Monthly Archives: August 2010

I’m Talking About the Dog & Cats Again…I KNOW!

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I am pretty sure this conversation happens every night in my house, just as we are trying to go to sleep…

Cat: Hey! You! Cat! PSST…CAT!

Dog: I’m not a cat.

Cat: Whatever. I’m bored.

Dog: Not ”whatever”! I’ve told you a million times I’m not a cat. You’re just being mean.

Cat: Sorryyyyyy!. Jeesh. I’m bored.

Dog: Go to sleep.

Cat: In the middle of the night? What’s wrong with you? Why don’t you sleep in the day like a normal cat?

Dog: I’M NOT A CAT!!! And besides – everyone’s sleeping and we have to be quiet.

Cat: Wooooooooo! Weeeee! Zip! Crash! Sliiiiiiiiiiiide…BANG!!

Dog: Be quiet!

Cat: Oh, you wanna do it too. Come on! You can’t catch me! Weeeeee!

Dog: Can too! Raaawwwwrrrr! Stomp. Thunk! Scramble…BANG!!

Cat: WOOOOOO!!! WEEEEEEE!!!

Dog: BARK! Ohhhh…..shit! You made me! I hate cats!

Cat: You hate yourself!

Dog: I! Am! Not! A! CAT!!! BARK BARK BARKBARKBARK!!………..shit!

Other Cat: Yaaaaaaaawwwwwwnnnnn….strrrrrrrreeeeeeettttccccchhhh…what’s going on out h….Hey! FUN!! Weeeeeee….WOOOOOOOO!!!

First Cat: WOOOOOO….WEEEEEEE…..CRASH!!

Other Cat: CRASH!!!

Dog: CRASH!!!!!…….SHIT!

Both Cats: HAHAHAHAHAHA!!

Dog: I hate cats!

Cats vs. Dogs

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I was talking to someone about the movie Cats vs. Dogs recently, and they asked if I was a Cat Person or a Dog Person. I can’t really answer that, because I guess I am both. But it got me thinking – do I prefer one over the other? So I sat down and tried to figure it out.

Poop:

Dogs would rather eat off their own foot than poop in the house. Dogs do NOT want to disappoint you.

Cats can’t wait until you slip up and neglect to clean their litter box at exactly the right moment (approximately 5.3 seconds after they are finished, but don’t even think about coming around a millisecond too soon and looking at them, you disgusting pervert) so they can poop on the floor next to it to just punish you.

Advantage: Dogs

Attitude:
Dogs: “I love you! I Love You!! I LOVE YOU!!! YAY!! LOVELOVELOVELOVELOVE!!!!! YAY FOR LOVE I LOVE YOU LOVE LOVE LOVE!! I LOVE YOU!!!!

Cats: “……….whatever……….”

Advantage: Dogs

Baths:

Dogs (or most dogs), are not at all interested in getting a bath. They will hide under the bed, run around the house to escape, put their brakes on, brace themselves against the door frame, and cry like a baby when being forced into the bathtub. And then once they are in there, they will sit down so you can’t rinse their ass, shake dirty dog water everywhere, and jump out and run immediately to a nice, dry, non-wet-dog-stinky piece of furniture. And don’t think just because your dog likes to swim or play with the sprinkler that it means they will be good in the bath, because dogs have no common sense. And here’s a little known fact: Dog dirt cannot be cleaned – it can only be transferred to another surface. So when the dog is finally soft and fluffy and fresh you and your entire house will smell like a wet, dirty dog.

Cats clean themselves. I have only had to bathe a cat twice. Once when he got a pitcher of kool-aid dumped on him…by a dog. And once when he was peed on…BY A DOG.

Advantage: Cats

Home alone:

Dogs need someone to look over them. You can’t leave multiple days worth of food because they will eat and eat and eat until they explode and then they will look for something else to eat. They have to be taken out and loved and played with and talked to.

Cats can be left with a vat of food and a big bowl of water (which they will ignore in favor of the toilet).

Advantage: Cats

Intelligence:

Dogs: Become startled by their own farts. Regularly tangle themselves up in their leashes.

Cats: Can’t find the treat sitting directly in front of them. Lose a battle of the wits against tape.

Advantage: Tie

Critter patrol:

Cats like to hunt. Most cats can be counted on to seek and destroy mice, rats, moles, centipedes and spiders.

