Friday, September 26, 2014

A post about dogs

About 15 months ago we lost our first dog. The dog we bought when AB and I were serious. Together, planning a wedding and ready to take that first step bonding. Not ready for kids, ready for a dog. And we got a fabulous one. We lucked into our Winny when we ran across a batch of puppies called Belgian Shepherds. We were looking for German Shepherds, mostly. We ran home, looked up on the internet what a Belgian Shepherd was, it looked good. So we ran back, paid our $60 for a little black puppy who stole AB's sunglasses and took her home.

Aeowyn turned me into a dog lover. And she was an amazing dog.
Years went by - about 9 or so - and she started to show her age. Hips hurt, she slept a lot. So I decided she needed a sibling and I found one! A rescue. Also supposed to be a Belgian Shepherd - and she may have been 50% Belgian. But more Border Collie looking and acting. Freya. Freya wormed her way into our hearts and became a good dog too - after a little while. A little hyper and crazy, but wow, she loved us. And we loved her. Skadi especially. 

Then a few months ago in May we lost her suddenly to a surprise case of hemolytic anemia. We tried to save her, but it didn't take. For 4 months we were without a dog. We knew we couldn't get a puppy before going to Alaska for two weeks. And we had actually found an adorable little fawn colored Belgian Tervuren (which is later what we found out Winny was). But we couldn't commit and she ended up finding another home. 

We started looking for dogs and were stunned at how difficult it was. Granted we had a very narrow set of specifications - but we suffered a number of disappointments on our path. I could go on and on about the path we were on that was incredibly annoying. But that isn't what this post is about.

AB and I one night decided to give up the search for a dog. It wasn't meant to be. The right dog will find us. We were tired of people who were asinine about their so called "rescue organizations" and the need to conform to someone else's belief on what a good dog family looked like. (That would be, one without children, mostly.) Oh yes, I wasn't going there, steering back...

We had given it up. AB really wanted a puppy. I didn't. And I was the one who was going to be stuck with the large portion of dog care (or so I believed and still believe). A toddler and a puppy sounded utterly miserable.

Then I saw him and fell in love immediately.

And AB warned me - no way is it going to happen! So I put an application in since it was just another opportunity for someone to reject us.

A blonde German Shepherd. Friendly with young children, cats, house trained, learning to walk on a leash, kennel trained, a true rescue as he was believed to be abandoned and hit by a car, but better now. He was perfect.

And so he visited and he seemed alright. A bit attached to the Foster, but whatever. I saw it. I saw Winny in his eyes. We needed him.

And so the next day she brought him and dropped him off. For good. And with some Xanax.

And that first night AB and I sat there going WTF. "Trooper" was hyped up - the kids were afraid of him. The cat thought the devil himself had arrived. The dog stood on the top my freaking computer desk. I thought he was going to sail out the big picture window actually. He cried. He barked. And his foster didn't answer her e-mails. We presumed because it was the first time she had any sleep in weeks. I cried. What have I done to our family? AB said that tomorrow we would see how it went and evaluate it then all calm-like. I promised to never ever find another rescue dog ever. Ever.

The next morning wasn't much better. I packed my work stuff up, dried my red eyes and went into work. And left the spaz dog with my husband. I whined to a few colleagues and they all encouraged me to give it a little while - it's only been a day!

AB and I talked on the phone, he took the dog to a vet and got Prozac and a sedative. A local shepherd expert met him at the vet and offered her assistance and repeatedly urged him not to give up. We may be this dog's last chance. AB told her we didn't want him to get all attached to us only to pass him off to someone else. She didn't care about that - presumably because there wouldn't be another family on his list. It was about then that we found out he had gone to a foster who rejected him with a few hours claiming aggression towards the husband. If we, as experienced shepherd owners, couldn't make it work. He was done.

Now there is some pressure!

Then this happened.

And she declared that she loved him with all her heart and vowed to protect him for ever and ever and ever and never let anything bad happen to him again.

And we softened.

Then we went to the coast. And things went splendidly. A different dog suddenly emerged. There was no cat to harrass (and the cat got a break from spaz boy). And all of us fell in love.

Oh and he proved his desperate need to be with us at all times by swimming out to follow us in the row boat. That  was a short row. (Winny used to follow us on land.)

He is learning to walk on a leash, has had a bit of training, still thinks the cat is the most curious thing in the world, has some annoying habits that need to be broken.

He would lay down his life for every single member of our family. He is the first one to try to respond when Silas cries. He loves morning walks.

He is now our Odin.

