Monday, July 30, 2007

Unleashing My Inner Gracie

While skimming through my fave blogs this afternoon, I came across this gem from Mary Castillo's Chica Lit Blog. It's a tiny snippet of her mother giving a snarky coworker a verbal bitch slap and it got me thinking about my very own feisty Mama. If you've never had the pleasure of meeting her, it's hard to describe her. She's the quintessential Mama--unbelievably nurturing, fiercely protective, hilariously funny--but with a little extra kick. Let's just say that Mom isn't afraid of dropping a straight-up Muay Thai-esque verbal barrage on any offending person.

Growing up, I shared Mom's ribald sense of humor, intense loyalty to friends, and a love for volunteering, but I wasn't so big on the standing up for myself. That's not to say I was a total pushover, but I tended to pick my battles. Monumental injustices against friends and loved ones always received my full attention--complete with protests, letter writing campaigns, etc, but snarky comments by the "popular" kids just received a frown and a toss of the head.

However, the older I get the more of my mom I witness in my actions. The time I actually stopped and was like, OMG, I'm my mother was the now infamous Lane Bryant UPS incident where I chased the UPS driver through the parking lot, cornering him in the back of his truck while brandishing my fave chancla. Walking back to the apartment that day, I realized that I had just unleashed a smidgeon of my inner Gracie. In a way, it was liberating--OK, well, terrifying, too--but liberating all the same.

Last week, I had another Gracie moment. When we closed on the house, we were told that they would finish sodding the back half of the yard as the same time as all those houses surrounding us. OK. No big deal. Free grass, not going to complain.

So the day Sara gets back from K-stan, she calls to see if she can come over to get her mail, Margie and Val (her plants), and catch up on the good gossip. As I'm waiting for her to arrive, I happen to glance out the front windows and notice that there are a bunch of men standing near my trees. Interest piqued, I survey the lawn and realize that there are dozens of pallets of soaking wet grass in our driveway. (The driveway is difficult to see from the front of the house because of the angle of the windows/garage.) Oh, and not only do I have the entire delivery of grass for the entire subdivision on my driveway, but the guys laying the grass are pushing wheelbarrows through MY yard, creating ugly ass troughs because the ground was still incredibly soft from a week's deluge.

Can you say pissed???

I head outside, barefoot of course, and ask them what the hell they're doing. I get the usual run-around until the superintendent of the subdivision deigns to grace me with his presence. He gives me this long spiel about the grass delivery driver putting the grass in the wrong place. When I ask him why they aren't sodding our yard (since the grass is in our driveway) but rather the unsold house next door, he gives me this BS line about the ground being too wet to put the grass down in every yard, blah, blah, blah. (Mind you, the yard next door, the unsold house, is literally moat, but ours is completely drained.)

I remind Jeremy that this is our home, we pay a mortgage and association fees for the privilege of using our driveway. I tell him that not only do I expect company any minute, but that Dave is coming home from a 72 hour shift in, like, six hours, and he is going to be irate if he sees this. I also point to the troughs in my front yard, asking what he intends to do about that, and he explains that it's really not his problem.


By this point, my blood is boiling. I'm like the Bruce Banner, but instead of a giantic green Hulk taking over my body, it's a short spitfire named Grace. Using my nicest, but most intimidating voice, I tell him that I want the pallets out of my driveway, the wheelbarrows off my grass, and the mess cleared up immediately. A quick pivot and I'm heading back into the house. With my back turned, Jeremy says in this incredibly patronizing voice, "I'll try."

Me: I didn't ask you try. I want it done. Now.

Needless to say, by the time Sara arrived--and parked like half a mile away--the crews were clearing away the pallets of grass, broken pallet shards, and chunks of grass and dirt from our driveway. By the time Dave got home, it was just a bad memory.

So anywho--the point of this random tale is that everything that is the best in my mother is the best of me. I would assume that if I looked really hard I would find that Dad's best traits are the best in me as well. Ten years ago, I would have freaked at the thought of evolving into some kind of amalgam of my parents, but now, I don't know, it feels good. It feels right--natural, maybe?

