Friday, July 30, 2010

Friday Five: Love the One You're With

For this week's RevGals Friday Five, Kathrynzj posted something quite timely for me:

" five things you like about where you are living now... and as your bonus - 1 thing you don't like."

Timely because tomorrow, I'm packing the car and officially beginning life back in our home state. My new job starts Monday. The Alpha and I will live apart until the house is sold and we find one there that suits us.

So the answers to this Friday Five would be very different if I played a day late. But, living in the present, here we go:

1) I like having The Alpha with me. I'm not happy about him hanging out here, with me hanging out there (albeit with the dogs, at his parents' house... it's some consolation). So I just added Billy Joel's "You're My Home" to my iSuperPhone's iThing, which should help me maintain the appropriate amount of melancholy during this temporary separation of unknown duration.

2) The congregation we've called home these past 10 years. Last Sunday I said goodbye to the band and choir. And yea, verily, that sucked, even though it went as well as it could've and it created great memories. I scheduled a Wednesday night diversion this week, the first week I wasn't supposed to be at practice. After I got home from the dinner, I received a text message from a fellow bandmate... "Leaving rehearsal- it's official: we miss you." *sigh...* I miss them, too.

3) Our house. We've worked pretty hard on it. We've made lots of changes in 10 years. It feels like ours now, even when it's all clean and neat for real estate showings and we have to hide the towels we actually use instead of drying our hands on the ones hanging up.

4) The convenience of living near a big city.

5) The friendships we've built here, and which we hope to preserve across the distance.

And, for the bonus... I think, in the interest of making the separation easier, I'll list more than one thing I don't like: The traffic. The shifting soil. The governor. The way developers keep bulldozing over unspoiled land to build strip malls, even though existing storefronts stand empty. The air pollution. I could go on.

Friday, July 23, 2010

Friday Five: Decisions, decisions

After all the decisions I've been making lately, I was glad to see that Songbird was asking some which-do-you-like-better questions in this week's RevGals Friday Five, not anything more serious. So, here we go:

Since I've been in the midst of a discernment process, I've done a lot of reflecting on how we make decisions. But don't worry, I'm not going to ask you to reveal a dark story about a poor decision, or a self-flagellating story about an embarrassing one. Let's keep it simple and go with five word pairs. Tell us which word in the pair appeals to you most, and after you've done all five, give us the reason why for one of them.

Here they are:

1) Cake or Pie: Cake!
2) Train or Airplane: Um, depends on the situation!
3) Mac or PC: PC. Except that I saw my new office, and it has a Mac on the desk. So, in the interest of being adaptable, Mac. (It helps that I've used both in the past.)
4) Univocal or Equivocal: Equivocal.
5) Peter or Paul: Peter, Peter, Peter-man!

And now, the essay portion of this Friday Five:

I'll tackle 2) here. On our 2006 vacation, I fell in love with the Alaska Railroad. Taking the train from Anchorage to Seward, Seward to Denali, Denali to Talkeetna was one of the best decisions we made on that trip. The views were amazing, the seats were roomy, the ride was smooth, and we weren't in a hurry. Of course, I don't think I would've felt the same if we had tried taking a train to Alaska from Dallas! Flying in and out of Anchorage was definitely more practical, because we only had ten days of vacation time for the trip.

Thursday, July 22, 2010

The Jacuzzi Incident of 2010

It really doesn't begin with the Jacuzzi. It begins with my new job leading to a move across state lines, which led us to put our house on the market, which in turn led us to find a temporary place for these two:


A sweet, sweet college friend and her family offered to keep them. Her daughter had fallen in love with them while visiting us last autumn. Between her offer to keep them and the actual arrival of said dogs at her house, life got a little more complicated. We won't go into it here, but it did factor into lowering the breaking point of the household.

I drove the dogs to my home state, spent one night with them at my friends' house, then came back to Texas. Here they are a few minutes after I left:

Because this household had never hosted dogs before, and the girl raised on the farm had in fact never had an indoor dog, we agreed it would probably be best for the humans' peace of mind if the dogs weren't allowed the run of the entire house in the absence of said humans.

So, when they left for work the next day, the spacious and lovely master bathroom it was.

We all figured I'd wind up doing some repair to door scratches by The Boy. Yes, indeed, I'll be sanding and staining their bathroom door at some point later this year. Not a huge deal. They said it already had some nicks anyway.

That evening, my dear college friend stepped out of the shower to discover a puddle of puke on her master bedroom carpet. She called, of course, because I'm far more wise in the ways of dog puke than she. After a thorough over-the-phone analysis, we determined it was probably The Boy, and was just nerves -- not totally unexpected, because The Boy has a Complex.

