Wednesday, June 30, 2004

Eight Legged Freaks

Sometimes I like to make a protein shake in the blender before bedtime. I often take the blender full of ingredients into the garage to mix, because it's really loud & I don't want to risk waking my daughter up.

So I was doing just this the other night, and I when I turned back towards to door to go back in, I stopped dead in my tracks. There was an ENORMOUS spider between me & the door. It was about the size of a wolf spider, but jet black, and had sort of an odd shaped, huge body. I skirted around it & called my husband to come & see. He says "Nope, that one's just too big". I was unaware we had weight/size restrictions regarding which spiders lived & which ones met the "Paper Towel of Death". We have lots of spiders because we live near the woods. They don't scare me, but I wouldn't want to have any poisonous ones hanging around either. An annual trip by the exterminator keeps them somewhat at bay.

Anyway, he grabs a paper towel and heads into the garage, closing the door behind him. I'm in the kitchen and I hear him scream "Oh my God!" I had visions of the thing leaping on his head & trying to burrow into his ear. So I wander over & open the door. He has the funniest look on his face. He says "I went to grab it, and it sidestepped the towel, then when I finally did manage to pin it down & grab it, loads of baby spiders SHOT out from the paper towel EVERYWHERE! Gimme some bug spray!" The reason it looked so big & lumpy, was because it was COVERED with at LEAST 50 baby spiders!

Ewwww. So, my husband had to go into work quite late that night, and was actually on his way out when this happened. After hosing down all the offending arachnids he could find, he gathered his things & headed off to work.

The phone rings about 10 minutes later. He says "OK, I STILL feel crawly all over, I totally have the heebie-jeebies...man that freaked me out!" to which I replied in a low voice "...baby killer".

Sunday, June 27, 2004

Pass the Calamine

I have yet to hear anything but flimsy theories. I want a real, final answer. What can I do, short of dipping myself into DEET on a daily basis, to make mosquitos LEAVE ME ALONE! Apparently, I have Smorgasboard written on my forehead...only the mosquitos can see it. I don't wear perfume, usually, or smelly lotions & potions. I've heard SO many "reasons" the are attracted to one person over another, but I've never actually seen anything written definitively to back these up.

The prime example was when my husband and I were walking near a small lake one spring at dusk. We were comparably dressed: shorts & t-shirts. Never even felt a single bite. The end result of our stroll? Him: 5 bites. Me: 45 bites. I was eaten alive. It was horrible. I had to go buy Benadryl it itched so bad. Unreal. Then there's the bird-mite incident...perhaps that story's for another time.

My point is, I am recovering from 10 mystery bites because apparently I went out to get the mail or something, unprotected. Gar.

One thing that I have started doing, because I got this info. on a crappy forward e-mail, then confirmed it's validity with a much more reliable source: Thiamin supplements also know as vitamin B-1. Pop one daily and it is said the skeeters leave you alone. So far, it sounds like the best advice I've heard...that is if it DOES work. Being extra cautious, for good reason, I'll have a hard time NOT hosing myself with DEET anyway. I'm sure at some point I'll end up putting the B-1 to the test...and I'll let you know how it goes. In the mean time, I'll keep my spray Bendryl handy (I don't really use Calamine). It's sticky, but really kills the itch for hours and hours. If only I could just kill mosquitos for hours and hours. How satisfying would THAT be?!

Wednesday, June 23, 2004

Extreme Makeover

OK, my intent is not to bore with minutiae of my dog's lives, but here's one last story, until more drama unfolds.

Poor puppy. Almost a week after a near-death experience, what do I do? Take him in for the 'ole one-two chop. Neuter time! This has been long-time coming. I wanted to do this a while back, but I have an agreement with my breeder that she can show him, therefore, he cannot be fixed. After she blantantly blew me off for many, many months, I finally called her on it. I sent an e-mail. "Hey, since you don't seem to be wanting to show the puppy any time soon, I wanted to get with you regarding having him neutered". Cue the crickets chirping. Then I left a phone message a couple weeks later. That drove her into some action. Mind you, she hasn't even SEEN the dog in probably close to a year. She says "Oh, I wanted you to be able to say you had a champion". As if I care. That's not my bag, baby. So I said "I just want a happy pet". I won't go into detail, but this woman is one of those people that is ALWAYS in the midst of some giant emergency, usually health related. And I thought I had drama! Ha, ha! Boy oh BOY...don't make the mistake of asking her "How's it going?". No, sireee!

Anyway, she finally agreed to let me do it. She said "If I come to see him and he's gorgeous, I'll just cry!" to which I replied "I'll have some tissues handy for you". Whatever.

So off to the vet. While we're there, the vet did her best to drive up the bill in quite a convincing manner. "Well, since he's already out we could also get that nasty scale off of his teeth, and would you like us to put in a microchip? Danes & boxers are the most commonly stolen dogs. We can trim those long nails, too". Sure. Why not? So after resigning myself to a giant bill I said "Wow, I didn't realize that you guys did Extreme Makeovers for dogs!". Must've gone right over her head. Not even a tiny smile. Oh well. Not the first time my lame attempts to be funny fall flat on their face...won't be the last.

