Friday, May 27, 2011

Lawn Mowing

Okay, so I have accomplished a lot in my 29 years.  Once I got a hang of that potty-training stuff, I was pretty much unstoppable.  There are quite a few things I still have not done in my life, though.  I haven't attended a Broadway play, been to the top of the Eiffel Tower, or rolled in a barrel down Niagra Falls.  One thing that I have managed to avoid for 29 years, however, is mowing a lawn.

Well, I did make one attempt many, many years ago.  Mom, Dad, my sister Shannon, and I frequently helped my great-grandma out with housekeeping and yard work.  One particular day I remember asking Dad if I could try mowing the lawn.  I was about 9 or 10, and thought that it looked pretty easy to cut grass.  Dad gave me the manual mower - the kind without a motor.

Three swipes through the front yard and Dad stopped me.  He said I wasn't doing it right.  When I looked back, it was obvious I was not one of those children that had a thing for straight lines.  There were big patches of grass that were much longer than others.  Defensively, I declared I would NEVER mow another lawn again.  And I didn't.

Until yesterday, that is.

I think that if you saw the backyard, you wouldn't necessarily say it was mowed, though.  You see, I'm house sitting.  And dog sitting.  I thought for sure the yard would mow itself.  Or, the dogs would eat the grass to keep it nice and trim.  Apparently, dogs are not goats and I did not receive the memo.  In the garage was another one of those manual mowers, so went out and got to work.  Kind of.

Have you ever tried to mow a lawn that got a little overgrown?  How about with a manual mower?  Thank my lucky stars the yard is fenced in and no one could see me because I'd have 5,000,000 hits on YouTube by now.

After about a half hour of going over the same spots and pulling grass out of the wheels I gave up.  Then, this morning, I let the dogs out.  When I went to bring them back in, there were two piles of fresh vomit.  The dogs made like goats and tried to eat the grass, but threw it up.

So, I went on Craigslist and found about 15 people looking to mow lawns!!  If there are people out there who are so passionate about cutting grass, who am I to deny them of this?

Tuesday, May 24, 2011

The Dogs Take a Field Trip

So, the dogs and I went to Wausau last weekend!!  I think it's safe to say that they love car rides.  I also think that if they didn't like country music before the road trip, they are true country bumpkins now!

I was warned that Anna will run if she is let loose.  So, I went up to my dad's on Sunday.  He lives right next door to the bar he and my uncle own and his yard is fenced in.  The dogs were in the backyard and I went into the bar to have lunch with Dad.  Apparently, Anna and Duncan thought that bar food sounded better than whatever they get in their dish.  (I can't say I disagree.)  It was kind of a surprise when the two dogs came into the bar, so I rounded them up and took them back to the backyard and figured out how they escaped.

Dad and I blocked the deck and went back to the bar.  About a half hour later, Dad glanced out the window and said, "Hey!!!  A dog is out!"

And that is when I realized that I am out of shape.

Anna managed to open the gate and took off into no man's land behind Dad's property with me running in a pair of flats right behind her.  It was something out of a sitcom.  I'd get up close to her and she'd run right by me in the opposite direction.  So, I knelt down like I wanted to play and thought she'd come play with me.  (That's how I get her in the house when she won't come in!)  Well, she came right to me, knocked me over, and kept going.

She must have known she won because she stopped at a pine tree and waited for me and we walked back to the yard.

Amazingly, I managed to finish lunch.  I think I slept like a rock that night.

We're back in La Crosse and have returned to our regularly scheduled program.  Kind of...

You see, I realized when we got back last night that the lawn needs to be mowed.  I was kind of hoping it would mow itself, but... just like the literature review not writing itself, no such luck.  I have a confession to make about lawn mowing.  But, I'll save that for another blog entry.  

The Future of America

The future of America has ARRIVED!!!!! 

Sarah Palin recently announced that she has 'fire in her belly'.  That cannot be a good thing and I highly recommend she take an extended leave of absence from politics to clear that up.  I think her neighbors in Russia would take good care of her. 

