Sunday, August 31, 2014

Twice the Thankful in One Weekend

Yes, I'm doing a second Ten Things of Thankful this weekend! Mark it on your calendar; it's only happened once before (but I can't let Zoe be the only one to do it every week). 

1. Even though school hasn't started yet, fall sports have! Volleyball started this week. Our first game was supposed to be a home game in the new high school, but since construction wasn't completed, we had to play at one of the middle schools. This was rather disappointing for the girls, but there was a big turnout nonetheless. Freshmen, JV and Varsity teams all lost to Carl Junction, a formidable opponent, but the JV team lost the least, if that makes any sense at all (it does to me).




2. Open House was scheduled for Thursday evening, but we had an away volleyball game that night. Since the girls wouldn't be able to attend, arrangements were made for the girls to get a tour of the new school on Wednesday afternoon, given by one of the coaches and one of the principals (who also happens to be the dad of two of the players - helps to know people).


This place is AMAZING. New practice
field being completed behind the girls.



This is why we didn't get to have our
first home game at home.

3. Preschool Open House was also this week. I got to meet my primary class kids on Tuesday morning, and my pre-k class kids on Wednesday morning. We're going to have a fun year!

4. You know that phrase "Politics makes strange bedfellows"? Having puppies in the house has done just that for Pete and Fletcher. Not usually so chummy, I caught them spooning in my (unmade) bed.




5. Thursday night, the volleyball team traveled to Neosho with wins for both JV (it was a whoopin') and Varsity.




6. Not only are there two referees in volleyball (one up on a ladder, one on the floor), but there are two line judges, who stand at opposite corners of the court and, well, watch the lines. Usually, they are parent volunteers (I HATE doing it, as I have a tendency to let my mind wander and miss calls. In? Out? Ummmmm.... Plus, people yell at you if they don't think you made the right call. I'm entirely too thin-skinned for that). The line judges hold a red flag (up for out, down for in), and I got completely distracted by one of the judges at Thursday's game, thanks to the way he held his flag while waiting to make a call. I'm thankful I can crack myself up so easily.


I guess they were out of red flags and had
to give him a big pair of red underpants instead.

7. We picked up the College Boy at school on Friday afternoon and took him with us to the lake for the weekend. We hadn't seen him for two and a half weeks, and that is just too long.

8. When we arrived at the lake house, there had been some rain in the area. When the sun broke through, there was a magnificent rainbow. My phone camera could not do it justice. We could see the entire thing, from one end to the other. What a beautiful piece of God's work!




9. How awesome is it that we can keep in touch with old friends via the internet? I enjoyed talking to a couple of very old, very dear friends this weekend, and it was just what I needed.

10. I've thought about my foster puppies all weekend, but I haven't cried. I think that's moving forward.



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Friday, August 29, 2014

Puppy Tails: The Final Chapter

My foster puppies have gone, off to the rescue group to find their forever homes. And I miss their little furry faces so much! NOT ENOUGH TO HAVE KEPT THEM, but enough to have me in tears, going from nearly 24/7 with them to seeing them off, never knowing where they're going or how they are faring. 

To try to keep myself from crying myself into a monstrous headache, my Ten Things of Thankful is going to list ten reasons I am thankful they are gone.

1. No more getting up first thing in the morning to take them outside to potty. This was their favorite time of the day to go out, and I had to stand there for-FREAKING-ever when I needed to be inside, getting ready, while they rolled around and played and fought over sticks.

2. No more scratches on my arms or nipped fingers while trying to snap on the leashes, especially in the morning when they needed to GO.

3. Puppy stank. You can bathe them, but they will always smell like puppies. CLEAN puppies, but puppies, nonetheless.

4. It took much finesse to keep them from plowing through old piles of poo in the yard (the girl who SWORE she'd clean up after them outside did it once, the second day we had them, and never again, leaving it entirely up to me). 

5. We'll no longer be taking walks around the block and avoiding the house down the street with the ginormous acorns on the sidewalk that the puppies couldn't resist picking up and crunching, meaning we either had to hold their heads up with the leashes or pick them up and carry them past the acorn mine field.

