Thursday, October 29, 2009

Stray Dog

Dropped the girls off on this beautiful fall day, before heading to work. Was luckily driving fairly slow due to (1) the speed limit, (2) wet leaves on the road, (3) and a leaf pick-up truck on the curb; because I had to hit the breaks pretty hard to avoid hitting a little dog that ran out in the road.

There were two moms walking the other way with their strollers and they seemed to be concerned and trying to catch him, so I drove past. But now I feel guilty, because as I looked in the rearview mirror I cannot say for certain that the dear dachshund made it back home.

My only hope is that the woman that was rounding the corning had some modicum of common sense, since she was accompanied by a well-mannered German Shepherd.

Here are my tips for Moms #1 and #2, if this situation ever occurs again:

(1) You have a “lick “em and stick ‘em” baby strapped into a stroller. You are on a side street in Hometown, USA at 8AM in the morning. Put the break on the stroller and step 10 feet away from it. A dingo is not going to run off with your baby. While you are at it, put your coffee down in the convenient cup holder.

(2) Mom #1’s warning to me may have been more helpful if I had actually seen her covering her mouth in horror and sticking her hand out prior to seeing the dog the size of a bread loaf and the very same color of the leaves he was running across.

(3) Mom #2 appeared to have the a similar type of dog on a leash, yet to prevent the “stray” from coming closer, she STUCK HER FOOT OUT at it while not dropping her coffee.

A. You have your own puny dog. I would think you could figure out fairly easily if this puny dog was friendly and could be picked up.
B. If you were still unsure…PICK UP YOUR OWN DAMN DOG. Situation solved.
C. This is nothing against puny dogs; I’m just more of a big dog kind of person.

(4) The “stray” dog had a harness around him and legs less than an inch long. It stands to reason he’s from the neighborhood or else he would have been dead from exhaustion. I am not encouraging people to approach strange dogs, but don’t you think in the case of something you can pretty much pin down with your foot, you could manage to at least read its collar and go knock on a person’s door?

(5) Attempting to “herd” a dog back to where they belong doesn’t work. They are the herders. To them you have just agreed to playing a game of chase. Congratulations!

(6) When it comes to you with its tail wagging, pick it up. If it tries to bite you, put it back down. (Exception: If it happens to be my dog, please walk away, because I would rather he take his chances with the traffic than you two idiots.)

And here ends the lesson for the day.

Yours Sincerely,
Woman who successfully rescued three Standard Poodles that escaped the mansion across the street. It can be done! Okay, Scott helped.

Monday, October 26, 2009

The Sincere Pumpkin Patch

Those that know me, know that Halloween is my favorite holiday. Some of which has to do with happy childhood memories of Trick-or-Treating with the North Main Street gang and my mom’s excellent costume making talent. Some has to do with the weather, because fall is my favorite season. And some has to do with It’s the Great Pumpkin, Charlie Brown – arguably the best reason to stay up past my bedtime.

As a side note…I actually hate haunted houses. I am genuinely afraid that one of the workers will end up being a psychopathic axe murderer and this is just his cover. Irrational? Yes.

Now that I have kids of my own, there is a whole new level to the giddiness I feel when decorating a jack-o-lantern.

First off, I think Halloween is now in competition with Christmas for busiest time on my calendar. There are the preparations – the pumpkin picking, costume design, and hayrides. There are the planned festivities – PTA parties, parades, Boo at the Zoo, and more hayrides. And there is the holiday itself – trick-or-treat and more hayrides.

Note to hayride operators – Putting bales of STRAW in a wagon and pulling it around a parking lot with a tractor does not constitute a hayride. I’m not against the straw usage, per se. I wouldn’t want to use my own hay either – the stuff isn’t cheap. I was merely pointing out the misconception. But if you aren’t going to pull me through spooky cornfields or wooded areas, then it’s just a plain ol’ tractor/wagon ride.

The costume design is always tricky, as I am not as handy with the sewing machine as my mother was. Wait…I don’t even own a sewing machine. And how can store-bought costumes be so expensive and so cheap at the same time? Plus, Morgan already has definitive ideas on what she wants to be, despite my Jedi mind tricks. “Wouldn’t it be great to put a sheet over your head? It would be so fun to go as a ghost. I love ghosts.”

But in the end, they look so damn cute. At the PTA party, I was taking random pictures of kids I didn’t know. It is impossible to resist a child in costume. Unless they are a screaming little brat, of course.

Speaking of the PTA party…this year, Jungle Terry came from the zoo with some animal friends. We stepped into the Middle School cafeteria and I turned to Scott and said, “Does Zoe need her diaper changed?” He of course looked at me like I was an idiot and pointed to the cages on the stage.

Ahhh…animals smell. I’m normally immune to that, seeing as I did grow up with horses, but there was perhaps the fact that the smell of snake pee and pigeon poop are slightly out of context in a room where large numbers of children eat. But Jungle Terry did bring a mega bottle of hand sanitizer with him, which I thought was considerate.

