For the Love of All Things… Control Yourselves!!

Many of you know. We got new carpet this weekend.

The news of this really set people’s logic alarms off because, uh, you have a cat. And a dog. Oh, and a toddler. And you’re soon to have another boy running around the house.

I know. I know all of this. Trust me. We moved into our house in 2006. It was two years old and had the builder’s trademark short pile carpet in the color Of Course, Everyone Loves Beige! But honestly? Like the rest of the house, it didn’t need immediate attention.

We decided to get a dog shortly thereafter in early 2007, so of course, carpet didn’t make sense when you have a lab puppy running around the place.

Then we had the cat-that-would-not-stop-pooping-peeing-everywhere situation (*cough*Mookie*cough*) for the next couple of years, followed by the imminent arrival of our first baby in 2009/10, who would also contribute to spit-up stains and god-knows-what-the-hell-that-was stains.

Suffice it to say, new carpet never seemed like a good idea. Until we both realized that, wow, we really need some new carpet, dear. Because of ALL OF THAT, and the fact that we’d managed to stretch 8 years out of builders-grade carpet. A miracle, I say.

So we had it installed last weekend. And it is like having a new house (kindasorta). It’s taupey and nerdly (yes, that is so  a word..) and so amazingly cushy that Andy had to convince me not to camp out on it the first night post-installation.

My new carpet euphoria was somewhat tarnished the next morning when we found a suspicious wet spot in the middle of the upstairs hallway outside the bathroom. Graham had been running around naked from the waist-down, having demanded that he would not have his morning pee in the toilet, thank you, until Andy had run allll the way downstairs to the car to get his stepstool for the toilet (long story there).

If you have potty trained children, you know: the morning pee waits for no man. And wait, it did not. But we had no solid evidence except the puddle we had found. We kept asking Graham if he’d done it, but he was too busy running crazy from room to room on the new carpet to confirm or deny our allegations. Eventually, he ran up to Andy and I, who were still huddled in horrified awe over the pee puddle on our not-even-24-hours-old carpet, and said, “Yes, I did it. I pee-peed carpet.”

Great. Well, that makes a good story anyway. I GUESS.

We spent the rest of the weekend hanging with family, intermittently answering questions like “Are you going to keep Hugo shut up now [that you have new carpet]?” and “Are you going to let the cat go upstairs?” Innocent enough – I know where they come from. Pet owners, though, you know where we’re coming from. When you choose to let an animal share your house, there’s not really much sectioning and sanctioning you can do of the different areas.  We knew this.

And we had to remind ourselves of this REALLY HARD yesterday, because when I went to get Graham out of bed in the morning, I walked upstairs to find that Hugo had pooped right outside his bedroom (approximately where Graham had peed himself just a few days prior).

“You have GOT to be KIDDING ME!!!!!” I cried. Graham, from the other side of the door added, “Hi, Mommy. You OK Mommy?”

I let Graham out of his room and let him see what Hugo had done. I asked him to stand back and keep his hands to himself and wait while Mommy cleaned things up. Graham watched and verbally debriefed the situation while I cleaned.

“Hugo poop on da floor. No Hugo poop on da floor. Hugo in BIG trouble…” and so on and so forth.

I’m going to take the time now to put a completely unsolicited word in for Bissel’s Little Green Machine. I’m trying to campaign for every new mother to add this to her baby registry. Every pet owner should have one too. No excuses. I don’t need to tell you what variety of smelly messes comes out of children and animals. Nor do I need to list all the possible less gross spills and stains they cause.

Enough said. Worth every penny.

This morning, I was watching Hugo like. a. hawk. He followed me upstairs to get Graham out of bed, and I made him march straight in the room with me and sit there while I changed a poopy diaper. I told Graham to run across the hall to the bathroom to use the potty before we put his briefs on.

Hugo had at some point slunk out of the room and when I turned around I saw Hugo slowly passing in front of Graham’s doorframe, doing the infamous dog butt-scoot across the freaking carpet.

I lost it.

“YOU!” (pointing and snapping at Hugo) “STOP! LAY DOWN.” Graham had run back to the hallway, pantsless, to see what the commotion was about. I raised my eyebrows and lowered my voice and said, “And you…” Graham went wide-eyed, “… back in the bathroom! Go pee pee on the potty and we’ll get your underwear on.” Attention back to the dog, “YOU. Don’t even think about it. Stay put!!! You’re going outside next.”

Both boys obeyed with a wide-eyed ‘yes ma’am’ stare. We had no accidents and everyone survived the morning happily enough.

Dear New Carpet, I swear we’re not normally like this. Please don’t give up quite yet.


Yesterday, on our way home from swim lessons, Graham called from the backseat.

“Here, Mommy.”

A quick glance to the back revealed he was reaching out with both arms, holding nothing.

“Take it, Mommy.”

