Monday, September 26, 2011

What A Weekend!

Boy, was this weekend fun-filled!  I can't believe how busy Hans and I stayed, and today I'm trying to recoup and catch up on everything else that needs to be done.

Saturday started off with a bit of work with Gracie's Guardians.  Gracie's Guardians is a new pit bull rescue in the area.  Gracie was a Michael Vick dog who was rescued here in VA and whose owners decided to do a little more.  They want to help pit bulls and teach people all about them.  Anyway, they've started an End Dog Fighting program where they target low-income neighborhoods and try to teach people about their dogs.  In this program, they invite people to attend a brief training session, receive vaccinations, dog food, leashes, and collars.  It's quite fun really.  Guess who's the trainer for these sessions?  That's right!  It's yours truly!  This past session was especially fun.  Apparently, a few local news stations got a hold of the story, and we had some camera crews filming / interviewing us.  This means I've now been on the news 4 times in the past year...3 of those times for dog training.  Woot!  I highly recommend watching the segment.

After Gracie's Guardians there was plenty more fun to be had.  One of my fellow volunteers with Henrico Humane works for Phillip Morris and Saturday was their Employee Appreciation Day.  To show their employees how much they love them, they decided to give each employee a bunch of free tickets to Kings Dominion.  Guess who was invited to enjoy some of those free tickets?  Hans, Mom, and I all got to spend a lovely day at KD with Cloresa and her husband Mike.  Thanks guys!

Yesterday, Sunday, was super busy!  We started the day out with an amazing training session with Absolute Sports Performance.  I thoroughly enjoyed it.  Next was church.  As always, it was church like and relaxing.  After that, Hans and I went to pick up a dog from a kennel.  Rocky B needed a home to live in until he was adopted, and we're providing him with one. 

After we'd dropped Rocky B back home, we had a show to get to.  Hans had gotten us tickets to see the latest show at Barksdale Theatre, 'Lend Me A Tenor.'  If you have the chance to see this show, I highly recommend going to it.  It's hilarious!  I definitely enjoyed it.

When the show was over, Hans and I had just a little bit of down time, so we grabbed some hot chocolate and picked up a few things from Petsmart.  Then, it was another trip back home and then back out again.  One of our fosters, Erick, had a home visit scheduled, so we were off to meet a potential adopter.  Things went well, but by the time we were done it was getting pretty late.  So, back home we went.  Rocky B got a bath (he was a stinky, stinky boy), Hans and I ate dinner and relaxed, and then we folded some laundry and went to bed. 

Phew!  No wonder I'm so tired today.  Hopefully I get my energy back by tomorrow!

Thursday, September 22, 2011

Valerie's Alphabet

So, one of my blogger friends did this, and I thought it was a cool idea.  If you want to do it too, let me know.  I'd love to read all about you!

A. Age: 25, but I'll be 26 in less than 1 month.
B. Bed size: Queen.  Really, though, if we had the space for a King I'd get one.  Hans, me, two cats, and a dog crowd our little bed.
C. Chore that you hate: Just one?  Ok, I hate folding laundry.  It's a never-ending task and you can't even really move around that much to count it as a work out.
D. Dogs: Cody is my baby boy, but there are also lots of foster.  Today, I have Merlin, Matt, Erik, and Rocky B.
E. Essential start to your day: A shower.  I can't shower at night or else I feel off-kilter the next day.
F. Favorite color: Turquoise and blue.  I used to love red, but as my personality has mellowed, so have my color preferences.
G. Gold or Silver: I like both, but all my favorite jewelry is gold.  Even my wedding band is white gold.
H. Height: 5'7".  I'm average.
I. Instruments you play: I can play a few pieces on the piano.  Otherwise, I'm a vocalist.
J. Job title: President, Impawsible Pups.  In other words, I own a dog training business.
K. Kids: Not yet, not tomorrow, but some day.
L. Live: Richmond, VA.  Home.
M. Mother’s name: Juanita.  She's named after her aunt and for years she hated it.
N. Nicknames: Val, Val-pal.  One person called me Val-Pak for a while, and my college roommate had a not-very-nice nickname she used lovingly.
O. Overnight hospital stays: Thank goodness I haven't had any.
P. Pet peeves: When people leave cabinet doors open after getting something out.  Are they really that hard to shut?
Q. Quote from a movie: "I'm your huckleberry." -Doc Holliday in 'Tombstone'  It must be said in a western drawl.
R. Right or left handed: Right.
S. Siblings: I'm an only child which means I'm spoiled rotten.  :)  Of course, that's if you don't count the dogs I grew up with.
T. Time you wake up: 7:00 or earlier.  The dogs like to get up early.
U. Underwear: I like simplicity.  Simple cotton briefs.  Full coverage, but not granny panties.  I refuse to wear thongs (ick!).
V. Vegetable you hate: Asparagus.  Nasty!
W. What makes you run late: Over-sleeping, chatting for too long, blogging.
X. X-Rays you’ve had: Dental, neck, neck, chest, wrist.
Y. Yummy food that you make: Pierogies and Holubsti.  Yummy!  I'm great on the Ukrainian ethnic foods.  I'm also pretty awesome at baking.
Z. Zoo animal: Wolves.  I love wolves.  Otherwise, I'd have to go for the lions.

