Thanks Assholes, You’ve Ruined Balloons For Me Too

Here’s a little story about why I’m likely NEVER going to allow another balloon to enter our home. . .

My sister has a sick little freak of a Dachshund with a latex fetish.  The dog cannot stand the sight or even the smell of balloons.  He gets all worked up into a frenzy and wants to maul the suckers.

I don’t know how this happened.  And it’s one of those situations where you DON’T ask for fear you’ll learn a little too much about your Sister and Brother-In-Law and what exactly they might be doing with their free time. . .

I mean, we’ve all seen that show on Discovery Health about the people who find balloons um exciting. . .

Wait?  You mean you have a life and you don’t watch TV shows about the bizarre sexual habits of complete strangers?  

Never mind.  I don’t even know why you are still reading this then. . .

Anyway, after my sister’s baby shower a few weekends ago, she kindly offered us some helium-filled balloons because her dog was going to go wacky berserk at the sight of them.

I’ve always liked balloons.  Sure they taste like ass and they make a really loud noise when they break, but otherwise, I’ve always found them to be a kinda’ special treat.  It’s not every day you get some balloons, right?  Balloons are sort of like wine from a bottle or a clean bra:  Celebratory.

Mac’s eyes light up at the sight of them so of course we agreed to take some balloons.  This particular bunch contained one mylar balloon appropriately lettered with the words “Baby Shower” along with two bright green latex ones and they were all tied up neatly with bright green ribbon. . .that standard issue plastic-ky kind of ribbon that’s good for making curly cues with scissors.

We stole a bunch of candy out of the remaining party favors for the ride home, stuffed those suckers in our trunk and peeled out of there.

When we got home, we “released” the balloons on the main floor of the house.  I was elated because the ribbons were long enough for me to reach easily but not long enough for Mac.  He played with them for a bit before bed and that was that.

Of course when I came downstairs the next morning, the Latex balloons had deflated slightly dragging everything closer to the floor.  I snipped the string so the Mylar balloon could float back to the ceiling and tossed the latex balloons – ribbons still attached – into the basement figuring I could deflate them later since I didn’t want to risk scaring a sleeping toddler by popping balloons.

Of course things got a little hectic and the balloons were still rolling around on the basement floor the following day.  I mindlessly kicked them aside every time I made my way to the washer, the dryer, and the second booze fridge.

The following morning I came downstairs to find several massive piles of cat puke.  This puke contained at least 2 feet of gnawed up bright green ribbon.

I furled my brow and mumbled something about animals instinctively knowing what they shouldn’t eat is bullshit while I cleaned up the puke.

Still, I stupidly left the green balloons on the basement floor. 

Another day or two passed and my Husband asked if I knew what could be possibly causing Satan’s Lap Hound to be shitting chartreuse.  Oops.

I finally stuck a pair of scissors in the latex balloons to deflate them, said a small prayer the dog didn’t have an $1800 intestinal blockage, and threw them in the trash where they will no doubt eventually create an unfortunate digestive disorder for some poor unsuspecting wildlife.

However, that lone mylar balloon was still going strong on the main floor of the house.  And the kid was becoming nothing if not demented Dachshund-like in his pursuit of it.

He’d stand in the center of the room doing a high-pitched whine/scream pointing at it floating on the ceiling.  I’d rush to his assistance placing the ribbon in his pudgy little fist and the split second I’d turn around, he’d release it, wailing as he watched it float to the ceiling again.

It was starting to dawn on me that there was nothing celebratory about balloons.  They were nothing but a parent torture device probably engineered by evil troll-clowns for the sole purpose of causing parents to go positively INSANE.

Then one afternoon, Mac was happily seated in his high chair having a  little pre-nap snack.  As I stood there cutting apples into little matchsticks (that’s how he likes them these days and yes, I had pants on this time), I heard a blood curdling shriek.

I whip my head around just in time to see Chris attempting to tie the ribbon attached to the mylar balloon to one of the round wood pieces of Mac’s stacking toy.  Mac is in a crouched position in his chair completely spastic, snack ruined, nap in jeopardy.

“What in the name of all that is HOLY are you doing?” I hiss at Chris in the most pleasant tone I can muster for Mac’s benefit (while brandishing a massive knife).

“What?” he asks all innocently, “I thought he’d be able to get it himself this way.”

GET IT HIMSELF?!  A half-inflated plastic balloon with a ribbon attached to it that has caused the cats to barf and the dog to crap green. . .Yes.  It makes perfect sense we’d want our 17 month-old to access something like THIS all by himself.

And this is a man whose job is based upon keeping other people safe from all sorts of environmental hazards.  

