A Monkey in Pajamas

Apparently, I have always been weird.

 Exhibit "A"

Exhibit “A”

This is the front of a postcard that I sent to Sister C when I was in college and she was in middle school and she was stuck at home with mono.

And to further prove my point, here is what I wrote on the back…

Postcard to Sister C

I am trying to remember if the whole microwave-as-a-clothes-dryer thing actually worked.  College was awesome.

Wish me luck for tomorrow…

The Finish Line

Sheepdog has always said, “If you see Stacy running, you had better call the police.  Because someone has got to be chasing her.”

You see, my husband knows me well and he definitely knows that I do not like to run.  I never have.  I’m just not so inclined.  I am more of a cheerleader.

But Sheepdog is a runner.  He is mostly a bike rider, but he is also a runner.  Run, Sheepdog, run.

He has been running throughout most of our marriage.  No, not away from our marriage, silly.  Throughout.  Although, in truth, maybe sometimes he is dreaming of running away.  I know I sometimes do.  Just not while running.  But I digress.

Sheepdog has completed a couple of triathlons, but the swimming part always gets him.  He swims like I would imagine a T-rex swimming… like he weighs in the tons and has disproportionately short arms.  The triathlon I remember best he did in Brigantine, New Jersey, when Kid B was just an itty-bitty thing.  They started off swimming in waves.  Each wave (divided by age and gender) had a different color rubber swim cap, so it made it easier to identify your swimmer when they finished the swim portion through the rough waves of the bay.  I don’t recall exactly, but I do recall that his wave (young, fast men in robin’s egg blue caps) came bobbing to shore first, but not Sheepdog.  Then the young, fast women started to swim in.  Still no sign of Sheepdog.  The older, not-so-fast men, then some kids and even the older women started running out of the cold water.  I think a couple of handicapped people swam to shore, as did a woman who was well over 100-years-old (I might be remembering that part incorrectly, but you get my point).  Finally, Sheepdog wearily dragged himself up the boat ramp and onto his bike.  Satisfied that he did not have to be brought in on a rescue boat, he then took off angrily on his bike as if it were an extension of his own body.  He rode like the wind.

And he ran like the wind, too, all the way to the finish line back on par with many of the fast, young men.  And I stood there with Kid A and Kid B and the diaper bags and the snacks and the double stroller, and I think my parents were there too, and we cheered as loud as our voices would cheer as Sheepdog ran under the marker and clocked his time.  It was a grand celebration at that finish line.

Sheepdog has also competed in marathons.  That same year, he ran in the 39th Atlantic City marathon.  Once again, I stood at the windy finish line with Kid A and Kid B and the diaper bags and the snacks and the double stroller, and we cheered and hollered as he completed twenty-six point two miles of running along the boardwalk and the streets of Atlantic County using only the power of his own mind and body.  And he did it in just under four hours.  And it was again a grand celebration at the finish line, especially because this time he didn’t almost die in some back bay because of his dinosaur flaw.

Sheepdog says, "I was running!"

Sheepdog says, “I was running!”

He went on to run another marathon in Philadelphia after Kid C was born.  He trained so as to not die on the swim portion and he “Tri-ed” again a few more times after we moved to Georgia.  He has ridden in countless bike races, all over these United States.  They are each different but sometimes the races all blur together in my mind.  The end is always a grand celebration at the finish line.  A celebration of athleticism, of willpower of the human mind, of setting and attaining seemingly impossible goals.  And of not drowning.  But mostly the finish line is a celebration of people.

Yes, I have stood and celebrated at many finish lines.  My heart aches for those who were there at the Boston Marathon when the bombs went off.  I watched the news in horror, found hope in the helpers and cheered with America when they captured the suspect.  Boston may be strong, but I fear they are a little bit harder inside after the events that unfolded last week.  I know I wondered if I would ever want to be at any finish line ever again.

But then I decided something…  I decided that I do still wish to be there.  I want to celebrate athleticism and willpower and goals.  Mostly, I want to cheer for the people, because mostly, people are good.  I will continue to send my kids off to school.  I will keep going to the movies.  I will continue to live this life that I have been blessed with to the fullest.  I will try to be one of the helpers.  And I will ALWAYS be cheering as loudly as I can at the finish line.  And I hope to see you all there.