In the meantime, America is about to lose Oprah, tornadoes have swept across the country, the new bachelorette gets her heartbroken early in the game, soap operas are going off the air, Lance Armstrong is accused of being one of those medically-enhanced athletes, gas prices are still keeping America driving instead of biking because we can't risk declining trends in obesity, and the only glimmer of hope we can cling to is that THE PACKERS ARE STILL THE SUPERBOWL CHAMPS!!!!

But don't worry.  With everything going on, SELF magazine still has all of the answers for making sure you have that you are bikini-ready by summer, while PEOPLE has all you don't need to know on the recent royal wedding. 

Have no fear, America!!  Melissa is the future of the country.  I would like to announce that I will be running for president in 2020.  I was planning on running for 2012; however, I am not eligible until I am 35.  Since I have some time, I think the future of America is going to watch some more episodes of Scrubs and think of someone I would want to play me on Saturday Night Live.


Thursday, May 19, 2011

Dog Sitting: Death of a Bunny

Time of Death: 7:42 PM

The living room is a crime scene right now.  This poor defenseless bunny has been murdered.  One suspect is in custody.  Another one is at large... in the backyard barking at daffodils.  It appears that this might have been a hate crime, but neither one of the suspects are talking.  As you can see, an autopsy has been performed.    

"I didn't do it!  I think it was a cotton overdose!"

Wednesday, May 18, 2011

So, is this the real world?

Yesterday, I woke up at the butt crack of dawn just because that's what I've been programmed to do.  By 10:30 AM, I was engaged in my first nap of the day.  I plowed through the first eight episodes of the first season of Scrubs, edited photos, and ate leftover pizza and graduation cake.  I stayed in my pajamas until Kat called me at 4:30 to see if I wanted to go to Barnes & Noble.

It took me about 45 minutes to decided whether it was Tuesday or Wednesday today.  And then I realized that it doesn't matter.  Nothing is due.  So, if this is the real world, I am LOVING it! Had I realized the real world was this much fun, I would have dropped out of college a long time ago!!  Okay, maybe not.

As part of my sit-on-my-ass fest yesterday, I looked at job openings.  It's kind of refreshing to see opportunities available.  Now, now, now, let's not get ahead of ourselves.  I'm not too sure I want to dive right into a full-time 9 to 5er.  I'm feeling like a puppy that just left obedience school and has forgotten everything it learned.  That's right, I'm going to pee on the carpet... chew on every pair of shoes I come across... beg for treats... and when I run outside, I'm not going to come back until I'm good and ready to come back!

Now that I have that image in your head, I see it's not even 8:00AM.  Time to reprogram my body to sleep until noon! :-)

Tuesday, May 17, 2011


[I went to college.  The cake decorator on the other hand...]

I don't get it.  You go to school and bust your ass to get educated and to reward you, they dress you up in a cardboard hat and a curtain.

So, I'm standing in line before the ceremony.  My family is in a state of shock that this day has finally arrived.  I should be on top of the world.  Instead, I'm conveniently positioned next to a particular student who feels it is necessary to point me out.  Hello, high school?  What is this?  Instead of walking over and breaking the fingers that were pointing at me, I took a few deep breaths and put myself in their shoes for a moment.  (A brief moment.)  It must suck to have your head so far up a professor's ass and then suddenly lose that bond.  I'm sorry about your thesis, but you're standing here in your cap and gown pointing me out to all the "friends" who probably won't even remember your name next year at this time, so I'm assuming everything worked out just fine for you.  As for me, I did the school a favor.  Next time, a simple "thank you" will work just fine.

After my name was called, I felt it was an appropriate time to leave.  I just wanted to hear the student address, which was wonderful.  I walked out wishing I would not have bothered with the ceremony.

So, then the party began!!!!

"I just can't finish my third piece of cake!!!!"

Speaking of cake, I have quite a bit left over.  I don't know how many more mornings I can have cake for breakfast, so I think today I'm going to go for peanut butter toast or leftover pizza. 

Grandpa!!! :-)

It's amazing to think that last year around this time we didn't even know if Grandpa would be here for this!  What a blessing to have him here!  :-) 

 Nolan Practicing for His Graduation

 Mark, Shannon, Nolan, Madeline, Gunner, & Grandpa Mike camped for the weekend!  Nolan's response to pulling into the campground: "I think I'm going to fall in love this weekend."  And that my friends is how Nolan has become known as the Campground Casanova!

