Congratulations on the new puppy ~ But a Basset Hound?

My friend Stella just brought home a new bundle of joy. She rescued an adorable female basset hound…

Hail Mary, full of grace! The Lord is with thee; blessed art thou among women, and blessed is the fruit of thy womb, Jesus…

How could anybody resist this adorable little thing? Look at her face!!

I get it. I’ve rescued a dog or two myself. (And a cat one time.) But I just might have some willpower in resisting a Basset Hound. Once in this lifetime is enough for me…

Growing up, we had a Basset Hound named Mike—for 10 years. Our family adored him. Even though he was a tad bit stubborn and mostly did what he wanted to do.

For example, Mike LOVED going for walks. But if he tired or decided he was done, Mike flopped down on the sidewalk for a rest. And that was it. His walk was over. The options? Carry him home, or cool our heels until he got it moving again.

I remember an incident when we had company visiting our house. My mother had a plate of chocolate chip cookies on the coffee table. Mike simply put his face in the cookies and ate them. Just helped himself. Even if we could have rescued a cookie, who would have wanted one?

Good times growing up with “Iron Mike” around…

We called him Iron Mike after he chewed up a razor, and then swallowed most of it. Blade and all. And didn’t DIE.

There was the time he stole my fathers false teeth from the night stand. (Thank goodness he didn’t chew them). But the relative who happened upon Mike lounging with a set of teeth between his paws was beside herself. She thought the dogs teeth had somehow fallen out!!

Iron Mike loved my mother. They often relaxed in our sunroom; both of them on the sofa. Mike curled up with half of his body on my mother’s lap—Mom patting his head.

When Iron Mike was bad, my mother would ask him, “Do you want to get the needle?”  (As in Euthanasia…)

But on a good day, she patted his head.


Quite a few years ago, when my kids were in elementary school, we shared a neighborhood with Gus. Many days, Gus napped in the middle of the street. On his side. Short legs stretched out.

The development had narrow roads. When the school bus came through, Gus would NOT move. The bus would stop, honk its horn. No reaction from the dog. Gus continued to count sugar plums.

Whoever was outside: GUS! Come here

Gus opened an eye…some days even lifted his head…then went back to sleep.

Whoever was outside: GUS! Want a treat? Here Gus….GUS!!!   

Same thing. Gus opened an eye, (maybe) lifted his head…then went back to sleep

This went on until somebody dragged him (many times by his collar…and still on his side) out of the road.

With no room to back up, the bus had no choice but to roll down the narrow road Gus occupied and turn around in the cul-de-sac. That was the only way to get back out of the development.  And the street was too narrow for the bus (or even a car) to get around Gus…

Not sure. But I wonder if that is why our kids had a new bus driver each year?

Holy Mary, Mother of God, pray for us sinners, now and at the hour of our death. Amen.

I will pray that Stella has an abundance of patience and keeps her sense of humor. (As well as her sanity…)

Of all people, I understand the need to bring a puppy home. I am weak, when it comes to dogs.

And Lulu (that is her name, so far) is ONE cute puppy.

What is WRONG with this picture?

Something just isn’t RIGHT with my dogs.

I was at my computer working away a couple of days ago. The house was quiet and the dogs were resting. They are excellent at resting. Besides walking, swimming and eating, it is their FAVORITE activity.

But, The Red Dog was resting in the cage?

His cage days are long over. He used a cage as a puppy for about 6 months or so. Yet if there is a cage up, he is IN.

Where was the Little Black Dog who is just over a year old? Curled up on the couch…sound asleep.

Why do we have a cage set up?

Trust me, I wonder this myself. We rarely use it.

We have the cage out for The Little Black Dog. She is a Perfect pet 99% of the time. Every once in a while, she decides to chew up a shoe, a permanent marker, or some such thing. This generally happens when we are unusually busy–such as last weekend when we were at a wrestling tournament most of the weekend.

She might get irritable and chew a shoe. Or she might not.

I like the cage, because it eliminates the element of surprise when I return home.

However, The Red Dog LIKES the cage. When I am trying to get The Little Black Dog in, Big Red hustles in. Then The Black dogs runs away. And I have to drag The Red Dog out (because he is happy and doesn’t WANT to vacate the cage), then find The Black Dog…and it ends up being a circus.

Which makes sense. My LIFE is a three ring circus many days…

Don’t feel too sorry for The Red Dog. He sometimes enjoys a bit of ‘couch time.’

