We got a dog. He’s eight years old and his name is Chief. He appears to be a mix of English Setter Spaniel and Golden Retriever. Resplendent Respaniel. We were supposed to start shopping the local shelters for Dog last weekend with the goal of adopting one in October, but by the Sunday of the long weekend, Mouse and I were already in love with Chief.
What I enjoyed about the process of visiting the shelters (Animal Welfare League of Arlington and Animal Welfare League of Alexandria) was watching my teenagers, who increasingly behave like adults when they aren’t acting cooler than mere adults, briefly turn back into excited children. They were playing. They were expectant. Out of nowhere, it took me back 10 years. (Now it’s taking me back 10 years in other ways, like monitoring the toileting habits of a 60-lb mammal while figuring out what he’ll eat, what’s that spot he keeps scratching, and how Dino Spouse will react if left alone with him. The excited children part was nicer, I admit.)
Chief came home with me on Thursday night. TeenBot and Mouse loooooooove Chief and have so far been responsible dog siblings. They are back to being regular teens, but TeenBot did text me to inquire whether Chief was in fact still being “the goodest boy.” The big challenge for today will be making sure that (a) Chief will tolerate separation from us on Monday morning and (b) Dino Spouse will tolerate the idea of Chief being left alone in the house without being crated. Chief hates the crate. On the other hand, he shows zero interest in chewing on non-food items or toileting indoors.
The school year has started. TeenBot is apparently happy to be back in his element. Mouse is a bundle of nerves. They* are sufficiently in touch with and in control of their feelings that they could tell me about what made the day nerve-wracking, and that’s a major improvement over this time a year ago. It’s still painful to watch the horrors of adolescence unfold without being able to help, though.
* “They” are Mouse, who rejects the gender binary and has adopted “they/them” pronouns accordingly. I already mentioned this usage a couple of posts ago, but it still sounds weird to me when I see it written down.
(I got Mouse into therapy last year because they were missing so much school from anxiety that our family was on the verge of being referred to Child Protective Services. I know I was supposed to do it as a responsible parent to help them be healthier and happier, but I think I really bit the bullet and did it because (a) we were attracting attention from The Authorities and (b) it’s important to Mouse’s future livelihood that they be able to keep functioning through whatever storms their psyche stirs up. That imperative to keep at it is so much more persuasive to me than the idea of achieving a sense of personal well-being! My poor child.)
I spent the week after Jonas tending to Ur Takses and Mouse’s emotional health (shout-out to the Center for Psychological Services at Divine Mercy University) and its impact on her school attendance. January was pretty much like that. In between times, I alternated between staring at Facebook, staring at Twitter, and trying to teach myself the basics of Continental philosophy for the heck of it.
During this week, I also found a link to Thing of Things most recent Book Post in my e-mail, courtesy of The Browser (the only electronic publication I pay actual money to read, that’s how good it is). Ozy Franks has figured out how to get free books from people, which is like the Holy Freakin’ Grail of cultural criticism in my opinion. I am inspired. Plus I got ideas for communicating with Mouse about elements of the above-inferred emotional distress she’s experiencing.
My new favorite, Hatch Act-appropriate meme about the 2016 democratic primaries:
And finally, tonight I saw Beyonce’s new video. Boss-yonce.
Podrostok (or maybe I should start calling him Soldatik in honor of his new adult station in life) came home for the holidays. It was fun having him around and having an excuse to visit a friend of mine who lives near Soldatik‘s base during the pick-up and drop-off trips. (Always life-affirming to see people whose ambient chaos levels resemble or exceed one’s own, plus I got slept on by some dachshunds. This last fact almost makes up for the fact that he introduced the film “Love, Actually” into my life, but only almost. It’s the cinematic equivalent of eating an entire bag of Starburst jellybeans in one sitting, and it makes me regret the loss of my gag reflex in much the same manner. If I had won the Powerball last week I would have paid for a sequel in which Emma Thompson’s character teamed up with Laura Linney’s character to wreak havoc on all the smug happy people in the film. It would end with Laura Linney and Liam Neeson living happily ever after, Emma Thompson bonking the dude who plays Rick on “Walking Dead,” and the chick who seduced Alan Rickman subjugating and blackmailing Hugh Grant while performing feminist consciousness-raising intervention on his girlfriend. Colin Firth and his girl friend can stay together, though.)
No Dinosaurovs (or Protosaurs) were harmed in the making of this Christmas, for what that’s worth, nor were the police summoned to my belle-mere‘s apartment. I couldn’t summon the holiday spirit to decorate the house in earnest, but I did at least trim up a table festively and make some cookies, and my sister had a lovely Christmas dinner for the lot of us.
I went another round with the nightstand last week, but this time I pushed it out of the way as I was rolling on to the floor (diving to the floor of a metro car to avoid gun fire in my dream). Dino Spouse was startled by the noise but neither of us was wounded. I guess that means the nightstand and I are even now? I’ve gotten a referral to a neurologist and a sleep specialist.
Mouse discovered the musical “Hamilton” at some point during the holiday and it took over our brains completely. Unfortunately, anxiety and despoir also took over Mouse’s brain during the school break, with the result that my girl has attended four of the last ten days of school. We have logged a lot of quality time with mental health professionals in the past two weeks. I am grateful that I will be seeing mine on Monday, because dang.
Podrostok graduated from high school today. His graduating class was huge (around 650 kids) but the ceremony was really quite nice. They managed to get all those kids across the stage and have the band and choir do their things and let all the usual suspects say a few words in under 150 minutes. Someone should put the school administration team in charge of the Academy Awards. My lone complaint is that they mispronounced my poor baby’s name when it was finally his turn to walk across the stage. Probably other names were mangled as well, given that the other 649 kids come from all over the world, but his was the only one that got conspicuously butchered.
Podrostok and Mouse and I all got haircuts Friday night. They look awesome. I look like the kind of person who calls the cops to complain about skateboarders.