The most you can expect from a dog is a resounding “SQUIRREL! SQUIRREL!! SQUIRRELSQUIRRELSQUIRREL!!!” and the damned squirrel is outside and not bothering anyone. If you are lucky, they will also attempt to rid your house of mail carriers and their shadow. They will fail spider miserably, though.

Advantage: Cats

Coming Home:

Dogs don’t care if you were gone five days or five minutes – their reaction is always the same: “You’re back, oh my God, I am SO HAPPY! I was so worried about you because you were here and then you were gone and I was thinking about you and then you CAME BACK! YAY!!! I LOVE YOU!!!!!

Cats didn’t even know you were gone. If they happened to be walking through the room when you return home, they might give you a barely noticeable glance to let you know that they want food and a clean littler box.

Advantage: Dogs

Protection:

Dogs will do almost anything to protect the people they love. At the very least, they will bark and let you know someone is coming (and sometimes, continue barking and barking and barking).

Cats will hear a noise in the house at night, puff up, looked totally freaked out, take off and hide under the bed. Cats do not care if you are slaughtered.

Advantage: Dogs

Noise:

Dogs: Bark! Growl. Snarl. Wine. Cry. Sniff. Snort. Slurp. Chomp. Chew . Yack. Snore. Howl. BARK! BARK!! BARKBARKBARKBARKBARKBARKBARKBARKBARK!!!!

Cats: purr…meow…silent, evil stare…meep…purr.

Advantage: Cats

Disposition:

Dogs: Assholes

Cats: Assholes

Advantage: Tie

Smell:

Cats basically have no smell. Unless they have one of those weird I Refuse To Clean Myself compulsions, they are obsessive in their hygiene. Other than the occasional I Just Ate, Can You Smell The Tuna On My Breath moments, they are pretty pleasant.

Dogs…Lord. If the non-bathing and bathphobia weren’t enough, let’s add in the ass breath. And the dogfarts. And the fact that they like to roll in poop and dead things for fun. Dogs – though delightful – are gross.

Advantage: Cats

Loyalty:

Dogs are loyal. They will love you no matter what you do. You can screw up again and again with a dog and he will still think you are the greatest thing ever. You always hear stories about heroic dogs saving their owners, or walking hundreds of miles to find their family again.

Cats, on the other hand, will give you ONE chance to not screw up. In fact, cats are already plotting your death simply because they can. Cats don’t save their owners – cats eat their owners after they fall down the stairs and there’s no dog to run for help.

Advantage: Dogs

So there you have it. The final tally:

Dogs: 5

Cats: 5

Humans: 1,000,000 (or possibly minus-2, depending on how big of an asshole the dogs and cats are being at the time).


Fall is Coming

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Do you feel it? That little chill in the air? In between the hot sun and the quick rain showers? You know what that is? That, my friends, is FALL!

Fall is my very favorite season. As much as I love swimming in the summer and snowstorms in the winter, it’s fall that I love the most. I love the falling leaves and the corn stalks and the pumpkins. I love harvest colors and hot soup and mashed potatoes. I love warm cider and sweaters and campfires. And even though it breaks my heart into a million tiny pieces to have to give up sandals, I still love fall. Actually, who am I kidding? I wear sandals until my toes turn blue. And then I’ll throw on my rainbow toe-socks and my Birkenstocks and my family will all distance themselves from me in public and then I’ll sing Friend of the Devil at full volume so they stay away for a while longer and give me a few minutes of peace. Hee. Except the girl, that is. She doesn’t give a shit if her mom looks like a deranged blind woman who got dressed while drunk and apparently poked out her eardrums in the process, what with the embarrassingly loud and off-key singing. Nope, she just cares that I am soft (which I am) and have snacks (which I do). So we’ll hold hands, wear matching rainbow toe socks and we’ll go jump in the leaves. Because I Love Fall!

Fall is a nostalgic time for me, and though it makes me feel all warm and fuzzy, it also brings on some sort of sad feelings as well. Actually, I don’t know if they’re sad exactly. More like bittersweet. Fall makes me feel young and makes me feel old. Mostly, Fall takes me back to college. Not the semester after I screwed up, when I lived at home. Not the following years, living in the city and working and finishing up. Don’t get me wrong, there were great things about those times, but I am talking about College. When you leave home for the first time and live in a dorm and have real honest-to-goodness ivy covered walls and you feel like a grown up. That college. I went to a very small, private college in an Amish town. It was heaven, except for when it was hell. The hell part is where the bittersweet part comes in.