On another side note…two out of the twenty animals he brought with him were albino - an albino skunk and an albino python. What are the chances that 10% of your menagerie is allegedly the rarest of their species? Seems a little fishy.

So here are the remaining “to do” items. I’m not kidding. This is seriously how long the list is. (Okay, so I may have a little something to do with signing myself up for this stuff.)

Carve another set of pumpkins, because the ones we did at the beginning of the month with the cousins have caved in with mold. They are still sitting on my front porch, of course. But I thought maybe they should be replaced before anyone other than the mailman has to get a good look at them.

The pre-school party and parade on Friday. Yet another opportunity for me to take pictures of other people’s kids and berate myself for not making Morgan’s costume myself.

The Nature Center hayride and festivities on Friday night. This hayride looks promising, because it does get down into the Metropark area. And you can’t pass up a chance to pet more animals. Although I’m pretty sure the nature center is seriously deficient on the albino variety.

Saturday is the merchant Trick-or-Treat parade at 1pm. The kids get to walk around the two town shopping squares and get candy from the store owners and it forms a sort of parade. (This will be cutting it close to swim lessons, but I think we can do it. May be a new record for most activities in a single day.)

6pm is actual Trick-or-Treat. The best part is seeing which houses are giving out beer to the parents as they walk by. And checking off each of the Star Wars characters that I see. Some things never change. And it will be interesting if Morgan can talk to home owners at a level that is actually audible to the human ear.

Then there is the annual Barn Dance, back at my old stomping grounds - which is now in its second generation, and does include an actual square-dance caller. Plus you get to see which kid falls off the mountain of straw bales first, thus ending the fun for the rest of them.

And then I will be setting up camp in the “most sincere” pumpkin patch.

Wednesday, October 21, 2009

Dirtying a Few Cups

Someone reads my blog that wasn't required to do so out of politeness. Yay!
* * *
Morgan was singing on the way to preschool this morning. She gets this talent from Papa SidandLeo to make up tunes. And usually they are nonsense, because she is more concerned with ryhming than plot or sentence structure. But a snippet of today's went like this:

I am lie-ing.
No, I am tell-ing the tru-uth,

1. Should I be concerned?
2. When she starts pronouncing the word "actually" correctly, it will be a sad day in the house. I don't know why, but it always brightens my day.

* * *

Zoe listened to me today. I mean she actchically listened to me. We were sitting on the back porch and her nose was just...good lord...the amount of snot that thing produces. So I said, "Can you sit here and not move or touch my things while I go get a wash cloth to clean your nose?" She gave me her nod that looks like she's head-banging to a song I can't hear. And when I came back, she was sitting there, smiling at me. This is an absolute first! Could it be the devil's spawn is starting to grow a few angel feathers?

* * *

We recently watched Marley and Me, and I remember in the book, the author mentioned when he wrote his "World's Worst Dog" column, he got a ton of letters about how much worse their dogs were than his. So here's Potter's contribution:

Before being owner-diagnosed with IBS (Irritable Bowel Syndrome for those of you that don't spend half your day pooping.) and coming to the realizationg that Beggin' Strips and Pig's Ears = "shotgun blasts of poo", Scott and I spent many a 3 a.m. cleaning runny diarhea off our carpet, hardwood, and...yes...walls.

You would think, that the tell tales clickety-clickety of his toe nails pacing around our bed and the whining that accompanied it, would have been ample warning...but as neither of us likes to get out of bed we inevitably would tell him to go lie down. Not a good solution.

The problem was that I knew that since we didn't have a fence I would either need to put him on a leash and stand there with him for the next twenty minutes, reaking of his stench, or I would have to helplessly hold on to his collar, while I attached him to his line that was staked into the yard. God forbid we had forgotten to make sure the clip was on the porch the last time we let him in. Or it was snowing. Or raining. Not sure why I found that more unappealing than bleaching my carpet or spraying Clorox Clean Up on my walls.

Not to mention, St. Bernard poo is not exactly dainty. Poor guy.

So now he lives a life of a bland diet and the only treat he is allowed to have is the plainest Milkbone they make. But I'm sure he's happy that his colon is no longer falling out.

Tuesday, October 13, 2009

Big Brother

You would think having multiple birthdays to celebrate in a row would make them easier to remember. I did manage to remember Scott's yesterday. Impressive, I know. And technically, I remembered my brother Charlie's several times today. Just not at moments when I could do anything about it, and then it quickly slipped my mind again and again.

Happy Birthday!

As if you actually read this. You are reading this, aren't you? You better read this, you're my brother. And unlike John, I have actually seen you crack a book, so I know you are literate. (No offense, John.)

