A doggie playdate

Nuoska is a very good dog, but his walks around the neighborhood have not been exercising him enough and after this morning’s very naughty walk I thought a romp at the dog park was in order. Fortunately the weather and the family cooperated!

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Another car ride for Nuoska, in a different car this time, with lots of people.

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Hahaha… I think he’s yawning, or maybe about to eat the children!

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He didn’t last long in the way back, choosing instead to jump over the seat and spend the rest of the ride on one kids’ lap or the other, depending on which window he wanted to look out.

The weather and the family cooperated, but the dog park did not! Apparently they close it in March for spring cleanup or something. There was a big field nearby, but I really wanted him to run and I was pretty sure that if we let him off the lease he would never come back. I was texting with a friend of mine about the dog park and she came to the rescue with her 8mo old puppy and a 30′ lead! Yay! The two dogs were fast friends. :)

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Gracie in the pink collar and Nuoska in blue. They are very similar looking dogs!

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Gracie likes the water. Nuoska wasn’t so sure. I got him to drink it, but he didn’t want to put his feet in.

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Oh yeah,, there were kids there too. Can’t forget about them. :)

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This one decided to take dozens of “amazingly beautiful” river rocks home with us. She has them in her pant legs and shirt and arms. She got near the top of the bank and asked if I’d carry them for her. Ha! She plans to sell them and make a lot of money. We’ll see how that goes. :)

We were just thinking it was time to wrap things up when a lady came by with two big dogs. We stuck around a bit longer. Nuoska barked a bit at them, but they were older dogs and didn’t give him the time of day. After a few minutes and a few good sniffs he went back to playing with Gracie. A few minutes later another couple came by with a smaller dog on a leash. Nuoska went crazy and practically attacked the poor thing! Good thing he was on the lead and Alan was on the other end! The little dog was fine and bounded right away, but we decided that was enough for Nuoska. All good things come to an end.

With the kids I always said there was that little window when the playdate needed to end. If you left before that everyone was disappointed, but if you missed it then there were tears and fights. There’s that little window right in the middle and I got pretty good at spotting it and leaving on time. I think the same goes for dogs and we just missed it!

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A man and his dog (and his electric car and his bag of collected litter). Happiness is.

The Cat and Dog Show

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Checking out the world together.

We have been thoroughly entertained by the cat and dog show around here lately. Nuoska is so interested in Daisy, but Daisy is taking her sweet time warming up to him. She isn’t scared of him, in fact she has been inside more than usual and is staying near him and the rest of the action. Nuoska really, really wants to sniff her bottom! She’s not so sure about that. Sometimes she lets him get close, but other times she keeps him at bay. Last night she even went over and rubbed up against him, which was sweet, until he turned and started trying to sniff her butt! LOL! Dogs! Whenever they are interacting it is fascinating to watch. Eve bought Daisy a big bag of catnip in a pillow, which Diasy has been loving. That probably mellows her out a bit. Right now she’s sleeping with her head on it. They crack me up!

Nuoska was being really bold and naughty this morning! He was relentless with her! Usually when she hisses, he goes into the other room for a few seconds before trying again, but this morning he was persistent. Lex and I took him out for a walk and he was totally crazy! Naughtiest walk ever! (in the two days we’ve had him so far! :) ) Maybe it’s a sign he’s getting comfortable with us and more bold in his environment. :)

At family meeting today we are going to vote on a new name. These are the options so far. What do you think?
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Meet our new friend!

I picked up our new doggie today!  The kids have a half day today so I picked him up early to give him a chance to settle and explore before they get here.

He wasn’t very happy to leave his other doggie friends behind.  Actually, Rosie really wanted to come along.  She was a big help getting him in the car, but then we had a hard time getting her back out!  She tried to hide on the floor boards in the front seat.  :)

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We almost had two dogs — exactly what Eve was hoping for!

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This guy is a very nervous traveler! And very drooly in the car!

Look at him shake! He did that for the whole half hour trip home! Poor pup.

I took him for a short walk at their house before putting him in the car, but he didn’t not want to go too far from the house without his puppy friends with him. When we got home I took him for a walk up and down the street a few times (had to go back with a plastic bag!) He sniffed everything and peed on a few mailboxes. Checking out his new world.

When we came in Daisy was already inside and quite surprised by this new thing in her house. I kept him on the leash so he couldn’t chase her, but she immediately established herself as the alpha! She hissed and swiped at him. He shirked. Poor pup. I thought she would run away, but nope, she stuck right near by and kept a close eye on him.

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We know who has the claws around here!

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Hehe… they sent his puppy bed with him, but I think he’s a little big for it. :) I stuck it in his crate to help him feel at home.

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Daisy kept a close eye on this new thing. Whenever he got too close, the hiss and claws came out! He gave her a wide berth!

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For some reason he really wants this bully stick to be on the bed. I keep moving it and he keeps bringing it back.

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Can you see her on the chair? I don’t know what the technical term is, but basically he is submitting to the cat. Clearly she is alpha. :)

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Even when I put him in the crate, she kept watch. I eventually sent her outside to give him a break. :)

Nuoska got his payback by eating all the food in her bowl. :) I think we’re going to have to move her bowls up high.

