First Four Days

I’ve only been on Table Rock Lake for four days, but the adventures are constant. First, there’s my damn dogs and their “quirks.” The bribing them to be on their best behavior, the training collar (which arrived today), the constant picking up of dog poop, and the ever-present sad eyes when I’m eating a burger. Le sigh. Adventures, yes adventures. Look at these damn dogs.

Then there is the lake. It’s pretty high right now, and it’s recently turned over so there’s an occasional fish odor, but you know, that’s lake life. Still, Jackson and his buddy Tate have been kayaking up a storm!

Then there’s the food. My mother-in-law loves to cook and I love to eat, so it’s a pretty good deal. Not to mention the sunrise and sunset walks with my husband while we wax intellectual on how to save the world.

It’s an interesting dichotomy, this place. A little bit country, a little bit lake. Not at all how I remember it, but also exactly the same as it always is.

I hope you are having a splendid week, friends. Stay safe and sane.

M.

Whatha Devil?!

We had an 18 pack of eggs sitting in our refrigerator. Brand new. Not expired. Farm fresh, free range, college educated. We leave for vacation in three days. We looked at each other. At our smart eggs. Then back at each other. Quiche? I wondered aloud. Maybe, Jerimiah said. How else would we eat 18 eggs in three days? Boiled? Take them with us? He pondered, while he moved expired cottage cheese out of the way. Huh, I remarked, slinging rotten green peppers into the trash can. Give them to a neighbor, I questioned. He shook his head. Would that be weird? Maybe, plus we are the ones who raised them. They’re ours. Oh, I’ll make deviled eggs! I half screamed, half cried. Dear Recipe Goddess, you have reigned supreme again.

Two days later, as I stood over the sink and peeled the boiled eggs that I had let boil for too long the night before because I was also cooking dinner at the same time and it was a Hello Fresh meal and you have to follow the damn directions with those and the puppy ran in and peed on the floor and Jackson tried to tell me about this TikTok guy who does presidential impersonations and Jerimiah tried to help by standing next to me asking what he can do, I sorta, maybe, lost it a little bit and slammed the plates on the table and said, I CAN’T WITH THIS SHIT! And then went upstairs to sit on the fluffy ottoman at the end of my bed and contemplate how my damn life had come to this. About 20 minutes later, I remembered the boiling eggs.

Here’s the thing about deviled eggs, it’s a process, y’all. A long, arduous process, and it starts with the perfect boiled egg. Now sure, you can Google “How to Boil an Egg for Deviled Eggs” and you will get a million different opinions, but every Mommy, Grandma, Great Grandma, and even a couple Grandpa’s have their own way of doing it. My way is to heavily boil the eggs in salted water for three to five minutes, then turn the stove off and let them sit in the hot water for about 20 minutes, until I sink them into a cold bath, let them sit in fridge overnight, then crack them all over before peeling the next day as I listen to Adele sing about how life is not the way she imagined it when she was a child. I can relate. And usually what happens is that the eggs just slide right out. Unless one thing is not right. Then, you’re fucked.

That’s how I came to be screaming into a bowl of yellow yesterday morning.

That’s how I came to be teaching Jackson how to make deviled eggs, literally because I CAN’T WITH THIS SHIT!

That’s how we thought it would be a good idea to eat 18 eggs the days leading up to a 10-hour road trip.

Hope you CAN with this shit today, y’all.

M.

Road Trip To-do List

  • Shave the dog
    • But do I really want to shave the dog?
      • Yeah, I need to shave the dog
  • Bathe both dogs
  • Order dog food
  • Why is my whole damn life about dogs?
    • I mean, like, why do we even have two dogs?
      • What happened to me as a child that I need to overcompensate with animals?
  • Laundry
  • Order the dogs waterproof collars
    • I swear to Baby Jesus, I am so tired of getting the dogs new collars for different occasions
  • Pick up that giant llama float I saw in that ad one time from one of the stores that sells large llama floats
    • Wait, I don’t want to go inside one of the stores
      • Did I even look to see if they had a poodle float instead?
        • STOP IT WITH THE POODLE SHIT!
  • Tires for truck
    • Already did that
  • Floating cooler?
  • Print out map of trip and circle all bathrooms I suspect might be the “cleanest”
    • Print out directions? What is this 2005? I’m not MapQuesting that shit
      • The dogs would eat the map
  • Wait, we are going through Memphis and Little Rock?!
    • We will need to pee on the side of the road at all times
  • Gloves
  • Maybe we should drive at night so no one will see me pee in the bushes? What if I have to poop?
    • Quik Trip?
  • Fill up the dog’s poop bag satchel
    • Could I poop in a poop bag if I needed to?
  • Hand sanitizer
  • Where will I get coffee?!
    • I can’t get coffee or I will have to poop!
  • Can you ship wine?
  • Books
  • Burn a Road Trip CD
    • What the what?! Burn a CD?!
      • Make a Road Trip Playlist, make sure it has enough Suzy Bogguss
        • “I don’t wanna be standing here, and I don’t want to be talking here, and I don’t really care who’s to blame…”
  • You blame the dogs, even if it was you
    • Oh shit, is that why I have dogs?
  • Swim trunks for Jackson

Well Hello…

I have some new followers! I love new followers, but I hate that word “follower.” I prefer friends! I have some new friends! We shall all welcome them with open arms. Hello, friends! Welcome! Grab a White Claw, or a bottle of wine, or maybe some iced tea (we are in The South after all) and sit a spell while I tell you a bit about myself. My name is Missy. (Really it’s Melissa but when I was a born in the 80s my stone-washed jeans wearing sisters thought Missy sounded radical, so there you have it.) I go by Melissa when I am feeling “formal” or when I don’t know people very well, but I do prefer Missy. I’m not the type of person to offer that up when we first meet, nicknames sometimes scare people, so you’ll usually know me a little while when someone will call me Missy and you’ll be all, Wait, who is Missy? You mean Melissa? And they will be all, Who is Melissa? And that’s pretty much all you need to know about me. Just kidding.