I was always the really smart and fun-loving, well-liked but never quite in the “in-crowd” types. I expected to breeze through college the way I did high school. And I would have, too, if it hadn’t been for the freedom. After years of being entirely controlled by my mother, the damned freedom got me. The staying out and partying and eating whatever the hell I want without looking over my shoulder got the better of me. I was having the time of my life, but I had no idea where to draw the line. All my life so far, I had lived under her thumb. I never really had much choice in what I ate, or wore, or where I went and with whom. I had an early curfew and little trust, although unwarranted. And suddenly, I was On My Own. Oh Yeah.

At first, I was a typical college freshman. I missed some early classes and went to parties and drank too much and acted stupid. Just like everyone else. But in time, the parties and the fun became the primary activity and the actual schooling secondary. I think the shit really started to hit the fan when I took a class on Victorian Literature, or The Most Boring Class in the Entire World, Ever. It was at 2:30 in the afternoon, in Old Main. And too often, as I would be walking across the quad, I’d see my fairy godfather in the distance, who would spot me and yell, “Hey Gina! Let’s go drink a bottle of Black Velvet!” And off I would go. There was the campus weed dealer who had the market cornered on freshman girls. He would always have it at the parties. He would never smoke any himself, but he was very generous with the freshman girls. The whole first couple of months of school, it was always there, always free. Then, when those girls started seeking it out, he started charging. He must have made a mint that way. He was a great salesman, really.

So the partying started to take the front seat, but I still managed. Then, my sophomore year, things went downhill even faster. My two good friends, who partied with me but also kept me a bit reined in, both graduated. I had joined a sorority, and even though I loved those girls, I never quite felt like I fit in. I always felt like I was on the outside. My really good friend from freshman year ended up in a different sorority and suddenly she was better than me. Another good friend dropped out. So there I was, a loner. An overprotected child who never quite lived up to her mother’s standards. A sad girl who felt entirely alone in the world. A lost soul who wanted to feel accepted and loved but never did. I know, everyone feels that way. But still, it dominated me. An injury had me on a break from the swim team, and when I went back, I felt like an outcast. So I quit. I quit the majorettes. I quit life.

I looked for love in every guy who looked my way. I drank, I got high, I escaped. I made some new friends and made excess my middle name. I had a ton of fun, but when I think back on it, I feel as much sadness as happiness. I thought I was finding myself, but it turned out I was losing myself.

I can’t help to catch myself occasionally wondering “what if…” What if I had just kept it under control? What if I had been stronger? What if I had met the right person instead of all of the wrong ones? Don’t get me wrong, I love my family. I love my husband and kids and if things had been different, I wouldn’t have them right now. But the “what ifs” still plague me. I wonder what people really thought of me. Probably not much. I was the class clown. The fun-lover. The party girl. But I wasn’t the girl you took to the formal. Or home to meet mom. I was the one you could count on to drop everything and make a beer run. I was the one who was always up for just one more. I was the one you could tell little lies to and would pretend to believe them, just because it felt good. At least in that moment.

And still, somehow, I love Fall. It’s a new beginning – new chance. It’s canoeing on the lake and outdoor parties and walks in the woods and shooting cows with Nerf darts. It’s Wish You Were Here and dorm fridges and care packages. It’s rainbow vanilla at the ice cream parlor and undercooked pepperoni rolls. It’s sweetness and romance and lying on a blanket watching clouds. It’s the crunch of leaves and the sound of a marching band. It’s brand new notebooks and pencils. It’s flannel shirts, it’s toasted marshmallows. It’s the past. It’s the future. It’s ivory silk and burgundy velvet. It’s bringing them home for the first time. It’s the first day of school and hayrides and little boy smiles. It’s fairies and goblins. It’s football and hot chocolate and little girl giggles. It’s swinging in a hammock with your son and daughter, wondering why you ever thought “what if…”

I love Fall.

Jerry Garcia ≠ Bruce Vilanch

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This guy has been sitting on my desk at work for many years:

One day, a while back, a coworker and I were talking in my office and I made a reference to Jerry Garcia.

Suddenly, it was as if a lightbulb went off in her head and she pointed at him and said, That’s who that is! All these years I have been trying to figure out why anyone would want a doll of that jackass from Hollywood Squares!”

.

