Thursday, April 28, 2011

A Dog's Life

Yesterday marked the first time in our pup's life that he was completely alone. At his original home, he was constantly with the family or with his brothers.

At our home, he has been with one of us, non-stop, since arriving. Steinvic did a nice job during his time at home with the pup, working upstairs and letting the pup have some downstairs time. But our dog still knew someone was home.

However, yesterday, Steinvic was off to C-bus, and I had to work, so we had everything in place for Puppy Survival while we were away:

  • puppy gates to safely keep our Pup in the hallway

  • food and water bowls, filled

  • crate open with our worn t-shirts inside and his blankey for naps

  • toys, toys and more toys

  • newspaper for potty time

  • talk radio to soothe him (and hopefully not disrupt his belief system)

As soon as the gate went up, the shrieking began. Not barking, not whimpering, not crying... screaming. It was disturbing. And it made me have big tears in my eyes.

"Did we make a mistake?" I asked Steinvic, trying not to ruin my work makeup with the big tears. "I feel like we're being mean to him."

"No,'s okay. He'll be fine," Steinvic comforted me. "He isn't suffering or anything...he just isn't used to this yet."

I was the last one out of the house. I could hear his shrieking in the parking lot of our townhouse. I worried.

I worried that he was terrified and would cry out like that all day.

I worried that the neighbors would call the police.

I worried (a little) about being a bad neighbor.

I worried that someone would come in and take him, since that is apparently legal to do in Ohio if you have cause to believe that an animal is in trouble (and our Pup's calls sure make it sound like he is caught in a beartrap.)

I worried.

I went home at lunch to find that he'd turned our doormat into a toilet. Doormat, meet washing machine. I cleaned the floor, sprayed a bit of "pee encourager" on the newspaper, cuddled him, gave him a treat and he started freaking out as I walked toward the gate, crying and shrieking.


But, I was fortunately able to leave a little early from work and there was never a happier puppy on the planet...licks and wiggles and wags and squeaks.

Squeaks because he was so cries left.

We played all afternoon and evening between chores. I emailed his former family and asked some questions and got some good suggestions to try in addition to what we'd done.

I tried them today and it was a little better.

I know he'll learn...he is brilliant and is already making it through the night. But it's getting there that is tough.

I have discovered that I am a softie at heart. I can be strong to help him learn, but inside...argh!

Wednesday, April 27, 2011

Happy Birthday, Young Man

Dear Young Man -

Today, you are 21 years old. You've reached that milestone that most people can't wait to get to...seeing it off in the distance as something so far out of reach. The milestone that will make people recognize that you're officially an adult now.

But in my mind...for so long, you've been so mature. So responsible. Still a boy in some ways, but more often these last two years, when you talk about your music or school or jobs, you're a grown up.

You're vulnerable, but you're also finding your strengths. You're capable.

You are beginning to understand how this World works, but you are not willing to pass judgement upon it. You're still willing to give the World a chance. Don't ever stop. No matter what happens, please keep believing it is a magnificent, miraculous place.

You've seen relationships succeed and fail. You seem to do what you can to make relationships work...even if they are not what you originally thought they'd be, and that reminds me of your father. (It's a wonderful, diplomatic quality that I envy in a good way.)

You are open to new experiences. You aren't cynical. You are very, very smart and you're discovering that there isn't really anything you can't do, if you try your best.

You aren't a jerk. That is a funny way to phrase a compliment, isn't it? But I mean to say it just like that because I see some very jerky people your age and my age. I have never seen you do anything mean to have no spite. You tease, but you tease gently. You would never pass over into cruel. Instead, you're careful and considerate. This is a rare quality and you (and your Dad who also possesses it) don't realize just how rare it is because there are some seriously selfish bastards out there. I'm so glad you aren't one of them!

I know I had nothing to do with raising you, Young Man. You have fantastic parents, and you were well on your way to being the person you are now when I met you seven years ago.

