Hubby, a Bed, and Beauty Day

This post is long overdue. The bed part, anyway. Don’t worry… it’s not X-rated.

Our house has two bedrooms (master and guest) and two offices (Hubby’s and mine). If more than one person or couple visits, they’d either get stuck on the sofabed in the living room (no privacy) or in the basement on an air mattress. (The only problem with the basement, besides the air mattress, is having to walk through Hubby’s workshop to reach the bathroom.)

We though our guests would appreciate having a real bed, but we both need our offices. So Hubby decided to make a Murphy Bed.

Since not everyone is familiar with the Murphy Bed, and because I thought it was interesting, here’s a video for you that explains the history of the Murphy Bed.

As for our Murphy Bed, we decided it would go in Hubby’s office, because that’s a bigger space. I didn’t take a “before” picture, so you’ll just have to imagine a blank wall.

Keep in mind, Hubby buys rough, unplaned lumber. That’s REALLY starting from scratch. (If you don’t know the difference between rough, unplaned lumber and the stuff you buy ready-to-use, check out this past post of mine.)

For this project, Hubby chose Birch plywood and Cherry trim.

Murphy Bed Frame


Murphy Bed Mattress Platform


With mattress in place.


With mattress in place.


Murphy Bed Cabinet


Murphy Bed Cabinet

Pretty cool, eh? The bed was completed before Christmas (I told you this was overdue).

I always tell people that Hubby of mine is handy. He has a vast array of skills. Think of him as the king of DIY.

Guess what he did on Sunday afternoon. Heck, you’ll never guess, so I’ll just show you.

It was beauty day for the Bitches. Also long overdue…

Hubby’s multi-purpose workbench comes in handy for all kinds of tasks.


She looks thrilled, right?


Belle “before,” dreading what she knew was coming.


She also looks thrilled, doesn’t she?


She enjoys this more than she’d have you believe.


K and Belle both submit to grooming.


Hi, Mama.


K, after.


Belle, after. Note Meg’s “don’t even think about it” look.

Meg is the most stubborn, head-strong dog I have ever met. She doesn’t like to be groomed. It takes two of us to give Meg a trim. And even then it’s a challenge. She fights it the whole way.

So she is still a bit shaggy. We may just leave her to the professionals.

Gotta love handy Hubbies, right?

Coffee Milkshake Goodness

I’ve been experimenting with a Starbucks Frappucino recipe over the last couple of weeks. The original, if you’d like to give it a try, is here.

I was envisioning a frozen drink sort of thing, like what you get at a Starbucks counter. I even added extra ice because 2 cups didn’t sound like enough.

The first time I made it, I pretty much followed the recipe. I substituted Half & Half for the lowfat milk, though. And I had to make my own chocolate syrup because we had none on hand. Oh yeah, I added some Baileys, too, just because I could.

Did I ever tell you I have a Baileys addiction?

I told you I’d been experimenting. The recipe was just a starting point.

Back to that first time… since I’d been envisioning a thick, milkshake-type drink, I over-blended it and ended up with way too much thick foam. Once I got past the foam, I really enjoyed the drink. Under the foam, it was sorta like a bottled Frappucino beverage.

The next time I made it, I skipped the chocolate altogether since I hadn’t gotten around to buying Hershey’s and just didn’t feel like making my own syrup again. No Baileys either. It was yummy.

The other day, I made it using Whoopie Pie-flavored coffee. I still added chocolate, too. It was good, but not the best.

Whoopie Pie Coffee
Whoopie Pie Coffee

Today’s variation was a stronger-brewed cup (as opposed to the 3/4 cup in the recipe) of the Whoopie Pie-flavored coffee. And chocolate. Still no Baileys, but I’ll be sticking with the Half & Half instead of lowfat milk.

And you know what? It really has that devil’s food cake flavor of a classic whoopie pie. Very good. But I think I’d get tired of it pretty quickly.

I honestly think my favorite has been the blend without chocolate and Balieys. Just the straight coffee flavor. It’s good stuff.

Now, for a quick Belle update.

K and Belle on the porch this morning.
K and Belle on the porch this morning.

She’s doing very well. She had her drain and sutures removed on Monday. Yesterday, she was allowed to have the e-collar off in spurts so she could lick at the wound. The vet said I should think of it as a form of physical therapy. And today, we got to do away with the collar for good. She’s not supposed to do steps until Friday. No walks, either. And we’ll have to keep the young’uns from wrastling until the wounds are completely closed (I can just imagine a toenail getting stuck in one of the holes… YUCK and OUCH).

Belle misses her walks.
Belle misses her walks.

She’s not real happy about the walk restriction. She was all ready to go on Monday and Tuesday. But I left her home with Hubby, who fed her some vanilla ice cream (her absolute favorite snack) and an Oinkie pig-skin treat.

I’ve been wonder if any of the dogs were negatively impacted by the attack. While walking with Meg and K last night, there was a guy with a BIG white, fluffy dog heading toward us. We approached carefully. Neither of the girls hesitated, even though he was twice their size. And that’s a good sign. Of course, he was a sweetheart in a completely calm state. The real test will be approaching other dogs that are tense or fearful or even slightly unsure. K picks up on that very quickly and will go on alert. She’s never attacked another dog, but will bark at them. I’d say that 80% of the time the other dog has instigated by barking or jinking toward us or something.

