Dear Diary: Strange things are happening

Dear Diary,

This past month has been very odd for me. First, I tried to let one of the neighbor’s dogs know that she couldn’t have the stick I was chewing on (it was MINE! I found it first!), and she got very mad at me. It hurt. Mommy took me to see daddy at the place where he goes every day, and they fixed me up.

I’ve had to go to work with daddy a whole bunch of times since then. He makes me sit on this scary table that’s up high, and then he gives me a shot. I don’t mind shots so much, but I don’t like this one. It makes me feel all heavy and funny, and then I take a nap and when I wake up my tongue is GIGANTIC and I have funny floppy things hanging out of my shoulder.

I’ve had to take lots of medicine too. Mommy usually gives them to me, and I don’t like to eat them. But if I eat them, I get Cheerios, so sometimes that’s okay.

Mommy feels my shoulder every day to make sure it’s not squishy anymore. It got squishy one time, and I had to take more medicine and have more floppy tubes put in me, but she seems to think it’s better now. Maybe my hair will start to grow back in that spot now. I don’t like having a weird bald spot right in the front where everybody can see it.

Also, big news: I have a baby sister now! Mommy and Daddy say she is a Lucy. I’m not sure what a Lucy is, but if she is a Lucy, I guess she’s okay. I like her mostly, but she eats my food and gets into my little house and chews on my toys. And I’m not allowed to chew on her toys! It’s not fair! I just want to show her how to pull all the chewy white stuff out of the inside of her animals and teach her to spread it evenly around the house. She obviously doesn’t know how to do that yet because she still sleeps with her fuzzy toys. SLEEPS WITH THEM! How weird is that??? Fuzzy things must die, and I must teach her this before it is too late.

She is fun to play with though. I didn’t really have anyone to play with before, but now we wrestle and play tug of war with the new giant rope Daddy bought us. I have to be careful when we wrestle though, because she is very much smaller than me. Sometimes I step on her accidentally and that makes her cry and I feel bad about it until she stops.

Also, I think something bad might be happening to us. Some of our things have been disappearing into big brown squares. The last time we had big brown squares, Mommy and Daddy put me into a rolling box and took me far away from Nana’s house and brought me to this house. I didn’t like it here for a long time. I missed Rosie and Lexie and my yard at Nana’s house, and it smelled funny here. I had to make new friends and learn to pee in new places. I didn’t like it.

A few days ago, Mommy took me and Lucy to another place that smelled funny. The yard smelled funny and the house didn’t have any soft things to lie down on and it made funny noises when I barked. I was all empty, like it was here when we first came. I don’t like that place at all. I hope all our things are not going to that place. My friends, Cash and Knox and Tyson, were not at that place. I wish Mommy and Daddy would just stay here, where it smells like us.

But if they do have to go to that empty place, I hope they take me. I don’t want to leave my friends, but it would be bad to leave Mommy and Daddy. I’m going to follow them around and sit right in Mommy’s lap every day until then, just to make sure they don’t forget to take me when they take the big brown squares of our stuff.

Lucy doesn’t seem bothered by the big brown squares. She likes to play in them. I hope Mommy and Daddy take her too. I don’t think she could survive all by herself with her evil fuzzy toys. So at least I will know someone at this new place, if we have to go there.

Maybe having a sister isn’t so bad after all.

Love,

Meera

 

If a Tree Grows in the House, can it be Trusted?

We’re moved in! Yay! We have internet! Yay! We have our Christmas tree up! Yay!

Meera, however, is not so pleased.

We moved the furniture up last Thursday and left Meera with the in-laws until the weekend, when she returned with us on Sunday afternoon. She whined in the backseat of the car for an hour until finally either deciding it wasn’t so bad or simply resigning herself to whatever fate awaited her. She wasn’t too sure about the apartment at first either, but I think she has decided it’s not so bad either. There is a big comfy chair to sit in (which she has apparently decided belongs to her) and a long driveway to drag Mommy down when we check the mail, so that seems to make it better.

