Wednesday, November 28, 2012

Hell in a hand basket.........

Today I have a migraine. And I had to take my two youngest to get braces, which entailed a lot of waiting around, making a $700 payment with my credit card (because who has $700 lying around in their checking account? Oh, you do? Let's talk after, k?), then taking the newly-metaled kids to Panera for lunch. I suggested soft food - mac and cheese - but Harrison chose a gigantic hamburger, fries and two apple pies from McDonald's which he then took into, and ate, at Panera. Arlie had soup and a turkey sandwich and I'll admit it was kind of hilarious to watch her eat. She looked like she was having some type of seizure with all the facial gyrations she was doing. We went home for a short while before I had to run out again to take her to gymnastics, and, on the way, pick up her two carpool buddies at school.

My head was feeling kind of spacey/woozy and I was SO tired. The heat in the car and the Christmas music damn near put me to sleep at the wheel but I pressed on. I considered taking a nap in the parking lot, but needed a few things from Target, and had to pick up Hannah in short order, so I just went to Target. I was sort of dazed and confused, tired and cold, and just wanted a bed or a warm bath or something.

After picking up and dropping off kids here and there and finally arriving home for the night, I announced that the pork chops I was planning for dinner wouldn't be a good choice for the new braces and we were having pudding instead. Because I bought the mother lode of pudding, yogurt, soup and ice cream yesterday at the store. Soft foods, yay!

I was putting some snacks into a little snack basket I keep out in the kitchen when I found a piece of paper folded in quarters stuffed in among the granola bars and popcorn. It was a permission slip for a field trip that my son had brought home for me to sign. When I said "Hmmm, what's this? Does this need to be signed or something?" he produced another copy from his pocket, also folded in quarters. Well. At least he remembers what he forgets. Or something.

Then, I went to throw the original permission slip in the recycle and remembered that it was garbage night. And my son, who's job it is to do the garbage, was playing on his iPad. The Satan of all distractions. The evil force of nature that should never be brought into any self-respecting home with a teenager. Money is not the root of all evil. It's the iPad. So, of course I yelled at him for not doing the garbage - which he then couldn't do because he had to go to band practice. "I'll do it when I get home!" he said, swinging his bass out the door. Yeah. Right.

As I walked back to the table, I noticed a box of vanilla wafers that has sat, opened, on the kitchen table for three days now. Hannah got them out and has been told no less than three times to put them away, but there they sit. Undoubtedly stale by now.

Then, my phone started ringing and it was Hayley at work saying she had a "bad cough" and would I have any reason to go up to the mall so I could bring her some cough drops? Um. No.

Harrison's guitar is sitting in the corner by the back door - definitely not the place it belongs. But it was so much easier to just lean it against the nearest solid object than to walk it ten feet back to the living room where the guitar stand sits. He managed to get his backpack in the right place, but his bag of "goods" from the orthodontist office is sitting in the middle of the floor.

And this is why our house goes to hell in a hand basket on a daily basis. I suppose I could clean it all up, but then how would they learn? And I have this headache.........

This is why I eat cookies for dinner. Don't judge. You drink your wine. We all have our vices. Pass the Advil.....

Tuesday, November 27, 2012

Make it erect!

Tonight we decorated the tree. This was notable for two reasons. One, we were all in one place at one time (albeit not for long) and two, we laughed and no one hit anyone else. Well, not much anyway.

It's hard to coordinate all the Christmas tradition things we want to do, and sometimes we have to squeeze something into a work/school night to make it happen. Or, as in the case tonight, squeeze tree-decorating in between dinner and oldest daughter going on a date!

I have the ornaments divided up by kid. Everyone is amassing their own collection so that one day, they will have a tree full of ornaments of their own. It's fun to look through them and remember. There was a lot of "oohing" and "awwing"...ok, that was just me. From the kids: "Oh my God. Look at the gap between my teeth! I could fit my pinky in there!" (to a framed photo ornament) to "When did I get this?" (said way too many times tonight - c'mon people! MEMORIES!).

But the thing is........we are not a normal family. I mean, I'm not sure what a normal family constitutes, but I'm pretty sure it doesn't lend itself to making sexual innuendos about the erect state of the tree topper. But we went there. And we laughed a LOT.

The best part was Hayley was going on a date tonight with a boy she met at the mall. Of course, we had never met him, so Jeff went to the garage, pulled his pants up to his chest, put on a camouflage jacket, an orange hunting hat, and came in and sat down sharpening a hunting knife. Hayley was mortified! We were so loud and obnoxious, and she was terrified that her date would arrive while we were in the midst of being....well, US. I said "When he arrives, I'll just want a couple of pictures of you two in front of the tree, and I'll make sure the family is normal - you know - sitting around drinking hot cocoa while singing Christmas carols." I thought she might hit me.

Later, Jeff came into the living room with two "mugs" of hot cocoa. These mugs are shaped like a boob and a penis and are totally oversized and quite disgusting. We found them in his grandpa's garage (I don't even want to know the story behind them) and couldn't pass up hauling them from San Diego back to Seattle for the sole purpose of mortifying our children. He handed me my mug and while we pretended to drink from them, I motioned out the window with my mug and said "Oh, there he is now!" I thought Hayley would die.

