Tuesday, December 18, 2007

Tired Tuesday and Con Men

Yesterday Thomas did his two subjects in school: Three pages of math (with balking) and Nonfiction Reading. Today, he did the same.

Yesterday I was feeling daring and brave. I had things to do. I broke my rule about going out in public during school hours.

I don't know why I have that rule. I feel very uncomfortable in our town out and about while all the other kids are in school. Yesterday it was delightful. We did Christmas shopping and went to lunch. (Don't tell Bob!) We shopped til we dropped. I was so tired by the time we got home, that we ordered Pizza Hut. Yum.

Today? We did it again. Today's plans were to finalize shopping and then come home and start baking. Well, that didn't work out. We finished shopping, I ran Thomas to his art class, and I came home. I held Apollo and petted Jerry at the same time. In a blink of an eye it was time to go get Thomas again, and we also stopped at the grocery store. I had nothing for dinner. I bought hamburger so Bob could cook up some burgers because, wah, I was tired.

My mom could shop all day and into the night with an indefatigable spirit. Me? I'm exhausted after two stores. Christmas season has us darting to every store there is, and walking on all those hard surfaces hurts my back and feet and legs. I wish I had my mom's energy for shopping. I've never been much of a shopper.

When our Wal-mart opened, I noticed a lot of people with backpacks begging right next to it. That was something we didn't see in our little town. Today, right down the road from Wal-mart, I had just got out of my car to gas up. A man in a white car, which I had noticed when I pulled in, approached me. He started telling me a sob story about how he was stranded here with no money, a job promise that fell through, and he and his wife had slept in their car for five days straight. He told me numerous times he was a Christian. I stood there staring at him, not saying a word, because I couldn't have got a word in edgewise. He told me he was from Kentucky.

He then showed me a 20- and 5-dollar bill. He said some kind lady gave him this cash, and could I please--Frankie interrupts. Nope, I don't have any cash, sorry. There is a Salvation Army at the corner of Main and North Street. He bumbled a sarcastic thanks, and drove to the next unsuspecting victim. I forced Thomas to come into the store with me, told the clerk there was a panhandler out there with Missouri licence plates (not Kentucky) and we were trying to get the license plate when he noticed and sped off.

There were four other customers in the store and the all said he had hit them up for money.

I'm not in the spirit, am I?

In the first place, if I were to bestow charity upon someone in need, I couldn't care less if he were a Christian, a Martian or whatever. Why should that matter? I don't get that. Why do people play the Christian card? Perhaps because the fundamentalist movement is so strong. Instead of making me sympathetic, it really turned me off and fast.

In the second place, he was a con artist. I sat in a courtroom for 11 years, I've seen criminals on every single level and lots of them. I had him pegged in 10 seconds flat.

What a discussion Thomas and I had. See, Thomas felt really sorry for him -- at first. As he has every single backpack-wielding, sign-holding beggar we've seen near the new Wal-mart.

We discussed need, charity and con men. Thomas couldn't understand why we were trying to get his license plate. Thomas also couldn't understand why he drove off after I mentioned where the Salvation Army was.

I hate bursting the trusting bubble of a child. Yet, I want him to be wise to the world.

Ho Ho Ho

Maybe tomorrow we'll get to our baking -- after we run more errands and take Apollo for his first vet visit. I'm ready for a day at home.

Sunday, December 16, 2007

Sunday Evening

Yeah, Todd, winner of Survivor! I liked him, Denise, and I loved James. I'm glad Todd won.

I haven't had a lot to blog about lately. We've been plugging away at school. Thomas has continued his study of Africa with gusto. We've been getting our "core
5" done on a daily basis. For us, this has just been the year of the dog.

Friday night Jerry had a very bad night. He lost the shine in his eyes, his breathing was extremely labored and we thought he was in pain. We had a family talk and decided to call the vet on Monday morning. Gulp. Well, he has rebounded. Saturday was better and today he was his normal self. Shine was back in his eyes, tail wagging, and he bounded up and down the stairs several times.

The time is nearing, though. I feel it. Bob feels it. Thomas is in denial. Hard for a 12 year old kid -- hard for anyone, but harder for a kid.

I don't want Jer to suffer, and Friday night I felt that he was. So we'll keep a very close watch.

Apollo is doing wonderful! He is such a joy and brings us so much hope and happiness. He learned to roll over in a matter of minutes. He is just as smart as a whip.

I'm excited for Tesla to come, but with Christmas, it takes my focus away from that time waiting. I ordered a bunch of little stuff online Saturday and hope it comes in time. I went to Wal-mart all by myself, too. Wal-mart is this bored housewife's favorite place to go on a Saturday night.

Tomorrow we're going to drop down to two subjects daily: Math and whatever Thomas chooses. He's working the Key To Fractions book right now and I have requested three pages a day. He begged for two with another subject thrown in. I'm mean, I said no. He hates math worse than I hate paying bills.

Our breeder hooked Thomas up with a young man from Italy who is also getting a border collie. They've been emailing back and forth. His English is very good. He's older, 16, but very friendly. It's a small world, and very exciting to have a new e-penpal. This boy's mom is on an agility world team, and they have four dogs. So perhaps he'll give Thomas some doggie tips.

I have been busy preparing for Tesla. Getting two puppies at the same time is never advisable. Ever. lol We had a long talk with the breeder, I asked lots of questions, as did she, and we determined we could make it work and work well.

The trick is to keep the pups separated. They won't eat together, they won't sleep together, walk together, train together and they won't be together. Well, for about 90% of the time. Thus, we'll probably have puppy playtime for 20 minutes in the morning and 20 minutes in the evening. This will go on until they're about five months old. They then can be together more frequently.

The reason to do this is so that they bond with their humans, not each other. There will be plenty of time for them to bond together. They need to know that humans are the best thing on the planet.

We have purchased two ex-pens. I call them puppy playpens. One is in our living room, and the other, when it gets here, will be in our basement. Our pups are also crate trained. We have a wonderful breeder who actually trains them before they leave her home. So they've been used to being in a crate since 6 weeks old working up to four hours in the evenings by 9 weeks. Apollo is wonderful in his crate and always has been.

This will be a lot of work, time consuming, and hard, but lots of fun, too. I am so excited for Tesla to come because I have really held myself back from Apollo so his bond would be strong with Thomas. It is.

This week we will start our holiday baking. Snickerdoodles, chocolate dipped peanut butter balls (taste like Reeses), fudge, and chocolate chip bar cookies. Lots of 'em. I'll need to start my diet ASAP, I fear.

We're also going to try a real gingerbread house. I saved candy all year for that.

And that's my life in a nutshell on a Sunday night.