You’ve Got Mail, Caleb

We spent Easter weekend in Kansas City, celebrating the wedding of our beautiful Chelsea, my brother’s stepdaughter, to all around good guy, Lonnie.  Each of those twenty-two hours in transit was worth every minute of the big weekend in KC.  The rooftop ceremony was a dream, a chilly, wind-that-knocks-you-around dream, sure, and the reception provided more fun than a woman my age should be allowed.  Oh yeah, you bet I sang Don’t Stop Believin’ and You’re The One That I Want with carefully choreographed, killer dance moves.  And yeah, that last sentence is entirely true.

I enjoy exploring cities on foot.  You catch things you wouldn’t get or take the time to appreciate passing by in your car.  We encountered this amazing storefront window along our walk to the rehearsal dinner, and we scored some fantastic pizza on our way home from a hole-in-the-wall place we’d not have spotted otherwise.

The most common way people give up their power is by thinking they don’t have any.  Bathed in stunning blue, I had to snap this pic.

But this post isn’t about our weekend wedding in Kansas City.  Chelsea writes her own blog, in which I am sure she will detail their “I promise to say yes” wedding.  In my little blog, I am going to tell you about the funhouse type horror that awaited us upon our return.

During our time away, Caleb, our four legged friend of infamy, was left in the care of our neighbor, Jodi.  The dog was livin’ the life at our neighbor’s house.  A few times a day, Jodi would send us a photo of Caleb’s oh-so-stressful time away from his beloved pack.  Ha!  I wasn’t sure he’d ever want to come home.  Spoiled is one word for how well she cared for him; moving in and taking over may be closer to the truth of his stay.

We get home, and Jodi mentions to my husband that she noticed Caleb had been “licking himself” a lot.  Yeah.  We’re forced to check out Caleb’s nether region, and sure enough, his junk was a little red and inflamed.  We make an appointment with the vet for Monday afternoon, and figure maybe it’s a being away from home anxiety thing or maybe it’s just a little scratch that he won’t let be.  We’re prepared for the cone of shame and a 10-day run of antibiotics.  We were NOT prepared for this:  “Your dog has a penis infection.”

My dog has a penis infection.

Antibiotics were prescribed as anticipated, but the cone was not.  No, to our horror, we learned a more invasive procedure was required to optimally treat the infection.  We were directed to to insert a liquid medicinal solution.  INSERT, via syringe, a liquid.  INTO his penis.  And when you think you’re already gonna die a thousand deaths, you not only have to insert the liquid, but also massage it around the area before flushing it out.

The vet looks at Tom and me, asking “Do you guys think you can do this?”

I’m like, “Nope.”

Vet: “Well, it will improve the likelihood that it’ll clear if you give both the antibiotics and flush his penis directly.”

Me: Sigh.  Shit.  “OK.”  Shit. Shit. Shit. Shit. Giggle uncomfortably. Shit. Giggle some more.

We’re prescribed and purchase the two meds.  Our vet directs us to dilute the solution into a gallon of distilled water, so after dropping Caleb at home, we head to the grocery store.  On our way in, I look at Tom, and together we marvel at the rich pageant we call the life we’ve built together, which now includes a dog whose penis we need to massage.  Well, HE needs to massage.  Obviously.  I mean, he has similar pieces and parts, right?

As we’re entering Pick ‘n Save, I say to Tom in mock conversation, “Oh, so what did you guys do last night?  Oh us?  You know, the usual.  Did a little grocery shopping to pick up some special water to help us jack off our dog for the next ten days.”  And because I am at times (all right, most times) extremely adolescent-like in my sense of absurdity, I laugh so hard I snort.  I laughed like an idiot traipsing across the first five or six aisles.

Next afternoon, I text my friend Kathie, who is Caleb’s mother-in-law.  Kathie’s daughter has determined that their dog, Nala, and Caleb are an item.

Kathie was a little disappointed that this text exchange didn’t make my previous My Life In Texts post, but I assured her that these few texts warranted a post all their own.  And here we are.

