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What I Learned This Week – 10/5/14

This week I learned that taking in a hand-me-down couch & thinking “Oh, we will upgrade in a few years”, can totally turn into 10 years before you can blink an eye.

This gives you a little taste of our old couch.

This gives you a little taste of our old couch.

I knew our couch was old and worn. I had sewed it up myself on several occasions. It regularly had 2 dogs on it. No amount of Febreeze gets rid of that.

I was just always waiting for tax return time to buy a new brand new couch (we had never bought our own before). But then the money always went for something else. Maybe next year. And we went from having an infant who oozed all sorts of substances, to a toddler who was more mobile with his food. It just seemed silly to get something new that would just be old again instantly.

On a whim, we found a good deal & got a new couch Sunday morning.

It is very weird to sit down on the couch and not sink down into it a good 12 inches.

NEW COUCH!

NEW COUCH!

Only after we got the new couch did we realize how much our old couch bothered everyone around us. No less than 3 people close to us had very strong reactions to our old couch. None of them live in this house! One never even comes over!

My mom, especially, could not say enough bad things about the old couch, now that it was at the curb.

Which, I had worried about having to call the garbage men and make special arrangements to have it picked up. But then some kind stranger loaded it into his pickup and it was gone. Actually, getting the new couch home in my husband’s car had been much less troublesome than I would have imagined.

I guess the new couch was just meant to be…

What I Learned This Week – 9/28/14

This week I learned that I am not immune to all the sickness that my son carries home from daycare.

Neither is my husband.

WEEK-sick

It’s Fate

When I was in high school and college, I dreamed about what guys might ask me out someday, and who I might one day marry. I wondered how I would meet my future husband. Where could I go RIGHT NOW to find him? I wondered if maybe it was even someone that I had already met. What if it was someone that I had met, but missed the spark? What if I had passed them on the street and NEVER EVEN KNEW that they were the one that I was to spend my life with? What if I MISSED my chance, somehow?

When very lonely, this path of thinking can drive a person insane. There is no way to know who or where the right person is, until it feels RIGHT.

Ponder that.

When I was in school, I always felt weird when I would see kids from school out in public with their parents. At school, we were all just individuals. I often forgot the other kids actually had families at home waiting for them. And my first instinct is always to not talk and pretend I didn’t see them.

One of the first times I can remember this happening was at the local small grocery store in my small town growing up. I was YOUNG, maybe only second or third grade. I saw another girl from my class, J, at the store. She was with her whole family, which looked like an army to me. I was there shopping with just my mom, as always. J had her mom, an older sibling, and younger siblings. My mom & I passed them in the frozen food aisle. I probably whispered to my mom that I went to school with that girl. I can’t remember if there was a Dad there or not. It was freakin’ over 30 years ago, it is amazing I can even remember it at all.

J’s family was so large, they all just sort of lumped together in my memory. The only thing notable was that her youngest sibling was in a sort of glorified stroller. It had brown padding, like it was custom made. I just sort of had the errant thought of “Oh, she has a handicapped sister.” And from then on, I just sort of knew that about J’s home life. Just something I filed away for later in my brain. If I overheard J talk in school about her, or if she gave a report in class about it or something, I would just sort of be like “Oh ya, I saw her once.”

Chew on that.

My best friend in high school was on the verge of dating this guy, C, a year behind us in school. We were seniors, so C would have been a junior. She was spending a lot of time with this C and his friend, S. I had never met S. But sometimes as we drove around town in her car while she smoked, there would be someone rollerblading and she would be like “Oh, that’s S, C’s friend.” One day he was rollerblading with no shirt on, and because I was a goofy teenage girl, I yelled out the window “Put some clothes on!”. We found it hilarious.

Wait for it.

J’s graduation party was on the same day as high school graduation. Our graduating class only had 94 students, so, although I wasn’t popular by ANY means, the odds were in my favor that I would be invited to a few parties. J was in a mediumly-popular group, mostly choir and drama peeps. For some reason, I was invited to her party, so I went. It was held in the local library meeting room, which happens to come in handy as a nice size for large family events.

I saw J. I saw my fellow graduates, all giddy on the freedom high. At one point, I remember a boy heading out the door past me. I was like, “Oh, he looks like J. That must be her brother.”

