Tuesday, June 29, 2010

RTT: Baby, it's hot outside

Where for art thou, Tuesday?  Oh, you're right here!


*I threw my back out last week.  It was bad.  Like I couldn't walk, stand up straight and one hip was sitting higher than the other bad.  I spent three days doing not much more than lying down and it was feeling better, but after a day of toddler chasing, laundry, and housework, it is in a precarious position once again.  My chiropractor has been on vacation (of course!) and was supposed to be back yesterday, but so far her vacation voice mail is still picking up.  I may have to resort to going to her emergency back up chiropractor, because I cannot have it go back to what it was last Thursday/Friday/Saturday.

*We bought a new minivan.  It's our first brand new vehicle.  It's actually been really nice with my lame back.  When we took the car seats out of our old wagon, the amount of stickiness and cracker/Cheerio residue was embarrassing.

*Miles was up most of the night and is running a fever today, maybe from his vaccinations last Friday.  He's mostly in good spirits, though.  Me?  Not so much on account of the pain and exhaustion.

*Oscar "sneaked" into our bed for the second time last night.  He just got up in the middle of the night and joined us. It wouldn't have been so bad if it weren't for the Miles Factor.  So, two kids, two adults in the the bed.  Lets not forget my old person back.  Possibly why my back feels worse today?

*I somehow volunteered to be the coordinator of Oscar's preschool's 3s playgroup.  This will likely begin with me trying really hard to be all organized and efficient but end with all the other parents hating me because I am only marginally organized and hardly efficient.  Expect to hear me whining about this.  Oh, and hey, question: Should I out myself to these moms as a blogger?  Or should I keep it a secret so I can use them for blog fodder?

*DC has been experiencing August-like weather for the past week, with temperatures and heat indexes reaching into the 100s and humidity in the 80 percentages.  I had the boys outside on Saturday for an hour playing in the sprinkler/wading pool and they were red-faced sweaty messes within 30 minutes.  I was able to bribe them in with Popsicles and then we each had three.

I'ma finish my coffee, and you should too.  Oh, and go check out some other RTTs over at Keely's.  Go on now.  Shoo.

Monday, June 28, 2010

Conversations with a Preschooler, #5: Genitalia

Act One

Scene: Early AM several weeks ago.  Jenni is showering while Oscar and Miles play in adjacent rooms, alternately wandering in and out of the bathroom and torturing each other.  Oscar steps into bathroom just as Jenni steps out out shower.

Oscar: Momma!  What happened to your penis?

Jenni: Uh, nothing. [Assuming Oscar is much to young for this conversation.]

Oscar: But what happened to it?

Jenni: Don't worry about it.  Can I have some privacy, please?

Act Two

Scene: Oscarelli family car, two or three weeks following above incident.

Oscar: Dada, do you have a penis?

Jenni and Nelson exchange look.

Nelson: Yes, Oscar, I do.

Oscar: Oh, okay.  Does Momma have a penis?

Nelson: No, Momma does not have a penis.

Oscar: Why?

Jenni: Because Momma is a girl and girls don't have a penis.

Oscar: Why?

Jenni: Because that just the way it is, Oscar.  Boys have a penis and girls do not.*

Oscar: Okay, Momma.

Act Three

Scene: Oscarelli family car, a few days later. Nelson, Jenni, Oscar, and Miles are all present.

Oscar: Momma, do you have a penis?

Jenni: No, Oscar. 

Oscar: Because you are a girl.

Jenni: Yes, that's right.

Oscar: Dada has a penis?

Nelson: Yes, I do.

Oscar: Because Dada is a boy?

Nelson: Yes.

Jenni: What about Miles?  Does he have a penis?

Oscar: Yes!  Miles has a penis.  He's a boy.  What about Meme?  Does Meme have a penis?  Meme does have a penis! [laughing]

Jenni: She does?!

Oscar: No, [laughing] Meme doesn't have a penis!  She's a girl!

NOTE: Oscar now feels comfortable asking pretty much anyone he meets if they have a penis, or informing them that they do or do not have a penis.  It's really awesome, especially in public.

*Yes, I realize that there is some wiggle room in the whole "boys have a penis and girls have a vagina" statement, but we'll get to that later.  Much later.

