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Of course as soon as I write a positive post about Tula, she redeems herself as the worst dog of all time.

My parents rented their annual house in Ogunquit this past week. Tula headed up last Friday morning with my parents and Jack, Zac and I eventually made it up later that afternoon. I mentioned to Jack on the ride up that Tula was going to be PO’d as soon as she saw us. I knew she would think that she had a week alone at the beach with my parents and a nice break from her new brother/arch enemy. She could take walks with my dad, eat human food ‘dropped’ from the table and soak up 100% of the attention that she had become so accustomed to. She maybe experienced about 4 hours of that until we arrived.

Everyone was relaxing on the porch when we showed up. Her face was memorable as soon as we walked up the stairs. She was like a deer in the headlights when she saw us. She didn’t even bark, just walked over to my dad and sat underneath his chair, refusing to greet us. She wouldn’t come near either one of us the rest of the night. Jacky even tried bribing her with a piece of chicken, which she would normally never, ever pass up, and refused to go near her! She is the definition of a brat!

The next day, after probably realizing that we weren’t just visiting for a few hours, she warmed up to us and eventually let us at least pet her. She definitely never allowed Zac to receive all of the attention. If everyone was sitting around Zac on the floor, she suddenly had a toy in her mouth and wanted someone to play with her. If someone was holding Zac, she would walk in and out of their legs and some times even make someone hold her (usually my dad since he is the only one that would dare pick her up).

My parents have been renting the same house in Ogunquit for the past 15 or 16 years, so we have become friendly with many of the neighbors that live there year-round. That afternoon, one of the neighbors stopped by to say hello and introduce us to her new family member, a black pug named Olive. She was adorable and so friendly! She told us that after seeing Tula last summer, she decided that she wanted a black pug just like her! Wait, what?! Tula was your inspiration for getting a black pug!? Are you crazy!? We were all in shock. Honestly, within minutes, Tula tried to bite Olive’s face off. Strike 1.

Before we made our way to the beach on Saturday, we had to prepare the house for the 10-pound carpet destroyer. We set up her bed, laid out her multiple pee pads and most importantly set up a barrier at the top of the stairs so she wouldn’t venture down. The stairs lead down to a small area, with a door on either side, one leading to the garage and the other to a bedroom. Tula likes to go down stairs, but not up, so if she got down the stairs, she would be stuck.

My dad left the beach early, so he could go spend some quality time with Tula (seriously). Where did he find her (the last paragraph is obviously a dead giveaway)? She was sitting at the bottom of the stairs next to a gigantic puddle of piss. Strike 2.

Later that afternoon, while everyone was preparing dinner, playing with the baby, taking showers, etc, someone noticed Tula was MIA. Somehow she managed to escape the numerous porch barriers we set up and was wandering alone in the driveway (literally 10 feet from the main road). She was just sitting there, waiting for someone to notice her. I think it took 3 or 4 steak tips to get her back. Strike 2 ½. You would think the 2-month old baby would be the most work on vacation!

Tula’s strikeout came later that evening. The house is set up sort of like a town house. The garage is at ground level and you have to walk up a set of stairs on the side of the garage to get up to the 1st floor. The stairs open up to the porch and the front door is on the other side. There is about a 5-foot roof overhang on either side of the porch. Most of us were relaxing on the porch while my dad was cooking on the grill, which is located on the ground in the backyard behind the garage.

(Zac and his new friend Nathan)

One side of the porch is the house and the rest is surrounded with typical railings. We assumed that Tula would understand that railings are built to enclose the porch area and prevent people/animals from falling. Once again, we underestimated the stupidity of this animal. After probably a few attempts, my sister finally caught my attention. She was pointing to the opposite side of the porch. Now I’m not sure if she was trying to avoid startling Tula or Jacky, since she would’ve had a heart attach if she saw what I was about to see.

I suddenly witnessed what my sister was pointing at and leaped off my chair. Tula was walking down the roof overhang trying to get a glimpse of my dad (her soulmate) grilling down below. The roof was not very wide and was extremely steep. I have absolutely no idea how she didn’t slide right off. Cats walk out on roofs, not dogs! She was frozen, realizing that she could not turn herself around without falling. My dad finally noticed her and was ready to catch her if she fell. I was screaming at her while trying to grab her through the railing. I eventually grabbed one of her back legs and dragged her back in. Strike 3, Tula.

She went home with my dad the next morning. Her punishment was living with him the rest of the week. Yea I know, nice punishment! He probably made her scrambled eggs and bacon every morning for her traumatic minute on the roof.

