Hurricane Sandi – The Things I Learned (Day 1, 30 Days of Thanks)

There are so many things I could say about the devastation this storm wrought on the east coast of the United States.  The pictures are out there if you want to browse the ‘net.  I gotta say, when I saw the boardwalk in Seaside Heights, amusements in the ocean, stores ripped to shreds, the carousel where not only my Brighid had her first ride, but my sister Megan did as well, washed away in the storm – there were tears.  I keep in my prayers the people who have to battle back from the tragedy.

But I learned a few things at my house, too.  We had minimal storm damage – just a loss of some siding.  We maintained power the whole time.  We had plenty of food, cases of water, and hot showers.  I know these things are a cherished commodity in some communities right now, and I’m grateful we had them.  But in all my preparedness, surrounded by the creature comforts (yeah, I bought big dog bones, too, for them to ride out the storm in comfort), this is what I found out, and I am SO thankful!

My kids CAN get along!  There were board games played, snacks eaten, videos watched – TOGETHER!  No one smacked anyone, no one cried, no one yelled at anyone else.  I think that’s damn good for being cooped up for four days.

I could not survive anything without my husband.  We went out a couple of times in the days leading up to the storm to pick up supplies, and we held hands, talked, and enjoyed each other’s company.  We do this every day, but to do it in the face of who knows what while working under the stress of putting enough food and supplies in for who knows how long, well, it just shows me that after 23 years together, married life really does keep getting better.

And the biggest lesson?  No matter how many packages of Oreo cookies I buy, it’s not enough.  Oreos, apparently, have some sort of evaporation properties.  In four days, four packages of Oreo cookies disappeared from this house.  Every flavor – Halloweens, peanut butters, plain old, heads and tails – it doesn’t matter, they all have the same evaporation issue.  Not one cookie crumb survived the storm, and not one child – or husband – in this house admitted to eating more than two cookies.

I think Sandi was powerful in ways the weatherman couldn’t imagine.

Day 2 – 30 Days of Thanks – A Little Dog’ll Do Ya!

I had decided we were not pet people.  Jim and I had the most amazing dog ever when we first got married, and she passed away peacefully when she was nine.  Then we hit a rough patch.  I made it my mission to only find pets that would destroy my house, terrorize my children, and cause pet behavioralists to run screaming from my home.  No, seriously.

The nail in our family pet coffin came when we realized our Irish Wolfhound, Rosie, was the reason our Irish-American baby, Granuaile, was breaking out in horrible rashes and experiencing breathing difficulties.  She had dog allergies.  The pet nazi voice loomed ominously in my head – “No dog for you!”

But kids and dogs seem to go together, and it wasn’t too long before we started looking at pets again.  In the end, we decided to bring home two dogs with good reputations for being hypo-allergenic.  Lusi, who came to us from Italy, is a smart, amazing, and eager to please Lagotto Romagnolo.  She is a one of a kind dog who will do anything you ask.

And then there’s Harper Vee Marti.  Named after (a) a character from the Wizards of Waverly Place (b) the amazing Dr. V – Nestor Veitia and (c) the famous Cuban poet/patriot, Jose Marti, she is a Havanese.  Fuzzy, compact, and a little bit aloof, there’s something special about Harper.

Harper’s special talent is knowing.  When I was recovering from my kidney failure last summer, she would sit on the arm of the chair while I slept, knowing that I needed her company.  When the kids want to put bows in her hair and dresses on her fuzzy butt, she knows not to snap or growl while little hands manipulate her into humiliation.  And when Jim has two pieces of lunch meat in his hands, she knows just which side the big piece is on, and that’s the hand she sits near.  She knows when Lusi needs someone to play with, Eilis needs someone to talk to, or Jim needs someone to laugh at.  She just knows.

I love both of our dogs.  It’s almost like we’ve hit the dog lottery not once, but twice.  I am thankful for both of them.

But I am so, so thankful for the things that Harper knows.