But I have so enjoyed becoming your friend and watching you navigate your teen years, and I'm grateful that I was there for all of it. Those years can be really tough. You got through it all so gracefully and bravely. And you had fun. I will, my whole life, remember how inspiring and amazing it has been to watch you find your music and to follow your dreams.

I'm proud of you. I'm proud to be a part of your family and I'm proud to be your friend. My life didn't unfold in a way that allowed me to biologically have a son, but I couldn't even imagine one better than you. And I couldn't love you any more, if you were my very own.

Happy Birthday to you, and here's to many, many more.


Monday, April 25, 2011

He Is Here...

On Saturday morning, Steinvic and I woke up, cleaned up, then drove for an hour and a half, into the country to pick up our dog. It was an overcast day, but the lush green countryside was beautiful. We had absolutely no idea where we were going for 70% of the trip, since our pup was born to a really neat family who lives in rural Indiana.

When we were invited in and saw our little guy, snoozing on the couch next to the keeper's youngest daughter, we melted.

He was a just bit bigger than we pictured he'd be in our mind's eyes...all four pounds of him. But that was actually a relief. He was still very tiny and very sleepy and very vulnerable and extremely sweet. Worn out from the bath she'd given him before we arrived...something that she says always makes him very tired.

On the long ride home, he sat on my lap and often stared up at Steinvic's face while Steinvic safely drove us all home. He looked into my face, too. He shivered a little and whined just a bit. He curled up in his blanket and dozed off.

And then we were home, bonding and all figuring out this new dynamic.

It's pretty wonderful.

Wednesday, April 20, 2011

I Still Smell Bleach

Last night, I power-cleaned our main bathroom.

Aside...when I typed that, my fantasy of having entire rooms I could actually powerwash came back into my mind. Wouldn't it be awesome if your bathrooms and utility rooms could be powerwashed regularly?! Big old drain in the floor to take down all the excess water? I digress...

Anyway, as I told Steivic on the phone last night (he's in you really think I'd waste a perfectly good evening that I could spend with him on scrubbing the bathroom instead?!) we are two of the most hygenic people on the planet, and we keep up on the regular maintenance very well, but ever so often, you gotta do a deep clean. DEEP.

The thing is, all of these hours later, I can still smell the bleach. I think it's trapped in my nostrils. Is that possible?!

And is it possible that I'm in Nesting Mode over our new dog, who arrives Saturday? Or am I in a Spring Cleaning mindset? Or panicing because Young Man and Girlfriend arrive next weekend?

No matter what, I was on a tear last night.

When I hear myself saying things like, "I used Oxy-infused Brillo Pads to scrub every surface in the bathroom," I realize that I sound a little nutty. However, if you have an older home with a bathroom that needs refinishing, and you don't care if you get little scratches, using a Brillo Pad is the way to go. (Actually, it takes about three do all the tile in the tub and shower area plus the tub itself.)

After you do that, why stop? Why not get on your hands and knees and scrub the floor? I thought I was going to break our Swiffer Wet Jet by scrubbing too hard. Seriously. So, hands and knees won out. Washed the inside tub mat, washed the bath mats, washed the shower liner (go green and just wash don't need a new one) and curtain.

So yeah, something's up. But damn, that bathroom is CLEAN!

We have all of our pup's supplies ready for him now and Saturday is the BIG DAY! We are excited. Young Man is excited. J and her kids are excited. Mom and C are excited. Even my sister (who I don't hear from very often) and her kids are excited and I know this because they sent a giant care package for the dog. Wow! And a very kind colleague bought him a fleece jacket, which tickles us. The whole world is excited about this little guy. It's going to be fun!

I hope the bleach smell leaves soon, though...I don't want it canceling out the sweet smell of puppy breath. :)

Monday, April 18, 2011

Update to A Product Endorsement - Incoco

Do you remember when I wrote the post about Incoco's Dry Nail Applique, and how excited I was about this wonder-product?