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Zac’s Big Sister

How can I describe Tula if you have never met her? The only description that comes to mind, to sum her up as a whole, is that she is without a doubt the spawn of Satan. Her hobbies include barking, biting people, biting other dogs, peeing in houses and sleeping (I’m assuming that while she’s sleeping, she is dreaming of barking, biting people, biting other dogs and peeing in houses).

Probably her favorite pleasurable pastime is tearing the heads off her stuffed animals. This is the prime indicator, in my opinion, that she is truly evil. She never bites the arms or the legs or even the stomach area where the little squeaky thing is. She starts at the throat, tears all the stuffing out and continues until the head falls off. She’s probably done this to about a half dozen poor little stuffed dogs, teddy bears, etc.

I can’t imagine what guests think when they come to our house. Unless Tula is already barking at something, she starts the second someone walks in our front door and doesn’t stop until they leave. We tell every fearful guest that she won’t bite unless you stick your fingers in her face. But now that I think about it, they must look around at the stuffed animal graveyard surrounding Tula’s cat bed and think ‘yea, I bet that cute, pink bunny didn’t stick her paw in Tula’s face either and now her head is across the room!’

Here’s the dilemma………..how do we get this squirrel–sized terror to not decapitate our newborn? The only thing we could come up with is to never, ever leave the room with the baby on the ground. We have until he crawls to come up with another plan. For now, this is all we have!

The day we came home from the hospital was Tula’s big test. She had been at my parent’s while we were away and they dropped her off as we were driving home. Jack’s brilliant plan was for me to go in first with one of the baby’s blankets and his hat, so she could start to familiarize herself with this new smell. After a few minutes of smelling and petting, I went outside with the baby and Jack went in to do basically the same procedure.

A few minutes later, I brought the carseat with Tula’s new brother inside. I put it on the ground and honestly, within 2 seconds, Tula was standing in the carseat sniffing like she’s never sniffed before. I thought Jack was going to freak out and boot her across the room, but she was calm and let Tula do her thing. The funny part is that the baby was dead asleep, so he hadn’t moved yet. Tula stood there for awhile observing the tiny intruder when all of a sudden, Zac made a noise and stretched his arm straight in the air. Tula jumped back about 5 feet and went mental. She barked for the next 2 hours.

Jack re-introduced Tula to her new roommate over the next few days. Zac would lay on his stomach on the floor and Tula would come over and sniff his feet, head and her favorite, his $hit-filled diaper.

So far, so good. She has been very friendly and even somewhat protective of Zac. Will she stay this way when he starts crawling? Is she plotting her attack? Who knows! I did witness Zac accidentally punch Tula square in the face and she didn’t retaliate, so that was definitely a positive sign. Tula is very sneaky, so anything is possible. For example, the hat that I brought in for her to smell when we returned from the hospital has been MIA since. We live in a 1,200 sq ft condo! Where is it!?

Only Zac’s big sister knows.

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Zac Q+A

When did you call your families?

This decision was made months before and was quickly agreed upon…….the day after! We didn’t want anyone sitting in the lobby, texting us every 10 minutes asking what is happening. We knew we would have enough to worry about that night. For example, my sister was the first person we called the next morning, about 6 hours after Zac was born. I told her we were at the hospital, Zac was out and that we would call her when we were ready for visitors. At this point, we were in a ‘floating room,’ so we were eventually moving, we needed at least a few hours of sleep and Jacky wanted to shower. She said OK and I started making the rest of the phone calls. One hour later I received a text from my sister – ‘I’m in the lobby’………..and this is why we didn’t call anyone till the next day! The first person we call is already in Boston and in the lobby within an hour.

Did you drive 30 mph in the breakdown lane when you brought him home?

I thought I would, but it was actually just the opposite! I think I was doing about 95 in the fast lane because I wanted to get home as quick as humanly possible because I was scared of him being in the car. Before we got home, did I stop at Dunkins for an iced coffee? Yes.

Where did you come up with the name Zac?

I knew the name we were choosing weeks before we even went to the hospital. Jack was waiting till she saw him to decide. This, my friends, is just another girl conspiracy. If a future mom is saying that she is waiting till she actually sees the baby to decide the name, I’m calling bull$hit on her. This is simply a move that a girl can use to basically say ‘OK, I like the name WE decided on, but I really want the name I thought of.’ Another reason this theory is bogus, have you ever seen an actual brand new baby? Unless you’re planning on naming your kid ET, you cannot give him/her a name based on first sight. The nurses could hand you a baby pig wrapped in a blanket and you would never be able to tell the difference. Then your poor kid will have to deal with the name Wilbur for the rest of his life.

