14 February 2008

The End

If I had been alone in the car, I would have had the window down, and my podcast MUCH louder. (Surprisingly the podcasts are better for holding my attention, since I can just zone out singing along to music.) I was tired. Exhausted. Drained. Done. I'm weaving in the lanes, but figure hey, I'm still on the road... As we are nearing Bismarck I see a sign saying 83 South, this way. I have a moment where I'm freaking out thinking I had nodded off and missed the sign for 83 North. Eventually I see that the road I'm on is 94W/83N and am okay. Whew. Keep your eyes OPEN, woman!

I make it through Bismarck. I'm thinking to myself how awfully small it looks, for being a capital city. Somewhere outside of Bismarck, not sure where, I come to a small town. The highway is 70 until you hit there, then it drops to 45, and then 35. My eyes must have been closed when I hit the 35 sign, because until then I had seen them all. The roads are utterly deserted, and really have been since I got out of that St Paul traffic. I see a cop car sitting in a median, and then as I near it, the lights go on. Ahhh crap. Not too sure if it's me he is pulling over, I sort of slow waaaaaaaayyy down and then go over to the side when I see he's still behind me. Did I say I was tired? Lochlan had been crying for the last 20 minutes, but I hadn't wanted to pull over and get his pacifier situated because I was hoping his cries would help keep me awake. (Boy, this is really making me not look like a good mommy.)

I hop out of the van to check on him, and the cop is telling me I need to be in the car... but he lets me check on Lochlan once he realizes what is up. I was going 59 in a 35MPH zone. Hmm. I got a ticket. It's only $12. That's nuts. I've been driving for almost 5 years and have never had a ticket or accident until now. Boo on me for ruining my perfect record!

Ugh. I made it home okay after that. I will never again make a drive like that. At least not with Lochlan in the car.

After all that though, I am so thankful I came home when I did. Wednesday, the day I was originally going to come home, we had a huge amount of snowfall. And wind. And I don't think I would have made it home if we left then. We would have been who knows where waiting for who knows how long, because even after the snow stopped falling, the roads would have been really dangerous to drive on.

Now for the downside of my mom's visit. She managed to get some sort of bug that she passed on to Sully and Caayn, and possibly Lochlan. They all have fevers, and possibly kidney pains (its hard to know where and what hurts on a toddler), sore throats, headaches... Sully is flat out miserable. He won't eat anything, but he's hungry. And to top it off he is still constipated. Lochlan is just passed out. He has been ever since we got home. He'll wake up to eat, get a diaper change, make sure he is being held, and then passes back out.

So yep. That's my story.

The End of The Middle

As a precursor to the whole Minnesota adventure, I had gone down to a Verizon kisok sort of thing here on base and added text messaging to our plan. So as I'm getting ready to leave Carol's, Jimmy texts me and says to make sure I do the Bismarck route we had discussed... where I stay on 94 all the way to Bismarck and then hang a right and go north on 83 the rest of the way home. I wrote back double-checking because I didn't want to get lost again. And it really did sound a lot easier than going the way I normally do, which involves a straggling diagonal across the state before hitting the 94.

I managed to hit the end of the rush hour traffic leaving St. Paul. A little nerve wracking, mostly because I have Lochlan who is crying in the background. Everything is going cleanly... light dustings of snow around St. Cloud and a little further. I stop to feed Lochlan. Get gas. Etc.

By the time I hit Fargo, I'm starting to feel just a bit weary. After all, it was around 10pm ish, maybe a little later, and I had been in the car forEVER. Jimmy texts asking if I had arrived in St. Paul yet since I hadn't responded to that question earlier. I wrote back saying I was half way home. Also around that time Caayn calls me. Sully is super super constipated (this had been a continuing situation of many days) and he was getting ready to go plunk him on the toilet so we got off the phone... (yes, my boy who is not potty-trained at all can poop on the toilet, even though he won't pee on it; how lucky am I?!) He called back to let me know how that went (I love being a parent, who else calls to talk about poop?) and he said, "Are you in the car?" I tried to act shady. Needless to say he spoiled the surprise and the decision was made that he'd stay up and wait for me.

Those last four hours were pure hell. I pulled over a couple of times at rest areas, thinking I'd take a nap. But by the time we'd be there, I was feeling more alert and awake, so I'd carry on. The last time I stopped, I was feeding Lochlan and saw the snow start coming. It wasn't heavy. But I figured I really ought to go on.

