26 October 2010

The dog is a gentleman; I hope to go to his heaven not man's.

I am a dog person who has been dogless for too long.

Our long-time canine companion (the ZenHusband actually adopted him just before we started dating in 1998), died almost 3 years ago. Patch, a Dalmatian, was the Best. Dog. Ever. He was well-mannered, loving, energetic and fun - our 60-pound lapdog. When he died, it was hard to even think of "replacing" him. Especially as we had a toddler and a new baby taking up all of our time and attention and then some.

But, as time passed, I found myself really missing the presence of a dog in our lives. We still have two cats - Mojo and Mocha (though they are getting on in years as well). They're nice, but, well, cats are not dogs.

I've been periodically nagging explaining to the ZenHusband for almost a year that I thought it was about time for a new dog in our family. He, would in turn, made all of the logical arguments against - reminding me how much time and attention a dog - especially a young one - needs. And I would, reluctantly, agree that "now" was not so good.

For a while.

And then I would bring it up again a few weeks later.

The final straw for me was last weekend.

I took the boys to visit my parents and grandparents and an aunt and uncle. (They all live on the same street.) And I almost died of OMG-I-WANT-A NEW-DOG-SO-BAD overload - they have TWO new sweet-and-adorable puppies: My dad has a 3-month old Lab-Chow mix and my aunt just adopted a 2-month old Blue Heeler.

My text messages to my husband that weekend included:
  • Reason #10 we need a dog: It would eat the crumbs the kids drop around the table! Less vaccuuming! 
  • Reason #9: Home protection! You DO want the kids and I to be safe when you're not home, right?
  • Reason #8: The need to walk the dog will inspire us to take more walks as a family = Family bonding! Healthier Family!
  • Reason #7: Scooping poop builds character! The Professor is old enough to handle a shovel, now!
  • Reason #6: Dittto on feeding, watering, taking care of a dog = More Character!
  • Reason #5: The cats are getting fat and complacent. They need someone to keep them on their toes!
  •  Reason #4: Every kid should have a dog growing up! It's the American way!
  • Reason #3: I promise to help scoop aforementioned poop.
  • Reason #2:There is scientific evidence that dog owners live longer than non-dog owners.
  • And the #1 Reason why we should get a new dog: Dog = Happy Wife. Happy Wife = Thankful Wife. Thankful Wife = Happy Husband. (Yes, I totally did just  promise sexual favors in return for a puppy. See how desperate I have become?!)

Can you believe he puts up with me?

I also emailed him photos and info from the awesome PetFinder App on my iphone of several cute puppies and young dogs who needed to be rescued from the local Animal Control kennel.

I'm not sure what it was that finally wore him down convinced him, but, The ZenHusband surprised me on Monday by agreeing to see one of the puppies I had emailed him about. Taking advantage of his moment of weakness Gracefully accepting his change of heart, I rushed the whole family over to meet this adorable guy:

I know, right?! How can anyone possibly resist that?!

Turns out, he's just as sweet and adorable as he looks.

So we adopted him!

He's at the vet's today getting neutered and microchip'd and all checked out and he will be coming home to us on Thursday!

But - and here's where you guys come in - he needs a NAME!

The boys have been brainstorming - and we've gotten a few great suggestions from friends on Facebook and Twitter - but we haven't settled on a name for this little guy, yet.

Wanna help? Here's his CV:
  • He's 4 months old. He was found as a stray with another dog about a month ago.
  • The Pound listed him as a "Beagle"and he looks like that might indeed be a dominant breed in his mix, but I wouldn't be surprised if he had some smaller dog DNA in his cocktail as well - like some Dachshund or maybe even Chihuahua. He's smallish and his head and nose are just a little on the narrow side for a Beagle, I think. And I doubt that he will get very big. Small-to-medium is my guess.
  • He's very happy and friendly: He got along with the kids right away and his tail wags like crazy when he sees new people.
  • He seems energetic, but not hyper: He likes to run and play, but he was also very happy to cuddle up in my lap and get petted and scratched and otherwise loved on.
  • He's afraid of cats - he runs the other way when he sees one. (Considering one of my cats is somewhat eeeevil, that's probably for the best.)
  • He seems to be a bit on the quiet side for a Beagle(ish), but time will tell on that one.
So, that's what we know about our new little family member so far. And we're trying to find a name that's a good fit for him. The list, so far, includes:
  • Porthos
  • Darwin
  • Shoeshine
  • Otis
  • Murphy
  • Dragon
  • Toby
  • Elvis
  • Oliver
  • Baxter
  • Buster
  • Brodie
  • Bailey
  • Jasper
  • Tucker
  • Sout
  • Scotty
  • Bilbo
  • Flip
  • Whiplash
  • Rex
  • Shepard

I also suggested "Eddie", because the Pup's adoption day - October 25 - is coincidentally, the birthday of BNL Lead Singer Ed Robertson. But the ZenHusband used his veto to shoot that one down. Spoilsport.

The boys have also already vetoed "Tank", "Bruiser" and "Goliath". These kids have no sense of irony, I tell ya.

