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It’s A Blonde Thing?

My husband had to work yesterday so my dad picked Fussypants up from school and took him to baseball practice (it takes a village, remember) and I ended up arriving at home with Little Miss before they did. In her typical I’m 3 and most days think clothing should be optional unless it’s an accessory fashion sense way, she began to undress as she walked through the door. One shoe there, another…way…over….there…socks, skirt…all discarded haphazardly in her wake.

I saw the socks first. We have a Golden Retriever who thinks all socks should be his. Thus tiny, casually discarded footwear always hits my radar. So I asked her to pick them up. It went something like this…

Me: Honey, dirty socks don’t belong on the dining room floor. Put them in the laundry please.
Little Miss: I can’t find the other one.
Me: You’d better. I don’t want Crusher to eat it.

Thinking she obliged, I went about my business of preparing dinner. Then I noticed she was still hunting around the dining room.

Me: Did you find it?
Little Miss: Nope.

As my dad and son walked in the house, I realized that she hadn’t found it…because she was still wearing it.

FPK_onesock

I don’t know what’s worse. Me not noticing, or her!

 

 

 

gingerbreadmama

Losing it

I so wish this post was about losing the holiday pounds but alas, it is not. It is about me being a dumb-ass. I’ve lost (and lose) many things; my sanity, my temper, my patience all being high on the list but I don’t lose material objects. That’s not to say I’ve never lost anything tangible, I’m still mourning that cute sweater and dress I left in that Vegas hotel room 12 years ago (and no, it’s not a what happens in Vegas story, the clothes were hanging in the closet and I just forgot to pack them). But I digress. I’m good at keeping my wallet, my shoes, my lipstick, my glasses, my keys – you name it – where I can find them.

Until yesterday.

Crusher and I were heading for a trail run but stopped at Petco to get dog food first. All good. Quick trip, dog and dog food loaded in the car. And then I can’t find my car key. Anywhere. And when I say anywhere, I mean I even crawled under my car to look for it. It was truly the mystery of the vanishing key.

A woman parked next to me helped me look around the car and as she drove off, left me with this parting gem, “You know, when you stop looking for it you’ll find it”. Helpfully unhelpful, thank you very much. Like I didn’t already feel stupid.

I called hunky hubby but he had gone surfing, and was not close enough to help. After my initial annoyance passed, I took a deep breath and reminded myself that I am capable and was going for a run anyway. It all comes back to the concept of making lemonade.

So I got the dog back out of the car, grabbed a bottle of water, my house keys (could you imagine if I had left those in the car) and took off running. It’s only about 2.5 miles so it didn’t take forever. Once home I got my extra car key, hopped on my bike and went back to my car. A dude hanging out by his truck in the parking lot (I didn’t ask) helped me load my bike in the car and when I got home and tried to open my tailgate, it was stuck.

I drive a Volvo XC90 and the back hatch is split into a top piece and a bottom piece so it opens wide. Somehow my key had slipped under the bottom half where it bends to connect to the car. While I was driving it must have loosened and lodged itself in the joint (for lack of the proper word, though I’m sure some car-guy or engineer knows what it is really called) that makes it close and got stuck.

After a  little maneuvering, I was able to jiggle it out, get the tailgate open and recover my key. Thank goodness.

It wasn’t the workout I had planned, but it was a workout, so I’ll take it.

What is the dumbest thing you’ve ever lost?

gingerbreadmama

My new Crush

Little Miss is only crying in the picture because she detests the paparazzi. The diva.

Sometimes I think I’m on an involuntary quest to complicate my life but I knew I was ready and so was my family. So I’m happy to announce that it’s official, we are again pet owners! We adopted Crusher, a 10 month old golden retriever. He was an owner surrender, their situation changed so they had to move in with family (and they have 4 kids and another little dog) so they gave up this sweet boy!

But it was lucky for us. He gets along so well with Little Miss and Fussypants and is really well-behaved for a puppy. His personality makes us believe he was treated well in his previous life but we don’t think he had many of his own toys (he’s a bit of a hoarder) and he’s a little shy. We are working on his self-confidence but he’s proved to be such a sweetie. And he loves to swim!

His name was originally Laker, then the rescue group changed it to Parker but Fussypants kept calling him Peter (as in Spiderman) so we knew we needed to find him his own name.

