Wednesday, October 29, 2014

Miss Congeniality (alternate title: I am a poor loser)

Halloween is just around the corner- it’s time to get puuuuuumped. 

Today's post apparently has a soundtrack.  I ended up listening to the whole Nightmare Before Christmas album while rage-writing.

a costume teaser. guesses?
It’s our last Halloween in the states for a while, so I wanted to put a little extra love and awesome into this year’s costumes.  Which eventually lead to me thinking “hot dang, we could probably win a costume contest with these!

That was back in August, and since then that idea has had plenty of time to fester (yes that is the best descriptive word for how it happened) and spread throughout my soul to the very essence of my being.  I informed the Mister that a contest would need to be found and attended.  To my glee, he agreed, even as I hunched over the sewing machine working on the incredibly ridiculous costume he would be wrangled into for sa(it’s a glorified onesie.  actually, not glorified.  it’s straight up a onesie.  and it’s AWESOME.)
id contest.  

The contest we have selected is at a casino this Friday, and our respective outfits are ready to go.  Then, after the contest, THE VILLAGE PEOPLE will play a show.  Like, the real Village People.  YMCA, In the Navy, Macho Manthose people-of-the-village. In real life.  I shall report on that next week.

I should be excited about this event 100%, but I’m sort of struggling.  Why?  Because of Mac.

Let me ‘splain.  Last weekend, I started up the holiday festivities by taking Mac out to THREE separate pet-costume contests, and... he lost all three of them.

Some would say it’s supposed to be about the fun of participating, but

  1.  I am a sore loser,* and 
  2.  Mac’s costume was CLEARLY the best of all participants.   

We lost to dogs in chintzy store-bought costumes, dogs who were so poorly behaved that they should not have been allowed to leave the house, saying nothing of their owners stuffing them into costumes they clearly hated and then putting that grumpy stressed dog in a small space containing other grumpy stressed dogs with poor visibility because there’s a hat on their head.
This is awesome and you know it.
My dog is the sh*t.  I think that’s a pretty widely known fact here at KpQP.  And for as long as I can remember, he’s genuinely enjoyed playing dress-up because of the extra attention he gets from a costume.  So he was all wags and puppy smiles to walk around in his home-made Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtle costume, and pose for pictures holding his plush nunchucks. Now, when I say home-made, I don’t mean I glued some crap together and prayed it would stay in one piece for judging: I lovingly sewed Mac a custom garment complete with a zippered pouch on the back which was tailored to fit him.  It is a great looking costume on a great dog.  At the second event we even paused to give all the little kids doggie-high-fives before we went in front of the judges.

The "pumpkin king." UGH.

At that same event, we lost to a dog wearing an oversized orange t-shirt who spent the entire event time being dragged forward by its leash, or pawing at the t-shirt to get it off.  It was “a pumpkin.”  Seriously, what the hell?

Now, I will concede that the third event was justifiably lost.  The winner was a tiny majestic steed.  It was adorable.  Congrats to that tiny tiny dog.  Except we didn’t even place top three after her...
Banana for scale. 
That dog was probably a rat in a dog costume in a horse costume.
I suppose it's a righteous win for the double costume.
But aside from the lil' sebastian impersonator, I’m really bitter about it all.  Like, can’t even crack jokes about losing because I’m that bitter.  What were the judging considerations?  One would assume that a costume contest for pets should be judged on the creativity and crafting of the costume, and to some extent, the pet’s ability to cope with that costume.

I know that along with my serving of bitter pie I’m clearly biased toward Mac, but I’m still totally within reason to believe that if those were really the considerations, I should have beat a damn t-shirt, hands down. (the first time I typed that sentence I typed "t-sh*t" and I debated leaving it because HELLO APPROPRIATE DESCRIPTION.)

our "winnings."
AND THEN - in a move that feels more like “insult-to-injury” than a real offering of peace, after loosing at each event, Mac was quietly given a small bag of treats on our way out for being “such a good dog!”  That he didn’t lunge at any other dogs or try to get his costume off wins him an award which gets no formal recognition.  Miss Congeniality cookies, if you will.  Really?  At ALL THREE contests this happened.  DAMMIT, GIVE MY DOG A GIFT CARD TO YOUR STORE SO WE CAN AFFORD HIS AIRLINE-APPROVED GIANT CRATE!  HE EARNED IT!

It was a big hit to my self-assurance as an artist and crafter. I feel like I really needed a win, and I really had some confidence going in.  That was summarily smashed into atomic-sized bits. 
An accurate before and after.

Now I find that I don’t feel too great about the costumes I made for The Mister and myself, even though I know they’re really cool.  Because I don’t know how the contest will be judged or who I need to suck up to beforehand to make sure I beat the dude wearing a dirty white-shirt who claims to be “a ghost."

