Thursday, January 29, 2009

Viva Las Vegas: The Paper Trail

Communications with kids are always interesting. It used to be that we communicated by a letter in the mail, then telephone calls. Nowadays, it's cell phones and texting. Jill says "who emails? That's so outdated." Well, it wasn't, back a couple of years ago when we went to Vegas.

I had told the kids to only call if the house was burning down - an admonition I quickly withdrew after meeting a couple on the way to the casino who told their kids the same thing. I guess they shouldn't have been surprised when their kids called and told them to sit down. They'd truly burned the house down. Oye and vay.

Well, I had also told the kids to email and let me know how things were going. Email helps to keep the parents out of the immediacy of the fights, but still keeps us in touch. Guess I shouldn't have been surprised when I got my daily missives. Below is an unauthorized, abridged version of the discussions:

From Jill, dated 6/12/06:
I'm pretty sure the subject speaks for itself...

Yeah, you know that star-fish that was hanging in the kitchen? Timmy ate it. I hope you weren't to attached to it...

Hurry up and get home,


From Thomas, dated 6/13/06:

SUBJECT: What up
Missed your call today, so I figured I'd just email you.

Day one went fine, had a little bit of a problem breaking a boredom spell in the afternoon, but we just went to the park and hung out, hit a few balls, and played catch for a couple hours. Came back, took Jill to work (she was going to hand her two weeks notice in or something likek that - but I guess she said that whoever she needed to talk to wasn't there), got dinner dinner with Seth, rented a game, came home, watched a couple movies, and now I'm here.

....I've been trying to keep things simple in terms of necessities that we need that you guys usually supplied... I asked Jill to cook dinner (becuase Lord knows Seth and I would probably blow the entire fucking block up), and Seth and I would set, do dishes, etc. But apparently this is too much to ask, and we got into this huge argument about it. I honestly have no idea how this is not far, and she couldn't tell me either. She even called me a sexist, rofl. I guess she thinks she has the pants on right now, and she will just have to disillusion herself. I have the car. :D [Thomas was the only driver in the house at this point. Jill only had a permit.] So I kind of resolved that by telling her she loses either way, since if she's going to be like that about things then Seth and I will just go have a decent dinner elsewhere and leave her to cook for herself, and I kind of won her over with that. I might be coming off as mean, but oh well, just trying to mediate things.

Speaking of the car, it's driving quite fine...but I don't think you probably expected anything different.

I guess they don't realize that I am quite fine with driving just about anywhere they want to go (within the realms of safety and yadda yadda), but they don't want to seem to want to go anywhere fun or out of the ordinary. I'm actually the one trying to think up of something - ANYTHING - to do. Hopefully they'll chill out and become more imaginitive than I...but if not, this week is going to be a long one. I am jobbed with paying for everything so far. Oh well, if she hasn't gotten to me yet, I don't think it will throughout the week.

At least there are always hundreds of movies to keep me entertained..until my hard drive gets here. [His computer had ::gasp:: melted down right before we left.]

This e-mail is probably ridiculous incoherent since I'm rather tired, but oh well.

Win million in Vegas and such,


From Jill, dated 6/14/06.
No Subject.

please call your eldest son, Thomas, and tell him to put the gosh darn toilet seat down when he's done using the restroom. He absolutle refuses no matter how hard I try. When I asked him to put the toilet seat down he told me I was being lazy and that I should put it down. He also called me a control freak (just because I asked him to put the toilet seat down). Every time I ask him to do ONE thing he spazzes out and tells me to do it (Which is why the house is a mess right now).

Help me? Come home? Tell daddy I miss him and I hope he feels better.


From Thomas, dated ten minutes later. He is obviously unaware of his sister's edict:
SUBJECT: re: What up
Will do.

Also, Seths RAM and my hard drive came today, but..

the hard drive is SATA. I needed ATA133. :/

I ordered another one, but I had to sacrifice a ton of stuff I would have wanted (though it was also cheaper, obviously), but beggars can't be choosers. I got the first one refunded, and I'm gonna try and ship it back today..just need access to a printer. So I'll probably head over to your double and use the one there and check out your mail situation.

[Translation: his computer should be repaired, but they sent something incompatible with what he has, so he has to return it.]

