Sunday, February 28, 2010

Goodnight, Vancouver!

What happened?!? I was justing watching my childhood crush, Wayne Gretzsky light the Olympic torch, went to the fridge for a Molson beer and came back to the closing ceremonies. Wow! That was a fast two and a half weeks. And here I am, with half a Molson, wondering how I could have missed so much of the action.

I'll spare you the details of homework wars and basketball tourneys, cheerleading practices and Zumba classes. The truth is, the winter games come at a very busy time of year - WINTER. But since snow and cold weather are pretty much a prerequisite for the events, I guess we'll have to deal.

Despite the busyness and the prime-time into late-night coverage, my family and I were able to enjoy a few highlights together. We watched the amazing first match-up between the US and Canadian hockey teams. The kiddos were forced to go to bed before the final outcome, but were quick to inquire the next morning. They relished in the American glory over pop-tarts and Fruity Pebbles (don't judge me). We also caught the b-roll of the American bobsledder who almost lost his eyesight to a rare disease, but underwent an experimental surgery and was cured - cut to the 4-man bobsled competition as he and his teammates beat out the Germans for the gold by nearly half a second (which is apparently light-years in the world of bobsledding).

We enjoyed some amazing snowboard competitions (although we missed Carrot Top) and skating superstars (missed Johnny Weir our favorite queer). We saw highlights of American favorites Lindsey Vonn, Bode Miller and Apolo Ohno. And we witnessed the off-the-hook, oh-no-he-di'int game-tying goal by Zach Parise which sent the men's hockey finals into overtime. Unfortunately, it was not meant to be, but it was a showdown for the record books. A highlight from 2010, for sure, eh?

I would be remiss if I did not mention the sadness which happened over the course of the games. Certainly, the death of a Georgian luger prior to opening ceremonies sent a shockwave through Vancouver and the rest of the world. My heart goes out to his family and the tiny country he was there to represent. And I can't stop thinking about the courage of Canadian skater Joannie Rochette who's mother suffered a fatal heart attack while at the games. Four days later, Rochette laced up her skates, performed, and took her place on the podium to accept the bronze medal, no doubt dedicating it to her biggest fan - mom.

Of course, I shall also take this opportunity to comment on a couple of controversial happenings across the border. How about that Scotty Lago, huh? If you got it, flaunt it! Incase you were watching the Disney version of the Olympics and have no idea what I am talking about, google "Lago in racy photos with bronze medal." You'll find it. We'll wait. Aaaand...there you go. And are we really going to shame the Canadian women's hockey team for celebrating on the ice post-medal ceremony with champagne, beers and cigars? Is it really that big of a deal, or is this an image thing? Because I gotta say, I doubt many people are surprised that female hockey players drink brewskys and toke the occassional cigar. Johnny? That would be surprising. Hockey chicks? Not surprising.

If you want to talk controversy, let's discuss the legitimacy of curling as an Olympic sport. I know, I'm just an ignorant American who doesn't understand the European history of curling. That may be true. But in my humble (ignorant) opinion, if curling is worthy of the games, shuffleboard, darts and marbles cannot be far behind. It's pretty much the same game. Get your piece in the middle of the pie. BULLSEYE! Kudos to Team Norway as their pants took the gold on the Project Runway podium.

In closing, let me say this: the heart of an athlete is an incredible thing. Whether it's Rochette's motivation to get on that ice, or Lago's decision to insinuate lewd acts with his bronze medal, we, as the insatiable audience watch in awe. It is the thrill of victory and the agony of defeat at it's finest. We swell up with patriotism as Americans take the podium and our anthem is played; we savor our humanity as we root for the underdogs from foreign lands we'll never visit. The Winter Games 2010 are over, but will live on in our hearts. And as training begins for Sochi, 2014, let us all bow our heads and pray for God's blessings on the Jamaican bobsledding team, that they may qualify for 2014, and that Cool Runnings 2 become a reality.


Friday, February 26, 2010

Snow Day.....again

*Ring*Ring* I knew exactly who was on the other end of that phone call and what she was about to tell me. Cue the automated phone messaging system....

"Good morning, this is Sister J (principal). Due to current weather conditions, school will be canceled yada yada yada....."