The puppy was a sad sight last night. I felt pretty bad for him. We let him sleep in our bedroom in case he had any post-op problems during the night. He got a good night's sleep & is more like his old self today: Big & goofy.

Monday, June 21, 2004

Motivation in strange places

OK...I'll admit it: I have motivation issues. It's a vicious cycle of feeling guilty for not being more motivated & actually doing more to get more work done. The problem is, guilt itself is not a motivator. If it were...I'd be like Jo-Jo the Idiot Circus Boy.

So the question remains: were can I get me some of this "mo-ti-va-tion" stuff I've been hearing about? I want to know how I can tap into those hidden reserves that supposedly exist. Is there some secret I'm not privy to? Did I sleep through that lecture? Did I skip that class? I don't know. Sometimes it seems like you either have it or you don't. I WANT to have it. Don't have it.

Every now & then, I get a random burst of energy that likes to disguise itself as motivation. In short, I get work done. Today was one of those days, but the source of the energy burst was the unusual part: a dream.

It was one of those dreams that you wake up directly from in the morning. I remember the dream clearly and in pretty good detail. I was working in a job from my former industry: media. Fortunately, all the of other people in the dream were make-believe dream people, rather than actual people from my past career. That would have moved it from "dream" category into "nightmare" category. Anyhoo...I had just come back from a long vacation or absence and my dream boss was asking me something about a client that was about to go on a company sponsored trip. I didn't have any idea what he was talking about. Then it became evident that I was supposed to go on this trip too, to accompany my clients. The plane was leaving later than afternoon. The existence of this trip was completely new information to me. I had to run around like a crazy person trying to make arrangements for my daughter & husband during my absence. I remember getting the drift that if I did not go on the trip, it would be curtains for me.

At some point during the rushing around, my boss berating me for not knowing what was going on with my accounts. It was that particular dream tirade that made me hop out of bed this morning, head straight for the shower & get to work today. Weird. I have no expertise in dream translation. I mean, showing up naked in public, falling off a cliff, etc... those are the obvious and typical stress and self-conscious dreams. Got it. I get the drift of this morning's dream in general, but I'm not sure how it managed to actually drive me into action. Can't say I've ever had that happen before.

Well, I'll let you know how long it lasts. I have committed to myself to make a stronger effort this week, so one might think that would be good enough.

Sometimes I find myself deflating like an old party balloon, though. But when I find that super-secret source, ya'll be the first to know.

Thursday, June 17, 2004

Dog Days

Well, here's the follow up: my dog is OK...he had twisted up his lower back & hips a bit, but the chiropractor got them back in line & I've massaged his back a bit to help, too. The day after his adjustment, he was bouncing around a bit...more like his old self again.

I ran by the Harry and David store and bought a small gift basket and card for my hero neighbors. My husband dropped it off. The man I originally spoke with wasn't home, but his wife, who took part in the rescue, was there. She said the only reason they saw him in the pool, was because she went outside to smoke. Wow...that's the only "plus" I've EVER heard for smoking! Anyway, she said he was having a terrible struggle and making the most God awful sounds. He would have drowned if they had not intervened. I guess that pool has no stairs and the shallow end isn't that shallow. (How he was able to get in at all is a topic for another time!)

I was having a discussion with someone regarding the swimming abilities of dogs. They said that all dogs can swim. I don't know if that's true or not, but I think it's a moot point when you take a giant, ungainly dog who's never even dog-paddled in his life & dump him into water over his head. I think panic overrides any instinct to swim to safety. It certainly was the case here.

The hero neighbors want to come & see him sometime, according to my husband. I guess they feel some connection to the pitiful creature they dragged from the "murky deep". Since my initial "thanks" was so pathetic right after it happened, I guess that will give me chance to say it again....maybe in a way that a gift basket doesn't cover. (The wife did not want to accept the gift basket....my husband MADE her.) Of course, she said they did what anyone would do, which I think for the most part is true, but it doesn't make me appreciate it hugely just the same.

Monday, June 14, 2004


Do you ever feel like you get more than your fair share of drama? Yeah, me too. I'll come back to my boring backyard problem another day.

Sooooo...after finishing dinner my kitchen phone rings. It's my neighbor telling me that my wolf mix and my Great Dane are running the streets. Huh, weird. OH! Well, when your daughter leaves the front door open when collecting the mail, I guess that can happen. Grrrrr. So I tell her the dogs got away because she left the front door open. "I hope they don't get hit by a car and killed", I say. So I'm off on foot yelling after them. Can't be too far...the neighbor JUST called. Did I mention the torrential downpour that was simultaneously happening? Yeah. Umbrella keeps the head dry, but the rivers flowing down the street don't do so much for the shoes.