Wednesday, September 21, 2011


Here's the deal.  I love going to the gym.  I never thought I'd say that.  I never thought I'd be the gym-going sort of person, but I am, and I love it.  Frankly, I don't love the ellipticals or the treadmills or the stationary bikes (if I'm going to run or bike I can do that outside).  I love the pool and the sauna and the yoga and any other class that seems interesting to me.  I love doing things in that group setting that I wouldn't necessarily do on my own.  With winter just around the corner, I foresee that I'll be going to the gym more and more...if anything just to sit in the sauna and warm up.  I love that sauna!

There is, however, one problem with my gym excursions.  I feel horribly guilty.  I feel like there are a thousand other things I should be doing.  I should be cleaning.  I should be working.  I should be walking Cody.  I should, I should, I should.  It's funny.  Even as I type this, I keep thinking of what my voice teacher in college used to always say, "Don't should on yourself."  Still, though, I feel guilty for taking that time out of the day for myself.

I don't feel guilty on my runs.  I have Cody with me, and they're early enough in the morning that I know that if I weren't running I'd be sleeping, so I feel proud for choosing the healthier route.  The gym, though, usually comes mid-morning because that's when all the classes I like are held.  So, I leave the house thinking, "I should be doing something else right now." 

The thing is, I really love my gym time.  I love that time spent on me.  I love the quiet of the sauna and the rhythm of the water in the pool.  I love the flow of yoga and pace of BodyPump.  I love leaving the gym and feeling like some fit and cool gym-goer.  I love all of it, so I'm not willing to give it up. 

I guess I'll just have to start getting things more done when I'm not at the gym. 

Thursday, September 15, 2011

It's Not That We Don't Love You

Let me start my describing my day yesterday:

5:00 am: Wake up, feed the dogs, shower.
6:15 am: Meet at Aunt Sarah's for a breakfast / planning meeting
8:00 am: Head out to my dad's / accountant's to do sales tax and payroll
9:00 am: Drive to my first lesson of the day
11:00 am: Leave lesson and drive home.
11:45 am: Lunch
12:00 pm: Begin office work
1:15 pm: Hans comes home for lunch and we let the dogs out and play with them.
1:45 pm: Hans leaves for work, I get back to office work
3:00 pm: Stop what I am working on and leave for appointments
8:30 pm: Return home, work in-board dogs
9:00 pm: Dinner
10:00 pm: Bed

Needless to say, I was exhausted when I got home last night.  While this schedule isn't what I follow 24/7 it's not too far off the mark.  Some times I let myself sleep in and don't get up until 7:00 am.  Sometimes I take some me time and go for a run or to the gym for a swim or yoga (and I always feel guilty).  Sometimes I pack a dinner so I can eat earlier.  One thing holds true, though.  My days are long and filled with things to do.  Right now, with things really being all over the place, I am especially grateful for my mom who has been providing the dogs with extra time and attention.

Because of these long, crazy schedules, I miss out on some very important time with friends.  It's not that we don't love you.  We just don't have time for ourselves, much less for anything extra.  Between work, working out, volunteering, and sleep, we're just filled to the brim.  We can have dinner with you if you'll eat at 8:00 pm or later.  We can watch a movie with you if you don't mind the dogs playing in the background.  Occasionally we will tell you we just can't do it simply because we want to spend some time alone...just the two of us with Cody.  It's not that I don't want to.  It's that I need a break.

If you call me and ask if I can have lunch with you, and I say yes, know that I am giving up 1-2 hours of working time and that I will have to make that up by missing out on sleep.  Also know that if I say yes it's because I love you tremendously.  If you call me and simply want to talk, and I casually mention that I was doing something for work but I'm so happy you called, know that this means that I love talking to you and I'll talk through the night, but there is a pile of work a mile high that I should be taking care of.

