Sammy Archive

Toby

Posted October 8, 2020 By kmarrs

I work evenings now. I’m usually gone when Sammy goes to bed. Which wouldn’t be a problem, if Sammy didn’t have crippling anxiety.

Unfortunately, Sammy does have crippling anxiety, with a side of depression. The worst of it is at bedtime.

One night I was lamenting that I would give anything for Sammy to have a dog that could go to bed with her every night. A furry friend that Sammy could find comfort in when I’m not there. I’d train the dog that Sammy was his human and he could help her not be scared.

The catch is, our rent goes up a couple of hundred dollars and we’d need to pay a hefty security deposit if we got a dog. And while we could mostly afford the basics of dog ownership, we can not afford extra rent.

Then my best friend suggested an ESA dog and it’s like suddenly the skies had cleared. ESA dogs and their disabled humans are a protected class and legally our landlord can not charge us extra rent or a security deposit for one. And Sammy is in for real, legitimate need.

I spoke to Sammy’s therapist, and she is in huge support of the idea. She’s looking into what she needs to do on her end, then she’s going to write a letter that basically prescribes Sammy with an ESA. We’ll take that letter and a print out of the law to our landlord and have them add that to our file.

Then we’re going to go to the shelter and find a pitbull or pitbull mix that responds to Sammy as the sad puppy she is. Pitbulls make excellent ESA dogs.

Together we’ll train him with the standard set of obedience commands like sit and stay. I’ll also train him to sleep in Sammy’s room at night. Since he won’t be going to the grocery store or other errands, the basic discipline commands are all he really needs. I’ll also train him on how to be walked by the 9yo, who isn’t very strong. We’ll walk her together right now, but as she gets older I want her to be able to take her dog around the neighborhood by herself, without the dog pulling on the leash.

I told Sammy about the decision a few days after I made it. She’s in research mode very concerned with learning how to train, the best food options, the best dog beds and toys, and “we’re going to get the dog chipped, right mom?”

It took her all of 24 hours to name the dog we don’t have and that we’ve never met. I campaigned for Ativan since the dog would be helping her with Anxiety. She considered it but eventually settled on Toby. Her only concern was the Toby was a boy’s name and the dog might be a girl. I pointed out dogs don’t have a gender and that blew her mind but settled the problem.

We’ll welcome Toby into our life within the next 6 months.

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Zoo Trip! Zoo Trip!

Posted September 24, 2020 By kmarrs

I took Sammy to the zoo this past weekend as a belated birthday trip. We have a membership so it’s super easy to just pack up and go to the zoo a dozen times a year. Things slowed down when COVID hit, but we’re getting back into the swing of it.

This trip was a little different than our normal trip though. You see, our zoo as an adventure cove with all sorts of fair rides and such. Also scattered through the park are additional rides like pony rides and a train through North America. Our long time favorite is the 1914 carousel that I always find the money for, but usually, we can’t afford the other rides so I have to tell her no. This time, however, I asked my mom to sponsor a couple of ride bracelets that basically give us limitless access to all of them and she agreed. They are actually a pretty great bargain.

The first ride we went on when we got there was this water roller coaster. It had two drops that weren’t extremely high, but there was a splash involved with each. About a minute, or less, after getting seated and starting our way through it, Sammy decided that actually she is afraid of heights and didn’t really want to get wet, but it was way too late for that. Luckily I was able to hold her tight and she didn’t die of freight but she did have some regrets by the end.

The next ride we almost went on is that boat that swings back and forward. We made it to the front of the line before Sammy decided that maybe it also went to high and actually she’d like to go ahead and skip it. I didn’t give her any hassle. Limits and boundaries are healthy and to be respected.

She did, however, enjoy a nice pony ride. And we rode the train together. Then we made our way to the camel rides and we got to ride one together. She was a little nervous through that because camels are taller than she expected, but she eased up and decided it was fun after all by about halfway through. Then we made our way to the carousel and rode that a couple of times before it was time to leave because the zoo was closing.

We did, actually, see a handful of animals too. She loves the big cats so I made sure she saw the lions and the cheetahs. We didn’t manage to see the tigers, but that’s ok. There is always the next trip. We also saw the seals which is a new exhibit that I love with all my heart. My friend works for a seal rescue in Ireland so I’m learning to appreciate them more than ever.

We’re going back on Halloween. This time we’ll actually focus on seeing the animals. (Though there is always carousel money.) The animals will have pumpkin enrichment and it’s a great final fall trip before it gets really cold. Not that the cold has ever stopped us. But a lot of animals den over winter so the winter trips are less productive.