6. No more puppy pee and poo on the floor! We could come inside from doing both, and one or the other, or BOTH, puppies would squat and unload on the floor. No warning. We've gone through a dozen rolls of paper towels and gallons of floor cleaner.

7. No more sick puppies! The poor things had more than their fair share of puppy squirts, plus kennel cough, and there was a time when I thought we were going to lose Olivia - twice. I don't want to brag, but I am REALLY good at curing puppy squirts, in case you ever need to know. The secret is to feed them canned pumpkin. I don't know why it works, but it does, and they love to eat it. 

8. I can take my flip flops off and not have a puppy immediately carry them off and chew them. Both puppers just love a good flip flop; they're easy to carry, easy to chew.

9. Speaking of chewing, no more gnawing on my coffee table legs, fireplace hearth, toes, shoelaces, or any other of a number of items that do not improve with the addition of tooth marks.

10. No more incessant barking when they are inside their crate and want out! They were tireless barkers, especially Olivia.




See? So many reasons to be thankful they are gone. No more puppies running through the house, chasing each other, rolling and playing, fighting over the same toy or stick. No more puppy faces looking up at me expectantly, waiting for a treat for going potty outside. No more "puppy speak," where they talked to each other. No more warm puppy curled up in my lap asleep while I write. No more wagging tails and cheerful yips to tell me hello when I return to the room. No more watching them play tug of war with the Bone of Contention. 

If I'm so glad to see them go, why is there a lump in my throat and tears stinging my eyes?

Goodbye and good luck, my little pupper girls! I hope we gave you a good foundation to be loving pets for two new families. I know you'll miss each other when you are adopted, but you'll be okay. You're tough, both of you, having started life as puppies that some asshole dumped, living at the humane society, so timid that you and your siblings, all six of you, hid under your bed much of the time. Ahhh, my sweet pups, I'm going to miss you so....



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Saturday, August 23, 2014

Goldilocks Moments, Preschool and Puppies

Blink. Week over. Time for Ten Things of Thankful.

1. The puppies. The puppies are finished with all their antibiotics and are healthy and growing. Which leads me to...

2. We finally have an "end" date! I love these little puppers, but they have ABSOLUTELY NO CLUE about being housebroken. None. Nada. Oh, they're all about getting a treat when they potty outside, but they go indiscriminately inside the house and don't give a rat's ass about it. And they're QUICK. Rarely can I catch them in the act. But anyway, they are going on Monday to get their puppy makers out, then they'll come back home with us until Friday morning, when they go to their rescue group and find wonderful homes. 

3. Hardwood floors. I often hate having nothing but hardwood floors, but when you have puppies who see no difference between inside and outside, then hardwood floors are mighty nice to have. I rolled up the area rugs that were on the floor already, which is one of the smartest things I've done since the puppies came to stay with us.

4. My sweet Ruby girl. She is not a bit happy about the puppies (none of the kitties are), but she is holding no grudges about it. 

5. It was back to preschool this week, with meetings on Monday and the rest of the week spent cleaning every shelf, table, chair and toy in our room, plus decorating it for back to school. Even though I love summer vacation, it's time to get back to a routine.

6. Lists. Especially when almost all the items are crossed off. 

7. I fell down today, making it the THIRD TIME this week, if you're keeping score. (Read about the first two times right here.) The thankful here is that I didn't get hurt, and if you could see the bruises on my leg from fall #2, you would understand the importance of this Thankful. 