Know that the last time Hans and I had a day off together...with nothing to do, was a month ago when we took a vacation.  The summer gives us lots of time off.  We take off for our anniversary, for Hans' birthday, for the 4th of July, and this summer offered a vacation.  Before that, I think the last time we had off was Easter.

Know that we are working extremely hard, at both keeping the house in order and at keeping the business in order.

Know that we spend time with you because we value your friendship.

Know that we may skip time at the bar because, while we value your friendship, we just can't muster the energy to spend time in a bar when there are 1,000 other things to do at home.

Know that, while this lifestyle may not be what you would choose, there are hundreds of reasons why we love it.  Sure, there are things we would change, but we do love our life.

Oh, one more thing.  With winter around the corner, know that I would love it if all you wanted to do was spend some time in a sauna.  I like the heat.

Wednesday, September 14, 2011

The Mailman

Question: Why don't they train mailmen on how to handle dogs?  If they do train them, they need to do a better job.

Ok, let me tell you what just happened.

Cody is a spoiled rotten brat.  It's true.  However, he serves one wonderful service, and that's guard dog.  I live in the city.  I drive all over town to houses I've never been to before.  Sometimes things can get nervous.  Cody is praised for barking as people approach (the more ferocious the better) and for barking when I give a command.  He is also praised when he stops barking when I tell him to.  Cody knows his job and takes it seriously.  He knows not to bite, and he's never tried.  The most I've seen him do is sniff.

Our mailman is scared of dogs, and Cody terrifies him.  I would probably be nervous of growling, barking, 60 lb dog too, but this guy has actually jumped a fence as we were walking down the sidewalk (Cody was happy and wagging his tail in a beautiful heel). 

Today, everything happened as normal.  The mailman approached, Cody barked and growled.  One thing was different, though.  I had forgotten to shut the storm door when I came in.  Usually, this wouldn't be a problem because there's another door.  I don't know if Cody somehow opened the door or if it wasn't latched all the way, but he got out today.  Imagine my surprise when I heard the mailman yell, "Get your dog!  Get your dog!"  I ran to the door, and the mailman was running down the sidewalk with Cody behind him.  When the mailman turned to look behind him, he tripped and fell.  Cody bumped him with his nose, ran to pee on a bush, and then came to me.  No teeth contact was made.

Some people would say that this means I have a bad dog.  The truth is, though, Cody is doing exactly what I trained him to do: Act ferocious, but be a big baby at heart.  The problem is, the mailman RAN AWAY!

Rule number 1: If a dog is chasing you, stop running.  You have no chance of outrunning the dog (unless you're an ultra-marathoner and had a head start), and by running, you are merely encouraging the dog to chase you.  In fact, in training, I encourage people to run from their dogs as a game to help teach the come command.

Rule number 2: If you are, in fact, worried about being bitten, use what you have for defense.  Most people have some additional layer of clothing (jacket, shoe, etc.) Take it off and throw it at the dog.  At the least, this may distract him long enough for you to get away.  At the best, it will actually scare him off.  The mailman carries a SACK of letters.  When I was little, I would use a similar sack (aka a backpack) and swing it around my front to protect me from jumping dogs.  He should have done the same.

Rule number 3: Once you know that help has arrived, stop hollering.  This will only feed the dog's excitement.  Cesar Milan says it best.  "Calm, Assertive."  If you can't just be quiet, say chant over and over.  This could be, "One, two, three four, I declare a thumb war. " or "Little Miss Muffet..."  Basically, take your mind off of screaming.  The same goes for horses.

These are 3 simple rules.  Everyone should know them, but the mailman should have studied them profusely.  This mailman was lucky this time.  Cody could have been the dog who likes to bite.  He could have been much more aggressive.  Instead, he's really just a big baby who's been taught to bark.  For the mailman's sake, though, I think I'll be double checking the doors from here on out.

Tuesday, September 13, 2011

It's Been A Long Weekend

I'm exhausted.  I'm tired.  I just want to go back to bed and sleep for about 3 days.  However, I'm also happy.

This weekend was a very busy one.  For the first time, I decided to set up a booth at Mathews Market Days.  This meant things had to be ordered, priced, built, loaded onto a truck, and set up.

Going into the event
Nothing went smoothly prior to the event.

