The Idiot Dog and The Blue Boy


I never had any intention of telling this story.

However, I somehow wound up telling it in the comments section on another blog I was reading, so I thought I could tell it here. Originally, I had thought to keep this to myself, because it’s not funny, not about writing, and actually, I still get weepy thinking about it.

If you’ve read the blog, I’ve shown you pictures of my dog, Francis. He’s an idiot, sheds a small mammal every day, somehow manages to get covered in mud in less than five seconds of being outside, destroys my sprinkler system at least twice a year, is very “chatty,” and has a penchant for eating everything. The Thanksgiving turkey. My daughter’s hair ties. Loaves of bread. My medication, which was, ironically, right next to a sandwich he elected not to eat. (As an aside, don’t worry about the dog. The vet assures me my medication is totally harmless.)

He’s also going blind, and we’re paying quite a pretty penny we don’t have for eye medication.

And despite all of this, I will do anything for this dog.

This story goes back four years, when my son was about three or four months old and I was still at home with him. At that time, he came down with this wicked cold. You know the kind. The ones where you pick up your child and come away covered in snot and other miscellaneous fluids I won’t detail here.

You get the idea.

Anyway, at some point, I decided to put him down for his afternoon nap. And because I was exhausted–having been up almost all night with him–I decided to take a nap too. I put the dogs outside, came upstairs and got into bed. It was bliss.

About an hour later, the idiot dog gave a long, single, really weird howl. I hadn’t heard anything like it. It wasn’t his “I’m bored” howl, and it wasn’t his “I hear an ambulance nine miles away” howl, either. And once he stopped, he was perfectly silent, which is unlike him, because he barks at everything from the wind to passing cars.

I stayed in bed for a few heartbeats and then bolted for my son’s room. I don’t know why, don’t know why I assumed something was wrong, but I did.

When I got in his room, the room was weirdly quiet, my son was perfectly still in his crib, and he was blue–and I mean blue–making a faint, gurgling sound so weak I couldn’t hear it until I was right on top of him. Those few seconds were the worst of my life, hands down.

I yanked him out of his crib and flipped him upside down and thwacked him on the back. The junk in his throat came up, and he threw up all over me and the floor, and I swear, I have never been happier to be covered in bodily fluids. I sank to the floor in a heap, he started to cry, but he pinked right up. I don’t remember crying at that time, but I’m sure I did, because I was seriously bawling by the time I got to the doctor’s office.

To this day, I can’t say for certain what the dog was howling about, but I can say I haven’t heard that sound since.

I hope I never do.

MCC

Advertisements

The Relationship Advice Your Momma Never Gave You


Fourteen years ago today, I married my husband.

Now, I won’t pretend it’s all sunshine and roses. Because, well, I am who I am, and he’s… a man. Which means that sometimes he doesn’t always “get me.” But I suppose that if he did, I wouldn’t like him nearly as much. After all, sometimes a girl just needs to fight.

But I have a friend who’s getting married on Saturday, and it got me thinking: what makes a relationship successful? After all, M and I aren’t so different from any other couple. We have our ups and downs. But when a friend of mine was getting divorced, at one point she looked at me (the old, married bag of the group) and asked, “The ex swears that happy  couples never fight. We fought three times in our whole marriage, and one of those times was when he said he was leaving me.”

And I laughed, because honestly, if M and I don’t disagree (fighting is too strong a word) three times a month, we’re having a great run. And yet, after fifteen years of being together, we’re still plugging along when several of the “happier” couples who never fought are now divorced.

So here’s what I know (or think I do):

1. Things don’t have to be all wine and roses all the time, and you have to accept that. There will be times when you are so annoyed with your spouse that just the sight of him will make you grit your teeth. There will be days when you barely even like him. Suck it up, sister, and get over your bad self.

2. Don’t be afraid to talk about your feelings, but seriously, don’t over do it. Because then you become like the teacher in Charlie Brown… And he won’t hear a word you say.