8. When I first started teaching preschool (14 years ago), the chairs in my classroom dated back to the 1980s and had plastic legs and were a little too short for my tables. They were replaced a few years later with nicer chairs with metal legs and all was good. We kept a few of the old chairs to keep in the art, science and math centers. When I got a computer in my room, we used one of them for the computer chair, and all was well. This morning, I was trying to print a parent handbook for our class and was having trouble with the printer (as usual). Because the floor is carpeted, the plastic legs of the chair don't scoot, so I did what I do every time I have to move the chair when I'm sitting at the computer: I raise up slightly and lift the chair just off the carpet and set it down again before setting my behind back in it. Only this time, I didn't lift it high enough, and instead of moving the few inches closer to the printer that I was intending, one of the legs caught on the carpeting, snapped off, and dumped me flat on my ass on the floor. The Thankful in this is, blogger that I am, as I sat sprawled on the floor with a broken chair under me, laughing uncontrollably, I had enough presence of mind to tell my assistant teacher, Melissa, to take a picture. As we laughed until we cried, she took the picture, then bolted out of the room to the bathroom before she wet her pants. As soon as I was able to stop laughing long enough to get up from the floor and find my phone, I texted Christine the picture, because she, of all people, would understand best.


My Goldilocks moment.




See? Flimsy chair. 

9. Fall sports have begun, starting with football! Tonight was our first game, it was 95 degrees at game time and far from football weather, but we won, and it was a fun night.





10. Okay, the high school isn't quite finished yet. And school starts on Monday. The decision was made to postpone the first day of school for the high school only until Sept. 2, giving the construction workers one more week to finish up the inside of the building. (This was announced at a press conference at the new building which I accidentally barged in on while helping a teacher friend move boxes into his new classroom.) This means that Emma will be home next week to take care of the puppies while I'm at work. 


Moving French stuff into the new school.

Taking a selfie with the owner of the French stuff. 

I could have listed a dozen more thankfuls this week. How 'bout you? List yours and link up.


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Wednesday, August 20, 2014

If I Stumble, If I Fall

My entire life, I have been known as the family klutz. I trip across perfectly flat floors, fall up stairs, run into door frames (hell, run into doors), crash into cabinet doors that were left open (yes, by me), and step into holes. I stub my toes, knock my shins into corners of furniture, and catch my toe in the covers when getting up and fall out of bed.

For example, when I was in high school, I ran in the house one evening while out with friends to get something out of my room. Our house was a split level, with the bedrooms up six steps from the living room. There was a wrought iron banister on the wall on the right side, similar to this one:



As I ran up the stairs, my purse strap caught on the scrolled end of the rail, yanking me like a dog on the end of its chain and slamming me into the wall face first., where I collapsed onto the stairs in a heap.

Another example: I was home from college for the weekend. Never much of a morning person, I had staggered out of bed and was heading downstairs in my stocking feet. (Note: different house than previous scenario. This one had a full staircase, going straight down, ending in a tiled entry hall with my parents' bedroom to the immediate left and the front door straight ahead. This is important to know.) The steps are carpeted, and as I stepped on the second step from the top, my feet went out from under me and I fell back, landing on my ass and bumping all the way down the staircase, all 14 stairs. I picked up quite a bit of speed as I got closer to the bottom, and as I hit the bottom, my mother opened the door to her bedroom, just in time to see me shoot past, slide across the tile, and crash into the front door. To her credit, my mother did manage to ask me if I were okay while laughing hysterically (I was NOT - I cracked my tailbone).

Here's another one: I was living in Nashville, getting ready to go to Atlanta for the weekend. I was packing my suitcase, playing loud music and running back and forth between my bedroom and the bathroom. On the floor, just outside my bedroom door, was a good sized box filled with old clothes I was planning to donate. I had to step slightly to the right as I went out the door towards the bathroom so as to keep from running into the box and had been doing so for several weeks. But one time, ONE TIME, as I ran out of my room towards the bathroom, I didn't step to the right. Instead, I rammed my little toe on my left foot right into the box. My toe bent entirely the wrong way and I fell down in the hallway, pretty sure my toe had been severed (it had not). But it WAS broken, turning very black by the next day and making the wearing of shoes unbelievably miserable. But I soldiered on and continued on my trip to Atlanta, because I was just that stupid awesome.

There are more, but you get the idea.

