Down with the Sickness

This weekend, we ripped down our deck.  This is the DIY project I mentioned. And yes, since several people asked, this does require a building permit. Which, I am happy to report I have in hot little hands.  Now, Jason and I aren't exactly tackling this one on our own.  My family is coming up with tools in tow to help us replace our deck.  While, a larger deck will be nice, we aren't doing it for convenience or cosmetic purposes.  We are doing it for safety. The picture below doesn't really show the condition the porch was in.  The picture does show that it had a bad case of the ugly, but this wasn't the reason for the rebuild.  There was a hole in the deck and few more forming from where the wood was literally rotting away.  Also, the stairs only had a rail and they were literally detaching from the porch (and leaning to one side, which you can see in the photo).  Needless to say this isn't exactly safe for a pregnant woman and toddler.  We were going to wait until the spring to tackle this issue but thanks to my family, we are tackling it this weekend.  Also, my sisters and uncle (who live FL) and my brother who lives in GA are all coming visit. Hooray!

Little deck of horrors. Oh yeah, and our yard looks total like crap.  Can I blame all it all on Ann? Or do I have to fess up to our poor lawn care habits?



All gone, minus a few pieces of wood that are still attached in this picture.  Thanks to the awesome Ben Williams for helping Jason bring it down.  I kind of think the guys enjoyed the demo.  During the process, Jason stepped on a nail. Which seems to be healing nicely.  Although, he is in a bit of pain. Speaking of pain, my stomach feels like I have been sucker punched because I threw up so much on Sunday.  Yes, I realize this might be to much info for you.  But, I like to keep it real and I was really sick.  I was also really sick last weekend, yes two weekends in a row.  I guess something I have been eating just hasn't been working with me. I thought at first it was a stomach bug but now I am thinking it might have more to do with pregnancy.  But, I survived and I am hoping I won't be that sick again for a long, long time.

In other yard related news (who knew there was such a thing?).  We got Henry a little slide. Here he is going down his new (to us) slide for the first time all by himself.

We always make him wait for us at the playground (because that slide is a little higher).  Because of this, he refuses to slide by himself.  He just stands there and looks at you like "Umm, now please,  I need to slide."  Needless to say, Momma was ready for him to get some more playtime independence. And, he did today.  I just happen to be recording the first time he slid.  I may have tried to let him do this by himself yesterday and he may have fell off the slide. I am glad this attempt went better.  You might note, he gets a little angry at first which I think is because he realized I wasn't coming to help.  Once he realized this he just scooted on down by himself. And then called his daddy, who was at work (this broke poor Jason's heart). It is amazing how quick toddlers learn and adapt.  At the end he tries to pet the dog, which really just results in him hitting her in the face.  She takes it well. By the way, I scored this little slide for $25 bucks a little used toy store in town.  Yes, it is a little faded but for $25 I can live with it. And, I don't think Henry cares much about the color.



Ann, I am sorry

The last two weeks have been maddening in the Barks household.  There has been a wedding of friends, family visits, stomach bugs, lots of work for the both of us not to mention getting ready for a family visit to tackle another little DIY project which has required not one, but two trips to the permit office (more on that later).  All this to say, there are a lot of things I could write about.  I have lots of pictures and highlights from the flurry of activity.  I could talk about pregnancy and how worn out I am all the time.  Or, maybe I could write about Henry and how he is developing his own little language that we can't seem to decipher.  Despite all these things, there is only one thing I want to talk about . . . Ann. Or better yes,  the lack of Ann. You see we left her in South Carolina when we went to visit last weekend.   There are lots of reasons why we might have wanted to leave that dog somewhere.  Reasons that would have caused sane people to give her away years ago.  Things like her numerous escapes attempts and the countless things she has destroyed - books, dvds, shoes, roses, basil plants. But, it was none of these things that pushed us to force Ann to take a puppy sabbatical.  It was a little tussle with a Chihuahua.

