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"


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 human 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!



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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Thursday, August 7, 2014

Puppy Tails, Part I

I am a cat person. Let there be no doubt in your mind. I live in a cat family. We have three of them, as a matter of fact: Fletcher, Pete and Ruby (have I ever mentioned her before?).

Maybe two weeks ago, I saw a news crawler going across the screen while I was watching The Today Show saying the Joplin Human Society was looking for people to foster puppies and kittens. Intrigued, I mentioned it to my daughter, and we then checked their website for more information. There had even been a recent feature on the local news about it. We thought it sounded like fun.

Knowing I am a cat person in a cat family, I knew we couldn't foster kittens. First and foremost, our cats would be so upset. Pete and Fletcher would probably pack up their bags and move, and Ruby would be all kinds of hurt. Besides, I also knew I wouldn't be able to give them up, and then we would go from a cat family to a crazy cat family with ten cats living in the house. But a puppy? I could do a puppy! I don't care much for dogs, but puppies are cute! Inspired by my friend Kristi, who fosters puppies to become service dogs, my daughter and I decided to give it a try.

I have never owned a dog before.

We began casually mentioning our plan to my husband and son, knowing them might not be on board so much. We visited the humane society a week ago and met with the woman in charge of fostering, who walked us through the animal area and pointed out all the dogs and puppies who were available for fostering. There was a litter of 6 that caught our eye. Half of them were black, half were blonde. They had been found on the other side of town and brought in just a day or so before and were very, very shy. We agreed to take two, one of each color, and they would be ready for pick up on Saturday. 

Olivia, left, and Audrey

We broke our plan to my husband and son at lunch time Saturday (at which time my husband proclaimed that I was Lucy and our daughter was my Ethel), and then we were off to pick them up. We were handed two little girls, whom we named Olivia and Audrey (after a friend of my daughter's and her sister), one black, one blonde, who were sweet and shy and desperately in need of a bath. A visit to Walmart for food, leashes and collars (pink, of course), a couple of toys, and some puppy shampoo, and we were home and had them in the tub, turning them into much more pleasant smelling puppies (they still smell like dogs, which is my main drawback for having one, but at least they smelled like CLEAN dogs). 

Here's what we learned about having our foster puppies within the first day:

1. There is nothing innate about walking on a leash.
2. They can and will chew everything.
3. They quickly figured out they would get a little treat for going potty outside, to the point where we're pretty sure Audrey fake-peed a time or two.
4. Audrey is like a goat and will eat any and everything she finds on the ground, including, but not limited to, ants, sticks, rocks, Hershey Kiss wrappers, cat fur, rug fringe, and flip flops.
5. They adapted very quickly from living in a kennel at the humane society to being inside a house and love to nap on my daughter as she lies on the couch and watches Netflix.
6. My husband and son, who didn't want anything to do with them, can often be found with a sleeping puppy in their laps.

7. They have no fear of cats.
8. Our cats have a serious fear of them, yet are drawn to them like magnets, especially Ruby. I believe they are trying to figure out what the hell they are, as they are clearly not cats but resemble nothing else in their world.

9. They are more trouble than my children were as infants, including having to get up with them more often in the night to take them outside to go potty (you clean out a crate with stinky puppy poo in it two times, you set the alarm and get up and take them out at 3 a.m.) than I ever had to get up and nurse a baby.
10. They are very, very cute but still do not make me want to own a dog.

It is the beginning of the Puppy Adventure. To be continued....

Friday, August 1, 2014

Retaining My Amateur Chef Status And Nine More Things of Thankful

I confess: I have not opened my laptop or read one, single blog post this entire week. I've spent most of the week in my kitchen, up to my elbows in flour, but I WILL I WILL I WILL get caught up. I will.

On with the show. It's time for Ten Things of Thankful, and it starts right here:

1. I am thankful I am not a caterer. I provided homemade snacks to my daughter's show choir during their choreography camp this week. It was something I wanted to do, but HOLY COW, it was a lot of work. Monday, I made cinnamon rolls. Tuesday, I made cookies (chocolate chip, oatmeal raisin, sugar and peanut butter, because someone's going to ask). Wednesday was brownies and butter pecan blondies. Thursday, I made muffins (chocolate chocolate chip, blueberry, almond poppyseed, banana, pumpkin, and applesauce). Then Friday, I decided to make pizza pinwheels and garlic pinwheels. Which was when I came to the conclusion that I would never be a caterer. I realized, very nearly too late, that I was never, never, EVER going to get them all baked in my one oven in time for the snack break (9:45 a.m.), so I loaded everything into the car and took it all up to my church/preschool, where I used the convection oven and still barely got it all done in time. Well, CLOSE to time. It was more like 10:00, but who's counting?

