Mohawks, robots, suits, hairy dogs and country roads.

Thought I’d do an update post as I’ve done lots in the last few weeks.

Firstly – I shaved myself a Mohawk  Why? Because I can. It’s hair, it grows back – and mine grows like a weed :) Plus I thought it would look cool with the blond ends and dark roots…

Here’s the process: Did it all myself with no mirror, so it was a little hectic. At one point I asked my husband for help (as he is the one who kept suggesting the hair cut!) but when he started clipping and then stopped and said “I have no idea what I just did…” I said thanks, but I’ll take it from here :)

 

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Secondly: I completed TWO sewing projects successfully!

I finished the entire 1940′s suit (jacket, pants, skirt and blouse) and sent it off to the client – she LOVES it and is very happy with it! I was so relieved as it was my first major project for someone!

 

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I also finished the skirt for another client – 1950′s style soft pleated skirt. Buttery soft linen, which she chose, from a pattern that she also sent me.

It took me only 3 days – and that’s because of various interruptions. I could probably complete one of those in 2 days if I worked flat out.

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I was pretty proud of myself – and pleased with my work.  I would have worn any of the pieces, so I think that’s a sign that they are well made, as I am very critical of my own stuff.

Waiting on word from the lady who ordered the skirt… but she has been very busy recently, so I am sure she will let me know when it arrives!

 

Thirdly, we got a Roomba! We’ve waited a long time and did lots of research on which one to get, and finally Ronald arrived last week.

He has been put to work and is diligently dealing with dog hair and bird seed – he gets cleaned every time he is used and, as they state in their guidelines, kept on power when not in use.

He’s awesome :)

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Fourthly – Spring/Summer has finally arrived in Germany (in our area, anyway – floods everywhere else :/)

It went from 3C/12C to 23C/35C in a matter of days. The dogs are shedding like mad to cope, so we are grooming almost daily and the fur just keeps coming…

Also trying to find a combination of tick collar/tick spray/drops to counter the rather nasty ticks they have here in our area. We have lots of forest and natural undergrowth, plus lots of deer and other wild animals… so the ticks are rampant, no matter where you go.

Even sticking to the roads and just letting the dogs sniff the edges, I still find ticks on them – despite having tick collars and (natural) spot drops on them. So now I am going to try the tick collar combined with a tick spray that will hopefully sit in their fur and stop the ticks from staying on.

We tried a tick/flea shampoo as well – didn’t work. I don’t WANT to use the nasty chemical ones, but clearly that’s all that works on these mean little suckers!

We did discover two gorgeous new and interesting walks in our attempts to avoid the long grass etc – so that’s a bonus. We also sorted their kiddie pool out – although Gina managed to make a hole or two in the sides, so the water doesn’t really stay in for long!

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I *heart* IKEA

One day, when I grow up, I will have a home that will be completely outfitted by IKEA.

I love EVERYTHING they sell. Everything. Down to the last stuffed toy and tissue paper holder. I would buy it all if I could afford it.

Today, husband and I ventured out (in MY car, Naartjie, I might add!) in the direction of Saarlouis and Saarbrücken to find the “nearest” IKEA. Back in Wiesbaden, our nearest IKEA was only 20 minutes away… from here, it took an hour or more, with various construction and cleanup areas slowing traffic down to 60km/h for long stretches of the autobahn. But when we got there, all was forgiven, as it is the happiest, cleanest, quietest, most wonderful smelling place in the world. I really <3 IKEA.

No matter where you go, it’s always the same: welcoming and well priced and well stocked.

We went in search of some odds and ends, including string lights and wine glasses (to replace the ones the movers broke) and came out with two AWESOME (and very reasonably priced) swivel desk chairs!

His: The Torkel. (p)Leather and an extra lever for adjustment of the back cushion.

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Hers: The Fingal. Mesh padding and a hint of leather (pleather, really…) with a simple height adjustment.

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I am tres happy with our purchases.

We have already assembled them (took about 5 minutes, for both) and we are using them right at this moment!

