Adventures In Dog Sitting Part Dos

The day Alvin ran away was a miserable one. I can’t adequately describe how horrible I felt. I had just ruined the lives of a family I cared for. They would never see their beloved pet again. I wasn’t sure they’d ever forgive me! Not long after my sister-in-law called her sister I got a phone call from Alvin’s mom. Despite the tragedy of losing her dog,  she was so unbelievably calm and understanding about the whole thing. I explained what steps had been taken and that I was praying someone would find him and call.

We re-washed our clothes and took them to dry at the laundromat. We went grocery shopping. We continued with our day as any other. We never stopped thinking about Alvin. I went to bed praying for this little dog.

I woke up early Monday morning to make sure the twins were up for school and got out the door on time. I noticed it had rained during the night and my heart sank. While they were preparing for their day they talked about how bad they felt about the day before. So bad in fact that they thought they heard Alvin barking around midnight. I got hopeful that he was still in the neighborhood somewhere. Maybe someone would call today.

I opened the door for them as I was saying goodbye and waiting for us on the other side was this black curly wet ball of DOG! He had found us! I don’t know how, but Alvin had returned on his own! The boys HAD heard him the night before. I was so overjoyed I woke B and E up to witness this miracle. I think B just growled at me, but E was as happy as I was. I dried Alvin off and gave him food and water. I took a picture to send to his mom and realized it was 4 am where she was. Oh well. I sent it anyway. The relief was evident in her response back.  The prodigal dog had returned!

Alvin stayed with us another week and a half. I can confidently say he never ran away again. Well…there was one this one time he started to one day and no one chased him. I guess without the challenge he wasn’t interested. My niece came to visit me the following weekend and Alvin was super excited to see a person he knew. See how happy he is?

Alvin part 2

By the time his family returned to pick him up we’d all fallen into a comfortable routine. He and B even mended their relationship and I caught them playing together several times. In fact Alvin started following B around the house.

Lest you think this is the end, there is another part to this tale.

As I mentioned last week, B and I got in our cars to search for the Alvin. My son J went with him and G and E came with me. We stopped and asked everyone we saw if they’d seen a little black poodle. Even our neighbor drove around a while looking for Alvin before he took his kids to the park. It wasn’t until a few days later our neighbor told us something very interesting.

Apparently, while he was at the park, a cop drove in and asked the parents there (including our neighbor) to be careful because they had received a call from concerned parents that a man with glasses in a black car had tried to abduct their child by asking about a lost dog (which is the oldest trick in the book). And he already had one kid with him! After the cop left, another woman commented that she had seen a crazy blonde man running down the street barefoot yelling at the top of his lungs. Our neighbor later discovered a community watch email about the possible pedophile incident.

B and our neighbor couldn’t stop laughing about the situation, while I couldn’t stop fuming! I couldn’t believe the stupidity and judgemental-ness of people and their jump-to-conclusions small-minded thinking! (I’m starting to get mad all over). BUT now in extreme hind-sight I can see the humor. Really, I can. To prove it I’ll share another cute photo of Alvin, this time with B. Pictures really do say 1000 words!

Alvin and Billy

 

 

The Adventures In Dog Sitting

There’s been a lot of conversation in my household lately regarding the addition of a four-legged family member. It’s a converstation I am not entirely opposed to. There are of course the usual concerns of pet health care costs and the responsibility of feeding another mouth, not to mention doodoo duty (I can’t believe I just typed those words) and multiple walks a day (which really wouldn’t hurt any of us).  Other than those concerns I think it could be a nice addition. That’s why I volunteered our pet sitting services twice last summer, and for the most part they went off without a hitch with one HUGE exception!

I saw the post on Facebook. My sister-in-law’s sister needed a dog sitter for a little over a week while her family was on vacation. I didn’t answer right away since I live a good hour from her but a couple days later I sent her a message asking if she’d found someone. She was so relieved that we were willing to watch Alvin for her and since they were flying from the airport near us it would be perfect!

