It’s Off to Work we Go

A momentous occasion takes place today — Domer enters the working world as an intern.

Ideally, an internship is designed to provide on-the-job training for a young person while they’re still in school. It’s supposed to either reinforce their decision of career field, or lead them down a more suitable path while other options exist.

It’s a Big Deal getting an internship these days. College career centers provide listings and advice, but it’s up to the student to pursue them.

And pursuing them means starting early.

As in first semester.

Domer and his business-major friends would pore over the listings, electronically submitting resumes to whatever company their qualifications matched. They’d do Skype and telephone interviews. They’d even hop on a bus and travel to company headquarters for a day’s worth of interviewing, then bus back to campus.

All this in addition to juggling classes, homework, and other responsibilities.

They’d get their hopes up, to learn someone else got the job they wanted. Or the company decided not to hire an intern after all. Or they got the offer but found it didn’t pay, and by the time they factored in living expenses, it would be more cost-effective to stay home doing nothing.

And they’d start all over again the next day.

Eventually, Domer texted me that he got an internship.

No details. Nada.

‘It’s at a hospital,‘ he said.

Now Domer’s not a big fan of medical stuff. Needles and pain, he can do without. Blood, too.

So I understood his qualms.

‘It’s an internship,’ I reminded him. ‘You don’t have to stay but one summer. And you won’t even know medical stuff is going on because you’ll be doing finance.’

That seemed to perk him up.

He’s had just a week’s “vacation” from school — time to catch up on his video games and reading and golf.

Time to rest. To regroup.

Because for the next several weeks, his classroom will be a place of business.

And he knows he’s one of the lucky ones.

Did you do an internship? Was it worthwhile?

Dogs Get Sick, Too

Just in time for My Favorite Domer’s return for summer break, the Sheltie has come down with a urinary tract infection.

“Mr. Piddles” wet his little bed last night. He was rather damp when I let him out for his customary Good Morning hugs, but I didn’t think too much about it.

Must have been hot, I told myself — until I saw a wet spot on his mat. And felt said spot. And sniffed my damp fingers. And smelled pee.

Trying not to react too negatively — he’s got delicate feelings like other Shelties — I greeted him and sent him outside.

I went over the check-list of his bedtime routine. Yes, he’d been out. Yes, he’d pottied. No, he hadn’t had any water.

So why had this dog who’s normally as tidy as a nun suddenly soiled his bedding?

I asked Mom, who kept him while I traveled to Notre Dame to fetch the Domer, how he acted during my absence.

He missed you, she told me. He drank a lot of water. And slept a lot.

How was his appetite? I asked.


Hmmm. The pieces of the puzzle were starting to come together.

I called the vet’s office, explained everything to them, and asked if dogs can get kidney or bladder issues.

Of course, they said. We’ll need a urine sample for the lab to analyze. Either bring him in or have him pee in a container.

Oh boy. I live for first-time events like this.

As I was trying to decide which option was more doable, Domer showed up wanting breakfast.

I need your help, I said, having decided against hauling a wet Sheltie anywhere in my clean car.

We’re going to what? Domer asked.

Shrugging, I dug out a Styrofoam cup. Domer leashed up “Mr. Piddles,” and we all went to the back yard.

He’s not going to do it, Domer said, as he and the dog sauntered through the grass.

Sure he will, I countered.

Eventually, “Mr. Piddles” lifted a leg, and I was Johnny-on-the-spot, shoving that Styrofoam beneath him to catch the stream.

All right, Domer said.


I wrapped the cup in tin foil and took it to the vet’s office. Ten minutes later, we had the results.

And the sulfa drugs to treat the infection.

I’ve spent more time than I care to admit cleaning “Mr. Piddles'” bed today. Washing everything, Clorox-ing the wet spot, airing out his mattress.

And hoping I don’t have to do it all over again tomorrow.

Should be a wonderful upcoming ten days.

What are you looking forward to in the next week?

Why don’t Laptops come with Full Instructions?

The other day my laptop stopped working.

Without advance notification. While I was in the middle of a client’s huge Website redesign project.

Nooooooooooooooooo, I thought. Not now.

I’d been working on it all morning, before putting it into Hibernation mode over the lunch hour. When I returned, it refused start back up.

Oh, I could hear its fan whoosh for a second. Then promptly go quiet.

I unplugged everything and re-plugged. I waited.


In frustration, I called the Geek Squad at Best Buy, hoping some techy person could help. The tech had me turn on this, unplug that, remove the battery. He had me describe in detail the sounds my machine was making. In the end, he said he couldn’t do any more and recommended I haul it back to the store and let them run a full diagnostics to see what the problem was.

Hmmm. I just didn’t want to do that. I’m up to my ears in work right now, and the store is a good hour’s drive away. That means a minimum of two hours drive time, plus who-knows-how-long waiting time.