I complied, and – keeping my eyes on the road – reached my hand in the backseat for him to deliver his imaginary prize. I felt him very purposely press his hand into mine, so I brought my hand back to the front seat only to discover that he’d handed me…

A booger.

I gagged, he beamed.

I thought I had more time before we were in booger-passing territory??

The Day the Light Bulb Went Off

“Ohhhh, this is bad. This is really, really bad,” were the muffled words I heard spoken by Andy after he opened the bedroom door. At the time I was headed to the front closet to put my coat away, but instead, I dropped my purse and ran to the bedroom, where we had left Hugo while we ran errands.

Hugo is a good dog. On the whole, he is mild-mannered, affectionate, not pushy, and leans a little toward the lazy side. But he’s still a lab. He still obsesses over the tennis ball that rolled under the couch, eats receipts and hairties, dances the Watusi when he hears the word “dinner”, and convulses whenever I get the leash off the hook.

We crate-trained Hugo from his first day home. Crates are large wire enclosures, or cages, that – if sized right, have enough space for the dog to stand up, sit up and lay down on their sides with legs fully extended. We call Hugo’s crate the New York studio apartment.

Hugo is only crated when we’re out of the house. At first, it served as a method of potty training. After the potty training was well-tackled, the crate simply served as a way to seperate the dog from the rest of the house. Ask any lab owner if they crated their dogs through the dog’s adolescent years. If the answer is “no”, ask them how many things in their house have been destroyed by the dog. The reason for crating labs is simple: these dogs eat inedible objects like a frat boy being dared after a long night of binge-drinking.

When Hugo was a puppy, our crazy neighbor stopped by and told me I was in some way harming my dog by keeping him in a cage all day. I politely informed her the crate was for his own protection. However, since Hugo turned two, Andy and I decided to let Hugo have a little more freedom. For short stints, we’ll let him stay closed in our bedroom, along with his bed and toys. Lately, we’ve been doing this more and more and for longer periods of time, with the longest time away from home being about 6 hours on my half-day Friday. Until yesterday, Hugo has been an absolute angel. In fact, we’d laugh because he’d stay on his bed the entire time we were gone, even though he didn’t have to. We figured he got up and walked around, but we’d inevitably find him sound asleep, hanging halfway off the bed, when we arrived home.

Like I said, it was going great, until yesterday. I was prepared to see a lot of things when I showed up in that bedroom, but I wasn’t prepared for what I was greeted with. The first thing I saw was Hugo lying happily in the middle of the room, beating his tail on the ground. Around him, various-sized shards of white glass were littered everywhere. The biggest piece of glass was still attached to a black plastic base, which helped us conclude that the source of the glass was the CFL lightbulb that belonged in my bedside lamp. A quick glance over to the right confirmed it. The lampshade, now well-chewed-on, laid separate from its base, which, a quick walk around the bed showed us was still plugged into the wall. Hugo had unscrewed the lightbulb from the lamp. Did you catch that? He unscrewed it. The base of the lightbulb was completely intact, and there is nothing about my bedside lamp that makes that fact any less perplexing than if Hugo had visited your home and extracted a light bulb from one of your lamps. Heck, I have trouble taking light bulbs out of our lamps sometimes.

Many questions come to mind, none of which we yet have answers for. Most of which, we never will. Why such hostility toward the lamp? How did Hugo unscrew a lightbulb from a live lamp without electrocuting himself? (I know I’d never try and remove a lightbulb with my mouth.) There was a wooden lamp base and a cloth lampshade at his full disposal, so why chew up the glass lightbulb? Did he ingest any?

Hugo appears to be completely fine. He cut up his lips a little bit, but for the most part seems comfortable. No coughing or hacking, which leads us to believe he wasn’t stupid enough to swallow any glass. He happily let us examine him nose-to-tail for any rogue shards, tail flopping the whole time, completely unrepentant of his wrongdoing. And today he began his life term of solitary confinement in his crate upstairs, for unsupervised time anyhow.

Foreign Objects and Powder Bathrooms

What connects these two seemingly unrelated things? The correct answer is: “What took up most of my time this weekend?”.

Foreign Objects
Friday I battled with a mild stomach bug and opted to work from home. This meant Hugo was out and about with me. I started off the day by taking a bath, an important thing to note because it meant all my shower supplies were now laying out on the bathtub ridge. Later in the morning, Hugo trotted to his bed, which was placed next to the computer desk, and laid down. This was immediately followed by a CRRRUNNCCHH! I looked down and to my absolute horror, Hugo had his two paws overlapped, holding my razor between them, blade-side straight up. He’d just chewed a plastic corner off the blade. FREAKED out, I searched his lips and mouth inside out and found no cuts. Lucky dog.

