Month: August 2011

Canine Crash Course

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Shih Tzus, Golden Retrievers, Pugs, Terriers, and Brittany Spaniels … I’m up to my ears in dog research. There are more dog breeds than I could have ever imagined. I feel like I’m cramming for a college exam trying to distinguish between them. I’m nearing information overload. If I could sum up my last few weeks it would be a crash course called Canines 101. I’m researching everything there is to know about man’s best friend. Why? Because as my mother would say, “I’ve temporarily lost my mind.” I want a dog and it’s long overdue (she may have a point here).
My philosophy is I already have children ages 3-15-years-old. Why not add another child to the mix? This is usually when I’d have another baby anyway. And I won’t have to suffer through morning sickness and swollen ankles. (Complete bonus!) Even with my dog-owner friends warning “Don’t do it,” and “You’re crazy.” I’m still moving forward.
My husband, who has disagreed about owning a dog for years, has finally changed sides. It’s no small miracle. Now seven out of seven Baniewiczs agree a dog will be joining our home in the near future. Or in my husband’s case, a dog will be tolerated in our home in the near future. He has made it clear he will not be cleaning up after the dog. After going over dog owner responsibilities with the children, my teenager is apprehensive about pitching in. My son’s response to that was, “Fine. Then the dog can use her make-up as chew toys.” This may actually happen. The truth is, the dog will probably end up attached to one of the non-eager family members.
Since this pooch will be with my husband and I long after most of the children are grown, my decision weighs heavily. I’ve been interviewing dog owners, taking Internet quizzes on the best breed for our family, and trying to determine where to purchase my new pet.
One setback is that I’ve discovered I have extremely expensive taste in dogs (this is no surprise to my husband as it’s right in line with everything else in my life). My dog-matching test results say a Goldendoodle would be ideal for my family. This cross breed of a Golden Retriever and Poodle screams adorable and is hard to resist! Their price tag, which easily exceeds $1,000, is greatly beyond my measly budget. I might have to settle for some other, less expensive “oodle.”
With similar preparations as expecting a baby, I’m already thinking of names, searching for a kennel as opposed to a crib and learning how to raise this little ball of fur.
Although it’s not up to parents to pick their children, pets are another story. This is a major plus. I would prefer a dog that doesn’t talk (or bark) back. One that doesn’t constantly ask me what’s for dinner and then refuses to eat it. And I would like a dog that doesn’t turn up the music or TV so loud that I can’t hear myself think (hey, some breeds are really smart). I would also prefer a dog that does what I say the first time, unlike everyone else in my household. In other words, I’m searching for the perfect dog.
Although my list is long, including little shedding to meet my neat freak needs, and an easy-going personality to counteract all of us, I know this dog exists somewhere. I’m hoping it just shows up at my doorstep one day already spayed or neutered and up-to-date on its shots. Crazy or not, I’m looking forward to joining the world of dog-owners.

Compliments of The Atchison Globe

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Where’s My Car?

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Lisa Baniewicz
Full House

When a parent’s first child gets their license, it’s a bit unnerving. There are too many unknowns. There’s the concern of which parent they’re apt to drive like … more cautious mom or lead foot dad? (I may be in denial of my recent speeding ticket here.) Will they get from point A to point B unharmed? Or, will they actually go directly from point A to B without making several side trips just because it’s fun?
Well, my daughter isn’t thinking about any of these things. Her only concern is where’s her car? I believe I clearly explained that until she learned how to put money in the bank, her car would remain in a car lot somewhere. For now she could just be ecstatic we’re willing to lend her our cars and not charge her for gas. (Oh my gosh, I am my mother!)
I got my first car when I was a junior in high school. It was torture waiting, and what did I get? A beige, four-door 1976 Plymouth Valiant. It screamed “Granny Car” from the moment I laid my eyes on it. During a serious lapse in judgment, this is what my parents picked. How could they? They were obviously trying to ruin my life. In hindsight, I think my parents were probably trying to teach me humility and to be grateful I even had a car. Whatever! It certainly was humbling parking next to brand new convertible VW Rabbits, MR2’s, 4X4 trucks, and Camaros in the school parking lot. (I’m an 80s girl.) And just when I thought it couldn’t get worse, it did. Eventually the driver’s side door didn’t open. I had to get in on the passenger side and slide across the front seat in order to drive. After two years of humiliation I sold it for $500 and pocketed the money.
My sister’s torture was similar; she got stuck with a bright yellow Pinto station wagon. The only upside was she could easily spot it in a parking lot. No need to remember where she parked it, just follow the glow. As the car got older, it got a little dangerous. Every time she turned a corner she had to hold on to the door because it flew open. For some reason this didn’t concern my parents. Go figure. My uncle reminded me his first car was a blue Pinto hatchback. It was the kind that blew-up if it was rear-ended. (minor detail.) He was convinced his parents didn’t love him. While he was in college, his key broke off in the ignition and every time he wanted to start his car he had to use a screwdriver.
My husband drove a 1965 Chevy Bel Air, in other words a boat. I think his parents had safety in mind with that choice or optional backup transportation in case of a flood.
With two cars in our household, my daughter insists, pleads and begs to drive only one. In her words, “she’ll die” if I make her drive the mini-van. She’s repeatedly told me, “I’m not a mom! Why would I drive that?” My matter-of-fact response is always, “Fine, then stay home.” I think a teenager with no vehicle shouldn’t be that picky.
With no summer job, constantly saying she doesn’t have any money, and her social life coming before anything else, I think there won’t be another car in our family for a while. After all, money doesn’t grow on trees. (Great. Now I sound like my father.) I could always start shopping for a car like my first one. I think that might prompt her to earn a little cash.

Compliments of The Atchison Globe