Fortunately, my machine is still in warranty, so I called toll-free to the company that made it.

After explaining the problem again and detailing the steps I’d already performed for the Geek Squad, this representative asked me which lights were lit. To which I responded, ‘None of them. I’ve unplugged everything in preparation for taking it back to the store.’

He had me plug it back in and Voila! It worked!

Now before you think I’m another computer illiterate, I have to remind you I’ve been running my own Web Design company for eleven years now. I’ve lost count of how many computers — PCs and laptops — I’ve owned, how many lines of computer code I’ve written or corrected, how many computer issues I’ve helped others with.

And while none of us ever knows all there is to know about anything, I rather assumed I knew something about computers.

But I was wrong.

Turns out, leaving a fully charged laptop plugged in and charging makes the battery OVER-charge. It gets hot and bothered, so to speak, and just shuts down.

No bells. No whistles. No red flag. No popup warning.

Nothing. It never started smoking, never felt hot.

Why hadn’t I heard that before? I’m pretty sure it wasn’t in the manual that came with my laptop.

Oh, who am I kidding? Maybe it was. I certainly don’t read those things!

So there you have it. Learn from my mistake.

If you usually work on your laptop while it’s plugged in, at least unplug it at night to give the battery a chance to drain (or whatever it is batteries do at night!)

Did you already know this? (And if so, why didn’t you tell me?!?)

Thinking about Mother’s Day

My Favorite Domer called me yesterday to wish me a happy Mother’s Day.

“No card. No flowers,” he said. “I just wanted to call and tell you ‘I love you.'”

I had to laugh — it’s easier than crying!

Despite my persistent efforts, Domer has never been a card and flowers kind of guy. Perhaps it’s because he grew up away from his dad, who always did the card and flowers thing when it came to special occasions (thank you, Ex!). Perhaps it’s because Domer never saw his Pa-Pa buy cards and flowers for his grandma.

But I’m convinced it’s because of a new teacher he had when he was an impressionable high school freshman.

One day toward Valentine’s Day, some of the girls in Domer’s class were asking Mr. Young-Attractive-Hot-Shot what kind of flowers he’d purchased for his sweetie. Whereupon, Mr. Young-Attractive-Hot-Shot said he wasn’t giving them, then expounded on his philosophy that flowers were a waste of money. That as soon as you cut flowers, they start to die. That he wouldn’t want anybody special to have to receive dead flowers.


I sincerely hope Mr. Young-Attractive-Hot-Shot had an understanding lady friend. Or has since changed his evil ways!

When Domer was little, as soon as he could print his name, I bought cards and had him give them to special people on special occasions. I never failed to give him cards on special occasions, either.

Yes, Hallmark loves me — I must be their biggest fan!

But somehow, Domer never got into cards. He told me yesterday that he can’t imagine being an old person and remembering the verse on a card somebody gave him years ago.

I countered that I might not remember the verse when I’m old, but I’ve saved ALL of my cards in boxes so I can wade through them at leisure. “That way, I can remember that once I was a young mom and I was loved,” I added.

“You’re loved now,” was all he said.

And it’s all that needed to be said.

How did you celebrate Mother’s Day 2012?

“Beautiful” or “Extreme”?

The newest issue of Time magazine offers a cover that’s sure to stir up debate in parenting circles.

A lovely, blonde, 26-year-old stay-at-home mom from Los Angeles is portrayed breastfeeding her three-year-old son, who’s standing on a chair to reach mom’s milk.

The mother justifies still nursing her young child with the fact that her own mother didn’t wean her until she was six!

Now, I’m way past the nursing stage. My son is 21 years old, in college, and by all definitions, a man. But I find myself disturbed by “attachment parenting,” something concocted by Dr. Bill Sears 20 years ago.

“Attachment parenting” proponents believe moms should rush to their child, respond to its every cry, form close bonds by hovering physical contact, let the child sleep in its parents’ bed, and carry children in slings rather than pushing them in strollers.

That goes against the grain of what I learned about child care.

I believe children grow and mature when they learn they’re able to do things for themselves. Things like sleeping. And eating.

Domer’s pediatrician told me when my son was just about to turn over his first birthday that the bottle had to go, or I’d have trouble weaning him. He also said rocking and singing to Domer every night before bedtime was nice but unnecessary, suggesting I put my son in the crib, turn out the light, and shut the door.

Doc (bless him!) was right on both counts.

So it concerns me when I read about a three-year-old still nursing. I mean, this child has teeth, for crying out loud! Not only that, but most kids three years old are in day care or preschool. Do they expect mom to show up periodically for feedings there?