Of course I decided the name! Are you kidding me? This kid has to live with this name the rest of his life. I can’t leave that up to a girl. Girls are unrealistic and too emotional to name a child. They’re more focused on dressing him up and posting pics of him on Facebook than thinking of his well-being on his first day of school in a few years when the teacher asks if Francis-Hunter Psoinos is present. You better believe the kid will be upside down in a toilet before 1st recess.

I had a few bullet points in mind when thinking of the name. I wanted a longer name that could be shortened, but I wanted the shortened name to be what 99% of people called him. I also wanted a somewhat unique name, but also kind of a household name. I know that doesn’t really make sense, but let’s use Zac for example. Do you know anyone named Zac? No, but it’s normal enough that it’s not Flower-Butterfly Psoinos like Jacky wanted.

For the first 9 months, Zac was Jack, Jr. I said it as a joke a few times and it just kinda stuck. Some people even thought that’s what we were actually naming him! Anyway, Jack told me a story of a couple she knew that just had a baby. They named the baby in her belly Rocky because he was always punching her. They got so accustomed to calling him Rocky that they just went with it when he was born. So that got me thinking? Everyone was always saying ‘it’s going to be so hard not to call him Jack, Jr when he’s born.’ Well what sounds like Jack that can be lengthened, that’s somewhat unique, but also ordinary, that’s also wicked cool? Zachary……Zac! BOOM!

Do you like him?

This was an actual question asked to us this past weekend. We laughed for a minute and then there was a short period of silence while we stared at each other waiting for the other to respond first. Do we love him? Yes. Do we like him right now? Weeeeelllllll……….maybe ask us when we’re not so tired?! So, get back to us in like 20 years!

The most popular question………..how is Tula with the baby!?

Well, that’s a whole post in itself…………

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Zac Attack, Part 2

The actual birth was quick. It seriously lasted about 14 minutes, from what I remember. I honestly do not have any kind of entertaining tale about this part. It was what it was. Jack and the nurses were super calm, which is likely the only reason I don’t have anything to write about. No screaming, no blood and guts everywhere. A few pushes and next thing ya know, there was an extra person in the room. Crazy, crazy, crazy!

One thing you never hear about is cutting the umbilical chord. I initially didn’t want to do this. I wanted absolutely nothing to do with anything that might haunt my dreams forever. I stood way up near Jack’s head and trust me, my eyes never wandered past her upper body. Some people told me ‘oh, you have to witness your baby being born!’ Umm, no you don’t! I’d like to sleep soundly for the next few weeks/rest of my life, thank you very much!

So the nurses caught me off guard. Once the baby was lying on Jack’s chest, I was half focused on him and half focused on not looking at what the nurses were doing at the other end. One slip, one second of losing focus and you will see something that only trained professionals are paid enormous amounts of money to have to witness. Out of nowhere, there were a pair of scissors being forced upon me with a very small portion of what looked like a giant piece of overcooked penne in the background. I hesitantly took the scissors from the nurse’s hands and went in for the kill. I thought one effortless pinch of the blades would do the trick. Not even close! I’m almost positive these particular scissors had been rusting outside in the pouring rain for at least 3 weeks and that the umbilical chord was made of double-sided Kevlar. I had to use 2 hands (true story).

We spent the next 52 hours in the hospital with the next generation Psoinos. The opening to our room mine as well been a revolving door with never-ending visits from nurses, doctors, consultants, family, friends and room service. Ah, room service. Next to the phone was a full menu with everything from omelets to turkey dinners to pizza. Pick up the phone, tell them your order and 25 minutes later, you’re eating! It was better than having the Batphone in your room! Adam West wasn’t bringing me a brownie sundae at midnight, ya know?

One thing that I did not prepare very well was my hospital bag. Jack’s bag barely fit in the trunk and mine was a plastic Market Basket bag, go figure. I’m not sure why, but I only brought 1 pair of boxers and 1 t-shirt, knowing I would be in the hospital for a minimum of 3 days. I guess my mind was elsewhere since I packed my bag while Jacky was waiting in the car (her bag had been in the car for weeks). Luckily my mom brought me a shirt when she came to the hospital to meet her new grandson. Unfortunately, the shirt said ‘NEW DAD 2011’ on the front. Really?! Only my mom would buy this shirt NOT as a joke.

