Of shoes and sundaes

By Mir
August 13, 2012

This morning we set alarms (and got woken up early, anyway, by our trusty I-saw-you-breathe-it-must-be-kibble-o’clock prancing canine alarm) and got up early and the boys went back to school.

Monkey’s first day back to Hippie School, and Otto’s first day back to teaching. Of course I made them pose.

(Please disregard the fact that Otto really needs to polish his shoes and instead focus on the fact that Monkey’s feet suddenly do not seem all that much smaller than a full grown man’s. ACK.)

Last night as we lay in bed, I commented to no one in particular, “Well, I’m ready for our summer to start, now!”

Otto snorted. “Summer? I’m ready for spring break!”

So… yeah. 2012, The Year Without A Break. (Coming soon to a very depressing theater near you.)

* * * * *

As we readied ourselves to head into Atlanta and take Chickadee for an outing, this weekend, Monkey began insisting, as is his way, that we take the dog with us. “Chickie misses her! And Licorice misses Chickie!” It’s true—Chickadee has commented repeatedly about missing the dog, and poor Licorice periodically wanders into Chickie’s room and sniffs around, as if wondering where we’ve hidden her—but it seems less than prudent to attempt an afternoon out in the city with a dog in tow.

So I was musing about this on Facebook, and frequent commenter Nancy left me a link to one of those sites that tells you which restaurants are dog-friendly. She even made sure it went directly to the Atlanta listings.

Suddenly it seemed kind of dumb that we’d never taken the dog in, really. So I ran it past Otto (after, of course, locating a Mexican restaurant with a dog-friendly patio), and we headed in.

Licorice is still kind of a nervous car rider, but now that we have a doggie seatbelt tether thing so that she doesn’t have to ride in the crate, she does seem a little more comfortable.

“I am a delicate flower with crossed paws. Adore me.”

[Edited to add: All photos in this post except for the shoes one are courtesy of Otto. You can tell because the shoes one is crappy and the rest are good pictures.]

When we got there, I left the dog and the boys in the car and went inside to sign Chickie out for the afternoon. She, of course, had no idea what was going on, so we three humans in the know got to have the unparalleled joy of watching her open the car door and GASP in surprise, then pretty much fall on top of a VERY CONFUSED dog whose emotions seemed to run the gamut from “ZOMG IT’S YOU!” to “HELP, CAN’T BREATHE.”

We then drove over to a lovely little Mexican joint where the waiter brought us menus and said, “I’ll be right back with four human waters and a dog water.” The dish of water he brought for Licorice was just about big enough for her to bathe in, which meant she had a nice drink and then promptly draped her tail in it when attempting to turn around. This perplexed her, but we were able to soothe her consternation with a judicious application of tortilla chips.

Our lunch was delicious, and then we walked around for a while. It was all very! exciting! because of all the new things to sniff and new places to pee. (We are trying to break Monkey of that habit….) (Oh God, you know I’m kidding; please do not send me stern emails about letting my kid pee around the city.)

Chickadee seemed good. Really good, actually. By the time we headed for ice cream to wrap up our time together, I was thinking maybe she’ll be coming home sooner rather than later. But after we took her back to the hospital, she, uh, had kind of a rough evening. Lest we get too hopeful, or anything. HEY that’s depressing, so let’s not focus on that.

Instead, let’s focus on this: Did you know that if you ask, Bruster’s will make your doggie a free sundae? Because they totally will:


(Yes, I know dogs are not supposed to have chocolate. Our server—scooper?—appeared to be… ahhh… maybe just a little stoned. It took him SO LONG to get our ice creams that I didn’t feel like arguing. Licorice has gotten chocolate ice cream before without a problem, so I felt confident this wasn’t going to kill her.)

Normally we share a little with Licorice, but this was her first just-for-her sundae. I think the kids were more excited about watching her eat it than they were about their own ice cream. In truth, it was pretty entertaining—something about the size of the cup, the size of her muzzle, and the way the biscuit kind of froze into the ice cream meant that she had to work really hard to get it all out.

“Oh man, this is sooo goooood. I love Atlanta!”

