Saving Vermin

Yes, hes a rat. But he really is cute.

I will do anything for my child. While I once thought I had limitations (and a little pride), I now am 100% convinced that there’s very little I won’t do to please my red-headed princess. At the top of the list: saving vermin.

For her ninth birthday, Rosie wanted some kind of rodent and she wasn’t really picky about the type. I quickly ruled out a bunny (lives too long and has to roam around), hamsters (word on the street is they bite) and gerbils (watching them run on the wheel is pure exhaustion). That left us with the industry’s favorite- a rat (seriously, ask around. The entire pet community thinks rats make the best pets).

Most people recoil when I tell them we have a rat. Then they see him and fall in love with his Dumbo ears and cute personality. He really is a neat guy except for one little thing- every time I touch him I break out in hives. I’m allergic to the little bastard.

So, I do my best to avoid him. This isn’t as easy as it may seem. Especially since Rosie likes to play with the rat, but doesn’t like to clean up after him. Poor Remmie is neglected at times.

It was evident this weekend when I heard Rosie shriek at the top of her lungs.

“Mama,” she yelled. “Remmie has a hole in his tummy!!”

Thinking she was exaggerating, I came in closer to inspect. I leaned in to get a really good look and that’s when I saw it. It was a big sore alright. And, it was really gross, so I did the only thing I could think of; I screamed, called my hubby for back up and ran into the kitchen in disgust.

The sore was a mystery. None of us saw the rat get hurt. He hadn’t been out of his cage that day and we all swore that he was perfectly fine the day before. But, yet, he had an open wound. Bizarre.

We worried and fretted for a day. Then, we patiently waited for Monday to take the little guy to the vet. (Of course, our vet doesn’t treat rodents, so I kept my fingers crossed that the vet they referred us to would. Thank goodness people respond when you say, “open, gaping wound” on the phone.)

There was one small problem: how to transport the guy. Thank goodness I’m an outside the box thinker. I had the perfect solution.

This afternoon, I walked our pet rat into the vet’s office in style. Remmie was carried in a purple, Pucci Pet carrier that belonged to stuffed animal years ago. It was a big hit among the staff since it had a long handle, wheels and of course a little bling. Apparently, most people just use a cardboard box.

Poor Remmie was a little stressed out while we were there so I had to hold him and soothe him (yes, I have hives). I spent $65 to find out that he has an open wound (which I already knew) and get some magical ointment that should work in five days.

Yep, there’s nothing I won’t do for my child. I’m out some cash and have a slight itching problem. To top it off, I looked like a complete fool when I wheeled toy luggage carrying vermin into the vet. But I have to look on the bright side. The rat’s going to live.


Celebrating the life of a man I’ve never met

Here's the boy that I remember. What an amazing man he'd become!

Yesterday, I went to the funeral of a man I’ve never met. I never had the pleasure to know his brilliance, his love of music and his passion towards friends and family. However, halfway through the service, I had a pretty clear picture of who he was.

I’ve been to lots of funerals and while I realize that they’re for the living and not the dead, I’ve always been a big believer that the event should stay true to the basic essence of the person. I believe that the service should be a reflection of who the person was and their beliefs.

Unfortunately, that’s not what often happens. Family often steps in and all-of a sudden the agnostic person is being honored with a religious service that doesn’t speak to their beliefs. And, they get to dictate how an entire roomful of people remember their loved one.

I’ve sat through a number of funerals where I’ve paused mid-sob to try and figure out who the clergy (and sometimes speakers) are talking about. It’s an interesting phenomenon-recently deceased people seem to get taller, nicer and more charming. In their lifetimes, they were a little more perfect and polished than I seem to recall.

At yesterday’s service, I had no recollection of the man who had passed away. I knew him, once upon a time, as a child who was almost a decade younger than me; almost a lifetime in child years. But, I never had the honor to know him as an adult.

Despite the lengthy oratory of the minister, it was a lovely, moving service. Family and friends went out of the way to honor his life and paint a realistic picture of him. There were dozens of photos displayed to give one a sense of his personality; his love of life and sense of humor. It’s the first funeral I’ve ever attended that I got a true sense of who someone was and what he meant to those around him.

He was a loyal son, brother and friend. He was incredibly intelligent and often viewed as brilliant. He had an uncanny sense of humor and quick wit. His love of music and desire to live life to the fullest enriched the lives of others.