At first Fussypants lobbied for Buster, then Pluty (which Hubs and I vetoed). Hunky hubby and I liked Crash because the pup is all legs and when he hits the tile moving fast he’s all over the place (plus it’s our song) but Fussypants ultimately decided on Crusher (nickname Crush) because Crush is the sea turtle from Finding Nemo and the Hulk (Fussypants still calls him the Incredible Hurk) smashes and crushes things (the inner workings of a 4.5 year old mind). But the name stuck and Crusher is already responding when called.

Since we’ve had him, Little Miss has added two new words to her limited verbal repertoire. She now says doggy and when asked what the doggy says she responds with wooo (which we assume is woof). She also has a partner in crime. Crusher is potty-trained but has had a few accidents, Little Miss is a gal who doesn’t like to wear her diaper. On Sunday, I can honestly say I don’t know who peed on the carpet in the hallway. The kids were playing, I had walked into my room to get a sweatshirt and Fussypants yelled out “There’s pee’! He didn’t see who did it either but both Crusher (with his golden grin) and Little Miss (with her diaper hanging half-way off) were both sitting there, and they both looked guilty. One more thing to add to my growing joys of motherhood list. 

 The rescue group we worked with, Stella’s Hope, is amazing. If you are in the Southern California area and want to adopt a dog, go there first. They are good people and they do good work.

I mention this for two reasons, the first to get the group some exposure. Seriously, tell a friend about them, donate to them, like their page on facebook, whatever. But associate yourself with them in some way because they are great. The second is because up until we found Stella’s Hope, we had not had a good experience with rescue groups and even one local shelter. So, my blog, my time to rant.

Turns out we were practically blacklisted because we have children under the age of 5, and particularly because we have one under 2. I get why the rescue groups are cautious but one of the reasons we wanted to go with a rescue group is because the dogs are fostered and therefore they tend to know more about the pet’s personality than a shelter does. But we were not even given a chance. We got as far as the home visits (and that’s a $20 donation) and one group rescheduled the home visit three times (I understand that these people volunteer to do this but rescheduling three times is excessive; if you are that busy then hire an assistant).

But after the home visit, we hit the dead zone. One rescue group’s dog placement coordinator called me just to let me know that they very rarely adopt dogs to families with kids under the age of 7. She used all the buzz words…dogs are high-energy, mouthy, they jump up when excited.  I tried to explain that both my husband and I understood that, as we had survived our childhood as children who grew  up with dogs (and his family had Rottweilers) and that we’d also had 3 dogs of our own that we raised from puppies, and that my folks have a 10 month old goldendoodle and my mom-in-law a large 1 yr old mutt that we spend a lot of time with, but she cut me off. She had only called to give me her your shit out of luck with us spiel, and had nothing more to say.

We had similar disappointing, yet through e-mail, exchanges with three other rescue groups. Even when the description accompanying the dog said “good with kids”, we were still turned down. And not always politely. I felt a little persecuted for being a parent of tots.

And one shelter made it so hard for us to just see the dog out of its cage that we almost left. Just to see the dog we had to fill out a 5 page application, give our driver’s license number and wait almost 40 minutes. Then we were told that if we wanted the dog, we wouldn’t be able to adopt him until we brought our kids back to meet him first.

What irks me the most is that these people are supposed to be in the business of finding homes for these animals yet they act like they’ve never had a dog of their own. As a responsible adult and parent, I understand the dynamic between a pet and small children. I also understand that with love, exercise and training, dogs can be very well-behaved.

We were honestly discussing going through a breeder and getting a puppy but I was still hesitant because there are so many dogs that need homes and puppies don’t sleep through the night. And Little Miss is not consistently sleeping through the night. Seriously, teething sucks (her teeth are coming in all out of order, she just got her bottom molars but is still missing most of her other bottom teeth). Since there is no way to guarantee the puppy and my daughter would be on the same ridiculous up all night schedule, I saw even less sleep in my future.

Then I saw “Parker” on petfinder.com. I called Stella’s Hope and also filled out an application and sent an e-mail. I got an e-mail back within an hour and a phone call a little after that. We were able to meet Crusher and do the home visit at the same time (with no fee) two days later and that’s when Holli suggested we do a foster scenario so that we could get to know Crusher and my husband (who was on a 72-hour work shift)  could meet him. That’s all it took. I tried not to get attached but when Crusher got a clean bill of health from the vet and hubs said he liked him, my heart exploded with joy. And Holli was supportive, she provided us with everything we needed for Crusher and even called to follow-up with me. But the best part about the follow-up was that she didn’t call only to inquire about the dog, she also asked if I needed anything and how the kids were liking him.

