Thursday, January 31, 2013

Uncanny Resemblance

When Milton was vacationing in Louisiana over the holidays, he was dubbed "Fluffy Tail" by Jeff's little niece.  We thought it fit nicely, so we have added it to his wide repertoire of nicknames.  Besides this new moniker, Milt was also told that he looks like a "Muppet."  At first, I was a bit indignant.  No, my sophisticated, suave goldendoodle bears no resemblance to a silly, singing  Muppet.  Then I started comparing head shots, and there really was no arguing it.

Murray the Muppet

Milton the Goldendoodle

So, what do you think?  Besides hairy Murray, Milton also reminds me a bit of  fuzzy Fozzie Bear.

Fozzie Bear

Milton Bear

Next, Milton certainly has a bit of Animal in him because, well, I hate to admit it, but he is an animal.


Dog Playing with another Dog

Last but not least, of course, Milton resembles the actual dog Muppets most of all!




Remarkable, huh?  I am pretty much convinced.  Perhaps our little Muppet will join the cast someday.  We really could use some of his royalties to help pay for his dog food and day care.

Monday, January 28, 2013

Demolition and Renovation!

Jeff and I need a LOT of help with this house and who better to help us than Jeff's parents, Momeaux and Pop!  This past weekend, the in-laws showed up with a saw, tool belt, and multiple measure tapes!  Oh, yeah and one of these for Jeff and me:

Louisiana King Cake!

Not to mention, a couple of these for the Milt dog:

Real live deer femurs!

The great project of the weekend, continuing into late last night, was a major laundry room renovation.  When we bought our house, a lovely up and down washer/dryer combination, was included in the deal.  I hated that unit from the very beginning.  It was much too tiny to fit hardly more than one set of sheets, jeans, and an assortment of underwear in one washing.  Just before the holidays, I jammed an extra large load into the washer, and when the cycle was done, everything came out sopping wet.  I just assumed that the machine had been too stuffed to spin properly, so I dried the majority of the clothes multiple times in the dryer, and I hung the rest out.  Two days later, Jeff and I flew up to New York for Christmas, and I didn't think twice about it.  When Jeff returned to Texas earlier than me, his first attempt to wash was a major fail.  The washing machine just clicked away and nothing happened.  Obviously, Jeff broke the washing machine, or so I tried to place the blame...!

Thus ensued a solid month of laundry mat visits.  Despite there being a laundry mat, only a half mile away, it was still a major three-hour inconvenience.  You need to factor in packing your laundry up in a large bag, hauling your multiple bags with detergent to the car, unloading the car, loading the washing machines, getting quarters from the change machine, and so on and so forth.  At least, between the washing and the drying, I usually ran to the grocery store.

Laundry mat woes

We decided our best option, rather than attempting to fix the too small unit, was to bring our old set in from the garage.  The dilemma was the set was too wide by about .5 inches to fit into our petite laundry room.  Hence, the construction project!  Pop, got to work after church on Sunday, and his apprentices, Jeff and Milt, lent a hand.  There was much measuring, cutting, and eventual trimming of the dry wall.  A new hole had to be cut from the outside to fit our dryer vent.  Pop even rearranged the entire electrical panel!  Lowe's and Home Depot were frequented more than once, and I kept waiting for a large-scale blow-out between the men but nothing happened.  The most annoying aspect is all this work was done to alleviate a mere .5 inches! 
Pop began by removing the door frame.

A watchful onlooker

Milt stayed underfoot constantly enticing people to play ball with him.

At 10:15P.M. last night, after probably about a solid 20 hours of work, the little team, carried in both the washer and the dryer from the garage.  We all held our breathe while Pop wedged the new machines into the tight space.  Thankfully, they fit, and after a quick test run, we ascertained that the dryer dries and the washer washes!  Pop came out victorious, like we knew he would!