This morning, with my daughter upstairs asleep and my husband off to work, I was bringing up plastic tubs of preschool files and books from the basement to take to school with me (back to school this week, getting the room ready for preschoolers to arrive after Labor Day). Our very old house has a very old wooden staircase that goes down to the basement. At the top of the stairs is a tiled landing, then there are two steep steps up on the right side of the landing that lead to the kitchen (to the left) and a hallway to the living room and front door (to the right). As I carried a tub of books up the basement stairs to take to the car, I didn't lift my leg high enough, caught the edge of my flip flop on the first tiled step, and fell down hard. HARD. Fortunately, the tub of books broke part of my fall. The steps are tile with metal strips along the edge, and I hit the edge of the top step with the side of my knee, the second step with the side of my shin, and I don't know what with the top of my foot, but it hurts like hell. I laid on the floor, crying and feeling sorry for myself and hoping I hadn't broken anything (apparently not, but I do have some dandy bruises and swelling and my leg hurts in three different places whether something is touching it or not). And I learned that Ruby is no Lassie, because she was there when I crashed to the ground, then poofed her tail and took off.

Worthless, but PRECIOUS!


This incident, in itself, is bad enough. But the night before, I was bending over, reaching into the puppy crate to pull out their food bowl, leaning on the edge of the bathtub for extra support (because I was thinking safety first), my hand on the folded bathmat that was draped over the side of the tub, when the bathmat took off across the edge of the tub, taking me with it and causing me to crash my shoulder into the puppy crate, scaring the puppies silly and causing them to run out of the room. (By the way, my husband and daughter were in the next room, heard the crash, and only hollered to me to see if I were okay [I mostly was] but otherwise didn't get up to check on me.)

I have no spectacular ending to this story, because I fear it hasn't ended yet. I will fall again. And run into something with a body part. Or have to go to the ER because I cut myself making a bat cage (a story for another day).

When I told my daughter I didn't know how to end this post, she gave me a suggestion, so I'll go with it.

"Emma is super cool."

The end.





Friday, August 15, 2014

Back To School For The College Boy and More Thankfuls

I'm watching puppies frolic as I write my Ten Things of Thankful this week. I'm learning a lot about puppies, I can tell you! For one thing, I didn't know they would hide and ambush one another like kitties do. While they are so entertained, I am going to dash off my list before one of them slips away and does something unmentionable (i.e., poops or pees - oops! mentioned it!) on the floor.

1. The puppies are healthy! Or mostly so. It's been a rough week, with Olivia being quite ill with a combination of coccidiosis and kennel cough, but she is on the mend and full of piss and vinegar (unfortunately, quite literally so). Audrey is still coughing, but she doesn't seem to feel bad. 


Audrey with the "bone of contention"

Olivia

2. These puppers are very good about taking their medicine! The first two antibiotics they had were so tasty, Olivia came back for seconds and very nearly got them, until I realized I had just dosed her. Silly puppy! Even the new stuff, which I was told (and took their word for it) didn't taste good, has been taken by the puppies without complaint.

3. My husband went to the doctor this week for a check up for the first time since I've known him (men!). He got scared into going by a freakishly high blood pressure reading at the dentist's office (new procedure they now do) and made the appointment. Now, my husband is not a poster child for healthy living. He has gained a little a lot a few extra pounds since we met. Quite a few, as a matter of fact, and was expecting the worst when he got his bloodwork back. The doctor's office called him this morning to tell him his bloodwork came back completely normal. Cholesterol. Blood sugar. Everything. I told him he was one lucky son of a gun, but by all appearances, I should have him around for a long time yet to come. Unless I hold a pillow over his face and smother him in his sleep for snoring, that is, but that's another story. He's now taking blood pressure medication and was assured that if he lost weight, exercised, and brought down his blood pressure, he would be taken off of the medicine.