Thursday, June 24, 2010

In which Valentine has the last laugh

Do you remember that post I wrote like a week or two ago about Valentine and the possum?


Last week, before it was atrociously hot, I'd taken Danny and Oscar outside for the morning.  We usually head out around 10 when Miles goes down for a nap, if I can keep them contained for that long.  The Going Outside involves multiple steps - sunscreen application, drink and snack preparation, a collecting of my own supplies (book, magazine, cell phone, home phone, water, keys) - and then we all four (with Valentine) schlep outdoors.

Once we are outside and I've divested my self of snacks and reading material and telecommunications devices, I have to lock the front gate (to prevent escapees); open the sand box; open the sand and water table; fill the sand and water table; bring down dump trucks, ride on toys, bubbles, balls, and sidewalk chalk from the porch; and get the boys started in a game.  It takes a good 15 minutes to get all of this going.

After things are cooking, I generally move an outdoor chair to a position that is optimal for monitoring the boys and read until I'm called upon to referee a dump truck race or break up a scuffle over the best sand shovel.

About a month ago, Nelson filled in our side (weed) flower bed with stone to create a little patio.  It's lovely. The boys love the stone.  They load it up into their dump trucks and move it all around the yard, doing "struction jobs" as Oscar calls them.  One such pile of stone from the previous day's struction job was right next to my chair.

So, maybe 5 minutes of play pass and I here Oscar beside me asking, "What's that?  What's that?  What is it Danny?  Momma, what's that."

Valentine is lurking around the boys, which is pretty common, and I sort of glance over and say, "It's rocks."

And then, I notice Danny has something in his hand.

It is not a rock.  It is the same color as the rocks, but it is much larger.  And formerly living.

I scream.


At which point Danny drops the thing like a hot potato and Oscar immediately reaches over to touch it.

"NO!  That is very yucky.  It's gross.  DON'T TOUCH."

"But what is it Momma, what is it?"

"It's a possum.  It's just a possum, guys, but you can't touch it, okay?"

"It's a possel?  Why? Why is it a possel?  Can we play with it?"

"Absolutely not.  Now, both of you, lets go inside and wash our hands."

"Why?  Why we wash our hands?  Why we can't play with the possel?"

"Because it is gross, that's why."

"But why is the possel gross?  Why is it a possel?"

At which point I ignored the next 50 million questions out of Oscar's mouth, brought both boys inside, and scrubbed their hands until they bled.

While I was removing the top layer of epidermis from Danny and Oscar's hands, I recalled the previous night.  When I put Valentine out after dinner, she stayed out for like two hours; an unheard of amount of time for her to stay out after dark.  And, when I called her in, it took several whistles to get her to respond.  It seems she was busy laying siege against the resident possum.

We went back outside and I used a plastic bag to remove the definitely dead possum and tossed it in the garbage.  Valentine was beside me the whole time.

I swear she was laughing.

Tuesday, June 22, 2010

RTT: The delicious, the disgusting, and the dentist

Tuesday, Random Tuesday.

* My mother-in-law brought over these three beautiful zucchini from her garden last week when she picked up Oscar for a sleep over.  I love, love, love zucchini, especially when it is fresh.  I love it grilled, sautéed, with pasta, whatever.  Even raw with dip.  I wanted to do something different with it so I made Curried Zucchini Soup and it was FANTASTIC.  You just sauté and onion in 1 tablespoon of olive oil and one table spoon of kosher salt; add 2 cloves of minced garlic and 2 teaspoons of curry powder (I used hot curry powder) and cook until fragrant (like one minute.)  They you toss in on baking potato cut into one inch chunks and 3 medium or 2 large zucchini cut in to one inch slices; bring to a boil then simmer for 10-15 minutes until the veggies are tender.  Then you puree it in batches (don't fill the blender more than half way - took me three batches to puree the whole pot) and you can either serve it immediately or serve it chilled.  Add a hunk of crusty bread and that's a meal right there.  Delicious.

*Now that the weather is nice (well not this week; this week it's atrociously hot), Valentine spends a lot of her time out doors.  I let her in every hour or so to cool down and get a drink, but she really prefers it outside.  A couple of weeks ago, she was lying on our back porch and I noticed she was being swarmed by flies.  I felt so bad for her.  This almost never happens - we don't really have biting flies in our neck of the woods and Valentine is not particularly smelly.  I mean, she smells like a dog, but she's not putrid or anything.

