Tuesday, December 23, 2014

When Christmas decorations go bad

I love the look of white "candles" in the windows at Christmastime, don't you? Unfortunately, even though I taped the candles to the windowsills, they'd inevitably fall off and the bulb would break on the floor. (And by inevitably I mean that the children would race head-first into the couch, slamming it against the wall and knocking the damn candles to the floor. Lather, rinse, repeat.)

Enter my mother, who was very excited to tell me about the bulb pictured above. It's made of rubber and has a lovely bendable flame. It's practically unbreakable and emits a lot of light.

"Do you want some?" she asked. "You need some. I'll bring you some."

And so, there was light.

And for many days, my candles took a beating and still worked. All was well in Mulletville Lite. Come dusk, the house was awash with the warm glow of rubber whiteness.

Contented sigh.

Then, one morning, I heard the kids giggling as Junior waited at the window for the bus.

"You try, Everett. It goes up all the way."

I went into the living room where I caught them perched on the couch, each with a candle bulb up their nose.

"It tickles!" Junior announced happily when he saw me—as if I too would delight in the newfound purpose for my Christmas decor.

"Junior," I said calmly, "would you please take the candle out of your nose?"

Even as I spoke the words I knew it was too late: My children had started a new Christmas tradition. A new hysterically-funny-to-them, gross tradition. Because that's what children do. They take something seemingly benign and assign it a new purpose: coveted coffee mugs catch slimy bugs, crazy straws collect bodily fluids, and so on. For the rest of that object's life you'll look at it and think, Ew.

I accept that. If I didn't, I'd never survive as a parent.

There is a saving grace, at least for the candles. During Christmas vacation there's no need to perch at the window and kill time catching boogers because the bus won't be coming.

See? It always works out.

Merry Christmas! Health, wealth and boogers to all in 2015!

Wednesday, December 17, 2014

I like my enchiladas with extra bitch, please. Part deux

My cousin Lauren is pregnant for the first time. If you're new here, she's the one who met me and Junior (then 18 months old) for dinner, then went home and told her mother (my aunt) that, thanks to the experience, she wanted to have her tubes tied.

And now, well, she gets to experience the magic of dining out with a toddler for herself. Life is so delicious.

She's been on Facebook a lot, posting about her pregnancy. You know, morning sickness and mood swings, questions about whether or not she can take Mucinex. That sort of thing. (Did you know a post about Mucinex could inspire 56 comments?) Then there was the dreaded ultrasound picture (I don't know about you but I always find that a little creepy). I almost skipped right over it but then I read her comment: "I wonder who you are in there. If you look like me. What you're thinking right now. Just who you are."

It stopped me dead in my tracks. It's stopping me right now, in fact. I've been such a tornado this pregnancy, between working and watching the two boys, tending to Chuck's kidney stones and broken ankle, doing the damn housework, opening the restaurant, daydreaming about vodka....I really haven't stopped to wonder. I'm eight months pregnant and I don't really think it's hit me that I'm, well, pregnant.

And I suddenly understand that third child guilt everyone talks about. That "Oh, yah, we thought we put Billy in the car, too, at the Grand Canyon but ooops." This kid isn't even born yet and I'm already sorry. I'm sorry I keep forgetting why I have this enormous bump on my body. I'm sorry we haven't even thought about a nursery or what clothes you'll wear.

But mostly, I'm sorry I haven't wondered--with that beautiful first-time mom anticipation--about who you are and who you will be. I really am, because I can't wait to meet you...

...And chase you around restaurants so someone else, someone who's never dined with a child before, can look over at us and long for sterilization.

They don't know what they're missing.

Wednesday, November 26, 2014

Happy Thanksgiving, Buttfart Face!

Last night, the kids and I read Guess How Much I Love You? before bed. (Junior, at the sophisticated age of 7, sighed through the whole book; Everett, almost age four, ate it up.) As I kissed the boys goodnight, I got to hear their own special and moving professions of love:

"Uh...Big Nut Brown Mom? I love you more than a million farts!"

"Good one, Everett. Mom? I love you more than 10,000 poops!"

Hysterical laughter.

"I love you more than if the sun farted on the moon!"

