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Open invitation, come one, come all… highlights include rants and whining by yours truly with backup vocals provided by puppy pack members Dixie and Duncan.

My dearest sister (my only sister, but that’s not important) has an annual event that I try to attend. Open Mic at the Bird House is a blast! She accommodates my schedule as best she can by scanning my available summertime dates and selecting a date we can plan around as early as 6 months in advance. This sounds like I have a bazillion social things on my calendar, but that’s not it. Really, I have so few…

I screwed up my nerve and even sang a solo last year and I didn’t die of embarrassment and I finished the song. I sucked, but my expectations were so low that I did meet them… that would be the two things I already mentioned… finish and don’t die of mortification. This year, our mother was coming up by train from Florida for the event. I planned on going to visit Aunt Peggy and scheduled Friday and Monday as vacation days. Good times, yes?

I sing a lot, but not as much as I used to. I sing best in small groups or choirs and choruses. I blend well. I sight read well. I have had traumatic memorable solos. A solo phrase here and there in a song, I’m fine, but have lousy projection. I was rehearsing ‘I Will Remember You’ acapella for presenting at the Open Mic. Alone, practicing by myself, I didn’t suck. Put me in front of people and my throat locks up and my hearing goes and my vision is screwy. But if I practice enough so that I can do it in my sleep, there’s a chance that…

Life happens. Which is better than the alternative but still!

Our puppy pack was doubled for two and a half weeks. Remi (who *loves* to visit, enjoying the freedom of our doggie door) and Jake (who can get *out* the doggie door, but his arthritis prevents him from getting back *in*, so he pokes his nose through the doggie flap door over and over until the noise alerts us he wants back in) stayed with us while Jess, Conor, and crew went off on vacation.

The very first night Duncan and Remi got into a tussle. Remi was crowding Duncan on the couch watching me come home and it escalated. In separating them, my calf got in the way of Remi’s teeth. It was an accident. The puppies, once separated, were mortified and hid. I had the bite checked out and all was fine. No stitches, keep it clean. Fine.

When we got back from the emergency room, the dogs were all ‘what? we’re fine!’ and they were. The puppy pack continued behaving well and playing together every day.

Fast forward through to the morning before Remi and Jake were due to go home. My calf sported fading bruises and the final scab or two. In the shower, I consider wearing a cool summer dress now that my legs weren’t such a freak show. Drying off I hear the puppies barking at the front window…and then the sound of barking changes to fighting sounds and I scramble out of the bathroom, skittering across the kitchen floor to the front couch where Remi and Duncan are… well, you know…

I grabbed Remi’s back legs, lifting them up (a technique one of the vets or dog trainers told us about) while Stephen brandished a kitchen chair on their heads, forcing them apart. (Now you know why the lion tamer always had a chair in his hand!)

Well, a few slips and slides and crashes later (um, that would be me doing the slips, slides, and crashes because, as I said, I just got out of the shower, wasn’t all dry, and totally starkers) we got them separated. and calmed. Again, with the ‘oh crap, I’m in trouble now’ guilty faces and slinking into crates and under tables…

This time, Remi had two small puncture that were already hard to see once the residual smeared blood was cleaned off. Duncan did not get off so lightly. His neck was a bloody mess but he wasn’t crying or showing discomfort…just puppy guilt.

The vet shaved and finished cleaning Duncan’s neck and declared that no stitches were needed, but gave him a shot and sent him home with antibiotics to be administered every eight hours for the next eight days.

That time frame just covers the time when both Stephen is away on a biking trip and I did Open Mic at the Bird House in New Jersey. Our kennel will not take dogs on that medicine schedule. Our already-scheduled pet care provider who comes to our house four times a day to feed and visit, etc, could not guarantee the med schedule timetable. Other efforts to find a work-around for this dilemma were fruitless. Bringing them to NJ with me was not an option for many, many reasons, but maintaining sanity was high on that list.

