Monday, January 27, 2014

There's pot in our bathroom drawer.

I noticed, when we first moved in, that there were some type of crumbs, or crushed up leaves or something, in a bathroom drawer that I had designated for Ben.  I took the left-handed drawers and gave him the right-handed drawers.  I had forgotten to wipe out bathroom drawers before we moved in.  I hit the kitchen cabinets and drawers, but forgot the bathrooms.

Anywho, Ben finally got around to putting his stuff in his drawers the other night. 

"Hey, Benny, you may have to vacuum those drawers out before you put stuff in them," I said.  "That top one has, like, a crushed up leaf in it or something."

Ben opened said drawer and leaned over, examining it.  A slow smile spread across his face.  "Oh, this isn't a crushed up leaf, Kar.  This is pot."

I gasped and ran over.  "Are you serious????  I've never seen pot before!"  I leaned over and took a good look.  "It looks like crushed oregano."

We've had a few people tell us that the last owners of the house really didn't take good care of it.  "What a shame," we thought.

And now I know why they were kind of...laissez faire...toward house care.

They were stoners.

People who often smoke pot are not really known for a get-up-and-go mentality, amIright?

And no, Ben didn't vacuum out his drawer yet.  He just put his gosh danged q-tips and toothpaste in there on top of the pot crumbs.  I guess I'll add vacuuming up pot to my to-do list. 

Just as soon as I put away the Christmas tree.  Yep, it's still up.

But it's not because I do pot.  It's because I've spent about 13 hours a week painting the interior of my old house.  And then doing the regular cooking, cleaning, and child care at my new house.  Plus a very hyper new dog.  Plus I had my janitorial job all last week to do.  I've been just a teensy bit busy.

Monday, January 20, 2014

No judgie.

Well...we got a dog.

I mean, why not add even MORE to my plate?  I'm not quite crazy enough.  We need to add a new dimension so that you guys can start calling me Zelda, after Zelda Fitzgerald (F.Scott Fitzgerald's wife).  I just read a book about their marriage, and it was fascinating.  Zelda was craaaaaaay.  And Scott was a mean, selfish SOB.  Which is why I think she went cray.

So Ben has been begging me for five years to get a dog.  But after our dismal failure with Titan (a beautiful Weimeraner who, after four months of me working my buttocks flesh off to train him, still was peeing and pooping all over and tearing up our furniture, and who I took to the animal shelter, and who was adopted right THEN AND THERE by a family, thank goodness), I was really worried that I just couldn't go the distance with a dog.  I've always loved dogs.  I begged my dad for years to get a dog (we finally got one when I was 8, and she was my best friend).  We always had dogs in our family.  We had two dogs when we first got married (one died of thyroid disease and the other one started trying to bite and attack an infant Dylan, so we had to take her to the pound).  But once we started having kids, I was always pregnant or potty training someone and just...really stressed out.  I thought that maybe, mayyyyybe, we could revisit the idea after I got Gage potty-trained.

And Gage is STILL not potty-trained.  He regressed a little when we moved.  And he just...doesn't care.  And I try to take him when I remember.  Eventually we'll get there.  But it's been six months.  It hasn't been a fast process with this one.

Anywho, as Ben's and my anniversary approached, he started dropping enormous hints that he wanted a dog as his gift.  I was like, "I don't knowwwwwwwwwwww....." 

Then he went during lunch time to the dog shelter and looked at and walked a few dogs.  He called me and said, "Hey, let's take the kids to the dog shelter after work tonight and have them interact with these dogs and see what they think."

So I sighed and thought, "Maybe a shelter dog will be potty-trained already..." and took los ninos over to the shelter. 

Dylan spent the whole time next to the cage of a cat and begging for the cat instead of a dog.  Ben would bring the dogs he liked to us in the visiting room and we would kind of interact with them.  The visiting room is funny, because it's the room where the cats are caged.  But I also think it's smart, because we wanted to see the possible aggression these dogs had.  A couple that Ben had liked freaked out when they saw the cats and strained really badly at the leash. So we were like, "Nope.  Buh-bye to you."  There was a very beautiful and calm American Bulldog named Major, but he was spoken for by the person who found him.  What happens is that they give the owner a week to come to the shelter to find their lost dogs.  If the owner doesn't come in that time, the dog is given to the first person on the waiting list.  And Major had this lady waiting for him. 

So then Ben brought in Pepper, a Pit Bull who is about a year old.  She noticed the cats, but was like, "Hm.  Cats.  What's up, guys?"  And she was really friendly with our kids and extremely gentle with them.  She never strained at the leash, and she already knew "sit," "down," etc.  Ben was completely in love with her, and I was like, "Please be potty trained.  Please be potty trained.  Please be potty trained."