"Well, I love you more than 50 hundred butts! And farts!"

More hysterical laughter. 

"Good night, guys. That's all very touching. Now zip it."

More hysterical laughter. 

"Whisper, whisper, fart, fart."

"Whisper, whisper, butt, butt."

More hysterical laughter.

"Good night! No more talking you little hares!"

Just then the babysitter arrived. I grabbed my coat and headed downstairs. The boys were still whispering and laughing hysterically. Meanwhile, my girlfriend was waiting for me at the local pub, which, oddly, we now operate.

As I drove off, I sighed contentedly. I'm okay with being loved in currencies of butts, farts and poops (i.e., the language of little boys) but my God, it's a beautiful thing to be able to drive away from it.

Have a great holiday everyone!

Tuesday, November 18, 2014

Oh husband, where art thou? Oh right, under that pillow

So bam! All of a sudden I'm 7 months pregnant. And, like I've heard, you really do pop sooner with your third. My bump is ginormous. Truthfully, I thought I'd feel all Mother Earthly with this pregnancy because it's my last (you know, lots of time by the fire rubbing coconut oil on the bump and humming it nursing rhymes) but instead I find myself wanting to push the bump out of the way so I can race through life's daily to-do list (e.g., child rearing, working, laundry, dishes, coaxing the dog to poop, restaurant owning, etc.) so I can finally sit down to relax.

But silly me, life doesn't want me to relax. No, life wants me to push back my shirt sleeves and go at it even more gang busters. How do I know this? Because right after Chuck stopped moaning about his kidney stone, he broke his ankle.

I swear, the man is trying to kill me. I mean, I knew I wouldn't be sitting on the couch eating bon bons with this pregnancy but I at least thought I'd get to sit down and gaze longingly at a bon bon wrapper or two.

Nope. Two weeks later Chuck's ankle is still the size of a grapefruit and he's still moaning about it. Between the pillows elevating his ankle in bed and all the damn pillows I've got wedged into my crevices to prevent night time leg cramps and butt cramps and side cramps, we can't even find each other in the bed.

Yes, sadly, all the moaning we do in bed is from bodily pain and all the searching we do is for more duck feathers, not each other. It's ok though, it really is. This too shall pass. Before we know it, Chuck's ankle will be healed and I'll be bumpless and the proud mother of one of these:

Another bouncing baby boy.

As in three boys.

And then, what will become of all those pillows that aided me and Chuck during our moments of pain? Oh, they'll get used. For forts and trampolines and fights and armor and thwaps on the head and knock-out-surprise-attack-side-swipes.

Because, let's be honest, with three sons we'll basically be raising a litter of puppies.

Chuck, notice I said "we"? We! You're getting up with the baby even if you have to hobble to the changing table dammit!

Sunday, September 28, 2014

Surprise! My husband's delivering the baby this time

I had my Level 10,000 Super Duper Mega Ultrasound this week. I had to go to the Pukon Schmelth Schmenter (name changed to protect identity but go on and click that link!) to have it because Mulletville Hospital doesn't own its own machine. 

If you've never been to the Pukon Schmelth Schmenter it looks like a beehive-esque stone prison on a hill. The Pregnancy Office staff, kept underground in a musty basement, are delightful, except for the Evil Pregnancy Doctor, who sighs heavily throughout the ultrasound and doesn't speak, leaving you to believe he has spotted every abnormality known to man on your unsuspecting fetus. 

He's no better post-ultrasound, when he plops down on his chair and, without any emotion whatsoever, recites a litany of birth defect/geriatric mother statistics that leave you in a ball of tears. Thankfully one of those sweet nurses swoops in afterward to let you know that everything looks just fine. 

Chuck, Everett and I were listening to the nice nurse when Chuck started sweating, holding his side and pacing the room.

"Is everything okay?" I asked him.

"I think I...need to check....myself into...the ER. Kidney...stone."

"Oh dear," the nice nurse said.

And just like that he was gone.

When we went upstairs to locate Chuck he was nowhere to be seen. Thankfully the sound of his vomiting led me right to him! He was standing in a parking lot off the ER, knees buckling from pain. He'd already registered but because he wasn't standing IN the ER (he didn't want to vomit on anyone), they wouldn't treat him.

