Wednesday, February 18, 2009

So the adventures just keep going--

P-daddy was rough this weekend, but I thought it was just the dumps over putting down our dog. Turns out he has some flu-like thing going on. This is day two in bed. And G-girl has a cracked rib from a graceful incident yesterday afternoon. Between the two of them, I called my Wednesday babysitting appointment and told them I couldn't do it. I feel really bad about the last minute notice for them, but I really didn't expect my husband to be in bed again this morning.

I'm going to hibernate in our bubble today. And spray lots of lysol!

Monday, February 16, 2009

The Rainbow Bridge


The Rainbow Bridge
Just this side of heaven is a place called Rainbow Bridge. When a beloved pet dies, that animal goes to Rainbow Bridge. There are meadows and hills for all of our special friends so they can run and play together. There is plenty of food, water and sunshine, and our friends are warm and comfortable.

All the animals that had been ill and old are restored to health and vigor. Those who were hurt or maimed are made whole and strong again, just as we remember them in our dreams of days and times gone by. The animals are happy and content, except for one small thing; they each miss someone very special to them, who had to be left behind.

They all run and play together, but the day comes when one suddenly stops and looks into the distance. His bright eyes are intent. His eager body quivers. Suddenly he begins to run from the group, flying over the green grass, his legs carrying him faster and faster.

You have been spotted, and when you and your special friend finally meet, you cling together in joyous reunion, never to be parted again. The happy kisses rain upon your face; your hands again caress the beloved head, and you look once more into the trusting eyes of your pet, so long gone from your life but never absent from your heart.

Then you cross Rainbow Bridge together.... Presley is now playing at the Rainbow Bridge with Jake (above) and Shadow.

Sunday, February 15, 2009

Date Day

Yesterday was an exercise in something. I don't know for sure what, but maybe someone can illuminate it for me. The nice thing about babysitting copiously for someone who doesn't like or celebrate Valentine's day is a near-guaranteed Valentine's babysitter. Still, I wasnt expecting to hear "drop em at 10. Pick em up the next day at 4."

Well, ok then. I hope she didn't expect me to argue!


After checking out the ReSale Habitat store in Tacoma, P-daddy and I wandered around the Proctor district, an area I have a particular affection for. It's one of those mini-cities within an urban center that has everything from good grocery stores to library to post office to restaurants to pubs to parks all within easy walking distance. It has a theater and a bowling alley and a pottery-painting shop all right there. I should have mentioned the three schools, I guess, but they're not so much on our radar. After checking out some galleries we went in search of food and decided to leave Proctor.

On our meandering way out we spotted the Mandolin cafe, which I adore. We went in just so I could show it off to P-daddy--it's one of those old-school coffee shops I love-- heavily decorated, baristas that actually pull lattes in mugs instead of paper cups and expect you to hang around, live music, board games and tables everywhere. I wanted P-daddy to have a visual. We popped in and there was not just music, but a huge brass band sitting there. We totally snagged some lattes and sat our fannies down. That was good fun.

We ended up hitting more appliance and hardware stores through out the day, which I commented on as being "so romantic." P-daddy reminded me that's pretty much how we always rolled. That's just what we did, even without kids-- we drank coffee and fiddled with home improvement. I suppose romance is in celebrating how you connect, right?

(Hey Reeciebird! Should I put your part of the story in here?)

Saturday, February 14, 2009

Happy Diffendoofers Valentines

Yesterday a good day. Our homeschool Diffendoofers got together for a Valentine's Day party. The kids all made Valentines throughout the week and when they got together at M.J.'s house they decorated paper bags into which to put the Valentines for each other. That was the idea anyway.

Mostly they just ate a lot and played like little dervishes.

The Moms in the homeschool group are getting more comfortable with each other. It's pleasant to see and experience the level of rapport and cohesion in a young group with people who know each other well enough to like and respect, but don't know each other well enough to have conflicts of any kind. And hey! They brought me coffee! The hostess doesn't drink it or keep it in the house so I brought my own, along with my French press and a coffee mug. So did Pashca. So did the hostess. I felt the love!

Another mother, watching in amusement as the host kids organized a little hike along their 5 acres, commented to me, "You know, G-girl let my daughter know at homeschool PE that she should be bringing extra clothes today." I laughed-- the last time we were at this house G-girl had stepped into a creek and gotten soaked. She's looking out for her friends, that one!

Today my kids woke up to Valentine's from Mom , Dad and Aunt Barbara and will later go over to Nikirj's while P-daddy and I attempt to be romantic. I don't think I even remember what romantic looks like, but hey, we can try.

Have a good one today-- love on the sweeties who make your heart glow, be they small, furry or otherwise.

Wednesday, February 11, 2009

The Sun is Shining Again

And the brilliance of the sky is bouncing off the fresh snow. :::bang head::: It snowed all day yesterday. All day. From the gloom of dawn until the sun began to set, it snowed in one degree or another. Thankfully it didn't begin to stick until nearly lunch time, so we only accumulated about 4, wet inches. While it's pretty, I am ordering from seed catalogs and thinking fondly of getting my fingernails really dirty. The snow wasn't welcome.

I will just say the month has been rough. It's been a morass of emotional acrobatics and physical exhaustion. It's not all been bad, by any means, but it has been tough going. During one week, I had babysitting duties every day, from Monday to Friday, with a kid party at the zoo on the Saturday.


Allergies.
Is G-meister allergic to peanuts? The resounding answer is we still don't know. Her RAST tests came back as still allergic, but less allergic, at a category 3. She's still positive for shrimp, walnuts and pecans. Her real problem, according to the allergist, is a whopping category 6 "off the charts" response to dust mites. Really? REALLY?

