Double Your Dad’s

As a child of divorce and an optimist, I found myself always looking for a reason to be satisfied with my family arrangement. My situation is not exactly ideal. It is however, particularly easy now that I’m an adult with a family of my own; well the start of one anyway, by snagging a great husband and a humanistic pug.

I’ve got two dads. I’ve got my paternal “taught me how to ride a bike” dad and my “see, this is how you drill into concrete” step-dad. I’m lucky because they are both wonderful men who have devoted so much of their lives to me, and I to them. Even luckier, they get along. Step-dad has referenced real dad as his “husband-in-law”, which sounds a bit goofy, but we laugh.

 

The cool thing is that, since no one is identical, I find that I always have the right man to help guide me, no matter what the problem is. Both are handy, but in different trades. They are both wise, but from different backgrounds and perspectives. They both can make me laugh and sometimes roll my eyes, but they both have traits that I found to be absolutely required in the man I’d marry; amongst them, respectful, honest, smart, hardworking and loving. I now have three men in my life that mean the world to me daily. I soon look forward to four, as I watch my little brother mature into a man and learn from three elders that care for him as much as I do.

There’s no one in the world without flaws, but their goodness supersedes any negatives, usually. I know this is true because I got nearly weepy at each Father’s Day card I read at Hallmark. I felt so lucky to have people fit the cheesy sentiment, even if I felt entirely lame taking twenty minutes reading through each card option available. If the hardest part of divorce for me is to choose two cards for two dads, I think I won.

I’ll save the stories of skinned knees from my competitive father trying to beat a five year old on her bike for another day.  Who does that?

 

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As Happy As a Pug on a Rug

Though I’m sure only my pug subscribers will enjoy this post, I couldn’t refrain from sharing the sight I saw when I passed through my living room this evening.

I often feel sorry for Oscar.  He spends a lot of time alone, while we work to keep his house nice and buy him fancy healthy snacks.  He’s thought about creating his own blog, but we trimmed his dew claws so he can’t type correctly.  Too far?  Ok, we’ll leave you with just pictures.

Sweet dreams Oscar dog.

Simple Things That Make Me Happy

I feel like my posts tend to alternate between longing (teetering on whiney) and dorky ideas.  I don’t do this on purpose, but maybe writing down things that bother me are effective enough that the following day I can look past them, at least temporarily, to see the beauty and pleasure in other things.

I sat here smiling as my pug and my husband snore next to me; (I mean, no honey, you don’t snore). I thought about how lucky I am to find joy in simple things. In no particular order, these are things that make me happy.  I welcome what simple things make you happy; there is always room to add to the list.

  • Tea, in a teacup with saucer and perfectly sweetened.  On a regular day, I drink tea unsweetened at work, just throwing a tea bag into the cleanest mug I have within reach.  (It just feels that way, don’t worry, I wash them.)  I’ve tried to perfect a perfect pot of tea; I can’t seem to do it like my Mom does, and so I make mine by the cup.  I go in phases with what type I’m in the mood for and lately rooibos wins.  Still, I wish I gave myself a moment to sit down and absorb just a moment of sunlight and a few minutes to drink tea each morning.  At the very least, I take a moment to think about the little sayings on my tea bags.  I started to save them at my desk because they are generally uplifting and every corporate cubicle can use random positivity.  Geez, now I sound like a hoarding Pollyanna.
  • Hot buttered toast and dipping it in hot chocolate.  Mmm.  I think I’m hungry.  Maybe I’m missing my Mom.  She’d make this for me when I was little, because her Mom did the same.  It came up in conversation before she passed that my Great-Grandmom used to get this when she was a kid from her Mom too.  I suppose it’s a traditional treat then.  The hot chocolate must be hot and so must the bread, and it should be white bread.  If you’re going to do this, you might as well go all out and use the soft white bread.  One day without wheat bread won’t kill you, but it might be the real butter that I suggest you use.  I know I’ve missed the boat to suggest this part, but it is particularly good on a colder morning. We still have some of these left.

Early morning. Though I have my favorites, Oscar prefers oatmeal.

  • Hanging clothes on the line.  Laundry chores are annoying but necessary.  I think this makes me happy because it has to be a beautiful day for this chore to be feasible, and that itself is a reason to smile. There is just something calming about pinning sheets up in a gentle breeze on a warm and sunny day.  Just don’t step in dog poo while you trek through the yard, it certainly takes away from the calming experience. Continue reading

Weekly Photo Challenge: Two Subjects

As I scrolled through my trusty photo hard drive, I found what I think is the closest thing to two subject pictures; mainly because well, there are two characters in them and they have different things happening for each subject.  The last one is simply so you have an understanding of how mocking a pug can be while his dog father works.  He thinks he’s the boss you know.  He realizes this is not the case when he relies on us for his precious kibble.

And here are…Pug in a sweater and his shoveling father.

No pugs or humans were injured during this photography session.  Unless you count muscle aches from back-breaking snow removal.