Anyways, I opened the door to let her in and she reluctantly came inside.  And that's when I saw that there was something white and furry on the porch where Valentine had been lying.  Three somethings, really.  So, I looked a little closer.  Are you ready for this?  It was the HEAD of a white rabbit and it's two feet (you know, for luck.)  The body was gone, I'm assuming consumed by Valentine.

So, I almost vomited right there and I immediately called Nelson and told him he needed to get home ASAP because I'll dispose of dirty diapers and dog poop but I WILL NOT be handling a dismembered rabbit corpse.  And the thing is, I'd seen the dead rabbit in the yard earlier in the morning, but I couldn't go get it because I had the boys and bunny corpse disposal is just not a question-happy-three-year-old-friendly activity.  See, when Valentine catches a varmint and actually kills it, she usually juts looses interest.  Well, not this time. Disgusting.

*Oscar had his first visit with the dentist on Friday.  He has 20 clean, shiny teeth and he went home with a new yellow toothbrush sporting a mermaid and a clown fish.   I also had my teeth cleaned and have to go back for a filling.  And an extraction.  And a bridge.  Stupid teeth.  Here's my guy in the dentist chair, so proud:

*I finally bought my train ticket for BlogHer.  I'm really looking forward to the three and a half hour train ride to NYC all by my self.  I don't know if I should sleep or read or cry.  I might even bring a little DVD player so I can watch movies.  Or TrueBlood. There are just so many options.

*Last Thursday, my friends Jane and Pam came over with their little boys Xavier and Gideon and we all went up to the Farmer's Market and came home to have a lovely dinner of bread, pickles, green beans, salmon spread, cheese, and wine.  While us moms were inside enjoying our wine, Nelson was outside with all four boys.  This bigs (Oscar, Gideon, Xavier) were happily playing with the sand and water table on the side of the house while Miles William was practicing going down our front porch stairs on his behind.  When Miles got to the second to last stair, Nelson decided to peek around the corner and check on the bigs.  And Miles promptly fell off the stairs and onto his face.  The poor kid has been sporting a scraped face all week, though it looks much better today.

*Oscar's birthday party was a smashing success, including the monster truck birthday cake.  Hopefully I'll upload photos today and post some this week.  Prepare to be impressed.

*Does anyone want to design me a free business card to bring to BlogHer?  Come on, who's not looking for unpaid work theses days?  You know you want to.

Wow, that's kind of a lot of random for me.  Now, get thee to Keely's and visit more random players.

Monday, June 21, 2010

Happy Father's Day, Nelson

Nelson, you are a wonderful dad.  You are caring and gentle and silly and give ample hugs and kisses.  You love to play and wrestle with our boys and it is so clear that they adore you.  You are good at this.  Really, really good at it.  You make me a better mom and a better person. Thanks for being an awesome dad and husband.  We love you.

Wednesday, June 16, 2010

Conversations with a Preschooler, #4: Why?

Jenni: Come on Oscar, lets get your shoes on!

Oscar: Why I need get my shoes on, Momma?

Jenni: Because we're going to the grocery store.

Oscar: Why I  need get my shoes on to go to the grocery store?

Jenni: Because they won't let you in without shoes.

Oscar: Why they won't let me in without shoes?

Jenni: Because it's the rule.

Oscar: Why it's the rule?

Jenni: I don't know, Oscar.  Because feet are dirty?

Oscar: Why feet are dirty?

Jenni: Because little boys run around without shoes on.  Now come on, lets go to the grocery store.

Oscar: But why we going to the grocery store?

Jenni: To buy food for us to eat.

Oscar: Why we need buy food for us to eat?

Jenni: So we can be strong and healthy.

Oscar: Why we need be strong and healthy?

Jenni: So we have lots of energy to run and play.

Oscar: Why we run and play?

Jenni: Because it's fun to run and play.

Oscar: Why it's fun to run and play?

Jenni: Because it makes us happy.  Does running and playing make you happy?

Oscar: Yes!

Jenni: Okay then!  Lets go!

Oscar: Where we going?

Jenni: To the grocery store, Oscar.  We are going to the grocery store.

Oscar: Why we going to the grocery store?

