Thursday, October 19, 2017

Didn't budget for this

So, we still have a dog.
When the Westie Resuce adoption agency did our home visit (that is not a joke), they asked me how much I thought we’d spend on a dog in a year. Um, we need to buy dog food and take him for a yearly check-up. In my mind, that equaled about $150, but I didn’t want to sound cheap so I answered “$200?” That number did not please the agent and she began listing all the myriad items we should expect to include for the Dog line item in our budget.

Turns out she was correct; my number was way low. From check-ups to heartworm chews to flea treatments to treats and toys and the four leashes we’ve had to buy since he’s chewed through them all, my number was laughable. But after a year and a half, I thought we’d finally gotten everything we needed for Dakota.

And then we went for his yearly check-up. He’s been chewing on his paws lately so we talked to the vet about his itchy feet. She said it’s most likely a grass allergy…

Y’all. This dog is allergic to grass.

(He’s actually allergic to the pollen in the grass, but at this point that feels a little nit-picky.)

So, the reality of what we learned is that Rebecca’s dog is allergic to his bathroom.

What do we do about this? Grass is everywhere! The vet suggested giving Dakota one Zyrtec each day.

I could not figure out how in the world we were going to get the world’s pickiest dog to take a pill. I’ve watched our neighbor make her cat take a pill and I was pretty sure that would never fly with Dakota. But the vet suggested Rebecca put it in a bit of peanut butter. Dakota does like peanut butter, so I was game.
I had no idea how successful the peanut butter trick would be. The dog LOVES his daily dose of Zyrtec-infused peanut butter. If he could unscrew the lid to the peanut butter I think he’d OD on the stuff. 
Sean takes a Zyrtec daily. Rebecca takes a Zyrtec daily. I take a Zyrtec daily. And now Dakota takes a Zyrtec daily.

We’re bonding over our shared allergy meds.
If we didn’t love our real-life human third-born as much as we do, I can promise you we would not be buying an extra dose of Zyrtec for a dog. Mainly because we wouldn’t have a dog, but you get the point.

The best thing about having Dakota is Rebecca will never be able to doubt how much we love her!

Wednesday, October 11, 2017

The future is (almost) now

I don’t mean to alarm you, but my baby is graduating from high school this year.

What I meant was I don’t mean to alarm myself… but, too late! I am officially alarmed.

I was doing pretty well pretending Rebecca would be around, oh, forever, because I was too focused on dealing with the desertion of her older brother and sister. For the past several years, I was consumed with Michael and Amy’s high school graduations, and then Michael’s college graduation. My attention was focused like a laser beam on the two older people who unceremoniously packed up and moved out. Rebecca was my steady Eddie. She wasn’t going anywhere anytime soon. She’s my baby!

But this September I woke to find another high school senior in the house. And she started talking about where she’s going next year and all her plans and oddly enough, where she’s going and her plans don’t seem to include Michigan or me. Which, as you can imagine, has been quite unsettling.

I’ve said before that I am keenly aware I am not the first mother to send her children into the world. But I rarely heard anyone talk about it. My mom never brought it up, even though for her, each first was also a last, since she only had me and my twin sister. When we flew the coop to college within weeks of each other, I don’t recall any talk at all about it. I imagine my children wish they could say the same…

But this verbal processor is talking about it A LOT, and as I’ve talked about it I’ve run into other mothers who feel the same. It’s not that we don’t know it’s coming. It’s that it came a whole pickin’ lot faster than we could have imagined.

Days are long and years are short. I heard that when I was a young mom and thought it was complete garbage. Days, weeks, months AND years were long. I was feeding and cleaning and wiping mouths and bodies and noses and butts that weren’t mine, and I thought it would never stop.

Then one day, it did.

I have now become that old lady who tells new moms, “Enjoy it! Time flies!”

