Someday, We’ll Be Dog People

Dan calls me and says, “I want a puppy.”

This is unprecedented. It’s usually Flora telling me she wants a puppy, at the dinner table, as a means of distracting me from the reality that she is not, in fact, sitting the correct way in her seat.

One part of my mind immediately jumps to the worst-case scenario: that he already has a puppy in his possession and is just trying to figure out how I am going to feel about it. (See, it’s not just cars on fire and worse: My husband mentions a puppy, and I’m already thinking, “We can’t get a puppy. We’re going out of town this weekend.” Yay, my brain.)

My response is, “I know. I want a puppy, too. But I don’t think we’re ready.”

“I want a puppy,” he says again.

“Well, who’s going to feed and train the puppy? Who’s going to get up with a puppy at 2 in the morning?”

“I’m not going to be the one doing that all the time.”

Wrong answer. Thank you for playing.

Look, I do want a dog — a puppy I’m a little less sure of. But I do want a pet. I grew up with dogs, and I always intended to have one. I’ve volunteered at Animal Friends (and I hope to be able to do it again someday). I’ve researched good family dogs (in the case that we don’t go with a rescue dog).

But we need a few things to happen before we get a dog, let alone a puppy:

1. The girls have to be older. They have to be able to take responsibility for a pet: feeding it, grooming it, and, most importantly, cleaning up after it. Walking it is going to be something of a family activity, especially if we get a labrador-type of dog. Which is what we are leaning toward. I am thinking Flora has to be 7 or 8 before we bring a dog onboard.

2. We have to be able to afford a dog. I know that pet food may fit in our budget right now, but vet bills definitely do not.

3. We have to have the time to give a dog, especially (again) a lab or a border collie. Given Dan’s current work schedule and the girls’ ages, a dog would be almost wholly my responsibility. And I’m just not ready for that right now.

4. I am willing to consider other pets, although not a) cats. I’m allergic. Plus, see “cleaning up after it”. I don’t do litter boxes.

b) Fish? Okay, although repeated viewings of Finding Nemo may make this inadvisable.

c) A hamster? Meh. I had hamsters as a girl, and first, they aren’t the sturdiest of pets; second, they don’t have a long life-span; and third, again with the cleaning. Ever clean out a hamster cage? Not as bad as a litter box. But Flora’s attention span isn’t enough to get her through helping me make mac’n’cheese. So “helping” me clean a hamster’s cage is a dicey proposition at best.

d) What are other pet options — low maintenance pet options, if any?

Given all of this, I probably should not be looking at sites like this. Because I want one too, right now. The cuteness trumps all.

Things I Learned Over the Weekend

If I drink two beers in a row at night, I’m pretty much done.

Goldendoodles do not shed. (The one we hung out with this weekend was sweet — pretty much like a giant stuffed animal come to life. By Sunday, Bun was walking up to him, hugging him, and exclaiming, “I love you so much!”)

I’m not 25 years old anymore, and that’s okay. (The juxtapositon of The Ex with my husband and children was… illuminating. In a great way.)

Bubbles and sidewalk chalk provide plenty of entertainment for the under-5 set. (Okay, I kind of knew this one.)

I’m not as out-of-shape as I thought. I survived a 3-mile hike (mostly downhill), even carrying Monkey a mile or so. And I’m not too sore.

Two-year-olds should not go on 3-mile hikes, even if they are mostly downhill.

If you leave a child’s camera outside on a picnic table, pictures will be deleted.

Even boys as young as 6 will want burn something.

Having a responsible, almost 10-year-old girl who likes young children at Cook Forest with you is priceless.

Just like with grief, there are five stages of napping: Denial, anger, bargaining, depression, and acceptance.

In a full-size bed, Bun will sleep right in the middle, perpendicular to the bed.

Monkey likes “Red Dragon Tattoo” by Fountains of Wayne. A lot. That’s my girl!

Wearing white pants to a party where your children will have access to dirt and chocolate is just dumb.

Puppy Lust II (and Other Presents)

When SoulSista brought out Roxy on Saturday, I immediately went over to scoop her up. She was just a wee little thing, and adorable to boot. (I get this urge frequently with babies too — I want something small to hold. It doesn’t necessarily bode well for our future, these ‘want to cuddle’ urges of mine.)

Anyhoo, I sat down on the couch with Roxy in my lap. DearDR and my father were standing behind the couch. I called the girls over to see the puppy. Bun thought it was Buddy, but I was able to explain to Monkey that this was a new puppy. She called Roxy Buddy’s little sister all weekend.

