Category Archives: Dogs

Rebuttal

Image

Does this look like a killer to you?

Honestly Carolyn,

I have no idea how you managed to turn the incident of YOUR BRAWNY
SON BITING MY DOG into an account of a sweet, formerly abused, still-working-on-his-self-esteem, TOY poodle biting your boy.  That’s low.  Even for you.

Now that we’re back on the blog, I’d like to state for the record that I had no problem with your critique of my book.  None.  Whatsoever.  Come on, I’ve been writing longer than you’ve been blonde; I’m used to critiques.  I can’t help it if Bailey read it, though, and got upset.  He’s very loyal.

As we are a Mom blog and as some folks may take your writing seriously (although personally I’ve never met anyone like that), I want to point out that I would never, ever , EVER harbor a dangerous animal, no matter how few teeth he has left.

Anyway, thanks for watching the dogs.  The kennel cough is almost gone, and I’m sure the nightmares will abate soon.

Your BFF,

Wendy

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Filed under Dogs, friendship, Humor, Writing

We’re Baaaaaack!

Wonder where we’ve been?  Us, too!  The rumors of our break up have rivaled those of the Beatles, and I’m here to assure you, all is well!  Sort of.  Okay, the truth?  I think Wendy’s a bit miffed with me.  It all started about a month ago when she let me have a little peek at her work in progress.  I read it.  I wasn’t bowled over.  I may have been a tad snarky with some of my comments.  Perhaps the Zzzzz’s indicating the places where I’d drifted off to sleep weren’t exactly…helpful.  Or…polite.  Wendy laughingly referred to my remarks as passive aggression.

So, when she had to leave town and wanted to drop her little dog at my house, I thought, sure!  I’m a dog lover.  Bring it on.  For years I’ve looked after her big dog, Autumn, whenever they are on vacation.  Wonderful animal.  Love her.  Don’t really want to give her back when Wendy comes home.

How shall I describe Wendy’s new doggie?  The term Parana comes to mind, but that’s not really fair to the poor, sweet fish.  Wendy arrived, docile pile of poodle in hand, and she, all smiles, assured me that, “Oh, noooo!  Your comments were really helpful!  Wonderful!  Insightful!”  Yeah.  Right. I should have known something was afoot.  Before she drove away, she gave us a few minor warnings about this newest member of her family, “He tends to be a tad grumpy sometimes…Oh, and he loves to run, so be careful not to let him out.”

The burning rubber of her tires hadn’t even stopped smoking as she peeled out of the driveway, before Bailey (aka: Beelzebub) drew blood.  Seemed he didn’t like the idea of a walk and let us know it by taking a chunk out of one of our thumbs.  Screaming ensued and Beelz…er…Bailey’s lips curled back as, snarling and snapping, he treed all of us (my three dogs included) on the dining room table.  Thankfully, my eldest daughter (age 18) took matters in hand by announcing, “I’m not afraid of this bleeping animal.  Come here, you!  I’m alpha dog and you are going outside to the pen!”  She jumped off the table, bravely grabbed the leash and dragged Baily outdoors…where…his head slipped out of the collar and he took off.

More screaming.  A new version of the Incredible Journey was born as Bailey began his 20 mile quest for Wendy’s house.  Luckily, my 3rd daughter, age 13 is not only brave, but fast.  Arms waving like an outboard motor, she managed to head Bailey off at the pass, while daughter number 2, age 15, grabbed a brick of cheese and hefted it into the pen.  “Here, Satan!  We have cheese for you!”  The boys slammed the door and when the dog had finished the cheese, it sneered at us, passed gas, and passed out.  Being a terrorist takes the starch out, it would seem.

When Wendy and her husband, Tim, (who starred on a recent episode of Grimm, by the way) returned, I regaled them with this tale and Wendy seemed appropriately shocked…but she’s nearly as good an actor as her husband.  He on the other hand looked outraged…that we’d managed to catch the dog and bring it safely home.  Apparently he wasn’t very complimentary about Wendy’s latest manuscript, either, and shortly thereafter, she adopted the little dog.  Coincidence?  I think not, Timmy.

Carolyn

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Filed under Adoption, Children, Dogs, friendship, Humor, Marriage, Menopause, Motherhood

EeeeeeK!!!

The Savage Field Mouse

After a full day of errands, I pull into my driveway to spot my 13 and 9 year-old sons sitting on the roof.  I’m from the school of parenting that touts, Scream first, ask questions later.  So, after I was done chewing their behinds with, “What would you have done if one of you had fallen off the roof and cracked your skull open on the patio, like a raw egg?!  WHAT THEN?!  ANSWER ME!  WHAT WERE YOU THINKING!?? ”  They were sheepish and on the verge of tears when they finally admitted.  “We saw a mouse in the house and it was HUGE!!”

