Tuesday, January 31, 2012

Giving in and Winning

Ever finish up work and head home, glad that it's the end of the day only to realize that it's actually the end of the first part of your day and the beginning of the second part of your day.

It's usually a mad rush to get to this side of town, pick up G7, then on to B1, most likely the store, possibly gas or whatever, home, let the dog out, homework check, dinner, daddy comes home, dishes, bath time and then finally . . .family time.

Tonight we did the usual but skipped the store. We walked in the house and a feeling of overwhelming chaos hit me. The living room got a good cleaning last night and was vacuumed. Now it seems disheveled and uninviting. We did dishes last night after dinner but the sink was full of pans.
Breakfast was still on the kitchen table.

On any normal night this is the part of the show where I burst in to flames, yelling, pouting and in general being a Mom Monster.  But not tonight. I didn't have the strength. I told the kids to get back in the car and told my husband I would start driving towards him and where ever we ended up was fine with me.

My house cleaning problems are not solved, my sink is not empty. We spent money we vowed last night to do a better job saving. But then again, there was no stress, no yelling, no giving into the fear of inadequacy as a mom and wife and housekeeper. I will save that for tomorrow.

Friday, January 27, 2012

The House That Rosco Ate

Standing in a small area of Operation Kindness, the local no-kill animal shelter, it came down to two dogs. One, an energetic black lab named Peanut. The other, a small black and tan mix with floppy ears, huddled in the corner of his small cage. Beat up from being tossed to the elements and suffering from a slight case of worms he was a little under the weather. He only wacked the very end of his tail when spoken to. Rosco (1), was the choice hands down.
Within a few weeks he was healed and de-wormed, ready to claim his space on the couch. Over the next year we imagined an energetic pup to motivate us to take more walks, play catch in the backyard and rough house with in the living room. Instead, it came to a point where at the end of a long day, home from work, we would put the key in the door and brace ourselves for what might be on the other side. It was always a mystery. Even with crate training. We’ve never had our home destroyed by fire, flood or invaded by robbers. But all the same we learned the valuable lesson in what material possessions really mean. And let me also add that people told us this was just training for children. I call BS. Abigail in five years old hasn’t come close to the dollar cost of destruction of this pooch. Not even close.

People tell me all the time I could write a book about Rosco and his Counter Hound antics. A stomach of iron and a will to match his digestive system . . .he was- and is to this day- unstoppable. The truth is I don’t need to write a Marley and Me version of Rosco. A simple list will do.


•Jennifer’s Shoe’s: I’ll guess and say 15 pairs and know that’s probably under.
•Charlie’s Shoes: Dr. Martin sandals, Dr. Martin boots and $150 dress shoes
•Three corners of the coffee table
•Four or five mini blinds
•Bottom three rows of CD’s and CD cases
•College text books ripped down to the spine
•35 MM Film canisters (from my trip to Europe. Thanks!!)
•Several pillows (even ones I put in the crate so he could be more comfortable . . instead I came home and he was knee deep in pillow stuffing)
•Several photo albums chewed to various degrees
•The arm of my couch
•The large seating pillow of the couch I stacked so he would not sleep on them at night
•Walked in on him standing on the couch (no pillows) where he had ripped open the lining and was in the process of burying his bone
•Chew toys
•Stuffed animals
•Wicker basket that held all the chew toys and stuffed animals
•Metal screen off the back door
•Countless fabric leashes
•Entire loaves of bread without ripping the bag
•Entire sticks of butter without ripping the wrapper and instead licking it flat
•Half a bottle of ImmunoStart (chewed apart the bottle to get to it)
•Stole a canister of chocolate OsoLean, took it in the living room and chewed the lid off on my new cream carpet. His nose and snout were caked with chocolate and his water bowl was chocolate.
•Various seasonal decorative items left too low
•VHS tapes
* Lifted his leg to the real Christmas tree and put an end to that tradition
•Countless magazines and books
•Wireless phone (headset piece)
•Charlie’s work phone which he bit a hole in the battery and Charlie took it in as proof to his VP
•Took a bag of whole coffee beans off the counter and took them in to the living room. Once he got a whiff he stopped caring2. Hmm..

