All posts by bertandorduke

Deadliest Catch: Pinehills Edition

If you can’t tell, the turds are really into fishing these days. Matty bought them these fishing rods, the Famous 202 and the Lady 202 (Guess which one is which? Follow up question: guess which industry seems kind of sexist?) and a spell was cast (bad pun intended). Even though previously, the only fish either kid ever caught was the dead fish Hazy “caught” in a bucket at the Pinehills pond, they are convinced they will be reeling in The Big One at any time. After all, isn’t that the lure (seriously, pun not intended) of fishing?  Or was it sitting around and drinking Bud Lights? I forget.

But first, we had to introduce Rosie to Oma, Opa and Teddy. Rosie is pretty submissive so I was slightly concerned that she’d be intimidated by big fluffy Teddy, but I needn’t have worried, because she immediately stole his bed, his toy, his spot on the couch and his parents.

new dog meets the grandparents
“These are mine now.”
“Him too.”

My dad loves dogs and vice versa, and Rosie was no exception. But every time my dad petted Rosie, Teddy got jealous. He got caught in a never-ending cycle of dog petting, but let’s admit, there are worse things.

Then it was back to the Deadliest Catch. We packed up the Famous 202 and the Lady 202 and trudged down to the pond. I’d like to say the kids cast their rods and reeled in dinner while I sat back and sipped Bud Lights all morning long.

kids fishing
Angling for some action (I can do this all day.)

But it’s more accurate to say that they each got about one cast out before Hazy’s hook got caught in those reeds and George’s line became irreparably tangled. I attempted to wade out in the mushy sand to the reeds, but my flip flops sunk in the quick sand like I was in the Fire Swamp from the Princess Bride and I got too grossed out to make another attempt. Luckily, with my raw pioneerswoman strength and ingenuity, I was able to force the hook free.

kids fishing fail
More accurate representation

George’s line, on the other hand, was beyond help.

tangled fishing line
Imagine this every 1/2 foot or so.

A weathered old fisherman (fine, someone’s grandpa) at the pond told me the only solution was to cut off all the tangled line. Done and done, good sir.

We did not have the fish dinner I had planned on, but luckily Opa had a Plan B/knew we wouldn’t be catching anything. We had Chinese ribs, a caprese salad, and something else delicious that I can’t remember but rest assured, I shoved it down my gullet.

Wow, it’s still summer, huh?

Hamburgers & Fries, Followed by Unprocessed Fish Sticks

We had a special guest star all the way from France on Thursday…Dr. Lindsay! I’ve known Lindsay since she was Miss Lindsay when we were teenage camp counselors together at Camp Nashoba. Now she’s living in France for a year of romance and French food with her boyfriend, occasionally jaunting back to the US for some doctor work, and we were lucky enough to spend a day with her.

But first, the turds did some morning activities, namely circling all the things they wanted in the Oriental Trading Company catalog, and destroying the kitchen while they “cleaned up” after making goop.

They also brought out their money so they could buy these $5 rolls of tickets for their store in the toy pit. I had to break it to them that 1) you need a credit card and, 2) shipping is $8.
Homemade slime
The clean up from the clean up was more work than the original clean up.

Our first stop with Lindsay: Grassfed.

matching outfits
We could not wait to see her!
Kids in matching outfits
The kids wore matching outfits for the occasion and made matching whatever-this-is expressions.

Grassfed has a TV over the bar, which happened to be playing an infomercial for the Power Air Fryer XL. I was reminded of the power of advertising as Hazy decided after about 10 minutes that we needed one, adding, “it’s only four easy payments of $39.99!” When they reduced it to three easy payments and threw in $100 worth of coupons, she lost her mind.

Hazy: “Let’s wait a few more minutes and see if it gets any cheaper!”

Lindsay and I had the brilliant idea to take the kids boating and fishing, because what’s better than four people in a tiny rowboat with the two least coordinated of them wielding sticks with hooks?

kids boating
Are these the adorable faces of people who would toss a fishhook millimeters from your face? Yes, yes they are.
This is probably when I told them they couldn’t cast right into our faces and ruined all their fun. Sorry, turds.

We each took a turn “rowing,” which usually meant going around in circles and narrowly avoiding hitting the shore or one of the many sailboats, sailed by kids taking sailing lessons. In other words, amateur hour. I’d like to say Lindsay and I were far superior rowers, but that would be a lie.

