two days.

Then today, I saw something that, to me, was the total opposite of “upworthy”. And it’s really shaken me. It was so completely horrific that I’m not going to post the video here. I don’t want it on my blog. If you wanna see it yourself, go find it on upworthy. But essentially what happened was this:

A group of people were standing on the street outside a crime scene, video taping all the police cars and SWAT trucks. There was a guy who was just a little bit closer than everyone else, so you could see him being video taped as well. He was just standing on the sidewalk, next to his parked car, with his cell phone in one hand, and his dog’s leash in the other. Like everyone else, he was filming whatever was going on. Down the sidewalk from him were two cops, kinda keeping all the spectators in their peripherals. I guess the cops eventually decided that the guy with the dog was too close to the scene and told him to stop recording and leave. The guy didn’t do ANYTHING confrontational. He put his phone in his pocket, walked back to his car, put his dog inside, and prepared to get in himself. And here is where my spouse and I differ. My partner says everything that followed was the guys fault for opening his mouth/daring to challenge authority. Had it been me though (I guess because I’m naturally argumentative) I would have done precisely what this guy did.

He said, “Isn’t this some violation of my civil rights?” That’s it. He didn’t walk toward the cops. He didn’t present any threat to anybody. He was getting in his car as he said it. But the cops turned to him, walked down the sidewalk, and instantly arrested him. For asking a question. All the while, his dog was in the backseat of the car, barking. I noted that it seemed like these two cops were being unnecessarily rough with this guy, but that thought soon left my mind when the dog jumped out the window of the car and ran over to it’s owner. And one of the cops shot it.

This wasn’t like “blamo, you’re dead”, either. This cop shot the dog four or five times. AND IT DIDN’T DIE!!! The poor thing was there, writhing and bleeding to death in the street. Convulsing in agony. Of course his owner was screaming in horror. And the cops just…stood there. They watched, and worse, forced the dog’s owner to watch it die. Everyone. They all just watched.

I don’t even know what to say. People are homeless, children are dying, wars are raging…but this just fucked me up.

I don’t have children. Or rather…I don’t have human children. Maybe it’s stupid to some of you, but Laci and Griffin ARE my children. Ayla and Lucca are too. I’d do anything to keep them healthy, happy, and protected. After I watched this horrible clip, I just sat here, asking myself if I’d be willing to die for one of my dogs. And the answer is yes. I love them that much.

I’m so angered by what I saw. And so heartbroken by it. And in writing all of this out, and seeing it again in my mind…after comparing it to all the other positive things I’ve seen on this (typically) awesome and positive upworthy site, I finally know how to react. I’m going to get off this stupid computer, stop watching a bunch of strangers make a bunch of other strangers happy, and focus on making my own house a happier place. Time to spend a little time with my partner and my “kids”.

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It’s Here!

Published September 27, 2013 by Carmen Lamiarum

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Check it out! Fantastic, right? I ordered it off Ebay. Don’t worry, it’s double lined so no threads are inside the pouch itself. I love it! It’s going to become their primary bonding pouch, after I wash it. It kinda smells like smoke. 😦

Other than that, not much to report really. The girls are taking their medicine just fine, and Ayla has discovered the joys of hoodies. I wore mine in to playtime and she went straight into my hood, and just sat there, peeking out at Lucca. Guess I’ll start wearing them more often now.

Videos and Vet Visits

Published September 24, 2013 by Carmen Lamiarum

Well, let’s start off with the video, shall we? A couple people have asked me what exactly Lucca and Ayla sound like when they’re barking. After a few attempts, we finally managed to catch Ayla in the act. The video isn’t too long and the quality isn’t the best, but you can clearly see and hear her bark. Enjoy.

The girls also went to the vet today. I’m trying hard to see the positives, but it really didn’t go too well. I mean…all in all, they’re healthy. But they aren’t very well behaved just yet…especially Ayla. It took a good ten minutes and three people just to get her into the vets hands and out of my jacket. Then she bit the shit out of the vet, crabbed her little head off, and skunked everywhere. She was so noisy that the vet was having a hard time hearing her heartbeat and breathing. But eventually she did manage to get it checked out. Lucca was a little crabby, but was actually better behaved. I mean, I guess that makes sense, given that she’s the more outgoing and curious one.