I’m married to a lovely middle-aged, white man whom I often make fun of for being a middle-aged, white man but check this, he is faaaaar from the kinda guy you are thinking of. Sure, on the outside he looks the part, and a lot of old ladies grab his hand to tell them all about his church (like his atheist-ass cares), but he politely listens, nods along, and says, That sounds really nice! Occasionally other middle-aged, white men who do not know him very well will suggest having a beer, and they will end up saying some whacked-out racist shit, or something about how our current president is “fiscally responsible” or maybe throw in a homophobic joke, and my husband will be all, Oh, so you’re an asshole. Then he will pay his tab (but not theirs) and leave. He’s cool like that.

We have an 11-year-old son who is starting sixth grade in the fall. Middle school. I’m not going any further than that because I remember middle school, vividly, and I am terrified for him and for me. He’s supersonic smart though. He’s in the STEM program, robotics team, band, etc, etc. You’ll like him a lot and often remark how mature he is for his age, but that’s just because he doesn’t feel comfortable enough around you to make fart noises under his arm. Just yet. Otherwise he is honest, kind, considerate, and his three favorite television shows are: The Office, Last Week Tonight with John Oliver, and The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air.

The dogs, Jesus I forgot about the dogs. Okay listen, we had this amazing dog for nearly 14 years. Her name was Bentley and she was my actual ride-or-die (yeah, I say ride or die and I don’t know if it is hyphenated or not). She was a chocolate lab mix and also the best dog in the whole world. But in 2018 her health problems caught up with her and we had to put her down a couple months shy of her 14th birthday. Then I did what I always do, I had a breakdown and over-compensated by getting not one, but two dogs. Sir Duke Barkington of Charlotte came first. He is a standard poodle and he’s hella fancy and honestly I can’t with him sometimes. He wears bow ties, and prefers to be professionally groomed with a blow out. We just celebrated his second birthday with a surprise celebration on April 30th, because quarantine.

Then there is Lady Winifred Beesly of Atlanta. Winnie came to us at the beginning of quarantine because who didn’t think it was the perfect time to go on Craigslist and adopt a dog that someone had bought and realized they were allergic to and didn’t know what to do with?! She’s part standard poodle and part great pyranees and I know what you are thinking, what does that dog look like? Answer: A hot fucking mess. But we love her.

Okay, so I think that’s the gist of life around here. We live in Metro Atlanta. We are pro-choice (I’ll tell you about my daughter sometime), LGBTQIA+ allies, active members in the Black Lives Matter Movement, and we are Bernie supporters who will be voting for Biden in November because shiiiiiiit. My husband has his MBA and works in finance, I write and piddle around the house yelling about politics and who the hell shit on the floor?! It’s usually a dog.

This blog houses everything from my distorted, meandering thoughts to stories of my childhood, to actual lists of whatever I am thinking at any given moment. I talk a lot about mental health, family, and writing. I made a promise to myself to blog everyday this year, and with the exception of two weeks ago when I took a break to help #MuteTheWhiteNoise and #AmplifyBlackVoices I have written everyday this year. So, there’s a lot to read and digest here. I also have a page with my published writings if you are so inclined. Thanks for reading today and thanks for being on this crazy ride!

Stay safe and sane, y’all.

M.

Ménage à Cheese

“You wanna do like a cheese-on-cheese situation?” I asked my husband the other day while I was standing with the refrigerator door opened, looking frantically from one plastic bin to another. I thought it was a rather straightforward question, but he looked at me with a mix of disgust and sadness, so I offered in a loud tone, “DO YOU WANT TO DOUBLE DOWN ON SOME CHEESE WIT ME?” Nothing. Silence. This MFer needs clarification on this? I proceeded to pull out three different types of cheese, slice them, stack them on top of each other, and eat the stack. Directly in front of him. As my lunch. Then I walked away.

I don’t know about you guys but I am not made for this type of living. I am not made for thinking up what to feed two adults, a child, two dogs, and the large family of nuisance ants that have taken up residence in my house (even though the exterminator has been here TWO TIMES.) I can’t do this. I can’t have all these beings relying on me to feed them all day and night.

Under normal conditions my husband fends for himself for both breakfast and lunch, having an eight-to-five-ish-type office job. My son would normally be eating whatever the hell I pulled together last minute at 7:15 am while he followed me around and said, We have to leave or I’ll be late for band practice. And if I forget, no problem, school would feed him. That just left me and up until two months ago, Sir Duke Barkington, my standard poodle, to nibble on this or that throughout the day. But now we have two dogs, one of which is a 16-week-old puppy who is OBSESSED with food, so she overeats her damn puppy chow then vomits, and then eats the vomit. And since March 15th, I’ve had my son and husband looking at me like, Hey Gir, what’s for lunch? Yeah, they call me Gir.

