I’ve been working a lot of overtime lately.
Okay, since the last post pretty much made everyone want to freebase Prozac, let’s talk about something happy!
As I’ve mentioned in the past we live a tiny life. Our house is pretty small (less than 1,000 sq ft) and our cars are small (a Chevy Aveo and a PT Cruiser). We are pretty content with our small house but I’d be fibbing a bit if I said we didn’t long for a larger car. Until recently that just wasn’t in the cards. We’ve recently consolidated our debt, but it hasn’t freed up enough money (yet) for a big car payment. Then we got an amazing gift. My brother used to work for GM and received a buy-out about two years ago. With that buy-out he received a voucher for $25k worth of GM products (worth $15,500 after taxes). The catch? My brother doesn’t drive. The voucher was useless to him. So it sat unused for the better part of almost two years until he recently offered it to us. Just so there is no mistaking, I am totally bragging about this. 😉 Unbecoming, I know but it’s so awesome I can’t help it.
This is a HUGE blessing for us. I don’t know if my brother realizes how much he has helped us. I do hope he knows how much we truly appreciate his gift. The cars we had, well they are both nice little cars in their own right. But the PT Pooper being over 10 years old was a money pit and the Aveo – well god forbid anyone rear end us at a high speed. That thing is like driving around in a roller skate.
God I love the internet. You can find pictures of ANYTHING!
We arranged for my parents to watch Izzy for a few hours and went out to test drive a Traverse. I have to say that the first dealership we went to, I didn’t like it at all. Our salesperson was nice enough, but it seemed like she was practically frothing at the mouth to make a sale. This woman didn’t start out on a good foot with me. She greeted us on the lot while smoking a cigarette. Then she was asking a lot of questions that were frankly very pushy and quite nosy.
We test drove the Traverse and I’ll be honest, it was nerve wracking. That is not to say that the Traverse is a bad car. Its an awesome vehicle. It was just way too much car for me. The dashboard has so much going on. Its what I image using LSD on the Vegas strip might be like – but crammed into a car. The size, it’s like driving a bus. I guarantee you I would have killed at least one person driving that thing or at the very least taken out a few small economy cars. Pretty sure the Traverse eats Smart cars for breakfast.
Really though, the Traverse is a really cool cross-over. It’s just too much car for me – someone that has driven small cars all her driving life. If you have like, 10 kids and you don’t have ADD, the Traverse would be a good choice for you.
We wanted to test drive an Equinox but the only one they had was the model in the showroom. We could only sit in it and get an idea of what it was like. Furthermore, according to this sales person the Equinox was sooooo popular that we’d have to order one and that could mean a month or more of waiting. Seriously?!? At this point I felt like I was getting scammed.
Later in the week we decided to go over to Nucar. Going to Nucar was the best thing we could have done. From start to finish, from test drive to driving our brand new car out of the showroom, the experience was fantastic. Well….okay that is stretching it. Here’s the thing, we didn’t really think we’d be buying a car that night. We thought we’d check out what they had in stock, sit on it for a few days and then come back and buy if we were so inclined. That means we didn’t bother to leave Izzy with a sitter.
If I can ever give you a piece of advice, DO NOT take your child to a car dealership. Ever, ever, ever, ever, evAH. It’s painful for all parties involved. I’d rather go through water-boarding than take a 2 year old to look at cars again. I’m pretty sure our salesman, bless his heart, feels the same way.
Christian did a really smart thing beforehand. We knew exactly what we wanted in our car. He called ahead to the dealership the night before and spoke to Dave Heit, one of the salesmen at Nucar. Christian told him everything we wanted, Dave made sure he had it in stock, made an appointment and had a car ready for us when we arrived. Since we didn’t feel like fiddling with the car seat, Christian and I took turns waiting with Izzy. Dave was kind enough to change the channel on the waiting room TV to Nickelodeon for Iz.
I was dreading the test drive. I don’t like driving other people’s cars, rentals or anything new. I am not the world’s best driver, I can admit this. I am convinced that magnetic trees will suck me off the road and into their path. I was also not looking forward to the small talk I’d have to make and was afraid that I might get interrogated like we had been at the last dealership. I’m not good at small talk. But the second I got in the car with Dave, it was like we were just two pals hanging out, trying out this car. Dave was super easy to chat with, answered the few questions I had, listened to my concerns and had lots of helpful insight on the car he was selling. Never once did he try to up-sell me. He knew what we wanted and he was respectful of our plan and the fact that we didn’t want a fully loaded vehicle. Christian took a turn and we were sold.
