Tag Archives: family

My dog is my baby

Dear Diary,

Aunt visited last week, and she had a whole lot to say about my dog. Callie is three. She’s been sickly since we first got her at 7 weeks (the shelter said she was almost 4 months old…) They’d fixed her earlier the day we picked her up. Someone had saved her from a kill shelter, and we stood in their garage, gave them $250 to cover costs, and took home Calypso. That first year, she was in the vet’s office at least once each month with something else wrong. Eventually we started making her food, and that took care of most of her problems.

Fast forward20150803_131408 to this summer. We went on our first vacation in 5 years, which meant she was left alone (with a wonderful house/dog sitter) for the first time ever. The day after we got home, she started having an upset tummy. We took her to the vet a few days later (the upset tummy came and went) to find out she had picked up a bug–and she’d been bitten/stung by something that made her face swell up. (She likes to lay on the balcony off my bedroom–see picture.)

Anyway, when my aunt came over, Callie was on her 2nd day of antibiotics. The vet said it would take 3 days for her symptoms to clear up. We love our dog. We hug her, pet her, let her on the furniture, and lots of other stuff. When she wants a blanket spread on the sofa for her to lay on, we do it. When she wants to snuggle, we snuggle. (She’s VERY snuggly all the time–even while playing.) Aunt said that she was suffering an identity crisis because we treat her like a human and not a dog. This rubbed me the wrong way on a lot of levels. First, we do treat her like a dog. We’re the pack leaders. She’s trained to obey basic commands like sit, stay, (come) here, high five, up, down, yes, no, and gimme snuggles. She’s completely housebroken and is happy to see everyone who walks through the front door. She doesn’t have nervous issues–just the same weak tummy she’s always had–or ticks or weird/neurotic behaviors. I’ve watched Cesar Milan’s show, and I’ve never seen this dog represented there.

I shouldn’t feel the need to defend the way I’ve raised my puppy, but it hurts when someone close criticizes your baby. Thanks for listening.

 

Random Acts of Generosity

Have you ever had someone do something sweet and thoughtful–but not even close to what you wanted?

On FB, I posted something about not being able to find a writing topic that could hold my interest. That was mostly because I was in the midst of grading 165 research reports before the end of the marking period so that I could have grades uploaded in time. Stress aggravates my ADD, which I get from my father. His comment (yes, I’m FB friends with my dad under my author profile) was to read a magazine I wouldn’t normally read. That got me thinking about how I don’t read magazines anymore. I used to read them all the time as a teen. My parents were wonderful about getting subscriptions to any magazine we wanted. I used to read National Geographic every month. That was the magazine we all liked. After that, there was some confusion about who liked what, and the confusion came from the place where random acts of generosity resided.

When I was about 12, Sassy magazine came out. My friend had it, and I wanted it. I think I grew out of it by 14, but it kept coming. I never asked for an extension on the subscription, but the thing just kept coming and coming.

My dad had a similar experience with Playboy (which I, like everybody else, liked for the articles). He commented repeatedly about how my mom would keep buying him subscriptions even though he didn’t want the magazine. It was during that discussion that I marveled at how my Sassy magazines kept coming. He looked at me strangely and said, “You keep leaving those postcards to extend the subscription on the table, so when I do the bills, I send them in.” After a bit of a laugh, we agreed that he could ignore whatever fell out of the magazine. I got those darn things until I was 19, at which point I think it went out of business. Not sure. I stopped reading them long before.

As for my father, he talked to my mom about not getting Playboy anymore, and she listened. I come from a generous family, the kind who buy things for you because they think you want them, not because you actually do. Magazines aren’t the only thing that’s happened with. I love them and wouldn’t change them for the world, but now I have  boxes full of Carnival glass and no idea what to do with it.

Getting Married (March 22)

Warning: This is totally not related to being Michele Zurlo or writing romance novels, and it is not very succinct.

safe_image.phpOn Friday, Judge Friedman overturned Michigan’s constitutional ban on gay marriage. I was playing Candy Crush while I contemplated grading 7th grade essays. My phone rang, and I answered (which is amazing that I 1) heard the phone and 2) answered. People have learned that I’m not glued to my phone.) It was my buddy Eric (who I’ve mentioned in the dedication of several novels) who is also ordained to marry people. He’d been talking to me all week about what we needed to do when the time came. Eric dropped the good news on me, and told me to keep him informed because he’d drop everything as soon as our application was approved. The County Clerk was closed, and Michigan has a 3-day waiting period. Immediately I texted Suzy (who was out walking the dog) to tell her the news and to ask her to marry me. (In case you’re wondering, it was an immediate YES.)

