Wednesday 30 July 2014

The Day my Dog Cried

IT WAS AS IF she knew.  Bags were being packed.  Running gear was driving her crazy with the prospect of a run but then it was being put away.  Toothbrushes were flung into another bag alongside mobile phone and DS chargers.    But she wasn’t interested in any of that.

It was the suitcases and the harried activity that had piqued her curiousity.  Something was afoot and she wasn’t sure that she liked it.

Probably the most disconcerting thing of all was when her food and a large blanket were put in the car.

Then her lead was plucked from under the stairs and she could hardly contain her excitement.

She knew it!  Something was definitely afoot.  Still not sure what exactly but the lead always meant a run somewhere.  She jumped into the car without a backward glance. 


She was off to doggy camp for the week.  Because her humans were going on holidays.  

Without her.  But she was oblivious to this.

The boys had expressed mild distress about their pet going to the kennels.  Would she be okay?  Are there other people there?  Where will she sleep?  Who will feed her?  Will she be fed?  What will she do all day?

I was glad I wasn’t the only one with concerns.  The dog had been sick – a kidney infection – and was very out of sorts.  She perked up considerably after three days and some anti-biotics.  She had been glued to me that week.  Even slept by my side of the bed.  I couldn’t go upstairs or to the bathroom without her shadowing me.

But now she was going to a strange place because her humans were off to the beach. 

It was time for her to go and on Mister Husband’s return I asked him how she went.  What’s it like down there?

“Oh, a proper Auschwitz,” was his reply.  And when he saw my face he said, “She’s grand.  It’s fine.”

I told him his back pedalling came too late.  “You wait till you’re in your nursing home.  You’ll laugh then, I tell ya.   If you are on an anti-biotic I’ll tell them they have my full permission for one person to hold your nose and another to force open your jaw.  How about that? And I’ll tell them you love suppositories, too.  Yes, I will.  Plus you reckon ammonia is great for softening the skin.  No need to change those incontinence pads.”  I pointed my finger at him.  “You. Just. Wait.”

And then we drove off to our rented holiday home.  Smallest Boy got upset a couple of times and asked to come home and to get our Juno girl. 

We assured him she was okay at her doggy camp and he would see her soon.  I sent a text to Dougie in the kennels on Monday morning and his swift response assured us that she was indeed fine.  She had made friends with an identical twin – the only way to tell them apart was by their red and blue collars.

That seemed to put their minds at rest and they proceeded with the job in hand which was to enjoy their holidays.

They did and before we knew it, I was telling them tomorrow was the last day. Lots of “aawwwws” ensued but there was no denying it.  All good things must come to an end and then we were at the gates of the kennels and she was at the other side.

Crying when she saw us.

Did you know dogs could cry?  I knew they could howl in anger, fear and excitement but up till then I didn’t know they could cry.  She didn’t shed tears or anything but she whined.  And whined and keened and licked whatever part of my hands she could get at through the wires.

Then the gates were open and she was jumping up on me, licking my face, my hands, still whining and keening. 

The car door was left open and she darted in to say hello to everyone else.

She spent the two minute drive home with her head stuck out the car window, sniffing the air and when we arrived home, she was the first one out of the car and up to the door.

We went in and she has remained stuck to my side ever since.

Dogs can cry.  Who knew?

I certainly didn’t.  

Wednesday 16 July 2014

Joy Pockets for July 2014

WE are smack bang in the middle of July.  Into our third week of school summer holidays yet it feels like they have been off much longer.  And not in a bad way.  I am really, really enjoying the time off.  So I thought I would document some of my joy pockets for July. 

The weather.  Isn’t it great?  Already we have been blessed with long days filled with hazy, warm, buttery yellow sunshine.  The water sprinkler got put through its paces so vigorously it is in a cracked heap on the grass.   We are a short and t-shirts house for the last 6 weeks or so and it is great.  Really cuts down on the washing and gets Vitamin D onto Irish skin.

School Holidays.  I love them.  It’s crazy but it’s true.  We seem to be busier than ever but in a different way and we still manage to get everything done because we are not clock watching.  The first person to wake does so around 8 o’clock.  It’s not me.  And by the time everyone else is up, pancakes are made, orange juice is poured and everyone is full and happy.  Ready to meet the day.

Verruca(s).  A strange one, agreed.  But my joy is we have managed to banish verrucas on two boys all within weeks of each other.  We began the gentle treatment in February of this year and saw great results.    

The swimming pool.  What goes hand in hand with good weather?  Besides ice-cream.  The swimming pool.  Or any kind of pool.  We have been going to our local leisure centre every day and loving it.  Such is our enthusiasm, we wore still wet swimming gear on a visit this week. 

Alex and Ani bangles.  Just click on this link for gorgeousness.  Be warned – I went in to buy just one and ended up putting another aside.  They. Are. Gorgeous. And I. Want. Them. All.

A certain inner calm.  Which is probably linked to the school holidays and kicking back a little.  I cannot tell you (because you probably understand) what it is like not to be tied to a clock each day.  Not to be cooking meals all the time.  We take each day as it comes and enjoy it. 

Summer reading.  I love a good read.  Our second boy has discovered the joy of reading lately.  He is reading for pleasure and not because it’s homework.  It’s great to see.  I have my own library for our week away but I am waiting on two more.  It’s hard when they are sitting there, looking at me and I want to keep them for reading on the beach. It’s like having biscuits in your press; you know they’re there but you shouldn’t.  You can’t!   