Poor Dave. Seriously, if you ever need a car and you know yourself to be a little high maintenance, go see him. The man should be declared the Patron Saint of Chevy – he has so much patience. He saw the many moods swings of Kelly that night. I was so tired to begin with and the paperwork seemed to go on and on. Izzy was literally climbing the walls, rolling all over the floor, squawking for attention and generally just being an insanely bored two year old trapped in a boring process. I tried to be patient, I knew she was suffering but by the time we reached hour three I was on the verge of freaking out and having an out of body experience.
It was time to talk loans and interest rates, so I bowed out and let Christian handle it. Iz wanted to sit in our car – which happened to be the one in the showroom. So we climbed in and she pretended to drive. She loved pressing all those buttons on the console. You can imagine how much I loved it when she pushed the already activated On-Star button not once but twice. All I could think of was the time our security system alerted the fire department of my bad cooking. I was so embarrassed that I had to tell the same On-Star person twice that my kid pushed the button. I warned Izzy that if she wanted to see three, she’d keep her mitts off that button.
Finally Dave came and got our car, moved it outside, gassed it up and I installed the car seat. I could almost smell the freedom and it smelled like new car. Then he reminded me that we had to finish the On-Star set-up.
Dead. I felt dead inside.
I could see Dave ever so slightly recoil. I think that man’s life was flashing before his eyes and he was regretting not taking a job at a different dealership. 😉 But none of this was his fault. Really, I can’t sing his praises enough. He was such a nice guy, doing everything he could to speed things up and get us exactly what we wanted. But I was sure he thought this On-Star thing would be his undoing. The agent we got on the system was…well the guy must have been on a bender. I could barely understand what he was saying and he kept taking these weird pauses. Then he kept trying to sell me different features and Izzy is in the background screaming. Finally after the second time I declined to give him my credit card information I said ‘Listen man, I’ve been at the dealership for four hours and I have to get my kid home. You wanna wrap this up?’. After the On-Star guy hung up Dave and I just stared at each other.
Finally we were headed home in our wonderful new, spacious, fuel efficient cross-over. It was like the road home was paved with gold. I can’t be sure what I was happier about, the car or getting the hell out of the dealership! Despite the hiccups, this was the best car buying experience I have ever had. I HIGHLY recommended Nucar in New Castle and Dave to anyone looking to buy a new car. And if Dave’s boss is reading this, this man deserves a raise!
A little about the Equinox:
We bought the AWD, 1LT. It comes with lots of fancy buttons in the dashboard, bluetooth, a USB port for your iPod, rearview camera system (awesome!), controls on the driver’s seat that I am sure are also in the space shuttle, and a crazy deep center console compartment as well as like 500 other nooks and crannies for me to shove my trash into. This next thing might seem silly but I loved this feature in our Aveo. The CD player will play data CDs in addition to audio CDs. Meaning I can load up a CD with MP3 files and play them. I don’t have to burn an actual audio CD.
The fuel efficiency on this cross-over is fantastic. On the highway you can get about 32 mpg. If you switch to ECO mode, it will cut the car down to 2 cylinders and you can go nearly 600 miles on a tank of gas (highway). I really love the safety features like the steel safety cage, all the airbags (six!), Stabilitrack which helps to prevent roll-over accidents. It basically takes over the steering and I got to experience this a few days after we bought the car. I went over some ice and slid a bit and could feel the vehicle correcting itself. It was pretty damn cool! We’ve also got On-Star free for six months – I’m hoping to never need it.
I am in love with our new ride. I never thought I’d be in love with a car but Martha (so named for my brother telling me to ‘Punch it, Martha’ when I’d drive too slow) has sped her way into my heart.
Now, I am thinking personalized plates. What do you think?
It’s been one year since we’ve said goodbye. I miss you tippy tapping on the kitchen floor. I miss the weight if your massive body at the foot of the bed, stretching out, hogging my side. I miss the way you’d sneak into the bed and go to sleep before us, then sigh with great annoyance when we disturbed your slumber. I miss the way you’d come push the top of your head on my hand, forcing me to pet you. I miss the way you’d wag your tail while I playfully called you vulgar names while scratching your ears.
