Archive for the 'RT/PawPaw' Category

The Best Years of our Lives – They’re NOW!

Sunday, November 19th, 2006

RT was talking with a friend last week, and when RT mentioned that he and I are building a new home, the friend said that the best time of his life was when he and his wife were working together to build their new home.  That started me thinking, and I realized that now IS the best time of my life.  Here’s why:

* I’m re-married to RT – my first love.  We worked hard to get to this point in our relationship.  It’s wonderful that we see beyond the surface now. Going through a divorce and nine years apart have made us both see what’s important in each other, and we don’t get hung up on the little things anymore.

* RT and I are in the beginning stages of building our dream home on 90 acres of the most beautiful land in Tennessee.  We studied thousands of house plans until we picked out the one we liked best – and then we even made a few changes to make it our absolute dream house.  Big porches on the front and the back, open living areas, separate his and her walk-in closets in the master bedroom, and a double-office.  It’s a once in a lifetime opportunity, and we’re looking forward to living there the rest of our lives.

* Our daughter – the mother of Sweet Stuff and Sunshine – has grown into such a wonderful adult.  She works so hard at her job and still makes time for being a loving mother and a regular volunteer at Sweet Stuff’s school.  And, no matter what is going on, she calls me every single day.

* Our son – he was here just a few hours ago – ready to go deer hunting with RT.  He’s industrious (runs his own successful business that he started from scratch) loving and funny.  And, although he doesn’t call me every day, he calls me often enough.  When I had a little scare not long enough when RT was out of town, he was over here immediately, checking out all the closets and locks.  He’s a pleasure to be with.

* Sweet Stuff and Sunshine. Those two little girls truly light up my life.  I call them my GrandGirls.  The other day when I was riding in the car with them, I made up a little song about them.  Bless their hearts!  They loved it and asked me to sing it again and again and again.  We were laughing and having such a good time together.   I adore them beyond what words can describe.

* I love my job.  I am making a difference in children’s lives by helping them learn to read.  I am helping teachers do a better job of teaching reading.

* I work with some wonderful people – not only in my school building but in the school system as well.  There are four of us reading specialists who are particularly good friends.  We get together regularly – just to talk, eat and enjoy being friends.

* I have good friends from my single days.  We meet at least every couple months for dinner and to catch up with each other.

* I’m healthy and happy.  And really, what more could anyone ask for?

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“Thanksgiving Basket” shopping with the Grandgirls: There is a reason YOUNG woman are the ones who have babies!

Friday, November 17th, 2006

RT and I took Sweet Stuff and Sunshine shopping last night in order to fill a Thanksgiving basket for a family in need.  I left immediately after work to pick them up from daycare, and then we met RT at Chick Filet for dinner (the girls choice).  The food was horrible, and after “eating” (which I put in quotation marks because they really ate very little), the girls played in the indoor play area.  Big mistake.  For about fifteen minutes, they had a grand time.  Then Sweet Stuff hurt her elbow.  Of course she hurt her elbow when they were on the very top of the play area at that time – which (shame on Chick Filet!) is totally out of sight of anyone on the floor.  I couldn’t see her,and all ll I could hear was a pitiful voice crying, “I want my Grandma Carol.”

I MUST boast that I did START up to get her, but I quickly realized that the play equipment was not meant for 57-year old grandmothers.  The only way up was through a child-size labyrinth of ledges and tunnels – which I was not at all sure I could navigate.  I could envision the evening news filming a rescue crew as they worked to un-stick me.  Luckily, a junior high girl named Olivia came to the rescue and climbed up for me and helped Sweet Stuff down.  All was well quickly although Sweet Stuff declared she would NEVER play on the Chick Filet playground again.  Just as well, I don’t plan to ever eat there again.  Did I mention the food was terrible and part of the play equipment was not visible?

Then it was off to shop.  Oh.  My. Goodness.  There is a reason that young women are the ones who have babies.  Shopping with Sweet Stuff and Sunshine was fun, but tiring.   Three and five years old girls have strong opinions about exactly which products should go into a Thanksgiving basket, and each of them knew which products they wanted to add to the shopping cart.

RT and I were exhausted by the time we took them home an hour or so later.  We actually got to their house a little before their mama and daddy got home from eating out.  (Were we just a tad eager to say good night?)  So we waited in the car.  I mistakenly (as it turned out) told them they could get out of their car seats and climb up in the front seat with me as we waited in the parked card in the driveway.  As Sunshine climbed over the seat, she knocked over my diet coke which was safely (I thought) sitting in the cupholder next to me – spilling a full 16-ounce cup of diet coke onto the front leather seats where it collected nicely – ice and all.  Luckily I had a t-shirt in my gym bag in the trunk – and I used that to clean it up.