4. My husband has been pretty good about helping with the puppies, even though he thinks it was a stupid idea to begin with. A recent conversation between us led him to say the following:

"You're good at puzzles, which would imply that you are logical. But there are two puppies in the family room that would prove otherwise." I'm thankful he puts up with my sometimes ill-thought-out ideas.
My husband's explanation for this:
"the puppies can't read"

5. I took my College Boy back to school this week. He was extremely organized about it, especially for him. He had lists that he checked off, and we got there without only one thing that was slightly important: wastebaskets and cleaning supplies, which had been stored in the basement for the summer. He can easily live without either for quite some time, since the cleaning supplies were relatively untouched after a year of school as it is. I did NOT cry when I left him. Last year, I most assuredly DID, but THIS year, he is a more confident, mature man/boy and much more prepared to take on a year of college than he was last year. Go get 'em, buddy!


On our waaaaay!




See those books in his right hand?
They cost eight HUNDRED dollars...




College Boy - Sophomore Year

6. The College Boy took ME out to lunch after we had moved everything into his dorm!

7. Diet Coke is on sale this week. $3.00 for a 12 pack.

8. You know the new Coke campaign that has "Share a Diet Coke with" on the cans? Then it will say mom or dad or bff or buddy or something like that. You can even buy individual ones with a name on them (mine is never there, by the way). Every time my son would pull one out of the refrigerator that said "Share a Coke with Mom," he would get a different one and leave those ones for me. I came home from dropping him off at college to find a can of "Share a Diet Coke with Mom" right inside the fridge, waiting for me.



9. My daughter got her schedule for sophomore year, and it seems nothing will have to be changed. Whaaa??? First time for everything!




10. Tonight is football jamboree. Know what that means? Fall is just around the corner! Yay, fall!



Silly tree. It's still August!

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Thursday, August 14, 2014

Puppy Tails, Part II

We got Audrey and Olivia, our foster puppies, a week ago Saturday. Other than some puppy squirts, to put it delicately, all was well. They were playful. They were cuddly. Then they weren't.

Sunday evening, Olivia began acting droopy. She quit being playful. She didn't eat. She remained the same Monday. I called the humane society and left a message about her condition. She remained kind of listless all day, barely eating, barely drinking, continuing to suffer from her puppy squirts, which had turned particularly vile. I sat outside with her at 11 p.m. that night, snuggling her on my lap, crying, afraid this was something that she couldn't get over.

When I hadn't heard back from the humane society by Tuesday morning, I called the emergency number and talked to (I found out later) the manager of the facility. She asked me to bring in a fecal sample (that was a barrel of monkeys). She called me back within an hour and said nothing showed up, but I was to come by for an antibiotic for both puppies, which I did. In the meantime, I tried to entice Olivia to eat with plain yogurt with active cultures, baby food chicken, then canned chicken. She ate all of it, but was still a little droopy, regardless of some improvement in the poop department. Thursday, they called to say the other puppies in the litter tested positive for coccidiosis, so back to the humane society for a second antibiotic to take, in addition to the one they already had. 

Sick puppy in background. Ornery puppy in foreground.

The good news? Olivia's puppy squirts stopped. The bad news? Olivia stopped pooping altogether. I gave her chicken. I gave her milk. Nothing happened. But something's got to give eventually, and eventually it did, bless her heart, and we were finally on the road to recovery. 

Except for the cough.

Audrey started coughing on Wednesday evening. As she has a propensity for picking up sticks and rocks and eating them, I thought maybe she had something caught in her throat. Then we started looking up kennel cough, my son, daughter and I, and became more and more convinced that that is what she had. The more we researched it, the more frightening the diagnosis sounded, until the three of us were all crying with worry.

Naptime for Audrey.

Friday, Olivia started coughing. Audrey acted fine, full of energy and had plenty of appetite. Olivia was still droopy, although better than she was earlier in the week. She mostly wanted to lie down, especially in a lap. Sunday, they both got booster shots at the humane society. Sunday night, Olivia got listless again, her cough worsening. She wouldn't eat anything except a little chicken and some milk. She wasn't drinking water. 

And I held her and cried.

On Monday, I talked to the humane society again, and they told me to bring her in. New antibiotic for the kennel cough. Discontinue the first antibiotic. Keep taking the second one. Let them know if the cough worsens.

