Merry Christmas, Charlie Brown (or rather, Reddish Brown).

Not gonna waste time with apologies ☺ - the truth is that Rich and I have been bogged down with a bunch of different (crazy, rewarding, crazy, exhausting, crazy) projects and shows that were not related to our theater. Seriously we calculated that my first actual day off since Aug 16th will be Christmas Eve. I will have opened five different shows since the summer... three of those were in one week. Yowzers. I don't recommend it, in case you were wondering. My students must have thought i looked like Doc Brown in Back to the Future. Rich is gearing up for some serious awesomeness going on in the auditorium. Some close friends are clearing a huge chunk of their schedule to help us get some down and dirty stuff done in there. I’m really really excited and it feels like we’re gonna be back on the trajectory that we hoped for. Honestly at this point the big challenge is going to be money – we’re only going to be limited in progress by the amount of materials we can purchase at a time. So – help us out and buy gift cards to the Supper Club for Christmas! Just kidding. No…. not kidding. Seriously – even for your dog – he’ll love it. They can also be used as chew toys… lock picks…

Speaking of dogs. Guess who has a little brother. Yup…. Po.

It was never ever ever part of the plan… but it just kind of happened. Rich happened to be on facebook and saw a posting from a shelter in Ossian (which is um…north…south…west… of here. Somewhere in Indiana). Anyway – they had this dachshund. His name was Charlie. He had been kicked by his previous owner in the head and suffered severe motor skill damage. So he had trouble walking. He also had suffered from frostbite because he was left out in the show (just think for a minute how low dachshunds are to the ground…brrrr) and almost lost parts of his ears and a paw.

So anyway – Rich comes in to the bedroom and says “they have a mentally handicapped (perhaps he used a more generic phrase) dachshund at a shelter”. And for some amazing reason he thought this might be something he could say without us ending up with a mentally handicapped dachshund. I literally looked at him and said “did you honestly think you could say that out loud and it would turn out well???? Why did you tell me that???”. Nine years – shouda known better. Now - in case you want to disagree with me on this, here is (word for for word) what he ACTUALLY THOUGHT WOULD BE A GOOD IDEA TO SHOW ME... "Charlie is a 7 year old little doxie who has lead a horrific life. See he was found by a local humane society where he and several small poodles had been living as outside dogs. Charlie had frost bite on his ears and feet, they were the feel of leather, black an stiff. Over time this has gone away, he has was kicked by his owner and then given up because he could not walk right. His owner had caused neurological damage which gives Charlie a hard time while walking. He has come a long way over the months we have had him. This sweet boy wants nothing more than love, he follows you to the best of his ability and his determination is amazing. He has a happy go lucky spirit and just loves anyone who can and will hold him. Charlie’s only issue is it takes him a bit longer to get places so it’s a good thing he is small enough to be carried. Charlie will need a home where there is someone home the majority of the time to be with him."

accompanied by THIS PICTURE...(really, now, rich...really???) in45221267733-1-pn-130×130.jpg

So – it turns out this little guy, Charlie, only weighed 8 pounds…. Po weighs 18. He had been at the shelter for four months and it didn’t look like anybody was going to adopt him. So I just thought we’d fill out an application…JUST TO SEE. Y’know… no COMMITMENT – just to see.

Well it turns it’s easier to get a pilot’s license than to adopt a dog…. It was like a three page application. Seriously. They call your vet. They find want to visit your house. They want to know your blood type and star sign. It’s pretty intense. And then we didn’t hear from them for like four days and I was like “oh my god…they don’t want this dachshund to grow up in a non-traditional home! We’re being blacklisted by the pound!”. Um…no. They were just processing a bunch of applications at the time. And then it turned out that when they sent us the approval it didn’t go through – so it took even longer for me to get a response. I really had my self convinced that I was deemed unfit to look after a homeless mentally handicapped dachshund.

Then – we heard… and they called the vet and found out we didn’t like have eight gerbils with rabies running around or whatever. And we set up a meet and greet. Not at the shelter or the foster parents home…. At a baseball field in the middle of no where. Rich was like “are we buying a dog or trying to do a drug deal?”. So we drove into the middle of nowhere to meet Charlie the Special Dachshund. (next year he will have a Rankin Bass stop motion animation special named after him and a hit Miley Cyrus song).

We did not go alone. Janice came with us. As the voice of reason. Rich figured that he might get sucked in… I was certainly gonna get sucked in… but she might stop us from doing something insane. She was like “are you insane….you can’t get another dog… this is nuts”. Then she saw the dog. And caved. So much for the voice of reason. I was sooooo nervous to meet him… like really. I was so afraid of the commitment and being able to look after something that needed so much care. All we knew is he could hardly walk – he might be missing part of his ears – and he had been kicked in the head.

