Friday, September 26, 2008

Who's your daddy?

Well, apparently, it's Nate. He's grown quite attached to Thelma and thinks it's funny to cradle her like a baby. A giant 70 lb. baby.

And Thelma's pretty happy to be cradled too.

Crazy dog.

Saturday, September 20, 2008

Is it irony, or something else?

When discussing with friends the problems we've had with Thelma since her arrival at our house a month ago, I've had several people suggest I read Josh Grogan's book, Marley & Me - Life and Love with the World's Worst Dog.

Marley, like Thelma, is a rambunctious yellow lab, and the book humorously details the true account of the dog's wild antics. The book went on to be a New York Times #1 Bestseller and there is a movie currently in production starring Owen Wilson and Jennifer Aniston based upon it.

While visiting Vickie Lee last week during a playgroup, she pulled her copy of Marley & Me from the shelf and handed it to me to read. A self-proclaimed dog person, she recommended the book highly and shared some stories of crazy things the dogs she's knows have done.

I started reading, and snickered and empathized with parts of the book, wondering if perhaps Thelma is somehow a distant relative of Marley. (The resemblance in both appearance and behavior is remarkable!)

I was sitting outside on the back porch reading the book this afternoon (I'm only on page 83) , when Noah came out and asked for a drink. I wasn't gone long, but I left the book on the porch swing and forgot about it until I came back later to read more, and found this:

I then had to call my friend and explain that I now owe her a new copy of a book about a crazy, destructive dog, thanks to my own crazy, destructive dog.

Is that irony? I'm not sure. There's probably a better description of it.


(My own, for thinking we were even remotely 'ready' for a dog. How can anyone truly be ready for this?!) And why didn't I read Marley & Me before getting a dog in the first place?

I think Thelma may have claim to the title of 'The World's Worst Dog'. I'm not sure how we go about applying for that, or what kind of evidence is necessary, although the details and photos on this blog may just suffice.

Friday, September 19, 2008

Frogs and snails and puppy dog tails...

I took the kids and the dog for a run around the neighborhood tonight, and even though it was pretty dark already, Zachary spotted this toad, or frog...I can't really remember the difference right now. Thelma attacked it, but Zachary managed to wrestle it away from her and brought it home. He's quite proud of his catch and named it Toady.

Despite telling him to keep it outside, I just caught him playing with it in the bathroom sink.

Earlier this month, Thelma managed to catch a lizard in the backyard and the boys were carting that around the house, even waking Nate from a Sunday afternoon nap by sticking it in his face.

Having boys is sure fun - I just wish they'd keep the reptiles and amphibians out of my kitchen.

Thursday, September 18, 2008

Why Justin is no longer allowed in the front seat...

This morning, while riding to school, I could see Justin, who was once again riding in the front seat, scrutinizing me out of the corner of my eye.

"Do you get tired of those spots on your face?"

I glanced over, "What now?"

"Do you get tired of those spots on you face? 'Cause I saw this thing you get on TV. You put it on your face, and those spots disappear." (He even dramatically flutters his hands for emphasis.)

He's referring, of course, to my bad skin. And the 'thing' he mentioned is most likely some type of zit-zapping device. Or maybe Proactive, which, sadly, I've tried.

The little brute.

Not only does this kid question my personal hygiene, he's now pointing out the fact that I really DO need to set up that appointment for the dermatologist that I've meant to do for a while now. Or at least invest in some decent concealer.

Truthfully, I didn't apply make up before picking up the kids this morning and most days I don't. It's around 7:30 am when I leave the house. And occasionally...

I'm still wearing pajamas.

Yes, I'm THAT woman.

And yes, it's really not a smart thing to do . People ask, what if you get pulled over? What if your car breaks down?

Well, what IF I get pulled over? Then the officer would see how desperate my situation is. Here's a harried, disgruntled, scary looking woman in her nightwear, no less, driving a bunch of overly enthusiastic kids to a school that's 12 miles away, because she's obviously CRAZY. Of course her foot is a little heavy on the gas! In fact, the officer would probably let me go, just so he wouldn't have to look at me any longer, the hideous, disheveled mess that I am.

And if the car breaks down? Well, at least I'm comfortable in my jammies sitting back waiting for the tow truck to show up.

