Happy Fifth Anniversary to My Love.

Eight years ago, I met this guy for a lunch date – we had met on Yahoo Personals (Gasp! I KNOW, right?!). Turns out he knew of me from a pet portrait I had delivered to a coworker of his two years earlier and actually emailed me about painting his dog.

After the lunch date, we ended up deciding to just be friends. (The reasons for this are widely disputed between us to this day.) After a year of hanging out as friends, we both began turning down dates to just hang out with each other. Without realizing it, we had fallen totally and completely in love with each other.

We married two years after dating. We took the children with us and eloped on Tybee Island as the sun came up.

This man, my best friend, my partner in crime, my straight man, my love, looked at the giant mess I was, learned everything about me, my two children, my hopes and dreams for a career that is not the most lucrative in the world, my complete and utter lack of interest in being a good housekeeper, my PMS mood swings that could possibly get me out of a murder charge, my lack of culinary skills, my love of two giant, sobbery dogs that peed in the house on occasion and ate important objects on many more occasions AND knowing ALL THAT? Still married me. PHEW.

This man is my rock. This man takes care of me. This man takes care of our children as if they were his own – without hesitation or question. This man makes my life so much more than it ever would have been without him in it. Without question, I do not deserve such an incredible man to call my husband, but I thank the stars in the heavens that I get to call him my husband anyway.

Happy 5th Anniversary, Kevin Schmidt, my love. Eleventy million thank yous for being my partner in this life is still not enough. I love you forever and always.

Here is a video I made from out first anniversary. I was going to make another one, but I was so busy with a child named Cordelia – who popped into my life very suddenly and I have been obsessively talking to, drawing and writing about – that I have not had time to make a new one. Or to clean the house. Or to make dinner. Or do much of anything else. See? He is a SAINT, I tell you.

Storytime LIVE tonite at 7:30pm! (eastern)

Come and meet Cordelia! I will talk about how I get an idea for a book and what I do next. Plus a reading of one of my books of course! Maybe a puppet or dog (or BOTH) will make an appearance!

Click below to watch!

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PUPPETS!!

If you missed my Storytime LIVE, this evening, don’t worry, I saved it for y’all!

I’m, not gonna lie, it’s pretty cute. I sure had lots of fun with everyone that tuned in to see me and my friends! Click HERE or on the photo below to watch!!

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Storytime LIVE!! Sept. 3, 2014 at 7:30pm (eastern)

Click below to watch me read Jonathan James and the Whatif Monster tonight at 7:30pm! I may or may not be making all my dogs wear custom made Whatif Monster Ears. Oh who am I kidding?? Of COURSE I’ll be making them wear the ears! It’s always interesting when my dogs are on live – you won’t wanna miss this!

(You can watch without making an account, but you can only chat with me if you create a Livestream account.)

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Piggy’s Story – Part 1

Okay y’all. I’m not gonna lie. The past few days have been rough. My sweet girl Lucy passed away this past Sunday. I had this amazing dog for 15 years. FIFTEEN years. To put that into perspective, I have 16 and 18 year old kids. I have had this dog about as long as my children. I will be writing a tribute piece to my Lucy Goosey, but I am not quite ready for that. I still suddenly start crying out of nowhere – and not just tear up, graceful tears, but UGLY crying sobs out of nowhere. I need a bit more time before I write that. So, in the meantime, lemme tell you about PIGGY PIE.

Piggy Pie

Piggy Pie

 

It was a humid, steamy summer evening on August 2, 2014. The sun was far from setting and still easily 90 degrees out, but the sun was low enough in the sky that I could bear the heat. I’ve always loved to run in the heat, but not the sun. Evening runs had become delicious to me again after I decided to challenge myself to run as many days in July as I could. It worked. I now craved an evening run as much as I craved a good glass of wine at the end of a busy day. Success!

It also helped that I had found a park near my house that I had never known about before. It had lots of long loops and was perfect for running.

It really is a lovely park. It inspires one to want to run.

It really is a lovely park. It inspires one to want to run.

But it had not been a busy day. It was a leisurely Saturday. My husband was on his drill weekend two hours away in Augusta and my daughter had her best friend sleeping over for the third day in a row – one teenage girl helping another get through a break-up with lots of Netflix, ice cream and Ramen noodles.

I told them I was going for a run and left them on the couch with Teen Wolf. Or Supernatural. Or maybe even Sponge Bob – who can tell with teens these days.

I got to the park and planned on a long run. Maybe 4 miles if all felt right. As I simultaneously walked towards the path, set up Bon Jovi to play, put in my ear buds and got my running app open, I glanced up. Two men were walking towards me laughing, talking and holding frisbees. A medium sized and very happy black and white dog was trotting beside them just smiling away. The dog made me smile right back. We all exchanged cheery hellos as I walked to the running path and they to the parking lot.

I had a good run. A great run actually. The kind of run that makes you appreciate being alive. The lungs were working right, the legs felt light and I was able to just think and be in the moment. I ran for 4 miles with endorphins in high gear when I stopped. By the end of my run, the sun was almost setting and I was sweaty and satisfied. I took out my ear buds and began walking to my car.

That’s when I saw him. The same happy black and white dog I’d passed at the start of my run. He ran right up to me and gently jumped up, his paws against me. I looked around for the two men I had seen as I patted the very friendly dog’s head. I was confused – where had his owners gone?  It only took me a minute to replay the scene of them walking towards me to recall the dog had not been on a leash. And it was 45 minutes later. He was not their dog.  I looked around. At almost 7pm, there were no other cars in the parking lot except a police car at the far end. (I figured at some point he would get out and tell me what he knew. He never did.)

