The big news is that we spent the better part of Saturday afternoon dealing with dog fur.
Rio is a wonderful Shepherd/Husky/Rottweiller mix; we adopted her from some of MizBubs' family who couldn't keep her any more. I love having a big dog around again (our standard poodle Dougal MacDuff died a year ago in February) and she gets along great with our two terriers.
Anyway, now that spring is here Rio is in full shed. We've never owned a big shedding dog and I'm amazed at how much the fur flies. The good news is that our house is, oddly enough, cleaner since we've had her, because we have to vacuum and dust more often. The plucky and industrious MizBubs has taken on the majority of the grooming chores and she's got a heck of a way with that metal comb. Here's the output of a half hour of grooming:
Nature and human frailty continue to vex us. Tuesday was a beautiful day in the Chicagoland area, and my day started great. MizBubs and I both had the day off, we got to laze in bed like people on the welfare, and then I ran 3 miles and exorcised a week's worth of tension. Late that afternoon a nagging little cough started, and by early Wednesday morning I was doing my best Doc Holiday impersonation, feverish and hacking. Damned illness used up the rest of my days off. (Side note: I watched Gunfight at the OK Corral on cable while recuperating, which explains the Doc Holiday reference. Kirk Douglas looked damn good as a gunslinger dying of tuberculosis, but what really struck me was the fine quality of his pomade. I've got some good hair, but I would not have looked nearly as good as Kirk Douglas if I'd had to get in a gunfight this week.)
I went back to work Friday, God knows why, and after making it through the day decided to use some comp time and take this weekend off. Now our youngest is sick, sicker than I was, and having one sick kid and a semi-sick grownup alters reality to the point that you can feel like you've really accomplished something, as a household, because you cleaned up the dog fur.
There's always an upside, though--sometimes you're even lucky enough to see it. We got to catch up on some movie watching this weekend, a rare treat for all of us to be in one place for so long. We watched Idiocracy (it had its moments, but was no Office Space), The Prestige, Stranger Than Fiction, and The Devil's Backbone. I thought Stranger Than Fiction was surprisingly good, and really sweet, which was nice. Really enjoyed The Prestige, made extra-interesting by the presence of ultra-cool Michael Caine and an odd David Bowie as Nicola Tesla. Finally, The Devil's Backbone. What a good movie. Best ghost story set during the Spanish civil war I've ever seen.
Another benefit of being relatively house-bound is having the opportunity to catch up on some organizing and household paperwork, and boy did I benefit. The thrifty, thoughtful and selfless MizBubs realized, while going through her stuff, that she's racked up some serious thank you points on her credit card, and she's never redeemed any of them. She also told me I needed some new clothes (it's so sweet how she wants me to look nice). The end result? Yours truly is the lucky recipient of a couple of Macy's gift cards. Woot! Yes, I know I said I'd never patronize that store since those New York bastards killed Marshall Field, but I figure it's poor form to refuse a gift from my bride just because I'm angry at corporate America. And I finally had time to fill out the rebate forms for our cell phones, which, at some hopefully not too distant point in the future, will put $200 in our pockets.
Ah, cell phones. I finally have my own cell phone (not the electronic leash provided me by work) and all the girls got rid of their Virgin Mobile service. It had been years since I'd done any cell phone shopping, and back then I found the process of comparing various service plans to be maddening. That's really how MizBubs and the girls ended up with the Virgin Mobile pay-as-you-go phones: none of them were big talkers, and they just needed phones for emergencies. Now we're all busier, and the girls are older, and it was time to look again.
I found this place on the interwebs. Pay attention, because if you ever want to switch services or get a new phone, this place is GREAT:
You enter your zipcode and up pops a list of all the plans available in your area. You're able to go through and compare them side-by-side, without having to bounce around through all the individual carrier's websites. We ended up with a plan from T-Mobile (whose service has been fantastic) and 4 Motorola Razr phones. The phones were free, and after the rebates I'll make money from the deal, and they threw in two Bluetooth headsets for free. And, if it matters to you, LetsTalk.com is an American company, and their call center and customer service is all right here in the US of A.