I knew it. Just like I knew it yesterday morning when the phone rang at 5:30am. Only that call started with, "Due to the impending weather conditions....." Conditions I might add, that never materialized until around 11:45 that night. Now I ask you, if we are going to put so much faith in our meteorologists with their radars and dopplers and all that other high-falutin' equipment, then how about giving us a call the night before impending weather? Say, around 7:30ish? In between dinner and primetime television viewing? It just seems to make more sense than waking me up at 5:30am to tell me I don't have to wake up. Thanks for nothing.

I hear your arguments. Finding out the night before an official snow day does trigger the Chillax Button. It often means a free pass at bedtime for the kiddos as anticipation builds for the neighborhood sled-off at Huckleberry Hill. Well, let's see. We could just not tell the children about the call. Send them to bed at the normal time, pour your glass of wine and sit in front of facebook until midnight, per us(ual). Please, don't try to deny it. I see you in my little "chat" window. You can't hide from me. (Actually, you on options....)

IF, by chance, your children are old enough and wise enough to be watchin', waitin', and anticipatin' said 7:30pm call, here is how to proceed: warn them that their actions may have dire consequences. That if they stay up too late and the wicked weather never shows, they WILL have to get up and go to school no matter how tired they are. This is not the recommended course, but at least you can take comfort in knowing that if it does happen, you can send Mr./Miss Crabby Tired Pants off to school and they will no longer be your problem. Hey, you warned them.

One more suggestion, since you're still about the Pennsylvania Department of Transportation grow a pair, snowplow before sun-up, and provide safe roads for my kids to travel to school and learn something today. Okay, maybe that's not entirely fair. It seems today's Nor'easter is hellbent on delivering more snow and horrendous winds (it looks like a frantically-shaken snowglobe out there). Forgive me. I guess I'm still a little bitter about yesterday's false alarm.

So, thanks to the meteorologists, Mother Nature and Sister J, I'm already on my second cup of coffee and it's only 7am. If I'm over-productive in a caffeine-induced way today (i.e. alphabetizing my pantry or downloading my 300+ digital photos to snapfish, complete with titled albums and captions for each photo), I hold them each equally responsible.

Wednesday, February 24, 2010

Time to Share the Story About How My Male Dog Acquired a Va-Jay-Jay

My dog has had a rough month. Short story long.....

I've briefly introduced you to the family pet - Rox. A 6-pound Poo-Chi. 50% Toy Poodle, 50% Chihuahua (which took me, like, 3 years to learn how to spell), 100% pain in my arse (," she said, lovingly.") I know, I know. All you "Pet Owners of the Year" are wondering how much trouble can a six-pound, non-shedding dog be? Well, he's no Marley, I'll give you that. But he has chewed his way through many shoes, toys, and loose rug strings. Those, however, are common dog issues that one would expect. What I wasn't ready for was his homosapien tendencies at manipulation. The dog is smarter than my 9-year old in this department. Rox has been known to bark at the door until we let him out, hide behind a bush pretending to urinate, and wait to come back in until we offer him a snack. In fact, he'll even run and bark at imaginary creatures, just to force our hand with the running-from-the-kitchen-spatula-a'wavin'-in-a-panic-that-he's-terrorizing-a-neighbor-"ROX, COME GET A SNAAAACK!!" He thinks he's so clever. Well, it was all fun and games, until one day....

Poor Roxy was sick. Just wasn't himself. Stopped eating and drinking. Strained terribly while trying to do his business. A neighbor saw him and said, "Oh boy, I hope nothing's blocking the way, there. That could cost ya." What the - ?? Blockage? What could he have possibly eaten that could be stuck in there? He's over the whole chewing things that aren't food. I called the vet and gave them the lowdown. They wanted to see him stat.

Initial examination revealed nothing. No blockage according to that handy-dandy thermometer the vet whipped out of nowhere. Thankfully, that six seconds was more uncomfortable for me than Rox. On to the x-ray machine. They swept up Rox and left me sitting there, wallowing in my mommy-guilt. I wasn't sure how, but I was quite certain his suffering was my fault. Ten minutes later, the vet comes back with the answer. "Right problem, wrong end," she said triumphantly. Then she held up an x-ray and pointed to a few circlish dots. "Kidney stones."