Stay with me. We are close to the magical ending.

A little over a month later, I would kiss that boy that passed through the doors at J’s grad party. He IS J’s younger brother. I would learn that he was C’s best friend, S. The very same guy on the rollerblades that I had yelled at to put his clothes on.

I went off to college. (That sounds dramatic. It wasn’t.) I was lonely and whiny and no one loved me. I wrote depressing poetry and stories. Now I just occasionally post them on this blog for free. Someday I will trick people into paying to read them.

About 2 1/2 years later, S & I would start dating. Six and a half years later, we would be married. A year later, we would buy a house and a dog. A year after that, another dog. Once we had mastered dogs, we had our son M.

FATE-meme

By the way, that library meeting room? I had my bridal shower and baby shower in that room. J held her baby shower there. The younger handicapped sister? We held an apartment shower for her in that room when she moved out on her own.

Do you remember back to the beginning of this post?

My future husband was one of the kids I passed in the frozen food aisle at my local grocery store. I had seen him when I was probably about 8, and would not know for years and years that he would be the one that I would marry.

This is one of those incidents in life that makes me believe that their is a force called Fate that surrounds us all and controls our destinies. I also think Fate can be cruel, and sets up incidents to work out for its own amusement.

And S & M & Dave & I lived happily ever after.

THE END

What I Learned This Week – 9/21/14

I have ALWAYS wondered who sings the songs during the chase scenes on the TV series Scooby-Doo, Where Are You?

Many years ago, I bought a CD called Scooby Snacks, which included all the great chase songs, such as “Daydreamin’”, “Love The World”, “Recipe for Love”, and my personal favorite, “Seven Days a Week”. But the liner notes never listed who actually sang the songs. I am sure it was never in the dude’s original contract to be compensated for any further release of the songs. He never could have known in 1969 that people in 2014 would want to listen to his music on CD, mp3, DVD, etc.

Scooby Snacks CD

Scooby Snacks CD

The magic of Google always impresses me.

I just typed in the song title+Scooby Doo, and within a minute, I learned this week that the guy who sang all the songs above is actually Austin Roberts.

According to Wikipedia, Roberts also sings the THEME SONG to Scooby Doo, Where are You?. [Note: If you are not an expert Scooby-phile, I will let you know that there are many, many versions of the Scooby Doo theme song. But “Where are You?” is the first, and one of the best.

Roberts has worked steadily all these years, primarily as a songwriter, and is almost as old as my mom.

Here is a video of “7 Days a Week” in action:

This week I also met Teddy Roosevelt. Wow, in the last three weeks I have had my picture taken with two past presidents (the other was a Lincoln statue in Gettysburg).  President Roosevelt even gave my son the “teddy” bear he is holding in the picture.

President Theodore Roosevelt, M, and me

President Theodore Roosevelt, M, and me

I have been just a little obsessed with the 7-part documentary that PBS aired last week, The Roosevelts. You can still watch it now at http://video.pbs.org/program/roosevelts/ [Expires 8 days from now].

I Don’t Know Jack

Jack the Lost Cat

Jack the Lost Cat

…but I wish that I knew Jack. I could totally use an extra $500 of non-reportable income right about now.

These posters showed up in my neighborhood a few weeks ago. My first impression is that someone must REALLY want this cat back. I imagine that it must have been some little girl’s treasured pet. This must be her parent’s attempt to cheer her up.

When the posters first appeared, I was impressed by the use of fancy neon posterboard, full color large photo, and lamination. These signs have been through several rainstorms. They are durable. Every corner in my neighborhood has several posted. These people must have some money. Most people would not go to so much effort to find a cat.

Then the $500 reward was added to the poster.

Then the cell number instructing you to “take a pic”.

Then they went around and hand-wrote his name on all the posters.

I now sometimes find myself outside yelling “Jack. Jack!” I want to find this stinking cat.  And I don’t even like cats.  It is just all about the benjamins.

The closest I have come to finding him was some fur that looked like it matched…squished in the middle of the road. I don’t think the family will pay for…

(wait for it)

…a flat Jack.

