Saturday, June 26, 2010

Two of a Kind

This is Tristan.

He's our youngest, he'll be 4 this Summer. He weighs between 35 & 39 pounds.

This is Foster. He is almost 2 1/2 months old now. He weighs 30 pounds .. but that rapidly changes.

I swear ... the two of them are peas in a pod. And not because Tristan loves on Foster so very much. ... He really doesn't. Foster tends to bite him on the butt. Tristan screams. We make Foster "apologize" .. which means we make him sit and Tristan pet Foster so they get along again. But, I digress.

They slobber. ---- Mastiffs are known for slobbering and drooling. We prepped for this by buying lots of little washcloths (thank you Walmart for that cheap-ole stack of washcloths!). Tonight we took the kids to Burger King for dinner (yea, yea, get off my ass .. it's hot, they have AC and needed a playground to burn off some energy on). SEVERAL times throughout "dinner" I had to get Justin to wipe the drool off of Tristan's mouth. You know, before he managed to wipe it up .. over his nose .. onto his forehead .. and into his hair. I really had those "flashback scenes" of Foster's face after drinking water as I watched slobber chocolate milk drool drip from Tristan's mouth.

They chew on weird things. --- Like electrical chords. You expect this from puppies. Not from almost 4 year olds. Tristan informed me the other day that his mouth "hurt". Turned out he had been chewing on the chord to the phone. Electrical chord, phone line chord .. I'm not sure. I've also had to ask him to please not chew on his shoes. Same with Foster, though I ask him not to chew on my shoes. I've had to tell Tristan not to eat the dirty snow off the bottom of his boots. Foster hasn't seen snow yet. We'll see how he reacts to that.
Tonight when we got home, as we were getting out of the car, I had to ask Tristan to please not chew on the metal part of the seat-belt clasp. (What the hell do you call that particular piece?)
---- Also along this same line here is that they eat weird things. It's pretty much the same thing, same examples. You get the idea.

Other ways I think they're very similar?? They both sleep weird. Though, Tristan just tends to roll around and sometimes under the furniture. Foster curls up beside the toilet or sleeps in that weird Spread-Eagle kinda way.
Tristan spills about every beverage he comes into contact with. Foster, quite literally, FALLS into his water dish.
They both aren't .... how can I say this with utter love and without sounding mean at all .. always completely present in the moment.
We were eating dinner a while back. I heard someone kicking the table. I assumed it was Shannon (at this point in time it was a fair assumption) & asked him to stop. He looked under the table towards Justin, as the kicking noise continued. Justin looked under the table. We realized it was Tristan. I said "TRISTAN (trying to get his attention), QUIT KICKING THE TABLE!" (really, this was more to get the kid's attention .. it wasn't yelling). Tristan suddenly looks up and exclaims "WHAT!?!?! I didn't pee!!!!" ------ ummmm ... OK.
2nd) I am standing on the deck, Foster is in the yard. I call to him and try to call him to come up. He walks through the sunflowers and up to the deck (not the stair side, the yard side) and looks up at me with this expression of "now what?". I keep calling to him, encouraging him to come up ONTO the deck. He FINALLY makes his way to the steps ... tangling himself up in the hops in the process .. and then he TRIPS up the stairs. --- cuz, you know, going up a small flight of stairs is so damn tricky.

There are likely more examples. Somewhere I do have photos of Tristan hanging out in Whiskey's old dog crate when he was about 18 months old. We didn't put him in there, he just thought it was fun to go in there and shut the door and hang out. I would post it, but I am sure Social Services would come down pretty hard on shit like that. ---- C'mon .. don't all kids do silly things like that??

We'll see how they grow together. We'll see if Foster keeps biting Tristan's butt. We'll see if Tristan keeps chewing on weird things. Until then, at least there is potty training. Tristan's gotten Foster beat on that one. At least he doesn't pee in the hall .... or the front room .. or the bedroom .. or the kitchen .. or .. well, you get the piddle picture.

Thursday, June 24, 2010

Where's Foster?

This is kinda like Where's Waldo. Or maybe it's just a fun game of 'Spot the Mastiff.' This game wouldn't be so much fun if it weren't for the knowledge of just how big Foster will get. For those not in the know, male English Mastiffs are 30" or more in height (Foster is already 18", height measured from the floor to his back end while standing), and weigh anywhere between 160 - 200+ pounds. Foster is 2 months 12 days old and weighs 30 pounds already. His father was a skinny 180 pounds. So, now you know, and now you know why this is so funny.

Are you ready??? Here we go ...

This is our newly-tiled 1/2 bathroom, off of our master bedroom. Can you Spot the Mastiff??

Do you see him yet??

