Sunday, June 29, 2008

And with no opposable thumbs!

Well, it finally happened--Dirty Harry the Chocolate Lab learned to open the refrigerator.

While we went out for ice cream, he feasted on part of a roast, a pound of browned ground beef, a large side salad with tomato and cucumber, a stick of butter, some tortillas, several slices of bread, the bag the bread came in, eight raw eggs without the shells, and a napkin.

Needless to say, he doesn't feel so hot. Penny wanted to wrestle, but he wagged politely and went to bed early. I offered him a Pepcid with bacon grease on it, and for the first time since he came to us, Harry did not eat.

Now I know he's sick.

Tomorrow I go out to buy a kid-proof lock for the fridge.

Styles by Robert

This morning I managed to pry the omnipresent baseball cap off of Kiki's head, only to discover she had bangs.

Since at some point before she went to preschool she had stressed so much she had twisted the front of her hair and caused it to break off, I questioned her about these sticky-uppy, uneven, three-quarter inch long pieces of hair which sprouted right off the middle of her forehead. It turns out that she had NOT twisted them off herself. Instead, she had fallen asleep with her face against Bob the Bunny's cage after sweet-talking him one evening, and he had trimmed them for her. Looks like Bob has found a new calling, one which requires a whole lot more practice, judging from the resulting 'do.

Since Dirty Harry sleeps against the rabbit cage, I guess I should warn him that he may end up with a leoporid-induced crew cut. Or maybe not. It would be that much less dog hair to clean up.

Saturday, June 28, 2008

The munchkin has been having a rough summer.

Unfortunately, he is not content to mess up his own life--he tries to take us all down with him.

We have been calling him on the passive-aggressive behavior: he will ask, "Do we have any more rice?" at the table. Then he will wait for us to offer it to him. If we don't, he will sulk.

Today he slept in despite us telling him to get up. Allegedly, he didn't hear us come in, get the hysterically crying dog out of his crate, let him outside, feed the dog who was by then back in and barking excitedly about breakfast, and hear us say, "time to get up" four times, let alone notice that the dog was now loose in the room with him. So he missed breakfast.

Then he ran through the house, completely out of control, tortured his sisters by making snide comments under his breath, and left everything which he started halfway done: he emptied the trash but didn't put a new bag in the can until he had thrown new trash into the can; left the lid off the garbage cans in the garage; he took the dogs out then left them unattended and the garage door open, providing them with the opportunity to snack on some spoiled food, coffee grounds, and eggshells, which they brought up later; he left doors open with the air conditioning on; he left the pool skimmer floating in the pool; he filled only two dog food bowls, leaving one dog to race around the house in concern while he fed the other two and went outside where he started to sweep the driveway; he got sidetracked, left the broom in the path of the garage door, then closed the door, which bent the broom in two; he put on a winter shirt, and when I sent back him to change, he took off the clean shirt and threw it on his bedroom floor, where he walked on it. He forgot to brush his teeth; he soaped in the shower and had to be sent back to rinse. After four hours, we had all had it with him; we fed him supper and put him in bed.

And we get to do it all over again tomorrow.

Friday, June 27, 2008

Last night I went to training for Eleventh Hour Vigil for hospice.

This is when the patient is actively dying, and the family needs a break or the patient is without close or caring family or the family wants support through the dying process.

There were four of us who were there to be trained to participate in this activity. When I told my sister what I was doing, she said, "That's wonderful--I think."

One lady said her family said, "Why would you want to watch someone die?"

When my father was dying, the nurse would come in and check on me as I sat by my father; George would then tell me what to expect through the stages of dying. He also would send in trays of snacks and drinks for me. Despite being in the room by myself, I knew I wasn't alone. We brought my mom in every day, and she would say to my father, "Wait for me."

He held on for a week, despite no food and water. My sister and I gave him permission to go. The nurses came in to say goodbye, and still he was there with us. One nurse even asked, "Donald, what are you waiting for?"

Finally I realized that, while my sister and I had said goodbye, my father was waiting for my mother. So my sister and I told her that she needed to be clear about what she meant.

We took her in on a Friday afternoon, and mom sat at Dad's head, with him looking into her eyes. She said, "I was wrong when I told you to wait for me. I meant that you should go ahead and I'll be along before too long." And she talked to him while he looked into her eyes. I didn't hear what she said but stayed quietly at the bedside, leaving them to this most private of moments.

Within an hour, he had slipped away. It was so very powerful to witness, and it was definitely my mom's finest moment.

To be able to be there with my father as he went on to the new part of his journey was a privilege, and to be able to witness my mother's act of selflessness was an honor. I would not have been able to do this if it hadn't been for the support of the nursing staff, especially George, and the care they gave to me as well as my father.

I didn't think of it as "watching him die." I thought of it as being there for him so he didn't go through this alone.

Wednesday, June 25, 2008

Today EG broke his car key off in the trunk lock of his car. I didn't know where HIS second key was...I didn't know it was my job to track keys.

I wish someone would give me a comprehensive list of items which are my responsibility. However, here is a selection of things which I have recently discovered are under my jurisdiction:

--any and all medical-related phone calls. I believe this is because I have the doctor's phone number memorized.
--attending drum lessons and learning the drum so I can practice with the youngest; this has had the misfortune of causing "Honky-tonk Woman" to run on a continuous loop in my head for the past seven days. I may go off the deep end. Or maybe run off with a rock band.
--grocery shopping and stocking of necessary items; menu planning.
--food services; I do get a reprieve when EG craves pizza--he then announces he doesn't want to "watch me slave over the stove to feed all of us." When I suggest HE slave over the stove to feed all of us, I quickly get vetoed. Obviously hunting and gathering of prepared foods are his domain.

