Saturday, January 28, 2012

Answers to the Questions in Your Head...

I know what you are thinking - "Wow, who is that gorgeous girl?"  Well, that of course is my daughter Grace (and her lovely friend Allison). Grace is a little scary, because in addition to being beautiful, she is also really smart.  Proof of this:  she was accepted into Cal Poly in December; two days ago I found out that a record number of high school seniors applied to Poly this year - over 45,000 to be exact.  So, even though I knew she was utterly qualified,  it seems she is even more exceptional than we thought!
"Why are they dressed up like that?"   They were headed to the Winter Formal.
"Where do you go to write these blog entries, anyway?"  My favorite place to go is the amazing coffee house / used bookstore Kreuzberg Coffee and Books in SLO (I love the atmosphere, but, and I feel a little sad saying this, their coffee is way too strong for me).  I wrote most of this one sitting outside the Atascadero Starbucks enjoying a small (excuse me...tall) coffee, also too strong for me,  and using their free internet.
"Why don't you just stay at home and save the money and make your own coffee?"  Sometimes I do.  But sometimes I like to hang out at coffee houses and feel like a real writer.  At Kreuzberg, they have portraits of poets and novelists all over the walls.  It's a rather bohemian place (with a cool vibe, bad coffee and free internet).
You may also be wondering why this picture of a really cool-looking bedroom is up here?  Not only is Grace beautiful, and smart, she is also really creative.  This is her bedroom - for fun on vacations and weekends, she cleans, organizes, and redecorates it.  She makes the coolest wall decorations out of canvases, paper and wire (I have told her she could sell them on  If you haven't browsed Etsy, it's pretty amazing).  The walls were lime green a few weeks ago, and I was thinking to myself, "Wow, when Grace moves out, I should repaint this room a more neutral color.  But I hate to paint.  Ugh!  How can I get out of painting this room?  Who can I pay to come and paint this room?"  and lo and behold, Grace asked if she could repaint the room over Christmas break.  Hallelujah!  It is now a modern, lovely gray color (gray is the new beige, in case you didn't know).  I love it!
"What's Jamey been up to?"  Poor Jamey is still in shock.  We just got our first bill from Cal Poly.   I suppose this is when dads know college is "real" - when they have to start forking out the money.  When he gets over being stunned, he will go back to leading the ministry at Poly, fixing things like our cars, fences, and old doorknobs that are always breaking,  and mountain biking as usual.

I hope that this has answered some of your pressing questions!

Tuesday, January 3, 2012

Max the Dog vs. The Skunk

Happy New Year!  Jamey, Jason and I were in San Diego on New Year's Eve at the Winter Conference (except I went to sleep at about 10:30, because I am old and tired), and Grace was on an Inner-City LA Mission Trip with her youth group (they stay inside at midnight because of possible stray bullets from celebratory gunfire).  So Max the Dog must have been lonely, and, to get back at me, last night he went looking for a friend.  Yes, around 1:15 a.m., I was awakened by barks, rustling leaves, and the most unbelievably strong skunk odor of all time coming in through our closed bedroom windows.  Let's just say that once that smell got up my nose, it seems there's no getting it out.  I have been smelling skunk ever since - at this point going on 16 hours (I tried breathing through my shirt, and then I actually put lotion up my nose, but nothing works!).  It didn't help that I opened the window to tell Max to stop the barking and go back to bed, therefore letting in even more of the odor.  That was when I noticed that Max was out in the garden rolling around in the pile of dead leaves, coffee grounds, and horse droppings that are awaiting spring rototilling (when horse poop is preferable than the way you smell, that is just sad).  That made me wonder what was rustling the leaves under the window - sure enough, my flashlight shone on the black and white culprit.  How does one make a skunk leave the premises?  My Annie Oakley reflex kicked in first, and I tried shooting it with the BB gun, thinking that if I could just make it sting a little, he would wander back down to the creek.  Alas, the picket fence was in the way, and my BBs just bounced off, and I was afraid to use the light or get closer.  Second idea - spray water on him.  But unfortunately, Mr Skunk just so happened to be right by the spigot.  Plus it was really cold out there.  Option three - I put my head under a pillow and tried to go back to sleep.  It worked, a few minutes at a time, and of course there was no skunk out there in the morning.  Just a horribly embarrassed-looking dog.  And a stench that all of our neighbors could smell.
How to get skunk smell out of a dog, his bed, and your house?  The following things have all been done today:  Open your five-pound bag of baking soda (I really have one - I use it for cleaning), shake it all over the dog (turning him from black to gray), and his bed, and in his doghouse, very liberally.  Pour vinegar on dog (this was my favorite part, because it reacted with the baking soda and made him all foamy.  And because he kept licking his nose, as if he thought it was a pickle).  Wash the dog's bed, blanket and collar with a combination of detergent, more baking soda, lemon soap, vinegar, and bleach.  Twice.  Light the strongest candles you own and let them burn all day, and try not to think of how much money you just spent on that good-smelling candle that is now half-used.  Leave dog bed and dog out in the sun, and thank God that is was sunny today.  Pick up the 75-lb dog, because he knows what's coming and is hiding from you, and plop him into the washtub that you filled with water, baking soda, and Fabuloso (it is cleaner from Mexico - I am not sure what's in there, and I don't want to know since they don't have an EPA like ours.  All I know is it is amazing!!).  Scrub and scrub and scrub, and hold onto the dog when he tries to escape and shakes his skunkiness all over you.  Give the dog the leftover fish from your fish taco dinner, since he has looked so forlorn and sad all day.

 On tomorrow's agenda - wash the inside liner of the dog bed, since it still stinks, hose out the dog house, and thank God once again that you are having 70-degree weather in January as you open the windows to let fresh air into your smelly house.
Score:  Skunk 1, Max the Dog 0