Saturday, October 17, 2009

The Dog Days of Motherhood

So, I've been thinking. We have the boys. We have the girls. And then we have Gunnar. Since my comparison of my family is to that of a sports game of sorts (see blog title), what does that make my adorable Australian Cattle Dog?

I think the streaker that runs across the field at an inappropriate time is what he would be.

Gunnar came to us this spring, on Cinco de Mayo. A farm dog from Mississippi, he flew into T.F. Green airport via Delta, and we fell in love with him at once. And it's a good thing we love him, because he is FULL of challenges.

Let's start with the house breaking. That was challenging, but that was the easy part! Not too unlike potty training. You know, just when it seems like you are going to be cleaning up bodily fluids for the rest of your life, all of a sudden it "clicks", and you look back and say, "That wasn't so bad!"

Chewing! Chewing is a different story. I try to keep him supplied with rawhide and chew toys, but there's always going to be something he wants more. I have learned to hide the shoes. But, to date, we have lost a pair of flip flops, my glasses, a futon cover, and a chair leg, amongst other things. He hasn't eaten any of the children yet, which is good, but he has eaten a couple of poopy diapers which is the main reason I don't let him kiss me anymore. He is now half-and-half with the puppy teeth to grown-up teeth, so I'm hoping this teething thing ends soon.

Dori is not Gunnar's biggest fan. You would never know this if you saw her sleeping on him, but when they are both awake, it's a true brother-sister rivalry with them. This is good for Logan, as it takes the heat off of him. Gunnar has absolutely no control over himself when it comes to stealing Dori's toys. He also knocks her over trying to kiss her, and tries to steal food from her. I try not to laugh, but it's kind of comical watching her get mad and yell "Gunnar!!!".

If Gunnar was a human, he would be Logan. They are exactly, EXACTLY the same. I sometimes even mix up their names. They have the same personality, and the same purpose: to make everyone else crazy. Neither one is happy unless they are causing trouble.

Gunnar is still a puppy, and we got him at 10 weeks old. Have I mentioned this is our first dog? I have no idea what I'm doing. And I have to do it while raising 4 human puppies. Nuts! In my puppy search, I found a nice 2-year-old ACD up in Maine, named Blue. Blue was house broken. Blue had basic training. Blue was what I'd like to call a Certified Pre-Owned Dog. Easy. But nooooo...Pieman HAD to "raise a dog of our own from puppyhood!" Which is easy to do while you are at work all day and your wife does it! Bull crap!
But I wouldn't have it any other way.

Friday, March 27, 2009

I Miss Mayberry(field)

Part of me is going to have a hard time leaving this little town. I've lived here for almost 13 years, and have spent a great deal of my time here since I met Pieman 15 years ago. But as I was driving toward home yesterday, the umpteenmillionth time I've made that ride, I realized something else:

The little town I fell in love with already left.

I won't say I haven't noticed it already. Since the kids have started school, I've become increasingly aware as to how much this former blue collar town has become an "exclusive community" for commuters to Boston who live in $750,000+ McMansions. The air reeks of entitlement. I can't deny that I've noticed the chance. Pieman hates it most of all. He's lived here his whole life, so you would think that he'd be the least eagar to leave. Nope. HE didn't want to look at homes in this town. Lucky for him, we couldn't afford one.

Back to my ride home yesterday. Maybe it's because we moved to this particular neighborhood around this time of year, or maybe there was something else that made me nostalgic...but I found myself noting all the changes, just on this one road.
"I remember when that house was pink. I remember when that house was red."
"I remember that house when it was smaller, before it burned down and they built one twice its size in its place."
"I remember when that lot didn't have a big colonial house on it. I remember when there was a little run-down post office in it's place, with the old man who used to sit outside and wave to you as you drove by."
"I remember when that house they call the "church house" was a church. Now it looks less and less like a church and more and more like a house."
"I remember when Castle Dr. and Karen's Way (ooooooo...private drives!!) weren't even here."

Yes, I have a lot of memories of this little neighborhood. Unfortunately, that's all they are. Memories of the way this town used to be. I guess it's like a friend or lover that you find you have nothing in common with anymore.

So, I bid Mansfield farewell. Mayberry, I'm coming to chase you down.

Saturday, February 14, 2009

The House Blog: Part 1

Well, it is and isn't a secret that we decided to buy a house. I say that because I speak about it frequently, but not in the great detail that I would like to. The main reason for this: I'm afraid I'm going to jinx us, and if things don't pan out, I'm going to look like an ass.

"House Hunters" (on HGTV), is a big pile of b.s. Even "Property Virgins" doesn't show our headache in a true light. There's no way you could capture the true essence of shopping for your first home in a half-hour (not counting commercials) episode. We would require a mini-series, with a 2-hour premiere episode.

We started back in October with the same first steps we have in the past: get a pre-approval, view some homes, and start making offers. After all, housing prices are at an all time low! Want to know why? Everything on the market in our price range is either a short-sale (a.k.a. pre-foreclosure), or bank owned.
Short sales are a special kind of headache. Basically, you are trying to buy a house that no one is really going to sell to you. The first one we put an offer on got foreclosed on the day after we made the offer. The second, a house I truly fell in love with, waited for us in limbo, between an approved offer from the seller and eternal indecision from their bank. A bank that would frequently pass the "We're going to P&S soon" message to us. After all, they wanted to hold on the their potential buyers, just in case they did want to let this one go for less than what was owed on it.
Then the post-foreclosure, bank owned homes. A great deal. Such a great deal, that after you show up and make your offer for asking price, someone who has money to burn can decide that they want the house, but they are willing to offer $50K over asking. Just to be a tool. People like that are the ones that screwed the housing market in the first place. "I want it, I have to have it, and I'm going to drive the price of homes up by paying more than it's worth!" Combine that with dishonest lenders, and it's no surprise that we're all porked.

Well, after (or more like during), the perpetual "sale pending" tragedy, we found the house that we will soon be calling home. I am confident about this one, as we have made it past Purchase & Sale, and the inspection. We've also had a contractor come in and get us an estimate on the rennovations we plan on doing. But it's been crazy. There is so much to arrange in the way of appraisals, inspections, consumes your life. I don't know how people can buy and sell at the same time. I couldn't do it.

Next step: Closing. I can't wait for this part. Once it's over, the rennovations can begin!!! And then I'm going to have a whole new blog, complete with before and after pictures!!