May 21, 2004


The American expat meet-up last night turned out to be a lot of fun! It was a small crowd -- us, Dave and Frank, and three other people completely new to us, Neil, Bill, and Mark. It was a little hard finding the group at first -- there were no tables were obvious signs or banners, and the meetup directions were a little vague ("meet at the entrance"). But Shelby and I ran into Dave and Frank, and our group of people obviously looking for something was then big and noticeable enough that Mark came over and asked if we were looking for the expat meetup. (Unfortunately, somebody else wasn't so lucky -- later a waiter came over and asked us if we were the American group, and then told us that a woman had spent a while looking for us, but she had just given up and left a few minutes ago!)

Everyone was friendly and talkative, with a wide range of interests, and everybody liked being in Germany -- a relief, since the few expats I'd met during my last stay in Hamburg seemed rather bitter about the whole thing and what seemed like a nice meeting quickly degenerated into nothing but a complaint-fest. Shelby and I were the "short-termers" of the group -- Mark had been living in Hamburg for four years (finding a German girlfriend will do that to you), and while nobody else had been there that long, they were planning long stays, ranging from eighteen months to indefinite. Towards the end of the evening, the conversation turned to television, and I gave silent thanks that we hadn't become addicted to any particular American program, because everyone else had expensive or convoluted strategies for staying current, from buying pay-per-view satellite subscriptions or DVD boxed sets to having relatives tape and ship the latest episodes as soon as they aired. (We'll just be happy if HBO ever gets around to putting out the second and third seasons of Six Feet Under on DVD, so that we can get them through Netflix after we come back to the States ...)

Things broke up around 10:30 PM, and we all went away with good wishes, swearing to meet up again sometime soon.

This morning was Scout's second vet appointment. Dr. Bielan and his assistant seemed pleased by her rapid progress -- they had her walk around the room a couple of times so they could study her gait, then they had her up on the table so that they could palpitate up and down her spine, and rotate each of her back legs through its full range of motion. She still twitched a little bit when Dr. Bielan reached the injured point on her back, but her motor response was that of a dog on the mend, rather than indicating a more serious spine injury. She got two more injections, and directions to come back on Tuesday for one final round of inspections and medicine. She got her mobility upgraded, too -- now she can go for light walks ("just don't go taking her out for any hour-long walks yet"), but still no climbing stairs or jumping on the sofa.

This morning the vet's office was busy, so we had to wait a while -- ahead of us we had a Border Collie (who had muddy paws from going walking in the lake this morning) and what we call a "Deagle", a Dachshund/Beagle mix. Coming after us was Daisy, a 13-year-old Chihuahua with back problems and some eating issues (she looked like a little beer keg on legs; her owner was very chatty -- once I divulged Scout's recent back injury, she saw us as kindred spirits) and a cat in a carrier, miaowing in distress at being the only cat stuck in a room full of dogs. The poor very elderly Deagle wasn't doing well at all; he came into the waiting room and flopped on his side, the same position that Scout uses when she wants us to scratch her tummy -- how cuuuute!, I thought for the briefest moment -- but he then gave out a set of loud unearthly tortured howls and threw up, proceeding to lay with his head in his own vomit, panting heavily, until his owners moved him and tried to clean things up. Judging from the amount of time they spent in the treatment room and the owners' glum faces on their way out the door, I don't think that they got good news.

Posted by Kevin at May 21, 2004 01:19 PM

The poor Deagle just breaks my heart :(.

Posted by: Shelby at May 21, 2004 05:15 PM
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