Friday, July 24, 2009
Sam, a 3 time winner of the World's Ugliest Dog 2003-2005, a Chinese Crested (now deceased)
Pee Wee, 2006's World's Ugliest Dog, a Chinese Crested and Japanese Chin mix
Elwood, 2007's World's Ugliest Dog, a Chinese Crested and Chihuahua mix
Gus, 2008's World's Ugliest Dog, a Chinese Crested
Pabst, 2009's World's Ugliest Dog, a Boxer mix. I don't think Pabst is so bad looking.
Let me preface this story by telling you about a private joke between Stan and I. One day, when he was picking on me a little, we saw a sign "Baby Talking Parrots For Sale" and I told him I needed to buy one. He asked why I wanted one and I said it would be his to teach how to talk so when he died I would have something to remind me of him. "You're wrong! Wrong! Wrong! Wrong! You are always wrong! Everything you do is wrong!" We died laughing about it! And, now, when we're being picky we mimic the parrot talk to each other and laugh.
Now to yesterday's story...Wednesday night I got a call from a woman with a dog rescue organization. She had spoken for 6 dogs at the Greenville, SC Animal Shelter and needed a transport from Greenville to a vet in Mt. Holly, NC (just short of Charlotte). She had a transport arranged but the person never showed or called so she was really in a lurch (she lives "a pretty fur piece" from Greenville, SC). She had called one of my sisters who couldn't make the run but she gave this lady my number. I couldn't say no when the need was so great. Besides, all of the transports I've done have been pretty straight forward with no big problems. The worst one was a dog that was in such bad shape that it smelled horrible and we had to drive with the windows down and our heads stuck out. So I told her I would take the whole run. It was just 40 mins to Greenville and 40 mins back and then 45 mins to Mt Holly and 45 mins back. Besides, there are some shops in Charlotte I love to shop at and I could combine the trip with some shopping. Then she told me it was a Mastiff puppy, small Dalmation, and 4 small dogs from a Hoarding bust. Six dogs with 2 being larger would fill my Trailblazer to the limit but I still thought I was good to go. Mastiff puppy should be no bigger than a small Lab right?
So I got ready Thursday morning and stopped at Elaine's to get 1 more large crate (the biggest one you can get) and 2 smaller crates....I had a collapsible big crate and 2 smaller crates of my own. I had small dog leashes since the biggest dog should be about 40 lbs. My brother-in-law put the crate together with double plastic tie wraps and a bungie cord to secure the door. I got to Greenville to picked up the dogs. There I was confronted with "Gigantor" (my name for him), the Mastiff "puppy". He was underweight and showing his ribs but he must have weighed 100 lbs! Thankfully, he fit in the crate. The Dalmation and the other dogs were normal so I was still good to go. As soon as the car started down the road, the Chihuahua named Goose, started caterwauling..."Error, Error, Error, Error!" He did this all the way from Greenville to the gas station where I was suppose to get gas and meet my mother. Now I know why he was named "Goose", he sounded like one...CONSTANTLY!
OK, this is NOT me and Gigantor was not this big, but, honestly, at the time, it sure felt like it!!!!!
We don't like to make transports or home visits alone and Mom was the only one available to go with me. She had a doctor's appt earlier so couldn't go to Greenville but she would ride to Charlotte with me. Halfway to our meeting place, I started laughing hysterically because I got what the dog was saying..."Error, Error," i.e., "You're wrong, Wrong! Wrong! Wrong! You are always wrong! Everything you do is wrong!" I called Stan at work and told him to forget the talking parrot, I had a dog that would remind me of him!!!!
We made it safely to the gas station and I started filling up the gas tank. The Trailblazer's back windows are tinted opaque. I noticed the car bouncing but I couldn't see inside so I just assumed the Mastiff was changing positions. I went inside to the restroom and when I came back outside there was the MASTIFF SITTING IN THE DRIVER'S SEAT! Mom helped me get the small dog leash on him (which would never stop him if he decided to walk in the opposite direction!) and we wrestled him back to the rear of the car. Believe me it was like walking a baby elephant to the back of the car and coaxing him into a dog crate in the back! Oh my back and arms!!!! But we had adrenaline running because I was in a panic. What if I lost control of him and he got in all the traffic!?!