Tuesday, June 15, 2010

RTT: Patriotic doughnuts and (lack of) fashion sense

Lets get riggidy-random, y'all.
*Interesting fact (read: possibly not at all interesting): See how I wrote the word "y'all" up there?  Well, I actually say the word y'all all the time.  Totally part of my speach, being that I lived in Southern Maryland for several years.  But I almost never write it here on the blog. I think because I don't really have a southern accent, but I do say "y'all" and when written it makes it seem like I have a southern accent and I don't want my readers to imagine me with a southern accent.  Probably when I meet you all at BlogHer you'll be like, "Wow, you TOTALLY have a southern accent."

*Speaking of, I think it will be interesting to hear everyone's voices when I meet them in August.  I wonder if they match the person.

*So, for Oscar's birthday dinner last night he requested pasta and meatballs and instead of cupcakes he wanted doughnuts with sprinkles.  He ate four of them and was up until 10:30PM last night.  He's still sleeping the sugar high off as we speak.  

*Instead of colored sprinkles on the doughnuts, there were red, white and blue sprinkles/stars on the doughnuts. I guess in honor of July 4th next month.  I of course ate the patriotic doughnut but I have to admit I'm not at all a patriotic person.  I mean I vote and root for the U.S. in the Olympics and stuff but in general I'm not all "Yeah, America!  Woo hoo! USA is number one!"  I'm more like, "America, meh."  Pretty much the most patriotic thing I've done all year is eat that doughnut.  Then again, eating a sugary, fatty doughnut is pretty freaking American, isn't it?

*What should I wear to BlogHer?  I'm no fashion horse (do people still say that?), but I don't want to look inappropriate.  I've been to conferences before and I've always worn business/business casual attire.  Same go for BlogHer?  I don't know if any of my old work clothes will still fit, or if they are all too dated.  Anyways, what are other folks wearing?

*Miles has been cutting his molars and been an absolute cranky mess.  I think the final one busted through last night so we may be in the clear.  Other than the teething, he's been really fun.  He's had a language explosion in just past few weeks, adding several new words and phrases (down, outside, snack, cheese, I want that, what's that, more, mine) and he's nodding his head correctly for "yes" which is very cute, and very helpful.  He also seems to be getting beyond the "No" stage, where they say no for everything all the time even when they don't mean no.  Now he only says "No" when he means "No."  Which is still kind of a lot.   He also loves drawing, dancing, singing, reading books (particularly ones about vehicles), dinosaurs, and choo choos.  He turns 18 months tomorrow.  

*We took the boys to the pool on Sunday and the LOVED it.  Oscar learned how to "swim" underwater and Miles was jumping into the pool.  Well, jumping into my arms in the pool.  I'm so glad they are little water rats.  I think Oscar will be swimming on his own by the end of the summer.  Also, he calls wading pools "walking pools," which I think is funny.  "They are not for swimming, Momma, they are for walking." 

Okay, y'all, that's all I got for today.  Head on over to Keely's and link up.

Monday, June 14, 2010


Three years ago today, I was breathing through long, difficult contractions, waiting for the midwives to arrive.  I had been in labor for about seven hours.  I knew my little boy was going to be born that day, but I didn't know I had another 15 hours of labor ahead of me.

I can still remember the way it felt when I pushed Oscar out into my own hands, when the midwife said, "Jennifer!  Reach down here and catch your baby!"  And I did and he was a warm, slimy miracle.  I remember looking down at my (rather larger than I expected) crying baby and thinking I was going to burst because I was so filled with love in that moment.

I was amazed that day, and Oscar continues to amaze me each and every day.  He's so funny and clever and sensitive and daring and so gorgeous he takes my breath away.  He is one of the best things I've ever done and I am so, so proud of him.  He has taught me so much and open my heart in so many ways.  Oscar made me Momma.  I am so grateful for him and I love him so very much.

Big love to my big boy on his third birthday.  Love you, buddy.

Wednesday, June 9, 2010

Playing Possum

I read this post on Stimey's blog the other day and it reminded me of a story about our dog Valentine.  Shortly after we adopted her, our friend Scott came for a visit from Hawaii.  He has a bunch of family in Manassas, VA so several of us got together to go camping down there while he was in town (though we may have actually ended up sleeping in a house, I don't quite remember.)