3. Don’t think that because you know exactly what you want, and you’ve been together forever, that he will know what to do. As much as I would love for the romantic gestures to be his idea, experience has taught me I’m way more likely to get what I need out of him if I don’t expect him to be Kreskin.

4. Common interests are good, but don’t lose yourself in him. Be your own person, have your own interests and a life outside of him. M and I are a team, and we love each other, but I’ve learned (the hard way) that we get along way better if I have my own things and he has his. There may be no I in team, but there surely is an M and an E.

5. Jealousy will get your nowhere… fast.

6. If you draw a line in the sand and give an ultimatum, be sure you’re willing to follow through with it. And seriously, don’t threaten divorce unless you absolutely mean it. Not mean it in the moment, but mean it for realsies. Because one day, he’ll call your bluff and give you the divorce you never really wanted.

7. Hookers and blow should be a deal breaker. Always. No exceptions.

8. Really, unless Number 7 is involved, there are very few instances where whatever you’re fighting about is all his fault.

9. Politics don’t matter. M and I are very divergent politically, but I listen reasonably to him, and he listens reasonably to me. Be respectful and agree to disagree. Leave it at that.

10. When you ask, “What are you thinking about?” and he answers, “Nothing,” believe him. It could be that–while you were contemplating the state of the universe, the kids’ soccer schedule, what to buy at the grocery store, and how much you’d like him to tell you you’re pretty–in his head, there was only the sound of crickets.

Alternatively, if you’ve been having a heavy political discussion and you’re still stewing about it after several minutes of silence, don’t automatically expect him to be. I can’t tell you the number of times I’ve been irritated and asked M, “What are you thinking about?” after a disagreement and seriously gotten this answer:

“Zombies.”

Because sometimes that’s what your argument boiled down to. Killin’ zombies.

What about you? What words of wisdom would you add to this list?

Meggan Connors

Good News!


I was made on offer on one of my manuscripts!

I don’t think words can adequately describe how I feel about this. I’m scared and excited and nervous and delighted and freaked out. I’m pretty certain I had a panic attack when I was working up to hit the “send” button to accept the contract. My pulse raced, I felt like I couldn’t breathe. And I know that makes me sound totally crazy. I knew it then, too.

Because… wait for it… it is crazy. But then, this whole scenario strikes me as crazy–after all, I wrote a trashy book that someone wants to publish.

Now, I use the term trashy somewhat loosely. Trashy, in my world, is a book that doesn’t make you think a whole lot, that you can get through in a day or so, and will have a happy ending. Trashy books will have a couple of good sex scenes, or enough of a make out where a little part of you goes *sigh*.

Trashy is like a rush of pure sugar: it’s brain candy. Trashy goes to the beach and has a binding so worn it automatically falls open to “the scene.” Literary fiction goes on the bookshelf prominently displayed so people think you’re smart and well-read (and you are, but come on! Don’t try to pretend you don’t do it too! I have all my nonfiction and literary fiction–everything from James Joyce and Sophocles to Rilke and Hesse and Salman Rushdie and Ayn Rand–carefully arranged in bookshelves in the hallway. But the trashy book I actually like to read? Stashed inside the night stand in a jumbled heap–for easy access).

Honestly, literary fiction is like broccoli to a trashy book’s cotton candy.

So that’s what I wrote: brain candy. And just because it’s brain candy, doesn’t mean it’s not good.

Anyway, I’m pretty excited about this turn of events. Shocked and stunned, too. It’s a good thing. But nerve-wracking too. Now, if I could just get out of my head, I could actually enjoy this moment.

Hm… I think I need some brain candy.

 

Geography Lessons at Recess


So, a few days ago on the playground, as I was doing my lunch recess duty (oh, the joy), I overheard the following conversation on the swings between two fifth grade boys.

Boy 1(der): Wales? Yeah I’ve heard of Wales.

Boy 2: I have to do a report on it. I don’t even know where that is. I always thought whales were just fish.