Once I got him back in, I told Mom to hurry and slam the tailgate and I would get the car started and maybe he would settle down in the crate again. But by the time we slammed the tailgate and I got to the driver's door, he had popped the crate like an egg and was sitting in the passenger seat waiting for me. Meanwhile, on his way to the front he had stepped on the Dalmation's collapsible crate collapsing it on him and tossed the small dog crates around. He seemed to be a gentle giant and docile so I had no choice but to let him sit in the passenger side while we drove to Mt Holly. But I couldn't eat my sandwich because, what Gigantor wants, Gigantor gets! Mom did give me my tea but I only got to drink half of it before he slobbered on it and I could have no more! I could only pray that my sugar didn't drop while I'm driving 70 mph down the Interstate. And in the back, the little prophet is still barking, "Error, Error, Error, Error".
Mom followed me to make sure if something happened to me someone from the family would be there. For a moment I questioned myself, "Did you shave your legs? Have you got on good underwear?" Check, check. So I was good to go. Heaven forbid I should have a car accident with stubbly legs and my worst pair of drawers!
Gigantor decided he really wanted to ride in my lap but there is just not enough room for the both of us behind the wheel so I was having to manhandle him the whole way.
His drooling and fur was becoming a problem and I could hear Stan now about the condition of the car when I got home, "Error, Error, Error, Error". Oh no, that was the dog in the back seat! So I rolled the window halfway down so he could stick his head out the window. Maybe that would get rid of some of the slobber and occupy him. He stuck his head outside and, sure enough, slobber was slung all over the back windows. He liked it so much that he decided to climb out of the window and ride on the hood! I was doing 70mph trying to grab the little dog leash on him to haul him back in the car before he broke the side view mirror and fell out of the car. At this point, I was NOT slowing down! I was getting to Mt Holly in the fastest amount of time allowable under law!
I had set my GPS to the Vet address but was having a hard time hearing her directions because of the rolled down window and the little prophet of doom in the back, "Error, Error, Error, Error". So I held it in my lap. But Gigantor tried to get in my lap again and put his huge paw right on my leg and I just knew he was going to crush the GPS and I would be stuck with Gigantor forever! I grabbed his foreleg and tugged to move him back and it stayed there. With all my might I couldn't lift his leg! (Not that I had a lot of "might") My adrenaline was running out and I still had Gigantor in the car. I knew my sugar was getting on the edge. It just couldn't drop while I was driving. I mean, I was distracted ENOUGH already! "Error, Error, Error, Error".
We did make it to the Vet and as I opened my door, Gigantor got excited and wanted out FIRST! I slid out just in time and did a spread eagle to hold him in and hollered to Mom to get me some help. The female Vet came out with a leash and easily got Gigantor. She didn't seem to have any problems with Himself. But, then I hadn't had any problems with him either. He truly was a gentle giant, just too big and what Gigantor wants, Gigantor gets. He was very sweet but just too big to control if he wanted something opposite of what you wanted. Anyway, Mom and I got the crates of dogs inside and got the poor Dalmation out from under the collapsed crate (he was fine). It was then that I saw that Gigantor had popped all those tie wraps and the bungie cord.
I walked inside the Vet and the Vet told me that she couldn't keep all the animals because they simply didn't have the room! Oh no! I called the dog rescue organization and she was frantically trying to find someone to meet me and take control of the dogs. But she hadn't been able to get anyone yet, could I wait there for awhile. As I hung up my sugar finally dropped and in seconds I was almost fainting. The Vet got me a Coke and Mom ran out to the car to get the sandwiches. Timing couldn't have been more perfect.
While we munched on sandwiches a policeman came in and said no one should leave the building because a 300 lb BEAR was roaming around the building! (We're nearly in Charlotte, NC for goodness sakes). I suggested we send Gigantor out to make friends with the bear but they just laughed at me. The Vet staff rounded up all the dogs in the outside kennels (including Gigantor and the Dalmation) and brought them inside which meant they REALLY had no room for the 4 little ones that I had brought in. So I made an executive decision...I told them to keep the crates, I was going home and I would just buy new crates if I had to. The dog rescue organization told me she would get the crates back to me in a few days and I'm sure she will, but I was just too tired to care by that time. I said a silent final farewell to Gigantor, Goose and the others and left. Shopping was out of the question so we made it safely home. I was in bed by 6:00pm.
So he was a young English Mastiff, but I wouldn't say a PUP!