And maybe someday, if I ever get the chance to be a Mama (through adoption most likely), I want to be that short, chubby woman who strikes fear in the hearts of mere mortals...

Sunday, July 29, 2007

Ash's Wedding!

OMG! Ash & Ryan's wedding was beautiful! The House Plantation was picturesque, I mean, striaght out of Gone With the Wind pretty. As for The Dress, it was this Cinderella number with a delicately embroidered bodice and gathered silk skirt. When Ash walked down the porch steps, I was shocked! Ash is like me. We rarely get all gussied up so I think we must have both decided to go all-out on our wedding days, lol. I hate to sound goofy, but she was a vision of radiance--the smile, the hair, the dress--she had it all. Ryan and his entourage didn't look half bad, either, in their dress blues. Gotta love the tasty military boys! Oh, and Sara was gorgeous in her claret bridesmaid dress. Seriously, a certifiable hottie. During dinner, Dave and I had the pleasure of meeting a really nice couple from The Valley (Texas Valley, not the other one.) He was Ash's SFC and he entertained us with tales of Ash's exploits while deployed to Afghanistan.

My only regret is that Dave and I had to leave early, after the cake cutting and dances, because we couldn't find a pet sitter for Bos. Originally we had planned to board him at our vet's pet resort, but they have strict vaccination protocols that basically say they won't accept the validity of his prior vaccines because they were given by his foster mommy. It's not like she bought the vaccines herself over the internet, though. She picked them up from the vet who coordinates medical care for their PAWS Rescue group and administered them according to his protocol. But our vet, who is, like, the best vet in town, won't allow Bos to board unless he repeats his vaccines. I know what you're thinking. Just give him the damn shots again, right?

Well, uh, hell no. There are so many new studies and published literature available that details the problems with over-vaccinating dogs. Plus I figure Bos has had a rough enough start to life. I'm not about to put him through the trauma of multiple vaccinations right before I drop him off. He might think I've abandoned him, and more importantly, Great Danes tend to develop life-threatening bloat during extreme stress.

That said, it was a risk Dave and I weren't willing to take. We tried to go the pet sitter route, but all of our friends were going to the wedding or out of town. The professional pet sitters won't come out to the new house because it's in the boondocks. So we ended up doggy proofing the house, buying him some new toys, and leaving him on his own. Hard to believe, but he didn't tear anything up. From what I can tell, he played, ate, played some more, took a piss on the second landing, and then played some more. All in all, not a bad evening for him, lol.

Anywho. I've got to get back to work. We're expecting four houseguests this week, and our house is still a wreck. I've got a two week menu to write and a shopping list to figure out. We've still got to finish moving, and oh yeah, I really, really need to get another chapter tapped out.

I'm off!

Thursday, July 26, 2007

Sausage Fest

So after weeks, WEEKS, of waiting, Verizon finally flipped the switch to give me DSL! OMG! I cannot begin to explain how unbelievably frustrating it is not to have internet--especially when the bulk of my daily business (communicating with agent, etc) is done via email. I had to drive seven miles across town to get to the apartment (which is still under lease) to use my cable modem to check my email, send files, etc. So effing annoying.

You know what else is annoying? Verizon. When the house was built, we were told that we would have phone/DSL service through Verizon. There is a green Verizon phone pylon thing in the left corner of our backyard. Yet when I contacted Verizon to order service I was told, "We're sorry, Mrs. O, but you're not eligible for Verizon service."

Hmmm. Curious.

I proceed to explain to the customer service rep that I'm literally standing ten feet from the Verizon box. I'm now touching the Verizon box. If I'm not eligible for service, then what the fuck is this hideous thing taking up the corner that was supposed to be dedicated to my antique roses?!?!

I went through four service reps, climbing the bs hierarchy with each person until I was told, and I quote, "Mrs. O, I don't know what you expect me to do. I can't waste any more time on this." Click.

When Dave walked in from his eye doctor appointment, I was seething. We ended up contacting our local Verizon service center, and the GM there was able to work it out. We order our service and guess what? It takes them 3 weeks--3 weeks!--to turn it on! The guy didn't even properly install the DSL wire that runs from the box to the house. Yeah. We totally have 100 feet of curling almond colored wire winding along the bottom of the fence from to the house. WTF? And guess who thinks it's his new toy? Yeah. Problem.