Days later, an envelope arrives via US Mail.  There’s no return address, but I’m 99% sure I know who mailed it before I even open it.  Yep.  Nala sent her boyfriend a get well card:

Dear Caleb,

Sorry to hear the bad news about your penis.  Wishing you well & hoping to see you soon.

All my love always,


PS–Do tell me if this is something that I need to worry about.

I couldn’t breathe.  Kathie’s husband got pretty creative and sassy, and I wonder why we don’t spend more time with them because Kathie and Dan are MY KIND OF PEOPLE!

PS–Some dogs never recover from this infection.  Despite medical interventions, it may be that my super special pound puppy has this burden to bear for the rest of his days.  This is my life, people.  Don’t be jealous.



Awake And Alone

I rarely sleep in, even on a holiday weekend, and even when I desperately want to. A lovely upside to my special brand of insomnia is the solitude I cherish being the only one awake in a whisper-still house.  Deep thoughts run laps in my head as I walk laps with Caleb the Wonderdog or just sit, flipping through the morning news rag sipping black coffee.  We all know I’m no philosopher, more a random musings kind of girl. Here’s this morning’s dose of The Space Between Wendy’s Ears, developed as I dodged raindrops.  Even I’m unable to find the thread that binds these thoughts, and it’s from my neurons (mis)firing that they came.

You think it will be magical having several different species of birds nest in your pergola. And it is. Until several species of bird shit all over your patio furniture. And your grill. And your sweatshirt.

Even with contacts in, I can barely see my face in the mirror.  Just exactly how am I going to apply makeup for the second half of my lifetime?

How many more days of school do we have?  Twelve?  Thirteen??  Eleventy hundred??

Why does anomia strike at the most inopportune moment?  Most people never get to meet their idols.  I’ve met mine several times, still struck starry-eyed and never taken for granted, but my “Hi, I’m clever and not a complete loser” banter batting average is around .333.  Now, in baseball for reals, .333 represents consistency and excellent performance.  In talking with famous musicians, it’s close to epic fail.  Don’t ever ask your favorite singer how his “thing, um, knee, um, you know” is.  He’s a guy, and “thing” well, you can imagine. . .  and for the record, the Password is ACL.  Following up with, “I’m just gonna go over here and kill myself” is an entirely appropriate response.  Fortunately, my favorite singer has a sense of humor.  And by now they all probably recognize me for the idiot I am.  What I meant to say is Tyler, Jim, Ed, Kevin–thank you for taking the time after the show to talk with me.  Though my nervous chatter is random and sometimes cringe-worthy, you are professional and kind and funny, and you wouldn’t have to be.

Speaking of my favorite band, Barenaked Ladies, all of you, this one’s for you:  Most of my friends are going on The Rock Boat cruise with you next winter.  OK, super cool for you all, and yeah, given the choice, I’d cruise to the tropics mid-winter too.  But for those of us whose work does not allow time off except for summer?  I’d like to suggest a summer band camp as a cruise alternate.  Or a both/and.  Just throwin’ that out there.  Also, we’ll need to do something about the bugs.  The plan’s in its infancy obviously.

How many second and third jobs will I need to take on in order to feed these boys who refuse to stop growing?  My “little” one is taller than me now.  He’s eleven.

My dog is an ass.  He’s also riotously distracting, and I love his squishy face more each day.  Last night we were watching Vacation, and I just wanted to flip a couple hands of solitaire during the commercials.  My husband, not a skilled videographer, recorded this:

I’ve tried to cut down on artificial sweeteners because I saw an article on Facebook about the holes these chemicals leave in people’s grey matter.  I need all the help I can get these days, you guys.  Do I stay thin-ish or smart-ish?  That is the question.

Related:  Facebook is probs not the most reliable source of vetted, scientific research.

Also related:  The damage is done, sister.  You are not as smart as you once were.

