Archive for February, 2011

Big news in the Chivers household.  After an 8+ year process, during which I have given birth to 2 American citizens, my husband and I are now Green Card holders.   Quite rightly this will be a big cause for celebration, except that – I now have to get a dog!  Not a USCIS requirement, I’ve simply run out of excuses.

From practically the first time she saw an episode of Blues Clues, Mo has been dog mad.  At one point it was quite literally almost impossible to get a single word out of her other than woof.  When she started school one of the kids was heard to say, I really like Mo, but I hate those dogs!  She is obsessed.  Whilst other girls fill their dress-up boxes with princess outfits and jewels, hers is filled with assorted dog ears, masks and costumes.  She reads dog books, makes dog pictures, watches dog movies, eats dog snacks – well not quite, but I bet she would if she could.

We have bought her all kinds of expensive and impressive electronic versions that bark, wag their tails, do tricks, even pee, but she is not to be swayed.  She wants the real, tail wagging, trick performing, leg cocking deal!

My original excuse was that having cared for two babies with their stinky diapers, I had already dealt with all the poop I was going to in this lifetime.  But even the chore of having to pick up poop herself will not deter her.

When Flo was born we argued that we couldn’t get a dog while she was a baby.  Then as she grew, surreptitiously whispering into Flo’s ear, “not too close in case he bites”, every time we came within 3 foot of a dog, helped enforce the argument that it wasn’t fair to get a dog when Flo was so scared of them.  But Mo outsmarted me, as Flo got older and started to crave the attention of Mo, she would grace Flo with her company, but only to play doggies.  And when Flo cried she would sneak Flo, one of her cutest, softest toy dogs.  She’s a master strategist, I never stood a chance.

Finally, when she was around 5 or 6, with all arguments exhausted I simply bought myself some time.  “You can have one when you’re 7, when you’ll be old enough to look after it.  Man that 7 year old birthday came around quick.  “So I’m going to be 7 soon, when are we getting a dog?”

I guess around this time, the hubby and I were probably knee deep in the frustratingly slow process of our Green Card applications and my next argument presented itself like an epiphany.   “You know it wouldn’t really be fair for us to get a dog until we know for absolute certain that we can stay in the US.  Just imagine how upsetting it would be to have to leave it behind or how sad the dog would be to be taken to the adoption center.”  Cruel beyond words, I know, but I was desperate.

So for now, despite our relief at finally knowing we’re here for good, I’m trying to keep my glee on the down low.   But eventually she will ask the question “do you have that thing yet that says we can stay?” and being the responsible parent I am, I will be unable to lie and then my friends it’s game over!  Unless – “Hello little doggy – oh hang on my eyes are watering, my nose is itching – oh no I must be allergic!”


Last week was my birthday and as some of you know, it didn’t go exactly as planned.  With a Feburary 2nd birthday I’m used to sharing my big day with a certain furry little fella (for those of you not familiar with Groundhog Day, it’s a yearly event when a meteorological rodent predicts the early arrival or not of Spring!) This year however, it got quite literally overshadowed by great big snow clouds.  So big in fact that come birthday morning we had, according to the news, 20 inches of snow on the ground.   Add a fair bit of drifting to that and you have one holy mess.

So this was how my birthday was supposed to go:

  1. Children sleep freakishly late while I get to have a cup of tea and a shower in peace
  2. I open an array of expensive thoughtfully selected gifts
  3. After dropping Mo at school and Flo into a Bubbles class, I sit for a whole kid-less hour with my kindle
  4. I relax at home until school pickup time, doing as little as humanly possible
  5. Husband comes home early with cupcakes, we all sing “Happy Birthday”
  6. I spend a luxurious amount of time getting ready for a fancy birthday meal with my dear hubby.


Here’s what actually happened:

  1. Mo comes bounding into my room at 6:00am, beyond excitement at the fact that it’s a snow day and she gets to stay home for my birthday
  2. I sit watching the snow, praying that at some point it will stop and that the snow plows will clear all the snow in time for me to still make it out for my meal
  3. Restaurant calls to cancel reservation (and no they can’t book us in next weekend there is a 6 week waiting list.  I KNOW, THAT’S WHY I BOOKED 2 MONTHS AGO!)
  4. I spend and hour and a half clearing the snow, which has drifted in places to approximately 6 ft  (ok, probably more like 3ft but it felt like 6ft!)
  5. Husband regrettably informs me that everything is closed, cupcakes not an option, therefore I:
    • Make my own birthday cake (with lots and lots and lots of help from Flo and Mo!)
    • Decorate (badly) my own birthday cake
    • Clean up the chaos of making my own birthday cake (think explosion in a cake factory)
  6. I make my own birthday dinner and watch TV with hubby.

Ok, before you all bring out the violins – on the plus side:

  1. I got a pair of very cool wellies with fleece welly socks which came in very handy when cleaning the snow
  2. The birthday cake whilst classically Chivers family crap (see picture) was chocolatey and delicious
  3. There was wine and champagne to drink and paté and cheese for nibbles
  4. The children managed to not fight for almost a whole day (they saved it up for the next day – but you can’t have it all)
  5. I still got to spend the whole evening with my darling husband drinking plenty of fine wine, because I didn’t have to get up to take the kids to school in the morning and his flight to New York the next day was cancelled.

But listen, whoever is upstairs deciding the fate of things to come, next year is a big one, a birthday with a zero on the end of it (and that’s all I’m saying).  You may deliver snow for Christmas, bring it on for January, but if you dump 2 ft of snow on my doorstep next February 2nd, I will not be happy (and I’m guessing Punxsutawney Phil could live without it too).

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