Other English Mastiffs
(For size comparison)
Tuesday, July 21, 2009
Monday, July 20, 2009
We bring the mail in. Usually it ends up on the kitchen counter and I'm always having to gather it up before I cook and take it to the study and put it on the desk until I can get around to it.
No more! I'm going to get a handle on the mail! I have these wonderful vintage wire baskets. Today I labeled them. I instructed my husband to bring the mail in and put it in the "Mail In" basket and his receipts go in the "Scan" basket. I also have a basket labeled for "Bills" and the last one is labeled "File".
I have my shredder and waste basket handy and you should too. Have a central place to catch your mail. Then go through it at least once a week. This is my routine:
* Shred junk that has personal info on it
* Throw away or Recycle junk that isn't sensitive.
* Make stacks (for me, it's a stack for filing genealogy, receipts, statements, bills, To Do, etc)
* I download my transactions to my Quicken financial software and then I reconcile my bank and loan/credit card statements.
* Now I pay my bills and make any Date Pd/Confirmation notations on the actual bills/invoices/statements.
* I'm trying to scan this year so I can go "paperless". So I'm scanning in all receipts, statements, bills, etc I have set up some organizing folders on my hard drive and store these electronically instead of filing hardcopy paper in a filing cabinet. So now I scan all everything in my computer and save them in the folders on my hard drive. I will make a copy on disk at the end of the year.
* Then I attach the scans to the transactions in my Quicken.
* Now I shred all the paper that I scanned. Oooohhhh, this is the hard part! I was taught to save all documentation and keep it filed and easy to find. But I have to tell myself that I have it saved and organized, just electronically and it can be re-printed if I need it so I'm making myself throw it away.
Here are some photos of mail organizers that I found with a Google image search. You need a routine for sorting your mail. You may just need an "In" and "Out" spot or maybe you need baskets for each person in your household, etc.
The first one is a cute handmade pocket hanger!
This old shutter is re-used for mail!
Taking this old piece of furniture, this person painted it and re-vamped it as a way station. Keeping your keys, purse, phones, stamps, mail, change, all in one place and the doors close so it doesn't look cluttered.
Using a vintage bird cage to corral your mail is a good idea.
This person used a pot lid wall rack to organize their mail.
This idea gives a new use for old vinyl records.
For more on organizing your home office check out these posts: http://sharonscrapbook.blogspot.com/2010/03/filing-system-for-home-offices.html
Here are some things to keep in mind while you are trying to clean, organize and rebuild your closets:
1) A closet is a cabinet, enclosed recess, or small room, for linens, household supplies, or clothing. As much as we might need vast spaces for storage...most of us don't have it. There is a limit to the amount of space in a closet. You can wring every square inch out of it, but there will come an end to it's ability to hold stuff. So the biggest tip I could give you is to cull out and purge! Only keep what you use on a regular basis, or just can't give away. I'm an amateur genealogist and scrapbooker and our close family is very important to me. I have become a sort of repository of family things and sentimental things. One day, my dream is to have a large room that could be used as a sort of family museum. But, who knows when or if that will be. These are things I can't part with.
There is no need to have a closet that is so full of clothes that you can't pack another thing into it. You simply can't wear that many clothes even within a year. Back in the old days you usually had a couple of every day outfits and one Sunday-Go-To-Meeting outfit. You could store your clothes on a couple of pegs. You used aprons, sleeve protectors, paper collars and cuffs to keep your clothes clean and wearable longer. But slowly we got more disposable income and it was easier to own clothes (you didn't have to grow the cotton, spin the cotton, weave the cotton, sew the cotton to make a single shirt). But when I was a little girl, we would have about 5 dresses and 5 school outfits and a couple of play clothes with about 3-4 pairs of shoes. It wasn't until I was in high school during the mid 1970's that everything exploded and you were under pressure to have tons of clothes and keep up with fashions that changed every month or so.
As you go through your clothes, ask yourself these questions:
* Is this out of style and you won't be wearing it any more?
* Is this comfortable to wear? If it's uncomfortable then I probably won't wear it after all.
* Can I fit into this or have I gained or lost enough weight that I can't fit into it any more?
* Is it too worn? Does it have holes, pulled seams, pills, missing buttons, faded? If you haven't repaired it by now, you won't. My husband keeps saying he needs these old clothes to work in the yard, paint, etc. But I ask him how many sets of "work clothes" does one person need? You don't need but a couple of pairs so why are you saving 50 old Tshirts?