Pop Up Races.   A novel and fantastic idea, the brainchild of two brothers who take their 5k pop up race to a number of different towns each week.  You can register online  or sign up on the night.  They have been in Athy twice now with a fantastic turnout each time.  The 5k route takes place along the banks of the scenic River Barrow.

My boys. Not just a Joy Pocket for July but for all year round.  Yes, it’s hard being around them all the time.  Yes, it’s frustrating and boring.  *she said boring* Yes, she definitely said boring.  That’s because it is boring.  But I am aware of how lucky I am to be with them every day.  After all, no-one else can wipe backsides and serve up fresh pasta with an out-of-a-bag-sauce like I can. All joking aside, now that I am out  the other side I can finally see how quickly time really does pass.

And with that in mind, I am determined to enjoy the rest of the school break because after all, when else am I going to get a proper chance to just kick back and enjoy life as it happens?  

Friday 4 July 2014

Five Friday Favourites.

HAS something shifted in your house since earlier this week?  Has a certain calmness descended, a new routine emerged?

With us it takes anything from a week to ten days for everyone to adjust to a change in routine.  Specifically the transition from school time to school holiday time.

I believe we have transitioned.  (Love that word.  So damn satisfying)

It’s been a lovely week.  I thoroughly enjoyed it so I thought I might list five nice things that happened on this, the seventh day of our school holidays and call them Five Friday Favourites.

Sleep and Breakfast. A new routine in this department has definitely emerged. I haven’t been up before 8.30am most mornings then gotten dressed in a leisurely fashion instead of the usual cartoon routine of washing my face and applying deodorant at the same time whilst stepping over the dog on my way back to the bedroom.  It has been another half hour before the last person to wake up appears.  I have also gone from making pancakes twice a week to every flippin’ morning for breakfast.  It’s not a bad thing though.  I can make them in my sleep at this point and they are a firm favourite with the boys.  They never seem to tire of them and it means they are nicely full for the most part of the morning.

Swimming.  Every. Day.  This has been absolute bliss.  Lowering myself into the pool at 10am is nothing short of hedonistic. One morning there were two other people enjoying the water so we practically had the place to ourselves.  Oh, the lads love it too in case you were wondering.

Picnics. Well, we managed one so far but it was a spur of the moment decision and despite changing the venue at the last minute, it was a rip roaring success.  Full of “thank you for bringing us” and “can we come back?” and “that was amazing!” after two hours of tearing about.  And all I did was cook two pizzas, a marshmallow brownie type desert and throw an old curtain over the picnic bench.  Even the dog fell asleep when we got home. 

Journals. The older boys requested a journal each during the week in which to record their “hunts,” “hunger games challenges” and “stories.”  I broke into my notebook collection, (yes, I have one) gave them each a pencil and off they went.  Scribbling away and asking me how to spell all sorts for the day.  Great stuff to watch and isn’t the way kids spell everything phonetically really funny and endearing?


Decking.  Wine. Weather.  Bliss.  Bliss.  Bliss.  All three together.  Throw in a good book and I was in heaven for the first half of this week. 

In other news, I worse a beige linen trousers on our picnic.  Delighted with myself.  Walked the small wood with four kids and one dog and everything.  Delighted with myself.  Later on that same day when I took off the linen trousers I saw what I knew was a smushed lump of chocolate brownie on the backside of it.  But I know the 67 people who saw me between the hours of 2pm and 11pm thought it was shite!

Ah, well.  At least there’s sleep again, right?  Oh and wine. 

Wednesday 2 July 2014

What Summer is for.
In the winter I sit at the computer most afternoons.  The boys do their homework, watch a bit of the goggle box, play with Lego and eat snacks.  I write.  Bits and pieces. Sometimes actually finishing something.

These days I am outside.  I sit on the decking outside the back door reading a book as the boys jump on the trampoline or play with the water sprinkler.  On the really, really hot days they stay inside watching TV, opting to wait till after 6pm before they go out.  Then it’s 10pm or after before they come in, filthy, happy and demanding cereal with cold milk or hot chocolates with loads of marshmallows.  They always, even at 10pm, take them outside to the garden table and eat out there. I know once they do this, I can say goodbye (or goodnight) to another half hour at least before they come inside.

I love the way rain feels on my face. I like the bite of an icy morning.  I feel calm when it’s the stillness of winter. But there is something special about summer sun.

Something encouraging, driving, happy and warm.  Something alive.

So far this summer we have eaten our tea outside.  A tea of pizza with a glass of wine for me.  Swam every day.  Bought water pistols.  Attended birthday parties.  Declined paddling pool invitations because it was too hot to drive and the boys were happy at home.  Baked brownies.

Discussed our own holidays.  Played football.  Washed school bags, lunch bags, and uniforms and packed them away.  Pre-ordered some books on line.  Lost two teeth.  Same boy.

Discovered what a bouncy castle burn feels like.  Went cycling in the evenings.  Ate lots and lots of breakfast cereal.  And pancakes.  Made home-made ice-pops.  Read books.

We aren’t even finished the first week of school holidays yet and I am already looking forward to the rest of the break.

There are fights and loud bust-ups followed by threats of treat embargos and an end to the swimming pool. Lots of loud complaints about being bored.  Until 6pm and then I don’t see them for dust.

When they ask why we don’t do anything in the afternoons I tell them it is because I want to sit at home, outside in the glorious sunshine, soaking it up and in.  Reading my book and relaxing.  

Just being.

After all that is what summer is for.