Fergie’s new tanning bed

Posted by houndrat on Sunday Nov 2, 2008 Under dogs, family life, Ridgebacks, Uncategorized

I’m sipping a? glass of water (yes, exciting beverages abound when you’re trying to de-caffeinate yourself), and just happen to glance out the window.? And there she is, in all her patio table hogging glory.?

I realize that Ridgebacks love to sun, but surely there should be some boundaries involved?? Like, say,? no putting your stinky hound dog body on the same surface where I might eat my lunch?? I mean, God forbid she has to be in the yard for even a millisecond without at least a drop of sunshine.

Next she’ll be demanding I actually polish the sucker before I let her out in the morning.

You’d better watch it, hound dog.? Or else I’m moving your sun-lovin’ tushy to Seattle, home of the dreary gray drizzle.? Nothing like trying to? satisfy that UVA jones? on some? damp chilly glass.


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Ridgebacks and napping

Posted by houndrat on Monday Oct 27, 2008 Under dogs, family life, husbands, Ridgebacks, Uncategorized

You’ve gotta love a girl who’s okay with her? station in life…….

….of course, it’s easy to be okay when your station is Queen.

At least? Her? Royal Fergieness? was gracious enough to? allow hubby a blankie while he broke his back on the floor.? Perhaps in the future I can persuade her to toss him a pillow as well.? And while she’s at it, maybe pass a decree mandating the use of matching socks.

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Okay Kiddie Kandids—Kandid This!!

Posted by houndrat on Wednesday Oct 15, 2008 Under babies, family life, mommies, Uncategorized

I can’t believe I’ve been so remiss as to neglect? posting? our? Kiddie Kandids? photos from my daughter’s first birthday.? First, I had my son and daughter pose together:

? Cute, huh?? Next, I had my daughter sit by herself for the “real” birthday shot:




What’s that you say?? You? can’t see anything?? Strange.? Well, actually, I suppose it could be because before we got any shots we could use, Finley? SOMERSAULTED OFF THE ELEVATED STAGE AND LANDED ON HER HEAD.? No, I’m not kidding.? It was seriously horrifying.? In fact, I’m pretty sure I gasped loud enough to be heard at the Babies R Us in San Francisco.

Apparently, the photographer must have been new, memory-impaired, or on crack, because instead of reciting the safety rules and having me sit right by my daughter the entire time TO PREVENT HER FROM BRAINING HERSELF ON THE FLOOR, she instead had me stand back behind? the camera? and make faces, so that my daughter would smile.? ? And don’t get me wrong–I’m all? about smiling baby photos.? Heck, smiling baby photos are the bomb–so long as? your baby doesn’t do? a header off the stage and land with a loud “splat” on the cheaply padded Kiddie Kandids bargain carpeting.

Having rarely been to Kiddie Kandids before, I guess I didn’t realize that kids actually might try to crawl off the platform.? Although, in retrospect–duh.? And I should have known to be cautious after the same photographer? kept attempting? to? perch my twelve month-old daughter on a completely uneven, unstable, and unsuitable? rock prop? lacking even? one iota of? back support.? ? I’m thinking she finally? realized it wouldn’t be safe after I uttered for the fifth time, “This isn’t safe.”? But? when the props were removed, I just went? along with? the photographer’s? directions, never? imagining that my poor little Fin-bucket would topple off the stage.

To make matters worse, they had their insurance company call me a few days later.? Not out of any genuine concern for my child, mind you, but rather just to get me to sign off on any store liability.? When I told them I really wasn’t interested in suing, but it would be nice if they offered to pay for Finley’s doctor’s appointment (to make sure she had no major brain damage) and chiro visit (her neck was totally out of alignment), the lady huffed and puffed and told me she didn’t think the policy covered any medical expenses.? Say what?? And when I said I probably wouldn’t sign anything right away, just to be on the safe side? (a personal family experience turned bad has left me cautious), she basically told me never fear, they wouldn’t need me to sign because her client probably wasn’t negligent anyway.? And I repeat–Say what?? Um, since when is the client not? negligent when they not only neglect to inform? the customer? of company safety policies, but also? violate those same policies?? Because after talking to a bunch of friends who frequent Kiddie Kandids, well, frequently, it becomes readily? apparent that there was? a flagrant lack of regular procedure during my visit.? Namely, that parents MUST be within an arm’s reach of their child, on the stage, at ALL times.?