Because I was well-trained, I always key-in on approaching dogs and can usually tell if there will be a problem.

You know what the worst encounters always are? Small dogs on retractable leashes. Small dogs are uptight in general. And retractable leashes are never recommended as the dogs are never really under control. Put the two together and it’s a recipe for disaster.

We encountered an oblivious woman with two yappy, mop-type dogs on retractable leashes. The dogs were zig-zagging willy-nilly across the sidewalk. She didn’t even bother to shorten their leads as they approached. I reined my girls in, and we stepped off the sidewalk to “wait.”

They all just watched the yappers approach. All was fine until one of the mops lunged a little toward us, which set K to barking. Luckily they moved past pretty fast. I was AMAZED to hear the oblivious woman say “good dogs” to her pooches.

“Good?” I said to myself. “Really? We were all walking along just fine, minding our business, until you and your ill-behaved yappers with attitudes passed.”

There really is truth to that “calm, submissive state” Cesar Milan always talks about. Our local dog trainer told us that, too, way back when he trained Hubby and me how to be good dog parents. We’re still not perfect, but at least we can walk around town with relative ease.

If you have a dog, can you generally tell from afar which dogs are safe and which will be problematic?

Funny, a lot of people walking their own dog or dogs will switch sides of the street when they see us approaching. I mean, we do make a pretty wide footprint and sort of hog the sidewalk. But I always shorten their leads when people and people with pets approach. It’s just the right thing to do. And I always watch approaching dogs carefully, never letting my girls approach another dog until after asking the other owner if it’s okay.

One funny thing I have noticed… we stop and talk to lots of folks. I’ve learned the names of several local dogs. But I tend to know or at least recognize the dogs and sometimes the dogs’ names before I know their owners’ name. Is that weird?

In the Blink of an Eye…

I had big plans for this weekend. Saturday was Janet’s one-year anniversary open house at her store, The Empty Nest. I had to make sure I was in town so I could attend. Sunday was for finishing a painting project.  A nasty turn of events Saturday evening changed all that. But I’m getting ahead of myself.

Main Street in OTW
Main Street in OTW

Saturday dawned hot, but otherwise nice.

I spent some time at The Empty Nest first thing in the morning. Then I went to the Farmers’ Market (had to get my tomatoes), stopped at Kelly Ann’s Quilting and Sherrie’s Stuff to say hey. Went back to the Empty Nest for lunch (I figured I’d be helpful and make sure Janet didn’t get stuck with too many leftovers).

I had an ulterior motive for staying away from the house. Hubby is installing a hardwood floor in his office. There’s nothing I can really do to help him, and it’s quite noisy. Big-ass air compressor running, pneumatic nailer going, the sound of planks hitting the plywood floor. Life in a construction zone.

Not that I’m complaining. I just don’t enjoy sitting around an otherwise quite house with all that stuff going on.

It was much more pleasant hanging out in Janet’s nicely air-conditioned shop, meeting some of her old and new customers, and listening and she and her lovely assistants, Carol and Sue, interacted with folks.

Of course, I captured a few pics to share here…

Janet talking with customers.
Janet talking with customers.
The Empty Nest
The Empty Nest
Mom's punch bowl.
Mom’s punch bowl.

I find that last picture sort of interesting. My intent was just to capture Mom’s punch bowl, loaned to Janet for the day, which was sitting on a table in front of a dresser with a mirror. Completely unintentionally, I got a perfect reflection of a nearby cabinet full of chalk paint. Cool, eh?

I got home around 1:30, planning to do a bit of painting, but Hubby needed me to go to Home Depot for some staples and floor stain. Of course, Home Depot’s stain selection isn’t very big, so I brought the staples home then went out again to The Paint Shop here in OTW to get the stain.

It was around 3:30 when I got back home again. I knew we’d be going out to dinner, so it was too late for paining. Knowing I had all day on Sunday, I wasn’t too concerned. We went out to dinner and then afterward I took the dogs for their walk.


They all really enjoy their daily excursion around OTW. I do, too. I enjoy it more when it’s cooler, of course.

The walk was uneventful until the very end. We were about 50 yards from our driveway when a neighbor’s German Shepherd decided to attack.

It was completely out of the blue and unprovoked. We’ve had no issues with the dog before. My girls were all very relaxed. There were no other critters in the area.

Unfortunately, the dog grabbed Belle and tried to shake her. I pushed the dog off and it went back to its owners. That’s when Belle started crying and we noticed she was bleeding. The other dog’s owners were right there, very apologetic, and very helpful. I kept our other dogs calm while they stopped the bleeding. It looked like two small surface wounds.

I brought Belle home, Hubby helped clean her up, we looked at her more closely and weren’t too alarmed. She wasn’t even limping at that point. But about an hour or so later when she did start limping and the wounds were still bleeding, we decided I’d better take Belle to the pet ER.

