Thursday, August 30, 2012

And he's gone

and we won't be getting a dog for a long time...

We didn't have him for long, but it definitely shows us our limitations and what we need.  He was too afraid of people to be around little kids and I was a nervous wreck the whole time he was here even when he was secluded in the kitchen.  At one point he refused to come back in the house and destroyed the bamboo covering our front gate.  Melody and I managed to get him to go back in the house and then we put him in her outdoor/indoor pantry area.  He was just fine and actually slept there without trying to sleep standing up and falling asleep.  I think because he wasn't trying to watch his back and could relax he liked it.  We would look at him from the window and he was eating the food and laying down, but we knew our fostering would be short.

The woman who found him is a local woman, Joey, and this is incredibly rare that you would find a muslim over here who would love dogs.  She told us that people have called her abnormal and a freak because of her love of dogs.  I'm glad she does what she does, but she's just a special lady like that.  She held up her end of the deal and found us someone to give the dog a forever home.  We were so happy and feeling less guilty about needing him to go.  And then Liam decided to let him stretch his legs before the guy called us to get the dog...BOLTED.

The dog bolted because Liam tied him to kiddie picnic table while he ran inside to get his phone in case the guy called.  The dog slipped the harness and climbed up the fence through the gap he made earlier in the bamboo and was gone.  The security guard of the compound also conveniently opened the gate so the dog could get out.  And when he left he managed to leave his harness and leash behind.  So began Liam's 5 hour journey.  We let Joey know that the dog escaped and she came right over to where Liam was with her husband.  And there she is abaya and all running through backyards, laying down on the ground to tempt the dog to come over, anything she could to get him to come back.  It worked! We met up with the dog's potential forever home owners and Liam watched as she worked her magic to get them to take him.  It's just a husband and wife and they have a big house.  It will certainly work out better than our situation, just because they have the luxury of giving him his own space for a while.

Liam came back home with some interesting stories, happier than I thought he would after chasing after a dog for 5 hours in 100 degree heat.  I guess we both just wanted to know he went somewhere nice and wouldn't continue to be hurt by living on the streets.  I'm glad we got to help a little bit, but oh no, no dog for us, unless we 1) have it from a puppy 2) its very small (this one was way bigger than we thought, maybe half the size of a golden retriever) 3) rehomed dog with experience with kids.  Lesson learned!

Fostering a dog

He's here and now we're looking for a forever home for him.  We went and just wanted to look, but the woman who found him had 8 dogs that she found while searching for her own lost dog.  Oy, we felt horrible and decided that we could take him for a few days until she or we found someone to talk care of him.  But we definitely need to find another place for him because he's just too skittish and Z is just too friendly.  We actually had one barking incident that led to her crying and me kind of freaking out.  Now we know that a dog is not just for us and hope someone adopts him soon!

Monday, August 27, 2012

Getting a dog?

This is something Liam and I have discussed before.  There is a HUGE stray animal problem over here. It's cats, which some have said were brought in to keep the mouse population in check a long time ago. Well someone released the cats without fixing them, I've never seen a mouse here, but the cats are crawling all over the place.  We're not cat people, at all and have successfully dodged our friends finding stray kittens, taking them in and adopting them out.  It just wouldn't work.  But there are also some stray dogs, generally salukis, which are just too big for us and even when well fed look like they are starving.  We were recently told about some Maltese terriers found dumped by the side of the road.  The tag line on the post was small family dog.  I checked out the breed and it actually seems like something that would be a good fit for us.  The Maltese could stay indoors during the summer and run around our house with no issue on space and we wouldn't feel like we were neglecting the poor thing because it didn't get to run for hours outside.

Liam wants to jump at the chance and so do I, but I'm certainly trying to be cautious.  First, we have to meet the dogs and see if any get along well with us.  They were dumped and who knows if they were abused before hand or have behavioural problems.  Second, while they have been medically nursed back to health, there could be other health issues down the line and that can get expensive.  Not to mention the cost of food and other necessities.  Third, it's like adopting a new kid in some ways.  Our kids are in bed and we want to relax, but the dog wants to play/run outside/just jump up and down for attention.  Finally, barking and pooping in the house.  I think it's a great breed for our family situation and the opportunity for this type of dog has probably come up maybe twice in the 5 years we've been here without importing.  Importing a dog can cost thousands of dollars.