So, People of the Great and Powerful Interwebs: It's your turn.

What name do you think fits our new dog? Or do you have a suggestion to add the list?

I'll be sure to let you know what we decide. And to inflict upon you share more pictures when he comes home to us, as well.

If I had a tail, it would be wagging,

"The dog is a gentleman; I hope to go to his heaven not man's." ~ Mark Twain

11 October 2010

We don't go anywhere with "scary", "spooky", "haunted" or "forbidden" in the title

In honor of Halloween season, I'm recycling my favorite "scary" story...
My first warning should have been when my date told me our evening was going to be a "surprise". In my experience, surprising me rarely ends well for all parties involved.

But, I was young - 19, I think - and he was a fun and romantic guy intent on creatively wooing me. So, I thought to myself, "Hey, self, try being spontaneous for once! It'll be fun, right? Right!

- dundundun-

My only hint of what was to come before he picked me up that chilly October evening was when he told me to wear comfortable clothes and walking shoes.

Still, when he proceeded to take us far out of town into the sparsely populated countryside, I have to admit my inner monologue was starting to sound something like this:

Ummm. Okay. This isn't scary or anything. I'm sure he's totally NOT a serial killer taking me to a secluded spot to chop me into tiny pieces. But, just in case I'm wrong, let's just examine the handle on this car door in the event that I may need to jump out and run for my life.

So, I have to admit I was just a little relieved when we turned a corner and came upon a big lighted parking lot out there in the middle of nowhere.

Of course, that relief turned to dread again when I realized we were at a "Haunted Forest".

Now, here's something you need to know about your Auntie Zen, kids: I don't do scary.

I've never worn a scary Halloween costume, I don't watch horror movies; I only rarely read scary books (and then it's only during daylight hours and I usually follow it with a Disney movie chaser to get the ick out); I'd rather roast s'mores than listen to a spooky campfire story; and I've been known to totally freak myself out a la the Blair Witch Project over unidentified noises and shadows in the dark. (By the way, the person who forced me to watch the Blair Witch Project - I'm still not speaking to him.) For heaven's sake, I slept with a night light until I was ... oh, wait, I still sleep with a night light!

And I most definitely DO NOT do Haunted Houses.

So, yeah, you get the idea ... having scary things jump out at me in close quarters is pretty high on my things-I-never-want-to-do list.

My enthusiasm was for this "surprise" date was flagging just a bit at this point.

But, hey, I'm a trooper. I can do this! It will be fun! Right? Right! And, oh! Look! There's not-scary stuff here, too! There's kiddie games and a hay ride and corn maze! I can do that!

I was pondering whether or not I might have preferred the "So I Dated an Axe Murderer" scenario when said date grabbed me by the hand and enthusiastically led me right past the kiddie games and the hay ride and the corn maze and straight to the "Haunted Forest".

Oh, Hell.

Okay. Pull it together, you. Look at the little kids going in there in front of you! If they can do it, you can do it.

Just about then, the screams started drifting out of the thicket of trees.

"Um, so, are you sure you don't want to go do the bean bag toss or bob for apples or ... " I started.

"Oh, don't be scared," my date was the picture of manly support. "I'll be right there with the you the whole time."

More screams. And now, growling noises.

Ohmigawd-ohmigawd-ohmigawd. Self, we do NOT want to go in there, right? Right!

"Or we could go make out on the hay ride!" I said, desperate now.

That almost did it. He paused, but then laughed and handed our tickets to the witch at the entrance. "Don't worry, it's just good fun."

Famous last words.

Okay, self, suck it up. You can do this. Oh, and self, you should maybe not squeeze your date's hand so hard. I think his fingers are turning blue. And try not to think about the dark branches that seem to be reaching out to grab you... or the dark, tight space closing in on you ... or that rustling noise in the bushes ahead ... or that sound like heavy breathing near your ear.

I was pressed up against my date so tightly at this point that you couldn't see light between us - even if there had been light to see. Which there wasn't. Because it was freakin' dark in there. Did I mention I don't like the dark?

Okay, breathe, you can do this. Right? ... Right? Um ...

I honestly could not tell you a single thing about the first 1/3 of that haunted forest, except to say that it scared the bejeebus out of me. Apparently, I've blocked out all of the traumatic details.

But I do know that I was damn-near hyperventilating by the time the werewolf jumped us.

We were coming around a corner when the werewolf leaped out of the bush right next to me - meaty arms raised, sharp claws reaching, pointy canines bared, a deep throaty growl on his bloodthirsty lips ...

Yeah, it was exactly like that.

What the hell do you think I did? I shrieked like a little girl and jumped about two feet backwards - tripping over an exposed tree root in the process and landing on my ass - but not before I heard an ominous *snap* from the general direction of my ankle.

My date honestly did not believe me at first when I told him I was pretty sure I'd broken my ankle. But I guess the screaming and falling back down when I tried to put weight on my leg did the trick. He jerry-rigged a (pretty decent!) field splint and helped the EMTs carry me basket-style out of the thick trees. Then he followed the (probably unnecessary) ambulance to the nearest emergency room. And he sat with me in the exam room and entertained and distracted me while the (definitely necessary) pain meds kicked in.