As I viewed the pictures and listened to the stories around me, I had a chance to see and appreciate the man that he had become. He was a doer and giver. While he died too young, he had a full life. And, it struck me that he was much like his father (who passed away in my 20’s) and this warmed my heart.

His family and friends were able to truly celebrate him and turn the service into a true depiction of him. They honored him in a way that he would have chosen; it turned the grief that everyone felt, into feelings of warm remembrance and camaraderie. And, they truly celebrated his life.

Endnote: Justin Jay passed away in San Diego, CA on January 9, 2011. Our parents were best friends when we were children in Peoria, IL. It’s safe to say he has a solid place in heaven.

Going Commando!

“Hey Mama,” Rosie asked with a look of desperation in her eyes. “Where are my underpants?”

She’s frantically looking through her bag that she packed to go swimming. I, on the other hand, am pretty calm. I know they’re not there so I’m not stressed out.

“Did you put any in there?” I ask looking toward her BFF who I know will discover any moment that she’s in the same plight.

They look at each other. Get eyes big as platters as they come to the realization that neither of them have any panties. They start to freak out.

“WHAT ARE WE GOING TO DO??” they both scream in desperation.

“You’ll have to go without,” I say. “You’ll go Commando.”

Rosie is ten. She needs to learn how to be responsible. It’s time for me to cut the cord and stop doing everything for her (if not, I’ll have to go to college with her, pack her backpack every day and make sure her homework is done. On the bright side, that may not be a bad idea. Who gets in trouble when their mom lives in the same dorm room?)

This was one of the first tests. It was simple. All she had to do was pack her bag to go to the pool. I even reminded both girls to pack panties.

When we got to the pool, they both had goggles, towels and some mismatched clothes. So, they passed part of the packing exercise. Unfortunately, they forgot undergarments.

So, I gave them a solution. I looked at them with my straightest face and said, “You’ll go Commando.”

And, then I kicked back, handed my child her pants and gave her the “I expect you to put these on” look.

Her jaw dropped. She looked shocked. She frantically looked at her friend for help.

Her BFF was confused. “Commandbro? No one EVER goes Commandbro.” She looked disgusted.

“No, silly. Commando! You’ll go without panties. Believe it or not, people willingly do it all the time,” I said.

“EEEWWWW!” they said in unison.

We were at a standstill. We couldn’t go anywhere until they got dressed. Both girls insisted that they couldn’t without underwear. But, they didn’t have any. That left them no choice. They caved.

And, for good humor (and to punctuate the point I was trying to make) I made them run errands.

There is nothing more amusing than two tween girls running around town without panties for the first time.

First, they never walked normal; a bowed-legged strut was often followed by a little imaginary wedgie pulling and then some crazy dance moves. Second, there was some lively conversation surrounding the breezy feeling that you get without panties that they’d never experienced. And, finally, they joked and laughed about it constantly (I think at one point, everyone in the Target checkout line had an inkling that they were free and easy).

At the end of the day, Rosie looked at me and said, “I don’t know why anyone in their right mind would ever go Commando Mama.”

I think we learned our lesson that day. And, I think I can safely say that I don’t have much to worry about when it comes to Rosie wearing panties for a long time. Whew!

If I build it, will you come?

Is anyone there?
Gee, it’s really quiet. Actually, a little too quiet. I can almost hear an echo.
Hello? *shakes computer screen*

Dead silence.
There’s no one here except me.

I guess if I was smart, I would have stayed on a major metropolitan newspaper site, with live readership and played it safe. But, I’ve never been predictable. Not that I’m not intelligent, I’m just a risk taker. I listen to my gut and take a leap.

So here I am. All by myself. And, while it’s a little lonely, it’s also very liberating.

I’ve spent the majority of my working years (all 27 of them) in the advertising and marketing world. All that experience has taught me to be a realist. You can’t just launch a blog and hope that you’ll have readers. But, I am.

I have one wish for the new year: I plan to build this blog and hope that you will join me. I have big plans.

First, I hope to continue to share all the joy, laughter, trials and tribulations we have at the CB home every day. I’d like to expand on my first 2 1/2 years of storysharing by introducing you to the the other side of my world: that of a successful businesswoman that juggles lots of balls in a male-dominated world (no pun intended). Finally, philanthropy is a big deal to me. I hope over time that some of my favorite causes become yours. In fact, every penny generated by this blog will be donated to charity.

So, are you in? Will you stay for a week or two? If I build this, will you come?

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