Tuesday, August 31, 2010

Take Our Pets --No, Really

We have four pets.


And now, a pictorial of how I spent every spare moment of daylight this summer:








I do this until the puppy lays down in the grass in what Jane calls the "Starfish Puppy" pose

and won't bring the ball back anymore. I do this at least three times a day. (My right arm looks like Babe Ruth's at this point.)

If I DON'T do this, the puppy becomes the whiniest, paw-iest, most annoying animal on this planet.

Unless, of course, you've met my cat Thomas.
(Shown here in the pose I call Frat Boy 101.)

Coop and I are completely exhausted and it's because we haven't had a night of unbroken, uninterrupted sleep since May. Our dang cats have started in with either a) kitty aerobics or b) the most annoying and LOUD meowing/yowling or c) some combination of fighting and/or fur ball expulsion every single freaking morning at 5 AM.  If not 3 AM.

Every morning one of us gets up and throws the cats in the garage but we can never go back to sleep. It's been the longest summer of my LIFE, especially when you add in the fact that we can't let the cats out before 9AM because if we DO, they invariably come back with some small animal.  In Edward's case, it's usually alive.  (Coop says that Edward really wants his own pet.)
 (Edward, after the entire house has been woken up, in what I like to call his "$%&#(@ Cat!" pose.)

In Thomas's case, it might just be a tiny bunny--the most innocent and defenseless of all creatures. Thomas is clearly well-fed.  He's fat and slothful and spends most of the year working on the 24-hour nap.  But in the summer, he turns into... this Vicious Bunny Murderer.  And he's FAST.  No, really, I've seen him run and while it's not a visual I recommend, he IS fast.  There's no denying it.
(Be vewy quiet.  He's hunting wabbits.)

We have put collars on the cats with bells on them but all this seems to do is wake us up even more often to the sound of eight tiny reindeer throwing up fur balls on the hall carpet.  Which makes the dogs bark.

So, the sound track of the night goes something like this:
Jingle
Rowr
Thump (cat jumping on bed)
Hiss

Jingle
Rowr
Thump (cat knocking glasses off on floor)
Hiss

MEOW
WOOF
Jingle
HISS
Rowr
WOOF
MEEEOW
"OH, FOR PETE'S FREAKING SAKE!" (or, you know, some variation of that.) (Ahem.)

On the other hand, all this time I've spent up at night has had its positive side:  I'm knitting a blanket.

Well, I WAS knitting a blanket, until about an hour ago when it became evident that a rookie mistake made in the dead of the night on color block number two was going to require me to rip the whole thing back out. Right back down to the very first square.  Six weeks of knitting gone.

If y'all are looking for me, I'll be doing something less frustrating that has nothing to do with yarn or pets.

Like parenting, maybe.

Sunday, August 29, 2010

And the Summer Went WHOOSHING By

(Well, that sound was either whooshing or FLUSHING, I'm not sure which.) 

In retrospect, it's clear that there were several distinct themes to this summer. Let me 'splain.  No, is too much; let me sum up:

(I know, I know...I'm sorry! I'm sorry.  I couldn't help it.  How often does the chance happen to quote some dialogue from "The Princess Bride?") (Unless, of course, your name is Inigo Montoya and then you would probably have lots of chances.)

But I digress.  Themes, I was talking about this summer's themes:

(As always, if you click on the photos, they will open in new windows because, why yes, I ROCK the HTML, y'all!)


Number One: This was the summer when a lot of people I love came to visit.
Our friends, the Kelleys.  The Kelleys brought their two daughters and left vowing to get an orange tabby.  My kind of people.

Then my parents came.

Then my parents left for a week and our friends the Cowdens came.

Yes, that really is a GAGGLE of girls.

The the Cowdens left and my parents returned.

Then my nephew came to visit.

Then my parents left and we headed to Florida to meet my mother-in-law for a beach vacation where we had many fun adventures with Creepy Baby.

(Technically, this doesn't count as having a house guest but since our beach condo came with a washer and dryer, I still did loads and loads of towels every day so it counts, if you squint.) (Plus?  Creepy Baby came home with us and now resides proudly in Jane's room.)

Then my Father-in-Law came for a visit. I was pretty tired at this point and it wasn't until he left that I realized that I didn't take a single picture of him.  Not one.

Imagine picture of Granddaddy here.  (I'm hoping that Coop took some.)

Granddaddy left last week, bringing this season of the Cooper Bed and Breakfast to a close, just as the weather turned cool and rainy.


Number Two: This was the Summer of the Garden

We had a lot of fun last year with our garden.  (Okay, maybe too much fun, actually.)  But it pales in comparison with this year.

For one thing, this year, Jane (9) took Charge.  She's a take-charge kind of gal but this year, she REALLY took charge.  For a while she kept count of everything growing in the gardens.  Then she kept count of what all she harvested. She kept me apprised of the pest situation. She harvested.  She tended.