Oh, and just to top off what was already an utterly miserable experience–the one photo they got of my daughter prior to the fall?? That I might have purchased?? Well, apparently, I’m not allowed to have it.? You see, silly me, I put her in a denim overall dress with nothing under it,? going for that? cute chubby baby look.? Little did I know that flashing a? minuscule bit of my baby girl’s? skin would be considered pornographic by Kiddie Kandids.? Not that they said that in so many words.? What they did say, however, was that infant girls are never allowed to expose their, eh-hem, “chest”, EVER.? As in, ever.? And little boys?? Only until they’re 9 months old.? And if that isn’t absolutely the most ludicrous thing I’ve heard in a very long time, I’ll eat my hound dog.? Well, maybe just the tip of her tail–with all the junk Fergie consumes on a daily basis, I can’t imagine she’d make a very tasty meal.

Needless to say, I think my Kiddie Kandids days are over.? Picture People, with your on the floor photos and hopefully less? moronic policies regarding exposed baby flesh, here I come!

So, how’s that for Kandid?


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Zag and Dimond at play

Posted by houndrat on Sunday Oct 12, 2008 Under dogs, Ridgebacks, Uncategorized

Just had to post this photo my aunt sent me from Colorado of Zag (Fergie’s? ONLY black? nosed show littermate out of seven show puppies) playing with Dimond.

From my angle, it’s hard to tell if we’re looking at Ridgebacks or kangaroos.? Although, I bet kangaroos inflict less damage on remotes and shoes.? (Yes, Zag, I’m talking about you.? Even if you are a black nose.)


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Finley’s 1st Birthday, or “Me Like-um Cupcakes!”

Posted by houndrat on Wednesday Oct 8, 2008 Under babies, family life, Uncategorized

I know this is such a cliche, but I seriously can’t believe how quickly time has passed. Finley celebrated her first birthday yesterday.? It’s almost unfathomable how our tiny infant girl morphed into this sturdy little toddler.? Okay, well, at over 9 lbs at birth, maybe she was never exactly “tiny”.? But you know what I mean.?

I guess a huge part of? the bittersweet aspect is? that we seem to be enjoying our daughter’s babyhood so much more than our son’s.? Not that we didn’t love him equally as much when he was that age.? But it just seemed so much more stressful, that whole fear of the unknown thing.? Whereas now we’re baby pros.? Or not.? But it is easier.? ? However, I’m still? soliciting insight as to how to manage a four year-old dude with a ‘tude, so if anyone has any nuggets of wisdom they’d care to throw my way, I’m all ears.? Barring that, a gift certificate for a month at the spa might work wonders as well.

At any rate, happy 1st birthday, Finley!

Finley and her new “gumball” machine

Finley meets the cupcake.? “Hmmmm, what is this strange looking creature?”

“No matter—it must be edible.? Isn’t everything?”

“W-o-o-o-w-w-w-w-w!!!!!!!!!!!!!!? This sure ain’t broccoli!”? (Did I spell broccoli right?? Wow, that’s a first.)

“Dude.? Cupcakes are? da BOMB!”

“Finger-lickin’ good!”

(In the interest of full disclosure–no, we didn’t let her have the whole cupcake.? Just a few bites, in fact.? Those of you who know me probably already assumed this without me saying anything.? Actually, I planned to make healthy, low-sugar and oil zucchini cupcakes, but in all honesty, I just got lazy.? Plus, I figured with my genes, the poor kid is going to like her sugar, no matter when it gets introduced.? So, I ordered delicious cupcakes to share with friends from our neighborhood Cake Lady, Nicki.? Totally sugar-laden, but totally worth it!)