Sometimes I wonder what this world is coming to?

I demand Chris detach the balloon from the block immediately.

Mac relaxes a little, sits back down, and resumes stuffing apple matchsticks in his face-hole.

I watch the balloon slip effortlessly towards the ceiling. . .

And I picture myself stabbing it and all of its kind violently with an ice-pick.

When A Nap Is Not Just A Nap. . .

I’m going to exercise my free will later today. . .Good luck with that.

I’m feeling all twitchy and nervous.

Seems my little darling elected to skip his nap today. 

What un-nerves me the most about this afternoon?

The fact that Mac seems to have made a conscious decision not to nap.

He went to the stairs with his wubbies at the typical time, like he wanted a nap.  We went upstairs and I placed him in his crib uneventfully.

And about 5 minutes later:  BAM!  Nana-nana-na-na!

It’s as if he thought about it for a short time and reconsidered.

The feeling of the power shifting was so forceful, it made my fillings rattle.

But I’m a stubborn old hag and I don’t give up easily.

We tried a snack.  We tried some quiet playtime and books.  We tried the sleepy wrap. . .

Turns out stubborn mommies make stubborn off-spring.

I put him back in the crib again. . .not too long from the time he should be getting AWAKE from his nap.

And then I listened to him making duck noises for the next 30 minutes.

Finally, the quacking ceased.

Then the UPS guy came roaring up the street putting Satan’s Lap Hound on high alert.  Incessant barking ensued.

All I could do was laugh very, very quietly from the basement bathroom where I had sequestered myself in an effort to make as little noise as possible.

I held the baby monitor to my ear waiting for the inevitable. . .

There was barely a peep.

Still, in the whooshing noise of the baby monitor, I heard something else loud and clear:

The power has shifted. . .And I’m not getting it back.

Reluctant Mother Remains Calm When Vaca Plans Literally Go In Crapper Plus A Bonus Turd In the Punchbowl

So this is the state of affairs around here this afternoon.

Except there’s one aspect of this debacle you thankfully can’t experience:  The Stench.

See, we are supposed to get out-of-town for a few days to do some birding in the southern part of the state.  (Staying in a hotel. . .with a waterfront balcony and proper room service, thank you very much).

But predictably something has gone horribly awry.  

The dog is sick.

Not Satan’s Lap Hound, he’s waaaaay too ornery to get sick.  

Molly, our much-loved 14-year-old Labrador Retriever, is sick.  She has chronic colitis and either it’s flaring or she actually got a stomach bug when she visited the Vet earlier this week for some routine blood work.

Either way, the end result has been a wicked smelling, seemingly continual mess in our living room.

It started yesterday morning. . .but then seemed better.  Then Chris mentioned she had an accident at some point during the night.  Yet she seemed to be resting comfortably this morning, so Mac and I took a little walk, and when I returned, I could actually smell the mess before I even opened the front door.

I can’t leave a sick dog with our pet sitters.  That’s just wrong.  Plus, what if she gets worse?  We owe it to her to be here for her.

But what about our trip?  And the hotel cancellation policy?  And all that fucking laundry and packing I’ve done in anticipation of the trip?!

Doesn’t matter, none of it – It’s just not happening.  

To add insult to our last-minute cancellations financial injury, poor old dog still needs another trip to the Vet just to make sure she’s ok and to get some medication to stop the doody already!

It’s no secret I LOVE our Vets.  They are wonderful, dedicated, and always give sound medical advice, which is great because with all of our clunker pets and their medical conditions over the years, we see them a LOT.

In fact, I’m certain our visits have funded at least one year of Ivy League education for their son.  We exchange holiday cards.  We have their private cell phone numbers in case there’s a horrible emergency.  They’ve been with us during the dark times we’ve had to euthanize our pets and they were our heroes when Molly needed an emergency tracheotomy, breathing tube, and a trip to an emergency clinic.  (Yeah, that little adventure cost more than my first 2 cars combined).

So you can imagine my surprise when we called to schedule Molly an appointment for later today and they told us an earlier afternoon appointment was going to cost an extra $40.  Um, you’re a vet.  You see sick animals.  When animals are sick, it’s usually important to see them in a timely manner.  Doesn’t it feel WRONG to charge extra to see them sooner rather than later?

I’m sure this cost is somehow justified, but after everything else today, it really felt like a turd in the punchbowl. (Do you sense a theme here?) An appointment at 3:30 costs $40 extra.  So we opted for the 7:00 time slot.  And hey, after 2 days, what’s another 3 hours of a 75 pound dog’s intestines exploding all over the place?  

The trip has literally gone in the crapper,  but I know in my heart, the important thing is Molly starts feeling better. . .

