When The Girl Next Door Met The Drama Queen And If They'd Grown Up Together, The Drama Queen Would Have Definitely Given The Girl Next Door Her First Vodka Laced Slurpee
Friday, May 28, 2010
Once upon a Saturday I was participating in something called a SITS Saturday.

And I know that sounds kind of gross if you don't know what I'm talking about, almost like
some undetermined STD kind of swap, but it's nothing of the sort. It's just a site where, among 
other things,  bloggers can post their blogs on Saturdays and everyone is encouraged to blog hop. 

Kind of like speed dating for bloggers. 

On this Saturday, something in a blogger's comment caught my eye and I decided to wander on 
over to her site. 

And it was then I discovered Laura, from The Girl Next Door Grows Up

On the day I visited her blog, her beloved dog Emma had just been diagnosed with cancer. 

Her post was so poignant and heart wrenching and it reminded me of one of the greatest dogs 
I've ever been privileged to know in this life of mine, a life filled to the brim with dogs. 

Our family dog Melca was a black lab and the love of all of our lives. And that's a lot of love to 
live up to since there were 9 of us in our clan. Mom, Dad, and kids. 

She was diagnosed with cancer in the very same way as Emma. She had a limp. We thought it 
was a pulled muscle. We never dreamt cancer. 

I felt compelled to leave Laura a note, to tell her how sorry I was, to tell her I understood. That 
was all. But, as so many of you know because you've been the victim of my long windedness, I 
can never stop at  2 lines. And so I told her the whole story about the greatness that Melca was and 
how the night before she left us, she came into my room and gave me a big sloppy, kiss and how in 
the morning after we'd found her gone, my siblings as they awoke, each had the same story to tell. 
How she'd said goodbye to each of us. 

Laura answered me back. 

And the conversation began. 

We are now the best of blogging buddies. 

We fill up the page, chatting to each other in lengthy emails. 

She is a much bigger blogger than me in this Blog World and at first, I looked to her for all kinds 
of advice, pumping her with the How's and Why's and What do I do about this and she was always 
so patient with my barrage of questions, spilling out every bit of her great blogging wisdom to me. 

She even gave me this enormous shout-out on her blog and I actually screamed out loud when I 
read it. 

It was the first time someone had said the words out loud that I've never really let myself believe. 

Not even to this day. I'm not sure if I have what it takes to fill a writer's shoes. 

She wrote: "My newest favorite Must Read is Joann Mannix at Laundry Hurts My Feelings. Watch her; she 
will be on the NY Times Bestseller list someday. I would put money on it."
Along the way, our chats became more about ourselves. Our dreams, our husbands, our girls, our 
lives, a  few rants here and there just to vent. We shared secrets and dabbled in just a tiny bit of 
gossip. Not a huge amount though, since we are the nice girls of the blogging world. Ahem. 

Well, at least on our blogs. Just don't peek in on our private emails or you might just get a little 
shock. Oh, how the profanities fly!

Just a few weeks ago, she lost her beloved Emma and my heart just broke for her. She wrote a 
beautiful post and shared her memories with us in an Emma slide show.

Now, Laura has this really beautiful follow she started called Feel Good Friday. 

It's all about finding the good in your life. And in these days of blog drama, that sort of attitude is a desperately needed refreshing bit of springtime air. 

I keep telling her I'm going to participate and she keeps telling me to shut up because that's what 
friends do. Not actually the part about going around telling each other to shut up all the time, but 
the part about not caring about what's in it for you. She's totally fine with the fact that I haven't 
given her an ounce of my writing time on her Friday Follow. 

But, I am not fine with that fact. 

See, the reason I haven't participated is, I think I'm more of a Debbie Downer. My posts are always 
me whining about my husband and his incessant need for clean, black socks and his loud phone talk. 
Or my dung beetle girls. Or my turkey neck. 

But for today, I am throwing the Debbie Downer out the window because I've got a secret to tell, a secret I haven't told anyone yet. 

And I'd like to dedicate my post to Laura and her sweet dog Emma. 

So are you ready for the secret? Okay, here it is.

I think I love my dogs. A lot.

I know. Shocking. 

I didn't even realize I'd stopped hating them until the other day. 