Probably, the dogs BOTH get far more time on the couch than I do. Really, they have it made…








Last Week (i.e. My Grumpy Week)

MY SON & I ... Before he got taller than me

I admit it. I was grumpy last week.

Partly due to sleep deprivation. There was a night earlier in the week when my son wandered the house after midnight. He mumbled and slammed kitchen cupboards.

I got up to investigate.

He grabbed a Snickers and a Gatorade, then headed back to bed.

With me a few steps behind him…

What  to do? Should a sleepwalking child be allowed a late night snack? And if not, what was I to do about it? Wrestle it away from my 6 foot—and growing—son? Seriously, he pats the top of my head, when he walks by me these days…

After he settled back in bed and I made sure he didn’t choke, I caught a few more hours sleep. Until The Red Dog woke me. I staggered out of bed at 3am and found him barking his as# off in the middle of the kitchen.

So, I let him outside to go potty. Had to be what he needed…

As I stood at the sliding door waiting for him to come back, I swayed a little—my eyes were closed. I wasn’t awake. At some point, I opened my eyes and struggled to focus. Then I rubbed them.

Surely The Red Dog was NOT making snow angels?

And yet, he was rolling around on his back in the snow with all four feet tossed in the air. His tail thumped against the ground, which sent snow flying into the air around him. He wiggled around happily, as if it were the middle of the day.

He woke me up because he wanted to PLAY in the snow???

If I didn’t love that dog so much, he would be dead.

Like so many others, I’ve been under extreme financial pressure this winter. A number of things have not gone my way–and too many days have been an uphill battle.

So the last thing I needed was my sleep disrupted. I am a single parent with teenagers, looking for a career at 41–or even just a job. My life has changed so drastically in the past several years, it isn’t surprising that I would be out of sorts once in a while.

I am just not used to a bad mood hanging on for more than 10 minutes. Making my ‘grumpy week’ a rare thing. Normally, I can find the positive in difficult situations and make the best of them.

Which made it all the more upsetting that I couldn’t quite to get to that place last week.

And my new thing? I keep waking in the night…biting my nails. In MY SLEEP. Who chews on their nails while asleep? A person who is tense, I guess.

I was already at the end of my rope when I found out that I have ugly feet.

Trust me, there are pieces parts of me that I am NOT a fan of—but my feet? I LIKE my feet. Or at least I did, until last week when the kids, dogs and I were lounging on our huge sectional.

Daughter: Can you cover your feet?

Me: Okay.

I grabbed a blanket and tossed it over my legs and feet—I was cold anyway.

Daughter: I hate looking at your feet.

Me: Yes I know you hate feet.

Daughter: No, it’s really just YOUR feet I don’t like.

This was news to me…

Daughter: Yeah. Yours are so BIG. And UGLY.

Me: They do look better when I have a pedicure…

Daughter:  No. That almost makes it worse. Calls MORE attention to them…

(The red tootsies above left are mine after a pedicure last summer…)

If my feet  ARE ugly, I suppose a pedicure would be a bit like putting lipstick on a pig. It’s still a pig, right?

So now I am financially stretched, looking for a job, trying to parent teenagers, frequently awakened in the night by people and dogs—or by my own nail biting. With feet (which I HAD thought were just fine) that are BIG and UGLY.

If I wasn’t so stretched, I would for sure get a pedicure! Just to see my daughter’s face, when she spotted my toes. And trust me, I wouldn’t put socks on until she saw them.  I might even have chosen a glittery polish to really drive her crazy. But that won’t be happening just now…

Which I am okay with. Mainly because my grumpiness disappeared by weeks end. And I had a wonderful weekend.

So, I am looking forward to this week. It will surely be better than last…

One of my favorite people in all the world will be in town for a visit–Aunt Kate. As always, her yellow lab Bailey will travel with her. AND…they are staying at our house.

Baily will likely make herself comfortable on my couch, because that’s what she does.

I don’t expect that which has stressed and frustrated me be worked out overnight. So I am trying to be patient, while things fall into place. Trying to see the humor in it all. And to be grateful for the many, many blessings in my life.

To remember that “This too shall pass.”

Dating in the “Loser” Bracket…

Not only did I NOT have a hot date last Saturday night, I never made it out of my pajama’s. Partly because 3 feet of snow fell unexpectedly—and left us snowed in.  A white horse was not necessary; my Night in Shining Armor ideally would have shown up with some sort of snowplow…


If not for the Lake Effect Snowstorm in Northeast Ohio, I would have spent Saturday at a wrestling tournament.  I’ve watched a fair amount of wrestling tournaments this winter, which is why the wrestling analogy comes to mind.

