humor, motherhood, parenting, self care?

Post Traumatic Tiki Bar Disorder

IMG_4971As Mad Dog and I gathered around the corner table with his colleagues from the weekend awards’ summit, someone asked me if I had recovered from the Tiki Bar from the day before.  My hands immediately went to my ears at the sound of the words ‘tiki’ and ‘bar’ as my body shuddered at the memory.  Not because of my day spent at the Tiki Bar, more likely, because of the after-effects of my day at the Tiki Bar.

It had all started out innocently enough.  Mad Dog and I had a rare opportunity to go to the hotel’s gym for a workout together.  We were making the most of our kid-free getaway while also celebrating the enumerable accomplishments of Mad Dog’s incredible work team.  You can’t not have fun celebrating other people, this awards’ summit is seriously one of my favorite events of the whole year.  Post-workout we continued our charade of having zero responsibility.  We parked ourselves at table by the Tiki Bar for an oceanside lunch accompanied by some ridiculously awesome cocktails.  Our intent was to enjoy a drink or two, then head back to our room to get dressed up for dinner date.  It quickly went off the rails (in the best possible way) from there. We found some friends hanging out at the bar, pulled up some barstools and proceeded to not leave for another 10 hours.  I tried to blame Mad Dog later for not supervising me better, but he promised he had done his part.  The problem was all his friends and colleagues were courteously buying me cocktails without his knowledge.  I honestly don’t know how many drinks I had.  This all eventually led to an epic day/night of fun and laughter but, you know where this is going, the aftermath of which I payed for dearly.

I was extremely disappointed I had to miss a good portion of the events the following day.  I truly wanted to support Mad Dog and his team for all the hard work leading up to this summit.  However, I simply could not.  Mad Dog had to tuck me in and with lots and lots of Gatorade, I made a slow and steady recovery.

I was so worried about how people would react to my absence but across the board, everyone was so supportive and understanding.  I had no reason to feel guilty or ashamed.  They all said that a mom should be allowed to have a carefree night of fun.

I’m in no way suggesting that you need to go on a massive bender to reclaim your individuality, but it’s okay to let your hair down on occasion whatever that looks like for you.

Never forget the wild-child that lived in your heart as you grew into womanhood and beyond.

She deserves a day at the Tiki Bar.

family, humor, motherhood

Democracy in Action

Every family has a structure of ‘power’ so to speak.  It’s a dance between allowing everyone to have their say and getting individual needs met.  Let’s say you are on a 15 hour road trip one way (true story), and it comes time to decide where and when you might make a pit stop.  Each member of the family is allowed input and then a family vote is taken.

Voting System Breakdown

(should be noted this is Mad Dog’s creation):

As an adult and as a child over the age of twelve, myself and Full Speed are afforded one vote respectively.

Full Speed = 1

Mom = 1

Got it so far?  It seems straightforward but gets infinitely more complex as the process continues.

T.Puzzle gets a half vote since he is under twelve.  However, if he agrees with Mad Dog he gets a full vote.

T.Puzzle = 1/2 vote, bumps to 1 vote when he aligns with Mad Dog.

Mad Dog gets three votes.

Mad Dog = 3 votes

Yes, you read that right… three votes!

In the rare event that T.Puzzle’s half vote slips under the radar and a tie ensues, Mad Dog automatically becomes the tiebreaker.

“The supreme art of war is to subdue the enemy without fighting.”

-Sun Tzu

Game over, Mad Dog.

Game over.

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We all voted and yes, Mad Dog makes us laugh… a lot!
dogs, humor, motherhood

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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children, family, humor, motherhood

Pushback

How is it possible to trash talk during a FAMILY DICE GAME?  As Mad Dog will tell you, he is gifted at a lot of things and trash talking is one of them.  For him, it’s a subtle balance of talking up his legendary gaming status and pushing buttons whenever one of his opponents shows any glimpse of weakness.  Not surprisingly, a recent game of Farkle pushed T.Puzzle to frustrated tears.  He cannot stand to lose, but to lose to Mad Dog is anathema.

Then there’s me.  I actually encourage family games.  I have this deluded notion that I can spark a positive connection between my family members (ha!).  Most of the time it is fun, even the trash talking part.   The crazy things Mad Dog says are classic and lead to laughter.  Laughter is where all the magic happens.  Then, there are the times when the laughter turns sour.  The game goes so far off the rails, you can’t turn back.

I also am not sure why I’m the only one in my family that truly appreciates the outdoors.  To get all three of my guys to do something outside takes monumental persistence and strength.  The pushback is incredible.  If they were left to their own devices, I’m guessing they would just be attached to said devices (i.e.-smartphones, laptops, gaming systems).

Why do I insist on family games and outings?  I like making the three of them step out of their comfort zone.  I like that they are forced to interact with each other.  This is how we learn and grow.  This is how we bond.

I have days where I lose motivation due to the enormous amount of resistance I encounter.  I asked Mad Dog why he always has to drag his feet on my ideas for family time.  His theory is that he is trying to maintain the illusion that he is still the alpha of the house.  Even though part of him knows what I’m suggesting is good for him and ultimately he will comply (mostly), he can only do so in his own complicated way.  I appreciated his honesty.  I didn’t fall in love with him because he always agrees with everything I say as soon as I say it.  I like that he challenges me.