Life With a Teen

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Last week…
The Boy: Are we going to Kennywood on community day?
Me: No, because we are going next week for your band day.
The Boy: what day?
Me: The 19th.
The Boy: OK

A couple days later…
The Boy: What day did you say we were going to Kennywood?
Me: The 19th.
The Boy: I think it changed.
Me: Yeah – it changed TO the 19th.
The Boy: No – I think it’s another day.
Me: I’m pretty sure it’s the 19th.

A couple days after that…
The Boy: Kennywood isn’t the 19th.
Me: Yes it is. I checked after we talked about it.
The Boy: No it isn’t.
Me: Yes, it is.

Two days ago…
The Boy: So and So’s (band friend) pool party is the 19th.
Me: It can’t be – Kennywood is the 19th.
The Boy: I told you – Kennywood got changed. It’s the next day, AFTER the pool party! Even Mr. K. said so! (this said in full-on DUH tone)
Me: Dude – I checked again last night – I have an email for the band boosters saying that Kennywood is the 19th!
The Boy: MOOOOOM! It’s NOT! It’s the NEXT DAY!!
Me: Whatever. I’ll have to email them again and find out for sure.
The Boy: WhatEVER!

Today…
Me: Hey – I checked with the boosters and Kennywood is definitely on the 19th.
The Boy: I knooooow – that’s what I told you!!!!
Me: WHAT? You argued with me for days about how it was the 20th and it got changed and the pool party was the 19th and how I’m wrong and blah blah blah!
The Boy: MOM! I SAID IT WAS THE 19th!! And YOU said it wasn’t. I can’t believe this!
Me: I WHAT? YOU WHAT? ARE YOU KIDDING ME???
The Boy: You just always have to be right.
Me: AARRGGHHLLLFFFMMMPPPCCHHHKKLLLRRRTTMMFFPPHHH! Thud.

Never Ready

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We came home from The Girl’s cheer competition at Idlewild Park late Sunday night (more on that later), and I knew as soon as we pulled into the drive that something wasn’t right. Usually, the instant your tires hit the drive, you hear the sound of the barking barker who barks and barks and then barks some more. But that night, there was no barking. I thought maybe the dog was sleeping, but as I was getting out of the car, I heard some loud banging coming from the open window.

My thought went from OMG something is wrong with the dog, to OMG someone is in the house, to WTF? It turns out my first thought was the correct one.

Before you get too worried about us, let me say that he is OK. But that night, we weren’t so sure. We walked in to find puddles of vomit, poop, and a cowering dog. At first, I thought he just chowed his food too fast (and he always cowers when he’s guilty), but then I saw how much there was and I knew it was something more.

I went to pet him and it was obvious something was very wrong. He couldn’t seem to control his body. He tried to get up and kept falling over. When he did manage to get up, he just went in circles. His eyes looked…I don’t know…blank.

Within 30 seconds, both kids were crying and mr b and I were terrified and trying not to cry ourselves. Mr b took the dog outside while I tried to calm the kids down. The whole time, all I could think was “Not yet. I’m not ready.” But, you know – you’re never ready. There is never a good time to lose a loved one – even when it is a pet and you know it eventually has to happen.

Every time I have lost a pet, I have gone through a brief, but intense period of I Am Never Having a Pet Again Because It’s Too Painful, and then I come to my senses and do it all over again. Last time – with my cat – I found that it was easier to go through because we had another cat at the time and it didn’t feel so empty, so…catless. And I came to the conclusion that maybe two dogs or cats are better than one. So I got yet another cat.

And lately, we’ve been thinking about getting another dog. Not because of the reasons I just described, but just because. We talked to a breeder and made plans to send in a deposit. And then Sunday happened and I found myself feeling guilty – as if I was “replacing” my dog before he was even gone. I know it’s silly, but I felt almost responsible for what happened.

First thing Monday morning, Mr b took the dog to the vet and was told that he would most likely recover. And so far so good – he’s getting around almost as good as before, he’s eating and barking and being his pretty much normal goofball self. But I find myself worrying about him every day, spending more time playing with him and petting him, which he loves, of course.

And I’ve gotten over my ridiculous guilt – our puppy-to-be will be born in a few weeks and we’ll have him in late October. And in the meantime, I am just loving the dog we do have, and trying not to think about what’s in the future, because no matter how much you try and prepare for it, you’re never, ever ready.

Private Public

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Mr b called me something last night that got under my skin a little. No, not a bitch, or a nag, or crazy, or OhMyGodWomanDoYouEverShutUp, or any of the other many things I could be called. Instead, he called me “private.”

