Sunday, October 26, 2008

Monday, October 20, 2008

Getting rid of stuff

The kids have been off from school since Wednesday at 12:45. It's Monday and they're STILL home. We've made do by planning many play dates and I decided to fight boredom and throw a garage sale.

I had pulled together most of the items I wanted to clean out of my garage weeks ago, but there has been a never-ending sidewalk repair project going on that didn't allow for much parking availability. Also we've had a few rainy weekends, so when I saw the gorgeous weather projected for this past weekend, I decided the time had come. Luckily I had a friend to help me, otherwise I would have exploded from the stress combustion inside of me.

I'm not good at playing it cool. I fret. A lot. Where should we put the signs? How should we keep the money divided between the families? Do we need tables? I don't have any tables! What about a change box? Do we need to get singles? How much should I price things for? Luckily, my friend, Janet, is great in situations like this. She kept telling me it would all work out and we just needed to remember that we just wanted to get rid of stuff - making money would be the icing.

Of course it went great. We had old men walking up the driveway a half hour early, but I didn't really care. Nothing was ready, but they still managed to buy some of my junk. I learned a few things: for instance, my friends want me to continue to be a hoarder! Every time I turned around, they were telling me not to sell this or that. My wonderful old neighbor from across the street even went so far as to bag up all the linens my grandmother had hand embroidered and put them back into my house. She has a great thick German accent, just like all my Tantes and my Oma, and she's hard to say no to. I also learned that people come to buy things to re-sell. I'm not dumb. I mean, I know that ebay exists, but I guess it was pretty weird to see it in action. There were two gentlemen who came for books. One guy was on the phone with someone for about 45 minutes reading numbers from the back of the books to another person. He then picked out some books and grinned REALLY big. Afterwards we decided that he was probably going to re-sell them all on Amazon and make big bucks because I sold them to him for 50 cents. Another guy had an actual machine that he held up to the books. I think it scanned those numbers on the back and then he could tell what they were worth. The best people to sell to were the kids. They would just find a toy they loved and carry it around begging until their parents relented and handed over the quarter.

It felt so good to see the floor of my garage. Nothing went back into it - we filled the van (without seats) three times with all the stuff we donated. I have a long way to go, but I am bound and determined to de-clutter if it's the last thing I do. In that same vein, I have found a great book. It is all about the connection between the state of our homes and the way we feel. The book is apartment therapy: the eight-step home cure.  The author has an eight week plan to "fix" my housing woes.  I just have to wonder if he can send over a few carpenters and tile setters while he's at it.  The basement project continues, however the backyard deck and fireplace will have to wait till spring.  My desire to leave education has left us without my income.  I have been looking for something to do from home for months and finally found a great part-time position working for a PR firm.  I'll work from home, have minimal hours so we have enough extra cash for groceries, and I can still be more involved in the kids' lives.  It's so nice to get some good news.

If the job doesn't work, I think I could make a living helping people with their garage sales.  It only takes one time to figure out all the mistakes and how you can make it better!

Sunday, October 12, 2008

The D-O-G

So. I'm a dog owner. How the hell did that happen? I have never had a dog. Never. Growing up we had gerbils. They reproduced like crazy which was really good because they died all the time. My parents wouldn't let us keep them upstairs and I think they all froze to death in our Minnesota basement. My brother and I begged for dogs or cats, but we were turned down cold. I didn't really know many dogs, so I had no idea what they were really like.

When I got out on my own, I got a cat. Then I got another one. One was named "Dave" whom I rescued from a small cage at a pet shop next to a Thai place in Wausau, WI. I can remember everything from that evening. He looked so sad, but as soon as he came home he was pretty much a wild man. I can't remember exactly all of his antics, however I remember I could never have fresh flowers. He would knock them over.