When Mr. Date finally did arrive he was quite dashing and very polite. After they left we all swooned over how cute he was.

My head hurt from all the loudness and laughing that ensued from tonight's antics but it was worth it. Family time, even highly dysfunctional family time, is always worth it. Who am I kidding? Dysfunctional family time is the BEST.

Epilogue: Date was a success. Daughter was on cloud nine, giggly and happy. Well-deserved!

Monday, November 26, 2012

Spelling and privacy..........

Bitch alert!

I really enjoy getting on Facebook and reading my friend's and family's status updates. But, Lord help us all, why the hell can't anyone spell anymore? Teachers, students, old people, young people........I cannot believe the spelling mistakes I see these days. And not just typos. Those are just going to happen. But when people really think "audition" is spelled "addishion" or "sense" is spelled "sence." You do not "set down," you "sit down." I  know I've ranted about this before, but honestly? I'm really worried about our society. Schools are no longer teaching cursive writing, did you know that? Not that anyone writes anything by hand anymore anyway. But can you imagine how our penmanship is going to look in ten years? Twenty? Kinda makes all those "old lady" perfectly-slanted letters seem a little more appealing now. The worst part is that no one even cares anymore. I know a few fellow spelling Nazis, but more often than not, people are just annoyed if you correct their spelling mistakes. And it takes about one second to look up a questionable word on NOT urbandictionary, kids! That's not a real dictionary (gasp!). Once upon a time we had to haul out a big book and look things up in alphabetical order. Who knows what that is? Raise your hand!

And then........the privacy notices that everyone is posting on Facebook. I mean, for one thing, does anyone REALLY think posting something on Facebook will protect their privacy? The internet is NOT private. If you don't want the whole world knowing something, keep it in your own head. If it might embarrass you later, just don't post it. And if you see someone post some pseudo-legal-sounding something or other on Facebook, don't just be a sheep and follow the herd. For cryin' out loud, research it first! See what it's all about before you go looking like an idiot. It's so easy to just click "share" but do you even know what you're sharing? For the love...........just because all the cool kids are doing it, doesn't mean you have to.

And while I'm on a rant, let's talk about hashtags. You know those #littlenumbersigns you post after your latest tweet or instagram photo? Once in a while, it ok to include a hashtag. But when you post a picture of yourself with the following hashtags: #hottie, #instahot, #cute, #selfie, #instagood, #sexy, etc........why don't you just spell it out in simpler terms? D-E-S-P-E-R-A-T-I-O-N. Why do people need to get a million "likes" or "followers" to feel fulfilled? Ever heard of being "tumblr famous?" It means that a ton of random strangers like your posts of cats making sarcastic comments. Whoa! Dream big.

We live in a fleeting world. What's hot today will be lame tomorrow. Everything moves so fast, there's no time to learn. I teach in a kindergarten class and it's amazing how fast these kids write and try to complete their work, regardless of the quality. It's all about being first, being fastest, being "done" so they can move on to the next big thing. Slow down, people! Take the time to look something up if you don't know how to spell it.Read it over before you hit "send." Research things before you post them on Facebook. Don't get all caught up in the hype. Think for yourself. And if you can't do that, then just stop writing and keep posting those cat pictures. I especially love the ones with typos in them. SMH.

Sunday, November 25, 2012

A space of my own..........

So, today I worked my ass off getting the Christmas decorations up and cleaning and organizing several areas of the house. I didn't really work my ass off, but wouldn't that be nice? Nope. Still have the ass. Anyway.......

I really, really wanted the house to look and smell all Christmas-y when Jeff and Arlie came home. Jeff spent the day hunting on the east side of the mountains, and at the end of the day, he picked Arlie up from her long weekend at her mom's. We finished in time for them to come home to a nice, clean, decked-out Christmas-y house that smelled like peppermint.  And, to boot, I washed all our bedding, put new sheets on the bed, and new fluffy pillows. Plus did several loads of laundry.

When they got home, I was upstairs vacuuming. Arlie said a brief "hi" and didn't mention the decorations. This kid LOVES Christmas so I half expected to hear a squeal of delight when she got home, but, alas, nothing. When I went downstairs, Jeff asked "What are you doing?" to which I replied "Hurting!" since my back was really aching by this time. He said "Why do you keep doing stuff then?" which if you're a woman, you know what a stupid question that is. Duh. To get it all done. To not leave things half-finished. Because no one else will do it. Sigh.

So, I went to the garage to put something away, and I saw that the few decorative items we moved out of the living room to make room for Christmas decor were stacked haphazardly on top of some bins in the garage. Breakable items, I might add. I had asked the kids to put them in the "office." Which I should pause here to explain.

When my house was built, we splurged on an extra room. It was to be my office/craft room. Basically, a space of my own, to keep things, to craft things, to have my own desk, to basically have a household headquarters that was all my own. And it pretty much was that, except that I often called it our "second garage" because anything and everything that didn't have a home was tossed in there and I'd have to spend hours every few months cleaning it out and reorganizing it. But it was MY space. Granted, there were some toys in there because it's not like I really ever got to be in there alone. Unless it was midnight and everyone was asleep. So, although I often had the company of a small child in there, I did have my own place with ample room for crafting, scrapbooking, paying the bills, writing, creating.