That night when we finally got home, Licorice pretty much walked into the house and fell comatose on the floor. That was a LOT of excitement for an animal who usually sleeps 20 hours each day! Of course, she’s ruined now—she’ll be wanting her own sundae every day, no doubt. Last night at dinner while she pranced around the table all “Where’s MINE?” I may or may not have told her that being part of our family is pretty much an object lesson in not getting what you want all the time. Just like my other children, she totally ignored me.

Still. We’ll take those good times (and those shoe pictures) where we can get ’em.


  1. Zilla

    Sounds like a great day for everyone!! You all deserve it. Hope this week continues upward for you. :)

  2. deva

    This whole post made me smile. I’m sorry chickadee had a rough night. It sounds like licorice was a good buddy to bring along for the trip and visit, and a good surprise.

    Love the shoe pic. Monkey’s on the right, right? ;-)

  3. Mandy

    LOVE the shoe pic, the nuclear family reunion, and the pics of L eating a sundae. What a great way to start the day!

    Here’s hoping to more peaceful days ahead.

    And kudos to your astute reader for the tip!

  4. Katherine

    Sounds like a great outing was had by all. And how wonderful to be able to surprise Chickadee that way! I hope everyone has a good day today!

  5. Tenessa

    I love the Doggie Ice Cream Sundae! Dogs do seem to make everything better.

  6. Lou

    Oh my gosh…I’m friends with quite a few spoiled dogs that are about to become a lot more spoiled with this information. (I plan on telling the spoilers promptly.)

  7. Christine

    I have smallish feet (7.5), but I still find it mind boggling that the kids and I are now all wearing shoes within one size of each other. That’s me, the 10 year old girl and the 8 year old boy. On the plus side, I’ve realized that I can actually wear children’s-sized shoes, which might save me a bundle! A certain pair of sandals I tried this summer at REI? Almost half the price when purchased as a “girl’s” shoe.

    I would think anyone would have a rough time transitioning back after a great day out with the family… That seems so understandable to me. (Of course, our daughter is big with the high/low swings, so maybe I’ve just come to expect that sort of thing!)

  8. mamalang

    I’m hoping it was 2 steps forward and one step back with Chickie this time, though. :)

    Our Rita’s will give dogs their own little cone of vanilla custard. It’s so cute (and messy for whoever is holding it).

    Here’s to new beginnings (of a sort.)

  9. Laurie

    I’m so glad to have not missed the annual shoe picture. Otto was a great sit-in for Chickadee this year. Hoping next year’s picture has three pairs!

  10. Teri

    Saw a family (with dog!) walk up to Bruster’s yesterday afternoon! I asked my hubs and son: ” I wonder if the dog will get an ice cream too?” Well, now I know!!!
    Guess we have to take my crazy dog for a treat now too…something tells me it won’t go nearly as smoothly…………..oy.

  11. Melissa

    Yay for ice cream for all!

  12. Jenne

    What a great day, and a great adventure :)

  13. katiefleck

    Woohoo for a good day! :)

  14. dad

    Licorice on the seat of the car….

    Ah, the infamous Olan Mills pose!
    Guaranteed to garner admiration regardless of race, creed, orientation or species.

  15. Kate

    Yes. I stalk you. I confess. Where can I find you on Facebook?

  16. karen

    How very cool is that!!!…..

    Glad you had a good day. amen for those.

  17. Nancy R

    Awww, warm fuzzies all around!

    Without knowing the scale of her ‘rough time’, I have to say all of my girls – especially the tween and teen – often have a rough time transitioning back to ‘the real world’ after a fun overnight/weekend/outing with friends or grandparents. So, it stands to reason that’s what happened with Chickie, only in reverse. Maybe?

  18. victoria

    May fall be full of great days!!

  19. liz

    I was gonna say what everyone else already did about how my son always has a super rough evening/next day after having a super-fun and exciting day.

    Without knowing the extent and details of the roughness of Chickadee’s night, I’m hoping it’s just reaction to coming back after a grand day out.

  20. Aimee

    The Chickadee/Licorice reunion must have been a sight for sore eyes — I’m so glad you all got to enjoy it! The gleam in Licorice’s eyes as she eats that ice cream is too funny. She looks… avaricious.

