Posted in 7 Quick Takes, Addiction, Pets, School

7 Quick Takes Friday

1. Week #1 of PA Leadership Charter School (aka cyber school) is under our collective belts. I can say this at 9:02 am because, crazily enough, they are both finished for the week. Apparently all the teachers think the kids need to be eased into cyber school. I’m not complaining–I think it’s a great idea. That said, I think next week with its 6 hour days will be rather a shock to their little systems.

2. Pursuant to #1, Bennett has been so excited (EXCITED! ABOUT SCHOOL!!) about this whole cyber thing that many mornings he has started school at ….get this….6:30 in the morning. He asked me this morning if he could do it and of course I said yes. He was done by about 7:20. I know, it’s the honeymoon stage. I get it. But oh, how I’m enjoying it!

3. Another surprising thing this week is the lack of guilt I feel if I have to go out. Now, with them being finished it’s just like any other time I need to go out. They’re old enough and responsible enough to be on their own for several hours. No worries. But even during “school time” it’s been fine. This morning I had bloodwork done and left at about 7:20. Bennett was finished but Laura was just starting. I trusted her to do her work (no big deal there) and knew that if she got stuck on something she could work on something else and come back to the first thing after I got home. Cyber school is somewhat freeing!

4. This has been, hands down, one of the busiest weeks in a long time. I had something on the calendar every day and was out of the house every day. That’s a rarity around here, Today Bennett starts guitar lessons. Laura starts piano and guitar and voice next week at the fine arts school and Catie starts horseback riding lessons on Monday evening. Fall is here with a vengeance.

5. On a more serious note, we will be having a visit next week with a veterinary behavior specialist (petpsyche.com). Dr. Spiegel specializes in animals with behavior problems and BOY, do we have one! Coco is a loving, wonderful, sweet dog. Most of the time. Unfortunately, if anyone–stranger or otherwise–steps foot onto our property she becomes hyper. Ethan’s bus driver (who comes up our driveway 2x/day) is scared of her. Coco went as far as nipping–hard–a child that was playing in our backyard over the weekend. That was the final straw. It will NOT be cheap–the first home visit is running $300, and there’s a follow up visit later on for $100 or so. I will reiterate what I have said all along. Cats are easier and cheaper to own.

6. I had lunch yesterday with one of my closest friends. We haven’t visited one-on-one since last spring. Women friends are SUCH a blessing! Just having the time of talking, sharing, unburdening and having a good, understanding, listening ear AND being able to be that for someone else. I’m at a place right now where my close women friends are a little spread out. We don’t see each other much, but, oh, how GOOD the time is when we do!

7. Addiction has been…mostly quiet. There are twinges here and there, but saying No has been good as well. And Beggar’s Daughter has been really putting my name on her posts lately. Sometimes I read and think “that’s nice.” Not now. Not lately. It seems like they have been written directly to me. Which is wonderful, because I keep needing to hear the things she keeps saying. Which, after almost 19 years, is humbling. But I’m just so grateful. It’s been 3 1/2 weeks since I picked myself off the floor again. I like adding time to that figure.

In closing, Just wanted to send a shout out to my next-door neighbor (whose house the open window above my bed faces), who thought to take out his trash at 4:45 this morning. Unfortunately, we had Labor Day on Monday, which pushed Trash Day (Friday) back to Saturday morning instead. So, yeah, Thanks for that unnecessarily early wake up call.

Posted in 7 Quick Takes, Addiction, Kids, Pets, School

7 Quick Takes Friday

1. I again am splitting the back-to-school timeline into two different dates. Catie starts back the 26th and the triplets start back September 3rd. Except not to the same school. This year I will have Four children in Three school districts with Three different schedules. Yes, this overwhelms me.

2. One of the HUGE advantages of doing cyber school is the complete and utter lack of back to school shopping. Sure I’ll get some pencils and new sneakers, but pretty much everything is done on the (school supplied) computers.  So no binders, no loose-leaf paper, no composition books…NADA. I still have to buy stuff for my fifth grader (including uniforms), but man, it’s a lot cheaper buying for one kid!

3. With Jim’s new job comes paying off debt and the ability to have the kids do extra-curricular activities. Laura’s music lessons will be through her school, but Bennett will take guitar lessons and Catie will start horse riding lessons. I’m looking into Acting Without Boundaries for Ethan, but not sure about the time commitment. Seems like it’s going to be a busy year in our household!

4. We got a new dog! Jake was in a shelter in Henderson, NC. His time was up and they were going to euthanize him. A local rescue group, Paws to Hearts, took him in and fostered him. They listed him on Petfinder and we saw him there. Such a cutie! We applied and met him and adopted him on Sunday. Everyone has fallen in love and he fits very, very well with our family.  This was sleeping arrangements two nights ago. The big dog is Coco, the little one is Jake.

Coco and Jake Aug 15

5. In one week we will host up to 8 kids for the triplet’s 12th birthday party. We’re doing a swim party. Because it’s easy. I’m all about easy at this stage. The sighted kids are getting a gift card for Minecraft. The non-sighted will be getting Braille non-fiction books because that’s what he loves more than anything. That and a fart gun. Because we’re fun parents.

6. Pursuant to #5, HOW IN THE WORLD DID THEY REACH 12????? Weren’t they, like, 7 just a few days ago??

7. Regarding my last post, things are going ok. I’ve spoken with my accountability partner. I’ve deleted what needed to be deleted. I’ve prayed and asked for daily help to get through the day. I’m making better choices. The necessary steps to walk TOWARDS sobriety instead of AWAY from it. Yeah, it’s good.