And if you don't know what I'm talking about, let me just say I have 3 dogs. One that I love with 
all my heart. And 2 spawns of Satan who have made my life a living hell. 

They ate my couch. They poop and pee all over my house. They are assholes of the nth degree. 

If you haven't read the worst tale of all times yet, you must go here. Trust me, Marley's got nothing 
on my dogs. 

The realization hit me the other day. It was a couple of moments, actually, that made me realize 
these dogs have defrosted my heart. 

But, first I'll tell you, the girls are not really named Moronica and Moroni. 

They are 6-month-old puppies named Sophie and Delilah. 

Delilah is beautiful, with this shaggy fur that feels like Angora to the touch. She is the sweet one.

The one whose big brown eyes rimmed in black follow me around the room. She is a constant at 
my side, sleeping under my chair when I'm at my laptop, scurrying after me wherever I go. She is 
the one who will drown you in slobbery puppy kisses. She's also a little short in the brains 
department. She finds the bricks of the patio to be more of a convenient place to do her business 
than the grass. She's also the ringleader. The one who leads her sister into the lake. The first one 
with her nose in the trash can. 

Sophie is a curly mophead of a pup. Her eyes are more like the color of a gray dawn. She's the 
bigger girl, weighing in at a whopping 50 pounds. She is a water dog. Diving into the pool and swimming laps as vigorously as Michael Phelps. And even though she is the more agile swimmer 
of the two, she still cannot jump into the car like her sister does on our daily car rides. She just 
stands there looking up at me, expectantly with those soft gray eyes. She is also the aloof one of the 
two. The one who doesn't require as much human contact as her sister. 

Except when it comes to me. 

She lays her curly head upon my knee and looks up at me with those dove eyes as if to say, 
"You're all the human I need."

The other day the girls had a checkup at the vet. 

The vet was pretty busy and they had a different protocol than usual. 

The vet techs were going to take the pups to the back exam room for their vaccinations one at a time while I stayed in the waiting room with the other. I think they had a herd of dogs back there lined up 
for their shots. 

They came for Delilah first. 

And as she trotted off happily with the vet tech, the door closing behind them, Sophie sat there 
fixated on that door, crying the entire time. 

You see, sometimes these girls think they are one. 

They sleep entwined together, snuggled up just as they did as newborns, their heads burrowed in 
each other's fur as if to say, "It's alright. I'm here, sister." 

In the morning, when I let them out, they scurry outside pressed together, one big blob of fur 
never separating until they sniff out a good potty spot. 

Sophie's eyes never left that door as she cried for her other half. 

And I felt this little crackle of ice melting from my heart. 

After the shots, they took them one by one to get weighed. 

Delilah trotted off with the vet tech dutifully. 

And then it was Sophie's turn and as the vet tech took her leash, Sophie chafed against it, bucking 
like a wild mustang. The vet tech soothed her, saying "Mommy's right there. We're coming right 
back." And firmly but gently, she pulled the leash. Sophie followed with her tug, but her head was turned towards me, her sweet puppy eyes never leaving my face. They disappeared through the 
doorway and I heard the tech trying to comfort her with talk of Mommy. 

Mommy. I am their Mommy. 

It had never hit me before like that. I had always thought of myself as the torture victim while they 
were Dr Joseph Mengele and associate. 

And then suddenly, Sophie darted from the room, freeing herself from her collar and ran at top 
speed to me. And for the first time in her life, she leapt. Jumped straight into my lap, all 50 pounds 
of mop-haired dog. 

And that ice around my heart crackled a bit more as I cuddled my trembling puppy who didn't understand weight scales and vet techs, but knew only that her Mommy was right there in the other room. 

Later that night, I kicked back to watch a little American Idol. 

The next day, my Tori came to me and said, "I have something very bad to tell you. It might just 
make you cry."

She had something behind her back and I knew in that instant that yes, I would definitely cry. 

"It's a shoe, isn't it?" I gasped. 

We've learned. Shoes no longer are stored on the floor in our house. There have been too many 
victims. Mostly flip-flops because, I guess rubber is tastier on the palate? But, there have been a 
few heels, my hubby's muck boots, a tennis shoe . . . If it's on the ground, it's fair game. 

I have been the only one smart and tidy enough to keep my shoes out of the reach of teething 

Until the night before, when I kicked off my shoes to watch the Idol.