THERE HE IS!! Hooray for you!! You've won this round of 'Spot the Mastiff'!!! Congratulations!!!!

If this is any help in truly seeing how tiny this bathroom is, I am leaning WAY back against the sink (my back was against the glass shelf above the sink), and you can see my left foot in the photo.

Also, for any of you who think I cheated and took this photo when we brought him home and he was only 7 weeks and 17.6 pounds, just itty-bitty tiny, these photos were taken on June 21st.

Also, for the record, he loves laying like this:

..... Yea, try maneuvering around THAT when you have to go to the bathroom!! (Perhaps one reason he's taken to curling up around the toilet itself, he's out of my way and gets less pants dropped on his head.)

These last two photos were taken on June 13th. He was 2 months and 2 days old. Now, close your eyes and imagine how he'll fit in there when he's full grown. Or a year old. Or just in another month.

Wednesday, June 16, 2010

Remodeling Update - The Kitchen

The contract stated that work should take 3 - 4 weeks to complete. Work started on May 6th. We're now 10 days past the deadline. Let's focus on the kitchen for a moment.

~The lights haven't been put in yet, so this is a really dark photo. We will have to touch-up paint on the doors where sanding the new wall behind the fridge caused paint to peel.~

~Same basic shot, just taken with the cell-phone camera. Lights are in & we're very happy there is a dimmer switch!! This is with them as bright as they get, note the fan light still isn't on.~

~This Mexican Star light just got put up today! I've been wanting one for years, and we finally got one after our very antique pull-down, cast-iron lamp got broken. I think the star light looks better there than the other one would've, but that doesn't mean I'm not still mourning the loss of the other light~

The lights are now, FINALLY, all in. Really, I was beginning to doubt they would all get put up! The ceiling is done, minus the molding that will go around it. That should go up at the beginning of next week. Josh is, hopefully, staining the molding tomorrow. So, we'll see.

~Well, at least the new gas stove is in the kitchen and working! But check out the clutter & missing cabinet/counters!~

The stove finally made it's way out of the front room of the house and into the kitchen, where after about a week, it finally got hooked up. The new vent, which will vent the heat outside (the current vent just blows it all back in!) is still sitting in it's box in the front room.
This is my first gas stove. What do I think of it? I LOVE this stove. It's so cool, and it makes me feel like a proper cook. However, there are some downsides, at least temporary transitional ones:
1) Gas stoves put out a LOT of heat!! I was boiling potatoes today and felt like there was a roaring fire in the kitchen!! This fact is NOT helped by 90 degree and humid-as-hell days, nor having a house that doesn't have AC, nor the vent being in the front room. I'm REALLY keeping my fingers crossed that the new, more powerful, vent will suck a lot of the heat outside. Till then, I'm trying to count the blessings of being Southern and sweaty.
2) It friggin' takes FOREVER for water to boil!! The first thing I tried cooking was pasta. I put the lid on the pot (set to whistle when the water boiled). It never whistled, the water eventually over-flowed (which puts out the damn flame but leaves the gas on), and the pasta was very well-done! -- I'm hoping that, with time, I'll just get used to it and adjust my cooking times. I mean, I used to have really slow dial-up on my old computer and I learned to sign on, go make myself a nice cup of hot tea, and by the time I got back I might almost be online. It never bothered me. Hopefully this will be similar.
3) Things take longer to cook on the stove-top. This really isn't such a pain, just an interesting learning curve. But I wanted to include it as a "beware if you're trying to fry an egg or something" and you're not familiar with gas stoves.

I love my new stove though. Despite the current downsides, the stove rocks. The bottom drawer is a warming drawer by the way. That'll come in handy come the holidays!! AND, the stove is a 5 burner stove, with the 5th burner being a long oval burner in the center. The stove came with a cast iron piece to put there that is a griddle on one side and a grill on the other. Oh yea, it rocks.

One thing I am REALLY not liking though is the clutter. It is driving me up one wall and down another and straight into hiding in the closet or bathtub (I hide in weird spots). There is practically NO work room right now. We're out of spaces to store stuff as well because we can't put anything else in the dining room until the pantry cabinet gets put in the back hallway. Can't store it on the extra shelving in the laundry room until the tool cabinet gets put in the back hallway.
Every time I turn around it seems like I bump into something, knock something over, or lose something. It is depressing, aggravating, maddening (and not in the good way), and I am not certain how much more I can take. On my good days I feel like Tom Hanks in The Money Pit.

On the other days my sense of humor about it all is lost and I listen to Johnny Cash & Ray Charles sing "Busted" and I cry and sing along.

