Category Archives: Family life

Come on man!

Disclaimer: this post is not about the dogs 🙂

I love having my son home for the summer, BUT…

Yesterday I was upstairs catching up on some chores when I noticed a puddle in the hallway. No, this wasn’t from the puppy and I know this because 1. she wasn’t in the house at the time (my husband took her to work because everyone there was dying to meet her)  2. she doesn’t free roam on the 2nd floor 3. she is under constant supervision so even if she was wandering on the 2nd floor I would have seen her do the deed and 4. she is practically perfect in every way and house training is going very well.

I did what any reasonable person would do and I looked up.  Sure enough, there was water dripping from the ceiling. I know from experience that the culprit was the kids’ bathroom, or what I now call Thomas’ bathroom because my daughter has moved out-of-state into her own place.

I went charging up the stairs and as I rushed into the bathroom, I splashed into about 1/2 inch of standing water. He’s been home for less than a week and this!!!! He had left the house over an hour ago and didn’t notice that his toilet was having a problem!!!

I ran downstairs, found the plunger and a load of towels and headed back up to fix the issue and clean up the mess, all the while, muttering and reminding myself that “I love my son, I love my son”.

Thomas has always known how to time an entrance, and he returned home minutes after I had gotten the situation under control and all of the water mopped up. I gave him a quick status report on his bathroom and he gave me his best blank stare and shoulder shrug and managed not to crack a smile.  I gave him my best “come on man” expression and managed not to crack a smile.

To his credit, he didn’t give me some stupid excuse or defense and simply went upstairs and grabbed the cleaning bucket.  He and I have always communicated well with each other and he has been very supportive of me over the last several months.  He knew he screwed up, we laughed about it and he took over where I left off.  Of course I had to have the last word and shouted “you’re too old for me to be cleaning up your potty messes”. I heard him chuckle as he climbed the stairs.

P.S. This is my 100th post! Funny that this one isn’t dedicated to the dogs…

Welcome home baby Winn!

This last weekend was a joyous one.  Very early Saturday morning we began the journey to bring this sweet girl into our family.

We made it to our destination a little early and were rewarded with meeting the whole litter as they returned from getting their cardiac clearances.  They were a wiggly, fluffy  pile on this last day as a group. It was hard to tell where one stopped and the other started.

We helped transfer them all to their pen and then started the process of taking ownership of this special puppy.  It was a little emotional for all of us.  This was a big day full of changes and adjustments but I was so happy.

I did not make this decision lightly and had found this breeder about a year ago.  Adopting Annie had opened my eyes to the abuses of a careless breeder and I quickly learned about the differences in breeder techniques and how to find one that is ethical and doing it for the love of the breed and to support breed standards and health.

After a lot of behind the scenes research, which included referring to the NCA website and following their recommendations, talking to other Newfie owners and seeing a different breeders’ litter I decided I wanted to contact this breeder to start the next step of finding the right puppy.  Just as I needed to be comfortable with him, he also needed to be comfortable with me.  He would want to know what kind of home we had, what type of owner I am and how this puppy would be treated.  I would need his approval.

Annie has surprised me.  Once I figured out how old she was, I realized our time together would probably be shorter than I originally hoped.  Currently she shows no signs of decline, but with these big dogs I have learned that things can change pretty quickly so it seemed like the right time to start the process.

I took a leap and made the first contact in January.  I wanted to introduce myself and find out what his letter plans were for the year. I was hoping for late summer/early fall but he had just bred his girl. If she was pregnant she would be due in March and then she would retire.  His next litter wouldn’t be for 2 years because he would wait for his other girl to mature. I thought about it for about 2 seconds, and then decided I still wanted to pursue a puppy from this breeder, at this time if possible.  He couldn’t promise me anything.  There were other people ahead of me that had interest in this litter and he would have no way of knowing if there would be one for me until after they were born.

I’ve learned that if you wait for the perfect moment to do something, you might not recognize that moment when it appears.  There are always reasons and excuses to put something off, but I decided to seize this opportunity and felt like the positives outweighed the negatives.

