Sunday, December 9, 2012

A Mail Mystery

Early last week we received one of those little slips in our mailbox indicating that we had a package to pickup at our local post office.  Not wanting to cart two kids to the post office during Christmas mailing season, I decided I would wait until Saturday to pick it up.  I hadn't even looked very closely at the slip until Friday night, when I discovered that it was from someone I did not know, who had a very unusual last name.

On Saturday, Jason and I split up so that I could do some kid-free Christmas shopping and errands, including the post office.   Mercifully, the post office was not too busy, and after dropping off a package I handed the postal worker my little slip and waited with anticipation for my package.  I love getting packages, and the fact that it was from someone I didn't recognize added to the excitement.

As the man at the post office was processing the package, I peeked to see where it was from - Lithuania.  Huh.  The postal worker and I had the following conversation:

PW: Know anyone in Lithuania?
Me: No, not at all!  Is that weird that I got a package from a foreign country when I don't know anyone there?
PW: Very!

PW:  Are you sure you didn't order anything?
Me: Not from Lithuania, I think I'd remember!

Me: (with nervous laughter) I mean, this has been tested and everything, right?  I don't need to be worried or anything, do I?
PW: Well, just make sure you open it outside, you know, away from here!  Just in case it explodes!
Me:...Ha...ha... (yikes!)

(Are you even allowed to make bomb jokes at the post office?  I thought that wasn't allowed!)

I left the post office and called my mom, because sometimes she orders weird things for me and doesn't tell me.  But no, she had not ordered anything.

I decided to wait until Jason got home to open it, partly because  I was a little freaked out, and partly because I wanted him to participate in the mystery.  When we opened it, we found these:

Two super cute wooden toys, obviously handmade and hand painted   But the mystery continued.  Who were they from?  What were they for?  Christmas presumably, but there was no note, and they weren't wrapped.

I put technology to good use and sent a quick text out to some family members to see if they could shed any light on this mysterious toy delivery.  After several No's, I finally got a someone confused text from my sister-in-law, indicating that they may be from her.

As it turns out, she had ordered some toys off of Etsy for Hattie's birthday back in October, but had expected them to arrive ages ago, and with a note.  She also had no idea they were from Lithuania.  Mystery Solved! 

To be honest, I was a little bummed that modern technology allowed us to solve this mystery so easily.  On the other hand, it is thanks to modern technology that we even had the mystery to begin with.  I mean, can you imagine ordering some toys from a foreign toy maker 20 or even 10 years ago without knowing they were from that toy maker, or even better, without seeking out that particular toy maker?  I happen to think it is pretty cool that we have such easy access to so many amazing things from all around the world!

Saturday, December 1, 2012

Battle Score: Amber 2, Pita 1

First, let's just get this out of the way.  I failed NaBloPoMo.  And you know what?  I'm kind of okay with it. My whole reason for doing it was to try and get myself back in the blogging habit, and I feel like I kind of am.  Only time will tell if I can maintain it, but for now, blogging doesn't feel so scary or hard, and I actually want to write a few posts a week.

So.  On to the post. Just an FYI, this is a post about pee and poop, and the habits of my dog.  It is not graphic in any way, but pee and poop are mentioned repeatedly.  If such things offend you, you may just want to skip this post.

We are crate training our new puppy, Pita.  What this means is that she goes into a kennel or crate anytime we cannot be totally present and aware of her behavior.  This includes when we leave the house, at night time, when I put Hattie down for a nap, or even if I am in the middle of a big project that requires all of my available attention.  The point of this is to make sure that any unwanted behaviors, such as peeing or pooping in the house, or chewing furniture, shoes or other off limits items, can be corrected immediately, thus breaking her of the behavior more quickly.   To assist with the house training (or potty training, as I like to call it), we take her outside as soon as we let her out of the crate, and then wait outside with her until she does her deed, at which point we shower her with praise.

So far, this has worked reasonably well.  Up until this week, we had only a handful of accidents, most of which were either in the evening or the early morning when it is fairly cold outside.  A few of these even happened as I was trying to take her outside, which was aggravating, but at least I caught her right away. Up until this week, all of her accidents were pee.  She seemed to understand that pooping  in the house was not okay, and would whine at the door until we took her out to poop.

So then what happened this week?  Well, it turns out our puppy is a bit of a princess.  She does not like the cold, and she really, really, really does not like the rain.  And we have had some serious rain this week.  If my backyard is any indication, we had between 2 and 3 inches yesterday alone.  Parts of our yard looked like the Great Lakes.  We noticed on Wednesday and Thursday that she was extremely reluctant to go outside, but would usually do her business once we got her there.  Yesterday morning, however, we took her outside, against her will, waited 15 minutes for her to pee, then brought her inside.  Not two minutes later, she was pooping in my dining room!  We hauled her outside, where she did not finish.  Not to worry though, because about 20 minutes later I found a nice little surprise by my fireplace.  I took her outside, where nothing happened, then put her in her kennel because I was just so mad at her.  About an hour later, when I took her out of her crate and outside, she refused to pee, and then peed in my kitchen (my kitchen!) not five minutes after coming inside.

I was not a happy woman.  Because of Cyrus' illness, we had been cooped up in our house all week.  Hattie was sick and cranky, and I was getting sick and cranky.  I decided enough was enough, I was going to get all hardcore on her.  This was war, and I was going to win.  She is not in charge of when and where she gets to pee - I am!  So, I put her in her kennel while I put Hattie down for a nap, and left her there for a couple of hours while I showered, and spent some time with Cyrus.  Then I got her out of her crate and took her outside (in the pouring rain, but I stayed out there with her) for 15 minutes.  She sat and stared at me the whole time.  We came back in the house and she went back in her kennel.  I took the kids for a quick trip to the store because we were going stir crazy, and returned about 45 minutes later.  I let her out of her kennel again and took her straight outside for another 15 minutes.  Again, she sat and stared at me and did nothing.  So, she went back in her kennel.  I am not messing around, people.

About 30 minutes later, I took her outside again, and this time, this time, she peed!   Victory was mine!  I let her go right inside that time and hang out with us in the playroom.  About 20 minutes later she started sniffing around, so I took her outside and she pooped right away.  Double victory!  In fact, I had this whole post written in my mind with the title being: "Amber 1, Pita 0".

Except, then Jason got home, and I let my guard down.  You can never let your guard down in battle!  But I did.  And she peed inside.  And then, a little while later, she pooped inside.  Grrr.  Secretly, I blamed Jason, since he was the one who took her outside.

But today, I returned to my hardcore stance - if you go outside and do nothing, you go in your kennel!  So far today, victory  has been mine once again - not a single accident in the house!  I am hoping I will not have to battle so mightily for very much longer, as I am currently waging two other wars - the battle of wills with Cyrus, and the battle of sleep with Hattie.

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