The good part about taking turns rowing was that everyone got to rest for a while, if you call dodging flying fish hooks restful.

Lindsay chillaxing
After her hard life of eating French food, cooking French food, and drinking French wine, I’m glad Lindsay was finally able to relax a little.
rowing on Jamaica Pond
I’m supposed to be rowing here. My bad.

Somehow we survived the rowing and the fish hooks and made it back to land. Thank you to my co-counselor, Miss Lindsay, for making it so much fun. (I’d definitely give you a sweatshirt.)

fishing and rowing woohoo!
Une bonne journée, Lindsay.

Actually, We Can Stop

On Tuesday and Wednesday, we mainly focused on Rosie. We took her to the vet, where she was an exemplary patient, took her on lots of walks and introduced her to new doggy friends, and we brought her to Pet Cabaret (which had significantly fewer musical numbers than you might expect), where we bought her a new harness and some yummy treats. Fun fact: Rosie’s treats cost more than mine, and I’m the sucker who buys the cookies they sample at Whole Foods. We also ordered her a Death Star ID tag, which should get here next week.

Dog treats vs. Human treats
I don’t remember how much the Jan Cookies cost, but definitely less than $23.99.

I’d like to pretend we stayed home exclusively due to my doting dog parenting style, but it was also because there was wayyyy too much arguing on the way to the Aquarium. (Side note: Never, ever drive to the Aquarium. The parking garage is really expensive and it’s almost impossible to find street parking and then you end up driving around for an hour while your kids fight about things you’ve since blocked out but they definitely resulted in you blasting Pink’s “So What” on the radio so you could drown them out.) I told the kids if they kept arguing incessantly, then I wasn’t going to reward them with any fun adventures. So I showed them. Besides our dog errands, we stayed home and whined argued cleaned all day. All this winning is exhausting.

Speaking of winning, on Wednesday, Hazy and I started off with some light Monopoly.

Rosie tried to be banker, but she’s bad at math/having opposable thumbs.

Then, it was a special Dad Camp while I had to take care of some work-related stuff. (What? Gross, I know.) Later, we went to our pool, where the kids played with some old and new friends and had ice cream #4008 of the summer.

kids at Mirabella pool
Here, they are conspiring to squeeze a wet Nerf football over someone’s head.

Just 30 days until both kids are back in school. Not that anyone’s counting.


Can’t Stop, Won’t Stop

You’d think on our first full day of Rosieness we’d stay home and lay low, but duty called, and by duty, I mean the New England Aquarium. Don’t worry, we didn’t just leave Rosie home alone; we took her to our favorite doggy daycare, where she made herself at home, sitting directly behind Demita’s butt on her chair. We had previously planned to go with our friend Winslow, but he bailed on us. (I know you’re reading this, Winslow, and yes, I’m blog-shaming you.) But we kind of had our heart set on playing with sea creatures, so we went anyway.

New England Aquarium giant ocean tank
The view from the top (of the tank)

I love the Aquarium. The coolest exhibit is the jellyfish, who, while in real life are my mortal enemies, behind glass are absolute works of art. But between you and me, the coolest animal there is the Seadragon. The only way they’d be any cooler would be if you could calmly say, “dracarys” and they blew underwater fire at your worst enemy (i.e. the jellyfish).

You beautiful, beautiful a-holes.

I also love the Touch Tank, even though we always spend about 90% of our time looking jealously at the people five feet away who seem to be in the “good spot” while our fingers become prunes waiting for some stingray play.

Touch Tank New England Aquarium
Touch Tank New England Aquarium
Shooting daggers at the people with more stingray game than us
Soaked at New England Aquarium
Didn’t touch many stingrays, but did touch a lot of stingray water.

We also practiced our photo acting skills in the shark exhibit. (We’re a little rusty.)

And then we saw the cutest NE Aquarium inhabitants, the fur seals. The trainers taught them to do a little trick where they fake-roar at the kids. I’m pretty sure they do click-training, which is what I will be doing for Rosie. At whom should I teach her to roar?

Roar! Eat more protein!
Roar! Stop whining!

