The hall runner, the front and back indoor mats, and the bathroom rug have been pressed into service between the rugs on any exposed wooden floor.  Baby came home from the hospital and can't walk well on slick surfaces.  Chairs block the doorways to the kitchen, having long ago outgrown the need for baby gates.  She is limited to only leashed potty breaks outside.  No walks, no jumping, and NO licking of the incision site. 

The never-ending yapping of the neighbors' dog reverberates in one ear.  The drone of a television show insults the other.  Vehicular traffic is constant.  Baby tries to sleep but whimpers and whines for lack of a comfortable position.

If she were healthy, she would be heading to the farm for the day.  It may be just as well that she must stay in the city.  Someone needs to stay to apply ice packs periodically, assist with potty breaks, stretch her legs muscles.  Mostly, she is my excuse to spend the afternoon napping rather than scraping up floor tile and aiding Mr. Gaelic by holding facia boards in place under the eaves while he nails the fresh wood to the outside of the cabin.  For a rare weekend, we will be at our suburban home rather than our country home.

Every weekend since Thanksgiving, we've been working on fixing up the cabin which had been neglected for the better part of 15 years.  Combined with the end-of-the-year flurry of activity at both Mr. G's and my jobs, exhaustion has set in.  Thanks in large part to Wednesday's unscheduled adventures.

Part of me wants the escape to the quiet and dark of our hidden valley.  Part of me wants the comfort of my familiar bed.  Once the cabin has been refurbished, I won't have to choose.  By then, Baby should be able to jump into the back of the truck.  And the only noise that will interrupt our silence will be the neighbor's cows who have wandered up to the devil's rope separating our land from his.


(Excuse My French but) FML

Original plans for today:  Go to court to contest a traffic ticket where the officer gave me a ticket for running a yellow light that changed as I was halfway under it.

Actual events for today:  Alarm goes off.  "What time is it?"  "6:30."  "Okay . . . crap!  I was supposed to meet C at 7:00!"

Skip shower. Pull hair into a bun.  Dress and run out of the house with Mr. Gaelic to drop him off at the subway.  Tap the ears to make sure the earrings are there which reminds Mr. G to check for his phone, billfold, belt.  "Forgot the belt!  Let me out here and I'll take the bus."

Arrive at meeting place.  No C.  "Didn't she call last week to cancel?  I can't remember.  I think she did."  Get back in car and drive home.

Log onto office computer from home and check email.  Deirdre calls and needs me to bring her literature binder to school by 11:00.  Find binder in her room and place it next to my purse.  Okay, traffic court is at 9:30.  "I should take it before court."

Look out window at Baby, next-door-neighbor's dog, and dog from around the corner playing in yard.  Baby is a 140-pound, eight-year-old Great Pyrenees.  Go to front door to say hello to neighbor from around the corner.  "Baby is limping?  Did you know she's limping?"  "I just saw her and she was fine."  Sure enough, Baby is barely able to walk.

Call the vet to get an appointment as soon as possible.  "We have 10:30 and 11:15."  "Uh, I have a 9:30 meeting and I'm not sure when I'll be out.  Do you have anything later?"  "1:00."  "I'll take it."

The clock says 8:50.  Not enough time to get to the high school and back to the courthouse by 9:30.  But she needs the binder by 11:00.  And, oh dear!  Deirdre is driving the truck today.  Baby can't ride in the car.  There's not enough room for her.  And the gas gauge says 11 miles to empty.

Drive to the courthouse and find two-hour on-street parking.  Walk into anteroom and realize I'm the only Anglo there.  How many other cases will be called before mine?  How many will need interpreters?  No time for this! 

Find the cashier's window and pay the fine.  There goes my clean driving record!  And it was yellow when I when through it! 

On way to car, see friend from church whom I haven't seen in months.  Talk briefly.  Once in car again realize Deirdre's binder is still on the kitchen counter.  Lack of breakfast is catching up with me.  Need coffee!

Call Mr. G for moral support.  He offers to help me get Baby to the vet.  Stop by house to shower, fix hair, change clothes, and retrieve binder.  Drive to high school to leave binder.  Gas gauge down to 3 miles to empty.  Pull into gas station and, while filling up, watch verbal fight between female driver trying to pull to pump and male cabbie blocking the lane.  Station manager intervenes.  "Please don't let me get caught as an eye-witness to an assault."  No time for that.