And that sweet little girl has rallied. She woke up Tuesday feeling a little better. Wednesday, she was playful. Today, she is wildly active, making up for lost time by playing extremely active games with her sister. 

And I cried, because I don't want to keep them, but I don't want to see them go.

Wait, Audrey just PEED ON THE DAMN RUG. Olivia quietly laid here next to me on the floor and ate the tip end off a shoelace. Oh, puppies! Someday soon, I'm going to miss this.



Saturday, August 9, 2014

Puppies, Pho, Bobas and More: Ten Things of Thankful

I seem to start a lot of my Ten Things of Thankful lists with "boy, am I tired after this week," but boy, am I tired after this week! What happened to relaxing over the summer? I need to go back to work to get some rest! But until then, here are my Ten Things of Thankful:

1. As some of you may already know, my daughter and I got the bright idea to foster puppies for the humane society. If you'd like the details of this, please read about them in Puppy Tails, Part I right here. I am still not a dog person, but the experience has been pretty good, and I'm glad we gave it a try (fyi - it's not over yet). By the way, when you endlessly stand outside in the grass, trying to convince two puppies to evacuate their bladders and bowels, you get eaten alive by mosquitoes and chiggers, including a big, itchy bite right on my ass. How did that happen? I WAS NEVER NAKED OUT THERE, I SWEAR!


Audrey

Olivia

2. My cats are being pretty good sports about the whole puppy fostering thing. They aren't happy, but they aren't off sulking all the time either.


Bathtubs are fun, unless the water is running.

3. Volleyball try-outs were this week, and my daughter made the junior varsity team. She was a nervous wreck the morning of try-outs, although I really do not believe she had anything to worry about. And I was right! Their first game is the second day of school.

4. And speaking of school, the superintendent has promised not only will the high school be ready for students on the first day, but the gym will be ready for the home opener volleyball game that second day of school. How awesome that they will get to be the first sport to play in the new school! (In case you didn't know, our high school was destroyed three years ago in an EF-5 tornado.)

5. I accidentally hit "delete" instead of "publish" when approving a blog comment, and I FIXED IT and didn't have to contact Marisa to say I totally screwed up and would she mind resubmitting her comment. Take that, technology!

6. It's time for Marian Days in the neighboring town of Carthage! This is the 37th year for the event, during which approximately 60,000 Vietnamese American Roman Catholics pilgrimage here to honor the Blessed Virgin Mary. We attended last year for the first time and loved it! In fact, I devoted my entire TToT entry that week to Marian Days. This year, we took my son with us one day. He was brave enough to try frog legs and said he enjoyed them, but a few bites were kind of "pondy". Yay for him for trying something new, as he is a pickier eater than I am! Even better was the teenaged Vietnamese girls who were following him around, giggling and taking pictures of the tall, good looking ginger.




7. We also discovered a delicious drink at Marian Days this year - the boba smoothie! While not brave enough to try some of the flavors offered (unidentifiable fruits, avocado, taro root), they did have strawberry and it was yummy!




8. I love pho! I have decided beef is my favorite, as it is very lean, and there are no mysterious pieces of uh, stuff, as there is the chicken pho. There are no Vietnamese restaurants anywhere in the area to get this bowl of deliciousness, so we have to get our fill once a year. Isn't that odd, since there is a Vietnamese monastery on the grounds of the church where Marian Days is held? 


Pho. Yum.


I suck at using chopsticks.

9. My husband and I celebrated our 21st wedding anniversary this week. Well, we didn't exactly celebrate it; we were on our way to have lunch at Marian Days and realized it was our anniversary. We're pretty low-key about that kind of stuff. 


August 7, 1993

10. I've taken the puppies outside to potty about a thousand times today, given them baths, picked up puppy poo from the yard, changed my hair color, took a couple of short cat naps with an actual cat, and have plans to go out to dinner with the College Boy this evening as we count down the days (four) until he goes back to school. Life is pretty good. That's a lot of thankful right there.


New hair color. Auburn, if you can't tell.

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