I forgot them there on the ground. 

My Tori reluctantly brought from behind her back my beautiful, beautiful Steve Madden delicate 
gold sandals. Such lovely summer shoes, so girly and Cinderella like. I fell in love with them the 
minute I spotted them.  

My delicate sandals now looked like this. 

And that was the good one.

I was incensed. Nothing compared to this. Not the shredded couch. Not the dead bird they 
carried into my house. Not the constant piles of poo everywhere I turn. Not the chewed up tampons 
that they find to be such an incredible delicacy. Not my days spent chasing them down as they flee 
like gazelles away from me while I shriek and curse like a wheezing sailor behind them. 

I grabbed my shoe and shoved it in their little faces, screaming, "DO YOU SEE THIS? DO YOU 

And then I did something I never do. Never, ever, ever. 

I spanked them. I spanked them because all I could see was that carcass of a jeweled shoe. 

I don't believe in hitting my dogs. I don't care what anyone says. They are creatures who only love. That's it. Their sweet hearts can be broken with just a sound, firm no. Hitting does nothing but 
frighten and hurt these noble best friends of man. I don't hit my dogs. 

But, on that night, I did. Just one spank on their backsides. But the fact of the matter is, I broke and 
I did it. 

Over a shoe.

And both of them, leapt away from me as if they had been scalded with burning oil. They huddled together, their heads hanging low because I had hit them and they didn't understand. I had hit them.

And in that moment, every bit of ice shattered, freeing my heart into this big mush of love. 

I said, "Come here, girls." And they ran into my arms, wagging their whole bodies furiously and covering me in puppy kisses in the grateful knowledge that mommy loved them, again. 

Tori, who was watching this scene in surprise, said, "Oh Mom, look at you! You love them!"

And as I looked up at her and smiled, opening my mouth to admit that yes, yes I do love these 
terribly pain-in-the-ass creatures, Delilah took that opportunity to insert her cootie -filled tongue into 
my open mouth for a big French dog kiss. 

My life has gone to the dogs. And that's a good thing. 

Today's Definite Download: A song for Laura. The Indigo Girls, "Get Out The Map." Some magnificent songwriters these girls are and their songs are just absolute poetry when they sing them.

Laura likes this song for these lyrics. 

With every lesson learned, a line upon your beautiful face.
We'll amuse ourselves one day with these memories we'll trace. 
Get out the map, get out the map and lay your finger anywhere down.
We'll leave the figuring to those we pass on our way out of town. 

I can see why. In fact, it kind of sums up blogging in so many ways. 

Blogging has brought me many gifts. And among those gifts, the best ones have been the friends 
I've made. Things are going to be changing for me here very soon, but the one thing that stays 
constant will be the friends I've made along the way. 

Thanks, Laura for everything. 


Sugar Bear said...

There are some really great bloggies out there and I agree Laura is one of them.
The blogging community has become one of my favorite places to be.

I have dogs that chew everything too and some days I wish we had never adopted them but I do love them, I guess.

Stoppin in from FF.

Lisa said...

Oh Joann...I loved this! Beautifully written!

Those puppies are truly the cutest little (big) things EVER. So cute. Of course you love them. But they can still drive you crazy. (Like the kids, hmm??)

You're not a "Debbie Downer", and neither am I. We just write about real life, which is often frustrating. You write in a humorous, eloquent way - You are my blogging role model!

Lula Lola said...

I love this post! And love hearing about your pups! The first post of yours that I read was about them and the trash, tampons and company coming. Still one of the funniest things I've ever read!

Katie's Dailies said...

Laura is, well, indescribable. She was my first "big" follower, and the same thing: I'd e-mail her with all kinds of dumb questions, and she'd e-mail me back with her patient answers. I was over the moon thrilled when she took notice of me. She is such a good person and friend---just like you, Joann. (and i've seen hints of that, ahem, wild child in the two of you. i'm watchin' you all! ; ) )

I remember the day our lab made me fall in love with her. It was the day that I had to put my beloved hair ball of a cat to sleep. She was 15 at the time, so I guess it was time, but when I came back from the vet afterwards, I was a bawling mess. Langley the Lab came over and put her head in my lap and looked up at me, so sadly, like she was trying to say that she understood that she'd never take the place of Neko in my heart, but that she loved me nevertheless. Langley never left my side for the next two days, and she's been that way ever since. She's always right there with me.