And of course we took Po. Because, really, if she didn’t like him it was gonna be no-go. So we met Charlie. And there wss nooooo goin’ back. He can walk…just in a really hilarious way. Kind of like an inebriated crab. He kind of looks like bambi on the ice…it’s like he’s a marionette and someone got the strings tangled. But he’s been this way so long he’s totally oblivious… it’s amazing. He just kind of bounds towards you….falls over half way… ends up travelling sideways a foot and a half..and then eventually gets where he’s headed – WAY faster than you imagine is possible. Frankly it would be physically impossible not to like this dog. He is scientifically designed to be irresistible. So… we got the damn dog.

ON JANICE'S LAP.... WAY TO GO "VOICE OF REASON". chuck-on-lap-small.jpg

It turns out….when they first got him at the shelter he weighed only 4 pounds (Po weighs 18). They thought he was going to need a dog-wheelchair and he couldn’t lift his head to eat. My mother was trying to buy him a wheelchair for the first week (“he’s been through so much… he deserves one”)…but he really doesn’t need it at all. He’s just kind of like a pin ball that has to bounce around a couple times before it reaches it’s destination. But he’s happy as a clam. He eats like a bird… he can’t aim for food – so he kind of pecks. He eventually polishes off every last morsel – but it takes him a while to figure out where to get his nose to find the food. So considering Po can move at the speed of light for a crumb from a Ritz cracker, that has taken some negotiating. The shelter is called Smiling K9's and they are just amazing people - like these foster families have like 17 dogs in their home at a time while they search for 'forever' homes... all so that none of the dogs will be put down.

They told us he was crate trained. Sleeps in a crate. Perfectly happy in a crate. Loves his crate. That lasted 24 hours. I suck. Now the bed is populated by 800 wiener dogs…it’s like planet of the apes. They’ve taken over. Po for the first 3 days was like “um…. Excuse me… what is this thing”. Because really he shakes so much (like Katherine Hepburn and Michael J Fox spun each other around for five minutes and then had a love child)… That he seems unpredictable. He’s the most docile thing in the world – but Po couldn’t tell that because his head movements are so erratic. Then we started coming upstairs and finding them laying in bed together and Po would look at us like “Crap… they found me fratertnizing!”. And now that the weather is cold, frankly, Po just uses him for body heat. But the seem to be getting on really well now… And Po even tries to play with him…which is hilarious…because it’s like trying to play touch football with Stephen Hawking.

He barks like a goose. We are working very hard to get potty trained. But he’s about the most inspiring thing I’ve ever met. I can’t figure out why he doesn’t hate people because they did so much damage to him….but he just follows me around. Like he’s magnetized to my sneakers. It’s hilarious – the hardest part – is that because he’s so small and wobbles around so much – it’s really hard not to step on him… we end up walking around the apartment like Lipenzaner’s just so we don’t smoosh Charlie.

He’s also highly portable… he likes to be held (they informed us) like a baby – not like a dog. Cradled in your arms. And he wants to be up with you all time… alllll the time…. So I’m seriously thinking about getting one of those baby slings so I can have both my arms back.

MADE FOR BLOG SIMULATION OF RICH'S NEW LIFE: img_1515.jpg

It was a fantastic weekend because my computer blew up (I’m typing to you know on my very fabulous but very expensive and badly financially timed new laptop)…plus it turns out that half of Charlie’s teeth were rotten and were making his life even more miserable. So yesterday he had to have 11 teeth removed. ELEVEN. You know how much it costs to have eleven dog teeth removed… almost as much as a freakin’ new laptop. The laptop was so ill that in order for them to do the data transfer at the Apple store, Rich and I ended up having to stay overnight in Indianapolis – completely unplanned. But at least now our photographs etc. have been rescued – which would have been a devastating loss. And yes, kids, now I’ve learned I have to backup my computer ☹ ☹ While we were there we spent like 45 minutes in the Sleep Number store coming to the conclusion that if you lay a fold out cot on top of a swimming pool raft you pretty much have created yourself a sleep number bed. There ya go - i just saved you 2,000 bucks.

The Christmas show is going well… The whole of November sold out – and the weekends are packed to the gills. We still have a number of weekday tickets that we’d really really really like to get filled up… cuz we want to get that auditorium done. Seriously – Rich wants our Christmas show next year – to be in the big space. No foolin – so I’m gonna be taking lots of pictures. Project “Get ‘Er Done” starts right after the Christmas Show closes.

david-and-group.jpg

Elizabeth has a sassy new hair cut: sassy-new-hair-eliz.jpg

eliz-and-david.jpg

Here's a little taste of the fierceness that's happening' every night...

We had Santa visit the theater this year...and he brought along reindeer! Really. This guy, however apparently broke an antler (so they told me) because "he had an accident while learning to fly". Awesome. ONE HORNED FLYING REINDEER CARROT EATER. img_1495.jpg

Ok - more bloggage soon. Unless the dachshunds win.... xo jojo.