The result is that they’re both pretty healthy. Ayla weighs 54 grams and Lucca is 65 grams. Their heart rate and breathing are normal. Their claws aren’t in need of trimming yet…the only problem we caught was with the fecal smear. It appears that both of them have a few flagella that need to be treated. We have a bottle of Metronidazole that we’ll have to give them via dropper for the next ten days, then take them back to the vet in two weeks. In the meantime, we just have to keep an eye on the dogs to make sure they don’t catch whatever it is the babies have.

Right now they’re back in their mansion, asleep. We didn’t keep them in the bonding pouch during our errand running like we typically do. We figured they had enough stress this morning, so we brought them straight home. We’ll also be extending playtime tonight, in the hopes that their eventful morning wasn’t a step backwards in the bonding process.

Lucca’s Adventure

Published September 23, 2013 by Carmen Lamiarum

Well it happened again. Lucca and Ayla spilled their bowl of veggies onto the floor. And of course, we were down in the office and heard “CRASH!!!…….bark…bark…bark” So we trudge up the stairs, fully aware of what’s going on this time. And again, both of the girls were hiding behind their wheel, barking for us to clean up their mess. We weren’t mad or anything. We just cleaned it up, gave them a fresh bowl of food, and moved it to where they couldn’t spill it again. No worries. So after a few minutes of petting, talking, and general reassuring, we let them be to finish off their new bowl of food. Went back downstairs to work on another cage set for them and watch a movie.

We didn’t hear them barking anymore. Maybe they stopped or maybe the movie was too loud. Either way, we hadn’t heard a peep…until the movie was over.

“Is Ayla still barking up there?”

“Sounds like it.”

“She didn’t bark that long last night. I’ll go check on them.”

“I’ll come with you.”

So we go back up the stairs to the mini mansion, and Ayla is behind her Wodent wheel, just barking her little head off. And Lucca is just…gone. Vanished. Missing completely.

Panic ensues.

“How could she have gotten out?”

“I don’t know, but watch where you step and don’t sit on any of the furniture until we find her.”

“Do you think she’s in the couch?”

“I don’t know. Check under the rubber mat first. Maybe she’s under there.”

It went on like this for a couple minutes. Both of us looking, walking slowly so that we don’t scare her, wherever she might be. Thinking about where she could have gone. We’d have heard the dogs freak out if they had found her, so I had every confidence she wasn’t hurt somewhere. But could she have gone upstairs into the hallway? Or downstairs into the man cave? Focus. Search the main floor first.

Then I heard it. In the dining room. Lucca scratching behind the folded up treadmill. Well, at least we found her. Now how to get her back?

As I pointed to where she was, my spouse walked over with the pouch, and Lucca dashed off…into the bookshelves. Thank goodness they have built in backs. My partner got on his hands and knees, and we both started talking to her sweetly and quietly as he inched closer. When he was close enough, he held out his hand, and…she jumped right into it. He held her over her bonding pouch and she crawled straight in with zero fuss.

Turns out that when my spouse had pulled out the tray earlier today to clean it, he put it back in upside down, which created a small gap between the floor and the back wall. That’s the ONLY way she could have gotten out. So we turned it right side up, and zip tied it to the back wall just to be on the safe side.

Ayla stopped barking and is super happy to have her sister back. I feel so bad that I wasn’t paying enough attention to her noises, but I’m really glad that she knows to let us know when something is wrong. My smart girl!

I’m still in full on panic mode, so I’ve been writing all this to try and calm down a little bit. I think it’s time to get to work on their condos, one for down in the office, and one in the bedroom. That way they can be on whichever floor we’re on. I’ll also be sketching out a new design for the mini mansion floor so that this doesn’t happen again.

Day 7: The Good With The Bad

Published September 22, 2013 by Carmen Lamiarum

Well today was full of ups and downs as far as Lucca and Ayla are concerned. But all in all, I can’t say it was necessarily a bad day or anything.