First, Irene took our power away.  This meant it was that much more difficult to finish building our dog beds.  Of course, this meant that Hans ended up working some very late nights right before the show, trying to catch up.

Second, Irene delayed my orders.  The show was Friday and Saturday.  By Thursday evening, my orders still were not in.  I was panicked.  Thank goodness for my mom.  She was kind enough to pick up my order from the UPS store on Friday and drive 1.5 hours just to deliver it.  I can't thank her enough for that.

Third, I was sick.  Very sick.  I had a fever, I was coughing, I was losing sleep.  Of course, this was while Hans was working late, so I was also trying to take care of dogs and keep the house in order, but I wasn't doing a great job of it.  I was just soooooo tired.

Fourth, it rained ALL WEEK LONG.  We weren't even sure if Mathews Market Days would happen.  Heck, even Friday morning there was a terrible downpour which caused half the location to flood out.  Luckily, the rest of the weekend was fairly clear.

The Show
So, going into the show, I was not happy.  I repeated over and over, "THIS IS NOT WORTH IT!"  I thought about simply forfeiting my $35 booth fee and staying home to rest.  I just wanted to cry.

However, I did go to the show.  Guess what.  It wasn't too bad at all.  I learned that I really didn't need to stress out the way I had.  I learned that Hans is wonderful at helping me set up and at organizing a booth.  I learned that I do enjoy doing shows, and that I should try to do a few more throughout the year.  All in all, it was a fun time.  Still, though, after setting up from 12:00 to 4:00 on Thursday, working the booth from 10:00-5:00 on Friday and 9:00-5:00 on Saturday, plus an hour each day for daily preparations and booth take down from 5:00-6:30 on Saturday, I'm exhausted!!

In other news...
My cold is slowly going away.  I'm back to working out, and that seems to really be helping.  I particularly enjoyed my swimming session yesterday.

Today marks the first day of my 10k training.  I ran this morning, and I'm super excited about my next one.  This week I'll run Tuesday, Thursday, and Saturday, but I'm hoping to keep it on a Monday, Wednesday, Friday schedule for the most part.  I am really happy that I did get out there today, because I was starting to forget how much I loved running and how much I loved this course.  With one work out, I've already been bitten by the running bug, and I can't wait until Thursday.  In the interim, I'll do yoga and possibly some swimming.

Monday, September 5, 2011

If You Can Read This...

First off, let me say that I HATE being sick.  This is one of those weird colds too.  I don't feel particularly snotty or stuffy, and my coughing is at a minimum.  However, I can't seem to get enough sleep.  I wake up with a sore throat, and the rest of the day all I can think of is getting back in bed.  My brain can barely handle reading, meaning the 50 pages left of my 700 page book are going to have to wait and the t.v. is on way more than I'd like it to be.  I'm having trouble getting work done, and doing something as simple as washing dishes leaves me utterly exhausted.

That said, I am more of a look-on-the-bright-side type of person, and while there's a lot that I do not like about being sick, there's one thing that isn't so bad.  I've been tired, I've spiked fevers, and everything I do feels like I'm doing it with 20 pound weights attached.  This also means that I've been sweating...a lot.  Basically, even though I've been eating terribly because it's too difficult to prepare a proper meal, and I have barely done a thing, I've lost two pounds this week.  Not that I feel this is the healthiest way to lose weight.  I'd much rather be running or swimming.  However, it's nice to know that's one thing I don't have to worry about.  Phew!

If You Can Read This...

Hans and I saw this bumper sticker the other day
 I have to say, I get really annoyed with this bumper sticker.  Before you get angry, let me explain.  First off, disregard the first part.  If you can read that, then, yes, you should thank a teacher.  The second part, though, irks me because it's not exactly historically accurate.

Back in the beginning
If you're really interested in history, here's a bit of info you might not have known.  The United States' national language was almost German.  Back in the days when the U.S.A. was just a baby, many people HATED the British.  They wanted nothing to do with the Brits.  They didn't even want to speak the same language.  Many people in that time also spoke French and/or German (if they were truly civilized), but our relationship with France was just budding, and for a long time it hadn't been so great either.  Germany didn't seem like such a bad place, and I guess some people really liked the German language.  It came down to a vote, and English one out.  So, one could argue that "If you can read this in English, thank a founding father."  Of course, we're forgetting something very important here as well.

 Who spoke English before we did?  The people in England, of course!  It was the British who colonized America, and the British who colonized India, and the British who colonized Hong Kong and Canada and Australia and all sorts of other places throughout the world.  If they hadn't gone to every continent and made their mark, English never would have become so common.  Don't believe me?  Travel to Asia.  