For those dealing with sleepless nights or picky eaters or kids who simply will not go poop in the toilet but will gladly do the deed in a diaper behind the couch, please know I feel your pain. Your days are long. And seemingly endless. Rest when you can and eat well and do your best to take care of yourself because you are doing hard, thankless work.

And when you can, find glimpses of joy. Maybe the picky eater eats a meal without complaint. Maybe Mr. Diaper finally uses the facilities. Maybe Miss Never-Naps actually sleeps more than 15 minutes. Write them down, with dates. That way next week, when you think nothing is going well, you can recall that something has gone well. And that can give you hope that more will go well in the future.

And the future is a whole lot closer than you can possibly imagine!

Thursday, September 28, 2017

25 down, 25+ to go

What do Barney the Dinosaur and my marriage have in common? We’re both 25 years old this year!

Barney appears to have, mercifully, gone extinct but Sean and I remain just as young as we were two and a half decades ago. 

Hahahahaha! Nope. We’re a creaky, achy, grey-headed duo. (Yes, yes, technically I’m grey but I prefer to delay that look, oh, forever.) I had no idea my knees could be their own percussion section or that bodily functions we took for granted would begin to betray us. And we had no idea the children we lovingly brought into this world would just dip out and have their own lives, causing us to re-evaluate who we are and what we’re going to do with the next 25 years. 

On our anniversary weekend we took a quick trip back to where it all started. Hurricane Irma had just dragged herself through Atlanta and much of Stone Mountain was still out of power. When we pulled into the church where Sean and his family attended for years and where we took our vows, the secretary told us they were working off auxiliary power but she let us in and gave us free reign to tour the building. Amazingly, the pipe organ was on the aux power, so Sean got to play a few hymns.
We visited with family all weekend and on Sunday, went to the church we attended when we were first married – we were a part of that church and her daughter churches for the 13 years of our pre-Michigan married life. Perimeter Church was celebrating its 40th anniversary, so a celebratory attitude was in the air. We ran into Brenda, who played French horn at our wedding, and she enjoyed recalling this little gem: “Do you know how lost we got going to your wedding? Remember, this was before MapQuest and cell phones! We had to stop and use a payphone to call for directions!”
We also saw our dear friend Jennifer. She and her husband, Wade were a part of so many important aspects of our early married life. The two of them impacted our lives in ways few others have. It was lovely to see Jennifer and my goodness, how we miss Wade.
As we settled into our seats for the flight back to Michigan, and the dulcet tones of our Atlanta-based flight crew rang over the intercom, we talked about the people we were leaving behind and those we were heading towards. Twenty-five years ago, no one could have convinced me I’d live in Michigan. I wouldn’t have believed I’d have a 23-year-old son and two daughters hot on his heels. And 22-year-old Christy would never believe she’d write 500 words reminiscing on years’ past! Only old people do that…

Barney may be a thing of the past, but his song lives on. As annoying as it was then, it seems like a pretty good earworm for today:

I love you
You love me
We’re a happy family
With a great big hug
And a kiss from me to you
Won’t you say you love me too

Happy 25th to Sean and me!

Tuesday, September 19, 2017

(Tap, tap, tap… is this thing still on?)

It’s been just over 10 months since I checked in to my little corner of the internet. Those 10 months followed a few more that were, let’s just say, less than stellar. Between family ordeals both immediate and extended and friend issues (the kind where you find out who your real friends are), I found myself not finding joy in much of anything. Which meant I found little fun or humorous to write about.

After the first few days of no writing turned to a month, then two, then two more, I figured I was done. “Most blogs don’t last anyway,” I told myself. And I settled in to a comfortable denial of my once-strong urge to get everything down on paper.

And I found myself thinking, “I was a writer.” Totally past-tense.

But then my sweet third-born asked what happened to the blog. “I really miss your posts,” she said. “They were about our life. Like a photo album.” She didn’t just say it once. She said it multiple times. And between her asking me to write again and my dear mother-in-law saying she missed my posts, I decided to try to get back in the game.