I feel really bad that we weren’t able to find anything where she would have a fenced yard, and I know she has to be bored out of her mind in this tiny space, but she was an apartment dog before and she’ll learn to be one again. Eventually. But until then she’ll drive me nuts trying to trip me every time I turn around.

She’s also very confused by the Christmas decorations. She isn’t exactly afraid of the Christmas tree…. but she isn’t thrilled by its presence either. She refuses to linger in that corner and sometimes stops and looks at it with distrust. A tree in the house? That’s just not normal.

Although she does like wrapping paper. A little too much, actually. I was trying to wrap a few presents earlier and spent the first five minutes wrestling the roll away from her. She thinks it’s a giant, wonderful chew toy that she must chase around the floor as I try to move it. I’m not sure if she was trying to help or just trying to prevent me from being festive, but either way it made for a pretty good video.

Her biggest issue, however, is with the linoleum at the top of the apartment stairs. We have carpet in our apartment itself, but the inner hallway that leads from the parking area to our front door has linoleum at the top… and it petrifies her. She spent the first year and a half of her life living in houses with completely tiled floors, so you wouldn’t think this would be an issue… but now that she’s experienced carpet she hates to walk on anything else. At the in-laws’, she refused to cross the hardwood kitchen floor without bribery. Here, she sneaks to the front door and stops, tentatively lowers one paw to the tile, and then, without warning, sprints across the upper landing to the stairs so she has to spend as little time on the linoleum as possible. Unfortunately, I am attached to her when she does this, which results in much skidding of paws and yelling for her to slow down. I’m sure my neighbors love this.

We haven’t met any of the neighbors yet except in brief passing, but I know there are at least five other dogs in the complex and two children. And a cat… but the cat was lying in a dog house when I saw it, so I’m not completely sure it belongs here.

I start work tomorrow and the Mister has a good chance of starting work at a vaccine/research company in the next town over, so fingers crossed that will work out. We only have one car at the moment, so figuring out who has to drop who off and who has to leave work early to pick who up and take them where at what time will be incredibly complicated until we can get that issue resolved.

Prayers always appreciated. Holiday wishes and wet doggy kisses from the Nut House!

/the missus

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Compromises must sometimes be made…

Black Friday, Blank Calendars and Multicolored Fashion Statements

Black Friday, Blank Calendars and Multicolored Fashion Statements

So I survived my first retail Black Friday weekend… and I actually feel a bit jipped. After all that extra headache and so many hours of lost sleep, I feel like I should have some awesomely blog-worthy stores to share about crazy customers and unbelievable crowds and fist fights over the GoPros…. but I don’t. Which I suppose is a good thing, since that means we didn’t have anybody trampled in a front door stampede, but at the same time, there could have at least been raised voices around the door-buster televisions. Something. Anything! I only got four hours of sleep for this!

But it’s over and I no longer work at the undisclosed location (whose mascot is a little white dog with a red bullseye on his face named Spot… in case that tells you anything). My three-week employment there was profitable, but I’m glad for it to be over and to be preparing for our pilgrimage back to the motherland later this week. Luckily for us, the majority of our belongings are still packed from when we left Martin the first time, so there is relatively little for me to do before the U-Haul truck arrives. We’ve gathered a few bits of furniture from various places but are still short a dresser or chest-of-drawers and any bookcases or other storage units. So if you or someone you know is selling (or giving away) furniture, please let us know and we might be able to take some of it off your hands.

I start my new job in a week and a half and I couldn’t be more excited. I am already dreaming about a giant 2015 desk calendar and color-coded office schedules. (I’m an office-supply geek to the core.)

In the meantime, however, I have been working with my mom to put some of her creations under The Chesnut Tree. She makes beautiful scarves, which are now available in my Etsy store and waiting to be put under your Christmas tree for those family members who love to make a fashion statement. There are two varieties: fabric ruffle and sashay ruffle.

fabric ruffle scarf

Fabric Ruffle in “white cheetah”

pink dot ruffle

Close-up view of the ruffled edge in “pink dot”

The fabric ruffle options are available in solid fabrics and lacy fabrics to create different overall looks.

Solid pattern options

Solid pattern options

Lacey color options for a more delicate look

Lacey color options for a more delicate look

The sashay ruffle has a more spiraled appearance and, in my opinion, a fuller final outcome.