Oh, and remember those dishes that my cuz and hubby bought us as a wedding gift? Well after convincing the local BB&B staff that we weren't pulling a fast con of some kind, they ordered an exchange to replace the random household item with the dishes. One week later, Dave and I come home after buying groceries to find a huge box on the front step. I am ecstatic! I drag the box inside, put it next to the dining room table, and then head back into the kitchen to put up groceries and organize the new pantry. I completely forget about the dishes until the next morning when I open the package and--and--OMFG!

It's the right dishes, wrong color. WTF?? I mean, Sweet Jay-sus!

After hexing the shipping clerks at BB&B, I finally decided that the rust colored dishes are just as pretty, if not prettier, than the blue. More importantly, the rust complements the table linens we chose. So that's that. I'm done.

On the Bosley front, well, you don't know gross until you've seen a Great Dane puppy sling 1/2 cup of green snot onto your wall/leg/carpet/couch/cabinets with every gigantor sneeze. Apparently dogs develop URIs (upper respiratory infections) during stressful times, like, you know, changing homes. If cleaning up the snot isn't bad enough, we also have to convince him to take his antibiotics. Cripes is that a rough one! He'll eat the pill if i stick it in cheese, but every now and then, he'll manage to separate the pill from the cheese. I'll find green slobber (from the gel capsule) all over the floor, the wall, and the carpet as he tries to wipe the bitter taste off of his tongue.

Yesterday afternoon, I gave him his pill and ran upstairs to brush my teeth. When I came back down, he was resting next to the bottom step and glanced up at me. I swear, he looked like a coke fiend a-la Tony Montana at the end of Scarface. Seriously, his nose and mouth were covered in white dust. Of course, I'm terrified, thinking, "Oh, crap! What did he eat? What is white and dusty? Dave's crack?"


Turns out he had cracked a pill, spilled the contents on the kitchen floor, and proceeded to lick it up. Bizarre.

His bizarro behavior keeps me constantly amused. For instance, I found out two nights ago that he likes Vienna sausages. One of my late night writing guilty pleasures is a can of Vienna Sausages. I have this weird thing about rinsing them and dumping them in a glass bowl (has to be clear glass) before I can eat them--and I can only drink a cold Dr. Pepper with them. I know. I'm strange, but whatev. So anywho, I've had a few when I decide to make a run to the little girls' room. When I come back into the dining room, Bos is using my writing chair for balance as he makes a midnight snack of MY midnight snack. Bastard!

Yesterday afternoon, I also found out that his mortal enemy is tuna fish. I was making a sandwich, had a little left in the can, and thought, I'll just dump this onto his dry food, give him a change of pace. He gives it one sniff and freaks the fuck out! Barking, jumping, growling, the works. I try to get to the bowl to get rid of the obviously offending material, but he won't let me get close to his raised stand. Eventually I manage to coax him away with a snausage and dump the bowl into the trash.

Here's the thing, though. Ten minutes later, I get up from the dining table for a refill of iced tea and guess what I find upon my return? You guessed it. Bosley eating my tuna fish sandwich. I'm like, "Are you serious?!?! Ten minutes ago you're trying to rip its throat out, and now it's tasty? You're a nutter, Bos."


On the writing front, I'm chipping away at KoCS and D2L. Plan is to finish the RD of KoCS by August 15 and editing by September 5. D2L will be on the back burner until after KoCS b/c I'm already behind on submitting it to Irene. Oopsy! Real life has a knack of throwing wrenches into my plans....

As for the moving, we're half done, but with the rain every day, it's been difficult. I think we're going to take the hit, rent a Uhaul and move the bulk of the crap on one day. Yuk.

OK. So back to work. I'm not going to get any writing done tomorrow b/c we're heading out of town for Ash's wedding!!! Yay!!