Stella’s Hope gets that it is about the pet and the person, which is something other rescues need to work on.

Our happy family is now a little bigger, by four feet, actually. And I couldn’t be happier.

Hello, my name is Crusher.

gingerbreadmama

Happy Place

Want to know one of my pet peeves? It’s when people shout “I’m living the dream”. Because mostly, they are doing something I don’t ever want to do. Ever.  So no, you are not “living the dream” you are “living your dream”. Get it right.
 
My life isn’t perfect and some days it downright blows, literally. Like Saturday morning, day three of my stomach bug battle – the kind where it’s coming out both ends. 10 am soccer game and I’m the effing snack mom. My husband got stuck in traffic coming home from work and my mom thought the game was at noon. So I had nobody to take the kids for me. I had to motivate, load the kids and snacks up, get the puppy (wha? a puppy? more on that later) in his crate and get to the field.
 
As an adult, have you ever had to puke in an elementary school toilet? They are really low to the ground.
 
But I’m still living my dream.
 
We get home from the game and my husband and son say, “something smells really bad”. Well, the puppy I’ll explain more about later had stress-separation-anxiety-related diarrhea all over his crate, himself and the wood floor. Cleaning that up was disgusting and it did smell really bad.
 
But I’m still living my dream.
 
Because I wasn’t feeling well we postponed celebrating our anniversary (didn’t want the overnight babysitting offer to go to waste) and sold our hockey tickets. Staying home didn’t bank me any extra downtime because when you are a mom you don’t really get to be sick since it’s expected that you remain functional. It’s more like operating half-ass and plodding along.
 
But I’m still living my dream.
 
Things may not always be perfect but my happy place is with my family. This is my perfect.

Happy place

 

Puppy love

Happiness

Little Miss sharing her baby doll with the puppy

Because I am living my dream.

gingerbreadmama

Wonder Dog has left the building

Caleb the Wonderdog 2011

Caleb the Wonder Dog went to doggy heaven yesterday.

He was almost 12 years old. We’d had him since he was a puppy; he became part of our family in July, 2000 the year my husband and I got married. I saw him at a pet shop and fell in love. He was my boy.

I always knew he was meant to be mine because he was seriously over-bred and had debilitating issues that would have gotten him destroyed if I wasn’t the one to save him. We were even given that option, once it was clear he had hip dysplasia. We’d had him about a year, and the pet shop offered to take him back but I couldn’t do it. He was my boy. They ended up paying us 150% of his purchase price and that money went towards his hip and knee replacement surgery. Have you ever had to rehabilitate a dog who just had hip surgery? It wasn’t easy but we got through it. My husband frequently referred to him as the six million dollar dog. But he was loyal and sweet and you cannot put a price on that. I’ve been called a “bleeding heart” yet sometimes the label fits. He was my boy.

When he about 5 we noticed that he was going blind. Our vet confirmed that he had degenerative eye disease and there was nothing we could do. His eyesight went fast and his blindness caused him anxiety. Some days were a major challenge, but we all made do.

Even with all his health issues, he had a good life. He was spoiled, loved, well-fed. When he could still see he loved to swim in our pool. We had this fish toy that ran on batteries and he’d swim and chase it around for hours. He loved walks, and would proudly carry his leash in his mouth and “walk” himself. He was a huge golden retriever, 100lbs, but would have sat in your lap if you’d let him. He adored children and they adored him. He was a good buddy.

Little Miss and Wonderdog 2011

Captain Fussypants and Wonderdog 2007

Captain Fussypants and Wonderdog 2001

This isn’t the first pet I’ve lost. In fact, my husband and I have lost three dogs in the last 10 years, all to old age. But just because we’ve been through this before, it doesn’t make it any easier. Pets are family, and they leave a void when they are gone.

A friend summed it up perfectly for me. She said, “They leave such a huge hole in our homes when they’re gone, but seem to take up so little space when they’re there”.

I miss you Caleb, you were my boy.

gingerbreadmama