September - 80% Done

It always feels so good when the goals start coming together. A bit addictive! I love seeing progress. I have to try to avoid tunnel vision though. I get this at work too. The “Got.To.Finish.It.Even.If.It.Kills.Me”mentality. Baby is crying and clinging, but got to finish this room! No. Stop. Go pick up the baby and sit down with him, feed him. At work it is, stop typing, stand up, grab bag, go and meet the bus so that kids aren’t standing alone in the house, eating. Eating chocolate and everything bad for them.
Last weekend I pounded on the Master bedroom hard. I scraped crap out of the corners. I started on one side – mine – and worked my way around the room. Huge bag of trash generated. A box and two bags of stuff for Goodwill. Laundry done. AB helped me empty out under the bed and we put the frame back under our mattress which elevates it about 8” higher than it was. (And got the frame out of storage under the bed.) AB built our bed and I wanted it tall. He made it tall. Then I birthed Silas and freaked out – our bed can’t be that tall! And logistics with the cosleeper made it next to impossible to have the bed that tall. So we took the frame out and it was normal height. But now it is tall again! And I love it!
The Master Bedroom is 80% complete now. It doesn’t include the Master bath, which has minor issues. Or the closet – which has bigger issues. I may be able to do the final 20% and tackle the Master Bath this weekend. Except Skadi has her final acting class for the month, which includes a presentation. Then her cousin is coming over to play. (Hey yeah, so she has a COUSIN who lives in the same town as we do and is her same age. Ok, so cousin like three times removed or something like that and that she just met for the first time over Labor Day, but cool!) I want to go to Michael’s, and PetSmart and Target and get groceries and then Skadi could use shoes (boots) other than her Keen sandals for the fall. Then Leif has soccer. And then I have this crazy idea of surprising the kids and going to Shakey’s after soccer because I love their pizza and the kids love the game room and Silas can scream and hardly anyone will notice and I wouldn’t have to pick up.
I will at least get the last 20% done, hopefully convince AB to rent a Rug Doctor and clean the carpet in there. And I maybe will get to the bathroom, maybe not. I got home today and AB had started on the garage. And not just a clean of the garage but like massive reorganization. And I am excited. So I may abandon the Master Bath pick up for the garage.
Next month my goal is the kitchen. Now reason would state that my Master bedroom is all cleaned and organized that I should paint it. Because I want the Master bedroom painted. But the issue is that I don’t feel like doing it. I don’t feel like taping it off, draping everything and painting and doing all the edges. And I don’t really feel as though the month of October is the time to be stuffing myself inside a smelly room. And I haven’t convinced my husband of paint colors.
So hello kitchen!
Actually I need that bad before fall baking/cooking fun and our annual Halloween party. So starting next weekend, the first weekend in October, my kitchen is going to undergo a massive dumping and re-orging so as to confuse everyone in my house about where things will go.

Friday, September 05, 2014

Return to Goals!

Our summer camping trips are winding down now. Back to school. The kids activities are all swinging up and our weekends are back to being spent at the soccer field. A new one for us, Skadi has decided that she is interested in acting and she now has Saturday classes at the local children's theater. I hate to admit how well this new activity appears to fit her and I hope that she might find her niche.

I am very much looking forward to the cooler weather, to fall arriving and to weekends in the home where I can get things accomplished. I have high hopes for the house, but also realize I should scale back my expectations. Silas is at that stage where he is keeping us exceptionally busy and isn't terribly interested in organizing.

To this end, I have decided it is time to return to my Goals! Monthly Goals should suit me fine for the next 4 months. And conveniently it is the first weekend in September now. It's GO time!

September Goal - Declutter and purge the Master Bedroom and the Playroom. Come up with a plan for the Master Bedroom.

It is a perfect opportunity to purge because I have gone through my daughter's closet and drawers and we have two big bags of hand me downs. I have a friend who invited me to toss some baby items in with her stuff for a Church baby gear sale and another friend who is having a garage sale and I can toss a few items in there without the big huge scary obligation of a garage sale at my house. All this does mean that I have to get a move on.

Master: This weekend all the crap that has accumulated in the Master bedroom needs to be purged. I have clothes that don't fit in one stack, a box of baby stuff for Goodwill, baskets of camping clothes... the list goes on and is embarrassingly long. In the long term I would like to come up with a plan for the Master bedroom. Ideally we would rip out the nasty carpet - reality is that it will just be cleaned well. I would love to start thinking about colors and have some ideas in mind. Something for the walls? Well I never just go and buy things for my walls, they have to speak to me. Apparently nothing has ever spoken to me about my Master. And last - storage. I need somewhere to put the stacks of stuff. I am thinking shelves or something at the foot of our bed. Ideally, I would have a fabulous storage bench with seats on top for under our big window. But alas, I think it is a dream.

Playroom: Oh my goodness I need something that works in this room. I also would love doors right about now. And my kids need a change in attitude about picking up after themselves in there. And I need to break the new dog (Odin) of stealing stuffed animals from this wide open room, hauling them downstairs and chewing on them. And I need to break the cat of doing nasty stinky things to the Barbie dolls. I was the lucky one who put about what seemed like 830 Barbies and their clothes into the washing machine two night ago and ran it twice. The cat is "Lucky" he has 9 lives. He may have used one up Wednesday night.

So the playroom just needs to be picked up. The set of shelves and fabric bins I bought needs to be assembled. And I have stacks and stacks of my sewing and cross stitch stuff in bins and buckets. While that system is keeping that stuff away from the wrath of Lucky's rear end, it is an ugly stack. I have a perfect little alcove in there that needs shelves. I could have a built in shelving unit with not too much investment...

That's it. That's my September goal! I need to think about October still. It may involve ripping these crazy shrubs out in my backyard. The ornamental ones that are ultra-ugly unless trimmed. And they are never trimmed. And I will be da____ if I am going to pay someone to come in and prune bushes that I don't even like. So... how do I kill and remove bushes anyways?