Saturday, November 17, 2012


Today, we are going geocaching.

It's something I heard about a few years ago.  I was pregnant with Caleb, shopping at the outlet mall up in Ellenton, when the cashier asked me where I was from.  I told her I'd driven up from North Port to go shopping for my husband's Christmas party.  (Read:  I needed a maternity dress that didn't make me look like a Christmas tree, which I had no luck finding anywhere in town.)

She exclaimed, "Oh!  North Port!  We just did some geocaching there."

Some what?  It sounded sort of illegal, but she also stated it in such a matter-of-fact tone that I figured I should know what this is.

"Geocaching.  Right on."  (I'm pretty sure that was my reply.)

Wondering what there actually was to do in this town besides "Be Pregnant," I looked it up online when I arrived home with my new dress.

In layman's terms, Geocaching is an outdoor activity involving GPS coordinates and a hidden box full of trinkets.  It's a treasure hunt, of sorts.  You pack some supplies, find the box, take something out and replace it with something of equal value, sign the log book, log your find at the Geocaching website, and be on your merry way.

Fast-forward to last night:  a backyard campfire, S'mores, some stories about the Myakka Skunk Ape, and we are ready to get out there and Geocache.  I'm excited.  Aidan is excited.  Caleb is still asleep.  (Par for the course.  He only gets excited about breakfast, lunch, and dinner.)

As much as I love my children, I'm tired of being the only parent on the weekends.  No more "waiting around" for dad to get home:  we're doing our own fun shit.  And we're doing it outdoors.  No more cleaning, sweeping, mopping, laundry.  We're getting out, we're getting dirty, and we're not coming home until naptime.   :-)

Have you heard of Geocaching?  Given it a try?  Any tips for us noobs?  I'll post an update later, hopefully with some pics of our first treasure.  Have a great Saturday, all.


Friday, November 16, 2012

Leaving Facebook.

Life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness.

It's the backbone of the American dream, right?  The American Way.

It's bullshit.

Initially, I chalked it up to my 20-year high school reunion.  That's when things started getting quiet in the Land of Make-Believe.  I imagined reconnecting with old friends, seeing faces I hadn't seen since the days of "I made you a mix tape."  I figured life would still be life, just ... better.  More friends, more connections, more people to get to know.

But it didn't happen that way.

Then the election rolled around and just like the dividing line which ran through our country, so too did the line get drawn down the Friends List.  Facebook became the place for armchair politicians, whether or not they'd ever studied politics.  It became a place for people to degrade one another, whether with vicious cartoons depicting the stupidity of one party, or a Cracked article showing the idiocy and ineptitude of the other.  Lines were drawn, words were spoken, and you know what I realized?

I don't really give a shit about people on Facebook.  My "friends."  Really?  Friends list?  How about "list of people I used to associate with, but they probably wouldn't say hello to me if I ran into them at Walmart today."  Or, the ever-popular list of "did her, did him, wouldn't do him, kissed him, passed out at her house twenty five years ago"?

Who are these people, and why are they peddling their problems at my virtual doorstep?  Really?  You're sick again?  Why am I not surprised?  Everyone on Facebook jokes that you're the biggest hypochondriac ever.  Why are they pandering for advice from people on the internet that they haven't seen in years?  Ohhh, you lost your job?  And you're upset about it?  Really?  You've been talking about doing that for years so that you could collect unemployment and stay home with your kids.  Why are you pretending to be upset about it now?  Where are their real lives?  Their real friends?  And why, oh why, did I ever get sucked in?

I'm over you, Facebook.  I will keep an active account which I'll use to share photos with my family from across the miles, but that's all you'll be to me now:  just an online bulletin board.  My pictures and page will be private.  No more sharing of blogs, no more arguing over which type of America is best for my children.  No more funny dog videos.

I feel like a weight has been lifted.

Later, peoples.

Tuesday, November 13, 2012

A new pup and a young dog: Size matters.

Because we simply did not have enough going on in our lives, we decided a few weeks ago to begin our search for another dog to add to the family pack.  I know, I know.  How on earth did you get your husband to agree to that? you're thinking.  I can't remember the specifics, but what I do remember was hearing the phrase, "...but you'd better find one quick, before I change my mind."

Challenge accepted.

8 days ago, we became the proud, albeit nervous, new owners of an 8-week-old Australian Cattle Dog who we've named "Lola."  With two boys and a half-acre of land, she pretty much gives us a great reason to go outside all day long.

It's been 25 years since I last owned a puppy and that was "Tippy," a puppy born at our house to our dog, "Cindy" (named after Cindy of The Brady Bunch.  It's true, you caught me.).  Back in the day, even Bob Barker hadn't started his whole "spay and neuter" speech, and even if he had, single parents couldn't afford that type of stuff, so we never had a spayed pet.  Ever.

Having a puppy is one word:  Teeth.  Little tiny needles of teeth that always want to explore that which you treasure most, like wedding rings and engagement diamonds.  Cords that keep your electronics electrified.  The tiny sausage fingers of a 21-month-old child.

We started Lola on a pretty tight schedule that goes something like this:

6:30am - Wake up.  Go potty.  Eat breakfast.  Play.  Go potty.  Walk to the bus stop.  Come home and get a drink.  Play.  Rest in the playpen.

(Note:  "Playpen" is different than "crate."  In the playpen, it is acceptable to run around, do somersaults, chew bones, rock out.  The playpen is set up half-in, half-out of my office.  She can see all the action, but when I can't hover over her like a hawk and no one is actively playing with her, she's in the playpen.)

Noon:  Go potty.  Lunchtime!  Have a few drinks, play like a lunatic.  Play some more.  Out for potty.  Play.

3:30pm:  Time to take a walk!  Off to the bus stop.  Play, grab a drink or two, potty, you name it.

4:30pm:  Dinner!  Potty!  Play play play!  Again, with the playpen.  IF YOU AREN'T ACTIVELY PLAYING WITH OR WATCHING THE PUPPY, SHE IS IN THE PLAYPEN.  Not only does this prevent accidents, chewing, and general bad behavior, it teaches the puppy that it's okay to self-entertain.  It's okay to be alone sometimes.  It's okay to lay quietly and chew a bone or toy.

9:00pm:  Settle down time.  A few more potties and some soft play, snuggle, watch some tv.

11:00pm:  Out one more time, then bedtime in the crate.

Listen.  You want your puppy to love you.  You want your dog to be happy when you come home.  What you do not want to raise is a puppy who cannot function if he or she can't see you.  It's not fair to the puppy, it's not fair to the family, and it's not fair to any other pets you may own.  It creates separation anxiety, which is probably the number one reason animals end up in the shelter.

Just like you have to teach a child to be independent, you also must teach your puppy that it's okay to be without you.  We've had Lola for nine days now, and you know how many nights she's cried in her crate and kept us up?  ZERO.  None.  Zilch.  The transition from one puppy to two has been incredibly easy, which brings me to my next thought:

Make sure you give your puppies time apart!  No one wants to introduce their family pets like this:  "This is our dog, Bella, and this is Bella's dog, Lola."  No.  Do not let your young dog raise your new puppy.  Yes, you want them to be friends.  Yes, you want them to play together.  What you do not want to do is to create a situation where each dog/puppy loses their individual identity within the family.  You have two dogs.  Act like it.  When you had baby number two, you didn't give baby number one the responsibility of his or her care:  don't do it to your pets.

(Off the puppy primer soapbox.)

So far, so good, and it will only get better from here.  For now, I'm out.  I'm sure someone, somewhere, needs to go to the bathroom around here.