Sunday, December 30, 2007

VPI Comes Through Again.... NOT!

Remember this post, entitled "Very Poor Insurance" about VPI aka Veterinary Pet Insurance?

Well.... I just got the "benefit check" (a greater oxymoron I can't think of at the moment) for Kelso's recent hospitalization. The total bill was about $3200. The "benefit" was $322. I kid you not. They paid TEN PERCENT of the bill.

So, for those of you wondering whether pet insurance is worth it, and I even get a discount on my premiums through my company, my answer would be a resounding NO. I'd be better off throwing $100 a month into a medical fund for Kelso and using that when he has vet bills.

I'll be cancelling my policy on the next business day.


Update: When I examined the EOB, it showed that the treatment for "soft tissue trauma" cost $2900 and change, and for that item I was reimbursed $95. Seriously. So I called VPI and she said that the description wasn't detailed enough and that the vet should fax all of the treatment records. If it shows that Kelso has "disc disease" they will pay more. How the hell is anyone supposed to know that?

Quit Smoking in 2008 - For Your Children

My 12-year-old son was asked to write a paragraph about an epiphany or life-changing moment for his Language Arts class last month. I came home to find him weeping at the keyboard as he wrote this (including the footnotes):

"I am pretty sure the biggest epiphany in my life was the death of my father(1) . Even though my dad had had lung cancer for a long time and had been in the hospital for about a month–and, a few days earlier, the doctor had told me and my mom that my father was definitely going to die¬–when my Uncle Scott told me my father had passed away, it was probably the most life-changing experience I had ever had (and probably ever will). The moment I first heard my uncle say my dad had passed, it was so hard for me that I burst into tears. When he was alive and well, he was so playful, funny, and friendly, and I loved him so much. The one thing, however, I didn’t like at all was that he smoked(2). He knew I didn’t like it, so he’d wait till I go to sleep, or I was at my mom’s (they had been divorced for 3 years), and then he would smoke. I would try to stop him by finding the cigarettes and destroying them, but he would just buy more. I knew his love for me and my mom was the greatest of mental powers inside him, but the nicotine addiction was close behind in 2nd place and gaining. Now, all I have are pictures and memories of my dad, and I wish and wish that I had more time to spend with him.

1-My father died on October 30, 2003, when I was 8.
2-He told me he didn’t want to smoke either. The addiction was just too powerful."

Thursday, December 27, 2007

A Christmas Miracle - 2007 Style

First, I hope everyone is having a lovely Kwanzmaskka. We've had a great week here at the Pantherhouse.

Now, to the Christmas Miracle of 2007. I have posted in the past about my penchant for extraordinary coincidences, and also about my sometimes uncanny streaks of luck.

Yesterday, the two collided.

I've been trying to buy my son a Wii for Christmas, which has proved to be impossible. I put a widget on my laptop which I checked every day to see if it had found anything on the web (aside from the insane moneygrubbers on Ebay who are getting twice the MSRP for the base unit), I've checked Amazon, Wal-Mart (ew), and all the other usual suspects with no success.

Since Lucas' birthday is January 8th, I resigned myself to attempting to get one after Christmas and having it be his 13th birthday special gift. Still, when I checked all the websites yesterday, no Wii to be found.

I got a call in the morning from my SO who needed to go to a mall near my house to buy a gift card, so off we went (against our better judgment) to fight the crowds. We got the card, left the mall, and headed to Sports Authority for another late xmas gift he needed to get. While there, he got a call on his cell from his daughter who needed a gift card from Victoria's Secret... requiring that we go BACK to the mall.

Having nothing special to do yesterday, we happily returned to the same mall and as we made our way to VS, passed a video game store. I suggested we see if they happened to have a Wii. As we entered, I heard a man asking the cashier something to which the kid replied, "No, we're sold out." I said "Oh, was he asking about the Wii?" and he said yes, but that they didn't have any and didn't know when they would be getting them in.

As we were leaving the store, SO pointed out that there was a sign on the register that read: "No Wii." Had I seen that, I never would have asked the question.