The fact that she was a Pit Bull didn't worry us one iota.  We had lots of friends in Salt Lake with Pit Bulls, and we had nothing but good experiences with them.  If Pits are raised right, they're the best dogs in the world.  You have to do a few things different with them - never leave them in the backyard by themselves, for instance.  They are extremely social and get very upset if left alone in a yard.  They will find a way to escape.  Pits are escape artists.  Also, never play tug-of-war with them.  You can do that with other dogs, but not pits.  If they win (and they are so strong that they could actually win), they'll get the idea that they're the alpha, not you.  Also, they're so social that they need a ton of interaction time with their owners.  You've got to treat them like one of your kids.  Like a real part of your family.

We knew all this and knew that, given the right upbringing, an adopted Pit would be perfect for our family.  We had to wait a week for her owner to come get her, and in the meantime, Ben did all of this reading on Pit Bulls.  He read a lot of stuff by that Caesar guy, the "dog whisperer" dude on TV.  He is the expert on Pits, apparently.  Ben would share tidbits of info with me as he read.  He was sooooo excited.  And we visited her a few more times.

Because people have a bad preconceived notion about pits, we didn't really want to tell anyone until after we got her and had her a few days.  But then my sister saw Ben at Wal-Mart with all this dog stuff, so the cat was out of the bag!  Haha!  For the most part, my family was cautiously supportive.  My sister Lex was enthusiastically supportive.  She is also "Pro Pit," as she calls it, and she couldn't wait for us to have this adventure.  She said that it was my "doggie destiny" to champion the cause of Pit Bulls.  Haha!  I asked her what her doggie destiny is.  She said it's to advocate for her dog, Maggie.  Maggie is adorable, but a little anxious sometimes.  I laughed.  I like Maggie.

Anyways, the week passed and nobody claimed her, so Ben brought her home.  I was sprinkling ice melt on the driveway when he arrived, and I wanted to rush to her and greet her, but Ben was like, "No.  Don't talk to her.  Don't look at her." 

I awkwardly looked at the sky and said, "What?  What am I supposed to do?  This is so weird!"  

"Caesar says that you have to wait for her to come to you.  This is your territory, and you are her alpha, so she, being lower in the pack, needs to approach you."

"Um, okay," I said, hands in my pockets and looking at the sky, "So I guess I'll just...wait here??"

Soon she came to me and licked me, and then I was allowed to look at her.  Haha!  Ben is so funny. 

Anyways, Ben showed her around and played fetch with her for about half an hour.  I had an appointment and several really important errands to run, so I told Ben to put her in the kennel when he left, and I took my two smallest ninos and left.

When I came home two hours later, this is what I saw:
On all the windows in our front room.  Somehow, Pepper (a.k.a. Houdini) had broken out of her kennel. 

I have to admit, I freaked out.  Even though those blinds had never worked.  They wouldn't open or shut.  But I was like, "Ican'tdothisagainwithanotherdogthatdestroysourhousewhathavewedone????"  So I called Ben and left a yelly message.

Then Pepper wouldn't calm down once I let her out to go potty.  She had a ball in her mouth and she was barking with this ball in her mouth and growling.  But her tail was wagging a ton.  I was like, "What in the heck?"  A Pit Bull's growl and bark are extremely intimidating.  "Pepper," I said, "This is NOT how you acted at the dog pound."

But as the day wore on, I started to figure things out.  Though the blinds were destroyed, nothing else in the house was touched.  The Christmas tree (YES, our Christmas tree is still up.  No judgie.) was untouched.  The kids' toys.  Popcorn in a bowl on the easily-accessible table.  The garbage can.  The sofas.  The pillows.  And when I examined the blinds, they weren't chewed up.  They had splintered from her weight.

She had been trying to escape.

Ben brought her to this strange house, locked her up, and everyone was gone for two hours.  She thought she had been abandoned again.  She was trying to get out.

And the growling and barking thing - she was trying to tell us that she wanted to play.  I think her last owner mistakenly would be all, "Grrr, do you want to play?  Grrrr..." and would get her riled up like that to play.  Which is not what you do with a pit.

So we won't play with her until she drops the ball or the rope or whatever.  She's rapidly learned what "drop it" means.  Sometimes we'll get a little growl every now and then, but not as bad as it was.

And she still has been extremely gentle with the kids.  Gage will lay on top of her, grab the ball out of her mouth, etc., and she very meekly will give the ball up.  She doesn't jump up on them and gouge their faces like Titan did.  She is really a good dog.  And fullllly potty-trained.  Yessssss.

