Wednesday, June 26, 2013

Ladies and Laydies...

The one time you want time to fly---Summer in Texas. And it is whizzing by as Brynn is approaching one month with us this weekend. The chickens are celebrating over 2 months which means they are at "laying age". Looking forward to those deep orange yolks and an increase in baking. Well, presuming they survive their white, fluffy nemesis.

Our hens from left to right we named: Libby, Lola, J-Lo and Elsie (not pictured-Vicky) . Sadie came up with her own names: Cacciatore, Carbonera, Nuggets and Dumplings (not pictured-Kung Pao) . She is creative like that.

Libby, our boss hen, and Sadie having a turf war discussion. It really is a hoot to watch these two as just a mere few weeks ago Libby towered over Sadie.

She is having to repeat her Master Gardener course  next Summer.

Training progress report:
"Sit"- Gold
"Stay- Silver
"Down"- Bronze
"No biting"- Special Olympics qualifier

Homemade Tabasco sauce coating my ankle area. A little vinegar and cayenne pepper and the puppy quickly selects something else off the menu.

Took Brynn bowling and she asked me to show her proper form. I told her to stand back as I tend to pass gas when I hurl the ball. She did.

To put these two photos in perspective, Brynn arrived here very uncertain about dogs in general never being around one much. We equally had reservations about the Pyrenees pup as some can be very territorial over both inside and outside spaces. It would appear our concerns no longer have merit.

Always easy on the entertainment budget is the school playground. Nice as it is only 3 blocks away. Been down there several times already. Brynn asked me "Do you want to play Castle--you can be the King". Ahhh, guess she heard Teri's nickname for me. 

Our nightly vigil as we pray God gets us through the Summer. Ok, I kid. This was an arts project where they got glass jars, lined the inside with glue and then poured glitter around the interior.

"Alex, I will take Things That Make You Miss RV'ing for $200"..

Well, it's a 3 day bachelor weekend for this dude as on Friday Teri and Brynn travel 300 miles south (no Rv :) to celebrate her grandma's 96th birthday. I have Sadie and Laydie duty, so won't be with them.  Don't worry about me though as I have gone on-line and obtained the operation manuals for  our stove, oven and dish washer. With the queen of baking gone, I will go to ole reliable for nightly treats--Little Debbies Nutty Bars. I concede I am probably the only one that has given this much thought, but I have serious reservations about Debbie being very little.

Til next time.

Wednesday, June 19, 2013

Our 2 Princesses

The adventure that began 3 weeks ago with the acquisition of a pup followed by bringing an 8 year old into the picture for the Summer 10 days ago is trying to find some stability. Warning: If you are in your early 50s and have been independent for a couple years, do not try this at home. Yes, "what we were thinking" moments have abound, more so with the canine creature than the human. Brynn has really been a doll.

The last couple of weeks have been about structure. Unfortunately, Sadie has been abysmal about keeping up with her chore chart, unless gnawing at every animate and inanimate object counts, at which she has excelled. My right arm looks like a pin cushion at an old folks home.

Brynn, on the other hand, is very compliant. A little manipulative at times as she thinks her I-phone desktop screen counts as reading time, but overall we agree she has transitioned very well. Whether outdoor or indoor, she has been very willing to help.

Teaching Brynn the art of chicken herding.  I keep telling her she needs to bob her head and pick up bugs from the grass, but she is not buying my training.

The Chicken Whisperer. Perhaps because of her size, they easily come up to her and eat from her hand.

 Diving right into the chicken coop poop cleaning detail. When I told her we did this on Mondays, she admitted "Yes, my mommy told  me I had to help with cleaning up poop". What a team player.

Was wondering where my Taylor  Swift poster went.

Painting a homemade chalkboard for her bedroom. I told her I had painted her head shape  on the board. I think she figured out it was her shadow.

Mid-90 degree day and her and I the only one for 1.5 hours at our free splash zone park. Perhaps others drove by and saw this old guy with this young girl and thought it was creepy and kept on motoring.

Evidence everything is not bigger in Texas. Brynn was beyond exuberant when she exclaimed she had spotted her first frog ever. You would have thought a kangaroo had  just hopped out of her dresser drawer.

Mon-Fri we have theme days which include "Service", "Adventure", "Baking", "Craft" and "Library". For the "Adventure" day, she gets to draw out of a jar and on this day selected Picnic--in Texas--in June. My favorite day is "Baking".

I lived with her the Summer she was six--boy does two years make a difference in courage. She stayed  in the big pool the entire time where we worked on beginning swimming lessons. I just get behind her and make shark sounds and nip at her heels--speeds up training time.

 "What it takes to be an awesome wife" training day.

Her first rodeo! Or as she inquired, "What time are we going to the radio?". Watching team calf roping where one lasso goes around the head and the  other snares their heels, I loved her panicked response when she saw the animal motionless-- "Is the calf dead!". Told her BBQ started in 30 minutes. Her favorite parts per her-- the rodeo queens and the rodeo clown's magic show of 5 minutes. Humm.

3 weeks ago.
The other Princess in our Summer adventure. And she is 100% as ornery as the pix suggests. Although her parents look like Pyrenees, I am thinking she was adopted and is a cross between a mule and a piranha--stubborn, biting fur ball! She is definitely identity confused thinking she is a pit bull and her master is Tinkerbell. That WILL change.