Seriously? My dog has kidney stones? Weeell, of course he does. I KNEW it was my fault! I shouldn't have tried to buy his love by allowing him his weight in snacks every day. I should have taken him on walks instead of letting him sleep all day in my big comfy bed because he matched the throw pillows. I should have purchased the Wii Fit for Small Dogs that he had on his Christmas wish list. Bad mommy!

And so, Operation Kidney Stone Removal was in full swing. I leave the dog, Doc performs surgery later that day, dog stays the night and probably comes home the next day.

*Ring* Ring* Operation Kidney Stone Removal has hit a snafu.

"Wow, she was a mess in there," said the vet referring to my male dog. Happens all the time. Everyone expects the cute little poodlesque pooch to be a girl. Especially with a name like, Rox, which we often affectionately lengthen to Roxy.

"What do you mean, is everything okay with HIM?" Doc proceeded to tell me how there was a lot of damage in the urethra and they wanted to watch "her" a couple of days to make sure everything's okay. Again, I'm not often offended when people call Rox a "she," but this lady just operated on his penis. Poor Roxy. Could he be any more emasculated?

Yes. Yes, he could....

*Ring*Ring* Just as Operation Desert Storm has become Operation New Dawn, Operation Kidney Stone Removal has become Operation New Pee-Pee Hole. That's right. That's what the vet told me (kinda). "I had to give him a new hole because there was too much damage in the urethra."

"I'm sorry, wha?!?"

"We're going to hold onto him (after hanging out down there another day, I guess she got used to calling my dog a "he") another day or two and make sure everything comes out okay." No pun intended, I'm sure.

My poor little doggy. The "day or two" ended up being four more days. It was truly touch and go there for awhile. He wouldn't eat or drink. I think the "new hole" was confusing him. So much change in one short week, and no counseling, hormone injections, or even so much as a 'Getting to Know the New You' pamphlet to read. He was taking it hard. When he did finally come home, we had to watch his every move. He had to wear the Elizabethean cone, which really pissed him off, but he was stitched up in two sensitive areas - make that three. One of the vet personnel tried to give Rox a quick "bangs cut" (he had missed his grooming appointment during the whole ordeal) and accidentally knicked him with the scissors. Pathetic, right? Keep reading.

When he finally did come home, he was a miserable mess. I resorted to letting him lick ice cubes out of my hand because he couldn't seem to get his cone-head into his water bowl. I also had to hand-feed him a few morsels of his new special diet food by hand, but with every bite, he hacked, gagged, and threw up a mucousy mess. And, of course, there was the ointment which needed to be applied to the wounds twice daily. We were both a little bitter about that one.

After a couple of days of barely eating, I phoned the vet with the latest. "The antibiotic is probably making him sick." So they prescribed an anti-nausea pill. Super. Now I have to hide pills in his food for him to eat, which he's going to throw up and I have to clean up. "Got any prescriptions for me back behind that little desk of yours, Lady? Just kidding! No I wasn't. Thank you so much. I'm sure this is going to work great." Because everything's been foolproof thus far. The pills did stay down. But don't alert the choir of angels just yet. Five minutes after taking said pills, my dog would bark and cry incessantly, follow me around so closely that he would bump into my calf every three seconds, and shake uncontrollably. It was like a "This is your dog on crack" commercial. The schizophrenia lasted about 20 minutes. He totally scared the children. I decided the pills would have to be administered 5 minutes prior to us leaving the house everyday. Sound cruel? It was for our sanity and his own safety. Oh, did I forget to mention that at this point, he's still throwing up his food?

By now, I'm picking out the casket. I'm writing the eulogy. I'm trying to decide the best way to console the kids. Perhaps an aqua frog for each of them. Lord knows, there will NOT be another dog. Hell froze over once. It's ain't happening again.

A week and a half later (nearly three weeks after the first surgery), Rox trotted down the stairs and headed straight to his special diet food bowl. He had his fill, lapped up a big drink, and turned to me with a smirky smile. Swear. My dog smiled at me. Such relief I felt! I hadn't killed my dog. I am a responsible dog owner! PETA isn't going to put a hit out on me!

A week later, I finally take Rox to his much overdue grooming appointment. I apologize for his shagginess, and hold him "crucified Jesus" style as I point out his delicate areas. "Oh, I see. He has a vagina," says the groomer.