I think she loves me best.

Thank you, Joann and Laura, too, for believing in us little people and for being so patient and kind to us.

pieters said...

mmmm...what a sweet post. and soooo well written. almost made me like dogs. snort.

i can't participate in feel good friday today. and i won't be posting. it's just sorta tar baby crappy over here right now.

will check out blog tho.


Anonymous said...

Is this a good time to tell you that for years I thought the last part of the lyrics said, "We'll give the finger to those we pass..."

I digress.

WOW and double wow. You are the best, but you already know I think that of you. I forgot that that was how we met. You were the one that made me bawl like a baby :-)

I am just kidding.

I have been waiting for your post on your dogs and they are so very cute. Dogs and owners have such a complex relationship, don't we.

I totally agree with the hitting thing, but I smacked Jack's nose once when he peed in the house and I rubbed his nose in it, never believing that for a minute that it actually worked... ummm... but it did and he never did it again.

And I totally want a vodka laced slurpee. I am a total lightweight and I get fuzzy on half of a 3/2 beer. Yes, yes I do.

So when I got divorced I was sitting having a tiny bit of wine and I realized that if Emily got sick in the middle of the night I wouldn't be alert enough to do anything so I stopped drinking.

I think about it, but I also think that after a few years a sip would send me under the table, or dancing on the table!

But alas, I still keep that darn bottle of whiskey because someday I just may need a whiskey sour once again :-)

If it is possible to say this without sounding goofy, I Love You! You are just amazing and if we were neighbors we would not get anything done! But, man it would be fun !!!!

duffylou said...

Joann, you know I love your posts. This one is especially touching.

I have no doubt you make friends easily and keep them for life. You strike me as that type of person. You are fiercely protective of those you love.

Who would have thought that would include the mop headed, gallumping, poop producing, moron twins?

They are absolutely darling! Who could not love those faces? Okay maybe you when they've eaten a pair of Steve Madden sandals or peed in the living room, but hey!, C'est la vie, right?

Thank you for another wonderfully written post.

LisaPie said...

Awwww, we all knew this but it took you a while to realize. Don't you love those moments when it hits you? And how wonderful that your daughter was there to witness!

And way off topic here, but every time I see those precious curly little twins of yours, you know what I think of?

Will Ferrell!

I know. It's not very nice, but there it is. Will Ferrell's offspring are eating your shoes.

Amber at The Musings of ALMYBNENR said...

Oh my goodness....this brought tears to my eyes. I found Laura after Emma's passing and I am glad I went back and read those posts. I shared with her my dog story too. My dogs are my babies. I love them. I love being their mommy. In fact, I'm going to go hug and squeeze the one sitting on the window bench right now.

Here's Feel Good Friday.

Anonymous said...

Oh, how I love the Indigo Girls-I think they have appropriate song lyrics for every situation out there. Like Hallmark-only way cooler and not cheesy or featuring airbrush flowers and butterflies.

I also love the Feel Good Friday idea and may have to participate-except with my attention span Feel Good Friday would probably post on Tuesday.

You are SUCH a wonderful blogger, and person, and I am so glad to have met you!

jayayceeblog said...

Well, that was a romp-and-a-half. It's amazing how much our dogs become our 4-legged babies. And how often we may actually like them more than the kids. I've done the same thing - screaming at the top of my lungs at them for destroying something or making a mess and then the minute you stop, they come crawl right into your lap for snuggles. Damn dogs ... I just love 'em!

twelvedaysold said...

Aww, you're like my husband with our cats!! That guy HATED my cat. Cinnamon would cuddle up against him everywhere he sat and Jesse was stone cold and never touched or looked at him. Until I heard him talking to him in the other room. "You hungry, buddy? Aw, you're cute. Come here." He now calls them the "kids" and when he sees one of them on me he talks to them and calls me mom when doing so. It was actually his idea to get the second kitty!

Jeannette said...

I am so glad you are posting. I love Laura and her meme and I love your posts. It's perfect synergy.

cheri said...

aww, this is a wonderful story! i dont own a dog but i love them anyway...

oh, i have an award for you :)

Shell said...

