Tuesday, April 28, 2020

Tuesdays With Tux: Quarantine Edition, Episode 1

In our family, the one most looking forward to life as we once knew it is...Tux.

Tux loves his boy most of all, but his routine - which includes A LOT of quiet alone time during the day - and his freedom to roam around outside come in a close second. He does not love constant contact. He does not love being carried around the house. He does not love wearing knitted hats and scrunchies as bowties. He does not love rides in his stroller or on the scooter. He does not love noise and movement and hustle and bustle all day every day.

Given what you now know about Tux's likes and dislikes, I bet you can guess how quarantine is going.
At first, Tux enjoyed having his boy around more
frequently, especially during his afternoon naps.

But things started going downhill the day she dressed
him up in a bowtie (actually a Noonday scrunchie)...

...and taking him for rides on her scooter. 

Lately he scowls at me with the same look he usually reserves for the last week of summer. I may be anthropomorphizing him, but it feels like he's begging me to save him from the smaller humans (one in particular).


Unfortunately, all that stress caught up with him a couple of weeks ago and he took it out on me as I tried to remove the many burrs he had stuck in his fur and in his skin beneath the fur. He - understandably - freaked out, and in an attempt to escape my grasp he bit me. This bite was worse than any I've ever had from a cat, so I decided to have my doc take a look at it via a virtual appointment. (Anyone else find themselves yelling "STOP DOING THAT - WE CAN'T GO TO THE ER!!!" at their children on the regular? Now is NOT the time to end up at Urgent Care or in the Emergency Room.) I ended up needing an oral antibiotic and having to call Animal Control to report the bite. And then, even though it was MY FAULT Tux bit me...and even though Tux is MY PET...and even though Tux is licensed and vaccinated and clearly does not have rabies...we had to quarantine him for 10 days or risk a citation, a fine, and "seizure of the animal".

Side note: I'm not going to go into great detail here, but I will say that after three unpleasant (and that's both putting it kindly and giving them far more credit and grace than they deserve) encounters with Animal Control in the last few months, I don't plan to rely on them for anything in the future. 

In addition to wanting (needing?) the freedom to roam around outside, Tux also prefers to use the restroom outside. Forcing him to stay inside* brought about a whole new level of awful - think hours of meow-crying every day - that I can only compare to listening to a baby cry and not being able to calm them down.

Gazing longingly at his beloved outdoors.

* Tom and Will built Tux a pen of sorts, so that he could still go outside and visit his favorite bush bathroom. Unfortunately he was terrified of it, and it took two days before he'd even set foot in it bribed by treats, three days before he would venture into it without treats, and four days before he actually used the bush bathroom. Even after that, he used the bush bathroom only periodically in favor of peeing on piles of laundry and bags throughout the house.

On top of the stress and emotion associated with Tux's "punishment", I dealt with quite a few emotional and scary days trying to stay on top of the budding infection in my puncture wounds.

Thankfully, the 10-day course of oral antibiotics combined with topical antibiotics seems to have done the trick and my wounds are almost healed.

Thankfully, the 10-day** quarantine eventually came to an end and Tux was able to be seen and given a clean bill of health by our veterinarian.

** Because of how quarantine works, Tux's time on lock-down officially ended at 4:00pm on Saturday and he was allowed to be seen and released by a veterinarian as soon as at 4:01pm on Saturday. But because our veterinarian's office is only open until 2pm on Saturdays and doesn't open until 2pm on Sundays, Tux actually had to stay in quarantine for 11 days. 

So there you have it - a big time episode of Tuesdays With Tux: Quarantine Edition. It's like I always never say: go big or go home.

Oh wait, we're already home. So I guess it's go big AND go home.

Friday, April 24, 2020

High Five for Friday (4.24.20)

Last Thursday was by far my worst day since quarantine began. In months, really. The Wednesday prior and the Friday after weren't much to write home about either, but on Thursday, when the popsicles fell out of the freezer*, the stress and anxiety that had been building throughout the last five weeks finally erupted and I cried on the floor of my closet. And in my office. And on the couch in the family room. And on a walk.

* I worked for the City of Iowa City as a camp counselor the summer after my junior year in college. My job required time at the recreation center as well as three different parks every day, and I traveled between these locations on my bike since I didn't yet have a car. One day my front tire got caught in pavement reflector that had skewed in a funny direction, and I flew over my bike's handlebars. I didn't break any bones, but I took the skin off one leg and one arm and dented my helmet. Multiple cars stopped and drivers offered to help me, but I adjusted my battered helmet, put on a brave face, and continued on my ride, knowing I still had two camps left to run before my day would be over. I held it together all day, even through telling my roommate about what had happened. It wasn't until I went into the kitchen, opened the freezer, and a box of popsicles fell out and onto the floor that I completely fell apart. Long story short, instead of the phrase "the straw that broke the camel's back", I like to use "the popsicles fell out of the freezer". Miss you, Beth...  