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I got up to get a drink and returned to find him in my cozy spot on the couch.

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I took him off the couch, but he found somewhere better. :)

When I went back to the couch (to finish this blog post!) he followed me and hopped up onto the other couch where he is sleeping peacefully now. He seems pretty happy here so far. We’ll see what happens when the very excited children come home!

Oh, one other thing, we still need to agree on a name for him. Everyone agrees that Nuoska is a girl’s name (it’s Finnish for something…) but no one can agree on a better name. It might stay Nuoska for awhile. :)

I think we found a dog!

We met a new friend yesterday. If all goes well we’ll be bringing him home soon. :)

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These two got a long very well. I think they’ll be good for each other.

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Eve wanted to bring home both dogs! Unfortunately for her the golden one (named Rosie) is not up for adoption.

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He knows lots of basic commands already and is very treat motived. He was “shaking” with Lex and happily took treats from everyone.

Stay tuned.

Dog? Maybe no dog.

I’m super annoyed with this whole dog process. Allow me to vent for a bit. Our criteria isn’t much, just mid-sized, and good with cats and kids. And maybe not a puppy. In the past six weeks, that have felt like forever, I have been watching four different humane societies and countless (for my tired brain) rescue organizations. I’ve filled out four different applications, all of them extensive, and participated in home visits and phone interviews, and allowed vet and personal references checks as well. All this for a limited number of dogs that will fit with our family. On our way to up to meet Kane the other day I was telling Alan, I know that rescue is the way to go, but boy I can understand now why people just go to the pet store and buy a puppy. The whole thing could be done, easy peasy, in an hour! Of course, then you have a puppy. ;)

The rescue organizations are all volunteer and I know they try their best, but there really needs to be more corporate management in there! I end up talking to six different people, one for each step of the way. As of Sunday when we visited Kane there were three others we were hoping to see, and in the past two days they have been adopted or mysteriously unavailable. Then two more became available, then not available. The communication is poor in this organizations so one person says the dog is available and the next person says, oh, no, it’s not. This afternoon two remaining dogs fell through and we decided that was a good thing because Kane was a great dog and now we could got forward confidently with that decision.

Eve was in tears. She wanted a different dog, any different dog, for mysterious Eve reasons, and I spent half an hour with her this afternoon talking about Kane, waylaying her concerns (he would be too boring, being one of them) and getting her psyched up. She loved him when we met him, so these were more “I’m not getting my way” tears then true tears of concern. I called a rescue organization that was going to come by this evening for a home visit and canceled. They were being terrible communicators and their dogs, who we were excited to meet, seemed to be in vanishing. So we said Kane is our guy and let’s move on!

I had literally just hung up the phone with them and my phone beeped with a new email alert. “There was an incident with Kane and a student on Monday that made me think twice as to whether he would be a good candidate for a household with children. The student was down on the floor with him playing and getting him riled up and out of excitement he nipped her in the face. She didn’t get hurt, but after discussing it with the head technician, we decided that he would not be a good choice in a house with kids for this reason.” ARGH!! I mean, I’m glad they told me and of course I don’t want a dog who will nip people, but ARGH!!

Back to square one. Every dog we were interested in is either adopted, “not right for us”, or apparently dangerous.

Maybe it just isn’t meant to be at this point. Not like we don’t have other things going on in life. I closed all of my doggie websites that were open, closed the Amazon page with crates on it, closed the “how to introduce your cat to a dog” page, and will walk away for this evening. Deep breath. Fresh eyes tomorrow. It will be what it will be.

Maybe I should find out what my references are saying about me… ;)

What’s going on…

What’s going on? Gosh, what isn’t! I am not working these days, yet oh so busy! I felt a blog post was in order, though it may take me awhile to write it! Let’s see….

Dog
We are actively looking for a dog. Why? Why not! The kids both want one, I want them to have one, Alan doesn’t object, and I’m home these days so it seemed like as good a time as ever. When I was growing up I remember it being no work at all to get a dog (of course, I was the kid!). We got dogs from neighbors, from boxes at yard sales, and dogs that just wandered over the hill and never left. Now, apparently, it’s a 4+ step process that involves applications and reference checks! We are currently working with two different rescue organizations and monitoring the local humane societies as well. We have narrowed it down to three dogs (I think) and hope to meet all three then make a decision next weekend. If all goes well we might get a dog next week! The kids have no school, so we will have time to settle in and get used to each other.

Yesterday we met Kane, a handsome 1yr old pitbull mix. He was very nice and well behaved and wanted to come right home with us!

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Well, hello Kane!

We are hoping to meet these two this weekend.

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Rizzo, a 1yr old mix (lab, hound,terrier – they aren’t sure)

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Lacey, a 2.5yr old hound mix

What do you think?