And that I don’t run out of Clorox wipes. . . 

Purposeful Parenting?

Did you just HEAR what she said?! Ear-muffs! Ear-muffs!

I know this will come as a surprise for those of you who think I spend nearly every waking minute swilling booze and spewing snark but I am serious about my parenting.

Frequently clueless. . .but caring.  

I think about it a lot.

I think about my actions.  My words.

I want to provide my kid with the best childhood I can possibly offer him.

Every kid deserves that.

So when the laundry needs folded and the dishwasher needs unloaded and I have 14 things on my to-do list, the cat barfed on our bed (again), the kid is eating dog food, and I’m quite literally seconds away from peeing my pants, and bedtime is a LONG ways off. . .I sometimes have to remind myself to keep things in perspective.

So what if the kid eats dog food?  It’s quality dog food. ;)

The other day, I came across a post at Lil Blue Boo that offered a really nice, short sweet summary of “goals” Ashley had for her daughter.

Ashley aspires to parent in a way that will help her child become: humble, compassionate, curious, respectful, accountable, and with the ability to speak up, as well as understanding the world doesn’t owe her a thing.

And every day, they remind their daughter to “make good choices.”

I love this and I’m certainly going to remind myself of these simple principles as I go about my days with Mac.  The older he becomes, the more I’m reminded that my purposeful parenting is so important to his development.

I’m just curious. . .If I inadvertently let an F Bomb fly in front of him does that count as “Speaking up”?  Or do I just hold myself “accountable”?

Eff me.  It’s never as easy as it sounds.  

In Which I Almost Lose It In PetCo

I love our pets, dearly.  I really really do.  There’s hardly anything I wouldn’t do for them.  Molly needs a several thousand dollar surgical procedure?  Done.  Dexter seems “lethargic” and needs overnight observation and fluids?  Of course.  Good quality food?  Naturally.  Religious flea, tick and heart worm treatments?  You bet.

But I’m not completely insane.  Animals are still animals.  And I tend to get a little indignant when I see people treating animals, especially “shelter” animals in a manner I suspect they wouldn’t treat a disadvantaged human being.

Yesterday afternoon, as Mac was napping in the car, Chris dropped me off at the curb outside the PetCo to QUICKLY get our monthly $100+ worth of food, treats, and cat litter.

The first thing I noticed was what appeared to be a very loud, butt sniffing convention occurring just outside the front doors.  There was some sort of adoption event occurring.  Husband, “If I had known there was an adoption event going on, I would have brought Tilghman.”


As I was trying to navigate the frenzy of leashes and drool, I had the unfortunate luck to get stuck behind a woman wielding a shopping cart and her 6 or 7-year-old daughter.

The carts are located in the vestibule area of the store, so there’s another set of automatic doors to get through before you actually reach the pet product hell that is PetCo.  Typically, this isn’t a difficult passage to navigate.

Unless you are in a hurry.

I can’t seem to get around this woman and her kid.  They have come to a dead stop just beyond the second set of automatic doors.  And the woman is going crazy fawning over three nervous looking greyhounds all sporting some kind of ridiculous looking vests.

I stand on my tip toes and crane my neck to see what the hold up is.  That’s when I realized Crazy Dog Lady is reaching in her purse and gathering cash from her wallet.  Each one of these dogs has a vest that is complete with a clear plastic pouch/pocket on the sides.  The vests are embroidered with the words “Donation Dog.”

I attempt to remain patient as the woman stuffs dollar bills into each dog’s vest like they are some kind of exotic dancers.  She’s completely oblivious to the 3 deep line of shopping carts stacked up behind her.

I figured we were in the clear once her cash ran out.  But instead she took two steps and was distracted by the kittens to our right.  Ugh.  Kittens.

She again comes to a dead stop in the middle of the main aisle leading into the store and starts lecturing the kid about how the kid can pet the kittens but since “Mommy’s allergic, you know we can’t take one home.”

Oh.  Sweet. Baby. Jesus.  I just want some damned dog food already!

I glare at one of the greyhounds and it retreats enough to allow me to squeeze past Crazy Dog Woman and her daughter and I attempt to race towards the back of the store.  My forward progress is impeded by several dogs zigzagging through the aisles, one child pitching a colossal fit near the rodents, and an obscene amount of products on the floor in nearly every aisle.  The place is a damned disaster area.

I’m equally as frustrated upon my arrival in the dog food section.  They seem to not have the size bag of dog food we typically purchase. . .only smaller ones.  I wander the aisle until I happen upon an employee.  I ask him if they have any larger bags of dry dog food.  He very helpfully leads me back to a shelf where he points to a large empty area and says they do not.  Thanks boy wonder. . .I didn’t notice that before.  I keep my wits about me, thank him politely and had towards the cat section of the store.

