The Dogsitter’s Dilemma

My flight leaves for DC at 0600 tomorrow. The dogsitter’s nightmare begins shortly thereafter. Hopefully, I’m exaggerating.

This is the first time I’ve taken a vacation without my dogs in more than seven years. Lulu has panic attacks when she hears noises and Sherman won’t potty in a strange place. He literally held it 14 hours on our drive to Kansas and then another 14 hours on the way back to Arizona. I like to think I didn’t make them this way but all evidence points to the contrary.

I have left two pages (single-spaced, natch) of information/instructions for the dogsitter, who will be staying with them for the next week. If I had opted for her to check in twice a day for food and water, I would worry the entire time that something terrible had happened to them between visits. So it’s 100% worth it for her to sleep in Sherman’s bedroom for a week to calm my anxiety.

Speaking of anxiety, sweet fancy Moses. I tried on all of the dresses (again) Saturday while taking a break from cleaning to make sure I pack the correct bra for each. So I nearly dislocated my shoulders multiple times zipping and unzipping over and over. Yesterday, I de-Sherman-ed Sherman’s bedroom. He’s a big, furry beast and he was not pleased to be locked out of his room. So I basically spent my entire weekend ensuring my dogs and their sitter have a clean house to enjoy while I’m gone.

Most of the packing was completed last night. Even with it being summer, I won’t be far from a heavy tag situation. I may have to reevaluate my shoe choices. My travel outfit has been identified and is hanging on the appropriate door. @RadioFreeTom will not be travel shaming me on Twitter because I am not flying Arizona casual. You filthy savages putting your bare feet up in the cabin in front of your fellow passengers are being outed every day on the Twittersphere.  If you don’t know, now you know.

My alarm is set for 0300. I’m taking my severe, chronic anxiety to our nation’s capital where I will be interacting with ALL OF THE PEOPLE nonstop for a week. My therapist has been preparing me for this for nearly a year. I’ve got this.

I’m going to Mexico in July and am already worried the sitter won’t be back. *sigh*

Ancestry and Alcohol

I’m not ashamed to admit I’ve become borderline obsessed with genealogy. When I’m not at work, I’m drinking beer and doing yoga/pilates or drinking beer and working on my family tree. In case you didn’t know, consuming alcohol and engaging in physical exercise go together like peanut butter and jelly. The genealogy is kind of like the ice cream reward at the end.

So in the midst of this Mayflower drama, I have learned some things:

  • If you are unable to find what you need at the state level, contact the county. There are many counties with historical records which predate those kept on file at the state level. If you’re searching in New York, be aware of County Historians and don’t be shy about contacting them. Even if they won’t do the search for you, they can at least tell you where to look or suggest a paid researcher.
  • Historical societies vary greatly by location. Some cover too much area and are too overwhelmed to help you with searching. Others have volunteer researchers who will go to the courthouse for you and dig up your records for a nominal fee. I just had one in Pennsylvania find a missing link death certificate for me that includes 8 pages of information for a whopping $17.40. That’s cheaper than ordering an official document from Kansas through VitalChek.
  • You might have to send letters and mail checks like it’s 1985. Calm down; You’ll survive.
  • History doesn’t happen in a straight line. My family tree keeps circling back on itself. I have to figure out how to make Ancestry understand my third great-uncle is also my third great-grandfather. Same guy. Small gene pool. Work with me here.
  • History is a whole lot more real when you’re looking at it in the context of your family. Yesterday, I worked on a second cousin thrice removed who worked for the Department of the Treasury in the years leading up to World War I. Those were some interesting times for the US economy. I have a bunch of cousins who are buried at Arlington. With 2,500 people in my family tree (and counting), I intend to rediscover who they were and visit at least some of them while I’m in DC this summer.

My brain feels like I worked all weekend, mainly because I did. I’m tired, confused, frustrated, and utterly addicted. In a couple weeks, I will be hanging out with a few thousand lunatics just like me and can hardly wait.

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