I have to admit, though, that  before thinking of the t-shirt and getting it cleaned up, I said a very un-grandmotherly word when I first saw the diet coke pooled on the seats and dripping onto the carpet.  I apologized profusely (which probably made them remember it even more), and I felt plenty of guilt for my fall from being a good role model. 

I just hope Sweet Stuff doesn’t imitate Grandma Carol the next time she gets upset about something at school.  As a teacher, I know how teachers can tsk tsk tsk and murmur “Where did that child learn such language?!” when students say such things at school.  And of course Sweet Stuff would tell them she learned that word from Grandma Carol who just happens to be a teacher in that same school system.  Ughhhhhhhhhhh!

So, our good deed shopping was done and I returned home – hit the bed and slept wonderfully until Jake  (here, here, here and here) started his uniquely multi-tonal, intermittent mid-night howling. 

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Marrying an Ex-Spouse

Monday, November 6th, 2006

As my regular readers know, my ex-husband, RT, and I recently remarried after almost 9 years of being divorced.  It wasn’t an easy process to get to the point where we felt confident that remarrying would work.  During those nine divorced years we both had other serious relationships, but eventually we made our way back to each other.  Through many and varied tribulations, we rekindled our love, and we’re very happy together now.

I’m working on a piece about ex-spouses who remarry.  If you or someone you know is in that situation and you don’t mind telling me your story or answering a few questions, please let me know. 

I think it’s a fascinating topic – how people who are SO alienated that they divorce each other eventually work their way back to each other. 

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Playing a little golf

Monday, October 30th, 2006

RT and I played 9 holes of golf yesterday afternoon with our son.  What fun!  My score for nine holes was 63.  It’s one of the few times I’ve kept an accurate score.  I tend to skip holes occasionally or give up on a hole after a few swings.  I actually made par on hole two, had a couple bogies and two double-bogies (which, for me, is excellent).  On hole #8, I kept “hitting the big ball before hitting the small ball” and ended up with TWELVE strokes on that one hole.  Other than that, though, I had a good game.  The last hole is over water — and my first ball went right into the water.  The second made it over, though – and I was thrilled about that.  The best aspect of playing golf – other than being outside on a beautiful day – was being with RT and Joey.  They both are so funny.  We laughed and joked around the whole time.

Yesterday (Sunday) was a good day.  Sunday School and church in the morning with the two grandkids, then lunch with our entire little family (daughter, son-in-law, son, daughter-in-law, and two granddaughters), then the game of golf followed by a quick walk on the land.  A very good day.

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Daisies on the rooftop

Monday, October 23rd, 2006

RT gets out earlier than I do each morning because he walks Jake for awhile.  This morning I was hurrying out the door for work.  When I looked at my car, I saw a bouquet of daisies on the roof that RT had picked during his walk earlier.

I ran back inside and thanked him, drove to work, and put them in a vase on my desk.  It reminded me of all the sweet things he has always done for me – little notes tucked in my purse, gifts for no reason other than to say he loves me.  Life is good.

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Jake’s Fall from Grace, part two

Tuesday, October 17th, 2006

When I told my daughter about how good Jake had been this past weekend, she said that her husband always says the first three days with a new puppy are like a “honeymoon” and the dog shows his/her true colors after that.  Of course I didn’t believe that!

Remember how I wrote that Jake barked/cried for about ten minutes the first night.  After that ten minutes of fussing, he went to sleep and slept straight through the night.  The second night he didn’t bark at all.  The third night he was exhausted from his “accident in the crate” experience (see previous post).  And once we had him, the crate and the carpet cleaned from that, he slept well all night.  So last night was his fourth night with us.  Note the number.  Four is the number AFTER three.  He got through the 3-day honeymoon.  Then came last night.

Last night, he barked/cried straight through until 4:00 this morning.  Around 11:00 p.m. I moved to the sofa in the family room – wrapped up in my down comforter.  I could still hear the noise but it was muffled in the distance.  I woke up around 2:00 a.m. and decided to go to the bed in the guest room.  Guess who was already there?  RT.  So RT and I slept in the guest room – with the door closed.  Jake slept  -no – I take that back – he “spent the night”- in his crate in our bedroom – with the door closed.  The two closed doors did little to quiet the noise he made.

Three days ago RT told me that he planned to never raise his voice with Jake.  He was going to train him with quiet authority and gentleness.  Ahem!  That idea went out the window last night around midnight.

  This morning, after a night of virtually no sleep, RT has a different take on how to train Jake.  One victory is that we didn’t give in and take him out of the crate.  He has to learn that’s where he sleeps – at least until the house-training aspect is completely in place.