Prime example: This afternoon (morning, for us), we awoke to find a package in the mail. I was a custom pouch that I had ordered for the girls. Black with grey skulls on it. I had only ordered it a few days ago, so I was impressed by how fast it arrived. Free shipping, too. Whoo! I checked it all over, just to make sure there weren’t any exposed seams that the babies could get wrapped around their teeny toes. Nothing was wrong with it. Great craftsmanship. But included in the pouch was a pamphlet/brocure for Jesus. I don’t know why (maybe cause of the skulls?) but this particular vendor saw fit to send me reading material on Christ. Which was pretty irritating. So like I said, nothing BAD per se, just…a “negative” in my book.

Another one: The girls were SO well behaved during the day today. They were still asleep when we woke up, and although they peeped up at me for a moment, both Ayla and Lucca seemed perfectly fine with me scooping them up out of the mini mansion and into their bonding pouch. Not a single crab or nip or anything. And they stayed like that in the pouch all afternoon. Perfect little angels…until we got to O’Charley’s for breakfast, and one of them (I’m guessing Lucca) decided to make peepee in the pouch…while I was eating. Of course, you can’t potty train them, so it’s totally not her fault. Just another slight negative.

One more: We hit what I believe to be a wonderous milestone today. After my partner and I got off work, we were sitting in the bedroom with the door open, eating our dinner and watching a movie. Suddenly, we heard a loud crash. My spouse rushed downstairs to find that one of the girls had spilled their bowl of HPW off the lower ledge and onto the floor. Bowl didn’t break or anything, but the loud noise certainly scared them both. So much so, that they both hid behind their Wodent Wheel, and wouldn’t come out for playtime tonight. That’s the negative part. The super awesome milestone part, is that we heard them barking for the first time. As soon as my partner came back upstairs, they both started calling for him to come back. For about 15 minutes, they just barked and barked and barked. But of course, the sound is just too damn adorable for either of us to be annoyed by it. Instead, we turned down the volume on the TV and just listened to them while we polished off our own dinner. But like I said, when we came back down after dinner to take them to the bathroom, they were having none of it. After about 10 minuted of coaxing, we opted to just give them their nightly piece of dried pineapple and leave them be for tonight. Tomorrow we both have off work, so we’ll be able to extend playtime to make up for it.

Speaking of playtime, my last post was right before playtime yesterday, so I didn’t get to share the little piece of kick ass that happened to occur during. Ayla climbed into my hair! It was so cute, ad she just sat there watching Lucca climb in and out of the bathtub for about five minutes. Honestly, with Ayla being the shy one, I figured it’d be a couple weeks at best before she was willing to sit on my head. But I guess I was wrong.

Anyway, I think that’s everything for today. We’ve officially had the girls for a week now, and I have to say that they’ve been amazing so far. Not only do we love them like crazy, but they’re really spoiling us on this whole bonding process. So far, it’s been a breeze. Of course, with my luck, our third (Shhh…I plan to BEG my partner for a leucistic or cremino for Christmas)will be a nightmare. lol.

Day 6: Introducing The Wheel

Published September 21, 2013 by Carmen Lamiarum

Well, I just got home from work about half an hour ago. (Forgot to clock out AGAIN! Dammit!) First thing I did after kicking off my shoes and dropping all my stuff on the couch was to scarf a sub sammich as fast as I could. Then I bolted upstairs to check on the babies. Their Wodent Wheel came in today (black with a red track, to match the rest of their furniture) and my partner and I had installed it while the girls were still asleep. So I wanted to see what they thought of it. They LOVE it! Ayla’s just a-running and a a-running in the damn thing. (Doesn’t squeak like I thought it would, either.) Lucca tried to get in, but Ayla was going too fast, and it wasn’t gonna happen. She’s hogging all the fun.

However, Lucca’s started doing something interesting. Every single time I put my hand against the mesh, she jumps to it. Ayla does too, but only about 1/3 of the time. I stood there for about ten minutes, just moving my hand to different parts of the mini-mansion, and Lucca kept following me. It was so awesome.