Now, I know that no one is going to believe me, but the Chihuahua started it.  Yes, that is right, I just said that a 5 pound dog instigated a fight with  my 60lb hound.  I standby this statement.  Henry and I had ran out to the car to get something last Wednesday as I was getting ready for work.  As I opened the door to come in the house a lady just happened to be walking her little dog on the sidewalk in front of my house.  When she saw Ann she started to yell and her dog started to bark.  That was all Ann needed. She almost clobbered Henry and I to get to that dog.  They started making the most terrible racket and thrashing each other around.  I tossed Henry in the house, I have no front yard to speak of so the house was the safest place for him, which he didn't like. So to add to the chaos of the dogs, you can hear Henry screaming and beating on the door.  So here I am in my PJs trying to break up a dog fight, with my toddler pitching a holy fit in the house.  Luckily my neighbor heard the whole debacle, how could he not? He hastily came to my aid.  The women who owned the Chihuahua was freaking out. She was just screaming and wouldn't pick up her dog.  She still had a hold of the leash.  The neighbor jumped in, grabbed the leash from her and scooped up her dog.  We got Ann settled and the lady started to walk home. Please note, I think I apologized exactly 1,000 times during this exchange and neither dog actually  drew blood. Ann was no longer barking up a storm but she was not to keen on coming into the house. I asked the neighbor to keep an eye on her while I checked on Henry, got her leash and called Jason.  As soon as I got in the house, Ann went nuts.  She took off after the women and her dog.  They had another little encounter on the corner.  This time, the women wasn't very nice.  Understandably so, she said some, well, not nice things about Ann. My neighbor got her calmed down again.  He was my hero. And no, I have no idea what his name is.  But, we did get him a thank you gift. So, this, this was the final straw.  As angry as I was at Ann, causing me once again to run around the neighborhood looking like an idiot, I was more concerned for her.  What if that women reported Ann?  What if animal control came to investigate?  I am positive that everyone on our block is aware of the fact that I can't control that dog. Not to mention the fact that one guy swears Ann tried to bite him.  Granted, he would get high and stick his fingers through the fence but still you wouldn't want him talking to animal control.  So, we decided that Ann needed to lay low. 

When it was time to leave South Carolina without Ann, it was heart breaking.  For all the insanity that dog brought, we love her so much.  We put so much time into that dog. Also, Henry loves Ann.  Ann was one of his first words.  I snapped this picture the morning we left for SC. Right after I snapped this Henry put both his arms around her neck and gave her a huge hug.


When it came time to leave, Ann even tried to get in the car with us.  We cried as we drove away.  We got to the end of the road and turned around to come and get her. We stopped ourselves because we remembered it was for her own good. So we cried some more.  When we got home the very first thing Henry did after announcing we were home (he might be a home body, he yells HOME when we walk in the door) was to start walking around calling and looking for Ann.  Which meant more crying.  I know Ann is happy, Jason's parents live in the kind of place a dog like Ann should live.  Out in the country on acres of land.  The first few days I just missed her.  Now, I have started to see the benefit of not having a giant dog in your house.  Less dog hair, my books aren't getting eaten, Henry's toys aren't getting eaten, I don't have to worry that she is going bolt every time I open the door and I could actually have grass and flowers in my back yard.  Of course all of these thoughts just make me feel worse.  I feel guilty for feeling a since of relief that she isn't here. Our original plan was to leave her long term. Then, our plan was to pick her up in two weeks.  But, the truth is I am so afraid that we are going to get used to the perks of not having her around and that she is going to get used to country life.  I am worried that she may never come home.  That thought breaks my heart.  It makes me feel like such a failure as a pet parent. I know that Ann is too big for our tiny house and tiny yard but she has become so much a part of my life that I can't imagine not having her around anymore.  Just look through our post labled dogs.  Ann is everywhere.  And now, she is nowhere to be found. 

The irony of all this is . . . I used to hate pets. All pets. I always said I would never have a dog in the house. And now I am crying because my 60 pound house dog is gone.  Which is funny because I still have a little 11 pound house dog.  Prissy is currently snuggled against me on the couch as I type this.  My sister (hi Janine) always asks about her to make sure we still have her.  I never talk about her because she is the perfect house dog.  And, as we all know, the squeaky wheel gets the grease and Ann is very squeaky. 

PS. I would like to say thank you SO MUCH to Grandma and Pawpa for taking in our little girl and taking such good care of her for us.