A member of the Aquarium staff had a sample of fur seal fur/skin which we all petted, admiring how soft it was. Later, while oohing over how cute the fur seals were, Hazy mused, “I wish we had one, or a piece of skin.” Great, I’m raising Buffalo Bill Jr. Come to think of it, she is pretty obsessed with using the hose, too.

On the way out, we stopped to watch the harbor seals. They were mostly sleeping, and they reminded me of someone…

So we rushed home and picked up our girl, who’d had a fun couple of hours at daycare but was excited to see her family.


A Very Special Edition of One Summer At Home

If you’re wondering why I haven’t posted about any of our adventures this week, it’s because we started one huge new adventure on Sunday: we adopted a dog! Please welcome to the family, Rosie B. Macklemore O’Rourke.


Rosie came all the way from Alabama (hence her middle name), so the first thing we did (after giving and receiving many, many kisses) was to take her for a bath. Rosie was not too crazy about the bath or the blow drying/combing, but she did enjoy her doggy cupcake and meeting a (stuffed) friend afterwards.

We stopped at a rest stop on the way back, and the kids took turns walking her and giving her water. I like to think this sunbeam is Grandpa George (a dog lover) smiling down on us.

Best big brother and sister

Once we got home, Rosie made herself at home. And by that, I mean she jumped right into Hazy’s bed (much to Hazy’s delight) and then ours.

We’re crate training her, but she was not to be discouraged. First thing she did Monday morning was go wake up George by leaping into his bed. Needless to say, he loved it.

new dog with her brother
Looks like you’ve been replaced, Baraccoli Obama.

Hazy and George have embraced pet siblinghood wholeheartedly, and besides helping bathe her, they enjoy feeding her (George does breakfast; Hazy does dinner), walking her, showing her how comfy her crate is, and fancy-walking her, which is just walking her in formalwear.

Here’s what Rosie likes to do when I try to work:

Hugs > work


Here’s what she likes to do when I order DuDo’s:

new dog at Dunkin Donuts
This earned her a plain donut offering from the enamored drive thru lady.

Here’s Rosie and her favorite toy:

You’re gonna fit right in here, Rosie.

Here’s Rosie sitting like a lady, albeit a slightly disappointed lady, at her first JP vet appointment.

first vet appointment
Girl, are you a heart worm? Because you’re tearing up my heart.

And here’s Rosie disregarding the no-dogs-on-the-bed rule, because she’s clearly an O’Rourke child and has no time for rules.

new member of the family
At least pretend to listen to the book, Rosie.

She’s a great dog and we are so lucky to have her. Rosie’s lucky too, not only because we love her to pieces, but because she was rescued by a great organization, No Greater Love. This rescue group saves dogs from a shelter in Alabama that kills 1,000 dogs a month! I shudder to think that Rosie could’ve been one of them. If you want to donate to No Greater Love to help save some of Rosie’s old friends, you can do so here (it’s tax-deductible).

If anyone has any tips on crate training and easing anxiety, especially crying/barking/whimpering like crazy when I first come down in the am and when I come home, I’d love any advice. I want to nip any anxiety in the bud so we can have a long happy life together.

North Shore > South Shore

I’m sorry, South Shorers, but it’s true. Granted, North Shore beaches might be slightly colder, but they don’t have sharks or red seaweed sand that feels and smells like rotten pudding.  Also, the North Shore has Michelle, and her gorgeous new house in Essex with a yard full of mini frogs, just waiting for Hazy and George to torture capture them. Last Friday, we met up with Michelle, whom you might remember from last year’s fine art photo acting/art adventure, and Ariel and Dax, whom you might recognize from several of our past outings, including one that inspired my parenting book. We met at Michelle’s house, which she and her husband designed themselves (!), and then headed to Crane Beach. Hazy’s favorite part of Michelle’s house was this cool speech-giving balcony (not what Michelle calls it)  and speech-receiving sitting room (totally what Michelle calls it) below. I can’t remember Hazy’s exact speech, but it was a hybrid of quotes from the Princess Diaries and Harry Potter. (Side note: Mia would totally be in Ravenclaw.)