When a day begins overcast and stormy, it should remain dark for the entire 24 hours (unless I’m going to an outdoor concert, in which case I will OCD-level monitor every three minutes until it returns the sunshine I need to see in the forecast).  On the average day, I’m disappointed when the weather clears though.  Half empty?  Half full?  Not sure what that says about my personality.

I really need to drag my butt to the store and get a new swimsuit top this weekend.

I really hope the bunnies don’t eat the pea shoots sprouting up.  After all these years, I totally get why Farmer McGregor was so passionate.

God, our yard sucks.  We KILL at snow removal, but the summer months don’t quite balance that equation.

How in fresh hell does a motorist lose control to such a degree that he lodges his car into a poor someone’s house 4 feel off the ground??  This is my life every day as I drive through the city for work.  Well, trying to avoid this is my life in the city everyday.

I definitely do not look forward to my son’s semi-annual neurology appointment Tuesday.  Twenty bucks says it’s cloudy and rainy.  It has been cloudy and rainy or snowy every single time I’ve strode through the doors of the Children’s Hospital Neurology Clinic.  And as I’ve established, it had better stay that way all day.  See above.

I cry over neurology appointments, but still have my sons around to complain about.  It’s Memorial Day weekend, and I crumble inside when people say, “Happy Memorial Day!”  It’s not a happy occasion; it is one more appropriately marked with solemnity and remembrance.  Thank you to the men and women whose very lives were sacrificed in service so that, among other things, I can ramble here on the internet.  And to your families?  Strength, peace, and only the warmest, happiest memories of your loved ones.  I cannot imagine a world without my children inhabiting it with me. Your hearts beat more strongly than mine.

Friends in the US, enjoy your Monday off, and take a moment to reflect on why you’re maybe sleeping late.  Friends from around the world, thanks for hanging in here with me.  It’s hard to keep up, I get it.  Turns out this is post #200.  I feel like this post both captures and under-represents me perfectly.  Happy bicentennial to me.  Or something.

10 Things My Dog Doesn’t Need

But can’t live without apparently. There’s little more humiliating than circling your dining room table in pursuit of your dog and whatever the hell said dog just made off with clenched in his jaws. Caleb is working on improving his shame game–he at least flashes an expression of “Hey, I am who I am, lady, and really, YOU’RE the idiot for not living in a vacant warehouse.”  Then he hauls ass, top speed, in canine glee, because hey, he is who he is.

This post could well have been titled 3,454 Things My Dog Doesn’t Need.  I am proud and delighted to report that my dog is not the worst dog in the entire universe–he can learn, but our boy is a willful little Teutonic canine mashup.  Progress is incremental, but he can and will “sit” and “touch,” so hey, something.   The worst dog?  That special honor is bestowed upon another rescued dog in his Caleb’s obedience class. He is getting there, Caleb is, just not at a speed with which I am comfortable. He is trying.  And I mean “trying” as both a verb and adjective!  I’m trying too.  I am trying not to lose my mind and verbally spew what I’m thinking when he pulls me down a mud-soaked path in the park. I’m trying not to recoil when he re-eats his own vomit in the backyard. (Sorry if you are reading this over the dinner hour.)  But when you rescue a dog, you commit, that is what you do–you commit!  So we are committed.  And maybe I should be committed.

Since 3,454 things would make a super long list, and ten is a good number for lists, here we go. . .

10.  Dogs don’t wear baseball hats. You’ll never need one, Caleb. Ever.

9.  Likewise, dogs don’t wear shoes.

8.  Or socks.

7. Placemats. Now here I at least kinda get the allure. They’re very likely to contain crumbs, or maybe you’ll score the mother lode and land one with butter or honey or chicken grease rubbed in. And if you’re wondering why our placemats contain foodstuffs residue, you obviously don’t live with boys.  It can’t be just my boys who find napkins so luxurious or inconvenient they don’t want to use ’em, right?

6.  Recently added to his thievery repertoire are dish sponges. He loves shredding the yellow part, but seems weirded out by the scrubby green surface. You know, it’s almost like he’s brushing his teeth, so maybe this one can stand. Maybe not.