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She’s B-a-a-a-c-c-c-k-k-k………

Posted by houndrat on Tuesday Oct 7, 2008 Under Uncategorized

Just when you think your insane life is? rising from? the ashes of chaos? with some semblance of order, you get a phone call from your dad.? And guess what?? He’s bringing Fergie back.? (Of course, in my head, that last line is sung to the tune of JT’s little ditty).? Oh, yeah.? The Ferganator is coming home.

Basically, this means it’s time to batten down the hatches.? Or, in our case, the junk.? As in, picking it up off the floors.? And the tables (although, not the coffee table–we still don’t have one of those).? Yep, the counter too.? Because the Ferganator knows no boundaries when it comes to creating her own special chew toys.? And alas, she thinks everything is edible.? Even beer cans.

So, yep, she’s finally home.? My son is ecstatic.? In fact, Fergie had to play Candyland with us last night.? ? She even selected the playing cards on her own.? The trouble, of course, was extricating the cards from her? jaw afterwards, but we made it work.? Well, maybe we? lost a card or two.? But really, they give you way too many in that game.? So we can still play.? Even if there are no orange or blue ones left.

And wouldn’t you know it, no sooner is she home for five minutes, then she digs this out of the bathroom trash:

Notice it’s already half ingested.? Because there’s nothing like a? little cardboard to wash down those chicken backs.? And actually, to be perfectly accurate, she stole about six of them.? Which leads to a much more disturbing question–how the heck do we go through so much toilet paper around here?? Although? I suppose at least this means my socks are safe, for the time being anyway.

As you can see, she’s having a challenging time readjusting to life here.? Can’t you just? see the stress oozing from every pore?

Less than 24 hours, and she’s already back to her sofa hogging ways.? But at least she didn’t comment on the missing coffee table.



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Just lock me in a padded cell.  Please. Because the enormity of my decision to leave? the kids with hubby? while attending the annual Ridgeback Specialty is starting to sink in.? And the deeper it sinks, the more obvious it becomes that I have utterly and completely lost my mind.

Any mother with even an ounce of sanity would spend her first kid-free days in over a year doing something relaxing. Like soaking in a spa while eating bon bons and getting a foot massage by a young Antonio Banderas doppelganger.  Or lounging on a squeezably soft yet tasteful comforter at the Four Seasons while ordering room service and reading trashy novels, only venturing out to float on a raft in the pool while sipping a strawberry margarita.? ? Or perhaps even sending the kids away so she could hole up in the house ALONE while eating Dulce de Leche Haagen Dazs and watching endless reruns of Buffy the Vampire Slayer or Veronica Mars.

But apparently all my sanity was sucked away into? the black hole of? motherhood long,? long ago.? Because instead of doing any of those things, I’ve chosen to squander my hard-earned freedom at a dog show.? Where the dogs will be pampered more than I.? This wonderful trip involves me flying on a red-eye (read, no sleep whatsoever) and arriving? at 6:00 a.m.–just in time to shower and throw on some show clothes so I can take the Ferganator into the ring.? Where instead of humiliating me with her naughty antics in front of just a few local Ridgeback folks, she’ll get to take on the whole nation.? Then, there’s the endless pottying of dogs, exercising of dogs, grooming of dogs (okay, so at least with Ridgebacks, the grooming part is? pretty brief–thank god I didn’t choose Samoyeds), before staying up late at the Top 20 event, followed all too quickly by the next show morning, where I will attempt to split myself in two so that I can show multiple dogs and puppies in stud dog and brood bitch.? Speaking of which, maybe I should just enter myself in the latter category.? Think I’d have a shot?? My kids are pretty cute, if lacking in ring demeanor.? Which basically is to say they’ll fit right in with the rest of the crew I show.