I am sure I will be given an opportunity to expand my repertoire as the week continues.

Monday, June 23, 2008

Hail the conquering hero

Yesterday "the city" (we live in the next township) had a parade in celebration of "Old Fashioned Days." I have no clue what Old Fashioned Days is (are?), except that it is a five-day festival. I have never attended, but we decided that we would take the kids to the parade yesterday.

As we sat along the five-lane main drag in our lawn chairs, watching the people across the street watch us, dark clouds rolled in from the southwest. My sister called me--she lives in that direction, and she was headed our way to visit our mom, and she reported that she had driven out of a cloudburst.

When the lightning started, we piled back into the van just in time. The storm brought not just rain, but quarter-sized hail. When the, ahem, cloudburst passed, we got back out of the car and waited by the now-closed road. By then, it was well past the start time of the festivities.

Eventually, about thirty minutes after the parade was scheduled to pass, a police car drove up the middle lane of the road. On his PA system, the officer announced, "The parade is on hold because of the I don't know for how long..... The parade is on hold because of the I don't know for how long." I laughed out loud at his smirk as he cruised by.

So we came back home and watched an old movie on television. The Man Who Knew Too Much may not throw candy or play marches, but it made for an enjoyable time anyway.

Sunday, June 22, 2008

Easy, easy like Sunday morning

Back, way back, BC (before children), we used to have a quiet Sunday morning periodically. Having gone to church on Saturday, we would sleep until nine, sit outside, leisurely drink coffee, and read the Sunday papers. Along about eleven, we might go for a walk or ride.

It is now AC, and today we decided to take some the morning off, hoping to revisit some of that rest and ease. Here is what we have done on this relaxing Sunday morning: slept in until 6:40, fed three dogs and three kids, cleaned the hamster cage, washed the dishes, read the paper, cut coupons, expoxied the pool skimmer, cleaned the porch, input data on a spreadsheet, unclogged a bathroom drain, vacuumed our bedroom, washed two loads of clothes and hung them outside, swept and mopped the kitchen floor, planned menus for the week, and answered the email. And it is just before 10:00. Who knows what exciting wonders the day will hold from here....

Friday, June 13, 2008


I have an old pair of Birkenstock sandals, which I found on clearance somewhere for under ten dollars.

I absolutely adore these shoes; when I get up in the morning, the first thing I do is get dressed, and these are the shoes I wear until I need to put on "real" shoes for the real world.

When these shoes finally expire, I will grieve. So I am already looking to replace them.

Today, in keeping with the Birkenstock mentality, the kids and I went to the craft store, where there are tee shirts three for a buck. Yep, three for a buck. You have to check them carefully, as some have holes, but many are simply stained. We came home and tie dyed these shirts.

Now I am dreading the day when all of us go out together dressed in tie dye. Perhaps I need to get floral decals and a Make Love Not War bumper sticker for the van.

Thursday, June 12, 2008

Do Not Attempt to Adjust Your Set

I don't watch reality television, talk shows, or those contest programs like American Idol. I also don't watch game shows, those news programs like 48 Hours, or sitcoms.

That doesn't leave me with a lot to choose from.

Need I point out that there wasn't a lot to choose from anyway?

To add to the restricted television viewing, we don't have "real" cable. Instead we have what is called Lifeline, which consists of the regular broadcast television stations, one or two public access channels, the school system channel, the township channel (which runs the Memorial Day parade well into July), seven to ten home shopping channels, and a couple of channels which the cable guy said we got by accident, things like Oxygen and Spike.

Last week we lost the country music channel, which frankly, we didn't notice for several weeks. We weren't all that upset, as we never watched it anyway. Imagine our delight to find that it was replaced by Turner Classic Movies.

However, the proverbial pickings have been slim even on this channel. The other night we were presented with an old movie about a creature which had hitchhiked back to Earth on a spaceship. The creature looked like what would happen if you did more than kiss the frog and conceived a child. I really tried to give this movie a chance, really I did. However, sleep seemed so much more attractive than the movie ever would.

Monday, June 2, 2008

Slam it into reverse

When EG has students coming and going in the house, we try to rotate which dogs are outside, having one tied out while the other two are indoors and/or crated. This is not because our dogs are mean; they love people so desperately that they will jump on them, jump on their cars, and even try to get in through the open windows.

Tonight I tired of Penny's yapping and finally tied her out, telling the girls to hold Dirty Harry, as he will barge out with whomever is going. The girls tied Harry to the basement doorknob. When I came back in, and went to untie Harry, I had to push him backwards, quite forcefully, to get the leash loose.

I wondered if this was a metaphor for life--do we sometimes need to go backwards in order to go forwards?

Sunday, June 1, 2008

Stealth Attack

We live in the same house where I grew up. I remember vividly my father coming slowly and quietly up the stairs while I froze: there was no way I had time to clean my room, which was just this side of verminous and would drive him positively over the edge. My only options were to throw myself out the window or face the onslaught.

Just now, EG went up the steps in the same measured, light way my father did, and I found myself experiencing flashbacks. My girls, on the other hand, were not so horrified at the past-bedtime visit: Kiki said to Nita, "Bye. Time to go to your own room."

Nita, on the other hand, tried to brazen her way out of the whole situation. She went into her room and announced she could not go to bed, as she didn't have any covers. She was informed she did, too, and they were on the floor, not on the bed. Then she said she wasn't tired. She was informed that she could listen to the radio. So she turned the radio on loudly enough to be heard out at the road. When she was told to turn it down, she said it was as low as she could get it. She then was told to close her door, but she was too scared. So, I intervened and told her that the radio could come downstairs for the night. Out of responses, she shut her door and screamed that I was mean.

I sat here and wondered what my father would have done if he had a child like her--probably tried to throw himself out of the second floor window.