Tuesday, June 22, 2010

Home With A Reluctant Kid And A Menagerie

I'm home from nearly three weeks in Arizona. I won't even get into the drama rollercoaster that was my trip, but Danni is here, with us. Reluctantly here, but here and ready to register for college.

When you're used to having two kids living with you, having the third one back is an adjustment. Especially after a two-day car ride, that drama rollercoaster I referred to, and readjusting to the altitude. Between all that, I'm tired and I have a headache.

But, that's not enough. You see, whenever anyone moves here, it seems we acquire another animal.

A long long time ago, when Danni was seven and Shannon was four, we got our first family dog.

That would be Bo, on the right. We got him at a shelter for $10. He'd been there for two days, and they wanted $5 a day for the boarding. They told us they thought he was about a year old. His previous owners had dropped him off because...well, I guess they just didn't want him.

There were no adoption papers, no background check, no fees except the $10. Just take him. He's a chihuahua/pug mix. When we got him over 11 years ago, he was called a mutt. Now he's called a "chug." I think I feel a little smug that I got a designer dog for $10. I've seen chugs in pet stores for over $1000. We think he's about 12 years old. We were a normal little family with two kids and a dog.

When Steve moved to Colorado in December of 2008, he had a small one-bedroom apartment, while he waited for us to finish the school year in Arizona and join him. He was lonely. He decided he needed a dog. Enter dog #2, Luke...a beagle mix. He's about a year and a half old. And he howls. A lot.

Then in June of 2009, the two younger girls and I arrived in Colorado. Shannon was not happy about being here. One of the things we had promised her to soften the blow is that she could have a rabbit.

This is Splatter, Shannon's rabbit. She lives in a hutch in the basement that Shannon is supposed to keep clean. She already had the name when we got her from the Humane Society. I suggested renaming her Rorschach (Rory for short), but no one else got my little psychology joke. So she remained Splatter.

Yes, that's a rabbit, on a leash. Shannon's a middle child, and she's a bit...different. She bought a cat leash and harness, and takes the rabbit for walks.

So, now I have a third child that I've forced to move to Colorado against her will. And we all know what that means, right? Of course, she wants her own dog.

At first, like several months ago, she wanted one of those little pocket dogs. But after living with my parents and their Doberman/Shepherd mix for a year, she decided she liked bigger dogs. Besides, she wanted a dog that she could exercise with...take on runs with her.

We went back to the shelter this past Friday and found a nice dog that everyone in the family liked. However, since we were honest on our application and said that we rented our house (we should have just said we owned it), and we said we already had two dogs, part of the adoption process was the shelter calling the landlord to find out if we were allowed to have three dogs. This was at 1:30pm on Friday afternoon.

Steve called the realty office and spoke with our contact there, and they proceeded to try and reach the owner, to ask if it was ok. Unsurprisingly, the owner wasn't able to be reached. The realty office closed at 2:30pm, and was closed all weekend. The shelter would only hold the dog for 24 hours. So we left, dogless.

On Saturday, just for fun, I decided to look at dogs on Craigslist. I happened across a 3 year-old female golden retriever/lab mix. I had a golden retriever when I was in college and I've always wanted another one. But instead I got a stupid beagle.

A lot of people "giving away" dogs on Craigslist ask for a "small" re-homing fee, ranging anywhere from $50 to $200. You see, you can't actually sell animals on Craigslist, but you can ask for a re-homing fee. The dog at the shelter was going to be a $100 adoption fee.

However, this particular family didn't want any money. They were losing their house and having to move to an apartment, and the apartment wouldn't take their dogs. They just wanted her to have a good home. Steve and Danni went to look at the dog, and they brought her home.

Enter dog #3, Nikki. I wanted a female, because I figured our two male dogs would be more accepting of a female dog, not having to fight for dominance and all that dumb boy bullshit.

She is a sweetheart of a dog. She is also HUGE. She probably weighs about 110 lbs. The vet at PetSmart said she should weigh about 80 lbs. So we've limited her to two cups of food a day (vet's recommendation) and exercise at every opportunity. She seems to be doing better already. For example, she's walking around behind me, and she's not panting and heaving like she was the first couple of days.

Isn't she pretty? Unfortunately, we agreed that this is Danni's dog. Which means that I will take care of her and fall in love with her, and then when Danni leaves us at some point in the future, she'll take her dog with her. Right now though? Apparently I'm about the same size and shape as her former "mom." So the dog doesn't really let me out of her sight.

She really is a big sweetie. She gets along great with the other dogs, and with all the neighborhood kids that are always running in and out of here. However, she brought along enough extra dog hair for five dogs. I think I need to get a Swiffer or something.

Yeah, I think she's adjusting.

Monday, June 7, 2010

The Graduate

Hi! No, I haven't dropped off the face of the earth...I'm in the "show me your papers" state! Woohoo! But this isn't about politics or Arizona or their racist, ridiculous law...it's about my daughter's graduation.

We had to get her a new dress, because the girls were required to wear white underneath their white, kind of see-through gowns.

SEN10RS, Class of 2010!

Throwing their hats after the ceremony. Danni's class graduated 677 kids. It took an hour and a half to read all the names. Our last name starts with W. I think I still have "bleacher butt."

Proud sisters.

I don't normally post pictures of myself because yuck, but I have to point out that I am both smiling AND my eyes are open in this picture. Since this never, ever happens (like really, never), here's my grad with her dad and me.

Danni with her grandma and grandpa, Steve's parents.

Class of 2010 with the class of 2021. Or just a really cute little sister.

A whole new world awaits.