I have to say, the people at the Prince William Emergency Veterinary Clinic are great. I’ve been there twice this year with Meg, so they were surprised to see me show up for a third visit with a different dog. Lucky for us, they weren’t very busy and we were seen right away.

Upon examining her, the vet said they’d need to sedate her and shave her shoulder to get a closer look at the injuries. They needed to see how deep they were, determine if there were any underlying issues, if sutures would be needed, etc.

As it turns out, when the big dog tried to shake her, she pulled Belle’s muscle away from the bone a bit, forming a fluid-filled sac, which required insertion of a drain. They sutured the upper wound close, cut a new hole below that for the drain, which was also sutured into place, and left the other two wounds, which are not as deep or big, open so they could drain. Belle got a lovely e-collar (cone), too.

She was still pretty groggy when we left the hospital. It was after midnight when we got home.

As the drugs wore off, she got more and more uncomfortable. And the cone terrified her. I finally removed it around 3:00 AM, resolved to just stay awake and make sure she didn’t disturb her injuries.

She was a pathetic mess. I did take pictures to share. I have to warn you, some of the images that follow are pretty graphic. Proceed at your own risk.

The first one was taken around 4:30 or 5:00. Right after I had to cram a pain pill down her throat. (Talk about feeling guilty!)

Belle at her most pathetic point.
Belle at her most pathetic point.

Neither of us got a wink of sleep. She alternated between panting, and trembling, and just could not get comfortable. And I had to make sure she didn’t try pulling the sutures or drain out.

Oh, and drains really do drain, which is why she’s got so much blood on her.

Close-up of Belle's shoulder.
Close-up of Belle’s shoulder.

Once the pain pill kicked in, she started feeling better. Thank goodness. I was really starting to think I needed to take her back to the ER.

Belle later in the morning.
Belle later in the morning.

After Hubby got up, he watched her for a bit and I got some sleep. Then I went to Petco to buy her a better injury collar (prevents her from licking her wounds and disturbing the sutures), which she likes MUCH better. She acts like she doesn’t even know it’s there. It even sort of acts as a pillow.

Belle this afternoon.
Belle this afternoon.

I couldn’t take Belle to the basement since its floor is covered in cream-colored carpet. So I just hung out with them in the living room all day. I actually slept a lot, too. Which was refreshing, after our ordeal.

Belle is doing very well. She’ll need to have the drain removed in 3-5 days, and the other sutures removed in about 10-15 days. The hair should grow back just fine. Now we just need to see if she’s been traumatized by the whole incident. She seems to be fine, mentally, but time will tell.

She won’t be going for any walks until after the drain is removed. Until then, we won’t know how she reacts to seeing other dogs.

The German Shepherd was on us so fast, none of us saw it coming. That may be a good thing. Maybe she won’t associate the attack with seeing an approaching dog.

So that was my weekend. Sigh. I could do without that sort of excitement.

Surrogate Children

Having dogs really is like having kids.

Sit still in a room, and the dogs find a cozy spot to lay. Unless it’s close to meal time. Or time for a walk, snack, mail run, etc. They are creatures of habit, too. Meg has her routine down, and you’d better stick to it.

Weed the flower beds, and the dogs investigate the flowers, too.

Go into the bathroom, and God forbid, close the door, and the dogs wait anxiously for you to emerge. Don’t close the door and they join you, of course.

Make a phone call and the dogs suddenly become noisy and/or playful.

Relax on the porch, just sitting, watching the world go by, and the dogs do the same.


Not that I am complaining. It’s just that the parallels humor me.

“Dogs are our link to paradise. They don’t know evil or jealousy or discontent. To sit with a dog on a hillside on a glorious afternoon is to be back in Eden, where doing nothing was not boring–it was peace.”
― Milan Kundera

I can’t imagine life without dogs. Really.

Seeing these images this morning, which were shot at the end of May, is what inspired this post. I’d gone out into the yard to capture some flower shots and, of course, the dogs followed. They apparently wanted to look at the flowers, too.

Meg (age 14)
Meg (age 14)


K (age 7)
K (age 7)


Belle (age 6)
Belle (age 6)

Meg, K, and Belle. “Old Girl,” “Middle Girl,” and “Little Girl.”

How odd it would be not to have them around.

Meg’s health is slowly failing. She’s deaf, has arthritis, some strange problem with her biliary tract, which we keep under control with a strict low-fat diet, and her muscles are weakening. She could be with us for years still. Or something catastrophic could happen and take her sooner. I hate to think of that day.

"What are you looking at, Mama?"
“What are you looking at, Mama?”

For now, I’ll just enjoy all of them with their silly little quirks. And continue to marvel at their insatiable curiosity…

A Froggy Fall

I decided to take a break from vacation posts today and share a few pictures.

When I saw Reflectofrog holding this leaf yesterday, I couldn’t resist capturing a shot.

Happy Fall

And then I noticed my Dahlia still had a lingering bloom or two. Upon closer examination, I saw this one.


I think that flower looks like a butterfly. What do you think?

Oh, and I couldn’t go outside without my girls. K and Belle decided to sit in the warm sun while they waited. Meg was right at my feet. I captured this cute shot of the younguns.

Belle (front) and K (rear)

I hope you have a fabulous Thursday!