Today I am grateful for sleep. Also trains that run three minutes behind schedule.

SassyCrop

So are we all ready for a post that does not centered around my adorable little Jack Russell Terrier Impersonator*? Yes? Too bad, because it’s not happening yet.

*I’ve decided that’s exactly what my puppy looks like running around the yard. he’s the right size, with the right markings. One can only hope and pray he grows into a real German Pointer soon. 

In the meantime, let us all now bow our heads and give thanks to sleep. Sleep is awesome.

Archer settled down with exasperated grumbling and unicorn snuggling last night again…. WITH NO CRYING. Just like the night before. It was a thing of beauty. I’ve never seen a puppy yawn passive aggressively before.

Meanwhile Batz is very much approving of the more sedate approach to bedtime. With Batz smooshed up against my pillow snoring loud enough to shake the bed, and block out a passing stock truck, and Archer giving the occasional sleep grumble… it was pretty hard not to laugh loud enough to wake the both of them.

I’m currently looking for an awesome collar for the little man. We may have our first trip to Animates ahead… there are some really neat ones on Etsy with engraved buckles and things which I’m totally coverting, but I’ll wait until he grows up for one of those… I almost wasn’t going to bother (because I’m going to use slip leads for training and you don’t need a collar with those) but then two things happened:

1.    I re-read the council dog bylaws, and he has to have his registration tags displayed on a collar when he reaches 3 months old. 

2.    This morning he totally squeezed out a hole under my gate and chased my car down the road. 

Suddenly the hunt for a collar has gained new momentum. Luckily he already has ID tags with my phone number and address on the way.

I HAVE seen awesome DYI make your own collar tutorials online, but for that I’d have to buy a sewing machine. Then use it… Despite peer pressure from the various crafters in my life, I’m not quite there yet!!

On the craft thing? I have exactly one and a half rows of a spectacularly fiddly and annoying scarf completed (here’s the pattern on Ravelry) I aim to get it to two centimetres by Christmas!! (Or I’ll abandon it because the yarn I am using is fricking annoying, and splits all the time, and makes it REALLY hard to knit.)

Perhaps sewing would be easier than knitting. And I do have a lot more rooms in my new house to fill with crap. (Ahem: Stash. My crafting mentor told me a while ago that crafters and drug users are the only people in the world who use the word stash. I’d argue that both of those groups of people display some very similar behaviors, so it’s hardly surprising the vocabulary has parallels too.)

Knocking on wood and licking a rabbits foot right now that the trend continues.

Archer and Batz

So yesterday I was pretty sure that my house would be a bomb site when I got home… Instead…. nothing. The yard was quiet,and clean. I did a circuit around the house, and my gardens all appeared intact. The garage was just like I left it, and the inside of the house… was fine. There weren’t even any accidents inside – not even on the newspaper.

For a horrible moment I wondered if Archer had found a hole in the fence… but no, there he was, napping in his beanbag.

I’m going to go ahead and touch wood that this is a continuing trend.

I haven’t gone over to see the neighbor yet, to find out whether he cried all day, but for now I’m going to go ahead and be tentatively relieved that I’m in possession of a GOOD DOG.

Peace

Batz is reluctantly overcoming his aversion to Archer, which is fabulous. I’m going to go ahead and knock on wood that we get through dog ownership without Batz picking up another over-grooming habit.

It’s possible the cat is so chill because he’s been fighting, and has a big scratch on his back… When he’s hurt himself he gets all cuddly and needy – which I’m shamelessly using to my advantage for the sake of peace.

Bed time is slowly getting better. Who else is glad that this crying and not sleeping through the night thing will only take a month for a puppy… as opposed to, like, 18 years for a kid.

This is a bit harder than I thought it would be.

Archers First Night Home

So today I am at work, which is pretty standard for a Monday… What is not standard is the fact that I have a 10 week old puppy at home. Probably whining and howling if our first two days are anything to go by.