So Chuck would come in and wait to be seen, but no doctor would come. So he'd go back outside to puke, the little angry man at the desk would yell "Have him come inside!", Chuck would, and so on. It was a 3-ring circus.

Finally—finally!— he was whisked away to a hospital bed in the hallway (next to a deranged man in a cast who sang "To see your doctor, call 9-1-1! To see your doctor, call 9-1-1! To see your doctor, call 9-1-1! To see your doctor, call 9-1-1!" nonstop) and a mere hour later received some pain medication.

Everett and I stayed with him for the next four hours, until the doctor released him because there was nothing more they could do for him. And now, three days later, he's recovering at Mulletville Hospital from a ureteroscopy.

For crap's sake I feel like Chuck gave birth. I see Chuck hunched over and moaning, as if he were in labor. I remember the questions about the kidney stone—"How big? How long until it drops?"—and they sound like labor questions. I wonder, will he come home with the 6 mm stone wrapped in a soft blanket?

What should we name it?

Most of all I am struck by the timing. It was supposed to be my ultrasound—my day at the doctor's. Six years ago in a post I wrote, "His organs keeps trumping me" and by God, he's still doing it. What's going to happen when we're 90? When I fall and break my hip? Will he spontaneously go into cardiac arrest the minute my elderly bone hits the floor?

Yes, yes, he will! The sneaky bastard will! But hey, we'll have three children to watch over us at that point (knock on wood). Two boys and a...

Shoot! Gotta run! Chuck's calling.

(P.S. Don't ever go to Pukon Schmelth Schmenter. It's hell on earth.)

Thursday, September 11, 2014

But wait, there's more...MUCH more

About a month ago (ehem) I mentioned that we bought a pub in town and are opening it up and that that is a very, very good reason for not being able to blog as much.

Well, there's something else I neglected to mention—and it's another excellent reason for not being able to blog as much. The reason is this: Chuck went and knocked me up again. And I've been sick as a dog since May.

I thought I knew pregnancy; after all, this is #3. I thought I knew about nausea and fatigue and the emotional roller coaster (it's so fun to channel the Hulk!) but let me tell you, all of that went out the window with this one. With the other two I was at least able to function but this time, I was a complete walking disaster. There were days when I woke up, opened one eye and cried, "I can't do it!" but of course when you work, have two children and are opening a fucking pub you can't do that, so I sniveled, cried and vomited my way through summer.

(The kids loved it!)

And let's not forget that I'm months away from turning 40 so there's the whole GERIATRIC component to the pregnancy. (And here I thought being 36 and "vagged" was a nasty ordeal.) Why, just yesterday I called my doctor for an insurance code to see if a procedure was covered and was told to use code 87.541—"That's the code for ELDERLY mothers with MANY children."

Riiiight, because I'm suddenly 80 with 80 children, you douche.

But hey, the bright side is that I've decided to have a wonderful, positive outlook with this pregnancy (can't you tell?). Gone are the days of the anti-pregnant woman. I passed my glucose test a few weeks ago so I don't even have to think about fucktational diabetes (no more rubber veggie demonstrations for me!) for another few months.

And in two weeks I get to find out if I'm going to have enough boys to make up my own baseball team or if I'm going to have to start liking glitter and rainbows again.

Which brings me back to the whole emotional roller coaster aspect of pregnancy. At my last appointment the nurse asked me if I wanted a boy or a girl. I took a deep breath and gave my spiel: I want a healthy baby, I love having boys, I didn't get pregnant to have a girl, blah, blah. I meant every word of it but it doesn't mean the people in my life aren't secretly chanting "Be a girl, be a girl, be a girl..." and that I can't feel their chants in the background.

Seriously, sometimes I expect to look out my window and see my family, friends, and neighbors in a drum circle—complete with pink batons and a totem unicorn. 

As the nurse looked at me, I thought of those people and their reaction if I am, indeed, having another boy, and I started to cry.

"I dread telling them!" I said.

"Then don't," she said. "Tell them you couldn't tell yet from the ultrasound and give yourself another month to feel stronger."