We now have an indoor wash/dry facility again.  To the Milt, it was all good fun and games with a constant show to watch.  He does not realize that once again we can adequately wash his numerous towels instead of them piling up in a corner somewhere.  Milt is pretty darn lucky, and so are we, to have a handy dandy guy like our Pop!  

Puppy Photo of the Week

One of the very best parts about our daycare, Downtown Dog, is they will periodically post photos on Facebook of your pet.  It is actually particularly cruel because you see what a ball your dog is having while you are toiling away at work.  Last week, this was the photo that Jeff and I observed:

The caption read: "Please Please Pleeeease Throw the Ball!"

There are a few different reasons why we love this shot!  First, Milton is absolutely and completely filthy.  This always delights Jeff and me.  Second, the other dirty dog in the photo is another goldendoodle.  What is that saying?  "Birds [dogs] of a feather [curl] stick together."  Last, there are very clearly two other dogs in the photo, a golden retriever and a bulldog, who are perfectly clean.  Now, how'd that happen?  Regardless, we love the daily glimpses into Milt dog's "other life," and, quite frankly, Jeff and I are a bit jealous.

Thursday, January 24, 2013

Little Known Secrets of Doodles

If you do not own any sort of doodle, golden-, Labra-, or Aussie-, you might not be aware of some of their odd, little eccentricities.  We certainly did not know until we had Milton home for a few months.  Now we are more than aware of all the little unique features that make the Milt, Milt. 

1.  Last week when Jeff picked up Milton from daycare, he was informed that Milton was having trouble keeping himself clean down there.  Of course, I was the one to check the Milt dog later that evening, and I saw one little cling-on which I promptly cut out.  On Monday though, I took Milton for a walk, and, like always, he went number two while we were out and about.  We stopped by a neighbor's house, and I noticed an absolute stench permeating the air.  When the Milt raised his tail, to my horror, I observed this:


Yes, that is Milton's dirty bottom.  Since doodles barely shed, fur just grows and grows even around important parts of their anatomy.  So what was I to do but get the clippers out and snip away until I saw pink.  This was highly unpleasant for all parties involved.  Although, the next day at daycare, I was informed that Milton still had a stinky behind.  Jeff and I feel like bad parents with "the smelly kid," so we are going to pay for a basic sanitary cut.  Don't worry, we are not sheering the Milt like a sheep, but he will be much more tidy in his privates.

2.  Milton has a beard!  Our boy is certainly prepubescent, but as a doodle he is capable of growing a full beard.  Just like a human beard, it retains both crumbs and water.  It certainly rivals anything that I have seen Jeff grow.

I mean he's not Santa Claus, but he is still young.

Milt has certainly passed that awkward peach fuzz stage.  I bet he could even give his Daddy some pointers.

3.  Doodles mat.  What does this mean?  As a doodle's fur grows, it clumps together in a way analogous to dreadlocks.  These are two that I recently snip snapped off Milton:

There appears to be some dirt in those mats as well.

Apparently, if your doodle is matting, you should be brushing him or her more frequently.  The other option is a haircut, and that is certainly not an option for us.  Some really good dood parents, like my friend Thuy, brush the mats out of their dog's hair.  In Milt's case, he is overgrown, so we just cut.  I don't think he will miss it.

Well, you just got an earful of the "Little Known Secrets of Doodles."  Do you feel smarter?  I don't think you will ever actively use this knowledge, unless perhaps at a casual dinner party or a dog park.  Some people just love to learn, and if you don't, just store it away until you need to sound witty.  That's what I do.

Tuesday, January 22, 2013

The Milt Strikes Again!

Lately our dood is just out of control.  Well, it's not that bad, but in the heat of the moment, it seems pretty darn bad to us.  As you all recall, last Tuesday morning when I left for school, the Milt ripped into my mitten.  Well, on Friday morning when I left, our doodle went for Daddy's shoes, once again.