* Why are you hanging on to this? Does it represent money (invested) to you? "I paid $50 for this, I can't just get rid of it." No matter how much you pay for clothes, there will come a time that you will no longer wear it and you need to get rid of it. Maybe you should learn a lesson...DON'T buy clothes that you can't afford to discard when you no longer wear them. DON'T spend money on clothes that you can't afford to lose because clothes are not going to last forever. DON'T fill your closet with too many clothes because it's a waste of money.
Bite the bullet and be ruthless. Cut out anything that you haven't worn, is uncomfortable, out of style or is past it's prime.
Purge out all your other closets too. You don't need old torn sheets, towels with holes in them, bottles of used shampoo that you didn't like, etc. Be ready and willing to throw out. Use it or lose it! This frees valuable space for you to keep organized.
2) If you have the room, organize your closets into zones. For instance I have one closet for linens so when I need pillows, mattress pads, sheets, blankets, etc. My husband and I know right where to go. It's all in one place. Here is my linen closet. It's not Martha Stewart beautiful but it's clean, neat, organized:
I have another closet that is just for seasonal decorations including Christmas. Each season is within it's own plastic boxes, clearly labeled. Here is my decorations closet:
You can even organize zones within one closet. For instance put all your toiletries in one area of your bathroom linen closet, your towels on another shelf, your back up toilet paper in another place, etc. Keeping like things together. You want your closets and cabinets to be efficient so that you can stand in one place and pick out the things you need. I don't store my fingernail clippers in the bathroom drawer and all the nail polish in the bathroom linen closet and the electrical buffer in the hall bathroom. I have all my fingernail stuff together in one place so that I make one trip. It's efficient, easy to remember, easy to find, easy to maintain.
Here is my hall closet with our coats, totes, gloves, hats, dog outdoor gear like leashes, harnesses, coats:
3) Keep your closets and cabinets attractive. If you empty them, that's a good time to clean them, paint or wallpaper them. Line them, even edge them with pretty lace or lace paper. Use attractive containers or matching containers. If you repaint, use semigloss paint so that you can easily wipe down the walls and baseboards. It makes all the difference in the world! Flat paint takes shoe marks, scratches, grime and you can't wipe it down and clean it. So, if you don't like to repaint your closets every year or two then paint it with semigloss.
4) Get rid of the wire hangers and buy some good hangers. It really makes a difference.
5) Maintain. It will be a waste of time and money to clean out your closets and cabinets and organize them if you don't intend to maintain them. Teach your children to put things back where they found them. Teaching is a repetitive process. You have to teach them over and over again so don't give up! Keep it up. One of the ways to teach them is to include them in the cleaning, reorganizing and painting of the closets. This helps them to be invested in keeping it up. If they can't keep their clothes on hangers in their closet then maybe it's time to remove some of their clothes from the equation. Taking away clothes and giving them away or saving them in a hidden place until they earn them back may be a way to teach them. If they can't handle 50 clothes maybe they can handle 25, or 10.
Matthew 25:14-30 For it is as if a man going abroad called his own servants and gave them his goods. And to one he gave five talents, to another two, and to another one; to each according to his ability. And he went abroad at once. And going he who had received the five talents traded with them, and made another five talents. And likewise he who had received two, he also gained another two. But he who had received the one talent went and dug in the earth and hid his lord's silver. After a long time the lord of those servants came and took account with them. And so he who had received five talents came and brought another five talents, saying, Lord, you delivered five talents to me. Behold, I have gained five talents above them. His lord said to him, Well done, good and faithful servant! You have been faithful over a few things; I will make you ruler over many things. Enter into the joy of your lord. He also who had received two talents came and said, Lord, you delivered two talents to me. Behold, I have gained two other talents above them. His lord said to him, Well done, good and faithful servant! You have been faithful over a few things, I will make you ruler over many things. Enter into the joy of your lord. And he who had received the one talent came and said, Lord, I knew that you were a hard man, reaping where you did not sow, and gathering where you did not scatter. And I was afraid and went and hid your talent in the earth. Lo, you have yours. His lord answered and said to him, Evil and slothful servant! You knew that I reaped where I did not sow, and gathered where I did not scatter, then you should have put my money to the exchangers, and coming I would have received my own with interest. Therefore take the talent from him and give it to him who has ten talents. For to everyone who has, more shall be given, and he will abound. But from him who has not, even that which he has shall be taken away from him. And throw the unprofitable servant into outer darkness; there shall be weeping and gnashing of teeth.
