Thursday, December 31, 2009

well, poop.


It's what I've waken to twice this week. Max (our beloved mascot) is perfectly housetrained. Sometimes he just has tummy troubles. When we started doggie shopping three years ago, I insisted that I did not want a PUPPY IN MY HOUSE. Wouldn't it be easier to just have infant twins? I asked in all seriousness.

The kids were 2 and 4 and the time. Mentally adding a puppy to that mix was enough to reduce me to tears. Max was a year old when we found him at the dog pound. He weighed 40 pounds. They found him in a trailer park and the people who called weren't irritated by him. They were worried about him. Said he was wandering around and kept falling over. Max should rightly weigh 80 pounds. Max was starving. The day the city pound worker picked him up, he couldn't stand. The man took him to a vet who gave him an IV and a few days to live. Two weeks later, he was at the pound, eating lots of dog food and taking visitors. The kids fell in love with him, Highlander gave his OK, and I was just so thankful that he wasn't a puppy.

Max is a gentle dog and when we brought him home, it quickly became obvious that he had a few quirks. Little things like not eating out of bowl, not accepting food from a person's hand, ducking away when we tried to pet him. It's safe to say he hadn't been around people much. He soon discovered the joy of his life; running away. He's escaped our home about 200 times by now. He never goes far, never lets anyone touch him, and comes home when he feels like it. Or when I get a piece of chicken out of the fridge for him and stand on the front step holding it high in the air. I'm sure he can smell chicken from a mile away. For him, there is no mischief to be found greater than the pull of a big strip of chicken held up by mom. I don't worry about him unless I have to stand outside holding the chicken for more than a minute.

Once, he jumped a chain link fence to get into someone's yard, but then couldn't muster the confidence to jump back out. I went to find him that day. I've never seen an animal so happy. Of course, when I opened the gate he ran right past me to continue his neighborhood romp.

I've apologized for this dog as many times as I've held up the chicken for him. Everyone kind of loves him, anyway. When Highlander and I put him on a leash and take him for a real walk, people stop us and say things like, "Oh, I know that dog. Doesn't he run off a lot?" or "I've always wondered what his name is. He seems nice....lots of energy, huh?"

Yesterday when Victoria was letting the 8 pound security system outside, Max rushed the door and took off. He wasn't ready to come back right away, so he ran big loops around the house while I held up the chicken. It was very cold, so I went back inside and that confused him. He stood in the driveway for a moment with his head cocked to the side, staring at the front door. "You no wanna play?" Then he shrugged, laughed, and took off down the street. Tori and I stood by the front window. I was fuming a bit, as she totally ignored my pleas to "watch Max when you let Charlie out!" and she was concerned that mom was mad at her. Then animal control drove by. "Great." I whispered. "Animal Control has arrived." Tori said, "Don't worry, Mom. They'll never catch him."

Highlander takes him for runs. 6 miles, 9 miles, it doesn't matter. The dog comes home, naps on his footstool, and by supper he'd really like to go for another run.

Ya know that movie, Marley and Me? We took the kids to see that last year. Every time Marley did something destructive, Victoria would lean over and whisper to me, "Max did that once." When it was over, she commented, "Marley's got nuthin' on Max." I had to agree. But I also have to say, that in spite of my no-nonsense approach to pets, Max is loved by all of us here. Lotsa love.

So he shat all over my living room floor last night, and I heard Highlander find it this morning, his swearing combined with the click click click of Max's nails on the hardwood as he paced. I got out of bed, got dressed and pulled on by big pink gloves. I grabbed the papertowels and the watered down bleach and got to work. I'm not even mad at the dog for his tummy troubles. I've heard once you starve your belly's never quite the same. And I did give him an entire ham bone last night when Highlander and I left him home alone, which he not only ate the meat scraps off of, but crushed and knawed until there were only two little pieces left. I believe he would have eaten those, too. But we were only gone for an hour and a half.

