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.

Anywhoozle.

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.

Pre-Lumpectomy

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.

Wednesday, September 24, 2014

Japan Prep: Taking the boys to the vet.


Importing pets to Japan is no joke, y’all.
Being an island nation, Japan is understandably very protective of what goes in and our of it’s borders - one stray germ or invasive species could mean the destruction of their entire eco-system.  (Good on them to learn from the mistakes of others.)  

Getting Mac and Bub to Japan is going to take a bit of preparation.  Specifically, bloodwork and vaccinations.  Because doesn’t everyone love getting stuck with a bunch of needles?  (spoiler alert: Bubba does not love that. At all.)

About a month ago, our pet-moving specialist (seriously, click the link - they had me write an article for them!) advised me it was time to start the process so they would be ready to move by the new year.  I always try to book their appointments together, both because they keep each other calm… and because it’s easier to just stuff them both in the car and get it over with all at once like ripping off a bandaid.  It all started well.

So far so good.
Mac was first, and of course, Mac was his usual charming self.   Though they poked and prodded him bunches, they also gave him cookies, so he was a well-behaved gentleman and gave all the vet techs kisses.  His portion took an hour, and all that tuckered him out, so he took a nap for Bub’s portion.

When the tech turned to pet Bubba and pick him up for his turn, and apparently Bubba did not like what he had seen during Mac’s exam; he hissed at her.

Mac was very concerned about the sounds,
he felt we needed to go rescue Bubs.
Let me clarify; Bubba doesn’t really hiss all that much.  So this was not something I was expecting by any means, and as the vet tech gently shushed Bub and picked him up to take him in the back, all I could say was “I’m really sorry.  I don’t know what came over him, but I feel compelled to apologize for what I’m afraid is going to be him as a fuzzy little super-jerk.

She laughed, but as soon as she walked into the back Bubba started screaming.  Not meowing, screaming.  The kind of noise where you’re sure they’re torturing him with ultimate suffering* , even though I can assure you that the door hadn’t even finished swinging shut - they hadn’t poked or prodded anything yet.  It was not pain, it was just angry cat.  And the sound kept going. Long and loud enough that I could hear people in the waiting room asking if that creature (yeah, they couldn’t even tell it was a cat specifically) was going to be alright.  Bubba kept going until, sweet as pie, our vet popped her head into our exam room to lightly quip “we’re just going to give him a *touch* of gas to calm him down and let us keep our fingers”**

Whereupon I got to listen to Bubba’s scream go from scream, to muffled scream as they put the little mask thing over his face, to a much slower and deeper version of the scream sound as he got all loosey-goosey, and finally, he quieted down.  They were able to get what they needed from him, and then they brought me back a bobble-head cat. 

If he had an inner monologue at that point, I’m 100% certain it would have been similar to David after Dentist. 
He was, in fact, just fine, and continues to be fine.


Pets must be vaccinated and then have 6 months to “marinade” in those vaccines before transport, so now we’re just playing a waiting game for them until 2015.

Have you had any crazy vet adventures with your pet(s)?  
Tell me in the comments!

*He really did sound very similar to that link.
** This still flabbergasts me.  Bubba is usually the cat who gets vet techs to coo over how well behaved he is.
Is this real life?

Wednesday, September 17, 2014

Winter is Coming.

They (who is this "they?"  I’d like to write them a mean letter.) say that there’s another round of Polar Vortex coming around in late September this year.  Which means snow.  IN SEPTEMBER.  I sincerely hope that they’re wrong, but I am silently gearing up for another Michigan winter.  Which in theory will be my last Michigan winter for the next few years.  Can’t say I’m too disappointed about that idea (how are winters in Japan? my sources say that they get some snow but nothing like our crazy “make sure there’s a tennis ball on your car antennae so the plow knows there’s a vehicle under all that snow” kind of snow.)



It is times like these, where I brace myself for shorter days and colder weather, that I find myself reflecting on winters past.  In this post in particular, I’d like to reflect a bit on that one time last year where I was 3 hours late to work because I am incapable of being a reasonable human being when there’s too much snow.  Would you like to hear this story?  I think you would.

At the very beginning of 2014, Michigan found ourselves whalloped with soo much snow that it truly felt a bit like being Mario and taking a THWHOMP to the head.  We had a few snow days in a row, and when I say snow days, I mean like even the universities in the are closed, and if you’re not from a place that does snow days, you should know that’s when a college calls off class, you know the weather is a big flipping deal that day.  Anyway the point is, the preschool was super closed.

The day we the world started turning again and Michiganders were all supposed to brave the elements, was also the first day The Mister or I had put any thought into the snow on the driveway.  I will be the first to admit that I am lazy(-ier) in the winter, and so generally throughout the winter, the bottom of our driveway becomes a giant piece of ice, because once I’ve already gone through the trouble of shoveling the whole stupid drive, I am too tired to then chip away at the small chunk of ice that always accumulates at the end from the plows going by.  So that ice grows, obviously.  By the time our “go back to land of living” day came around, it was at least a foot of ice between the world and the driveway underneath.

So on that day, I got ready to go to work, put on my winter boots (I love that point of every Michigan winter where people stop bothering to even bring along nice shoes to work and just wear their winter snow boots with their professional clothing all darn day), and trudged outside.  I got the car started, so that was a win (cold can sometimes kill a car’s ignition), and backed down the driveway.
I then got stuck half in and half out of the driveway on the ice/snow/plow combo.