Swing by Mickey D's for drive-thru latte.  The Starbucks across the parking lot requires getting out of car and standing in long line.  No time for that.  Mr. G calls to say he'll be at home subway station in 15 minutes.  Stop by house to check office emails.  Back in car to pick up Mr. G.  On way to high school with Mr. G's truck keys, boss calls for explanation of what meetings were moved and canceled on today's calendar.  He doesn't follow my explanation and hangs up.  Mr. G repeats back to me what he heard and it's exactly right.

Deposit Mr. G next to truck.  He offers to stop at Mickey D's for lunch.  "May I have a sweet tea as well?"  Back at house, type email to boss with minute detail of which meetings were moved and canceled.  Mr. G arrives, takes his burger upstairs to eat as he changes clothes.  Wolf down my burger standing over kitchen sink.

Together, lift Baby into back of truck.  Mr. G helps me get her inside the vet's office then steps out for conference call on his cell.  Vet tells me that she tore the left ACL.  She tore the right ACL two years ago.  As he tells me this, both of us sitting in the floor with Baby, he looks like he's about to cry.  Reading his mind, ponder whether the high cost of the surgery offsets Baby's age for such a gentle giant of a dog.  Immediately ask about surgery rather than any other option.

Mr. G helps me get Baby into truck again.  At home, Baby refuses our help and attempts to jump out of back of truck.  In jumping, she knocks the tailgate open against the side of my head.  Fall into car parked behind us, then to curb.  Mr. G doesn't know who to help first, Baby or me.  Give Baby pain medicine.  She whimpers as she sleeps.  Want to cuddle her but she needs rest.

Decide to work from home rest of day as does Mr. G.  At some point temperature drops.  Mr. G builds fire.  Heat up leftover spaghetti.  Wonder if had lunch.  Don't remember.  Then see cup from Mickey D's.

Want to send text to Finola saying, "FML."  Will recount story and she'll understand.


Have I Got a Story for You!

He didn't seem interested in what the tourguide had to say.  The earphones covered his ears, but whether the volume was up is another story.  In his hands was his iPhone, thumbs tapping away at a game on the screen.  He didn't hear the gentleman approach him.  He didn't know anyone was talking to him until the gentleman touched his arm.

"Hi, I'm Congressman X.  How would you like to join me and my staff on a Dome Tour?"

The boy backed away, probably only hearing "Hi, I'm Congressman X..." before thinking he was in trouble for doing something he wasn't supposed to.  The boy found his mother in the crowd of tourists and quickly accepted the offer to climb to the top of the Capitol dome with seven other people he had never met. 

It's the equivalent of 18 stories.  Most of the tour is on old cast iron staircases.  The first stop is on the windowed balcony just above the frieze.  After a quick stop to look at the frieze up close and the Civil War graffiti scratched on one of the windows, the stairs lead inside the dome to the balcony just below the Apotheosis of Washington.  Everyone is warned not to drop anything over the railing.

From the Apotheosis, it's a quick climb to the top of the dome.  The door opens to a small walk just below the statue of Freedom.  It's a beautiful 360 degree view.  Magnificent on a clear day.  Much better in the spring or fall than the summer or winter.

Standing outside at the top of the dome, the boy says that it is his first trip to the nation's capitol.  What a story he'll have to tell his friends when he returns home!

All because there was an extra space available on the Dome Tour and the congressman didn't want it to go unfilled.



How does one go about putting together an intervention? 

Last year at this time at a Christmas party, two friends and I were talking near the food table.  One remarked that she needed to find the bar, that it had been a long week, and that she needed a drink.  I cheerfully told them that I didn't drink.  [However, after rejoining the paid workforce, my tee toting days quickly came to an end.]

A few days later, one of the women called me up for a coffee date.  She peppered me with questions about why I stopped drinking.  No, I didn't have a problem with alcohol.  My doctor said my thyroid medicine would work better if I didn't drink.  That was two years ago.  [Well, three at this point.]  In our conversation, my friend told me that she was concerned about our other friend whom she strongly suspected had a drinking problem.