I miss listening to you chew on your favorite toy, a blue racquetball, and dutifully dropping it when I would snap ‘Tai! Knock it off!’. And you’d give it three more slow chews:
and then you’d drop it. You always had to chomp it three times before you’d drop it or hand it over.
I miss watching you drool over your weekly helping of hot wings, every Sunday with your dad. Or the way you’d playfully chase Kitty Kat – whom you so vehemently hated from the moment you set eyes on her. You’d zip out of the room after her and then proudly trot back in as if to say ‘That’s right. I showed her what’s what’. I miss the way you always tried to comfort us when we were sad by snuggling up. I miss the way you’d let me draw big white, Joan Crawford-style eyebrows on you just so I could have a good laugh.
You were the best worst dog I’ve ever had.
I remember when Christian wanted to adopt Tai in late 2003. He sent me a link from PetFinder.com of a beautiful 1 year old black and white pit bull. Christian was in love. I tried to convince him not to adopt this dog.
You don’t know his breeding.
You don’t know where he came from.
A dog like that is a huge commitment.
But what do I know? I’m just this chick that he started dating a few weeks ago. I don’t really get a say. A mere five months later, I’d be moving in and trying to keep that damn dog from literally eating my cat.
Christian acquired Tai from an organization called Rott’nPity. Initially we were only supposed to foster Tai with the option to adopt. We soon realized there wasn’t much ‘organization’ to this group. Within the first 72 hours, we realized that Tai was not a good fit for us. But we couldn’t get in touch with anyone from the group. Eventually their was some feigned attempts on their part to help us with Tai. But eventually we lost all contact with the group and were left to our own devices.
We didn’t know much about Tai. We know he came from Virginia, he had been moved from home to home until he found himself in Philly. We know he had scars on his face and he was terrified of other dogs. The mere sight of another dog, even from across huge fields, would send him into fits of snarling and barking. Heaven forbid we cross paths with a dog that was within a few feet or yards of us. The result was more snarling and barking with a side of violent thrashing and biting at the air or his leash…and at times, us if we got in the way.
We also knew that we were Tai’s last shot at a home. He was days away from being euthanized. How could we not keep this dog? Didn’t he deserve a chance at a good home? Surely with enough love, time and patience, we could turn this angry bully into a good boy.
We got so close but it was still too far to make it last.
When we took on the challenge that was Tai, life was very different. Christian worked for a storage company and we lived in the on-site apartment. We didn’t have to worry about other people and other dogs. We had nearly absolute control over this animal. The cat and dog eventually adjusted to each other (read: they stayed away from each other and always slept with one eye open) and we didn’t have any children to worry about. If something bad were going to happen with this dog, it would be to one of us. At the time, we were willing to take that chance in hopes that we could fix this dog.
Like all things in life, circumstances change. Christian and I became engaged, eventually we bought a house and moved. In 2007 we were married and by the Fall of that year, we were expecting our first child. We had made some impressive strides in Tai’s training but he still had issues. He had mellowed a lot over the years and in the house, he was just a sweet, wanna-be lap dog. But other dogs still caused the thrashing, air biting fits that made him nearly impossible to control. Christian was definitely better at it than I was. However, when you consider that he was about 90lbs of pure muscle, the idea that you could lose control of him was very scary. He also had jealousy issues with the cat – so this worried me when I thought about him cohabitating with a child.
There are people out there that say we were insane to bring a child around this dog. I can appreciate why people might think this as you are only seeing a small slice of Tai’s life. If you knew Tai though – he was not an unpredictable monster. He was a sweet dog who had issues and we took great care to not put him in situations that made him react badly. Besides, we were not the type to give up a pet just because a child was being brought into the home. But Tai had mellowed over the years and we honestly felt we wouldn’t have any issues.
He was always so sweet to Izzy. Stealing kisses during tummy time on the floor. Anxiously waiting for dropped food or licking chubby hands that dangled down from the high chair.
He’d lay there like a lump when Izzy would toddle over, flop herself down and roll over his back.