From Thomas, a mere twenty minutes later. I must've been around to respond to Jill's email.
SUBJECT: Re: What up
toilet seat more like lol get outta here i already destroyed her with MASSIVE LOGIC in that debate

[At which point, I noted that he had lost all punctuation and capitalization skills, and reminded him that men have been trying logic on the toilet seat issue for decades, and they will never win. Because they are wrong. And to just put the seat down, and we will have peace in the world, because putting the seat down should not be underestimated, in its importance to the universe. But I digress.]

Thomas' last proclamation, three days later. I guess he'd stopped caring, but he sure wasn't happy later that day, when he found out we'd gotten bumped from our flight and were spending the night in Phoenix, arriving home a day later than originally planned. I don't remember what I had sent him, but I think it was some version of the above note:
SUBJECT: re: What up
forget that

PS Jill's mega ultra super emo today holy crap

next time you guys do this you are taking her or I am going with you

I can't stand this. oh my god I snapped at her today 8)

The only thing we heard from Seth the entire time we were gone was this:
1. Get off plane.
2. Call home to tell kids we have arrived.
3. Seth answers.
4. "Hi Seth, we're here."
5. "Oh, I guess that means your plane didn't crash? Cool. Want to talk to Thomas or Jill?"

And that was it. Viva Las Vegas: The Paper Trail. And we haven't gone away without them since, other than a quick trip to Michigan last fall, when no one called or emailed. I guess they just don't care anymore, since two of them can drive now. Distance makes the heart grow fonder, and all that. Click on the image to buy the cool paper dress, available on ebay from Hide N Seek Treasures.

Monday, January 26, 2009

Viva Las Vegas: Ground Zero

Sorry to have ditched you for a few days, or did you notice? Had to watch the inaugaration, the Lost came back, then I had to go to Chicago to bond with the sister (who claims that she has somehow missed out on life because she's the middle child. Whatever.)

When last I blogged, my car had been painted, but on the wrong side. I told the car people that I'd bring it back to get painted on the RIGHT side when we went out of town the next time. Turned out that that took almost a year. Hubby and I decided to go to Ebay Live, to get a tax deduction, and a trip to Vegas, where we'd never been before.

Tickets bought and all, when we suddenly have a rainstorm that looks like Pete Rose has finally had his vengeance, because baseballs are raining outta the sky. I was on the fifth floor, at work downtown, and watched the whole debacle, thinking the whole time that yep, my van was out in it. Ended up looking like a huge golfball with all these little dents all over it.

So yeah. Now it not only had to go in and get the repainting done correctly, but also get the hail damage fixed. I called and made an appointment, reminding the shop of what had happened the year before. I was a little surprised that they didn't remember, but hey, these people didn't paint the right side of the van to begin with, so what else could I expect, I guess.

The morning we were to leave, we drove out to the car place with both vans. I get into Dan's van and he informed me that he needed me to call and order him a phone, because he had dropped his phone in his cup of Starbucks when he left the house, and now it was dead. This is the man who has run over his phone, dropped MY phone in the toilet, lost one to a can of paint, and on and on, so I don't know why I was surprised. He needs his phone for business though, so I figured if I got on the horn right away, he'd have a new one by the time we got home from Vegas.

Called T-mobile, and finally got through to a real person -- ever navigated their menu? It's a nightmare. So there I am, explaining the perils of Starbucks to the customer service rep, whilst Dan drives us all back to the house to get our luggage. Right about the time we got up to the Pizza Hut on the corner where we were, a lady pulls out in front of the van and WHAM! Hits it. Everyone screams in the back seat, Dan starts yelling about it all, and I'm still on the phone with the guy from T-mobile, who asked what happened. "Oh, we just got hit by another car," I said. "Oh my gosh," TmG (T-mobile guy) said, "do you need to go?" "Heck no," I said, "you stay right there. I don't want to have to navigate that menu again. Everyone ok? Yep. Keep going."

So there I am on the side of the road, ordering a cell phone, with the kids remarking how mad their dad is gonna be, waiting for the police, whilst Dan talks to the lady and her husband. Cause yeah, that's how we roll. It all worked in the long run, because the new phone was there when we got home.

Downside? The fact that the idiot insurance agent never could get the time difference in his head, so he called EVERY morning that we were in Vegas, promptly at 6am. We couldn't get away from it either, because I had to leave the phone on for the kids, in case the house burned down or bones were sticking out, but yeah, that guy never had a particularly warm conversation with me.

And so yeah, if you want to know how the kids survived that trip, hang on. Tomorrow: the paper trail. And if you just flat out want to look at something pretty, dig this gorgeous red taffeta dress, from Fast Eddie's Retro Rags.