I feel I should give you an update. They are no longer available at Walgreen's. And before that, they reduced the number of appliques in each packet, making it tougher to squeeze two manicures out of one packet. (Not impossible, just tougher.)

I should have known this was coming...when Steinvic and I were in Vegas in January, I got all happy because I saw these Incoco kiosks set up in the common areas on The Strip and also in a couple of the shopping areas of the casinos.

After spotting a few, I said to Steinvic, "Do you care if we go over there? I mean, just to see if they have new or different stuff than back home?" and he said of course...he is super-patient with my quest for beloved products, and I try not to abuse that patience by knowing exactly what I want before dragging him into a drug store or Sephora or Ulta.

I asked the representative, "Are you selling the kits or just applying manicures for people?" because I didn't need a new set at the moment...I was wearing a new set. But I would buy some to take with me.

She only half-answered me by affirming, "Of course!" (To which part of my question?) And leading me closer to this monster display of nail-goodness.

I said I'd like to buy a kit and asked how much, and she replied, "$35."

I tried to not sound astonished when I asked, "For one set?!"

"For a set of three," she replied, smiling a big, Crest Whitestrips smile.

" know, I'm just going to wait and buy them when I get home." I didn't want to sound like a cheap-ass, but there is a huge difference between $5.99 for one set and $35.

"Where are you from? You have Incoco there?"

I explained I was from Ohio and that, to be honest, my Walgreen's carried them and they were much, much less.

"Well, they won't be there much longer, we're going to stop selling them there. The best I can do for you is three sets and I'll take off $5, so three for $30."

I no-thanked her kindly and we shuffled along. I told Steinvic she was out of her mind, that I'd just bought the set I had on at Walgreen's before we left and I was sure I could get more.

And I did. Over the next few weeks, I bought the remaining packages at my store, only in the colors I loved.

And then they were gone.

You can still buy Incoco appliques directly by shopping online at the Incoco website. I haven't for a couople reasons...when they show a shade on sale or on clearance, it doesn't show up at that price in your cart. And, when I've paid $5.99 or less for something, I have a hard time paying double for it, even if I love, love, love that product.

I guess...I loved the convenience and performance of Incoco for a cost, but for double the cost, I'll just use polish and have to wait a bit for it to dry.

In the meantime, Sally Hanson has its own version out now (strangely still not on their website for me to link to) These do not adhere as seriously as the Incoco did, and the Sally Hansen version costs between $8 and $10 for a set (which like Incoco, if you're slick, you can fashion into two sets) but doesn't have mainstream colors or french, which was my FAVORITE, since even with my mad art skilz, I've never been able to do my own french manicure and have it look right.
So...farewell Incoco...hit me up if you ever go on sale...

Tuesday, April 12, 2011

Lost and Found

I don't know what you believe...but I believe that things in this Universe link up. Some times the world seems to listen and respond.

It's not Divine, necessarily. It's not exactly predestination. But I do sometimes find that things align and unfold and regroup, often coming together beautifully.

When Steinvic and I married, I had a special bracelet made for him. It was my design, hand-crafted by a woman who made a necklace for him long ago, on my design, for his birthday that we spent together.

It was magnificent. Odd and sentimental and one-of-a-kind.

And right after we returned from our January, belated honeymoon (we married in October), it disappeared.

We searched high and low. We retraced our steps, emptied closets, searched furniture. I actually picked a fight...I was so upset and Steinvic seemed apathetic, which was in reality, fear and disbelief that it was gone and maybe a little hope that he'd find it before I discovered it missing.

We even contacted the airline, since airport security was the last place we could firmly remember him having it. We thought he'd skipped putting it on, (because it was a little awkward to put on and take off), and tucked it into his pocket, planning to put it on when we got settled on the plane. I remembered putting our jackets into the overhead and hearing a the time, I attributed that to our jacket zippers.