I am in the relationship loser’s bracket—like wrestlers who have lost in the early rounds. They cannot get back into contention for a top finishing spot. They get dumped down into the ‘consolation’ matches and wrestle others who have wrestled poorly, made mistakes, or are simply less capable in the sport. It can’t be all that much fun to wrestle in consolation matches.

The kids and I often watch Millionaire Matchmaker on TV. In the show, Patty Stanger finds singles their Perfect Match and has done so with great success for many years. It is obvious that many of the singles remain ‘single’ because they have no idea how to have a relationship. Those Patty matches are often older, with many failed relationships under their belts–and an equal amount of hang-ups. But they think they are fine, that the problem lies in others, or that they just haven’t met ‘the one’ yet.

But really, they are fu%&wits.  Sadly, this TV series has shown me that most singles my age and older are fu%&wits.

And, so am I. After a failed marriage and a (somewhat short) failed relationship, I have hang-ups .

I’d love to claim that I do NOT have these hang-ups—that I have come out of my experiences unscathed. But that would be a lie.

At 41, I am a divorced, single parent. And I am FOR SURE in the losers bracket.

My dating pool? Other failures…

I know a woman whose friend toasted her at her third wedding;

“Here’s to the most optimistic person I know!”

There’s truth there.

I often meet single men when I go out. And I find myself wondering if I could ever commit to a future with another.  It’s easy to talk, to socialize or even to date. That’s all surface. Making a life with somebody is something else altogether.  And I wonder if could ever trust without reservation, or have the proper amount of optimism necessary for a real relationship…

Adults in my situation often play at dating. Meaning they date in a sort of half-assed fashion, with no progression. No engagement or promises of a future, though a future might vaguely be tossed around. They keep their options open.

Which is totally fine. But I don’t think that counts as a relationship. Not really.

That type of thinking is something I NEVER would have understood a few years back. But now I totally get it. In fact, the thought of limiting my options or tying myself down again makes my palms sweat.

I would think that I would get over those feelings in time. Because I would like to share my life with somebody special. Someday. In the distant—and vague—future.

One thing I’ve learned.  I would far rather be alone, than be with a person who causes me unhappiness, tension or who tries to change me into somebody I am not.

Many think that relationships fall apart when people live together, or marry. I’ve started to think that things fall apart when people are not ‘themselves.’ If a relationship progresses and a couple spend the dating phase being something/somebody they are NOT and they decide to share a home, let’s face it…THE JIG IS UP!!  And in a hurry…

Though I hope to have another ‘special’ man in my life—again, in the vague future—I’m not sure I could ever marry again. In marriage and committed relationships, both parties must drop their guard and throw caution to the wind. I could probably do that again for an extra ‘special’ man, if it was only me. But my children would inevitably be involved.

There’s no getting around it. Any relationship of mine will impact my children. And they have been through enough. Why have them dragged to holiday celebrations with people who aren’t ‘family’ to them—in the name of what works for me? For me,iIt is unthinkable to miss the children’s’ important events, or spend special occasions/holiday’s without my children. It is a rare person who would understand my limitations here.

And if I ever lived with somebody, my adult children might come home from college or for a visit at a place that wasn’t ‘home’ to them. Or likely didn’t feel like home. Our dynamic would be altered.

Oddly enough, I am often asked if I could see myself back together with my ex-husband. I cannot. We had many good years together and we get along just fine as a ‘friends’—but that is done. I simply don’t feel the same way about him, as I did before all he%$ broke loose in our marriage. And not because of the hurts I suffered. Or even that he suffered.

The divorce hurt my children. As an adult, I can get over that which hurt me. But hurt my children (or ANY children) and ALL is lost for me. I just cannot feel the same about a person after that. In my book, no words, gifts or deed can make up for causing hurt to a child. Period. There is no explanation good enough. Especially considering that children get only one childhood.

Yet I am keenly aware that children follow their parents’ lead. That they look to their us as role models for their future relationships. I very much wish I could set an example for my children—but maybe no example is better than a bad example. Or exposing them to several failed relationships.

And so there I was last weekend. Snowed in.  All plans cancelled. With time on my hands to ponder my feelings on another relationship. Because recent events had me thinking about what I really want, or at least how I want to proceed…

Which is why I thought of the wrestlers. How frustrating it must be to put so much time, energy and dedication into their sport…then lose. And wrestling is one tough sport. They probably aren’t eager to get back on the mat and wrestle for…nothing, really. Some of them must feel that to continue wrestling in the consolation bracket isn’t at ALL worth it.