5.  Books. I feel the certainty of the divine that you’re not actually going to read Night by Elie Wiesel.  You can look all academic and even respond to “Sit,” but Caleb, you are no scholar.

4.  Athletic supporters. ‘Nuff said.

5.  Bath towels. If I thought there was any chance you’d accomplish incidental cleanliness, I might get behind this one too. But yeah, no.

4.  Ink pens. Now you’re just an a-hole, dog.  And even Oxi-Clean teamed up with aerosol hair spray cannot remove the stains completely. And I know my way around a can of hair spray, people.

3.  Kleenex tissues, preferably used. These are just snacks now. My dog is an idiot.

2.  Rubber bands. You do not even want to know how I know this.

1.  Slippers. Like shoes, they’re not a canine necessity, because you’re a dog!  Unless it’s mid-summer or mid-hot flash at which time I radiate the heat of a thousand suns, I am a human popsicle. I need my slippers, Caleb, I do.  Importantly:  I need two slippers.  Two is the magic number for me, but I’m short one slipper thanks to ol’ Sparky.  I miss my old, blue slippers.  They had at least one good season left in them, a couple months at least, but no.  *sigh*  What are the odds that my friend Jill just happened to have an extra pair of slippers–still in their original packaging–in her trunk?  Turns out the odds were 100%!  Thanks to Jill’s footwear generosity, I’m not still fuming mad, and Caleb lives to wreck more stuff another day.

I am not even going to mention the fact that within twenty-four hours of my son getting his wrist splint fit and created, the dog bolted with it, and chewed and slobbered all over the thumb support strap.  I hadn’t even gotten used to the idea of my  #1 son needing the splint when my #2 calls me at parent-teacher conferences to tell me that the dog split with his brother’s splint.  See, because that would make two blog posts in a row that I barely mention the splint, and thus far, that’s workin’ for me.  Not denial, no, just not high focus.  Plus, eleven isn’t a good number for lists.  Obviously.

And also I don’t want to hear it from anybody who thinks I’m overreacting to MD because my son “doesn’t look that different, I don’t know what she’s worried about.”  I get to decide how my child’s diagnosis hits me, not you.  Until you have the conversation with your child about his or her likelihood of losing his/her ability to walk and requiring durable medical equipment, you can butt the hell out.

PS–Did no one notice my mad enumeration skills?  #NotEvenClose

My Life Is A Sitcom And I Don’t Know It


About three-fourths of the way into Monday evening’s dog walking escapade, I began to compose this Facebook post mentally.  My dog is an idiot, and me with now two elbows chock full o’ tendinitis?  I needed the distraction.  I’ve not been an inspired writer of late, and I’m so dismayed at my dearth of productivity.

I thought I was pretty clever, but no.  It was my friends who brought their collective A-game to the party.  As the night progressed, I was in near hysterics.  Thank you for swaddling me up in a blanket of laughter, Facebook friends.  And to those who wrote this post for me–my sympathies.  And thanks, of course, my thanks. Caleb is a dimwit (or constantly exuding a degree of joy unequaled by humans, you pick), and it looks like he is in good, furry company.

My friend Kathie isn’t on Facebook, but has experienced the wonder that is Caleb, the canine backpack, so I sent her a screenshot of the Facebook post. She responded by telling me my life was a sitcom and I didn’t even know it.  I wonder who they’ll get to play me. . .

I Am Thankful for YouTube

Have you ever written something about which you felt some degree of pride, and also felt pretty sure you could not ever really replicate in a worthy fashion?  I feel this way about the post I published to recognize Thanksgiving in 2015.  Please click here if you want to read my mic drop moment thanking the myriad kickass people I know.  I said it then, and I’m stickin’ with it:  You wish you had these people in your life.  Seriously.

