Forgive me if I’m not my jovial, funny self. My dog and I are on diets.

I knew I had to lose some pounds when I found the scale during my recent move, stepped on it and was shocked to see numbers I had previously seen only when I was pregnant. This time I didn’t have a baby to blame. Heck, I don’t even have any eggs left to blame.

It’s all me. All carbs. Bad carbs.

However, my German shepherd Chico, or as I like to call him a German shedder, doesn’t have carbs to blame. The only blame is on the hand that feeds him, and that hand is mine.

At a recent visit to the vet, the good Dr. Duncan said, “He could lose about 13 pounds,” as he looked directly at me. My immediate reaction was to suck my stomach in, followed by a very weak, "Really?"

“German shepherds have hip problems and carrying that extra weight isn’t good for them. Besides losing the weight, I’d also like to see him on a good glucosamine supplement. That will also help his hips.”

His words trailed off as I stood there, realizing my own right hip has been bothering me. On a recent trip to Florida, I had absentmindedly walked the beach for about 2½ miles before it dawned on me that I had to walk the 2½ miles back.

I was doing the Watusi in slow motion by the time I got to my lodging, where I immediately popped an Aleve and vowed never to walk again.

"Is this what my poor Chico is feeling?" I wondered as Dr. Duncan handed me samples of glucosamine for dogs.

Since that fateful day, he has been slowly weaned down to two cups of food a day and I have been weaned off carbs.

In all honesty, I’d rather eat the dog food.

Going carb-less is hard. Really hard.

There is actually a term for it: The Keto Flu. A pounding headache, fatigue, irritability. Fun times.

According to advocates for the ketogenic diet, reducing your carb intake forces your body to burn ketones for energy instead of glucose. Ketones are byproducts of fat breakdown and become the main fuel source when you are following the diet.

Healthline.com says, “This drastic reduction can come as a shock to the body and may cause withdrawal-like symptoms, similar to those experienced when weaning off an addictive substance.” There are 14 symptoms, so I should be thankful I only have three.

I don’t think the people around me would agree.

Especially the plumber who came to give me a quote on installing a gas line to my dryer and up to my stove, should I ever have the good fortune of replacing the Satan-designed glass cooktop that mocks me every time I use it.

“I can do it for $500,” he said.

"FIVE HUNDRED DOLLARS????" I shouted, surprised by own unrestrained reaction.

His eyelids fluttered, he looked back and forth and up to the ceiling before saying, “W-w-well, I could maybe do it for $350 but don’t hold me to it. We could run into a problem.”

And then I watched him run out the door.

He could run into a problem? HE could run into a problem?!? "You don’t know what a problem is, buddy," I yelled at the closed door. "A PROBLEM is when you put white pants and white shorts that you wanted to take to Florida into the dryer, and they come out with brown streaks!"

I had noticed brown streaks once before on my white sheets, but nobody would see those. However, brown stripes on the back of white pants and shorts is quite another story. Unless I wanted to make a T-shirt with “THESE BROWN STREAKS WERE MADE BY THE DRYER THE SELLERS LEFT IN THE BASEMENT” printed on the back, I could never wear them on my trip.

If I kept using that dryer, I could never wear white again.

All the while, my own loyal gas dryer sat unused 3 feet from the streak machine. I either had to get a gas line, or wear black for the rest of my life.

Days after the plumber incident, I was lamenting my situation as I watched two friends eat blueberry cobbler and ice cream when one of them said, “You need Plumber Jim. He can do it. He can do anything.” She might have even whispered “Cranky Pants” under her breath. I wouldn’t blame her if she did.

Brown streaks and celery sticks will do that to a woman.

The next day, when I talked to Plumber Jim, he said he would be out the following day to give me a quote and, if I liked it, he would do the job right then and there.

True to his word, Jim and Judy showed up the next day and told me they would do it for $200 plus materials.

Now I have my gas dryer hooked up and working beautifully. I can wash whites until the cows come home, as long as we still have cows.

I have the Keto Flu to thank for that. If I hadn’t been so irritable, I probably would have just accepted the first outrageous quote.

Instead, I have a free dryer for the person who wears only brown pants. I’ll even throw in a bag of potatoes that have more roots than Ancestry.com. Now that’s generous.

Well, look who's not so cranky anymore.

 

Robin Swoboda can be reached at robinswoboda@outlook.com.