But in that last year he began to change. His temperament had changed. While he wasn’t very old (only 6 years and some odd months at this point) it seemed to us that time was catching up to him. He was graying and became more prone to snapping at the cat or giving us ‘the look’ that made us give him a wide berth. He was showing jealousy toward Izzy – pushing her out of the way, especially when Christian showed preference to her. I was concerned but not to a point that truly I feared for anyone’s safety. He still had more moments of sweetness than he did of adverse behavior. But we still had conversations about the ‘what ifs’ just in case we should ever experience them.
Then ‘what if’ happened. January 28, 2010 was the worst day of our lives so far. It was the day we knew we’d have to say goodbye to Tai.
It was an average day. Christian and I had been home from work for about an hour. We sat in the living room and played with Tai and Izzy. After a while I got up to do some chores. I was in the back of the house. I heard Tai bark (not unusual) and then a few moments later I heard Izzy scream (also not unusual) and she quickly stopped fussing. At first I didn’t make a connection. As I walked back out to the kitchen I called out to Christian and asked if she was okay and he replied yes. He thought she just bumped her head on the hearth. Izzy was still unsteady on her feet at that point and had already fallen and bumped her noggin a few times that week. When I came into the kitchen,Izzy came to see me asking for ‘jooz’ and completely happy. But there was red on her left cheek. I looked closer. Blood. Blood was coming out of a huge tear under her eye and from a puncture wound in her cheek. He bit her. The dog bit her! We have never been exactly clear on why it happened.
I remember every second of what happened in the few minutes between getting Izzy in the car and getting her to the ER. I was screaming at Christian that Tai bit her (he didn’t believe me at first) and how devastated I was that this dog hurt our perfect baby. I was working so hard to bite my tongue and not blame him for ever bringing that dog home. I was furious and frantic and any love I had for Tai dissipated within seconds. I wanted that dog out of the house before we came home from the hospital. Oddly enough, Izzy was happy as a clam and seemed to be in no pain at all.
When Izzy was getting stitched up, I couldn’t even stay in the room. They had to swaddle her and Christian and a nurse had to hold her down. The screaming was beyond description. I can hear it in my head as I type this as clearly as I heard it that day. I felt all the blood fall away from my face, I was nauseous and on the verge of passing out. Christian told me to leave and a nurse confirmed that it would be over in a few minutes.
I stood just outside the curtain wishing over and over that it had been me the dog bit. I was wracked with guilt over how a dog came within millimeters of blinding our precious baby. My brain was just swirling with what lay ahead of us. What would we do with the dog? Will the city come and take him? Will social services get involved? What is Christian thinking? Will he resent me when I insist we re-home this dog? Can we re-home him? What is the responsible thing to do here?
Finally we made our way home in silence. I finally asked ‘What are we going to do?’ and Christian replied ‘I’m not giving up my dog.’ For now, the line had been drawn and war was declared. The next few days in our house were Hell. I won’t even get into the fight we had that night. It doesn’t matter. No matter who ‘won’ the battle, everyone would lose and no one would be happy.
Christian and I talked about the options. We argued about the options. We cried over the unspoken reality of what we needed to do. After a day or so I became more empathetic to what Christian was going through. One way or another, he was going to lose his best friend. I also began to realize that I had no right to be angry at Tai. He wasn’t like this by choice. My anger had effectively faded to grief and worry. What would become of Tai? We can’t just give him to anyone. Would anyone take him? If we had to do….that…would Christian and I survive this?
Ultimately we decided that Tai needed to be put down. It was not a decision we came to lightly. But as much as we loved him, as sweet as he could be, Tai was very temperamental and needed very specific precautions taken to keep himself and others safe when out in public. We called to make an appointment and discovered that we’d have to quarantine Tai for two weeks to ensure he didn’t have rabies (despite having records). This was torture. We knew in our hearts we were making the right choice but this gave us time to chew on it. We questioned ourselves. I made several desperate attempts to re-home him, even though I knew it was wrong. I was desperate to give Christian some peace and give Tai a better, longer life. I made the appointment and arrangements for his body and the return of his ashes. It was surreal.
It was a Monday that we took Tai to be put to sleep. It was the most horrible thing I had ever witnessed. We were warned by the vet that because Tai was so healthy and strong that the process would go much faster. She reassured us that he would not feel any discomfort. They gave him a sedative and then whatever medicine is used to put an animal down. He was gone before they even finish pumping the medicine into his veins. This magnificent animal and his troubled mind were finally still. We were told to take as much time as we needed to say goodbye. Claiming his ashes a week later was so sad. How could such a great beast be reduced to so little?