Surgery
Also next week – carpal tunnel surgery! Whee! I’ve had carpal tunnel now for eight years. It began shortly after Eve was born. In 2011 I went to the orthopedic doctor who diagnosed it as “most likely carpal tunnel” and recommended surgery. I did my own diagnosing (doctors love it when you do that!) and felt it was only like an 80% match and opted not to do the surgery. Instead I wore braces on my wrists for a long time (like a year or so), then switched to braces at night only for a longer time (a few years?) and finally it seemed to be mostly gone. However, this fall the pain came back with a vengeance! I don’t know if it’s because I’ve gained a ton (though last time they said it wasn’t really related to weight), or because I’ve started doing karate, or because the moons and planets aligned, or what, but boy it hurts! I haven’t slept through the night in many weeks. The pains wakes me several times a night, ranging from uncomfortable numbness, to burning “fire” hands, to a severe pain like someone applied a clamp to my thumb. It sucks! So I went back to the ortho doctor today and scheduled surgery. The pain is a little different and I feel it more closely matches the carpal tunnel diagnosis.

Their first available appointment is next Monday, Feb 15th, the first day of winter vacation for the kids and the week we were hoping to get a dog. I debated for a minute in my head, but the idea of dealing with two more weeks of pain and lack of sleep was enough of a motivator. I took that first appointment. I’ll be getting the right wrist done first, then the left. Each taking 2+ weeks for recovery.

I was telling the kids about it tonight. I am looking forward to being able to do karate without pain, push-ups (in theory!), and knitting! Knitting! Eve and I were talking about knitting while I was laying with her tonight and she wants to learn how to knit too. She has big plans for making baby stuff for a new baby down the street. I was reminiscing about all the stuff I’ve made in the past and the lovely books I have (had?). I think I got rid of everything, thinking I would never knit again! Pain forever! I guess Eve and I will have fun rebuilding the stash together.

Homeschooling
On another note, we have decided to start homeschooling Lex one day a week. Homeschool is something we’ve always thought about, and thought real hard about when he was young, but we always decided that we would send him to school for the socializing, then supplement at home. Supplement for both of them! When they were younger that was easier. They were excited to do the projects that I introduced and eager to start using the computer for things like Starfall and Khan Academy. Now, however, as they are getting older, we find that school wears them out and when they are home they are more inclined to check-out in front of Minecraft and YouTube, instead of actively learning more academics. I’ve been struggling with that for awhile. Recently Lex has been frustrated with school and has made comments along the lines of “I sit by myself at lunch because it’s the only time I’m allowed to think about what I want to think about and not what the teachers tell me to think about.” And he takes forever getting his homework done because he is thinking about much more complex stuff. The other day, while plotting points on an XY axis, he was taking forever. I asked if he needed help and he told me he was imagining a Z axis in his head and adding points to that to make it a 3D shape. Or when working on fractions homework a few weeks ago he started telling me about the wonders of infinity and how can infinity times nine be bigger than infinity times 3, but they are both still infinity. He’s a deep thinker!

I love their school, but at every parent/teacher conference I get frustrated because the teachers say things like “we know he can do fractions in his sleep,” or “she’s my go-to girl, always has the answer,” but they never follow it up with “So, here’s what I’m doing to challenge him/her.” It’s always like “she/he is smart and that’s good enough” That’s not what they say, but that seems to be the implied meaning.

So we are going to try for the remainder of the year to take one day a week as a homeschool day. Starting with Lex, but maybe doing Eve (maybe!), if all goes well. She wants to do it, but she also wants to study fairies and practice her painting… not sure that’s quite what I have in mind. We’ll see. Tomorrow we start with Lex. We have a plan and he’s started a list of topics he wants to learn more about. I’ll let you know how it goes.

Jump-a-thon
February is National Heart Awareness Month (or something like that) and the kids are doing a jump-a-thon at school. Eve came home with the fundraiser packet and immediately set her goal to raise $1000 so she can earn the grand prize – an Android tablet. She is motivated! If anyone wants to donate, you can do so at her online page.

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Mold and Remodeling
On the home front we are also considering a large remodeling project. Lex’s room has just one window and it’s a skylight, a very moldy skylight. We have been ignoring the problem for a very long time, hoping it will magically fix itself. Not really. Really it is a just a big project and an expensive project and we just haven’t had the cash or cycles for it. Last week we had two different mold companies in to evaluate the situation. We also sent away for an air sample analysis. We are also pricing skylights (not cheap!) and considering replacing those versus a larger project to add dormers and get rid of the skylights. In the process of talking to the mold guys I also noticed a new water stain on the ceiling in Eve’s room. We have old ones there and Alan had fixed the leak years ago, but now there are new ones, which means something is leaking again. Ah, the joys of home ownership, right?!

Town Politics
Alan has decided to run for a three year seat on the Selectboard. He started his campaigning uncontested, but at the last minute several other people entered the race so now he’s doing a lot more work and campaigning than he was hoping to do. He currently chairs the town Energy Commission, which he founded and has run for the past eight years. He says he’ll quit that if he gets on the Selectboard… or maybe just not Chair it anymore… we’ll see. : )

So…. that’s what’s going on in our neck of the woods. We’re just a little bit busy.