Tuesday, February 28, 2017

The Nuggets Made Me Do It

I blame those blasted chicken nuggets.

I really feel that is the point at which my night began its downward spiral.

A few weeks ago, I spent the day in Leavenworth and headed home around 5ish to begin our running around for the evening. David was in Dallas and I had timed my pick-ups and drop-offs perfectly.

I grabbed McDonalds and made my way home to tend to all the creatures living there, both human and canine.

I unloaded my haul onto the table. Four drinks. Four fries. Three burgers....

They had forgotten Tate's chicken nuggets.

(Insert dramatic heavy sigh.)

Yes, I should have double checked the bag. But I just glanced in, saw the 4 fries and a bunch of other stuff at the bottom and hoped for the best.

My irritation subsided once I made it back to McDonalds. Honestly, this was small potatoes (french fry pun) compared to my other worries that week.

Drue met me in the driveway when I returned home, anxious we were going to be late to volleyball. I dropped her off at 6 on the dot, rounded up Tate at 7:30, swung by and grabbed his buddy (thank goodness for carpools) and dropped them off at basketball.

I made my way across town to pick up Drue by 8pm and home we went.

Feeling rather rockstarish about how my night had gone thus far, I slipped into my PJ pants and settled in to watch "This is Us" (thank goodness for DVRs).

Tate usually hangs out in the man cave if we're watching girly shows upstairs. The animal shelter had emailed earlier asking for the names of our foster puppies so they could enter them into their system, so I texted Tate, "Think of 2 boy puppy names".

I texted him again after the show (which I miraculously made it through with dry eyes), "Time for bed". He hadn't responded about the puppy names and when he didn't respond to my text about bed, I sent, "I'm not sure why you never text me back. Ever.".

A few minutes later there was a knock at the front door. It was close to 9:30pm by then and Drue casually headed down the hall saying, "I got it." I leapt from my bed yelling, "Noooo! Don't open the door at this time of night!"

The dogs were barking and I slithered down the hall turning off lights as I went so whoever it was would go away. I heard the doorknob turn and Tate's little voice in the entryway.

I stared in disbelief, "Tate! Was that you knocking on the door?! Why were you outside?"

"Yeah," he said hesitantly, "I was coming home."

He spends most afternoons at the school park with his buddies but knows to head home when the street lights come on. I couldn't believe he'd been outside at this time of night. I felt angry, scared, and guilty all at once.

"From where??" I pressed urgently, already thinking up an appropriate punishment for giving me heart palpitations.

By this point, Drue was looking at me like I'd gone bat crazy and said very slowly and in question form, "B-a-s-k-e-t-b-a-l-l  p-r-a-c-t-i-c-e?"

They watched as I processed this information, unsure of how they should react. When I collapsed on the stairs in laughter, they followed suit and started recounting all the ridiculous things I'd said in the last few minutes. Then gladly reenacted the whole scenario for Reese when she got out of the shower.

This will be one of those topics of conversations that resurface for years to come, "Remember that time Mom freaked out on Tate for coming home from practice?!"

And I'll just shake my head and say, "It was those blasted nuggets..."

Wednesday, January 25, 2017

Love at First Bite

I adore the handy dandy cooking apparatus that is my crockpot. Toss stuff in in the morning, a lovely meal awaits you at night.

But, I began hearing about another magical gadget...the Instant Pot. Basically, instead of needing 8 hours cooking time, it only needed 20 minutes. A procrastinator's dream! No more fretting a day ahead about what to make for supper. I could decide on my way home from work and just plop it in.

I began hinting around that an Instant Pot would make my life complete.

Years ago, we knocked out the upper cabinets in our kitchen so we could actually see people's faces on the other side of the counter, rather than just their torsos. Therefore, we have ZERO extra storage space for anything. I had to include a solution to this problem in my pitch to David.

"My crockpot has a crack in the bottom. Nothing leaks out or anything, but it could literally shatter at any moment. If I get an Instant Pot, I can throw the crockpot away and a storage spot will become available."

Come Christmas morning, my shiny new toy was waiting for me all wrapped up amongst the gifts. I admired it from afar for a few days. When I finally opened it up and perused the manual, panic set in. So many steps to follow. And the words "pressure cooking" kept taunting me. I quickly shoved it all back in the box.

David inquired from time to time if I had tried it out when he was traveling.