I called over my shoulder to DearDR, “Did you see this?” He peeked over my shoulder to see the pup in my lap, with both girls petting it. “Oh!” he said.

“This is the girls’ Christmas gift from my parents!” I exclaimed, all excited.

The look on his face was priceless. He clearly wanted to throw his hands out and yell, “NOOOOOOO!” But his manners dictated that he turn to his father-in-law and graciously thank him.

He was saved by the fact that both Pap-pap and I cracked up at his expression.

“Sorry,” I laughed. “I just had to see how you would react. That was worth it.”

“That was cruel,” my father said.

It was cruel. DearDR was running on about four hours of sleep; he had joined some of his high school classmates at a local bar to welcome back one of their own who had just returned from Iraq. They ended up closing the place, and I don’t think DearDR’s head was feeling that great.

But, still, totally worth the price of admission.


Instead of a puppy, Monkey received a kid-friendly digital camera. And before I unloaded everything last night, she had taken 150 pictures with it! (I think DearDR and I took a couple, too.)

I created an account for her on flickr, and I will be uploading her stuff there for now. I’m not crazy about flickr; it doesn’t feel that intuitive to me, so I’m finding it hard to navigate. I love me some Picasa, and I was going to use that on my Mac for Monkey, but Picasa doesn’t work with Mac OS, which is a serious oversight IMO. I want to keep Monkey’s pictures separate from mine. For so many reasons!

Wow! You got a camera!

(And that ‘Hello My Name Is’ name tag? Says, ‘Inigo Montoya. You killed my father, prepare to die.’)

Wow! I got a shirt!

Littlest Pet Clementine

At least they are going to be interesting pictures.

And everyone will look really tall.

What Are You Doing Back There?

Long Car Ride, Huh?

How Long Can I Hold My Breath?

Christmas Bling (taken by Mommy)

Bun’s Favorite Christmas Gift

Edited to add a Nanny Update: Nanny is doing very well. She was released from the Coronary Care Unit into a regular room Tuesday; they are talking about releasing her from the hospital on Friday. My in-laws are making plans to go to Florida (a Christmas gift from my FIL’s brother), so the next decision is where exactly Nanny will be going when she gets released. I imagine our plans New Year’s Day will be a quick trip to the hospital to wish her a Happy New Year! Which is great, compared to the alternative.

Puppy Lust I

My sister, known here as SoulSista, has a 12-year-old Boston terrier named Buddy. He’s in pretty good health for an old man of a dog, but SoulSista knows that he’s not going to live too much longer.

On the Friday after Christmas she called me at work.

“Do you remember the conversation you had with Cousin K about picking out a puppy?” she asked.

“I don’t remember any such conversation, SS.”

“He was talking about squeezing their paws, and other tests like that?”

“Uh, no. Are you sure it was me?”

“Pretty sure.”

“Did I have kids at the time?” Because I have had entire conversations while monitoring my children — or while being pregnant — that I would be hard pressed to recall.

“I don’t know. Well, do you have Cousin K’s phone number?”

“We might have it at the house, but I’m at work. Wait a minute, why are you asking about picking out a puppy?”

“I think Dad and I are going to go pick out a puppy.”

“For whom?”

“For me.”

“Why are you picking out a puppy?” I practically yelled.

“Buddy’s fine.”

Well, maybe we just should have started there, SS. “Okay,” I said.

“Do you think I would sound this calm if something happened to Buddy?” she asked.

Hey, I don’t know. Drinking and/or medication can flatten affect. “I guess not.”

When we got to Erie, SS presented Roxy, a 9-week-old brindle (I think that’s the correct term) Boston terrier.

And now I (and Monkey) want one too. The day we were leaving Erie, Monkey sat on my lap, and Roxy was laying in Monkey’s lap, sleeping (and snoring — much more adorable in a Boston terrier pup than in, say, an almost-40-year-old husband).

Monkey whispered, “I want to take Buddy’s sister home.”

Not this year, Monkey. But soon — sooner for me than for you, because three years sounds like an eternity to you. But someday I am going to turn around, and you are going to be 7 years old. And I will buy you (and your sister) a puppy. Promise.

This is Roxy. And SoulSista.

Monkey took this one with her new digital camera. Yes, HER camera. More later.

This one, too. Roxy and Buddy.