She is a car dog.  I've never had a dog who enjoyed riding in the car, but Pepper is definitely a car dog. She doesn't like being left at home.  Sometimes we have to leave her at home, and we've learned to shut the door of the large closet where her kennel is, in case she pulls another Houdini.  She hasn't yet learned to open door knobs, but I'm sure it's only a matter of time.  She will jump right in the car and settle in the seat like one of the kids, happily looking out the window, or from time to time, falling asleep on a kid's lap.

She requires a lot of exercise.  I've been jogging with her every day, and Ben has been walking her every evening.  And then for another 15 hours or so of the day, she wants to play fetch.  I kid you not.  I've been playing it with her while I've been typing this and doing my morning stuff.  So... for about three hours straight now.  When she needs to go potty, she goes to the door and whines.  But usually we take her out every two hours, so she doesn't usually have to ask.

She greatly wishes we'd let her hang out on the couch or the bed, but we won't, and she's accepted that, learning to love her big cushion, rugs, and any blankets the kids may have left around. 

She wags her tail HARD.  It's like a whip.  The kids go running when she is wagging that tail, because is smarts when you get hit with that thing. :)

Ben has been like a man falling in love for the first time.  He grins like a fool and sighs contentedly all the time.  He LOVES her.  And she loves him.  She whines for a good half an hour after he's left for work. :)  And I'm pretty sure she likes me, too.  She follows me all around the house, all day.  She always makes sure she's in the same room where I am.

We had to get her fixed last week, and I felt so badly for her that I paid $20 extra for them to give her the GOOD pain pills.  I've gotten my womanhood taken out, too, and it is NOT fun.  However, her surgery seems not to have affected her energy level whatsoever.  I'm a little jealous of that.  Luckily, she hasn't been biting at or picking at her stitches, so we haven't had to put her in the cone of shame.

All in all, I think this one is going to stick.  Emotionally, I feel better than I've felt in years, thanks to a good psychiatrist and good meds.  I feel like I can take this on. And it's easier to take on a potty-trained dog than a puppy.  I'm thinking that, for the rest of my life, when dogs die of old age, new ones will all be adopted from the shelter.  For REALS, yo.  It makes a huge difference to have them potty-trained already.

She is a total sweetheart, and on the whole, she's made a good addition to our family.  Right now, Gage is playing fetch with her here in our basement while I type.  It's awesome.

Friday, January 10, 2014

Some Recent Cardie-Poohs

You know how on that show, New Girl, Schmidt calls cardigans, "cardies"?  I love that.  And I love cardigans.  Cardies.  I wish this post was about like ten recent cardigan purchases.  Alas, it is not.  I could wear a cardie every day and be happy.  I've been giving Ben some not-so-subtle hints that I want some cardies and plain ole' shirts for our anniversary next Monday.  He's so cute - he buys me skirts and dresses for, like, every occasion.  Birthday.  Mother's Day.  Anniversary.  Valentine's Day.  Christmas.  I finally had to text him and say, "Kay, babe, I have like a hundred church outfits.  But I have maybe five shirts I can wear here at home and running the kids around.  Can I just...have some normal, casual shirts for an anniversary gift?"

I had to have the same talk with him about accessories.  He loves to buy me chunky costume jewelery.  And I loooove costume jewelery.  But he kept buying me black jewelery. I probably have 5 black necklaces, 7 black bracelets, and like 15 pairs of black earrings.  So I had to gently sit him down at Christmas time a few weeks ago and say, "You know how I love costume jewelery.  But I cannot have one more black item.  I need some colorful stuff."

And he gave me a black and gold bracelet in my stocking.

At least there was some gold involved?

I shouldn't complain.  I'm lucky he remembers important events and has pretty good taste.

So I've made some cards in the past couple of months that I wanted to throw on here.  First up are some little boy birthday cards that my friend Megs requested:

Here are the Christmas cards I sent out this year. (And don't get mad if I didn't send you one.  I keep the cards I received from the year before and send cards to those people.  That's my policy.  Otherwise I would make, like, a hundred, and it would take a really long time.  If you want a card next year, you'd best be sending me a New Year's card right now.)
 And a card I made per request from my friend Kathleen:
Kathleen has a crafting and cooking blog, Fearlessly Creative Mamas, and she wanted me to do a tutorial on how to create a card.  You can find the tutorial here.  It's really detailed and kind of shows the creative process, as well as the mechanics of making a card.  Enjoy this, because I never do tutorials.  They make me want to gouge my eyeballs out.  So teeeeedious...

