The root of all evil… and puppies

I think we all know I’ve been a little out of sorts for a bit. (“O RILLY?” you say, because you are mostly nice and only a little wanting to poke fun at my uncharacteristic use of understatement.) Various… things… and medications… have left me feeling… well, let’s say… unfulfilled.

[“Hey Mom,” said a child of mine, a few days ago, “I’ve been reading your blog and apparently you hate everyone and everything. How’s that going?” Testament to my priorities: I just felt self-satisfied that this information was obtained from my blog when said child LIVES WITH ME. I must be doing a FANTASTIC job of pretending NOT to hate everyone! (Also I did not smack my beautiful child, even though the fruit of my loins was making fun of me when I am busy having MANY MANY FEELS. I feel that I deserve… maybe not a medal, but perhaps a merit badge of some sort? Someone should really invent an entire line of “surviving teens” badges. I smell a new Etsy shop!]

There are two distinct money-related phenomena that occur when I’m trying to cope with feeling like this, and although they are in some ways total opposites, I’m living proof that they can exist at the same time and feel like they make total sense. I’m just super talented that way.

First, God forbid an unexpected expense crop up when I’m in one of these not-as-mentally-balanced-as-is-optimal periods. Some people are afraid of spiders, others fear dying alone, and I save up 99.9% of my neurotic powers to worry about being destitute. This is in no way rational (I work! Otto works! Saving money is my thing! Honestly there are SO MANY OTHER THINGS I could be worrying about!) and I know it. Knowing it’s not rational doesn’t matter. Because Money Makes Me Crazy.

It turns out that the great state of Georgia recently revamped how they deal with available funds for homeschoolers, and that means that after two years of utilizing online courses for free, a couple of days ago I discovered that now the state would like us to just go ahead and pay out of pocket for the spring semester, please.

The amount required is not insubstantial, but it’s hardly going to bankrupt us, either. It’s money we hadn’t planned to spend, yes, but it’s also the PRINCIPLE OF THE THING. It’s the fact that we pay taxes, it’s the fact that my son is entitled to a public education our school system failed to provide for him, it’s the fact that the money that would cover his online courses for this one lousy semester (which is, actually, probably the last time we’ll need these funds) represent a drop in the bucket compared to what it would cost that same system to provide for him in a public school setting. It’s that any state that says Oh, sorry, actually we ran out of available 2013-2014 school year funding IN JULY (before school even started) and thinks that’s acceptable needs to gather up its legislators and send them to a basic math class. It’s that there’s a lot of things I like about this area, but a lot of other things I hate about this state and how it views education, period.

I spent two days all frazzled and furious and HULK-HOMESCHOOLER ANGRY, HULK-HOMESCHOOLER SMASH and my husband brought home tacos for dinner (because who can COOK when STUPID IS WINNING?!) and told me he’d call our senator on Monday and see what he can find out. (I’m guessing he’ll find out that our senator is an unapologetic buttmunch, but see, if Otto calls instead of me, at least the chance of that being pointed out to said senator are a lot lower.)

In summary: Argh! Money we didn’t plan to spend! Stupid reasons we have to spend that money! Why is everything always so haaaaaaard?

And this of course brings us to the second phenomenon of the Many Feels And Difficult Times Theater: While I am busy freaking out about ZOMGTHEMONEY over my child’s education—which is, I think we can all agree, something he actually NEEDS—a different section of my brain becomes utterly convinced that what will make life ALL BETTER NOW is if we get a second dog.

(I know. I KNOW!)

Lucky for Otto—who maintains that if I want a second dog, that’s fine, as long as we get rid of one of the children (and sometimes he adds, “I’m flexible; HOW you get rid of one of them is up to you!”)—my dog requirements are VERY SPECIFIC, so it’s not as though I’m falling in love with a dog every day and demanding that we make it ours.

I require another Shih Tzu (or Shih Tzu mix, like Licorice), who is not old but not a puppy, who is a rescue, who has a very specific temperament. So you know… dogs fitting those criteria don’t come along all that often. Still, I have all my favorite rescues bookmarked and sometimes I see a dog and start saying things to Otto like BUT LOOK AT THAT FACE and LICORICE IS LONELY.