I loved her for saving that. I loved her for giving me permission to set boundaries and protect myself. But most of all I loved the image that suddenly popped into my head. It was from summer. We were at a picnic, and I was lying in the grass, crying and vomiting. The woman next to me was tossing her baby girl into the air. She said, "After two boys I finally got my girl! Finally!" I looked over at her seven year old son: he'd heard her and I wondered how the comment made him feel. 

I love this image because it reminds me that I am not that woman; I am happy and blessed, regardless. And if I want to, I can keep the gender a secret for the rest of this pregnancy and drive everyone fucking nuts.

Drum about that, bastards.

(See, I told you I was super duper positive with this one!)

Monday, August 4, 2014

Free beers for all my readers!

I know it's been awhile since I've been here but I have a really, really, really good excuse: We bought a pub in Mulletville Lite. And we're opening it up to the public.

That second statement might seem obvious but you see, if you've never opened up a pub before, there's a lot of shit to do beforehand and there are times during said shit that you might look around and think, Gee, maybe we should just convert this space into a toy storage site. Or put a lot of couches in it and let our respective in-laws sleep here instead of on the couches at our house.

Really, who doesn't yearn for some extra room(s)?

But no, my brother is eager to open up the place (he's going to be the head chef) and Chuck, well, he's eager to open it so he'll have somewhere to go after work instead of to the basement (he's been really bad lately!). And me? I have to admit, I'm excited. Scared as all hell but excited nonetheless. I may never have to cook dinner again.

So, forgivable reason for not blogging, right? Right?!

Wednesday, June 25, 2014

Giving rides in the dressing room. Alternate title: Doesn't that elderly couple look relaxed? Sigh

I rarely take the kids clothes shopping. I'd rather order 50 different sizes of 150 different pieces of clothing online and pay $50,000 in shipping costs to exchange it than drag a three year old and six year old to the mall to try on clothes or footwear.

(To the overly enthusiastic mothers who were on Shark Tank recently to pitch an app that measures your kids' shoe size then links you to different online shoe stores, your idea is genius.)

I ran into a snag this week, though. My 75 year old father is getting remarried this weekend and I guess you could say I've been struggling to digest it (a new step-mom and step-brother? At the age of 40?). Because of my gestational difficulties, I realized yesterday morning that I'd waited until just four days before the wedding to figure out what the hell the kids are going to wear.

For whatever reason, I woke up feeling ballsy. I'm no rookie, I thought. I have almost seven years of practice at motherhood. I can do this.

"I'm taking the kids to the mall to try on dress clothes," I announced to the cat (Chuck had already left for work). She meowed and licked my hand; the kids, on the other hand, moaned. "Listen!" I said. "If you're good, you may each pick out a toy for under $10 at the end of the trip. But ONLY IF YOU'RE GOOD. ARE WE CLEAR?"

(Part of my parenting mantra is that I clearly define expectations and outcomes at the beginning of each outing. See? The boardroom does prepare you for parenthood.)

Off we went to the Mulletville Mall. I won't go into all the grueling details of the try-dress-clothes-on-a-thon except to say that at one point, somewhere around hour two, I glanced over at myself in the dressing room mirror and saw this: myself, on my hands and knees, dripping with sweat, yanking down Junior's pants while he picked his nose, and Everett, sitting on my calves with his fingers laced around my short's buckle loops, yelling "Giddy-up."

Truthfully, this did constitute "good" behavior. Junior was nicely lifting his legs out of his pants, like I'd asked, and when I told Everett he couldn't ride me, he politely climbed down.

Their congeniality fueled my brazenness. Even though we hadn't eaten or had anything to drink in hours—and even though Everett had only napped 15 minutes in the car—I announced that they were going to try on shoes.

"We're in the homestretch!" I said cheerfully.

Two pairs of loafers later, we were.

And that's it. They each picked out a toy and we left. I don't ever want to do it again (the image of myself on all fours, getting ridden while Junior dug for gold, is one I don't want to revisit any time soon) but it's good to test your kids' tolerance for misery. It's good to get down into the trenches with them, to park them on the floor, rip off their shoes and tell them to try on three more pairs. THREE MORE. NOW!