“A mouse?  You see a mouse and you CLIMB ON THE ROOF?”  I was speechless.   These are the same boys who brag about how they’d judo chop a midnight intruder and kick him in the ya-ya’s and render him unconscious by defending the household from evil with their various Nerf weapons and Lego battleships.  I growled some more and told them if I ever, EVER found them on the roof again, especially if their dad or I are not home, they’d be a couple of sorry ninjas.

And, with that, I headed into the family room, turned on the fan, flopped on the couch and took a load off.  I was just finding my serenity again, when I felt the fan blowing my hair.  I reached up to discover that it was not the fan moving my hair, but a teensy, weensy (smaller than my thumb) field mouse, lost and terrified and trying to get away from our dog.  If it hadn’t been a baby, I’d have had a heart attack on the spot and died.  But, as it was, I only shrieked at the top of my lungs, flew off the couch and was halfway to the roof, my ninja warriors hot on my trail.

“The MOUSE!  IT’S BAAAAAAK!” the boys screamed.

“I KNOOOOOOOWWW!!!” I shrieked as I flew through the door.  “You know all that stuff I said about not getting on the roof?”

“Yeah,” they shouted as they lapped me.

“Forget it.”

I’m willing to admit when I’m wrong.

Carolyn

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Filed under 35 symptoms of menopause, Cussing, Dogs, Humor, Marriage, Menopause, Motherhood

The Nancy Drew Turder Mysteries


Nancy Drew Super POOch

Number One Son (age 13)  was thrilled to be offered a money-making opportunity to dog-sit, over spring break.  He is saving up for an iPod Touch, and this piece-of-cake gig was going to put him close to his goal.  Talk about easy money.  As you can see by the picture on the left, Nancy Drew is a tiny thing, coming in at a mere dozen pounds or less.  Her owners instructed Number One Son to feed her a small cup of kibble, twice a day and to be sure to let her out because she was nearly potty trained, but still had the occasional ‘oopsie’ when she was nervous (or in the throes of solving an important case, I maintain).

Nancy left her first “clue” in my closet.  On my freshly laundered sweat pants.  “Number One Son!” I called on the intercom.  “Get the pooper scooper and the Lysol and report to my closet!”

I heard him laugh as he gathered his ‘Mystery Solving Kit’.   Moments later, the clue was disposed of as Nancy watched.

“That was about a cup of kibble right there,” Number One chortled.  “No need to let her out now.”

Famous last words.

“Number One Son!” Number Two Sister called. “Get the kit and meet me at the piano!”  Nancy had left a Major ‘clue’ on Brahm’s Concerto in D Minor.  To be perfectly honest?  I think Number Two sis was delighted as she had never really liked that piece.

Number One groaned and scratched his head.  “Already?  Huh.  Must not have been done. ”

Famous last words.

“Number One!” Number Three Sister shrieked.  “Nancy has left a clue on my pillow and I’M GOING TO KILL YOU!”

Number One issued some guttural groans and headed for the kit.  Nancy was hot on his trail.  “How much poop can come out of such a tiny dog?”

Nancy gave him one of her famous toothy grins. The next clue was found in my office, behind the door.  Number One Son was growling now.  Before the end of the day, Nancy had given Number One Son and his kit at least a dozen clues and the Mystery was in full swing.

“I can’t figure out how one tiny little dog can make SO MUCH CRAP!”

Nancy simply gave him a mysterious, knowing, Mona Lisa style smile.  She knew. This was only day one.

Carolyn

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BIG, BAD DOG. The End.

When last we parted, Buster the Giant Foster Dog had made clear that he didn’t like the new human mommy the shelter had chosen for him.  The day before I was supposed to wrestle him into the car to go home with said mom, I awoke in the wee hours of the morning certain that I was participating in a crime against the big, sweet, lovable  lug. Kinda like giving Orphan Annie to Miss Hannigan.

Unable to sleep, I prayed, turned on my computer and, voila–an email whose subject line read, “Do you still have the dog?” I didn’t know the sender, but several days earlier, I had sent an e-mail describing Buster to a dog-loving friend of mine.  Apparently, a gentleman who was fixing her computer “accidentally” read the e-mail and felt a months-long depression lift.  Get this:  He’d had a 100 lb pooch who had sat faithfully with him while he underwent chemotherapy.  Man and dog had adored each other and when the dog developed cancer and died the following year, the man was devastated.  Nothing seemed to cheer him up…until he saw the e-mail.

Well.

I phoned them first thing the next morning.  Certain this was Buster’s true family, I raced to the shelter, where the woman interested in adopting our  convalescent pal was supposed to be filling out her paperwork.  Ticking off the shelter and the woman more and more with every word I spoke, I nonetheless convinced them to give other Buster to the other family. Then I filled out the paperwork on the new family’s behalf (they lived five hours away), phoned them with the great news that Buster was officially theirs, and we had a tearful celebration on the phone.

All this took one and a half hours, during which Buster had been home alone.  He’d been home alone before.  This time he must have sensed something, because…

Oh, holy God in heaven.