** I wanted to point out that a whale is not a fish, but hey. **

Boy 1(der): Nah, I’ve totally heard of Wales.

Boy 2: Really?

Boy 1(der): Yeah. My mom makes me watch the Miss World pageant every year. So I’ve totally heard of Wales. I think it’s by Greenland. It’s got beaches and stuff.

Technically, he’s right about that, but it’s better known for its sheep and its rain than it is for its dazzling beaches. Whatever.

And maybe he won’t win the Geography Bee any time soon, but that conversation made me smile all day.

A New Rant


I wasn’t going to rant on my blog. In fact, I’ve really made an effort (lately) not to, because honestly, very few people actually care about what little pissant crap ticks me off.

But…

Here goes. (Sorry)

Now, I mean this is in nicest possible way… But if you don’t know what someone is doing, but you think it might be wrong, maybe… just maybe… instead of, say, going to their boss… you should talk to them first.

Because now, you’ve just ticked me off.

I guess I should actually tell this story. Today I went down to work with some kids at a preschool. They went into the library, and I was about to follow, when I remembered that the library might be closed. So I went to the front office and asked.

I was told that it would be, so, here is my actual response. “Okay. I’ll just go to the tables in the quad.”

I wasn’t angry at this point, so I can’t imagine that I came off as peeved. I wasn’t. I just moved the girls to the other table. No big deal.

So, we’re there, playing a game, and I have them working on their speech sounds. It was a fine session. I took data in my phone (I’ll lose paper, but I won’t lose my phone, so that’s where I keep all my data. Seriously. It works best). The timer went off (I set the time so I don’t have to check the clock), I kept the girls for an additional three minutes, and then sent them back to their classrooms.

And here’s where the peevishness comes in.

By the time I got to my school, the “director” of said institution had already called my boss, demanding I be removed, because I do nothing but text and play on my phone for the entire session. They talked for ten minutes, according to my boss. It only takes me four minutes to get to my school from this particular preschool, which means that they called my principal before I’d even left.

They never once asked me what I was doing with my phone. I would have told them.

But that doesn’t matter.

This woman made up stuff. She said I got a phone call (the timer did go off, but there was no phone call. Again, I have proof, which I offered up to my boss, but she declined to look at it), and that the session went down hill from there. It didn’t. It was over. She said the kids aren’t making progress, but since I dismiss 50% of my preschoolers within one year of qualifying them, I’d say they do. The proof is… in the child’s clearer speech… and my phone.

In any case, I showed my principal the data that I took–right there in my phone–as well as the data from the previous times I’d been there. Apparently, even though they  have “therapists there every day,” they’ve never actually seen one take data. Therefore, the only person who is actually doing their job and not reporting on crap they just guessed at/made up, is me.

I have data, and running proof of progress made. I didn’t just make it up. Anyone else who comes in and doesn’t take data in some fashion is doing just that… Making up the progress at a later time. Guessing. Saying, “Oh, I guess they were 50% accurate, so that’s what I’ll say.”

A guess is not data.

Now, I’m not in trouble, because I have documented proof of what I was doing. But the fact that I had to defend myself against an attack is mind boggling. The fact that I had to spend my time calling my bosses and making sure they knew about this before it becomes an even bigger issue pisses me off.

This place pisses me off.

I suppose, in the spirit of full disclosure, I should say there has been bad blood between this site and myself in the past. Monk got kicked out of this site. They said she was “autistic.” They said she had a language impairment. Apparently forgotten what her mother does for a living. They were wrong, I knew they were wrong, and I told them so. What makes things worse is that Monk’s preschool teacher–at this same site–told her she didn’t like her. I know this is true, because Monk told me, and then I heard from other parents that this teacher would talk about my child to them. All while Monk was standing there.

Monk was two years, four months old. (I know, right?)

Needless to say, I pulled her. But when I got assigned the site, I took it, because, well, it’s my job. And it had been three years. I’m a big girl.

