Life is Good – October 28, 2011

Good things this week …

… The realization that the people at my bowling alley aren’t just people at my bowling alley. They are friends, people whose lives I’ve come to know and who know about mine. I always try to leave time before warm-ups and leagues begin so that I can catch up with everyone first, exchange a few hugs and smiles and laughter. There are always questions to ask. How is school going? How is that knee healing from surgery? How the new job is working out? Bowling is always fun, not just because I like the game, but because the people at the bowling alley make it something to look forward to each week.

… Remembering that this empty-nest stage has its benefits … there’s now time for me to do “me” things without feeling guilty. We’ve sort of been in a “now what?” kind of phase around here, feeling a little lost after years of dedicating every waking minute to the kids’ needs. Suddenly, there’s talk of taking up cross-country skiing and/or snow shoeing with the girls from work. We can go out to dinner at the drop of a hat and I can accept an invitation to go see a movie on a Saturday with a friend.

March 18, 2008 Ed Cartoon

… One year-old Ethan, who lives next door and heads straight for our yard when he comes outside with his parents. He likes to toss our landscaping rocks into the little water fountain that sits in front of our house. The fountain has been put away for the winter, but Ethan still comes looking for it and lets us pick him up and chase him around the yard, all the while telling elaborate stories in his cute little baby language. I have no idea what he’s saying, but I love to listen to him.

… Hot and Spicy Chicken for lunch from Ho Fan.

The weekend is almost here! Life is good!

Communicating Creatively

I should have known something was up when, while text messaging with my daughter, (me in my family room, her in her dorm room at college) she asked,

Have you been on Facebook lately? … I mean, has Lucy been on Facebook lately :) ?

I was immediately suspicious and replied,

Not for a couple of days. Why?

She answered,

She probably should :)

So I … I mean … my dog logged into her Facebook account.

Okay, I might have helped her a little bit. Typing is difficult because she doesn’t have thumbs. Also, my dog can’t read. I instantly recognized the status update at which Kacey had not-so subtly hinted. Suddenly my daughter’s motives were very clear.

Lucy was kind enough to assure Kacey that the chocolate would be obtained in time for her upcoming weekend visit home.

Yeah. It’s not ridiculous enough that my dog has her own Facebook page. Now my daughter is conveying her “needs” through the dog!

I love that kid’s sense of humor!

Room-mate Troubles

My daughter has never been known for her ability to keep her bedroom tidy. In her defense, she is a girl. Girls have a lot of stuff. And being the last one born in the family, she got stuck with the smallest bedroom. She finds ways to arrange her things in an organized manner, but being a constantly on-the-go kind of girl, the organization never seems to last long. Her room always seems to be overflowing with her stuff.

I figured that when Kacey moved to college and into a dorm room, it wouldn’t be a major change for her. She’s used to being creative with the space she has. When we helped her move in, she proved her ability to organize lots of stuff in a small amount of space.

Kacey is very adaptable, so I had few concerns about her ability to transition to college life. But I figured if there was a dorm-living challenge awaiting her, it might be in learning to share her space with another person. Unfortunately, that challenge has become reality. Kacey and her room-mate have differing personalities. They knew that from the start. Kacey is athletic and very social. Her interests tend to be very mainstream. Her room-mate seems more introverted and, as Kacey describes her, artsy.

So they have different tastes and interests, but there’s nothing difficult about either of their personalities. They are just different. And my daughter has an ability to get along with almost anyone. Personalities are not the problem. Organizational habits are.

Mark always teases Kacey about the disaster area she calls her bedroom. Kacey never could seem to understand why her dad cares so much about what her room looks like and why it bothers him when it’s a mess. Now she gets it. Her room-mate, she claims, is a slob. She can’t seem to keep her side of the room tidy, and when she runs out of places to put things, she dumps them on Kacey’s side of the room, on Kacey’s desk or piles things in front of Kacey’s dresser and closet.

We picked our daughter up from school at the end of one week recently, and while driving home, she ranted about her room-mate’s messy habits. She must have sensed us stifling giggles in the front seat because suddenly she was laughing herself, saying, “I know! I know! This comes as a shock that this all bothers me so much since I’m not known for having the cleanest room! But, Dad…” she said, “I get it now!”

Last night, as if having to prove that she’s changed her ways, she sent me a text, saying, “Proof to Dad that I am SO neat and clean now! :-)

“… compared to …”

I don’t know. The room-mate’s side of the room, while not completely tidy, doesn’t look that bad. I think Kacey’s frustration is just compounded by a lack of respect from her room-mate. While Kacey turns on a small desk light if she’s awake before her room-mate, the room-mate will turn on the main overhead light when Kacey is still sleeping. If her room-mate is studying, Kacey will leave the room or listen to music with her ear buds. The room-mate blares the television while Kacey tries to study. She found some of these idiosyncrasies funny at first. Now they’re getting annoying.

