It’s the little things, like snow tires and puppies

I entered the Christmas season in denial, hoping that if I did nothing about it, that maybe it wouldn’t come. I shopped reluctantly, grumpy to be once again adding to the consumption problem we all face, knowing that the things I bought now would be stuffed into a green garbage bag three years from now and hauled into the trunk of the car for their trip to Goodwill. Going away this year meant I didn’t have to get the tree, haul it into the house by dragging it in on a tarp, never mind balancing it in its rickety cup and screwing those long screws into the trunk at least 3 times before getting the balance right.

Whatever Christmas entails, I do it alone. Oh sure, the kids help…

The snow in Leavenworth, WA, that cute little Bavarian-esque town cheered me a little, but the drive had made me tense and it was getting dark. Strangely I was entirely proud of my new snow tires which I had finally gotten for the car this year, waiting 45 minutes at Les Schwab, driving home with the old tires in my back seat clad in yellow plastic dresses. I worried all the way home how I was going to lift them out and then laughed when I did, never realizing how light tires are for a Prius. Why hadn’t I gotten snow tires before this year? I can’t tell you how pleased they made me, slucing through the wet highway slush as we drove over the pass.  I had spent the drive managing my mood, my frustration as the kids fought, feeling sorry for myself that I had one more year of Christmas under my belt – the shopping, wrapping, stuffing the car with presents, and now making sure the car had snow tires, mad that I had never thought to get them before. Why didn’t I know?

Leavenworth at dusk
Leavenworth at dusk

Because that was something that he worried about. Snow tires, oil gauges, ski racks, that weird smell of gas I knew I should get checked out. Snow tires didn’t enter into my mind stuffed with shopping and wrapping and cookies. But this year I got snow tires and despite all of my Christmas bah humbugness, they made me very happy. There were other things that made me happy. Cross country skiing with one of my best friends at dusk as the mist clung to the mountains. The White Elephant gift exchange. My brother-in-law on his electric guitar jamming with Carter on his sax. My niece dancing the Waka Waka. My sister reading The Grinch again and doing her Ethel Merman Rudolf dance. The carol singing where a smart grandad had printed only the first two verses of every song in the songbook, his wife’s Figgy Pudding. And driving home, I can’t tell you how happy I was with those damn snow tires.


Millie Comes Home

I suppose the odd dog episode had us go down the get-a-puppy path. I began thinking how nice it would be to walk a dog again. I read an article how dogs are great for relieving a kid’s stress and anxiety. I started feeling that weird feeling again, coming home to an empty house, something I hadn’t felt since Harley died. Of course, Olivia honed in on my weakness, like a puppy with a bone, and wouldn’t let go. She was relentless. Before Christmas we visited the dog shelter. I did this because I knew we were going away and couldn’t really do anything serious until after we got back. There was one very frightened puppy among all the chihuahua’s and pit bulls, but we could both tell he would always be frightened somehow. We researched breeds and eventually we agreed on a Boston Terrier.

We found a breeder who didn’t have any new puppies, but did have a 7 month old that she had, only days before decided to make a pet dog, since she was turning out to be too small to breed. An older puppy sounded perfect to me and we made plans to visit. The sun finally came out as we drove the hour and a half to Olympia, exiting at exit 111 (of course). We played with a total of 6 Boston girls. 6! What’s not to love? They are sweet, energetic, wise and the one we were to adopt into our family had us at her first kiss of each of our faces. We went for lunch to “discuss” but the kids barely let me finish my sandwich before we were rushing back. And then we drove home with a sleepy bundle of black and white between the kids in the back seat.

Aside from a few fights over whose lap Millie gets to fall asleep on, the transition has been very smooth. How can you resist this face?

Millie comes home
Millie with Olivia

Snow tires and puppies. I’m grateful for the little things that can turn that grumpy old bah humbug in me around.

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  1. Dampdynamite December 31, 2010 at 1:09 pm

    What a face! Millie is adorable! Just the right dog for your family. Happy New Year to you and your sweet family!

    1. Abigail - Site Author December 31, 2010 at 4:31 pm

      She is extraordinarily sweet. Happy New Year to you and yours as well.

  2. Rebecca Soukakos January 4, 2011 at 12:45 pm

    You are amazing Abby. It’s not fair to have to think of everything! So it’s a good thing you are finding ways to balance the stress–Millie was a great idea (as well as the skiing). Thank you for sharing the yin and the yang. Your storytelling is a great reminder of how difficult (and sometimes easy) it is to strike a balance.

  3. Cathy January 6, 2011 at 2:14 am

    Love this for you! Happy New Year from one widow to another. I feel we are kindred spirits….

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