Thursday, June 30, 2011

Pizza Hut: You are on notice...

My Dad:

He's a cool guy. No, scratch that. He's way more awesome than cool. I mean, what other human on the planet, besides Tuck Everlasting, doesn't age for 27 nearly 28 years. Don't believe me? Here's photographic proof:
Daddy and me, shortly after my glorious birth in 1983
Daddy and Beatrice Kate, June 2010
Freaky, huh?

In the years since Casey and I have been married, my relationship with my father has grown and deepened. I could do an entire post or two about my Daddy and his quirky-ness. We get each other and as a result, he's become one of my closest friends. And I stick up for my close friends. Especially when they're snubbed by a big corporation.

Case in point: Pizza Hut.

Last night as I was driving home from a Mom's Night In with my Stroller Strides Mamas, I noticed a missed call from my Dad. When I returned his call, expecting him to be tired and ready for bed, this is what happened:

*Ring Ring*
Dad: Dammit. Hello?
Ashley: Uh, Daddy? Is everything ok?
Dad: Oh, hey. I thought you were Pizza Hut. I'm in a war with them right now you know.
Ashley: *Silently giggling at how ridiculous that sounded* Uh..... care to explain?
Dad: Do you know how long I've been waiting on my pizza?
Ashley: No. I have no idea. Maybe like 45 minutes (That seemed like a reasonable guess, right?)
Dad: 2 HOURS
Ashley: I hope you called and cancelled it
Dad: You bet I did. And I gave them a good cussing too (Note: I'm leaving out the slew of obscenities hurled at Pizza Hut at this moment; to keep the blog PG-13). Now, I'm hungry and I'm tired and I'm all wired up because of this.

Ahh, my father. Apparently, the world's calmest, chillest man can become unhinged when he doesn't get his pizza on time. Long story short: Pizza Hut says that they tried to deliver the pizza and no one answered the door; and thus had they had to remake his pizza, causing delays.

Turns out, no one actually came to his door. We know this because 1) His house isn't that big and he would have heard someone at the front door and 2) He has the unfortunate combination of two impossibly annoying loud chihuahuas and slick wood floors; which create a deafening raucous at the drop of a pin. The doorbell going off would have received the same canine announcement as a murderous thief.

When he called to say, "Hey, where's my pizza", he got a helping of Smarmy Attitude along with their excuses; and they refused to deliver his pizza again.  And, they refused to compensate him for it. Truthfully, I think that's what really set him over the edge. Pizza that's two hours late and no attempt to make it right?!? Come on, Pizza Hut. You really should know better.

I've been known to fire off a letter or two to businesses who show poor displays of customer service. My father, on the other hand, let's it roll off his back. Not this time. I bet his blood pressure was sky high over the Pepperoni Throwdown.

And because of all of this, Pizza Hut, I join my father in solidarity against your establishment. Nobody puts baby Daddy in the corner. You are on notice; no matter how delicious your stuffed crust pizza commercials may be.

Oh, and if I have to hear this replayed 4,000 times from Daddy this weekend ... then I'll make sure every one of my friends never eats there again either. Got it, punks?

*Was that intimidating enough, Daddy???!??


Wednesday, June 29, 2011

What I'm loving Wednesday ...

I thought it may be good fun to link up with this week's edition of "What I'm Loving Wednesdays"...

I'm loving that this girl has decided to eat again, her "viral rash" has disappeared and she's back to her normal, toddler-acting self:
I'm loving that my birthday isn't until Sunday, but I already got a gift in the mail (Thanks Aunt Sue (The Great)! You're the best and I'm wearing the necklace now!):

I'm loving this season of The Bachelorette. It's bringing all kinds of crazy and drama and I can't get enough. Casey even loves to watch it with me because it's so bananas this season. Nevermind, he doesn't want to own up to that little fact.

I'm loving that I'm finally getting Beatrice Kate onto some semblance of a daily schedule and we can actually plan activities around her designated nap time. We went to the art museum yesterday and we're going to a children's museum on Friday with friends!

I'm loving our real estate agent, Cherrie Bynum. She's awesome. And it's not just because she has a pet monkey, either. She is fighting tooth and nail to get our house sold and find our next dream house for the future. If you're looking for a good one... call her.

Speaking of my birthday later this week, I'm loving the fact that my Daddy, my step-mom (really, we need a better word for that because she's more than the name implies) and my sweet sister, Courtney are all coming up for a visit on Saturday.

What about you? What are you loving right now?


Tuesday, June 28, 2011

Well, it's about time ...

I won't tell you exactly how long it's been since we last bathed our dogs. Let's just say that it was well before Beatrice Kate was born. And she's 15 months old. Yes, it was gross. And stanky. And probably was the main contributing factor to that certain "Dog Smell" that permeated our house.