Early on my husband got the hint, and he just started cooking breakfast late, around 10:30, for all of us. That was our brunch. Everyday. The same thing. Everyday. Eggs. Wrapped in a carb-conscious tortilla. Everyday. I finally had to say, I can’t do this. I can’t live this way. I appreciate you trying to feed us, but I can’t eat another egg. That was almost a month ago and I had my first egg yesterday and it was, I mean, it was okay.

That was also the day I sort of just, umm, opted out of being part of my family’s cooking and eating life. Yes. I’m a horrible partner and mother. I just walked out of the kitchen and didn’t look back. Now my son comes to greet me in my office in the mornings with string cheese hanging out of his mouth, or a frozen waffle cause he’s too lazy to toast it in the oven, or maybe some cereal with no milk because, Mommy the milk shocked me a little, like when you stick a battery on your tongue.

That’s how I got to the ménage à cheese situation the other day. That’s how my husband and I came to a three week take-out bender. We are better now. Detoxed. Ordered HelloFresh.

That’s how things are going in my life. Hope yours is better.

M.

Dogs! Dogs! Dogs!

Remembers in “The Facts of Life” when Mrs. Garrett would yell, “Girls! Girls! Girls!” whenever they were roughhousing or just acting a fool? Yeah, you remember. Tooty would be skating around Natalie making faces, while Blair and Jo argued about Jo’s motorcycle. Then Mrs. Garrett would run into the room and yell, “Girls! Girls! Girls!” in her high-pitched, nasally sorta way, and they all straightened up. Oh, Mrs. Garrett, you silly lady. Anyway, that’s how I feel every time I have to yell, “Dogs! Dogs! Dogs!” at my two nimrods when they are acting foolish.

We are a house with two dogs for the first time ever, and while it’s only been about a month I can already see that our lives have changed drastically. I walk around the house all day yelling about this being a “house for dogs” and I’m just the chump who tries to keep it clean. Like when did I just give up? When did the dogs take over? Now. Today. That’s when.

Winnie ate the back off of Jackson’s new shoes today. Then she vomited on the rug.

Duke stretched out across the whole couch like a human, because he’s the most comfortable when we all have to see his penis.

Winnie started barking at whatever Duke barks at.

Duke barks at nothing. Literally nothing. Strong wind? Bark! A possible squirrel in the neighbor’s tree? Bark! Farting oneself awake? Bark! Except now it’s, “Bark!” and then, “Bark!”

“Girls! Girls! Girls!” Gah, I feel you Mrs. Garrett, and I hope it gets better when they are grown and out of the house.

Wait…

M.

Bentley

I talk a lot about Bentley-girl, but realized that many of you might not know who I am talking about. Bentley-girl was my first baby. My chocolate lab mix. Jerimiah and I got her when we were barely 21, and moving from Kansas City to Southern Missouri, which turned out to be a blessing and a curse, but I was so happy that Bentley was along for the ride. We came across Bentley when I had mentioned wanting a dog to go on this next adventure in life with and my sister’s neighbor’s dog had just accidentally impregnated a stray and the stray stuck around and had the puppies. The neighbor’s dog was a large, blocky-headed English lab, and the stray was, well, a stray. She was black, she had long hair, and she was skittish. That’s all I remember when I saw her the first time, while she was protectively hovering over her new babies. They were tiny and adorable, and two of them were chocolate (out of ten or so) and my sister and I claimed the two chocolates. The neighbor was giving them away since they were mixed and he didn’t want to deal with all those puppies. About six weeks later we went back to pick them up and my sister’s dog (we had put little collars on them to tell them apart) was waiting happily for her new home, meanwhile Bentley flipped out, ran away, and wedged herself inside the wall and a tall shelf in the barn. Jerimiah had to spelunking back there to get her and she hated all of it. She was traumatized for sure, but she was my traumatized girl and we hope we made up for it over the next fourteen years.

It’s always a little hard for me to talk about Bentley because she was legit my ride-or-die. She was with us, day in and day out, since that moment in the barn and she was absolutely our first baby. We took great pride in teaching her so much. We taught her all the basics of course, how to sit, beg, speak, lie down. But we taught her cool shit too, like how to climb in and out of the swimming pool by using the ladder. She could also climb back into a boat. This was out of necessity because she was the quintessential lab, even though she wasn’t a full-blooded lab, she loved DUCKS! And she would bail on the boat at first site of one, swim until she couldn’t anymore, then we’d troll over and she’d climb the ladder back into the boat. People were amazed when they saw her. We had friends and family gets labs after meeting her, but of course none were as awesome as her.

It was always fun to take her to the doggy swim days at the public pool. Besides the fact that she was a bomb-ass swimmer, who would often try to save people when they jumped off the diving board because she thought they were drowning, ha! But also because you’d just have to yell, “Ladder, Bentley” and she’d swim over to the ladder and walk out of the pool. People were legit amazed and would ask Jerimiah right there to teach their stupid golden retrievers that and he’d laugh and be like, “You’re dog isn’t smart enough.” Haha, just kidding. He’d tell them it takes a while to learn.

Bentley was a true lake girl because we lived at the lake with her for the first five years of her life. She was hit by a car twice there. She fought off wild animal there. She was even rescued a couple of times when she chased ducks a little too far out into the cove. But she had, what we thought, were some of her best years there, then we moved to the city and Jackson was born. That’s when Bentley really became who she was supposed to.