Harmon is building the kitchen cabinets this week, and they should begin going in on Friday. He's working on Saturday, which he ought to be saying he took off Monday for personal reasons, and hopes to have most of the tile laid on the counters by the end of the day on Saturday.
Today was a rough day, I wasn't amused and the delays are getting on my nerves. Which leads me to my next point: the extra costs of renovation.

Everyone says to expect it to cost more. So far, financially speaking, the extra costs have come in that some of our older appliances (deep freezer, old toilet) have suddenly had to be replaced. The true extra costs are on your nerves. The effect of the clutter. Of not knowing what is going to be happening from day to day. Of thinking that __x__ is getting done on Monday but it doesn't get done till Wednesday a week or two later.
Of the cost of take-out food!! UGH!!! I HATE TAKE-OUT FOOD!!! I WANT REAL FOOD!! This has proven a lot harder to accomplish than I thought. I thought I could work around them. I was wrong. Real food takes time. From day to day I don't know what I'll be able to access or when I will be able to access it. The deep freezer (where meat is stored) might be pushed with it's door up against the wall (so they can sand the floor under it). No getting meat out early enough for dinner there. The floor might have just gotten another coat of sealant on it. No getting into the kitchen to make some quick lunch today! Every time I drive to McDonald's to get food I am filled with disgust and anger. Mostly all of it directed at myself for not better planning so that we could've avoided having to go there. Excuses can be made, but when it comes down to it, they're still just excuses, and I am full of guilt and self-anger over it. And I long, long, long to make some good ole biscuits in my new oven. For the room to roll out the dough. For real food, slow food, homemade food.

Slowly, it is all coming along. The work that is done is fantastic. It is just taking a lot longer than I expected, despite warnings from those who've "been there and done that" that it would, that it always does. Guess I hoped that a tanked economy that nobody was building in would result in contractors that were happy for the work and would be trying harder to sell themselves.
The kitchen really is looking fantastic and I do love going in there and seeing the things that have been done. The dogs love it too. The tile floor is apparently much cooler than the wooden floors.

I will try my best to retain my sanity and not turn into the mega-bitch that many people know I can be and that my ex-husband REALLY knows I can be.

Wednesday, June 9, 2010

Dude vs. Diva

This will come as either no shock what-so-ever to you, or it will blow your friggin' mind. I'm 1/2 Dude, 1/2 Diva. No, I'm not a hermaphrodite. I'm me. Carrie. Taney. Mama Taney. Bitch Supreme. One of the guys. THE one of the guys with the best set of knockers.

But, I am still 1/2 Dude too. Somewhere between


.... and I'd be the English bloke yelling. We all know I'm a drinker AND a fighter. Cheers.

I've learned to embrace the Dude within. --- hee hee hee, ok, even I'm giggling at the perverted nature of that line. But it's too good a line to erase, so just giggle along.
I am comfy in clothing that works for me. Shorts that I don't have to pull out of my ass crack, as well as underwear that isn't intended to go there. Shirts that I can do the things that need to be done in without having to worry about messing up my wardrobe. Shoes to wear that I don't care if it rains or they get a little muddy.
I like being able to go out in the woods, either for an evening or for camping, and be comfy, not be dolled up and complaining about bug bites, sprained ankles, and the mysterious temperature changes that happen in nature & when you're away from a thermostat controlled environment.

But then there is the Diva.

I absolutely love my over-sized sunglasses. And if I could manage to pull off wearing a dress like that, I totally would.

There is part of me that longs to embrace the Diva Goddess within. But one of two things tends to sideline me first.

One - I tend to get side-tracked (not necessarily a bad thing) into my love of all things funky and different and wonder off into something like this ..

~ I actually really adore this outfit. But I have neither the adorable little figure nor the large bank account to pull it off. Plus, I happen to live in SW VA, a place not known for it's delightful haunts of funky clothing~

OR .. and what really tends to happen, is that I end up looking more like this, the photo on the left:

~Sorry Christina, I really do think you're awesome, with or without make-up~

As soon as I get myself dolled up, or at least embracing my inner-DIVA, Karma comes along to remind me of how insignificant I really am in this world.
Take yesterday. I had run out to grab a bite to eat. Got home, feeling good. Got out of the car with a swagger. ----- Maybe that is the problem. Cowboys swagger. John Wayne swaggers. I don't think DIVAs swagger. Do they??
A guy is riding by on his bike. Oh yea, he's gonna be awestruck by just how rockin' I am.

...... (do you hear Karma quietly sneaking up on me yet?)