The lady at the front insulted Monk to my face my first day back in that building. I said nothing, but I wanted to claw her eyes out. In any case, I know they didn’t want me, and I think they’ve been trying to get rid of me ever since. I know they say stuff to parents behind my back. Sometimes, I even get to hear it.

I guess we’ll have to see what happens when I go back next week.

Jackasses.

Top 10 Reasons Why a Werewolf Shouldn’t be Manscaped


Today we’re revisiting some of my favorite older posts, mostly because I have to ban myself from blogging until I can finish the WIP, or, at the very least, write 1500 words per day. It’s the only way this thing is going to get done. Sad, but true.

So here goes nothing… The TOP 10 Reasons a Werewolf Shouldn’t be Manscaped…

10. He would have to buy stock in shaving cream. And razors.

9. Think chinese crested chihuahua. Now imagine that haircut on a wolf. Enough said.

8. He’s part dog, dude. If he were a cat, I could see it, but my dog steps in poo and totally doesn’t give a crap. And he smells like a dog, even after he’s had a bath.

7. Speaking of, I can’t get close to said German Shepherd with a brush, let alone with wax. So, as you gaze fondly at my dog, just imagine that. Only waxed. I seriously don’t think so.

6. While on the topic of waxing, can you imagine? I mean, really? Think of the scene with Steve Carrell in The 40-Year-Old Virgin and then multiply it by a factor of 10. I’m a big fan of the waxing (hairy girls, unite!), but even that didn’t look like a good time to me. A line must be drawn, my friends.

5. Would a guy who’s actually a dog part of the time really care if he’s hairy or not? I suppose he might if it were really hot outside, but don’t you think he’s got bigger fish to fry than if his ass looks fabulous hairless? I think he’d be totally following lunar cycles. Or trying to find out what that awesome smell is behind my refrigerator.

4. Winter. It’s not like you can just go get yourself a parka if it gets cold out. Last I checked, while they make life vests and shoes for dogs, I haven’t seen a parka. (I know they make doggie life jackets because I used to have a dog who needed one. A sad, but true story)

3. And before you go all “I have a Yorkie who wears a sweater in winter” on me, seriously. How sissy is that?

2. Shape-shifters everywhere would make fun of you. Hell, I know I would.

1. While in wolf form, there’s no excuse to lick your balls if you’re hairless down there. It just doesn’t fly, man. It’s like cutting holes in the pockets of your sweatpants–everyone knows what you’re actually doing, so there’s no point in doing it.

Hairy guys are hot, werewolves! Remember that and embrace your hairiness! (Ok, maybe I’m just saying that because I wouldn’t want to date a guy who has less body hair than I do–and with that statement alone, I have narrowed down the dating pool significantly. Lucky for me, I don’t have to worry about dating anymore)

A Thing Once Heard…


So, I managed to land my happy ass in the hospital.

I’m sure it’s nothing serious, but this is my second night here, and I am going insane.

Part of this is the fault of my (very loud) neighbor.

Because holy mother of god, she needs to shut up.

It was bad enough that her family brought her ribs, which I can smell. Now that the extreme nausea is (mostly) gone, I’m hungry, but I’m stuck with clear liquids (and apparently, beer doesn’t count as a clear liquid… Sigh). Then she proceeded to talk about food for the next forty-five minutes. Just as their conversation was winding down, I was so tempted to go over there and punch her in the face in exchange for a chicken pot pie.

Holy smokes, I'm starving if I think a chicken pot pie sounds like a good idea

 

Or one of those ribs she raved about. I’m pretty certain they’re still there.

Never mind that I’d probably be in agony if I ate it, but still. I AM A FAT GIRL STARVING HERE PEOPLE!

In any case, she has since turned the topic. And the conversation has ranged from quasi racist to just plain offensive.

And it ended with this capper: she started talking about how the doctor examined her… uh… girly bits.

