I’ve read this before

1 06 2010

I’m reading The Spire by Richard North Patterson.  Contrary to my title, I’ve not read THIS book before, but the story is similar to others I’ve read.  I can’t pinpoint which book I find it similar to right now, but I’m sure it will surface in my brain eventually.  It’s a memoir type of story that mingles with a new murder and some theft and college frat boys… I’m not bored with the story.  I just think someone else wrote it first and that I’ve read it and it’s somewhere in my library.

My title actually refers to this monotony of mommyhood I’ve found myself in.  It’s comforting and fucked up at the same time.  I’m living the life I worked so hard to build.  I’m at the end result of what I had planned.  The next part of the plan is “live the life and enjoy it!”

It’s just  hard to quantify joy.  There’s no number or date or even data that can identify joyfulness.  You can’t make a joy graph.  Well, I’m sure you could, but it would probably be boring.

I’m an analyst.  I’m a very smart analyst trained in problem solving.  There’s no problem and now I’m a little lost.  Sure, there’s this lupus and fibromyalgia thing, but that’s more handling the symptoms as they come and trying to live a lifestyle that doesn’t provoke the symptoms.  The first part of problem solving is to identify the problem.

So back to the monotony as it is.  After midnight last night, I didn’t sleep well.  I need to clean the bird cage.  My pain level is small enough that I haven’t taken any meds today other than my morning dose of Lyrica.  The wireless keyboard on the right side of my desk got some fingernail clippings that were left in the clipper in it (yuck) and now some of the keys stick and sometimes the space bar makes two spaces where only one is needed.  My calendar tomorrow is a little stressful, but manageable.  The kids are on summer break and I reinstated afternoon naptime.  (Yay, nap time!)

Earlier I took a bath and Nola, our Great Dane, opened the door to my bathroom.  There’s a reason Great Danes are the inspiration for almost every cartoon dog in the American zeitgeist:  they really do act just like a cartoon.  They’re expressive, clever, gentle, and act pretty much like the dumbest kid in the gifted class.  They’re too smart to be retards but they’re too retarded to be smart.  They also have no clue that the rest of the world thinks this about them.  They’re mainly happy ass dogs.

MY cartoon dog can open doors.  She figured it out on her own… or she somehow communicates with Ernie, our half-Siamese cat, who can also open doors.  That thought is fucking terrifying.

Yes, I do need a baby gate.

So, Nola breaks in and looks at me with those big, dark eyes.  I say “Nola, go away.”  She turned around and tucked her tail as if she was leaving then turned back around and looked at me again.

Yes, our bathroom is so small that one turn of a Great Dane encompasses all the square footage.

“Nola, GO. AWAY.”  Nothing.  I’m largely ignored around here.

“You can’t get in here with me.  Lay down.”  I was hoping being on the bath mat next to me would be enough.  It wasn’t.  She started to look like she was going to get in the tub with me.  (It’s happened before.)  I snapped my fingers.  “Lay down.”

She sat and then she turned towards the door again.  “Ok, then.  Go away.”

She stood in the door, tail tucked and looked out.  I took this as a cue to finish up in the bath and investigate for myself.*

I wash my hair, get dried off, moisturize my face and wrap myself in my towel.  Investigation time.  I walk out to the living room trailed by a scared cartoon and find Ethan singing at the top of his lungs while drawing on the cat with two markers – thankfully capped – one in each hand.  From the scared dog, I surmise that he started on her.

The part that startled me was MY reaction.  I wasn’t shocked, surprised, mad, or anything.  I just said “Ethan, put them away, NOW.”

Then I got some clothes on, made lunch, and sat back down at the computer.  Absurdity has become monotonous.

*From this point, the internet ate my post revisions which made this post way awesomer.  Fucking internet.  I could fix it, but why?  WHY DO YOU DO THIS, INTERNET?

In all actuality, it’s Firefox that’s eating everything lately.  FF is about to be the major reason I switch to Google Chrome.  It won’t be because it’s awesome – it will be because FF sucked.





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…”