Fast forward a few years, and I met Chris. We dated long distance for a year, but would visit every other weekend. When he came to see me, his eyes would water and his head would get all stuffed up. It was the hardest thing to give up those two cats, but when we decided to live together it was necessary. As the kids have grown, they have always asked about getting a dog or a cat. We would throw out the "your father is allergic" excuse and it usually stopped the conversation for a few weeks. It wasn't hard for me to say "no". I am really not a dog person. I don't stop on the sidewalk and pet other people's dogs. I don't ask about people's dogs. I don't even like it when they come up and sniff me. Everyone knows this about me, but one of my friends must have known that inside my dog-disliking soul was really a dog-loving soul SCREAMING to come out. She knew that all she had to do was wait about four years and I would melt and cave. All she would have to do is call from the Humane Society and say, "You HAVE to come and see this dog. She is so wonderful. I would adopt her in a second if my husband would let me have a third dog." And all of a sudden, this switch went off and as I drove to the Humane Society, all my kids in tow, I knew that I would be coming home with this dog.

My friend joined us so that she could show her to us. The dog was let out of her cage and we walked into a dog run. She started leaping around. Literally. Leaping like a gazelle. It was so obvious that she was thrilled to be out of her pen. She came up to each one of us, at different times, to greet us. She was affectionate and adorable. I called Chris and told him about her. He said that we should get her because it was obvious that we already had fallen for her. His allergies were never brought up.

Basie has been with us for a few weeks now. I feel as if I've joined an exclusive club - dog ownership. It's the same feeling I got after Harrison was born. I no longer resented crying babies in restaurants - I just felt bad for their parents. Now that I have a dog, I no longer cringe when I hear the dog behind us barking late into the evening. I worry for him/her instead.

The learning curve is steep and I've been thrown in feet first. She has been sick twice already each with their own medicines. First she had an upper respiratory infection. Through this experience I learned not to freak out every time she sneezed mucus all over my living room. Her nose was actually running. I WIPED A DOG'S NOSE! Then her nose dried out and I put Vaseline on it. I also learned how to give her pills pretty much from the first day we got her. I can whip my fingers behind her canines and open her mouth in a second flat. I throw the pill down her throat, rub her throat gently and keep her mouth shut until her tongue comes out and I know she's swallowed. Can you believe I know this? Non-dog-owners could give a shit, I know, but I just had to share. After she finished her first antibiotic, I had to go back to the vet for two booster shots. They casually recommended that I drop off a stool sample. "Here" the tech said, "Just put it in this tiny CLEAR bottle with this stick and then bring it back within two hours of collecting it. Do you need a glove?" I just stared. The pills were one thing, but this was a bit much.

Sure enough the test came back positive for giardia. Something about the cell count on the slide being so high they couldn't count them all. More pills, and some powder for her food. At least she's eating now. She didn't eat the first two weeks, so nothing worked to entice her to take her pills.

She may also have asthma. She has this reverse sneezing wheezing thing she does quite a bit. It usually happens when she's been exercising a lot, or sniffing a lot. Yes, Basie probably has allergies.

So we've come full circle. Chris is indeed allergic to Basie, but he hasn't said that out loud. He is really stuffed up, and has been using his inhaler more, but we keep attributing it to the remodeling he's doing in the basement. And the dog is possibly allergic to us. The love we all have for each other, though, makes all of that go away. This dog is the most loving, fun animal I've ever known.

I think it all comes down to this...Basie makes our family happier. She's been a ton of work. She's not fully potty trained, so I've been walking miles a day with her, but I can't help but accept that adding her to our home is one of the smartest decisions we've made.

Monday, October 06, 2008

Just a little tidbit I don't want to forget

The kids are at such a fun age. They actually have great senses of humor and can understand (and sometimes even appreciate) my sarcasm. Today after school, we went shoe shopping. Ella has outgrown everything except her sandals and suddenly the weather has turned blustery and cold. She was having a hard time picking out which shoes she liked the most. It was starting to drive me nuts and then Harry somehow got involved. Here's a quick recap of the conversation that followed:

Me: You two are doorknobs. (my favorite expression for everyone. Clever? no. Creative? yes. Non-sensical? absolutely.)

Harry: If we were "doorknobs" we wouldn't know anything.

Ella: yeah! that 5+5=10. The only things "doorknobs" know is how to turn.

We all cracked up. It was so fun to see them realizing that they could be funny.

Mud pies

The weather had been unusually warm for early fall in Utah.  Highs in the 80s through last week.  During one of these warm afternoons last week, Harrison got bored and then got creative.  He put on his swimsuit and grabbed the hose.  Our in-progress-front-landscaping seemed a little dry to him.  He asked Ella to help him water it.