On a trip that Hans and I made to Asia back in '05, we traveled to Tokyo, Okinawa, Seoul, Beijing, and Hong Kong.  In Tokyo, we stayed at Camp Zama, a U.S. Army base, and in Seoul we stayed at a YMCA.  At Camp Zama, unless the person was American, they didn't speak English.  In other words, the employees (cleaning crew, food service, etc.) spoke limited to no English.  At the YMCA...forget about it.  No English speakers there.  However, when we traveled to Hong Kong, a place that Britain ruled until 1998, over 50% of the people spoke English.  Oh, and there were a lot of familiar companies such as Starbucks, McDonald's, and KFC.  

Not to Disregard the Soldiers
Now then, all that said, I don't want to make light of a soldier's work.  I could very easily argue that if it hadn't been for soldiers during WWII, we could be speaking German or Japanese or Italian.  I could argue that soldiers have kept their countries safe and, because of both American and British soldiers, English is STILL spoken.  Of course, if we were currently speaking Italian, I'd probably be reading this bumper sticker as "If you can read this in Italian thank a soldier" or "Se lei può leggere questo in inglese, ringrazia un soldato."  (If you do speak Italian, and this translation is wrong, please forgive me.)  

Basically, what I'm trying to say is that there are a lot of reasons why we speak and read in English, and a soldier certainly isn't the only one.  Oh, and as for the thanking a teacher part, you could also thank your eye doctor for your glasses, God for the ability to see, your parents for encouraging your ability to read.  The list goes on and on.

Saturday, September 3, 2011

The Stages of Sick

We've all been through it.  We've all been sick.  We've all had the runny nose, the sore throat, and the achy body.  One thing I've found is true for me, though, is that I often have a difficult time recognizing when I'm getting sick.  I tend to miss the first few signs and then when it hits full force I wonder how I missed it.  So, I thought I'd help us all out by sharing some of the signs of  getting sick.  Keep in mind these are the stages that I go through.  It might not be the same for you...or maybe it is.

Stage 1: I don't get sick!  Everyone around you is sick.  Every place you go you hear coughing or sniffling.  Everyone you meet is telling you about their cold.  You, however, do not get sick.  You will be fine.  You will defy the laws of germs.

Stage 2: Why am I so tired?  That gym class wiped you out.  Things have been stressful.  These must be the reasons why you feel utterly exhausted.  You don't quite understand why, after 9 full hours of sleep, you wake up wanting a nap.  Sleep is your best friend. 

Stage 3: I need more food! This generally happens around the same time (maybe a day or two after) the tired feeling hits.  You figure that your so hungry simply because your body is looking for fuel to fight the tired feeling, and that's probably true.  The trouble is that you just can't seem to stop eating.  Pizza? Great!  Ice cream?  Bring it on!  Crackers, cookies, pretzels?  Yes please.  It should be noted that, while fruit can be tasty during this time, vegetable are not craved or satisfying at all.  Good luck on keeping things healthy.

Stage 4: There's a tickle in my throat.  This is where everything is just starting to drain, and your just beginning to cough.  Generally, this feeling will be strongest when you're lying down trying to sleep.  This is also the point that a well-meaning person will offer you some sinus medicine, but you will continue to declare that YOU ARE NOT SICK!

Stage 5: Death would be preferable.  That's it.  It's official.  You're sick.  You're not just sick, though.  You're dying.  Your body aches, your throat hurts, you can't move without wanting to lie down.  You will take anything that makes you feel better and allows you to move a little.  You pray for the world to stop turning for a bit so you don't miss anything...and because the turning of the world is making you dizzy.

Stage 6: The worst is over.  Yes, you are on the mend, but you're not over it yet.  You're still tired and sore, but the end is in sight.  I recommend taking things slowly for a bit and trying to rest as much as possible lest you have a relapse.

Currently, I'm somewhere between stages 5 and 6.  Last night was a definite stage 5 with a mild fever and the shivers from hell.  I even had trouble greeting the dogs because the feel of them against my skin hurt and sound of their tails wagging felt like a hammer inside my head.  After a very long night of sleep, I'm feeling a bit better.  The fever's gone, but moving is not fun.  All I really want to do is go back to bed.  I have the feeling bed time will come early tonight. 

I hope you're all staying healthy.  Make sure you take your echinacea and your garlic.