And then for the grand finale, I get to drag my kid-free butt out of bed at? 4:30 a.m. so I can have the supreme honor of driving 50 miles to the lure coursing field,? because nothing says relaxing like being? dragged willy-nilly across a dirty old field by four absolutely bunny-crazed Ridgebacks.? And of course, there’s the peaceful event of chasing the especially naughty ones down after the course is over.? To add to my vacation, I’m sure I’ll fall a few times, as well as almost pass out from the humidity.? Oh, and lets not forget that during this entire “vacation”, I’ll be pumping at least four times a day.

And then there’s the return home, where my house will surely look like a condemned property inhabited by one hundred transients and ten families of rats upon my arrival.

So, please, lock me up.? And make sure you do it before 7:37 p.m. Otherwise, save me a strawberry margarita? (or five) in Pennsylvania–I think I’m going to need them!

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Should I stay or should I go?

Posted by houndrat on Wednesday Sep 17, 2008 Under dogs, family life, husbands, mommies, Ridgebacks, Uncategorized

Hold on everyone, because here comes Armageddon.

Well, maybe not for you.? But for me?? It may as well be.? Because next week I’m leaving for four days to attend the annual Rhodesian Ridgeback National Specialty in Pennsylvania.? Which means the hubby is staying behind.? With both kids.? In the house.? ALONE.

And while the idea of a four day kid-free vacation sounds like a little piece of heaven right about now (even though I’ll miss the little stinkers like crazy), the idea of returning to the shambles of what was once my fairly structured life is going to be something altogether less angelic.? Not to mention that I expect my house to be in shambles as well.? Literally.

It’s not that I don’t think hubby can handle taking care of the kids, dogs, house, shopping, chauffeuring, and all the accompanying chaos that makes up the life of a stay-at-home parent.? It’s just that I don’t think he can complete all those tasks without letting a few things slide along the way.? And I’m shuddering inside at the non-stop visuals my overactive imagination is so thoughtfully providing me.

I know, I shouldn’t sweat the few, minor little details. Like what they’ll be eating (for my son, whatever no-no’s he can coax out of daddy–which is to say, Oreos for breakfast and? Ho-Ho’s for dinner.? The baby will probably get her first taste of? Ho-Ho’s as well.? Okay, now I’m REALLY hyperventilating).? Or what they’ll be wearing (striped shirts with checkered shorts that have already been worn five days in a row.? In the mud.? And rain or shine, the baby will likely be naked).? What they’ll be doing (watching non-stop episodes of entirely inappropriate violent cartoons.? And possibly even my hubby’s favorite–zombie movies).? What they won’t be doing (managing to find the trash can or the diaper pail.? Or buying more toilet paper when they run out, and instead, resorting to hubby’s old sock method.? Gag).

I know.? I KNOW.? I shouldn’t? fret so much over my husband’s priorities.? Or lack thereof.? And just because last time I left him unattended with the kids this happened doesn’t mean anything quite so dramatic will happen again, right?? Especially given the fact that we’re down to only a single table in the entire house now. Statistically speaking, our odds of breaking the one remaining glass table have got to be pretty darn low.? Right?? RIGHT???? ? And as a plus, the Ferganator? will be in PA as well, leaving? only the marginally naughty, shoe-eating? Skye hound and the growling Pig dog.? ? Fergie alone is the equivalent of about eight GOOD dogs, so surely this has to be helpful.

Seriously, though, I’m okay leaving the kids with hubby.? He’s got to be one of the most involved fathers I know, and as a consequence, he is entirely secure in his ability to take care of the kids while I’m away.? And so am I.?

Really.? It’s the house I’m worried about.

But maybe I’m overreacting a little.? I mean, just because the house looked like this last time I left hubby to his own devices–WITHOUT THE KIDS–doesn’t mean it could get that? much worse? in just four days WITH the kids.? Right?? RIGHT???

Yeah.? Right.?

So, hypothetically speaking….is it too late to change my ticket?

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Meet My Husband–Mr. How Not To Wear

Posted by houndrat on Sunday Aug 17, 2008 Under family life, husbands, Uncategorized

I wasn’t going to say anything. I really wasn’t. But the more I think about it, the more I’m just so completely dumbfounded by the absolute retardedness of it all that I can’t possibly keep quiet.

