shredded paper

29 07 2010

I’m feeling a little more chipper today.  Thanks for the emails and prayers, guys.  I need to forgive myself more for being a mere human and find the joy in the tiny things.

Like Nola impersonating the sand monster from Dune when I put some lotion on her really itchy snout.  It’s a great visual!

I finally emptied the birds’ nest after they abandoned this most recent clutch.  There were about 15 unhatched eggs in there and it was getting really ridiculous.  As soon as they’d incubate the eggs and realize they were infertile, they’d build another nest on top of the existing nest.

Last time, I had given them some straw and dry grasses from the pet store to use for the nest and they wove it endlessly.  Doves are terrible at making nests so endlessly means that they’d get pissed off at each other and throw the other’s work out of the nest and then spend hours guarding “home base.”  On a whim, I added some thinly shredded card stock and they LOVED it.

This time, instead of the straw I just put in a handful of thinly shredded unbleached paper and they’re having a ball.  They’re still fighting like crazy but it’s easier for them to pick up and manipulate.  I’m trying to avoid them with the camera because they get all freaked out and Pete’s been attacking me with his little beak.  It feels like getting tapped very lightly with a toothpick.  It just pisses him off all the more that it doesn’t bug me at all.

My birds are crazy creatures.  Otherwise they’d really hate living here.

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Eggs

13 03 2010

Cami laid an egg on March 4th!  I’m keeping a diary of it because it’s her very first egg.  I hope it’s a real chick and not just a dud egg.  Normally doves lay 2 eggs at a time but this time we only got one.  She seemed like she was going to lay another for a day or two and never did.  Doves lay 30 eggs a year (15 clutches) and only half of them are fertilized.  They incubate them all, though, and won’t lay another set until the set in the nest has hatched.

What does this mean for our house?  Everything has revolved around The Egg.  The temperature of the house.  The humidity.  What time the lights get turned on and off.  Checking the nest to make sure the egg is still in it (it did somehow get flipped out once.)  Making sure Pete is happy on his roost.  Making sure Cami has enough calcium supplement in the food bowl.

It takes 14 days to incubate an egg, apparently, and this just means my crazy ass is going through the TTC stress all over again.  “Is it really a baby or did it not get fertilized?  Was the egg damaged at all when it fell?  Is everything just right?”  You know, I KNOW that birds do this all the time in the wild without any help or worrying and in less than prime conditions.

Then I read an article that said some female birds are infertile (all their eggs are duds) and that the male half of their matched pair will reject the female.  Normally doves mate for life like geese do.  I’m really hoping my bad egg curse/karma/craziness doesn’t affect them.  All our furry animals are neutered and spayed so it doesn’t matter.  Now I’m spayed too… and the birds are the only potentially reproductive pair.

Anyways, here’s a picture of Cami and Egg just after it was laid.  I’ve hesitated to take pictures since because I don’t want to scare Pete off his roost.  He’s already such a good birdie daddy!

I really hope there’s a baby bird in there!





quick and in a hurry

6 08 2009

I had my OB/GYN appt yesterday and it went so unbelievably well!  I thought I’d have to talk the doctor into a hysterectomy instead of trying the months of things that were such a failure in my mom and sister.  I literally don’t think I’d survive hormone treatments, an ablation, or all that other stuff that led up to my family’s hysterectomies.  So I went to the same doctor and gave him the run-down of health problems related to bleeding and he did the exam.

He totally agreed that a hysterectomy would be the best idea and that it be done as soon as possible.  He said it felt like an adenoma in the uterine wall that was causing all the pain and bleeding. ThankyouJesus!  He asked what my pregnancy plans were and I gave him the wtf look.  I’ve got three kids and I totally don’t ovulate.  He laughed and said that’s probably good because a pregnancy for me would most likely be “not low risk.”  I’d be on my back or in the hospital for the entire 10 months, the migraines and heart issues would probably get worse, and the medication I’m on can cause birth defects.  Let’s see… um, no baby maker sounds good to me.