"SSSSHHHHHH," I cover Rox's little ears. "We're calling it a new pee-pee hole." My poor dog. His penis has been rendered completely useless. He shoots blanks and pees from a fabricated va-jay-jay. How will I ever make it up to him?

"Give him a mohawk...and I'll take that spiked collar in the window," I tell the groomer.

Freakin' dog.

Sunday, February 21, 2010

Meet the Cast

Perhaps now would be a good time to introduce you to the residents of Aleighopolis. The cast of characters (and I do mean characters) are listed in the order they first appeared in my life.

First and foremost, my husband of almost 17 years. He loves me despite all my flaws. Not that I'm admitting to any. I call him Big Daddy, and if you've ever seen him, you know why. 6'6", broad shoulders and a heart the size of a zamboni. We crack each other up and piss each other off on a daily basis. Co-dependency at it's finest. He's worked for the same company for about a year longer than we've been married (loyal like a pup), and his promotions are the reason behind our many moves. He promises me it will all be worth it one day. I think everyday has been worth it - but don't tell him that. His Catholic guilt is working for me.

ZuZu is our oldest and only daughter. For about 5 minutes, we considered naming her Zuzu Petals "Blahzlahski" (being huge fans of "It's a Wonderful Life" as we are), but who could be that cruel (other than a slew of Hollywood's finest)? Instead, she's always been ZuZu to me, "my little gingersnap" as George Bailey referred to his daughter. ZuZu is teetering on the edge of teendom. She's a little mini-me, cursed with her father's near-sightedness, but blessed with his long, thin and toned legs. Although she looks more like me, her personality is more like Big Daddy's. Reserved and almost shy in big crowds, but a leader and a clown amongst her closest peers. She wishes only good for all people. All people, except her oldest brother.....

Enter Deuce (because "Little Daddy" just ain't right). Born 15 months after ZuZu, and always clipping her heels. Hence, the resentment. I'd feel a little sorry for him if he wasn't such a pot-stirrer on the homefront. He knows how to get in ZuZu's kitchen - and mine. But the truth is, he's an amazing young man. Such a gentleman...always gives his best and excels at everything...rule-follower...good grades...the stuff that annoying Christmas letters are made of. That's my Deuce. He wants to play football for Notre Dame one day. I tell him, don't bother. Go straight into the workforce and make that million by your 21st birthday. It's your destiny! (Translation: we can't afford Notre Dame)

And now, my swan song, MT. He was the easiest baby - almost like he had heard all the commotion in utero and decided, "I'm gonna give this poor lady a break." At nine months, he could keep himself occupied for hours with McDonald's happy meal toys and binder clips. At age nine, he still can. He has a huge imagination and the quickest wit of all of them. He does have a serious temper, though. Big Daddy would say, "If MT is mad at you, sleep with one eye open." We were sure he would find that rusty old axe with the hollow handle and do us in in our sleep. He never did, though. In fact, he's the one that gives the most sincere "sorrys," and the best hugs and kisses as repentence. His cheeks still carry a little baby fat, which I'm so thankful for. I get to plant my lips on those cheeks every night at bedtime. And then I go hide the knives.

Last but not least, our freakin' dog. One late summer day in 2003, Big Daddy and Deuce went to a Notre Dame football game and came home with a puppy. They tried to convince me it was "giveaway day" at the stadium. But I'm no fool. The adorable little mutt looked exactly like the 6-month old I had met a few weeks earlier at our friends' house. The friends who earlier that spring had thought they were losing one of two pet Pomeranians, and had a gorgeous little baby. The same friends who found out, "IT'S A MIRACLE! YOUR DOG IS GOING TO LIVE," and "CONGRATULATIONS! YOU'RE PREGNANT WITH BABY NUMBER 2!" within a week of adopting said pooch. My 4 1/2-year old son was wise beyond his years. He knew he'd hit paydirt. He was skipping town with low-dog on the totem pole. Our Rox. Half toy Poodle, half Chihuahua. He's like a baby poodle on espresso. He's had some work done....but I'll save that story for another day.

So there you have it. My own little party of five plus pooch (Poo-Chi, to be exact). I thought it was fitting to formally introduce them, as I suspect they will make many appearances in Aleighopolis. My husband, my children, my freakin' dog. At any given time, they can be the meaning of my life, or the bane of my existence. But with every heartbeat, they are my world.