As big brothers go, he's not so bad. I'm pretty sure he didn't torture me like he did John. I was never hung from the balcony by my ankles. He didn't pelt me with acorns in the fall or snowballs in the winter. He didn't hide my "guns" that I made out of scrap wood and rubber bands. Probably because I didn't make any. (Then again, maybe he did torture me and it was so bad I don't remember.)

In fact, I'm not entirely sure he realized I was there. Which is probably a good thing, considering my "awkward" phase and penchant for bad hair.

I mean, there was of course the time that we were running late for school and he drove the piece of crap "Goose" through a puddle that sprayed up through the rust holes in the floor and covered me in water. But (A) at least I had a ride to school so I didn't have to take the bus and (B) he did offer the suggestion of changing into my gym clothes.

Mostly, I thought he was pretty cool. I'm pretty sure the feeling wasn't mutual, but that's okay. I like to think I've gained a little "cred" now that we're older and found several things in common:

Our sense of humor.
Quoting movies to the annoyance of everyone else in the room.
Ability to make fun of John.

And just so the rest of you realize what a great guy he is...when we were in middle school, he would always leave our school bus hut in the freezing cold winter wind to see if the bus was coming. He never made me do it. (Of course if dad had just situated the hut so that we could watch for the bus without leaving it...)

Friday, October 9, 2009

Nothing Like a Pandemic

So I have a feeling this is going to be a fun flu season. You cannot go five minutes without hearing about H1N1 these days.

I myself have never gone in for the hype.

I do not carry hand sanitizer with me at all times. I have never gotten a flu shot in my life. And my kids go outside without hats on. There I said it.

I do, however, wash my hands after going to the bathroom. Aren't you glad to know that? So today at work, as I was washing my hands, I read one of the signs that has been hanging for so long on the mirror, I don't even see it anymore.

It's about the correct way to wash your hands. The fact that we have to have instructions for washing our hands is a travesty in itself, but one of the points is just the epitome of insanity.

It's telling me to wash my hands for 20 seconds. Seems innocent enough. But then goes on to say that I should "sing Happy Birthday to a friend" two times in order to measure out these 20 seconds.

Here's a thought - why don't I just COUNT TO TWENTY.

Monday, October 5, 2009

Something Wicked This Way Comes

Got the preschool newsletter today with a reminder about the Halloween costume party coming up. "The church requests us not to have any witches, ghosts, or devil costumes." first thought, "She is so going as a witch." But then I realize I can be an adult, even when it kills me. But let's think about this.

What does it matter what a pre-schooler dresses up as on Halloween? Whatever they are dressed as on that day, they will be wishing it is something else. Currently, I'm in search of a fairy costume, but last week I thought I was going to be creating a beluga whale costume from scratch. Chances are, the day of the party, she is going to be really ticked that she has to wear whatever costume she last settled on.

And I find their list shockingly vague.

A devil. So are we talking biblical Satan, or any demonic looking creature will do? Does this rule out Hades, and then by default Persephone? I mean she does allegedly head things up down there for six months out of the year. What if my son wanted to tote around a three-headed dog, while wearing his helm of invisibility and make kids give him quarters to get across the River Styx? Would this be frowned upon?

Don't get me started on witches. What a stereo-type. Hel-lo...has no one watched the Wizard of Oz in that church? There are good witches and bad witches! If Morgan wants to go as Glinda or Hermione Granger, do I have to say no? And I'm guessing witches are on the book-burning list because they are considered devil-worshipers, which is just plain racist. I'm pretty sure the White Witch of Narnia was in it for herself. (Then again, she would fall in the "devil" category above, if we were speaking metaphorically, so maybe not the best example.)

Ghosts...I don't get at all. This one completely baffles me. Is it strictly because "there's no such thing as ghosts?" Because there's no such thing as a Power Ranger and I could swing a stick and hit one at any time on Trick or Treat night. I'm assuming its not because "they are scary" or they would have just said, "Keep it fun, not scary." I can appreciate that, at this age. That's reasonable. I think our PTA party does that. Is it because it reeks of Pagan ritual, which is why we celebrate Halloween in the first place...because maybe they should have just said "You can't have a Halloween party in our church."

And poor Casper...I think my older brother donned that drug store costume in his youth. Plastic mask with the thin elastic band to hold it in place and the flimsy plastic shirt and pants, shaped like scrubs that fit over your regular clothes.

If you're going to make a list of allegedly poor role models, maybe you should include:
1. Psychopathic Killers ("They look just like everyone else." - The Adams Family)
2. Hannah Montana (The pictures with Billy Ray...come on, that's just weird.)
3. Football players, Basketball players, Baseball players (Guns, drugs, animal cruelty, drunk driving, gangs, murder)
4. Ming Ming from the Wonder Pets (That speech impediment! It Kills Me.)

As for me...I'm pretty sure Pre School was the year of Little Bo Peep. But I'm also pretty sure that the year before that my mom dressed me up as Mae West, complete with fake cleavage and show girl makeup. And I am all the better for it.