Oh, Milt dog

These were, as were last, a well-heeled pair of Allen Edmond shoes that Jeff bought only within the past year.  Thank goodness these shoes are more salvageable.  Only one shoe, thankfully, is very scratched up and almost chewed through completely but not quite.  A half of a shoelace was torn out, but that is easily fixed.  It is good that Daddy caught Milt in the act, otherwise Jeff might be showing up shoeless at work by this point!

I am convinced that Milt partakes in these early morning destructive acts because he is upset that I am leaving him to go to work.  He simply cannot bear to be without his Momma for the day, and he consoles himself with a quality article of clothing (Milt has good taste) that smells like either Jeff or me.  Jeff just thinks we have been poor disciplinarians, and Milt is just about at that age, 10-months, where he will start testing our alpha male and female roles in the household.  I kind of buy into that theory too because when Milt misbehaves, I respond to him, like I do my students, with one serious look and a stern utterance of his name; it generally works.  Perhaps now I am losing my touch.  Who knows?  All I know is that Jeff has been far better at forgiving and forgetting than I have.  For about a solid day after this incident, I could hardly look at the dog because I feel he has wronged us an undue number of times.  Notice that I just called Milton, "the dog."  It is a sad, sad day when I start calling my beautiful boy, "the dog."

What are we to do?  We hate to acknowledge bad behavior with rewards, but that's all we've got right now.  That and keeping all shoes out of harm's way!  After a late night trip to the pet store, this is what Milt ended up with.

Squeaky Crocodile

$11 Deer Antler

We are under the impression that if Milt has enough chewy toys to amuse himself then he will stick to nibbling on his own items rather than our personal items.  Well boys will be boys, and we might just have to wait for our goldendoodle to grow.  Although, I have started to leave the house with a feeling of dread in the pit of my stomach.  I certainly hope Milt outgrows this phase and fast.

Monday, January 21, 2013

Puppy Photo of the Week

This scene happens about three times per day.  Milt plays with a ball, Milt loses his ball, and Milt desperately wants it back.

Help me, Momma!

Happy Martin Luther King, Jr. Day everyone!  Today is one of those wonderful school holidays when I am home with the Milt, and poor Daddy is off to work again.  I actually will be a  Dood Mom of two boys today because Milton invited his little buddy, Leo, over to play.  Plenty of fun will be had; you never know what kind of mischief two doodles can get themselves into!

Thursday, January 17, 2013

Let It Snow, Let It Snow, Let It Snow...

When Jeff and I were in upstate New York for Christmas, I kept telling Jeff how "blessed" and "lucky" we were to get plummeted with snow while on holiday.  Now that I am a quasi-Southerner, not by birth but by association, snow is practically nonexistent.  That is until about an inch of snow hit the ground Tuesday morning.  I was up bright and early, 4A.M. to be exact, working on writing all 94 of my individualized student progress report comments, when I heard rain droplets tinkling outside our window.  Two hours later, when it was time to rouse the boys and take our daily constitutional out in the cold we stepped outside into a Winter Wonderland.  The rain had magically turned to snow.

Big leap

Milt dog was quite excited, as you can see.

Polar bear

This was actually Milton's second interaction with snow.  The first was rather brief, another early morning encounter, and soon over.  This snowfall stuck around a bit longer.  Of course, Milt took full advantage of all the fun!

Floppy ears flapping in the cool breeze

Biting at the snow

Attempting to catch a snowflake on his tongue

Still trying...!

In an hour or two, the snow had disappeared  but the cold had not.  That afternoon, the Milt and I prepared for our afternoon walk, as is our custom on days when he is home bound, and I decided to bundle up.  I actually broke out my knee-length goose down parka, resplendent with furry hood, which was that coat's starring debut in the South.  I was feeling particularly chilly though, so I donned a wool hat, scarf, and gloves to complete the ensemble.  Milt was flabbergasted by his Momma's outlandish appearance.  He had never seen me bundled up so much before; he couldn't take his eyes off me.  Milton especially liked my gloves as he kept trying to bite at them.  After our usual hour walk, we returned, and I left the pieces of my ensemble on the bench in our foyer.

