A Love Story

It has recently come to my attention that I need to up my game.  Apparently, there is a new woman in Mad Dog’s life and she is much, much younger than I am.  She also is fluffy and adorable.

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A few months back Mad Dog purchased a new truck.  He is a meticulous vehicle owner.  Some days if our boys breathe too loudly while in his truck, he gets agitated.  These rule do not apply to his fluffy new love.  She can ride shotgun and she can vomit uproariously all over his leather seats and it’s perfectly fine!

There is more to the story.  Mad Dog has a history of falling in love with adorable dogs.   First there was our White Fluffy Dog (may she Rest In Peace) and now there is Miss Lady.  I call her Miss Lady because she is anything but.  She is kind of gross in her penchant for finding the worst smells in our backyard and rubbing herself in them. She also loves to eat dead worms!  I have to be vigilant that no such worms are visible to her on our lanai when I let her out to do her business.

Yes….she is a gross little dog at times, but she also is magnificent.  She is the most loving dog I have ever known.  She is the queen of snuggles and if you let her, she prefers to be draped over your lap like a fuzz-ball blanket of adoration.  She kind of makes you feel like a rock star and all you have to do is exist.  That’s it.  Just exist and she thinks you are the bees knees.

With her remarkable temperament, I am attempting to get her behaviors in line so I can share some of her bottomless well of love with the world.  The world really needs more love don’t you think?  Training her is a long, long process.  Most days I enjoy it and Miss Lady loves it every day, but the time commitment is tremendous. I have to walk her separately from our other adorable dog so she can learn leash manners.  I also do random training session with her throughout the week.  I feed her, I bathe her and I snuggle her.  And you know what that gets me?  Second fiddle.  Despite all I do for her she prefers Mad Dog to all other beings.  I get it.  He is pretty awesome.  She’ll get no argument from me.

So, when Miss Lady ripped apart a Yoda chew toy (yes, Star Wars dog toys are mandatory in our home) and then proceeded to ingest Yoda’s ear, I panicked a little.  I didn’t know what it would do to her digestive system and if she would be able to pass it.  I raced to find Mad Dog who calmly and eventually concluded, taking her to the vet would be the best thing to do.  Off they went and naturally he put Miss Lady in the front seat of his pristine truck.  Soon, her nerves and her stomach gave way and the contents of her belly erupted all over his truck’s leather seats.  There was so much carnage that inevitably, some of her vomit soaked into the seats. Thankfully within the mess was the ear of Yoda fully intact (the force with was us!).

Mad Dog relayed all this to me in a phone call.  He wasn’t upset.  He did not care one bit that ‘his girl’ threw up in his treasured truck.  All he cared about was that Miss Lady was going to be okay.

I told you he was awesome.

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How Do You Spell Amazing?

As a mom I wear many hats.  Personally, my favorite is a Cubs baseball cap, but here are a few others that I inhabit:

– Chinese leftover reheater

-Dog walker and trainer (the latter may be easily disproved in a court of law or more likely, upon meeting our wildly energetic adopted dog, let’s just say, girl gets by on her looks…a lot).

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-Extremely empathetic validator of the universe’s feelings

-Housekeeper

-Wife extraordinaire

-Friend, mother, writer, sister ….and the list goes on and on.

Now the hat that many don’t know about and that I keep a closely guarded secret is…

-Spelling bee prep consultant

I have a track record of helping one young man place second in the whole county….

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Cool trophy, right?

Anyway, given my illustrious track record, it only makes sense now that this young man’s  brother is going to compete at his school’s spelling bee, he would reach out to an elite spelling instructor such as myself.  So, that’s where we are at.  I am now helping T.Puzzle prepare for his grade school spelling bee.  Truly, the only special skills I am bringing to the table are the ability to read words from a list (out loud, no less!) and patience.  I don’t mind the sometimes repetitive process as long as my spelling padawan is focused.  So far, T.Puzzle has that in spades.  Here is a recent example of the elite-type of training that I offer.

Me: “Icelandic”

T.Puzzle: “I-C-E-L-A-N-D-I-C”

Me: “Correct” (as in, he is correct, not please spell correct, I think you get the idea, so let’s move on to a word in which more elite spelling instructing is needed for clarification)

Me: “Pesky”

T.Puzzle:  “Use it in a sentence, please.” (he didn’t really say please, I just added it in for my own creative spin as moms-who-love-manners are wont to do)

Me: “Little brothers are pesky to their older brothers.” (see what I did there?  I made it relatable to my subject…genius).

T.Puzzle:  “P-E-S-K-Y”

Me: “Correct”

Me: “Annoying”

T.Puzzle: “F-U-L-L  S-P-E-E-D”

Apparently, I have my work cut out for me.

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Good luck, T.Puzzle!

 

Statistically Speaking

67F4643C-77FD-4BA1-831C-FD5B7BFA9F5E.jpegIf you are ever in need of slowing down time, I have a dandy trick that works like a charm.  Simply watch your youngest child play goalie during a soccer play-off game.  Really, any old soccer game will do, the play-off part only makes it that much more excruciating to witness.  Trust me, you will marvel at the way time nearly halts as the minutes tick away until halftime.

It had been one of those seasons for T.Puzzle.  You know, the character building kind. The kind where losing by a large margin was commonplace and mettle was tested. It was a tough season to watch sometimes, but I loved that T.Puzzle never gave up.  He showed up for every game and practice with a good attitude and shook off the losses with ease.  When it came time for their single-elimination play-off game, he didn’t have a lot of confidence they would win (no one did), but he played his heart out.  They were matched against a team that had handily beat them 7-1 a few days prior.  So, what did coach do to shut them down?  He put my baby in at goalie.  I mean can you imagine?  Unfortunately, I understood.  T.Puzzle isn’t a perfect goalie but he will give it his all for however long you need him.  He goes where the coach tells him without complaint.  I love that about him.  As the first quarter unfolded, we miraculously took the lead.  As spectators we savored those few minutes in which we were actually winning and grateful for such a competitive quarter of play. Eventually, the other team tied us and as the first water-break was called to order, the score remained 1-1.