So, um, it turns out that one of the local rescues I follow got four Shih Tzus in last week. And they had sad little puppy faces. So I made sad little puppy eyes at Otto. And Otto finally rolled his eyes and said “You’re not going to stop until you go visit them, are you?” And I assured him I was not, so he told me to go and check them out.

Well. I guess it was good news for Otto, but Monkey and I went out there this afternoon and I was reminded once again that some rescues are a little more creative in their animal descriptions than others. All of these dogs had been described as “really sweet and friendly.” We selected one to take into a visiting pen, and he was really sweet and friendly… to the window in the pen. He kept trying to look outside. He was completely uninterested in us. COMPLETELY. He did seem pretty happy just to be hanging out, and he didn’t flinch away from us or anything, but he also clearly doesn’t need humans.

With some reluctance, because that was such a bust, I asked for one of the other dogs who was quite a bit older than what I really want. I just wanted Monkey to have a better “we got to visit the nice doggies” experience than being totally ignored had thus far afforded us, y’know? We were sitting on the floor of the visiting pen, and whereas the first dog had ignored us, the second one made a beeline for me. Monkey perked right up. “He likes us!” he said, as this little dog sniffed all around us and allowed me to pet him a little. Just as I was starting to think he was pretty sweet and maybe he wasn’t TOO old for us, after all, this dog walked behind me, lifted his leg, and peed all over the back of my jacket.


Then he walked off and ignored us.

Hey, Otto? Good news! I think I’m cured of my dog fever for the moment! (Related good news: My jacket is machine washable, and I think I just heard the dryer ding.)

If you, too, are having a difficult time, I recommend freaking out about expensive things WHILE wanting to acquire another expensive thing and wrapping it all up with some dog urine. It kind of puts things in perspective.

Just make sure your jacket isn’t dry clean only, maybe, first.


  1. Otto

    Thank goodness.


    • Mir

      Thanks for your concern about my ordeal, honey. I’m wearing one of your jackets, next time. LOVE YOU!

      • Rita

        This is the best possible post script to this story!

  2. Glori B.

    New best mom quote ever: “because who can COOK when STUPID IS WINNING?!” Yes.

    • Jess

      Yes! It is my new motto. I think I want it on a t-shirt. Or possibly a jacket. ;)

      • Carrie

        I live in Texas. That is all the explanation you need about why I MUST have a shirt with this on it – let us know if such a thing becomes available :)

  3. Daisy

    A puppy can cure all ills – maybe.
    You know me, the virtual school teacher. I’m appalled that Georgia is trying to charge you for a public school education. Wisconsin has its problems (one calls himself Governor), but we still allow public virtual charter schools. Monkey would fit in well with our program. In fact, I might fight with my coworkers to get him in my homeroom!

    I hope the national folks (who may or may not be the same national folks I work for indirectly) are throwing fits and getting on the senator’s ear A LOT.

  4. kapgaf

    Well, of course if you get another dog, all your problems will magically disappear… no, I thank that’s unicorns…. ok, here you go

  5. Jeanie

    That dog was just marking you as his! He LOOOOVED you!!

  6. Jess

    My kid is only 11, and I already want those badges. (“Did not smack child upside the head after she said, ‘I knoooooow’ for the fifth time in an afternoon.”)

  7. BethRD

    You know what cured me of second-dog fever? Fostering for a local rescue. They gave us a dog who was a sweet, mellow, cuddly giant – and afflicted with separation anxiety. Over the course of a single week, he chewed through all of my seat belts when I left him alone in the car (hello, unexpected expense!), chewed off the trim around our door when we left him alone in the house, and then destroyed the crate we put him in when we had to leave him alone in the house AGAIN. Then we just stayed with him in shifts until we could get the rescue to take him back. You know what? I’m totally good with our twelve-pound, adorable, well-behaved dog, thanks.

  8. Taxmom

    This resonated with me. I tend to twist non-financial stresses into financial stresses….in other words, if something is emotionally tough, I am all heroic and can-do,and then I completely wig out about a bill that comes that is actually, in the great scheme of things, manageable. But really, Georgia legislature, nose spites face seems like the news item here.

  9. addy

    Ummmm ya – maybe not another dog right now. Just cuz you know ….. Another Dog? No, no, no another Senator or state legislature yes. Dumb A** People.

  10. Javamom

    He smelled Licorice. That’s why he peed. LOL. :)

  11. Your Senator

    But…if I fund public education, citizens will be smart enough not to vote for me!

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