Not a problem.  If you live in Michigan and know how winter works, you keep a shovel in the back of your car at all times for just such an occasion.  SO I got out of the car to try and shovel out a path for the tires.  Except that I also forgot, since the car was not moving, and since I had not had any coffee yet, that I left the car in drive.

I realized that the car automatically locks when the doors shut if it's in drive... a millisecond after closing the door to keep the heat in while I shoveled, and then immediately started to freak out that the car will somehow gain purchase and magically drive up the driveway and into our house while I was locked out of both the car and the house.  And when I say freaked out, I mean full on meltdown in the middle of the damn street.


I managed to pull myself together well enough to realize my phone was in my pocket, and I calmed down to call for help.  Only to find that so many people had been boneheads in this snowpocalypse that tow trucks aren't responding to anything but 911 calls to keep from getting overwhelmed.  

...What else could I do?  The car’s tires were still, thankfully, mercifully, just going round and round in place on the ice, half in the road but at least not moving anywhere.

I decided to trudge through the 2+ feet of snow, over the fence and dig down to the ground to grab the hide-a-key in the backyard.  Did I mention that I may have thought to wear winter boots that day, but I had paired the look with a sweater dress and leggings?  That fashion statement goes really well with two feet of snow. (Oh hi Sarcasm, what’s up?)  

That hide-a-key I dug up out of the garden? Frozen shut.  Of course, I go back to freak out mode then.  Trying and failing not to cry as I called 911 for essentially being a giant idiot.  I would imagine, based on the voice at the other end of the line, that I was certainly not the first person that day to call the emergency line for something insanely stupid.  However, stupid getting locked out of a car in drive is… I did at least qualify as an actual emergency.  An officer was dispatched to my location as soon as he was available from the previous stupid people being stupid in the snow call.



In the meantime, I stood outside in the cold for an hour.  Let me be clear that I definitely earned that wait.  My legs disagreed at the time, but really I wasn’t missing a limb or anything so I had no right to complain.  

After all that, once the officer arrived on the scene, he was the kindest and most patient person I could have asked for in the situation.  He poured out his fresh hot coffee over our hide-a-key so I could get into it, then get into the house, and get a coat hanger.  He used that coat hanger to spend his whole morning picking my car lock, and THEN once he actually got me into the car so I could put it in neutral, he wasted another half hour chipping away the ice at the end of my driveway and pushing me out of it.

Moral of the story:
  1. Never make fun of a cop getting breakfast at Dunkin’ Doughnuts.  That coffee he’s having with his glazed jelly is could come in super handy. (not that I made fun of cops before)
  2. Don’t wear a dress to work if there’s more snow on the ground than your boots are tall.
  3. Chip the ice.  If you don’t want to chip ice, move out of Michigan.
  4. Hey Mister, did you buy our plane tickets out of here yet?
What’s your worst winter story?  
Ever get stuck somewhere and needed to call for help?  
Have you ever needed to call 911 for something stupid?  Tell me in the comments!
I feel like weathering Winter would be more way more reasonable 
while hanging out in a hot spring with Japanese Macaques. 

Wednesday, September 10, 2014

I tried.

So that maybe was a mistake?  I need a different tactic.
I mentioned I was going to switch to TUMBLR, thinking it would keep me hip and make it easier to keep up regular content.  Turns out it just made it easier for me to reblog other people's stuff and procrastinate on putting out my own.  Boo.

New plan: I shall continue blogging here and then cross post them on tumblr.  So if you're on tumblr and you'd like to follow me there - no worries, we'll keep this happening.  And if you're on blogger and you somehow have stuck with me during this 3 month trial phase where I crashed and burned, well... thanks?

I've got a few things backlogged to post in the coming weeks - Here on out, I'm going to shoot for one original post a week and then on tumblr I shall do the usual reblogging stuff of other people's creativity.  So stay tuned if you dare.  Here's some sketchbook doodles to make up for lost time!

I continue to practice my Japanese.  
One day I hope to be trilingual in multiple phrases instead of just my ability to demand pizza.

Bacon and I are in a constant struggle.  I want to eat you bacon, why are you so hard to not burn?!

One time I tried a workout I found online using my husbands exercise resistance bands.  
It... ended poorly.  
(My foot still has a little bruise on the side where it got thwapped.)


And meanwhile, The Mister has officially joined the Navy!  
Super proud is not a strong enough phrase.  He asked for some Navy-inspired designs 
(I shall one day make these into stickers for him)
Fun fact: new Navy people are referred to as "baby squids"


He preferred the more many representation of his Naval Officer status.  I guess I can't blame him.

What have you been up to world?  tell me in the comments!

Wednesday, May 14, 2014

The yard sale to end all yard sales



Alright y'all, I made the switch to tumblr.  You can check that out [here].  After a few more posts I won't be cross-posting any longer. :)
Big things coming down the pipeline here at team McD headquarters.  Namely, we are moving.
Meanwhile, We have nice things. We don’t want our nice things to get stuffed into boxes (AGAIN). So we’re re-homing those nice things. Thus, I have half a garage full of stuff to sell at our Epic Yard Sale this weekend.  We priced everything CHEAP CHEAP because we want them all to find nice homes… aka I don’t want to put things in boxes (AGAIN).
Of course for me, much of the fun of a garage sale is the advertising and hype.  I had fun today putting together some of the push-images for the Facebook vent, hyping some of the more notable items that will be up for grabs this Saturday.
Wanna see some of those?  Yes of course you do.
I went with a meme theme.  Because why not?
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Have you held a garage/ yard sale?  How did it go?  Wish me luck!