This year, bereft of snappy commentary, I’m going to let YouTube do the talking for me.  I laugh a lot, and I laugh loudly–it’s entirely possible that I’ve snorted a time or two, which makes me laugh that much harder, thus perpetuating the cycle. I am as sentimental as the mighty Mississippi is long, so I never, ever don’t cry when someone near me cries, in real life or on screen.  I emote a million shades in between laughter and tears, but for Thanksgiving, I’m limiting my show to the snort-inducing.

I’ve never been the type of YouTuber who is gaga over sneezing pandas or “Charlie bit my finger.”  My brand of humor skews more toward the ridiculous than the sublime.  Of late, I find myself in need of ridiculous, so my recently viewed YouTube queue looks a little something like this:

Every list requires some sort of fanfare to herald its beginning, so without further ado:

As I was preparing for work Halloween morning, I heard the soothing (?) sounds of my little guy’s recorder flute floating from his room. Because I’m kind of a jerk, I immediately posted on Facebook:  You can imagine my delight to hear that E rediscovered his recorder flute this morning.  At 6:50.  Within hours, Angela, a teacher friend of mine from my US Grant days, responded with this link. It laid me out.  Laid. Me. Out.  I don’t know who posted the original video, and if you know me at all, you know it’s never, ever my intent to make sport of anyone but myself.  So if you’re the kid (adult? teen? tween?) who posted this, well, keep practicing.  You’ve made me smile, and I sincerely thank you for it.

If you’re my Facebook friend, you may have checked this video, as I linked to it in a post celebrating my baby’s eleventh birthday.  When I feel like I’m screwing up parenting in not insignificant ways, this reminds me that I have done something so right.  The lyrics are simple and the guitar’s a little rough, a little 80’s post-punk, but I think my then 2-year-old nails it.  I am thankful that my old computer hadn’t completely died before I thought to transfer some old videos and photos.

I am not even sure who turned me on to this, but it’s been my cousin Michele who sent me weekly updates to T-Rex Tuesdays after my first viewing and immediate sharing of this gem on Facebook.  I don’t have any need for fame or fortune–wait, back that up–I don’t have any need for fame, but frequently wish I had just one creative bone in my body.  The T-Rex idea is so ridiculous, but COME ON!  Don’t you wish you’d thought of it first?  I know you do. I lost it around 0:41 into this snippet.  The accompaniment is genius.

Unless you’re me or about 100 other people on Earth, you might think it’s odd to toss underwear on stage at a concert during a performance of Pinch Me.  To be clear:  YES, they’re brand new, and YES, unworn.  Seriously?  I’m a little hurt that you even asked.  YES, it’s harder to aim than you might think, and like any NFL placekicker can tell you, wind can definitely be a factor.  YES, my underwear made the concert review in the following day’s Milwaukee Journal Sentinel.

What I really wish I had video–nah, audio–of is my husband’s response when he viewed this video.  “Are those yours?” he queried with a tone drenched in resignation at around 3:08 of this video.  Our dog had died the morning of this show, oh our sweet Izzy-girl, and this concert was a diversion needed like no other.  Watching this makes me smile, as I recall both that day’s sadness and also the warmth I felt in having this concert to distract me.  PS–telling your favorite singer, “My dog died” is kind of a buzzkill.  I’m an idiot.

This is long and not exciting (and also not well done, consider yourself warned), but iMovie provided an easy way to capture our kitchen remodel metamorphosis.  The project is nearly done–nearly–and this little blast does give me perspective.  One:  my bank account is run dry.  Two:  When I feel that pinch of having let my bank account run dry, it wasn’t for naught.  Losing the sunflower wallpaper border and rockin’ light fixtures made it completely worth it right there.  Man, we worked our ASSES OFF, and by “we” I mean both of us.  But mostly Tom.

