Tuesday, August 13, 2013

Where To Begin?!?

There is so much to update you all on! It has been a very busy couple of weeks here and a lot going on in our home.

Believe it or not...Mimmo and Dan finished their work on our home a day earlier than scheduled! Given how everything has been going for us (not well) during our repatriation, I was absolutely shocked that something actually went according to plan. Mimmo called me early Thursday afternoon (August 1st) and said they would be finished in about 45 minutes if I was available to do a walk through and sign off on the final payment. Yay! 

Kevin and I set up the beds Friday evening, moved some essentials over Saturday and slept at the house Saturday night. The kids moved their stuff over Sunday afternoon and Sunday night we spent our first night in the house together as a family. All of the renovations look great and I am very happy with the work that we had done. Unfortunately, Mimmo and Dan have two other projects they need to complete before they can come back and renovate the other two floors of our home. So, while I am absolutely thrilled to be in the house, having to walk through and see the areas that remain to be renovated is rather depressing. I will have another post  very soon with photos of the completed work. 

My first cup of coffee in our "new" home. Definitely an occasion worth celebrating with Vietnamese coffee in my Thai mug.
On Friday, August 2nd, the kids and I drove to Berryville, VA to pick up the newest member of our family, Chester. This is Gleneden, the beautiful farm where Chester spent the first 7 months of his life. I almost felt guilty taking him from this and to our home in Fairfax. No comparison whatsoever. 

Back in Fairfax, Chester's introduction to Sonder went well and we took them for a short walk around the pond by Jim and Jan's home without any issues. 
Poor Sonder! Who is this new friend and why is he drinking all of my water?

As we were driving back from Berryville, the finishing touches were being put on the installation of a fence around our yard. Our yard is a great playground for the dogs but we absolutely needed something to contain them.   
The fencing materials were delivered the night before and the workers showed up early Friday morning to begin work. 
The dogs love running around in the backyard, chasing squirrels and birds. They continue to get along well together. Sonder is being very patient with this large, goofy and clumsy poodle who has already made himself quite comfortable in our home. We have certainly come to appreciate our older and well-behaved dog (although I never thought I would say that about Sonder!). 

Since Chester was to be used for breeding, he had no "pet" skills nor any idea how to behave/live in a home. We have had to teach him a lot but he is very smart and catches on quickly. So far he has learned how to go up and down stairs, how to sleep on his bed, how to sit, how to go in and out the front and side doors (really!)...and the list goes on. And on. The first night he was with us, I had to sleep (very uncomfortably) on the couch with him on the floor next to me as he did not know how to go up the stairs in Jim and Jan's home. I didn't think 10:00 pm was an appropriate time to teach him that skill but you can bet he learned how to early the next morning. He *seems* to be potty trained but maybe it is more that I am the one who is trained to take him out regularly. 

Since Chester is so big, we had to buy him a new bed. Since Chester wouldn't go near the bed the first few nights he was with us, his bed was quickly appropriated by you know who...
The kids and I were off to Petsmart early the next morning to buy another one. Identical of course so there would be no squabbles. Dogs = worse than kids!

Sonder loved his new bed! 
But Chester wasn't still so sure about the whole "lie on your bed" directive. Maybe he thought he had to contort his body into the same position as Sonder's?!?
 Baby steps.

After a few days of this, one night I told them it was bedtime and to go to their beds and VOILA! I had two dogs, each sleeping on his own bed. I could tell Chester was still unsure about the whole thing and he did look awkward but he managed to spend the night there and has gone back each night since. 
Chester also didn't understand the concept of "treat", something that we give a lot of (and that Aunt Jan gives even more of!). Can you guess who took advantage of the situation and Chester's ignorance? Just call him "Two Bones" Sonder.
Fortunately, Chester figured out the "treat" concept pretty quickly and, now, he even sits upon command to receive his! Thank you very much, Trainer Mom!

He does like his toys and this afternoon I spent some time in the backyard working with him to "fetch", "bring" and "give". I would say the effort was moderately successful - he seemed to "get" what he was supposed to but he didn't always do it. Maybe 6 times out of 10. However, in all fairness to Chester, Sonder was chasing squirrels from one side of the yard to the other and Chester *might* have been distracted.

Another awkward moment. How can this be comfortable?
I think he grew so much and so quickly that he hasn't figured out how to gracefully move all of his bulk around. When we walk him, although he is great on the leash and doesn't pull, he wanders and weaves so much he looks like a drunken sailor. 

Here Chester is with his favorite toy. Fortunately for me, Sonder has no desire to play with any of Chester's toys so I am spared the additional expense of purchasing a duplicate set for Sonder.
Please blind your eyes to that hideous wallpaper in my kitchen. Removing that and repainting is Numero Uno on the list for the next phase of the renovations. I won't even sit in our breakfast nook at night knowing that, if the lights are on, people are able to look in and see that wallpaper in all of its glory. Yikes. 

I will wrap up with quite possibly the most important development (other than the activation of wireless at the house) in our little world since my last post. Early last Thursday morning, we received an email from the Embassy in Bangkok that our air freight shipment had been found! Yippee! When we will receive it is another question for another day but at least it was located. Apparently, United Airlines switched to a new tracking system on July 1st and the tracking information for our shipment (which left Bangkok on June 29th) was not transferred to the new system. United was quite happy to declare it "missing in transit" and asked us to file a claim. However, very fortunately for us, someone at the Embassy was aware of the new tracking system and thought to track our shipment under the old system to its delivery in Baltimore on July 2nd. Phew. The shipment still has to go through Customs and we will need to schedule delivery but, honestly, I am so glad it was found that I am happy to wait for a few more days. Our sea freight is due to arrive in Baltimore on Thursday but that shipment might take 2 weeks (at least) to clear Customs so we won't see anything anytime soon. 

Have a great Wednesday!

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