In that exciting, celebratory hour-and-a-half, Buster, who had been resting in his usual tongue-protruding stupor when I left, had managed to rouse himself and rip my house to shreds.  Literally shreds.  Shredded curtains in the kitchen, living and dining rooms. (I hated those curtains, anyway.)  Shredded giant picnic basket containing my shredded knitting.  At some point he had climbed onto the kitchen counter and tore the café curtains, rod and all, down from the above-the-window sink.  Cushions had been removed from chairs.  A baby gate was thrashed.  Buster had been busy.  On the bright side, he was obviously feeling more energetic.

On the down side, I had to phone his new family to apprise them of this behavior, plus face my husband whose trust and faith in my judgment I had begged (yes, I’d actually said “have faith in my judgment”) prior to bringing Buster home in the first place.

Buster’s new family was easy:  “Oh-ho, our Bob did the same when he first arrived.  Managed to chew an entire 6 foot fence.  It’s to be expected.  Then they settle right in.”  (And do what?  Eat the drywall?)  Whatever, they wanted Buster just as soon as they could get them.  My friend Su and I loaded Buster (along with about half a pound of bacon as a bribe) into the back of my Outback and off we went. Busty didn’t make a sound.  With the exception of a brief round of projectile drooling (I hope it was drool), he behaved like a perfect gentleman.  If the drive went well, the hand-off to the new family was a moment of true heart, warmth and inspiration.  Hallmark for canines.  I left feeling mighty grateful to have been part of the moment.

My husband kissed me when I got home.  “You did a good thing.  I’m proud of you.  It would be nice to take a break now from fostering dogs.  For a while.  Okay?  I know you still miss Chauncie terribly, but–”

“Sure, honey, sure.  You’ve been so understanding and so tolerant of all the dogs coming in and out of here.”

“Well, it’s all over now.  We’re done fostering?”

“All done.”

He hugged me.  “I’m not going to miss the dog hair.”

“Me either.  I am finished with shedders.”    Buster’s hair had blown out in black tufts that clung like webbing.

So, we returned to our peaceful, dog-less lives.  I stared at photos of my dear Collie girl, the one whose passing had kicked off the round of foster dogs so I wouldn’t have time to cry.  I cried a lot that afternoon, though, missing her gentle licks, the way she cocked her head as she tried to understand her people’s silly babble, the charming way she protected babies.  There would never be another being as kind and sweet and easy. …

So why wait?  I had agreed not to get another foster dog.

Within a week, I had Autumn , who came to us from the Humane Society.  There was a sign on her cage that said, VERY NERVOUS LITTLE DOG.  Little?  Her paws were enormous, with extra toes.  Nervous was correct, though:  She was so scared in the shelter that she wouldn’t stand up in the run.  As for cars?  Pooor baaaaaby.   Such a shy, needy dog.

Who knew she’d hate cats?  Or weigh 65 pounds so quickly?  and no one mentioned that she’d blow her coat twice a year and shed continuously.  I didn’t know.  Honest.

“I’m not walking her,” Tim said when I brought Autumn home.  “I’m not  feeding her or buying Frontline or sweeping four times a day.  This is all yours.”

I agreed, hugging my new bff.

That was five years ago.  Tim has never fed her (anything but leftover roasted chicken, meatloaf and spaghetti…).  He doesn’t buy Frontline; it’s true.  When he sweeps, he just happens to get some of her hair along with the other stuff into the dustpan, and he only walks her because I look like I could use a break.  As for playing with her, I wish he’d rein it in; he keeps her up way too late.

Husbands, wives and pets…gotta love us.

Wendy

P.S.  Buster and his family are still doing great!

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BIG BAD DOG

It’s Friday, and you know what that means at Too Hot Mamas:  It’s time for Thursday’s Tea Time With Wendy.  (Yeah, you got that if you know us at all.)

So, two Thursdays ago, I started to tell you about Buster, the BIG DOG with the even bigger, uh, male parts.  Buster came home from the shelter with me as a medical foster dog, and a more grateful patient you have never seen.  Buster was a delight.

When I walked my new friend, people coming toward us literally crossed the street.  Buster looked mean.  He didn’t intend to, and perhaps it had something to do with having swollen…you know…but Buster tended to scare people.  Perversely, I admit that I found this amusing, because Buster was a giant pussycat–terrified of cars, stairs and anything slippery.  He needed a lot of reassurance.

My husband—the one who just days before had begged me not to bring home another canine—really liked Buster.  It was hard not to.  Buster’s paws looked like snowshoes.  His head was massive.  The dog could eat Manhattan.  And yet, he allowed my then-three-year-old to wrap his body in bubble wrap and pop him.   He’d considerately lie down when a cat came near, so as not to intimidate kitty.  He felt no such duty to consideration regarding other dogs, however, and they—the big, male ones in particular—did not care for him.  Pure envy, if you ask me.  Frequently during walks, I would hear growling from some other mutt.  Buster never backed down, and if he didn’t want to behave on a leash…well, may I just say, “Terribly sorry for all the trouble we caused.”  Given Buster’s size and inherently menacing appearance, non-compliance while strolling through the neighborhood was clearly going to be a problem.  And that car issue…

Busty refused to get within five feet of a moving vehicle.  He would plant himself and that was that.  When I needed to transport him, I asked my husband to help.

