… and a tiny pirate costume

Once again, I came, I saw, I blogged, and then I disappeared. If only this was a marketable skill, I would have so much more money than I actually do. (Other things I wish were marketable skills: insomnia, snacking, still getting zits in middle age, being a hermit, and swearing.) (Honestly, I am SO GOOD at all of those things! It’s unfair that my superpowers go unrecognized, is all I’m saying.)

There was Holiday Hubbub and Dog Hubbub and Other Hubbub I would very much like to know where the word “hubbub” came from, just on general principle and also because after I type it a few times it stops seeming like a real word. Which is fine, I suppose. Because a lot of the last few months doesn’t seem like real life, either. It’s a whole theme.

I don’t think I’m even going to attempt to wrap up all the loose ends from the last post, as doing so would likely make THIS post somewhere around the length of the average novel. And it’s already quite hard to type, because someone is pouncing on and nibbling at my fingers while I do it. (Could this be avoided by sitting at my desk, instead of on my bed with said finger-eater? Yes. Will I leave my cozy pillow fort here to do so? Nope.) Alright; let’s go.


I recently read a piece in… oh, maybe The Atlantic or The New Yorker, I can’t remember, about how we’ve now reached the point where all of the Very Careful people who’ve never had COVID are starting to fall like dominoes. I shared it with Otto. I was smug. “Listen, I barely leave the house!” I crowed. “And when I do, I wear a mask! I am never getting this thing. They can write an article about me, later.”

And so a couple of weeks before Christmas, on a beautiful Saturday morning, I woke up with a headache. I went about my business until I felt so crappy I had to go lie down. And then I was too hot and too cold and everything hurt, so I took my temperature, and I had a fever.

I did the responsible thing and took a home COVID test. It was negative.

But a few hours later I felt Really Very Bad and Otto drove me to the nearest Urgent Care, where I was informed that they were full and not taking any more patients. (I had no idea this was a thing, but apparently it is.) So we went to a different Urgent Care, whereupon I was given an appointment for two hours out, but they took me after about an hour, and gave me another COVID test and a flu test.

Good news: I still didn’t have COVID. Bad news: I did have the flu. *whomp, whomp*

As Otto drove us home, I whined about how I never go anywhere and I always wear a mask and this is WRONG and UNFAIR. I started Tamiflu that night and it was… well, it’s not fun to be sick, obviously, but it could’ve been much worse. I was vaccinated, I got diagnosed and got meds early on, and it was unpleasant but certainly not awful. When Otto started showing symptoms a couple of days later, he called his doc and got his own Tamiflu, and life chugged along.

Not only were we both recovered in time for Christmas, we had a little getaway planned over New Year’s and I seem to always get sick when we go on trips. “This time we’re predisastered!” I said to Otto. “We’re gonna have such a great trip!” [See also: hubris; foreshadowing.]

We drove to our destination on a Thursday, spent the day exploring on Friday, and got all gussied up for a fancy meal on Saturday (New Year’s Eve). It was AMAZING. So good. And so when it seemed that… perhaps… I had a touch of… food poisoning (???) after said incredible meal, I was really, really upset. How? How was I ruining yet another trip? How had such a fancy restaurant made me sick??

I was the saddest sack of sad, y’all. I cried all over Otto, who was of course so sweet and reassuring.

The next day (Sunday) I mostly slept. The stomach stuff had run its course, but I still felt… bad. And Monday we packed up and left, and I think I slept most of the drive home. We got back to the house and I immediately went and got into bed. And then I got out of bed and took a home COVID test. And it was positive.

So then I had to cry some more, and I offered to go quarantine upstairs, and Otto said “Don’t be silly,” and I said “I don’t want to get you sick!” and Otto said “It’s fine, don’t worry about it,” and I said “Now who’s being silly?” and he said “I’ve already been exposed, I’ve been with you all weekend” and I said “Well maybe just take a test and then we’ll figure it out.”

Otto’s test turned positive immediately. And Otto was not sick. (Honestly, I’d have to hate him if I didn’t love him so much.)

I got some Paxlovid from my doctor and Otto and I wore masks any time we left our room for about a week (Monkey never got sick!), and listen, I know I was lucky, minor annoyance, blah blah blah, but it’s been nearly a month and I am still so tired all the time I’m starting to think I’m faking it. It’s crazy to me that I could’ve gotten 4? 5? I forget how many vaccines/boosters for this virus and it’s still somehow convincing my immune system Everything Is Very Bad.