Later in the afternoon, I heard Hugo rousting in the bathroom again. A smarter person would have either put the shower stuff away or closed the bathroom door, but apparently I’m not that bright. I called Hugo out to my side again, and this time he was smacking on something. Then GULP – down it went. I checked his mouth and confirmed that he’d swallowed whatever it was. I went to the bathroom and found what was missing. A white cloth band that I’d used to hold my hair up that morning. Hugo loves these, for some reason. He’s eaten the gray one and thrown it up before. My black headband has since mysteriously disappeared. Now the white one. Crap.

This actually posed a serious problem, because the amount of fabric is about equivalent to that of half a dishcloth. More than likely, Hugo’s stomach would have rejected it like it did the gray headband. However, if his stomach tried to pass the material, it was substantial enough to get stuck in the small intestine. Which then means $1000+ surgery and a lot of pain for my dog. Not something you want to risk. So I had to induce vomiting. I’ll spare everyone the details, but it involved a few tablespoons of hydrogen peroxide and an afternoon where Hugo felt like he was going to die – and that his most trusted owner was the one shoveling the poison down his throat. Not a red-letter day for either of us. Finally, he got the white headband up. Victory.

Powder Bathrooms
Yesterday, I had a project – redo the powder bathroom. This bathroom is very tiny and located just off the kitchen. It started with white walls, white ceramic tile floors, white trim, a white pedestal sink, a white toilet, an interesting octagonal mirror, and the ever-so-prominent shiny silver hollywood lighting. This project has been in the works for a few months. In October, we purchased an oval mirror, trimmed in fake iron scroll, on sale for $30 from Lowes. In November, we found a brushed stainless steel light fixture on sale at the Home Depot for $15. If you’ve priced out light fixtures, that is cheaper than the cheapest light fixture you can find. Soon after we found that light fixture, Andy took the Hollywood lighting off the wall and installed it – only to find that the Hollywood lighting had left big holes behind that needed patching.

Earlier this month, I found a paint color – Benjamin Moore’s Texas Leather – that I LOVED for the bathroom. It’s pretty dark brown, which is a risk for that small of a space, but eh. Every other permanent fixture in that bathroom is white, so I figured it would work. That was the last piece to the puzzle. Yesterday morning, I picked up the paint, some spackle, and a can of spray paint. While I was out, Andy had tried to take down the octagonal mirror. When I came home… “Bad news,” Andy said, “the mirror is glued to the wall.” For most people, that would’ve meant that the mirror stayed put. Not for us. We’d bought a beautiful mirror that couldn’t be returned. So we suited up in safety glasses and gloves, got a hammer, and smashed that mirror to bits. :) Then Andy un-installed the cheapie light fixture along with the shiny silver towel ring and toilet paper holder. He took all three items out to the backyard and spray painted them with the rubbed oil bronze spray paint I’d picked up earlier. They look AWESOME. Andy patched the holes in the wall, and I taped off and painted the bathroom in my Texas Leather. So last night, we re-installed the spray-painted fixtures, added a new hand towel and hung the new mirror. The bathroom looks completely – and I mean COMPLETELY – different now. So for a $15 light fixture, $8 worth of spray paint, and $30 worth of paint-paint we’ve got a completely updated powder bath. Go us! :)

Bad Day/Good Day

I have every reason to be in a bad mood today. Let’s begin with my morning. Flea has a bladder infection that has banned him to our bathroom for the time being. Flea wants out of the bathroom, and Hugo wants into the bathroom. I got ready for work in the midst of those two. Flea finally found an opportunity to slip out of the bathroom. Hugo, who only wanted to get into the bathroom because Flea was inside, turned tail and went at a full sprint after Flea. The two start tearing through the house, so I instincively chucked the hairbrush that was in my hand at the dog. The brush missed the danged dog, hit the wood floor, snapped in two, and slid under the couch. I had to pull the couch out from the wall to retrieve the pieces, and when I stood up, I knocked my head very very hard into the corner of the box shelf hanging above the sofa. Youch.

I popped a couple of Tylenol, kenneled the dog, put the cat back into quarantine and headed to work. We have vendors in today to observe a run on one of our pieces of equipment (the extruder, to be exact). Wouldn’t you know it, these vendors flew all the way down to Texas to see us extrude, and the stupid extruder locked down twice. The first time the equipment quit working, I called and cancelled my hair appointment for the afternoon (which had already been changed twice) because I knew it was going to be a long day.

And that is ironically where my day turned around. The second time the extruder quit, I realized that my morning had not only freed up, but that I had all kinds of time to play around with this afternoon now that my hair appointment was cancelled. I can go grocery shopping, make chicken salad, and work on tidying up around the house. I’ve got a whole stinkin’ afternoon! Throw in a Christmas movie or two while I’m at it, why not? Shortly after my day calendar cleared up, I got an email from our business manager saying that my salary was going to be ‘adjusted up’ due to the increased starting salary for food scientists. Apparently, because I was hired when I was, I’m now making less than our new hires. Whatever the reason – this means free money. And I don’t care what anybody says, that will always put a smile on your face!

And with that, I’m off to grab some lunch and go spend some time at home with my furry companions.