Saturday, February 20, 2010

38-days and counting......

Seriously, Tiger?!? Seriously?!? Elin knocks you upside the head with a 9-iron (allegedly) at Thanksgiving, and you pick the Lenten season to air a press conference on your indiscretions?!? Two days after I’ve given up gossiping for Lent?!? Seriously?!?

It’s not that this is particularly a huge problem for me (“, said the alcoholic, gambler and crack-whore.) It’s just that, lately, I seem to be venting more often on the shortcomings of fellow man, woman and child. That’s right – not even those under the age of 18 are exempt from my discerning eye. What? You have a problem with that last part? Two words: Miley Cyrus. But I digress, this isn’t about Miley…..

I was chatting on the phone with a neighbor this morning, when all of the sudden, she spewed something about the Tiger Woods press conference starting and we hung up simultaneously. I hadn’t planned on tuning in, but her urgency piqued my interest. I turned up my own flat-screen to hear what Mr. Woods had to say. Might as well have been an off-screen adult speaking on a Peanuts special (“Wha-wha, wha-wha, wha”). It wasn’t what he said or didn’t say that I find worth discussing (/gossiping). It was something someone else “said” at the end of his announcement. It wasn’t audible, but I read her lips.

And that’s where I have to stop. Who’s “her?” What did she “say?” Ugh. How I wish I could comment. That discerning eye of mine caught something that definitely wasn’t meant to be noticed. And it sure would make for an interesting discussion. But I can’t. I believe it would fall under the category of celebrity gossip. The social-network media abounds with Tiger posts, and alas, I remain gagged. I thought to myself, is this the kind of thing that can withstand a 38-day moratorium? The short answer: no. It will not be relevant, intriguing, or even worth repeating. And that’s when it hit me.

What if every less-than-positive comment you had about a person (famous, familiar, or family) had to be kept in a box for 38-days before being shared? Would anyone care what was in the box after the month + week + day-ish? Probably not. Again, it would scarcely be relevant, intriguing, or even worth repeating. A gossipmonger lives to break the news. 38-days in, it ain’t news. It’s kitty litter liner. Or, it’s forgotten in lieu of something much juicier that happened just 5 days ago. But – now that info’s locked in the box. See where I’m going with this? Maybe if we weren’t so wrapped up in “discussing” and “solving” other people’s problems, we’d have more time to focus on our own. Maybe instead of judging others’ trials and tribulations, we could take the time to encourage them through it. Maybe a moratorium on gossiping would make the world a better place. Maybe toilet seats would always be in the "down" position. Maybe my kids would never fight. Maybe Jay Leno would be funny. Maybe unicorns would exist.

Maybe I should have given up chocolate for Lent.

Does this Blog Make My Butt Look Big?

Tah-dah! Here it is. What literally NO ONE has been waiting for… first blog. I’ve been threatening to start a blog for months (years), but never had the time. Scratch that. Inspiration? Hmmm. Guts. Nailed it. Hence, the title. * I mean, why put yourself out there in cyberspace for all the sarcastic nothing-better-to-do’s to comment on – questioning your intelligence and emphatically assuring you that nobody cares what you think? Let’s face it. Blogging is a bit narcissistic. I mean, unless you’re an expert in some field of interest, or you’re personally experiencing a life-altering situation which has given you an epiphanical slant – who DOES care what you have to say, other than you? The Greek Stoic philosopher Epictetus once said, “If you wish to be a writer, than write.” I doubt the 1st century philosopher could have imagined the number of people who would fancy themselves writers and publish their “works” on the world wide web. However, I wish to be a writer. The truth is, I’ve longed to quip and quote since the early days of Erma Bombeck. Never would I compare myself to the divine domestic diva, but in her spirit, I’m inspired. Is that redundant? Never mind. Doesn’t matter. If this blog makes my butt look big, so be it. I wished for something, and made it come true. (What was that?!? I believe Erma and Epictetus just rolled over in their graves)

* “Does this Blog Make my Butt Look Big” was meant to be the title of my new blog, not just the first entry. But apparently, I’m not as original as I had thought. Blogging Lesson One: Someone else has already thought it, perfected it, and published it. Adjust. Adapt. Move on.