Jackson was Bentley’s kid. Always. From the moment we brought him home. She believed that Jackson belonged to her. Early on she would grab the blanket he was laying on, and pull him across the hardwood floors next to her bed while she took a nap. She slept in his nursery, then for a few toddler years they disagreed on some stuff, mainly him pulling her tail and trying to ride her, then sometime around his third birthday she was back. Back in his room, sleeping next to him on his bed, until the last time she could manage to get herself safely up there and back down again when Jackson was about nine-years-old.

That’s about the time we moved again. Not across the country this time, but from another rural area to the city. We moved into Charlotte and Bentley was none to happy. At first. The house was smaller than she was used to. The yard had a privacy fence. The neighbor dog growled. But I started taking her on more and more walks, trying both to elongate her life, and to spend more time with my best friend, who I knew was slowly slipping away from me.

By this time we had been told that Bentley was slipping into what amounted to Alzheimers Disease in the doggy world. She was starting to not recognize us sometimes. She would forget to eat one day, which was highly unusual for this 110-pound dog, and some days the forgetfulness, mixed with her arthritis and slow-growing tumor, the world was too much and she would lay at my feet, in our small Charlotte house, while I typed away on my thesis, and she would watch the birds out the glass door.

Then one day, the week I was defending my thesis, I called for her and she came running in from the hallway and stopped dead in her tracks. Tucked her tail between her legs, backed up slowly into a corner and cowered. I slowly approached her, as the vet had recommended at times like this, and sat not he floor next to her. She looked up at me like she had no idea who I was, and this time, for the first time ever, she was terrified, like I was going to hurt her. I cried, again, with my best friend. I held her. Thought back to the other times I had cried with her. So many times. She eventually came out of it, laid her large body next to mine on the floor, and we cuddled, but I knew that day it was time.

Three days later, on the suggestion of our vet, we spent our last day in this world with Bentley-girl. We took her to Freedom Park and let her chase ducks for a little while. We took her to lunch. Out for ice cream. Then I took her on our last walk around the neighborhood. She was a month shy of her 14th birthday. “A good, long life,” the vet had assured us. A good, long life.

It’s been two years now since we lost Bentley. Rather, since we let her go. She still comes to me in dreams. I still sometimes wake up thinking that I live on Table Rock Lake, and that Bentley will come running through the door with a snake hanging from her mouth as a gift to me, like she did many times before. I still see her curled up on the floor, a toddler Jackson sitting on her back. She was at her happiest when we were all together, when she knew we were all safe and happy.

I know for a fact she would not be happy with Sir Duke or Lady Winnie today. She’d despise them both, but for different reasons. She never liked male dogs (I get that), and she hated too much play and sassiness. She was a no-nonsense kinda gal, who appreciated bacon and walks, and the occasional swim in her older years. But I know that if it weren’t for Bentley and the awesomeness that she was, we wouldn’t have Duke or Winnie, or sometimes stop and smell the air on warm spring days when the flowers are blooming and the trees swaying.

Sending love to you wherever you are today, Bentley. We certainly miss you.

Mommy

I just remembered that one of my first blog posts was about Bentley as well. You can read it here.

Not A Real Breed

Listen, there are some things that I do because I am straight-up trash. Like when I subscribed to the Facebook standard poodle sites, I knew I was being an uppity bitch, but I have this adorable standard poodle and I wanted to share him with people who would love him like I do. People who would appreciate him and swoon over him and say things like, “Sir Duke is ADORABLE! The perfect poodle!” And I have. And they did. Then I was wasting a couple of my minutes of Facebook time the other day on one of them there sites and I saw someone post a picture of a doodle. I gave it a heart, and then immediately I was like, “Oh no!” I felt bad for the poster, a common poodle mommy who was just trying to share a cute pic of her babies. Now she has a poodle, but she just got a doodle and she decided to share a picture of both of the dogs together and I knew they were going to jump all over this poor girl. And they did.

Here’s the thing about “breedists” as I have come to call them: They cray. Like Lucious Malfoy cray. Like “There shan’t be any MUDBLOODS in here!” Cray. They started out nice. Someone was all, “Ohh, is the golden one a standard?” She knew the answer, but she wanted the poster to admit to it. The poster was all, “Oh no, that’s our new doodle pup! Isn’t she sweet?” Yes. Yes, she was sweet. Then someone else chimed in, “There are a lot of doodle sites all over.” Like, wow. Really, bitch? Then someone finally said, “I can’t believe these ‘designer’ breeds that just keep popping up. And they will keep popping up as long as there is demand for them…”

Now, did I do the right thing and come to her rescue? No. No I did not. You can’t “fight” with these breedists. They are like Trump supporters. Matter fact, I think most of them are Trump supporters. It’s just not what I do on there. I heart pics of puppies, and ask things like: When did y’all get your boy neutered? Who’s microchipped? Is stomach tacking worth it? I don’t get involved in the “Poodle Politics.” I know this sounds not like me, but the truth is, I always kinda knew I’d own a “designer breed” one day, and IDGAF what these people think about that.

And now here we are. Me feeling guilty that I am still a member of these sites, and an owner of a PyreDoodle, which by the way is not a recognized breed by the ACK or the CKC but I mean, have you seen her? Have you seen her?! Look it:

Guarantee if I were to post this pic to one of those poodle sites the first thing someone would ask me is, “Oh, is this a standard?” And they would already know the damn answer. They could tell by looking at the pads of her feet. See that little bit of white there? Uh huh. Dead giveaway. She actually has a white chest and some of them would actually die upon seeing her white chest, then come back to life to remind me that this is a “poodle site” and that there are several other places where I might feel more comfortable sharing this picture. Le sigh.