HOWEVER... I did ask. And a woman heard me ask. And she ran after us to say that she had just called Best Buy, about 10 miles away, and that they had gotten a shipment of 14 Wii's and were taking orders over the phone. Sure enough, I called them, they had 3 left and I was able to purchase it and pick it up within an hour.

Coincidence? Luck? Think about it. Had we not returned to the mall, had I not asked the clerk, had the woman not chased us down... never would have scored the Wii.
Since my son is off from school this week, I decided to give it to him early so he'd have lots of time to play. Needless to say, it was a HUGE hit. Check these out:

Monday, December 24, 2007

Don't Say I Never Gave You Anything for Christmas

Let's face it. Lots of people are blogging about Christmas. Some of these posts are interesting, funny and fun, and some are just the posting equivalent of fruitcakes. (Speaking of fruitcakes, in more ways than one, we've just done our annual viewing of Pee Wee's Playhouse Christmas Special. Hilarious.)

Anyhooo..... apologies to anyone who has written a brilliant Christmas post that I haven't read, but the one I have read and loved is Golfwidow's. She is one of the first bloggers I ever discovered, but for some reason I've not gone back and read her for some time.

Yesterday, she left a brilliant comment to my last post (if you haven't read it, scroll down and check out the comments section. But I warn you, it may make you head straight to the waterdish.)

So, that's my Christmas present to you. And other than that, I hope you have a wonderful Christmas, if you celebrate. And rather than hope you get something you really want, I hope you give something that gets THIS kind of a reaction:

Thursday, December 20, 2007

A Christmas Rebus



is not:

Thank you,
The Management

PS: You may recall we had this same conversation last year, about this:

Tuesday, December 11, 2007

Panthergirl's Picks of the Week

Business first: Thanks to all who voted for Kelso at Zazzafooky's Pet Photo Contest. He came in third! We'll get a lovely parting gift for that, so again...we thank you.

Many of you continue to shop at through our links -------->
(You won't notice anything different in your transaction. Amazon can just tell that you got there from here, and we'll get about 6% credit for what you buy.) We've raised about $60 so far, which is lovely. Someone suggested I post a "Donate" PayPal button but I cannot do that in good conscience. There are many needy people and causes who need your donations. We're just happy if you do your Amazon shopping here.

NOW.... to my picks.

In the past two weeks, I saw two films that couldn't be more different...but I loved both of them.

In theaters now is the Coen Brothers latest triumph, No Country for Old Men. Mesmerizing, unflinchingly violent and downright terrifying, this film had me crunched up in a ball in my seat (ok, it was freezing in the theater) watching most of it through my fingers. Javier Bardem makes Hannibal Lechter look like Misterogers. His hairdo alone will send shivers down your spine. (On IMDB, they quote him as saying "I won't get laid for two months" after he was given this bizarre 'do.)

You may (or may not) have heard that the ending is bad or unsatisfying but I disagree. It's a great "discussion" film because a lot of important things occur off-camera, leaving much to interpretation.


At the other end of the spectrum, although still containing a scary guy, is Waitress, the tiny but brilliant gem from the mind of Adrienne Shelly, the actress/director who was killed in NYC in 2006 by a handyman in her apartment. This film (on DVD now) is gorgeous and slightly surreal (the look of "Ugly Betty" and "Pushing Daisies" comes close), funny, sad, gut-wrenchingly romantic and frightening at times (Jeremy Sisto plays crazy as well as he did on "Six Feet Under"). Cheryl Hines and Adrienne herself are hilarious but it is Keri Russell who shines here. And what a delight to see Andy Griffith in a small but pivotal role. So sad that Adrienne didn't get to see her baby come to fruition. This film is a keeper.

Saturday, December 08, 2007

Who Are These People?

Have you ever received a car for Christmas? Have you ever GIVEN someone a car for Christmas? Was that car a brand-new Lexus, Mercedes, Cadillac or Jag-u-ar? Who the hell are these people, targeted by the luxury car companies in the month of December every freakin' year?