When Jeff and I combined our families and households, we first had Arlie and Hannah share a room. That didn't work for too long because Hannah had her dream room with a jungle theme and Arlie liked pink and Hello Kitty. We tried to divide their tastes but it didn't mesh too well. So, I reluctantly packed up my beloved office space, relocated everything to my bedroom and the laundry room, painted my office bright pink and gave Arlie her own room. Later, Arlie switched rooms with Hayley and my old office became Hayley's room, which is how it remains.

Our other office, the one that was part of the original design of the house, now had to house both me and Jeff. The first thing he did was to fashion some homemade shelves - in fact, a whole wall of them - to put his "stuff" on. I didn't love them (still not my favorite) but it was an o.k. addition I was willing to let slide. He had his side, I had mine. Eventually, though, the office just became too much - too crowded with "stuff" and, also,  we decided to relocate our treadmill there. Previously it had been in the family room and I just really wanted to hide it. So, I gave up my "side", and moved everything to my own small desk in my room and a small built-in computer desk upstairs that was part of the original design of the house.

So, the "office" has slowly evolved into a "workout room." And I have no more space of my own. But I have several shelves in the laundry room with bins organized and labeled. I have stacks of photo boxes on my dresser. And I still have my little desk, albeit it very messy at times. I move my computer all over the house depending on what's going on where, and I even have a small, portable "office" with important papers and the bills and such that moves around with me.

So, that's how some items ended up in the "office" which is really more of a "workout room" with a closet where I still stash things like school supplies, and.......our "everyday" decorative items that are temporarily displaced at the holidays. When I asked the kids to put stuff in there, they stacked it neatly on a chair. I thought it seemed like a fine place to stash those things for a few weeks. However, the first thing Jeff did upon arriving home was to move those few items into the garage because they were in "his space."

And I lost it. I blame the severe back pain from cleaning and decorating all day, plus my lack of my "own space" in which to stash things, plus just general frustration from working hard all day and barely having acknowledgement by the two people I thought would appreciate it most. I unleashed all of that on Jeff and, although I apologized later and tried to explain, I just don't think he cared all that much that 1. I worked hard all day to transform the house into a winter wonderland, and 2. that I was offended that the first thing he noticed was one tiny indiscretion that infringed on "his space."

I get that everyone needs their own space. And I know that Jeff really likes his space. I know that he, himself, was displaced when he moved into the house we already inhabited, having to give up the majority of his furniture and move into an already-established home. But in the six years we've lived here together, he has become the master of the whole garage, plus he now pretty much owns the workout room formerly known as "the office." I no longer have "my space" and sometimes that is pretty frustrating. Like when I need a temporary home for stuff at the holidays. I stuffed it into the closet in the workout room. Compromise.

If I had my way, and we had the space and the money, I would have a yoga yurt in my backyard. A place I could decorate any way I wanted and just go to chill, relax, think and, yes, do yoga! Of course, I'd also like my own writing studio with space to craft. There is not one space in my house that I do not "share." I was going to say my side of the bed is all mine, but as I write this, my oldest is inhabiting that spot watching "The Walking Dead" with Jeff. My bathroom is constantly being used by kids who leave behind "clues" like leaving my bobby pins on the counter or an empty toilet paper roll. I don't do that. I put my things back. And I know how to change the TP roll. The kids use my makeup and wear my clothes. I even installed a key lock on my bedroom door which I use only occasionally when I'm fed up with "sharing."

I am fully aware that once you become a parent, nothing is sacred. Kids get into your stuff, things get messed up, and no one bothers much to put things away, or keep their paws off someone else's property. But it was nice, for a couple of years, to have my own "space" that I kept the way I wanted - messy sometimes, super organized other times. I could leave something half-done and not worry about it getting messed up because no one bothered my stuff when it was in "my" room. I miss my space.

Saturday, November 24, 2012


Today started out so nice and calm. Coffee date with my sweet husband, patronizing local small businesses for Small Business Saturday. We got pastries at Hillcrest Bakery and coffees at 527 Coffee. Aren't we just so local? Well. Just keep reading.

We got home and I decided to head out and "run my errands." I really, really only intended to go to Old Navy for their $8 Christmas jammie pants and Barnes and Noble for a few books that were on various lists. Oh, and since I was over that way anyway, I was going to stop in to Petco to check out doggie diapers. For Shade. I know. Just.....don't.

So, after finding out the diapers were like $20 for maybe six diapers, I said "Screw this, I'll just buy cheap baby diapers and cut a damn hole in them for his tail." And then I headed to Old Navy. And it's NOT my fault that they had such amazing deals. Or that they had this incredible clearance table. I fulfilled a lot of wishes in that store today, including my own wish I didn't even know I had to buy 9 shirts and a cardigan sweater for $31.50 total. P.S. That was just MY total. Ahem. I might have spent significantly more on Christmas wishes for others.

