I am weak.
At least five years ago, I laid down the law for our animal-loving daughter, who desperately wanted a dog. We can only have three fuzzy pets at any one time, I said.
I stuck to the rule no matter how pathetically she begged, not because I dislike dogs but because the house is busy enough without another living thing leaving stuff on the floor.
She tried to skirt the rules and obey the letter of the law rather than its spirit by suggesting we get a snake or a bird. No, I said. While not technically fuzzy, they would require the same amount of effort as a fur-bearing critter. Therefore, no dice.
Our third cat McGregor was supposed to be a dog. But we couldn't find a shelter dog that fit our family and couldn't resist the scrawny orange tabby whose force of personality screamed out from the cage he was in.
He's no longer scrawny _ he can see 20 pounds from where he is _ yet he has been a great addition to our house. He's also been the most doggish cat I've ever had, for what it's worth.
The Diva knew that there would be no dog until we were down a cat. Which meant that Trout, our feline senior citizen who has had a series of potentially fatal issues, would be the next to go.
Two years ago, we were told that he might make it six months. Yet, he's still here, despite the Diva asking if he was dead yet every time I took him to the vet. His longevity has been great, since he's a lovely cat, but has meant that her dog dreams have been repeatedly crushed.
Last Christmas we started to think about getting a dog after spending part of the holiday with Sasha the Wonderdog, who is a keeshond owned by college friends of ours. Sasha is one of those well-behaved, good-natured dogs who makes everyone else think that a dog is a jolly thing to have. She's like a canine Hillary Clinton, assuring all that the group she represents can be a force for great good.
What helps is that Sasha is exquisitely trained by my friend, who is the daughter of a military father. Their household ship is tight. Our ship? Not so much. I'm lucky if I can find my pants on any given day.
A sudden realization by both my husband and I that our first baby is almost 10 (10!) coupled with a handful of days with Sasha nudged us ahead.
Soon, the Diva will be more than halfway toward becoming a legal adult, which is, yes, terrifying. Given how fast the last 10 years have gone, she'll be in college by the time this column hits print.
Even sooner, like by the time I finish typing this sentence, she'll be too old to be excited about a dog because she'll be too cool for us. Playing with a pup will come in a distant second to texting her friends about Justin Bieber.
(Although I have recently been informed that the Biebs is no longer the bee's knees. But you get the idea, which is both that I'm terribly uncool and that fame is fickle.)
You can see where this is going, especially once I mention that I won't be teaching this summer and we only have one very small trip out of town planned.
As of last weekend, we have a puppy. Which, if you're counting, makes for four furry things in the house.
Lady Lucy Waddlesworth, or just plain Lucy, is a corgi. While I love shelter dogs and have had a series of shelter cats, I also wanted to know what I was getting myself into with our first family dog. Maybe next time we'll find the right one for us.
Don't worry, shelter fans. The universe punished me for going to a breeder, in that I ripped a giant hole in my gas tank and fuel pump as I was pulling out of her driveway. Well played, universe.
So far, Lucy is fitting in fairly well. Most bodily functions have happened in the backyard. She amuses herself for minutes at a time. She sleeps most of the night.
Having a puppy is a lot like having a baby, yes. But the puppy will grow out of it much faster _ and you can shove them in a crate when you have to leave the house without anyone calling child protective services.
The Diva and Lucy have gotten along like the proverbial peas in the proverbial pod. The same child who balks at cleaning her room picks up poo with almost no complaint. She begs to take her on walks and snuggle with her on the floor. Even the Boy wants to get in on the act.
Will this be short-lived? Probably. See the earlier parenthetical about fickleness.
But that's to be expected because, really, I didn't just get a dog for her; I also got a dog for me. She may not grow into a wonderdog, mind, but she is terribly sweet.
Adrienne Martini is a freelance writer, instructor at the State University College at Oneonta, mom to Maddy and Cory, wife to Scott, and author of "Sweater Quest." Her columns can be found at www.thedailystar.com/parentingimperfect.
I am weak.
Celebrating Passover away from home: Local groups offer students opportunities
"You shall keep this as a rule for you and your children for all time. When you shall enter the land which the LORD will give you as he promised, you shall observe this rite. Then, when your children ask you, 'What is the meaning of this rite?' you shall say, 'It is the LORD's Passover, for he passed over the houses of the Israelites in Egypt when he struck the Egyptians but spared our houses.' " --Exodus 12:24-27.Continued ...
The history of Passover
According to the book of Exodus, the Jews had lived in oppression in Egypt for 430 years.Continued ...
DIY car care: Mechanic offers tips on vehicle maintenance
Americans, especially those in rural or suburban areas, depend upon their automobiles.Continued ...
Horses that heal
Along with working, competition and transportation, as well as being coveted companion animals for pleasure riding, horses add the magic of healing to their many talents.Continued ...
We are surrounded by a glut of tempting foods. It can be found in grocery stores, convenience stores, even the local gas station. However, if we are not paying attention, we can plunge into the trap of highly processed food, and health problems.Continued ...
- Celebrating Passover away from home: Local groups offer students opportunities
- Around The Arts
Volunteers are the SWAT of the arts world
When you work at an arts organization, particularly a nonprofit, employees often wear many hats -- accomplishing the duties that appear in the traditional job description, and then some. It happens everywhere. It's a running joke among people who work at nonprofits. There is too much to do, and not enough people to do it. That's when you call in the back up -- SWAT if you will.Continued ...
Let creativity flow with unstructured art projects
As I sit here writing this, the holiday glow is still going strong (my column deadline is two weeks before the publication date), and I've been spending a great deal of time not only with my daughter, but her stuff. We're incredibly lucky to have a loving network of family and friends that spoil her, so I've been merging her new goodies with her old.Continued ...
