Tuesday, December 5, 2017

Life After Nuke: The Dog Show

Islanders, the outcry of support and visitors to hear more about Nuke was overwhelming.  I am humbled by all of the virtual hugs and kind words.  Thank you for being an amazing group of people who I've come to appreciate having in my life.

You guys rock.  

I cried everyday.  No, not the type of cry that makes you an emotional wreck to those around you... more like the silent cry; the one where you wake up and your heart hurts... or in the shower when you can let it out and nobody will ever know (... unless you have a blog, then people will know... because you share and over share on most topics).  I would have word vomits.  We'd be having a good time and I'd say, "I miss my dog."

Random, I know... but hear me out.  Even though I was enjoying life and the move was okay.... and things were okay.  At my core, something was still missing. Oh, yea.  Him.  It was my dog who was missing.

We were in an evacuation zone for Hurricane Irma (like most of the southeastern area).  We turned our evacuee status into a short family vacation.  While in the area, we went to our first ever dog show for Nuke's breed.  I wasn't sure what to expect but I was pleasantly surprised.  It was awesome.

We were there less than 5 minutes when I was greeted by the show groomer who was also a breeder.  She handed me a puppy despite my "no, thank you."  She put that dog in my arms and something happened.

All of the snuggles I'd missed from my FatBoy came out.  I was in heaven... unbeknownst to me, Hubbs snapped a photo.

He looked like Nuke.  He was solid.  He just sat there and let me hug him.  For like 20 minutes.  He was for sale but I couldn't promise that I'd have a home to come back to, let alone electricity and the adjustment of evacuee status was too much.  We walked away from the groomer and Hubbs turned to me and said, "seeing you like that... holding that dog.  Man, it got me all choked up."  His eyes filled and he turned to walk away.  

While we walked, we met so many awesome people and saw so many beautiful dogs.  These dogs reminded me of my Nuke in so many ways.  I also had the honor of meeting the man who created the breed.

I thanked him for creating the breed that brought me so much happiness and we snapped a quick pic.  It was awesome to meet the guy who created the gentle giant.  It was awesome to see so many dogs with the same traits as my beloved furbaby.  It was awesome to have an introduction to this part of the dog world.  It was awesome to snuggle with a puppy.  I miss snuggling with a furbaby.

Did I just say that?  Was there a puppy in our future?

Wednesday, November 29, 2017

What Happened to Nuke?

Islanders, today is the day.  Today.  Yep, I'm finally going to tell you.  I'm going to just put it out there. Once.   Never again.  I'm answering the question of what happened to my furbaby and furbestie and fatboy, Nuclear Dynamite (aka Nuke).

By now, you know we moved nearly 1,000 miles away from our family and friends.  The day after god baby's fabulous first birthday party, we woke, loaded the car and prepared to say our final goodbyes to my brothers and nephews.  I had crap to load but the most important item for the trip?  My dog.

I loaded the SUV taking care to ensure Nuke had enough space in the trunk.  I climbed in.  I closed the door.  I sat there.  I mean, how else does one check?  There was airflow.  There was room to sleep.  He was good.  We stopped at my brother's place to say bye to the boys and got on the road.

I had a plan.  We'd stop in the state's southern rest stop and again in South Carolina.  I love the South of the Border rest stop in SC.  It's a Mexican-inspired rest stop that's full of fun rides, quirky gift shops, cool photo-ops, good Mexican food; it's a cool place to stop. On the road, I chatted with Dani.  We caught up on life and made the promises friends make when one friend moves away.

As we approached the South of the Border rest stop, I remember telling Daniella (as I often told people) how I love my dog more than I love most people.  We laughed.  I got to the back window to pop the SUV trunk door and I realized he wasn't standing.  Nuke always stands when the car stops.  I mumbled, "something's wrong..." as the door opened.

There he was.  Gone.  Tongue hanging from his mouth.  Eyes wide open.  He was gone.  I started to cry, "no no no no... Nuke.  No!"  By this time, Munch was standing next to me and started to shake him.  She screamed at the top of her lungs.  "WAKE UP, NUKE!  WAKE UP!  IS HE DEAD?! NO NO NO!!!! MOMMY, NO!"

Islanders, when you hear that cry from your child, you don't forget it.  You just never forget something like that.  It burns your insides to hear...  I felt my own pain.  He was my dog.  But, hearing her cry... like that?  It hits you in a place you never forget.  I Facetimed Hubbs.  He didn't know what to do.  He started to cry.  My mom called me back.  "Call 9-1-1.  They can send Animal Control."  I did.  They said an officer was on his way.  Dad called me.  I was pacing.  Munch was sobbing in the front seat.  I paced around the car...  I must've walked 1,000 laps around the car in the hours we were there.  I remember repeating to my dad over and over and over... "my dog, yo.  After everything I've been through, my dog?  Dad, my dog?  You KNOW how I feel about my dog.  You KNOW, dad."

I guess hearing his child cry the same cry I just heard from Munch hit him in that parent spot; it made his insides burn too.  He just kept repeating, "I know, baby.  I know... he was your peace.  I know.  You tell me all the time.  I know.  I want you to turn around.  Turn around and come home."  The officer arrived.  He told me there was nothing he could do.  He was actually an asshole.  A total asshole.

"What would you do if you were back wherever you're from?  What would you do if you were wherever you're going?" he asked.  "Animal control is closed but I've called my supervisor and he'll come by to see what we can do."  he said.

I just sat there.  Trying to figure out what I was going to do.  He just told me the dog is my property and I was responsible for the disposal.  Disposal?  As if my furbaby was trash?  My furbaby.  Oh my God.

My furbaby was gone.