So I won’t be going to the Open Mic at the Bird House and I am royally bummed. I’m home alone with just our two puppies. And fresh colorful bruises. And the heat. And the humidity. And sneezes (don’t know where they came from but they are getting really annoying).

Duncan is getting his meds on the dot while I am your decidedly grumpy pity party hostess. You’re all invited but don’t say I didn’t warn you!

Pity Parties are best attended by one. They do *not* promote wellness. They can, however, satisfy the whiny need to complain. They can delay dealing with the effort required to move on. Pity parties are useful when you really do not want to leave the Land of Denial where all is good and lovely and no one loses teeth or ages or gets wrinkles or encounters any progressive challenge whatsoever. It is NOT a desirable place to live. All that negative crap is demoralizing.

Getting off the pity party guest list requires some effort but having puppies and grandchildren are a BIG help.

Puppies console you and kiss your boo-boos.Puppy Love

Grandchildren take you out of yourself and remind you of the grand adventure to be found in your own living room…


(in the enlarged version you can see Liam’s head emerging from the far left of the tunnel)

…and in your very own back yard (cue music for Dorothy in the original “Wizard of Oz.”

The pain meds didn’t do boo, but the puppies and grandchildren made a huge difference in surviving the Pity Party. The tree smiles we put on the trees are still a fun sight from our back windows. “Painting” snow faces on the trees was our compromise because the snow wasn’t the kind you could make snow sculptures from. We tried a snowball fight anyway. The scoops of snow exploded in the air the minute they left our palms.

A call from the dentist admits that …um… additional adjustments to improve the cosmetic interim implants *was* desirable. I get to do it again this Wednesday… well, not the tooth extraction part (did I mention the pain meds sucked?) — the teeth aren’t there anymore, but the temporary bridges can be improved.

I second that. My boss will love the additional time away from work… not.

The wall plant stand had a years’ accumulation of dust, dirt, and dead plants among the living. Removing everything, tossing the dead ones (“we don’t take da dead ones” was a line from a long-forgotten play), wiping the dusty leaves, soaking the dried-out-but-still-living plants, washing the shelves, and finally reassembling everything took a fair bit of time. But it was easy work, done with the TV on for distraction, so I felt guilty.

It wasn’t enough. Hardly qualified as a frog, you know? I mean, just because it took *for-EV-er* to get to it, it wasn’t one of the elephants in the room I was pretending wasn’t there.

So I vacuumed the room. Honestly, that *did* qualify as a frog.

Our puppies do not shed much. One doesn’t shed AT ALL, while the other only does a moderate shedding before summer. What they excel in is bringing the great outdoors inside on their paws and clinging to their muzzles and coats. They track in sand, leaves, grass clippings, and twigs in prodigious quantities. They killed our Roomba which tried valiantly to keep up. Miss a day or two and the accumulation is noticeable. Miss a week or more (we do) and the debris begins to swirl about our feet as we cross the room.

FlyLady says to just do the middle regularly and only once a month suck up the edges and under tables, sofas, etc. In our puppy kingdom, if (if? HA!) we miss the ‘regularly’ part, the vacuum bag can get filled beyond capacity in only a round or two. Of course, if we do the regular thing, we still fill up the bag with the same amount of dirt and debris in about the same amount of time, but it feels worse because we only ran the vacuum twice for pete’s sake!

This also took a lot longer than the plant stand (actually, the plant stand is a bakers shelf thing which I love for the house plants). I was sweaty and dirty at the end, but I could walk barefoot through the room without getting crud on my feet. The sofa was once again a place I could sit without having to brush off sand and dirt from the puppies before planting my tush.

Now, these were indeed worthwhile activities with tangible results. They were not, however, remotely related to the elephants in the room which were the really BIG frogs I need to eat (and soon!).

One has to start somewhere, I say. I can accomplish a great deal when I am avoiding doing something else!

*see previous post

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