But I will put on my game face on Friday and give it another go.  Keep your fingers crossed for this sore loser and her husband.  I refuse to come away with a mere participant trophy.

Have you ever REALLY wanted to win something, or really BELIEVED you were going to win something?  
Did you ever fail at something unexpectedly?  
How did you cope with it?  
TELL ME IN THE COMMENTS. Truly.  I need some help there.

*I am an only child, don’t pretend my inability to cope with failure on any level is a surprising fact to you.

Wednesday, October 22, 2014

Getting ready to find a home... But...

Here's where I'm at today friends:  There is a zit on the bridge of my nose, right where my glasses should rest, making my frames just a *tish* off balance, and every second I'm that much closer to taking a blow-torch to my face.

I am thirty, wasn't a zit-filled puberty supposed to end like, more than a decade ago?
Most annoying zit location you've experienced?  
Tell me in the comments.


gearing up for Halloween.
Mac-dog is healing up well, and though his shaved/scarred side still looks sort of ugly, he's back to usual Mac-dog antics.  In fact, yesterday I took him for a walk wearing his shark-hoodie to cover his scar, and some kid followed us in his car for half a block singing the Jaw theme out his window:  Totally made my day.

In any case, I shall be dropping Mac off at the boarding facility early next month so we can go to Japan for our "home-finding" trip.  A home-finding trip is exactly what it sounds like - the company sends The Mister and I over to Japan for a week where we will be shuffled around by company expatriate experts, shown a little bit about the lay of the land (like how to find the grocery store).  We will also be shown a few rental properties which fit our needs, from which we can then select our home away from home.

The prep for just this short trip is extensive.  Maybe extensive isn't the right word, flustering?  Is that a thing?  I am constantly flustered by Japanese paperwork.  Though I do feel like this is a much more comprehensive relocation than our last round.

There is a lot of paperwork but it's mostly all asking for the same information over and over again.   Flustering in that it's so urgent to share that information quickly, while keeping in mind that the people we're sharing all our information with are in a timezone that has basically opposite work-hours from us.  So when we wake up and The Mister has a form in his inbox, we need to fill it out RIGHT THEN, make sure all the proper documentation is included with it (the county clerk probably recognizes me at this point.  Marriage certificates, and the information on them are no joke to Japanese officials), send it back immediately, hoping there are no flaws in the information we've given, because we won't know until the next day (if it's e-mail, we're still waiting to hear back on the photos and official documents we sent last week snail-mail style).  That zone-difference makes such a waste of time when there are other precious steps we need to move toward.

Plus, there is still the navigation of official forms being sent to us in Japanese... words we might understand, but we don't know those kanji characters which represent those words yet so we can't read them. Many of them also come with instructions like "next to number 3, just write "Yes.""

...Yep, okay, what did I just agree to?
I can't help but think that a Badtz Maru themed bathroom would be fun though.
Along those same lines, The Mister and I have officially signed up for N5 testing in December.  This is a Japanese language proficiency exam that we have been using as a benchmark in our studies thus far.  I'm feeling decent about my grammar (though I would be lying to say I didn't need practice still), but the sheer amount of vocabulary I need to cram into my head in some memorable way within the next month and a half is starting to seem like a daunting idea.

The Mister keeps trying to calm my perfectionistic attitude here by reminding me that to pass this test, I only need to get a 50% or better.

But I can't help thinking that these are just helpful words to know once we're there - it's not just for the test.

But I also know how much more quickly I will learn when actively speaking, reading, and listening to the language when we're there.  Immersion is a strong tool when it comes to language learning.

But I don't want to seem totally incompetent while that immersion develops... I want a base.  First impressions, y'all.

But is there TIME to really get it?

But I could almost GUESS 50%, couldn't I?

But... guess what?

Wednesday, October 08, 2014

Adventure of a Lumpectomy.

Remember that time, almost exactly a year ago where I was all “there’s a lump on the side of my dog but we couldn’t really do anything about it because it was too tiny for the vet to stab with a needle?”

You may be happy to learn that, after spending a year watching that lump grow to the size of a plum, said lump has been lumpectomied. Mac is less happy at that, because somewhere in that time slot, unbeknownst to me, we crossed the line where the vet could suck it out with a needle, and into the territory of putting Mac under and giving him a scar on his side that looks like he lost an epic bar fight.


Post Lump-ectomy with "oh my god I'm sorry I made you hurry" Jar of Peanut Butter from me.