"Well...no," I finally confessed. "I'm scared of it, ok?! I'm afraid I'm going to blow the whole house up!"

As is his response to most of my life crises, he laughed.

He retrieved it from the box when we were both home one afternoon and said, "Here, let's try it out together. I'll make sure you don't blow anything up."

Something seemed off about the kitchen. I gasped, "Where's my crockpot??"

"I threw it away. You said if you got an Instant Pot, you'd throw out your crockpot."

"You know full well I never throw anything out! I was going to store it in the basement as my backup!"

"I know. Exactly why I got to it first and threw it out."

He walked me through the steps of securing the lid, punching in the right setting, preheating and pressurizing. As the pressure whistled out at the end, I hit the deck and exclaimed, "I am never using this!"

Now that my overreacting was out of the way, I was able to move on to a more rational way of thinking, as is my pattern. I was going to conquer this pressure cooker if it was the last thing I did. And I still believed it might be.

Since Drue was pretty sick today, I stayed home with her. I had to run to the store for a few things and decided it was as good a time as any to face my fear of that darn pot. I texted David my plan so he wouldn't bring home something super awesome for supper, ensuring nobody would want what I prepared.   

Next, I Googled super easy recipes for beginning instant potters in the parking lot. Some recipes had no business popping up in that search. Way too many steps and ingredients. If I have to scroll down a screen or two to read all the ingredients, nope, next. I was getting anxious to get back home to my little patient, so I just picked a super short recipe and went on my way.

Heading home, it dawned on me.

I picked BBQ spareribs!

Why on Earth would I have done that? Meat is David's specialty!! There's no way I can even compete with him on that level. Sigh. The deed had been done. The slab was in the backseat. There was no turning back.

Tate was curious what I finally decided to make.

"Ribs!" I said proudly.

"Hmm," he thought aloud, "Will Daddy be here?"

"Yeah. Why?"

"Oh, nothing. He just usually cooks ribs on the Traeger. But...he might like these too," he said, sounding unconvinced.

Blast! Even my 10 year old knew this idea was doomed from the get go.

David meandered into the kitchen when he got home and I shooed him out. He came in a time or two more, looking quizzically at my technique, but I continued to kick him out and hiss, "Don't. Say. Anything."

In went the apple juice, onion, vanilla, water, meat, oh, and the liquid smoke David brought home after my frantic text asking if we had any, followed by my threat to give up completely if we didn't. When the main course finally emerged, it looked, and smelled like ribs.

"Reese, you eat the first one," David suggested, then eyed her cautiously, "Do you feel ill?"

Wanting to remember everyone's first impressions, I grabbed a pencil and started jotting down their comments.

"Are you taking notes?," David asked, then continued, "These are delicious! I'm so proud of you! You are the best wife a man has ever had!"

I promptly put down my pencil. Which was for the best, because Tate had splattered sauce all over my notes.

I timidly sunk my teeth into the ribs, "Wow. The Instant Pot could take the place of the Traeger," I proposed.

David paused with a rib halfway to his mouth, "Why would you even say something like that?"

I think I'll just start hinting I need a personal chef. Now that would make my life complete.

Friday, October 21, 2016

DMV Drama


I'm not sure why a major milestone can't be reached in our family without being accompanied by some crazy backstory.  I guess life would be less entertaining that way. But my blood pressure sure would remain a bit more stable.  

Reese has been studying to take her learner's permit test for weeks. She started off slowly, but within the last week or so has been cramming the info in. "I really don't know why this book is so thick. All you gotta do is press the pedal! Am I right??" was her frightening insight on the whole ordeal.  

She would come into my room randomly spouting off rules of the road, "If a semi is in front of you and is turning right, don't try and squeeze between them and the curb. They'll crush you into a biscuit."

"Does it really say that?!" I asked gullibly.  

"Well, it says they'll crush you. I added the biscuit," she confessed.  

And she's been refreshing my memory on laws while I'm driving, "Mom, if you get to this 4 way stop first, you have the right of way. Otherwise, it's the person to your right." It's like I'm a driver's ed student all over again. Lovely. 

They were off school yesterday and today for conferences. Perfect time for a trip to the DMV. The first part of this week turned into craziness and our evenings were filled with activities, which didn't give me any time to quiz her. So when she got back from an early morning basketball practice yesterday, I asked if she was still planning on taking her test. She was.  

