Wednesday, December 22, 2010

Happy Holidays to All

Gizzy suffered this humiliation just to wish you a Merry Christmas.

I looked for chickens singing Christmas carols but didn't find anything tolerable. So you get goats jumping around instead.

Tuesday, December 21, 2010

Late Nights, Holiday Overload and a Whole Lotta Heart

Another fucking snowstorm and 8 more inches added to the count. Actually, I've lost count and we're running out of places to put the snow. Our driveway is already a tunnel. Luckily it's a short work week and the count down is on for that generic repetitive Christmas music in the office to be finished. A and I have been up late for days and it's thrown my whole schedule off.

I'm not finished shopping for A and I think we may make it to Christmas again this year before opening gifts. Last year was the first in 10 years together that we actually made it to the holiday. I think the earliest we ever opened was December 19th and that year we were leaving on vacation the 26th and wanted to have enough time to play with our new toys. We figure we are adults and can have Christmas any damn time we want! I have yet to wrap any of A's gifts so that helps. She has gifts for me wrapped and under the tree. Too bad that one of the dogs, and we can only guess which one, grabbed one of my gifts while in a play frenzy this evening and tore the wrapping paper off. There was much cussing but I didn't see anything. I did buy myself an early little gift, these super warm homemade mittens.

They are made from old wool sweaters and lined with fleece. They are mis-matched and each pair is one of a kind. Did I mention how fabulously warm they are? My hands have never been so happy and A is sad to have lost her hand-warming duties.

We overloaded in holiday things this weekend with shopping, baking and I finally sat down and did my cards. I doubt many people will get them before Christmas this year and I really don't care...they will get them before the New Year. I've decided I'm not accepting any more complaints for the rest of the year. Mom and I baked cookies Sunday...and of course we always overdo it. Neither of us want all these to eat and since Dad and my brother are gone from the area, we don't have many places to get rid of them. I guess some traditions just don't die. I did make some special little bone-shaped sugar cookies for the dogs and put just a tiny swipe of frosting. That will be their holiday treat.
Saturday night A and I had a concert date. She had bought tickets to see Heart at one of the nearby casinos. We went up early to have dinner and maybe do a little gambling. I have to say that slot machines are the most boring thing in the world. Everywhere you look there are people with cards clipped to their clothing and inserted into those machines, just blankly staring and pushing a button hoping for the big hit. It looks like a scene from some weird sci-fi movie. We played poker which at least involved a little thinking even if neither one of us are very good at it.

I've never been much of a fan of Heart. When I was growing up they were into the 80's pop and ballads stage. A on the other hand, loves them as the 70's rocker chicks. She saw them when she was 16 and then we saw them at Lilith this summer. We were really close to the stage.

A was in heaven, jumping up and down like a teenager and I was amazed at how great they sound live. Saturday night we were not nearly as close but it was a smaller venue that only seats 1500 and there's not a bad seat in the house. It was great to just have a night out to flirt, cuddle and hold hands with my love.

Wednesday, December 15, 2010

Wordless Wednesday

Blizzard Fashonista
Stand back and try to control yourself...she's all mine. *hangs head in shame*

Tuesday, December 14, 2010

It's a Blizzard, Baby!

It's cold, cold and fucking cold out there! That's my life here now and I'm sorry for the repetition. So another weekend at home, 20 inches of snow, wind, drifting, everything in the lower half of the state closed down. Even the roof of the Metrodome collapsed and now the poor Vikings are homeless. As if I care. I wouldn't care much normally and I care even less now.

As I stood outside shoveling poop fields for the dogs, bundled up so much I resembled the little brother from "A Christmas Story", with wind gusts blowing snow in my face, I should have known it was a sign...stormy weather coming back into my life. It's been too quiet for too long. The barometer drops and everyone goes crazy.

My dad and his family and my mom are all just getting into the game again. Dad has always been a master manipulator, now throw in a stroke, dementia, depression and the loss of control (over his body and his life) and you have manipulation to the extreme. He calls people, pushing buttons, trying to play people against each other, twisting things said/did to suit his purpose. I haven't talked to him in weeks until this weekend. I would call over and over but he wouldn't answer his phone. Friday night mom calls telling me that dad wants to come back to Minnesota, he's lonely, scared, etc. Then she's spewing all this stuff about how he's not being fed or properly cared for and on, and on, and on. I try to calm her down...I want to talk to him myself. So Sunday I finally get a chance and I just listen. I tell him that if he wants to come back to MN we can try to get things arranged but it's not going to be something that can be done overnight. He has unrealistic expectations about returning here and trying to live on his own. I know that in reality he won't be any happier living here. His condition will be the same, he will have the same complaints and the manipulations will continue. I spoke to my older brother to get his perspective and we both agreed that at least until spring we are not even going to consider moving him back.

Tonight is my late night at work and I came home to find the nastiest, rude message from my dad's sister on my voicemail. I haven't spoken to her since October, but she was accusing me of things and honestly I had no idea what she was talking about....but I have a pretty good idea where this is coming from. Honestly, throughout everything I've felt very appreciative of all that she's taken on helping dad. I realize what a lot of work it has been for her. So now I'm still awake, I have to work tomorrow and there is nothing more frustrating that getting those kinds of messages late at night when there is nothing you can say or do about them at the time. Maybe it's for the best since when I get so angry, I cry and then it's hard to communicate. But shit, it really fucks up my sleep cycle!