No, really, you'd think I'd learn by now.

It's always on mornings that I look like death warmed over, with leftover mascara raccoon rings around my eyes and tangled hair thrown up in a ponytail, that Noah announces he has to 'go potty', which is really his way of giving a 30 second warning. And, like I mentioned, the school is 12 miles from our house, so it's not like I can tell the poor kid to hold it until we get home, because the entire round trip takes about 45 minutes. So, there have been mornings when, upon arrival at the school, after dumping the older kids at the curb, I've been forced to quickly park my car, clutch my 4 year old who's conveniently sporting mismatched, outgrown pajamas, under my arm, and run like the wind with him, trying hard not to apply pressure to his overextended bladder, to the nearest restroom to relieve himself.

It's hard to look any more pathetic during that experience. Unless you're also wearing pajamas yourself.

You'd think I'd try to look a little more presentable in the mornings, wouldn't you? But I don't.

And I realize it must be difficult for little Justin to even comprehend why I look this way. Have you SEEN his mother? She's gorgeous! The flawless skin, the long blond hair - I'm sure she's been called Barbie more than once in her lifetime. Even with 4 kids 6 and under, the youngest of which are a set of twins, no less, she manages to look amazing all the time. Stepping from his house into my car must feel like entering the Twilight Zone. Poor child.

But, that doesn't change the fact that he's still sitting in the back seat from now on...

Tuesday, September 16, 2008

Can you guess what this is?

Yes. It's a garden hose.

But not just any garden hose. It's a nice, heavy duty garden hose with a lifetime warranty that we picked up a few weeks ago. Only it's not very nice anymore. Now it's a $35 chew toy. And its lifetime was about a month.

I guess this is what I get for putting the dog outside while I drive the carpool.

Silly me, I was trying to make sure she didn't destroy the house again.

On the bright side, at least we know what she's capable of. I'm hoping she'd do the same thing to the ankle of anyone who ever tried to break into our house.

Monday, September 15, 2008

Hooray! It's Monday!

Since when does anyone actually enjoy Mondays?

Well, today I do. This is my week to drive the carpool, and since it's Monday morning, all the kids were so groggy and tired, I barely heard a peep out of any of them. We were almost to school before anything above an unintelligible murmur could be heard from the backseat.

And I like it that way.

Don't get me wrong. Some mornings it's fun to hear the kids' stories about their weekend, or the crazy dreams they had the night before, or what they plan on being for Halloween.

But some mornings, it's all just too much to listen to at that early of an hour.

There's a water treatment facility we pass on the way to school, and some days, it gives off an odor that wafts through the car, which almost always starts many an unpleasant conversation about bodily functions. One boy will undoubtedly accuse another of passing gas. Then another will point out the smell must be another boy's breath, implying someone forgot to brush his teeth that morning. Thus, the blame game ensues and will continue, complete with denials and punches being thrown for the next 10 to 15 minutes until we reach school.

One morning, after the disagreeable smell filled the car once again, Justin, who was sitting in the front seat next to me, looked over and casually asked if I'd showered that morning. I started to answer before realizing I don't need to defend my bathing habits to a first grader.


So silence is golden. And fleeting. By the time I pick those kids up this afternoon, they'll be back to their usual bubbly, loud selves.

And to avoid another inquisition about my personal hygiene, I'd better hit the showers.

Thursday, September 11, 2008

ARGH!! You gotta be kidding me!

I'm sure hearing about this is getting old to you too, but I'm starting to feel like I'm in one of those dumb Beethoven movies or something. This destructive dog is controlling my life.

And making me realize what a bad housekeeper I am.

There's this oh so familiar jingling sound that keeps greeting me at the door and filling me with dread.

I left for an hour this morning. That's it. And I wasn't going to bother padlocking the crate because I was thinking that most of the time the problem was the kids leaving one of the locks open. But then I thought about it a little, and padlocked the crate anyhow just to be safe. There's a second door on the side that wasn't padlocked and was up against the wall.

This is what I cam home to again!. If you look carefully, you'll see the padlocked door is the side on the floor. Thelma turned the crate over on it's side and escaped out the side that wasn't padlocked, the side that WAS up against the wall - the wall that is now dinged up from the crate.