I brought Archer home on Saturday, and keeping in mind I need these people not to call dog control on me, I took  Archer over and introduced him… She wasn’t all that impressed. Her exact words were” He’s very cute, but it’s not for me” (meaning dogs) and “I hope he’s not going to be loud” (because she’s home through the day.)

Not a very promising start if we’re honest.

Following that I introduced the dog to the house and so commenced the whining. He’s not used to being alone, so whenever he thought I was leaving he’d howl and throw himself at the flimsy gates I had through he house  to keep him contained.

On a related note: I have a new chunk of paint missing in my dining room, and laundry door frame where my first trials of a containment space went massively awry. It looks like I’ll be getting a lot of practice at patching and painting.

When bed time finally came we established a new routine using a crate that goes like this:

  1. Puppy goes into crate. I wait till he’s resigned to being in the space, and is calm and sitting. I shut the door.
  2. Puppy whines, and escalates to howling and attempting to climb out of the crate.
  3. I sit on the bed so that the dog can see me (don’t ask what happens if he can’t see me. I’ve blocked it from my memory). I am quiet, and no eye contact. I am and calm, and assertive. (I’m not actually calm and assertive, this is just what I chant to myself to stop from losing my temper.)
  4. The mental-case cat – utterly fed up with the lack of attention – sits on the other side of the room meowing.
  5. Puppy takes an hour or so to calm down. Cat spends the time nipping my hands and hair to (I assume) spur me into shutting the dog up so that he can sleep.
  6. Cat nipping results in him being thrown off the bed. The cat does not leave the room though, because he is batty, instead he stands beside the bed and howls with indignation.
  7. Puppy whines for another few minutes before grumbling himself to sleep. You have not heard a more resigned grumble than an Archer is in his crate and Not Happy grumble.
  8. Cat gets back on the bed and curls up as close to my face as possible, preferably under the covers, with the good pillow, because he’s annoyed at the fact he’s had to listen to this performance.
  9. Archer looks adorable, because who doesn’t love a sleeping puppy? (NOTE: Resist urge to look closer on pain of death, because he will not stay sleeping. Also no leaving the room, or going to brush your teeth.)
  10. Stay frozen on the bed hoping neither cat nor puppy wake up again.
  11. Rinse and repeat for the midnight bathroom break.

 

This whole experience is confirming for me that I’m not really cut out for calmly and rationally dealing with kids. Also? Much harder than the dog whisperer, and my assumptions made it seem – for starters Cesars magic Shh noise is totally TV Magic.

I don’t know how I glossed over the howling dog at midnight aspect of puppy ownership, because guys? It’s a thing. Puppies should come with a warning label that says “Yeah, you;re going to wonder if you made the wrong decision in 3, 2, 1 GO.”*

*For clarity sake I’m pretty sure we’ll be fine, it’s just when Archer is going, and Batz is going, and I’ve had less than 4 hours sleep the world is not a shiny place. I also am not sure what the damage is from Archer being at home during the day. it’s worrisome. And worrying. Also: I am WORRIED.

 

My second day with Archer was a trail run for work, so I left him inside, and went to get groceries. Archer then demonstrated that he’s small enough to get through a cat door. I discovered this while driving back in through the gate, and having a heart attack as my puppy came barreling up to meet the car. He has more cute than sense at this stage in his life. Knowing my track record with animals this may be a trend that continues through his life.

Becks came out to see the house, and the Puppy whined for two hours and climbed all over her. That’s a habit we’ll be breaking sooner than later I hope. I think in future Archerpants gets no attention from visitors until he’s sitting and quiet.

We went for a five minute walk which went surprisingly well. He’s learning to heel really quickly, which is the main idea. I want to start him out polite on the leash while he’s still little and malleable.

 

Anyway. I have work, and my lunch break is likely over. And I have a puppy at home possibly raising holy hell. (I’m going to go ahead and admit that this was absolutely the wrong time to get a puppy. I should have got him over Christmas, so that I could have a few weeks at home to ease him into being alone, and sleeping… and perhaps greasing up the neighbor with copious glasses of celebratory Christmas wine.