Full Speed, always on fire with the sideline analysis, broke down the stats. Essentially, our opponents dominated in every possible statistic:  shots on goal, possession, passing completion.  You name it, they owned it.  However, after further scrutiny, there were two critical areas that no matter what the other team did, they could not touch us. First of all, we had the most players wearing headbands.  Ok, so it was only T.Puzzle but it’s a necessity to keep sweat from blurring his rec-specs’ field of vision. Secondly, whenever T.Puzzle was back in goal, we dominated on the goalie with the best dimples.  T.Puzzle’s dimples are extraordinary.  Take that other team!

As you can probably guess, no matter where T.Puzzle played or how hard his team tried, victory remained elusive.

Win, lose or draw I’ll always be there on the sidelines.

That’s a stat you can count on.

The Secret Plan

I’m about to share with you a highly effective yet secret way you can stalk look-out for your seventh grader.  It’s so top-secret that if your name is Full Speed, you must immediately stop reading this and step away from this blog post.  I’m totally serious.  You do not have a high enough security level clearance, and more importantly, you would be on to me.  Walk away, Full Speed.  Walk away.

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Full Speed walking one of our highly-trained extremely adorable dogs

Part one of my secret plan is that you have to get a dog well in advance of your middle-schooler having to take the bus to school.  I’m talking maybe a decade or so in advance.  Trust me, this will help you seem credible when the chips are down.  After you have secured your status as a dog owner, you have to start walking them religiously to the point you become well-known in your neighborhood as the ‘dog lady’ which, let’s hope, references your dog ownership and NOT your appearance.  Anyway, you have to walk the same route day after day.  You must casually interact with all the middle schoolers who hang out at the bus stop at the end of your subdivision.  This part is actually pretty awesome because you get to bring some levity to their day and your dog will love the attention.  If you want to be extra sneaky, get TWO dogs.  I’m telling you, middle schoolers will love you for it.  The more fluffy appreciation they receive to start their day, the more you fit in under the radar.

Once you have this routine solidly on lock-down, then it seems completely normal for you to check-in on your own kid when the time arrives for him to join in the morning band of middle-schoolers.  Again, it’s awesome to have your dogs bring so much happiness especially now that your own kid is included in the bunch.  See?  Stealth stalking  supervision complete!

And, I will neither confirm or deny at this point because my plan is working so beautifully, but it’s possible my fluffy companions are robotic stunt dogs.

Whatever it takes.  Do whatever it takes.

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Yikes(!) and Bikes(!)

I totally get that baseball is a game of inches.  A couple of inches left or to the right, and a foul ball potentially becomes a 3-run shot.  This is part of baseball’s charm.  As charming as this is, if you fly across the country and spend money on a hotel and tickets, it’s always helpful to see your team win.  Especially if you go four times you figure the baseball gods have to smile down upon you at least once, right?

It didn’t seem that way.  It seemed the more we sojourned to Wrigley, the more victory eluded us. As we approached game four with no win in sight, I was losing hope.  Of course I loved being at Wrigley, but still…was I asking too much to see one teensy-weensy win?

After watching the third defeat, my normally cheery attitude (that’s right, Mad Dog, I’m all about the cheer) had taken a turn.  Let’s just say this World Series Champion was downright crabby, just ask our cabbie (I keep spontaneously rhyming as of late, should get that checked out, and truthfully, we used an Uber, but what the heck rhymes with that?!).  Once we were back at our hotel, my mood continued its downward spiral.

Mad Dog knew we needed to change course. He insisted we all get dressed up and take advantage of the city. We would try a new restaurant and then go for a carriage ride.  All he had to do was get me out the door and all would be well. He was right.  We ended up having an awesome night.

After a great dinner, I was so looking forward to our carriage ride.  It’s one of my favorite  things to do when we are in Chicago.  The city is gorgeous lit up at night and it’s fun to see it from this vantage point. That’s the whole idea, getting to see things out of the ordinary.  This particular carriage ride did not disappoint to put it mildly.

When we rounded the corner as our ride was winding down, it was apparent something was amiss.  Immediately our guide starts to frantically shout, “Look to the right!  Look to the right! Keep looking that way, don’t look the other way!”

She was clearly panicked for some reason.  Was it an accident?  Was a crime of some sort taking place?  I was starting to get very nervous.

No, it was neither of these.  It was a naked bike ride.  Yes, you read that right,…naked!

There were hundreds and hundreds of naked people riding gleefully down Lake Shore Drive.  Full Speed went white with shock and T.Puzzle couldn’t stop laughing.  I simply marveled at how one actually rides a bike sans underpants. Painfully so I would imagine.  Mad Dog?  Well, he did the only thing he could do, he pulled out his phone and starting snapping pictures.  Sadly or gladly(?), there’s that rhyming thing again(!), I won’t be sharing those pictures here.  In fact, I never want to see those pictures again for the rest of my life.

We hurriedly paid our guide and made our way back to our hotel.  By then, much to our relief, most of the birthday-suit bikers had passed through.

However, the memory will forever linger in a can’t-ever-unsee-that-kind-of-way.

I blame the Cubs. (They did thankfully win the fourth and final game we attended🙌🏻)

The next baseball trip we take they better win every game we attend.

The only shock and awe I expect from this point on is that the Cubs play deep into October and that everyone in the glorious city of Chicago keeps their pants on….

I think that’s reasonable, don’t you?