But all of that changed this weekend. It was the perfect setting for dog bathing: Baby asleep, a warm, clear day, two stinky dogs, a semi-functioning water hose and a DSLR at the ready.

Our dogs are both rescues; and thus, come from very different backgrounds and have very, very different personalities. And both have a very, very, very different outlook on backyard bath times.

Cooper, our basset/lab mix (yes, it's possible!), is a 5 year old little boy trapped in a dog's body. He was our first baby. Well, before You-Know-Who made an appearance:
A face only a mother could love ...

He's very willing and obliging to take a bath:

He knows that after the mundane tasks of washing and rinsing comes the fun stuff. And by "fun stuff", I mean chasing the water stream:
He could do this for hours:

Of course, by "hours", I mean, "longer than his usual 5 minute cardio intervals":
Don't break a stump leg, Buddy ...
For a dog who hates physical activity and prefers a soft couch to nap upon, it can be startling to see him jump and run the way he does around a water hose:
He's got the Crazy Eye again ...

After the jet-stream fiasco, he like a good shake out and get's a brushing. Oh, and he loves that too:

My Dad calls this his "Elvis Look" ...
It takes a lot of work to keep him looking this good:
Show Dog Quality, for sure.
Then there's this guy:

Arnold. Oh, Arnold, where do I begin. Arnold is a 15 year-old collie mix and is the self-appointed Safety Officer of our family. He's cautious and calm; and perpetually under foot. Casey blames his herding-dog instincts for this. I think he's part alien:
Who? Me? No, I'm clean. No bath needed here ...
Arnold hates taking a bath and will start sulking as soon as he catches wind of your plan:
Hiding in Nature has worked in the past ...

He does everything in his power to avoid getting wet:
Just gonna hide over here. This swing ought to provide enough cover ...
Crap. He spotted me.
Oh, please, Mom. Please don't make me ...
Jesus? Can't you make it stop?
Fine. I'll take a bath. But I won't make it easy for you ...
Escape Attempt #2,000.

 Sorry, big guy. But you smell:
I think he finds it insulting to be treated like a dog. Even if, well, he is one:

He never once wags his tail or looks anything other than plain ol' pathetic:
The only dog to ever require a full bottle of shampoo ...

This guy doesn't help things either:

Cheer up, Barn-Barn. It's we're almost through:

He's so offended ...

After the bath, well he doesn't stick around for any of that water-chasing tom foolery:
You can't shake Clean off ...

No, no. As soon as the water is turned off, he goes straight for a shake down and an proceeds to lick himself clean for the next 6 hours:

I better not find any hairballs, buddy.


Monday, June 27, 2011

Want cheese with that Whine?

Holy. Crap. The last few days in the Collins Household have been unbearable rough. There's been a lot of this:
General displeasure with her current life ...

A lot of this:
Oh, Lord. It's starting again ...

Oh, and some of this:
This was because we wiped her hands off ... .
Beatrice Kate's behavior has spiraled out of control and gone from teenager-like tantrums to full-day, full-blown whine fests. My sweet, precious angel child has been replaced by a dying cat; whose incessant whining and crying are enough to make your ears bleed.

Teething seems to be the main culprit, as I can just barely make out the impression of at least 2 little teeth and 2 possible impending molars.

Then, there's the return of the Phantom Fever again. Never cresting 102, it's not been severe enough to visit Dr. Calm; but not mild enough to keep Bea comfortable in her crib. For once, her ability to shun all forms of clothing  was welcome and we kept said Fever in check with a little daytime Naked Time.

Sleep has been out of the question lately, unless of course daytime naps are all one needs to get by. Bea has really been an excellent sleeper for months now; sometimes going as long as 12 or 13 hours a night. So waking up four, maybe five times a night just to check on our response time is ... tiring. I'm very thankful for a husband who has super-sonic hearing these

Eating has been a huge freaking battle bit of a challenge too. If we offer waffle, she wanted banana. Offer banana, she wanted bacon. Offer bacon and well, she just wanted milk. But offer milk and Omigosh! I! Hate! Lactose! Even her usual go-to favorites like Cheddar Bunnies and Veggie Straws, even Berries, have become a source of contention.

So, Casey and I have to band together. Stay strong. Put up a United Front against our 20-pound, teething, feverish, sleepy, hungry Baby Tyrant.

I'm not going to lie though...We may need to call in for backup. Or at the very least, offer shots of whiskey to the entire family...including the dogs:
Taxing Arnold's food bowl, again I see.


Friday, June 24, 2011

A Preemie in Disguise ...