And then, she cooked.

She made salads,
 
(cheese on cucumber medallions)
inventive appetizers,

and even devised a whole series of recipes, which she even illustrated.  (The kid has MAD MSWord Skillz...)

She was also in charge of the weighing and keeping of all produce size records:

We ate and ate and ate of our own homegrown bounty.  And if I may just say so, the secret to life just may be homegrown corn.


We ate our harvest of tiny ears the night my parents arrived and it was the sweetest, most tender, delectable feast.  Next year, I may have to plant a lot more. A LOT more.  I might need a tractor.

Number Three: This is the summer of the beach.

We spent a lot of time at the beach this summer, both North Shore and South Shore on Long Island...
With the Kelleys


 With the Cowdens


With my nephew

With my parents

With other assorted friends

With my mother-in-law in Florida, where Ana (12) and I tried to recreate a photo taken TWELVE YEARS earlier on the same beach.


 We didn't quite capture it, but oddly enough, I look four months postpartum in both of them.  (Sigh.)


And then, just to be silly, we took the Jane version.

Number Four: This was the summer of adventures and achievements:


Jane started golf lessons.


 Ana resumed Tae Kwon Do and earned her yellow belt.

 
We went on a whale-watching cruise and although we saw no whales, Ana and I met our sea-sickness nemesis and conquered it. (And my mom got three life birds!)


Jane and her granddaddy caught a fluke which we ate for dinner.  (Jane LOVES to fish.  Seriously, she loves it.  And her favorite show EVER is Expedition Great White.) (Coop DID takes some pictures of Granddady!  Thank Goodness!)

We took the girls to see Ringo Starr


And Rush

We all wore a selection of Rush t-shirts from Coop's vast twenty-something-year collection of Rush concert t-shirts.  Coop achieved getting us the closest possible seats without actually having to get sweat dripped on us.
 

(And my mom and dad and I went into NYC to see Bernadette Peters in Sondheim's "A Little Night Music."  This was definitely something I'd wanted to do all my life and it was simply breathtaking.)

(There were other trips into the City, most culminating with trips to the M&M store but I will spare you the details since, yeah, I know, this blog post is already as long as a novel.) 

The last theme, Number Five, is that this was the summer we discovered that we have too many pets.  

But for more details on that theme, you'll have to tune in tomorrow.  

(OOOH, foreshadowing...mwuhahahaha!)

Saturday, August 14, 2010

No, We're Not Weird. Really. No, REALLY.

Hello from vacation!!  Hello, hello, hello!  Why yes, we're at the beach.  In Florida.  ON VACATION.

VAY-KAY-SHUN!

YEEHAW!

(I apologize for the excessive use of capital letters.  I will try to contain myself.)

So, anyway, here we are ON VACATION (sorry.)

This is the view from our balcony here ON VACATION.

The condo we rented is pretty fancy, except, apparently, it was previously rented by scavengers with large suitcases because in addition to not even coming with TOILET PAPER (Look, I can't help it.  The capitals just KEEP ON HAPPENING) already supplied, it didn't even have a shower curtain in one of the bathrooms.

Coop, however, remedied that:

Which should serve as a warning to everyone not to mess with Coop.

The odd thing was that, although the condo had been stripped clean of basic neccesities, we DID find one inhabitant.


Ana (12) and I were suitably creeped out, especially after Ana pointed out that our room number, 606, was the closest thing to 666 that the building had and also after I realized that the very next day was FRIDAY THE THIRTEENTH.

(SORRY!)

Ana and I tried to, um, dispose of said Creepy Baby by throwing out into the hallway but Jane took an unexpected liking to the...thing and rescued it.

Look at this incredibly creepy photo I took when my flash didn't go off:

Are you sufficiently freaked out?  Because here is where things started getting really, really good.

First?  I woke up to find someone watching over me:
Then, Ana opened the refrigerator to find someone supervising the...um...beer consumption:



Then, Jane wanted to take a bath.


And Ana tried to get something out of her bag!

After which, my mother-in-law decided that was enough foolishness and stowed the Creepy Baby in her suitcase.

So, it was even more surprising when, the next day, Coop was trying to get a shirt when THIS happened:

In other VACATION FUN (sorry), Coop took the girls out snorkeling to a reef a good quarter of a mile from shore and Ana, not content with being the baby whisperer, attracted a tiny blue fish who apparently thought her swimsuit was a distant cousin and followed her all the way back to the shallow water.  I got to see him swimming around her when they got back.  It was...amazing.

(Now that I think about it, maybe we should have asked it for three wishes.)

Anyway, we're on our way back to the beach.  Who knows what miraculous and/or creepy thing could happen next?

Sing it with me now, "Vacation!  Vacation! Vacation! Vacation! Vacation! YEAH!" (Any old tune will do.)