Unfortunately, these are just some of the lessons I knew she would probably learn while living at school. Not fun, but good life lessons. I already think she’s an amazing person. These difficulties? Frustrating as they may be, they’re just going to make her an even better person. My little girl is growing up.

Monday Already

It was a little quiet around the house this weekend. Jake made himself scarce, either working or hanging out with his buddies most of the time. And this was the first weekend in a month that Kacey didn’t come home from school. It felt strange not to have the kids and their friends passing through on their way here and there.

Saturday was a full day. My buddy, Gina was in town and we spent the afternoon shopping and catching up. I always did my best shopping with Gina. She loves fashion and has a knack for scoping out bargains. Since she’s been gone, I haven’t had much desire to shop for myself. Shopping is always more fun with a friend, isn’t it? We had a great time just gabbing and catching up and I got a few things for myself – some jeans, a couple sweaters, and the cutest pair of boots.

On Saturday night, Mark and I bowled with our couples league. We’ve made some good friends in that league and as luck would have it, we were all near each other on the lanes this time. There was much goofing off and laughter that night! I thought it would be an early night and that we’d go home after bowling, since the friends we had driven had to get up early the next day and since we had a puppy waiting for us at home. I was wrong. We all went out afterwards and a couple of the guys sang karaoke while the rest of the gang cheered them on and a couple of the girls danced along to their song. (I may or may not have been one of those girls.)

Sunday was quiet and we spent the day catching up on some chores around the house. Brad called home, I guess just to check in and to see how Lucy was settling in. (He’s such a dog-lover and is anxious to get back home soon and see her!) Lucy is still getting welcome visitors. My sister, dog-lover that she is, came over yesterday to meet Lucy. She played with Lucy and loved her up and presented her with a “baby” gift of doggie treats and a new toy, which Lucy proceeded to spend the next several hours attempting to behead. Seriously. We had to take it away before she tore all the stuffing out of the poor toy!

And here it is, Monday already. Where do the weekends go?

Life is Good – October 21, 2011

lifeisgood.com

I used to dedicate Fridays on my blog to Life is Good posts. The purpose of those posts was simply to recognize the things that were good in my life… simple pleasures … a way to be grateful.

Those posts began with a suggestion from my friend, Kim. I was feeling whiney, and probably complained to her that I couldn’t write because I had nothing good to write about. Kim is totally a glass half full kind of girl. She often wrote about her Daily Blessings and she informed me that the best way to have good things to write about is to see the good things in life; to make it a point to look for them, recognize them and hold on to them.

About the same time I began to write my Life is Good posts, Abby began to write on her blog on Sundays about the Silver Liningness in her life. And somewhere along the line, Bud began to write about his Monday Smiles. It was a viral form of looking on the bright side and reading those posts on my friends’ blogs always makes me feel good.

Bud has diligently maintained his Monday Smiles regimen and I can always count on smiling along with him. Abby and I, however… we fell off the bandwagon a while ago. I’m not sure why. And Bud has nudged me on more than one occasion to pick up again with Life is Good Fridays, but I just haven’t done it. I can’t speak for Abby, but for me, it might have been because I thought I was too busy. Or maybe I got lazy and fell out of the habit. Or maybe I had a few bad days and the obstinate side of me decided life wasn’t all that great and I wasn’t going to pretend it was and then I fell out of the habit.

Abby recently resumed blogging her silver linings. And me? While I have on many occasions thought about resurrecting my Friday posts, I have yet to give it another go. But this week, I read a post by MJ called The Glad Game. MJ wrote about making the choice to be positive, whether things are going well or whether life doesn’t seem so spectacular. I had forgotten, until I read MJ’s post, that that was the exact reason I had committed to writing Life is Good. It was at the moment I finished reading The Glad Game that I suddenly wanted to write Life is Good again. And I’ll go easier on myself this time. I’m going to follow Abby’s lead. She often begins her silver lining posts with something along the lines of, “It’s Silver Liningness Sunday on Tuesday!”

I can probably manage that, don’t you think? So thank you Kim, Bud, Abby and MJ for reminding me to be positive and thankful, even when it feels like an effort to do so.