Don’t get me wrong; much of the junk that caused me to hang up the keyboard is still there. And more bad stuff will happen. But good stuff is happening, too. Somewhere. Sometimes it’s harder to find than others, but it is out there. And often, it’s a lot closer than I think:

Like the fact that I just took a motorcycle training class with Michael. We’re both endorsed to ride!

Or that Rebecca is honing her teaching skills by teaching science, piano and ballet.

Or that Amy is helping to choreograph a show that Sean, Rebecca and I are working on with two other dear friends.

Or that today is my 25th wedding anniversary!

Or that the sun rose this morning.

Now that I’m waking from my self-imposed stupor, I can see the many, many wonderful things going on that I would happily chronicle in a blog post.

Besides, my baby is graduating from high school this year and I definitely need a place to talk about how totally impossible that is.

It’s not just impossible. It’s downright crazy.

Here’s to a new start on Where I Am. And hopefully where I’ll be will be right here for many years to come.
The first day of 12th grade...who let this happen? I blame her father.

Many thanks to our friends Barry P. and Dr. D for loaning us helmets!

Thursday, November 10, 2016

It's the end of the world as we know it

Well, y’all, I never saw this coming. All these years, living like this day wouldn’t come and yet, here we are. I can only imagine it signals the end. The end of the world surely must be nigh. 

What? Do you think I’m talking about the election? Oh no. Something much more insane than a little election has occurred at our house and I know it must mean the end. Here it is:
Did you see it? Look again:
See it now? Do you see that empty pudding cup with a spoon in it? It’s an empty pudding cup with a spoon in it! It was left on the coffee table overnight. Left out. On the coffee table. All night.

What? That doesn’t seem like a big deal to you? Well, it will seem earth-shattering when I tell you the only person who eats pudding cups at this house is Sean.

That’s right, people. Sean Duffy left a pudding cup and spoon on the coffee table! I'm waiting for the earthquakes, crashes of thunder and bolts of lightning to begin any moment.

Rebecca and I came home from a rehearsal to a quiet house, so we assumed Sean had gone to bed. When we entered the family room and saw the pudding cup (and spoon!), we both gasped. I don’t think either of us has ever – EVER – known him to leave out anything like that. Ever.

We were afraid he’d been abducted because in our minds, that’s the only way this scene made sense.

He’s the one who sweeps through the house, dumping out glasses he finds without hands around them, not aware (or caring) that we might still be using them. He puts things away using the touch-it-once rule: if you handle something, put it where it belongs the first time. He has never left his socks or underwear on the floor. In 24 years of marriage I can honestly say I have never seen him leave anything out of place like this.

(I realize those of you with messy husbands must be jealous right about now, but it makes this person, who's fond of piles, just a little insane. You have no idea the pressure I live under to keep my piles neat and managed. Which doesn't usually happen unless company is coming over and then I sweep all my piles into a laundry basket to be dealt with at a later date. Look, we all have our filing systems...)

Once Rebecca and I recovered from the shock of seeing the trash on the coffee table, we both cracked up and said, “Picture! We must take a picture!” Because Rebecca knew her siblings would not believe this story without photographic evidence.

I guess it’s finally happened. My clear inability to handle-it-once has rubbed off on him. (Notice the barrette, single earring, bracelet and ring on the table.) Goodness. I wonder if tomorrow there will be socks on the bathroom floor or worse – a glass that isn’t whisked away from the family room to the kitchen sink.

My word. It seems I hardly know my husband any more. Maybe the real Sean Duffy WAS abducted and a fake was left in his place... If this were a movie, the pudding cup would be a clue that something was horribly amiss. 

Assuming that the real one is still among us, I must admit nothing will shock me any more. Nothing is as nuts as Sean Duffy leaving out a pudding cup and spoon. Not even an election season as crazy as 2016's.

Thursday, October 13, 2016

My pleasure!