About an hour later, I received a text message: "I just settled in to fall asleep -- only to awaken to a very large barf from Angus."

The follow-up text: "Kevin just found pieces of soap in the pile of barf."

Subsequent texts included phrases such as, "I thought it WAS toddler-proof" and "I don't know where the frick he got the soap. It's almost like he climbed into the jacuzzi." Also, "Tuesday acts a bit ashamed of him..."

The next morning I called our veterinarian, who already knew about the move (we'd had one last checkup for Tuesday and took Angus along to say farewell, too). She prescribed some doggy downers and called it in to a pharmacy near my friends.

Before making the pharmacy run, though, my dear sweet college friend went straight home after work. It's a good thing she did, because getting there earlier conserved several gallons of water.

We will never know for certain exactly how a dog (or perhaps the combined efforts of two dogs) managed to turn on the Jacuzzi faucet.

What we do suspect, and what Dear Sweet College Friend later wished she'd photographed, is that based on the positioning of the bath towels that had been pulled off the rack and down onto the floor, they did try to build a dam after the Jacuzzi overflowed. (We are still finding that part astounding. If they could build a dam, why couldn't they have just turned the faucet back off instead?)

You see, Dear Sweet College Friend had tossed a couple of bathroom rugs into said Jacuzzi to keep them away from a certain anxiety-driven dog. So when the faucet got bumped, the water wasn't able to drain as efficiently as it would've in an empty tub. And the overflow drain just couldn't keep up. My friend discovered an abundance of water and wet fur, both freed from and attached to the dogs in question.

Two loads of laundry and one master bedroom carpet shampooing later, it turned out that the Jacuzzi Incident of 2010 did not actually cause any damage to the house. Or to our friendship.

But it did cause a rapid deployment of The Alpha's parents, who live 45 minutes away from Dear Sweet College Friend. They were there in just one hour to pick up their granddogs and all of their accompanying accessories.

Have I mentioned lately how awesome my in-laws are? Because they are.

Dear Sweet College Friend's daughter was distraught, of course. "But mama... I love those dogs!" "Mama, can I please take 'em out to pee one last time?" Oh, so sad. I'll have to take them back to visit her when I get up there.

The dogs are much calmer at the family homestead. They've stayed there with us many times, so the environment is far from foreign. And there is no Jacuzzi.

When we asked if they'd caused any damage without us there, my mother-in-law answered, "Well, they've about worn out the couch... from sleeping on it."

We saw them Sunday night and Monday morning, when we drove up for a quick house-hunting expedition. And before we left, I did give The Boy a doggy downer to cut the separation anxiety. But he hasn't needed them on a regular basis.

I move in with my in-laws at the end of the month, just before I start my new job. I'm kind of looking forward to being covered in dog fur again.

But I'm not too keen on looking for a house with a Jacuzzi.

Wednesday, July 21, 2010

Because it's been too long...

...I'm resorting to a random-highlights kind of blog entry.

- The real estate sign is in our yard. We're almost to the one-week mark, and we have only had one official showing. Didn't realize how much I had my hopes up until we got absolutely no action over the weekend.

- Our across-the-street neighbor died yesterday after a long decline. I'll most definitely be attending his service later this week.

- My last day at the office was Friday. It was lovely. I got all kinds of cool stuff, including my very own custom cover of our publication, framed and ready to hang in my new office. I'd try to explain the jokes, but most people wouldn't get 'em. The one that readers of this blog most definitely will understand: The article "Rescue ministry expands" mentions that I have to move out of state because I've already placed dogs with all of my friends in Texas, and I need a fresh crop of potential homes for more. (I suppose there's some truth to that.)

- Here's one of the other gifts I received. I think I'll carry it at Annual Conference -- and definitely at General Conference, if I wind up attending.

- Took the dogs to Arkansas on July 4. Left them there on July 5 so our new carpet could be installed and remain dander-free for potential new owners. Had to arrange a spur-of-the-moment relocation for them after The Jacuzzi Incident of 2010. Will blog that one later. Wish I had pictures.

- Saw the dogs Sunday and Monday during a trip to look at houses. Miss them. Will be moving in with them in less than 2 weeks, while The Alpha stays behind until the house sells or until we just can't take it anymore.

- Met our new niece in the same trip. Longest pinky toes I've ever seen.

- Regarding the other side of the family (mine), I'm having second thoughts about moving to Arkansas. Family Systems Theory suggests that proximity to family members really doesn't matter that much, but I'm starting to wonder.

- A very dear college friend is expecting. Being closer to her during this time will be a definite plus.

- Goals for today: Train new church secretary on website updates. Pack at least 4 boxes. Attend my last practice with the band. A few other things thrown in there, too. Maybe I'll find a moment to blog about The Jacuzzi Incident.