I first happened upon this morning’s final video entry long before our dog Caleb’s adoption.  I feel if Caleb had a spirit animal (read: creature buddy similarly limited in intellect), the Golden on the right must be it.  The first fifteen seconds is all you need to watch.  This video provides a clear example of a dog failing at being a dog.  My friend and co-worker Jill printed a screen shot of the moment, which makes me giggle still many months later.  Three months into his life at Chez Weir, I love, love, love the squishy face of my rescue dog.  Sure, he was much younger than the Humane Society’s estimate when we selected him, so he’s grown (growing) to be a larger pet than we’d imagined. But he fits.  Right on my lap on the couch, he fits perfectly, all sixty pounds of him.

It’s 5:30 AM now, and I have got to get a start on my bread baking for our little Thanksgiving dinner.  Whatever it is you’re doing with your time today, I do hope you find a moment to acknowledge the good things which have come into your life.  My incredible mother-in-law is quick to remind us that someone is always worse off than we are.  She’s right, and even when I’m not feeling head over heels in love with each and every detail in my life, I know I’m incredibly fortunate.  I am.  So are you.  Bask in the contentment of having experiences, people, and/or things.  But mostly people and experiences, OK?  By 4 AM (yeah, insomnia bites) I’d already received Happy Thanksgiving wishes from friends in Australia and the UK, so yay for the internet!  Thank you for being here for me.  Happy Thanksgiving.

My Dog Is Trying To Murder Me

Caleb the Wonderdog has been part of our family for a month now.  I decided last Thursday night that I love him.  His disposition is sweet, his ears are perfect for petting, and he is nice to every other dog we encounter.  Humanity could take a lesson from my maybe Doberman Pinscher-maybe German Shepherd-maybe Whippet mutt.  He’s not the sharpest knife in the drawer, if ya know what I mean, but I can take not super academic when it’s coupled with nice.  Overshadowed by nice, in fact.  I could say the same about people too as far as that goes–that I’ll take nice over genius most days (except maybe for my neurosurgery needs, but I think we know where I’m going with this without my having to enumerate professions where brains over nice is preferred).  Plus, despite his person name, Caleb’s a dog, so I’m not expecting him to crunch actuarial figures.

Don’t let that sweet, fuzzy face fool you. Even terrorists have to rest once in awhile.

My dog requirements are fairly basic:  Come when you’re called, stay off the furniture, don’t pee or poop in the house, let me pet you, don’t chew shit up.  I think that’s it.  I don’t expect perfection, and I’ve already recovered from the damage inflicted on my dining room chair.  Pretty much. Maybe.

I wore a long skirt to work last Thursday, and went to change into my after-work uniform after school.  As soon as the weather gets nice (not the straight out of hell kind of hot), my “uniform” is a comfy top and yoga pants.  The thermometer tells me it’s still summery, so my early fall/late spring uniform is shorts and a tee.  Because Caleb loves me bestest, he is rarely more than an inch or two from my behind.  He loves chasing stuff (mostly me but sometimes a tennis ball) up and down the stairs, so navigating stairs with a largeish canine wedged up my butt is an art.  I’ve become quite good at it in a month though, and have fallen down more than three steps at a crack only three times.  Victory right there, people.  The intrigue of the skirt however added layers of complication and an extra millimeter of distance between my dog and my butt.  He was crazy with separation anxiety.

Discipline to me has never meant action of the physical variety.  I’ve never struck one of my children, nor have I resorted to physical punishment of any animal I’ve owned.  I did once smack my little kid on the arm when he switched out my Jelly Belly jelly beans for the earthworm and barf flavored ones, so he’ll tell you I hit him once.  But he’ll laugh his little ass off when he tells you about my “abuse” of him because it was hilarious to his 10-year-old self.  But the other night, as my sweet four-legged boy latched onto my skirt pulling me forward then jerking me back mid-flight of stairs, I lost my balance.  As I fell, I caught his muzzle with my hand on my way down while firmly saying “No bite” to him.  (Yes, the fall was everything embarrassingly spectacular you’re imagining and more!)  But when I bopped his snout grabbing for the railing, he cowered like I’d never seen him do before, ran away and made himself small in his crate.

