Wednesday, December 28, 2011

Bella's Ride Home

Oh my gosh!  What the heck were we thinking? We hadn't bought anything major for the house in a really long time. This past weekend, and the previous, we more than made up for it.  It actually felt kind of good.  I'm a saver.  Almost to the point of frugality.  I'm not yet into saving butter wrappers but,...So between purchasing a bed, 4 bookcases, a  media cabinet for our bedroom, a mattress and boxsprings  for my daughter and a sitting room  chair we decided to visit the Atlanta Humane Society.  Well really, if truth be told,  HE wanted to visit the animal shelter.

My husband and I are animal lovers. The kids fell right in line.  When my husband and I first got married I couldn't stand not having a pet around. Instead of opting for a fish I decided on a cat.  We went down to the Atlanta Humane Society and came home with a cute cuddly kitten.  My husband didn't know much about cats.  I really didn't know much either but knew enough.  I thought a cat would be a perfect choice for the  apt dwellers that we were.   My husband thought it was a good choice because of a cat's lifespan. Somewhere along the way my husband was of the understanding that a cat's lifespan  was like that of a hamster, one or two years tops.   Once our first cat made it past the 5 year mark he started asking questions, questions he should have asked before the adoption.  Our first cat lived to be 17 and our second cat lived to be 21.

Day one, we brought her home to kids who had no idea we had fallen head-over-heels in love with this puppy. My husband held the puppy on the ride home.  She just snuggled right into the crook of his arm.  My husband melted. The puppy slept and made those sweet puppy noises. He said she was just so soft. She would occasionally reach up to give him kisses. The puppy didn't whine, bark or throw-up. Hmmm...  The perfect puppy.

 We decided to pull into the garage and waltz in with her as if she were just another package. Right before we pulled into the driveway I was running through that "mom list" in my head.  What all needs to happen to pull this off successfully.  The puppy should go to the bathroom before we take her in. Okay, not the bathroom but you get what I mean.  I remember this from others who told me of their puppy escapades.  Not too long ago, my son described it perfectly. "Mom, when Bella gets excited it's like shaking up a can of Sprite and then opening it". My husband was on puppy duty while I made sure the kids didn't come running outside unsolicited. Most of the time, my daughter in particular, will come out to the garage whenever she hears the garage door go up.  I would like to think its because she misses me but maybe she's afraid she'll miss out on something.  I don't know for certain.

So my husband is outside with our precious pup and I'm inside.  Sure enough both kids are downstairs ready to burst into the garage.  They begin asking their usual barrage of questions when all of a sudden we  hear shrieking. More precisely a puppy that sounds as if it were being bludgeoned to death. My first thought was the puppy had gotten loose and with in a matter of seconds got hit by a car.  The kids, standing right next to me, are also trying to figure it out.  I stood in shock for a second or two then flew out the door in hopes of finding something other than the conclusion my mind has drawn.  I left the kids inside, and told them to stay put, so that I could  witness this incredible and unexplainable sight.  My husband is standing in the garage with our sweet little puppy on a leash at his feet. In a calm almost trance like voice he utters,"Watch this."   As his hands reach down for Bella she turns on him sounding as if she wants to rip him apart. She has turned into this vicious attack dog.  I couldn't help myself. I laughed until I came close to peeing my pants. This little 5 pound puppy was trying to bite the crap out of my husband. She was reaching for whatever she could sink her teeth into.  My husband didn't think it was funny.  As a matter of fact he was terrified.  Not sacred of the little beast but scared about the decision we made to bring her home.  I was confident it was a fluke and she was just scared.  After all, my husband isn't the most patient.  I could see him trying to get her to go to the bathroom on his time instead of hers.  Maybe he tried to motivate her a little too much or maybe the darkness of night and the cool wet grass frightened her.  Either we haven't heard her scream anymore hank goodness.  She has settled in quite nicely with her family.  Now she is a part of our family.

Day 2 with our new addition.  At least having this puppy around is making my husband a little more cognizant of time.  He wants the puppy to sleep with him because the puppy is so cute and cuddly. Immediately I  agree. I know what he's in for. I go to bed earlier than he does. While I paddle off to bed I remind him that every 20 mins the puppy needs to potty. An hour later no bathroom break for Bella and what do you know?  She pees on the floor. Really?  This is shocking. The puppy has a bladder the size of a head of a pin.  My husband exclaims,"Well I just let her out!". Yeah, you did.  An hour ago.

This afternoon I'm talking with my parents on the phone.  Bella is in my bedroom with me.  The other two dogs were in need of a much deserved  Bella break. As I'm talking Bella is winding up.  She loves to do these quick grab and go episodes where anything in reach of puppy teeth gets chewed on.  My daughter used to say "Look how cute Bella is!" when Bella would take off with things.  Now Bella isn't so cute. So far she's grabbed my daughter's hair bows, lip gloss, tassels on shoes, pens and pencils and yes, even her homework. Now that I thought was kind of funny.  I told her I could write her a note that said, "Bella, our puppy, really did eat Shelby's homework." My daughter didn't see the humor. It's now been a month and a half since Bella's first night here. I think she's home. :0)

Remote Controls

Christmas vacation and I am forced into cohabitation with those I do not see very often. It is bittersweet.  I do love my family but once I get there I realize they have a different way of living. It affects me, more so than it normally would.   Secondly, it seems there is never enough space.  Everytime I turn around I bump into someone I don't want to bump into.  Lastly, the kids are bored unless they are with their cousins and even that, after a while, becomes old.  There is an overload of not just people and problems but also food, sleepless nights and trying to make heads or tails of it all.  