Okay, so this was a grown up camp out so there were many beers.  We had a bonfire too.  That's actually a funny tangent.  We were going down to the river with Scott's little cousins (they were ages 6-12, and there were probably 8 of them) to start the bonfire and Scott says to them, "So, guys, how do we start a bonfire?"  And they all shouted in unison, "GASOLINE!"  And then these children proceeded to start a bonfire with gasoline.  It was pretty funny at the time, but now that I'm a parent I find this pretty disturbing.  Still a little funny though.  (These same cousins sneaked out of the house several hours later after their bedtime to hang out with us by the river and we were like, "Um, should you really be here?"  And they were like, "It's fine because we're with responsible adults." After we all died laughing, Scott walked them back up to the house and they were busted.)

Back to the story.  So, Scott and our friend Katie had been riding around on this four wheeler and they flipped it.  They were upside down on a steep river bank.  It was kind of scary (and stupid) but thankfully, Nelson had not been drinking and we was able to direct Miche and I so we could get them and the four wheeler up the bank.  Scott and Katie were minimally hurt, but the four wheeler did not fare so well.

Scott, Katie and Nelson went up to the house to try and see if they could fix the four wheeler (or something) and Miche and I stayed with Valentine down by the river.  I had been keeping Valentine on leash because we'd only had her two weeks or so (Valentine was about 1.5 years old at the time) and we were in the woods in an unfamiliar location.

For some reason (beer number six, perhaps?) I decided to go ahead and let her off leash.  She was fine for several minutes, but then she just bolted.  Gone, into the dark, dark woods.  I was pretty concerned that she might fall down the steep river bank or run up to the road.  Miche and I started calling and whistling for her and she came running up.

She was not alone.

There was...something...dangling from her mouth.  A rather large, rat-like something.

Miche and I started telling Valentine to "Drop it!" and she did.  It fell limply to the ground.  I grabbed Valentine and Miche inched over to the something to find out what it is.  

"It's a possum.  I'm pretty sure it's dead," she told me.

(I should state here that Miche is not at all a wimpy girl like me. She's tough, and the inching was really only because she wasn't sure what it was.)

I hate possums.  Hate, hate, hate.  They're just so gross with their long rat tails and their rant snots and their trash rooting.  Yuck!  I'm pretty sure I went all girly at this point and started freaking out.  There was a dead possum in the middle of our campground, people.  It was disgusting.  Miche, being my hero and super awesome, announced that she'd get rid of it.  She was going to toss it over into the woods.

She grabbed and empty plastic grocery bag and used it to pick up the possum by the tail.

And then the little bastard started MOVING.  Moving a lot.  While Miche was HOLDING IT BY THE TAIL.

At this point, while holding the live-but-recently-thought-dead-possum by the tail, I'm pretty sure Miche screamed. It was probably something profane.  It was probably, "FUCK!"  And she threw it.  I can't actually recall what she said because I was in the process of having a heart attack and trying to restrain Valentine who was going ape shit.

So, Miche tossed it and it went scampering off into the woods.  We were both pretty shocked for a minute.  And they we started laughing hysterically, because that possum? Was playing possum. And we totally bought it.  Neither of us ever even considered the possibility that the possum was simply pretending to be dead even though possums are KNOWN for playing dead when faced with mortal danger.  I blame the beer.

Tuesday, June 8, 2010

Conversations with a Preschooler, #3: They tell jokes

Oscar: Knock, knock!

Jenni: Who's there?

Oscar: Orange!

Jenni: Orange who?

Oscar: A car goes vroom, vroom! HAHAHAHAHAHAHA!

Repeat 400 times in a row.

Monday, June 7, 2010

Coping with loss

I've got a post up at DC Metro Moms today.  It's about Nebo.  I know you're all tired as hell of hearing about my dog, but it is a nice post (maybe a little weepy), about coping with his loss and choosing to remember how much we loved him as opposed to how much we miss him.  I'd love you to drop by.

Friday, June 4, 2010

Under foot

Some days I'd just like to cook dinner without tripping over my children and their toys.  My kitchen is what is referred to as a galley kitchen.  That's cute realtor talk for "size of a matchbox."  There is almost no space.  It's so small that I cannot have the fridge and the dishwasher open at the same time or the pantry and the oven door open at the same time.  Tiny.