Why am I actually telling you this today? I dunno, I guess to make you feel better about your own life? Like, at least you don’t cruise dog sites looking for a fight. At least you aren’t the semi-proud owner of a dog that is “not a real breed.” Or maybe you are. Maybe you “adopt don’t shop” (I support this so very much, and often feel like a piece of shit because we didn’t find a dog that fit well with us when we went to seven damn shelters. But I also support buying puppies from local, reputable breeders who don’t over breed and have like family farms and shit. That’s supporting local business.) But dear dog lord do not cometh to that group with that mantra. They can tell you 187 reasons why your pit-bull mix you adopted from the local shelter is a big pile of anti-Christ dog shit. And they truly believe it. #TrumpShitGoingOnThereYall

So why then Missy do you belong to these sites? I told y’all. I’m trash. Oh, and the puppies are cute.

Have a safe and happy day!

M.

Ps… Here is a pic I’ve been itching to share on one of the poodle sites, but can’t for fear that I’ll wake up with dog shit in a brown paper bag on my doorstep placed there by an 83-year-old retired librarian with three pure white standards.

Something Funny

“What should my blog be about today?” I ask Jackson and Jerimiah as we are lying in bed reading this evening. “Write about the dogs,” Jackson says. “Something funny,” adds Jerimiah. “Oh,” he thinks to himself, “that might be hard to do right now.” I smile and nod. Write about the dogs. Write something funny. I’ll take a page from Jackson on this one.

For the last couple weeks we’ve been slowly working on homemade, hand-written cards to send to friends. Just a little something to say hi and we are thinking of you. We hope our first few rounds found you all safe and well. Anywho, I passed a card to Jackson one idle Tuesday while we were writing cards and I said, “This is for Madison. Write something.” And of course my witty, terribly dry fifth-grader writes inside Madison’s card, “Something.” Followed by a, “My mom said to write ‘something’ .” Several days later I get a text from Madison. She just wanted to say she got her card, to tell us thanks and she misses us too, oh and by the way, “I loved Jackson’s heartfelt message.” (Insert laughing smiley face). So there you have it. And now here goes.

Something funny.

M.

Backyard Camping

As some of you might know, we had big plans for travel this year. We started the year out with a fun trip to New England for New Year’s, and had a trip planned to Kansas City in March, and one to Florida for Spring Break. But of course all that was cancelled because of the worldwide pandemic. So instead, during Jackson’s spring break last week, we camped out in our backyard! Well, technically we camped out in our sun porch, because, well, I’m not a “camping” kinda girl. And Jerimiah is not a “camping” kind of guy. And Jackson is not a “camping” kind of kid. But we do like s’mores, backyard games, and watching Saturday Night Live as a family, so we compromised.

The sun porch offered the shelter from the cold (it got down into the 40s the night we camped out), and the rain (there was a slight chance), and did I mention that we brought a television out to watch the SNL At Home edition? Duh. We weren’t going to miss that. But otherwise it was a lot like camping! (Except for the hot tub, our own bathroom, and the aforementioned “extras”). Yeah, we totes sun-porch camped!

First we had to set the tent up. This was all Jerimiah and Jackson, while the dogs and I supervised. I think camping is a waste of time, generally, because of the all the set-up, the tear-down, and the amount of money you spend just to “save money” camping. (I’m more of a “rent a log cabin in the woods” kinda gal, especially if you only camp for a weekend. I can see the point if you are somewhere for a week or more, but geez, it’s a lot of work to cook your food on the ground and swat away mosquitos. I can do that in my backyard.) And this was no exception. But Jackson was so pumped about it, so I was like, “Yay! Camping!” I was a little surprised we even had a tent and a blow-up. mattress.

After we were all set up in the tent, we started making dinner. Grilled hamburgers and hot dogs, uh duh. Then ate on the deck. At this point it was in the mid-70s, sunny, and nice. We had big plans for the night that included a fire pit and the hot tub, so we were hoping it would cool down. Don’t worry, it did. It cooled way down.

After dinner it did start to cool down so we started the fire pit. We are not 100% sure of the “open fire” restrictions in our county, Jerimiah read them a bunch but still couldn’t decide if a fire pit was legal or not. But we would be amazed if a fire pit is illegal, so we ran with it. Only when we heard massive firetrucks whizzing by did we get frightened, but turned out it wasn’t for us. Thank goodness the neighbors didn’t call the cops on us. S’mores were a go!

As the night calmed down, we talked a lot, ate more s’mores, and enjoyed the fire. The dogs played, Jackson played with the dogs, then we had our own game of “manhunter” in which I was a fugitive hiding from the law at a national park, and Jackson had to arrest me. I wish I were kidding. Later, when Jerimiah and I were in the hot tub, Jackson even changed into what he thought an undercover National Park Ranger/Detective would wear. Hilarity ensued. I went screaming through the backyard, dogs biting at my heels, Jackson chasing me, threatening to “tase” me, and Jerimiah watching in disbelief. This is when the neighbors should have called the cops.