Monday, July 02, 2007

Bringin' Home Baby

We were finally able to get our truck fixed on Saturday morning, and let’s just say that we were slightly chinga’led. First off, Dad gave us an estimate for parts and labor. Being that he works in the mechanical field (as a supervisor for a major global oil and gas servicing company) he knows his stuff. Dave goes over to get the estimate and give them the go ahead to start working and guess what? It’s almost double what Dad said the high-end should be. Now, Dave’s not one to negotiate or argue so he just signed on the dotted line. Sigh.

Anywho. They started work on the truck around 0815, but it was 1330 before they finished which meant that I missed my friend’s bridal shower. AARRGGH! On the bright side, though, I was able to drive down to Webster to get Bosley. The drive down was long and boring. Finding the PetSmart was a little bit of a challenge, considering Saturday afternoon mall traffic, but eventually we found the place.

The store was packed with crates of shelter pets desperate for new homes and owners. Dave is uber-sensitive when it comes to abandoned anything so he skirted the crates of puppies and dogs and kittens and cats for the fish aisle while I tracked down Bosley’s foster mommy. She is this really sweet, generous, kindhearted woman who regularly opens her home to rescue dogs. She was very helpful, gave us a lot of paperwork to fill out and sign, and then talked us through the rehoming process. We also got Bos’ shot records and the details of his latest visit where he was snipped. Oh, and he weighs 44.2 pounds so he’s a tad on the thin side for a 4 month old puppy.

Bosley and his sister, Sabrina, were the only two left in their shared crate. He was obviously nervous and stressed about the entire situation. He’d already watched his other two sisters be adopted that day and was surrounded by dozens of barking, yipping, agitated dogs. The second he stepped out of his cage, he peed, but once we calmed him down, he let us slip a new collar and leash around his neck. He even followed me right out of the store, but when we got to the truck, he plopped down on the concrete and refused to move. Dave lifted him up, and yep, he peed again, lol. We placed him on some towels on the floorboard, between my knees, and then started the drive home. He was sort of weepy and whiney, but all seemed to be going well until we were maybe three stoplights down from the PetSmart and yeah. He totally yakked right on my lap. And let me tell you something, you have not seen vomit until a Great Dane puppy unloads his lunch on you. Sweet Jay-sus! At least it was thick and didn’t run everywhere.

I put a towel over it until we reached a gas station and then Dave cleaned up the mess while I tried to soothe Bos’ nerves. We bought some gas and then back on the highway we went. After a few minutes, Bos settled onto the carpet and went to sleep. When we pulled into the driveway of the house, he refused to get out the truck so Dave had to lift him out again. He followed me into the backyard, but totally freaked out when I opened the gate. I think it may have been the squeaking hinges. Anyways, he took care of his business in the backyard and then followed me inside the house. We fed him, gave him some water, and then walked him around the first floor of the house. He flopped down at the foot of the stairs and we sat down with him, petting him and talking to him. We let him out for another round of poo and pee before bringing him back inside and showing him his new toys. He went to town on his rope and this lime green knobby rubber barbell thing. He played and followed us around the rest of the evening.

When it was bedtime, we blocked him into his corner of the kitchen/breakfast area, and less than a minute later, he was whining and yipping. We tried to ignore it, hoping he would settle down, but not so much. I went downstairs, sat down with him, and waited until he had fallen asleep before sneaking out of the kitchen and back upstairs.

So far he’s fitting in really well. He’s had a few accidents on the new carpet (cringe!) but we’ve caught him in the act every time so it’s been easy to clean up. His accidents yesterday occurred during a thunderstorm and when we came back to the house after running some errands and picking up some more boxes from the apartment. He had a barking fit last night when he caught his reflection in the sidelight of the front door, and oh my god, you should have seen him climbing up on the airbed! First of all, Great Dane puppies are not exactly the most lithe and graceful of babies, lol. He’s kind of goofy looking when he tries to run or climb or jump so just watching him get up on the airbed was hilarious, but then he tried to stretch, and I guess he didn’t realize how close to the edge he was, and he slid right off. It was only a six inch drop to the carpet, but he was terrified.

Oh, and he also learned how to climb stairs last night. Dave got a big ole lick on the face this morning when Bos wandered into the bedroom. LMFAO!