Welcome to the world of the Adventurous Bug!

Wednesday, December 22, 2010

Howdy Stranger

It's come to my attention that I have, somehow, mysteriously and wonderfully, gained a set of readers from countries that I've never been to. In fact, there are now readers in countries I've only ever visited briefly (Bonjour, Guten Tag, and Hej Danskere!). And, to the Croatians and Slovenian, hello! And I'm sorry I don't have a more extensive knowledge of European languages to welcome you in your own tongue! To the Irish, Canadians, Brits and Americans--I'm heartily glad you're here. I hope you're having a good day!

My day today has been a bit...well, odd. It started off great. Like GREAT, great. We were up and around and running errands and out of town by nine. We got to our first stop of the day and WHOOSH--in and out and on to the next task. And ZIP! Through the next thing and on to the next stop on our to do list. And ZING! Like lightning we flashed through the store and back onto the road...

and then everything started unravelling. There was a dog on the side of the road, and I couldn't stop for him. It was a Boxer with a collar fitted with one of those electric-fence-shocker-box-thingies. It killed me to pass him. SLAYED me. I have no doubt I'll be feeling guilty, and hoping the best for that doggie long after his natural life has been and gone. I hate that I didn't stop--schedule be damned, I should've. But I didn't. Instead we buzzed along to the social security office. Or we tried to buzz along, anyway.

We used Baxter's Navigation system for the first time. I can tell you now, I'm not very impressed with the lady voice we've taken to calling "Mrs. Baxter." First of all, the address we had was the OLD address. However, Mrs. Baxter directed us to a house. Just a house. In the middle of a residential neighborhood. Clearly NOT the social security administration. In fact, it wasn't even the address we'd entered. We found the wrong/old address by ourselves. Then we snatched our phones (thank goodness for 3G!) and started searching for the new/correct address. Finally found, we entered that into Mrs. Baxter's map. Guess what? She led us to another house. In the middle of another residential neighborhood. Stupid lady! Luckily Nearly Husband and I are fairly clever (sometimes...) and we managed to find it for ourselves.

It was pretty nearly empty. "Your wait time should be approximately 14 minutes." It was significantly quicker than 14 minutes. And the woman... the infuriating woman behind the horrible counter said, "Oh, well, if you'd waited until tomorrow we could have had it to you in two weeks, but since you're not in the system yet it'll be two to six weeks." SIX WEEKS?! Because we came ON THE DAY WE WERE TOLD WE COULD COME?! WHA?!

Aghast. Seriously. I was raging. Nearly Husband was very calm, perhaps a bit disappointed and frustrated, but he didn't even turn colors. Unlike me. I checked the mirror and I was a pretty bright shade of pink. (you horrible woman. you couldn't have offered to let us come back tomorrow, or maybe hold on to his paperwork and file it tomorrow? you had to give us the SIX WEEKS line? I have nothing nice to say about you. DIRTY WORDS.) So we took Baxter to the Jeep dealership for his first ever oil change. *sigh* They grow up so fast, don't they?

I'd been told there would be a loaner vehicle to get around in while the car was being serviced. And there was...kinda. It was a 1996 Dodge Stratus, gold, with gold and beige interior. It... um... well, uh... I hated it. Nearly Husband hated it. It took thirty minutes to find a place to eat lunch because the Gold Bandit could barely budge itself. I feel like the service department guys keep it solely because they have a bet going as to how many people see it and decide they'll just sit in the dealership, thanks. Oh...*shudder* Gross. "Honey, I think something may have died in the back," says Nearly. "Just don't look...or breathe if you can help it." "That's not helpful, Bug."

But, you know what? I've never been more grateful to sit in my beautiful, shiny, black, clean, beast of a vehicle. He was WARM! And CLEAN! And DIDN'T SMELL OF DECAY! I love you Baxter Black!

And, for your entertainment:

You're welcome!

Thursday, December 16, 2010

The Half Of It

What a week. Has it been just a week? It feels like it's been a month. Well, it feels like it's been a month except for the days when it feels like it's been no time at all! My Nearly Husband is even more nearly my husband! He's in the US, and his arrival was swift and trouble-free. In fact, I really don't think you could ask for a more pleasant entry into the United States. He even laughed with the customs officials. (I know, right?!)