I really enjoy having unlimited access to the zoo. I’m glad I got the kids a membership from Santa this last Christmas. That will be the regular gift from him from now on. It’s something we can all enjoy and it’s right about the Santa price point.

Here are some photos of Sammy I took that day that I enjoy.

Here is the water roller coaster. Sammy has decided she’ll try it again when she’s 25.

This is the swinging boat ride she almost went on. It looked fun.

There were a few other rides I would have loved for her to try. But she just wasn’t ready and I’m not mean enough to push her. She did the roller coaster so I’m super proud of her, even if she does have regrets.

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Calamus Swamp and Photo Dump

Posted July 13, 2020 By kmarrs

I honestly thought swamps were only in the southern United States like Florida. However, a friend posted about a local swamp they went to and all the frogs they saw/heard and I was super excited. Within a week Iris, Lucas, Sammy, and I were at the swamp frog watching and hiking the trail. Then a couple of days later I went back with Robin. It was glorious. The frog songs lifted my spirits. The startled splashes as they hid from us were endless fun. We did see a few. And I got some photos. I also took photos of the flowers, greenery, and the swamp in general. I’m going to go ahead and dump them here. There are… a lot. I’d apologize but I wouldn’t mean it.

I’ve decided that once or twice a month, from now until forever, we’re going to explore Ohio. The fact that there was a swamp with frogs only 27 miles away and I didn’t know about it, is tragic. So I’m dedicating myself to exploring trails, reserves, and parks in Ohio that are outside my usual stomping ground.

Later this month we’re going to Clifton Gorge. It’s about an hour away, just to the east of Dayton. In August we’re going to take a day trip up to Lake Erie. Then in September and October, we’re going to explore a couple of caves at Hocking Hills. Next spring we’ll visit the waterfalls there.

I want to see Ohio. I love nature. I love hiking. I love bonding with my family. I can’t afford to pay admission for all of us to do things like Cedar Point. But the parks? Parks are free and amazing!

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I Think I’m Addicted To Dirt Under My Nails

Posted May 18, 2020 By kmarrs

Ok. Starting from the back. The three on the left with the cage, as explained in me last post, are Roma tomatoes. The one on the right in the black pot is cherry tomatoes.

The two pots immediately in front of the Roma tomatoes are sweet basil. Two plants in each pot.

To the right, immediately in front of the cheery tomatoes is a strawberry plant. It’s baby and might not thrive. And even if it does thrive we’re going to have to fight the skunks and raccoons off.

The final pot there on the right is curly parsley. It’s kind of limp so I cut the worst of it off and it’s hanging up to dry. I’m hoping what’s left will double in size. I want a parsley bush. I’m going to need a parsley bush because the 8yo has declared it a tasty snack.

Sweet Basil
Curly Parsley
Strawberries

My rose, named Joy, is in the ground. She has fairly decent soil, lots of worms, and a few handfuls of blood meal. She’s a happy baby. In a few weeks, after the hibiscus is in, I’m going to buy a bag of mulch and cover this bit of earth.

Finally… Sammy went to the garden center with me on one of three trips and made friends.

Meet Sammy’s petunias, Patricia and Lucifer.

She was really good and didn’t beg for a million things. So when she fell in love with the section of petunias, I wasn’t capable of telling my budding gardener no. (Pun intended.)

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General Update March 2020

Posted March 16, 2020 By kmarrs

I don’t really have anything big and exciting to talk about.

I refuse to spend time discussing the mass hysteria that is Covid 19. Wash your hands. Stay home if sick. Don’t touch your face. Don’t shake hands with others. Minimize the touching of shared spaces. Consider voting blue no matter who since Trump fired the entire pandemic team in 2018. There, it’s discussed. Oh. I will say that so far my household is healthy. And the kids are out of school until at least April 6th. Now it’s discussed.

We’re slowly doing some spring cleaning around the house over the span of March. Hopefully more so now that the kids are home for three weeks.

This past weekend’s project was Sammy and Lucas trading rooms. Lucas had the biggest room in the house, outside of the master bedroom, and utilized about 50% of the provided space. Sammy, meanwhile, who still plays with toys desperately needed storage and thus most of her belongings were on the floor, and really she needed more room in general because even after I bought her storage, there was no place to put it in her room.

So they traded.