Poor Tim.  Able to bench-press more than he weighed, he got Buster into the car, but Buster panicked and jumped out.  At Tim.  Tim’s back went out, and he wound up in bed for a couple of days recuperating with the faithful (and, I am persuaded, repentant) Buster by his side.  Buster slept a great deal at this point.  He was still recuperating from his neutering, after all, poor baby.

After a week or so, the shelter phoned.  Someone had stepped forward to adopt our dear Buster.  We met.  Unfortunately, Buster refused to get in her car.  Refused to walk with her, too, nor did he particularly care to be anywhere near her.  And she was scared of him, which made the adoption a little problematic in my opinion, but the shelter did not share my point of view.  The night before I was supposed to turn him over to his new mama (how this was to be accomplished remained a mystery to us all), I couldn’t sleep, convinced this was the worst dog-human pairing in recent history.

Being a praying gal, I had a talk with God then, at three a.m., got up to have a chat with Buster and to check the e-mail I hadn’t had time for the previous day.  There in my inbox was a note from someone I did not know with the subject line “Do you still have the dog?”

To be continued…on Monday.  Honest.

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Bad Dog!

All right, so where was I?  When last we left my story about Husbands, Wives and the Pets They Divorce Over, I had just brought home Rusty, the impossibly tall shepherd/giraffe mix who loved me to distraction.

Remember, now, he was a foster dog only, on leave from his stay at a no-kill shelter due to a leg injury and the fact that the other big doggies  were being unkind to him.

So, even though my husband had requested (picture a 5-foot 11-inch male walking toward me on his knees with his hands in prayer position) that I wait one year after the passing of my beloved collie girl before I grace our home with another canine, I figured a foster dog in need would be okay.

I introduced my husband to Rusty.

“What is that?” he asked.

“It’s Rusty.  He’s sweet and injured and in need.”

“Where is he injured?”

“His left front leg.”

“He’s not limping.”

“I know.  He masks his pain.”

My husband invoked the name of the Lord several times.

“How is Rusty with cats?” Tim asked, though, honestly, I have no idea how he got any sound out with his jaw so tight.

I recalled what the gal at the shelter had told me:  Dunno.

“Honey, look at him,” I said.  “You can tell he’s a gentle being.  A gentlemanly dog.  He’s innately calm.  And our cat is used to dogs.  Besides, he’s injured.  He’ll be resting a lot.”

“He doesn’t look injured.”

“That’s because he—“

Tim waved his arms, and I took this as a signal to quit while I was ahead.

So.  Rusty and cats.  Well, we’ll never know for sure how he would have behaved as our cat took one look—way up—at him and decided that summer was a fine time to camp outside.

My daughter and I (Rusty loved her, too) got the dog settled in, and everything seemed to be going quite well until Tim went down to the basement.  He was only down there about fifteen minutes, but that was enough time for Rusty to display his short-term memory disorder.  Rusty and I were in the kitchen when Tim started up the stairs.  I was facing away from the basement, but a sudden and intense growling made me whip around.

Tim was frozen on the staircase, stopped by Rusty whose every hair seemed to be standing on end, his impressive teeth bared and his growl most sincere.  The dog meant business.  No one was getting up those stairs.

“I think he doesn’t recognize you,” I explained above the snarls.  “Try to look more like yourself.”

“Are you out of your mind?”  Tim looked from me to the dog.  “That dog goes back to the shelter tonight.”

“But the other dogs intimidate him.”

I wish I could describe Tim’s face when I said that.

Anyway, Rusty was returned to the no-kill shelter where he quickly found a permanent home with someone who appreciated his body-guarding skills.

“No more foster dogs,” I swore/lied when I told Tim I was still going to volunteer.  “I’ll just walk the dogs.  Little ones.  With no teeth.”

And I did.  I walked a schizophrenic Jack Russell terrier, a one-eyed obese beagle cross whose head was bandaged from the fight he’d started with another inmate (probably Rusty), and a sweet elderly mutt that liked to stop every few feet and look at me as if to say, “Who are you?  How did we get here?  What are we doing?  Are we walking?”

And then came Buster.  Oh, Buster.  Buster was a BIG DOG.  In fact, he had the biggest canine head I’ve ever seen.  And big…something else, too.  I mean, really impressive.  He’d been recently neutered, but instead of deflating as expected, his…um…area formerly known as testicles had actually increased.  Lest you think I exaggerate, on one of our walks (he walked just fine, thanks) a car stopped a few yards ahead of us.  The driver turned around, pulled up alongside and exclaimed, “Are those real?!”