Sunday, January 18, 2009

Viva Las Vegas Part -1: The Pregame show

I guess I started this whole Las Vegas thing backwards. Call me dyslexic, but I told the end first. Our trip to Vegas actually started over a year before we actually went there.

I used to work downtown. At the time, I drove a van which has since been absconded by The Brat. Got up one Saturday morning and was sitting in the kitchen bleary eyed, when Dan started yelling at me to come outside and look at something. He didn't sound too happy, and when I got out there, he said "when did this happen?" He was pointing to the passengers' side, which had beautiful circles all over it, where some wonderful individual had dug their key into the side of my van, creating a piece of art that not even his mother would be proud of. I told Dan I had no idea when it happened, and go the "how in the hell could you not see this because someone just dug into this van, and even as wild a kid as I was, I'd never do this to someone's car" lecture. Didn't matter. I still didn't know when it happened, since when I come out at midnight, I usually climb in the driver's side, not the passengers'. He just muttered something at me that sounded like the dad in "A Christmas Story," and wandered off.

No worries, I figured, because we were getting ready to go to Seattle, to see my brother for a few days. I made plans to drop off the van while we were gone, and it was going to be ready when we got back. Perfect. Dropped it off, flew to Seattle, saw the bro and his family, and flew home. (I won't mention the panic attack I had on the flight home, because I suck at flying, and pretty much figured that we were not going to end as well as those people standing on the wing of the plane on the Hudson River last week. But I digress.) A few days away from the kidlets always does the parents good, so we came back happy, refreshed, and ready to conquer the world. Till we went to pick cup my van.

We pulled into the parking lot, and there it was. Shiny and beautiful, and I remarked how nice it was. We got out to look at it, with Dan going to the passenger's side, and me going to the driver's side. I remarked how they must've buffed up the driver's side, because it looked mighty fine. Dan was really quiet. I walked around to where he was, and found him there, staring at the side of the van. The unpainted, still full of artwork side of the van. I don't think he said much till he got inside the body shop, where he proceeded to ask the owner to come out and look. "Now you tell me," he said, "just how in the HELL could you not figure out that you were painting the wrong side?" The guy, who admittedly was pretty old, and had cataract, just spit on the ground and shook his head. "I got no idea," he said, right before he said for us to leave it there so he could paint the correct side.

Well, no way was I leaving it there. I need my van, man. I have kids to haul around. And inventory. And dogs. Et cetera, et cetera, as Yul Brenner said. So home we came in the van, and figured we'd wait till our next out of town trip to get it fixed right. It took till the following spring, right before our Vegas trip.

The compelling end to this store involves a cell phone, Pizza Hut, and a cup of Starbucks. But that'll have to wait till tomorrow. Just know in the meantime that a) when you go out with us, there's a prize every time and b) you can get this cool vintage Seattle belt from aprizeeverytime, on etsy.

Saturday, January 17, 2009

Viva Las Vegas Part 1: The Dam-dest Thing

Dan and I went to Vegas a couple of summers ago. We'd never been, and Ebay Live was there, so we figured we'd get a trip in, and a tax deduction at the same time. We've heard so many raves about Sin City, but since gambling's not really our thing, we never bothered, but I guess Vegas is one of those places to check off the list and say we've been there.

We stayed in some place off the Strip that I don't remember the name of. Did a few slots, ate at the buffet, and a few brief hours later, Dan was praying to the porcelain god. Horrible food poisoning put him outta commission for the first 24 hours. Did the ebay thing --- I had fun, even if he was bored out of his mind -- and decided to see the sites.

I have to say that Red Rocks is beautiful. We enjoyed it there, then headed to Hoover Dam. There we were, enjoying our tour, when suddenly alarms started going off. Long story short, we ended up in some outer part of the dam where no one is allowed to go, with a guard telling the tale of seeing a co-worker running down the hall with a cloud of gas coming after him. I think we were out there for the better part of an hour before they finally let us in and we were able to finish the tour.

We never did figure out what all the hubbub was about, of what the cloud of gas was, but I do know that I've never met anyone else whose trip to Vegas included an evacuation from a national landmark. I'm glad that Dan and I don't get freaked out too easily, or we'd never go anywhere. That's how Utter Chaos works though. My former boss used to say that she'd never go anywhere where Dan and I were out together, because 911 always ended up being called. Sad thing is, she was right.