I will have to go check out her blog. I've seen this hop around, but I'm a crankypants, so I haven't done it. LOL

One Photo said...

I too am going to have to check out your friend's blog because if you speak so highly of her then she must be good and I value your opinions!

Oh my, I can't believe what they did to your beautiful shoes, those puppies of yours but oh my, they are gorgeous aren't they?

Chelle said...

Oh my gosh. This made me tear up.

I mean, I know I'm a wuss and all, but what a beautiful story!

Lucky you, and lucky dogs.

Mimi N said...

So glad you joind FGF! I have photos like your shoe! Mine were library books. What's hard for me is the $ factor. I can't replace the items my doggies chews. My pastor and his wife have the same dog as you. She is a delight to run fingers thru! Thanks for visiting my FGF @ Marvelous Mom Reviews. Have a great weekend!


Kelly said...

When I lost my Lucy, well actually she's not lost because I know exactly where she is and that's in my curio cabinet but I digress, I knew I needed another dog but I also knew I wouldn't be able to love the new dog because Lucy was MY baby and nobody could replace her.

It was about a month or so after we adopted Gracie Lou from the shelter that I woke up and realized how much I love her, despite her penchant for chewing anything left in range in the living room.

She's not My Lucy and never will be and doesn't try to be. But I just love her.

And the Moron Twins are so dang cute that despite their shenanigans, you just HAVE to love them!

McVal said...

I have dogs that have eaten our siding, cell phones, shoes, socks, cabinets... I know where you're coming from! But I do know that one of them may not make it a year. She's getting old and crotchety and I'm just waiting for some anxious nip and that'll be it.
Great story!

TesoriTrovati said...

I just love you Joann. I am so glad that I come here. That is so heartwarming. I had the same love-hate relationship with my furry baby. Reminds me that I miss Madison. And that someday (not now) I would love to welcome another furry baby into my heart.
I will check out your friend. Because if you like her chances are I will like her too.
Enjoy the day!

Ally said...

I love Laura Girl Next Door Grows Up! I have to get over to her blog soon - trying to hard to catch up on my reading :(

Your dogs are lovely!


The Bipolar Diva said...

Oh my gosh! I laughed all the way through this.
I'm going through so much of that now, especially with a puppy in the house that thinks she's as big as my standard poodle and she's only a 4 lb yorkie!
I'm sorry about your shoes :(
And one last thing, isn't it amazing the friendships that can be made online? Wonderful!

liz said...

Laura's right - NYT for SURE!

I am a huge dog lover, but when Jack steals food from my kids, it cuts me. He no longer is my baby because he stole food from my babies.

I cried over Emma as well. And I didn't even watch the video montage because I knew I would bawl all over again.

Are you using the shoe damage as a reason to go shopping?

Anonymous said...

Ohhh! beautiful! love the melting of your heart with puppy-love despite it all! :)

Alexandra said...


Because I'm a blogger, I just can't stop there, but I should..


I've met people like you, that I never wuold've met, and that was my purpose...To find a collective, a gathering, my peeps....blogging.

BTW, loved your "std swap" snort snort

Cheeseboy said...

What is it with dogs and cancer?! Everyone I know dog is getting cancer, it seems.

Your friend is right about you having a best seller someday.

(Check out my latest post. I think of all people, you - a rocking chick - would appreciate it.)

Anonymous said...

Lovely post and I'm sorry about your sandals. My dog Sam chewed every pair of shoes I owned before I brightened up enough to keep them out of reach. I'd say, "Sam, WTF" and she'd say, "Chicken, it's what I do. Deal. With. It." and after awhile I learned to love going barefoot.

Ahhh so what's with the last line??? ch-ch-changes. Chickens don't generally like them.

Joey Lynn Resciniti said...

As someone who loves a dog with the same sort of "did it really have to do that" reservations, I completely get what your saying.

And the Girl Next Door is awesome (the blogging one).

Well the real girls next door are okay too.

I'm getting off track here.

Anyway, you did a good job with Feel Good Friday is what I'm trying to say!

purplume said...

I've experienced the dog getting into your heart thing. There isn't any cure for it thank goodness. I see why Laura says the things she does about you. Amazing humor, you have.

Bossy Betty said...

Oh my gosh! THose are gorgeous dogs! I would be in love with them too.

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