It’s been a few years since Mac has needed any sort of stitchery, and somewhere in that time-frame he’s calmed down a bit, so he’s caught on that not messing with his stitches will win him sympathy cookies, snuggles, and a shirt to keep his shaved ribcage warm.  Since I’ve been working out of our home I’m able to spend the days with him instead of putting him in a kennel with a cone of shame on his neck.  Mac has a poor history with stitches in general, and this “constant vigilance!” set up with me is thus-far proving to be a much more viable solution than his previous bouts with that damn cone.

We also have a board of rules to reference.

The first time he went under the knife was the ole snip-snip.  You KNOW.  That went very well, only two stitches if I remember correctly, and the tiny cone he wore paired with his puppy kennel kept him all in one piece.  The second time he got stitches was when his butt-hole stopped working properly.  

Yes, you read that correctly.  [skip this paragraph if you don’t want to know more details] More specifically, Mac was unable to control his anal glands, which is a little sac of stink on the side of a pup’s butt-hole that helps your dog mark his territory when he poops.  On it’s own, undiluted by poop, the stuff that lives in those glands smells SO FOUL you would rather disfigure your nose than have to smell it. I promise.  Mac’s glands wouldn’t just release when he pooped; they would release 2-3 times a week at utter random, including once when he was sleeping on the pillow right next to the pillow I was using to sleep… at around 2am.   I woke up IMMEDIATELY, and with that same immediacy, I had to take that pillow outside to the dumpster, use an entire container of febreeze, and light every candle that had ever been made. 

Let me tell you a great way to know you unconditionally LOVE a dog: when his butt-hole stops working properly, if your immediate instinct is NOT to get rid of the dog, you love him absolutely.  Instead, Mac had butt-hole surgery, and that time the cone became a pity party of one for Mac.  He would walk into whatever room you were in, wait until he locked eyes with you, and then put the rim of the cone onto the ground, effectively sealing himself off from the world and then heave a great sigh as if to say “nothing’s worth it anymore.
It was so pitiful that I got mad at him for making me feel so sorry for him.  That’s a conflicted emotion.

But Mac is lump-less finally, and healing up well.  We’re on a strict regimen from the vet that entails no walks or playtime with other puppies (or the cat; Bubba is less than pleased), because there were rib-cage muscles involved in this removal, so there’s a lot of soreness to properly mend before he can have a proper workout.  He’s bored out of his ever-loving mind, and I’ve spent the last few days alternating between following him around like a shadow so he doesn’t try to take his own stitches out in revolt, to snuggling with him when he turns too quickly, pulls something, then yelps and looks at me with those “I don’t know what I did!” sad face.  Poor dude, I am not good at seeing him be uncomfortable, bored and miserable.  The Mister is trying to put on a manly front, but

he is clearly in the same boat as I am, which I know because I woke up a few days ago to see that my husband had decided to move to the couch during the night so the dog could be more comfortable on the bed instead of sleeping on the floor.  Yes, this did, in fact, win The Mister some serious endearing husband points.

How do you show your pets you love them?  
Has your pet ever had to go under the knife?
How did you keep them properly healing/ keep them occupied?
Tell me in the comments!

Wednesday, October 01, 2014

So Now I'm Old (& ill).

Pictured above is my Facebook status from the other day.  The last line was a joke at the time, but turns out I’m psychic and had predicted the future.  I should start my own 1-900 line for fortune telling.  I will accept my payments in Ricola and Nyquil.
"Fortune forecast, lucky charms!**"

In any case, I shall not blame The Mister for bringing me what WebMD best describes as either a common cold or a terminal diagnosis.  
...Or rather, I will totally blame him, but I won’t hold it against him, because he can throw one HECK of a party, and  he’s got that going for him through at least the next 12 “we share everything, including the plague” episodes.

On that note, 30 has come to stay for one KpMcD.  I’m not one of those gals who fears 30, and insists she’s 29 forever.  I do feel like by 30 I should have had more of my life figured out.  But I seem to be finding that most 30+ year olds share that thought, so I’m coming to terms there.

Past that, it’s any other old birthday, except everyone else makes it SUCH a big deal:  
You’re how old?  You’re turning 30!?The Big 3-Oh, eh?Well, it’s all downhill from here, right?Turning 29 for the second time, huh?So much for that biological clock then.
Having listened to this on repeat since last August when I turned 29, somewhere around March I fell prey to the hype and asked The Mister if he might please throw me a party. He very enthusiastically agreed.  Because he is The Mister, and any excuse to party is a good one.