It was love at Day 27th sight.  In that instant, I saw what his life just might have been like before landing in a Tennessee animal shelter.  His reaction appeared so instinctive that it couldn’t have been the first time.  I barely grazed him, but I did have my disciplinarian voice on–not a yell, no–but firm and stern, and he ran to hide.  You poor, sweet dumbass dog.  I love you.  It’s official, so stop trying to murder me with your attention.  It’s exhausting and sometimes, it’s physically painful. 

In the month he’s been in our family, Caleb’s exhibited some quirky behavior.  If people behaved like dogs–

Instead of shaking hands or saying “hey” upon greeting someone, we’d walk up and smell other people’s butts or growl, front legs down, butts high up in the air. Yeah, not weird at all.  Humans, 1; dogs, 0.

Landfills overflowing with diapers would be a thing of the past, as we’d relieve ourselves on the grass.  We’d all migrate to warm climates. I’m kinda outdoorsy, pro-beach and hiking trails and all, but remain deeply dedicated to indoor plumbing.  Feels like a “no” for me.  Humans win this point as well. 

Instead of playing on our smartphones, reading or jogging, we’d chew on rawhide, Nylabones and Kongs.  I want my Kong filled with peanut butter, thank you very much.

The show Hoarders would be retitled Collectors, and instead of mountains of filth and half-filled prescription bottles held over from the Cold War era, you’d find one shoe, a balled up pair of socks and maybe a jock strap under your couch.  I was looking for that. . .

SQUIRREL!  The struggle is real, people.


Caleb tries to climb on me–picture a backpack. Now picture a 50-something pound dog lurching at me to piggy-back himself in similar fashion. He chews his own leash.  He collects shoes and socks. And cardboard. And baseball cards. And shirts. He is still mastering “sit” and “off,” and when he’s not trying to kill me, I do officially love him. The best thing about him right now though?  When my big kid, and by big I mean 5′ 9″ or more of him, plops down next to him, and by plops down I do mean PLOPS down, Caleb doesn’t move. He lets my big kid get down with him on my big kid’s terms, in his less than graceful big kid ways. Good dog, Caleb.  You’re a good boy. 


In June, 2015, we said good-bye to our first “baby,” our pup of highly questionable lineage, Izzy.

Izzy came to us via rescue from the deep South, where high-kill shelters are more the norm than exception.  Izzy was there before my big kid, she laid her sweet head on my lap comforting me while I cried through two miscarriages, and got her hyperdog tear on when we welcomed home our number two son.  She was the best.  The best.  And there will never be another Izzy.

But there will be a Caleb.

Caleb??  It’s about the silliest name for a dog I’ve ever heard (apart from Wendy, which while a melancholy, dated name for humans, is apparently all the en vogue rage at dog shelters.  Seriously.  Check any dog rescue page and you’re 75%-80% likely to find an adoptable named Wendy.  What the hell?).  Sometimes your intentions don’t pan out as you’ve planned, and you wind up missing dinner as you wait, kids intermittently patiently, for an animal adoption counselor to pull your file.  It was nearly a ninnercrommie last night, but I think we made the right call.  PS–ninnercrommie is totally a word that you can Google and get two whole returns.  Guess where?

Izzy bid us adieu last summer, and after a period of months, the boys began to inquire about not a replacement, but a pettable (is that a word?) companion to fill the void once the acute mourning had waned.  Baseball season was just underway, and thank stars I excel at avoidance.  I truly had no idea how time-demanding baseball would become, and it would have been unfair to any new dog to honor our baseball commitment and provide her the proper amount of time, care and love a new pet richly deserves.  So we went into delay mode:  Sure, kids, we’ll consider a new dog once school lets out, once MDA camp is over, once baseball season is done, once we’ve visited Uncle Sonny (my brother, and you’re correct if you assumed his name is not actually Sonny.  Well it is to me, Tom and the kids). You get the theme.  Wellllllllll, approximately five whole hours post-departure from Uncle Sonny’s place, whilst taking in a ball game (what??) at Busch Stadium, my little guy, truly like top of the third inning, goes, “OK, you said after we visited Uncle Sonny, we could get a dog.  Can we?  Is it time yet?”  My personal delay of game comes to a screeching halt, because I am nothing if not a woman of my word.  And a smart ass, but this is neither the time nor place to explore more deeply my snark.