All that being said, you’re probably thinking there should be some good things in here about my week and my world. Well…

You’re probably sick of hearing about it already, but one of the happiest events of the past week was getting Lucy, our new dog. I have felt lonely lately with my kids all grown up and off doing their own things. I needed some companionship for those days when I come home to an empty house. I went in search of Lucy and she found her way right into my heart. Lucy is more than I could have asked for. She’s adorable and loving, smart and gentle. I absolutely love her and already can’t imagine her not being with us.

I have a job I truly enjoy. The business is new and exciting and I am challenged in ways that are very rewarding. I’m surrounded by people I really enjoy, both as coworkers and for the people they are.

Bowling is as fun as ever. Sometimes I bowl like a novice and other times, like last week, I really bring it on! And I love the girls on the team. We are of varying ages and backgrounds and stages of life, and yet, we enjoy each other’s company so much. A couple of weeks ago, we were observing one of the other teams, made up of an older group of women. They are one of our favorite teams to bowl because they are so fun-loving and welcoming. I said to my team mates, “Promise me we’ll bowl together for years and have as much fun when we’re in our retirement years as those girls do.” They all promised we would!

Fall in Minnesota has been beautiful and warm.

I get to see plenty of my baby girl as she comes home from college often. And I was worried I was going to miss her!

I joined the ranks of smart phone users and got an iPhone this week. It was a requirement for work and I get some reimbursement for the monthly costs. It’s a pretty cool little gadget that I’m required to have!

Wow… I can actually think of a few more things, but I think this post has gone on long enough.

Life is definitely good!

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I’d love to see others join this little group in writing about the good stuff in life. There’s plenty of bad. It feels good to shift your focus away from all the garbage once in a while. As Kim would say, “Blog your blessings!” Write about what makes you happy, the simple pleasures, the things for which you are grateful. Think about it. Let me know if you do so I can come read all about it!

Wait a minute…

I swear this blog is not going to become a total dog blog! But something struck me as odd after Rock Chef made a comment on my last post. I had written that at four months, Lucy is still a baby. RC remarked that if she is only four months, we are going to have a fair-sized dog on our hands soon.

Something was nagging at me as I thought about RC’s remark. I’ve had a dog before. We brought Shelby home when she was maybe eight or ten weeks old. (And dang, was she CUTE!) So I have some experience with puppies and how they grow and develop. I started thinking about Lucy, her behavior and such. She doesn’t seem to know her name very well, but I’m thinking she’s only had that name since she came to her foster family just a few weeks ago. She walks fairly well on the leash. She gets rambunctious and pulls a lot, but she does what she’s supposed to do when I tell her to heel. She understands “NO” and stops when she hears it. And she is amazing at sitting! Someone worked hard on “SIT” before she came to us. She sleeps all night and is mostly house trained. She definitely has some puppy habits, like trying to get away with chewing on Mark’s shoes and she still sleeps a lot and loves to cuddle.

But could she really only be four months?

I decided to look through all of the paperwork that was left with us when Lucy arrived. There are two veterinary forms in the folder. One is dated October 1st and shows that Lucy had a microchip implanted. That report states that her birth date is March 21, 2011, which means that Lucy is really seven months old, not four.

A second veterinary report, from a different clinic than the first and dated October 10th states that Lucy’s age is three months. That report also states that she is a Bloodhound, not a Boxer/Lab mix as we were told. But it clearly describes her markings, so I’m sure the two reports are for the same dog.

My gut says that Lucy is closer to seven months than four. What do you think?

I plan to take her to our own vet soon, just to have her checked over. Maybe our vet can clear up this mystery. And as for her breed? Well, that was always just a guess anyway. At this point, it really doesn’t matter. Lucy is a member of the family now, regardless of her bloodlines.

A Little Bit of Everything

So just in case you were wondering, the tin can telephones were a big hit with my boss. I had them set up on his desk when he arrived and he immediately blamed one of my coworkers, telling her, “No one but you would actually spend time putting these together just to play a joke on me.”

She insisted it wasn’t her and by this time, she and I were laughing so hard, my boss knew who was the culprit. He was a good sport about it and immediately ran the other end of the “phone” to another office. He left it out all day and various other people would come by and have a good laugh while my boss demonstrated how his new gadget worked.

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A parade of Kacey’s friends came through this weekend. Everyone wanted to meet the new puppy. Some of the kids ended up just hanging out for a while. I really like these kids. They are all so polite and they’re just good people. They are all unique in their own ways and they are so accepting of others. They all affectionately refer to me as “Ter” which started out as a joke with Kacey. You know… it’s funny to call Mom “Ter” instead of “Mom.” But it sort of stuck and I didn’t mind, so that’s what they all call me.  Kind of eliminates that whole question about whether they should call me Mrs. Kacey’s Mom or Terri or what. It’s Ter.