Notes to My Future Self about Yard Work

Today was a day of accomplishment.  With gorgeous spring weather, brought the desire to get up early and make this spring, the spring that we have a well put together backyard.  Now that I’m showered and subtle frustration has calmed, I can solidly put together some of the thoughts and tips I developed as the day progressed.  That sounds all hunky dory, doesn’t it?  But really this is the stuff that I am warning myself for the future yard work adventures.  It sounds better to put it that way than blatantly complaining.

  • Warn your husband not to laugh at you when you trip or twist your ankle when you are tired, dirty and cranky, and carrying more than a normal armload of tree branches; unless you think they’d like expletives to be thrown their way.  Also, when said expletives are cast upon your spouse, don’t be surprised that you instantly develop a crude character assessment and reputation from the elderly and nosy neighbors.
  • The way to get color on your pasty skin is not to apply heavy duty sunblock (first of all) and then not wait long enough for it to dry.  When the wind kicks up and blows fine dirt your way, it only makes you look dirty.  It just makes you look homeless and feel gritty.  Also, start standing upwind of the dirty to avoid breathing it in and being appalled later when you blow your nose and have nearly black boogies.  You’ll remember this note when your allergies kick in and after excessive nose blowing, you see your reflections and your nose is the only area of skin on your body that shows your real skin color.
  • Don’t rush.  When ripping out weeds, be sure not to grab hold of a rose branch accidentally and sliding more than a couple thorns through your delicate hands, which rips your skin apart.  Yes, I should have been wearing my gloves, but I thought I was done and then noticed a weed-ridden area.  I’ve already paid for this mistake with stinging rubbing alcohol.  Still, do not make this mistake again.

  • Along the same lines, don’t be so offended when you accidentally grab your dog’s crap while again, picking weeds in the yard.  After all, didn’t you just spend an hour spreading manure in the garden beds?  Is it really that different?  Continue reading

“God bless you, little animal” and Other Sappy Feelings

I’m not sure if I’m an idiot or compassionate, but I’m definitely sad.  On my way home from work this afternoon, one of the cars in front of me hit a little squirrel. I didn’t know until I came up closer and saw it flailing in the middle of my lane, clearly badly injured.  I’m not particularly a fan of squirrels but I love animals and it really broke my heart.  It was flopping around, like it was trying desperately to get up.  I contemplated the rest of the way home if there was something I could do for it, so it wouldn’t suffer any longer, but I couldn’t imagine running it over to “end it” either.

I’m such a sucker for animals, yet I’m such a hypocrite with living things.  Here I am with tears for this little squirrel that I have zero connection with, but when I listen to the news and hear about humans who’ve tragically died; it doesn’t upset me this much.  I feel bad for them and their families of course, I’m not cold or heartless.  Maybe it’s the fact that I saw the squirrel struggle and there was nothing I could do for it.  I mean, I know if it were a person who got run over, I would feel just as affected.  And if you’ve followed me for some time now, you also know that I don’t like crying; that somewhere I have some deep seated distain for it.  I’m slightly embarrassed that my husband will come home soon and see my puffy eyes because of a simple squirrel.

I’ve seen plenty of road kill in my day.  I suppose my sensitivity comes from my Mom.  She is very compassionate and loving.  Since as long as I can remember, if we ever saw a dead animal, she’d say “God bless you, little animal”, even if it were a big deer.  It was something that I consider sweet and kind because they live and hurt like we do.  I started saying it myself when I got my license and had/have gotten made fun of many times by fellow passengers.  It didn’t bother me because I knew I wasn’t doing anything wrong.  I’d feel like an ass if I stopped saying a simple blessing because of peer pressure.

I’m not even a vegetarian.  Continue reading

A Pug’s Life

Oscar has never wanted to food or attention.  He hasn’t had a restless night, but has instead taken up a section of our queen size bed, or our couch or the backseat of our car for years.  He’s only slept on the floor by choice, in the glow of the afternoon sun for a nap.  There aren’t kids around to pull at his ears or his curly tail (although I am guilty of playing with his “arms” in a human-type way).  He has toys in each room of the house and has a huge yard to play in.  He is incredibly loved.

He also mopes around on occasion like he is owed something.  He begs for food at every occasion, relentlessly.  His comfort means that his hair is stuck on everything we own, despite the season.  He still hasn’t learned to pick up his own “business” either.  He barks at kids and neighborhood folk as if he owns the town and I’m convinced that he tries to kill us by dropping toys in dangerous places, like the middle of the stairs or near a door, out of the tub or pretty much any location where it blends in and does not appear obvious.  We call him the town terror.  He’s too smart for us and tricked me into feeding him a second helping of dinner last night.  I should have known his “feed me” dance was a little cautious, like he was testing me to see if I’d fall for it.  I did.  My husband fed him less than five minutes before.  He knew our routine and took advantage.

He has moods like we do, but it’s hard to take him seriously when his tongue doesn’t fit in his mouth all the time.  When he’s sleepy, his bulgy eyes don’t work together and sometimes he blows snot bubbles out of his nose.  We get happy about that because it means his nose is working that day and not sealed shut.  He is the oddest animal I’ve ever had the pleasure of knowing and loving.

This is what I will see before I close my eyes tonight.  He is, Oscar the Dog.  And I love him like he was my kid.

