We had a little scare. The horrible earthquake in Haiti yesterday spawned a tsunami watch for neighboring countries, one of which is Jamaica. Jamaica is where my niece and her husband are honeymooning. While I didn't hear about the watch (or warning?) until several hours after the initial earthquake, it was a shaky couple of hours until I learned that the watch/warning had been called off. I set my FB status to a request for prayers, and God is great! My niece said that they were fine, they hadn't even heard about it.
We got a dog a year ago Thanksgiving. He's a rescue dog, a beagle/basset mix (or, as my daughter insists, a bagel). He came with the name Otis, though my daughter really wanted to change his name to Cream Cheese. He's about the most laid-back dog you'd ever want to meet; sometimes I get real close just to make sure he's breathing. The week after we got him, we realized that something wasn't quite right: He was bunny hopping up steps, and he was dripping pee wherever he walked. Turns out he was in some kind of accident that caused neurological damage to the back end of him. The vet told me to talk with my family about what we'd be facing if we kept him.
We kept him. Over this past year, he's gained some muscle tone, and he's made some progress on whizzing independence. (He won't ever be independent, but he can now "help" a little.) He's such a good dog, and such a good match for our family. Yes, my daughter wishes he'd fetch, but he's a sniffer, not a fetcher, and his energy level only infrequently rises above the "couch potato" level, and he tolerates my son's almost incessant petting. In fact, when we were first looking to rescue a dog and were looking at breeds, we read that bassets are slow to train, will always need treats to do things, and will take off if they catch an interesting scent. Well, doesn't that make bassets just the perfect Aspie dog? (Hmm... Slow to train, will always need incentives to do things, and will take off if they find something interesting....) Otis fits right in! Add his rear-end issues, and we've got a special needs dog to go with my special needs kids.
To accommodate said special needs (i.e., to allow the dog access to the backyard when he has the need), we installed a doggie flap into the slider screen door. Otis, because he has trouble lifting his back legs over even the smallest of obstacles, quickly tore through the screening. I got another screen door and reinstalled the door until such a time as we could decide on how to do things differently. You've probably seen one of the big problems of this system -- aside from Otis' tearing through screen after screen: In heat, cold, rain, etc., we can't leave the slider open. We decided to do a small kitchen renovation and have the slider replaced with a french door, walling up the other half of the opening and installing a proper doggie door in the new wall. Work started 12/14/09 and stopped 12/15/09. Work resumed and the doggie door was installed 1/12/10. The project is not yet complete, but the doggie door is in! Otis is still getting used to it, but as I was training him yesterday, he was so excited about the treats he got for going out and coming in the doggie door that he pooped -- outside! Mostly.
I have decided that I am raising two of the most ungrateful children on the planet. Few "pleases," rare "thank yous," no concept of giving back. I've been struck by it lately, especially in cases such as this: Child does something wrong. I correct child and tell child to stop. Child continues doing it/does it again. I follow appropriate behavior intervention plan. Soon after, if not during, misbehavior, child asks me for something. And it would be a miracle if one of them showed any interest in what I'm doing (except as regards him/herself) or showed any caring for me. I'm working on the misbehaving with said plans. I don't know what it is that I'm doing or not doing as a parent that makes my children ungrateful brats. I'd really like to talk with Ma Ingalls. Or maybe Marmee.
Back when we got married, we didn't have a washing machine for the first seven or so years. We would go to the laundromat once a week and take up maybe four washers and four dryers and have the laundry washed, dried, and folded in two hours, door to door. Our second apartment, the second floor of a house, had a washer/dryer unit in it. Though it took longer than 2 hours to do a week's worth of laundry, the place was so small that everything had to be done and put away or you couldn't move. Then we moved to Southern Maryland, bought a house, and had a couple of kids. The washer and dryer are in the unfinished, barely heated basement, in the farthest possible corner away from the stairs. Laundry is an ongoing process. There is no "door to door"; there's only floor to floor, and it has to happen close to daily. Even if we should happen to have a marathon laundry day, by bedtime, we've got another basket full. This is not new to anyone out there, I'm sure. But since I'm looking at 3 loads' worth as I type, it did pop into my head. Doesn't mean I'm going to do anything about it...