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.
Back to nature
"The peace of the hills is about me and upon me; the leisure of the summer clouds, whose shadows I see slowly drifting across the face of the landscape, is mine. The dissonance and the turbulence and the stench of cities -- how far off they seem! The noise and dust, and the acrimony of politics -- how completely the hum of the honey-bee, and the twitter of the swallows blot them out!"Continued ...
- If you go
Raise a glass
The popularity of small-batch adult beverages is intensifying in upstate New York.Continued ...
Thick hot air and clammy clothes entice brisk visions of jumping into a pool of refreshing water. Plunging into the soft cool environment of good old-fashioned H2O can rejuvenate the soggy mind.Continued ...
Racing Under Saddle
Those looking for the thrill of watching live horse racing will not have to travel outside the region this summer.Continued ...
- Back to nature
- Around The Arts
Glimmerglass director offers employment tips for arts grads
So, in a few short weeks you're graduating with an arts degree. Now what?! In the safety of college, one can ignore the realities of the outside world, where housing and meal allowances aren't rolled into a tuition payment and jobs aren't available simply because you're a student.Continued ...
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 ...
- Glimmerglass director offers employment tips for arts grads
- Music Beat
Oneonta student looks to take music industry training in different direction
At a recent concert reception in New York City, I was surprised to meet people who had imminent plans to move to the Otsego-Delaware county area. They explained that our area is so rich in musical and graphic arts that they knew they would enjoy living here.Continued ...
- Music Industry Tips
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 ...
- Oneonta student looks to take music industry training in different direction
- Parenting Imperfect
Oh, just to be able to savor an English muffin
All I wanted to do was eat my English muffin. The family had other plans.Continued ...
A reminder of the small-child years
It's amazing how quickly you forget what earlier stages of parenting are like. This is probably a blessing -- and one that only evolved after countless generations of parents only had one child because they could remember each stage too clearly.Continued ...
Well, at least she's listening to what I say
The older the kids get, the happier I am that we have a dog. She, at least, seems to be excited to see me when I get home.Continued ...
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 ...
- Oh, just to be able to savor an English muffin
- Senior scene
As Time Goes By: I'm trying to be the rockin' up-to-date 'cool dude' grandpa
Time flies at my house. If I sit down to write an article, I can't help but see that I have an inbox of unread letters in my email. My brain records this as saying in block letters "YOU GOT MAIL."Continued ...
From the Office: Seniors need to work to keep their brains healthy, too
As we age, both our bodies and our brains face changes. How these changes affect us are determined by genes, environment and lifestyle.Continued ...
Looking Back: We should all cherish our time with our families
Time marches on, and it seems like a different lifetime since we brought up our own children.Continued ...
As Time Goes By: I'm hearing voices -- and not only mine own
There are two problems that seem to be inherit to growing older, which when viewed in the context of a sentence appear to be opposites but are in truth part of the same problem â€"you either are getting deaf or you start talking to things that surround you.Continued ...
- From the Office: What you need to know about Affordable Care Act, Medicaid redesign
- As Time Goes By: I'm trying to be the rockin' up-to-date 'cool dude' grandpa
- 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
Teenhood Today: I long for furniture, hills, rice
Why hello there, upstate New York! I must say, it's a little weird going to a restaurant, to the store, or to the local meetings for individuals loving the color lime green without being asked if I'm the girl from the newspaper.Continued ...
A Word of Advice: What's new isn't always what's better
We're often told in life that we should try to experience everything we can, broaden our horizons, and even I have written columns about stepping away from the familiar in hopes of growing.Continued ...
On the Go: Mile markers of life can be painful, but enjoy them
Our insignificance is crippling.Continued ...
Weekend Reviews: 'Cherry' perfectly captures my feelings
School has finally dwindled to a close, and I can feel myself settling into a state of unperturbed relaxation, everything once again becoming slow and lethargic, the days going by with an air of hazy wistfulness.Continued ...
Teenhood Today: Don't expect expectations to always be fulfilled
In case some of you haven't noticed, I'm not a huge animal person. Sorry to all of you animal-lovers, but you most likely won't ever see me at any secret meetings you may hold.Continued ...
- Teenhood Today: I long for furniture, hills, rice