Tl;dr: Sickness! Thanks, I hate it.

The continued adventures of the Tiny Hypoallergenic Gang™

I have been fortunate enough to accumulate a sizable stash of dog supplies and clothing between my own purchases and fostering, and one of the donations I received is a wee little faux leather bomber jacket which several of my fosters have now sported at various times. As my allergies mean I’m only fostering hair dogs (most of which tend to be small, at least when we’re talking about rescuing from the shelters), and I am so tickled by the tough little leather jacket, it’s become a running gag that Goose is the leader of the Tiny Hypoallergenic Gang and at some point when I have a good number of pups here, I’m going to get them ALL matching leather jackets. (Motto: Be cute, do crime.)

When I last updated, I had a very small, very old, very sassy little dog who’d come to me with a rather large drama attached. As much as I enjoyed her, I did heave a BIG sigh of relief when she moved on to her forever home. I get pictures and updates periodically, and she is well-integrated into her new pack and happy as can be. Yay!

Also from last time, Barkley was with his new foster-to-adopt mama, and she has since formally adopted him and this made my heart grow three sizes. He’s living his best life and whenever I see him he goes absolutely NUTS with joy and that’s the best.

Knowing we were scheduled to head out of town over New Year’s, and having come down with the flu right after one foster left, I assumed I’d wait until the new year to have another foster. That was the plan, anyway. But you know what they say about the best-laid plans! I got a message one day about a dog “with my name on her,” and what was I supposed to do? Just drive to the shelter and get her??

Have I ever mentioned that my husband is a VERY patient man? He didn’t even flinch. (Or if he did, he hid it well.)

I mean, I just text him a picture of a strange dog on our couch, and all he wants to know is what her name is.

When he arrived home that evening I filled him in on the rest: Mitzi appeared to be some sort of Cairn terrier mix (think Toto), just a year or two old, and while I sat outside her pen at the shelter she growled at me for about 10 minutes, but the moment we opened up the pen and took her outside, she was nothing but love. This is particularly impressive when you consider how she ended up at the shelter, which was… someone took her there after hours, and as the shelter was closed, they THREW HER OVER THE FENCE.

Mitzi wasn’t injured (a small miracle in itself) but who DOES that?? Lord.

It took Mitzi approximately one day to decide that we were the greatest people in the history of people and she loved us Very Much and would protect us at all costs. And by protect, I mean: she barked like a maniac any time she thought a stranger was coming, which included people coming to the door (understandable) and anyone coming down the stairs (literally the same person who was here 5 minutes ago, Mitzi, calm your tits).

Unlike many of my fosters, Mitzi is 1) young, 2) healthy, and 3) other than the barking, free of any major behavioral issues, and so I fell in love with her immediately. Maybe we could… keep her?

When I tell you that Goose has never hated another dog the way she hated Mitzi, I am not exaggerating. And she has hated quite a few foster dogs. I don’t know what offended her so much about Mitzi, but she. was. not. having. it. If Mitzi LOOKED in her direction, Goose snarled at her. If Mitzi brushed up against her while racing around, Goose snapped at her. Goose was super mean to Mitzi, and Mitzi responded by… continuing to be a happy-go-lucky pup. It was wild.

I started looking for a fellow foster to take Mitzi while we went on our New Year’s trip, and with no takers and not much time left, I was starting to panic, a little. But then a family who’d adopted from our organization before came looking for another dog and… well, sometimes the planets align. Mitzi headed off to her forever home just before we left town, and she is settling in and being spoiled rotten, as she should be.

So then there was COVID, and The Tired After COVID, so I was like, “Okay, this time I really am not going to take a foster for a little bit.”

… so of course in very short order I received the following picture from our foster coordinator:

I mean.

So on the day her stray hold was up, I charged up my clippers, set up my dog grooming table, laid out my scissors, and headed to the shelter. They asked me if I was taking her straight to the vet, and I said “… no? Why?” Turns out this poor little dog was so badly matted and in such pain, she basically bit anyone who touched her. The shelter vet had recommended she be sedated for a full shave-down, as soon as possible. Oh. I made some calls, and arranged for her to be taken care of the next morning. “Okay, what’s her name?” asked the receptionist at the vet. “Uhhhh…” I looked at the filthy, matted hairball in front of me. “It’s… Turnip? Yeah, it’s Turnip.”