I'm sure they will be freaking adorable and Z LOVES dogs. She played with her grandfather's neighbor's dog for about 2 hours when we were visiting.  She threw a tennis ball and squealed with glee every time the dog brought it back.  Talk about matching energy levels.   Liam had a small dog growing up and he enjoyed it and thinks the girls would too.  We had a dog at my grandmother's where  we lived at some points growing up, but I don't remember much, she was so old when I was in the remembering childhood frame of mind.  I kind of remember her laying there, walking to her food and water, and walking outside to do her business and then right back in.  She was so low maintenance I think my perspective on dogs is a little skewed.  My dad also had huge hulking Cane Corso mastifs and that definitely put me off those giant dogs.

If they haven't been adopted or fostered yet (we sent the email 3 hours after it was posted, yes dogs like these are soooo that in demand), we'll take a family visit to see the dogs and see how we feel.  Any experience with terriers out there? Advice about getting a family dog?

Sunday, August 26, 2012

Round and Round

That's how I feel like I'm running...around in circles.  The job search is still coming up empty.  Lots of applications and leads, but nothing concrete.  Grrrrr.  It's almost September, so boo is what I say to that.  It sucks, but there isn't much I can do about it other than keep applying and letting people know that I'm looking.

My part time gig is going well.  It's pretty easy, people are really happy I'm helping, but I do feel out of the loop.  It's kind of the nature of working remotely, but I need to get more input about how I can actually help and make things work a lot more efficiently.  I mean I thought my previous startup gig was disorganized, this place makes them look like they were functioning with military precision.   

The kids are doing well.  Z is getting bigger everyday and learning so much it's amazing.  She's now saying please, thank you, and bless you without prompting.  She can also run with the big kids, ie 4 yr old boys with no problems!  We were at a birthday party and she freaking loved it and we didn't have any worries about her getting pushed around.  I love that she's so tough, but still wants you to paint her nails and carry around a pocketbook.  Liam and I had a semi-sad moment when she was freaking out and having so much fun about a little Step2 playhouse at Toys R Us and we knew we couldn't get it for her.  So we did the next best thing, Liam brought some cardboard boxes from work and I made her a little house.  Complete with door, windows, a little ringing bell and contact paper chalkboard inside.  She loved it and promptly destroyed it in about 2 days.  But we've scoped out the structural faults and can't wait to make another one!  It was actually a lot of fun.

Boo is kind of hilarious and loves to smile at everyone.  She's also going to have rock hard abs when she's older because of this straining scream thing she does.  It's not about poop or digestion, she just likes to do it.  She's also on the verge of sitting up and can shimmy across the floor if you put one of her favorite toys just out of reach.  I can't believe how big she's getting and although the sleep situation is still touch and go I'm actually looking forward to having another one in a year or so.  This is a big development from 4 weeks ago, where if you had asked me I would have said NEVER and can you take back the ones we have now.  It's amazing what 3.5 hours of solid sleep at a time can do to your mood instead of 2 at a time.

The biggest hurdles to tackle by the end of the year:

  1. Enjoy being home with the kids and stop checking my email for news of a job
  2. GET A JOB
  3. Help Liam study for his professional certification
Seems doable...

Friday, August 17, 2012

Retractable Claws

Dear Boo,

Do you have retractable claws? Because I don't understand how you're able to scratch and pinch me so hard.  I look at your nails and they are as short as I can comfortably cut them with barely any white showing.  How are you still scratching the crap out of me.  It's like laying next to a little sticker bush!

Thursday, August 16, 2012

Starting Part Time

Z is growing by leaps and bounds.  It's amazing and I totally see why people start to long for another one once their kids reach this age.  She has her own little personality, likes to play jokes and make us laugh.  It's also amazing how quickly her language skills have developed.  She can name about 20 animals, including a lemur and a giraffe and she's a great big sister.  Boo is the only other person in the family from the way she interacts with her.  It's always, "Where's Boo?", "Hi Boo", "Bye Boo", etc.  And it's freaking adorable.  She is the first one to run over and put the binky back in Boos' mouth if needed and she doesn't try and ram it through her skull anymore.  She's also put up with having Boo puke in her face 3 times in the last 3 weeks.  What a trooper!

