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Carine’s Blog

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  • Ew to Aah and Back again

    Posted on Thursday, January 26, 2017

    I wasn’t sure I wanted to share this story with all of cyberspace who choses to come here and scan my musings but it’s part of my life, so here it is:

    We had our carpets cleaned.   

    I know-how boring is this?  But wait, here’s the back story:

    As you know we have three pets.  One 13-1/2 year old perfectly house trained tabby (unless he gets very upset about being overwhelmed with house guests of the 4-legged kind), an almost 5 year old Chihuahua who is (for the most part) house-broken and our latest adoptee Sunshine.  She’s a year old Chihuahua-grayhound who is as adorable as they come but is still really working hard on her house-breaking skills.

    Thanks to my high school friend Sue Haley, who has rescued probably hundreds of strays, she gave me lots of good advice with moving Pepper the tabby from CA to AZ, what to do with a tiny dog who has no idea what good bathroom etiquette is and now with the long-legged lovely who also has no idea why she should use the yard when her “brother” gets an indoor toilet.  

    Steve and I decided that it was high time to get the master bedroom/master walk-in closet and the “boys’ bedroom” carpeting done.  We had already rolled up and thrown out area rugs that the 3 animals had overly anointed with the leftovers of life and smells and all the carpeting left was in the guest rooms and our suite.

    I posted on Facebook to our community page:  Please I need a suggestion for someone to come and clean our carpeting.   

    Our community is wonderful about sharing and they all sent over the name of a wonderful neighbor who had his own business in the area for 14 years.  So I made the appointment.  Not only for us, but for Adam and Sam’s master bedroom as well.   

    Remember our unplanned trip to CA at Christmas?  Well, Sunshine was so upset that she “went” all over their bedroom which caused their new rescue to join in on the rather poor behavior.

    So there we were with an appointment made for carpet cleaning!  I was doing the Gumby version of a happy dance to rid our room/closet of stains and putrid smells.

    Next on our list was to prepare for the event.  For those of you who can’t imagine what we had to do-we had to clean and prepare for the cleaning.

    Now the boys’ room we simply put their bean bags on the beds and called it ready.  Our bedroom was pretty much the same.  Just had to move a sub woofer from the floor.  Steve vacuumed both rooms.

    Then came the work.  Our master closet houses not only our clothes but our laundry sorter gizmo, Pepper’s litter box and for some unbeknownst reason-lots of bags and boxes!

    Boxes that once held stereo equipment, boxes that held phones we no longer own, gift bags that we had saved for “in case” we needed to put a gift in and these were both pretty and in good shape.  We also had bags for groceries that I never seem to remember to put in my trunk to actually use when I buy food.  Then there was a huge storage box that held, amongst other things, all the anniversary, birthday and valentine’s day cards that Steve and I had given each other and every card our kids and grandkids have given up over the course of our almost 36 years of marriage.  It also had some photo packets with negatives, 5 hot wheels and a beautiful photo of our beloved first Sunshine.   

    No kidding this was NO SMALL BOX.  I think it’s about 3×3x3 FEET.  And there was another plastic storage container of receipts from who-knows-what year in there.   

    So Steve took it all out and said, “I’ll vacuum but you have to go through those 2 boxes and see what we can rid ourselves of-maybe we can cut down to one box.”

    Yeah, right.  I did manage to part with cards from people we haven’t heard from in years and from relatives other than our kids.  It hurt, but I did it.

    We also had a LOT of shredding to do from the “receipt” container.  We had some from Y2K.

    Once our carpets were clean and everything put back in we were thrilled with the now sweet smelling rooms UNTIL we got our January cold snap.

    Sigh-it started raining, the wind howled and so did our youngest fur baby.  She absolutely hates doing her business in bad weather.

    It took 4 days before A) Pepper threw up on the area rug under the bed and over the wall-to-wall
    B) Lucky threw up on the edge of the carpet and border of ugly bamboo C)Sunshine got spooked and both did #2 by the carpet by the door going out to the patio and did #1 in the closet right by the litter box.

    You can’t see me, but I’m shaking my head and re-signing myself to the fact that I’m first and foremost a parent and parents need to realize that their kids (no matter how many feet they have) will have accidents and I will always be needing to clean up after those mishaps.

    Still we love them all and wouldn’t trade them for all the new carpeting in the world.  We‘re a tad nuts.


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  • Rain, Rain

    Posted on Thursday, January 19, 2017

    I’ve never made any “bones” about my less than positive love for bad weather.  Rain, wind, low temps make me achy.  So the last few weeks of gray skies, wet grounds and windy/cold air have left me rather grumpy.