You'll also see the milk she spilled from a cup I left on the table earlier, because I'm a slob.

And you'll see in the background the guts of a stuffed toy she's already demolished.

And in the upper right corner, you can see Thelma, outside, which is quickly becoming her new home.

I'm thinking in a previous life, she must have escaped from Alcatraz.

Tuesday, September 9, 2008

Inquiring minds want to know...

In response to the inquiries about Miss Thelma....

Yes, she's still around. I think we feel a real sense of obligation since we adopted the poor girl from a rescue shelter, you know?

That, and we've dumped so much money into this dog in the past few weeks, Nate now refers to her as our 'Platinum' Lab instead of plain old Golden.

Yes, we knew she'd be a lot of work. That was a given.

But, being new pet owners, we somehow didn't realize how much this whole process would cost. Sure, there was the $200 adoption fee right off the bat, the large crate, the doggie bed, the food and water bowls, the collars, leash, toys, treats, and a couple of 40 lb. bags of dog food. The FURminator, which is a glorified, overpriced, yet somehow, completely necessary in every dog owner's opinion, doggie brush that helps prevent shedding. Oh, and the industrial size bottle of Bissell cleaning solution and multipack of Spot Shot. Can't forget those!

And, as part of the whole adoption process, we agreed to take Thelma to a vet within the first few weeks for a little 'check up'. That seemed easy enough - she already had a long list of recorded vaccines neatly filed in a folder with her name on it. I called a vet and scheduled an appointment, asking them approximately how much this little check up would cost me. $34.99 is the normal visit cost, I was told.

Cool. Definitely doable.

Only that's not really how it works. Because Thelma was missing a couple of vaccinations, those had to be taken care of. And then there's the whole matter of monthly heart worm pills. And dental cleanings - she's got a little tartar, so she'll need those soon. Oh, and booster shots. Thelma needs boosters for the vaccinations she received and I still have to take her back in 3 weeks for those.

So, I left the vet having paid over 10 times the amount I was expecting to pay, but we're now the proud recipients of a Banfield Optimum Wellness Plan with Basic Plus Care and my records and receipt show I somehow saved $196.95.



Whatever. All we know is, this girl is high maintenance.

And we've come up with a little solution for keeping her in her crate:

It works well.

Plus, it keeps the kids from letting her out when we don't want them to. If she figures out to escape now, we may have to enter her in some type of talented pet contest.

But I'm guessing that the dogs in those things are 100 percent housebroken...

Since we're still on the subject of dogs, I had to share this, because I find it amusing, and a little disturbing as well:

This is one of those ValPak coupons that come in a packet in the mail. Basically, Doo Care is a company that will come scoop the doggie doo out of your yard. Their website boasts they are "Your Number One Choice in Dog Waste Removal!"

(I wasn't even aware I had a choice in this matter, let alone more than one choice, were you?)

But the scary part is in the lower right corner where it states that the "First cleaning" is free, and "LIMIT 1 HOUR".

They had to set a limit of an hour because obviously at some time they had a truly awful experience scooping dog waste out of someone's yard for MORE than an hour, right?

And I can't help but think, if you've got so much dog poop in your backyard that a professional company is spending more than an hour cleaning it up, maybe you've got bigger problems than poop.

I'm guessing you either have WAY too many dogs running around your stinking yard, or that giant breed that someone sold you as a Great Dane isn't a Great Dane at all. It's really a horse. Or an elephant.

And I'm gonna go out on a limb here and say your next door neighbors probably aren't really big fans of yours.

Thursday, September 4, 2008

They fight like cats and dogs during the day...

And yet, quite often, this is how they choose to fall asleep at night, cuddled up next to each other in a twin bed, sharing the same pillow.

And it's amusing, because we worked so hard to make sure each son had his own room, his own special space, nicely decorated with coordinating bedding and matching paint. I bought and put together two IKEA beds and two dressers and the coordinating nightstands and each child got to pick out his own lamp so each room would be cozy and fun and unique.

And yet, they prefer to share a room.

Not that I mind.

I mean, they DO look cute. And it's great that they love each other so much and want to hang out together, right?

Plus, if this keeps up, I can move the two in together permanently and make the other room into an awesome workout room, don'tcha think?