Boo is getting over that colic-y thing that she had going on for a month or so.  Our new get her to bed trick is using a set of jingling bells and shaking them over her until she passes out.  I don't know why it works, but it does and I'm not questioning it.  Other than that, now that I'm working I actually find that I'm much more appreciative of the time I have with the kids.  When I come down from the office, I just grab Z and/or Boo and give them big hugs and find that playing the rest of the day is really just so much fun.    Even if that was the only good thing to come out of this part time job it would be worth it.  It also keeps me from freaking out over the fact that in a month my overseas license expires and until I have a job or Liam sponsors me, I'll be trapped at home (more than usual) or have to rely on taxis (yuck).  

In case you hadn't noticed, I've finally started my part time startup job.  The hours are yucky (crazy early) but it's not too taxing and most of the time it's really chill.  They have also been super encouraging about how I've been doing and how they can increase the scope and responsibility of my position soon.  It's totally fine by me as long as I can do it from home.  I'm more than happy to keep doing it for as long as I can.  Ramadan and Eid will be ending soon, which means that the HR departments for full time positions will be back to work. The goal is to secure a job by October when my loan repayment starts.  The part time job will be enough for the payments and some miscellaneous spending, but not too much else.  Once October hits, we'll reassess if we have to...I sure hope not!  If we cannot afford to wait then I'll have Liam sponsor me and get a job, which will be no problem that way.   

Sunday, August 5, 2012

So Freaking Cold

The Ireland/UK trip has been going really well so far.  Z loves her Grandad, who she has taken to calling "Dad Dad".  And her aunt, Madison, who she calls "Matty" is a rockstar.  We came back from the wedding before the evening reception and Matty and Z were outside in the workshop painting.  It was rainy, but neither one cared and apparently Z loved hearing the rain on the roof and was squealing with laughter.  I'll break it down:

Travel/Flight
Z swiped up just about every germ in the airports on two continents as she threw fits out of sheer exhaustion!  Our flight left at midnight and the hand off crying children to me went on until about 3am.  They slept for about 3 hours of the flight and I slept for a bit as well.  It wasn't as bad as it could have been, but it wasn't great.  The 3 hour layover was interesting because Schipol was barely open, so there wasn't much for us to do, but sit in Starbucks and wait.  We made our homemade chicken sandwiches last with some drinks from there and tried to get the kids to nap.  They did, and they promptly woke up when we went through security again before boarding the flight.  We landed, gathered the 2 checked bags, 3 carryons, 2 carseats and a stroller and managed to cram it all into Dad Dad's car.

Dad Dad's House
Sleeping in a room roughly 1/3 the size of our bedroom has gone better than I imagined. I think this means we can transition to single room sleeping when we get home. Playing with cousins has been great fun for Z and we look forward to doing it again next year. Walking around the block to the grocery store, going for walks and just enjoying greenery has been amazing. That said its really freaking cold for July/August! The big family BBQ was a big success even if Liam's older brother did try to drag everyone down with his woe is me, self centered life messes. And with about 2 desserts brought by each family, it was a sweet ending to an actually sunny, relatively warm day.

Jobs
Didn't get the one I really wanted. I have a sneaking suspicion I asked for too much. It was a little above the market rate, by maybe 3%, but I thought I would get a counter offer, apparently the other top contender was a bit more flexible and under cut me. I'm getting this info from my inside source who told me the hiring manager's decision was overturned by a dean in favor of the lower salary seeker. Talk about a bummer. I still have 4 apps out there actively being looked over plus the resume referrals from my other rejection, so we'll see. Once we're back home I'll start in job mode again and begin the startup job.

Life
We are really lucky and reminding ourselves of this every night by going over the fun we have had all day has made these job setbacks more bearable.  I don't want to let this search define me, so I'm embracing the time off, I'll have the next 40 years to work and focus on making everyday as fun as possible. Yay brownies for breakfast, water gun fights and playing peek a boo in the mornings before we all start our day. Seriously lucky!