The dog is happy. He's out in the cold right now until his tummy calms down, but I think he's happy. Maybe he wishes he had been adopted by a small town butcher. Or maybe dogs don't invent unrealistic alternate scenarios for themselves. Who knows. We're glad to have him either way.

Tuesday, December 29, 2009

8:13 in bed with a cup of coffee

Strange how the definition of luxury changes after you have children. They are still asleep. Highlander pushed the button on the coffee maker, let the big dog out (oh, that's right. I need to not forget that he's outside) and asked me three or four questions that I'm pretty sure I answered but can't remember. Then he left for work. That was an hour ago. I listened for the kids and decided to take a nap while I waited for them to wake up. My half asleep mind wandered back to the olden days of yore in 2007 (also known as The Worst Year Of My Life) when they used to never ever ever ever sleep past 6:15am and I cried all of the time about the stay at home mom angst (Am I good at this? Why is my house such a mess? What the hell is wrong with me? Remember when I used to get a Paycheck? Yada Yada Yada.) My self-imposed cure for the post post baby blues was to rise earlier then my dear sweet children, sneak downstairs to get a cup of sugar laced coffee, and crawl back into bed with a stack of gardening magazines from the late 90's that my parents bequeathed to me. By spring of that year, poor Zoe was sharing a room with her sister and her former spot in the house was dedicated to growing heirloom tomatoes and an impressive array of herbs. I think we ended up with 218 viable plants that year. By the time it was time to put them in the ground, I had stopped crying. Yep. Growing things from seed makes you stop crying. I've done the study. Now the results have been published.
Anyway, I was mentally trolling those waters this morning at 7:18 and then I smelled the coffee. It was like a Folgers commercial from the 80's. I rose, stretched, put on Highlander's robe, and snuck downstairs in my bare feet. Five minutes later and back in bed, I'm curled up with my Wi-Fi googling anything that comes to mind. And that, my dear sweet friends, is Luxury. Or rather, this is. This is the paycheck for the puking flu and the arguments over whether or not Zoe is going to eat her supper. This is the Good Stuff. I don't take the fact that my computer isn't "plugged in" for granted. I know. Easily amused.
Which reminds me....the thing about Zoe not eating. I made a new form of "crapola" in a desperate attempt to ascertain whether my four year old was sick or just being picky. She stopped eating supper and started complaining loudly about absolutely everything I put in front of her about a week ago. She eats eggs for breakfast, clementines for lunch, and makes a mighty fuss about supper. We (and by "we" I mean Highlander) usually manage to get four or five bites down her whiny throat before we (and by "we" I mean me) give up. A couple of days before Christmas at supper, I pulled out the big guns and started describing the super fun time those two munchkins were about to have a bath time that night. What with the colored water and foamy purple spray soap...the array of new and exciting bath toys that were patiently waiting to be used up. The girls were Very Excited. Tori ripped through her dinner. Zoe ate one bite and exclaimed, "Oh Yuck! I Hate It!" She folded her arms across her chest and stared at me. Battle. On. I turned to Victoria, "You ready, honey?" We went upstairs without a word to madame pouty face. About three minutes later, I heard a tiny cry from downstairs, "Mommy! I'm finished with my supper!" Ah, victory for Mommy! Zoe came upstairs and climbed in the tub with her sister, who by now was covered in purple foamy shaving cream like soap and pretending to swim in the bright pink water. I went downstairs to work on the kitchen and noted that Zoe had in fact licked her plate clean. Wait. Licked? Charlie (suitably nicknamed the eight pound security system) was sitting in the corner with a big smile plastered on her face. That was a pasta-buzzed doggy if I've ever seen one. Ah, victory for Zoe.
Later, when Highlander questioned her about feeding her dinner to the dog and then lying about it, she said, completely seriously, "It was Charlie's idea." As if that would be the answer that would set her free.
The stunt put her on the naughty list for the day. The revocation elves showed up while she was neck deep in pink water and her stocking ended up disappearing. Before you gasp and judge me, know that my seemingly brilliant parental move ended badly for me. Victoria was the child most traumatized and apparently was deep in thought about what to do about her naughty sister while she was sitting on the toilet an hour later. She called me into the bathroom and earnestly pleaded, "Mommy, please put me on the naughty list and take Zoe off. I'll take her place. She's little." Meanwhile, Zoe was playing quietly; happily singing Jingle Bells to herself in their bedroom. Enter: Mommy-Guilt. Creative parenting is a minefield.