We received a truly kind, personal email from our bracelet was found.

And so, in these weeks, we resigned ourselves to the fact that the bracelet was gone forever. It made us sad.

And we talked about a new that was similar, but not exactly the same, because I didn't like the idea of another, identical to the original, existing without being attached to us...just on the chance that it had been found by a stranger.

Tonight, I ran errands after work. Steinvic is working in Cbus and will be home tomorrow. I found clearance shirts at Macy's and did my MAC recycling so I could get a free lipstick. I went to WalMart to see the puppy beds we'd shopped online in person. I came home, exercised, did some laundry and sewed a little.

I misplaced the needle-threader my Mom got me and was pulling seat cushions off the couch, thinking it fell between them.

I went downstairs to get the vaccuum and got ready to sweep the whole room...I started to get the feeling that I'd accidentally thrown the threader away. But just in case, I wanted to's a thin wire and I didn't want our new puppy to find it.

I pulled the cushion off the loveseat one last time, looking for the threader and then pulled off the other cushion...

And there was the bracelet! Found! Home. Here with us, even though we both were sure we'd looked there previously.

I cried. I kissed the bracelet. I texted a photo of it to Steinvic. I called my Mom to tell her. Steinvic called me right away and was so happy.

It's not the monetary's totally the sentiment.

I don't put a lot of stock into things. As I've said before, I lost everything I owned in a horrible hurricane (that was my past life) and so, as a result, I don't care so much care about material things.

But a few, select, sentimental things...things that I meant for precious people to have...

I'm so grateful. I had written something special for Steinvic on our dry-erase board earlier tonight and I like to think that had something to do with this remarkable find...

No matter the cause, I am thankful.

Everything is as it should be. And I am lucky for a thousand reasons...

Monday, April 11, 2011

p.s. Puppy Update

How could I forget to post this?

Our puppy had his first vet check this weekend, then emailed us to let us know. (how we so appreciate the awesomeness of his keeper!)

She said he checked out great (all the puppies were healthy) and that he currently weights 3 lbs, 8.5 oz.

First shots, worming and all that...check!

Less than two weeks and he will be home with Steinvic and me. We can hardly wait!

No Allegra For Me

I think I'm experiencing the side effects of Allegra. I'll let you know in 24 hours if I start feeling more normal...I felt so bad this morning that I googled "side effects Allegra" and was knocked out to find that most of what I've been whining to Steinvic about recently were all right there for the reading. I didn't know if I was still sick or what, but after reading, I'm thinking it's the Allegra.

Of course, I make this stunning revelation the day after I purchased and opened a 15-pack. Which we bought because the 5-pack seemed to work. And I will say, Allegra does keep my eyes from itching and watering. But it also makes me nauseous, dizzy and unable to breathe.

Water, water, water. I can't stop drinking it.

A colleague just described a detoxification she experienced on vacation last weekend...a mud wrap at a spa and a soak and all these other waterfallish, massagish, meditative, warm treatments and if my body could salivate, it would have done so.

Steinvic and I need a vacation together. We need sunshine and walks. We actually had a walk-date followed by grilling something planned for this evening and it's raining and cold out, so unless something magical happens, we will not be scampering around outside.

This weekend, Steinvic reserved our room for the U2 concert we've got mid-summer and we booked transportation (we're gonna try Greyhound instead of MegaBus this time!) This is the concert to replace the concert that Bono had to cancel last year when he injured his back and had emergency surgery. So, we're definitely ready for this show!

We also purchased Young Man's main 21st birthday gift and did some plotting toward Mom's 70th birthday gifts. We uploaded Young Man's recital on YouTube (This took much longer than I anticipated. We thought it would be all instant. It wasn't. Each 3-5 minute song took more than an hour to load. What is up with that?!) and e-mailed it out to the family.

