A bit about us...

We are a modern family of three, living on less than two acres with a 3,000 square foot garden that meets our produce needs and allows us to share with friends and neighbors. Our laying flock of chickens seems to expand each year as we raise chicks each Spring to replace older hens. This blog is more of a journal, if you will, for us to chronicle and share our experiences in the yard, garden and kitchen. It is our hope that along the way a few folks might learn something, be entertained, or simply enjoy sharing in our stories and the lessons we learn on a daily basis. I named the blog after the times when I am the happiest, when I am elbow deep in earth.

Thursday, January 23, 2014

The $613.00 Chocolate Bar

While traveling in Texas last week, I stayed at the cutest little boutique hotel.  There weren't many decent choices for lodging, aside from pricey Bed and Breakfast spots. When I found The Hangar (check it out here), I was thrilled by the price and the World War two themed decor and overall style of the accommodations.

It's been built to look like an airplane hangar and is located at Gillespie County Airport, a quaint airstrip for small planes.

Folks fill The Hanger on the weekends (only 50 rooms total) and unique gatherings are held in their themed conference center and ballroom. For example, there was a gathering of Pearl Harbor survivors and Hugh Laurie (Dr. House) spent some time there filming once. It has an observation deck for watching planes and a super cool 40's Diner that serves only lunch.

I'm told Thursday through Saturday they have live music in the Captain's Lounge and that it is quite the soiree!

I had a hankering for a bite of chocolate as I settled into my room for the night, so I asked the desk clerk, Carol, where I could find the vending machines. She explained that because the hotel was kept as much in true "1940s" fashion, they didn't have any. I could walk over to the airport terminal and purchase one from a basket that was on the honor system (in the dark) if I wanted.  I passed.

I went up the pretty staircase to my room and put on my pajamas and turned on the television.  My phone rang a short while later. Carol had walked over to get me some chocolate and wanted to bring it up to me.

Being an absolutely amazing and sweet lady, she brought me this glorious snack (which hit the spot!).

I had the bite or two I so desired and wrapped it up in its wrapper. It came home with me and landed on the dining room table.

Let's skip to last night. The roads were atrocious, and our commute took more than two hours, after already leaving work late. Neither one of us wanted to cook, so we fed the dogs, took them out to do their business and headed out to our favorite local brewery, Original Gravity, for a brew and a bite to eat. When we leave for an hour or two, we don't kennel them every time, so they aren't caged any more than necessary. We have kenneled them during our work days to keep them safe from getting into anything they shouldn't.... *sigh*

We had a nice time and came home ready to hit our pillows about 10:15. We walked in, took off our coats and Shane headed to change into his pajamas. As I was thumbing through the mail I heard Mason, our 7lb Havanese rescue jump up on the couch. I turned around to tell him to get "OFF!" and noticed him standing over a wrapper of some kind. I went over to grab what I assumed to be a receipt or something, and found an empty Hershey bar wrapper. My heart sank.

I grabbed my phone and "Googled" the problem. I read enough to know that I needed to call the emergency vet clinic. They advised me to bring both dogs (Bitsy is a 15lb Pug/Corgi mix) immediately for treatment, since we couldn't be certain who ate it or if they both did.

Shane changed quickly while I rounded up the now shaking dogs and we rushed to the car. Since the roads were so bad, we were especially stressed about the drive. The clinic is easily 25 minutes from our house on a good day. Shane maneuvered the road like a champ. In the 11 miles of I-94 we traveled, we saw 4 major accidents and lots of evidence of spin-outs. It was dicey to say the least! Both dogs were shaking and stressed for the entirety of the trip, with Bitsy squealing and whining as a result of her anxiety. It is more than fair to say we were glad to see those friendly vet techs when we walked through their doors.

Having smelled chocolate on Mason, I told them I was sure he had eaten some. They treated him first. His vitals were already showing signs of the chocolate's toxicity, but the doctor was confident about his treatment. After inducing vomiting, they looked at his vitals again and decided he was not well enough to safely go home. After a check on Bitsy's vitals, they decided she hadn't eaten much, if any, and that there was likely little risk to her. Consequently, we did not need to worry/pay to have her treated. They asked for a deposit of half the total cost of treatment (half of the larger of two estimates) and then let us see where he would be for the night and how he was doing before we left.

The ride home was one of exhaustion and guilt. I brought that chocolate into the house and left it on the table. If he died, it would be all my fault....  I chase my family around and require small items, string and food items be carefully taken care of to avoid an animal accident on a daily basis. Who leaves the poison out for Mason to find? ME! :-(

Today, Shane picked up him. He looks good. He's got a little bandage where they had the IV, and some charcoal stains on his muzzle, but he is bright-eyed and happy to be home. We could not be more relieved.

Here's a count of some of our blessings in this little crisis:
1. He "pointed out" the wrapper, allowing us to take action in time to save him.
2. Bitsy didn't eat any and get sick as well.
3. We made it safely to the clinic, in time to help, in terrible weather conditions.
4. The cost was less than the estimate of $750.00.
5. Although it wiped out savings, we had the means to have him treated.
6. He's home and happy.

We will be monitoring VERY closely what is left everywhere in the house, including the dining room table (and pushing in chairs), even more than we already have been, because I never again want a $613.00 chocolate bar.

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