* I didn’t include the phone numbers, because I figured the family probably didn’t want it all over the Internet.  But, ya know, if you happen to live in lower Michigan and see him, I could hook you up with the contact info…for a small fee.

What I Learned This Week – 9/14/14

The weather has turned cold this week in Michigan.

As usual, we have gone straight from summer to winter. Mother Nature skipped all altogether.

This had me thinking of Hawaii. I have never been, but have always wanted to.

In an alternate universe somewhere, instead of meeting and dating my future husband, after college I moved to a little shack in Hawaii. I lived cheap and rode a bicycle.

I didn’t even know if such shacks actually existed there. The other night, on a whim, I searched for Hawaii real estate. The first property I found was only $19,000. And pink!

Hawaii shack

Hawaii shack

I know, very rustic. Definitely not suitable for a husband, wife, toddler, and a lab mix. But, when I was 22, I could have managed with it.

On Saturday, my family set out to check out a cute little camper. We fell in love with it. While we daydreamed about having the means to tow it home, we garage-saled. We ended up at a local consignment store where we often find treasures.

I found a box of old vintage photographs, marked at one dollar a piece.

This made me very sad. All these images of people. These aren’t models paid to be in advertisements. These were real people, captured living their lives. Pawing through the box, I could tell that sometimes there were several pictures of the same person, throughout their lives.

The box of vintage photos

The box of vintage photos

How did they end up here? Did their families clean out a house when there was a death and they were just dumped here? Even if you didn’t know who they were, isn’t it someone’s duty to hold on to them? How can people just cast away their family members?  Maybe i just have that mindset because I have so little family, and know so little about the rest.

It instantly made me sad. I don’t want my picture cast aside in a box marked at a dollar for some stranger to snicker at when I am gone. I want my life to add up to more than that. I want to be remembered.

I felt like I had to give at least one of these people in the vintage pictures a new home. I ended up bringing home two.

Mrs. Nora Hamilton, Jennie Wade, and unknown woman

Mrs. Nora Hamilton, Jennie Wade (Gettysburg souvenir), and unknown woman

The first picture I chose was a woman standing with a hat on outdoors. There is no identification of any kind on the picture. She has on glasses. If you look quickly, she is smiling. If you look closer, you realize that maybe she isn’t. At first I thought she was a teenager. But, the styles of the time make it difficult to tell. She could be in her 20′s, or a youthful 30.

She could be me.

The second picture looks to be of a young woman. On the back is scrawled the name Mrs. Nora Hamilton. She looks sooo young. How can she already be married? The photo was taken by Gibson and Robbins studio in Ypsilanti, Michigan. What was going on in her life that day when the photo was taken? She probably had no children, or they would have been in the picture with her. Where is her husband? Maybe he is away at war, or died on the Titanic, or of the Spanish influenza.

She is too beautiful to be me.

I have no idea when either picture was taken.

I seem to be starting a new collection of old pictures.

I don’t know what I will do with these pictures, but I like looking at them. I am sure parts of their lives were very different than mine. No cell phones, no dishwashers, no television.  Maybe no cars.  But disagreeing with their husbands, trying to balance the responsibilities of a household, feeling passionately happy and deeply depressed–these must be all things that we do have in common.

Right above the bin of vintage pictures, was a little watercolor that caught my eye. I didn’t need it, but it spoke to me. It featured a cat, and I don’t even like cats. I peeked at the back of the frame, where there was a mini biography of the artist.

I bought it.

The artist lives and paints in Hawaii. It seemed like some sort of sign.

Holly Kitaura painting

Holly Kitaura painting

I really like the trees. And the grass. The quilt I started years ago has a similar curly cue pattern.

I looked up the artist, Holly Kitaura’s, website. Look at what else I found…

Rainbow Hale by Holly Kitaura

Rainbow Hale by Holly Kitaura

Maybe I can retire there someday.

Morning Thoughts

I often think it would be better to live back in the pioneer days. My mom pointed out the other day that people back then worked from sun up to sun down, and it was a hard life. But think about it.

Hahaha

Hahaha

Farmers, for instance largely (with exceptions, of course) worked for themselves. Sure, we can get a 40 hour a work week, and the rest is free time. But that is 40 hours of YOUR LIFE every week that you are working for someone else, doing their menial tasks, and missing out on seeing your family. If you were back in the old days, you had to spend all day washing clothes, growing and preparing food, and making your own clothes, soap, etc. But it was FOR YOU! If you slacked off, then you had nothing to eat. Your family worked at your side next to you.