We've wandered around the state Christmas shopping, getting a tree (I let him pick it out, and string all the lights himself), and trying to sort out the last of our details. It's been interesting. I think he's impressed with the hillier/tree...ier side of Kansas, and I can see us moving there eventually. For now, though, he'll have to suffer through the flat/beige side a little longer. I say suffer, but can you possibly suffer through sunsets that take 180 degrees of horizon and paint it with the most beautiful pinks, reds, oranges, and purples imaginable? No. I didn't think so.

Tomorrow I'm taking him to a major city to get his Social Security card. I'm afraid this is going to be a nightmare, but it's necessary. There are so many things that require a Soc.Sec... I guess I'd never realized how many. Banks, drivers licenses, wedding applications...*sigh* It feels like a rather never ending list, to be honest. The catch? His visa doesn't allow him to work--that's the post-marriage part we have to tackle next. But GETTING a marriage license will be easier with a social security card. Oh, the round-and-round with government offices gives me a headache, and I just don't get headaches. Ick.

In cheerier news, my favorite furry little Einstein learned "High Five" in less than five minutes today. Yeah, I know. She's amazing! I am continuously impressed with Doodle smarts. I'm very excited to go fetch the Nearly Hubby's puppy (a doodle, of course) at the first of the year. Hopefully it won't be long before he, Cassie, future puppy and I will be able to move out into a place of our very own. Maybe a place with a couple of acres for Belle, a barn for hay and future cats, and a pond for future ducks. What? You think I'm asking too much of our first house? C'mon--a girl can dream, can't she?!

Saturday, December 11, 2010

The Puffy Vest Debacle

It went a little something like this.... (cue dream fog)

Nannie: Oh! Hey, Kid. Are you here to babysit?
Me: Hey Nannie! Yeah, I'm gonna sit with you this morning. What ya reading?
Nannie: Oh... (looks at book) *sigh* I don't even know. (looks at me) What, um...what is that? (pointing to my chest)
Me: My shirt?
Nannie: No, the other thing.
Me: My vest?
Nannie: Vest. That's it. (frowns)
Me: What about my vest?
Nannie: It makes you look heavy.
Me: ... (consisider making "he's not heavy, he's my vest" joke... decide against it) ... Oh. I like it.
Nannie: You're not heavy, though. Sometimes I think you're too thin.
Me: ... Oh. Well... I like my vest.
Nannie: It looks like you made it out of a... oh, you know. Like you sleep under when it's cold.
Me: A comforter?
Nannie: Right, a comforter.
Me: It's really warm, like a comforter.
Nannie: Maybe it needs... (motions to her arms)
Me: Sleeves?
Nannie: Right, yes. Sleeves. (pauses) But then it would just make your arms look fat.
Me: (thinks about puffy jacket currently in closet at home) Oh... well... I like it anyway.
Nannie: Your arms aren't fat, Kid. I just don't know about that thing.
Me: Well, that's alright. Maybe I don't know about it either.

See, the point here is this: I'm a size 4 in pretty much everything. Occasionally I'm a 2, sometimes (and to much mental disturbance) I'm a 6. Most of my clothes are an S, and all of my North Face clothing (including my THREE Nuptse vests and ONE Nuptse jacket) is an XS. But my Nannie has a point. I'll wait here while you google North Face Nuptse... *hums Jeopardy theme song*

Are you back? Can you see where Nannie was coming from? Unfortunately, now I can see where she's coming from too! I love my vests (in black, brown and teal)-- I love my jacket (black)! They are ludicrously warm, and comfy, and I enjoy the puffiness. One of the things I love most is that it feels precisely like my comforter! I mostly don't CARE if they make me look "heavy"-- I'm NOT heavy, and I know that.

...but I have been "heavy." Actually, having sorted through three million pictures this week, I feel fairly confident in saying that I have been truly fat in the past. I don't mean this in a judgmental, or negative way--I just didn't realize just how round I was. I have issues, sure--find me a lady who doesn't admit to having some issues about her body image and I'll show you a woman in pretty deep denial. But I really thought I was well on my way to being past all that. I eat what I feel like eating, usually in moderation but I don't beat myself up if I want a little more pizza on homemade pizza night sometimes. I work out regularly, though I go through phases of being very scheduled and rigorous, and I have sporadic bouts of not pushing myself very hard (you might call it bouts of laziness, and you probably wouldn't be wrong). I just mostly don't fuss so much about my shape. I am what I am, how I am, when I am (oh fluctuation, how you toy with the fit of my jeans), where I am, etc. Now, suddenly, even when I'm not wearing the blasted puffy vest, I can't pass a mirror without thinking, "Jeez, DO my arms look fatter than normal?" or "Is my waist wider than it was a couple of weeks ago?"