I'll share more details about Thursday's events next week, when - hopefully - the entire saga will have wrapped. But I brought up my bad day today because it reminded me that 1) even though our days in quarantine have been overwhelmingly positive, we are still grieving and that grief has been building up, and 2) these circumstances make it even more important to look for the good. 

I have amazing friends, the kind who when I'm having a terrible, horrible, nor good very bad day, send lots of love...and wine.

Our birthday brigades are the absolute best. We've done somewhere in the neighborhood of 12 so far, and while I can say from experience that they make the recipient - and her family - feel unbelievably loved, they also lift the spirits of every single person who participates. Bringing joy brings joy. 

Approximately 15-18 months ago, a tegu lizard belonging to a once-neighbor escaped. The owner couldn't find and/or catch the lizard before moving away, so he just left it behind to roam the neighborhood and scare the daylights out of the people whose paths it crossed. For those of you who are unfamiliar, tegu lizards look kind of like small alligators and are MEAN - they aren't poisonous, but they will attack, unprovoked. Many neighbors have called Animal Control when they've spotted the tegu, but Animal Control never arrived in time to catch the tegu before it moved on to another area of the neighborhood. 

But last weekend, a man who was cleaning out his parents' house (they recently passed away) discovered the tegu in their backyard. He called Animal Control, and when they wouldn't come out to help, he moved on to private companies...and on Saturday they finally caught the beast. Hallelujah!

Our dance studio and soccer club are both going the extra mile to keep our kids - "their" kids - connected, engaged, active, and improving. Hallie still "goes to" tap, jazz, contemporary, company, and two ballet classes and assists two kinder classes every week, and the studio offers extra rehearsals, workouts, story times, crafting classes, and weekly games and challenges. Will has five short soccer workouts to tackle each week, and his coaches are regularly rolling out physical and tactical challenges and projects to keep the boys working on their fitness and technique and thinking about the game. They meet weekly on Zoom, and this week the club held three different Zoom sessions with prestigious professional and college coaches.

Crazy Hair Week

Crafting with Ms. Christi
(This week they made a cat toy.)

One of the MANY trick/technique videos Will and I 
have filmed for soccer. This was take 85. Yes, 85.

Happiness Highlights
Found this gem on my phone a few days
ago. Love that these two have more time
to "chat" during the day now.

Be Happy

In the evenings, Will and I ice our aching bodies together.

Last Friday's art project!

I told Will that if school was officially cancelled
for the remainder of the school year, I would shave
his hair into a mohawk. He now has a mohawk. 

One last chilly morning = turning the fireplace on one
last time. See you in November or December, my friend.

I couldn't get the coloring right in this picture, but
Hallie and I really liked our Color Street Nails!

Hallie and I have oddly small heads, so my mom graciously
made us new masks that were smaller than the original masks
she made. We're ready, even though we never go anywhere! 

Happy weekend, friends!

Tuesday, April 21, 2020

From the Photo Booth Archives

I found this years-old video series in my Photo Booth archives a couple of weeks ago - on the eve of Hallie's 11th birthday, actually - while setting up my computer camera in preparation for a dance moms night "out" on Zoom. Not a lot is happening these days, y'all, so I have less "material" to work with when it comes to blog posts. So when I came across these treasures (which have absolutely nothing to do with anything) and they made me smile, I decided to share in hopes they can do the same for you.

In this video I also love:
  1. her itty bitty voice
  2. her white blond hair
  3. my dark brown hair
  4. her perfectionist tendencies
All of the videos are pretty short - I mess up A LOT as we attempt to film Hallie's favorite-at-the-time song, and little miss makes us start over each time I don't get the lyrics right.

Find something that makes you smile today, friends.

Friday, April 17, 2020

High Five for Friday (4.17.20)

Day 2,396 of social distancing...

I hope you and yours are healthy, (relatively) happy, and finding silver linings as we continue living the quarantine life.