 

What took me so long?

Since I started walking Azzie, I have had issues with her pulling on the lead and dragging me off in various directions randomly, leaping around. On occasion she has nearly dislocated my shoulder, bowled me over and twisted my fingers until I thought they would snap… all the while dragging Gina around by the neck as well.

I tried various things: the whole stop-and-wait method, when that didn’t work (doesn’t work when you have two dogs to deal with and one is tentative already :/) I tried the gentle pull – I didn’t want to hurt her neck. That didn’t work at all as she is so big she barely notices my weight. I tried to remain calm and to not yank on her – it’s bad for them when they are young – but I could not get through to her. So I switched to her harness, but unfortunately this just made it worse, as she is built like a tank and all her strength (like most big dogs) is in her shoulders and front legs…

I was getting to the point where I didn’t want to walk her anymore – it was just too exhausting, frustrating and annoying. I was aggravated and fuming every time we walked. This upset Gina as well, as she picks up on my mood/body language very quickly. I also didn’t want to “ruin” Azzie as a young, exuberant pup! She’s a darling, just… large and doesn’t know her own strength. She doesn’t do things to make me mad, she does it because she is still learning and testing boundaries and her breed are very slow to mature (we have years of this to look forward to :))

I had a thought, two days ago. Apparently these “easy walk” harnesses work wonders. Not too clear on the exact mechanics of them, but I know that it removes all the force/pull from their neck and shoulders, as they are basically pulling on themselves to a certain extent. Since I didn’t have one of these harnesses handy, I thought let me try make my own…

I put her normal harness on, but attached the leash to the loop on the front, on her chest.

You want instant results, then try it yourself.

I cannot even begin to explain how my dog transformed. I do not know HOW it works – I didn’t pull on her and she didn’t pull on me, at all – but it works.

Every walk we’ve had since then has been an absolute pleasure!

I can’t believe it took me so long!!

Azzie is a happy puppy – still full of bounce and puppy silliness, but no longer being hissed at, or yanked on by me – and Gina is a happy dog – her tail remains up the whole walk now, instead of slowly drooping down at her back legs as she gets more and more upset by my bad mood – and I am a SUPER HAPPY OWNER!!

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Box Jungles and Other Moving Parts

A week or so ago my husband was made an offer by the army that he could, in theory, refuse… but he chose to think on it.

That evening, we discussed at length the pros and cons of moving – on the army’s dime – and what we could get out of it, in the end.

We said, let’s look at our options for apartments and locations and then we can decide.

We didn’t _have_ to move, but the reason we were asked if we wanted to was because of the units and individuals who would be moving in to the buildings we lived in at the time. It would get loud – lots of single officers and of course the “other people” as well. I won’t go into who they are – it’s not really necessary.

So we were given quite a few choices – one of them on Wetzel housing. When we first moved to Baumholder, we were given one choice in Wetzel as well, but it was a TINY place with no storage and the “balcony” was just a square enclosed on the roof. We said no thanks, and chose our 3rd floor apartment (7 flights of stairs – if one flight is one side… not sure how people count “flights”) with its ENORMOUS rooms and loads of built in storage. So this time around we were a little skeptical of Wetzel, but when we saw the place we were pleasantly surprised! It was airy, filled with light, had a proper balcony and as an added bonus was only on the second floor! That was only 3 flights of stairs for Gina to tackle.

We still went to look at at least 4 other apartments, all on Smith and located all around the post. While we liked the space they all offered, each one just had too many cons to move too high up on our list of options. They were also very “busy” buildings – almost all filled to the brim with people and lots of children. They were also almost ALL on the 3rd floor! So why give up our lovely big apartment for one that was the same and was loud and busy and one smelled of urine and mold and the other was not renovated so it was still the “old” style and not very attractive. The kitchens were smaller too. And outside the front, because it was such a heavily trafficked road, loads of doggy poop on the front yards. NOT nice. I pick up after my dogs, especially if they go on someone else’s grass – if I can do that for two huge beasts, then they can do it for theirs!