We really don't know how to behave around one another.  We aren't ourselves which is just plain uncomfortable.  Things that, on a regular basis,  don't make me nervous make me nervous now.  For example, at home I am the "go to" member of the family when we're talking electronics.  From phones to computers I can figure it all out with ease.  On the other hand,  I am afraid of the electronics at my parent's house. More specifically the remotes.  Deathly afraid.  I know, your asking why would I be afraid of a remote?  

First of all,  there are about 350 of them.  No really.  Secondly, the remotes are all different.  Just when you think you've found the remote to control the channels and volume you don't.  The cable remote only controls the channels.  There is another remote for the sound because it's surround sound.  At my parent's house there are 5 remotes per TV, 3 per DVD player, ... You get the picture. The remotes really need to be labeled.  I know, if I were a good daughter I would do it.  

I decided a long time ago to just avoid the remotes.  It's scary to think that the TV has the potential to explode if I press the wrong button. No really, stranger things have happened.  If it were just one TV that would be one thing.  There is a TV and 2 DVD players per room.  Let me rephrase that, a TV and 2 DVD players per room that isn't... Nevermind.   One time I accidentally touched the wrong button and zap, the screen went not just blank but went completely black.  I quickly escaped from the room.  My dad yells out,"Who was just in here?" I holler back, "I think I saw Susie in there Dad. You know kids."  

If something can go wrong when my parents are watching me it will.  

By the end of the week everyone is ready to hop back in the car for the 6 hour trip home to normal.  

Friday, December 23, 2011

A Family Christmas

Family dynamics are funny.  They are funny when you sit back and look at them but not too funny when you are living it.  Right now I am  living it.  

Every Christmas for the last 23 years my husband and I make the 6 hour drive to Kentucky to visit our parents.  During our stay we also see my brother's family and my husband's family.  We can't really leave behind our kids so they have joined us since they were infants.  My brother lives  5 minutes away.   He has two kids. One of my husband's brothers also lives in Kentucky.  He has an older brother that lives in St. Louis.  Their children are older and scattered.  They try to make it in for Christmas also.  As they get older,  and more of them marry and have kids,  the Christmas visits are less predictable.

My parents and my husband's mom live across the street from one another in the same subdivision.  They have for as long as we have been together.  Kind of crazy but tremendously convenient all the way around.  When the kids were little it was so nice to walk from one grandparent's house to the other.  It's convenient now because the kids can walk themselves and we don't have to worry.

Initially when my husband and I moved to GA we would could visit our folks Thanksgiving and Christmas along with other visits sprinkled in.  Now, as the kids have got older, we come up 3 times a year which includes Christmas.  

We stay at my parents house because it would just work out better that way.  We tried staying at his mom's before but there were just too many people in that house at one time for me.  To begin with, I am forced into cohabitation with those I have never lived with nor do I see them very often.  They have not only a different way of living, what's acceptable and what isn't.   Secondly, it seems there is never enough space.  Everytime you turn around you bump into someone you really don't want to bump into.  Lastly, the kids are bored unless they are with their cousins and even that after a while becomes old.  

By the end of the week everyone is ready to hop back in the car for the 6 hour trip.  Also on the way back the kids plug in and all is well.  It's a little on the sad side but everyone is happier with this type of closeness.  

RoadTrip: It's Christmastime!

It's Christmastime!  Time for the family dynamics to really kick into full force.  All bets are off for usual behavior.

This trip up north, to visit the family during Christmas, was a little longer than usual.   As soon as we pull out of the driveway the sky opens up.  It doesn't stop raining until we pull up into my parent's driveway 7 hours later.  To aide in the headache, it now gets dark around 5:15.  I do love winter solstice but I don't enjoy driving in it.  I'm  driving solo this year.  My husband had back survey almost two weeks ago and isn't supposed to be lifting anything nor is he allowed to drive.  I do not mind that part.  Since I'm in control we can make as many stops as we need to and I can pick the place we stop at.  If he were driving we would do a drive by restroom break but only after trying to get as far as we can before someone pops. Due to the rain, my husband wasn't taking his much needed breaks. He thought he was going to melt so didn't bother to get out of the car.  By the time we arrived at our destination,  he was a pretzel and we were all having issues.

At the beginning of the trip,  kids are in the back seats getting along.  Wow they are getting along so well and it helps for everyone to be plugged into some device.   As I'm driving I realize that my parents really did have a rough go of it on trips.  There wasn't an iPod or portable DVD player to plug into.  They had to listen to a lot more of  "I'm not touching you."  "Stop it!  Mom, tell him to stop it."  Mom would say,"Just ignore it!"   Little did she know how hard that was.  Dad would sound off the usual, "Don't make me turn this car around!"Little of that goes on in our car.

I do remember a time when dad bought a black and white tv that was meant for travel. It came with an adaptor of sorts that plugged into the cigarette lighter.  It had the rabbit ears too.  Yes, we would bend the ears around until we could get a glimmer of something through the snow on the screen. Eventually we just gave up and reverted back to the "I'm not touching you" game.

The station wagon we traveled in, back in the day, had the fake wood paneling on the sides.  We had a "way back" which was a metal box with a seat.  No seat belts in the way back.  If the vehicle had to stop really fast I would imagine that we would have easily been sliced in half. The bench seat right behind the front seats could be laid down flat so the entire back was a bed.  We would lay blankets down and sleep and slide around as Dad rounded corners.

These days everyone has to be strapped in tight. No roaming kids or kids in the front seats.  The only thing I remember not liking is the fact that bathrooms were few and far between and so was food.  We would get a couple hours from home and I would start the pee pee dance while sitting.  You know the dance.  You try to cross your legs as tight as you can to hold everything in until the next stop.  No sudden moves please!