Category Archives: Pets

A slice (or 2) of that crazy puppy, Finn

Slice of LIfe Part of Slice of Life by Two Writing Teachers

Sunday evening, I was sure I had a slice for this week. A puppy slice! That day, we had finally decided enough was enough with our couch. Sure, Finn loved to sleep on the couch. He loved to snuggle on the side, sometimes propped with pillows. It was adorable to watch him nest himself in for a long cozy puppy nap.

But, a few months ago, he spent a good deal of effort destroying parts of the couch. And even though he seems to have stopped that craziness, the couch did not heal.

So, we took the couch to the curb this weekend, much to Finn’s disappointment.IMG_6640

Then, we continued to try to teach Finn to sleep on his soft (and expensive) doggy bed. It’s the one he tried to eat 6 months ago, but will sometimes rest on for short amounts of time, when given a lot of praise.  Sometimes.

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At last, a little before Mother’s Day dinner, Finn did rest on his bed, after we covered it with his favorite blanket. (It used to be my favorite blanket, just saying.) But, then we got a wee bit distracted by dinner with my parents, and we might have left the dog in the family room with his bed a little bit too long.

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After watching us rake the family room (and sweep, and vacuum…Thanks, Mr. Thought), Finnegan decided he didn’t need any couches or beds, because he had our Ikea chair, and he had me to put a pillow under his head.

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So, I thought I had my slice about Finnegan, the crazy Puppy. Oh that puppy!

But then we took Finn to check out a doggy day care out in the country this afternoon. It was beautiful. A classic rolling hills farm:  green grass, blue sky, wonderful people. He ran around with a few dogs while we talked to the owner. The kids ran off with the owner’s kids to look at the kittens in the barn. Finn wasn’t annoyingly interested in the kittens — he just licked them hello and went on his merry way. Bucolic. Peaceful. Perfect.

And then he caught a rooster.

I watched in horror as he chased, then caught it in his mouth. “Oh, it’s just a rooster,” the woman said, highlighting the differences between my vegetarian family and her farm family. “He can kill the rooster.”

We tried to catch Finn, and the rooster did get a way, a few times. And then someone caught Finn, and the rooster walked slowly into the pasture. A pile of feathers was left behind.

“I’m so sorry!” I kept saying. My kids were wide eyed and her kids were smiling, “Oh, it’s okay. it happens all the time.”

“Does this get us kicked out of doggy daycare?” I asked.

She laughed and said, “No! When can he start?”

We met her husband and when I told him we were all vegetarian, he remarked, “Well Finn’s not!”

True. He’s not.

They thought the rooster would probably go off into the woods and die pretty soon.  I think the image of my sweet puppy running with a giant rooster in his mouth will not die soon enough.

Please, Finnegan, stick to killing couches and doggy beds.

 

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#sol17 March 16 A slice of silence

Slice of LIfe

 

 I am participating in the March Slice of Life Challenge: A slice a day for bloggingwithstudentsall of March.  You should do it too!  Thank you, Two Writing Teachers! Readers, check out their site, and start slicing!

 

I’ve been reflecting lately about time. What do you do with the time you have? What do you do with the silence? What choices do you make? This poem feels unfinished, but for some reason I like the shape of it on the screen. I’m sure it will look different on a mobile version, but it swoops in a way here on my screen… so I’m calling it done. For now. 

It is silent in my house.
E is still sleeping upstairs,
Finn is sleeping on the couch,
Mr. Thought is working downstairs.

I have a pile of should do’s.
I got my grading out: I graded one paper.
I’m looking at the basket of laundry: I’ll fold it later.
The dishwasher needs to be emptied, and filled: You get the picture.

It is silent in my house.
E is still sleeping upstairs,
Finn is sleeping on the couch,
Mr. Thought is working downstairs.

 

 

 

 

#sol17 March 8 A Slice of Birthday

 I am participating in the March Slice of Life Challenge: A slice a day for bloggingwithstudentsall of March.  You should do it too!  Thank you, Two Writing Teachers! Readers, check out their site, and start slicing!

Finnegan! You are 1 today. 

Then: We had never had a puppy before.
Now: We can’t imagine our family without you.

Then: Our house had legos and toys all over.
Now: The children have learned they must put their toys away from you!

Then: We enjoyed our open floor plan.
Now: We open gates all through the house.