I told RT that we had things backwards last night.  Jake was in our bedroom, and we had fled to other parts of the house.  Tonight, RT and I will be back in our own bed, and Jake will be in his crate in the other end of the house.

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Jake’s Fall From Grace

Monday, October 16th, 2006

I should have knocked on wood yesterday afternoon when I declared to my son and daughter-in-law that Jake (our new puppy) had been PERFECT.  We hadn’t lost a second of sleep because of new puppy whimpering.  We hadn’t had a single mess to clean up.  He’s six months old, and I foresaw housetraining as a breeze.

Soon after uttering those words, RT and I went out to eat with Joey and Meleah – leaving Jake in his crate in our bedroom.  We got home a couple hours later.  I walked into the house and knew instantly that our streak of puppy luck had run out.  The house REEKED of doggy poop.  I had walked into the house via the side door, and Jake was in his crate in the back of the house – a LONG way away, and yet even from that distance, there was no mistaking what had occurred.  The odor was so strong I was afraid that perhaps he had gotten out of the crate and managed to spread “mayhem” throughout the house.  Fortunately, he had remained in the crate.  So at least the damage was semi-contained.

RT took Jake, the crate and the new bed and puppy toys (which had been in the crate) outside.  It took over an hour to undo the worst of the damage.  Apparently the “accident” occurred soon after we left because Jake had had time to thoroughly stomp it everywhere – knocking bits and pieces on the carpet outside the crate and working it well into his new bed and over his toys.  RT scrubbed the crate.  The new bed is still sitting outside.  I don’t want to waste the $20+ we spent on the bed, but then again, the idea of putting it into the washing machine is more than I can stomach.  The toys will be thrown away.  RT put Jake in the jacuzzi and gave him a good bath.  My mother will say, “Carol, the jacuzzi can be cleaned!”  And that’s true.  Still, I will never use that jacuzzi again.  When we build the new house, we’ll have a tub in the barn for animal needs.

While RT cleaned up Jake and the crate, I cleaned up the carpet in the bedroom.  I picked up the pieces of poop that Jake had knocked out of the crate and onto the carpet, scrubbed the carpet with cleanser and then sprinkled baking soda over it to TRY to get rid of some of the odor, and then turned the AC to below 65 degrees in order to get the air circulating more.  Despite all that, I still smelled dog poop all night long.  Even now, I get a whiff of dog poop every now and then.  I wonder if it’s real or simply phantom poop smells?

RT insists that it’s HIS fault – that he should have given Jake more time after eating to take care of business before we left.  Live and learn, I guess.  In our almost 3 days of owning Jake, RT says that he has figured out Jake’s schedule of elimination.  According to RT, Jake does #1, then #2A, #2B, and #2C. Don’t even ask me what he means by that! He tells me we were lucky last night because Jake only did #2A in the crate.  He did #2B & #2C when RT walked him later.

Today Jake’s having a great day, though.  RT took him to work with him, and Jake sat at his feet during a two-hour meeting.  Then RT took him to the vet to get a check-up and all the needed shots.  The vet said that Jake would probably be around 50 pounds when he is fully grown.  He is 34 pounds right now.  RT and Jake came home for lunch – which I fixed since I’m on fall break.  RT insists that Jake will go with him to work each day.  I guess that’s the advantage of owning his own business.  There’s no one to tell him he can’t bring his dog to work.  I wonder how long that will last?  RT loves Jake so much, it could very well be a permanent thing.  And that’s not a bad thing.  

I still have high hopes for Jake.  However, there will be a pad under the crate from now on.  Here’s a photo of Jake and Ron on the airplane yesterday.



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Chicken and Dumplings

Monday, October 16th, 2006

Yesterday, RT and I flew to Georgia to visit my mother for awhile.  Out of our seven siblings (of which I’m the median one) – five were there.  My sister-in-law, Vicki, made a HUGE pot of chicken and dumplings.  I love chicken and dumplings.  It’s the ultimate comfort food, and it’s really good for  you.   Here’s an easy recipe for homemade chicken and dumplings.

You’ll need:

1 can refrigerated biscuit dough  (If you really like dumplings, you can use 2 cans.  It just depends on how much  you’re making.  There’s no hard and fast rule here.  Vicki made such a huge pot of chicken and dumplings, she probably used five or more cans!)

chicken (a package or two of boneless chicken or a whole chicken)

chicken stock (one or two cans of chicken broth)

salt, pepper, poultry seasoning

1 onion

2 carrots

2 stalks celery

1 cup plain flour

Place the chicken in a large pot and cover with water.  Add the chopped onion, grated carrot and finely chopped celery to the water.  Season to taste with salt, pepper and poultry seasoning.  Simmer until the chicken is well cooked.  Remove the chicken from the pot and let the chicken cool.  Leave the vegetables in the pot with the liquid.  Once the chicken is cool, remove the meat from the bone and cut or tear into bite size pieces.  Set the chicken aside.