Then, I went to Barnes and Noble. Which was super quick and easy - found what I was looking for and was in and out of there in a few minutes. I could have spent all day browsing, perusing the "bargain book" section, and gotten caught up in buying all the fun holiday stuff, but I was on a MISSION by golly, and I was planning to head home to decorate for Christmas and do crafts.

But then I realized I still needed to run to Target for those damn diapers for the dog. So, I started to think, what else could I get at Target that might be on the wish lists? I made another list and drove over to Target. Once inside I really had to go to the bathroom (refer to earlier posts about Target) and I was really hungry. And, lucky for me, there was a Pizza Hut inside Target! I went to order a pizza only to be told "We're out of pizzas till Wednesday." Wtf? Wednesday is........FOUR days away! And you are PIZZA HUT for cryin' out loud. Whatever. I had the pasta.

So, then I got sucked into the vortex that is Target. It starts with a slow circle around the dollar section, and widens to include all departments, including clearance racks. Darn those clearance racks! But I did score some a-may-zing deals there. For instance, a fairly big-ticket item, normally $50 that I got for $12! Yessss! I cannot divulge what the item was because I made a promise to Santa. And my kids read my blog. Then I sort of started throwing stuff into the cart because I was having a hard time shopping for one child in particular. Ok, it's my son. Boys are SO hard to shop for. If it's not a video game, something computer-related or money, they just don't care that much. And since none of those are things I'm planning to gift to said son this year, I have to get creative. I'm really trying to avoid giving him underwear.

And then........after I actually heard my Target debit card let out a small whimper when I swiped it to pay for all those purchases........I decided to go to the mall. Not to shop, mind you, but to say hello to my daughter, who was working at Macy's. I parked a mere three or so miles away, trekked into Macy's and made my way to the children's department. I followed my daughter around while she put tiny dresses back on the racks and noticed that I could see her bra when she leaned forward, and, when she turned around, I noticed a hole in her sweater. I mentioned both, and she said "I know, I just don't have anything else to wear and I'm recycling all my clothes and I'm running out of things to wear to work." So, of course I had to go buy her a sweater.

I looked around Macy's and quickly realized no f**king way I was going to be able to afford anything at Macy's, so I headed to Sears. Where, by the way, I also found nothing. And was overwhelmed by the sheer volume of ugly clothing. I headed back towards Macy's and found H&M. Knowing my daughter raved about this place, I went inside hoping to score some bargains. I DID manage to pick up a few things, but I didn't find the store all that appealing (OR cheap). I figured I'd find what I was looking for at JCPenney so I started the long, long walk to the opposite side of the mall. I made one pit stop at Bath and Body Works because I had a coupon for a free item with any purchase. I bought 2 mini candles for $5 and got a $12 bottle of peppermint body wash for FREE. Yay, for showers that get me in the Christmas spirit! I paid fast and bolted out of the store. Then, I went right by Maurice's, which I LOVE and had a coupon for so I had to stop. And I might have bought my daughter a new work wardrobe while I was in there, but almost all of it was on clearance. If I weren't so tired, I might have been tempted to buy something for myself, but I didn't even look.

I went back to show my daughter her new wares, got approval for all, and headed home. All told, I was out about 5-6 hours, BUT the best part of all? I finished my Christmas shopping! Except for a few items, I am nearly done and it's not even the end of November. I do believe this is some sort of record for me. And I'm already dreading wrapping it all. But I'm really happy that I managed to buy nearly everything on sale or clearance this year. Now, I haven't added it all up (and I'm scared to!) but I'm certain I did pretty well, considering Christmas for a family of six really adds up year after year.

I kind of failed Small Business Saturday, but the best part is, I won't have to spend days and days trying to fit all my shopping into one-hour blocks of time between kids' activities and driving them everywhere. Maybe I'll make cookies. And watch some Christmas movies! And sip Bailey's whilst admiring the lights upon the tree. Of course, I have to put the tree up first....

One thing at a time. 'Tis the season!

Friday, November 23, 2012


Thanksgiving was yesterday and it was delicious and relaxing. It was a very laid-back day, minus the dinner prep, which, come to think of it, took about all day. So. The nice thing was, Harrison helped me a LOT. He made the sweet potatoes, the mashed potatoes and the stuffing. I taught him how to make gravy and it was nice to cook, side-by-side. I had expected the girls to be interested in learning the ins and outs of Thanksgiving dinner, but year after year it's Harrison who spends the day in the kitchen with me.

The meal turned out really great. Jeff brined the turkey and it was so delicious. Plus, the drippings made the gravy divine. I made homemade cranberries, and of course, the potatoes and stuffing, green beans and for dessert, pumpkin pie dip with vanilla wafers and graham crackers. We didn't have any pie because the kids were going to their dad's for dessert. The only bummer about that was that I didn't get to enjoy pie for breakfast, as I usually do the day after Thanksgiving.