I really think that while we’re both going to be as bonded as we can be with these little ones, that Lucca will be my spouse’s baby, and Ayla will be mine. I have more patience with Ayla, and can relate to her shyness. As for Lucca, she immediately wants to be all over my partner the second he opens the mansion door. I mean, she’ll jump to me too, but it’s clear that it’s him she wants.

I also scheduled a vet visit for the girls today. GiderCENTRAL only had one exotics vet listed in their database in my city. But when I looked up that clinic, I found one terrible review after the other. So I decided to call the clinic where we take Laci and Griffin and see if any of the vets there had experience with sugars, or would like to learn. Fortunately, they DO have an exotics vet, although she deals mainly in birds. I was told she has experience with gliders though, so I booked an appointment for Tuesday at 1PM. While both Ayla and Lucca seem to be doing exceptionally well with the lights dimmed/off, I would just feel better knowing they had been checked out.

In other news, I’m starting to compile a little “How To Guide” on caring for Ayla and Lucca (specifically). That way, should they ever need to see a different vet (or if we leave them with my in-laws/a sitter), they’ll know exactly how to tell them apart, the differences in their temperament, what to feed them, indications of illness, etc. Plus, I think it’d be fun to compile everything I’ve learned about them so far. 🙂

Well…I need to clean Opal’s tank, and then I’m going to nap for an hour before my partner comes home from work. After that, it’s dinner time, then playtime, then bed…sweet, wonderful bed…

Day 5 1/2: There’s Always A Chance I’m An Idiot

Published September 20, 2013 by Carmen Lamiarum

Or if not, at least extremely gullible.

This blog post is dedicated to my wonderful spouse, who did the right thing by not listening to my “superior” knowledge.

After I wrote my last post, I went to check on Ayla again. My heart was just breaking for her, and I was reading all the threads of the emergency forum, wondering if I needed to call the vet’s 24 hour red alert line. My concern was turning to panic when I saw that she still hadn’t moved from her corner. Would my sweet little angel still be here when I woke up? Would I be able to get her to the vet in time? Isn’t there someone out there who could help us at 4AM?

I looked over at my partner.

“Tell me I’m just being paranoid. Do you think I should call the red alert line?”

“You’re just being paranoid. We’ll take her to the vet first thing tomorrow. She’ll be alright.”

With a heavy heart, I trudged back down the stairs and into the office to read more horror stories.

My spouse followed shortly after, and we sat here at our desks in silence for awhile.

After about half an hour, my partner went back upstairs, I assumed to grab another drink or use the restroom. Honestly, I only vaguely noticed his absence, as I was still pretty upset and distracted.

Then, from behind me, I heard, “I KNEW you were wrong! I just KNEW it!”

“Huh? What was I wrong about?”

“I fixed everything. Ayla’s just fine.”

“Really?! What did you do?!”

“I turned off the light.”

I raced upstairs, and sure enough, both Ayla AND Lucca are going nuts in their mini mansion. Every time we get close to the mesh, Lucca tries to face hug us. And Ayla is having an absolute blast, jumping back and forth between her trampoline and her doughnut swing. They’re both happy as clams, and going absolutely batshit crazy. Ayla’s even taunting Griffin, making her whine and yip. It’s like night and day, if you’ll excuse the pun.

So why was the light on? Of course they’re nocturnal, so it’d make sense to leave the light off. Duh, right? Well…I read on the web that although they’re nocturnal and light sensitive, a ceiling light really wasn’t bright enough to hurt their eyes or affect their behavior. Obviously that was a crock of shit. The light being on was bothering her so much that I had myself convinced my baby was dying. It was apparently bothering Lucca too. As hyper as she was before? Yeah, triple that now.

So from now on, we’re leaving the far side kitchen light on, and the downstairs hallway light on, so it’s just light enough to be able to see them, but not bright enough for them to notice it really. The living room light will be staying off. We’re still going to call the vet for an appointment tomorrow, because they really should have a general checkup. But at this point, I think the only thing affecting my little baby was my own stupidity.

Thanks, Spouse, for ignoring me on this one. Lesson learned. I’ll go with my gut from now on, and not just on what others tell me.