Friday, September 2, 2011

Our Home

When you come to our home, the first thing you will see will be Cody (and possibly another dog).  He will be barking, and he's allowed to continue barking until I tell him otherwise.  When you come in, you will get a very excited greeting.  This means he may lick your hands or jump up (this is my bad trainer moment where I let him).  If there is another dog with him, they will both compete to show you who's the most affectionate.  Brace yourself.

You will hear before you see the other dogs.  There may be anywhere between 1 and 6 extra dogs.  They will bark...a lot.  You will see before you hear the cats.  There will be 2.  The cats may be nervous and hiss.  Just leave them alone.  You'll be fine.  At some point, those dogs that you haven't seen yet will need to go outside, and you will get to meet every single one of them.  They will be very excited and very happy, and they may decide it's time to play.  This will probably look like they're fighting, but they're not, so don't worry.

When you sit down, you may encounter some dog / cat hair.  It will brush off.  A dog may slobber on you.  It will wash out.  The barking may be loud.  The dogs will go outside.

A lot of people would not be able to handle our home.  To them, it would seem noisy and messy and overall overwhelming.  These people do not understand why we live the way we do...why I live the way I do.

I love our dogs.  I love the fosters who come through, the clients I'm training, the boarders, and most especially Cody.  I love Mo and Stolte.  I love their kisses and their warmth.  I love their excitement and their energy.  I love their attitudes.

Sure, things can be overwhelming sometimes.  The mornings are the hardest because I have to wake up and feed all of them, and most don't sleep in the way Cody does.  Vacuuming is a daily chore, and I feel like I can never keep up.  At some point soon, I will need to wash the walls, the floors will need to be sanded, and the back door will need a new coat of paint.  Somehow, though, this all seems worth it.

If I had to choose between the dogs and a quiet life, I'd have to choose the dogs.  Someday, I may have a facility separate from the home, and then I could have a quiet life AND the dogs, but that's not the case right now, and that's OK.  For now, I'd rather have the wagging tails and the wet tongues.  I'd rather have the dogs who need a little extra love and who will return it in spades.  I'd rather have the fur and the barking.

I don't expect everyone to get it.  I don't expect everyone to agree, and I'm not asking that you do.  If you can't handle our home, then don't come here.  No one is forcing you.  If it's too hard, meet me at a coffee shop.  The one thing I do ask is that you simply let us live our lives.  Don't try to change things to suit your needs.  Don't complain to me.  Don't freak out or go stiff as a board when you see all the dogs.  Just let things be.  Oh, and know that I'm the one house where your dogs are ALWAYS welcome.  You don't need to leave your dog behind on my account.  Bring him/her along and be happy.

Thursday, September 1, 2011

Things to Be Grateful For When the Power is ON

Power returned to our house at some point yesterday afternoon.  This means we went 5 days without power.  Five days without hot water or lights or a refrigerator.  There was a lot we enjoyed about not having power (even Hans said it was like a little adventure), but there are also a lot of things provided by electricity that I'm very happy to have back.

  • Hot Water They gym worked for a shower, but I am very happy to be able to shower in the comfort of my own home.
  • Refrigerator / Microwave I'm grouping these two together because it really all boils down to one thing...leftovers.  Sure, cooking in the first place was difficult, but it was doable.  If it seemed too hard at any point, we'd just eat out.  What was almost impossible, though, were left overs.  We couldn't store them in a fridge, so we couldn't guarantee that they'd be good to eat the next day.  Even if they wouldn't spoil, we didn't have a microwave to heat them up in.  Have you ever eaten a cold brat?  I don't recommend it.
  • Vacuum Oh my gosh!  I think I missed this one the most.  I like to vacuum at least once a day.  With 7 dogs in the house, it's kind of a necessity.  At one point, we swept the floor with a broom, but it's just not quite the same.  I'll be doing a lot of vacuuming today.
  • Hot Pot I like tea.  I've really been craving some tea.  I had no way of heating water for tea, but now I do.  I didn't think it would be nice to go to a coffee shop and merely ask for a mug of hot water so I could make MY tea, and I wasn't about to pay $2 just so I could have their tea.  Yay for tea!
  • Lights This one is kind of a no brainer.  Who doesn't like lights?  For the most part, not having lights wasn't a big deal, but having an overhead light certainly makes caring for the dogs A  LOT easier.  This is especially true for Merlin who was often startled by / scared of the shadows that the flashlight cast.  Poor guy!
So, like I said, not having power was fun, but having power is quite nice too.  I'm certainly not complaining!