There are good things about a small kitchen.  Every thing is always at arms reach; you can easily do two things at once, like stir something frequently while chopping veggies or washing dishes; it's relatively easy to find things because there are so few places to put stuff.

However, there are bad things too.  Like, if I spill the tiniest bit rice or water I will need to clean my whole floor; I have zero counter space; there is only sufficient room for one person (okay, that's not necessarily bad, but it is an impossibility in my current life.)

Here is the thing: my children want to be with me when I'm cooking and there is just not space for them.  They've never wanted my attention more than when I'm cooking (the only exception may be when I'm on the phone.)

I've tried a few things.  When Oscar was a baby, I'd stick him in his high chair in the kitchen while I cooked.  It was a VERY VERY tight fit, but it worked for a little while.  I occasionally did the same with Miles when he was younger and that was okay.  I also have phonics and farm fridge magnets that make noise and those are okay, but my kids are mostly over them.  I've brought the art easel in there for them before, but when they are both coloring on either side it just takes up too much space.

So, here is what usually happens.  I begin cooking dinner while Danny is still at our house.  I can chop veggies, prepare marinades, assemble ingredients.  This is good because the boys are usually occupied with Danny and leave me alone in the kitchen and I get an awesome head start.  I have to peek out every five minutes to check on the boys, but that's preferable to children in the kitchen.

But, then Danny leaves and I have to finish dinner and for some reason my children are no longer able to occupy themselves.

Oscar and Miles will both try to follow me into the kitchen.  Really, the are grabbing my pants and trying to get in front of me, usually causing me to trip and stub my toe or knock one of them over.

Once we are in the kitchen, they do a really good job of standing EXACTLY where I need to stand at any given moment.  Given the size of my kitchen, though, this really isn't a difficult task to accomplish.

Then they begin whining for snacks which I refuse because it is 5:45!  Dinner in 30 minutes!  Just wait for dinner!  Drink some water! You'll be fine!  You can wait!  I said no!  That's one!  I will time you out for whining, I will!  I'll do it!  Go play with toys.  Go on.

At this point Oscar will leave the kitchen and return in seconds with every single matchbox car he owns (maybe 50 million?)  He'll dump those cars on the floor and proceed to try and keep Miles from playing with even one of them.  This usually ends with Miles screaming, and throwing himself on the floor.  If I'm lucky, Miles has managed to slam his head on the cabinets or radiator during his tantrum to add injury to his insult.

Obviously I have to pick up wailing Miles and he will instantly quit and begin demanding every thing on the counter (knives, raw chicken, scraps of food, my dignity.)  I'll put him down so I can make dinner and he will insinuate himself between me and the counter and begin pushing against me with all of his strength, which is considerable for toddler of his age.  He'll probably force me back a few steps causing me to slip on a matchbox car.  I won't fall (there's not room) but Miles will likely land on his bottom and begin screaming and Oscar is going to start screaming because I stepped on his car.

I'll try to regroup and ignore all the freaking out over nothing, but Miles will start trying to climb back into my uterus and Oscar, sensing my weakness, will begin pulling on my pants demanding snacks (again.)  Then I will try to move, and possibly escape a few feet to the pantry.  Once I open the door, Miles is will try to get in front of me into the pantry and when I get what I need and back out of the pantry, I will bump into Oscar who is physically ON MY ASS.

Then Miles will have grabbed some pretzels and being waving them around and demanding that they be opened and Oscar will snatch them away and scream like a banshee and take off down the hall and Miles will dissolve into a puddle of tears and I'll contemplate either a) screaming; b) putting my head in the oven; c) why I though this whole "having kids" thing would be a good idea; d) serving cheese sticks and pretzels for dinner.

The dinner routine usually ends with me holding Miles and trying to cook one handed with Oscar following me so closely me that he's stepping on my feet, or I'm stepping on his. But, dinner gets made and plated just in time for my husband's arrival, at which point I sink into my dinner chair and shovel my food in at lightning speed so I can escape the dinner table for a few moments of not having another person physically on top of me.  I don't even really enjoy the food I cook.  And my kids probably don't eat it because of the pretzels and cheese sticks they ate five minutes before dinner and two minutes before I lost my mind.