Important Announcement

Today has been pretty exciting

There was a dinosaur in mitre10, and I was mobbed by kids. Because I was in the path of the t-rex. So yeah. That happened.

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And I have something tiny, exciting, and new!!

My garden barn card arrived in the post. It’s pretty exciting. Theres a rewards programme.

Yeah. I love a good garden centre.

Hm.

What else?

Whats that?

Oh that noise? That would be a snoring puppy. PUPPY.

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Hes adorable. I’m not sure Batz is a fan though.

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Careers and stuff. (I’ve watched too many Women in Leadership panels this week.)

My boss at work is drawing up a new Personal Development Plan template, and she asked me to give it a wizz and pass back feedback on it. I was all ‘Dude yes.’ Because I have been thinking about development a lot lately, in the sense that I’d like it to happen soon.

I actually even sat down with various managers a month ago and told them that I’m looking to be promoted in the next 3-6 months.

For my inner introverted self, that was tantamount to running through the office with my pants down. SCARY. But the workplace is no place to be shy. So: I want a promotion. (They didn’t say no, but I do have to do a formal qualification before they’ll consider me. And then I have to wait till they advertise a role I think….)

Anyway, so professional development plan? Yes that is within my interests.

The first bit was identifying values, which is good, because I watched a TED video about branding last week,and then branded myself, so I already had that all worked out.

Want to see my values?

Development – because: PROMOTE ME PLEASE.

Balance – You know how everyone blathers on about work life balance? In March I worked 50 hour weeks, and and hadn’t had a haircut for 6 months. So actually that’s not what my Balance means. Mine means balanced mood and approach to life. When I’m not balanced shitty things happen, like depression. When I am I can work 50 hour weeks on one off projects that I think are important and worth my time, without destroying my ability to function like a human again at the end of it.

Engagement – I work better when I’m engaged and I care, and when I think my Managers give a crap about what I think. Also remember that time a Nigerian Spam Pirate Doctor proposed? It’s totally a long term thing.

Serenity – I put a lot of personal stock in Serenity. Mostly because the movie was awesome, but not as awesome as Firefly.

Vision – 20/20 bitches. But I’d look awesome in glasses. Recent polls suggest I’ll appear up to 22% smarter.

Mindful – I had an old teacher who would tell me to stop thinking so hard about things, which actually? that’s a shitty thing to say to an introvert, because THAT’S WHAT I DO asshole. I think.

Accountable – I’m accountable for my own actions, and hopefully one of these days that will mean I catch the stupid decisions before I go through with them because ACTIONS HAVE CONSEQUENCES. Also because my bank gets really annoyed when I tell them that my credit card balance is the result of a vengeful ninja con artist who stole it earlier in the week.

Playful – because 70 years is a really long time to be grown up  and austere about everything. I’d much rather have fun with it if I can.

Flexibility – Basically this was the result of me googling: what’s a nice way of saying that routines and day-to-day bores the shit out of me? Heck yes I’m flexible! Because if It would get me out of doing administrative work 40 hours a week, I’d do some serious contortion work. Administration is not how I want to spend my working life.

Innovation – because the same old gets boring. And life is too short to be bored at work. Ergo,  therefore: Dear Boss, Google lets people bring dogs to work. Just saying.

Thursday

Good Morning! Is it a good morning? I feel like it is. First it’s a Thursday, which, I think you’ll agree is the most Thursday of all the days.

I made a cake last night, that turned out burnt on the edges, and under cooked in the center. My oven is winning the war on baked goods.

For the last few months I’ve been working my actual tail off. See? look. No Tail. Not even a tail stump. I am tail free. I worked on a series of projects that required hours like I’ve never worked before. On one memorable occasion I was at work till 1am in the morning. I drove home, collapsed, and then was back at work at 7am.

The customer started to wonder if I was sleeping there. Possibly because at some point I think I stopped brushing my hair because: Must. Get. Through. Project.