The Middle of The Middle

I haven't even mentioned Sue! Sue is a roommate at Carol's house. She has whippets too. I didn't catch her last name, or if I did I don't remember it, but what a funny gal, and very nice too. She showed me her whippet Wade... oh my goodness was he HUGE. He is over the height limit for the breed, standing at 22 3/4"... He looked like a yearling greyhound. It was just amazing.

Monday was a mess. My mom missed her flight, but managed to get on the next one... so we got a really late start back. She was totally tickled by how cute Athena is. The drive back went well until the very end. I took a wrong turn and didn't notice until I was probably 100 miles down the road. I called Caayn and asked him where I was in proportion to our town, and I had overshot. So I turned around. And then took another wrong turn... this time I caught on really quickly. All that extra driving around added about 2 more hours on to the drive. Might be 3. We left the airport at 6pmish, and got home around 5am. I was so dead tired by the time we got home. Yuck!

Her visit was MUCH better than it has been normally. This time she actually talked to Caayn when he was in the room, and spent time with Sully... (She was the only family down for Sully's 1st birthday, and she went out to smoke while we did his birthday cupcake. :P) Sully LOVES his Granny. Lochlan was okay with her, but he still prefers me to everyone else in the world.

I took her to the mall... found a jean jacket in JCPenney's for $14 while walking through the store to get to the rest of the mall. I had to buy it. My old one had literally fallen apart several years ago. This one needs to fade a bit before it will be perfect-o... I'm so happy I found it though.

We left Tuesday morning at 5am, with Lochlan in tow. When I got back the week before, despite pumping all the time, my milk supply had gotten all wonky and I didn't want to risk another long separation from him. Plus, he pretty much cries nonstop if Caayn is holding him... I think Caayn would have gone insane, lol. (Have I mentioned that Lochlan is my boy? We always joked about how Sully was a Daddy's boy and how this next one was going to be "mine". Well, it happened. I don't mind at all--snuggling all day and night with the sweetest little baby is hardly a chore.) Again the drive went fine. I think I have the trip memorized for the most part, and can actually find my way a bit in St. Paul.

Lochlan cried the whole trip out though. I allowed my mom to break the law and take Lochlan out of his carseat. She sat in the second row and held him, which was exactly what he wanted. (I kind of suspect that the straps in the carseat need to be put on a higher setting and that they were sort of squishing him into an uncomfortable position.) Shame on me, I know.

We stopped in at Carol's after I dropped my mom off at the airport. I got to see sweet Cozy again--man she is just so adorable! Carol signed the registration papers. Athena's unofficial-official registered name is Straylight's Affinity In A Row. (Her sire is "Johnny", Affinity Walks The Line... I thought it was funny. I really wanted Straylight Affinity's Bobeena, but Caayn hated that. Bobeena because I call her Athena Nina Bobeena.) I just need to send in the papers before the name becomes official.

I hope I get to go back to Minnesota often. I really like being in Carol's company. She is a talker and I'm a listener, so we fit just perfectly. I could listen to her stories and experiences all day!

Now, the original plan was that I was going to stay Tuesday night at Carol's and leave in the morning. The weather was calling for snow on Wednesday and I wasn't tired or sleepy in any way, so I decided I would just go home. It'd be a great surprise for Caayn!

The Middle

Sunday was the match. Carol had me running circles around that ring forEVER! I'm so not in shape, lol. Athena was sort of just terrified out of her mind. A slight tremble to her, pulling on the leash any time we neared an exit, trying to hide under chairs or tables. Poor girl. I know I need to do more in socializing her with different places and situations, but there is just nowhere for that out here. I practiced stacking her, which I *think* I got down pat. Athena is good for naturally placing her front paws correctly. I can lift her chest up and let her down and she will place them just right.

Athena went 2nd.... in a class of 2... Hehe! We got a lovely ribbon, a bag of treats and a stuffie for playing with. Her competition was Simmer, Laurie Erickson's dog. Who went on to win Best of Match, I think. Laurie was really, really nice. She had Spats with her--a dog with 34 titles, I think it was. She did a teeny bit of obedience stuff with him, and that was really just amazing to watch.

I'm definitely in need of more handling practice. The judge kept telling me to smile and have fun, which I was having a lot of fun, but I was focusing so much on trying to cheer Athena up that I probably looked like I wasn't. I learned so much though. Everyone was willing to offer advice or tips. And that is so needed when you are new to something like this. I did take some pictures, but not too many. I wasn't sure if people wanted some stranger photographing their dogs, lol. I could have asked, but there was just too much going on, so I stopped.