What do you want in this party? he asked.  And honestly, I asked him to plan it because I had no idea.  I threw some random stuff out there to give him an idea of the direction to head:
  • Mani-Pedi day with whoever wants to join.
  • Caaaaaaake. (I maybe made my own just to be sure on that.)
  • It would be cool if you invited my BFF Jill from Washington state.  Maybe we can Skype.
  • If you’re looking for gift ideas, a right hand ring would be lovely.
  • Perhaps a pub crawl after dinner.
In the end, I was thinking it’ll be great and realistic if I ended up just out to dinner with some of my friends from the area.  ...The Mister apparently saw this not as separate suggestions, but as a CHECK LIST instead.

Two months later and I’m still totally overwhelmed.  The party was on a Saturday.  But wait, let’s back up a bit.  The Thursday before, The Mister’s brother had asked if he could crash on our futon overnight.  He was meeting a friend in town, I was told - we should come on out to meet him and his buddy for drinks, he said.  

No lie, I was honestly super frustrated with The Mister that night, as we had gone grocery shopping with the intent to grab a few items, then run back home and change into something worthy of hitting up the bar (aka not the hole-y, stained yoga pants I’d been rocking all day while cleaning… and maybe eye liner?  I dunno, I tend to really like eye-liner these days).  Two HOURS later, we’re loading milk and eggs into the car and one of his co-wokers calls. “Oh hey, I just flew back into town and gotta drive back out to Battle Creek tonight, but my luggage hasn’t come in yet.  Would you mind picking it up?”  
I...but can we just? I need like 30 seconds.  Seriously guys, those pants are horrid.
The Mister just agrees to this request without even asking, and I’m literally crawling out of my skin with a need to put on proper pants before bar-time.  “It’ll be just a minute, all I have to do is run in and run back out with the suitcase and we’ll have plenty of time to go back to the house before my brother gets here.

He came back out with a suitcase (which, for the record, didn’t look very heavy at all), and was all “can you get out and help me get this in the back?”  So I get out of the car for truly, not much more reason than to serve up a heavy dose of sarcasm, frustration, and whine.  Except then MY BFF JILL poked her head around the side of the car and was all “hey, sup?” 

I realized in the middle of putting this post together that whole thing was like getting to be Lottie for the weekend. 

My very cultured response was “wha- shut the f up!”  (super classy, I know.) And then I did that annoying thing that teenage girls do when they see someone they haven’t seen in the last 30 seconds and scream and dance and get super pumped.  And then we went out for a beer in my gross yoga pants and no eye liner and it was awesome.

We hung out Friday and Saturday like we hadn’t missed a beat.   Saturday morning, I realized BFF Jill was in on the plan.  I had no idea what was going on, but we ended up at the spa for a mani-pedi with Jill and our friend N (PLUS I got a massage).  I’m fairly certain that I have never been so relaxed and pampered.  I’m also fairly certain that much relaxation made me I look like I was doing a walk of shame.  It was greeeeeeat.
hurrrrrr.  back ruuuuubbbbb...
After that we went home to gussy up.  For what?  I had no idea.  I already felt so spoiled, going out to dinner would be such icing on the cake.  So imagine my surprise when we walked out of the house to go to dinner… and I saw an em-effing limo waiting to take us.
N and her fiance gifted me a sketchbook and some markers.
It hame in handy almost immediately.
Our driver’s name was Bob.  He was pretty fantastic.  We got to dinner and met up with soo many of my favorites - including Rrralph!  I got to catch up with everyone.  The Mister handed me a gift*:  A ring!  I was officially flabbergasted at that point, because really, I would have counted just BFF Jill, or spa day, or dinner as amazing gifts on their own, and he just kept GOING with the presents.

There were Mojitos and delicious Salmon, and then back into the limo for a pub crawl including the dueling piano bar, where the evening's players sang me a very raunchy rendition of Happy Birthday.  Then to top it off, Bob took us to Taco Bell.  

Don’t try to tell me that the idea of a limo going to Taco Bell isn’t amusing to you.  
Also at the piano bar, we got to witness a bachelorette party go HORRIBLY wrong,
in a "this train wreck isn't mine to deal with and therefore I find it hilarious" kind of way.
Thanks to Bob we ALL made
 it home safe and sound.
It was perfect.  It was beyond amazing.  It was the greatest birthday I’ve ever had.  Crap, guys, my husband is amazing.

What was the best surprise you ever got?
Does/ did 30 scare you?
Do you have any beauty routine that you are 
emotionally tied to (eyeliner)?
Tell me in the comments!

*Right hand ring - with all the international travel life inevitably has in store for us, The Mister and I had been batting around the idea of a ring that, while it looks pretty on its own, and could be worn on my right hand when in normal American circumstances, perhaps it could double as a wedding ring that would be less scary to loose than a wedding ring, or pose less of a “mug me!” threat while we’re abroad. 

**that's not a quote from The Princess and the Frog, it's from Robin Hood.  But I had a thing going with the rest of the post, so I stuck to it.