Eleven years. Eleven long years. More than 4000 days. That’s how long I’ve lived without quick access to Chick-fil-A’s chickeny goodness. But as of 6 am this morning, that has all changed.

Lansing’s first Chick-fil-A opened for business.
(Photo by RHD)
(I’m just letting that sink in…)

The new CFA is 8 miles from my house. Takes about 15 minutes to get there. A 2 ½ hour trek to the closest original chicken sandwich was my reality yesterday. But today. Today! A 15-minute drive is but a hop, skip and a jump!

I saw several friends as Rebecca and I had breakfast there this morning. I may have to go back for lunch. And if we weren’t having company for dinner, I’d be tempted to make it a three-fer kind of day…

I’m going to have to make a new budget category.

Chick-fil-A, thank you for coming to Lansing! This Georgia girl is thankful for the taste of home.

Wednesday, October 05, 2016

This will be hard to beat

We’ll celebrate our 25th anniversary next September. We’ve thought lots about what we’ll do – but after our celebration of #24 two weeks ago, I’m thinking we should just hang up the celebration shoes and count it good for the rest of our anniversaries.

Yes. It was that good.

We went to the Big Apple and saw all the major sites – The Statue of Liberty, the Freedom Tower, 9/11 Museum, Rockefeller Center, The Empire State Building. We walked the Chelsea High Line and miles and miles and miles of the city’s sidewalks. We rode the subway from north to south and back again. We packed in so much in three days that we needed a break from our break.

And did I mention we saw this show – maybe you’ve heard of it:

Okay, y’all. I am not one to jump on bandwagons. Usually, if I know something is popular I will be less inclined to like it. When my mom took me shopping as a kid, the kiss of death to whatever clothing she was trying to get me to buy was saying, “This is so in!” Back to the rack.

I say that because there is nothing so popular, so hot, so on-freaking-fire right now as Hamilton. This does bother me a little, but I console myself by remembering that I fell in love with the show long before tickets cost a kidney.

Thankfully, Sean got our tickets months ago, before they were as obscenely expensive as they are today. But you know what: that show is worth whatever pretty penny you pay. The choreography, the score, the costumes, the staging – this show is going to revolutionize musicals. Revolutionize. Don’t want to take my word for it? How about Andrew Lloyd Webber’s – you know, the guy who did this little show called Phantom of the Opera:

Just seen #Hamilton; it raises & changes the bar for musicals. Brilliant lyrics, staging, cast. Creator/lead @Lin_Manuel is special. ALW.*

Oh, y’all. So, so good. And I got to see two of my favorites from the Broadway cast recording, Okieriete "Oak" Onaodowan (Hercules Mulligan/James Madison) and Thayne Jasperson (Samuel Seabury/ Ensemble).

It’s been two weeks and I can’t stop thinking about how amazing that show was…

So that was three hours of our three days. Here’s a look at what we did the rest of the time;

What would a Duffy vacation be without a visit with some shiny sheet metal? Cadillac recently moved their marketing headquarters to Manhattan. Sean has a friend there so we visited the offices and got a look at the cars on display in the lobby.

A trip to Trinity Church was a must for this Hamilton devotee (the man this time). Right next to Hamilton's grave was this one, which Sean thought was wonderful:
Robert Fulton. His memorial was erected by the American Society of Mechanical Engineers.

And here's Hamilton's and his wife Eliza's:

We had a celebrity sighting - Steve Higgins of Jimmy Fallon's The Tonight Show fame:

We visited NYC's first Chick-fil-A!

We struggled to get this selfie. We are not good at the selfie.
I got to catch up with my first college friend, Scott!

The Empire State Building at dusk - gorgeous! (We did better with this selfie.)

At the Grange, the house Hamilton built for his wife.

Our step-counter for Day Three:

A few final shots of the stage at the Richard Rodgers Theater:


*The grammatical mistake in this tweet makes me a little crazy, but I guess even the best of writers can be grammatically challenged after seeing Hamilton. It is that good.