When I finished I gratefully went back to working 9-5 on small projects. Only now? Now I’m a little bored. It’s not that the little bits of no stress work are bad, they’re just not as exciting, or time critical. My days don’t fly by anymore.

On the plus side, I now have enough time for a puppy – which actually this whole adjusting my lifestyle and making time for a dog, preparing the house, and worrying that I’m going to screw up training him… I’m thinking this is like child rearing lite. Or maybe it’s harder than raising a kid – I mean, there is no way naming a kid is as hard as naming a dog.

Last week I spent half an hour in the supermarket pet food aisle reading nutrition scores on puppy food. And googling online reviews.

Also I got invited to dinner with a friend next Tuesday, and now I think I might need a sitter for Archer because he’s too little to be alone while I’m at work AND at night, right? He’ll need feeding?

I wonder if I can swing pet-ernity leave past my boss. She’s pregnant right now, I’ll bet she understands (OR she’s pregnant right now and will have absolutely no time for me marginalizing the whole ‘birthing your own child then raising it thing’. Do I want to bait the 8 month pregnant lady? I think NO.)

In other news, Featherston has this great cafe, which does the most amazing quince danish. It’s spectacular. the day I first visited my house, I swung past the cafe (Everest) and brought my very first quince danish and a hot chocolate to go. I got to the viewing (early), and sat outside waiting for the real estate agent to show up (late.)

That day I fell in love with quince danishes. Also a house. Or maybe I just fell in love with one of them, and the other got dragged along too. Who knows. There was a lot of love going around that day.

The owners (and chefs) at the awesome cafe, have just announced they’re going to open an asian fusion restaurant down the road, and guys? I’M SO EXCITED! Featherston is ok… It’s small though, and doesn’t really do a good job at making the most of its commuter population – the shops close on Sundays, and there’s no late night shopping.

Food wise it’s mostly little cafes of varying (mostly MEH) quality that cater to the traffic passing through on the way to and from Wellington. There’s no real Asian food that I’ve seen… Although it’s entirely possible there’s a fish and chip shop that does a fried rice. It’s not quite the same as being able to go to yum char  just on a whim, or go grab an amazing roti chenai, or dumplings just as you wander home. So yeah, awesome quality food? YES. MORE OF THAT.

Now if only we could get a garden center, and Victorian-style street lamps. All my requirements for my dream town will be met.

House! That I own. Because I’m a home owner you guys!

Who here feels like a photo essay? Me? Awesome, I’m the most important anyway.

For todays excellent photo essay I wandered around my newly cleaned house (why yes my Mum is coming to visit, how did you know?!) And took photos. Hence the whole… you know…. photo thing. Good. Are we good? Yes? Excellent.

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This is my kitchen, its kind of badly laid out, because cooking in it is a total pain. Right now I cant have a range hood above my stove, and so I set off my fire alarm a lot. Which has nothing to do with the fact I burn things all the time. (Shut up.) Also I’m pretty sure that stove-oven thing hates me. And theres no fan. I think the kitchen would look amazeballs with big dark tiles, and a dramatic black splashback.

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Oh look! More kitchen! More as in ‘oh my god I have so much space.’ The pantry is big enough to hide a cat in. Which happens frequently, because Batz lives to divebomb off shelves onto my feet. Usually I’m so busy trying to restart my own heart that I forget to send him to time out.

Im not sure what to do with this area. I sort of wanted an art drafting table… but I might have to go all traditional and put a dining room table here. Which can totally multi task, so why am I even bothered by it? I dunno. Possibly I dont want to have to go buy one of those yet, because it’ll need to not make the room feel cramped and dark and annoying. I’ll put it at the end of the 12 month plan.

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While we’re on the kitchen? I cleaned my fishtank last night, because it was dirty enough that I was starting to wonder if there was still fish in there. True to form I dropped it, smashing one of the plastic divides that keep the normal well adjusted fish away from Mac the Serial Killer Paradise Fish, and cutting my hand on the plastic bit.