I really like this doctor – he’s funny and sweet and really gives a damn.  He also dealt with my sister successfully and is therefore a saint.  There were a few really funny moments yesterday.  He did the breast exam and said “aw, a rubber ducky!”  I told him that my chest was the bath toy section of tattoos and I thought his eyes were going to bug out of his head.  “W-w-what?”  I had to show him the other boob (he would have gotten there anyways) with the scuba diving turtle.   While he was doing the “down there” exam he said “my stomach says burrrrrrrito.”  LOL!  It’s nearly impossible to laugh when you’re getting a cervical swab though so I just grinned.

My sister is the master of inappropriate comments and I was with Amber during all her baby stuff and all the uterine crap afterwards, so Dr. B knew I’m ok with random shit.  He asked Amber if she really was comfortable with a hysterectomy and she told him “all my uterus does is bleed, cause pain, and produce bastard children. ”  See, I didn’t know this when he asked me the same thing and I said “it’s like 5 lbs of worthless flesh.  When can you go get it?”  Although, I’ll never have reason to tell him to reach on up there and grab the kid by the fro and get him OUT so he’s going to have an easier time with me.

We went through all the health stuff and he pronounced me a healthy 28 year old female, other than the problems with the heart and brain and uterus… lol.  I can’t wait to not have the uterus problem.  I feel trapped by the stupid body and once it’s able to actually heal instead of getting caught up from bleeding only to bleed again, I’ll feel so much better.

My sister and mom are so happy for me.  Shaun is too, but he’s worried about logistics.  He’s a PM, so that’s his natural state.  My dad said “no more grandbabies from my daughters…” I was like, Dad, I know where to get grandbabies!  There’s like 100million in foster care.  (Although, I told the doctor I bought my kids at Wal-Mart.  It’s my standard answer for “where did they come from?”  Wal-Mart.)

So, surgery is August 20th.  Before then, I need to get this house spotless and the kids’ schedules down pat so that the family doesn’t get totally manipulated by my youngsters.  I also need to coordinate who is going to help out on what days during what time.  I need to get my laptop configured and all my TV shows onto a flash drive so I won’t be totally bored during the hospital stay.  My cell is a wireless tether so I’ll have internet but cell coverage is spotty in the hospital.  I’m pretty sure I can unplug for a couple of days… but that may just make me crazy.

Today is open house and kiddos start school on Monday.  Most of A’s uniforms are washed, so I just need to get those separated into outfits.  All the school supplies are bought and packed up in backpacks and ready to go.  E’s the only one that will be home with me during the day, so most of the help I’ll need during the day will be with him and transporting the kiddos to and from school and making meals.  I may need to call the vet and ask for some puppy sedatives for Nola and Abbie.  Either that or duct tape a pillow to my tummy to ward off Nola hugs and just let Abbie do her over-protective “don’t come near my mommy” thing.

I’d better log off and start cleaning.  I’m going to sweep then give each kid a wet magic eraser and let em go at the floors.  They’re closer than I am.  🙂





Manipulation tactics

4 08 2009

Shaun and I were talking about manipulation last night.  It’s interesting how we all do it unconsciously and even children learn it very early – like in the first few months of life.  We have three children, three large dogs, two cats, and two diamond doves and all but one regularly manipulate us to get what they want. All but one step up their tactics or try aggression when manipulation doesn’t work.

That makes the one abnormal.  It’s really strange to see such blatant honesty lived out and she really doesn’t realize she’s atypical.  The one is our Great Dane, Nola.  All the other babies, human and fur, have manipulation tactics that range from playing coy, buttering you up, trying to get on your good side, using the sandwich effect*, and all the way up to blatant con-man tricks.  Ernie uses the whore tactic – make you think you’re the most wonderful thing in the world until he’s successfully stolen what’s on your plate and sampled your drink too.  Abbie stares and begs.  Cali pretends she’s dumb (she’s got the dumb act down PERFECT) then when you least expect it, she goes for what she wants.  Spooks has us all convinced that HE’S the master of the house and we should bring him gifts and attention.  Even the birds manipulate you – they repeat your coos and fluff up and act happy.  They know happy people give good things.  However, forget to pay attention or give them a millet spray, your ass is getting pelted with birdseed until you do it.

Nola just really is that happy.  I’ve read that about other Great Dane’s too – that they’re abnormally goofy and happy.  They want their people to be goofy and happy too… apparently so they can pretend to be lapdogs  and get hugs.  Nola LOVES hugs more than anything else.  She’ll come up, stand up on her hind legs so she can wrap her front legs around you and lay her head on your chest.  When she sees me or Shaun be grumpy, she looks so confused.  Like “what the hell?  You must need a hug.”