Really, all I want is peace and quiet. Just living my life here with A, taking care of the pups, doing my rescue duties, taking care of the things I need to and otherwise just finding happiness in what I can. I don't like people interfering in my life and try to extend the same courtesies to others. I'm really at the point of washing my hands with the whole situation and with every drama, I'm finding the sense of duty and the guilt I carry around about "being there" slipping away.

Wednesday, December 8, 2010

It's pretty bad when a root canal is the best part of your day.

Beware, I've got some bad karma going. I woke up this morning with a migraine. You just know the state of mind you're going to be in for the day when you wake up with a headache like that. I immediately grabbed 2 Excedrin and a cup of coffee. I wanted to stay home but that wasn't an option today. Instead I spent most of the day squinting at the light.

It was -9 degrees this morning so I started my car to let it warm up before heading out to work. I looked up to see the check engine light on. I sighed with annoyance...I just went through this in August when my catalytic converter went bad and the light came on. My car was running fine...the light wasn't doing the scary blinking so I'm just blamed it on some sensor/cold weather glitch. I can hope, right?

I left for work and as I turned onto one of the back country roads, I heard the small ting of a rock hitting my windshield then a whoosh....a 2.5 foot crack across my windshield. At this point I've only been awake a total of one hour. It was truly tempting to turn around, return home and call-in dead to work.

And yes, the root canal I had later that morning was the best part of my day. I just got to lay back for over an hour, close my eyes and relax. I've been trying to convince myself for weeks I didn't need it but my boss told me today it was time. He was right as usual and tonight I'm happy to be able to eat, drink and breathe without making faces and twitching.

Now I'm going to put this day to bed and I'm hoping for a better one tomorrow. It has to get better...afterall they're predicting a 30 degree heat wave tomorrow. Pull out the bikini!

Monday, December 6, 2010

I'm cold...

Let me truly express that... I'M FUCKING COLD! This winter seems to be worse than usual for me. I can't get warm, even when it's 72 degrees in here, I'm under the heating blanket and down comforter, snuggled up to A and surrounded by dogs. Add that heating blanket to my list of things I'm thankful for these days. My toes and fingers are icy all the time. Let's just say it like it is...cold hands are NOT sexy and no one wants to get frisky with a woman with frozen fingers. Well maybe some of you are into that kind of thing.

Friday afternoon we got hit with another winter storm. I was stuck at work until 5pm since I was closing. This is what it looks like to drive 25 snowy miles in the dark in white-out conditions. Yeah, that's the road ahead and my headlights.

Damn, did I get hell from A when she saw this picture! What was I thinking...why wasn't I watching the road? I told her I couldn't see anything anyway and instinct lead the way. Even in conditions like this, people are assholes...I actually had a semi flashing his lights behind me because he thought 25mph wasn't fast enough for my little car to go.

I got everything accomplished this past weekend that I had on my list and still squeezed a couple naps in too. I started Christmas shopping without stepping one foot in a store. I'm all prepared for the adoption Meet & Greet I scheduled at one of the pet supply stores next week. I've got to get some of this crew adopted. Even though I'm freezing, I was a good GF and went out walking with A; just bundled up in snow-pants, parka and boots and hiked through the snow pretending to enjoy myself. I can't spend all winter on the couch not moving no matter how much I really want to. I just keep thinking warm thoughts.

Thursday, December 2, 2010


Tuesday I got the call I was dreading. At lunch I checked my phone and had a message from another rescuer. I knew there was someone from Oklahoma interested in adopting Nifty. Looks like everything was in order and now it was time to get her transported.

We needed to get her to Iowa Thursday to hitch a ride which meant Wednesday evening I would have to drive her west to another rescuer's home. Then she was heading south through several legs of the journey to Oklahoma.

I was not prepared for this. I cry each time one of my fosters gets adopted; it's such a strange mixture of happiness and loss. Nonetheless, I have my cry and then I'm okay. But Nifty is different. First I'm really attached to her. I love all the dogs that come through my door, even the naughty Cassie (dog #8), but sometimes A or I will find ourselves especially bonded to one. Secondly, I have a hard time just handing a foster dog over to someone without getting a chance to meet and observe their new family myself. I really am a control freak. I just have so much emotionally invested in them, that I like to personally see them through to the end of the journey. If it were summer, I think A and I would have packed up the RV and delivered her ourselves. Nifty is one who has been in rescue for over 2 years and been through several foster homes. When she came here in July, I promised her that she wouldn't be moved again until she was going to her forever home.

Tuesday I spent the rest of my afternoon at work trying not to cry. I'm teary and bleary eyed and wearing a mask, so my nose is running. It's just not the best for working but I struggled through the last 3 hours. Then I came home and parked on the couch with Nifty in my lap and a box of Kleenex just sobbing. All the other chins are climbing up too--they get so concerned when we are upset or cry. A tried to comfort me...that just made it worse. She went to work out and give me my space.

Later that evening I checked my email only to receive a message that the transport was cancelled. I'm not sure if the potential adopter had issues or just lost interest but for now Nifty is still here with me. If the adopter lost interest, I'm glad she did before we up-rooted this dog again. I was excited and laughing as I read the email to A and she shook her head at me laughing, "Well you certainly just turned off the tears like flipping a switch".  So for now Nifty is here snuggling next to me and I'm not sure how long I have. I'm know I'm on borrowed time.