George’s favorite part was a tie between all the gloriously uncluttered space and the mini frog commune in the backyard. Michelle helped us catch a bunch and then probably instantly regretted it, as George would not-so-gently squeeze the little frogs with his pudgy fingers when picking them up. He named his victims frogs Carlos, Freddy and Porridge; Hazy named hers George and Fred (after the Weasleys). I feel a little macabre that I took this selfie with Carlos and then when I put him on the ground, he didn’t move. Ever again. That’s George (the frog) on my head, I believe. He survived, as far as I know.

Last time the kids saw Dax, he was still an infant, but now he’s old enough to be dressed, hugged, read to, and apparently, give cries for help with his eyes. Sorry, Dax.

Crane Beach is beautiful, and unlike last time we were there, I didn’t have to super soak a single seagull. Ariel has a Mac wagon too, so the kids transported themselves and all of our stuff.

At long last, having children has paid off.

Michelle, Ariel and I thought we were pretty cute, but then Dax had to go sit in his mini lifeguard chair under his little rainbow umbrella. Hmph.


You win, guys.

Hazy & George made two sand holes and then connected them together and held hands in the middle. Aw.

sandcastle tunnel

Dax sat on a beach blanket. Aww…

baby on a beach blanket

And then plunked himself back in his mini lifeguard chair and said “oyoyoyoy.” Awwwwwww!

baby lifeguard

After we’d had enough cuteness and sun, we did a quick pitstop at Russell Orchards because Michelle remembered they had cute farm animals to pet and I remembered they had cute cider donuts to eat.

It was even better than either of us expected, because there was Darryl the (500 lb) pig, plus a Little Sebastian not named Little Sebastian, an ice cream shop, and a cider donut ice cream sandwich. Don’t mind if I do.

One of these ladies made healthy choices and looks killer in a bikini; the other is eating a cider donut ice cream sandwich, losing chin/neck distinction. #mistakesweremade #deliciousmistakes

It was, as Ariel put it, “the perfect beach day.”

Then The Wheels Came Off

You thought this was gonna be another OSAH disaster story, didn’t you? Surprise, this one’s a triumph (with mini-disasters sprinkled throughout, because come on, we’re still us).

Thursday morning I woke up, plan-less, and had a vision. The vision was one of walking a quarter mile in the 110% humidity with two whining children, crying about whacking their own calves with their bike pedals. Just kidding, I’m not psychic. The vision was teaching my kids to ride their bikes without training wheels before college.

bye bye, training wheelsAnd guess what?

We did it! Of course, first we had to walk the bikes for a quarter mile through 110% humidity at an 11/10 on the Whine Scale. A weaker woman would have crumbled.

This is my “and then the wheels came off” face.

The actual teaching-them-to-ride part was easy; they both got it on the first try. I did the classic holding onto the seat, “I won’t let go until you’re ready” and “I’m going to count to three and then let go.”  George would do this thing where he’d go, “I’m not comfortable yet! I’m not comfortable yet!” and then start counting when he was.

The hard part was that it was 80 million degrees out plus humidity and also that I had foolishly decided that I would run my daily mile while the kids biked around the track. Because it turns out that while both kids could ride like champs once I got them started, they were like the Greatest American Hero (Remember Ralph? Anyone? Anyone?) and couldn’t land/stop without injuring themselves. So I would run a 1/4 mile, and then have to start someone up, or sympathize with boo boos, or attempt to put Hazy’s chain back on her bike. I’m sweating, people are crying (possibly me), there’s whining. It was an s-word show. But both kids can now ride a two-wheeler, so I’m calling it a win.

Because I’m a glutton for punishment it was so hot out, we then headed to the pool.

Mac is sad because it’s too damn hot.

Just when we thought it couldn’t get any better at the pool since the time we saw a grumpy lady get hit in the back of the head with a flying Spiderman figurine, we had an even more exciting incident. We discovered that George can stand in the shallow end! The Mirabella pool shallow end is notoriously deep, so deep in fact, that George always has to wear a life vest when we go swimming there. But not anymore…

Look at these two tall drinks of water!
Just three dope people who can stand in the shallow end.

As if we hadn’t had enough excitement already (Riding on two wheels! Standing in the shallow end! Almost breaking Mama!), we also caught the elusive Banana Train on the way home.

When the doors close, it says, “banana coming through!”

We rode it and then waited about ten minutes for it to leave so we could watch the whole train go by, because we (2/3 of us) are into that kind of thing.

How could we possibly top Thursday? Hint: guest stars.