    I moved from sunny California to even sunnier Arizona to have more sun and way less cold.  Both states seem to have way less rain than the rest of the USA-but when we get it, we really GET IT!

    Today is about the 6th day of wet weather in the last two weeks.  Sunshine hates the weather-it frightens her and she is the poster pup for not wanting to do her business outside when it is anything but picture perfect outside.

    My neighbor and I have actually cancelled 3 walks due to the rather moist weather.  Adam persevered on a walk this morning with his pups.  BRRRR!  When I left to take the grands to a doctors appointment at 9:15 it was a mere 47 and very heavy sprinkles.  Plus, I had to cancel the exterminator’s visit because, really, what would be the point?

    Call me a bad grandma, but once the doctor’s appointment was over I took the boys home for the rest of the morning and afternoon.  After all, I’d be the one having to go back out in that cold and rain to pick them up a mere 2 hours after dropping them off!  My best reasoning:  Save the 10 miles of driving, the wait of 25 minutes in the car and the fun of having wet kids in the said car.  I’d much rather bring them home, watch over homework and make a cup of hot chocolate for them.

    I didn’t actually here much of a complaint either.  Both boys would have missed their lunch time, no recess because of rain and the remainder of the day would’ve been in music class.  

    Now I’m a big fan of  choir, art and exercise but I’m NOT a fan of driving in bad weather and wasting gas.  And did I mention I ache EVERYWHERE????

    Even my “less affected” joints are burning at the moment.

    Tomorrow will be a whole new day-presumeably with the same temperatures and wetness in the air.  My neighbor and I are hoping to get the dogs (and ourselves) out for a good walk, crossing our fingers on this point.   

    One major positive:  I have one last birthday massage which I’m going to use tomorrow afternoon.  Plus I received a coupon for an addition of extra hand and foot care at the same time.   

    I’m going to enjoy the heated table, the warm massage oils and the kneading.  If nothing else, I will enjoy the diversion from the gray day.


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  • The Art of the Grocery Deal

    Posted on Thursday, January 12, 2017

    I’m sure I’ve written about my skills as a food shopper before-even that Steve and I were able to tell the extreme couponers in a class some tips they had no ideas about using.

    This week Steve and I were so very proud of ourselves.   

    It started with the weekly issue of the newspaper that carries the food ads.  We had to pare down our paper delivery when we moved out here to Arizona-couldn’t afford the 7-day cost of the only major newspaper in the state.

    In Orange County, California there were 2:  The Register and the Times.  Here there’s only the Republic.  There are two weekly ones that put in stories for some of the communities, but they‘re free on every stand in the markets and restaurants.

    I’m digressing-back to our shopping skills.

    Steve and I are VERY big produce consumers.  Sprout’s is our favorite place to go, but the closest one is 22 miles away-so we only go there when we are also going to buy pet food at the PetSmart about 3 miles from that market.

    One of our local markets had blueberries and vine ripened tomatoes at quite the price and since we had time to kill while waiting for Aidan to get out of tutoring after school, we took Dylan to the market to make the pick up of the two items (we had enough greens, squash, etc for the time being).   

    What we love about this market is that besides the weekly specials and the points for gas discounts is that they have a section of “weekly specials“. We got a blender for $6, Israeli couscous for 75% off and lots of other goodies.

    This week though-we hit the jackpot of discounts!!!  Yes-the clearance section had at least 3 dozen boxes of green mountain coffee holiday flavored k-cups on the shelves!!!  $1.99 for a box of 12!

    Can I hear a woot, woot????

    We took 22 (no sense being selfish and having people stare).  Toasted Marshmallow Mocha, Wicked Winter, Cinnamon Sugar cookie and a couple of other flavors!  All were normally $6.99!  We were saving $5 a box!!!

    But wait, there’s more!  I backed up to see the tip-top shelf and saw both Charmin and Northern toilet paper sitting up there!  Yes!  Steve went to the TP aisle and took a look at the regular price-$18.99 for the Charmin.  They had it discounted to $7.49.  We took both.  And the Northern triple roll package was marked down from $15 to $4.99.

    We also go through a lot of mustard around here and there was some that was good until May, 2018 so we got those for 50 cents instead of $2.49.

    So we are now set-berries for breakfast, tomatoes to go on our salads for dinner and coffee to have for breakfast and lots of TP for, well, you know.

    Our total savings on this hall was well over $125.  Plus, since Steve has a thing for storing water we are more than sure we can make the coffee.

    Please don’t ask what our storage/guest room looks like, let’s just say we‘re prepared as well as any survivalist.  Steve also wiped out the clearance aisle a couple of months ago of the special Italian premium pastas for 50 cents each after Italian month was over.  About 6 months ago, after Spanish foods month we secured the clearance aisle of 8 bottles of Extra Virgin 1st Press Olive Oil.  Okay, we shared with the kids.