After sitting in a puddle of fish poop water and contemplating the decisions that had lead me to this point in my life (or trying to get the courage to look at my hand, which I was pretty sure I’d cut off) (I hadn’t. Its more of a scratch than anything.) I investigated my fishtank and the glass on the corner is cracked… but I’m pretty sure its still watertight.

While we’re at this point in the photo essay: why the hell are fishtanks even made of glass anyway? Why arent they plastic and bullet proof?

I ended up having to organise all my electrical cords and stuff anyway though, just in case its not as watertight as I hope it is, so now theyre all off the counter, and tidy, and guys? I’m not going to lie, 11pm at night is not the optimal time to drop a fishtank, cut your hand, and then problemsolve
a. Not  electrocuting yourself,
b. Still cleaning the filthy tank
c. Not killing the stupid tropical fish who need a heater and stuff
d. Cleaning fishpoop water out of a cut without looking at it because: ew.

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Moving right along. That over there is my lounge. One day it will be a sort of a warm dark grey, with timber blinds and there will be french doors to a deck. One day I’ll bother with getting the TV hooked up with the aerial. There’ll be carpet. Or a big area rug. And new couches… which I’ve been threatening to buy since 2012.

All of that is going to wait though, because for now its going to be Archers new den. Having to decide where the little man goes while I’m at work for the first few months was freaking hard, because naturally what I want is: with me! I do not work for a progressive kind of a ‘bring your dog to work’ kind of an IT company. Its not even a progressive ‘Your floor has a lunch area, no holes in the roof, and air conditioning that works properly’ kind of an IT company.

Le sigh. I’ll bet google has a puppy play area.

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This is my guest room. And office. Guestoffice. Studio? I could set it up for painting. The morning sun is awesome.

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And it has a closet. My room doesn’t… and those handles were a D(ad) IY project. The handles WERE flowery rose handles, like the rest of the ones in the house. I have no idea why someone would walk into a hardware store and choose to purchase hundreds of dollars worth of flowery pink door handles.

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Hallway! With puppy buffet. I have to remember to do something about that.

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Isnt the hallway wallpaper to die for? Im going to leave it there for a while. (Have you ever tried stripping 50 year old wallpaper? No? It will drive you to madness with stops along the way for ruined nails, divorce, TheCrazy, and sobbing in the corner rocking. The wallpaper stays. I love it. Sort of.)

The horse head was a bargin buy, and looks like its been crochet!  He accessorises too. Before I got coat hooks he could often be found wearing scarves. Sometimes he sports a hat, he looks good in sunglasses, and right now he’s wearing genuine mouse ears from disney land that Louise brought me.

Louise is travelling the world with Kris right now, and it makes me sad, because I keep going to text her about the cafe we found that does a cheese of the day, and about a movie we should go see, and then I remember shes somewhere in asia probably on a beach with some sort of a coconut themed cocktail.

Bitch.

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This is my bedroom. In the corner I hang all my jewelery on branches that came off my trees when I did a bit of a winter prune and tidy up. My key decorating idea for this room is Fairytale Luxe – like old world fairytale, like an 1900s leather book with gold gilt embossed pages. like an Arthur Rackham illustration. I’m going dark solid wood, antiques golds, bronzes and silvers and probably this dark dreamy colour on the walls:

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Its called Wentworth, from Dulux. I’ve always wanted a dark night sky coloured bedroom. Having been plagued with difficulty setting a sleep schedule and sticking to it when I was at my worst with depression, I thimk its really important that my bedroom is for sleep and sleep only. Theres no tv, no radio, I removed my bookshelf and put it elsewhere in the house. This is a room designed for sleep and good dreams.

I brought a new bed when I moved, and it feels like sleeping on a freaking cloud made of innersprung mattresses. I buy new linen or pillows every 6 months or so, and have this amazing lavender linen spray… and it all feels very luxurious, which makes me happy.

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And in that corner? I might put a wardrobe. Maybe. Or Ill just do my washing and call it done. Bazinga!