Yeah, Sure It's Free

Posted by ZenMom Monday, July 26, 2010 Comments

Sorry all, but I think I'm suffering from a little sticker shock today.

Am I planning a big vacation?  Buying a new car?  Maybe new appliances for the kitchen?


I just tallied up how much it's going to cost to get my kids back to school.  And let me tell you, it ain't pretty.

Here's a breakdown of what we've got so far:

Registration and school fees: $429
School supplies: $300
School photos: $100
New clothes: $500

That's $1300 before anyone even enters the building.  Mind you -- but for my youngest who is still in preschool -- all of my kids are in public school.  You know.  Free education.


And this doesn't include the perpetual stream of requests that pop up once school is back in session.  Sports fees, art fees, party fees, field trips and fundraisers.  Why, it's a bottomless pit.

So now, instead of enjoying what's left of our summer (did I mention school starts in mid-August in these parts?), I'm sitting here scratching my head trying to figure out how I'm going to pay for all this stuff.  You think I can get a Back To School loan somewhere?

We were thinking of taking a long weekend up in the mountains before school started.  But no.  Now I'll be spending the money on paper and pencils and highlighters instead.  How lame is that?

Trying to find gainful employment (or a long-lost rich relative),

Ode to Beau

Posted by ZenMom Friday, July 2, 2010 Comments

Today is a sad day in the Zen household.  It is the day we said goodbye to an old friend.

He was a part of our family for the last 14 years. Come to think of it, we've known him longer than most of our kids.  And while I know he lived a long life for a big black goofball of a mutt, his time with us was too short.

He went by many names.  Beau.  The Big Lug.  And Big Bad Beau Dog.  There were a few others sprinkled in there on bad days, but I think I'll leave those out.

A stray, he had no papers, no pedigree, but still he was as good as they come.  He didn't have a mean bone in his body, and I can proudly say he never bit a soul -- even when the kids would ride him or dress him up or torture him in various other ways.

Whenever we came home, he always greeted us the same way.  Not only his tail would wag, but his whole back end would join in the action.  It was like we'd left him for days, when in fact we'd just returned from a trip to the store.  That back end wag was what I remembered most of the day I picked him up and continued to be his signature move for years to come.

He loved to swim, he loved the snow and he absolutely loved to run.  In his younger days, could be seen outpacing us even on our bikes.  Unfortunately, he was not the best trained dog in the world, with his running abilities far surpassing his recall.  There were many a time I was left cursing in his dust as he took off in the ranch behind our house.

But what I will remember most was his disposition.  Even when he was old, deaf and in pain, he was a lover.  As a matter of fact, he lay their licking my face as we waited for the vet to put him out of his misery.

I have to say, this was one of the hardest things I've ever had to do.  I know it was the kind thing to do, the right thing to do, but still I sat there crying like a baby as the vet did what needed to be done.  I came home to a house was a little quieter, a little emptier without him.

So this is my tribute to a wonderful stray pup from Montana who made his way into our home and our lives so many years ago.  Rest in peace Beau Dog.  We miss you terribly and will never forget you. 

With a Heavy Heart Today,

Zen and the Art of Motherhood

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