I was at church when Alvin arrived so B was there to greet him and get all the care instruction for him. Her one warning to us was that he likes to RUN. As in run AWAY. She also said he may follow us around a lot since he had some anxieties. B said when she left Alvin cried and repetedly ran from the door to the window and back. By the time I got home Alvin had calmed down but was still very wary of us. We took him for a walk and then got ready to take laundry to the laundromat to dry. The plan was to crate him while we were there. You know what they say about well laid plans…

Alvin part 1

I think we got one basket of laundry out the door before Alvin slipped out and ran halfway down the street. B ran after him barefoot, laundry completely abandoned. The further B ran the further Alvin ran. B persued the chase through the neighborhood yelling “ALVIN” at the top of his lungs (sounding a lot like Dave’s rendition of “ALVIN” from Alvin and the Chipmunks, only a little more frantic) for at least 30 min before we got in our cars. For the next hour we’d stop and ask everyone we saw if they’d seen a little poodle running around, every once in a while hearing a cacophony of barking that would stop before we got to the source. It was as if Alvin was always one step ahead.

Defeated we headed back home. I couldn’t believe the tragedy of the situation. This little animal that was left in our care only hours before not only ran away, but ran away in an area he had never been. An area that was over an hour away from his home. How would he ever find his way back?  How would his family feel? How could we have failed so incredibly? I did the only thing I knew to do and put an ad on Craigslist hoping that if someone found him they’d contact us (as I had done when we found a lost dog months before). Then I called my sister-in-law who in turn called her sister.

(To Be Continued…sorry)

The “Grounded” Family

According to Merriam-Webster the word “grounded” is used to describe a person who is sensible and has a good understanding of what is really important in life. I really appreciate that definition. In fact I’d like to say I relate to that definition. However the word “grounded” has had a very different meaning in my house lately.

Ever feel like all of your kids’ brain cells have gone on the fritz at the same time? I mean, there’s one child I expect it from, but ALL THREE?! AT THE SAME TIME?!! How is this fair? What did I do to deserve this? (Pity party begins.) I have gotten used to grounding the youngest. He is an independant, strong-willed, boundary pushing child. Lately if he isn’t grounded it’s momentus. That’s why when I got the call from his teacher I wasn’t shocked. Instead I was thinking what can I take away now? He’s already grounded! Apartently a mom of one of the girls in his class emailed the teacher saying her daughter and 3 of her friends heard him say the “C” word with definition. WHERE would he have even learned that word? It’s NEVER said in the house. I asked the teacher if she had ever used the soap-in-the-mouth method (on her own children, not her students…relax) and if so what kind of soap did she recommend.

That was a Thursday and yes I did stick a bar of soap in his mouth, but only for 15 secs cause MA had me worried that any longer and he’d have diarreah for days! He didn’t like it. AND he had to write an apology letter to his teacher. Nevertheless, relief was in my sights because his dad was going to have him ALL weekend and I would get a break…so I thought.

B and I shot a wedding that Saturday so we were on our feet from the time we woke until past midnight. I had already designated Sunday as my cleaning day and thats when I found it. I walked into the twins’ room and there was a piece of paper on the floor with and arrow drawn on it, “For mom” written under the arrow. It pointed to 2 more papers turned upside down. I turned them over to discover that they were letters from the boys and under the letters were their report cards. Before I read the first sentnce I knew. They had both done so poorly I wondered what planet the pod people came from that had obviously inhabited my kids’ bodies! J has never NOT been on the A/B honor roll and G had finally gotten on the A/B honor roll last quarter only to have one of those A’s drop to an F! WHAT?!!! Or more appropriately, WTF?!!! The letters gave me all the excuses as to why this happened. I actually teared up I was that shocked.

You know that advice you get to sleep on things and give yourself time to cool off? Well they came home that night so there was no sleeping on it, but I did cool off. Especially when I was taking their TV and XBox out of their room. And when they walked in the door and I confiscated thier ipods. (Insert minanical laugh here.)