This parable is essentially about how we should use the talents, opportunities, health, money, energy, time wisely in the kingdom of God. But we can also apply it to our everyday life. If God has blessed us with something, then we should be a good steward and do our best with what He has blessed us with. And, as parents, it is our responsibility to teach our children how to be grateful and good stewards of the blessings they have been given. If we are ungrateful, whining, complaining, and destructive with the blessings that God has given us, we don't deserve another blessing! Thank God, He is not a human being and He is grace filled and merciful despite our sins. But, that doesn't mean that He will continue to pour out blessings only to have them abused and used for ungodly purposes and recieved with an ungrateful, complaining attitudes. I don't know about you, but I don't want myself or my loved ones to do without because they can't be trusted with the little things that God has given us. If God gives us a starter car (mine was a 10 yr old 1967 Ford Falcon with no air conditioning) and we don't ever clean it, we never maintain it, we drive it to ungodly places (bars, make out points, to buy drugs, etc), we complain because it's not a brand new sports car, we whine because it's not big enough...do you really think that God wants to bless us with something better!?! Why would He give us something better? If we have 4 closets and we can't keep those closets neat...why would He trust us with a bigger home with more closets? If we find it hard to organize and maintain what we have, why would God bless us with more? I need to appreciate and attend to what I have and God will see how trustworthy I am with this little bit and He will, therefore, bless me with more.
Now, here are some great organized closets that I found on the Internet to get you motivated and give you ideas. I hope you will dive in and DO IT!!!
Notice how this person has used the white plastic rings to organize their closet. Great idea!
Notice the shoe boxes with the photos of the shoes inside? I do this.
Notice the "His" and "Hers"
For more information about organizing your clothes, see my post:
Real Simple magazine says,
"Try to limit yourself to three sets of sheets per bed and as few as three sets of bath sheets or towels, hand towels, and washcloths per person (more if you change towels daily, fewer if the men in your household have never picked up a washcloth). This gives you one set in use, one in the hamper, and one in the closet ready for action. You'll need only one or two sets for guests (one on the bed and one in the hamper or closet).
"Resist the temptation to hoard extra sets for emergencies...
"First, divide linens into groups: bedding for each bedroom; towels for each bathroom; tablecloths and runners, dinner and cocktail napkins. Then separate summer from winter items, and daily linens from those for special occasions. The everyday and the current season should be stored at eye level, and the special-occasion and out-of-season linens farther from reach, at the top or bottom of the closet.
Tidy piles aren't enough: You should enjoy the soft fragrance of fresh laundry when you open your linen closet. To accomplish this:
"Give linens their space. "Air flow is important to the safe storage of most textiles," says Jonathan Scheer, president of J. Scheer & Co., a New York textile-preservation firm. "If they're stuffed into the back of a closet, the fibers retain more moisture, which attracts mold and mildew, which can be permanently damaging. You should take them out and air them every three months."
"You can chase away mustiness with an open container of baking soda, activated charcoal, or calcium carbonate, says Cheryl Mendelson, author of Home Comforts: The Art & Science of Keeping House (Scribner, $24, www.amazon.com).
"To enhance the aroma of your linens, place in the back of the closet sachet bags of pine, cedar, vanilla, or fresh lavender wrapped in cheesecloth and tied with a ribbon. You can also hang a fabric-softener strip on the door or use scented drawer liners, which are sold by the Container Store ($10 for four 18-by-24-inch sheets, www.containerstore.com) and other places..."
This extraordinary linen closet is found in Falling Waters, the home designed by Frank Lloyd Wright. Notice the "breathing" shelves are caned. What a great idea!
Here is my linen closet:
Utility or Broom Closets
Here is my utility closet:
Miscellaneous Closet Ideas!
Someone had a great idea for this nook right in front of her closet. What really makes it, is that it's efficient, works and clean! Once the perfume bottles get dusty, it won't look so pretty. So remember to keep it clean...maintain, maintain, maintain!
How to Spring Clean Your Closet, see my post:
Interested in how to organize and decorate your laundry room?
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