Thursday, January 9, 2014

Men Who Love Too Much

Welp, two of our fish are dead.  Flit and Rosie.  May you rest in peace, guys.

And we were flabbergasted.  Because Ben was the best Fish Daddy EVER.  He cleaned their bowls, like, every three days.  He was worried our soft water would somehow get into their water and kill them, so he'd put cold water in the bowls and then microwave it to make it come to room temperature.  He cleaned the rocks and bowls thoroughly.  He got shrimp to clean Flit's bowl.  He got a little moss ball for Flit's bowl.  He had these drops to balance the water's Ph, or something.  Not sure what it was balancing, but it was balancing something.  He was so worried about the soft water thing that he started having me buy spring water!  And then microwaving that.  He wouldn't let anyone else feed them.  He had it down to a very precise time and amount,

And every time he passed by each of their bowls, he was like, "Hi, Rosie, how is my favorite girl?  Who's a good girl?  Who's a good girl???"  "Flit, you are so beautiful, you know that?  You know that??  Muah muah muah."  "Blue Star, you are so cool and manly.  Look at you.  Who's a big boy?  Who's a big boy??"

He loved these fish.

Probably more than the children loved them.

But despite all of his care, two of them kicked the bucket.  We weren't too surprised about Flit.  The boy wouldn't eat.  Just wouldn't eat.  But Rosie!  She was so healthy.  So happy.  So social.  Following us around as we moved around...  She ate happily one morning, and then that afternoon, dead as a doornail.

My sister, Beads, has a theory that Ben tried too hard.  And maybe there's something to that.  Because we've had several people who have owned bettas who are like, "Oh, I only fed my fish, like, maybe once a week, if I remembered at all!!"  Or "I only cleaned their bowls, like, once every two weeks!  And he lived for three years!"

My kids were pretty traumatized by the whole flushing-down-the-toilet thing.  Sadie did that thing that Buster from Arrested Development does, where he cups his hands on the tops of his ears and stares in terror.

My mom did some online research (she's so funny) about this.  She thinks that maybe the water wasn't warm enough.  She says that bettas prefer mid- to upper-70s in water temperature.  The highest that our thermostat is ever set to is 72.  So I'm thinking they died because they were cold.  And I'm thinking that what has saved Blue Star is Micah's lava lamp, which is right next to Blue Star's bowl.  Those things can emit some powerful heat.  And Micah keeps his lamp on all night.  And his room is south-facing, so then Blue Star gets the warmth from the sun when the lava lamp isn't on.

So Mom's all, "Maybe you should get heating pads and put them under the bowls next time.... and I'm like, "Ahhhhhhh.....I really don't know if I want to put that much effort into it..."  And then Ben was all, "We should get a bunch of different fish and, like, a 49 gallon tank!"  And I was like, "Ummmmmmm.....that's kind of expensive.  A lot of money to pay for pets that you can't really interact with..."

Mom read up on several hardy freshwater fish that we could get.  But for now I'm taking a thinking and ignoring stance. 

We put Jacques, the shrimp, in with Blue Star.  They seem to be friendly with each other.  And Blue Star inherited the moss ball.  So he's got it pretty good.

So, as it turns out, we are not fish people.

Monday, January 6, 2014

First Impressions

I honestly think that I have Bad First Impression Karma.  Blind dates never, ever worked out for me.  I think I would get nervous and then hyper and...the guy wouldn't ever call me back.  But truly, usually, when a friend set me up, she would say, "You're funny, and he's funny, so you two would be PERFECT together!"  But two funnies do not necessarily make a good match.

Anywho, only one week after we started going to our new ward, Ben got a calling - 11-year-old scout leader.  And I'm really glad.  Because Dyl will be 11 next year.  And when they're 11, they start going on campouts.  And when Dylan goes to campouts....he fa-reaks out.  His ADHD meds make him really scared of bugs.  And obviously, there is a multitude of bugs when you go camping.  A throng.  A horde. 

This last summer, my parents rented a camper and invited the kids to sleep over with them at a camping area not too far away. 

Dylan had a full-on meltdown.

Like, curled in a ball in the bathroom of the camper, rocking back and forth and in hysterics meltdown.

To calm him down, my mom had to give him half of her restless legs syndrome pill.  It knocked him out.  Those pills have come in handy.  Well, except for when I took half of one on a plane and threw up the whole plane ride.

Anyways, so having Ben there during campouts will hopefully help.  Or maybe Ben will swear at him in front of the other kids and leaders and that will really embarrass me.  I mean, I'm the swearer of the couple (really working on that), but when Ben is pushed, he'll throw out a few choice words.  So it might not be such a good thing that Ben will be Dylan's leader.