On Saturday night, one of the boys came to hang out with Kacey and Connor since his girlfriend had to work. The three kids sat with me in the living room and talked to me about college and life and their friends and the future. Normally, I would make myself scarce when Kacey’s friends come to hang out. If they are upstairs, I go down, or vice versa. But they chose to be where I was that night – with Lucy – so we all hung out together. I recognized it as a very rare occurrence and felt so honored to be welcomed into their conversations. I just love those kids!

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We’re having a blast with Lucy. The rescue group asked for a family picture for the website. (Yes, minus Brad. He doesn’t come home often enough so he’s missing from the family photo. Bummer.) But look how happy we all are!

Lucy’s foster mom also asked that Lucy get a Facebook account so she could see pictures as Lucy grows. So Lucy has her own Facebook page! (I know. This is sort of ridiculous, but it’s way more fun than updating my own Facebook page.)

And remember how Mark was hesitant about the idea of getting a dog? Yeah… look how hesitant he is now!

We go for daily walks and spend time playing in the back yard and after all that, Lucy is so worn out she sleeps like a baby! Well, because she is one!

And she’s still sleeping through the night.

In our bed.

Yep. Our bed. Even though Mark said she couldn’t sleep in the bed. He’s a sucker. So am I. And Lucy is one happy puppy.

At four months, she’s really still a puppy and she’s reminding us of all the things we’d forgotten about having a puppy. Like when we go for a walk, she thinks that everything of interest needs to be in her mouth. She’s been good for us for the most part. Mark has learned to put his shoes in the closet instead of leaving them in the foyer, lest Lucy decides to munch on them. I bought her some rawhide chew bones tonight and now she is happily chewing away on one of those instead.

The cat has established his dominance. He’s happy and all is well for now!

Lucy’s Home

It’s amazing what happens when you tell your family, friends and coworkers that you’ve taken the leap and you’re going to get a dog. Those people divide into two camps. First there are the non-dog people. They raise their eyebrows at your news. They ask things like, “You know dogs are a lot of work, right? You know they shed all over your house, right? Who’s going to pick up the poop?” One well-meaning cousin even felt obligated to warn me that when I might want to go out after work and have a drink, I won’t be able to because I’ll have to go home and take care of my dog first. I assured her that I could count on one hand the number of times I’ve gone out after work for a drink, so I was pretty sure I could manage.

And then there are the dog people! Their faces light up with joy at your news. They hug you. They squeal with delight and tell you how happy they are for you. When you decide to become a dog owner, you suddenly become a member of a vast and varied group of people who suddenly have so much to talk about with you.

I like it!

Lucy’s arrival felt like the most anticipated dog adoption ever! All week long people asked about her. “Are you getting her? When do you get her? Are you excited?” One person even marveled at how I was able to come to work on Friday. When I asked why I wouldn’t, she said, “Because you’re getting your puppy tonight!”

She made me laugh. As much as I was looking forward to Lucy’s arrival, I certainly didn’t feel the need to take an entire day off work to wait for her. She wasn’t even coming until the evening anyway!

After work I did begin to get anxious for her to come. And she arrived right on time with her foster mom. She was smaller than I remembered and I was surprised at how mellow she was. I expected her to come bounding up the stairs from the entryway and begin to sniff out all of the new smells. Instead, she creeped slowly up the stairs and cautiously explored her new surroundings.

Lucy’s foster mom and I talked. She filled me in on all of Lucy’s immunizations, the fact that she’d been spayed and that she already has a microchip. She apologized when she gave me the rules about what to do if I decided I didn’t want her after all, telling me that I would be obligated to return her to the rescue group. She said she didn’t want me to think she expected such a change of heart but that she was obligated to make me aware of the rules of the adoption agreement. While we went over the particulars, Lucy got to know Kacey and Mark. And when all the business was taken care of, Lucy’s foster mom told her she was all mine.

I’m sure Lucy wondered about her new surroundings. After all, for the past couple of weeks in her foster home, she was surrounded by five other dogs. She checked things out while we followed her around the house and told her what was okay and what was not.

We told her the new bed was for her,

and so were the toys,

but that the kitchen counter was a big NO-NO! (She understands “NO” and listens well.)

Lucy also quickly figured out that there’s a cat in the house (who is none too thrilled with the new addition to the family.) Lucy really wanted to meet Tigger, but Tigger was having none of it and hid under my bed.

Before we called it a night, Lucy also got to meet some of Kacey’s friends. We were so happy to see that Lucy just wants to be friends with everyone she meets.