I left her at the shelter for the night, picked her up in the morning, delivered her to the vet, and later that day they gave me this:

She was excited to see me! And seemed so happy! And let me pet her! This was going to be a breeze!

Reader, do not be fooled by the mere 7 pounds of cute. Do you know what young, relatively healthy dogs have that my middle-age-to-elderly dog does not? LOTS OF TEETH. I underestimated Turnip’s anxiety level, for sure. She needed a few days to realize she was safe here, and during that time she punctured me multiple times. One time I was petting her, and she was perfectly happy about it, and then… I guess she wanted me to stop? But I didn’t notice? So she just turned around and CHOMPed on my hand. Another time I’d taken her outside in the rain, and when we came back I put a towel over her to dry her off, and she got scared. CHOMP. Etc. None of this is her fault, but neither was it the fun part of dog rescue.

Now Turnip is sweet and goofy and loving, which—much like Mitzi—is a minor miracle when you consider the level of neglect she previously endured. Her tail is a tight corkscrew that often whacks into her backside and causes her to turn around and bite it because WHO IS TOUCHING HER? She is also young and healthy and free of major issues. I love her. Maybe we could keep her…?

Goose doesn’t HATE her, but Goose is also still quite wary of her, and she’s been here nearly 2 weeks. My hopes are not high. But regardless, Turnip is safe and loved and any day I get to give a ridiculous name to a dog in need is a good day.

It was excruciating

Chickadee and I talk several times a week. Almost every day, actually. And one day last summer, she casually slipped into the conversation that she and Sunny were looking at engagement rings.

“WAIT WHAT??” I meant to play it cool, but I failed.

The girls have been together for three years. In the grand scheme of Timelines That Make Sense, this should not have come as a surprise, and yet! Chickie was quick to explain that because she hates surprises, they had discussed things and decided that she (Chickie) would be the one to do an official proposal. I pointed out that it’s perfectly fine to, y’know, jointly decide you’d like to be engaged and just… be engaged. But no. Chickadee very much wanted to plan an Official Proposal for Sunny, so they discussed and picked out rings and ordered them and then agreed to this plan.

And then Chickadee told me, and told me when she was going to propose, and told me I had to keep it a secret. And I did! Mostly! I may have told Sunny’s mom (with permission). But the time from “we’re buying rings” to Proposal Day was approximately fifty zillion years (or a few months, whatever) and it was a long time to wait, is all I’m saying, for something so exciting. And lo it came to pass that exactly 3 years from their first date, my daughter GOT DOWN ON ONE KNEE and popped the question, and she even managed to set up her phone to record it, and OMG, they are so adorable I can hardly stand it.

(Sidebar: Hey, remember when I was afraid this kid wouldn’t live long enough to graduate from high school? Remember when I didn’t know if she’d ever be happy? If you are living through similarly dark days, please take this as your sign that the long game is sometimes all the sweeter in the end.)

We couldn’t ask for a better human to partner with our kid than Sunny, and they are just so happy together, I swear it’s making me less of a curmudgeon. And now we’re planning a wedding! Or, I guess I should say, I am planning a wedding, per the girls’ directions. So far it’s going well, and everyone is still speaking to everyone else, so I think it’s gonna be okay.

Eh, who needs depth perception

When we first took in Goose, you may recall that she had a cherry eye repair, and also her eyes are generally problematic (dry eye, she looks like Little Orphan Annie because the color in her irises has seeped out and discolored the whites, a few other things). The last time I took her to the vet, the vet asked me how long “that weird spot” had been on her eye. I took a look and realized that an odd filmy area I’d assumed to be a glob of eye ointment was, in fact, part of her eye. “Uh, I don’t know?” I said. The vet suggested we have her seen by an eye specialist if it seemed to be bothering her.

She seemed unbothered, so I waited.

But… then she started squinting. And because we’d been through the whole squinting/glaucoma thing with Licorice, I immediately made her an appointment with an eye specialist. (Er, a vet eye specialist. Not a regular human one.) (The specialist is human! YOU KNOW WHAT I MEANT.)

The eye specialist has a lot of fun equipment for peering into eyes, and dyes and stains, and well, after a thorough exam, he concluded that… Goose has a thing on her eye. This is why they pay him the big bucks!