Please.  Assuming I knew where to get fake canine ones, why would I?  And yet this was not the only time the question was posed.  Buster started conversations.

It turned out that Buster was in need of a temporary medical foster home.  Honest.

To be continued…

Wendy

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Husbands, Wives And The Pets They Divorce Over

 Carolyn and I have lots in common, as you know.  One big thing:  We lie about pets.

Over the years, the fibbing has multiplied along with the number of four-legged and finned creatures in our homes.

At the time we sold our first books–to the same publisher, for the same line—Carolyn and I also both had beloved dogs that kept us company as we wrote.  She had Bob Barker, a giant golden retriever, as friendly as all get out, and I had my Chauncie, who, despite being given an English butler’s name by her previous owner, was a gentle female collie mix.

When our dear companions passed away, the similarity between Carolyn and me became quite pronounced:  We realized we were both married to the same man.

“Do not get another dog right away,” Carolyn’s husband requested.  “We have kids and bills.  I loved Bob, but let’s take a break.”

I believe that at the exact same moment and in the exact same pleading tone, my man said, “Please wait a year before you bring anything else live into this house.  You know I loved that dog, but the shedding was unbearable.  Let’s leave everything as it is.”

Well.  Naturally, we agreed, because we care about our husbands’ needs, and they had always embraced our pets with love (eventually).  Waiting was the least we could do.

Carolyn waited one week. I held off nine days, which felt like a year.

The other thing Carolyn and I have in common:  We don’t like to grieve.

I contend our husbands must have known, deep down, that “no pets” was a mandate we would rationalize our way around sooner rather than later, because they added admonitions, and you don’t do that if you think the original request is going to be honored.  Right?

Their stipulations were as follows.

From Carolyn’s husband:  Housebroken.  Nothing large.  The dog must be spayed and have celebrated its five-year birthday before its paws cross the threshold.

From my husband:  Under forty pounds.  Housebroken.  No shedding.  Not a barker.  No shedding.  Doesn’t chase cats.  No shedding.  Won’t eat us out of house and home.  No shedding.

Carolyn got a puppy.  Adorable.  A golden retriever like Bob, destined to enter the Guinness Book of World Records as largest golden in history.  Not quite housebroken what with being under ten weeks old and all at the time of his adoption, but he figured out the difference between the Berber carpet and the acre of backyard behind the house.  Eventually.

I went to a local animal rescue.  And because there were no dogs available matching my husband’s requirements, I decided to soothe my grieving heart by volunteering.

Enter Rusty.  A German shepherd-Akita cross who required a place to stay while he recuperated from a leg wound.  Rusty couldn’t “relax,” apparently, with other males around (he was very sensitive), and this hindered his recuperation.  Rusty was a big loverboy in the shelter.  He gave me his tennis ball then rested his forehead against my stomach.  Yes, he was tall and a little bit over forty pounds (approximately sixty pounds over), but how could I turn my back?

“Is he safe with cats?” I asked, heeding at least one of my husband’s requirements.

“Dunno,” they said.

Good enough.

I mean, he was such a sweetheart.  Plus, it was only temporary, and I defy anyone else to guess that Rusty had rage issues….

Part Two Next Thursday.

Wendy

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I LOVE THIS BOOK!

I love a book I can sink my teeth into!

Have you ever read a book that was so good you just gobbled it up?
My dogs have!
I bought this book at the Scholastic Book Fair for my son and after he was done tearing through it, the dogs did!
Maybe it was the picture on the front…maybe it was the element of suspense.  Maybe it was the meaty goodness of the cardboard, but when we came home after a shopping trip, Lovey Howl had chewed through it and Thurston was on the waiting list.
So Wendy, I’m thinking…We have neglected an entire audience!  Fiction for Dogs!  I’ll loan this sucker to you after Thurston’s done.  See if Autumn like’s it?  If so, I have an idea for a real tail-wagger!
Carolyn

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How I (Almost) Ruined Our Summer Vacation

Do you have to-do lists for your summer vacation?  Please say you do, and if you don’t, please lie to me, because I don’t want to be the only Type A, summer-killing, Wicked Witch of the West weenie who made a list, cracked the family whip…and didn’t get a darned thing done, anyway.

What is it with me and summer?  I have a friend who takes her kids to the coolest places and does the most interesting things over the summer school break.  They camp out in tree houses, fly to other states to attend fairs, go on field trips to meet rulers of the free world.

I told my family we were going to:

1.) Sand and paint the molding throughout the house.  It really needs it.

2.) Pull down the hall wallpaper, which we started pulling down 2 years ago until I gouged the wall with the Paper Tiger, and we realized we’d have to drywall, too.  It’s time to turn that mess into a proper hallway.

3.) Work on daughter’s spelling, reading and math—just fifteen minutes a day, but we must be disciplined.