There was a guy there who looked EXACTLY like an ex of mine. Not a big deal to most people, but that guy wasn't a good person. I'm not sure I should divulge the details on this, so let's just say I watch To Catch a Predator just to see if they catch him. I kept waiting for someone to talk to him so I could hear what his name was. Eeks.

We caught the second half of the Super Bowl at one of Carol's son's house. Really nice guy. YAY for the Giants beating the Patriots! I was so so so hoping they would.

The Beginning

So many things have happened this month, that I'm not sure where to begin this tale. At the beginning, I suppose, since that's usually the right place. I'm pretty sure this is going to be LONG... I'll probably break it up into more than one post, otherwise I'm likely to forget to finish up!

The beginning of February found me busily preparing for my 500 mile, 8 hour long trip to St. Paul, Minnesota. Athena was going to her fun match with the Greater Twin Cities Whippet Club. (Which I went on to find out was called a "sanctioned B match"... not sure if there is a difference.) Saturday, the 2nd, I woke up super early to start my trip. Of course I had forgotten to pick up a pump to keep my milk supply up while I was gone from Lochlan, so I had to go out of my way to grab that, which ended up taking about an extra hour. The trip out went fine. I listened to lots of World of Warcraft podcasts, and then rocked out to my music so hard that the muscles in my arms were sore from playing the steering wheel drum. My aunt always said to never marry a drummer because they never stop tapping, patting, thumping... Well, my uncle is a drummer. And I spent a lot of time with him... Too late!

I brought two of my super soft fuzzy blankets and a pillow for when I got tired. I didn't get tired. I had 4 hours of sleep heading into that trip and didn't even get a wee bit sleepy. Not sure how it happened, but whatever, I was happy. Stopping to pump added at least an hour to the trip, possibly an hour and a half. I think I arrived at Carol's around 4pm. She is such a nice lady! You never feel awkward or out of place; it's like you are family. And her dogs! Oh my gosh. It was a little piece of heaven being surrounded by so many whippets, I gotta tell ya. I missed Caayn and my boys with all of my heart, but I wouldn't have traded that weekend for anything. (Would you believe me when I say that Caayn and I have never, ever, been apart, except for the night I spent at the hospital with Lochlan? Same goes for Sully.)

I got to meet Imani's Affinity Queenie, who is called Queenie and is the mother of Athena. I also met Antoinette "Toni" who looks EXACTLY like Athena, only the other half of her face has brindle too. And I met Louis and Cosette "Cozy", who were two more siblings. Louis was the boy we almost brought home. He is lovely! And big, my goodness was he solidly built. He looks like he could tear a course up. And Cozy stole my heart. I have an extreme soft spot for black and white dogs. Not sure why. I'll have to get around to posting some pictures. Cozy has black patches on both sides of her face, and then black splotches on her back. And she just has a wonderful personality. I would have brought her home with me at the drop of a hat if I could have! The only one of Athena's siblings to have been sold went to a guy in Texas. I'm not sure what her name is, but she was solid white with black ears. It'd be nice to find her!

Luckily I have pictures of all these wonderful dogs, so one of these days I will get my butt in gear and start editting/cropping and getting them online. (I took over 200 that weekend.)

The banquet was a lot of fun. I've said it before, and I'll say it again, dog people are a breed apart. They are good people for the most part. And you'll always have something in common. I got to meet David Samuelson and his wife, Gina. He was the one who referred me on to Carol when I was hunting for a whippet. I know I met a ton more people, but I can't remember all the names. While I was being introduced to everyone, I kept wondering to myself if any of them were members of Whippet World, an MSN group... Hehe.

02 February 2008

See Ya!

Well... we're off!

Not -quite-, since I have to stop at Jimmy's for a special camera lens and then at WalMart because I forgot to buy something yesterday... :P but still. The car is all packed up. I'm running on about 4 hours of sleep. I have a pillow and some blankets in the car, for when I get tired and need to pull over. Which will probably happen.

I've got a 12 pack of Red Bull, an Amp, and a Rockstar. I'm only half jokingly considering picking up a pack of cigarettes... they are good for helping you stay awake on road trips...

But I'm wasting time. Gotta run! Wish Athena luck! (And me--I don't want to crash and die or anything on this 8 hour road trip, alone.)