Finally we talked the detective/ranger into joining us in the hot tub, by promising we wouldn’t break any more laws that night. Even though I was drinking White Claws and you know what they say about that, “Ain’t no laws, when you’re drinking Claws…”

After a refreshing dip, we headed back to the yard to play Washers and talk more around the fire pit. Family bonding at it’s finest. It was like we haven’t been in the same house together for a month…

Around 10:30 we put the fire pit out and headed into the sun porch. It was cold in there. We had left the fan on, and the temperature had dropped. Couple that with my Claws buzz was wearing off, I needed some blankets. So jerimiah pulled the sun porch blinds down, stuck the canopy on the tent, and put socks on my feet. I wish I were kidding. He’s too good to me.

Then we had a dance party, because that’s what Jackson wanted to do. In it he taught us how to do “The Scarn” which is a fictitious dance, by a fictitious character, based on a fictitious movie, played by a fictitious office manager on The Office. For real.

Afterward we got all cozied up inside the tent (well I did, with the dogs) and watched the At Home Edition of SNL, which was amazing! They did a great job. Then it was time for bed, so we all snuggled up for the night.

And then we all fell into a wonderful, quiet night of sleep! Just kidding! It was freezing cold, our air mattress apparently has a slow leak, and Jackson was unable to sleep because it was the night before Easter and the damn Easter bunny was set to come. So, yeah, it was like every, single night camping I have ever had. It was a hellish nightmare and I simply don’t want to do it again. But the next night, ahhh, we slept in our own bed again.

There you have it, backyard camping. That’s what you asked about, right? Silly me, you didn’t ask for anything. You never do. You are a giver, not a taker. And I love you. Now go forth and backyard camp. Can’t you see how fun it is?

M.

Winnie, The Doo

Last week a friend of ours called to ask if we could dog sit while she goes out of town to stay with family while we are in this quarantine. Her husband still has to physically go to work in Atlanta and she didn’t want to leave her pup all alone all day. We had previously discussed the idea of trading off dog-sitting duties with each other if we ever needed to, so our dogs already know and like each other, so we said sure thing. Two days with our friends’ sweet Doggo Nola, a yellow-Lab mix, and my puppy-mommy uterus was exploding. Jerimiah and I have been in talks for several months about the idea of a second dog. In fact, if you’ll remember we went to a couple of shelters, but didn’t find a doggo that fit our family. Then after having Nola around, seeing how cool she is with Sir Duke, how he has a playmate and that helps out a lot, well, we just did it. We totally adopted a dog over the weekend! May I please introduce to you Lady Winifred Beesly of Atlanta:

Now, I know what you are thinking: That’s a beast of a name, Missy! How did you ever come up with it? Super simple. My friend Madison suggested Winnie, while we were stuck on “D” names that would be cute with Duke. Names like, Dixie, Delta, or Dolly. But I knew since she was a Lady, she needed a noble sounding name, so I said make it Winifred and you’ve got a deal. Jackson was hellbent on Beesly, as a nod to the fictional character Pam Beesly in “The Office” (of which we just finished the whole series as a family and that was a hot fucking mess, with not one, but two emotional breakdowns for my 11-year-old). And of Atlanta is of course necessary, considering she is a Lady. But like Duke (whose actual name is Sir Duke Barkington of Charlotte) we call her by her nickname, Winnie. Or more usually, Winnie the Doo, because she’s an 8-week-old F1B PyreDoodle.

What the actual hell is an F1B PyreDoodle? Winnie is 3/4 Standard Poodle, 1/4 Great Pyrenees, and 1/1 awesome. Her biological mommy is a Standard Parti-Poodle and her biological daddy is half Standard and half Great Pyrenees, giving her the F1B status. Now listen, I don’t know anything about dog breeding. Nor do I know anything about these fancy-ass designer breeds that I am apparently drawn to, but she isn’t AKC registered like Duke because she can’t be, because she’s, well, let’s just call her “too special.” Yes, she’s “too special” to be recognized as a reputable dog breed by the American Kennel Craphead Uppity Bitches Chamber of Cocksuckers. I think that’s their full name. But listen y’all, true to Missy fashion, I had to Google what a Great Pyrenees looks like after we had already adopted her. Side note, they look like this:

Did you know they were really big? I did not.

Anyway, even though she’s mostly SPOO, she looks mostly like a Great Pyrenees puppy, which makes me a little nervous cause the doggy door we bought isn’t all that big. But that’s shit to worry about later, for now, please look at these pictures:

Now, how are Sir Duke and Lady Winnie getting along? Well, the first day was ruff. He was really sad that she was getting a ton of attention, and he withdrew a bit. He even refused to sleep on the bed with us because she was up there. Then by the next day he had convinced himself that she was a Covid-19 carrier because Great Pyrenees are mountain dogs from France and Spain, and he’s slightly racist. Later that night we found and burned his MAGA hat, had a stern talk with him, and he’s coming around. He even lets her eat next to him, as you can see in the above picture.

Yesterday they started to play together. And whenever I tell her “Outside!” and rush out the door with her peeing down my arm, I think I can see a twinkle in his eye. He knows he is the superior being, he doesn’t feel pressure to prove it anymore. Also, he’s a little scared of her. But to be fair, she’s kinda ferocious for such a tiny thing.

So there you have it, Winnie the Doo. And yes, we made a song for her set to the Winnie-the-Pooh theme song and it’s dropping fresh today straight from the 100-acre wood. You’re welcome.

M.