MORNING THOUGHTS-pioneer woman

I used to have a monotonous job that I knew exactly what to expect everyday. That job bored me to tears, and I hated it.

Now I have a job that challenges me. Everyday is something new. Now I crave the familiarity of boring.

I have issues with having a job just for a paycheck. I feel like I should enjoy it, and be happy to go and spend my time there. This is where my anxiety comes from. What if I am wasting precious hours of my life doing THE WRONG THINGS? I don’t have a problem with being a responsible adult. I have problems with the precious moments of my limited life slipping away. That is why getting up every morning currently give me life-altering anxiety.

MORNING THOUGHTS-anxiety girl

When I was in school, I once thought if I sat for long enough and thought hard enough, that I could figure out how the universe was created. I tried it one day.

Nothing.

But this illustrates my point. WHY can’t I just accept the Big Bang theory or Creation or Aliens grew us in their laboratory? Why do I feel like I have to do everything myself? It was the same way when I started my quilt. I didn’t want to read any books about it or ask anyone. I just wanted to invent my own way.

I am a person who felt guilty leaving my dog at home by herself for 4 hours daily. My husband and I worked different shifts for years, and one consideration for that for me was always that the dogs did not have to hold their pee for 8 or 9 hours. Now, our one remaining dog is now along for 9 hours in a day. But we avoided it for as along as possible.

Other people seem to be able to just work 40 hours (or more) and drop their kids off at daycare with no problem. Some people do this from the time that their children are born. I was lucky enough to have three years at home with my rug rat.

What is wrong with me? Why do I have to question every tiny aspect of my life to try and figure out if it is right or wrong until everything just seems wrong? Why can’t I just chill and be happy?

And the thing is, when my kid and I were at home, he spent large quantities of time watching television and trying my patience until I yelled at him. Maybe he is better off learning educational fundamentals and surrounded by adults who have to be more patient with him, because it is against the law not to?

I can’t be the only one bothered by all of this. My asbestos friend makes an annual list of why she home-schools. Near the top (not that the reasons are ranked) is always “we would miss our girl if she was gone to school for 8 hours everyday.” She works part-time, so somehow her life magically balances out with lots of family time, even with all the volunteering she does. Her family gets along very well on little income.

My household does not. We bought our modest house at the height of the real estate market. We both recently bought new cars, now incurring car loans. We didn’t do this lightly. We had kept the old vehicles for 14 years and 10 years. But now we are trapped in this work cycle. It is not so bad for my husband. He worked 4-10hr days. Therefore, he gets a 3 day weekend every week.

MORNING THOUGHTS-Oregon Trail

Sometimes it hits me that my dog is gone.

My car is gone.

My best friend’s dad is gone.

All in the last month.

Soon I will be gone as well.

I have to hurry up and get my eight potential books published before it is too late…

(Maybe I should start with ONE book first.)

What I Learned This Week – 9/7/14

Over the Labor Day weekend, my family and I took a vacation to Gettysburg. As early in our relationship as planning for our honeymoon, my husband had expressed interest in visiting Gettysburg. So, I figured maybe after 11 years of marriage I should let him go.

The first thing to know is that Gettysburg is in Pennsylvania. That is what YOU have now learned this week.

I saw many billboards for casino’s owned by Penn National Gaming, which is the company that also owns the Hollywood Casino, where I once had a job interview, and where my asbestos friend’s husband works. It dawned on me that maybe the “Penn” in the name means the company started in Pennsylvania. This made me feel smart.

Pennsylvania road signs

Pennsylvania road signs

As we drove on, through the great state of Pennsylvania, the interstate signs and license plates kept having a weird shape on them. At one point, I asked outloud, “Why does everything have that shape? It isn’t even the shape of the state! (Ohio signs have the shape of the state on them.)”

Then I realized the answer to my own question. Pennsylvania is “The Keystone State”. The shape must be a keystone.

And the only reason I even know what the hell a keystone is, is from a Thomas cartoon.