4.) Organize all desks, bookshelves and closets so our mornings can proceed in a smooth and joyous fashion.

Of course I planned to reward us for each project we completed.  A long bike ride, a sleepover for my daughter, a night out for the hubster and moi.

I was excited about summer, because I envisioned its conclusion with us toasting each other in our clean, lovely, drywalled home while our daughter rattled off a few dozen perfectly spelled, three-syllable words.

Yeah.  So here’s what happened:

Me, resplendent in my husband’s tool belt, and holding a clipboard:  “Okay, troops, here’s the list of what we’re going to accomplish today!”

Husband:  “Great, honey, but before you read that, we’re going to go on a bike ride.”

Me:  “Well, actually, I was thinking…”

Daughter:  “Yeah, Mom, and when we get back,  (insert name of friend here) is coming over, okay?  Please?  We haven’t seen each other since school and we probably won’t be in the same class next year (she used this same pitch for every friend all summer) and her parents said she could have a play date if you say it’s okay and I promise I’ll learn any words you want me to as soon as she leaves unless you say she can sleepover too can she please?” 

I look at husband, who shrugs, not that he even attempts to follow that kind of run-on pleading.

And there I am, left with the drill sergeant and the pushover debating in my head:

We have to get something done.  The house is a pit. 

 Ookay, but it is summer.

 Yeah, well the hall looks like a still photo from Nightmare on Elm Street.  I’ve seen people tremble on their way to our bathroom.  And if DD doesn’t study a little bit, her brain will turn to mush and she’ll start the school year behind all the kids who are studying over the summer, and then she’ll feel bad when the teacher gives her “baby math.” 

 I know, but it’s summer.

 No buts!  The closets—

 Maybe tomorrow.

 By this time, of course, the husband and daughter have left for their bike ride, and I have decided to do something really useful like vacuum crumbs out of the grooves in the dining table.  And, probably, this wouldn’t be a bad thing (there was roughly the equivalent of a loaf of bread in those grooves), except that the debate continues inside my head and every time I see someone to whom I’m related, I grab the clipboard and ask them to commit to a chore and a time slot.

On a couple of occasions, I got them to join me for entire days devoted to one project or another, and when I wasn’t successful, I talked about all the work we still had to do.  Doesn’t that sound fun?

And then I heard my husband and daughter talking about the fun they really were having riding their bike rides and playing Karate Kid Meets Ninja Turtle and engaging in an eight-year-old version of Name That Tune.

Up to that point, the most fun my daughter and I had was writing her spelling words on the sidewalk with 3-D chalk.  (Well, I had fun.)  So I gave up.  I put the tool belt in the garage (though I thought it made me look kinda butch in a good way), ditched the clipboard and made plans to have a Halloween party in our hallway.

Tonight Carolyn’s sons are having a sleepover at our place.  I walked the dog three miles while the boys and my daughter rode their bikes up and down hills, shrieking like…kids in summer.  We got ice cream at the local store, came home to make giant chocolate chip cookies and built our own ice cream sandwiches.  Now they’re watching Surf’s Up.

They’re giggling.  I feel wonderfully relaxed.  And it finally feels like summer.

Wendy

P.S.  Someone will need to remind me about this next year when that hallway and I are playing “Six Degrees of Separation) from Freddy Krueger.

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My carpet is disgusting

Wendy!  Get Rich Quick Scheme number 197,322!!!

I am thinking of calling it Nature’s Carpet, a revolutionary new flooring manufactured with the family in mind.  Envision this in your
own home.  Orange cat?  Nature’s Carpet will incorporate random tufts of orange hair into the weave!  Have a baby?   Imagine haphazard patches of mustard yellow and baby burp white!  For you dog owners, muddy paw prints in chocolate and caramel brown and some ‘oopsie’ spots for the puppy years.  I’m thinking the ketchup and pizza stain pattern is a must for a rumpus room.  And every guy will clamor for the barf and beer stain look for his man room.

Husbands?  Go ahead and take that motorcycle apart in the living room.  She won’t care.  Not with Nature’s Carpet’s “Garage Floor Stain” pattern.

Get that new carpet smell with the user-friendly feel.  No more need to chase that wet pet through the house.  Screaming at the kids over muddy boots is a thing of the past.  Peace and tranquility abound as you ‘go green’ with our bark dust, rabbit droppings and moss chunks pattern.

Your friend’s will turn puce with envy!

Wendy, my family will easily be able to do all of the design work.  You look into the patent deal.  I’m thinkin’ we’re on to something big this time.

Carolyn

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Cat Fight–The REAL Story

Here’s what really happened.  Four of us meet for breakfast to talk about a writer’s conference trip we are all taking to New York this summer to land agents and fabulous book and movie deals on our fascinating and hilarious lives as romance novelists/mothers/wives/slash/hacks/dog owners and, you know, a couple of other projects we’ve got stashed under the bed that we’re gonna take out and dust off and turn into gold. 