Wednesday, December 1, 2010

Wordless Wednesday

Monday, November 29, 2010

Sometimes living in a small town isn't so bad.

Returning to the world of the working was damn hard today. It's so easy and just too comfortable for me in my little bubble in my corner of the world. Reality sucks and dealing with people sucks even more.

The tradition in this little town is the Saturday after Thanksgiving the veterans from the VFW (usually after they're all liquored up) and anyone else who wants to volunteer decorate the square in town. There's a small parade and then they light the park for the holiday season. I didn't attend the parade but last night A and I went up town to see what they've done. This year they added speakers throughout the park and have the Nutcracker Suite playing. What's really great is last night it was windy and we witnessed several people passing by who stopped to set something up that had blown over or re-adjust decorations. I have yet to ever see anyone vandalize or steal anything. Please excuse any blurry pictures. I was trying to take them hand-held while getting hit with a blustery north wind.

I guess maybe this Grinch is starting to get in the holiday mood just a bit earlier than usual...but don't push me too much. I'm still not ready for 24/7 Christmas music.

Sunday, November 28, 2010

I'm a product whore.

Seriously, I have discovered where all my cash went! In my shower right now there are currently 5 bottles of shampoo, 3 conditioners, 4 body washes, 2 facial washes plus 3 bars of soap. That's not counting a couple bottles of dog shampoo & conditioner that I'm sure A has grabbed and used a few times. :) I must admit there's even more in the hall closet. How many products do two women really need anyway?

When I picked up my bathroom a few days ago, I'm was amazed by all the eye shadows, makeup, eyeliners, mascara, lipstick, glosses and powders. There are hair waxes, pomades, putty, smoothers, shiners and sprays.  I have a zillion varieties of toothpaste, floss and brushes (thanks to Oral-B and Crest who send me samples). Lotions, perfumes, body sprays, face creams and anti-wrinkle treatments fill every cupboard, drawer and basket. I was then inspired to clean my bathroom closet...the list goes on and on.

Next time I'm asked what I spend my money on and I'm tempted to say purses, shoes, or pets, I'll just remember the massive supply of beauty products I have stocked up. Trying to look good isn't cheap I guess!

Friday, November 26, 2010

Thanksgiving Was Here. Winter Returns Too.

Thanksgiving came and went quietly. I woke up early this morning...well actually Orville woke me early by scooting up next to my pillow, licking my cheek and giving me a pleading look. I stumbled upstairs and out into the frigid morning; always the doorman. A slept in for awhile since she has to be up early tomorrow for work. Later we ate breakfast and just did some household chores; very un-exciting, very un-holiday like. In fact with nothing cooking or baking in the house it didn't seem much like Thanksgiving at all. I tried several times to call Dad but was unable to reach him. I left a couple messages instead. My older brother is there visiting and I know they were taking Dad out of the rehab facility for dinner today.

Don't worry we didn't go without our turkey dinner and this afternoon went to the home of A's aunt and uncle and had a lovely time hanging out with the retirees. We were invited to her brother's home but we both didn't want to deal with their screaming, obnoxious, rude children and some equally rude adults. That could be an entire post in itself.

Tomorrow morning I will be up early but NOT to participate in Black Friday shopping madness. NO WAY! I know so many people who look forward all year to this one shopping day but to me it looks and feels like a nightmare. Instead I will haul myself up to put the beef brisket in the oven, start preparing egg noodles and baking bread. That's right, I'm the one cooking tomorrow; alert the fire department. No really I can cook but so seldom do because I don't enjoy it except for the rare special occasions. Mom is coming for a belated Thanksgiving dinner and dragging along her pet, aka well-meaning but annoying boyfriend. They usually don't hang around too long though.

The weather has turned here suddenly and we went from unseasonably warm 60's and sunny to unseasonably cold 2 degrees. Our last nice weekend it was nearly 70 degrees, the collie came to visit, we played ball with the dogs and they chased each other in the yard. There was still some green in our world.

One week later we woke on a Saturday morning to 10 inches of snow. We had to get up and pull out the shovels to clear the deck, stairs and patio just so the dogs could go outside.
Since then it has been nothing but cold, overcast, freezing rain, sleet and snow. I don't give a damn about the snow but I truly hate the ice and I still need the sunshine. I like to sit in front of the window and soak it in, even if it's all an illusion.  This weather means lots of indoor time and I end up curling up on the couch with a book or movie plus several dogs to keep me company. Since bringing in dog #8, the dynamics of the pack have changed and my Sia wants to make sure everyone know I belong to her at nap time. There are also 3 others laying by my feet.
Actually Cassie (dog #8) has been one of the more challenging fosters I've had in a long time. She is a sweetie with people but has problems with other dogs. She is food-aggressive, territorial, and possessive. She doesn't give the warning growl--she goes straight in for the attack. After the first few days she was here, I was ready to send her back! In 5 days I had broken up more dog fights than in the last 4 years I've had Chins. I thought she was going to have to permanently live in a kennel. It's just unusual for this breed to not get along. I was especially pissed when my dogs started acting fearful of her. I will not tolerate my dogs feeling uncomfortable or fearful in their own home. Her former foster offered to take her back, our foster coordinator was looking for another foster home where she could be the only dog (yeah right!) but after I had time to sleep on it (that's when I do my best problem-solving), A and I agreed that we've had worse and would not give up so easily. We came up with a plan to anticipate/remove her triggers and do some training to modify her behavior and help her gain confidence. She's been here 2.5 weeks and is coming along great. She seems to especially love her new best friend Jill.
Last night I had the rare treat of catching a group shot of the whole crew, minus Gizzy who has bad balance and is afraid of falling down the stairs. So here is a picture of 7 out of 8...and they are all looking at the camera for once. A very rare picture indeed.
Left to right: Popper, Jill, Cassie, Orville, Nifty, Sia
Front: Timmy

Hope everyone has a safe and enjoyable holiday weekend.