I heard on the radio the other day that the tryptophan in turkey, that everyone attributes to the coma-like state we all fall into after Thanksgiving dinner, is actually no more than in any other meats, so the myth has been dispelled. But I disagree. I was SO TIRED by 7:30 p.m., I actually fell asleep in a chair, sitting up, with my laptop on my lap. The kids were gone so I just decided to go to bed. I slept until midnight when I woke up and lay awake for a couple of hours. But I went back to sleep and woke up wondering if I should head out to do some Black Friday shopping.

As a rule, I normally don't participate in Black Friday shopping, preferring instead to shop online on Thanksgiving day. Most all of the deals are there, and there's no standing in line! So, I did make a few purchases yesterday, but today I thought I might venture out, just to one store close to home, for the 6 hour sale. Jeff actually agreed to go with me (with no pleading, either!) so we headed out an hour before the sale was over. We found nearly everything on our list and got out of there in less than an hour! It was crowded but not crazy. I cannot believe some of the stories that come out of Black Friday shopping, so I'm glad we only ventured to one store and slept in instead of hitting the road at 4 a.m.

Then,  I came home and washed all my cabinet fronts. After I took down all the Thanksgiving decorations. In preparation for putting up the Christmas decorations. For some reason, I really hate putting up decorations in anything but a clean house, so I'm busting my butt today to get the house cleaned up and prepped for the holiday deluge. We have about ten giant containers of Christmas decorations. Basically, our house looks like a Hallmark store at Christmas. But we love it. We love Christmas! And after the past few weeks of shopping, I've got a ton of presents to wrap already, which is also on my list for today. Along with crafting, all my laundry, ordering photo gifts, making my ugly Christmas sweater for a party, creating an art corner in the dining room for the girls to paint, and cleaning out a few cabinets. Because, you know, all those calories yesterday need to be burned.

But first, I'm icing my back. Because that cabinet washing really took it out of me. And that was only step 1. I still need to wipe them all down with Scott's Liquid Gold so they will shine like brand-new. Like the holidays!

Wednesday, November 21, 2012

Cheap seats..........

What ever happened to the good old days when you could buy "the cheap seats" to an event? Now, the cheap seats are outrageous - who wants to pay $60 or more for a horrible seat to an event? I mean, maybe the general population has money to burn, but if I want to take my family to anything, I can't afford $60 a ticket! I am amazed at how many of my friends go to numerous concerts, often traveling to do so, and how many of my kids' friends go to every concert that comes to town, despite the ticket price.

I absolutely LOVE live entertainment. Plays, concerts, holiday shows, high school productions, you name it. But the ticket prices for some of these events have risen so high that they are unattainable, save for the high school performances - and even with those, at $12/ticket, my family is paying $72 for a "cheap" night of entertainment.

Granted, there are six people in my family, but even Jeff and I have often said "Oh, _____ is coming in concert, we should go see them!" only to discover that it would easily be a $200 or more evening for two and who has that kind of cash laying around "just for fun?" Not us!

I do appreciate the fact that there are some alternatives, such as, which offers discounted seats to many fun events. Of course, they are limited, and often on week nights, but for something I really want to see, I'm willing to make some exceptions. Another awesome program is TeenTix. Any kid 13-19 can sign up and use their TeenTix pass to go to some pretty amazing events - for $5! We once had season tickets to Seattle Shakespeare Theatre and were able to take Hannah and Arlie to a show with their TeenTix for just an extra $10. So worth it!

It's so hard around the holidays, and especially living in Seattle, where there are SO many live performances to choose from, to want to see everything but not be able to see anything because the prices run so high! I really, really wanted to see Wicked when it came to town, but just couldn't swing it. Now, there's A Christmas Carol at ACT Theatre (seen it before, but LOVE it!), The PNB Nutcracker (again, seen it three times, but would LOVE to take the whole family), Elf (brand-new and who doesn't love the movie?), Trans Siberian Orchestra (always wanted to see them, but -wow!- the tickets are through the roof!), and so many others.

What are your favorite things to see and do around the holidays in Seattle? We're planning to do the new Woodland Park Zoo lights, Lights of Christmas at Warm Beach (already got those tickets - thanks Living Social!), maybe ice-skating in Bellevue. We do the free stuff like Molbak's and plan to check out Wight's this year for their holiday displays. We might splurge for the Nutcracker (I've heard there is a TeenTix performance)!

What will you do? What are your favorite discount ticket sites? I just want the cheap seats back!

Saturday, November 17, 2012

When is the end?

As anyone who has read my blog for any length of time knows, we have an old dog, Shade. Shade is 16 years old and, recently, he has lost bladder control, such that he wakes up with his bedding soaked in his kennel every morning, he has daily accidents on the floor (several times a day, with no warning), and he can no longer sleep in our room with us, because, in the morning, he can't make it down the stairs and out the door without having an accident.

Besides being a little creaky, slow to get up and lay down and having a multitude of benign lipomas (small, fatty tumors), plus failing in vision in hearing, he seems ok. He's always been an annoying dog - he whines and makes noises constantly, much to the chagrin of anyone trying to watch a TV show or have a conversation. People always ask us "what's wrong with your dog?" and the short answer is "nothing." No vet has ever diagnosed him with anything other than "normal" old age stuff, and no answer has ever been given for his incessant whining. Strangers think he is in pain, but the vet says he's not. Who really knows?