The dog had a collar, but no tags. I figured I should wait for an owner who would surely be calling his dog any minute now. I was hot and sweaty – and boy did that dog look hot too. I asked him if he wanted some water. He cocked his head and smiled and I swear he knew exactly what I was saying. As I opened my car door to get my water bottle, he jumped in. Not kind of jumped in, not sort of jumped in. That dog sprang into my car like he owned the darn thing – like he BELONGED. He sat panting and smiling with a look that said, “Okay! Let’s go!”

I went door to door opening each one to coax the dog out. The left door, the right door, the hatch back. With each open door he gracefully jumped from seat to seat clearly letting me know he was NOT getting out of the car.

I looked over at the police car knowing he had seen this musical dog-chair routine. But the officer was not getting out of his car. I looked around for anyone that might be looking for this dog. After about 15 minutes of waiting, this dog was not starting to snooze in my car. I gave up. I knew I was taking him home. Or at least to Pet Smart.

Here he is in my car after my run, while I waited for my daughter to bring me my purse so I could take him to Pet Smart to be scanned for a microchip.

Here he is in my car after my run, while I waited for my daughter to bring me my purse so I could take him to Pet Smart to be scanned for a microchip.

With minutes to spare before they closed, I had him scanned for a microchip. I found out he had no microchip, but luckily for me he had a terrible case of fleas. Awesome.

I took him home and set up a crate in the basement. I had three dogs upstairs and besides not knowing how they would all get along, I didn’t want my own personal flea infestation.

Very quickly it became clear that this was a good dog. I mean a GOOD dog. You could see it by the way he listened to me, you could see it by how he watched me, you could see it by the look in his eyes. I just knew. Dogs like this don’t come around every day. He was special. But with three of my own, there was NO WAY I was keeping him. Just not going to happen.

I knew this dog was scared and I couldn’t leave him in my basement overnight. Which meant a terrible thing for me. You see, my basement is scary. It is unfinished and is home to lots of creepy crawlies. I do not like creepy crawlies. I did not want to sleep with creepy crawlies. Especially creepy crawlies that might crawl into my ear while I sleep. (Insert silent scream here.)

SCARY basement with many, many creepy crawlies. (Okay, I only saw two centipedes, but still: CREEPY and CRAWLY.)

SCARY basement with many, many creepy crawlies. (Okay, I only saw two centipedes, but still: CREEPY and CRAWLY.)

But. This dog needed me.

I blew up an air mattress, brought down blankets and pillows and laid next to the crate. Within minutes, the dog was snoring. And i mean SNORING. And grunting. Like a pig. He really, really sounded like a pig. I jokingly began calling him Piggy. After all, I’d only have a him another day until I found his owner, who cared what I called him?

This dog grunts and snores like a PIG. For reals.

This dog grunts and snores like a PIG. For reals.

I didn’t have to worry about falling asleep and creepy crawlies though. The air mattress had a slow leak, so every hour and a half I found myself laying very uncomfortably on cement again. So I was pretty much awake the whole time. I could flick the creepy crawlies away. Yes. I just wrote that. It was kind of awful. Good thing I loved dogs.

The next day I took this dog to be properly vetted. He got flea treatments, shots and tests. Except for not being fixed, he was in great health and estimated to be about a year and a half or two years old. (Seriously PEOPLE! Fix your pets!!)

I began calling him Piggy. What a ridiculous name, right?

I tried very hard to find this dog’s owner. I posted flyers online. I posted flyers in the park. I registered him on a national data base of lost and found dogs.

Doing my due diligence, people!

Doing my due diligence, people! (and yeah, I found him Saturday, not Friday. I got got the date wrong.)

When that didn’t work, I tried to find someone who wanted what I know realized was quite possibly the WORLD’S MOST AWESOME DOG. When that didn’t work, I found him a foster home for a week while I went out of town.

On our way to his foster family in South Carolina while I went to South Dakota for work.

On our way to his foster family in South Carolina while I went to South Dakota for work.

I have to admit something here. While I was out of town, I missed that darn dog. I secretly hoped that his foster family would not want him (which was the plan in the beginning). When I emailed to find out how Piggy was doing while I was on my trip, I was secretly elated that they asked when would be a good time to get him back to me.

In an effort to help this dog find a home I drove over 12 hours on various trips with the dog. Who LOVES being in the car.

After I got back from my trip and picked up Piggy from his awesome foster family.

I kept the information that I really wanted to keep this dog a secret from my husband who had been enthusiastically promised that I would FIND PIGGY A HOME.  Because HECK, NO were we keeping a fourth dog! That would be CRAZY. Duh. I KNOW THAT.

And my husband told me over and over again, DO NOT FALL FOR THAT DOG, MICHELLE. We both know we cannot keep him.

I promised him I wouldn’t. That would be CRAZY.

Me NOT falling in love with this dog. Clearly.

Me NOT falling in love with this dog. Clearly.

Check back for Part 2. :)

 

Storytime LIVE on August 20, 2014

Y’all, click the photo below to watch the archived version. Piggy was in it. Otto was in it. But Lucy was the STAR! Watch this to see what my life is pretty much like every day. lol!

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Goodness

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