Wish me luck for tomorrow…

Press of Atlantic City article about Sheepdog

Undercover Awesome

So… who had “48 hours or less” in the puppy pool?

Ding!  Ding!  Ding!  We have a winner!

Yesterday at lunchtime, after days of not being able to sleep or eat and after being on the phone for almost an hour with the dogs’ foster mom trying to have her talk me off the ledge, I loaded Maverick and Iceman back into the giant dog crate, along with about $250 worth of awesome puppy gear, and drove them back to the Chattahoochee River Club.  Oh, yes I did.  And I feel like a horrible, horrible human being.

You can not name a dog Goose, because Goose dies in the middle of the movie.  And yes, I realize that Maverick and Iceman were enemies.  But in the end they joined forces to successfully overcome their own flaws and shoot down the MiGs.  Yay, Top Gun!

You can not name a dog Goose, because Goose dies in the middle of the movie. And yes, I realize that Maverick and Iceman were enemies. But in the end they joined forces to successfully overcome their own flaws and shoot down the MiGs. Yay, Top Gun!

I have birthed and am raising five children.  I manage a home and our finances and a complicated schedule and I (occasionally) write this blog.  I keep food in our pantry and clean clothes in our drawers.  I am sometimes overwhelmed with chaos, but generally things run pretty smoothly around here.  Until Sunday when those little poop machines came in and set me spinning.  What is wrong with me?

I came into this situation with such pure and good intentions.  I planned and prepared and did it over a period of more than six weeks.  We came up with fabulous dog names from an iconic 80’s movie.  I took baby steps.  I still knew deep down inside that I am not a dog person by nature, but I truly believed that I could overcome my discomfort and even fear with the power of positive thinking.  Wow, was I wrong about that.  I was a complete wreck for almost three days.  I actually had a physical reaction once the puppies were here.  And to make things worse, I could not get out of my own head either.  It made me feel a little insane in the brain.

Facing a weakness or a flaw in myself is not my strong suit.  I like being good at stuff.  Moreover, I like being awesome at stuff.  But I don’t really want anybody to know because I think that being undercover awesome is way cooler.  Plus, fewer people will ask you to serve on the PTA if they think you suck.  So I point out my flaws every chance I get.  But in my heart, I know I am a good mom and a good person.  If I am truly content and confident, then I do not feel the need to shout my own accolades from the rooftops.

Then I go and do something that is making my kids cry and not speak to me and creating trust issues and possibly damaging them permanently, and I feel so very, very bad.  No more undercover awesome.  Just bad, bad mommy.  And of course I do feel the need to shout this from the rooftops.  I am embarrassed.  I am sorry.  I am flawed.

But I will not beat myself up over this forever.  I made the decision to return the puppies so soon because they will have a much better chance of being adopted permanently when they are young.  They are lab mixes and people love labs.  I also found some comfort in the dogs’ excitement when they were reunited with their litter mates back at the foster mom’s house.  I believe that it is much better for me to make this decision now, rather than to keep them and change my mind a few weeks down the line, or even to keep them forever but be resentful.

By the way, I can not tell you how many people admitted to me over the past two days that they don’t really like their dogs.  I have talked to so many people who said (now you tell me?) that they want to give away their dogs, that their dogs scare them, or that they just wish they didn’t have them anymore.  One friend even called her dog an asshole (mainly because he bit another friend on the butt when they were out walking).  I am sure none of these people would ever intentionally hurt their dogs.  But I definitely found it very interesting to hear about this secret side of the dog coin.

Now, I also know just as many – if not more – people who have dogs and love them like they are their own children.  Others have told me how their dog(s) complete their families.  I just saw last night on Dance Moms that Abby Lee Miller was thinking about having her three-weeks dead dog stuffed so she could keep it with her forever.  That is some serious dog love right there.  I get it, but I just don’t feel it myself.

So I sit here with my broken heart and my broken awesomeness, thinking about everything that has just happened.  I will get over it.  And I believe that the kids will eventually get over it too.  Sheepdog has been wonderfully supportive of me and my craziness.  Everybody will have to heal in their own way.