I’m intercepted by another employee asking if I needed any assistance.  I’m so annoyed I can barely form an intelligible sentence.  “Um. . .No.  Well, I needed a larger bag of dog food but I was told you are out. . .So this one.  I’m getting this one instead.  Oh never mind, no thank you.  I don’t need any assistance,” I stammer as I nearly ram the cart into a huge pile of puppy training pads lying all over the floor.  It would assist me greatly if you paused to clean up your shelves.

I grab a bag of cat kibble and heave a massive 42 pound bag of cat litter into the cart and head towards the cat treat aisle.  There I’m met with the ever-helpful female employee I was stammering at just a few short moments earlier.

I grab two kinds of tartar control cat treats and head back to the cart.  My back is towards the woman when she says, “Hey, do your cats eat only one kind of treat?”

I turn around wearily and answer her.  They are not picky about their treats.

Well, that was all the opening she needed.  All of a sudden I was subjected to an ear-full about how one customer’s cat will only eat a specific treat and she was trying to help her find a suitable substitute.  And her own cats really love the dog’s jerky treats.  And one time at band camp. . .

I smile and nod politely barely hearing every third word.  I feel my leg start to involuntarily twitch.  I have a husband circling a parking lot full of barking dogs with our child trying to nap in the backseat.  Come on lady.  Gimme me a break and shut it already.

I almost make a clean break by continuing to push my cart with my back out of the opposite end of the aisle.  And just as I’m about free, she walks towards me saying she really likes my hair.  That’s very sweet but I’m not in the mood.

I try to brush off her compliment by shocking her with the sad truth:  I haven’t washed my hair in at least 5 days and it’s an absolute rat’s nest.

Undeterred, she continues to walks towards me, “But your’s looks like a good mess.  My head is covered in cowlicks.”

I am NOT a stylist lady!!!

I try to offer some small words of encouragement but my patience is wearing very thin.  I tell her I like her hat and that I often wear hats too.

She says something else and another something and I finally cut her off by wishing her a good day and bolt through two more crowded aisles towards the check out. . .

Which was a complete cluster.

There were two lanes open, each with lines stretching back behind that stupid ala carte doggy biscuit buffet.  Seriously?  How stale must those things be?

I select a line closest to the exit with a competent-looking cashier.  Yes, I’m in line directly behind Crazy Dog Lady.  Yet, her cart looks nearly empty so I feel comfortable with my decision.

I listen to Crazy Dog Lady talk and talk about how cute all the shelter dogs are and how if they didn’t already have 4 dogs, she would adopt one.  They really are unfortunate and need good homes.  Blah, blah, blah, blah, blah.  My leg is twitching again.  I regret having left my phone in the car.

Crazy Dog Lady steps up to the register.  And then it happens:  She discovers one of the rope toys she’s selected for her canine menagerie is on sale for two dollars.

“Two Dollars?!” she practically roars.

She orders her daughter to go back to that area of the store and gather up all the similar discounted toys she can find.

Waiting.  Waiting.  Waiting.  It feels as if the earth has stopped turning on its axis.  I can hear the blood rushing through my ears.  My blood pressure must be reaching a critical level.

I’m beyond annoyed.

I try to shift things in my cart so all of the little scan codes are in a readily accessible spot for the cashier.

Daughter finally returns with 2 more rope toys.

“Was that all of them?” Crazy Dog Lady queries in a disappointed tone.  “Go back and check on the floor in front to the toys.”

Daughter is off like a shot again.  For a split second I considered tripping her as she bolted past me.

After enduring another near eternity, Daughter returns empty-handed.

Cha-Ching.  My turn bitches.

But just then another oh-so-helpful employee points out there’s an entire rack of discounted pet toys at the of the checkout aisle.  Why would you put that junk right there?  This place is clearly run by idiots.

So I wait some more, while Crazy Dog Lady examines all the cheap shit her dogs will undoubtedly destroy by dinner time. . .assuming she even makes it out of the store by dinner time.

I audibly clear my throat and tap my foot.  The cashier looks at me sympathetically.

Crazy Dog Lady returns finally satisfied she’s found her fill of discounted dog toys.  I shoot her a searing glance but she’s oblivious.

They make their way towards the exit and the cashier quickly handles my transaction.  And just as I’m about to exit myself, there is shouting to “Close all the doors.  Hurry!  Close all the doors.”

An employee quickly shuts the automatic door mere feet from the end of my cart.

What the hell?  Did one of those stripper dogs shoplift a hamster or something?