She only whined a little bit when I closed her in her kennel for the night. Not knowing how she might behave if left to wander the house, I decided it was best to keep her confined overnight. I placed the kennel where she could see me sleeping in my bed and she settled down quickly and slept all night long.

This morning, we went for a walk and Lucy explored her new neighborhood. When we got home, she ran up and down the yard along the fence with her new neighbor dog, Kona and she played with a tennis ball, sneaking up on it and pouncing on it like a cat.

This afternoon, she has completely conked out! I think we’ve worn her out!

I am sure happy she’s here!

 

Who Needs Technology?

Apparently not my boss.

Our department is a small group of six people. Our offices and cubicles occupy one corner of a mostly otherwise empty floor.

We have all the technology we could possibly need to communicate. We have telephones. We have email. We have instant messengers. We have cell phones. But Brian, my boss, prefers other methods of getting his team’s attention.

He likes to shout out his office door to whichever team member he would like to speak to. Mostly it makes us laugh, and it has become an office joke that although Brian has the latest and greatest in technology, he still chooses to simply shout for us.

So I made him a present.

Here Kacey and Connor model how to use this lovingly crafted piece of communicatory equipment. (No, I’m pretty sure communicatory is not a real word, but I kind of like it so now it’s a word. Try to use it in a sentence sometime today, mmmkay?)

Do you think Brian will like it? I put instructions on his end of the phone. They say:

Directions: When tempted to shout, pick up can. Speak into open end.

Yes, I did actually take time out of my evening to put this piece of stupidity together, all for the sake of an office joke. There’s 50 feet of string on this thing. We took it outside and tried it out and it actually sort of works if you pull the string taut.

Hey, you gotta have fun, right?

Remember when I said it was unlikely we’d adopt the first dog we saw?

I might have been wrong about that.

On Saturday, Kacey, Connor and I went to a nearby pet store to attend a dog adoption event where we would meet Lucy. As soon as we walked in the door, I saw her. I turned to Kacey and said, “That’s her!”

We walked over to a woman who had one dog leash wrapped around her waist and attached to an adorable and gentle German Shepherd, and another leash in her hand attached to the puppy I believed to be Lucy.

“Is this Lucy,” I asked her?

“Yes,” she replied with excitement in her voice. “Are you Terri?”

I told her I was and she introduced herself to me as Lisa, the woman with whom I’d been exchanging emails about Lucy.  We talked for a long time while Kacey and I petted and cuddled and got to know Lucy. Lisa told us that Lucy was a very good dog. She currently has six dogs in her care and explained that Lucy played very well with all of them, including the “beasties.” She said Lucy was nearly house-trained, had all of her shots, and was scheduled to be spayed on Monday. She said she has a habit of eating flip-flops and panties.

Meanwhile, Connor held a Husky/German Shepherd puppy in his arms and she seemed quite content to stay there. He wanted to take her home. I told him if I had a bigger house and yard, I’d have seriously considered her too.

We spent about an hour in the pet store with Lucy and Lisa and by that time, I was certain I wanted to adopt Lucy. But since Mark was away for the weekend on a hunting trip and not there to meet her, I didn’t feel ready to commit on the spot. I explained this to Lisa, and asked, “So how does this work?”

Lisa told me she wanted Lucy to come live with us. She said she knew right away that ours would be a good home for her. She said I confirmed all the good things she was looking for and all I needed to do was turn in my application and we could set up a home visit for later in the week.

I asked what would happen if someone else came along and expressed interest in Lucy. Lisa told me that for the remainder of the event, anyone interested would be told that Lucy was taken. She wanted her to be with me! One of the volunteers called our vet as a reference, and apparently good things were said. Lisa told me that when she brought Lucy to my house for a home visit, she would probably just leave her with me.

We took a picture to mark the happy occasion…

… and then promptly came home, called Mark and got his voice mail. So I left him an excited message explaining that Kacey and I had just fallen in love with the dog we said we were just going to “look at” and that I wanted him to know this was serious. I told him, “We’re gone over this dog, and we didn’t commit 100%, just like 99.99% but to be fair, I wanted to give you all the details first. She’s coming for a home visit later next week and she’ll probably just stay. Unless you say no. Which we hope you don’t.”

He didn’t say no. When he got home, he just rolled his eyes and sort of laughed at how quickly it had all happened. Then he rolled his eyes a little more when he saw the chew toys I’d already purchased for Lucy.

She arrives on FRIDAY!   Kacey has been texting me to remind me how excited she is and that she wants to come home from school for the weekend again to spend time with Lucy. Lisa asked that I create a FaceBook page for Lucy so she can keep up with her once she comes to live with us. That made me laugh, but I’ll totally do it!

Can you believe it? I’m getting a dog!