For as short as the weekend was, we accomplished a lot. Well, Steinvic did! He did the trip-planning and also helped me around the house and ironed. I worked Saturday morning. I whined around yesterday because we had plans to meet a friend at 3. I just couldn't get it together. And I'm so tired today.

I'm blaming Allegra. I hope I snap out of this soon...

Friday, April 8, 2011

I'm Alive!

I feel like shouting it from the rooftops...I am finally creeping my way out of the cold that has had it's slimy arms wrapped around me all week. MAN! That was a doozy!

Something is going around. When I went home from work one day this week (one of my feeble attempts to actually function normally) there was a young guy walking out ahead of me. I saw him mop his forehead with a handkerchief and when I got outside, he was crouching on the ground. "Are you okay?" I asked. "I think I might get sick...I'm going home." I asked if he needed me to get Security for him (like, should this kid be driving home?) and he said thanks, no, he'd be okay. I hope he is. Just in our department, we had a mom out with her baby because of pink eye, and another person on our team out with a 24-hour's just disease city around here.

I'm thankful to be REALLY getting better now. I don't feel as spacey. I'm using a Kleenex per hour instead of a Kleenex per minute. Just want to interject here that I am a somewhat compulsive hand-washer who uses hand-sanitizer and is probably a slight germaphobe. And I still got sick. So. Just something to think about if you're as obsessive as I can be about the hygiene. Maybe it's not worth it. What am I saying?! Of course it is! I could have caught something much worse, right?

I sometimes forget how lucky I am when I'm feeling healthy. Thank your lucky stars if you're feeling well today!

Wednesday, April 6, 2011


The lingers and lingers. Have you ever been sick yet determined to not miss out on something really special?

I took an extra dose of non-drowsy medication. I breathed deeply. I ignored the bad hair day I was having and walked tall, telling myself that I won't be defeated by a silly, stupid headcold.

I drove to Columbus, listening all the way to cheerful music to help propell myself into the right mindset.

I arrived and hugged my husband in a way that hopefully prevented the transferrence of germs. And then made happy chat with any friends or family who would listen, acknowledging that yes, I have a cold and sure, I'll be OK.

We found Young Man and he was nervous and smiling and happy we were there. His Mom suprised him by returning early from a business trip just to see him perform and he was thrilled. (And so devoted that she did this knowing she'll have to make the four-hour flight back to that business trip this!) He had a few other fans to cheer him on along with us - his aunt, uncle, cousin and friends, his half-siblings and his girlfriend.

We tucked into our rows down front, all of us there for the same reason - we love him.

And he played. He played by himself and he played with friends. He played five songs and we hung on every beat of his drums, every plink of the vibraphone, every tsk of the symbols.

Young man was fantastic. All those hours of studying and practicing and listening to music have paid off.

I'm so proud that his Dad encouraged him to follow his dreams. I like how his dreams sound. His dreams weave music. And that music makes people smile and applaud. He has a purpose and he's discovered it and it's a privelige to witness...and hear.

So, for a few hours, I forgot about being sick. Music has the power to do that, too - make you forget about your cares...and your sore throat.

Tuesday, April 5, 2011

I Am Vertical

You know, a whole day at home, where I could work and organize and purge and clean and watch stuff on TV would have been great.

Being home sick and looking around at all the things I wanted to do was not cool. I did have a few, small bursts of energy. I stripped the bed, Lysoled it and washed our comforter, then redressed the bed with fresh linens.

I put all the purses my Mom has made me (they are so amazingly beautiful) that are not currently in use into a giant basket in the closet.(They were silently plotting to take over our upstairs.)

I dressed the guest bedroom bed. I took a hot shower.

I tethered the budding orchid stems in our orchid forest to stakes to help them grow tall and straight. We're going to have so many blooms soon!

I washed clothes and cut vegetables for dinner, even though Steinvic sweetly offered to bring something home instead.

I answered work emails and tried to keep things moving, even though I wasn't really with it enough to be productive.