That’s the whole point of loving someone.  You love them for exactly who they are, not who you think they should be.

I knew full well when I walked down the aisle towards Mad Dog on our wedding day, he was a trash talker of epic proportions.  I kept walking anyway because there was so much awesome in him that it made everything ok.  I knew my life would never be boring and it would be full of amazing adventures (see also Wrigley Rising).

I happened to get two bonus awesomes out the deal, too.

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grief, motherhood

The Story of a girl and her White Fluffy Dog

A wise person had once told the girl, “The road to true love is never easy.”  And, they were right.  It hadn’t been easy.  The girl didn’t mind because she was happily in love with her Buckeye.  Their relationship was finally everything she knew it could be and then some.  They had moved in together and lived across from Wrigley Field.  Pure magic.

Sometimes, at night, as the girl waited for her handsome Buckeye to come home after a long day’s work and an even longer commute, she would get a little bit lonely.  She thought about how to remedy this and knowing her Buckeye’s career path was only gearing up, she decided to get a dog.  She had never had a dog in her whole life.  The great thing about being a grown-up is that if you want a dog, you get to have a dog.  The girl was not impulsive in nature so she researched and pondered and then researched and pondered some more.  Eventually she decided she wanted a Bichon Frise because small, white and fluffy seemed like perfection to her.  On the day she drove to a suburb to meet a slew of Bichons, she felt very confident ‘her dog’ would find her.  And, she did.

At first the girl thought she wanted a boy and that’s all she focused on.  She started to get frustrated with how energetic and bitey they all were and wondered if she would leave empty-handed.  Instead, she opened up her expectations and picked up the first female she could find.

It was love at first sight.

The girl couldn’t explain it but this sweet little Bichon-Poodle was meant to be hers.  She was gentle and loving.  She weighed a whopping 3.2 pounds.  She was perfect.

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The girl brought her home and their adventure began.  It wasn’t always easy or smooth, but the girl quickly forgave her White Fluffy Dog because, well, she was white and fluffy.  She was magic.

Five months after the White Fluffy Dog came into her life, the girl had to go out of town.  She left for a few days and put the White Fluffy Dog’s care into the hands of her Buckeye.  She didn’t think twice about it before she left but she should have.  Once she returned she realized something had changed.  Her White Fluffy Dog still loved her, but now, she loved the Buckeye even more.  At times this would frustrate the girl because she wanted to be loved best, but she got over it.  This dramatic shift in loyalty helped a lot when the girl became a mom.  She was so focused on raising her young Buckeyes, she was grateful that the White Fluffy Dog had the Buckeye to look out for her.  It also helped that the White Fluffy Dog adored the little Buckeyes.  She loved babies, pacifiers, bottles and diapers.  She was always gentle with the little Buckeyes and over the years, tolerated a lot of hands-on rough and tumble play with them.  She adjusted to being a big sister with great aplomb.

 

Life changed drastically when the Littlest Buckeye turned 18 months old.  At this time the girl learned he was severely allergic to the White Fluffy Dog.  As much as the girl loved her White Fluffy Dog, she did what she had to.  The White Fluffy Dog went to live with her Buckeye’s parents.  The White Fluffy Dog lived with them for five long years (extremely long if you ask the Buckeye’s father).

As the LB grew and changed so did his immune system.  On a whim when he was seven, the girl decided to have him tested yet again for his dog allergy.  She almost didn’t believe the results.  Her White Fluffy Dog could come home.  It was magic all over again.

Having her White Fluffy Dog again brought wholeness to the girl’s heart.  The girl could handle all of her White Fluffy Dog’s quirks because of this wholeness.  Yes, the White Fluffy Dog had entered her golden years and was certainly set in her ways, but she was still magic.  She still was that same dog that ran towards you when you were hurting, sick or broken.  If the girl was sad, her White Fluffy Dog would lay down next to her.  The White Fluffy Dog never ran when faced with distress, rather this is when she shined.  There are no words to convey what this meant to the girl.  ‘Everything’ is a good one to start with.  It pretty much meant everything to the girl.

The girl had more time for her White Fluffy Dog as her little Buckeyes weren’t so little.  She walked her every day.  The girl loved these walks.  The girl fed her, brushed her and made sure she had her medicine.  While the White Fluffy Dog still loved the Buckeye the best, she appreciated all the love and care the girl showed her.  She followed the girl everywhere.  The magic continued…until it didn’t.

The White Fluffy Dog had lived 13.5 well-loved years when her body finally started to give out.  The girl was heartbroken.  The day came that the girl and her family had to say goodbye to the White Fluffy Dog.  She had cancer and was bleeding internally.  The White Fluffy Dog was ready to go.  When the White Fluffy Dog’s last moments arrived, the girl bravely held her in her arms.  The girl reasoned they had started out together, that it was only fitting that they were together when it ended.

The space the White Fluffy Dog has left in the girl’s home is enormous.  It is quiet in a way that is unsettling.  The girl now walks around with a White Fluffy hole in her heart.  Her only comfort is knowing that love eventually prevails.

After all, she learned this lesson from the best…

 

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