I was going to write about the down side of grounding like the constant complaining that they don’t know what to do and they’re bored. Or them following me around. Or the increase in arguing without the distractions of technology. But instead I decided to list some of the benefits (end scene on the Pity Party):

1. I have a tv and xbox that I use every day to watch my shows.
2. B has a tv and xbox to play Walking Dead.
3. They have done a ton more reading and drawing and playing music. (Go creativity, Go!)
4. With their earlier bed times I have more ME/US time.
5. I’ve been able to see more of them and their personalities and have come to realize they’re pretty funny. That silly little kids humor is turning into HAHA humor (at least for me).

Oh and E is no longer grounded…for the moment.

A Train Table Gets A Second Life

 

Balcony seat before1

There has been some debate in my family as to who actually built this train table for my twins when they were little, but I’m sticking to my guns in saying it was my brother, R. If it wasn’t him and someone else wants to take the credit then please do and I apologize for forgetting. It has been at least 10 years though and I am quickly approaching 40 so…

I found this in the storage space under the sun room when I was doing the final clean out of the house. For a half second I thought about recycling it with the rest of the stuff I pulled out of all the hidden nooks and crannies, but in the next half of that second I realized it was well built and I could make something out of it. So I brought it to the apartment along with a side railing of a crib once occupied by one of the twins and later by E, and the cushions from  a couch I was trying to give away and went to work. And by work I mean I went to Joanne’s Fabrics to get 2 yards of fabric.

Balcony seat fabric

After cleaning off the wood (it was quite dusty) and taking apart the cushions which I then cut up to fit on the ply wood…

Balcony seat cushions

B and I stretched the fabric over the cushions, turned the whole thing upside down and went to town with our new toy staple gun.

Balcony seat stapling

Thankfully the lines on the cushion remained straight so that the result looked like this:

Balcony seat complete

Add a few toss pillows and VIOLA!

Balcony seat with pillows

Now all I need to do is paint it! (Sigh) That’s for another day!

Name Changing Dilemma

It’s that time again…Drivers License renewal time! Come to think of it this is the first time I am having to renew my license since I moved to NC in 2005. And it’s my 40th Birth year. WOW! Lots of change going on. Which leads to my latest dilemma….to change my name or not to change my name.

I have a memory stuck in my head of getting ready for my roommate’s wedding in Wilmington, NC on November 5th (I think that was the exact date) when I received a phone call from my Attorney asking me if I was planning on changing my name to my maiden name. The question caught me off guard. She needed to know that day since she was preparing paperwork to be filed the following Monday. I asked if I could call her back and immediately called MA. I asked her to confirm that keeping my married name for the kids was for the best, after all I’d heard of kids having to explain why they had a different last name than their mother and I didn’t want to put my kids through any unnecessary stress. She encouraged me to go with my gut and so the name stayed. And I think I did the right thing…then.

Now…the kids are adjusted to the situation and seem perfectly at peace and I REALLY don’t want the same last name as my EX. Not that I don’t love some of his family members as if they were my own. And not that I don’t want to be linked to my kids by sharing their name. I just don’t identify as that person anymore. I don’t even like saying my last name when I introduce myself. And I like my maiden name. It’s who I first identified myself as and it’s who I still am today.

So why even suggest that there’s a dilemma, right? I mean, it seems like I’ve got the answer in the bag so to speak. Eh, not so much. It’s not easy to change your name. There are several documents that need to be filled out and taken to different places in particular steps within a particular time. And there is a cost. Not a huge cost, but a cost just the same. And I have to renew my license SOON (which has it’s own cost). Plus, there is someone special in my life (duh!) with whom there may have been discussions of getting married one day, but NOT before my license expires! So, again, do I go through all the work to change my name only to have to change it AGAIN in the near-ish future?

And now the fun part! I am posing the question to you. Do you think I should change my name back to my maiden name? Keep my married name? Or wait to one day be remarried?