My first thought was Me? Private? HAHAHAHA! I mean, I am a blogger! If there is one thing that – by definition – bloggers are not, it’s private. We write about our lives and out kids and our families and friends and then put it out there on the internet for seventy hundred million people to see. I have a facebook page and a twitter account and about a million photos on flickr that pretty much anyone and every can see. I’m not private!

But then I started thinking about it and well, maybe he’s right.

The conversation started because I mentioned that the boy wanted to friend me on facebook and I wasn’t sure how I felt about it. Not because I don’t’ want to be friends with him, but because – and I know this will come as a HUGE shock to you – I have a potty mouth. I know!! You all thought I was a delicate flower, right? I have gotten friend requests from a few of the younger family member and have largely ignored them (other than some of the older teens, since they already know how I am) because of this – I don’t want to have to censor myself on facebook. I already censor myself at work, and in many social situations, and at scout and band booster meetings, and cheer practice – I don’t want to do it on facebook, too, dammit! Fuck! (see what I mean?)

Anyway, I made the decision that I would hold on to these years before he would die of embarrassment if I tried to “friend him” on facebook and let him in, but when he searched for me, my name didn’t come up. I mentioned that I might have my privacy settings set so people couldn’t find me, and mr b jokingly (mostly) (I think) said, “You and your privacy – you don’t want anyone reading your facebook, you have a blog I’m not allowed to read…Jeez!”

And he is right – one day last week when he was using my computer and I left facebook open, he teased that he was reading it and I jokingly (mostly) (I think) said, “I don’t want you reading it!” And when he recently started expressing interest in my blog, I jokingly (mostly) (I think) said “I don’t want you reading it!”

I felt a little bad each time, but brushed it off. But it – along with the latest proclamation of me being private – got me wondering: Why am I so secretive?

It’s not like I’m doing anything wrong – I’m not meeting guys or posting naked photos of myself (God help us all), or saying terrible things about him, so why wouldn’t I want him to read it? And I have come to the conclusion that the answer to that is the ever-logical “Because.” And that? Is no reason at all.

I think there are a few things that contribute to my being the way I am. For one – mr b has never had any interest in this stuff. So for the years that I have been blogging (and more recently “facebooking”), it has been mine. My own little escape – my thing that I didn’t have to share with anyone else. Anyone who is married and/or has children knows that it is hard to do or have anything that belongs only to you. I ask you – parents of young children – when was the last time you got to take a long, relaxing bath, or have a phone conversation, or read a book, or watch TV, or even go to the bathroom without someone interrupting you? Can’t recall? Exactly!

And then there is the way it has been approached. I would have been far less likely to bristle if mr b had said he wanted to sign up on facebook and add me as a friend. But sitting down and reading my page felt a little more intrusive.

But mainly, I think my “private” nature was something that I learned from years of dealing with my mom. I never had any privacy or control growing up. And before you go all parent on me and say that parents need to know what their kids are doing, blahlblahblah, I am not talking about normal parenting. I’m talking about a mother with a terrible suspicious streak and an assume-the-worst nature. She read my diary – not only did she read it, she blatantly broke the lock open and didn’t even try to hide it. And then pretended like nothing happened. She would open my mail. Not college acceptance letters and the like, but personal letters sent to me by my best friend in Florida. When we were 10 or 11! What could a ten year old girl in 1978 possibly have to say that she had any interest in? She went through my purse, read my notes, searched my room, listened in on my calls, and told me where to go and what to wear and what to eat and so on and so on and AAAAARRRRRRRRRGGGGGGGHHHHHHH!!!!!

I grew up longing for privacy, and the ability to make even the simplest decision for myself, and time alone, without someone looking over my shoulder. It trained me to hide things that needn’t be hidden, just for the sake of hiding them, rather than for any real (or scandalous, or interesting, or juicy) reason. It’s not that I have been trying to keep mr b out of that part of my life, it’s that I have spent a lifetime just trying to keep a part of my life to myself.

Every five minutes I go back and forth, thinking, “I’ll let him read it.” Then, “No – it’s fine like it is.” Then, “But there’s no reason not to!” Then, “It’s FINE!

Right now – at this moment – I don’t know what I will do. I want to open up a little more. And I decide I will. And then the thought of it actually takes my breath away a little.

But I’ll try. I’ll think about it and I’ll try. It took a lot of years to break me, I can’t be fixed overnight.