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

Wordless Wednesday

Tuesday, November 9, 2010

Ms. Moon: Saint? Unlikely. Crazy? Yeah Probably

Today I brought home dog number eight. I now have my own four plus four fosters.  This will be my 6th foster dog of 2010; in the past I've only had 1 or 2 fosters a year. I know this is peanuts compared to what so many others in rescue do and I suppose one day I'll look back and laugh about the time when we only had eight. I think I'm slipping down the rabbit-hole. Pictures to follow.

Monday, November 8, 2010

She's got her mother's fiery disposition.

I woke up Sunday morning with freakish swollen eyelids. I mean really, really swollen like I've seen with severe heart failure patients. I tried everything to get the swelling down but the only real solution is time. At least I had no where to go and no one to see, no one that mattered anyway. The plus side is I also woke up feeling much better just as I expected and it was a beautiful, gloriously sunny and warm day here in Minnesota, especially for this time of year. When you get 65 degrees in November you take it as a blessing and soak up every second.

We had all the major outdoor chores completed already so I lazed in our sunroom with all the windows wide open as I sorted through the massive amount of paperwork I brought home from Dad's apartment when we moved him out. OMG he saved every receipt for every loaf of bread and little scraps of paper with phone numbers of who knows who, paid utility bills from the last several years and even old cell phone bills from the carrier he had 4+ years ago. I managed to sort through, organize and condense many boxes into one rubbermaid tub for easier transport. My older brother is leaving next week to go visit Dad and the rest of his family and is taking Dad's belongings down to him. I'm thankful to have the stuff out of my house.

We had a visitor to the backyard yesterday. Sia let out her telltale screaming bark from the deck to announce their arrival. Meet Bliss the Collie who lives over on the next street. She comes to visit on occasion when her family isn't home. I think she just gets lonely.

As you can tell she is very sweet and timid. It still scared the shit out of me the first time I found her and my girl nose-to-nose at the fence.

Today Sia and Timmy led the charge and Bliss just looked confused and whined as they lunged and barked.

She paced the fence line as my crew chased her and barked on the other side.
There was enough ruckus that the old man Giz actually got up off the couch and came outside to see what was happening. He usually only moves for dinner and bedtime and hardly ever holds that tail up anymore.
Sia finally succeeded in chasing Bliss off and watched as she returned to her own home. Really her family pulled into their driveway and Bliss went running happy to see them. We won't tell Sia though since she thinks she's pretty tough. The lazy boys all filed back into the house to resume afternoon nap time. Not my fiery 12 pound girl with only 3 teeth in her head.
For the rest of the afternoon Sia parked herself at the gate waiting for Bliss to dare return to our yard. A just shakes her head like always and tells me , "She's your girl!"

Sunday, November 7, 2010

The Sun Will Come Up Tomorrow

Only it will be an hour earlier. I guarantee I will not be up to see it on a Sunday morning. I will be snuggled and warm in my bed with fresh clean sheets and fresh clean dogs to match. I don't know how fresh and clean A will be. :) I've watched a few lovely sunrises the last few weeks as I drove to work but I'm really more of a sunset person. Friday night we had such a beautiful evening; there was no wind and the lakes were as smooth as glass. It makes for some beautiful scenery when I take the time to enjoy. I didn't have my camera with me but I took this picture about 5 miles from my home one other night when the sky looked very similar.

I can't believe Halloween came and went. A and I were just not in the mood this year. The Saturday night before we went to hang out with our friend, Faye, while her boyfriend JK (the Elvis impersonator) performed. She got a costume the week before but just wasn't feeling it at all that night either. The three of us sat toward the back, ate pizza, people watched and gossiped. JK has his groupies and some are there so often they have become part of the act. I'm always flabbergasted by the number of drunks who yell at a man dressed as Elvis to "sing some Johnny Cash!" It never fails and JK has actually worked it into his act and will sing a song if it's requested. That night some drunk guy dressed as a sheik took it a step further by thinking it was karaoke. He stumbled and muttered the lyrics for the first half of the song and Elvis actually had to catch him before he took out a speaker.

Halloween evening we had beautiful weather. Most of the time it's very cold and the kids have to be bundled up over their costumes. One year it was so frigid and blowing sleet so parents were driving their kids door-to-door.  We had our light on, pumpkin carved and lit and a huge bowl of candy. We popped Jiffy Pop and watched scary movies. We waited for hours and only had 5 trick-or-treaters (3 of them live on my street)! I live in town but I'm on a dead end street and I think the kids just don't come over this way. I could stand on my front porch and hear the kids on the other side of the park. Anyway that means I had a huge bowl of candy left that I promptly threw in the freezer. A only carved one pumpkin this year but she said I was her inspiration.