    As you can see we are experts on the use and art of the grocery market deals.  We also use an abundance of coupons on just about everything.  Last year (I track all of our savings) we saved nearly six thousand dollars on our non-perishables!  Including haircuts and entertainment.

    Have a question on how to make your dollars stretch like Mike TV in Willie Wonka?  I’m all for sharing how we make ends meet in the tastiest of ways.


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  • I Really, Really Love My Pets

    Posted on Thursday, January 5, 2017

    I really, really love our pets.  I must because I am a nut case about making sure I do all I can, all the time.

    In all our 35+ years of marriage Steve and I have rescued our beloved pets.  Yep.  Snowy, our “first” baby was found in the garage of the apartment complex we lived in (it was “no pets“).  We didn’t know it at that moment, but our snow white kitten was almost dead from starvation, being separated from her mom and living in a garage.

    We had her 13 years.  In that 13 years we went through:  3 living room carpets, 2 sofas and 3 chairs.  No, it wasn’t from scratching.  Poor dear had a severe thyroid problem and it kept her from understanding litter box etiquette during her “bad level” days.  But she was cuddling, adored Sarah and loved all of us.  Besides, we were her parents-no matter what.

    Our first Lucky came to us with “puppy paw disease“, which we found out by age 8 months was hip dysplasia (part German Shepherd).  We almost lost her both through that surgery and being spayed.  She seemed to be prone to post surgical infections.  Otherwise, we loved that girl for 13-1/2 years.  

    Next came Sunshine #1.  We rescued her at age 1 and she was the “dog we wished we could clone“.  Only thing that ever happened during our bless 14-1/2 years together was that she seemed to love eating peaches off of our peach tree-pits and all.  Let’s just say it was a $400 stomachache!

    Both our first two dogs had dementia later in life, lost their sight and hearing and then their ability to know exactly where their bathroom was-but they were ours and we loved them even after they had to leave us.

    Pepper came to us with slightly deformed front paws, but it’s never bothered him or us.  We did pay a fortune to have 6 teeth pulled, but he’s worth it.  Even now at 13-1/2 he’s just our little love bug.

    Enter Lucky and Sunshine.  We had never had small dogs-so we had no idea that they were stubborn creatures who take forever to house train.  Both were rescued at about one year of age.

    I stood outside cheering Lucky on for a year and cleaned up messes galore-frustrating, but I kept up a “potty” dance that probably had many neighbors wondering about my sanity.  Unless they also had tiny pups.

    Then Steve rolled up 2 of 3 throw rugs in the house and thoroughly disinfected the areas beneath.  I went outside with Lucky and was in the middle of yet another performance of “yeah for the potty” when I swear to you all-she looked at me with a look that said, “Wait a darn minute here-you want me to go potty out here, right?  Well why on earth didn’t you say so???”

    Never had another accident UNTIL Sunshine came home with us on August 23!

    We have now removed the dining room throw rug.  My wonderful friend Sue H (she is a professional cat rescue person and has dog rescues) gave me a long list of things I needed to change and things to do.

    Steve said he was just getting rid of the carpet and removed the padding he had glued down (damn-I was hoping this was my ticket to getting rid of that awful bamboo!), followed by another round of disinfecting the area.  We have “food bowls” and toys spread throughout the areas and I have upped both my voice and my “potty” dance performances.

    We also  bought a Thunder shirt (anxiety issues from that storm and continuing rain days) and give loads of training treats for any kind of “business” done outdoors.

    After 2 whole days of success we were thrilled.  Then last night we took the girls out for their final job of the day.  Lucky went.  Sunshine didn’t.  We kept encouraging her in our squeally voices for about 10 minutes.   

    Steve said, “Let’s just go in and I’ll take her out before I go to bed in an hour.”

    Fine by me, it was 42 degrees out there and I was characteristically stiff as a board in every joint.

    Took off Lucky’s fleece jacket, took off Sunshine’s Thunder shirt, brushed my teeth, I used the indoor facilities and then, I SMELLED SOMETHING ALL TOO FAMILIAR!

    I walk into the bedroom and there it was:  Lake Sunshine with a side of manure.

    Sigh.  I was proud of myself-I did exactly what Sue said: didn’t get mad, didn’t yell, just calmly went about cleaning up the mess and ignoring the fact that she was shaking like a leaf with tears in her eyes.

    How can I yell at a baby who so clearly was embarrassed and scared about her accident?

    Any of you who can’t relate to our love for her and her need for that unconditional love have no idea how deep any parents love really runs.


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