I am so glad I made that decision that day. I was still hurting from the loss of my best friend.  She died Thanksgiving weekend, 3 weeks after receiving a Leukemia diagnosis.  On Jan. 2nd, my dad was diagnosed with Liver Cancer and I spent about 3 weeks in February with him while he went through radiation therapy but at the end of March, he took a turn and I rushed back to his side and stayed there until he passed away 4 days later.

I had hoped to bring the puppy for a visit at the end of May when my dad was supposed to have a scan to determine the success of his treatment. As I sat by his side, I shared pictures and updates with him as they came in from her breeder, and told him I would be naming her after the lake in New Hampshire that we both loved so much. My dad wasn’t able to talk, but I could read his face and knew that he was happy for me.  There is no way I could have known on that January day all that would transpire over the next several months, but having this sweet, fluffy puppy in my arms brings me the joy that I’ve recently been searching for.

This is Winn.  Her name is inspired by years of wonderful memories spent at my parents lake house and riding in my dad’s boat on Lake Winnipesaukee.  She is 10 weeks old and she makes our pack complete!IMG_0923

It’s bath time!

Saturday was bath day, it had been several weeks since their last bath and I was itching to get them both in the tub and cleaned up.

We put in a dog shower last year. It’s in a big open area in the basement.  We really needed it because Annie had skin conditions that required weekly allergy bath treatments and she hated going into small spaces. I was giving her treatments in the kitchen with lots of towels and a bucket which is not a good way to wash a large dog! (We brought her home in the middle of winter, bathing her outside was not possible.)

Maisie has always loved a bath.  She knows when we return from the beach, we go straight to the basement and get in the shower. (The old shower was a tiny, concrete space squeezed into the corner of very small, dark, creepy basement bathroom.) She’s been doing that since she was a puppy and she adapted immediately to the new shower once it was finished.  Now when she hears the water running down there she goes right down and hops in.  Annie is more reluctant and needs a bit of coaxing.

I had been running the water to get the temperature right and when I turned and looked, there was Maisie, sitting pretty and waiting for her bath.IMG_0691I went to find Annie and she was lying at the top of the basement stairs, watching and listening but not terribly eager to head downstairs for her spa day.

I got her to follow me, but it took a lot of coaxing to get her in the shower.  I don’t force her into anything, but I do hold onto her so she won’t run away and eventually she will get in when she’s ready.  This time took a little longer, I think because it had been a while since we had done this, and at one point I got in there with Maisie in an effort to get her to follow me.  That didn’t work since there isn’t really enough room for all three of us and Annie just stood there staring at me like I was a fool.  Once I awkwardly crawled out and got back down beside her, she let out a moan and then climbed in.  If she could have rolled her eyes at me, I think she would have.

Once they were both in, I washed Annie and quickly dried her to get most of the water out and then let her hop down.  I then turned my attention to Maisie and got her washed and dried.  She’s a lot easier because she will stand and turn when I ask her to so I can get both sides done without too much effort.  Maisie really doesn’t like the dryer, but this time she put up with it for about 45 minutes which is a record for her and she was pretty close to dry by the time she hopped down.

Annie had run away and was resting in the “safe zone” by the couch, but after about 10 minutes I felt a nudge and there she was, watching me dry Maisie.  I think she came back for moral support and she plopped down right there and waited till we were done.  They have bonded so well, Maisie always gets in the tub with Annie and now Annie came back and was nearby while Maisie was tolerating the dryer.  Sweet sisters, taking care of each other!

They will get their brush out and trim today, we were all exhausted and ready for a nap…

In my fantasy life…

I would win a huge lottery and have so much money I could pay off all of my debts and buy the Haunted Mansion.

There is a house in town that looked abandoned for years. It is huge and was once owned by Oscar Mayer, yes, that Oscar Mayer the hot dog man. It was covered in vines, had tarps all over the roof and was pitch dark when we drove by at night. It’s not really my style, I like old Victorians and we happen to live in an old Victorian that my husband and I have painstakingly restored over the years. But…there is something about this place that always grabbed my attention and I have always called it the Haunted Mansion.IMG_0548

A couple of years ago it went on the market, apparently by court order. Given the condition, it was severely under market value, but it easily needed a million dollars in restoration. Maisie and I would walk by, I would take pictures and send them to my kids saying things like “what do you think”, “perfect place for the future” and “my next project”.  I was very close to calling a good friend who is a realtor, just so I could get inside and drool for a couple of hours. There is something about an old, run down and neglected home that really gets my blood flowing. Again, let me be clear, this was TOTAL fantasy. A really great fantasy.