Ahhhhh, drugs are good. Everything will be okay, now right? Riiiiight.

I still think he only really believed my ankle was actually broken when the doctor showed us the x-rays. But he was still very chivalrous and attentive during the whole evening.

Especially when the werewolf showed up again.

Yep, the young man who played the werewolf at the Haunted Forest actually stopped by the emergency room when he got off of work to check on me. Wasn't that sweet?

I gave him a hug. Of course, I was all hopped up on those really good pain meds by then, so I'm pretty sure I was hugging nurses, doctors, x-ray techs, and anybody else who said a kind word to me at that point.

I think my date was just a teensy bit jealous when the werewolf - who was kinda cute without his mask - gave me his phone number and asked me to call him to let him know that I was okay. There might have been growling. (Please note me NOT making the obvious dogs-fighting-over-a-bone joke here. You're welcome.)

For their part, the Haunted Forest folks sent me a bright orange t-shirt that said "I survived the [redacted] Haunted Forest". (Later, I corrected it by adding "barely" with a Sharpie.) They also sent me some free passes to come back.


Believe it or not ... this is not the weirdest date I've ever been on. Or even the only date to end in medical treatment.

Even more amazing? There was a third date with Haunted Forest guy.

But that's another story ...

Still easily spooked,

How about you? Have a good haunted house (or forest or whatever) story? Gather 'round the virtual campfire and do tell ... 

*Post title from: Scooby Doo

04 October 2010

Everyone hail to the pumpkin song

Since Christmas decorations are in the stores, I guess it's time to start thinking about Halloween.

In truth, my kids have been thinking about Halloween for weeks. The Professor wants to put up gravestones and scary ghosts ("But not too scary, Mommy.") in the yard. (Me, I want zombie arms.) And BamBam has been changing into costumes from the dress-up box and asking "Today is Ha-ween?" almost daily. And last weekend, my parents took The Minions to a Pumpkin Patch. So, I need to start planning this year's Pumpkin Post Mortems, as well.

And then there's the costumes.

My kids have changed their minds so many times this year about what they want to dress up as, that I can't even keep them straight anymore.

I can't figure out if it's best to just make them pick something early to give me the time to purchase/make whatever we need ... or to just let them keep randomly cycling through their preferences until the week before Halloween and then *shudder* fight the crowds to get what they want.

So far this year, The Minions have "decided" they want to be:
  • Batman and Robin
  • Adam and Jamie from Mythbusters
  • A Knight and Dragon (which is what they were last year)
  • Jedi (two years ago)
  • Shaggy and Scooby
  • Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles
  • Superman and Batman
  • Indiana Jones and Chewbacca*
I suspect they will settle shortly on Batman and Robin. You'll note that The Minions tend to forgo the more traditional ghosts and witches and vampires and even the more mundane police officer or firefighter or doctor. They tend to gravitate toward more geeky guises. I can't imagine where they get that from.  Ahem.

And yes, I am the dork who thinks its fun to dress my kids up in matching outfits. In fact, one of these days (before the boys think Mom and Dad are so totally unhip that they can't hang out with us anymore) I'm going to get my act together and plan costumes for all four of us around a theme.

Because, yes, I'm also the dork that thinks it's still fun for adults to dress up for Halloween, too. The ZenHusband and I have been doing it since before The Minions even came along.

< tangent >

What is it about Halloween that brings out the inner slut in so many women?

I admit that I've been somewhat guilty of this one myself: The ZenHusband and I did Batgirl/Penguin one year (tight); Peter Pan/Cap'n Hook another year (sorta skimpy) and Pirate/Wench (cleavage-y) yet another year. (We're still planning to do a Red Riding Hood/Big Bad Wolf combo one year, too. But we're looking for just the right wolf costume.) So, yeah, I've worn costumes that were a leeettle bit on the risque side. But, I think, still within a certain level of decorum.

I don't have anything against "sexy" costumes, per se. But, wow! Some of the costumes I've seen women sporting look like they came out of a fetish magazine. Or at least Playboy. It's getting to the point where you can hardly even find an costume that's not overly sexualized.

And I suspect that most of the women wearing these x-rated costumes are all buttoned-up-and-denim 364 days a year. But October 31 rolls around and that gives them an excuse to go all fishnets and stilettos and barely-there. Why is that?

I suppose it wouldn't be so bad if these women were built like the models on the costume packaging. But, really? A-Cup Vampira and Muffin-Top Wonder Woman are just wrong.

< /tangent > 

Bottom line: While Thanksgiving feasts are great and I do love me some Xmas mornings, Halloween is, to my mind, the big winner on the Holiday Fun-o-Meter. And I'm ready to get revved up for this year's Spooky doin's.

How do YOU "do" Halloween?

Quivering with antici ...

*Okay, so technically, Indiana Jones and Chewbacca don't "match" like the others, but my ruling on the field is to allow it under a general "George Lucas" theme.

Post Title: Do I really have to tell you this one?