I still wasn't too worried till the evening we went down to the casino, chatting with another couple along the way. We were remarking that it was the first time we'd left the kids home alone while we were out of town, with Grandpa just checking in on them every day. I said that we had told them that if they called us, there had better be blood flowing, bones sticking out, or the house had better be on fire. The wife of the other couple said "yep, that's what we told our kids too. Don't call us unless the house is on fire. They called us the first night we were gone and said 'you'd better sit down.' They had burned the house down. To the ground."

I dialed the kids and told them they could call anytime they wanted.

So if you go to Vegas, avoid the buffet, keep away from clouds of gas, and by all means, let the kids call you. And if you want a better memory of your trip, get this revamped vintage tee, from Perk Up Vintage. It'll definitely perk things up, and in a good way!

Friday, January 16, 2009

Ancient Chinese Secret

I guess I haven't talked about work for a while. Maybe that's because I always seem to be at work. Working. Taking boring calls about vomiting, which is the diagnosis of choice lately.

With the change in temperature this week, we've been getting our share of other stuff, including some frostbite stuff -- cover up in these temperatures, folks, or your ears might fall off. Heck, even the puppy isn't liking this cold, cause he just does his thing and tears off for the door. It's cold, folks!

Last night, one of the pages we got said "chipmunk bite." Now, I know that I live in the city of concrete and gaseous manholes, but we were all trying to figure out how one gets bitten by a chipmunk in the middle of January in Indiana. Keep in mind, at my job, anything is possible, so we keep ourselves braced for anything -- like when I called someone tonight about "possible frostbite," and her "please enjoy this ringtone while we try to reach your party" song started blaring "chestnuts roasting on an open fire, Jack Frost nipping at your nose........" No lie. I couldn't make this stuff up.

So she gives a call to this lady, who has a Chinese name. Lady tells her that she was at work at her restaurant, and when she went outside, she saw a little chipmunk, and he wasn't moving. She was afraid he was frozen, so she took him inside and put him into a little container, to see if he'd come around. Checked on him every few minutes, and gave him a little poke. Realized she'd poked him one time too many when he reached up and bit her on the finger.

Me being me, when I hear the story, I wonder aloud if that chipmunk is now on the menu. Heck, my co-workers already think I'm warped for the things I come up with, so I tell 'em, "better not be eating any sweet and sour chicken at her place." Maybe I'll try Thai next time.

Wednesday, January 14, 2009

Nice day for a White Wedding

We finally got some snow today. Finally. Everyone who knows me well knows that I love winter, as long as there is snow, because if it's cold, there should be snow, dammit.
So yes, I'm happy.

My brother lives outside of Seattle, and between the snow and the bum knee that he recently had surgery on, he's not been a happy camper. Seattle apparently is sadly unprepared for winter, and since he lives on a hill, they found themselves unplowed in, and were virtually trapped in the house for a while. I'd call that heaven, but he wasn't too keen on it, especially because he was in pain. I don't blame him there, I guess, but I still love me some winter.

My brother has a odd and wonderful sense of humor, which, I suppose, shouldn't surprise anyone, since we come from a long line of odd and wonderful humor. He calls his iPhone "the phone from God," because it can do anything from playing music to cracking a bullwhip. When I found out that the Vatican now has approved a prayer application, I told the bro he was right -- it really IS the phone from God.

One truism my brother taught me, back in the early days of MTV, was the importance of the three sleazes. Not to be confused with the three kings, especially this close to Epiphany, the three sleazes were an important part of 80s era music videos. Jeff assured me that no video ws complete until the three sleazes appeared. They were generally dressed in leather, and their job description was just to writhe around and look sleazy. I think they were supposed to give the impression that they were backup singers, but alas, they were just back up sleazes. Check out any Whitesnake, ZZ Top, or Scorpions video, and you'll know what I mean.

Billy Idol had it down to an art. I loved Billy Idol, with his punked out weirdness, and once told my brother that I wanted to walk down the aisle to "White Wedding," just to see what people thought. Of course, I didn't, but with the disaster our wedding threatened to be, that would've been the least memorable thing that happened.

I'm not exactly sure what it was that made me think of the three sleazes when I saw this wonderful Greco Roman novelty print dress, from one of my favorite sellers, the fabulous meloo. Musta been that closeup of the trio of goddesses, I guess, but it truly was the first thing that came to mind. And if Greco Roman isn't your thing, be like me, and just enjoy a little White Wedding, with its booty shakin' sleazes.