After running into the second friend at a local Mexican restaurant, that assumption rings true.  My friend's sentences seemed off.  Her eyes looked dilated.  And there were two shot glasses on the table, one empty, one full.  Her dining companion was her 20-year-old daughter.  Unless she's buying shots for her underage daughter, my suspicion is that she does in fact have a drinking problem.

Should I invite her for coffee and tell her that I'm worried about her?  Should my first friend and I talk to her together?  Should I talk to her daughter whom I watched grow up and who is a close friend of my daughter?

My timidity stems from a prior intervention that several female friends and I tried with another friend whose husband was physically abusing her.  We tried to convince her to leave him.  Instead she left us.  They eventually divorced but the rifts between the female friends still exist.

Is speaking up the best option?

[Title taken from this.]


Stolen Goods

This was lifted off some woman waiting to be read in the Facebook feed.  Enjoy!

15 Things White Girls Do on Facebook

1. Take pictures of their feet.

2. Express their extreme annoyance at this work day today and hint that it deserves a much needed alcoholic beverage at the end of it. WINK WINK.

3. Thank their hubby for being the best hubby in the world while their hubby is sitting right next to them.

4. Complain about bad service at restaurants. “Never eating at Applebee’s AGAIN!”

5. Express their extreme excitement to see their best friends tonight, Britney, Whitney, and Sarah!!! Love YOU GIRLS!!

6. Take pictures wearing a lot of makeup and looking really preppy while simultaneously making a “hard” facial expression and holding up what they consider to be a gangster sign. Potential caption: ‘Straight thuggin.’

7. Take pictures of undeserving food. "I effing love oatmeal!!! Mmmmmmm."

8. Make their status the song lyrics of any Kings of Leon Song.

9. Take a picture of someone they deem inferior to themselves in some way with the question: Really?

10. Write angry letters to companies (Dear EZ PARK, I hate you!), unorganized groups of people (Dear slutty freshmen who think that leggings can be worn as pants..), and non-entities (Dear unseasonably cold weather, WTF?!)

11. Subtly yell at no one in particular while being very specific. “Wow, it’s hard to believe that you think you know someone and then they turn around and STAB YOU IN THE BACK. Will never make that mistake again. EVER.”

12. Document exceedingly mundane activities for the day. “Getting my oil changed today. Then getting much needed groceries. Then it’s off to the post office to mail some bills. Then stopping by the gyno. Will probably need some gas by the end, so I may stop at the gas station. But I might be tired so I’ll probably just get it in the morning on my way to pick up a prescription. But if I’m not very tired I’ll probably just get the gas on the way home. Again, unless I am tired.”

13. Express their distaste for facebook on facebook and threaten to leave facebook to their facebook friends.

14. Ask seemingly rhetorical questions. “It’s cool to do a bunch of meth and babysit 20 six year olds, right?”

15. Write a status in another language. Parce que, Je suis tres intelligente!!


I Have My Mother's Eyes

Recently Deirdre pulled out the photo albums in search of a baby picture for the high school yearbook.  Deirdre is a senior this year and needs a "before" shot to go with her senior portrait.  It's amazing how much they change.  And how much they were always the same.

Out came the older albums from when Yours Truly was a baby.  It's funny.  Deirdre remarked that my baby pictures look like a mix of Finola and Maeve.  On the next page, she claims that she's looking at herself in my baby picture.

Maybe that's why I have a difficult time remembering which our my babies' picture I'm looking at without checking the date.  The females' looks in my family are strikingly similar.  My children look like me.  I look like my mother.  My mother looked like her mother.  If there were an extant picture of my great grandmother, she would probably look just like the rest of us.

A distant cousin sent me a photo he found in his mother's things.  His note was short, "Guess who this is in the picture."  I wrote back, "I know that's my grandfather.  But based on the date, my mother wouldn't be old enough."  He answered, "It's your grandmother."  Once when at my maternal aunt's house, she was showing photos from some event.  I swear the woman in the picture was my mother.  Except that she had red hair.  My mother was the one with brown hair.  My aunt has red hair. 

There are photos of my parents in my living room.  First-time visitors always want to know at what Old Timey Photo Shop we had them taken.  Now even my husband is beginning to look like my father at a younger age.  There is truth to the old wives' tale that the longer people live together the more they resemble each other.  And apparently their in-laws in Mr. Gaelic's case.

[Title taken from this.]