Reese has no understanding or patience with service that isn't prompt. When we go to restaurants, after about 4 minutes of placing our order, she's asking why our food hasn't been delivered to our table yet. And don't even get me started on doctor's appointments. "But our appt was at 10. Why can't the doctor just see us at 10?!"

So there was no way on God's green Earth I was going to sit at the DMV half the day with her. I tried the feature where you text them to hold your place in line. Which was weird because I felt like I was cutting in front of people who physically went there to sit for hours. Our estimated wait time was 160 minutes. We went on about our day. She took some practice tests online. I prepared my famous white chicken chili for the middle school teachers' dinner. Ok, so it's not exactly famous, but all my kids love it and request it frequently in Fall and Winter so I feel like it could be famous. Unfortunately, yesterday, when they recognized the lovely smell permeating the house, I had to break it to all of them they wouldn't be consuming any of it.  

I had an irrational fear that the 40 some odd people in front of us in line would spontaneously contract bird flu and have to drop out, thus bumping us to the front and we wouldn't be ready. So I obsessively checked our line status throughout the day. No bird flu outbreak occurred and we inched up slowly, one spot at a time.  

I figured we'd leave the house around 2:30, drop the chili off at the school (it needed to be there by 3:30) and leisurely make our way to the DMV. About 2:23 I checked our status, 78 min until our turn.  I shredded the chicken, stirred it all up, told Reese to get her shoes on, and she headed out to the car.  My phone buzzed and when I checked it I almost dropped my crockpot! Our wait had jumped down to 10 minutes and they were requesting we make our way there right now! I barreled out the front door trying not to slosh the chili contents, yelling, "Go! Go! Go! We have to get there!"

Let's just pause right here and discuss how badly I handle crisis situations. Even little mini-crisis situations like this. Whenever kinks are thrown into my well laid plans, I wring my hands and moan, "What are we gonna do?!" which David (aka "Mr. Calm, Cool, and Collected") thinks is hilarious.  

I carefully handed off the crockpot to Reese and said, "Hold this with all your being! It CANNOT spill!" (For all you nervous readers out there who think this is foreshadowing of chili contents spilling all over my floorboard, rest assured, the chili makes it.)

A few blocks from the DMV, Reese checked our place in line. We still had 9 minutes to get there.  My heart began to slow back down to a normal pace. Until my phone buzzed again and said, "You have reached the front of the line.  Please proceed to Window 1."

"Whaaaaat????" I yelled. "How can this happen? Type 'M'! Type 'M'!" I commanded her.  

"What's 'M'?!" she yelled back as she sent it.

"It gives us more time if we need it. This is the craziest system ever invented!"

It pushed us back 3 people and gave us 19 minutes to spare. Why I didn't think to do that back at the house is beyond me.  I told you I don't think clearly in these types of situations.  But it would have gotten me back on track with my plan and I could have dropped the chili off and all would have been right with the world.  

We made it, scrambled of the car, and I contemplated bringing in my crockpot in so it could stay warm.  I'm sure stranger things have happened at the DMV.  I ended up leaving it, we bolted inside, checked in, and collapsed in our seats. The wait had gone to 5 minutes and then suddenly our number was called.  I hadn't even had the chance to get all sappy about my baby getting ready to take her test to operate a motor vehicle! 

It was a little before 3 by this time so I told Reese, "Don't hurry through your test. Take your time. But seriously, I HAVE to be out of here by 3:15 to get this chili to the school. So I may have to leave you and come back."

They took her picture and asked her all the standard questions, eye color, weight, etc.  I was holding it all together nicely until he asked if she wanted to be an organ donor.  She paused, looked at me, I swallowed the lump in my throat nodding slightly. I wanted to grab her and bolt out the door saying, "I'm sorry. This is a mistake. She won't be getting behind the wheel today or any other day in my lifetime. I'll just drive her to work, college, across country to her new career, and then I'll drive my grandkids hither and yon as well."

She made it through the rest of the questions, faltering slightly at, "Are you legally present in the US?" because she thought they said "President". "I thought that was weird," she told me later, "I mean, wouldn't they KNOW if I was President?". (Trust me, if she was old enough, I'd definitely be writing in her name come November.)

The man behind the counter started messing with her, asking if she'd brought her 250 word essay. I chuckled politely but inside was thinking, "Now is NOT the day. I'm on a mission to make an extremely important chili delivery in T-16 minutes so let's get this show on the road!"