Monday, January 12, 2009

Ear-ie, Minnesota

I talked to my parents yesterday because, of course, it was Sunday. Sunday means football. Football means Dan has invited a bevy of people over to watch the game, generally without telling me, which means that both the TV, the living room, and my husband are completely occupied for a period of several hours. Yesterday was only slightly different. He told me that he had invited a guy from the paint store over. And that he was making chili.

Came home from work and there was a pot of chili on the stove, and two people in the living room, which evolved into seven people over the next thirty minutes. Good thing that all but one has known us for years, because the first time I went to tinkle, I saw that there were also two loads of laundry on the bathroom floor. Oh well, such is the life of Utter Chaos.

In my great admiration for the pigskin, I went upstairs and started working on Jill's computer, which has gotten a virus that has, thus far, eluded me. While I was waiting for the computer to boot up, I called Mom and Dad. Normal updates on the weather and the kids, and suddenly my mom says "OH! I forgot to tell you. I was talking to your sister yesterday. She said it's twenty below there." My sister lives in that frozen tundra known as northern Minnesota, where every sentence ends with "ohyeahsheryoubetch." I pointed out to Mom that that's not necessarily all that cold there, and she said "yes, but when I was talking to her the other day, she went and let the cat in. A mninute later she told me 'oh my gosh' her ear just fell off!" A minute later, she said that the other ear was falling off too.

What the heck? I don't know how long it takes for a cat's ears to freeze solid, but apparently not all that long, in Ear-ie, Minnesota.

Me being me, I asked Mom if she had fried them up and eaten them. Maybe with some fava beans and a fine chianti. Maybe they'd taste like potato chips. Nothing says lovin' like a nubbin in the oven. And if a cat loses its ears, does it still do that ear licking thing that they do, like when they are declawed and they still keep clawing on the sides of boxes and such? I mean, it can't impair their hearing any, since cats don't listen anyway. But it would cause seriously problems with wearing these cool cateye glasses, from KarmaRox, on etsy. Guess now she'll be blind, too.

Wednesday, January 07, 2009

The Battle Between Good and Evil

The Spare to the Throne got his braces yesterday. None too thrilled about it beforehand, he seems to be holding up better than his father did, if you remember the whole turkey sandwich smoothie debacle. Of course, it's early in the game, but the poor child has been warned so much by the entire family that he may just sail through this thing unscathed. All the kid has heard now for over a week has been "your teeth are gonna HURT." We'll see what the day brings, I suppose, but this kid has, shall we say, no desire to feel pain anytime in this lifetime. Ever.

The Bratty Girl has already been leading him down the path of unrighteousness. The orthodontist gives tickets out for good dental hygeine, meaning good brushing, of course. Jill tells this boy, "oh, don't worry about it, just brush your teeth three times in a row before your appointment. They'll never know the difference. That's what I did." And this brat always got the excellent brushing tickets. ::sigh:: She's a scammer, that one.

Then I caught all three of them, The Heir, The Spare, and The Brat, having a powwow in his room a couple of days ago. Deep in conversation, and without anyone screaming, mind you. This of course makes the mother worry, so I wandered in to see what was going on. The Brat had, after all, just told me the night before that we needed to have "The Talk" with her younger brother because, as she said, "he has gotten all of his information from Chris, so you just know it's gotta be messed up." Chris, incidentally, is his BFF, who does indeed, have his moments of early teenaged goofiness, so she might just be right. Oye and vay.

So the three of them are all in there, discussing what you are told what not to eat with braces, and what you really can eat with braces. "I had candy all the time," says the big brother. "You can't have gum, though, right," replies the youngest. "I did," said the beastie girl, who is, after all, determined to ruin her brother's teeth, or at least his relationship with his dental caregivers. Sweet after sweet they listed, and each one they declared perfectly acceptable, "no matter what they tell you." They, of course, not only meant the orthodontist and his staff, but also the parents, who coughed up the cash for this little endeavor.

"You'll get yelled at when you go for your appointment," I threatened, in the hopes of salvaging something here. Jill declared "I never got yelled at once, and remember all those tickets I got?" Seth tilted his head and gave her a look of deep thought, then nodded his head. This kid, who is the one who likes to follow the rules and keep the peace, has just been taken down by none other than his sister, a Sagittarian who, like her papa before her, likes to have one toe over the line and his older brother, who stood there silently, nodding agreement with a look of "listen to her dude, she knows of what she speaks" on his face. I stood there in his bedroom, complete with clean clothes on the dusty TV, dirty socks scattered on the floor, dog sleeping on the bed that has, incidentally, no sheet on the mattress, because the clean sheet balled up at the foot of the bed, since he has decided to sleep sans sheets......well, I digress, but you get the picture.