A scene from Thomas and Friends Blue Mountain Mystery, with the keystone missing

A scene from Thomas and Friends Blue Mountain Mystery, with the keystone missing

Then my husband and I wondered WHY it is called that. We had several theories. His was correct. He said because of Pennsylvania’s place in the creation of our country. Also, economically and geographically as well.

Our trip didn’t always go smoothly, but it was relaxing and memorable, including my son M’s first time camping. He did great…at that, anyway.

Here are a few of my artsy-fartsy pix to share with you today.

The "kids" in the backseat

The “kids” in the backseat

Monument for Jennie Wade. Super interesting story, look it up.

Monument for Jennie Wade. Super interesting story, look it up.

First night camping.

First night camping.

Meade's headquarters

Meade’s headquarters

Farm

Farm

The view from Little Round Top

The view from Little Round Top

I've never done one of these before, but I loved how it turned out...

I’ve never done one of these before, but I loved how it turned out…

R.I.P. Parker Jo Buhdoo (2002-2014)

The last known picture of Parker.

The last known picture of Parker.

A.K.A. Monsieur Parkere and Senior Porkchoppo

October 31, 2002 (estimated) – August 23, 2014

Parker Jo Buhdoo was a German Shorthaired Pointer picked up as a stray.  My husband and I found him at the Lenawee Humane Society, then going by the name of Archer.  My husband was very interested in owning a purebred sporting dog.  I looked at him skeptically and  replied, “You want THAT dog?!”

That is pretty much how our relationship with Parker went.

Parker ate many things.  Styrofoam, crayons, plush dog toys, string cheese wrappers, the seat off a child’s potty, bath soap, etc.  It made picking up his poop more interesting, I guess.

Parker, thinking about asking to go out to poo

Parker, thinking about asking to go out to poo

Parker could easily hold his urine for 8 hours in a stretch if no one was home.  If you were home, it was a different story.  He would whine and pace about every 2 hours to be let outside.  If he just drank the entire bowl of water, then he would need to go out again in 20 minutes.  If it was getting close to dinner time, he wanted to go out every 10 minutes in hopes of being fed when he was let back in.  If you called his bluff and refused to let him out, he would pee on the floor.  He once peed on our mattress right in front of me just because he was mad.  He peed on the floor probably at least once every two weeks, but sometimes 3 times in one day, for most of the  years we owned him.

Parker asking to go outside to pee

Parker asking to go outside to pee

He was an asset in a hundred year old house in our drafty bedroom in winter.  My husband and I worked different shifts, but Parker was a great source of heat and a good cuddler.  It was one of the only times he was not pacing the floor and whining.  Although he did occasionally howl in his sleep while dreaming.

Snuggles

Snuggles

Parker loved to run.  We had a special leash and harness to hook him up to our bikes.  My husband would always take Parker, because he was too fast for me.  He would literally pull the bike.  He would run until his feet bled.  He once did that when he ran away.  He ran away probably about 12 times in the 9 years that we had him.  The best investment we ever made was his dog tag.  The second best was when we extended our backyard fence to include the back door. Once, after a Pure Romance party at my house, he ran away.  My theory is that the products with the pheromones in them turned him on.  He usually ran away on cold, winter nights when it was freezing raining.  Once, on a hot day, he went for a swim in Lake Adrian.  He crossed 223 at least once.  I always expected him to return with a broken leg or worse, but he never did.  We only found him ourselves on one occasion.  We clocked him doing 18mph down the sidewalk.  Luckily, the smell of a nearby baby possum caught his attention long enough to slow him down.

Naughty dog

Naughty dog

Right when my husband and I were both returning to the workforce after lengthy bouts of unemployment, Parker managed to skewer himself on a metal fence post in our yard.  The vet was concerned that he may have punctured his lung, but he didn’t.  She said he was close to nicking his main leg artery, in which case he would have bled to death before I could have gotten him there.  The vet’s office sewed up the wound twice.  He popped the stitches twice.  We made bi-weekly trips to the vet.  He still went on to fully recover from that wound.

What did I do to myself?!

What did I do to myself?!

Parker was so excited to go for a car ride that he was not a very good passenger.  After one incidence where he saw a wild animal and tried to crawl out the window that was rolled halfway down, we learned to only give him a few inches to sniff.