The final project complete before Texas unleashes is full Summer fury......Before, with plain vanilla trim. a more robust black along upper trim, garage door and porch supports...and if you zoom into the 4th garage window, you will discover somewhere in Texas a mental health home is missing a patient.

That about summarizes our past 10 days. Next weekend, I become a bachelor for 3 days as Teri and Brynn travel down to the Rio Grande Valley to celebrate Teri's grandma's 96 birthday. They still make Ramen noodles, don't they?

And oh yea, as temps and humidity rise to challenge the best deodorant,  there has been more than one discussion about having an RV parked at 5,500 feet elevation for the months of June-Sept. And while we never complain about rain in Texas, the mosquitoes that follow are a different story--going to have start charging them blood suckers rent.

Til next time.

Sunday, June 9, 2013

The Re-do, a new Hair-Do and some Do-Do...

Fun times when you mix in a remodel, an 8 year old model and an 8 week old pup intent on giving the remodel dude more work. It is an effective weight loss plan though as I dropped about 5 pounds in 2 weeks of having to serve lifeguard to the 3 projects.


Out with the 80s leafy wallpaper which covered up the 70s flowery layer. But the retro light fixture, it was a must stay.

Stage-left exit for the tiled floor and the white tile that was around the partial, privacy toilet wall. Adios to the old sink faucet and towel hanger. Good-bye to the skinny metal blinds. The eggshell white paint around the cabinetry also bit the dust. Even the toilet paper holder went.

Out with the partial tub wall decorated in egg shell white color and the sky blue fiberglass-like upper half wall.



Took it down to raw drywall, skimmed it with plaster, textured it and brought on 2 coats of a soft, aquamarine color for a Cottagey-Spa Look. All of the half wall tile and toilet privacy area was done with bead board and 2 coats of bright white paint. New sink faucet, new white paint trimmed with new nickel painted hardware finished up this area. White 2x6" tile all the way up to the 6 foot mark with light gray grout lines complimented by a new rainfall, pan style shower head. Twelve inch square blah tile out, hickory apple laminate flooring in along with new wide slat, plantation-style blinds completes the Re-do! And for the budget curious, in under $1,500 to create the new look.

Ahh yes, announcing the Summer arrival of our 8 year old niece, Brynn, her super cute haircut and an 80 lb suitcase, (they learn early) for her summer stay. Her mom brought her out from Denver and stayed for a couple of days. After grandma, grandpa and Brynn took mom to the airport for her return flight to Colorado, Brynn, upon returning to the car, and reflecting on her mama's departure, announced "SHE IS GONE, I AM FINALLY ON VACATION!" Love that attitude, might have her do a guest post or two.

Brynn and her Entertainer Director. First day with us: Garage-saleing...walked 6 blks with her aunt to the Farmers Market...later walked 3 blks to the hardware store...later walked 4 blks to have her first snow-cone ever...played in the sprinklers twice, once while she "helped" me wash the car....helped me spray paint a toy basket for Sadie..played with the pup...learned to feed and herd the for 30 minutes..watered the garden....watched Disney Channel..changed clothes 3 times...had one of her favs for dinner--Pizza Hut pepperoni pizza....but I failed her as I got asked the one question no one in my capacity wants to here--"I am bored, what are we going to do next"...

 Hula-hooping, what bonds her aunt with her niece.....and Sadie has bonded well with the pink shoes..

 What bonds her uncle......

Yes, within 24 hours of arrival, she was shown the art of thrifting as we stopped by some garage sales and she picked out some items of color.

Sadie the Lady 3 weeks ago....

Yeah, she is not skipping many meals. We did however have a scare at our 1st vet visit this week. I explained a battle of loose stools and thought it was perhaps a diet change. The doctor took immediate concern and wanted to do a rectal probe to take a sample to rule out an infestation of worms. By the way, she seemed to enjoy the probing a bit too much. The 3 vet techs relished playing with her while we awaited the results. The doc went back into a separate room and peered under the microscope. When he exited, he calmly escorted the techs out of the room and returned to us with a very somber face. I thought he was going to tell us "we found a lung in your dog's poop".

He revealed the diagnosis by saying "you  have a very sick puppy. She is loaded with worms and I am going to give her a pill that is going to make her even more sick and expect a very long afternoon and night with her as this is going to completely clean her system out". He was so convincing about the next 24 hours I pondered where I could  by a Bio-Hazard suit for the oncoming Poopalooza festival. Well, Princess Gut O'Steel took it all in stride with almost no side effects. All appears well and we go back in 3 weeks for a follow-up. If she wants to play with the rectal probe, we will seek counseling.

We are working on praying before meals.

Water conservation is huge in Texas. Lady Mouth of Thumbtacks is doing her part serving as "Pre-wash" for the dishwasher.

The moment when the Great White Pyrenees pup is most loved.

What else? As the dog days of Texas summer begin before it arrives on the calendar, a Summer cabin/seasonal RV starts singing a tune. One year ago, we were in Denver, pretty much an optimal spot in Anywhere, USA in June. Just not sure how well 5 hens travel---with a 100 lb. Pyrenees. Pondering for 2014.

The next 2.5 months--chilling! Taking a hiatus from our project list to enjoy 5 hens, 1 lady canine, our niece and my wife for the rest of the Summer. But at that ratio, may have to get on some testosterone booster to level out the playing field.

93 days til Fall.....