The next morning, I sprinted out the door to work leaving my little Milt watching me go with his wet snout pressed up against the window.  This quite honestly tears at my heartstrings every morning.  About 15 minutes later, I received a call from Jeff who informed me that he just discovered our dood lying in the middle of the living room rug gnawing on his Momma's woolly mitten.

The damage

Jeff gave the Milt a good loud yell.  Do I ever yell at the Milt?  Never ever, do I ever...  This mitten incident really upset me though.  I love these mittens with their tight wool knit, colorful colors, and the ability to turn into finger gloves by pulling the top back and fastening it with a wooden button; the button was chomped in half (You can just barely see it on the left in the photo).  These mittens were/are very special to me because I bought them on a jaunt to Ireland while I was studying abroad in Italy.  They hold dear memories of the wonderful girls I studied/lived with and the many adventurous travels we embarked on together.  These gloves have been around for the past six years braving the extreme cold of upstate New York, one icy winter in Boston, and many, many freezing days in New York City.  Then the Milt got to them.  Jeff assures me that Milt was just missing me, when I left for school, and he wanted to nibble on something awash with my scent.

I am angry, hurt, and I feel like my best buddy bit me in the butt, quite literally.  When Milt chewed Jeff's glasses, I was indignant because Jeff left them on the floor.  When Milt chewed Jeff's glasses a second time, I was annoyed at Jeff because he had placed them on a low table.  After Milton took a bite out of Jeff's wedding shoes, I was finally legitimately agitated because he should have known better.  They weren't my shoes though.  Now, I am just pissed because my puppy dog bit me (his Momma?!) where it hurts.  Do I feel better now that I have gotten a good night's sleep?  No, because we will have another walk to take, and my hands easily get cold.

Tuesday, January 15, 2013

Cold Paws, Warm Heart

My very first full introduction to Milt as "ours" was when I arrived home from school on June 1st to find the Milt waiting for me, sequestered in the kitchen, and as I cooed his name, he immediately squatted and pissed all over our rug.  Welcome home, Milt!  Our new house, thankfully, is rugless, but I think our goldendoodle has had a rough time adjusting to this transition.  You see, with recent temperatures in the '30s and '40s, little Milt dog has been quite cold on our hardwood floors.  He hasn't complained, but when a dog that never goes into his crate, besides bedtime, starts curling up in there, you know he is feeling the freeze.  So, he has been spending much more time on his bed than ever before.

This comfy bed is located at his back door guard post.

Since Milt's one, lone dog bed just wasn't cutting it for him, we bought another bed for the foyer. 

Now he can guard the front door without even getting up.

Sometimes Milt overflows onto the door mat, which he has claimed as his own too.

Any new rug, mat, etc. that we bring into this house, Milt assumes was put there specifically with him in mind.

Living room rug

Backdoor mat

Kitchen mat - Milt Dog still likes curling up at his parents' feet when we are cooking, cleaning, etc.

Milt's crate was starting to get a bit nippy at night too, which led to yet another purchase.  This buy was  actually specifically intended for him and not for the overall good of the house!

Milt's woolly new crate pad.

In total, with all of the various rugs, that we obviously bought for our dood, Milton easily has seven beds in total now.  What more could a boy ask for?

Monday, January 14, 2013

Puppy Photo of the Week

What happened?!  I overslept.  Plain and simple.  I overslept.  I don't know if the alarm clock malfunctioned or if it was Jeff and I who had the bad wiring.  All I know is that it was 7:15A.M. when I woke up this morning, and that is precisely the time, if not earlier, that I need to be leaving for school.  As I was dashing out the door, my mind flew to all my little students who would be waiting for me in my first period class, but I also was thinking about you, my readers, because this is the first time, the very first time, that my Puppy Photo of the Week has been late in the 32 weeks that I have followed this theme!  For all of you out there who missed reading about the Milt while drinking your coffee, I sincerely apologize.  My coffee was gulped on the run today, and I wish it had been different too!  So, here you go!  Enjoy.