N-man was slightly better-- no food allergies at all any more, but also "really allergic" to dust mites.

I spent a long time on the phone with the (very kind) allergist, discussing our options regarding further testing. G-girl wants to do an in-office food challenge yesterday and I am stalling, just because I don't think I can deal. The allergist's final word on the peanut allergy is "you need to keep an epi-pen but I don't think you'll ever use it." That's better than it's been for 7 years, and I guess I need to adjust my attitude to focus on the joy in that.

The grace is what I pray for. The grace to deal. Currently I am stuck in "omiGOD-- dust mites????" That's a whole different ball of wax. I have lived with someone who had allergic asthma, whose issues were primarily dust mites. I know what to do and that's what's causing issues. It's more work. A lot more work. I am willing to do it and I certainly will be HAPPY to get these kids some relief. I just didn't see it coming, I guess, and if the kids want to keep their stuffies they need lots of hot water washing-- often. G-girl has already made the connection between our current activities and the Velveteen Rabbit so I think she knows where my head is at: wouldn't it be easier to just toss them all?



Adults acting like children
In all forms. I know Mercury is in retrograde, and as much as I'd prefer to dismiss astrology altogether, it does hold true that people go batshit crazy during this time. For my part, I have been mostly capable of keeping my nose clean but that's hard to do when relative strangers want to perceive the world as a battleground, and myself as a willing combatant. I'm not writing a lot here, and I know it's because I closed the blog. I miss the discourse. I want to open the blog back up, but I despise the fact that people find me interesting for the wrong reasons. These are my children. My babies! They're off limits for gossip and vitriol.

Another friend got into a car wreck which totaled her car and sent her to the hospital with broken bones; instead of using that accident as an opportunity to heal or break from the situation, the same adult children used the occasion to launch a double e-mail volley with me. Knowing what was going on with our friend, knowing that I was among those caring for her and her children, it just further demonstrated my point that I am not missing out on any form of friendship with them. They don't speak my love language, I guess, and I resent having to fend them off my mental space. One of them is why I closed the blog (she knew about the peanut butter cup incident that way) and she continues to ferret information. It's distressing. I don't mind complete strangers having certain information about my life. It is how people choose to use it that makes the difference to me.



The Dogs are Dying
Also nothing surprising, given that they are 15 and 16 years old, but it's hard to watch. I may be unpublished, but I am still a Southern writer, and what happened two days ago is nothing short of Faulkneresque. I will probably write it out better later, but basically it goes like this: P-daddy was going out of town and Presleydog has really gotten weak and thin lately. He's literally wasting away pounds by the day and P-daddy was concerned the dog would pass while he was out of town. As a precaution, he dug a grave for the dog the day before he left. On Monday, I had errands to run (including a gigantic panel blood draw for me), and I let Presley out early. That evening, when I had collected the children and gotten them their supper, I realized Pres was not back on the porch. I went to all his usual sleeping bushes and houses; I drove the neighborhood looking for him. I couldn't find him. I told Deb-the-neighbor "He can't walk across the living room, but he went on a walkabout!"

When I gave up and came in, discouraged, G-girl went out with a cheerful "I know I can find him, Mom!" and she did-- in like, five minutes.

"He's in the big hole Daddy dug!" My mind went crack a little bit. When I went out, he was curled up, laying in the bottom of the hole, for sure. He was breathing, but it still struck me as an ugly sight. The thing is, he's so feeble, he really couldn't get out. He's in so much pain I really didn't want to envision him getting IN there, much less how much it would hurt him for me to drag him out.

Presley, for those who don't know, was never a small dog. He teetered between 85 and 98 pounds his whole life. He's also one of the few dogs I ever met with secretary spread. And here he was, standing now, wagging at me with a hopeful expression his face. "Get me out?"

I asked G-girl to go get a neighbor gentleman, because I was certain I would not be able to hoist the dog. Meanwhile, I went into the garage and brought out a long board to use as a ramp. While I could get Presley to move to the side enough so that I could lower the board, he looked at it and at me, with disdain. "Really?" About this time, G-girl came up with Deb-the-neighbor, who was also carrying a plank. Great minds think alike, I guess.

Awkward and embarrassed, I asked her "Do you know what's going on?"

With delivery befitting a Southern preacher's wife, Deb said slowly and kindly, "If I understand it correctly, [delicate pause], the dog has fallen into his own grave."

The absurdity of the situation, with the still-happy dog wagging away in his final intended bed, just overtook me and I groaned out loud. Deb calmed me and took the failed ramp out of the hole. She suggested-- and we did-- a double hoist where she took one end and I took the other to elevate him to higher ground. I was almost overcome with sadness-- he might have weighed 50 pounds at that point, maybe-- when Deb laughed out loud. I looked over where she pointed at Presley, who was peeing like a race horse. Apparently, he'd been in the hole a long, long time, and wasn't about to soil it.

"Well," I said wryly,"at least he knows it's his."



Upswings
We have barstools! Reeciebird's Mom was trying to get rid of hers, just in time for my caterwauling post about missing bar stools. P-daddy needs to file them down a bit and they will be perfect perfect perfect. I am really grateful about that turn of events.

Our homeschooling group is coming together really nicely. I like adults with intention, and we've all been seeking each other out in ways that really complement each other, on many different levels. We've been meeting on Fridays, rotating activities and houses and it's all been pretty effortless. I want to do this as often as we are, I just didn't want my house to be the sole proving ground. It's been good on that front lately.