So Friday afternoon I get an email from my husband at work. Here’s the email:

Subject: Damn, My Shirt has been Inside Out ALL DAY!
I was just in a meeting and someone asked me if my shirt was on inside out. I said, “NO!” Of course, then I looked at the buttons and they were inside my shirt? and there were threads hanging all over….Arghh…

That alone is beyond my comprehension. How does a grown man reach the ripe age of 37 without knowing a failproof way to tell if his shirt is on correctly?  But it gets better. Because then he shows up at home at 6:45 p.m. on Friday night AND HIS SHIRT IS STILL ON INSIDE OUT!

Me: “Hello there, King of the Dorks. Just out of curiosity–did it ever occur to you at any point throughout the day to put on your shirt correctly? Just for kicks?”

Hubby, eying me quizzically over a mouthful of pasta: “Huh? Shirt? Why?”

One of our more scintillating dinner conversations. But back to the point–it’s not like my husband works at—at—at a place where inside-out shirt wearers work, whatever planet that might be on. He works in a large, professional building, full of lots of professional-looking people. Minus one, of course.

And this isn’t the first time. I remember an occasion ten plus years ago, before we were married. My husband flies in for the weekend to visit. We’re hitting a “trendy” bar in Newport Beach, so en route from the airport we stop by the mall so he can pick up some appropriate clothing. Indeed we have to stop BECAUSE HE FORGET HIS LUGGAGE.? ? ? As in, all of it.? Who does that? The man literally shows up at the airport without a suitcase, without a duffel bag, without anything other than his wallet and the clothes on his back. Which were so not appopriate.

So he puts on his new clothes and then we’re in line at this bar in Newport? and my husband is smiling and chatting with the girls behind us. He then remarks to me, “Oh, the girls out here are so friendly!” Color me thrilled.

About an hour later we’re walking around inside and my best friend suddenly points at hubby’s back and starts laughing and I notice his shirt is on INSIDE OUT with the price tags dangling halfway down his back. And it hits me. The “friendly” girls he’d been talking to in line had giggled and said, “Is that the new style?”

Of course hubby just laughs it off as always, citing his “boyish and amusing”?defense. But now I’m wondering if there’s some kind of latent pathology here. And Stacy and Clinton, where the hell are you when you’re needed?

Stacy and Clinton

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You never know when life is going to throw you a curve ball. Take Skye, for instance.

One day, she’s basking in the sun without a care in the world:

Skye sunbathing

The next, disaster strikes in the form of an absent hot tub cover:

Skye falls in

Skye falls in two

It’s like the epitomy of the Project Runway slogan, only in reverse: One day you’re out, and the next–you’re IN! And I guess Skye is a glass half full kind of girl, because this is the second time she’s made a splash and yet she’s already back in the saddle, sunbathing on the hot tub again.

Or maybe she thought we needed a little excitement around here, since Fergie and her crazy brother Leo are visiting “Nana” in Colorado. You see, my family is entirely insane and to ensure we demonstrate this adequately, every few months my dad takes various dogs on interstate road trips between California and Colorado. I wouldn’t be surprised if a clause of “Do you, Jerry, solemnly swear to rent a variety of minivans and drive the family hounds thousands of miles each year to different households, purchasing them burgers along the way and letting them sleep on the hotel beds with nary a complaint, so long as you both shall live?” was added in to my parents wedding vows. I guess that would involve some special telepathic gift on my mom’s part seeing as how we didn’t have Ridgebacks until after I graduated college. Which could explain why I was always getting busted in high school before I even got the opportunity to do anything wrong.

Anyway, we said our good-byes on Saturday. Leo was in his crate less than a minute before wreaking havoc on his bedding:

Leo and dad

And Connor says good-bye to Fergie:

Fergie road trip Connnor

It’s really nice to share the chaos for awhile but I have to admit—we miss our little Ferganator.

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