Wednesday, May 26, 2010

The Gallery: Man's Best Friend and His Friend.

My friend Tara does this thing called The Gallery. This is my first attempt at it. This week's subject is friendship.

One of the hardest things I have had to do, is come home from the veterinarian without the family pet.

It all came very quickly and without warning.

Splinter was not that old, only 10. He had become very lethargic and was having difficulty breathing.

The diagnosis was an enlarged hart. There was nothing the vet could do to fix the problem, but we could try to manage the condition for the remainder of his life; best guess 6 months

This would be a huge bill, and I was still unemployed. Even if I had the money, putting him down would have still been the right thing to do. That didn’t make me feel any better. I cried like a little boy as Splinter fell asleep in my arms. I cried with Alissa when I gave her his collar.

It took the kids about a week to get over the loss of Splinter, me a while longer. But there was someone else having a harder time than the rest of us, Ernie our yellow Labrador retriever. He truly missed his little buddy. Splinter was a dachshund.

Ernie is only 2, and had grown up with Splinter; he was his big brother. Big brother knew how to have fun and get into trouble. Big sister Mia, Splinter’s actual sister, barely tolerates Ernie, and lives up the term “bitch” in more ways than the AKC definition.

I wasn’t ready to get another dog, we still had two, and I just had to cash in the 401k to pay the veterinarian and some other bills. But the continual heavy sighing and whining was driving us nuts. Ernie needed a new friend. We decided a trip to the animal shelter was in order. It’s a good thing I just got a job or this trip would be totally irresponsible!

The last time I had been to an animal shelter was about 15 years ago. It was small and drab, kind of depressing.

This shelter was large, new, and shinny, not depressing, you could almost say cheery.

For $115.00 you get a dog that they will spay or neuter, computer chip, a bag of treats, and a squeaky toy. Great deal.

We wanted Ernie’s friend to be another small dog. We also wanted another male because we didn’t want any problems with “the bitch” Mia. We made a selection and approached the attendant.

We told the attendant why we were there and that we had chosen a dog. The attendant had a great idea, “Why don’t you bring Ernie down to meet his knew friend?” “We can do that?” I said. “Sure, better to find out if they get along here than at home.”

Good call Mr. attendant man, selection number one DID NOT like Ernie. Good thing I had a second dog in mind from the beginning. My wife didn’t like this dog because he was too “yappy.” I liked him because he reminded me of Mr. Fox.

Well, those boys played like puppies from the get go. Ernie would be very happy with this new friend, if mommy would just give us the green light. I thought it was a no brainer, so I was surprised when my wife reluctantly said OK.

Now, “Axel” is her little cutie and she liked him all along.

Roles are now reversed. Ernie is the big brother, and he is a great one. He lets that little guy chew on him like he was a bone, yet he is obviously holding back when its his turn to dish out the punishment. He loves his little brother, and I know the feeling is mutual. The two are inseparable.

And what is Mia’s take on the new friendship? “They both suck.”

Thursday, May 20, 2010

Has He Started Shaving Yet?

My 14-year-old son Austin has. It doesn’t look like Justin Bieber does.

I was going to name this post “My Son Can Kick Justin Bieber’s Butt,” but let’s be real; my daughter could probably kick his butt too.

Why is this boy so popular? I hope it’s not because of his music; it makes me want to puke, violently. I have only heard “Baby” about a million times in the last three months. I think I have it memorized now. It’s not like it was that hard to do, just repeat “baby” again, and again, and again, and then say the 15th letter of the alphabet. Are you counting letters on your fingers?

My youngest, Alissa can’t stop obsessing about him. All of her allowance is spent on Justin Bieber junk. Her favorite waste of money is any teen magazine with a J.B. poster in it. “J. B.” seems like an appropriate term for this kid. Currently, there are 15 posters in her room.

I guess I shouldn’t complain. I had a nice poster collection when I was a kid too, but mine were classics!

I just hope that Justin Bieber doesn’t start getting all “Marilynn Manson,” I could not stand for my little red head dying her hair black, and I have already seen her older sister do it, broke my hart. I bet before Marilynn Manson became Marilynn Manson he was Justin Bieber.

Saturday, May 8, 2010

I Felt Like Sending Her To Russia...

... but I settled for Utah.

I understand how Torry Hansen felt when she put her adopted Russian child back on a plane to Russia.

I sent my oldest daughter to a residential treatment center 3 years ago. She was 14 at the time and had been in my home for about 5 years. Her behavior had gotten so out of control that we really had no other choice. For the sake of the entire family, and her own safety, she had to go to a place that could control her.

Sarah stayed in the residential treatment center for a little over 2 years. Most “guests” complete their treatment in 9 months. We could no longer afford to send her there and see little results. So we brought her home to give it one last try.

Again, we had little success.

On Sarah’s 18th birthday, we moved her out of the house.

We didn’t just pack her bags and kick her out on the street. We set her up with a place to live, rent-free. She would share a house with 4 other girls who had been in the foster care system too.

She would get food stamps; have Medi-Cal, and the opportunity to go to school, at no cost to her.

She just needed to follow the house rules and she could stay as long as she wanted.

Two months later, Sarah has moved out of that house, and into another house with some boy she met.

She is unemployed and not going to school.

She has stopped taking her medications and hasn’t got around to getting her Depo Provera shot.

I think we all know what’s next.

My point is that I signed up for this entire headache, and so did Torry Hansen. I think she could have handled it better. The boy may have needed to go, but not that way.

Maybe she didn’t have the support system that we had available to her? When you adopt a child from the state and that child is categorized as “special needs,” there are many services available to you. We did our homework and found those services, and used them. It was the only way we could afford the things we did for Sarah.

We did not have to adopt Sarah. It did not take long for her problems to show up in our home, and the social workers did not recommend keeping her. But we had made a commitment to her when we invited her into our home, and we have stuck to it. We kept the siblings together, we got Sarah through school, and she is not a teenage mother. Maybe that is all God expected us to do. Maybe he had similar expectations for Torry Hansen.

The Shiny Blue Bottle

My photo
Indio, California, United States
My 9-year-old daughter gave me a bottle for my birthday. She told me the shiny blue bottle was filled with her love. I'm not sure I'll ever get a better gift.