Opportunities abound for career in the arts
I was recently asked to speak at a local high school about my career path and how I came to work in the arts. It was interesting speaking with these seniors, and discussing their hopes for life after high school.Continued ...
The art of the appraisal explained by one who knows
So often in this column my co-writer, Brittany, and I talk about how art is everywhere and can be appreciated by all. Perhaps because of my passion for everyday art, there is one part of the art world I just cannot grasp -- art appraisal. How can you put a value on something so seemingly subjective? So, I set out to learn more about this industry.Continued ...
Flash mobs more theatrical production than dance
Most people are familiar with the term "flash mob." It's associated with groups of people congregating briefly to the surprise of the surrounding public, and often incorporates a choreographed dance. You've probably been witness to one, or you've probably seen one online, as they are extensively documented -- there are more than 10,000 results on YouTube if you search for flash mobs.Continued ...
- Volunteers are the SWAT of the arts world
- Music Beat
Complete education involves classroom, real-world learning
There is new, long overdue attention being paid in our institutions of higher education to the use of directed practical experience as an essential partner to the classroom lecture.Continued ...
- Music Industry tips
Copyright royalties can make you smile
A few years ago, I wrote an article on the skill and dedication necessary to become a songwriter.Continued ...
- Music Industry Tips
Build a team to build a career
People love music because music is that magical means of communication that never fails. The music industry is going through some rough times, but it is not going to die because music is a basic, central need in everyone's life.Continued ...
- Complete education involves classroom, real-world learning
- Parenting Imperfect
I want to visit the world of 'The Pioneer Woman'
It is a double-edged sword, this whole having kids old enough to leave home alone for short periods of time thing.Continued ...
It is in February when the breaking point is reached
If I could edit the calendar, the two months I'd do away with are August and February.Continued ...
Ibuprofen saved the vacation
Right after New Year's Day, we four hearty souls flew to Orlando to visit my mother, stepfather and aunt.Continued ...
The write stuff is often hard to find in my household
Now that the kids are older and I sleep well most nights, my biggest parenting challenge is boundaries. The challenge is that I feel like I should have them and the small people refuse to acknowledge such a thing could exist.Continued ...
Of kids, phone calls and toilet paper
We have reached that golden age when both kids are responsible enough to be trusted alone for short periods of time.Continued ...
- I want to visit the world of 'The Pioneer Woman'
- Senior scene
Social Security: If you give a man a computer mouse, see what happens
Happy National Poetry Month. Now, if you'll have a look-see, read our poem inspired by Laura Numeroff's "If You Give A Mouse A Cookie":Continued ...
As Time Goes By: There's lint in my belly button, and other observations
Itâ€™s a great day in the South â€" the sun is shining and the temperature is 75 degrees and I find myself in a reflective mood.Continued ...
From the Office: Time is now to plan for the aging tsunami
It's coming. Maybe not this year, but starting in 2016, the number of older adults across the our country will begin to grow. At first it will only be a small increase, but as the baby boomers move up in age, the wave of individuals coming into the "senior" age group will become the largest in the census categories.Continued ...
Looking Back: Snowy winter wonderland could be fun or a pain
Snow, snow, go away … come again another day?? Please, perhaps next year? But there is always the positive side to things -- or so it seems.Continued ...
Social Security: 2014 is a year of changes at Social Security Administration
I am excited to share this article, written by a co-worker, about some very important changes happening this year at Social Security. I hope everyone will take a few minutes to read what's in store.Continued ...
- Social Security: If you give a man a computer mouse, see what happens
- Tech, GP
Thankful hard-disk shortage is about over, and counting my blessings
Well, I'm almost ready to let out a cheer.Continued ...
Businesses need backups for their computer people, systems
In the interest of full disclosure, I want to let you know that I have taken a new position, professionally. I recently joined Eastman Associates, a local general contractor, to do its IT work, as well as taking care of some other functions of the business.Continued ...
Windows 8 seems to be made for the good of Microsoft, not the user
By Bruce Endries The software company everybody loves to hate, Microsoft, recently released what it calls a "consumer preview" of their next operating system, Windows 8.Continued ...
The Granite State got it right on software purchases
Believe it or not, I have found a bright spot in the political landscape, amid all the vitriolic partisan fighting.Continued ...
Visit a construction site and you'll probably find an iPad
It was just about two years ago now, that the iPad came out, and I wrote a column about it. At that time, I went out on a limb and said that thought it was a product which would fill certain niches very well, but that it wasn't very likely to fill in for what is normally considered a computer.Continued ...
- Thankful hard-disk shortage is about over, and counting my blessings
- Teen Talk
Weekend Reviews: 'The Virgin Suicides' shows angst, longing we all have
When I was younger, I remember idolizing teenage girls in every way possible.Continued ...
Teenhood Today: Confidence in yourself must come from within
I'm not sure most of you know this, but I'm supposed to be writing about teen issues.Continued ...
A Word of Advice: A case for optimism
Take a moment, young teenager, and scroll down your Facebook page, and keep a tally of how many positive posts you see compared to the number of negative ones.Continued ...
On the Go: Science classes weren't wasted
Most science classes begin the same way. The teacher explains why his class is fabulous. He mentions labs and the Regents and any notion of joy or discovery vanishes.Continued ...
Weekend Reviews: Folk meets Greek myth flawlessly in 'Hadestown'
"Hadestown" started as a folk opera created by Anaïs Mitchell that was performed live in Barre, Vt., and later all across New England.Continued ...
- Weekend Reviews: 'The Virgin Suicides' shows angst, longing we all have