Halloween I decided to extend the olive branch to my younger brother after our bitchy late night conversation 2.5 weeks prior. He didn't answer and didn't return my call. Later that night I thought I would check my sister-in-law's Facebook to see if she posted pictures of my nephews in their costumes. That's when I found I had been blocked by her.

Really?!!!! It really wasn't that big of a disagreement. I just told him I was tired of the bitching and he should help mom after all the help she's given him. I had not written one thing about the situation on FB either. There's the part of me that thinks "it's only FB" and it's infantile behavior but there's that other part of me that can't help but feel hurt. I don't regret what I said and if I had the chance to do it again, I would say it exactly the same. I only spoke the truth. Tonight I realized I have now been de-friended by my bother, his wife and my oldest nephew. It's only FB, right?  I admit I cried. It hurts. They've done a lot of stupid things, have had a rocky marriage both personally and financially and I have stood by through a lot of shit and only spoke up once when the kids were getting affected by their parents' behavior. So now I'm cut off for daring to say one thing against them.

So tonight I'll cry and feel the hurt. I'll mourn the fact that during the last year my family has disintegrated and morphed into people I hardly recognize. I'll think about the last time I saw my nephews in the hospital in Ohio when they came to see Dad after his stroke. I'll remember how my 10 year old nephew cuddled up next to me at the hotel and we cried together. He's so smart and sensitive...way too mature for his age and worries all the time about his parents and the things he has no control over. I have always seen a whole lot of myself in that boy.  I'll hate how they use their children as emotional blackmail. I'll want to get in the car, drive 5.5 hours and confront them. Instead I will cry it out, go to bed, curl up next to A and whisper how much I love her, hug my fur-kids (and fosters too) and think of the wonderful friends in my life who have become my real family. The sun will come up tomorrow; I'll feel better after getting it out tonight and I'll never let them see how much it hurts.

Thursday, November 4, 2010

Phone Anxiety

My phone has become a source if anxiety for me. There was once a time I rushed to answer but now I feel my skin crawl when I hear that ringtone. I just never know what's waiting on the other end of that line these days. Even the callers who used to be considered "safe" (with the exception of A) are full of drama and stress. Today I actually refused to listen to a voicemail from one person because I just knew it was going to be some drama and I didn't want it affecting my mood. I came home and had A listen to it instead. Her instructions were to delete it if it was going to piss me off and never tell me what was said. 

So tonight when my phone rang, I cringed. I slowly got up and looked at the screen to see "Withheld". That usually means my Dad's cell phone and since his stroke he has not been able to use it without help. Most of the time when something has happened my aunt or uncle have called me from his phone. It's 11:30 PM on a weekday night. My mind immediately starts racing...what has happened...another stroke...a fall...blood clot...heart failure...?????. I answer and it's Dad and he sounds great. This was the first time I've talked to him in over 2 months that he's sounded like himself; not some mumbling zombie parroting what I was saying or not responding appropriately to questions. We had a real conversation. I was surprised how much this uplifted my spirits. This has to be one of the best calls I've received in a VERY long time!

Saturday, October 30, 2010

Another Anniversary of Sorts: Cohabitation

I made you wait over 2 years before moving in together. You were ready within a few months.  Looking back, I think we're both glad I won out on this one.

Today is the anniversary of our closing on this house. You moved from your apartment, I moved from mine and we merged here. We slept here that first night together. We just threw the mattress on the floor too exhausted to assemble the bed. We've rarely spent a night apart since. This house is not large or elaborate but it is filled with good things like love, laughter and friendship and most importantly, it is home. This is the first place I've truly felt was home since childhood and I know you feel the same.

I remember how concerned you were trying to make sure my things had a place here too.  You told me multiple times to hang up my pictures, put my books on the shelves, add my furniture in the mix. You were so sweet and concerned that I had doubts. Really, after 2 years? You would have thought I would have it figured out by then.

We've survived multiple home improvements and even an addition. When we moved in we thought we would wait awhile to paint. The walls looked okay but when we took down that horrible border (remember that terrible one with deer in the crosshairs) that surrounded the entire living, dining room and kitchen the cigarette smoke on the walls was disgusting. You let me pick out paint and tolerated swatches hanging on walls for weeks while I decided on one of the shades you thought all looked the same. The one thing we didn't wait for was taking down those horrendous metallic green/black lace valences that were left hanging or cleaning the buckshot out of the kitchen drawers. The previous owners were "outdoorsy" folk I guess. There was the week we both took vacation and re-finished all the kitchen cabinets and replaced the counter. Our kitchen sink sat in the dining room for 2 weeks. Another "vacation" we spent a week removing and replacing all the flooring in the living/dining/kitchen AND gutted 2 bathrooms. That's when we learned that basic plumbing is fine but we should not be involved in soldering of copper pipes. We were both frustrated and snappy and I had to leave before I hit you in the head with a wrench. I didn't appreciate your tone of voice when you spoke to me. I'm still amazed that week didn't lead to divorce. We've hauled a ton of paving stones and sand. Your back went out because you were too impatient to wait for me to help. We put in that privacy fence and wrestled with that earth auger that required both of us to handle. The older neighbors gathered to watch "those gals" put up a fence. They watched as that auger got away on us; I thought my arm was broken and the frame of your glasses snapped. Damn fence is still standing though.