Then: Kids didn’t seem to know where the shoe closet was.
Now: Kids know they need to put their shoes away and close the closet!

Then: We were cat people.
Now: We are cat and dog people.

Then: We could finally vacuum without a baby crying.
Now: We vacuum as you bark at and chase the vacuum.

Then: We brought snacks to the couch.
Now: We can only eat at the table, or you will try to grab our food.

Then: It felt selfish to go on a walk, leaving others at home.
Now: It is generous to be the one to take the dog on a walk.

Then: You loved to chew.
Now: You love to chew.

Then: You were such a cute little baby puppy.
Now: You are such a cute big baby puppy.

Then: We had never had a puppy before.
Now: We can’t imagine our family without you.

Happy Birthday, Finnegan!

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#sol16 March 23 Tell me something good: A slice

Slice of LIfe  I am participating in the March Slice of Life Challenge: A slice a day for all of March.  You should do it too!  Thank you, Two Writing Teachers! Readers, check out their site, and start slicing! 

 


I'm sure there's a poet's way
to write when your cat is dying 
as the children head to school
and your daughter texts you:
"Mommy help us"

There must be a metaphor for 
when you're too late 
he's already dead 
and your son begs you to say 
"passed on" instead 

I wish I could speak in allegory
when my daughter lies in bed 
and says,
"Tell me something good, mama. 
I need to hear something good." 

The words keep repeating
a mantra
a poem
Tell me something good, mama I need to hear something good
Tell me something good, mama I need to hear something good 

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A slice of anxiety

Slice of LIfe

This is part of Two Writing Teachers’ Slice of Life. Find out more, and join in here.

You may remember this story of my worry over a bat. Ugh. Read that to get into my head a bit.

Saturday: I’m taking it easy, trying to get over this stupid cold when I decide to do a little yoga. There I am practicing cat tuck when BAM!

A small, cylindrical, brown…dropping? And another one… And another one. I groan, I vacuum, and then quick as a whip I google —  all. the. kinds. of. poop. I determine that it’s mouse (not rat – phew.) and stop and read a bit about the deer mouse. Oh no. Don’t ever read about the deer mouse. I realize I shouldn’t have vacuumed it if it is a deer mouse. I ask my husband about 100 times if he thinks it was a deer mouse dropping. I find another one, I compare it. It isn’t pointy…so…it must be a house mouse. Still not good but better. Vacuuming house mouse poop is not as fatal… I ask my husband again if he thinks it could be deer mouse. We do, after all live near a lot of trees. (“No. It isn’t.” He says, again. He’s so patient with me, really. Then, “Stop googling.” Then, “Put your phone down.”) I start to feel anxious.

I wonder why our cats haven’t alerted us to this mouse problem. I wonder if the previous owners of our house had mice. I wonder if it is possibly something that the kids dragged in on the bottom of their shoes that I am constantly telling them not to wear in the house. I call my mom. She tells me to relax, that I’m going to make myself insane. I try to forget about it, but realize we are going to have to figure this out soon…I try to tell the cats to go find the mice!

Waking up Sunday morning, I decide that we need to search the house for more droppings. Mr. Thought has the idea that if it isn’t under the couch, it is probably just some sort of oddly shaped dirt from shoes. I hope it isn’t under the couch. We lift the couch to search.

There they are: 2 pieces.  We find 2 or 3 more in the kitchen. We take a picture. I google. I am surprisingly relieved at first thought when I realize it more closely matches the cockroach poop. (“Stop googling horrible gross things on your phone!” Mr. Thought is not so patient any more. Who could blame him?) I google cockroaches, and we search cabinets, and corners and floors. Nothing. We search for the name of the pest company that did our old house’s pest inspection. I email the picture and a brief note to the tune of “Hi – We are settling into our new house, yada yada yada. Help! I think we have cockroaches! Please look at this crazy picture and come to our house asap!” 

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I start to search the dining room. I can’t believe this is my Sunday. I want to read my book. I want to not be thinking about how horrible it will be if we all get a disease from a sick mouse, or how I’m never going to be able to turn off the light for fear of cockroaches.

The pest guy emails back, “It looks like a mouse – in this weather they like to come in. I can come Tuesday to take a look.”

I continue to search the dining room. I find another one. This one is a little bigger. That’s when it dawns on me.

A week ago.