Wendy is late, as usual.  Don’t get me started.  Anyway, she comes skidding in to the restaurant, drops to into her chair, snaps her fingers for the ‘girl’ then goes off on her wrinkle jag, which we all know is a bid for attention.  The woman is adorable.  I don’t get the whole, “Oh, look at my teensy wrinkle and feel sorry for me,” deal.  But we have to humor her.  “Yeah, yeah, Wendy.  What are ya gonna do about the grand canyons on your face today?”  Furtive eye-rolling behind the menu.

In fact, while she was blathering on about the wrinkle thing, I snapped a pic of her with my phone, just to prove my point.

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wait… I got it here somewhere…

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Oh.  Yeah.  Here.  Now.  I ask you.  Is this a face or is this a face?  I just want to gobble her up.

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"Clinique has this AMAZING new product that they claim firms and tightens..."

 

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Over coffee (we’ve migrated to Starbucks by now) the four of us figure out all the details of our trip to the eastern seaboard and decide to ditch the writer’s meeting we’d planned on attending that morning in Portland and hit the mall instead. 

Wendy was still nattering about this miracle stuff she was going to spend waaaaaay too much money on and I wanted to find some pants that would make me look 40 lbs. lighter.

As I was off looking for “skinny jeans” (sheyeah, what a crock) Wendy gave us the slip.  We finally found her seated in the chair behind the Clinique counter getting her upper lip spackled.  Okay.  I get it now.  The whole wrinkle cream gig isn’t about fixing your wrinkles.  No.  Oprah, are you listening, because this is the real SECRET.  Wrinkle cream IS NOT about ‘fixing a problem’.  It’s about ‘confusing the eye’.  It’s about slathering a whole bunch of gummy stuff on your lip and telling you that your wrinkles are gone and then charging you $174 + tax. 

Wendy, I’m only gonna say this once.  “The emperor has no clothes!  B-U-C-K Naked!

Of course your friends are going to tell you that the flaky, chalky, goofy crud on your upper lip looks great because we love you. 

"I can't nove ny lits cuz this stuff is sooter hard!"

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Truth be told, we simply had no where else to look.  We had to avert our eyes.  That’s why no one noticed wrinkles.  A person can’t see when they’re all squinty-eyed and cringing. 

Carolyn

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Leggo of my Lego

My youngest son, age 8, is a Lego addict.  He is willing to admit that he’s powerless over Legos.  This is an expensive habit.  Needs to be fed often.  I don’t get it, but then chocolate is my drug of choice.

Yes, members of my family have spent hundreds of dollars, satisfying his Star Wars Lego fanaticism.  His latest kit is an extravaganza my sister spent at least $50 bucks on, but the joke is on me.   Seems it’s payback time for the multi-piece toys I naively gifted her children with, a decade ago.  Alas, there are over a gogillion pieces in his latest set for my new puppy to chew. 

New puppy you ask?  Yes, long story, but I digress.  Anyway, ever since my little darling has endeavored to build the Star Wars Deluxe Battleship with the triple phaser stun guns (ages 9-14) this is all I hear these days:

Him:  “Mom!  I can’t do this!”

Me:  “Yes, you can.”

Him: “Mom!!  I’m not 9 yet! Come and help me!  How do I start?”  He is staring dazedly at the directions.

Me:  “Gimme the manual.”  Hmmm. 

A HALF HOUR LATER

Me:  “Okay.  Look, I think we might have better luck if we sort the pieces.”

Him:  “I don’t know how.”

Me:  “Like this.  Dark here, small here, etc…”

AN HOUR LATER

Me:  “Son?  SON! Where are you?”

Muffled voice drifts from somewhere far away.  Perhaps from the trampoline outside?

Him:  “Are you done yet, Mom?”

Me:  “YES!  GET YOUR BUTT IN HERE AND BUILD YOUR SUPER FUN STARWARS LEGO BATTLESHIP THINGEE!”  (I get cranky when I’m stiff and in pain from sorting).

Him:  “Okay!”

TEN MINUTES LATER

Him:  “Mom!?  Where’s the first piece?”

Me:  Searching for my antacids.  “Here.”

Him:  “Mom!”  Where’s the second piece?”

TWO HOURS LATER Continue reading

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Wild Kingdom

Yeah, you're laughin' now, fatso.

  Help!  My daughter is not home today!  She left me to baby-sit her mutt.  She should know better, as I am HER mother…

The new dog–Genevieve–woke me up and since I’m NOT a morning person, I stumbled to the bedroom door, opened it and shooed her out.  Fell back in bed.

TWO HOURS LATER

Opened the door.  Stumbled downstairs for coffee.  Thurston followed me.  He’s not a morning person either.  Genevieve was in the kitchen licking a plastic container that had been sitting on the counter filled with beans and rice.  Man, I hope she’s not allergic to rice.  Anyway, I squint at her. 

She cowers. 

“Did you eat the beans?”