Our home has evolved just like us and all those happenings are trivial when we consider all the wonderful things we've gained by moving into this home together. Nothing compares to waking up beside you everyday, sharing popcorn on the couch at night, Saturday morning breakfast on the patio, Sunday mornings sleeping in and cuddling. It's comforting to know that no matter where I go in this world and no matter what happens throughout my day, I have this home with you to return to and that makes everything in my life okay again.  I'm thankful we've made this our home together. I know how lucky and truly blessed I am to have found you. Welcome home babe.

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

There's a Mouse in the House

This little puff of fur has A all wound up. I'm not fond of having our little houseguest but it's just one tiny mouse. A's been wandering around the house telling the cats to get down there, catch it and earn their keep. She's threatening not to feed them until they produce a corpse. Then she coaches the dogs with toy mice and reminds them that they can kill vermin too. In my opinion, I think our oldest cat Stink may be responsible. She has a history of catching critters and bringing them in to show us. The only problem is that she doesn't kill them first and then they get loose in the house and we are the one's to have to make the catch. I've captured several mice, a gopher, and a couple birds too. Ah, that old half-bald cat sure does cause trouble.

Sunday A was in our bedroom making the bed and I was folding laundry down the hall when she let out a scream (She strongly maintains that she does not scream, she let out a great bellow). I dropped what I was doing and went running in to see her jumping between the floor and bed. In the corner sat a quivering little brown mouse, the size of a jumbo cotton ball. I'm not sure which one of them was more scared but A definitely made the biggest show of it. I know if I were not around she would have taken a broom to the little thing. With me no De Con is allowed (toxic to the dog/cats) and I hate those terrible snap or glue traps. She used one of those snap traps years ago and I've never let her live it down. So Monday night I set the little live-trap cube and hopefully I'll catch the little bugger before the cat does.

Finally, thank you to everyone for your kind supportive comments to my last angry post. My family is something that has the ability to suck me into the chaos if I allow it. For the most part, I'm able to stay clear but last week the planets must have aligned or something since I got a massive dose from all of them at once. Uggh! That post was a great vent and when I woke up Thursday morning I felt good again. And another thing...I didn't feel guilty at all and still don't!

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

Now I remember why I don't call...

...or answer your calls or even listen to the whole message you left on my voicemail.

Several weeks ago I just felt like everything was imploding. I was dealing with dad, mom, brothers, dad's siblings, hospitals, doctors, social workers, insurance companies, and that list goes on and on and on. That of course is on top of MY everyday normal life, relationship and work. For months my phone rang non-stop, taking calls, dealing with issues. It is always" I need help with.." or "You've gotta take care of...".

I don't mind helping but when the bitching and back-stabbing starts, I'm finished. It turned into dad calling from Ohio over and over to tell me to take care of some things that I had no power to handle. Then when I suggested he legally designate someone as power of attorney (a suggestion my older brother was on board with) dad gets crazy paranoid and starts accusing me of trying to get power to put him in a nursing home. When the shit hit the fan, guess which brother backed out; it wasn't HIS idea. Fucking asshole!! I threw up my hands and told them all if they could do it so well, then go for it.

I went to the hills with my love and my family. I surrounded myself with things that make me happy. I re-focused on enjoying my life. I stopped calling and stopped accepting a lot of calls. I had some peace and quiet.

So why the fucking hell did I return that phone call to my mom tonight?  Her message sounded okay but by the time I called the sobbing and self-pity had started. There's just so much anger in her and she just keeps holding onto it. I can hear her starting to spiral down again. There comes a point when you can't help those who don't help themselves. Then I have my older brother bitching about dad's will and how unfair it is.  I explained that I agreed to execute his will as he wanted it and I have no power over anything. Plus, get this asshole, DAD'S NOT DEAD!!! Greedy fucker!  The final phone call was from my younger brother. Usually these are pretty safe but I should have known better tonight. He started bitching (again) about the small bill he has paid for my mom the last 4 months. Well, as you can imagine I was not in the mood and told him how I felt. Over the last 10+ years mom (primarily) and dad have given them so much money, paid utility bills and rent, bought clothing and food all because of the grandkids. I told him I was sick of hearing him complain about it after all the money mom has given to him and his family through the years. There were crickets on the line and before I lost control I said good-bye and hung up.

Even with all the bullshit, tomorrow when the anger dies down I will feel guilty; guilty for not calling, not accepting calls and guilty for not doing more. This girl can't fucking win!!!

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

All Tucked Away

This past weekend we put the RV away for the winter. "Nipples to the Wind" (that's her official name) was tucked away in our friend's storage barn. A winterized it and covered every surface with dryer sheets to keep the mice away. Who knew mice didn't like the smell of Bounce. We were skeptical but other RVer's we know swear by it and anything is better that mothballs...YUCK! Our friend, the Elvis impersonator, gave us one hell of a deal for storage...2 cases of Michelob Golden light. A wrinkled her nose at the idea of Michelob (she's a home-brewer and beer snob) but said that was too good of a deal to pass up and Michelob is so cheap that she will throw in a couple more cases through the winter. It won't come out until at least March and then it goes for a new of shoes. Seems the tire size we need is discontinued so Winnebago suggested a full change over. These things always involve maintenance.

A hanging with her pride and joy.
It's strange to turn the corner onto my street and not see it parked in the driveway. Actually it's funny just to see the front of the house again. It makes the needed retaining wall repair and over-grown flower bed really visible. Guess I know what I'll be working on this weekend. 