As soon as I get out of the car, my cell phone falls to the ground. I try not to let this minor setback bother me, and bend over to fetch it.
I manage to whack my head on the side view mirror on my way back up, in the process dropping said cell phone YET AGAIN onto the ground, where this time the stupid protective casing pops open.
My once-cute ponytail now looks like evil-witch photo from day before. Loose tendrils hanging alluringly around my face is not the image I've mastered. Thanks to the wind it is more a look of "Look Ma, a tornado done grabbed her up by that there ponytail on her head and shook her up REAL good."

And this is why I embrace the Dude within. (ok .. it's still funny for us gutter minds). The "Oh screw it and give me a beer" response is one of great comfort. Especially since later that evening I manged to pour my drink on the table, then on my hand, then down the front of my shirt. Oh yea, that was the SECOND shirt for the day too. The first one I accidentally let Foster, our Mastiff puppy, use as a napkin.

The Dude Abides.

Monday, June 7, 2010

Quarantined & Scaring Contractors

There is a very nasty little bug going 'round here. A 12-hour head-in-toilet-every-15-minutes, leaves ya weak for several days afterwards kinda bug . This didn't help:

Thursday night, when the bug hit me, we were watching Transformers 2: Rise of the Fallen. Really, I think the movie is called Transformers 2: Revenge of Megan Fox's T&A! This did NOT help my nausea. C'mon, have some kids and start to sag already dammit!!
After a night spent watching that movie and her bad acting, throwing up every 15 minutes (PLEASE tell me why I didn't just go to bed!!), this is what I felt like the next morning. Or at least what I likely looked like.

There is a plus side to walking around in your pj's, hair half pulled up & half wild from staying in bed, nice & funky from lack of shower, really there is. I am almost 100% certain I scared the guys working on the house. LOTS of work got done on Friday!

Think about it, we always tend to want to look nice when people are over, even if they're doing work for you. We want to be nice & understanding about other things they may have going on that keeps them from always being here or keeps delays happening. Maybe we've got it all backwards!!

Since I am not quite over the bug yet, I am running a test today to test this theory. Hair is still wild and they know we're still funky and not well. I've told them we'll do them a favor and try to stay near the front of the house, but .... hahaha.
I will sneak out there every now and then, under the pretense of walking the pup or something like that. I will not take a shower today. I will not fix my hair. I will wear something comfortable and stained --- not hard to find in my wardrobe, I have an amazing innate ability to stain clothing - seriously, it is a talent, stand in awe bitches!!

I will let you know how my experiment goes. I might not be fuzzy butterfly kitty farts, but I do find a silver-lining in odd situations.

**~ FOLLOW UP NOTE ~** -- I have met my match and will be unable to scare the contractors today. The contractor's newly ex-wife just showed up. And we all know ... there ain't anything scarier than an ex-wife!!!

In all my funked out sickness, in my bleach-spotted tank top, in my wild hair, the EX-WIFE has managed to do what only an ex-wife can do for other women. Make me look like this:

Newly-EX-wives make ANY other woman look like this!! Who needs make-up, dieting, exercises, or anything else when you have ex-wives around?

Wednesday, June 2, 2010

It's a good thing you're cute

Some Facts:

~ Puppies, like babies, do not sleep through the night. They cry at various hours, wanting something like being taken out to go pee.

~ Unlike babies, puppies are used to sleeping with other puppies. Of course babies don't arrive in your home expecting to sleep with puppies, that would just be silly! I didn't think I would actually have to explain that one to you! ..... Puppies are NOT thrilled to suddenly be forced to sleep ALONE in a crate at night. Babies are kinda cool with a crib. It isn't wise to try to put a puppy in a crib or a baby in a crate.

~ Big puppies make big noises. Happy, sad, mean, whatever. The noises are big.

~ If you're trying to sleep & the puppy is making loud noises, it is actually impossible to stuff a pillow between your ears like they do in cartoons. Can't do it with one pillow, much less two.

~ After taking the pup out at 5 am, you realize you can do one of two things: put him back in the crate, let him wail & wake the kids up (who will then be wide awake at 5 am) OR put him in bed with you & hope he goes to sleep.

~ Puppies, again like babies, are used to nursing and have an innate ability to seek out a teat.

~ Being suddenly awoken by sharp little puppy teeth biting your boob is NOT the best way to start your day.

~ The puppy biting your husbands tit next IS funny and helps heal your own wounds much quicker.

~ Stocking up on treats, chew toys, and pig ears before you even get the puppy is a wise idea. A puppy that is ready to chew everything at 5 am seriously needs alternatives to your 1/2 asleep limbs.

~ A puppy that randomly sticks out his tongue at things is too cute & funny to stay mad at for very long. Puppy breath, wrinkly head, and overall cuteness help a lot too. These things prove especially beneficial when one is running on very little sleep and has bite marks on their boobs.