Winnie the Doo (Sung to the tune of Winnie-the-Pooh)

Winnie the Doo, Winnie the Doo,

Fuzzy little puppy, all stuffed and fluffy,

Winnie the Doo, Winnie the Doo

Silly, willy, nilly old girl!

Welcome to the family, Winnie-girl. You’ve got some big shoes to fill, but we think Bentley would be proud of you.

Who is Taylor Swift Dating and Other Important Things

The other day I watched Taylor Swift’s Americana and then I spent about three hours tracing her past relationships, trying to figure out who she’s dating now, and just generally online stalking Taylor Swift. This was just after I listened to another Dolly Parton’s America podcast and went online to find Dolly’s fourth cousin, you know, the one who’s a member of the Daughters of the American Revolution? I couldn’t find her. I didn’t look too hard, I got sidetracked by other important questions. Questions like…

Who is Taylor Swift’s friend from high school who came over and ate dinner with her in her lonely, weird house?

Are they really remaking Supermarket Sweep with Leslie Jones?

What are Simon and Garfunkel’s real names?

When did the WWE form? What about the WWF? Does the WWF know there is a WWF that saves pandas and shit? Which one was Macho Man Randy Savage part of? I know he didn’t save pandas.

How many miles are in a 10k?

Did Barbara Hershey and Bette Middler like each other in real life? They had great chemistry in Beaches.

What about The Golden Girls? I’ve heard Bea was a bitch to Betty. You heard that too?

How to record players work? Like for real. How is the sound trapped inside the record?

Would I survive if forced to live in Florida?

Why does my dog hate me?

In short, I needed to be distracted by all the actual shit I’m supposed to be doing, so I thought about these things instead. I hope you are more productive these days than I am.

M.

Three Hundred Posts Later

Yesterday was my 300th blog post and I had planned to do something awesome to celebrate that fact with you guys, then I had a busy week and got one day behind and when I wrote my post yesterday I didn’t realize it was number 300 and then I was actually like, “DAMN IT! I messed up my 300th post.” So this is actually post 301, but if you don’t tell anyone, I won’t tell anyone. Ahem, happy 300th post day! 300 posts seems like a lot to me, especially since I really just started blogging to ensure that I write something, anything with regularity. I guess I can call that a win. I have been writing everyday. In fact I have written everyday for the last eight weeks, some of it made it to this here blog, some of it hasn’t made it anywhere. Yet. Unofficially I want to write every, single day this year. Unofficially I want to do a lot of things. Unofficially I have big plans. Unofficially a lot of those plans involve Cheetos.

But alas, I’m here today celebrating a small victory. Looking for a bigger one out there looming, somewhere. But my 300th post seems something to celebrate. Maybe it isn’t. Maybe 500 or 1000 is more appropriate. But who really cares? I want to celebrate damn it! So to show my apprecation to you all, to those of you who are still around I’m going to share some pics with you that I have not shared before. The sort of pics that never “make the cut” when I’m writing one of my fun, exciting blogs. And hey, I might share an old “Mornings with Missy” video too, because I love you all and you deserve it. Hopefully you can use these “extras” to piece together some idea of who I am. Or, you can screenshot them and use them as ammunition against me when I run for office one day. Or become a famous model, whichever comes first.

But for real. Thanks for hanging with me for 300 (301) posts, and I hope you’ll stick around for my next 300, cause it’s about to get more interesting. I promise.

Thanks, friends!

M.

That time the Marines came to Charlotte and fourth grade Jackson made us make this video…

The above video was filmed in my closet in Charlotte, North Carolina a month or so before we moved to Atlanta. Enjoy!

Puppy Fever

You guys. You actual all. I am in deep with the puppy fever. I don’t even know why. Duke is only a year and a half, but I keep looking at his pictures from when he was a baby and my uterus, the one that doesn’t even exist inside my body anymore, starts to ache. I don’t even have that reaction when I see babies. Like real, actual, fucking, human babies. Don’t get me wrong, most of them are cute, real, human babies (after the first three months or so anyway) but I’m like, “Ohh, she’s cute. Oh, she pooped her pants, here take your baby.” But doggos and puppers. You guys. That’s another story. First of all, do me a favor and LOOK [clap] AT [clap] THIS [clap]

LOOK [clap] AT [clap] THIS [clap]

So a couple of weeks ago I talked Jerimiah and Jackson into going to the shelters around Altanta looking for a dog to adopt, and let me just say what a sad, sack of shit we all were when we left. Like sad, y’all. Who does that?! Who goes to like three different shelters (the kill ones owned by the county) and looks at dogs. Uh, dumbasses.

Obviously we found 47 dogs we wanted to adopt. And since they are running a “Roaring 20s” special this month, all dogs over 25 pounds are only $20 to adopt. So, that’s only $940. Uh, that’s a steal, y’all! We paid half that for one Sir Duke Barkington. Christ, Y’ALL KNOW I LOVE A DEAL!

When Jerimiah ultimately stopped me from trying to convince the employees at the shelter that we could house 47 dogs, they were skeptical anyway, we decided maybe we, ahem I, should slow my roll. So we walked away with zero dogs that day. And zero the next. And zero the next. And he has not even mentioned taking me back, which is a real dick move on his part. Until, well, he said this:

“I think I’d rather wait until like the summer, and get a puppy. Maybe another Poodle, or a Doodle or something like that. You know, a dog that really fits into our family and lifestyle. I’m not sure adopting 47 Pit Bulls* would be an ideal situation for Duke. Or, well, any of us.” –Jerimiah

Yeah. That’s a thing he said. I might have added some of it for entertainment value (and to make a long, educated post about Pit Bulls at the bottom of this blog), but he for sure said he ALSO wants another dog. And since I wrote it on my blog, it lives forever in posterity.

