Thursday, September 29, 2016

Plot Twist

Well, that was unexpected.

Oh, buddy. We had such a good day. You only had one accident in the house. You peed and pooped on command. You didn't complain about the removal of your all-you-can-eat buffet. Probably for that reason, you responded really well to the training we did with kibble rewards. I watched you like a hawk and almost never let you out of my sight. We killed Training Day 1.

Except for that one oversight.

E had just come home from school. You had just come out of your crate and had peed in your spot like a champ, so I let you off the leash to play in the backyard to celebrate. We threw the ball a little, we ran around a little, and then E and I sat down to eat popsicles while you played in the bushes. We watched you the whole time. You were only in there for about 3 minutes. But it turns out you weren't playing. 

Fast forward to an hour later. I put your dinner down for you, and you gave it a pass. Highly suspicious, given the fact that you hadn't eaten (apart from reward kibble) for 8 hours. I shook your food around, but you just ignored it. Your muzzle was all wet, but I didn't see you drinking water. Your paws were soaked, but you hadn't stepped in water. I stood there, warning bells starting to tinkle but still utterly confused...and then you vomited. Three times in rapid succession. Mostly mushrooms. 

Over the next half hour you drooled profusely, dry heaved and had explosive diarrhea. By the time I called the vet they had just closed, so we wrapped you in a blanket and drove to the emergency vet. You were in rough shape. You were lethargic and shaking and drooling like a faucet. I felt terrible. 
After a little research it looked like the mushrooms you ate were probably not the liver toxic ones, just mildly hallucinogenic muscarinic ones which cause a lot of drooling and vomiting/diarrhea, and maybe severe breathing problems and convulsions. Did I mention I felt terrible? 

They kept you overnight. They gave you IV fluids, anti-nausea meds, activated charcoal and tested you for all kinds of stuff. By 10:30pm they said you were drooling less and coming around a bit. At 6:20 this morning you were "back to being a puppy". 

I don't know who was more excited when were finally reunited. Sure, I didn't lick your face as much as you did mine, but my happy dance was every bit as enthusiastic. 

I can only hope that you're a quick study and that you'll leave mushrooms alone from now on. But just in case, we're going on lockdown. For the foreseeable future it's you and me kiddo, literally joined at the hip. It's not that I don't trust you, it's just that I really don't trust you. But I sure am glad you're okay.

Wednesday, September 28, 2016

To: Gryffindor

You are 9 ½ weeks. Training starts today.

So far you have been a delightful little boy, with the exception of your deplorable bathroom etiquette. You are devastatingly handsome, as everyone has told you, which I suspect will get you out of more than one of life’s scrapes. You are calm and gentle, as puppies go, and you’re very, very good at hugs, kisses and cuddles. Yes, I think we picked just the perfect puppy when we found you, and I think we’ll be together for a very long time.


Buddy. You have got to figure out this potty training situation. Not to mention the leash walking fiasco. And the shoe-chewing conundrum. And the catch-me-if-you-can nonsense. But mostly, right now, I need to stop having to clean up your pee and poop from my floors eleventyseven times a day. I need that real bad.

So I will follow the trainer’s advice to the letter; only putting your food bowl down at breakfast and at dinner, taking you out to the same spot and refusing to let you have any fun until you’ve done your business, praising you up the wazoo and giving treats when you do answer the call of nature, and not letting you wander unchecked through the house, looking for virgin spaces devoid of pee smell. Life is going to get a little more prison-esque for you starting today, Griffy old pal.

But I promise, if you put your mind to it and do your very best, this phase of our lives together will not last long. Soon enough you’ll have full run of the place, you’ll be spared the indignity of being carried to “your spot” and kept under intense scrutiny while you powder your nose. Best of all, one day you and I will share a chuckle about those early days when you were so cute but so dumb, as we snuggle on the couch or hang out at the park chasing ducks. It’s going to be great. Really great.

So please, dearest boy, for love of everything holy, please get your shit together. And keep it outside.

Love: Mom

Thursday, June 16, 2016

Lots of updates to get to...but first things first:

I am officially unemployed. And it feels GREAT.

In 8 days E will be finished school and in 12 days we're loading up and leaving Ottawa, but in the meantime I've quit my job and I'm taking the summer off. That feels almost as good to type as it does to do. 

So how was Day 1 of Summer Vacation? FANtastic.

It's funny how easy it is to get to school on time when you no longer care if you get to school on time. 3 minutes early with no squabbling or mad rushes out the door. Sha-Zam! 

It's also interesting how long brunch can take when your child is at school and you have no reason to get up from a comfy chesterfield. (2 hours.)

And when you do finally make it home and get down to packing, it's funny how much time there is to try different packing strategies, consider organization techniques, and even to stop and chill out once and a while. Ka-Pow!

It's 5:30. Dinner preparation should be in full swing, but I'm on the couch snuggling with E (who's watching Octonauts) and J (who's doing who knows what on his computer over there). Dinner will get on the table...E will get in the bath...I'll probably do a little more packing at some point...but I have officially ceased to be concerned about keeping to a strict schedule and constantly watching the clock, worrying about one thing or another. 

Because, did I mention? I'M ON VACATION!!!

Monday, April 4, 2016


I guess on some level I expected an awkward conversation to come out of today's events. I mean, let's look at the facts. I took an inquisitive six-year-old to a charity softball tournament where a bunch of dudes in drag were tossing their balls around, and other euphemisms.

And while I hummed and hawed over what to wear to such an event, she didn't miss a beat:

Fits right in, doesn't she?

We watched some baseball, ate some cupcakes and hot dogs, drank some beer and had a great  afternoon soaking up the sun and scenery.

Did I mention that the whole event was a fundraiser for Bruce House, an organization that provides housing and resources for people living with HIV and AIDS? A great cause that we were happy to support, but perhaps a little more thought could have gone into the questions that might arise out of such an experience.

For example.

We wandered by a table selling various items including red ribbons, lollipops and snacks. There was one bowl I hadn't noticed that attracted E's attention on account of the bag of chips that was perched on top of it. Unfortunately, under those chips sat a large pile of vibrantly hued condoms.

"What are those mom?"

Damnit. I was about to find out whether the beer buzz I was rocking would help or hinder the situation. I saw the ladies sitting at the table exchange expressions of thinly-veiled glee at landing front row seats to watch me squirm. Candy? If I said it was candy and she couldn't have it would I get away with it? Or would that lead to some even more awkward and/or horrifying experience in later years for both of us?


"Uhmmmmm...those are condoms." End of story?

E: What are condoms?
M: They're for grown-ups.
E: But what are they?
M: ... Ok E, I'm going to be straight with you. I think it's an important question and it deserves an answer, but I've had a couple of beers and it's very hot out and I feel like maybe I should take some time to think about what I want to say before we have this conversation. How about you remind me tomorrow and I promise I will give you an answer.
E: But why can't you just tell me right now?
M: Because it's a pretty grown-up thing and it's a bit complicated to explain, and I want to make sure that I give you the right amount of information, so I need to be able to think about it first.
E: Well, why don't you just try, and if I don't get it THEN you can think about it?
M: ... (this is happening) ... Ok. Here it is. They're sort of like raincoats for penises.
M: Yep. You know how you wear a raincoat when it's raining to protect you from the rain? Well, when people have sex there are some diseases that can be spread from one person to another because there are germs in all body fluids, so people put condoms on to protect themselves from getting those germs.
E: A raincoat. I get it. That's not complicated, mom.
M: Awesome! Who wants a cupcake?