Mutts n' More

A Random Collection of Fur-Covered Happiness


You've happened upon a place filled with animals so cute and furry (or not) that they can brighten anyone's day. Their stories are often touching or inspirational and are sure to make you realize how important the animals in your lives are. Enjoy!

If you're looking for something a little more real and down to earth, then stay and read about the life of a lesbian couple with 14 furry and scaly kids who are just trying to make it through life's craziness together. It has its ups and downs and twists and turns but one thing's for sure: it's never boring!


So how exactly does one become an adult? It seems like just one day it happens. Like Jess just up and had a kid and got a home. Just like that. How did you do it? How did you know how to do it? How do I learn how to do it? Because right now adult life just seems so confusing. We’re looking at so many different possible places to live and places to work in those places. I’ve come to the realization that I’m not good enough to actually get a permanent job working with animals. Not yet anyway. Now, do I just stick to my plan of volunteering and trying to slowly make my way up into a position or do I need to get a masters before I even bother trying? I’ve looked up the Knoxville Zoo, the Austin Zoo, the San Antonio Zoo and the Jacksonville Zoo and know kind of how I could try to work my way into them. I know which ones really have the animals I want and which ones would maybe just be a stepping stone. I know that while Jacksonville might have the most promising job option for Nikki that there is absolutely no family there. Of course, she’s have her friend and we’d only be hours from Jess. Knoxville is close to the family here but is an actual city with liberal people in it and I wouldn’t feel as afraid of being beaten up. Austin is where I have always wanted to go and maybe it’s hot and maybe it’s too big now but I like it. I’d be by my dad, Courtney and Ryan and Harry and my neices. We’d have access to the ranch and we’d have support. It’s the place I know the most about by far and what I don’t know, someone else will. I hate  that I have to choose between different family members. I want my whole family to live in the same place again but I fear that will never happen. It’s not fair. Family is supposed to be what matters and is always supposed to be near. Our culture spreads families way too far apart. There are no extended families living together anymore and I think it’s really sad. So anyway, we have the problem of finding jobs and we have the problem of finding a place to live wherever we decide to go. Nikki and I have been looking at buying a house because my dad says you should always buy and never rent (if you can, of course). I think it’s a good idea because when you rent you’re basically throwing away your money. If you can afford to buy a house then the money you spend is going towards something of worth that belongs to you! Plus, I’m sick of having other people decide what we can hang on our walls and I am SO tired of having to sneak around with the kids. I want a house where the cats can sit in the windows whenever they want and we don’t have to jump and run around like chickens with our heads cut off hiding little ones whenever someone knocks on the door. Fear is no way to live – not in a place that’s supposed to be your safe haven. I want a home that belongs to me. I want a place that is actually mine. Some people would think that that is getting too tied down at such a young age (well, considering I still want to travel the world somehow) but I think that I just want a place to call home no matter where else I go in the world. I have moved so many times in my life and I have NO place from my childhood that is still there that I can return to. So maybe we decide to move in a few years but I will always want to return to Austin. It’d be like the home base. When we were gone family could live there or maybe we could rent it out. No matter what, it’s good to have something that is worth something that you own. And if we can hurry and actually get something in this economy then we’ll be a lot better off than trying to afford something when the economy gets better. Of course, I don’t want to steal someone’s home (our home was taken from us when we went bankrupt right at the end of high school) but I’m just saying that since we’re pretty poor, now seems to be our best bet. Still, all of this talk of permanent jobs and owning homes scares me because I don’t feel prepared. I have no idea where to begin or how to make it all happen. I have so many hopes for my future and I don’t feel like I’m ever going to achieve them because I feel like I’m already too old. I feel too old to travel and to become a famous animal person or to host my own travel/animal show. Not because 23 is ridiculously old but I feel like I haven’t made enough progress at this point so I will always be behind everyone else and never be able to compete. It’s a very defeating feeling and it’s been haunting me for years so it’s not like this is a new problem. I always feel inadequate, even when people try to tell me that there is something special I have. I just don’t see it and I wish I could. So animals like me. Maybe they do. Or maybe they fear me. Do I have a special bond with them? If I did wouldn’t I have already done more with my life? What’s wrong with me that keeps me from doing the things I need to do to fulfil my dreams? Why can’t I have any faith in myself? Blah, this post is a big downer. I think I’m just at a difficult point in life. I’m stuck between stages and afraid to make the wrong move. It’s scary. That’s really what it comes down to. How does everyone do it?

And since that rambling-ness probably made little sense or was just plain depressing, here’s something I’d like to ask of all of you. Gracie, our 18 year old cat, was on death’s door a few days ago. She is an incredibly amazing cat and certianly proves the 9 lives of cats idea. I will go into more detail of her story a bit later but for now I’d like to ask everyone if they could just say a prayer, send well wishes, think of her so that she can continue to recover. My dad (Ted) took her to the vet and they kept her for 2 night, rehydrated her, ran tons of blood tests and ultrasounds and all that and found out that she has a thyroid condition which affects her heart. She will now have to be on thyroid and heart medication for the rest of her life. Needless to say, the vet bills were enormous and we don’t even know how much the pills will be costing but my dad spent it anyway because  she is our lady of steel. My dad can’t go to the doctor for his month-long cough because he spent it on Gracie instead. Now maybe you see where I get some of my ideals about taking care of your animals from. Anyway, please just do whatever you can to wish her well in her recovery. I barely get to see her anymore since she lives in Chicago now but this is a kitty who I met when she was days old (Courtney and Ryan’s newly adopted stray had kittens and Gracie was one of them), who moved with us to Singapore, then Minnesota, then Tennessee and is now in Chicago. She is amazing and beautiful and she is the longest lived cat we have ever had. I love her so much and I just want her to be happy and healthy again.