I stood there and watched the ruination of a young man in one fell swoop, and has his siblings to blame. Heck, he probably got a cavity just listening to this whole travesty of dental hygiene. Time will tell. And just to show off the inner turmoil going on when he REALLY wants a Snickers bar, but the angel on his shoulder says "don't do it, boy, don't do it," is this cool vintage halter dress, from Designer Exposure. Kinda pricey, but cheaper than braces, and information shared between a boy and his siblings? Priceless.

Friday, January 02, 2009

And the little dog too.

I am now the mother of two young adults. God help me. Please.

Jill turned 18 shortly before Christmas. She couldn't decide if she wanted to have a party or not, and kept asking my advice. My response was that I was done planning birthday party about the time her brother hit double digits. That, of course, was met with a flip of the hair and a heavy sigh (probably inherited from her grandfather), and a quick retreat from the room. In the end, she decided against a party, but had a quiet lunch at Harold's Steer In, an icon on the east side of Indianapolis. (Don't ask me why it says 16+ years on the east side, because I've lived here for 16 years, and it was here long before me. But I digress.)

Later that afternoon, she decided that she "needed to go and do something I couldn't do before I turned 18." Well, I laid it on the line. Smokes or porn. That's pretty much it. She was both grossed out and disappointed, since she doesn't smoke, and is definitely not into Playboy. She thought about it for a while and finally decided that she needed to get a lottery ticket. We went up to CVS, where she asked for a lottery ticket, with the biggest grin you've ever seen. Sue, the cashier who, incidentally, has known her her whole life, asked for her id. Jill had more than a passing resemblance to the Cheshire cat as she passed her license across the counter. Sue laughed and said "are you turning 18 today? My nephew did the same thing on his birthday." She needed a lot of help in figuring out how to pick numbers, but paid her dollar and promptly gave it to me.

::makes mental note to check those numbers, as the ticket is still in my coat pocket::

Next, she said she needed to go to Blockbuster, because she wanted to get her very own card, because she couldn't do that till she was 18. Changed her mind when she realized that she needed a credit card to do it, and instead asked if we could go to Petsmart. Petsmart doesn't require a credit card in order to get a card, so we headed that way. Halfway there, Bratty says "oh no, let's just go to Uncle Bills. They're closer." It was cold and I was tired, so it sounded good to me, and we headed there.

Uncle Bill's is a nice little chain of pet stores where the people really do know their stuff, and there's nice variety. You can walk right in and pet the guinea pigs, rabbits, and parakeets. Jill beelined for the back, and it wasn't till that moment that I realized I'd been duped. Uncle Bill's has puppies. "Mooommmy. Can I just hold one? Pleeeeease?"

Within half an hour, we walked out with a Cairn Terrier puppy -- all 6.5 lbs. of him. Now, before you complain, I used to know a member of Uncle Bill's family, and she always said that they didn't go to puppy mills to get their puppies. Jill, my animal rights girl, asked enough questions to satisfy her conscience, and off we went. Being cold, he started shivering on the way home, so she tucked him into her jacket. We went in the house with his little head poking out of a half zipped barn jacket. Dan met us at the door and yelled "oooooooh no. You just turn around and take that thing right outta here. I'm not having another dog."

Jill made a beeline upstairs, at my suggestion, while Dan and I had a scene that was straight up Archie Bunker raging about Meathead.

A week later, I got up only to find him throwing the ball for the puppy at 7:30 in the morning. "But I still didn't want a third dog," he says. Yeah, right. He's actually rather taken with this small ball 'o wirey hair that, when held up in the air, never stops moving, like he's on some invisible moving sidewalk. Thomas, in his normal hulking way, has sworn that he is going to kill the dog -- not like he did with the last one, who peed on the floor if Thomas so much as said his name -- but because this little beast runs underfoot constantly.

Said beast is heretofore known as Rocky. Yep, I have a 70+ lb dog called Rocky, and a 6 lb dog known as Timmy. Add to that the 65 lb Boo, and it's just crazy. But who could not love this face?

So yeah, we got us a little Toto dog to go with the other pair 'o mutts, and Utter Chaos is in full tilt in 2009. How's your new year going?