On a family camping vacation to Port Clinton, that bird dog went crazy when he saw an ostrich at the drive thru safari park zoo.

He was such a difficult dog that our best friends could no longer stand to dog sit for him.

Parker was a challenge every day, in every way.

I have a theory that Parker may have been a cat reincarnated as a dog.

Here are some excerpts from Sunday’s post:

Yesterday was our 11 year wedding anniversary. The day started by us saying our first goodbye to one of the furry children of our union, Parker. We think he suffered a stroke a number of months ago, could be going blind, and has exhibited a change in behavior. We had him in our lives for 9 years. I have always hated that dog. Now I hate him for making me cry at his absence.   He was such a challenge to live with in every way. Although, I have to believe that maybe he was sent to us to prepare us for the trails that M, our son, would present to us. Maybe Parker was the opening act.

Parker

His velvety head

It was so hard yesterday, to pet Parker knowing it was the last time. Knowing we would never feel his velvety brown head again, or his short hair, that was course when it was dirty and soft when it was clean. I am sure I will continue to find it stabbing me in the cups of my bras though. It was easier yesterday when he was gone. But then harder again this morning. Yesterday he was still in our lives, that stupid, miserable dog. Today will be our first full day without him in our home. I am sad that it seems empty. But I am comforted in my belief that no other family would have put up with his whining and peeing on the floor consistently for 9 years. And it is a much more peaceful and calm atmosphere already, without having to fight with the Parker over everything.

We always theorized that he was previously owned by an elderly couple.  He liked older people, and people in wheelchairs.  He hated thunderstorms, and always sought refuge in the bathroom.  We thought maybe the old couple kept him in the bathroom a lot.  We figured one person died, the other would go off to the nursing home.  Then the kids would come and just open the door, and Parker would run.  Because that is what he did best.  Always.  Even with stitches in his leg.  Then they wouldn’t have to try to find him a new home.

Running.  Always running.

Running. Always running.

Maybe he needed more obedience classes.  Maybe he needed more exercise.

Rest in Peace, Parker.  You definitely made yourself an unforgettable part of our lives, and our family.

Just sleeping here, not dead

Just sleeping here, not dead

What I Learned This Week – 8/24/14

The last six weeks or so have been very trying in my life. There were events that others would be able to take in stride. There were events that would have crippled other people more. I have done the best that I could. I am still here. I tried to control my anxiety with exercise and, when I couldn’t manage to get more than a few hours of sleep on my own, sleeping pills occasionally. I read that lack of sleep actually makes anxiety worse. I tried to balance all factors.

My manager at work left. This created a full-time opening with a raise in pay that I could not pass up interviewing for, even though I find interviews highly stressful. I didn’t get that position. But another full-time position became available, so then I had to interview for that. And the decision-making process took longer. I had to plan several weeks of my life duly as “if I get the job” and “if I don’t”. I learned that I got the job. I enjoy it, although it has not all run perfectly smoothly.

WEEK-anxiety

This meant I went back to work full-time after 3 years. I had only ever worked full time when my son was 3-9 months old. My husband had been home with him then. M is now 3 1/2 years old. We had to enroll him in preschool daycare, a new experience for all of us. I have the same hour long commute that I used to have. But, I can no longer just roll out of bed a half hour before my departure time and hop in the shower, then run out the door. I have to pack lunches the night before. In the morning, I have to get myself ready, then wake up a boy who does not wish to be awakened. I have to get him to use the potty, wash his hands, and let me change his clothes. Then he wants to eat breakfast and drink. And I have learned that Sagittarius children cannot be rushed. (At least that is the case with mine.)

On the twilight of the second day of this new routine, my vehicle of 10 years decided to die. It was its time. I was not angry. Just, well, lost as to what action to take. My husband let me use his vehicle for a week and a half. But we had to car shop and get a new car. That meant less time for household chores and a few late nights getting to bed so that we could test drive and sign loan paperwork after work at the car dealership. I had to contact my insurance agent to switch over the policy.   Rediscovered how difficult it is to get anything done when you are unavailable at work 7:30AM-6:00PM Monday through Friday.