I’ve met other dogs who were just as happy but they were “touched in the head” as my Granny would say.  They aren’t all that bright and that’s ok too – there are plenty of dog lovers who love those big lugs.  We like dogs who solve problems and think for themselves.  This is a mixed blessing though – we end up with dogs who think up ways to get out of the fenced in yard.

But normally thinking dogs are more serious and sober.  Nola is neither serious nor sober.  Last night, Abbie was laying at my feet while I crocheted.  Actually, she layed UNDER my feet so that the soles of my feet were resting on her back.  Nola wanted me to play and I kept telling her no – the kids were in bed and to go lay down.  She laid down and then army crawled over right next to Abbie and set her head right ON TOP of my feet.  She rolled her eyes  up at me like “haha.”  Then she pounced me and wiggled her big but into my lap and tried to curl up.  Shaun tried to explain relative size to her but she just grinned at him.

* The sandwich effect is a business tactic.  If you have bad news or a message that will be responded to negatively, find two positive messages to sandwich the bad message in.





Big dog

3 08 2009

I just put up a new flickr set, showing step by step how to play with a big dog.  Featuring Nola, the giant twit, our youngest puppy.  She’s a Great Dane/German Shepherd mix and is the most wonderful dog.

She’s got a propensity for escape, hence the Orvis collar.  It’s got Shaun’s cell number on it in REALLY BIG NUMBERS so that which ever neighbor finally catches her can call us.  This isn’t hard because Nola loves people.  Her trademark stunt is to run at you full speed so that you shit your pants, then perform a dive-roll over onto your feet with her legs stuck straight up in the air.  She then makes big dog smiles to get you to rub her tummy.

Our neighbors call saying they “found” our dog but never seem to feel put out that they are now restraining a 70 lb dog.  Nola really is that much of a pleasure and she really is that adorable.  People are like “oh, it’s no problem! She’s such a sweet dog!”   The guy who caught her on Saturday said “you can tell she’s a runner with all those muscles.”  Yeah – there’s seriously no fat on that dog unlike our other two barrel butts.  I worry that people think we don’t feed her because she’s so lean, but the vet is happy with her weight and size, so we’re happy too.  If we fed her any more, we’d be going through a 50 lb bag of dog food every week.

Nola is a pound puppy – she was turned in to the shelter because she was too big.   That makes me wonder what people really expected when they adopt a Great Dane mix… she’s even on the small side for a Dane.  Did they not expect a puppy with paws the size of a dinner plate to, I don’t know, grow?

When Abbie was lost for that awful week and we were scouring the shelters every day, I was walking through the large dog room and saw Nola.  She jumped up on the bars, even though she’d been in the pound for a while, and licked me through the chain-link.  How can you resist that?  I just couldn’t leave her there even though it felt like a betrayal to Abbie.  God works wonders though – it was Nola’s scent in the back yard that brought Abbie back.  I looked out the window over the yard and saw them sitting nose to nose across the fence.   Abbie was covered in tar and ticks and was so dehydrated she could hardly move – but she had to know who was in her back yard.  That’s another story for another day, but I’d really like for you to enjoy the pictures above.

A common phrase in our house is “if you weren’t so damn cute…”





Once you go black (cat), you never go back

27 07 2009

A picture of my 10 year old boy, Spooks.  He loves my black rock’n’roll fleece blanket – I can’t even use it when he’s claimed it!  After this picture, he lazily opened one eye at me as if to say “are you seriously going to use a flash while I’m sleeping?”

DSC02149

He’s so cute even though he’s a pushy little shit!





Lots of work to do, no money to be found

19 07 2009

I know that on Sundays you aren’t supposed to worry about work.  Let it all wait until Monday and just take some time to relax.  Right…

I’d been joking for a few months about going to work at Hooters to get a little extra cash flow.  When the adoption went through, we lost about $1k a month in income because we didn’t want to wait for the special needs waiver to go through on A.  It would have put the adoption off for another 8 months or so and from experience we’ve learned that a lot can go wrong in 8 months.  LJ’s had gotten approved two days before we signed intent to adopt but being A is younger, we didn’t have enough documentation to get the rubber stamp.  It was better to just get the adoption finalized even without getting the special needs care she qualifies for.  We did, however, get federal Medicaid on all the kids until they’re 19 or out of high school.  It covers mental health treatments and that’s what we needed to ensure.