I did ask the dog foster mom to put my name on the Adoption No-Fly list, just to protect me from myself in a couple of years when I have forgotten this and again decide that I have overcome my fears and think that getting a dog will surely be a good plan.  She was so understanding and (too) kind to me when she told me one last thing before I left the puppies with her yesterday.  She said when she first met me she came home and told her husband that she wished that she had someone like me as her neighbor.  She thought I was strong and confident, but that I seemed fun and funny at the same time.  And then she added that she noticed right then that my family was already complete.  I never really thought about it until she pointed it out to me, but apparently I don’t need dogs to make our family whole.

Wish me luck for tomorrow…

Spring Broken

Last week was the kids’ Spring Break.  Spring Break for us is nine glorious days of no school, no activities, no alarms, no packing lunches, no carpools… nothing.  It is the absolute antithesis of our normal existence.  In the past we have traveled nearby over Spring Break (Dollywood and the indoor water parks of Sevierville, TN, anyone?), but the last few years we opted to stay home and enjoy a more relaxing time off.  The awesomeness is compounded by the fact that everyone else migrates to the beaches and this place becomes a virtual ghost town.

And now that the kids are older, I don’t have to entertain them every second of every minute of every day.  They can actually entertain themselves.  Which makes all of the nothing that much more something.  And by “entertain themselves,” I mean constant bickering, which I have come to believe that they will never outgrow.  Whatever, as long as they leave me alone.

Now, for those of you who have been following my crazy stories from the beginning, you may recall that despite my attempts to be a better human being, I Suck at Dogs.  But I am also very quick to forget things, which I blame on all of these pregnancies and resultant children that have permanently addled my brain.  The same kids who are constantly begging for us to get a dog.  Day and night, night and day.  Every birthday or Christmas or random Tuesday, the number one thing on their wish list is a family dog.  And I know that they think we are terrible, horrible parents because we never did it.  But still, Sheepdog and I did not get them a dog.

Instead, we got them two.


“Y’all gon’ make me lose my mind, up in here, up in here.” – DMX (from their album, “…And Then There Was X.”
But how perfect would it have been if it came from their record “Year of the Dog… Again?”
I know, right?

Their mother was rescued and when they had her on the table to spay her, they realized that she was pregnant.  She delivered five pups (four boys and a girl, all black with white markings except for one of the boys) just a few days later.  We met them when they were just under three weeks old and have been going to visit every weekend for the past six weeks.  We watched them grow and play with their litter mates and learn from their mama.  Incidentally, she and I were quite simpatico because we were both always bitching about having five kids who always wanted or needed something from us.  Solidarity, sister.

We were originally drawn to the girl puppy, but she ended up acting all uppity when we visited her.  I was much more drawn to two of the boys.  We went back and forth on the idea of one puppy versus two, but we opted for the double whammy mainly because people told us that they would keep each other company.  We also figured that, with our five kids, we would need more dogs to go around.  I know what you’re thinking… why not just get one for each?  But I emphatically drew the line at two.

They had to stay with their mom while they nursed and foster mom until they got neutered, which was last Thursday.  The rules of the rescue organization state that they could come live with us once they had a successful recovery from surgery.  So yesterday, on our last day of Spring Break, we all hopped into our XL vehicle, loaded a giant dog crate in the back, and headed over to the Chattahoochee River Club to pick up the newest members of our family.

And now, 24 hours later, with the kids all off at school and Sheepdog out of town all week for business, I am sitting here thinking, “What in the world did I get myself into?”  In my heart I know that we got these dogs because the experience will teach the kids responsibility and promote selflessness and there is nothing sweeter than a child and his or her dog(s).  But in my mind… let’s just say that it is very scary in there.  I am feeling anxious and overwhelmed and again like there is something wrong with me that I freak out when animals are actually living under my roof, despite my best efforts to be the willow.  I am definitely feeling much more like an unwavering oak.  Actually, it is kind of easy to feel like any kind of tree since two very active puppies are constantly peeing and pooping on me.

There is something seriously wrong with me.  I have decided that I am Spring Broken.

Wish me luck for tomorrow…