So, a new dog is coming our way. What kind, I don’t really know. Because while I LOVE that I don’t have dog hair floating all around the house (thanks to that Poodle gene), I HATE spending so much money on grooming my dog. And while I LOVE that my dog is a cuddle-bug who sits on my lap even though he’s way too big, I sometimes want a dog who doesn’t lose his shit and shake like a leaf when he sees the mailman (who he literally sees every, single, day). There’s good and bad. Plus, y’all know I am always down for a Chocolate Lab. Because I miss my best friend Bentley-girl like a sumbitch. LOOK [clap] AT [clap] THESE [clap]

You can read more about Bentley-Girl in the red link and you can read more about Sir Duke Barkington as well. As for me and my puppy fever. It will rage on until we find the right dog for us, but don’t worry, we will.

M.

**Pit Bulls and Such**

You guys, the Atlanta-area shelters are filled with dogs that are either Pit Bull, Staffordshire, Mastiff, or Boxer mixes. Most of these dogs just get clumped into the “Pit Bull” category because people are ill-informed. And afraid. We talked to several shelter employees and volunteers (that’s a bonus about going on the weekend, there are a tons of knowledgable people there who want to talk to you about the dogs because they see them every week.) And the real truth is that yes, black dogs are the least likely to get adopted. Same with cats. Dogs that have a Pit Bull “look” are the least likely to get adopted and the most likely to be euthanized when they run out of room. At the DeKalb County Shelter we didn’t even get to see all the dogs. The had 450 in cages, and another 150 or so in a backroom awaiting a spot to be seen, and I’d say about 90% of them looked like this young lady who I FELL IN LOVE WITH:

She was the sweetest. We got to take her out for a walk, and she just wanted to sit next to you and have you pet her. In fact, her and this guy Mr. Charlie Brown:

almost made us bring Duke in for a meet-and-greet. But we were hesitant after we learned how long they had both been in the shelter. Shelter dogs are unique, and the longer they spend in the shelter, the more love and attention they need. And we are afraid we don’t have the time or the patience, though we have the love, to make these dogs feel special.

Even worse, some of the dogs are only allowed to be in “one dog” homes. Some have a “No Kids” restriction. Some, many, have tested positive for heart worms, and while they are being treated at the facility, we were told both Ms. Bianca and Mr. Charlie Brown would need to not be “active” for weeks after we adopted them because of the heart worm medication. We weren’t sure how we could keep a dog not “active” when we have Sir Duke at home, the most ACTIVE beast on the planet! We want nothing more to give all those 47 dogs we fell in love with a home, but it’s not feasible for us right now. But if you can, if you live in the Atlanta area, and if you are interested in any of those dogs they can all be found here: LifeLine Animal Project.

And remember, please don’t judge a dog by the breed. Get informed before you make a decision. Remember that visiting a dog in a shelter for 30 minutes one time doesn’t mean much, and even the craziest looking ones in the shelter could be the calmest, most sweet, dogs ever. If you shelter has a “Try before you buy” program, do it! If you can find a shelter dog that has been in a foster home, talk to the foster home, they will know so much about the dog. Just some things to keep in mind.

Christmas at the Goodnight House

When Jackson was born we decided we’d always spend Christmas at home. We aren’t into the lugging of gifts cross country, and the logistics of Santa visiting hotels, or relatives’ houses. We’ve always said our door is open to whomever would like to spend Christmas with us, and for several years we had grandparents come visit, and a couple of times friends stopped in a few days later, but for the last two years it’s been just the three of us, and Sir Duke, and while we missed our family (and enjoyed the pics they all shared from gatherings in the Midwest) we had another nice, little Christmas at home this year. Our first one in Georgia!

It’s a byproduct of living away from family, the quiet, small Christmases. And having a child who’s still young enough to lay out milk and cookies for Santa helps. Maybe, as we move into the teen years we can travel more, but until then, although I know our family misses us at Christmastime, we will be at our house, but our door is always open. Just be warned, it goes something like this:

This year Jackson woke us up at 6:00 am on the nose, and we dug in. Santa brought great gifts, including a new Nerf gun which exploded into a full-on Nerf Gun war between the three of us, running and screaming through the house while being pelted with rubber and foam. Ahh, Christmas morn.

We played with cars, we played with Jackson’s new video drone (which he promptly flew into one of the giant Georgia Pines that overlook our house). Sir Duke and I dozed in the afternoon, while the boys played a new Lego game on the PS4.

It was nearly 70 degrees, so we grilled steaks and shrimp for Christmas dinner, while Jackson took aim at his new Red Ryder targets, and Duke chased a brand-new tennis ball. We anticipated our upcoming trip over dinner, while we reminisced about the last time the three of us were in NYC together. After dinner we listened to my new record player (my old one had died), played with cars some more, than ended the night with a chapter of Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince (four more to go)! And mind you, we did this all in matching pajamas. Ha!

By 10:30 we were all beat, including Sir Duke Barkington who had quite the assortment of gas-inducing treats. Whew! However, it was the merriest of Christmases at the Goodnight house. We hope it was the same for you!

M.

Ps… My favorite present was an antique globe for my office. 😍