Note to potential adoptive parents:  make sure you get the adoption assistance.  It’s wounding to the pride, but you’re gonna need it and use it.

Back to Hooters.  I found out today that I can’t work there because I don’t meet protocol – tattoos are out of dress code.  Damn, that means I may have to find work where I use my IQ instead of my T&A.

Unless I find somewhere I can flex-work or work part time, work just isn’t a viable option yet.  I say yet, but the truth of it is that I’ll probably never be “cured.”  Shaun has intermittent FMLA leave enacted in his job because the next migraine could literally kill me.  Reading that on paper scared the crap out of me, even though I knew it.  The MVP puts me at a higher risk of stroke, syncope, and fatal arrythmias.  Being the migraines are severe enough to take out my vision and I often can’t keep anything down, dehydration is a major risk.  Not enough blood running through the heart equals regurgitation and syncope.

I want to just scream that it’s not fair.  I’m 28!  I’m one of the smartest, most talented people in the workforce (mathmatically speaking,) I have the will and want to work – but I can’t.  I can’t even lift my head some days.  When I feel like that though, I verbally tell myself to shut up.  One of the kids I went to school with just died from cancer this past week.  He wasn’t one of my friends, but we ran with the same crowd.  Well, as much as a socially-impared art geek can run with a crowd. I’m blessed beyond belief.

I think I’m just feeling older than my age.  Wednesday, I have an appt with the OBGYN to start talking about a hysterectomy.  Friday is Shaun’s and my 10 year anniversary.  September is the 10 year high-school reunion.  I have three kids, ages 9, 5, and 4.  Two of them have PTSD and the laundry list of abuse related and drug-exposure related mental illnesses.  The last one is trying his hand at tantrums, but doesn’t have the stamina to keep up the 4 hour fits his sister is capable of.

The kids keep bringing up in therapy that they’re scared because I’m sick and they don’t want to lose another mom.  I can tell them again and again that it’s just a headache, but they know.  Kids are really good at not accepting bullshit and I’m really terrible at lying.  I don’t believe I’m going to die but I do believe that I’ll probably battle this well into my 90s. I grew up taking care of my mom through the same thing and I’m a productive member of society.

Some days are great and I feel like I did before I got sick… or until the sickness that I was born with caught up with me enough to take me down.  I have energy.  I laugh and smile.  My grammar doesn’t suck.  I have patience and want to conquer the world. I think about another child.

Yesterday was one of those days.  We went out with the kids to thrift stores and antique stores.  We picked up some pipes for Shaun to restore.  I got some $3 keyboards at Goodwill to modify and some clock parts.  We spent the kids’ Toys’r’Us gift card and their McDonalds gift card.  It was beautiful and sunny and great.

This morning was the same way, but a bad night’s sleep and too much caffeine caught up with me around 4 pm.  I got out and cleaned the wheels and chrome on my Durango now that the local road work is done.  I started teaching A how to work the shower since she’s going to start school in 3 weeks.  I took apart one of the keyboards and started cleaning it and sanitizing it.  We had pizza with the big family at Mom’s and the cousins all got to play and we made hand puppets out of paper bags.  I finally gave the digital picture frames back to my dad (one we couldn’t set up without an SD card port… blah) and set up the one for my mom.  I sorted through jewelry with my sister and stole some of her stuff.  The stupid gate at the family’s place was deactivated so we didn’t have to wait to be buzzed in.

Around the time Mom went to church with Grandma, I was a snippy bitch.  I even snapped at my mom.  I snapped at the kids for singing Spongebob’s “idiot friends” song.  I came home and took a bath, finished a stupid book, and tried to steady myself with working on fixing a flatbed scanner.  What I should have done is taken a shot of Zomig.

Now I’m going to attempt to sleep it off after I get Cali cleaned up.  Nola got pissy and and started a fight.  It looks like Cali lost a toenail.  Shaun’s putting the kids in bed and I’ve got the cameras charging so I can download the photos in the morning.

I don’t know who is harder to raise: children or German Shepherds.  They’re all too damn smart for their own good.