At the risk of jinxing myself, it seems that after about three weeks of pandemic schooling we finally found our groove. (To clarify, as of today we have finished five weeks pandemic schooling. But I felt like we kind of figured it out - thankfully - a couple of weeks ago.) Our days include school-guided academics, independent academics, fine arts, physical education, soccer training, dance classes, and occasional lessons in Real World Adulting. I've also come close to figuring out my own daily schedule, how to exercise effectively in my living room, how to shop online for groceries, and how to "get together" with my family members and friends over Zoom and Instagram. We miss our lives pre-quarantine, and like all of you we are grieving lives, time, hard work, and experiences lost, but we are pretty darn good at staying home when that is what is asked of and needed from us.

Moving on...

Here are a few of our high fives from the last couple of weeks!

On Friday, we celebrated Hallie's birthday. The day was - of course - simple, but in the best possible ways. And even though there were no family trips, wild parties, extravagant gifts, or celebrations at school or dance, I think Hallie felt as loved as she ever has on a birthday thanks to quality time with her family; the many calls, texts, emails, cards, and gifts; and the very best Birthday Brigade.

Our traditional birthday "room full of balloons".

Ready for the birthday girl!

Will insisted on arranging the birthday confetti.

Hallie asked for a cat stroller for her
birthday. She LOVES it. Tux HATES it.

Opening presents.

Tackling this one scared me, but
it turned out beautifully in the end.

And she loved it!

Ready for her birthday brigade!

One of Hallie's friends, Abby, turned 11 the day before Hallie, and Hallie and I of course participated in Abby's Birthday Brigade. That evening, Abby's mom - my friend Anne - wrote this about their experience.

And then, there were the friends who ALWAYS show up when called, who have stepped in to support and love Abby in so many ways, who formed a parade of cars down our street, complete with signs, smiles, gifts, music, and even dancing, who left me and her dad in tears; there were dance friends.

I'm borrowing these words from Anne because if you swap out "Abby" for "Hallie", the sentence perfectly summarizes how this group of women and their dancing daughters steps up and in when one of their own needs ANYTHING as well as the incredible impact these relationships have had on our lives. This special new tradition is absolutely, positively my favorite thing to come out of this season, and I hope that when the world eventually shifts back to business as usual we can keep it alive.

I know that to some people this is just a series of photos of mom-mobiles driving by my house. But to me, each of these photos represents a friend of mine and a friend (or friends) of Hallie's, and is evidence of the love this community so generously shares. 

As was the case for everyone celebrating last Sunday, Easter for us looked different than it has in years past. We slept in, delighted in the contents of our baskets, and hunted for chocolate eggs before welcoming church into our living room. We went for walks and bike rides, played outside, worked in the yard, and connected with our families and friends. I also prepared my calendar, our Zoom schedules, and the kids' school lists for the week. It was a day spent thinking about and focusing on faith, family, and friends, which is all that really matters.
The Easter Bunny made it, but Mom helped him out.

Caffeinating up before the egg hunt.

Can you spot the chocolate egg?

Our neighbors put out little bags and "hid" eggs for kids to find.

Painting Easter egg cookies.

Every year the kids and I go out for ice cream the minute the temperature reaches 90 degrees for the first time. Mother Nature decided to gift (or punish, depending on how you feel about summer) us with summer-like weather last Wednesday afternoon, so even though we couldn't visit our favorite Farmhouse Creamery ice cream shop, we kept our tradition alive by making ice cream cones in our kitchen. Thank goodness for an accidental order of three extra half gallons of ice cream earlier this month!

Also last week (or maybe it was the week prior - no one keeps track of the date or days of the week anymore), one of our dance company moms organized a simple scavenger hunt as a fun but safe activity to get us out of the house when we needed a break from coronaschooling. Each participating family wrote a clue that would lead searchers to a hidden item in their yard. When the item was found, we took a picture with it and sent it to that family as a way to say hello. We found all of the treasures and had a great time (even Will, who didn't want to go in the first place) along the way!

A rock painted with a sweet message. 😍
A roll of toilet paper.  😂

Happiness Highlights

She misses you too, CG. 

Found this on my desk last Monday morning.

She can't watch Friends just yet,
but she was a fan of their puzzle!

I finally started cashing in the coupons Hallie gave me
for my birthday last year. Clean Your Bathtub - check!

Dance Moms Night Out on Zoom!

Both Tom's mom and my mom made us masks. Hallie and I have
small heads, but we figured out that pigtails make them fit us better!

Cuties in Quarantine!

All dressed up for music video dance night (she
learned and performed "It's Good to be Bad" from
Descendants) for Apprentice Company.  

School supplies and books outside of Hallie's school. 😍


...and after. Professor Mohawk, at your service!

Happy Friday, friends!