Sashay ruffle scarf in "conga"

Sashay ruffle scarf in “conga”

Close-up view of a sashay ruffle in "conga"

Close-up view of a sashay ruffle in “conga”

These are available in dozens of colors, including solid neons, multicolored, sparkles, metallics and special fabrics.

multicolored options

multicolored options

neons and special fabric options

neons and special fabric options

sparkle and metallic color options

sparkle and metallic color options

Visit The Chesnut Tree and see which ones might look good under your tree. “Regular” length can be wrapped around the neck 1-2 times and is $11.99, and “long” length can be wrapped 3-4 times and is $14.99. Shipping is $7.50 per box. Order by December 10 to receive your order by Christmas.

An Exciting Announcement

My goodness the past week has been a whirlwind! I started working at a popular local retail outlet (which shall henceforth be referred to as “the undisclosed location,” or UNDL) last weekend and have been there all day, every day this week.

Except for Wednesday, on which wonderful things happened.

The Mister and I went up to Martin for a day trip to look at rental houses and so I could have a second interview with a local business. The job looked promising and the interviews went well, so I left that office feeling pretty good about myself and our future. It wasn’t a full-time position, so I would have to look for a second job to fill out my paycheck, but a job is a job and I think I would have enjoyed working there.

They ended up offering me the position on Thursday morning, but I didn’t take it.

Because as soon as I left them on Wednesday, I got an out-of-the-blue phone call from my old boss where I worked before vet school, letting me know that they rewrote one of the open positions to meet my qualifications and wanted me to start as soon as possible.

Full-time. With health benefits. And a tuition break for the Mister’s classes in January. And some moving expenses.

We pulled over in the First State parking lot and I cried. I would have done a happy dance right there by the road if there hadn’t been so many people in the drive-thru.

So, while the official signatures are still being processed, I am excited to announce that I have officially (over the phone, anyway) accepted a full-time, three-year position with the University of Tennessee at Martin and we will be moving as soon as we finalize a lease.

God has been good to us and blessed us beyond what we could have asked for for ourselves. He knows what we should be doing, and thank goodness He looks out for His own.

It’s good to be going home. 🙂

Happy Friday!
/the missus

Where in the world is…. anything?

Ok. So I have realized something very important since we’ve been home. I don’t know where any of our stuff is!!

When we moved out of our apartment in Martin, we brought an entire U-Haul truck back to Spring Hill and unloaded it into my in-laws’ utility room and outdoor shed. I know those things, logically, are all still there, yet I look at the piles and somehow I don’t see a whole U-Haul’s worth of stuff. (Although I’m sure my in-laws would disagree with that statement, haha.)

For example, the Mister and I have a small amount of winter clothing stored in easily-accessible places because we knew we would be coming back for Christmas breaks and would need warm clothes. However, I know there are things that I own – fuzzy pajama pants, warm tights, a large collection of sweaters – that are nowhere to be found. I remember packing them into a box, but that box seems to have vanished completely. Well, that or it’s buried behind the mountain of other boxes currently living on top of our dining room table in their utility room…. which means I’m in for a major excavation expedition before winter officially arrives.

I also know there are boxes out in the shed full of our things, but I can only think of two boxes that we actually put out there. The others are complete mysteries to me. I know we didn’t put clothing or books or other perishable things out in the shed, but I can’t think of what else we would have owned at the time that could have been moved out there. Moving into our own place will be like Easter and Christmas and a hundred birthdays all at once.

Which brings me to something else I’ve learned in the past week: things disappear when you unpack them. The Mister and I struggled and screamed and cried to fit our lives into five checked bags and four carry-ons to limp back home to the States, but then once I started unpacking and fitting things into drawers and closets….. it’s all gone. Somehow. Somewhere. You would have thought this house was filled to capacity with everything my in-laws’ own as well as most of what we own already in it, but somehow we managed to squirrel away another house’s worth of belongings. It’s like Hermione’s magic bag in Harry Potter 7, and if we squeezed this house like a lemon it would probably squish stuff out of every vent and window for weeks. When the Mister and I finally move all our stuff into our own place and have everything we own all in one house again, this property will probably weigh half of what it does now. I’m just hoping the house doesn’t start sinking into the earth under all this extra weight.