The answer is no. I know this because I've been measuring myself with a tape measure (scales are an instrument of the devil, and should be avoided accordingly) regularly for the last five years. I stay within an inch or so. Hmm....

Alright then. Part of me thinks, "Damn the torpedoes and full speed ahead." I love my vests, and who cares if I look oddly plump around the midsection when I wear them! But... maybe I care. And then again, maybe I don't.

Friday, December 10, 2010

Ho-Ho-Oh Humbug!

I beg your pardon. I don't mean to seem miserly, or curmudgeonly, or even grumpy--I've just been completely overwhelmed by the season. The storage room is nearly clean. It's tidy and completely organized. Alright, fine, you got me. It's ALMOST completely organized. At some point I moved from "Mom's History" to "Bug's History" to "Camping" to "Christmas" and only then realized I still had bits of my history scattered all over the living room and the rest of my allotted historical space had a sleeping bag and a tent in it. Hmm. I guess that part will be "Bug's History/Camping/Japanese Hanging Lanterns."

Here we have a box "Things I Remember." And here is "Things I Feel I Should Remember, But Don't." Above that, because it could have no other place, is "Things I Remember, But Try Not To If I Can Possibly Help It." That's on the highest shelf--the sort of shelf that you need a Sherpa guide to navigate. Beside that, a box full of... well, they might be obscure kitchen gadgets, or my mom may have done a stint as an 18th century anatomist and just forgotten to tell me about her gruesome and grisly adventures as a body-napper/autopsist (is that even a word?). Underneath that, kerosene lamps. Beside those, a moose made of tree bark. Next to that, pictures. Four hundred thousand pictures...at least. Minimum.

Other than that today, I've spent time with Nannie and attempted to make a start at Christmas decorations. I have, thus far, managed this:

Aaaaaand, I spent.

(Pardon the decoration box, boots, mason jars and doggy tail.)

Literally, I have no more Christmas spirit. I thought I'd plug in the iPod and try to Jingle Bell Rock myself into a state of Christmas euphoria... but I can't even find the iPod dock thingie.

I don't want to bake. I don't want to clean. I don't want to decorate. What on earth is WRONG with me?! I love decorating! I love organizing! I LOVE baking! Wait, hold the phone, I think I got it. I had 30-45 minutes of sleep last night...max. I'm crossing my fingers and hoping against hope that tomorrow morning, when I wake up, I'm so full of decorating enthusiasm it spills over and I decorate until there's tinsel draped around the Golden Retriever. (It's gold tinsel, after all!) If not... I guess the Nearly Husband will have to learn to pull his weight in ornaments and ribbon pretty fast!

Thursday, December 9, 2010

Happy Time

Yesterday I received a mission. I could say a favor was asked, but let's not kid ourselves here. I wasn't asked, I was straight up TOLD. My aunt called from work. "Bug," she said. "Cinnamon rolls with pecans. I found you a recipe--make it happen." And that, as they say, was that. I got home from taking Mom to the train depot at twelve past midnight (12:12... I delight in numerical things like that. I think of them as little gifts), and I was up and baking by 8am. The result (minus one pan which flew out of the house in record time-- hey, I guess she DID request them) was this:

My usual recipe calls for a glaze, but I have to say--this drizzle is pretty. I even kind of like the crazier, swirlier lines and blobs better, which is totally against my better (OCD) judgement. They make the house smell beeeeautiful, and since I've been cleaning and organizing the storage room for the better part of the last two days (AAAA-CHOO!), the smell of baking bread and cinnamon is incredibly welcome. I won't try one of these, but I'm sure I'll hear reports from Peggy, Grandpa John and Mom!

So, there were two things that were fabulous today. I was awake and paying attention to the clock at 12:12, the cinnamon rolls made the whole house smell of Christmas, and I put this up on the refrigerator:

Makes your heart melt a little, doesn't it? I don't know if you can tell, but the redheaded stunner on the left--yeah, that's me. My adorable sidekick there is my cousin Morgann. The dogs... well, there are no fewer than a dozen dogs on this page both front and back. Which, of course, is precisely as many dogs would have if I'd brought home every stray I'd found. I wonder how she knew...