Milt's been getting a little big for his britches lately.  He likes to jump up on the counter at daycare and casually say hello.

Friday, January 11, 2013

A Dollop of Humor!

This morning, as I am hunched over my computer racking my brain to quickly and efficiently create an informative handout on "complex sentences," I decided to check what was new on my Facebook account.  My good friend, Jenny, posted this hilarious photo with link:

Lion (Labradoodle!)

"Norfolk 911 Calls for 'Baby Lion' Turn Up a Coiffed Dog"

I am always a little behind on the news, but if you have not heard about this yet, do read!  I just trimmed a lot of Milt's hair around his eyes last night (he is like an overgrown bush!), and perhaps we should be considering a different haircut instead!

Thursday, January 10, 2013

Vacation Recap

I realized that I never gave the rundown of our two Christmases, similar to the movie Four Christmases but not quite.  Jeff and I flew up to New York while Milton was whisked away to Louisiana.  We enjoyed equally happy but quite separate vacations.  Next year hopefully we will all be together.

In New York, Jeff did a little of this:

The real snow actually hit after Jeff flew home.  That's just fluff.

I did a lot of this:

You just can't beat the holiday feast, especially at your mom's house.  In this shot, I am scraping out, mouthful by mouthful, tasty scallop potatoes.

On Milt's vacation, he did a whole lot of all this:

Wrestling with Bhula, Jeff's sister's Siberian husky

Digging for vegetables in the garden

Family bonding - Jeff's younger brother, Jeremy, is not the best at sharing

Guarding Jeff's little niece while she swings, in case she falls

Some little girl, who nicknamed Milt "Fluffy Tail" stole Milt dog's heart
That little girl likes the Milt dog too.  As you can see, she made him a bed and read him a goodnight story.

Sometimes it is good for family members to take a brief respite from each other.  It certainly makes us appreciate all we have even more when we are back together again!     

Tuesday, January 8, 2013

Guard Dog Extraordinaire

Before we moved into our house, we spent many a morning, noon, and night over here painting.  On one such occasion, we met one of our new neighbors who informed us about the "state of affairs" in our little corner of the city.  We were told that our neighborhood has been home to a few burglaries, and potential crooks had been known to drive by jiggling door handles in the middle of the night.  The sweet treat to follow that mouthful was to not leave our dog in the backyard because he could be stolen for bait in a dog fight.  We all know what a pretty boy Milt is, so I can only imagine.  Jeff and I, an enthusiastic, young couple wielding paintbrushes, slumped down a few inches and our grins turned to frowns.  News of the lack of security is enough to dampen one's spirits for not just the day but weeks and months following.

Since that day, I have been apprehensive when entering the house at night, and Jeff has trouble sleeping.  When Jeff and Milt leave for a hunting weekend, I lock the doors and sit tight.  Should we be forced to feel this way in our own home?  No, certainly not, but we have not yet reached a solid comfort level.  Everyday we feel better with the more homey touches we add around the house.  Curtains certainly help too.  So we start to feel at ease, and then I witness a man out walking, early morning, with a face mask on.  Granted it has been cold in Dallas but not that cold... 

This is why I insist that we do not gate the Milt into a certain portion of the house on days when he is left home.  He is our first line of defense, and it is imperative that he has free movement between the front and the backdoor, so he can adequately guard both.  He takes his job very, very seriously.


Guarding the front

Keeping watch in the back

Are we overreacting?  Probably.  Websites like this:  21 Things Your Burglar Won't Tell You  fuel our fear too.  Oh, and this one:  10 Things to Do When a Stranger Knocks on Your Door  Remember to keep it all in perspective though, and please don't read these websites at nighttime when you are sitting by yourself because they are written from the burglar's point-of-view, and they will creep you out.  When Milton found his deep, scary voice (his bark), as a mom I was proud, and now I am thrilled.  When our doodle barks, I congratulate him and know that he is protecting his family around the clock.