Tuesday, December 29, 2009

If it smells like shit...

You know when you are sitting at your computer and think, what is that smell? And you know it smells like shit, but find that hard to understand since it is 7 in the morning and no one else is around. So I get up, open the curtains, turn around and yes, indeed, there is a nice pile of dog shit under my desk. A little love present from our Christmas "miracle," Sparky.

Let's go back 4 days - to Christmas evening. It's been a day of joy, general wreckage of the living room, food, movies and . . . wait, what is that outside? There is a flash of white by the back door. Is it Santa - did he forget to drop off something? No, it is a black and white dog - a very small, freezing cold, terrified dog.

Have I mentioned that our yard borders on open desert - you know, sagebrush, dirt and coyotes? Yes, this dog was terrified with good reason. So I go outside with some of the the Christmas ham and spend about 30 minutes coaxing him out from under the snow covered patio furniture. Get him in, set up a dog crate, post his picture out there for the owners to find him and put him in the laundry room for the night.

Fast forward 4 days. Yep, Sparky is still here...leaving me presents. One thing I can say about him is that he has changed my view of small dogs. This guy doesn't bark all the time (only if he is in his crate and doesn't want to be). He hasn't once snapped at the 3 kids or 2 dogs. He's put up with being chased around by Kippen, our 70 pound bundle of puppy, and being wrapped in a blanket and put in a doll beds by QueenBee.

And he is hysterical! His most favorite thing to do is sit in anyone's lap and occasionally lick whatever he can find (neck,arm, hand, keyboard). He was clearly rewarded for dancing around on his hind legs by his owners and will do that forever. He tries to play with Kippen and Kaela's toys, but the balls are as big as his head. Sparky really is a sweetheart. But he has this way of shooting poops out so fast, it's crazy. I mean, he wasn't under my desk but for 2 seconds before we put him outside. What is that about?

Today, a new owner will come take him home (we won't mention the poop issue). He will be king of the roost there - no other dogs, one kid. And our life will go back to the same calm it was before Sparky entered our life (you know, the one with - everyone sing with me: 3 little girls, 2 black dogs, and 1 albino garter snake).

Wednesday, December 9, 2009

Maui: To Do and Not to Do

To do:
Go to Baby Beach in Lahaina - shallow water, no waves, other kids to play with - hours of fun with little intervention needed by parents.

Not to do:
Forget your book when you take the kids to Baby Beach. This
leads to ridiculous amounts of pictures being taken since you are bored without your book.

To do:
Play hide and seek under the huge banyan tree in Lahaina.

Not to do:
Don't let the kids play by themselves - join in. There is nothing like the joy in the girls' eyes when they find mommy! And it is very quiet to hide for a while.

To do:
Go to the community pools. Maui has an amazing system of community pools that are free! And heated, with showers and bathrooms. And most come with playmates for the children. Some are big and fancy (with fountains), some are small, but perfect because the kids can touch the
bottom in the whole pool.

Not do to:
Reprise - remember your book or magazine - we were at one pool for 3 hours!

To do:
Practice snorkeling in the pool and then at Baby Beach for maximum children's snorkeling success. Put up with the endless moving of the snorkel from the mask to the goggles, to the mask, to the goggles, flippers on, flippers off. It is worth it for the kids to have a positive experience early on.

Not to do:
Forget to label the snorkel equipment for each child. Otherwise your time spent adjusting masks and fins will quadruple.

To do:
Eat a fish sandwich at the Fish Market in Paia. They are amazing. The wait is totally worth it. The community seating is fun.

Not to do:
Expect kids who don't even like fishsticks to eat a fish sandwich. They have really good burgers, too, from local beef.

To do:
Go to Ulua beach, in Wailea. Great snorkeling for grownups, and maybe for kids if it is calm. Fabulous surf for boogie boards. Soft, soft sand. And bathrooms and showers!

Not to do:
Leave in a hurry. You want to have time to play on the grassy hill across from the showers. It is perfect for royal queens and princess to hold court, with towels tied as gowns and royal robes. Also a fabulous picture spot.


Same Crap, Different Place, Just Smaller Location

At the risk of getting my head whacked off for actually complaining about a vacation to Maui, here goes. And I am not complaining about the whole thing - most everything was great fun: new and exciting things, warm weather and water, and no snow.

But try taking two four year olds and a six year old anywhere, really, and you get the usual complaints, whines, etc. Top that off with the younger two going through this thing right now where they only want mommy ("I want to sit by mommmmyyyy") and you get a mom who needs a vacation from a vacation.

I think at this point (day 7) what we are dealing with is sheer tiredness. So we had a "lazy" day - meaning no beach or driving anywhere but a leisurely morning at the condo, then walking to the aquarium, then lunch out...you get the idea. But somewhere along the way, someone forgot to tell the girls that leisurely morning means you don't fight, pinch each other, complain about having to eat your whole breakfast, brush teeth, put clothes on, not getting to listen to the whole book-on-tape. Really, I could go on and on.

Then there is the aquarium - the end all, be all of distractions for whiners, right? Nope. LittleBug immediately wants to go to the "tunnel" (apparently she heard me talking the day before about the plexiglases tunnel at the aquarium) and asks incessantly to go to the tunnel. Every exhibit of really cool fish, octopus, seahorses, "I want to to to the tunnel." Look girls, sharks, "When can we go to the tunnel?" When we finally get to the tunnel, I'm thinking that I can sit down and relax and watch the girls marvel at the sharks and rays going overhead. Nope. Almost immediately, LittleBug says, "I want to go through the tunnel." I am not kidding.

But, I digress. If there was a way to just have the great parts of a vacation, it would be amazing. The shrieking and dashing away from the surf and waves, the proudness of learning how to snorkel, the silliness of running from the tiny little crabs popping out of their holes on the beach, and playing hide & seek under the huge banyan tree in Lahaina, all lit up with Christmas lights. These are all fabulous memories. I wouldn't trade them for anything.

But, with the good, comes the bad, I suppose. Being in a condo smaller than our home, being tired and hungry (apparently all the time, but not for whatever we are eating), plus still having to follow rules gets old. Then the whining and fighting begins. Top that off with the fact that I am also used to more space and alone time and something has got to give.

And it did - it was called movie night.