The whole concept is baffling to me. Maybe it shouldn't be, because when I sold cars for a very brief time (six weeks was all I could take before I felt my soul being sucked out of my body by Satan), the dealership told me to keep a big red bow in my bottom drawer. The theory was, if a guy came in to look at cars without his wife and then said he couldn't make a final decision without her, I was supposed to purr "Well..... If *I* were your wife.....::::bat bat::::.....NOTHING would make me happier than to be surprised with a new Jeep Cherokee....." and whip out the bow. (They also intimated that I should whip out other things if the sale became really a tough one, but that's fodder for a whole blog post.)

I don't know about you, but if my husband drove home with a $35,000 car (a Jeep Cherokee no less) without consulting me he'd get a punch in the nose and the big red bow would land where the sun don't shine.

Now, a Jag-u-ar at Christmastime might be another story...

Tuesday, December 04, 2007


My gorgeous boy is a finalist in Zazzafooky's pet photo contest. Please go and vote for Kelso!!

We'd love to win the drawing of our favorite needlenose. And Zazzafooky is a fun place to go, anyway.


>>Update: Kelso needs your votes and your Amazon orders. He is in pain tonight and couldn't make it up the condo stairs after our walk. Thankfully my knight in shining armor was here to help, and carried him up my stairs. I've given him some painkiller but will have to call the vet/surgeon tomorrow and see what they think needs to happen next. Please, please hope he does not need surgery.

Saturday, December 01, 2007

You Shouldn't Have... No, You REALLY Shouldn't Have

This month, I'm hoping to do more blogging than I've been doing. But I'm also going to re-edit and rerun some Christmas classics from the past. Re-enjoy. And shop Amazon ------------>

Every once in awhile you get a Christmas gift that really makes you wonder. Early in my marriage to Tony, we'd go to his parents' house every year for a huge Christmas Eve extravaganza. He had six brothers and sisters, all married with a billion kids, so for the adults we did the "Kris Kringle" routine (pick names out of a hat and only have to buy a present for that one person.)

This being Tony's family (all fabulously wealthy except for him), they'd set the spending limit at $50, but inevitably they'd "randomly" select each other and buy $500 leather jackets and the like. (Call me paranoid, but I also think they rigged the name-drawing.)

Part of the routine involved making a wishlist for your Kris Kringe to reference, so when I drew the name of a sister-in-law who wanted Calvin Klein Obsession and/or the related toiletries, I bought her a few of those items thinking I'd be safe with that. Instead, after the festive gift-giving orgy, I was cornered in a bedroom and told that she had seen the item on sale and thought I "cheated" and spent less than $50. Ho ho've gotta be fucking kidding me.

Somehow, every single year, a particularly loony sister-in-law would draw my name (see above suspicion about the rigged name selection). A crazy artist from Poland, she would give me the WORST GIFTS you've ever seen. The first year it was ginormous black "jewel" earrings, the kind you'd expect to see on Lucy Ricardo and no one else. The following year she gave me a huge homemade, super-fugly black dog sculpture (which we had to remember to drag out every time they'd come to visit). But by far, the most puzzling gift of all were these:

Now, I realize there's a big market for Doc Martens. And while I'm not particularly a huge Doc Marten fan, I am even LESS of a red patent leather Doc Marten fan. Is it just me, or do these look like they belong on a stick and eaten at the county fair? Who buys these (or any shoes for that matter) for someone they don't know very well? What goes on in the mind of a crazy woman who hands me these as though they were the Holy Grail? Worse yet, I couldn't even fake a good "Oh, you SHOULDN'T have!" She knew I meant it.

By far, though, the very worst present I ever got came from none other than my very own mother. She has a history of rotten gift giving (control top pantyhose when I weighed about 110 pounds, pens and paper that say "Seminole County Savings and Loan", you know...thoughtful things like that.) The best came a year that I was living in Manhattan by myself after my parents had moved to Florida. I was about 23 years old, perfectly happy and planning to enjoy the day having dinner with friends, when a large box arrived at my apartment. Inside was a note that said "Enjoy this Christmas Dinner", along with a box of Kraft Macaroni and Cheese, a can of tuna fish, a can of button mushrooms and a Duncan Hines chocolate cake mix.

I guess she didn't want me to miss out on one of her "gourmet" meals. And thankfully, I still had the control top pantyhose in case I packed on a couple of pounds after this feast!