I cannot begin to tell you how happy we are that Beatrice Kate is thriving and doing so well these days. From her sometimes mischievous little mind, to her chubby little thighs; we are so elated that she has become a poster child for NICU success.

For strangers, it's sometimes shocking to find out that Bea was a former micro-preemie; because well, she just doesn't look like it anymore.

For the most part, I've even stopped giving people the whole, "Well, she's 15 months, but really, she's sort of twelve, but she acts more like fourteen" speech. Terms like "Gestational Age" and "Corrected Age" only make an occasional appearance.

And for all of that; I am so beyond thankful.

Lately however, I've found myself facing a new public battle because of how great she's doing. She doesn't look like a preemie on the outside. But on the inside are the heart and lungs and most importantly, the immune system of a baby who was once only two pounds and required a machine to keep her lungs inflated.

That's the reason why, fifteen months later I still get freaked out when a stranger touches my child. When someone wants to hold her, and there has been no hand-washing, I get a little skiddish about passing her off ; even to family members. We watch the weather for terms like "Code Red" air quality days and she's not allowed around smoke. We still, to this day, do not feel totally comfortable taking her around large crowds; and if someone coughs or sneezes nearby, well, we high-tail it out of there.

Recently, a preemie web site posted an article about the insensitive comments NICU parents receive and the long lasting effects they cause. Seemingly harmless things like, "Oh your baby is so small" or "They need to build up an immune system anyway" are said. A. Lot. I'm sure most people think they're being helpful or are just trying to be nice but, it does more harm than good for parents of a Miracle Baby.

Yes, sometimes we are slightly OCD about hygiene but  it's strictly for the protection of my child. A child who may look like a normal, healthy baby to you, but to us, and to her doctors, she is still a little fragile. And she will remain "a little fragile" until she's older.

In the end, it comes down to one thing. It's the thing that sucks the most about prematurity: Its be a life-long condition. It's effects don't release their vice grip on our child's life the second she's discharged from the hospital. Yes, she needs to build an immune system someday but I can promise you that it doesn't need to come from your germy hands.

Trust me, she will probably get all the immune system she needs from the dog hair she licks off the floor everyday anyway.


Thursday, June 23, 2011

Dr. Jekyll/ Little Miss Hyde

Sometimes, I'm convinced that Casey and I mysteriously lucked out and created ourselves a really good baby. She rarely fusses, is patient and social, loves to give hugs and snuggles. She's quite easy-going and easily adapts to most situations we put her in. Most of the time, she is just an all-around great example of a well-behaved baby.

Notice I said: most of the time. I say  that because, well, we seem to be entering into an entire new world of random behaviors. I once saw another Mom Blogger call these days "Toddler PMS". I think it adequately describes the recent occasions when Beatrice Kate has an all-out sob session over something seemingly trivial.

For example, she and I will be driving around town and she'll happily sing to herself or play with That Baby in the child mirror. Then, in an instant, she's wailing for no other reason than she can't reach the window shade. Or, maybe she didn't want Cheddar Bunnies, she wanted Veggie Straws. Or God forbid, she wanted my car keys instead of her play set . You know, my car keys as in the ones currently being used to DRIVE THE CAR!.

We're not talking a little fuss here and there when this happens. No, no. We're talking Crocodile-Tears-Massive-Hysterics-Making-Ourselves-Sick crying. It's more than a tantrum, it's like she is truly heartbroken and just can't believe we would ever place limits on her. And when she finally gets what she wants... well, then all is right with the world and we're moving on. Duh.

I feel like I'm living with a drunk college girl. At any moment, I half expect her to say, "Mooooommmmmm, I like totallllyyy lurrrveee you. You know? It's like we'rre sisssterrrssss."

This same emotional-all-or-nothing philosophy applies to her (very direct and pointed) disobedience to the word "no". In fact, telling her "No ma'am. Leave that alone" seems to tell her, "Yes, by all means. Do as you wish." Naturally, this "I know you said no, but I'm going to do it anyway" attitude is coupled with a sweet, heart-melting smile. Or, she has an aforementioned meltdown.

As if the emotion-instability isn't enough, today, she's started crawling into my lap, act she's leaning in for a kiss and then WHAM! She slaps me right in the nose or hooks me in the lip with an impossibly-sharp baby fingernail. I know she was intentionally trying to slap me because she did it like 4,000 times this afternoon and laughed each time when I howled out in pain. Of course, as soon as I say, "No, please don't hit Mommy"; she curls up and buries herself in for a big hug.

I feel like a total sucker but good Lord she's so cute; I'm powerless! Any suggestions on how to deal with a Raging Toddler and her antics?!? Before too long, it may be me that needs to look into a helmet!