A birthday party.

Ten 6 year olds, and

a tray of cookies…with

sprinkles.

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I’ll wait for you to finish laughing at me.

I’ll let you imagine how I still need to be convinced. You can picture us, on our search for more sprinkles, the whole family on our hands and knees…how my 9 year old uses the scientific method to convince me. You should know that I still vacuum everything, and wash down all the floors. I still look around the next few days just to make sure. And of course, I have to email the pest guy back… “So, this is embarrassing because I’m pretty sure it was actually chocolate sprinkles from my 6 year old’s birthday party. I’ll let you know if anything changes…” 

Moral of the story? Vacuum the whole house after a party — don’t wait for the next weekend. (Duh.) And maybe listen to your mom when she tells you to stop freaking yourself out. (Double Duh.)

Mr. Thought took pictures of the cookies at the grocery story for further proof. No more “droppings” have been found in the house. The case of the deadly sprinkle poop is over.

Knock on wood.

Fortunately, Unfortunately

Slice of LIfe Part of Slice of Life by Two Writing Teachers. Head over there for information and links to more Slicing! 

I am upstairs, which is new for me – sitting at my husband’s computer. I have a beautiful mountain view. It’s sunny and rainy, and I’m going to take that as a metaphor for this summer, with its ups and downs.  Most recently, just in the few days, we have had “sun” and “rain.” I have had time with my best friend who lives far away, and then had to say goodbye. My children have spent time loving it up with a litter of orphan kittens that my parents are fostering, and then yesterday they were there to watch one kitten suddenly and horribly die. I’m having a hard time today seeing the rainbow after yesterday’s rain – and trying to work through this post trauma time with my children.

Yesterday reminded me of the “Fortunately/Unfortunately” summarizing poetry we do at school – learned from Sara Holbrook (@saraholbrook) at a wonderful inservice years ago. I’m going to try my hand at this for my slice today. . . With many apologies to Sara Holbrook! I believe you first write using the words Fortunately and Unfortunately… Then you revise taking out extra words. I don’t usually do a writing exercise as a Slice of Life… but it’s an experiment! Here we go! 

A slice of Fortunately, Unfortunately. 

Monday, I wake up with plans to spend time with my old friend, running around after kids at the local park
Fortunately, everybody's bikes are all loaded up in the van
Unfortunately, my friend has to cancel 
Fortunately,  now I don't need to vacuum
Unfortunately, my house is a disaster 

Fortunately, I go work out with my friend at school
Unfortunately, one elliptical workout doesn't cure her cancer
Fortunately, it does give us time to chat, while our heart rates climb
Unfortunately, we haven't been to the weight room for months

Fortunately, we remember how to use the machines
Unfortunately, the phone rings and my husband tells me that the orphan kitten Polly died
Fortunately, I wasn't there to see the horrible death
Unfortunately, my 3 children were, and I'm not home to help them process

Fortunately, my husband is home
Unfortunately, my children are in shock mode 
Fortunately, my friend remembers that Mr. Rogers has a book on this
Unfortunately, I think it's going to take more than a book

Fortunately, there are distractions and cuddles
Unfortunately, I have a busy day away from home
Fortunately, I get time with my amazing-but-far-away best friend
Unfortunately, it will be months until I get to see her again
Fortunately, I eventually get home to calm, cozy children
Unfortunately, the morning starts with more traumatic crying
Fortunately, there are more distractions

Finally, we will start to heal, paying more attention to the sunshine, and less attention to the rain


REVISED --taking out all but the most important words. . . 

Monday 
wake up 
bikes loaded up in van
 friend cancels
no need to vacuum
 my house is a disaster 

I go work out 
with my friend 
 one elliptical doesn't cure her cancer
it does give us time
while our heart rates climb
 haven't been to the weight room for months
we remember how 
 the phone rings 
 the orphan kitten
 Polly died
I wasn't there to see
the horrible death
 my 3 children were
 I'm not home 
my husband is
 my children are in shock 
remember Mr. Rogers' book on this
 I think it's going to take more 
 than a book

There are distractions and cuddles
 I have a busy day away from home
time with amazing far away friend
 it will be months until I see her again
I get home to calm, cozy
 the morning starts with more trauma
 crying
there are more distractions

We will start to heal,
pay more attention to the sunshine
less attention to the rain

We miss you, Polly photo