I’m not sure it is worth dating in the ‘consolation bracket’ either.

Ricky (the rabid?) Raccoon…meets my dogs???

When I pulled into my driveway yesterday and opened the car door, both dogs bolted in the opposite direction of our front door. They NEVER do that. They always trot straight to the front door.

“Grace! Rocky!” I shouted, as I ran around the back of the car. Then, I stopped dead in my tracks. BOTH dogs hovered over Ricky Raccoon, who was in a heap on my front lawn.

That’s when I REALLY went ballistic and yelled for the dogs to get in the house.

For once, the Red Dog was (somewhat) obedient and hurried over to the front door. I quickly let him in the house.

The dog I thought was smart stood over Ricky Raccoon, curious…trying to figure him out.  After a minute, she headed to the front door and relief washed over me.

When the dogs charged Ricky Raccoon, my first thought was that Ricky would attack them. And with $1200 total spent on vet bills this past month, another trip to the vet was out of the question.

The sight of those dogs ready to pounce on Ricky (the rabid?) Raccoon had me in a sweat. My heart raced.

Once the dogs and I were inside, I tried to collect myself. To calm my nerves.

Obviously, Ricky was not feeling well. Generally, raccoons don’t loll around on the ground, with dogs nearby. Periodically, Ricky’s head moved. Or his body shifted. But it was barely noticeable. He mostly looked like a large stuffed animal  tossed in a heap on the front lawn.

I called the Sheriff’s Office, because I have never had a half-dead, or dying raccoon lounging on my front lawn.

Me: I’m not sure what to do. There is barely moving raccoon in my front yard.

Dispatcher: Name? Address? We’ll send a Sheriff over to shoot and bag it. Then the health department will come pick it up in a day or so.

Me: Okay…

Eeeewwwwww. Gross!!

I’m not a fan of guns. Have never even held one in my hand. And the thought of an animal having its guts blown out in my front yard made me nauseous.

Ten minutes earlier, I rode along in my Trusty Honda, headed home to put groceries away and get dinner started. I sang (badly) along with the radio as I pulled into my driveway. All was right in my world…

How do these things always HAPPEN to me?

It wasn’t long before the Sheriff showed up.

Me: He’s over there…

Sheriff: I see him.

We stood on my front steps looking at Ricky out in the yard. There was some idle chitchat while he took my name and address. My cell phone interrupted our conversation.

Me: Yes?

Darling Daughter: Mom, are you cooking dinner?

Me: Yes. Can I call you  back? I’m talking to the Sheriff who is about to shoot the raccoon in our yard

Darling Daughter: What are you making?

Me: Spaghetti, Salad, Garlic Bread. Listen, I need to call you back.

Darling Daughter:  Yummm.

Daughter clearly wasn’t phased by the happenings at home…

The Sheriff at first managed to stifle his chuckles, but then lost the battle. He was openly laughing at me as I got off the phone.

Sheriff: Sorry. But that was a funny conversation to have.

Me:  Yeah. These things happen to me. I don’t know why. My kids are used to it. That conversation wasn’t all that unusual around here…

The Sheriff needed a garbage bag. I really, REALLY wanted to give him a cheap white garbage bag—given I am down to my last two giant, heavy-duty, black bags. The cheap, thin bag seemed a bad idea. Ricky was rather chunky. What if the Sheriff lifted the flimsy, white bag and Ricky busted through, then tumbled onto my driveway?

The offending bagged raccoon would be left at the end of my driveway for  “a day or two” in his plastic coffin, until the health department picked him up. I didn’t want the tail, or a foot to break through the bag. What if I could see the mess inside the cheap white bag when I got my mail, or pulled in and out of my driveway? Worse…what if Ricky eyeballed me with lifeless eyes through the thin white bag? I grudgingly handed over one of my last ‘good’ garbage bags. (And yes—those thoughts did run through my mind. I am being honest.)

Sheriff: Just go inside and don’t come out until you hear the gunshot.

Me: I’m going to HEAR it?

Sheriff: Yes. I need to use my shotgun. If I used my other gun, I’d have to shoot it between the eyes and the health department might not be able to look over the head.

Me: Oh.

Eeeeewwww. Way too much information!

He didn’t need to tell me twice. I hauled  my a#& into the house, then cringed at the loud ‘boom’ noise.

When I pulled out of the driveway to get my son from wrestling practice a few minutes later, I couldn’t miss the black bag.  At least I couldn’t see Ricky. Nor could he eye me up.

I wonder what today will bring?