Saturday, December 21, 2013

"They Don't Believe, Which is Kind of Sad"

Merry Christmas Kiddo’s!

I took my kids to great wolf lodge, an indoor water park, for their “Big Christmas Gift” from me.  They loved it.  I loved it (to a point).  As a unit, it was so special to just spend time with them.
I feel like our little 4some is so darned busy that we never get to just hang out and bond, which is why I selected this gift and then didn’t really invite anyone to join us.  And we did bond.

Great Wolf was amazing – it was beautifully decorated with trees and snow (In the LOBBY!).  They had a brass band playing  (In the LOBBY!).  We saw Santa, went to story time, and did other Christmas “things” like bought an ornament and played in an arcade.... er....

The Waterpark itself was good.  Lots to do.  All the kids found their favorite slides and did them repeatedly.  For the most part, they spent time together on each other’s favorites, and there was very little fighting or arguing. 

Sadly, the two “BIG” slides that are family attractions there weren’t running.  The one was dry, and the other – The Tornado – had a broken conveyor belt.

In order to ride, you had to haul a 4 person raft about 5 stories up – I’m serious. 

I test lifted one, looked at my 13 year old  It was work.  We were breathy by the time we got to the top, but it was fun to work with her.  And we had a stellar time.  There was no line, we just marched up dropped the raft in and went.

and grinned.  So, off we went.

(best water slide I’ve ever been on in my life)

 When we got off the ride, laughing hysterically, we walked back to our seats to regroup.  As we were celebrating our triumph, of carrying that raft so far, we looked up at the stairs.... and saw two girls 1/3 of the way up, stuck with a tube.

“Awe Mom, those poor girls are too little to carry that raft.  Where is their Mom to carry it for them?”

“Dunno honey, but let’s go help them out.”

So we went up and I picked up the raft and we carried it up for them.  And they insisted that we ride down with them – btw – WAY BETTER RIDE WITH A FULL RAFT.

Then, we took an hour off and hung out and played and rode other rides.  We heard a girl ask her Mom if they could ride Tornado, and the mom said, “I’m not carrying that raft up those stairs”.

At that point, C and I made an observation.  We had a perfect view of the Tornado stairs, and we watched a trail of riders go up.   There were NO MOMS carrying rafts up the stairs.  It was Teenage Boys, Dads and an occasional gaggle of Teen Girls.

“Um, I don’t think the other mom’s are strong enough to carry the raft...”

“I think you’re probably right.  Or, they don’t believe they are strong enough, which is kind of sad,” I responded.  “Wanna ride again?”

“Oh yeah!”

Friday, December 13, 2013

In Memory of Heidi Hussenfuffer Russell

We got Heidi in January of 1999.  

She was a bit of a rebellion on my part.  My then Husband had desperately wanted a big dog, but after a failed rescue attempt involving a Great Dane named Zakha, I arrived home one day with a palm sized Jack Russell Terrier pup who I promptly named Heidi.

Nov. 2009
All of my pets always get literature names.  Heidi, the sweet little helpful girl from a beloved childhood book seemed the perfect name for this cute little puppy.  I knew nothing about the breed, and perhaps that was a good thing, because it never occurred to me that Heidi Russell would be anything but sweet when she grew up.

We raised her into a sweet little dog, teaching her to go into her crate with the command, “Lock & Load”.  She played self fetch on the stairs, and constantly amazed us with her genius.  Now, if only she would have used that genius for Good instead of for Evil.

Thousands of dollars in vet bills taught us to never leave the diaper bag where she could reach it.

Thousands of dollars in vet bills taught us that it can be “too quiet”.  For that matter, maybe Heidi was instrumental in the success of our parenting as she taught us to be super vigilant with our toddlers.

She was dubbed the Jack Russell Terrorist, and yet, we loved her.

She talked back when scolded, and absolutely didn't protect the house from intruders.  She stood mute while a man tried to break down the back door... But would bark herself hoarse protecting us from squirrels, rabbits, and UPS men - all clearly up to no good in her doggy opinion.

Heidi could perform simple math and remember where objects were hidden for months.  Upon over hearing a conversation that ended with, “Well, I think Heidi’s ball is upstairs on Dad’s bed” she promptly ran upstairs, and returned with a bright blue racket ball.

There were so many silly and amusing things about the dog, that it’s almost possible to forget the many (MANY) times she got into things or caused physical destruction to our home.

She became a pet of the neighborhood, the beach, the extended family, and took immense joy in sharing her cuteness with anyone willing to throw a ball.  
And throw a ball again.  
And again.  
And ... again.

Still, she was more sibling to my children than pet, and when she presented with signs of a stroke on Wednesday morning it broke my heart, knowing that a chance of a recovery was unlikely.  By Thursday we knew it was hopeless.

Heidi went to heaven on Friday morning.  It was bitterly cold.   She will be missed.

Heidi Hussenfuffer Russell – November 29, 1998 – December 13, 2013