I sat off to the side while she took her test on the computer. I tried to read her body language and could tell she was missing a few. My people-watching tendency got the best of me and she suddenly appeared with a shy smile, saying, "I passed. What do we do now?"

I jumped out of my seat, congratulated her, and we made our way to the window to get her temporary permit. We were off. As we headed to the car, she said happily, "We made it with a minute to spare!" 

"Whaaaat?!" thinking she meant it was 3:29 and knowing we'd never make it to the school on time now.  

"It's 3:14. You wanted to be out of there by 3:15," she explained.  

As she climbed in the front seat, I again said, "I'm so proud of you, Reese!" Then immediately slipped back into psycho mode. "So help me, if you spill one drop of this chili....!"

I'm going to take the next few days to recover psychologically from her first driving lesson. And then I'll recap it. 

Spoiler alert: Reese is a fantastic driver...IF only we lived in England.

Sunday, June 19, 2016

Let's Hit the Road {and not Each Other}

When David and I are toodling across the country by our lonesome one day I'm going to pull out this post and reflect on what road trips used to be like.

Because 1/2 our earthly belongings must accompany us to Alabama each Summer, we've started traveling in David's truck. The cab is actually quite roomy. I'm not sure it's "Let's pick out our largest stuffed animal to ride along" roomy, but that's just what Tate did. So don't be surprised if his beloved cow, Kringle, makes an appearance in a few vacation photos.
Each year I get a little bit smarter about preparing for the actual car ride itself. For instance, so I wouldn't arrive at our destination with a body temperature of -7, I incorporated sweat pants into my travel attire. Therefore, when we finally reach the beloved family farm, I'll emerge from the car and greet family members I haven't seen in a year (or more) in sweatpants. Not to mention the humidity level in sweet home Alabama is 112%. 

While the kids are occupied by books, electronic devices, and trying to sneak into the snack bag without getting caught, David and I have ample time to discuss our hopes and dreams with one another. Which sounds good in theory, only David refuses to carry on a conversation on road trips. I looked over a few minutes into our journey and he was already in his own little world immersed in his audio book. 
Drue learned a valuable lesson for future travel: If you have the longest legs amongst your siblings, it's best not to lash out in anger and scratch your brother as the car is getting loaded. You will be banished to the dreaded middle seat as punishment for the first half of the trip. 

David sweetly relinquished the front seat to Reese when it was my turn to drive. No doubt afraid I'd try to strike up a conversation. Reese's first order of business was attempting to kill a small winged creature. Her most expensive possession, her iPhone, was her weapon of choice and she proceeded to slam it down on the dash. I calmly suggested she find a different weapon, saying, "Are you crazy?!" Next, she grabbed David's hiking shoe and slammed it into the window. It was his turn to question her sanity, adding, "You're going to break the glass!" 

We soon came upon a small town and the speed limit dropped to 50 mph. To avoid incessant teasing by my passengers if I were to get pulled over, I slowed down accordingly. "I can run faster than this," Reese declared. Normally I would just dismiss this type of comment as random teenage snarkiness, but because I longed for conversation, I entered into a lengthy debate with her about how that was entirely impossible. I even went so far as to throw in a math lesson telling her to divide her fastest mile time into 60. You're welcome, teacher friends. 

Like David, Tate isn't a huge conversationalist on extended car rides. In fact, he's often so quiet I'll turn around abruptly and scan the backseat for him after stops. He could pretty much be the perfect traveler, if it weren't for the fact that when he gets restless he randomly lets out the highest pitched shrieks I've ever heard. I am certain this will be the cause of our demise one day if I'm at the wheel. "Tate!" I shrieked right back, "Stop. Doing. That. I almost careened right through that guard rail." 

At least we got our timing right this trip. David and I share the driving and he almost always ends up driving the windy two lane stretch through Arkansas. He sets the cruise control and I have the grip of death on the door handle while I bargain with the Lord that if he gets us through the next few hours unscathed, I'll do this, that, and the other for Him. 

The stars aligned and that particular stretch fell during my time to drive. As I was sliently thanking the Lord, I heard, "I'm hungry. When are we stopping?" Stopping? We go through about 15 towns with populations of 306. There will be no stopping until we reach Jonesboro. There's nothing to stop at. And just like that, I'm the one getting blamed for the lack of fast food places across the entire state. "Mom won't stop for us to eat. We're starving!" 