The upshot is that there are three different things this spot could be; two of them are more likely than the third, and one of those first two is cancer. All three require a (sedated/expensive/uncomfortable) biopsy for definitive diagnosis, and all three would then include treatment requiring further sedation and money and distress, and two of the three would likely end with needing to remove the eye, anyway.

As a bonus, he was able to determine that Goose’s vision in that eye is already severely compromised.

So: next week Goose is having her left eye removed. As the doc graciously talked me through all the options and was hesitant each time he said “enucleation,” it became clear that this is the safest option to keep her healthy and comfortable. Yes, it sucks. Yes, it’s expensive. Yes, he was clearly expecting me to freak out. “Listen,” I said, “I would rather have a one-eyed dog than a miserable dog or a dead dog.” And that is 100% true.

Still: poor Goosefeathers. Girly cannot catch a break.

But a few days after we received the news, an Amazon package arrived in the mail addressed to her. Inside was a Goose-sized pirate costume, complete with fake parrot. It turns out that Goose’s big sister is not too busy with wedding planning to be a wiseass.

I’m sorry, you’ll have to wait until after the surgery and after the cone comes off to see her in full pirate regalia, but at least we have something to look forward to. Arrrrrrr!


  1. Elizabeth Durham

    Can’t wait to see Goose in the pirate outfit. Argh.

  2. StephLove

    Congrats to Chickie and Sunny!

    In re: Hey, remember when I was afraid this kid wouldn’t live long enough to graduate from high school? Remember when I didn’t know if she’d ever be happy? If you are living through similarly dark days, please take this as your sign that the long game is sometimes all the sweeter in the end.

    Thanks. This has been us for the last three months, with our youngest. They’re stabilized and not in immediate danger, but we still have all the knives and prescription meds locked up.

  3. Devry

    So glad you updated!! Love that things are going well.

  4. Liz

    I got all choked up hearing Chickadee is engaged. And you are such a good dog mama. Please give Goose a snuggle for me.

  5. Karen Reznek

    Are you sure Turnip isn’t a cat? One petting too many and chomp/claw!

  6. Cloe

    My hometown’s animal shelter had to have a SIGN MADE that said to not throw dogs over the fence. So yeah, it happens other places too.

    • Mir

      What is WRONG with people??

  7. Kim S

    That was a lovely update, on so many levels. My “dark days” kid started high school last Monday, and went to her formal on Friday, and is brighteyed and sparkly and loving life again. Whoo hoo!
    Your hair is so pretty, and hurray for Chickadee, and I hope Monkey is well, too.

  8. Katherine

    My daughter is planning to get engaged to her girlfriend soon and they decided that they would each propose to the other, on the same vacation trip, but full details have not been shared (with us or I presume each other). I find it a bit odd that they know basically when they will each propose several months in advance. But we are delighted to have a wedding coming up at some point in the nebulous future.

    • Mir

      Mazel tov!! (Sunny did not know when the proposal was coming, though I found the “I will propose at some unspecified time in the future” thing a bit odd as well. As long as everyone is happy, though, I’m happy!)

  9. Jenny Pecht

    Congratulations to Chickadee on her engagement! Your blog has given me so much hope over the years as my child has gone through some similar challenges. Now she’s 16 and doing better, even looking ahead to college. It feels like a miracle.

    Also, we had a pug who had to have an eye removed, and it didn’t faze her at all. I hope Goose has a similar experience!

  10. Crazyjane

    A leaked a few tears of happiness for Chickie and her happiness. ?

  11. Stacy

    I am so happy for Chickadee and Sunny!!! That is so exciting! Congratulations!!! And, talking about getting engaged is not uncommon. I mean, what if one of them didn’t want to get married? That could be awkward!

    • Mir

      Ha! I’m all for talking about it, but once they ordered rings together I just thought it was funny that they still wanted to have a surprise proposal. But everyone is delighted so I am not complaining!

  12. Anonymom

    I am so so happy to hear about Chickie. My own 2e kid is similarly (although perhaps not as severely) challenging, and then, because he is nine, still wants to get in our bed and do the Wordle before 7 am on the daily. Brings me hope and joy to hear about your family!

    Can we lobby for a pirate ring bearer?

  13. Karen Milano

    Congrats to Chick and Sun! and if it’s any consolation at all… I have a mini horse that has no eyeballs and is a much happier girl now that she is living pain free. Totally blind! It amazes me the quality of life she is able to lead. Your girl will still have sight, she’ll be fine.

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