So, yeah.  Some days I just want to cook dinner without tripping over my children or their toys.

Wednesday, June 2, 2010

Good hearts

My grandmother passed away about a week and a half ago.  We traveled up north for several days last week for her funeral.  (Sorry, burglars, you missed your chance.)  She was my last living grandparent and had been suffering from dementia for some years, though my aunt and uncles assure me she did ask after me from time to time, "You were always in her heart," my aunt told me.  As she has been in mine.

A friend of mine and I were talking about funerals, and how they are such strange things.  Filled with grief and loss and sadness, but also a time time of love and support and family.  Sad occasions, but they bring they bring people together.

It was a very sad event, but something quite amazing and unexpected happened.  I realized that I am surrounded by love.  I have so much love coming at me from all directions, places I didn't even know to look.  Love without expectations or exceptions or unwritten rules.  Just love.

The love just poured out at me, and at my boys.  Hugs and kisses and hands held and babies passed around. Laughter.  So many "I love yous" and "I miss yous" it was very nearly overwhelming, though in a good way.  It lifted me up and carried me through and I'm still feeling a little high on all this love.

"We Peschis, we have such good hearts," my cousin said.

He is right.  We do have good hearts.  It felt good to be surrounded and loved by so many good hearts.

Tuesday, June 1, 2010

So long, brown dog

Disclaimer: Blow is a pretty graphic and emotional rendering of my dog Nebo's euthanization.  For those who do not read regularly, Nebo was humanely euthanized for aggression.  You can read a little more about his issues here and here and here.

Nebo was euthanized on Saturday morning.  The animal rescue organization determined that he was not suitable for re-homing and that euthanasia was the most humane option.

Nelson and I were able to be with him, and spend time with him before it happened.  It was incredibly difficult.  We had to wait nearly 45 minutes to see Nebo, and that in itself was difficult.

They asked us if we'd like his muzzle removed and we said yes.   They brought in lots of blankets so we could sit on the floor and be comfortable.  They brought Nebo in and he was so happy to see us, as we were him.  We held him and petted him and gave him treats and told him how much we loved him.  Unfortunately, the longer we stayed in the room the more anxious Nebo became. After about 20 minutes we told the vet that we were ready.

It happened very quickly.  The vet and her assistant came in and Nebo ran to Nelson and leaned against him.  He was so scared.  Nelson laid Nebo down on his side so his head was on my lap; Nelson was stroking his back and we were telling him how good he was being and how much we loved him.

They'd inserted the catheter before Nebo came to see us, so the vet began by flushing it with saline.  Nebo was so good.  He just laid there.  Then, she administered the first sedative, to relax him and basically make him completely blissed out.  As she was emptying the syringe, he looked up at me into my eyes for a long moment, and then he looked over at Nelson, and then back at me. He knew we were with him.  Then, the sedative took effect and he kind of spaced out.

"He's completely out of it," the vet told us.

She administered the phenobarbital and about five minutes later she told us, "He's gone.  I'm so sorry for your loss."  The assistant also gave her condolences and they left us with our brown dog for the last time.

The vet had prepared us that there might be a death rattle or twitching or urination, but Nebo didn't do any of those things.  He passed peacefully, and that made is so much easier on Nelson and I.  He was good to us right up to the end.

We held him for another 10 minutes or so while I sobbed into his fur.

Then, we made a donation to the shelter and we headed home.

I'm so glad we were there with Nebo, but it was one of the most emotionally difficult things I've ever gone through in my entire life.

I miss him.  I miss the way he always laid at my feet; the way he was always in the way; they way his head got hot when he was being petted; the way he sometimes inexplicably smelled like grape jelly or breakfast sausage; the way he'd nudge my hand with his cold, wet nose when he wanted a pet; the way he'd chuff when he was hungry or wanted to go outside; they way he leaned slightly to the left when he ran; they way he'd come over and put his head on my lap and look at me with his big, brown eyes; his super expressive doggie eye brows; the Robert Dinero mole on his muzzle; his little T-Rex front legs; the way his ears got low when he was happy; his "low wag" tail wag; his thick, thick brown fur that made it extra good to give him hugs.

I know that we did the right thing, but that's not really giving me much comfort.  I think I will miss him for a long while.