Don't even get me started on picking a place everyone will agree on. A restaurant could have been Drue's absolute favorite yesterday, but if Reese is the one to suggest stopping there, Drue instantly can no longer stand it and won't even think about eating there.

After I made it clear I would only be stopping at one place, Reese said, "That's fine. Let's just go through the drive thru."

"Ohhhhh nooooo. Nope. Not happening. I refuse." Ordering for those three in a drive thru definitely makes the list of "Things I Don't Enjoy", right underneath "pull all my toenails out one by one." If they would just order simple things like a #1 or a #3 I'd be fine. But they each want to customize minor details of their order and it usually ends up sounding something along the lines of:
"Hi, I'd like a cheeseburger on a sesame seed bun, with just one sesame seed. And can you cut the corners off the cheese so it fits just so on the patty? And I'll take a Sprite, no, wait, do you have Cherry Coke? Ok, well would you mind running next door to the store and bringing one back to put on ice? Oh. Well I'll just take a Dr. Pepper, no just make that a Sprite then."

Nope. I pulled into the parking lot of Wendy's and kicked everyone out to go order their own bag of crazy. 

I count it a successful road trip when we finally arrive and are all still on speaking terms with one another. Even if we're not on speaking terms, we'll put on our happy faces and pretend we are as we hop out of the car. I love the familiar crunch of the gravel road under our tires, that first smell of pine as we roll down our windows, and the hugs waiting for us at the end of the road.

I've already made a mental note for our next trip: Discuss with David beforehand what shirt he's wearing so we don't inadvertently wind up as this couple again.

Monday, June 13, 2016

Dodging the Dice

A few weeks ago the Lowe's Creative Ideas magazine came in the mail. I briefly scanned its contents and decided I couldn't live another moment without a yard Yahtzee set.

So I texted the Mister. 
Bless him. After 18 years of marriage he knew my "help me make this" meant he would do all the measuring, cutting, etc and I would just put the dots on. 

In between business travel, kids' activities, and larger scale home improvement projects, by golly he had my dice made in no time flat. He used wood scraps we already had so this project cost $0. I also think the scrap wood gives them a vintage feel, like perhaps these same dice were used by the Ingalls' children on the open prairie.  
David left last evening for Indy. I'm sure it was just a coincidence he suggested we all go outside and play Yahtzee...perhaps to take our minds off missing him already. I'm choosing to believe it wasn't because he was wanting to be as far away as possible when we played for the first time. 

So, David, because I'm sure you felt sad about missing out on the fun, here's a little recap:

Tate grabbed all the snacks he could carry. He never has to work up an appetite, his appetite is perpetually there. We grabbed the score sheets and bug spray, dumped our socks out of the sock bucket and headed out to the backyard. As the girls and I began applying bug spray, Tate seized his opportunity to dig into the snacks first and wound up coughing and spitting for the first few rounds after some spray wafted his way.  
Of course Tate wore his fleece jammie pants...in the middle of June...in Kansas. 

We quickly discovered a helpful tip for future games--roll the dice on a flat surface to avoid squabbles about which number they actually landed on. There was more than one debate on this subject when the dice landed crazy on the grass. 

Reese became our chief photographer and didn't sugar coat the reason why, "Mom, you stink at taking pictures. Here, let me do it."

She captured what I'm pretty sure is the most hideous picture of me ever documented...mid-victory dance rubbing it in that I was the first one to roll a Yahtzee.

If Drue can get someone else to do her work for her, she certainly will. She enjoyed rolling the dice, but would read off her numbers each time and say, "So...what should I go for?". After the 2nd or 3rd time we all yelled back, "We're not telling you! You have to think for yourself!"
I envisioned them gently tossing the dice onto the freshly mowed lawn. Instead, they decided to throw them straight up in the air then dodge the 5 large blocks hurtling back down toward their heads. There were quite a few near misses. I'm just relieved I didn't end up in the E.R. trying to explain how one of my children suffered a scalp laceration playing Yahtzee.
Moving along to the round when the entire bucket flew out of Drue's hands and shattered on the ground....
We politely declined her offer to go grab the bucket we use to pick up dog poop and ended up rolling the dice out of the three intact sides for the rest of the evening.