I’m starting to think if I did go next door and punch her in the face, I might be doing the world a favor. Thankfully (for her), that’s too much effort on my part.

Oh, and visiting hours just ended. The world has just breathed a sigh of relief.

Dreaming of far away places


Here are the top five places I’d like to visit:

Spain... Sigh

I’ve wanted to go to Spain for years. I took a year of Spanish after I started with the school district–mostly so I could converse with my caseload–but instead of learning the language, I fell in love with the country. I’m desperate to see Barcelona and Seville, Madrid and the Alcazar de Sangovia. I picture myself drinking Spanish wine while overlooking the bright blue of the Mediterranean. Eating tappas at midnight. Watching the sun rise over the Pyrennes. Oh, Spain.

You can take the donkey, or you can take the tram. Either way, the price is the same. --Ron White

Santorini, Greece.

Sure, I would love to see Athens. Visit the Parthenon and all the temples. But the place that beckons to my heart more than any other? Santorini. Maybe it’s because every time I see pictures of it, it’s so vibrant: bright white against the brilliant blue of the Mediterranean. And because I am who I am, I picture myself sitting on a balcony, overlooking all that water, drinking ouzo and eating dolmas.

Add in some good sex (and let’s face it, if I’m there, there’s great sex involved. Shhh. Don’t wreck my fantasy. It’s nice… Mmm… Okay, I’m back), and this is my version of heaven.

Prague. The best city in Europe. Hands down

I have seen this view, and took this picture. I love this city. Granted, I don’t think I ate when I was in Prague (three or four days, I’m sure there’s someone out there who remembers how long we were there). Nope, I drank. But then, I think that was because when I was there, beer was cheaper than food or soda. And I was young and stupid, and spent several months in Europe taxing my liver while relieving my brain of most of its responsibilities. Hey, it navigated me through Europe. It had done enough.

There was something about Prague that felt distinctly old world. Berlin is like Los Angeles, just another big city, but Prague… Prague feels like something out of a fairy tale. Cobblestone streets and narrow buildings. The dark spires of the castle reaching for the night sky. It’s an old city, and you can feel the history as you touch the statues on the bridge and tour the castle. Walking those uneven streets, Prague feels old and mysterious.  Maybe a  little sinister, even. It was the most fascinating place I’ve ever been. It’s been years since I’ve been there, and I hope it hasn’t changed, because I’ve never been any place like it. I know most people want to see Paris or Venice, and they are lovely cities. But if you want to go someplace different, go to Prague.

Budepest

I was always told that, if you go to Prague, you must go to Budapest. I never made it, and it’s something I regret. I hope to rectify this one day. I just need to win the lottery, and then I will spend a few months traipsing around Europe. I will indulge in good food and good wine/beer, and I will visit the jewel of Hungary: Budapest.

Istanbul. It’s not Constantinople.

I’m fascinated by Istanbul. When I visit, I will visit the Haghia Sophia, drink strong, Turkish coffee, eat flatbread, and take a ferry in the Bosphorus. I will visit the Grand Bazaar and haggle for carpets. I’ll visit the Topkapi Palace and visit the city walls.

I would do it all, if I went to Istanbul.

Of course, there are other places I’d like to visit: Australia and New Zealand, Fiji and Bora Bora. I’d love to go back to Britain. I’d love to see Wales and Cornwall. I’d love to go back to Ireland and drink Irish coffee (3 fingers Irish, one finger coffee) and have a pint of Guinness. I’d like to take the kids to the Tower of London, and relive the glory days when I got a palace guard to wink at me. I’m too old to attract the attention of a palace guard these days, but hey, it’s fun to reminisce. I want to go back to Scotland and walk the moors and drink Scotch (that last is a total fantasy, because, well, Scotch tastes like fire, and, as much as I like to fantasize about drinking, I’m such a light weight that a sip would have me roaring drunk. Still, don’t destroy the fantasy… I like it here).

Where would you go if you got the chance?