And each time I did one of these small tasks, I got sweaty and tired and would have to sit down to rest.

I am not good at the sitting thing. I like to be doing something. I have a hard time sitting still or lying down. Usually, either one of these things leads to sleep almost instantly. (Just ask Steinvic!)

But today is Young Man's concert and I am NOT missing it. So, I woke up, got my act together, showered, spruced up complete with heels and hosiery and skirt, applied my essential layers of makeup (which, I believe, has medicinal purposes)and did my hair and here I am. I will drive up to his university this afternoon and meet up with Steinvic for the recital, then I will come on home once we've enjoyed his music.

As I told a colleague when I arrived at work this morning and she asked how I was feeling, "I've been better, but some days, you just gotta suck it up and deal!"

The key is to get vertical. The rest will follow.

Monday, April 4, 2011

This Sucks

I woke up this morning, sounding like a whiny frog-person. Sore throat. Stuffy nose and ears. Couldn't breathe. Achy head and arms and legs.

Last evening, Steinvic and I were at my parents' house, teaching them how to use the grill we got them for Christmas. Totally fine.

I admit, I have been ultra-tired lately. I had a touch of a cold about a month ago...the same cold that took to Steinvic and has lingered, but I never really got the full force of it. While I've woken up feeling lousy a number of times, I've just sort of shaken it off, saying, "Nope! Not being sick! Let's do this!" and then slathering on my 10 lbs of makeup and product and strutting on out the door.

Yesterday, when I woke up, my chest hurt just a little, when I'd try to breathe deeply, but I said, "Nah, not sick! Not me!" and cooked all day, in preparation to going to my parents.

Had a nice time there, stopped at our local on the way home, and aside from (sorry to be gross) a tiny nose bleed and some sniffling, totally fine. Went to bed and woke up to being a frog. So here I am at home.

I am trying to rally, because I hate being sick and helpless. That listless feeling to me is worse than pain. I'd rather be in pain than have no energy.

I am eating toast and drinking Steinvic's diet ginger ale (sorry, honey...there is plenty left!) Why do these things taste so delicious when you feel bad? Things I normally would not crave. I am not hungry at all, but I thought of toast an hour ago and obsessed over it until I finally got up and made some.

What is stupid is that my eyes are just streaming with tears. They don't burn, they're not irritated, just non-stop tearing. I need a shower.

Anyway, that is what is going on here. Must get well. Must be 100% tomorrow. Young Man has an end of the year recital that I will NOT miss! I'll let you know how that recital goes, but I already know he'll be wonderful. :)

Sunday, April 3, 2011

Sunday, Sunday...

Good morning!

Let's see...all the posting opportunities that I've missed in the last week or so... April Fool's Day! No one got me and no one tried. And I didn't, either! It's a sad world when there isn't enough time to play.

But we did take off for Opening Day and attended the game, which thankfully the Reds WON! Steinvic was off the rest of the week, but I had to work, and also worked yesterday, so I am just worn out. Flat out tired and wishing I had another day off to do all the things I want to do.

These dream tasks are mostly just a few, short weeks, our family is increasing by one.

No, we are not having a baby. (Do you really think I'd be able to keep that a secret this long?!) But we did find the right puppy for us, and he will be coming home the weekend of April 23!

If you read here, you know we've visited shelters, done research, made inquiries and even had one puppy lined up that we were pretty sure (at first) we'd get.

But in the end, Fate knew best and Steinvic found a little guy online. Almost from the start, we were certain he was the one. Once we communicated with the owner, we were 100%. She is lovely and professional and is committed to the health and happiness of her pups.

We've named him. We've been stockpiling supplies, researching training and potty plans and plotting daycare for him...

And soon, we'll post photos. As soon as he's with us, you'll get to meet him. But for now, dream puppy dreams with us... ...and grab a broom and a vaccuum and help me get this place ready for our new, tiny friend!