That was a lot of work. Two rooms were torn apart and reorganized. Plus, while we were at it, I had them both sort through all their clothes and donate shit that they were just never going to wear, or that didn’t fit. I’ve already hauled 1 load to goodwill and have another load to go since they are still sorting as I wash the 10 loads pulled out of the bottom of various closets. I also hauled a full load of garbage to the dumpsters behind the apartments in our neighborhood. There was just so much stuff beyond saving and it wouldn’t all fit in our bin.

There rooms are back in proper order now, so that has settled. I do have a storage closet in Sammy’s new room that I want to go through. But that can wait. It’s behind a shut door.

My lower back, however, is killing me. Thank goodness for CBD lotion and the tens unit my mom bought me. (School is on lockdown so Thomas and I don’t have access to the weight room. Which is a bummer, but understandable.)

Work is going well. I, unfortunately, missed a full day this past week due to an ear infection. I was put on the proper anti-biotics and by the time I returned to work, they had kicked in and I was feeling much better. Then I missed a few hours Friday because I went into anaphylactic shock. Apparently I’m allergic to seasoned fries from Popeye’s. I probably could have suffered through the rest of the workday, but things were very slow with barely any appointments, so I was encouraged to go home and double the Benadryl dose I’d already taken.

Honestly, I think that’s about it for now.

Have a flower in these troubling days
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A Little Music

Posted March 2, 2020 By kmarrs

We got the tax return. As usual, it was a really nice return, but also, as usual, we had to spend the entire thing in like a week because we aren’t allowed to have more than 1k in assets or Pat loses disability. We always have a to-do list and a to-buy list a mile long. First on the list is getting caught up on bills and paying off debts. Then important stuff. But we always make sure we have some fun. We go 11.5 months with no fun money, so we make up for it with the tax return. I start with this explanation so we’re on the same page that this includes spoiling the kids.

I took the kids to Half Priced Books and promised the 4 of them 10$ each (which goes far at a used book store) but made it clear I was also willing to negotiate. This isn’t really about that trip except for the extra non-book Sammy found.

In the music section tucked in with used records and CDs was a ukelele that came with a book and CD that promised it could teach anyone to play. It was 25$ for the entire kit. The ukelele was cheaply made but would at least get someone started. Sammy fell instantly in love and promised to put her two books back if I bought it for her. I reflected back on my own threat to buy myself a cello and lessons with the tax return and knew I was not able to say no so I didn’t even try. (She still got the books.)

We brought it home and she immediately set to mastering it. But I clearly realized we needed more gear. We needed help tuning it. Sammy needed more books to help her learn and to provide sheet music. She needed a means of holding said books open while both hands were busy playing. She quickly learned via youtube videos that she could hold the instrument better (properly) if she had a strap. Clearly this was going to be an investment.

But she really loves playing it. I wouldn’t call her instantly good, but she has a passion. And a fire that burns in her eyes while she puzzles over how to play the thing.

So the first step was a strap so she could hold it. Only, this ukelele is cheap and there is no way to attach a strap. BUT Amazon has a kit with a better uke that comes with a strap, a case, a digital tuner, and extra strings for a decent enough price. Already she’s getting upgraded, it seems. At that point, I realized I might as well throw in a music stand that can hold the book open while she plays. Plus some picks special made (out of felt) for a uke. I added in a wall mount so she could hang her instrument. It’ll all be here in a couple of weeks.

I guess…

Being young is about picking up skills while your brain is still in it’s prime and you’re capable of picking up new knowledge. Yes, learning how to read and do math is important, but she’s already doing both those at a sixth-grade level despite being in 3rd grade. So why not enrich her life with a new skill that can actually be fun and a way to channel her creativity and love of life? All while she’s young enough that she has an advantage when it comes to learning things,

And I refuse to be one of those moms that forces her to practice 2 hours a day. If she practices, she practices. If she doesn’t, she doesn’t. So long as she’s having fun because that is what this is about. As soon as I put pressure on her, it’ll stop being fun. And if it stops being fun anyway? Then I’ll sell it all on craigslist to another 8yo who loves music and needs a good beginner instrument because that’s exactly what a ukelele is.

If she doesn’t stop having fun and gets really good?

Then her aunt has a guitar she bought for 50$ that isn’t getting played to hand over to my girl.

Either way, as long as she’s happy, that’s all the matters.

And in a couple of months, or sooner, if she’s good enough she wants to show off, maybe I’ll post a video of her playing for you all. She has a lot of basics she needs to learn first, but I can already tell she has potential. And, as I said, she has this fire in her eyes while she teaches herself how to play and that fire is something to behold!

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