I jest. Mostly.

Now what the eff am I going to wear??

Monday, June 9, 2014

Raising "that guy"

There goes Junior. Running up the bus line.

He begged me to drop him off at school again. The 40 minute bus ride makes him bus sick unless he eats a bland breakfast (his words), but lately that isn’t even helping. It’s nerves, I know. The end of school. The possibilities of summer. The uncertainty of second grade.

I relent. Yes, I tell him, I will drop you off. He and Everett settle onto the couch, to eat a banana and English muffin (appropriate items on Junior’s bland food list) while they watch Curious George.

“Everett, it’s a new episode!” he says with the same overdone enthusiasm a parent might use as he or she exclaims over the slide or a small feat at the playground and I can see Junior already as he might be someday with his own children. At almost seven he has mastered the nuances of relating to a small child, of slowing down to help his brother navigate the world. He ties his brother’s shoe laces. He explains his bad dreams. He lets his brother use his Legos (“Just don’t take the character’s hat off again, ok? Ok, Everett? Because then it gets loose and falls off and I’ll lose it. Ok, Everett? Just don’t take if off again.”).

He won’t even take a sticker from the doctor’s office unless he can have one for his brother too. ("My brother might be disappointed if he can't have a sticker too," he'll tell the receptionist.)

It’s really rather endearing.

But there’s exasperation too. Of course there is. I see it as we get ready to leave, after Curious George is over. Everett doesn’t want Junior to leave and Junior is suddenly ready for his day to begin.

“I’ll be home soon, Everett,” he tells him. “I’m six and I have to go to school. Ok?”

“I need a kiss!”

“In the car, Everett, we still have to drive to school.”

We drive. Junior reminds me to sign him up for camp (“You’ll have to go to a different camp, Everett. One for toddlers. Ok?”) He tells me he’s not really that "juiced" for the class field trip. Then there we are at the beginning of the drive-thru bus line.

“You can take off your seat belt, honey,” I tell him.

“The car’s moving a little, Mom.”

“Junior, you’re next. I can stop here. It’s ok.”

“I want a kiss!” Everett shrieks.

“Just a minute, Everett! I’m unbuckling!”

He leans over to give Everett a kiss, then climbs out of the car. I can see the right leg of his shorts is wet. His water bottle, which hangs on the side pocket of his backpack, twisted free of its cap and is leaking. As he runs up the lawn to school the water splashes on his shorts. He stops and looks at me, confused. He’s so overly in tune with the details he misses the obvious. He starts to run again and stops. He can’t figure out why he’s getting wet—he’s that in his brain.

I roll down the window. “Your water bottle is missing its cap!”

He slaps his forehead and gives me a thumbs-up sign.

I realize, with affection, that he's probably going to be that guy. The not-so-smooth one who trips on his sneaker as the girl drives off. The one in chemistry class who doesn't realize his science partner wants a kiss because he's too intent on his beaker.

But that's fine. I knew plenty of those guys. They were great guys.

His schoolmates have now bottlenecked around him by the front door. The teacher waves him in but he can’t go in yet. He needs to explain what happened. To her. To the kindergartners. To the first and second graders. To anyone who’ll listen, really. His head is full of words running a million miles a minute and God bless his tongue, so far it has kept up.

“I really love my brother,” Everett says as we pull away from the school.

“I know,” I say. “Me too."

Thursday, May 29, 2014

I want to remember today

Because this is what happened:

My mother and step-father drove down to Connecticut from Assachusetts to babysit the kids so I could go into work. They left Assachusetts at 6:30 a.m. (God bless them) so I could leave Mulletville Lite at 9 a.m. and get to New Haven by 10 a.m. (Chuck and I both have hour-long commutes, though mine is only a few days a week.)

Because my step-father had a doctor's appointment in New Haven—with a specialist—he stepped out of his car, said good-bye to my mother, and got into my car so we could drive to New Haven together. Before we left, my mother assured me she would remember to get Everett at pre-school at noon, one town over.

We drove to New Haven. (My step-father and I. Not my mother and Everett. Stay with me!)