I'm in the middle of nowhere.  What am I gonna do?

My dog was the purest form of love and loyalty I have ever experienced in my life.  He gave me a reason to wake up and to go outside everyday.  He forced me to get to know my neighbors.  He pushed me at a time when I felt crippled.  He let me hug him when I acted like I didn't need a hug from anyone else.  Now, here I sit forced to decide which of two options was the best for me.

- Dump him on the side of the road like road kill so I can continue on my journey.
- Put him in a dumpster to rot until the next trash pick up.

...excuse me.  I feel sick.  At the thought of how I felt that evening.  I feel sick to think of the sounds I heard.  Strangers walking up to my child asking if we were okay.  Others admiring him... how even in death he was a show stopper.  The smell of Mexican food and the lights from games and rides -- who could enjoy themselves at a time like this.  Ever felt like everyone around you is enjoying life and you're just in the middle of a carnival (smelling the food and hearing the sounds) and the storm cloud is over you, and you alone?  Like, I felt as if I was the only one who needed an umbrella for the rain and a winter coat for the snow and an underground shelter for the tornado.

My heart ached.  I could hear my kid faintly in the fog that had become the background noise.  She was crying and praying and begging... I stared into space.  No more tears left to give... what am I gonna do?  Option 1 or option 2?  I was called over to the Sheriff who was now on the scene.  He had made a few calls and told me there was nothing the county could do.  I shook my head and started to cry some more; I guess there were tears left after all.  I'll never forget his next sentence:

"If you'll follow me, I got my wife waiting up the road at a gas station and I'll take your boy and bury him on my farm... out to pasture with my horses.  We're dog people and I can't see him like this."

Islanders, I cry at that part every time just as I did when he said it to me.  The ugly cry of pain and anguish and gratefulness rolled into one.  I drove to the gas station.  I hugged his wife who cried with me as the two officers loaded my dog onto the back of the pickup.  They cut his collar off and gave it to me.  I said my final goodbye and I watched as Nuke was carried off into the rain.

I have spent everyday since trying to heal the hole in my heart from losing him.  I lose my breath sometimes just thinking about it.  I cry every time I talk about it.

That up there is the photo I received from the kind officer to show me that Nuke was laid to rest alongside his beloved family horses.  I thank God for sending me the right people to carry me through this situation.

I'd love to say something of value right now but I can't.  I can't type something to make this post "better" to digest because it's been a harsh dose of reality for me.  AND I KNOW there are people who will mock this whole thing.  People who won't understand what I'm saying... Who don't have the attachment I had to Nuke.  People who twist their face up or roll their eyes to minimize the shock of my dead dog.  All I can say is that you haven't met the right dog.  I met mine and he forever changed me.

 So, there.  Folks have asked and wondered.

Today, you got the answer to what happened to Nuke.

Monday, November 20, 2017

Minnie Mouse First Birthday Party

Islanders, the day had finally come to celebrate my sweet god baby turning one.  Hosted from Melina's parents' home, the party was beautiful!

You may recall that I hired a balloon artist for Munch's unicorrn party that never happened.  Rather than cancel the order altogether, I asked if the balloon artist could support god baby's party instead.  She agreed and created balloon towers throughout the space.  They were so cute!

Mrs. Lucy, Melina's mom, has a beautiful large backyard.  Her and her husband had concrete paving installed to create a long walkway that leads to a paved entertaining area with a gazebo.

Friday, November 17, 2017

Minnie Favor Bag Ideas and A FREE Printable!

Last week's Wordless Wednesday post was a sneak peek into the fabulous first birthday party hosted for god baby 'Lani.

I know.  I had to face reality  Yes, time flew by.  Yes, she is adorable.  And, the worst part, yes.  She is one whole year old.  You may recall the baby shower. 

I was event support.  I took a backseat and awaited assignments to complete for the shower... I was in a total 'however I can be of assistance is fine with me' state of mind.  You can read more about it here

Well, after a year of growing and loving and learning my sweet god baby, I knew I had to do something to help.  I also knew I couldn't wait for direction.  I asked what Mrs.  Lucy had in mind for favor bags.  She had a vision of polka dots and ears.  So, I got to work.  I know Mrs. Lucy is all about the details and the bling so, I was determined to meet and exceed her expectations.  Here's what I came up with:

I used black paper bags from Michael's as the base.  I found a roll of the paper on sale (I was just there and they have rolls of paper in pink and green on sale... and I moved 900 miles away from where I purchased it).  You could totally use any paper or wrapping paper.

I traced the bag and cut a square to fit the front of the bag.  I glued it down and lined the top of the square with pearls.  Next came the ears!  I used my 2-inch paper punch to create ears for the bags.  I glued them to the top corners before embellishing the bags with the tags and small bows.

I love how the bags turned out; they were a party feature item!  They were like sending a piece of the party details home with each of the guests.

The tags were awesome too.  Check them out:

Guess what? There's a bonus! I made some for you too!  Simply print the collage of tags as a 4x6 photo.  That's 6 tags for next-to-nothing!

Before I got started, I knew favors would help and were important.  We filled the cute bags with crayons, coloring books (Disney coloring books are at Dollar Tree), and these custom cookies made with her name:

Aren't they adorable?!  I love how the favor bags helped to tie everything together.  The best part?  Mrs. Lucy was pleased with the results and allowed me to help in other ways.  I've got party deets coming soon!  For now, let's enjoy the easy and fabulous favor bags :)

We've got ears, say cheers!  

Life After Nuke: The Dog Show

Islanders, the outcry of support and visitors to hear more about Nuke was overwhelming.  I am humbled by all of the virtual hugs and kind wo...

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