The one thing Liam wanted for Christmas above all others was a new puppy.
He knew we were getting one. We met her in November. So her addition to our family was no surprise to anyone. Still, she wasn’t old enough to bring home before Christmas. Instead I made plans to get her the week between Christmas and New Year’s. This involves a 12 hour roundtrip drive to Michigan and back.
Complicating matters was the weather. Intitally, I had planned to take Liam with me and stay overnight with my parents but the weather wasn’t cooperating. I had one good day – Friday the 28th – to get there and get back if I hoped to avoid bad roads. I decided to leave Liam at home and do something I’d never done before – drive to Michigan and back on the same day.
I got up around 5:30 on Friday morning, dressed, brushed my teeth, grabbed the stuff I needed for the dog, and snuck out before anyone else was up. I was on the road by 6 am. The drive up was completely uneventful. Traffic was light, roads were dry, stops were few. I made it door to door in about 5 hours flat (usually it takes 6 with the kids).
I picked the puppy up at my Dad’s clinic, shoved some lunch down my maw, stopped at my parent’s house briefly to see my Mom, and then got back on the road with Little Miss in the seat next to me.
Plans began to fall apart almost immediately. She puked. Then she peed. Then I had to pee, desperately. Then I ran into snow and 45 mph traffic on the highway. Michigan drivers? Don’t do 45 unless it’s bad. I called Scot and we talked and hemmed and hawed and looked at radar and it seemed as if the bad weather was going to be with me all the way to Cleveland. I was already tired from crappy sleep the night before and I’d been driving for around 6 hours at this point. I just couldn’t take on a nightmare drive on top of it.
I decided to turn around and head back to my parents house for the night.
Then the puppy puked again.
So, I spent the night with my parents, their adult Cavalier, Archie, and their new puppy, Lily. Those two plus mine made quite the pack of mayhem. The two puppies together made a giant pile of cute.
Poor Scot was stuck at home with two antsy (and disappointed) boys AND a nasty migraine. It was not ideal and I felt TERRIBLY guilty. The weather did clear quickly and if I had pushed I probably would have made it through. I was in the MINI, though, and worried about being tired, too. I’m still not convinced I made the right call for Scot’s sake but I couldn’t change it by then. The next morning, Saturday, I got up around 5:30 again and tried to get home.
First, they were getting a lot more snow than the half-inch that was predicted for the area and the storm was across the entire 300 miles I had to drive. Second, I could tell their road was a sloppy, half-treated mess that was not going to be fun to get across (I could do it, it would just be stressful). Third, I got stuck in their driveway and they had to unstick me.
I should have known right then I was sunk.
Instead, I soldiered on thinking that I needed to get home for Scot’s sake. I was 2/3 of the way to the expressway and moving s-l-o-w when Scot called to say that the radar was fugly and I should stay put. There was more hemming and hawing but eventually I gave in, turned around AGAIN, and went back to my parents house. This time I never even made it to the highway. I expected to stay a second night – I even washed the clothes I was in because, ew.
But then fortune smiled and by 9:15 things were clearing fast. I hopped on their computer and checked for issues on the route I was taking (mostly turnpike driving). All signs pointed to ‘get the hell home, lady!’ and so I did. I shoved my crap and the puppy in the car, hopped in the driver’s seat and took off.
I hit the window of clear weather and roads and I raced it all the way home. I pushed about as hard as I dared to – with the added bonus of the Ohio cops being unable to set up speed traps because of road conditions in the median – and did 80 all the way home. This time the puppy neither puked nor peed (in the car).
By this time I’d had her in my possession for over 24 hours and I still didn’t have a name. Emma had been a front runner but it just didn’t seem to fit her. Then Scot suggested “Ellie” – as a short form of Elinor/Eleanor – and both boys latched on to it. Jamie can even say it! Complete with L! A minor miracle!
So Ellie she is and Ellie she shall be and here is Miss Ellie settling into life in our nut house.