I couldn’t get it out of my mind and I had all kinds of design plans. The 3rd floor was a big open space that was originally a ballroom, very common for mansions of the Gilded Age. I would make it the perfect play space for grand-children (still many years away) with climbing toys, a trampoline and shatter proof windows so that the flying hockey puck, lacrosse ball or other projectile wouldn’t cause any damage. For the record, I have restored all of the original windows in my house by myself. I would always choose to keep the original frames, just replace the glass on the 3rd floor only—again, in my fantasy.IMG_0547

It’s 2 blocks from the lake and beach, so even though it doesn’t have a view it is still pretty much a beach house. It is so huge that I could still have formal and casual living spaces. There would be enough bedrooms and beautifully restored bathrooms for as many family members or friends that we would want to invite for a stay. I could even dedicate one to be a bunk room for sleep-overs. (I am planning on entertaining lots of little kids in the future). Best of all, I could create a large dog room that would house the crates, have my dream doggie shower (which we actually did install in our current house, that’s a different post) and a grooming room with a central vac and ventilation to suck up all of the hair. Pretty great, right?

The house is built on a double lot—I would guess each lot to be about 50 feet wide by 200 feet deep. The house pretty much takes up one whole lot, so the yard space is the second huge lot off to the side. This is the best part, I pictured a huge glass solarium with a built-in pool! Heated year round of course, with an enclosed walkway leading to the house. There would also be room for a sport court. As far as fantasies go, I think this is a pretty good one but everyone I shared it with looked at me like I’d lost my mind. I am perfectly aware that this was completely unrealistic but geesh, can’t a girl dream without being faced with a grimace?

IMG_0550
View of the back of the house and the large open lot ready for an indoor pool and sport court.

Someday I’ll win the lottery and I’ll show those naysayers. There’s a different house I have my eye on now, it is across the street from the beach with 180 degree lake views. The dog beach is ½ block away and we could watch the 4th of July fireworks from our front porch. Of course I should probably start playing the lottery if I have any chance of making that happen.

P.S. The Oscar Mayer Mansion was purchased by people willing to spend the money necessary to do a pristine, historic preservation. It’s now back on the market, waiting for a family to appreciate this beautifully restored house.  IMG_0348

Here’s a couple of links if you are curious.

http://www.chicagomag.com/real-estate/November-2015/Million-Dollar-Restoration-of-Evanstons-Oscar-Mayer-Mansion-is-Underway/

http://www.chicagobusiness.com/realestate/20160428/CRED0701/160429830/rehabbed-oscar-mayer-mansion-coming-on-the-market

 

 

 

A friend for me!

“Don’t freak out, there’s a bird in the house” were the first words I heard this morning.

I had over slept and needed to hurry to get ready for work, so in my bleary state, I was relieved that my husband was going to deal with it and went about my rushing around.

However, I was very curious about how Maisie responded to the bird in the house.  Maisie loves all creatures big and small and considers all of them her friends.  One of her best days was when she snuggled up with a chicken.IMG_3025

Apparently, the bird flew into the bedroom by squeezing in through a gap in the window next to the air conditioner.

Maisie immediately was on full alert, stood on the bed with her tail straight up in the air and her eager face focused right in on this poor bird.  I don’t think Annie was impressed that there was a bird flying around because she was more concerned about getting downstairs and eating breakfast.

Unfortunately I didn’t see any of this, by the time I entered the room the dogs were downstairs and the bird was perched on a chair.  I quickly got dressed and closed the door knowing my husband would be in shortly to open the window and guide the bird out.

What a great way for Maisie to start the day!  Since I don’t have a picture of that I say Happy St. Patrick’s Day from one very excited girl.