Posted in 7 Quick Takes, Jim, Kids, Pets

7 Quick Takes Friday

1. So, Um, Yeah. Hi! I know it’s been a long time and I know I don’t have many excuses. But Hi! I’ve missed you.

2. Speaking of missing, my husband is up at Lake Michigan this week. We have survived six days and still have four left. It’s been….ok. The kids haven’t been awful, nothing has been scary, but it’s definitely different without his presence. HOWEVER, on the silver lining side, he took the dog with him, which brings me to #3.

3. I am a cat person. I have a cat, Floyd, that I love dearly and would spend much time with curled up with and listening to him purring and hugging him and loving him and calling him George. Unfortunately, I am a cat person who owns a dog. For almost 8 months now. Until this week, I guess I hadn’t realized just how much she has dominated things. The house is way more peaceful, Floyd hangs out in the living room with us, I don’t worry when people come to the door because there’s no one barking….etc. I really am just a cat person.

4. Tonight Bennett is going to a dance at school. My 11 yr old, somewhat socially awkward son. I was so surprised that he wanted to attend. He doesn’t want to dance, but “go and hang out with guys.” I actually believe him. None of them have “discovered’ the opposite sex yet, thank the Good Lord.

5. With Jim away, I’m leading worship on Sunday. I sat down yesterday to come up with the worship set and had what I think was the easiest time ever picking not only the songs, but also their order. Almost like God was directing me. 🙂

6. In our on-going dental saga, Ethan has now had two dentist appointments at two different offices (same practice) where he wouldn’t open his mouth. Given his age, the fact that he’s never had a mouth x-ray (so who knows what might be going on!), we will next be going to a surgical center where they will put him under general anesthesia. They will clean his teeth thoroughly, take whatever x-rays are needed, and then drill and fill whatever cavities he might have. While I’m very happy we have this as an option, I’m rather distressed that we even need to talk about it, let alone do it. For many years he was ok (not great) with going to the dentist. Now for some unknown autistic reason he is freaking out.

7. 5 weeks until Thanksgiving. I don’t think I’m cooking this year, which is a relief. I don’t mind doing Christmas ham (all you’re doing is reheating!), but my turkey often ends up not cooked enough or done two hours early.  This also means just 10 weeks until Christmas!

Posted in Pets

RIP Winky

January 2001. Jim and I owned one cat. We had no children. We had been going through fertility treatments for about six months with no positive results. I needed something more to love, so we went to our local SPCA and picked out another kitty. She was smaller, grey and tan on top and white on her paws and belly. She looked like someone had dipped her in white paint. She had an eye infection and kept winking with one eye, so the name Winky stuck. (sidebar: I hate coming up with names for animals!) Not even two months later I conceived quadruplets and kind of regretted our decision to adopt her, but we stuck it out.

Winky was the rare cat who liked people–strangers were always friends to her. She was willing to jump up and lay down next to anyone, provided they pet her. She didn’t like being ON you, but NEAR you. We joked that her “love language” was quality time. She was loved by everyone in the family as well as any feline-friendly people because she was so friendly.

Last Thanksgiving we hosted both sides of the family. Everyone noticed that Winky had lost weight. Being that she was quite overweight, I had first been rather happy about this. But everyone was shocked by just how much she had lost. It took new eyes to see what we, living with her everyday, were unable to. We went to the vet, where they did a battery of tests. Winky was not doing well. She was in renal failure, with her kidneys operating with less than 25% capacity. We changed her food to a special kidney disease food and began the wait. Her fur, which had previously been very soft and sleek, became clumpy and dull. She didn’t like to be pet very much. She would eat and drink like crazy, but never gain an ounce, and would pee all over the house. Last weekend she peed six times and pooped once in the playroom. That was the writing on the wall for me. She wasn’t going to get better–it was only going to be a slow decline into a place I didn’t want her (or us) to go. We made the difficult decision to take her to the vet on Friday.

I have only ever once been present when an animal was euthanized, back in 2000 when Jim’s mom’s dog had an attack of some sort and we rushed to the vet ER. I had no particular affection for the dog, but sobbed when she died. This was many times worse.It was, essentially, my cat (Jim being a dog person). It was my decision. I drove her. I took her to the vet by myself so Jim could be home with the kids.

I won’t go into the actual procedure, but suffice it to say that it was really, REALLY hard and I can’t imagine doing it again if and when we need to with Floyd, our other cat. I sobbed the whole evening and went to bed early, just emotionally worn out. It was weird cleaning out the laundry room on Saturday, where her bed and litter box were kept (Floyd goes outside for his bathroom).

The kids seem to be handling it, although Ethan (who DOES NOT like animals) cried last night and said he missed her. We buried her yesterday in the backyard. I was ok for most of it, but cried when Jim started putting the dirt on her.

We have tried to soften her loss by telling the kids that yes, we will now being to look for a dog. I’ve been pouring over local rescues through Petfinder.com and have emailed two of them about sweet-looking dogs.

I don’t know that I can say I learned something from all of this, other than losing a pet is difficult and that I wish their lifespans were longer. I am grateful that we have Floyd that I can love on…I don’t know if he notices Winky’s absence; they weren’t particularly close. But we notice it.

Rest in Peace, Winky. You were loved and we will miss you.