Because of his accidents, he has to spend nearly all of his time in the kennel in the garage. We do let him out when the adults are home (because we watch him better!) but despite our vigilance he almost always has an accident, throws up on the floor (for no diagnosed reason - again, he just throws up ALL the time), or eats something off the counter.

He's a tricky dog, too. He knows when food has been left out and he will wait until everyone is gone and then sneak quietly across the floor and snatch it off the counter or table. He has eaten more "dangerous" things that you could ever imagine and has never suffered ill effects (included, but not limited to, 2 lbs of chocolate, wires, wood siding, staples, rubber bands, and a whole tube of toothpaste). The dog is indestructible!

He can still manage a two mile walk, but is exhausted afterwards. He likes being outside, but almost always gets into mischief when he's out there. He barks at strangers, and, lately, has been more aggressive and "snappy", even at the kids (and us, if we make him move or do something he does not want).

He spends most of his time sleeping, and we often come home and poke him because it appears he's dead, but he's just sleeping so deeply and has lost some of his hearing so that he doesn't startle and jump up like he used to.

The point is - he does not appear to be suffering (save for laying in his own urine-soaked bedding all night, which is definitely gross - he gets wiped off with wipes in the morning and bathed regularly). The cleaning up part of his problem is extremely time-consuming for us (we have gone through more paper towels and mopping supplies than EVER before) and we spend every day cleaning his bedding so he will have clean blankets for the day/night.

Everyone is fed up with him, and when he has an accident, there's a lot of anger and resentment and a lot of "let's get rid of him" and "he needs to be put down." But once it's all over, we question it - is is REALLY time to put him down?

Last Christmas we put down a dog. He was sick and definitely suffering. Charlie had grown so thin and could barely stand. He had diabetes and several other health problems. He went downhill fast. And when the time came - we just knew. It was NOT easy to do, but the decision was not hard to make. He was suffering and it was time.

With Shade, he still has some spunk. He wanders around, but it's not like a happy-go-lucky dog - he's more of an anxious pacer, always looking for something to get into, and rarely settles down. He sometimes climbs up on the couch (which he can still manage - not so much beds anymore - or the car - but he can still get on the couch that sits pretty low) and he will quiet down and sleep. And everyone will say "Aw, look how cute he is!" But that can change in an instant when he pees all over the floor, or someone's foot, or a backpack sitting on the floor, or blankets or pillows that have been left lying around. Then, it's a big job. It's just a lot of work and no one wants to do it.

Shade came with the marriage. So, those of us who were not part of choosing the dog, or having any say in whether to keep the dog are more inclined to take the "he's not my dog" stance. He's been so much trouble from day one, it's hard for me to imagine keeping a dog like him in a busy family with kids because he takes up SO much time, mostly with destroying things or having accidents.

Personally I don't love the dog. I know my life will be SO MUCH more peaceful when he's gone. He's never been one of those dogs who brings joy into my life, he's really just all work and very little enjoyment. I won't miss the smell of dog pee, the accidents, the barf, the excessive dog hair OR his horrendous smell. BUT. I have a hard time knowing if all of the above is justification enough to put him down. And I won't make the decision. I will support whatever my husband wants to do, because ultimately it is HIS dog. Any joy or happiness the dog has brought into the world has been for Jeff alone (hunting with him), but Jeff could tell "bad dog, Shade" stories about this dog for days. It's really unbelievable how many horrible stories we have on this dog. He's just a naughty, naughty dog. And yes, I believe he could have been a different dog with obedience training, but that's neither here nor there at this point. And I didn't have any say when he was a puppy because I wasn't there. I just know that I've always felt the dog was just work. His rapport with people improved so much after he came into our house - before that he growled like Cujo at everyone and everything and I was honestly terrified of the dog. He also used to snap at the kids when they were younger, and I thought he might bite them. But with a lot of time and work, he started to be more "socially acceptable" and was more tolerable to live with.

Still. He is so exasperating. He's costing so much time and money. He's a lot of work and no one is really invested in him enough to do the work. A lot of the burden falls to Jeff (cleaning the bedding, for example, because we clean it in the utility sink in the garage because we don't want to put all that grossness in our family washing machine!). When Jeff is not home, he is even worse - he gets into more trouble and is more difficult. When Jeff has to travel out of town, we've actually kenneled him at the vet because we simply do not have time to deal with him (i.e. having to clean up accidents in the morning and being late to work). But that is so expensive! When we don't kennel him, he requires constant vigilance and his whining, difficulty and accidents cause a lot of distress among the family. Many fights have started over Shade!

So, what would you do? We keep thinking since he's so old and obviously going downhill (although not rapidly) that his "time will come" soon enough. But we've been thinking that for YEARS and this dog seems to hang on, no matter what. He's been checked out medically. There's really nothing we can do about the accidents at this point - it's just old age. And he's a big dog so it's no small feat to clean up after him.

It's a tough one...........