We decided on the Wetzel one – this was on the Thursday. They came to fetch our stuff on the Tuesday after that. The movers were awful. Nice guys (according to my husband) but terrible packers! They broke so much of our stuff – including some antique cups and glasses and porcelain :(

 

These are the “before” shots…

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These are the “during” shots…

 

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And these are “almost done” and “it looks like we live here now” shots… We just have a few more things to sort out (TV, Playstation, Xbox, computer, etc)

 

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Procrastination, my old friend.

It’s amazing how many things you can find to do, to avoid doing something that needs to be done.

I even do laundry, clean the kitchen, and plan out dinner or bake something.

What am I avoiding?

Crepe de Chine.

It’s a magnificent fabric – soft to the touch, smooth and silky. And that’s the problem. It’s slippery and slinky and it HATES needles.

Luckily I ordered extra, just in case – as I have had to re-cut the sleeves. Their shape was completely off when I had finished.

I’ve never had to sew a silk fabric before. This is all a learning curve of massive proportions. I’ve done loads of research on tips and tricks when dealing with silk and other slippery fabrics – another way to put off actually DOING the sewing of it!

I now feel more ready… but of course, we are MOVING tomorrow. Of course. The wonderful military life.

Will take me another couple of days to set myself up again. At least I have a couple of weeks to do this. I want to do it RIGHT, first time around.

 

I’m such a damn perfectionist that I am driving myself nuts here.

 

Today Is A New Day

Everyone has mantras. Things we say to get us through a difficult day.

Yesterday was a pretty crappy day – not all for me, but mostly for my husband – and thus, for me. I feel everything he feels. I honestly do. We’re connected.

 

So today, when I had a quiet moment to myself, I came up with this one:

Today is a new day – start fresh

Today is life – it’s happening now

Yesterday is gone – you can’t change it

Tomorrow does not exist yet – you can’t worry about it

Go out and Live, damnit.

Furry mom moment #656372

We got up at some terribly early hour this morning and got everyone ready to go.

Azzie was THRILLED to go for a car ride – Gina was her usual serene self.

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Open windows for the slow parts of the ride and then we were on the autobahn and on our way.

It’s about a 35 to 40 minute drive and Azzie was finally settled by the time we were 5 minutes out, of course :)

She’s my wild child.

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So we got there early (as suggested) and waited for them to open the doors. Got in first, first in line, so we sat in the waiting room and filled out forms and Azzie and Gina said hi to the other waiting patients and then _kinda_ settled a bit.

I was then asked to go to the exam room with Azzie for her quick vitals check. Gina gave her a nose kiss before she headed off.

Azzie calmed down enough for the tech to check her pulse, but her heart was still pounding from all the excitement. I did tell them she gets very excited and they just need to give her a moment to settle…

I said they need to do all the finicky stuff when she’s out, otherwise they will have a crazy little bear on their hands!

Only thing they can’t do while she is sedated is taking blood… Good luck with that, I told them.

Luckily, they are true professionals with years of experience and the vet herself was taking the blood, so I am not worried. Hopefully they can give her something to calm her before they start all that kind of stuff.

The vet finally arrived (she had been stuck in traffic) and she checked Azzie over quickly and explained what she was going to do, etc.

Azzie was very respectful of Dr Gundel – a little unsure as well. But I have heard great things about the Dr and I was very happy to hear we would have her as our vet. Then Dr G said it was time for me to go and for them to go take blood and get Azzie ready for her surgery. My heart nearly squished its way out of my mouth I had such a sudden rush of fear/worry/anxiety for my precious little furry child. Is that what moms feel like? As Dr G led her away and I walked off down the corridor I felt like crying! It was crazy! I felt so bad for the poor little tyke – head down, tail down, slinking along. She went semi-willingly – there was no lead tugging – so I am hoping she is not too traumatised. My poor baby.

So today I will be keeping my phone close, but hoping that I hear nothing – because that means it’s all good.

We will see her again later this afternoon.

Hope she forgives us!