  21. Jill W.

    Hooray for a good day!

  22. Aubri

    YAY! This post made me have a happy… :-)

  23. el-e-e

    What a good report! Blessings to count! Woo!

  24. Paige

    Baby step progress is still progress. I am still holding fast to my image of your family together, whole and healthy.

  25. Rebecca

    The setbacks must be SO disappointing, but even from the limited information we see in your posts, it sounds like she’s making progress despite them. Still keeping your family in my thoughts.

    I do hope you’ll let us know how Monkey’s new arrangement at Hippie School goes. I’ve got my fingers crossed for him t

  26. Rebecca

    … too. Thanks, typo fairies.

  27. Pip

    Hi Mir,

    I’m apparently a crazy stalker lady and have just completed reading all eight years of your blog, because I love your writing and reading about your family. It’s good to hear that Chickie seems to be doing a little better, and I really hope she continues to improve.

    We have our own share of mental illness woes between my partner and I, and they heartily suck. I just wanted to wish you kraft och omtanke (strength and consideration) (http://www.chicagonow.com/mary-tyler-mom/2011/10/kraft-och-omtanke/). It made me feel better.

  28. Jeanie

    I do believe Licorice is praying in that first picture. No doubt seeing her was very therapeutic for Chickie. I can imagine how happy she was. I hope she comes home soon.

  29. Korinthia Klein

    Aw! Your dog looks like a calmer version of our dog.

    I never thought to look up dog friendly restaurants. I wonder if Milwaukee has any? That sounds really fun. When my brother lived in Germany he could take his dog ANYWHERE and it was really convenient. He could take the dog for a walk and still go in the bank or pick up food or visit a museum if he wanted.

  30. Bryan

    I think rough evenings after days out are sort of expected.

    Most of your post gave me the warm fuzzys. :-)

  31. addy

    Smiles all around… :)

  32. Navhelowife

    First of all, I’m jealous that your dog is such a good car rider. And that they would not try to eat the ENTIRE Brewster’s building. MIne love car rides, but they are Large. And Stinky. And like to drool on the windows. And they LOOOOVE ice cream.

    Secondly, I’m so glad you had a nice day with Chickadee – I’m sure it was good for all.

    Finally, don’t worry. I’m pretty sure that the staff expected the rough night – from my experience with kids with all kinds of issues, the awesome experience is often accompanied by the meltdown after. Almost like a rubber band rebound. But if things then got back on track after the rough night, that is progress. If not, it will get there. It’s hard to think in inches, but sometimes inches are precious.

  33. Anna

    Love the shoes.
    I think it’s more likely that she’ll be all ZOMG!!! every time you get in the car, expecting a sundae. Spoiled, that one. ;)

  34. StephLove

    Those are some pretty big boy feet. Is he still small for his age?

  35. Kellie

    I love the last picture of Licorice…It is perfect! She is adorable!

  36. Rocky Mountain Woman

    It all starts with the feet. I am an expert on this having raised two boys. Pretty soon they are six feet tall and shave.

  37. Jen

    Oh goodness, the boys and the shoes – I have an almost 14yo and a 12 yo – they are both in man sized shoes already. The older one wears size 11 – at the start of this year, he wore size 8. He outgrew his tennis shoes right after school ended – I forced him to wear sandals most of the summer because at this rate, if I bought him shoes in June, they probably wouldn’t fit by the time school started.

    I used to freak out if our dog got hold of any tiny bit of chocolate – then she raided a bag of groceries while I was in the shower, and ate an entire jar of nutella (licked it clean, she did). She was fine, and now I don’t worry so much. We have a popsicle store nearby that has dog pops (carrot and apple juice based) – Coco loves those, but there would probably be no living with her if she got hold of a sundae.

    Glad Licorice had a good time, and that Miss Chickie is making progress.

  38. Cele

    Hey Mir, you might try this… we (meaning I because my husband wouldn’t be caught dead in a grocery store) buy vanilla ice cream in those little cups, just for Arlo. Every Friday night when we treat ourselves, he gets his ice cream too.

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