I don’t think we’ll ever get over the loss of Tai. Some friends attempted to comfort us by saying ‘he’s just a dog. You can get another one.’ We’ll ever know another Tai. He was not just any dog. He was a truly special animal. I often question the choice we made. But really, there was no choice. As sweet as he was, with his history, no rescue groups would take him. Believe me, I tried. Even though I would have liked to re-home him, I was not confident that anyone else would take the care and precautions we did with Tai. Nor could I live with myself if he hurt someone else. Dropping him at a shelter was not an option. Period. He would have suffered the anxiety of being surrounded by other dogs before he would ultimately be euthanized without us by his side. We owed him a peaceful passing and the respect of being there in his last moments.
Some may argue that we did Tai a great disservice but I will respectfully disagree. He got five years he was never meant to have. Five years of good food, snuggling, ball throwing, cat chasing, kiss stealing, bed hogging joy. I often struggle with the idea that we ceased the life of a physically healthy being. But we know something wasn’t right with Tai – and it never has been. I console myself with the fact that we gave him a better life than he had ever know and a longer one at that.
Would I ever adopt a pit bull again? Absolutely. These things didn’t happen because Tai was a pit bull. These things happened because of bad breeding, abuse and bad circumstances. I wish I could have removed that broken part of Tai’s brain and kept him in our home until he went on his own. But I truly believe that this was all the time we were meant to have with Tai. Despite the bad things that happened, he will forever be missed in our home.
I’m sure you are wondering what happened with Izzy. She received two stitches under her eye and one in her cheek.
The wounds were large but animal bites are only sewn up enough to bring the skin together to cut down on the risk of infection. The doctor did not want to trap any bacteria in the wound. Her wounds have healed beautifully and only those that know she was bitten notice the scars. If one fortunate thing happened in this mess, it was that the larger wound happened right in the crease between her eye and her cheek. In a few years, I doubt the scars will be visible at all.
Izzy has no fear of dogs. In fact, the night of the incident, upon returning from the hospital, Izzy attempted to give Tai a hug.
In the Spring of 2010, we decided it was time to adopt a new dog. This time we decided to go easy. We adopted a jack russell/ pug mix that we named Tuna. He’s no Tai but he is still pretty cool. I only have two complaints about him. I can no longer leave laundry on the floor for fear that he will take a dump in it. Also, for a 20lb dog, he sure does take up a lot of space on my side of the bed…..maybe we still have a piece of Tai with us after all.
If you have any interest in learning more about Pit Bulls and what a wonderful breed they can be, please check out the sites below.
badrap.org (they took in Michael Dick’s dogs)
ummm….In a good way.
My friend Stephanie is on vacation with her family. So I am filling in for her over at her blog while she is gone. Remember that incredibly embarrassing moment I’ve been telling you about? Well you can find here:
While you’re over there, I highly recommend reading more of Stephanie’s blog. She is wicked funny and even before we were buds, her’s was one of the few blogs I read with any regularity.
Hope you are having a great time on your cruise, Steph! Can’t wait to hear all about it!
“You want a prediction about the weather, you’re asking the wrong Phil. I’ll give you a winter prediction: It’s gonna be cold, it’s gonna be grey, and it’s gonna last you for the rest of your life.”
That’s pretty much how this Winter has felt. Anyone in the northern states of the Eastern Seabord (and beyond!) knows what I am talking about. And those that know what I am talking about will agree that we are soooooo over it!
Thank heaven’s Punxsutaney Phil did not see his shadow!
So before we bid a not so fond farewell Old Man Winter, I thought I’d share photos from our snow day last week. Last week we had about 10 more inches of snow dumped on us and for once, I stayed home.
I. Hate. Snow. Actually I hate cold weather, period. If I can see my breath, it’s too damn cold.
Izzy loves to help her daddy ‘shobel’. She cleared that entire path by herself. 😉
Tuna must have been a Husky in another life. He was going crazy over the snow. Running laps around the backyard and eating so much that when he wasn’t running he was making yellow snow.
Daddy made a snow fort to play in. Iz loved crawling through it and laying in it. I was getting frost bite just watching her roll around on the ground.
P.S. The embarrassing story is up next. I promise. :^P