(P.S. I am aware that this post might unleash a firestorm of controversy, as I have many, many friends who are avid pet lovers. We, too, love our pets, but draw the line at treating them equal to our children. They are dogs, not people. However, we are kind and loving animal owners who would never mistreat our pets. Still, we've often had some pretty angry backlash when we post on Facebook about "bad dog Shade." We have taken good care of this dog. Obviously we would prefer nature take it's course. But it's getting pretty bad...)

Friday, November 16, 2012


I love Pinterest. When I first discovered it, I spent hours trolling through the pages, pinning everything and anything. And then, I realized I needed to slow down. Was I really going to make all those crafts and concoct all those dishes? Psh. I don't even have time to pee some days, how was I going to do all that wonderful Pinterest-y stuff?

So, I created boards that were full of things I would really try, really cook, and yeah, I have a board of just funny stuff because I like to laugh, and one of just dresses because they are beautiful.

On my craft board I have a couple of pins relating to things you can create from old, discarded t-shirts. I picked a couple of things I thought looked fun and/or useful/interesting and tried them. And I failed. I failed miserably.

The first thing I tried was a "t-shirt necklace." This was created by cutting ribbons of t-shirt and then pulling them in order to get them to "curl up" a little, then bundling them all together with a piece of t-shirt for a "wrap" and wearing it like a necklace. Well. The first thing I noticed was that the strips of t-shirt did not "curl" when I pulled them but rather stretched out about twice their length. By the time I finished, I looked like I was wearing a shredded t-shirt around my neck. Because I was!

Tonight I tried the "t-shirt rosette" which showed a tutorial on how to sew down the middle of a strip of t-shirt, pull the threads to "gather" the fabric and roll the whole shebang in to a little rosette. Hm. I sewed down the middle, only to find that it was next to impossible to pull the threads and gather the material without breaking the threads, and when I finally did, the piece of gathered material was too short to do anything with. I did try. And I made one rosette. Sort of.

Then, I tried the "infinity scarf." Super cute idea, and the tutorial looked darling. I cut the t-shirt exactly like the instructions said, and the "scarf" I ended up with was more like an ascot. Sigh.

I saw a tutorial on how to make a wreath by wrapping "ribbons" of t-shirt material in different green shades around a wire wreath form. I have a couple of green t-shirts set aside in case I decide it's worth the splurge for the wire wreath form. I'm afraid, though, it might look more like "white trash holiday" than "shabby chic."

I guess the best thing to do with an old t-shirt is use it as a dust rag. Damn you, Pinterest!

Thursday, November 8, 2012

Kidney stones and aching bones.......

So, here's the thing, parents. When you decided to have a sweet little baby, you undoubtedly had NO idea how much sleep you would lose. In fact, once you pee on a stick and a little plus sign comes up, just go ahead and stay up all night. Or for, like, three days. And then you will (sort of) know what it's like to have a child. But, good news! Many books and theories abound that will help you "train" your child to sleep. You might have one of those little buggers that wakes up every three hours until the age of three (or is that just me)? But, mostly, you will probably eventually have a child that sleeps through the night around age 1 (or kindergarten, whichever comes first).

But do NOT be fooled. Once you have sprung a mini-me from your loins, you run the risk of having your sleep rudely interrupted until they move out. And probably longer than that, but I'm not sure because mine have not moved out yet. I have four teenagers and I STILL wake up at night because of them. The following are some of the reasons:

1. Sick. Kids still get sick in the middle of the night well past grade school, and I don't care if you've graduated from high school - if your mom says you can sleep on her floor, you're gonna take her up on it.
2. Can't sleep. My favorite. Being awakened by a child because they "can't sleep" is like hitting someone in the head because YOU have a headache. Seriously? Count sheep or something. Don't wake ME up.
3. Aches and pains. Again, if you're hurting in the middle of the night, and there is ibuprofen in the medicine cabinet downstairs, but your mom is right down the hall upstairs, you're going to go get your mom. So she can go get you some ibuprofen.
4. I'm home! When your children are old enough to stay out later than you can stay up, be prepared to be awakened by the "I'm home!" messenger. You'll take this over sleeping through the night and waking up in the morning and flying to their room in a panic because you realize you don't know if they made it home last night. During this 2.5 second flight, you will imagine all sorts of horrific details and every crime show you've ever watched.
5. Call 911. This is when your child comes into your room with a ruptured appendix and/or a kidney stone and while you put on your sensible mom/doctor hat and try to diagnose the problem, your husband sleepily rolls over and says "she has appendicitis/a kidney stone, you should take her to the ER" and promptly goes back to sleep. Guess who will spend the night in the ER with the child? Hint: not him.
6. I need to talk. This, technically, is not being awakened in the night, but disrupts your sleep anyway because you just went to say goodnight to your child and are about to collapse from utter exhaustion and they suddenly want to "talk". And that talk will originate in the form of a friend/teacher/school problem and will turn into an hours-long missive about how they have no friends/everyone hates them/they don't know what they want to be when they grow up/etc. And you will listen until your eyelids close for "just a minute" and you wake to your child saying "are you sleeping?" to which you will reply "of course not!"
7. Sleepover alarm. This is when your kids are having a sleepover, and everyone has already settled down so you dare to go to bed and are rudely awakened at 3 a.m. by a sudden burst of laughter (or in the case of dorky drama kids, a musical song, sung in 3 part harmony).
8. The crash. Anything and everything that makes a loud sound in the middle of the night will undoubtedly send you in the direction of your children's sleeping quarters, until you find out it was just the mesh bag of tub toys falling in to the tub, or, in the case of older children, objects being kicked off the ends of their messy beds.
9. Footsteps. When they're little, you'll hear footsteps and will have to either direct a sleepy toddler back to bed or investigate possible mischief. When they're older, you'll be checking for sneaking boyfriends or someone on the lam. Any number of shenanigans are possible.
10. The microwave beeping. You'll only hear this when you have young adults who stay up so late that they need to fix food at 1 a.m. for their fourth meal of the day (or their first, depending on their circadian rhythms). You will wonder who can eat leftover pizza at that hour and then you'll remember you were young once too.