Place the flour in a small bowl.  Open the can of biscuits and cut/break each biscuit into about 8 pieces.   Put the pieces into the flour and coat well.  The flour is what thickens the liquid.  So use it generously.

Bring the reserved liquid to a boil.  Add additional chicken stock, if desired.  It depends on how much chicken and dumplings you are making.  Sometimes I add a drop or two of yellow food coloring to make it “prettier.”

Once it is at a rolling boil, drop the biscuit pieces into the liquid one at a time.  Stir gently to keep them from sticking to the bottom.  Make sure each biscuit piece is well coated with flour before dropping it into the liquid.  After it has simmered for awhile, add the chicken back to the liquid, and it’s ready to serve.  Prepare a salad or vegetable, and you’ve got a perfect meal. 

I’m looking for a good recipe for whole wheat dumplings so that RT will eat them.  Since he is pre-diabetic, he doesn’t eat hardly anything that has plain flour in it.  When I get a good recipe for whole wheat chicken and dumplings, I’ll let you know.

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Jake the Wonder Puppy

Sunday, October 15th, 2006

As promised, here are a couple photos of Jake, our new British Labrador puppy.  This first photo shows him retrieving a “dummy” that RT threw for him.  He’s a labrador and so he LOVES retrieving things.


Jake will be quite the traveler because we’re leaving in just a little while to fly to my mother’s in Georgia for a few hours to give my niece (The daughter of Beth of Blue Star Chronicles) a family send-off.  She is moving out of state.  This will make Jake’s second and third flight in his first couple days of living with us.

This next photo shows Jake with RT.  RT took a couple photos of me with Jake, but they didn’t turn out too well.  So we’ll stick with these two photos for now.

This morning, I was sitting in the recliner when RT came in from walking Jake outside.  Jake ran in, took a leap and landed in my lap!  Needless to say, we will have to stop him from such shenanigans!  -)   It was sweet, though.

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Jake is here!

Saturday, October 14th, 2006

RT and I flew to Grand Junction, TN yesterday and got our new British Labrador Retriever, Jake, from the Southwind Kennels.  We mulled over several possible names and finally decided on Jake.  It’s short, masculine and easy for the dog to learn.

We spent HOURS at the breeder’s, working with different dogs – deciding which one would be the best fit for us.  Initially, I wanted a black lab that had a spot of white on his throat.  However, “Blaze” (as I nicknamed him), was not very cooperative, wouldn’t let us pet him, and wasn’t very sociable.  We wanted a dog that was calm and companionable.

At first we weren’t interested in Jake – can’t remember why – but he chose us.  And the more we worked with him, the more we saw that he was exactly what we were looking for.  He was calm, he enjoyed being petted, he was obviously intelligent and eager to please, he heeled, sat and retrieved very well.  The calmness was the most important trait, though.

We figured the big test would be the plane flight home.  RT’s plane is a small 4-passenger plane – very noisy without earphones, and of course we didn’t have doggy earphones.  We also didn’t have a crate for Jake.  So he sat in my lap.  We were wondering how he’d handle the noise and the unfamiliar experience of flying.  He was WONDERFUL!  He sat in my lap with his head stretched out on my arm.  He didn’t flinch when RT cranked up the motor, didn’t flinch during take-off or landing.  He was absolutely perfect.  And that thrilled RT since he wants Jake to accompany him in the plane for some of his business trips. 

Last night Jake was a little nervous when we first settled down for the night.  We put him in his crate in our bedroom.  He howled and barked off and on for about 10 minutes.  Then he settled down and slept all night.

This morning – he STILL had not done either “business” since we’d brought him home.  We knew he must be quite uncomfortable by that time.  We had walked him often before bed last night and first thing this morning.  However, he would not relieve himself.  Finally, though, he took care of both businesses in the appropriate spot.  Another milestone passed.  -)

Jake is solid black, he was born on April 17, 2006 – which makes him almost 6 months old.  I’m glad we chose an older puppy.  I think he’ll be much easier to train.  RT took him over to the land awhile ago, and I’m about to head over there to join them.

The photo above isn’t of Jake.  It’s a photo of a British Lab I found online.  However, you can see photos of him HERE at the kennel website.  I don’t know which of the four dogs is him, though.   I’ll take some photos today to post here at THE MEDIAN SIB.

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