So when the 2nd counselor called Ben in to offer him the calling and Ben accepted, the counselor said, "Sooooo, what kind of a calling do you think your wife might be interested in?"

And this is what he said.  Word for word.  He told the counselor:

"Well, if you give her a primary calling, she probably won't ever come back.  She hates children."

She hates children.

When Ben told me what he said, I was like, "Be-ennnnnnnnn!!!" 

And I DON'T hate children.  I just....hate baby-sitting.  And I love my children.  I do.  And I love lots of other peoples' children.  I guess I just don't really get children sometimes.  I get teenagers more than I get children.  (For now.  Until I have my own, probably.)  And I think I don't do well with the whole neediness thing.  I think I do better when kids are a little older and more self-sufficient.

And it's not that I hate children.  It's just that...I have primary at my house all day, every day.  I don't need any more primary in my life right now.  I need some space from that.  Which means that I'm basically a bad Mormon woman. :)  Haha!  We're supposed to be all, "I love children!  I love giving every second of my time for children!"  And I'm...just not that way.  And I feel badly about it, but it's just how I be.

So the bishopric must think that I'm a total harpie or something. 

We've been in the ward for a month and a half and I still don't have a calling.

Which I'm seriously really cool with.  Trust me.  I'm loving the break. I not have a calling because the bishopric thinks I'm evil?  Possibly.

The 1st counselor called us on the phone on Saturday and asked us if we would attend a new Marriage and Family class during Sunday School time at church every week.  We obviously said yes - I mean, who doesn't need little reminders about having healthy marriages and happy families? 

But part of me thought, "Are they asking us to go to this class because they think I'm a harpy who hates children??"

Hahaha!  We went to the class yesterday, and it was great.  And hopefully, as the bishopric gets to know me, they'll know that I'm a pretty nice person. 

Just don't ever ask me to baby sit.

Just kidding!

Kind of.

Last night, we invited Ben's niece (I guess I should say that she's my niece.  Because she really is mine, too) and her boyfriend down from BYU-I for dinner and games.

And I'm afraid that we gave poor Ryker (the boyfriend) a bad first impression.  Because I have Bad First Impression Karma. 

I think I was hyper and weird and loud. 

And Ben had 'Roid Rage.  Seriously.  The man has bronchitis, and he got some kind of medicine to help with his cough or the fluid in his lungs or...something.  And the medicine is a steroid.  And Ben misread the label.  Which he didn't realize until late last night.  He was supposed to take two a day for five days or something, and he thought it said "Two pills, five times a day."  So he did that for a couple of days. 

And yesterday, he was in the foulest mood!  Yelling at everyone, saying passive aggressive mean things, or just being totally silent, sullen, and sulky.  SSS.  So I was being Mrs. Hyper and Crazy, and he was just sitting there, sulking, and hardly talking. 

And the kids were being their usual charming selves.  Screaming, getting into fights, Sadie putting makeup on Micah, etc.  But maybe they weren't so bad.  Maybe my perception is tinged by my general hatred of children.

It was awkward.  Poor, poor Ryker.  And Taylor, my niece, doesn't know me that well, so she was probably like, Dude


Want some pictures from our night?  Well, okay.
 See?  Hyper.
 Ben may look like he's having fun here, but trust me.  Sullen.

We played Wacky Six.  A fun game.  They seemed to like it. Taylor kicked everyone's butts.

Ryker's all, "Get me away from these crazy people!"  Look at Dylan's face.

It just occurred to me that they should call my family the Wacky Six.

I did give Taylor and Ryker cookies to take home.  Hoping to mend the bad first impression...

Friday, January 3, 2014

Funny Stuff My Kids Said Last Night

Dylan with one of his Christmas presents - a Lego White House.
I made a roast in the crock pot for dinner last night, and when it was done cooking, I took it out of the au jus and shredded it.  Dylan later spied the au jus in the pot and said, "Ewwww.  What is that?"

I chuckled and said, "Au jus."

He grimaced and said, "More like poo-poo."

(Note:  This will only be funny if you know how to pronounce au jus.  It's "ah JEW.")

Micah with a polished rock he got in his stocking. It's some kind of copper.
Micah wanted to say the prayer for dinner last night, and, as is sometimes the case, he forgot how to finish the prayer off.  In our house, we usually say, "And we say these things in the name of Jesus Christ, Amen.  Ben prompted him, "And we say these things..."

Micah said, "And Sadie's things...and Dylan's things...and my things...and Gage's things..."
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