The point is, don't expect to get much sleep. Forever. The end.

Thursday, November 1, 2012

Can I have a shorter week, please?

I'm not complaining. I work four days a week, so Thursday IS my Friday. But, it's a damn good thing, because I am SPENT by Thursday. For some reason, my body can only take four days of my awesomeness and then it says "Whoa, there! Slow down!" which usually takes on the form of me trying to keep my eyes open while teaching kindergarteners and watching the clock to see if it's 12:15 yet and can I just put them on the bus, already?

So, today, being Thursday and all, was no exception. I was overly tired (which is pretty much my normal state these days - WHEN will I learn to go to bed earlier?) and last night we were out late. When it was time for me to go home from work, I was thoroughly exhausted and wanted a nap in the worst way. And, lo and behold, I didn't have to take anyone anywhere right after work, so I actually could have worked in a little nap before the afternoon run-around.

When I got in my car, I saw a package and I remembered I was supposed to mail it, like.........a couple of months ago. So, I decided a quick trip to the post office was warranted, since I had time. I took the package in, started the whole self-service process of getting it weighed and postage purchased, when I realized it was a pre-paid UPS label. Oops. I looked up the nearest UPS store on my phone and it was not too far away so I headed in that direction. Which also happened to be the direction of TJ Maxx. So, I might as well stop and check it out, right? Because you never know what TJ Maxx has at any given moment. And Christmas is coming up. And who doesn't want to go shopping when they are so tired they could take a nap in the bedding section on a clearance pillow?

One hour and $132 later, I left TJ Maxx. And I was still tired. But I did manage to drop that package off at the UPS store. Then, I went home.

When I got home, I loaded my arms up with my purse, my lunchbox, the mail (three days' worth because who really checks it daily anymore? And of course it was filled with political ads so it was piled high), and the three bags from TJ Maxx. It was way too much to take in one trip, and WHY do I insist on making one trip when I arrive home after shopping? It's amazing how many grocery bags I can carry. Why? What's the worst that could happen if I made two or three trips? I might burn a few calories? Seriously, I do not know why I try to carry so much stuff at once.

And while my arms were loaded with all that stuff (and it was way too heavy, judging by the way my muscles were shaking just trying to hold it all up), I ran into my neighbor and talked for fifteen minutes or so. While still holding everything. I finally went in and dropped the mail all over the floor because I reached that critical point where my strength gave out and I could no longer hold everything up. Such a metaphor for my life.

Did I mention I was still tired and had to go to the bathroom like, NOW?

So, I went to the bathroom and another neighbor stopped by and we talked for a few minutes until it was time to run a kid to an appointment. No rest for the wicked! Oh, and I was also starving. Because I had some crackers and pretzels and that was all, and it was almost 4 p.m. So, of course I went to Starbucks and got a coffee and a molasses cookie, because who doesn't want sugar when they've had nothing but empty carbs all day?

Finally, finally, we headed home (after realizing, as the appointment ran late, I would need to make other arrangements for the NEXT kid's ride and quickly texted my oldest who begrudgingly took her sister to driver's ed). I was still very tired. Dinner was ready. I wasn't really hungry after Starbucks but seeing as it was the only real food I would have today, I ate anyway.

And after dinner, I was so tired. But I had to make lunches, and do the dishes, and then I noticed the floor needed vacuumed, and Harrison needed help because a mouse was on our porch hiding in a flower pot and he wasn't about to get it out (like I wanted to?), and I decided to take down the Halloween decorations because they were SO YESTERDAY (haha, see what I did there?), and then the stove top was dirty so I had to clean it, and the dishes needed put away, and the table needed cleaning, and I had a new candle to light, and there was a gross smell in the hallway, so I had to investigate and, and, and........

The good news is I was IN BED by 9 p.m. Of course, I'm still on Facebook and blogging so it's not like I'm getting any sleep, but I am resting, right? And tomorrow, oh, blissful tomorrow, I do NOT have to wake up early. For the first time in.........forever. So, perhaps I will catch up on some sleep. Probably not, but I love the idea of it. I have such great ideas. All talk and no action. Is there a superhero for that? Inaction Girl? Ok, I'm going to sleep now..........