I cannot tell you how happy we were. Together 18.5 years, we have two lovely children and an adorable dog (and a cranky cat) together. We’ve build a life in the open, living in the district where I teach and sending our kids to schools where lots of people know us. In a lot of ways, we’re insulated from the Republican hate (though that wasn’t always so; a former principal tried hard to fire me when I got pregnant with my kids) and vitriol. The more people know us, the more accepting they seem to be of the LGBT community. I’m not the only person “out” at my building, and we’re not the only lesbian parents in the district. Suzy, a stay-at-home-mom, is a very active parent volunteer in the twins’ elementary school.

Finally, we were going to be able to have the same rights–and not have to pay double for health care–as everybody else. Many friends called and texted good wishes Friday night.

I’m an early riser, so Saturday dawned bright and early. Another friend had left a question on FB asking me if we were going to the County Clerk’s office to get married. In Michigan, you have to be a resident of a county in order to apply for a license. I replied that our clerk wasn’t open, then I checked and found that Oakland County was one of 4 in the state that was holding special Saturday hours. I woke up my wife-to-be. [Funny aside: I burst into the bedroom, yelling “honey!” She thought something was wrong with one of the kids, so she leapt up,  still half-asleep, looking around for the problem. She was relieved when I told her that the kids were fine, and we could get a license this morning instead of having to wait until Monday.] We’d been civil-unioned in Vermont 11  years ago, but that wasn’t recognized in our home state. This was a momentous occasion. My bride braved waking her parents before 11 am (it was 8:30) in order to find her birth certificate. Her dad (mid-70’s) was thrilled and ransacked the house to find it. Her mom even woke up to help. (This is a woman I’ve never seen before 2:30 pm.)

We went down, expecting to just file for a license. Imagine our joy when we found out they were waiving the waiting period and performing weddings on the spot. As we waited in line, we debated whether we had the right to ask Eric (and Melissa, who was to be my maid-of-honor) to come down to the courthouse and perform the nuptials. As they were texting us every few minutes (and we found out later the two of them had been up since 7 am trying to coordinate what was going to happen and when), we asked if they wanted to come up. They dropped everything to be there within an hour. The fact that Melissa had her hair and makeup done (on a weekend) meant she’d been ready for the call.

While waiting in line, another friend sent this picture:

Image

She wanted to know if this was me. I wish I had her ability to see stuff this small. At first I just said I was there. Later, I realized that, yes, I am in the picture. Someone had posted it on a FB site that was a proponent of gay marriage, and her husband had shown her the photo. In case you’re wondering, I’m in the center of the photo, right by the red line, behind the woman in the white sweatshirt. I am wearing a black shirt and carrying a maroon coat. If you look even closer, you can see my bride’s head sticking out from behind the baldish-man texting on his phone in the foreground. We’re talking to the gay couple behind us. Nice guys from Berkeley who hope being able to be legally married will help them adopt a child. (Best of luck guys–people who want kids that badly deserve to have them!) Our kids are sitting on the ledge under the window, glued to their books. My nerds.

While we waited, friends and family texted and called. Both our mothers have health problems that prevented them from being able to drop everything to be there, which was fine. We didn’t even know we were going to get married until we’d been in line for a half hour. We talked to a reporter from Fox 2 News, though we didn’t watch to see if our clip made the final cut. I’m sure it didn’t. I rambled like a nervous idiot, and I’m sure nobody could cobble a good sound bite out of it.

So Eric and Melissa made it soon after we’d filed the application. Eric, in his tuxedo T-shirt, performed the ceremony. It was touching and sweet, and we all cried at least a little. Melissa was our videographer, photographer, witness, maid-of-honor, and all around good friend. After some paperwork and $50 more spent, we had our licenses.

After that, we went out to lunch together, and then we met up with other friends to see Divergent. At dinner that night, we found out that the Court of Appeals had issued a stay until Wednesday. That means our marriage had been temporarily invalidated until they could decide whether they wanted to permanently invalidate it. The judge who issued the stay mentioned that he wanted to give Michigan’s Attorney General, an a-hole by the name of Schuette who thinks it’s his duty to persecute the LGBT community for wanting the same rights accorded to everybody else, time to really think about whether he should waste taxpayer dollars with an appeal. Over 300 couples were married in the 4 counties that opened their doors to us on Saturday, almost half of them in Oakland County. Friends of our who live in neighboring Livingston County were not able to get married this weekend. They’d planned to take Monday off, but now those plans are on hold.

That is the story of my weekend (and why I haven’t graded any 7th grade essays). I will keep you posted on this issue (and how it affects me) as it develops. If you live in Michigan, contact Schuette and your local representatives and senators and Governor Snyder to tell them that you want them to let this ruling stand. Schuette’s website says he’s the people’s voice for victims, but in this case, he’s the one victimizing innocents. People are a lot more educated about LGBT than they were 10 years ago when this travesty of an amendment was passed, and most Michigan residents are in favor of marriage equality.