At one point, Reese began screaming and frantically trying to get away from whatever had landed on her. Gauging by the speed at which she leapt from her chair, I was sure a 4 foot long garden snake had fallen from the tree above. Turns out the fear-invoking creature was a lightning bug. Perhaps this teen needs to get outside more often.  

By the last few rounds, we had no sunlight left and were playing by the light of our phones. The same phones I'd been desperately trying to ban for a good portion of the game. 

"Reese, get off your phone." 
"Ok, but can we listen to music?" 
"I guess. Turn it down."
"Reese, get off your phone.
"But I'm just 'liking' this song on Pandora."
"Reese, get off your phone."
"But I'm learning how to do a waterfall braid."
"Oh, in that case...GET OFF YOUR PHONE!"

There were a lot of laughs, a lot of cheese puffs consumed, and enough family togetherness that they all scattered and headed off to bed when we came inside without me telling them to. 

We can't wait for you to come home, dear, and enjoy our newest Summer activity every single night! Oh, and you'll be glad to know that was the last issue of the Lowes magazine they'll be printing. So it may be awhile before I come up with another project for you.

Monday, May 23, 2016

Summer Better Shape Up

Our second full weekday of Summer break is coming to a close and I want a refund. I was promised stress free nights turning into lazy, carefree mornings and so far I've had neither.

Tate was so done with school last Thursday he couldn't even make it into the house with his backpack.

Drue, on the other hand, headed straight up to her room to read when she got home. There are a slew of books on her Summer reading list so I don't expect to see her again {other than mealtimes} until mid June. I have set a reminder on my phone not to forget her when we leave for vacation. She's already finished 3 of the books since Thursday. Reese and I get to help her celebrate by watching the movies with her. 

Me settling in on the couch to watch anything past sunset is a joke. I slept through most of the first movie and drifted in and out last night during the second one. Meanwhile, David and Tate headed up to our room to watch TV and fell asleep. 

So KC {who was adopted and returned AGAIN last week!} and I just crashed in the basement. Around 1am I heard little footsteps and the doggie gate on the stairs creak open. 

All sorts of scenarios started spinning on which little family member it was. I'd already narrowed it down to a kid, because when anyone over 100 pounds walks around upstairs, it sounds as though they'll crash through the basement ceiling into your lap at any moment.

Maybe one of the girls was scared, had a deep question they'd been pondering, or were going to tell me they might throw up. Or perhaps I'd be lucky and they'd just be heading to the kitchen for a drink. 

Nope. The footsteps continued down the stairs, the second doggie gate creaked open, and the entire basement was illuminated. Tate appeared at the end of the sofa bed and sweetly asked, "Do you need anything?"

Squinting my eyes from the light, I said, "No buddy, I'm good. Thanks. Wait, are you even awake?"

"Yep," he sleepily replied as he crawled into bed beside me. 

I slipped out between him and KC, hit the lights, then carefully felt my way back into bed. 

I would have had no problem drifting back to dreamland if the ear piercing alarm from our smoke detector hadn't started going off next. You know you're tired when you hear that and just decide to lay there for a minute and sniff the air for smoke. It stopped after a few seconds. As a parent, that's not just something you can easily fall back to sleep after. Too many "what ifs" to keep you awake. 

After the second time the alarm went off, David came downstairs to fiddle with the one in the basement. I mumbled something about Tate coming down earlier and he said, "What? I thought he was sleeping upstairs with me?" By this time Tate was awake again so David asked him how he got downstairs. Tate just rubbed his eyes and said, "I have no idea." 

Great. So not only can he maneuver three sets of stairs and 2 dog gates in his sleep, David had no clue any of it was even happening. Neither situation makes me feel safe. At least Tate remembers his manners in his sleep. 

The alarm went off once or twice more. I decided this fell under my blanket excuse, "I birthed the kids, David can deal with this..." and never left the bed. 

As the sun peeped through the window, I pulled the covers over my head calculating how many more minutes of sleep I could get without coming up for air.


Dang. It. This was the day the air conditioning company was coming to do a routine check of our system. Their window of time was 8am-12pm. Any other day you know they'd be pulling up at 11:50 but because of my sleepless night and extra frumpy appearance, they'd surely be arriving at 8:01. 

I slithered out of bed to throw on a hat and shut the bedroom doors of all my sleeping offspring. As I entered my room, the smell of 1000 roadkill corpses mixed with dog food burned my nares. The largest pile of dog throw up I've ever enountered greeted me. Of course George's aim was impeccable...right snack dab in the middle of the pile of clean laundry David had shoved off the bed onto the floor the night before. 

