Supermoms Anonymous

Can I really have it all and why would I want to?

Gripe Du Jour

I try to be positive and see life as a half-full instead of half-empty, even when all that is left in my glass is flat Coca Cola diluted by melted ice.

Today’s diluted dregs: Rehoming fees

It began so innocently. Son wants dog. I want son to be happy. I get son a dog. We all live happily ever after. The end.

So the quest begins. I peruse craigslist ads. “Free dog to a good home, asking a small rehoming fee.” This is a new concept to me: rehoming fee. Suddenly, everywhere I look, I find this odd expression.

Rehoming fee is a strange euphemism.  These fees seem to range from $25.00 to $200.00.  The last craigslist ad I answered stated “small homing fee.”  When I spoke to the dog’s owner, I was shocked to hear $125.00 in the same sentence with small.  (That comes out to $15.00 a pound for the cute little canine.)

Even the rescue facilities charge $100 to $150 to adopt a pet. I cannot imagine paying 3 figures for a dog, let alone a stray alley cat. In addition to paying for a stray animal, they require a signed contract and verified permission from your landlord.  The contract states that you must return the dog to the same rescue shelter if things do not work. The dogs are also microchipped. One shelter requires home visits as well. It was easier to have a kid than adopt a dog in this town.

Their logic goes something like this.
Someone wants to give away their pet, but they charge money to
1) insure that you can actually afford to feed a pet,
2) recoup some of the cost of having to feed, groom and provide medical care for the pet, and
3) make sure that you are “SERIOUS” about owning and caring for a pet.

My logic is more like this.
1) If I wanted to pay $125.00 to $300.00 for a dog, I would purchase that cute little Chihuahua I have wanted for forever and a day, instead of looking for that perfect but FREE dog for my son. Besides, can you imagine how much dog food I can buy with $125.00? Forget dog food! I could really stock up on some serious steaks in the freezer for dinners (mine, not the dog’s).

2) Beggars can’t be choosy!! People are supposedly desperate to find a good home for Fido because they are moving, just had a baby, or Grandma is going to a nursing home (if they didn’t keep Grandma, they are not keeping Grandma’s dog!). Please help prevent their beloved pet from going to the pound at the end of the week.

It is one thing to want a “good” home for the animal but childless, white collar workaholics, scientists at animal testing labs and drug dealers can all fork over the “rehoming fee” a lot quicker than I can. (Not that these people have anything in common except they probably have more disposable income than I do as a stay-at-home mom of three kids, two dogs and one bustling home school to keep afloat.)

Many of the ads actually state that the fee is to help offset the cost of having cared for the pet. Why would I pay to feed your pet?  And no, I don’t want to purchase any of the dog’s old possessions.

One rescue mission website stated that it costs $40 a day to care for a stray animal. Maybe the animal should stay at the shelter. It must be like the living at the Ritz or the Carlton. I might spend $40 a month on my two beloved dogs. They are fed, groomed, and well-loved. They appear to be content to reside here rather than wallow in the luxury of $40 a day shelter.

3) Of course, I am serious about getting and keeping a dog.  If I wasn’t serious, I wouldn’t be poring over classifieds, checking craigslist, and compiling a list of traits and qualities in a suitable pet (isn’t big enough to knock me down when I walk in the door with both arms full of groceries, doesn’t pee on chair legs, doesn’t chew said chair legs, has short hair so it doesn’t chew its own fur off when I am late grooming him…not that I admit to such.) Free time to fritter away calling complete strangers is like something out of a twisted, postpartum, chocolate-induced daydream.

Anyone want a dog? For a not-so-small rehoming fee, I might be induced to loan you one of mine (until you get tired of them and decide it isn’t working out). Then make sure that you return that pooch here! Maybe I will just start renting them out for a few days at a time (preferably while I go on vacation so I don’t have to pay for boarding.)  To pay for the honor of visiting with my dogs, call 1-800-Wake Up and Smell the Coffee Dregs!

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Back to School

Here in Alabama, the neighborhood kids are getting ready to go back to school already. Monday, AUGUST 9th is the first day in fact. My kids are looking at me like I have lost my mind. The oldest asks, “What happened to Labor Day? Did I miss it?”

We sort of saunter into the school year. In June, we hit the local thrift stores to pick up practically new items at thrift stores, such as backpacks and lunch boxes that mom and dad had to replace most of the way through the school year.

In July, we cruise the Wal-mart school supply aisles, stocking up enough glue, pencils and paper to get us through the year (or sponsor a third-world school if we ever invent the truly paperless workplace).  In late August or early September, we go to “NOT Back To School” pool parties and picnics. Finally, by mid-September our home school co-op classes have started and we are already looking at ways to slow down the hectic go-go-go pace of activities, meetings and field trips.

At least, I like to pretend to be so casual about all this back-to-school funny business.  While the surface of the pond is calm and smooth, millions of things are happening below.  Plants are attempting to grow faster than they are eaten, micro organisms are planning their next conquest of the earth and aquatic animals are doing what they do best: eat, sleep and make babies.

So while my family is sorta, maybe, kinda toying with the idea of getting back into the routine of math books and home school co-ops, I am swimming around trying to get all my ducks in a row.  Scoping out interesting books, locating local groups for our interests, and – EEK – getting my paperwork done.  This year the stress of the official paperwork looms over my head slightly heavier than usual.  New state, new laws and regulations to learn, new cover school to choose.

Cover school…brings a new level of red tape to home schooling.  I will comply because I have not the time nor the quixotic strength to fight every instance of ignorance and inefficiency I confront in life.

Cover school: def – a middle man between the state and the homeschooling parent to act as buffer in case of public uproar, possible blame and idiocy.

The basic premise is that the homeschooling parent (yep, that’s me ) will enroll the students (my kids) in a cover school. The cover school acts as a church school (even though the kids will be with me, not in the church school). I report their attendance to the school (three or more forms per school year). The school reports to the state. The school also reports truancy or withdrawal from the school if the parent does not file said forms.

The minimum state legal requirement is the attendance report.  Attendance is compulsory, education is not (a.k.a. you can lead a horse to water, but you can’t make him drink, at least not without risk of a horseshoe upside the head). The fact that someone has finally acknowledged this is a major triumph in the grand institution of education.

p.s. The word of the day is “red tape” (technically 2 words I know, but you get the point). In the 18th century, British government documents were bound in red ribbon (also called tapes) and we all know how much paperwork any government office produces. So I can only imagine how much red tape a single office worker had to deal with on a daily basis.  Maybe I should tie little red bows around my attendance reports. (Grosgrain or curly ribbon?)

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