Tuesday, February 15, 2011

I Am Not Trying to Break Her Heart

Viva has been asking for a dog since she was 3 years old. For a couple of years there, she would ask for a dog pretty much Every. Single. Day.  Finally, Sweet Dub declared that we would get her a puppy when she turned 8. At that point, he reasoned, she would be semi-responsible enough to handle some of the chores that come with having a dog, although he realized that We the Parents would have the bulk of the caretaking duties.  Viva was satisfied with this, and at every birthday since, she has mentioned that she is one year closer to getting a dog. You know, in case we forgot.


You see the foreshadowing, right? Okay, moving on.


When we moved into our current house, we brought it up with the landlords to make sure they would be okay with us getting a dog. They were dog owners themselves and said that was fine. All was well.


We are now less than two months away from Viva's 8th birthday. And we also now realize we must move in September, if not before, since our landlords have moved back to CA and want their house back.  I would hate to get a dog and then have to move into a place that's not pet-friendly out of desperation or financial necessity and then have to farm it out to relatives, or worse, take it to the pound. So here we are. For literally years, we've been planning to get a dog (or two) when Viva turns 8. I've imagined various scenarios via which we would surprise her, the joy on her face, etc., and dammit, just the plain fun of having a puppy.


It doesn't look like that's going to happen in the planned timeframe. It bums me out on Viva's behalf.


Also (and take with a grain of salt): the Experts say that you shouldn't introduce a cat or dog into the family if you have a baby or toddler. You should ideally wait until the kid is at least three to minimize the possibility of the animal biting an over-affectionate or not very gentle kid. So there's that then.


Keep in mind that my own parents promised me a dog for years. I actually got a puppy (the cutest thing EVER) when I was 11. My mom named her Jamocha, after her favorite coffee, but we called her Moki for short. I housetrained her, I walked her, I was actually pretty responsible with her. And then my parents decided she was getting too big for our (admittedly small) apartment and GAVE HER AWAY. I know the heartbreak and I can't do that to my baby.


(Even now as an adult, I understand why we couldn't keep the puppy but it still makes me furious that they would let me get a German Shepherd-Lab mix in the first place. You had to figure it was going to be a fairly large dog. But that's a psychological scab you don't want to pick at, so let's bury it deep once again and move on.)


I'm hoping we can put Viva off for a while (tell her she'll have to wait for now), get our housing situation settled, and then surprise her with a puppy at Christmas. Maybe.


(My puppy was so cute. She was black and tan and when she wagged her tail her whole body would shake back and forth.  The first night she came home I slept snuggled up with her on the kitchen floor. )


What about you? Have you ever promised something to a child and then had to back off? Did you pretty much feel like crap? Discuss.


Monday, February 14, 2011

Now I Kiss You on the Nose

Happy Love Day!

I am filled with love for you and the universe.

And yet I did not get you anything for Valentine’s Day. No roses, no chocolate, no extravagant jewelry.

Just love.

Here it is.

I didn’t wrap it, but I hope you like it anyway.

Love & kisses,
Mama Blah Blah

Friday, February 11, 2011

More Joy, Less Stuff

Earlier this week, I was working from home one day and my Internet service (which is very, shall we say, quirky, at best) suddenly decided it had had enough. Despite my best efforts, and a 40-minute phone conversation with my carrier (AT&T, whose customer service department truly must look like Outsourced), nothing would make it come back on. Well, what to do? I could get in my car and drive 25 minutes back to my office, waste time explaining why I was there, work for another hour and a half and then leave to go pick up Ceeya, or I could try and channel my rage constructively. I suppose there are a couple of other options—such as declaring the day a wash and either going shopping or lying on the couch watching DVDs and scarfing potato chips—but instead, I chose to tackle our home office.

I have to say, SOMEBODY in my house is completely disorganized when it comes to paperwork, and that SOMEBODY isn’t me.

Also: it seems we might need a shredder. There is a mountain (perhaps not a mountain, perhaps a small hillock) of paper in that room that we no longer need but cannot simply throw away recycle.

I’m not done, but I’m already feeling better about it.

Now as far as the Internet: still not working. I picture AT&T execs just sitting around on cushy lounges made of money, wearing T-shirts that say “Customer Service is for Suckas.” They probably smoke, too. And eat live kittens for fun.

In other earth-shattering news, the weekend has arrived. Enjoy it to the utmost!

I'm going to do something fun.

Wednesday, February 02, 2011

Digging Out

First off, apologies for the misleading post title. It’s not about digging out from the snow, and as a native of New England, my sympathies to all of you out there across the land who are neck-deep in drifts and anxiously surveying the overcast sky. Believe me, more sympathetic I could not be. I’ve been there. Unpleasant.

No, what’s on my mind is digging out from under all kinds of clutter—emotional, mental, and of course, the actual tangible stuff that threatens to swallow my house. I’m on a simplicity kick for the new year. I haven’t made a resolution about it, since that’s not my thing, but I have this overwhelming urge to fix everything. You could read a lot into this. Here, I’ll get you started: my husband has been laid off now for ten months. We are fortunate that (a) he got a severance package; (b) he is eligible for unemployment benefits; and (c) we had a pretty good cushion of savings built up before this happened. We have been making it work. Every avenue that he has looked into in hopes of getting paid employment has taken far longer than we hoped. It doesn’t mean none of these leads will pan out ever; but it is stressful knowing that (a) his eligibility period for unemployment will run out in a few months; and (b) we are going to have to move out of our rental home in September and we had been hoping to buy a house at the end of this lease. Since our savings are dwindling, I can’t see how that would happen. The owner of the house, who moved out of state for a job offer, got laid off and now wants her house back (but is honoring the lease, so at least we have until September). Moving requires a significant outlay of cash, so I am not liking that. Oh, and (c) Miss Ceeya has to move from daycare to preschool. Still looking for a preschool and dreading the thought of having to put down a deposit. Keeping her out of childcare is not an option, as ironically Sweet Dub is busier now than he was when he had a job—he is literally working day and night on various projects he’s trying to get off the ground.

So things are feeling a bit out of control, and that is not a feeling I like all that much. Hence, the urge to undertake some project where I can create the illusion of some kind of order. I have been reading a couple of books lately about simplifying one's life and they are calming me down and inspiring me. Maybe at some point I will even review one (or both!) of these books here. Yes, that could happen. Anyway, moving on…

Is it wrong that one of the main messages I take away from both books (neither of which I have yet finished) is that I must cut the number of toys in my house by half? Is it also wrong that I hold in my head a completely unattainable vision of an organized, clutter-free home office/exercise room/back entry that doesn’t contain IKEA bookshelves, various pieces of sporting equipment and random power cords belonging to who knows what?

Now if only I could stay awake after the kids are in bed to get some of these projects going while simultaneously sublimating my anxiety…stay tuned.