Seriously, Summer? Pulling out the big guns right off the bat? Couldn't just let me ease into you and establish a new relaxed routine? 

You're just jealous because Fall has always had my heart. 

Wednesday, April 27, 2016

KC's Story

I hate this day. And I love this day. 

The day I wake up next to you for the last time.

The day I go through the motions of letting you out, feeding you breakfast, and scratching all your favorite spots as an unmistakable lump forms in my throat.

The day I bathe you, brush you, and load you into the car for one more drive together (where you'll try and hog my air vent). A drive I'll be returning from without you.

And the absolute worst part of the entire day, handing your leash over to someone else, kissing your head, and walking out the door.

Today I stayed until most of the paperwork was complete. But I knew I just couldn't watch you get into his car. So after a few last kisses, I slipped out, leaving you sitting on the bench next to your new dad.

I know in my head it's wonderful you're off to your forever home, but it's my heart that needs a little more convincing, and where a piece of you will always remain.

You were scared, filthy, and starving when I picked you and your puppies up from the shelter eight months ago. Despite being neglected on a farm, you dug a hole next to a barn to place your puppies in for protection. A hole the shelter workers searched over 13 acres to find, after trapping you on the side of the highway and discovering you were a nursing mother.

You let me know right away you didn't trust me and I was not to mess with the 6 little bundles who had accompanied you. This made it challenging once you started weaning them and I had to get into the pen to feed them, change their papers, scrub the floor, and sneak them out for baths every so often. And when you knocked their pen over in the middle of the night I had to chase 24 little feet around the garage trying to scoop each puppy up without you charging me each time I got close to one. I collapsed back into bed thinking, "I am not cut out for this!"

When the puppies went to live with their new families you weren't sure what to make of the situation. After you finally stopped looking for them, you took up residence in the bottom shelf of an empty bookcase in our garage. I bought a warm, soft dog bed for you and placed it next to the bookcase. It sat there untouched for days, until one morning I found you sitting in it, looking unsure if that was ok.

David got a collar on you.

And then a leash.

But you had no idea why the leash was connected to you and why we were holding the other end. So we took it slow. Putting the leash on a few times per day without tugging on it, so you could see there was nothing to be afraid of.

This went on for weeks. Some of the coldest days of the winter, I worried even more about you and spent extra time trying to coax you inside. But you just wouldn't budge.

I remember the day I'd had enough. I muzzled you, scooped you up, marched you inside and gently placed you in the tub.  As the water turned brown and your white fur began to peek out through the suds, I wished I'd been brave enough to try this earlier. This was the day I think you finally realized I would never do anything to hurt you.

I think this was also the first time you'd ever been in someone's home. Every sound made you jump and you'd immediately look to me to gauge my reaction on whether or not it was something you should be afraid of. The heat kicking on, the dishwasher humming, toilets flushing, faucets coming on and off, cabinet doors closing. You found a few hiding spots to escape from everything. When the kids finally scrambled out the door in the mornings and it was just you and me, you'd come out of hiding, tail wagging, and follow me around for the rest of the day. Until you'd hear the front doorknob turning in the afternoon. And you'd retreat to one of your comfort zones.

Because you'd lived outside for so long, and nighttime is the best time for hunting, this was when you wanted to be outside. Those were some long weeks! Stumbling down the stairs with you at 2 am into the cool night air.

Your schedule eventually flipped and you learned to settle in for the night next to me in bed. I woke up one morning surprised to find you all stretched out sleeping soundly. Before, I'd only ever seen you sleep curled up defensively in a ball.
You learned to love our walks. Unless they took us by the playground at recess, in which case I'd have to pick you up and quickly carry you past because the sound of all those kids made you nervous. You also learned to love our car rides. Hopping in and out like you'd been doing this your whole life. You didn't care that we were just heading to pick up one of the kids from practice.
I'll be vacuuming up your hair from now until next week. I'll go about my housework now without my little sidekick and you'll no longer be laying just on the other side of the dog gate waiting for me to finish folding laundry. 
You figured out how to be someone's pet. 

And I figured out how to love you with all your quirks and odd behaviors.

Eight months was a long time.

Yet it wasn't quite long enough.

I hate this day. And I love this day.

The day you get to go home.

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