This past Saturday I drove nearly 600 miles to deliver a little chin dog to his new adoptive mom. He was a great guy and barely moved most of the trip. He only raised his head once to look at me when I stopped for gas. It was such a long trip that A stayed home. I really don't mind the time all to myself and it was such beautiful weather that I would have felt bad if my crew at home would have spent the whole day indoors.
When driving across southern Minnesota there isn't much to see at all; just cornfields and wind turbines for miles. Gives a girl lots of time to just think.
I was supposed to only drive a few miles across the Wisconsin border to meet Ping's new family but about an hour outside of La Crosse, WI, I received a call they had car trouble and were at a truck stop. It was only an extra 40 miles so I went to meet them as they waited for help to come. No a big deal but I REALLY hate driving in Wisconsin. See I have a little affliction known as "lead-foot". It serves me well   here in MN but when I cross that border to WI, the state hwy patrol are just gunning for my MN license plates. Plus Wisconsin has those ridiculously low speed limits--my car just doesn't want to go that slow. I made it in and out of the state without getting busted but on the way home I floored it as soon as I hit the bridge crossing the Mississippi from WI to MN. It's all about making good time.

Thursday, October 14, 2010

I Love the Sentiment But the Choice of Stationary Could Be Improved

A leaves for work while I'm still asleep. Every morning she tip-toes to my side of the bed to kiss and nuzzle my neck, tell me goodbye and "love you" and wish me a good day. I seldom remember since I'm such a sound sleeper. She says I sometimes smile and make happy noises, sometimes I barely move and other times I may grumble or swat at her for interrupting my sleep. Nice, huh? I feel bad but I truly don't have any memory of it. Since I seldom remember her good-byes, she usually leaves a little note for me too.
A few days ago I woke to find this on the mirror in my bathroom.

"Need I say more? I love you!"
Of all the note pads and post-its we have lying around, she just had to choose the Do-It-Yourself Pest Control ones. :)

Other mornings she gets creative and leaves little notes like this one.
"Oh Miss Melissa, you make me go completely mental I must say!"
We've always laughed at Ed Grimley. When we were in the friends and flirting stage of our relationship, she used to stand at one end of the hall at work and wait for me to come around the corner. She would be standing there with her pants pulled up to her armpits and do the Ed Grimley dance for me. I still wonder how we managed to not get fired. I've included a short video of the dance. What can I say, this geek is a sucker for dorks. :)

Tuesday, October 12, 2010

Tuesday Night Ramblings and Monkey Love

I can't believe it's Tuesday night...where did the weekend go?...and I totally missed Monday. Maybe it's for the best. Nothing fun usually happens Monday anyway.

It was a nice weekend; warm and sunny and it actually hit 90 degrees. The last week has been un-seasonably warm but I'm not complaining; just soaking up all the warm sunshine I can. Last year we already had 1/2 inch of snow at this time. A and I spent a lot of time outside getting the yard, house and RV ready for winter. This included loading up the piece of shit truck for trips to the landfill and compost pile. I'm always amazed when that beast of truck manages to make one more trip.

The fall colors peaked this weekend and the bluffs along the Minnesota river were incredible. Last year the trees didn't get to change. It froze and snowed and the green leaves just fell off the trees. Unfortunately I didn't get pictures this year and I could kick myself. Saturday it was perfect but we were rushing around I told A that I planned to take a Sunday drive and get some pictures.  Sunday came and it was overcast and hazy. In the river valley someone was burning something big and the smoke stretched for miles adding to the already hazy conditions. See it isn't even close to decent.

What's that old saying, "Don't put off until tomorrow what you can do today." A and I were on our way to a different location when she received a phone call that she was needed to work night-shift. That meant we had to turn around and come home so she could take a nap. I REALLY FUCKING HATE on-call weekend. As I drove to work Monday afternoon, I noticed the trees have crossed over into the brown and bare stage. The window is closed; I missed my opportunity. Better luck next year.

I probably missed most of Monday since I was still recovering from my Saturday night out with the girls. A graciously offered to be my driver. In my hurry to get out the door (late as usual) I forgot to grab my camera so there is no evidence of the too many drinks, shots and extreme ass-shaking I participated in that night. I so seldom drink that much or cut loose and Sunday morning I woke up feeling the pain in my head and body. The kind of pain where even the soles of your feet hurt. Dancing is aerobic exercise so I think it would be more fitting to wear a pair of Nike running shoes rather than heels or sandals. I'll consider that next time.

As I've been writing all this I've been watching my little foster dog, Nifty, and her "special friend". Several weeks ago she formed a special friendship with one of the sock monkey dog beds and every night they have their special time together; it's dinner, potty, playtime and then monkey love.

I felt kind of perverse taking these pictures but she was really into her monkey tonight. She must have finally satisfied herself and now she's lying on her back on the sofa snoring away. I'm sure she's just over-excited from playtime but it's times like these I'm really glad I don't have kids in the house to explain things to. :) When she gets adopted I'll have to send the monkey with her. I can't be responsible for breaking up the happy couple.

Friday, October 8, 2010


Our oven is not working properly. I discovered this a few weeks ago when I tried to bake a cake at 11pm. No big deal, I figured; put it in at 11pm and 30-40 minutes later I'll pull it out and go to bed. No that's not how it works-1.5 hours later it's finally baked (and burned on the top) and I'm up WAY past my bedtime. A just grumbled that we will take care of it when we come home from vacation and rolled over in bed.