When we got to my office, I got out and my step-father got into the driver's seat and drove to his appointment, leaving me without a car.

After my step-father's appointment, he drove to my uncle's house two towns over, to spend the day with him. I kept on working. Falalalala. My mother, still in Mulletville Lite, picked up Everett at pre-school and was home to get Junior off the bus when it came at 4 p.m. Falalalla. And Chuck, who also works two towns over from New Haven but in the opposite direction of my uncle, kept on working. Faalalalla.

Finally, it was 6 o'clock, quitting time. Chuck left his office, drove 30 minutes and picked me up outside my office. From there we drove to my uncle's house to pick up my car. We went inside to say hello, crammed a few slices of pizza in our mouths, said good-bye and made the hour-long drive back to Mulletville Lite, where my mother was waiting.

She said hello, gave me the run down on the day—"Homework's done, dinner is eaten, baths are done, dog pooped, kids pooped and are waiting for kisses"—said good-bye and got back into her car to drive an hour to my uncle's house, where everyone (my aunt, uncle and step-father) was waiting with pizza—and where she and my step-father were spending the night.

Every week we do this.

Every week someone gets dropped off or picked up. Every week my mother and I start with Plan A and end up on Plan L. We joke that one day, by accident, we'll drop off my step-father at pre-school or take Junior to work or put the dog on the bus or, because we're so damn tired and confused, one of us will end up in the Bronx muttering about the plan and how we forgot which plan was the plan.

Could we just hire a local babysitter? Yes, but then I couldn't work part-time and hello, all this driving and picking people up and dropping them off shit is fun. It keeps us mentally agile—and when you have parents in their 70s who babysit you need to keep those suckers on their feet.

Could we buy a mobile home and homeschool the kids on it and just transport everyone to and from New Haven all day? Yes, but Route 2 is so boring, I'd never subject the kids to that.

It's like they say: It takes a village. It just so happens that in our case it takes a few cars too. And a plan. A. Really. Foolproof. Plan.

Tuesday, March 4, 2014

In my pajamas. With a metal shovel. In the observatory.

My lord, I wrote my last post more than a month ago (sorry) and the title is still appropriate. We're still puppy potty training and we're still suffering from the arctic blows of winter.


Two silver linings: The dog can make it almost eight hours without an accident and, thanks to the frigid temperatures, the gross puppy turds freeze right into the snow and are super easy to scoop.

That's what I happened to be doing this afternoon, actually—scooping frozen turds with a metal shovel and hucking them into the woods—when I was struck with the idea for this blog post. See, I've been home sick with the stomach bug for the last few days and I happened to be out in my pajamas and winter coat around 2 p.m., scooping and hucking, while Nellie did her business and Everett napped (workaholic, who, me?) when my cell phone started exploding.

I ripped off my gloves, grabbed my phone and saw that my neighbors had started a group text about moi.

"Hey, Mrs. Mullet! Diggin' the plaid jammies!"

"Scooping poop again?"

"Is that a metal shovel in your pocket...or just dog shit?"

I ignored the texts at first—and my impulse to text back, Don't u people have anything better 2 do??—but they kept coming.

The thing about my neighborhood is that we're a close-knit group of families with young children, which is lovely, but collectively we spend way too much time looking out of our windows. And even though everyone has as least half an acre of tree-laden property, everyone seems to be able to see everything. (I don't want to say the B word but I think I have to. Rhymes with pinoculars?)

The epidemic is called Side Street Syndrome (go on, Google it). It's when life on a slow street gets way too small and you start tuning into your neighbors' lives with a ferocity you once reserved for Survivor.

Eighty-year-old Mr. Heckenspeck's cleaning his gutters on a rickety ladder? Must.Watch. Ruth the nurse has a blue truck in her driveway even though her husband drives a green one? Must.Watch.

Speaking of watching, it's contagious. If someone gets a sofa delivered, suddenly the whole neighborhood knows.

"Oooooh, did you see so-and-so had a Raymour and Flanigan delivery?"

"I did! Teal, no less!"