We start combing our humane animal society’s webpage in search of the perfect female dog.  We previously decided to rescue an adult dog instead of a puppy, so that narrowed the search from the get go.  The dog that stands out most to us is a little something or other dog breed salad named Puma.  Puma is the cutest damn thing you will ever see on four legs, and brings an interesting history with her.  She’s two and diagnosed with hip dysplasia, so she’s actually the cutest damn thing you will ever see on three legs, because the dysplasia left her with a most unusual gait.  My husband and I, separately and together, decided that a dog with a little something off-center about her body would be a really great match for our family.  It probably sounds completely whack to anyone who isn’t my husband or me, but we wanted our son(s), but really just our son–you know the one–to have the experience of caring for a dog who, despite physical disability, was completely cool.  I’m no martyr, but the idea felt so right.

Puma was kind of a jerk though.  Upon entering the canine suites, there was a cacaphony of incessant barking, like nonstop please don’t let that be her, please don’t let that be her, please don’t let that be her yapping.  I knew like I knew my name it was her.  She was indeed the cutest dog in the house, but holy man, was she something!  Sure she barked, but she also snarled and growled and got into each and every other dog’s face as the dogs paraded in and out with their volunteer walkers.  The dogs as a group seemed temperament-wise surprisingly easy, but got completely jacked up by her anytime she piped up, which was often.  She was so crabby.  My eyes may have leaked–I knew she would require more than we were capable of providing her.  I knew that this two day pipe dream of mine was not gonna happen.  I could barely meet my husband’s gaze nor he mine, each of us certain we were simply unable to complete the mission we had intended.  Even the boys were like, “Um, yeah, she’s kind of, not, like, I don’t know, you know. . .”  Yeah, we know.  *sigh*

But you can’t walk out of a shelter empty-handed.  Well, you can, yes, you absolutely can.  But I feel like you can tell where I’m going with this: we didn’t.  I always felt like a female dog provided me some balance in our testosterone-heavy home.  Stupid as it may sound, I liked having a girl, as if she could understand me in a way no one else around here can.  Plus girl dogs don’t hump your leg, which, hello?  HUGE bonus!  Anyway, there were no females that spoke (howled?) to us, but there was this one super chill dude who was awfully cute.  He had a penis, which would normally have put him on the do not call list, but. . .  Well, we were there, and he was there, but he met absolutely not one criteria note that we were looking for, yet the next thing you know you’re selecting a new collar, and putting a dog named CALEB in your car, and now you have a dog named Caleb in your car.  I feel confident that Caleb wasn’t his actual name, because “Caleb” didn’t look even the least bit remotely interested in responding to his “name” (yes, fakey quotes intended), but now the kids like his name.  I still think he looks like a Frank.  Maybe Larry a la Impractical Jokers.  But no–the kids like Caleb.  Oy.  So I guess I am the proud owner of a boy dog, of only slightly less questionable lineage, very possibly named Caleb, a person name, most definitely not a dog name.  Til now.  His skillset thus far is confined to returning thrown balls–he KILLS–but I think he’s got tons of potential.  He is OK and then some.  Seriously–look at this face!  He’s a good, good, good boy.


It’s a boy!

Sadly, or hopefully happily in the end for her, we couldn’t take home Puma.  I’m hoping like crazy she finds her forever home soon. She is adorable and will be a perfect fit for someone, and I’m sad it’s not us.  I didn’t get what I didn’t want (sorry, Puma, you’re a ninnercrommie), and I feel kinda sad over it, but I think we did get what I will want–a Caleb, a really great dog.  My husband and the kids love him already, and so do I, even if he does make the count 4-1 here.