Earlier this week I finally scheduled and appointment for repair. It's one of those appointments where they come either between 8am-12pm or 12pm-4pm. Yeah, real convenient for the customer. I took half the day off, ran around all morning doing a full day's work in 4 hours and rushed home (speeding excessively). I pull in the driveway and sigh with relief that the repairman has not arrived. Then I'm running to take care of dogs, straighten the house, finish a few dishes, sweep the kitchen floor...just OCD stuff.

1pm-no repairman and no call
2pm-no repairman and no call
2:30pm-no repairman and no call

Now I'm starting to get inpatient (I really hate this waiting thing) and decide I'm going to check my confirmation email. Well shit! I scheduled the appointment for NEXT Friday the 15th!!!

*Big Sigh* Well I guess if I was going to take a day off I couldn't have asked for a better one. It's 85 degrees, the sun is shining, the fall color is peaking and I now have the rest of this afternoon to enjoy.
Have a great weekend all!

Tuesday, October 5, 2010

What's in your bag?

Kym posted a blog Sunday asking this question. Really, for me the question should be what's not in your bag? A swears that if she were ever stranded on a deserted island, she wants my purse. Notice, she wants my purse, not me. :)  This is actually the down-sized version that contains only the necessities. I cleaned it out last week because it was causing me such shoulder pain when we were on vacation. 

I'm still carrying my very large and summery turquoise purse. I'm just not ready to switch to a darker, wintery one. Inside you will find:
  • wallet 
  • mp3 player & earbuds
  • cell phone
  • water bottle
  • a wide variety of keys, plus extra keys, plus RV keys, etc.
  • retainer, toothbrush, paste, floss and floss picks (can't live without those floss picks)
  • makeup, brush, eyeliner and mascara
  • Excedrin (my addiction)
  • hand lotion, hand sanitizer & Badger Balm (it heals my sore hands)
  • tampons
  • variety of lip glosses & lip balms (5-6 varieties/flavors)
  • a million ink pens-I wonder how many still work?
  • 1, 2, 3 packs of Stride gum
  • change purse
  • notebook
  • sunglasses
  • kleenex-with A's allergies I'm always stuffing some in her hand followed with a squirt of hand sanitizer
  • small pocket knife (thanks to my hillbilly relatives who believe I should be armed)
  • package containing a plastic fork, spoon, knife, napkin, salt and pepper---don't have any idea how that ended up there
  • my "lucky" buckeye
  • *not pictured* When we are out and about I usually end up with A's wallet too. And for some reason I was carrying around my last SIX pay check stubs along with numerous scraps of paper containing the phone numbers of who knows who and directions to who knows where. WTF!
This purse habit of mine is what keeps my chiropractor in business but damn, I just hate to be some where and not have what I need. :)

Friday, October 1, 2010

"You don't want sex tonight because I'm too tired."

That is a direct quote from my beloved and probably the most memorable quote of our trip last weekend. We were driving home (all night) and all I said was how much I was looking forward to cuddling up with her in our comfy bed and that was the response I received. "Are you sure you said that right?" I asked. She swears she meant it exactly that way. Despite the fact that sleeping in the RV means separate beds, we had an absolutely fabulous time together; laughed and giggled and flirted and held hands like a couple of new lovers. Exactly what I needed to pull me from my funk and help me re-focus on my own life with my great love and our little family.

The "kids" (all seven of the little buggers) were wonderfully well behaved and travelled like old pros. As usual we attract a lot of attention wherever we travel with them. Not only are they kindda cute, but their numbers alone are enough to make people stop to stare. I imagine we resemble a clown car as we pass them out the RV door and place them in the pen. I have actually read the lips of observers; "just how many more dogs can they fit in that little RV?" People from all over the campground stopped by to check them out, what are they, are they related, etc. Always the same questions. After telling one elderly gentleman 3 times they were Japanese Chin and he continued to call them Shih-tzus, I gave up. Whatever.

I really do love fall camping and it was a wonderful escape from all the cold and rain we've been experiencing around here. We drove out to the Black Hills in western South Dakota and met up with A's aunt and uncles. See what wild and crazy chicks we are...we hang out with retirees. We packed expecting cold weather but found out where the sun has been hiding. It's been over 8 years since A and I travelled out that way and now I wonder why we waited so long. The landscape is so beautiful and there is so much history along with a few tourist traps to fall into. :) In the hills I found peace while watching the deer and antelope play (no really, I watched them) along with the not so wild herd of donkeys who come stick their heads in your car looking for a treat. We watched as they rounded up the bison; driving them in on horseback and with trucks.

One of the biggest tourist traps but a must see. We stopped for breakfast and 5 cent coffee.
A has a great conversation with one of the ladies of the night. Look at her trying to pick someone up right in front of me.
Poker Alice. We definitely look like we've been up all night driving!

The wild donkeys are not so wild...unless you have nothing to offer.

Close enough?

All that stood between us and a herd of charging bison.
Riding out to find the herd.
There were such crowds that the 45 minute drive to the round up site took over 2 hours.  We got up at 4 am to make it on time. 

Every where you look there were antelope. This group of females were in the middle of a dispute between rival males.