New Car: 2011 Jeep Patriot

New Car: 2011 Jeep Patriot

Speaking of which, we also had to get a new checking account, switch two direct deposits, and close the old checking account.

I had to clean out my old car, post a classified ad, then meet with people who bought it. We live in the city. They don’t take kindly to junk cars sitting unattended for very long.

I also had to postpone, then cancel a dentist appointment for my son.

I am still taking my mom grocery shopping every Wednesday night. Now we don’t leave til 7:00PM. My son and I don’t make it to bed until well after 10:00PM, which makes it very hard to get up come Thursday morning.

Parker

Parker

Yesterday was our 11 year wedding anniversary. The day started by us saying our first goodbye to one of the furry children of our union, Parker. We think he suffered a stroke a number of months ago, could be going blind, and has exhibited a change in behavior. We had him in our lives for 9 years. I have always hated that dog. Now I hate him for making me cry at his absence.  (A fuller obituary will come this week.)  He was such a challenge to live with in every way. Although, I have to believe that maybe he was sent to us to prepare us for the trails that M, our son, would present to us. Maybe Parker was the opening act.

My husband left with Parker. M, Dave (our other dog), and myself were in the backyard. When I went to go back into the house, I realized my husband, with other things on his mind, had locked us out. So then M & I had to walk the half hour to my mom’s apartment to pick up the spare key. I was fortunate that I could leave water with Dave in the backyard, and that the stroller was on the porch. It could have been worse. It could have been raining or snowing (this is Michigan, afterall…). It also could have been better. I just got off of 4 days on my feet at work doing manual labor to prepare for an event. I WAS SORE. And I had had no ibuprofen or caffeine yet for the day. My mom was able to provide keys and caffeine. By the time I got home, my husband had already returned.

It was so hard yesterday, to pet Parker knowing it was the last time. Knowing we would never feel his velvety brown head again, or his short hair, that was course when it was dirty and soft when it was clean. I am sure I will continue to find it stabbing me in the cups of my bras though. It was easier yesterday when he was gone. But then harder again this morning. Yesterday he was still in our lives, that stupid, miserable dog. Today will be our first full day without him in our home. I am sad that it seems empty. But I am comforted in my belief that no other family would have put up with his whining and peeing on the floor consistently for 9 years. And it is a much more peaceful and calm atmosphere already, without having to fight with the Parker over everything.

Yesterday we also attended our niece’s 6th birthday party. That was fun. I especially liked where I got to sit on my butt and rest. Then my husband and I went to dinner to celebrate our anniversary. We had alcohol and steaks. My son had a slight meltdown, so we went home after that. I then watched a NASCAR race on TV, which I almost never get to do anymore. I went to bed.

I was awakened at 11:30PM by Dave barking, my husband on the phone, and a police searchlight shining in our front window shortly thereafter. It seems a drunk guy couldn’t find his way home, so he decided to sit on our porch and smoke, try to flag down cars, then lay down on our deck. My husband called the cops. They took the guy home.

Finally. Our totally weird anniversary day was done.

And also, hopefully, our messed up last few weeks.

Then this morning, we find the dude’s cell phone. It was dead, so we put it on our charger. We checked his contacts. We snooped through his Facebook and found out his name. My husband was almost about to call the number for “Mom”, when the guy called his own phone from his friend’s phone. He came to pick it up. He half-assed apologized. Apparently, if my husband and I REALLY wanted to celebrate our anniversary, we should have been at the same bonfire that dude went to.

Also, my asbestos friend, who is like family, has lost her dad a few weeks ago. Her family (who is like family to me) had a car accident last week. Their car was sadly totaled. Since they were just across town, I went and gave them a ride home. I would have anyway, but I figured I could use all the karmic pay-it-forward I could get. (It worked. My mom had not yet gotten in the shower when I knocked on her door for my spare key yesterday.)

What I Learned This Week(s):  I have to admit, in the long run, everything is probably working out for the better. It is just not always easy to see that at the time it happens. And, can I have peace and quiet now, please? Can I have some sense of a schedule and normal?

Oh wait, next week we are only working/daycare for a few days, because then we will leave on vacation. And, of course, screw up our internal clocks so that we will be all off schedule by the time we return. Oy.

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