Here's how to make Tori and Charlie's favorite pasta;

About 2 inches of a Velveeta loaf (I won't go into why that's in my house right now. Different post for a different day.)
2 cups uncooked Bow-Tie pasta (or whatever you have on hand. Zoe picked Bow-Tie the night of The Incident.)
Tomato Paste
1/4 cup cooked and drained ground beef


Cook the pasta until it's about a minute from being done.
In a small sauce pan over low heat, melt the Velveeta and about a cup of the hot water from the pasta until it's creamy. Stir in one tablespoon of tomato paste and the cooked ground beef.
Pour sauce over cooked drained pasta and stir. I think I put in a little bit of dried oregano and a pinch of garlic powder in a vain attempt to make it more food-like. But that's totally optional.
Serve hot.
Watch the dog.

Tuesday, December 8, 2009

It's 4:38pm and my kids are still in their pajamas

Yep. I know. I may come to regret admitting that in print. But whatever. It's a Snow Day. It's the First Snow Day of the year and the three of us were Very Excited this morning. Especially me. I was So Excited that when the auto-bot from school called my cell phone at 5:45 am to announce the news that school was cancelled due to fear of winter weather, I couldn't really go back to sleep.

The mommies gather at Andrea's house on the First Snow Day of every Snow Event and it's been a long time since our last Snow Event. The kids show up in their footie pajamas and run around her mansion burning off the kind of energy that they usually can't burn off in the 11x23ft rooms of their own homes.

This morning, it was a reunion with bloody marys and potato leek soup. The local CSA is still spitting out greens, so we had fabulous little Iowa-lettuce salads while the snow blew sideways.

The girls and I got home at 1:00. I meant to clean up around here since the universe answered my shameless plea and Zoe did not get the puking flu. I would like to note that the universe got the last laugh. It was me who spent the weekend contemplating the ugly bathroom fixtures from the floor. And I thought Mommies couldn't get the flu. Anyway, I lost five pounds, but my house looks like I didn't lift a finger all weekend. Even after my dear sweet confused hungry husband tried to put it back together again for me. See, we live here. Things don't stay put for long. One of the reasons I was so excited about the First Snow Day was because Ambition reared it's goal oriented head and planned to clean the house. I ignored it and spent the afternoon cruising the internet looking at furniture. And shoes. And chicken coops.

Anyway, it's 4:38pm and my kids are still in their pajamas. To my credit, I did ask them (around 2:00pm) if they'd like to get dressed. They looked at me like that was a stupid question. Real Clothes? Footie Pajamas? Duh Mom.

Wednesday, December 2, 2009

they keep it a secret until it's too late.

My kid is sick. Along with everyone else's I suppose. She puked every twenty minutes from 9:00 last night until 3:00 this morning. Some kids will puke in the bucket. Mine won't. She likes to throw her six year old body about the room in a zombie-like fit while hollering, "WHY IS THIS HAPPENING!!!!!!" over and over. I respect the fact that even in the midst of severe physical trauma, she is outraged enough to ask the really big philisophical questions.....however, I ran out of antibacterial wipes, washcloths, pajamas (hers and mine) blankets, sheets (top and bottom) and she is now laying on a big towel under two more big towels in one of my tee shirts and her last clean pair of underwear. And she's pissed because the washing machine will only wash so fast.....

I officially send this humble plea out into the universe: Please Please Please don't let the other one catch this bug and Please Please Please let my eleven year old washing machine make it through this challenge and into the new year.

Zoe just brought me something small and brown. "Mommy what is this?"

It is poop.

I have no idea.

I have to go now.

R