Went about 3/4 up the street. No dogs. Back to the house, I find my daughter bawling because it's her fault the dogs got away. No argument there. "Yes it is", I say. We pile into the car. Just as I'm pulling out of the driveway, I see my smaller mix jogging down the street back toward the house. I stop the car & drag her into the backyard. One down, one to go. As I'm heading up the street, I see my other dog coming back toward the house. From where he must have come, I see people standing in a front yard...walking after him. Since I am in my car & it's still raining, I just roll down the window & coach him to get home while slowly driving. The first thing I noticed was that an unusual amount of water was dripping from him. It was cascading from his belly. People still coming my way. I get him back to our house & into the backyard when the guy coming down the street makes it to my place. I was waiting for him to tell me that my wet, giant rampaging dog squished his tiny dog, or ate his baby or something of that nature (even though my dog is the biggest pussy cat ever).

"Is he OK" the guy asks..."Yeah...sorry he got out" I reply, waiting for the other shoe to fall. "Oh, good. He fell into my neighbors in-ground pool & was drowning" he says. My jaw drops. "I couldn't get him out, so my wife had to help".

So basically the big dummy falls into the pool (I don't think he jumped in) and people I don't even know had to jump into their neighbor's pool during a lightning & thunderstorm and fish a giant, struggling ungainly 150 lb. beast out of the water. (I just had a Poltergeist flashback from the pool scene!) So of course when I said "Thanks", I felt like a total ass. Somehow that just didn't seem to cover the act of heroism. There will be some sort of gift placed on their front porch later this week.

The dogs seems OK...just a little shocky. He is also walking a little funny, either from the fall or the struggle to get out of the pool, so he will be seeing our chiropractor tomorrow to make sure his back & hips are OK.

When I told my daughter the dog almost drowned & we'd have never seen him again, her reply was "But he's OK now. I made a mistake. (chanting) I made a mistake. I made a mistake". I guess seeing the dog was alive after all negated any "what-if's".

Next on the list of learned life lessons: Empathy 101.


OK...I don't know WHAT I hit, but I just spent 30 minutes typing a new post & it DISAPPEARED!!! I still have to stop freaking out before attempting to re-create it! I tried everything! GONE!!

Reminds me of the time in college when I was on page 4 out of 5 of a term paper (no drafts, no notes, hadn't saved yet) when some random jack-ass walked in front of my computer, tripping on the cord, unplugging it and losing the entire thing. Speechless.

OK...next post..my attempt to re-create the entire "backyard swamp" story.


Wednesday, June 02, 2004

Different Stokes for different folks

Man, it is tough getting back into the swing of things after being gone for two weeks! I think I finally have it. I think. And of course the 3-day Memorial weekend messed with me, too. I fear change. I thrive on normalcy!

Anyway...That's not what I wanted to talk about. I have a new issue that has cropped up for me this summer: Outdoor playtime with the grubby neighbor kids. We have an odd mix of kids that live on our end of the street and my daughter is now at an age where she wants to "go outside and play with the boys". Did I mention that they are all boys? Older boys? Sigh. Six and eight year old boys don't really want to play with a four year old girl, and on many levels, I really don't want her playing with them, either. The only girl close to my daughter's age lives just far enough up the street, that I can't see her if she's in their front yard....so I tagggggg along. "Hi, neighbor...here I am standing in your driveway uninvited. Let's make B.S. small talk since we really have zero in common until one of us can pry our child away and back inside the house!"

This particular neighbor has a total of THREE little kids, stays home and is COMPLETELY overwhelmed. The husband is in Real Estate, the used car biz and, I quote, "plays ALOT of golf" so he is NEVER home. I mean his home, anyway. Who know whose else home he may be in. Wow. Last time my daughter was over there to play the doorbell rang, and some random neighbor kid I didn't recognize was standing at the front door holding my neighbor's 16 mo. old son, reporting that he was worried because the baby was walking along a high rock ledge outside and didn't see anyone around. Um, yeah. So that's why I can't just send my daughter over there to play. It's like a zoo. I'm not kidding.

I once tried to get the little girl to come over to our house to play with my daughter. For about 15 minutes they were having a great, boy-free time and then her mom shows up at the door and comes in with the toddler in tow. No really, I say, they're fine!

My rule for my daughter is that if she is outside I must be able to see her at all times. This does not even come CLOSE to how every other neighbor handles their children. One neighbor jokingly made a "Mommy Dearest" comment when I corrected my daughter for going up too far on the street where I couldn't see her. And do you know what? I couldn't give a shit. I'm not the one who's going to end up at a news conference sobbing for the safe return of their child. Does that make me sound like a hovering overprotective parent? Still don't care. I'm not going to stifle her (completely!) but it is my job to make sure that she is safe, and as far as I am concerned, she has no ability whatsoever to make snap decisions concerning her own safety. She's a smart kid, but she's only four. Nuf said. All the other parents let their kids (even the weird, "special" kid up the street that all the neighbors are beginning to despise. The same one that I caught peeing in my front yard) run anywhere they please completely unsupervised. I know this because they often end up in my back yard. Not a parent in sight. Lucky for them, I am NOT a disturbed individual that likes to abuse or take liberties with their children. I am SO glad they can trust people they barely know with the lives & safety of their kids!

I know this may sound fishwifey and jaded, but the bottom line is, you always gotta look out for number one. When you have a child, they ARE number one.

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