I would only wear the shirt to bed and would always turn it inside out when I left the room. Jack’s doctor visited us early one morning and I didn’t have time to change. I didn’t think she would even notice……..she did. She died laughing and said she had never seen a new dad with a shirt like that. This person delivers babies for a living! She visits new parents every single day and has been for 20+ years and has never seen a shirt that says ‘NEW DAD.’ Whatever. I wore it home the day we left the hospital. How cliché? New dad, mom and baby leaving the hospital on Father’s Day and the dad is wearing a ‘NEW DAD’ t-shirt. I think I even tucked it into my shorts so I could officially be a ‘dad.’ Shirt tucked into shorts, check. Toyota Camry, check. Comb-over, check. Now I just need some tighty whities and I’m ready to raise this kid.

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Zac Attack, Part I

Everyone has been anticipating the ‘birthday’ post, but to be honest, I don’t really have a blogworthy story. Even if I embellish a few parts, it really wasn’t anything to write home about (no pun intended). We went to the hospital and 12 hours later, this little alien was given to us to take home. Jack, I’m sure, would tell the story a bit differently, but that’s what happened in a nutshell.

Jack was a champ. No stories of screaming, hand crushing, blood, guts, fainting, etc. There was about a 4-hour window of pain, but that’s it. I think if any advice is to be given from a first-time birth experience, it would be: don’t be a hero, get an epidural as soon as possible. Don’t even hesitate for a second, just do it!

I actually had a lovely evening. The little guy decided he wanted to come out right smack in the middle of the Bruin’s Stanley Cup parade, so we know this kid’s a sports fan/athlete in the making. Not the most ideal time to be driving into Boston with record-setting crowds watching the parade, but we got to the hospital around 2 in the afternoon. After a few hours of my witty jokes and one-liners, I was sent out to get some dinner. I’m assuming Jack wasn’t hungry at all, but if she heard one more Knocked Up quote, she was most likely throwing me out the window. Someone had to lighten the mood, ya know?

I walked down the street and found a Boloco, which has the best burritos. I thought for a second, ‘hmmm, maybe I shouldn’t have a 2 lb burrito sitting in me when I watch a human being spill out of the guts of another human being,’ but I couldn’t pass it up! They’re so good! I sat outside in the sun, watched people walk by and ate my ‘classic mexican’ burrito with extra guac. It was a very enjoyable dinner. My ‘last supper,’ if you will!

After a few hours in search of chicken noodle soup for Jack, I figured it was time to head back. I have to be honest, the thought of the baby being there when I returned crossed my mind once or twice. Would I be upset if I missed the birth? Tough one. It might be worth missing the actual birth to miss the hours of misery that lead up to it. But I’ll stick by my word, it was not miserable at all! Like I said, I had a lovely evening. At this point, I’ve already eaten a nice meal alone, got some sun, walked around Boston, listened to my iPod, had an ice cream cone (true story) and found Jack some dinner.

For the rest of the night, I watched the entire Red Sox game and the Bucket List. Yes, Jacky was lying in the bed next to me in excruciating pain, but this is Mike’s Marathon Blog, not Jacky’s. I can’t speak for her! I don’t want to assume how much pain she was in or how much she wanted to murder me. If I had to throw a numeric value on both, I would say on a scale of 1-10, a 12 for the pain and a 2 for how much she wanted to murder me (again, I can’t speak for her!). The 2nd number may have peaked at 6 or 7 when I was calculating how many babies our nurse had delivered in her lifetime, but other than that, I sat quietly.

We were both resting in a completely dark room when the nurses came in to deliver. When I say resting, I actually mean Jack was resting (this is after the epidural, of course!) and I was completely passed out. I awoke around 2 a.m. to a full house of nurses, doctors, bright lights and pure chaos. I was sitting on the edge of my cot wondering if I had to get up or if this was just some sort of nightly procedure. The nurse standing over Jacky quickly snapped her fingers at me and said, “hey dad, baby time!” Holy flipping shit! This was it!

Note to all future dads: experiencing the whole birthing process while ¾ sleeping is the only way to do it! Actually, I felt like I was half drunk, half sleeping. Everything was a blur after I sat up on that cot. It’s just like trying to remember ‘the night before.’ I can sort of remember things, but I’m not 100% positive about anything that happened. Jack could tell me that there was a unicorn in the room with us and I would have to believe her. Do I remember a unicorn? No, but it absolutely could have been there!

To be continued…………….

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Zac Attack

Coming soon!

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ZAC

Zachary Michael Psoinos

Born June 19th at 2:25 a.m.

6 lbs, 10 oz, 19 inches

1st shirt/blanket

On his way home in his amazing homemade ‘uniform’ from Aunty Miriam

Tula was in his carseat within 1 minute

 

It was quite a Father’s Day, to say the least!

Thank you for all the emails/texts/FB messages/best wishes! He can’t wait to meet everyone!

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