And yes, even though everyone works, no one ever seems to physically be at work. Which is why my damn phone was exploding at 2 p.m.—a perfectly reasonable time of day to expect to scoop dog poop in peace—over me, a pasty, middle-aged woman wielding a metal shovel and wearing plaid flannel pajamas, a furry hood, and enormous snow boots.

"Come scoop my yard, baby!"

"Shouldn't your husband be doing that?"

The clincher was when my neighbor Don drove slowly past, rolled down his window and called out "Scoopin'?" (I can't lie, I immediately thought of my gawking co-workers. Yes! For frick's sake I am scooping dog shit!")

I grabbed my phone and texted what I'd wanted to from the outset: Don't u people have anything better 2 do??

I got seven "nos" and one "your pajamas complete me."

I guess at the very least, if you're going to be watched, it might as well be by crazy people who love you.

I think?

Tuesday, January 28, 2014

The polar vortex + potty training = miserable, insatiable hell

I'm having a crappy day. This -10,000 degree weather is really taking the enjoyment out of once enjoyable activities, like shoveling and salting the steps and standing outside at 2 a.m. telling the puppy to GO PEE, GO PEE, GO PEE!

Yes, right, those activities have always sucked.

I've been spending a lot of time lately thinking about how similar having a puppy is to having children. Admittedly, I'm not the first to reach that conclusion (duh) but really, the similarities are downright eerie.

There's the lack of sleep, although I never had to take a whining baby outside in the frigid night to empty his bladder.

There's the "what the hell is this in my pocket?" factor; this time the kids' errant elastic bands/superhero figurines/lollipop wrappers have been replaced with tiny dog biscuits.

There's the vying for attention factor. When I first brought Everett home from the hospital, Junior would climb over him to sit on my lap. Now the puppy climbs over the hissing cat to get to my lap and neither are happy until I've spent an hour scratching their heads—simultaneously.

Then the kids climb on. You should see me—I'm as flat as a pancake.

Thankfully we've made a lot of progress with potty training and the only thing that's been chewed beyond recognition is a plastic toy cupcake. And a homework folder.

She's a good puppy.

But (and I've been wanting to write this post for awhile now): I went through months of legwork to get this dog and at times felt like it would have been easier to adopt a child.

Labs4rescue wants $400 just to apply for a dog. There's a 50 page questionnaire. After you get the dog they want to come to your home to do a site visit. Say what?

I logged hours on petfinder.com, emailing various shelters in Connecticut and inquiring about particular dogs, only to fill out an application and be told we weren't a good fit because we weren't "active" or "young" enough (I guess hiking, biking and running aren't considered exercise and 40 isn't the new 25). Or I was told that the dog was from Tennessee (or Arkansas) and was en route to Connecticut and wouldn't be available to meet for a few months. 

Tick, tick, tick.

I was about to give up hope when we noticed an adoption event at a nearby Petco. So we piled the kids into the car and went. It was chaos, absolute chaos (people crammed into a corner of the store, poking at drowsy puppies, dragging them into the aisle, trying to decide if they're THE ONE) but that's where we found her.

Sweet, soft Nellie.

And yes, this is the part where I write that it was all worth it—the preparation, taking her home, setting up her bed, pressing my face against hers as she snored, wondering aloud What have we done? We don't know what to do with a puppy. How could they just have given us a puppy?

Exactly how I felt after I brought Junior home from the hospital.


Tuesday, January 7, 2014

The chubs-style standoff

We got a puppy. A six month old puppy! A bouncy, slobbery, giddy-as-all-hell puppy!

Why, you ask? Why now?

Well, because the recovery from having family, guests, and neighbors at our house for the holidays just wasn't easy enough. Because potty training a puppy alongside potty training a toddler sounded fun. Because celebrating Christmas, Everett's birthday, New Years and my birthday all in a row just wasn't enough to celebrate. Because who doesn't want to get up at 2:30 a.m. and stand outside in -9 degree weather while saying (saying, not shouting, oh no, never shouting) "Go pee pee! Go pee pee!"

And finally, because we really, really, reeeaallly wanted to piss off the cat.

Make laundry fun — and punishable

I don't know why there's so much effing laundry. Yes, there are five of us, but we aren't going anywhere. Part of me feels ...