2. The show choir kids were very appreciative of all the snackies I brought to them. They're a good bunch, and from what little I heard of them practicing, they are going to kick some show choir booty during competition season.

3. Several of the kids came up to my daughter and asked if her mom cooked like this all the time. She looked them dead in the eye and said, "No." Well, at least I didn't raise a liar.

4. Wednesday evening, while I was baking a bazillion muffins, my son sat in the kitchen with me for three hours and kept me company. I really like that kid.

5. I bought a big ol' jug of bubblebath and plan to park my keister in the bathtub for many a long, soaky bath. I do love my big bathtub!

6. Zac Efron. I don't care who you are, he's hawt.

7. One of the cats (my money is on Fletcher) yakked up a hairball ONTO SOME NEWSPAPER THAT WAS ON THE FLOOR. I don't even care that I was saving that piece of newspaper because it had a coupon for a free cup of queso at Cafe Del Rio. HE HIT THE PAPER, NOT THE RUG. Thanks, buddy.

8. My son has to perform community service as a requirement of his scholarship, so my husband put him to work as a fill-in this week at the front desk of the Red Cross office. It's out of his comfort zone to answer the phone, so this is very good for him. Best part? He has no idea how to use the "hold" button. Good thing it's a small office and doesn't get too many phone calls!

9. Pimiento cheese sandwiches on wheat toast. There's just something about putting cold pimiento cheese spread onto the hot toasted bread that is delicious and comforting.

10. My daughter and I are getting ready to try something that we hope will be a wonderful experience for the entire family, cats included (although I'm not really holding out hope that the cats will be thrilled). We're very excited about it, but - shhhhh! It's a secret for now! You'll have to wait and find out all about it next week!

And now, since I didn't take any pictures to illustrate much of anything on my list, here are some of Ruby, just because I lurrrrve herrrrrr.

Darks or colors?

She dumped her toy basket, carefully sorting
out some of her favorites and putting them
into a little grouping. 

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Saturday, July 26, 2014

Yes, I'm Thankful It's Hot Plus Some Other Random Stuff

I feel no need for a big introduction to this week's Ten Things of Thankful, so here goes:

1. It's summer. Yes, it's hot. Yes, it's humid.  Yes, we need rain. But it's SUMMER, people! No bone-chilling cold and wind. No icy crap on the streets.

2. Daisy Dillon is growing into a fine young lady chicken. I love the updates from her chicken mom.

Shhhh! Bedtime for biddies.

3. My daughter enjoyed her week at team volleyball camp at Missouri State University. They have a delightful new coach, just out of college where she was on the volleyball team, and the girls are really growing as players, having played together now for a full year of school ball and then club ball and now school ball again.

JV and Varsity Lady Eagles Volleyball

4. I watched quite a bit of their tournament play at camp and did not get hit by a ball ONE SINGLE TIME. 

5. We took our van to our mechanic this week, since it kept dying as you were driving along (not a good thing). He not only fixed that, HE MADE THE TAPPING SOUND THAT WAS COMING FROM THE HEATING AND COOLING UNIT GO AWAY. No more having to turn the radio up to mask the sound!

6. I got my hairs cut again. Like it now even better than when I got it cut just over a month ago. I only wish I had done it BEFORE we went to the beach. And the swamp. Especially the swamp.

7. Speaking of the beach, did you read my post about our return trip? Why the hell not? Do it.

8. Driving lessons are going well.  This week, my daughter drove on the freeway for the first time. The girl who keeps saying, "I have a need for speed" found out that going 70 mph is a little daunting.

9. Ruby has been entertaining herself every night by standing on the edge of the bathtub and trying to "catch" bugs through the picture window. This means we have to turn on the bathroom light and leave it on for her, but what Ruby wants, Ruby gets.

Ignore my work-in-progress wallpaper removal fiasco.

10. Exactly one more month before school starts, and the new high school is expected to be completed on time. Well, most of it. The Fine Arts section will not be done until January, which should prove to be interesting, since I don't think there is an alternate plan for where to hold classes like show choir.

It's getting closer and closer to being done.

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