As it turns out someone’s stupid puppy escaped from the dog training area and was on the loose in the store.

“That’s marvelous,” I mutter under my breath at the employee stationed near the door.

Please please please pretty please let me out of this zoo.

I’m smiling at her but I’m pretty sure my eyes ready CRAZY because she barely so much as looked at me until she hurriedly opened the door so I could exit.

Back outside, Crazy Dog Lady is back at the adoption table praising all the mutts.  I stand at the curb waiting for Chris to pull up the curb and I smile at the wickedly delicious thought of something pissing on her leg.

Where’s Satan’s Lap Hound when you need him?

Cohabitation, Capitulation, and Short Glasses

Have I mentioned our house is about the size of a postage stamp?

It. Is.

This is actually one thing I don’t typically complain about.  I don’t mind.  In fact, I really prefer it that way.  There are only two toilets to scrub. . .well, and now a potty seat, which needs meticulous care since when Mac isn’t sitting on it, he’s pretending it’s a dog dish.  So gross.  I actually resorted to rinsing it with bleach.  (We seldom ever use bleach).  And yes, Betsy, I am now feeling extraordinarily sheepish about refusing to expose Mac to potentially fecal matter laden sand on vacation. 

Anyway, I really do try to keep our “stuff” in check.  I try to keep only what we need and not purchase a lot of extras.  But things can still get disorganized in a hurry.  And when things are disorganized, I’m less happy.  So I’m working on attacking some of our problem areas again.

Saturday night and Sunday morning I worked on the kitchen cabinets.  They are infinitely improved.  Not only are they organized, I also shifted things around for better functionality.

For example, I found myself bristling every time I needed to get some coffee or a tea bag because they were in a lower cabinet and anytime you open a lower cabinet, Mac comes barreling towards it, wedging himself in the door before you can slam it closed.  The extraction process often results in a mini-meltdown for everyone involved.  So um lightbulb, I moved that shit to an upper cabinet.  Now I can have a second cup without all the drama.

But even with ruthless editing, there are still some things that just don’t quite have a perfectly functional place.  Including these:

Yes.  These three small tumblers have been vexing me for years.  They came with a set of drinking glasses we purchased shortly after we bought the house.  There were plenty more originally but our previous porcelain coated cast iron sink claimed a few over the years.  And now we are down to three.

And I wish I still had that sink.

I feel badly about wishing them harm, since they’ve never done anything particularly malicious.  I just can’t seem to find a proper place to store three short little glasses.

Recycle them or take them to Goodwill you might be thinking.

I can’t.  These are my Husband’s favorite glasses.  I don’t know why, but he’s not a fan of the tall lean statuesque glasses.  He likes the short and squat ones.  (Which is apparently how he likes his women too given my height and weight. . .).

Now, for a time, I had been stacking the short fellows on top of the taller glasses in a cabinet.  It was a little tedious but manageable.  Unfortunately, when I shifted stuff around, somehow the arrangement no longer worked as well.

I tried.  Oh how I tried.  But nearly no sooner had I done my cup stacking, until Husband reached for a beloved shorty, and promptly sent it careening to the kitchen floor.

“Yeah.  These aren’t lining up right.  Don’t we have somewhere else you can put them?” he asks in a mildly annoyed tone.


“We’ll just take them out of there,” I chirp like it’s no problem at all.  Then I swooped in and grabbed the glasses and placed them on the open shelving on the other side of the kitchen.

But I don’t like them there.  They make me nervous.  They hover over the table.  I’m just certain one is going to jump off that shelf and break something in close proximity.

I’ve been stewing for the past 24 hours.

How do I balance my much maligned Husband’s simple request for a short glass in a convenient spot with my obsessive need to have things “look nice”?

A dilemma surely as old as cave-dwelling co-habitation.

My solution?  Capitulation.

I can’t debate a water-glass.  And I really do care about my Husband’s happiness.  So I’m just going to stack the shorties in front of the blender and hope he finds their new home acceptable.

Although, there might be some reckless dishwasher unloading going on in these parts in the near future. . .because I just can’t help myself.

Shut Up Already! Sunday: Swings



The other day I was in the park looking to kill some time, trying to enjoy the beautiful weather with Mac, when I happened upon several swing sets I honestly forgot were even there.  For some reason, we just don’t walk much in this particular area.

No one was using them.  So I figured I’d let Mac try it out for the first time. . .

He really seemed to enjoy it.

Of course, I hadn’t planned on having him in the full early afternoon sun for any length of time so I had to prematurely pry him out. . .and there was some protesting. . .

But we’ll definitely be making this a regular activity!