There’s a lot I’m sure I’ve forgotten. One time Charlie left two huge T-bone steaks on the counter to marinate and while we weren’t looking they BOTH disappeared. One we never found so we assume he ate it. I think we found evidence of bones. The other one was MIA for a good eight hours before we discovered it, still whole but cleverly hidden in a tipped over pile of toddler sized Lego’s in Abigail’s room.

We moved our couch once to rearrange the living room and found two corn cobs underneath it. Clearly stolen from the trash. I guess he was saving them for later.

He likes to take used Q-tips from the trash and chew on them like an old man chews a toothpick. No kidding. He walks around chewing with the end hanging out one corner of his mouth.

Maybe my next writing on Rosco will be “Adventures in Shock Collar Land.” It only proved that he, like other mammals in my life are too smart for MY own good and relaxation.

And despite it all, after just passing our nine year anniversary of rescuing Rosco from another poor family, I would have to say without a doubt that he’s the best dog I’ve ever owned and if I didn’t have to relive that first year I would probably clone him.
Although, it would be a great excuse to buy a new couch . . . .

1. Yes, I know some people like to spell it ending with an E. But we don’t. So there.
2. That happened just this week.

Her Spirit Cannot Be Fenced

For those of you with compliant children: good for you! Please feel free to pop open a Diet Coke and browse your Pottery Barn Kids catalog.

I’m not bitter. Really. There’s a reason God gave me this child. I understand it’s my job as a parent to ask for wisdom and find a way to make this human a functioning, contributing member of society. Pay your taxes, drive the speed limit, give to those in need. These are the things we hope for out in Future World.

Right now our main goals are to brush our teeth BEFORE we come down stairs, keep our hands to ourselves and please do not stand in the middle of the soccer field and eat your boogers. Please- for the love of all that is holy. I beg of you.

I love my girl. Her personality is second to none. I have stories about The Girl that are so delightful that people check in with me on a regular basis for story updates. Is she still scrubbing grout? Has she invented any new holidays lately? Has she tried to sell her brother on eBay yet?

I liken my dah-ling to a bull in a lovely meadow, peacefully munching grass and soaking up the warm sun. But all the while her eyes are on the fence and the bull is pondering. And if we could listen inside this little calf’s head I wonder: what it is we would hear?

“The last time I touched the fence it was electrified and it gave me a big shock. This grass tastes like salad. I bet the grass on the other side tastes like French Fries and Chicken McNuggets . . or possibly even Hibachi. The farmer is busy attending to laundry. I don’t really need to leave my grassy pasture. The farmer will not know if I simply stick my head between the fence for a taste of the frenchy fried grass.

*********BBBZZZZZ***** Yep! Still electrified!”

The good news here is that the bull ultimately recognizes the limits set forth and the possible consequences of the actions. The bad news here is that the bull ultimately recognizes the limits set forth and the possible consequences of the actions and is still willing to go for it.

This year has been an opportunity for growth. We’re having a lot of talks about how to look at an action and think three steps ahead to the consequence and I do believe my girl is trying hard. Bless her heart, she tries hard but sometimes she just can’t resist the temptation of the prize. Sometimes she’s just trying to please other people and sometimes she’s just so excited she wants to share her joy and it simply doesn’t fit the time or place.

I wish I could throw her these pearls of wisdom so that she could avoid the pain of the consequence. But that is not her spirit. And her spirit is too precious to break. Sometimes she’ll just have to learn the hard way how to calculate the risk. But one day she’ll take a risk everyone around her will warn her about. They will tell her how much it will sting and hurt and she will access and decide. Ultimately, I have no doubt, she will choose her time and go for it. One day the payoff will be so incredible sweet and it will be hers and hers alone for the taking.