Top Annoying Things This Month

In an attempt to be less serious this evening, here is a simple list of things that are so minor they shouldn’t even be mentioned.  They aren’t pet peeves.  They are just moments that make me yell “Dammit!”  I hope maybe you can relate to a few and then I won’t feel so crazy.

  • Sneezing after I apply my mascara.  I did this twice last week, probably because the spring weather approached us early and the dawn of allergies.  I tried to keep it in, but instead of trying to fight it too hard and allowing my eyeballs to pop out from the pressure, I went with it.  I looked like I belonged in the Clockwork Orange.  I should’ve rocked the derby at work that day.

  • (Stares at open dresser drawer with eyes wide)  “What do you mean I’m out of underwear??”  Ok, maybe it’s time to start buying colors that fit into all three of the laundry color piles.  I’m required to wear clothing that my company has us buy and so is my husband.  It’s ALL navy blue.  Just like our jeans.  We primarily rush to get these done and the other colors get a little neglected.  (Just in case you’re wondering, though you likely aren’t, I didn’t go commando.  I found something very small and uncomfortable to wear and put laundry on the top of my “to do” list that day.  What am I, single?  Who wears these things?)
  • Really, did I just make a Lawrence Welk reference to be funny?  What am I, 90?  I’m an old soul, I know.  Thank goodness hubby is.  But every now and then I let something slip around the late 20-somethings (who act their age) and they just stare.  “What?  I don’t get it.”  If only Gram were around, she’d laugh.  I was later reprieved when SNL started doing skits about the Welk show by the way.  Justice!  Next I’ll start sharing the highlights of last night’s Jeopardy.  Oh wait, I did that too.  The good news is, the clip was all over YouTube so it must’ve been worth mentioning.  Lots of self-justification going on here, huh?
  • I’m a good person.  I work hard.  I help others.  I rush to take out the recycling before I get in the car for work…and I step in my dog’s crap.  All I had to do was drag that bin from the backyard, get it to the curb and boom, gone.  No.  Not today.  And we’re wearing your sneakers with all the little grooves in them.  Wonderful.  We’ll just get the keys out of the car that’s warming up and change.  Don’t worry though, if you step in crap early, the day will only get better.  And it will.
  • When sunglasses drop on concrete, is it required that they only scratch right at the eye line; that miniscule space on the big lens that your eye lines up perfectly with?  Thanks.
  • Mythbusters tested it, and I don’t remember if the myth was busted or not, but I can tell you; buttered bread or anything with substance will fall face down.   I don’t need scientific testing to agree.  Also, spaghetti sauce will get on your white shirt.  I would like to get in on that study and just eat pasta all day to see what happens.  They can supply the clothes though.
  • Last but not least, as I sit here with my drooped shoulder, I will address depth perception.  Mine is completely off when I switch from contacts to glasses.  Worse without either.  I will get ready for bed, don my glasses and run into a doorjamb with my shoulder.  Maybe it is because one is set for astigmatism which causes a slight fishbowl effect.  Still,  I do it all the time and I constantly forget to anticipate it.  But, on a lighter note, I feel like I look thinner when I see myself in the mirror through my glasses, so I won’t say it’s a fair trade, but it softens the blow.  Boo.  Bad joke.

Luckily for people in real life, I don’t walk around lamenting about these things, but since they managed to collide recently, I thought it was worth sharing.  As always, if these are the least of my problems, I will take my Clockwork Orange-self and run into a wall a few times to set myself straight.  Life is still pretty good.

Weekly Photo Challenge: Indulge

When I first saw the topic for this week, my thoughts immediately fell upon Oscar.  I know pugs are typically known to be greedy, but after eight years, it still shocks me how he lives for anything in excess; food, toys, sleep, towering heights, attention.  Nothing is small with Oscar, from his bulgy eyes to his puffy belly after begging from naive visitors.  I say this with love.

And here is Oscar, the indulgent pug of my life.

Puggy Love

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Pugs are pretty popular. Ours has been popular since we got him eight years ago. Locally, he has following. A few years ago, girls in my brother’s high school had designed shirts with his picture on it and people constantly ask about him as if he’s our actual child. I don’t know if it’s because the dog is special, or we are…

Oscar Irwin found his way into my heart 8 years ago, at a time when pretty much any responsibility seemed like a hassle. He reminded us of George Burns, with his rawhide looking like a cigar and his old man face.  I won’t bore you with the details, but I knew I had to have him; even though the seller told me he was discounted because he was “defective”.  That’s right, she called my dog defective.  He is not a dented can of soup; he is a living and barely breathing pug. There was no way I could leave him with those people.  I have an idea, stop allowing people to interbreed their dogs.

Anyway, despite his “defective” breathing, he is a character.  I got a pug training book once and I kid you not, the first line said: “So you want to train your pug, good luck”. Still I can’t imagine our home without the sound of snorting or the click-clack of his little paws as he tap dances down the hallway.

I suspect that this may attract the same people who watch the “pug tilting head” videos on YouTube.  It’s late on a Sunday night and all I can think of is the little guy snoring next to me, this is all I got today.  Enjoy!