And another thing. What psychological effect does breastfeeding have on the development of a young child, if that child is almost old enough to realize what’s happening? Doesn’t it become more than mere “food” when a child is walking, talking, interacting with others, thinking, and reasoning?

Years ago, I came into contact with a woman who admitted breastfeeding her four-year-old child “occasionally. I thought that was odd. Now I learn some breastfeeding proponents are hoping American moms will become comfortable nursing children of any age!

Seriously? Are we supposed to follow them to college, too? Maybe they can nurse on us while their kids nurse on them!

I didn’t buy into this “trend” when Domer was little, and I’m not buying it now. It’s like these moms are finding their sole mission in life being tethered to their kids. Making decisions for them. Refusing to let them grow up. Refusing to welcome their own next stage of life.

Parenting means giving your kids roots and wings. Roots to ground them. Wings to fly.

“Attachment parenting” prolongs the baby stage, which is already long enough, isn’t it?

What do you think? Is breastfeeding beyond babyhood beautiful, or is it extreme?

Here Today, Gone Tomorrow

When my mom and dad first came to town, they bought a new house in a new subdivision, right in time for them to start raising a family.

One of the trees they purchased to landscape their new yard was a Colorado Blue Spruce.

These evergreens feature lovely silvery, blue-green needles and reach heights of about 100 feet. Their cones are concentrated in the upper branches. New growth in spring is soft; as the seasons progress, the needles become more spiky.

When my folks prepared to move to a new house, they promptly dug the still-small spruce up — root ball and all — and insisted it come along, too. This, despite most people’s opinion that moving an established tree would kill it.

But our tree must have liked its new home, for it not only grew but thrived.

Birds hopped and sang on its branches. Squirrels and rabbits darted underneath it for cover.

It was especially beautiful in the winter months, when snow clung to its limbs and we’d decorate it with Christmas lights — that is, until it got so tall we couldn’t reach the top any more!

The past few years, however, were rough ones for trees of this species. Little by little, we watched our tree’s needles drop (and not grow back). It became scraggly and tired, almost as if it had given up on life.

We consulted an expert, who said the tree had some kind of fungus. He said he could spray it a few times and, if we watered it heavily, it might survive.

Expensive, with no guarantees.

Another local service assured us the tree was dying and wouldn’t pull out of its funk. He said he’d seen trees all over town like ours that had become infected with the fungus and had to be removed.

It’s up to you, he said.

Then we started noticing similar spruces. A neighbor has one that looks as if it got caught in a forest fire; another neighbor cut his tree’s bottom branches as high as he could reach in an effort to remove the dried twigs and stop the fungus from spreading.

Ultimately, we decided to put our blue spruce out of its misery. One day, I took the Sheltie for a walk and by the time I returned, the tree was gone.

Not that it was a long walk. They were just that fast.

Probably sensed how attached we were to the tree. How hard it was going to be to part with it.

We’re trying to grow grass over the bare spot now, but the house still looks odd without that shock of blue. What is it about a tree that evokes such strong feelings in us?

Buggy in the Morning

You know how groggy you are first thing in the morning? Well, imagine seeing this in your bathroom sink:

House centipede, thanks to University of Nebraska Department of Entomology

No, not this particular centipede, but one very much like it.

And it was moving!

Stifling a scream, I looked around for something, anything, to smash it with. A shoe, a book, a tissue.

Finally I grabbed a scented candle in a glass holder (figured I could wash the bug-juice off that!).

Worked just fine, and I quickly flushed him (or her) down the sink.

Now I don’t know about you, but bugs — particularly prehistoric-looking bugs — give me the willies.

I’m talking about things like centipedes, earwigs, cockroaches, scorpions, that sort of bug.

No, they’re not technically “bugs,” but who cares? They’re pests, they don’t pay rent or house notes, and they don’t belong in my living quarters!

The bad thing about living in the South (besides the hurricanes, of course!) was the proliferation of roaches. Didn’t seem to matter how clean you were, either. And when I lived in Texas we had scorpions to contend with.

Blame the hot weather, which this year they’ve shared with us.

Figures they’d share unpleasant critters, too!

The weather folks have said this probably will be a bad year for pests. Our Midwestern winter, they said, was too easy. Not near enough snow and ice. Too few cold days to kill them all off.

So we’re paying for this mildness with a bucket-load of bugs. Delightful.

Centipedes, in case you were wondering, are nocturnal and typically live under rocks or logs or leaf debris. The house version likes damp areas like bathrooms, so my little critter was just doing what came naturally.

Too bad. Now it’s gone.

Centipedes don’t really have 100 legs (it’s more like 15 pairs), but they can move fast. If you find one, it’s best to squash it and vacuum up the remains.

Or just smash it and send it down the drain.

Your choice.

Question — Which “bugs” are your least favorite to have in the house?