No answer.

She spots Thurston.  As is her habit, she attempts to make love to his head. 

He growls. 

She breaks wind.  On his head.

I’m thinking she ate the beans.

Hell hath no fury like a woman scorned.

Carolyn

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A Dog’s Blog: As told to my new owner’s mom.

Gimme a break.

‘Mmkay.  So, I’m just doin’ some time in the OHS (Oregon Humane Society) chillin’.  I’m innocent.  Didn’t do nuthin’ wrong, but do I get a lawyer?  No.  No phone call, neither.  Anyhow, I’m layin’ there in my cell and people walk by.  Talk to me through the bars.  Look me over. 

Then, they see the ears.  So what?  I got weird ears.  Big deal.  But they move on.  Lookin’ for a ‘puppy’ or a ‘cute’ dog or somebody with ‘normal’ ears.  Whatever. 

Then this teenage fairy godmother-type stops by and does all this baby talk.  I’ve heard it all before, but I give her a few token wags and a wet one through the door.  She gets all squealy.  Says she thinks the ears are unique.  Says she’ll be back.  Yeah, heard that before, too. 

My new owner. I'm thinkin' I'll keep her.

 

Waddaya know?  She comes back! 

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And she brings this big hairy mook with her (not her dad, her dog, chowder head) and I’m tellin’ ya it’s love at first sight. 

You know you want me, fatso.

 

I gotta have that fat boy.  He plays hard to get.  But I’m persistent, if you get my drift. 

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After the paperwork is signed, they spring me.  I’m FREE, baybee.  Livin’ large.  I’ve buried 6 of those leather chew toys in the laundry, got jiggy with the fat boy’s head and made yellow water on the new carpet 3 times.

 The teenage godmother’s mother made all these squealy noises.

They live next to this heeyouge park and my new boy-toy takes me for a swim. 

Fat boy skinny dipping.

Me, skinny dipping

 

We mark a little territory. 

Good times.

Good times part duex.

 

It’s a good life.

Me, at the park.

 

My new master has named me Genevieve after that mutt in the Madeline books.  You know, the dog the orphan kid rescued in the children’s classic: Madeline to the Rescue.  Must be because my new owner’s name is Madeline. 

 Her mother calls me other names.  But when nobody’s lookin’ she scratches my belly.

Genevieve

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Doggy Daze

The Mutt Whisperer

 I love my daughter.  She is uber cool.  Funny, sweet, helpful and—oddly for a teenager these days—obedient   So, now and then I like to indulge her.  That must explain why I volunteered to be a community coordinator for her on-line high school.  Volunteering means I get to come up with clever ideas to amuse teenagers who have been chained to their computers for weeks on end.  And, since I am the community coordinator, or ‘in charge’, I get to go on these outings when I have strep throat.  Felt like I’d been gargling glass shards and razor blades the morning of our most recent trip.  I’m on antibiotics and not contagious now.  Dang.  No excuse to stay in bed…

Anyway, somebody suggested I organize a trip to the Oregon Humane Society to visit the doggies.  The volunteer hours would count toward National Honor Society.

How dumb am I?

Of course, my daughter gets there and finds “the dog”.  “Mom!  This dog loves me!  Look mom!  It’s like we have a psychic connection or something!  I have to rescue this animal!  Seriously, look at her!”

I’m looking.  I see an ageing, indistinguishable breed, lumpy-ear’d mutt staring dolefully at my daughter.  “Yeah, well you’ll have to get this past your dad.”  I’m golden.  He said no more dogs.

“Mom!  I just got off the phone with Daddy-kins!”

Uh oh.

“He’ll meet us here after work!  We just have to go home and get Thurston (our fat golden retriever) and the kids and make sure she likes all of us.”

Huh? Continue reading

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Thurston and Me

    

Thurston Howl

 Another New Year’s Resolution I scribbled down for this year is:  To be the person my dog thinks I am. 

I am not the original author of this resolution but I like it because my dog thinks I am Isis, goddess of the bacon fat.  Unlike my children, my dog Thurston–Mr. Howl to you–thinks I’m cool when I sing super loud and off-key.  Unlike my husband, he adores me when I’ve just eaten a dinner slathered in garlic and onions.  Unlike my family, he worships they way I prepare each and every meal and cheerfully helps clean the pots.

We live out in the country and the house is set back from the road.  When we drive away without him, his face slowly collapses from his huge, Golden Retriever grin with his dolly dangling like Columbo’s cigar from the corner of his mouth.  In its place, resignation.  A canine sigh.  Not invited this time.  He flops to the front porch, props his head on dolly and waits.  Sometimes hours.  And weirdly, out of all the Toyota Sienna minivans in the universe that travel down our road, the moment ours turns the corner and heads up the street, he and dolly leap to attention and gallop to greet us, the Golden grin erupting like the rocket’s red glare, bombs bursting in air, yes! YES, MOM IS STILL THERE! Continue reading

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