Saturday, March 26, 2011

Notes from the Picket Fence Post Homestead: Pet Grooming, School Projects, Shorts Obsession & 'Wimpy Kid' 2

Max Gets Groomed

Our dog Max was in dire need of a haircut. His hair had grown so long that when I was out walking him in our neighborhood recently, a woman remarked that he looked like a really short sheep on a leash. And she was right.

However bringing a dog with extremely thick hair like our Havanese/Wheaten Terrier to the groomer’s can be tricky because no matter how many times you try to make sure that you’ve combed through your dog’s hair (with a comb) with some degree of regularity, there’s inevitably a knot or a mat (or several) somewhere on his fuzzy body. And when the groomer finds it later she'll make you feel like a negligent pet owner for not attending to it.

I knew for a fact when Max was dropped off at the groomer's that he had some tangles near his hindquarters. When I'd attempted to comb them out, he’d growled and physically resisted, so I’d wound up giving up or enlisted someone's help to remove the mats with scissors because it was easier and quicker.

Well Max got his much needed grooming this week and the groomer was kind, though she did mention, as she raised her eyebrows slightly, that he had some mats and that “someone” had obviously been cutting them out, making his hair uneven. At least she didn’t shame me as much as other groomers have in the past.

School Projects from Hell

All three of the Picket Fence Post kids are in the midst of working on school projects. And, frankly, I'm starting to feel a bit stressed out about all of it as I’m dreading the inevitable melodrama that has accompanied these sorts of things in the past.

The Girl just completed a series of trials to determine in which liquid a Tylenol capsule would dissolve the quickest: Orange juice, grapefruit juice or lemonade. She collected all her data and is putting them into a spreadsheet as I write this blog entry. And she’s still got a long way to go in completing her tri-fold display board. The whole project is due Tuesday. What’s the over/under on whether she’ll get it finished without parental harassment and/or drama?

Meanwhile, her twin brother has also been running trials to see whether the temperature of the water inside a water balloon will affect whether and at what height from the ground it breaks. (He was channeling his inner Calvin & Hobbes when he devised this project.) He has already completed his data spreadsheet but has yet to start his tri-fold display board. When I suggested to him this morning (after he slept until 11!!) that he start working on it, he replied, “Later.” I predict major drama in the near future given that his project is also due Tuesday.

As for The Youngest Boy, he is supposed to invent something that uses a "simple machine." His big idea is to create a dog food feeder that he wants to teach our dog Max how to use in time for his school's Invention Convention, for which the item and a tri-fold display board are supposed to be completed. However he’s hit several snags. His original prototype was completely unrealistic (it involved taping a shoebox to a table, before it was filled with dog food). Then, at my urging, he revised it and concocted a more workable design but The Spouse refuses to get the supplies the kid says he needs until the kid comes up with a physical prototype. However The Youngest Boy says he needs supplies to make a prototype. Meanwhile, I’m going to go buy ear plugs so I don’t have to listen to the two of them continue to bicker about which should come first.

What is It With Kids & Shorts?

Every day this week . . . I repeat, every day this week, either The Spouse or I have gotten embroiled in a gigantic argument with The Youngest Boy over the fact that he insists upon wearing shorts to school like everyone else.

Now keep in mind that during the past week, it snowed twice and the temps were largely stuck in the 30s and 40s, yet the kid still harangued us for being power-mad parents who made him wear long pants. (*insert sinister cackle here*) Every day, multiple times a day, it's, "Why can't I wear shorts?"

This morning when it was in the 30s, I allowed The Youngest to don shorts (along with a short sleeve shirt and a jacket) when he went to play outside. (It was a moment of weakness because I was working on a column that was already past my deadline and I didn’t want to hear him whine any longer about the damned shorts.) He came inside some 20 minutes later, freezing cold, telling me his hands were so chilled that he felt like they were “burning.” He wanted me to help him warm up, but just his hands though, he assured me, as he said his legs (which were ice cold to the touch) were just fine, thank you very much.

About two hours later, The Spouse and The Youngest Boy were arguing about the exact outside temperature after I’d told The Youngest Boy that I wouldn’t let him go outside again in those shorts. It was 42 degrees.

Since The Youngest Boy claims other kids are going to school wearing shorts, and I've seen some of them when I've dropped him off at school, I ask you, are you having the same issue with your kid(s) regarding wearing shorts when it's snowing outside?

Diary of a Wimpy Kid: Rodrick Rules

The Picket Fence Post kids are all jazzed up about seeing the second installment of the Wimpy Kid series, Diary of a Wimpy Kid: Rodrick Rules.

The first movie was okay, they were sufficiently entertained, but they agreed that it didn’t hold a candle to the actual book which was much, much funnier. After the original movie, we all decided that our favorite character is Rowley, not the self-absorbed and morally ambiguous Greg who seems much crueler in the movie than he did in the book.

Wonder if the second film will be even a fraction as amusing as its original source material which had me laughing out loud when I read it with The Eldest Son?


  1. Not all pet owners are good at trimming their pet’s hair. Some people choose to trim their pet’s hair because they don’t have the budget or they just want minimal trimming. Pet groomer should be polite to pet owners because they are the one who has the skills so they should just teach and not rebuke the pet owners.