Gorgeous, Isnt She?

Gorgeous, Isn't She?

I love you, Gracie!

P.S. – Isn’t this new layout Nikki made me great? I felt left out not having my Tweets on the side so she fixed it all up for me. I’m special and Nikki’s amazing!

4 Responses to “Questions”

  1. Nikki Says:

    I love this new layout. The three columns look good!

    And stop worrying so much about your talent. You do have it! Animals love you and they can sense that you understand them. You are an animal whisper. Once you get into a zoo, whatever level that is, I can see you rising up fast in the ranks because of your connection with other creatures. You’re going to go far, Sunshine. I have faith in you. I know it’s true.

    I love you. I’ll be keeping Gracie in my thoughts. We’ll send out lots of good vibes to that cat. She is beautiful.

  2. Jess Says:

    Layout is awesome.

    I’m sending good cat vibes to Gracie too!

    About becoming an adult…you see, I read the “How To Be An Adult” manual that they give out at birth. ^_- I honestly don’t know how I did it per se, I just kind of did it. Most likely a product of living in the adult world with all the bills and major responsibilities. I know that’s not much help.

    I can say that there is little chance that you’re going to buy a house right now (at least not on your own). Not to be a downer, but it’s true… I know I know, brutally honest. Banks/ lenders need proof of steady income, meaning proof of employment for a year or more. The only thing that might be an option for you would be to have a cosigner (a family member that says they’ll pay if you can’t), but even still that’s tricky because you still need a job and then the lender also takes into account the cosigner’s debt to income ratio as well as yours, so if they don’t qualify then they can’t cosign. We tried to have Nick’s parents cosign so we could afford a bigger house, but they were over the debt to income ratio due to having parent plus loans for the kids. We didn’t qualify for much, and I know Liz and Tex didn’t either to buy their house (I think they only got a couple thousand more than us since they both have jobs). Basically with Nick’s 2 jobs we only qualified for 50,000, which is why we bought a small fixer upper starter home. We’re going to fix it up and when the market turns around we’ll either rent it out or try to sell it and get into something bigger and more permanent. About lenders…don’t use an online lender. Generally sellers want a reliable lender, like a local or big name bank, not some random lender from so if you have a less than perfect lender they may just skip your contract and you’d lose whatever house you were looking at. Just FYI. The other thing that is important to keep in mind is the taxes. Whatever you end up qualifying for is including taxes, so for example we couldn’t qualify for a 50,000 house, we’d qualify for a 47,000 house (roughly) because taxes are close to 2000 a year. So it’s really tricky and there are a lot of stipulations and formalities. The debt to income ratio will hurt you the most, it did for us. If we didn’t have student loans we would have qualified for a lot more. Oh and just after we locked in our interest rate the rates went up…part of the flailing economy thing, so when you do get into all of this make sure you lock in your rate so you don’t get screwed over later on. Lots of stuff…sorry I babbled. LOL.

    About the job thing, realistically speaking, I say go to wherever you have the best chance at a good paying job right now. The job market sucks and people are getting laid off quite a bit right now, so if there is someone that wants to hire you go there! You can always move to Austin (if that’s where you want to eventually end up) once you’re financial situation is more stable. Student loans will catch up with you soon enough and you want to have something saved up to pay them. Plus if you get finances in order you’re more likely to have a bank/lender agree to finance you for a house. Go where you have the best job options now, save some money, and work your way toward your dream home, job and life as you go.

    So there you go, my totally blunt and realistic “adult” response. LOL.

  3. Jess Says:

    And as if my last comment wasn’t long enough I forgot to mention closing costs. You have to make sure you have the money for closing costs. For us it was about 4000. The lender will need proof of the closing costs, as in bank statements showing you have that money available for closing. That would cover appraisals, inspections, title, underwriting, and all that stuff. Oh and if there are any other issues that the seller doesn’t plan to fix and you really want the house, you have to have the funds to do that, so it might cost more out of pocket initially.

    So yeah, while buying is the best option for not wasting money and being able to have your own place, unless you have cash to buy a house outright or someone willing to do it for you, have closing costs covered and a stable income it’s probably not realistic yet. You two will get there. It only took us a year or so after college, so it can be done. You just have to make sure you get jobs ASAP (good paying ones) and save save save! You two will get there. Oh and save pay stubs, keep track of when you get hired and all that so that it’s easier when you apply for a mortgage to prove employment and income.

    Yeah…and you know you can ask me questions and stuff if you want. Sorry to ambush your blog, but at least it’s helpful info, right?

  4. Jennifer Says:

    I like the layout. It is very cool. Don’t worry, when adult hits, you’ll know. I didn’t feel like I was a real adult until I was like 25ish. And by then I had two kids and had been married for years.

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