We are incredibly grateful for a place to stay and store our things and a yard for Meera to run in. I don’t have the faintest idea what we would have done without such accommodating family. I just have to figure out where everything is before we freeze to death. Haha! Island tank tops and shorts are definitely not cohesive to the dropping October temperatures (or to my mother-in-law’s house, which is always cold).

In other news, I’m told there are only 11 weeks until Christmas, which means holiday music (not played on steel drums) will arrive soon and I’ve definitely got to get a jump on Christmas presents or I’m never going to make it!

Happy Monday to all.

/the missus

Aye yai yai…

So…. I’m not even sure where to start describing the past week. It’s been hectic, stressful, hilarious and rip-your-hair-out enraging all at the same time. We’ve been so busy running around selling things on campus, giving test drives, visiting offices, turning in paperwork, getting Meera’s health information up to date and a hundred other things. Our car is the last major hurdle, and if we can get that sold or otherwise taken care of we’ll be basically smooth sailing all the way to the airport.

And trust me, that cannot happen fast enough.

We are cherishing every moment with our friends and island family as we prepare to leave them behind, and it breaks my heart every time we walk away from someone and I wonder if that’s the last time we’ll see them. However, as for the rest of it, we are just ready to be home. We’re grateful for the time we’ve had to try and get all our affairs in order here, but we are ready to stop dragging it all out and just get on the airplane already.

We’ll go to bed five more times and on the sixth time we’ll be home. After that… we’ll just have to see how it goes.

Happy weekend,

The Missus

Top Ten Thursday – 10 Things to Know Before Going Grocery Shopping in St. Kitts

1. Be prepared for the sticker shock. A package of Charmin toilet paper can be $32EC.

2. Check all expiration dates and examine food through plastic windows whenever possible. If you buy cereal, ask at the register if you can open the box and inspect the bag.

3. Be familiar with the three major grocery stores and their standard prices so you know what items are cheapest where. Rams sells many items in Bulk; Best Buy carries more name-brand things; IGA has weekly sales and is sometimes cheaper.

4. Know that the stores generally restock on Wednesdays. This means go on Thursday mornings whenever you can.

5. Get produce at the markets first, then at the grocery stores. The campus market is small and on Wednesdays; the city market is much larger and on Saturdays.

6. Do not trust the shelf stickers. Compare the sticker item numbers to the bar code numbers on the box/can before trusting that it’s the right sticker. Also, when things don’t have stickers, it’s a gamble. You can’t just estimate based on the prices of similar items on the same shelf.

7. Try not to buy things out of the freezer section if you can help it. First of all, the freezers are never cold enough to actually keep things frozen, which brings the safety of the food into question. And secondly, if it has to be frozen there’s a reason for it, and it will be thawed by the time you get home anyway so there isn’t much point.

8. Sign up for all the shoppers’ numbers and cards, since they do sometimes get you discounts. However, they only process the applications once they have a full “batch” (however many that may be), so you might go shopping for the next three weeks and not be able to benefit from the number. Also, you collect “points” when you shop with your card or use your shoppers’ number, but it’s not like at home where you can redeem them for things. Here, at certain times of the year (I’m told in December), the points will suddenly become redeemable and you can use them on certain products.

9. Put your groceries on the belt in the order you want them bagged, because the cashiers and baggers don’t care how they are sorted. A package of frozen bagels will go right into the bag with bathroom cleaner and hamburger helper if you’re not careful.

10. Call your taxi when you get into the checkout line. It will take the taxi 10 minutes to get back to the store (at least) and you’ll be in line at least that long anyway while the cashier ignores you and talks to her friends at the other register.

(10b. If you’re riding in a taxi, don’t buy more than 3-4 bags of groceries and make sure the tops can be tied. You’ll want to tie them closed and tie them together before putting them in the taxi so you know they are yours and so they won’t roll everywhere. If you’re riding in a bus – good luck with that.)