Anyway, this is the first piece of artwork that has ever been rewarded a place of importance on that fridge. Morgann and I have only met once, but we became buddies pretty fast. Really, that happens a lot with me and kids. I think it's because I like them, and they see me as a fun-size adult. Not intimidating, just little and full of wonder.

Also, just now, I've found out another thing that makes me so full of smiles I could nearly burst. Cassie knows the sound of a hand sliding into a box of Cheez-its, and it will call her from any room of the house. She's hooked. She'll do anything. Sit, stay, down, grovel, high-five--if it's for a Cheez-it, she's all in. Kind of like me, actually.

Wednesday, December 8, 2010

I Been Too Long, I'm Glad To Be Back

If you can ignore the redheaded doofus in front of him (freezing her lady bollocks off, by the way, despite the massive puffy coat), Ladies and Gentlemen, I present to you Baxter Black--Jeep Extraordinaire. Baxter Black has been named thus for two reasons.

1) because he came from Baxter Chrysler/Jeep/Dodge in Omaha, NE.

and 2) because THE Baxter Black is my favorite (only?) cowboy poet, and Baxter the car is SERIOUSLY black. Shiny black. Clear night sky black. Oh, people, stellar really is the right word for him. He's amazing! Love, loveitty, love! If you need a ride, and you're within an hour or so distance, holler. We'll come fetch you. Because, mmm, yes, we love to drive!

Also on the topic of things I'm madly in love with:

Doggies with natural camouflage. Here Cassie (without her idiot bell... oh yes, I forgot to post you a picture of her after-spaying headgear) poses on her Gramma's new comforter. Oh okay, fine. She wasn't posing she was napping. Alright, she wasn't napping either. That dog was hard-core sleeping. In fact, last night when I took this, she and her bestest-buddy Sandy Claws were BOTH snoring at me so loudly it sounded like I'd accidentally curled up in a lumber-mill.

In a few short hours Cassie, Baxter Black and I will be driving South a ways to pick up my mom. Currently Mom can't drive herself anywhere. She can't drive herself anywhere because she can't see properly. She can't see properly because, just before Thanksgiving, she had bilateral-somethingty-extraocular-something-tendon-repositioning-something-else surgery. Now... well, I wasn't kidding about the length of the surgery's name. It was about eleven words long, and I think it just means she doesn't have to work so hard to keep her eyes open anymore, but who the hell cares because she won't be able to see anything anyway for at least six weeks. Yay? It's hard to stay positive when it takes her fifteen minutes to read one email using a heavy-duty magnifying glass and a squint. When she says things like, "Is that Peggy in the car in front of the car in front of us?" when there ISN'T a car in front of the car in front of us. When she says things like, "Jeez, where does this turn-lane actually turn to?" when there ISN'T a turn-lane. Anyway, you can understand why she isn't being allowed to drive ANYWHERE. I love you Mom, and that's why I've hidden your keys.

At any rate, in case you are in need of a good laugh this evening (or whenever it is you read this), I'll leave you with this:

I wish I knew what she was thinking.

Monday, December 6, 2010

Officially Speaking

I am so desperately in love with the United States government right now I almost don't know how to contain myself. They have granted my wonderful Nearly Husband his visa, and he will be arriving in the US on Sunday. Yes, you read that right, Sunday. The 12th of December (barring any hideous weather events).

He's cute, isn't he?

Yes, soon I'll be Mrs. Moustache-Coffee-Cup.

Can't tell you how excited I am about that!

Our plans (though, to be honest, we're getting a bit skeptical about "making plans" now that we're on approximately our 74,368th Plan) are as follows:

1) on the 11th of January (it's an otherwise inconspicuous Tuesday, though it's numbers hold some special meaning to us), my parents, his parents, and the two of us will take a casual trip to a Judge's office where we'll sign some documentation and become legally Mister and Missus Moustache-Coffee-Cup.

2) A few months later, once we're well into his next round of governmental paperwork, and once the weather has a chance to turn warm and bright, and once the plants around here start greening up-- we'll have a marriage ceremony and a delightfully raucous reception with, it is my sincerest hope, everyone we know in attendance.