Gunner likes to party!

A sisterly moment caught on camera!
This little fella had a great time!  My favorite was when he was sitting in his high chair eating breakfast and pointing his finger at Nolan & Madeline and "yelling" in a babble! 

And now it's Tuesday.  I'm done with school.  The moving process has to begin, but it's 9:20AM and I'm still in bed blogging, looking at what's out there for jobs, and even looking into graduate programs.  Anything to avoid going over to the apartment and packing it up.  Have I mentioned I hate moving?

Sunday, May 8, 2011

Dog Sitting: Day 2 AND FINALS WEEK! UGH!

This is Anna.  Classic head tilt for the camera

I don't know about other college students, but I'm kind of fond of sleeping in on the weekends.  Apparently, Anna & Duncan didn't get the memo.  5:13 AM Duncan is having a howling festival in his kennel and Anna is on top of me trying to make my hand pet her.  It's kind of like I got married and had a kid over night. 

I sat the dogs down this morning and we had a talk about how important sleep is.  I'm pretty sure the talk didn't work, so every time I caught them trying to snooze today, I would yell, "SQUIRREL!!!"  I've heard that demonstrations tend to work better than lectures.  We'll see about that.

Remember how I taught Duncan how to sing?  Not such a good idea because he practiced ALL day.  I need to try and teach him the difference between whining, crying, barking, and singing.  Good thing we have three weeks.  I've also taught Anna to wag her tail.  It's the coolest thing - I just look at her and it starts wagging.   

Poor Duncan has been crabby today.  I think he's holding a grudge.  To think I had the nerve to leave today for less than an hour.  When I came back, they were both at the door ready to tear it down.
Duncan. Is. Crabby!!

If I ever become a therapist, I'm going to discourage people with paranoia from having dogs.  These dogs have followed me around steady since yesterday.  Anywhere I go, they go.  Imagine someone who is paranoid.  It would be a disaster.  

Duncan just crawled in his kennel.  Voluntarily.  He's been doing that off-and-on all day.  He sits in his cage with the door wide open and whines.  If I physically pull him out, he's fine.  It's the craziest thing.

I remember dog sitting one other time for these enormous golden retrievers.  I called them miniature horses.  Completely irrelevant, but I just thought I'd share.

On a completely different note... about a year ago at this time, I started the process of moving.  For some reason, I make the biggest mess right around finals time.  Of course, I have to move again, so not only does the mess have to get cleaned - the mess also has to get packed and move four blocks!

Here's my (lack of) progress:
"Clean up your life!"  - Karen
Look on the bright side - I won't have to deal with finals for a while after this week.  I could even start looking for j-o-b if I wanted to and get on a regular routine.  I could get one of those things... what are they called... a... um... starts with a "P" ... Paycheck!  That's right - a paycheck!

First thing I would do with a paycheck is hire a maid and professional movers.  Then again, I am kind of becoming a professional mover, aren't I?

Saturday, May 7, 2011

Adventures in Dog-sitting: Day 1

This is Duncan!  No photo of Anna, yet!  Check back tomorrow!
The Seventh Year Senior is going to the dogs!  I have Anna and Duncan for the next couple of weeks and I am pretty sure we're going to have a splendid time. 

I've spent today teaching Duncan how to sing.  Anna wanted nothing to do with it, but Duncan seemed to enjoy his first day of "voice lessons".

I rented a rated R movie tonight, but decided I'd wait until the dogs were asleep before watching it.  Then I realized that I'm not watching a creepy thriller before bed.  Especially after the dream I've been having about a professor dressed up in drag hanging out at a Chuck E. Cheese-like place.  (If that's not a nightmare, I don't know what is...)  So, I decided that I should probably just stick to some "homework" (also known as "Facebook").

On the agenda for tomorrow: More singing and we're going to work on our table manners.  I might squeeze in a little research.     

On an entirely different side note - if you need something to do for Mom for Mother's Day tomorrow, take her to Hooter's!  The sign says that all mothers get 10 free wings!  Nothing says "THANKS MOM" like ten free wings served to you by a Hooter's girl!