3) Live happily ever after.

4) Also, sprinkled in there should be a new puppy. Probably as a precursor to step #1. Because, really, puppies are the most important thing next to babies and we're just not prepared for the baby stage. (Though we have decided on names because, well, I like a good Plan.) *(names for puppies, AND for babies.)

I have a lot of emotions about all this. I am blissfully happy about being privileged to spend my life with this funny, handsome, intensely caring and sweet man. But I do feel overwhelmed when I think about the fact that he's leaving his family, his home, and the only life he's ever known to be with me. Can you keep a secret? I struggle to believe that I'm worth the sacrifice he's making. The thing that keeps me strong is his faith in us--the excitement in his voice, and the joy on his face when he talks about our future together. The way he gets giddy when he talks about teaching his son to ride a bike. The way he comes up with clever and thoughtful names for our future dogs--the way he has taught himself all about different dog breeds so that he's well informed about what he wants and why. The way he talks about what a good gramma my mom will be, and how much he smiles when he says it. People, I'm scared that I don't deserve this fella, but I strive to every single day. If you haven't had the pleasure of meeting him yet, I hope you get to meet him soon... I mean, you ARE coming to the reception--RIGHT?!

Sunday, December 5, 2010

Humanity Makes Me Sick (sometimes)

I had found my new car. I was excited-- I was more than excited, I was THRILLED. ECSTATIC. I was any number of words that can only be properly expressed by using ALL CAPS. Mom and I were driving home in the Tahoe, counting down the days until my 2011 Jeep Grand Cherokee would arrive from Nebraska, giddy at having found a car that was so very perfectly suited to me.

And then I saw her. Wandering along the highway, looking scared and confused, was a young chocolate lab. There was no way I was passing that dog without trying to help. That kind of thing just isn't in my nature. She was very sweet and came right up to me when I got out of the Tahoe--flopped over for tummy scratches showing me the red-raw teats that I knew had to have finished nursing a litter of puppies not more than a week or so before. "She's got to be somebody's hunting dog that's lost, right?" I said to Mom. It's hunting season, and she wouldn't be the first gun-shy pup we'd found and returned to its owner. She had no collar. Mom just looked at me a little sadly, and nodded. "Sure, Hon. I'm sure that's it."

Now, two weeks later, we know that wasn't it. Two more labs, one going blind and the other very young, were also found around the same area wandering hungry and dehydrated and cold. I wanted to believe she was a hunting dog that separated from the pack--but she isn't. Somebody got tired of having dogs, couldn't afford them, needed to get rid of them, whatever-- and they drove out into the country and kicked them out. Luckily the veterinarian in Ulysses, Kansas has a big heart. His name is Tim Cantrell, and as far as I'm concerned the man deserves a knighthood, or sainthood, or at least as big a check as you're willing to write. He took her in (I named her Molly, and it seems to have stuck for everyone), cleaned her up, made sure she's healthy and as happy as she can be. And now we may have found two homes that want her and her cohorts.

The fact that these dogs were abandoned makes me physically sick. I can not begin to FATHOM the kind of selfish, self-centered idiot that believes that to have been the correct course of action. Where are Molly's puppies? I hope with my entire soul that they were sold, and sold to homes with families that will love and cherish them as they deserve--as every dog deserves. I'm terrified of alternative options, and refuse to speak of them even though they swarm my mind with yelping nightmares the minute I drift off to sleep.

But the fact that finding the dogs homes has been relatively quick and easy fills me with hope. Bless you, beautiful people, for being willing to open your hearts and doggie doors to these lost little souls. You have a stockpile of karma to see you through the next decade.

I understand that sometimes things happen that knock you for six. The economy is depressing right now (to say the very least), and there are people who find themselves unable to care for their human children let alone their furry ones. But there is NO excuse for abandonment. If I could find the people who left Molly and her friends, they wouldn't escape with less than a bloody nose and a severely bent ear. And that is the absolute truth.

One last thing, for those of you who have a minute and a couple of pennies to rub together. If you were thinking of getting me a christmas present this year, but wondering what I might like--I'll tell you. I'd like you to write a check to your local no-kill shelter, or rescue society, in the name of Molly Dowd-Morrison, Chocolate Lab, and lucky little pup.