Six Months After Election Day 2016: Life Goes On

I last posted four weeks before Election Day. When a post goes viral, it becomes even more difficult than usual to publish another post. 

I purposefully stayed quiet until after Election Day. I wanted my words to stand on their own, without any misconstrued sound bites, or being used as a political pawn. Some may argue that I made myself a pawn for Trump’s opposition simply by speaking out how I did. Others have told me that I wasted an opportunity to gain national fame and to promote my views even further. I admit, I had moments when I myself wondered how I was able to turn down interviews with the BBC, nearly every national cable news outlet, and every major Iowa television, radio, and newspaper outlet. 

At the end of the day, I firmly believed that I said my piece on this blog, and that was enough. I never anticipated for J.K. Rowling to like my tweet or to be a headline on Politico. I simply wanted to do the right thing and be a voice of reason. I was still committed to my day job of working for down ballot candidates and causes. 

Once Election Day had come and gone, and I left my full time job in politics, I thought I would have a lot to say. However, the words have been tough to piece together. Of course I was disappointed in the presidential election results. Nevertheless, I wanted our new president to surprise me and do well. At the same time, I felt for the protestors in the streets. What did we expect to happen when we elected someone who had gone out of his way to put down so many groups of people? I would never condone violence, but I do support everyone’s right to speak out in the hopes of finally being heard.

I have found myself to be in the middle of the polarized ends of this nation’s politics. I am still a Republican and do not plan to switch parties. I agree with a lot of what John Kasich has to say on this topic. While I am fully aware of how the game of politics is played, and it is all centered around the power now in Trump’s hands, I am disappointed that very few have offered a different way forward for the GOP.

On the positive side, this last election activated so many people who were fairly complacent before last fall. I love this new activism and believe some good will come out of the crazy election.

Speaking out against Trump was life changing. I strained and ended a few relationships with my words. I also made new friends from all across the United States – people who reached out to a complete stranger to say “thank you,” or “way to go.” The positive comments and messages far outnumbered the negative. I even heard from people I had not talked to in years, a few who defended my honor on the news sites where people who never met me were saying nasty things about me. I will be forever grateful to everyone who reached out to me with encouraging words. 

Prior to this post, I have done three post election interviews: a Dutch newspaper, part of a panel on Iowa Press, and a forthcoming interview with German Public Broadcasting. I will let you check out those pieces if you want a more in depth look at my views nowadays. And perhaps I will elaborate here on my blog as I continue along my journey as a somewhat rogue Republican and feel the need to speak about various topics.

In the meantime, life goes on. I returned to working at Target Optical in December and love it. I also bought a new vehicle – named Rosa Parks! – in December and moved to Des Moines in February. In addition, I have found new avenues for political involvement, including being on the board of 50-50 in 2020. My puggle Percy was “with her,” and my cat Jag is disappointed that Trump has not yet built a wall to keep all of the dogs out. 

I sometimes wonder what life would be like had I not posted my last post or resigned from the Iowa Federation of Republican Women. While I would have kept others happy, I most definitely would be feeling regret right now. Call me emotional, selfish, attention seeking, or whatever else you want. I know in my heart that I did the right thing, and for the right reasons. I prayed about the decision, talked to close friends and family, and then asked myself what I wanted to tell people when talking about the 2016 election years from now. I thought specifically of my nephew and nieces. Regardless of their future views, I know I can look them in their eyes and say that I stood for what I thought was right. And if I can do it, anyone can. That’s how we start to make the world a better place: one person at a time.

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Ending this bad and unhealthy relationship

I have finally had enough with falling in line with my party and trying to support Donald Trump for President. Perhaps it’s because things finally hit close enough to home and my world experience to resonate. Or perhaps supporting Donald Trump has been a bit like being in a bad and unhealthy relationship. Part of the problem with getting out of the relationship is that you keep convincing yourself that things are going to get better. While they often briefly get better, they continue to get worse until the downs are lower than one ever thought possible.
In the meantime, you lose yourself and you lose who you are just to try to keep the peace and not rock the boat.
As President of the Iowa Federation of Republican Women, I was publicly neutral during the caucus to convention process. While there were times that I really disagreed with things Trump or even other candidates in the Republican Party said, I (mostly) kept quiet. There was the Carly for America “Faces” ad when I broke rank a bit, and I am more proud of that today than ever.
While I had my own opinions (which did not involve caucusing for Trump), I wanted to let the process play out. I had faith in the process, our party, and our people and was confident everything would work out for the best.
When it became apparent that Donald Trump would secure the nomination, I decided it was time to speak up. I did not want to do it publicly on social media and instead wanted to go through the appropriate channels. So I agonized over what to say and emailed my concerns to the president and a few in leadership positions of the National Federation of Republican Women on May 5, 2016. I told them that while I had pledged unity at our spring meeting in March, I was having grave concerns about our future nominee. As someone who has rarely voted for the nominee early on and is accustomed to voting for another choice in the general, it wasn’t an issue of me not being able to lick my wounds after the caucus and primary losses. It was something fundamentally larger than that. I simply wanted to start a conversation, and I was hoping that the Trump campaign would do some outreach so we could overcome a few of the obstacles and right some of the wrongs that had had occurred thus far.
A few questions I posed in the email:

– What do I tell my six-year-old nephew who saw Trump on TV a few months ago, turned to his mom (my sister) and said, “Mom, he is a bad man. He says bad words and wants to blow things up.”? What do I say to my sister, who was at a loss for words (and is a strong Republican)?

– How do I reassure my mom – and moms of all of our men and women serving our country – that Donald Trump will speak wisely and not get us into more conflicts with his off-the-cuff remarks?

– What do we say to women across the country who are mortified at Trump’s comments on the Howard Stern show discussing women’s breast sizes? How about so many of the other things he has said that objectify women? What message does this send to young girls?

– How do we respond when our presidential nominee has stereotyped an entire religion?

– Trump has openly insulted John McCain’s service to our country and has blamed George W. Bush for the 9/11 attacks. Are we OK with that?

I received a couple of responses basically saying to work hard for the down ballot candidates, pray for our nominee, and we are confident that he’ll turn it around and behave going into the general election. I was also encouraged to read Governor Bobby Jindal’s op-ed in the Wall Street Journal a few days later. So that’s what I did.
Then fast forward a few weeks later to a nonpartisan women’s leadership conference. I was giving a presentation about balancing work and personal life and I talked about how balancing our public life with a personal life can be tough, especially in politics when things can intertwine. I mentioned Carly Fiorina’s ad and said that I stood behind that ad and at the same time I was prepared to support Trump if he was our nominee. A few women were visibly upset with me.
And I know many more were silently upset with me for saying that I could support a candidate who had done so much wrong, even by that point at the end of May 2016. I went back to my hotel room that night and I have to admit that I had a good cry. I felt like a horrible person. I reached out to a couple of my Republican peers, and they reassured me it would be OK. I was emboldened by knowing that I am a caring individual and thought I could support Trump without necessarily condoning his words or behavior.
So I continued on and for a while – in my world at least – it went a little better. Then Trump picked Mike Pence as his running mate. While Pence is more conservative than I am personally, I met him a couple of years ago and feel good about him as a person. So that reassured me that maybe everything would be OK.
Then Kellyanne Conway became Trump’s campaign manager. I thought, “Finally, a woman is in charge! Maybe now Trump is going to apologize, and he’s going to do the things that need to be done to right the ship.” The first week with Conway in charge showed me that perhaps things were getting better.
I worked at the Iowa State Fair GOP booth on the day Mike Pence visited the Iowa State Fair. I was asked repeatedly by a staffer to wear a Trump – Pence shirt instead of my IowaFRW shirt for his arrival. After about eight times of being reminded, I put the Trump – Pence t-shirt on. I admit, it felt weird. But I thought, “If I’m going to be a team player, I have to be all in. I can do this.”
The overall response from fair goers at the fair booth was good. Toward the end of the night though, a few women came up to me and asked how I could support Trump after all of the terrible things he had said about women. I didn’t have an answer, and so in true Trump fashion, I attacked Hillary. After they walked away, I asked a couple of other people at the booth what they would’ve done. They said that I could always bring it back to the Supreme Court and electing someone who will appoint conservative justices. And I thought perhaps that was a good argument to make.
Then the debates were coming up and I thought, “OK, Hillary is going to throw everything at Trump. Here is his chance to really reset for the general.” And during the first debate, when Trump asked Hillary how she wanted to be addressed, and then said he wanted to make her happy, I was on my last thread. He was continuing his sexist behavior, right there in front of my eyes.
Still, I was hanging on, if only by a thread. It was down to a day by day roller coaster. One day, I would say that I could jump on board the Trump Train. And then the next day, I would realize there was no way I could be a team player any longer.
So when Mike Pence gave a solid debate performance, I was back on a high. Only 35 days to go. I could do this. Yes, I still had those nagging feelings. But once again, I thought, Trump is going to get better. He still has time to show us he is worthy of our party’s nomination. The first presidential debate was a warm up. Kellyanne will kick him in the rear for the next one.
And then the tapes. Ugh. I could not even process all of that for a good 24 hours. I was immediately angry. I was angry at Trump, but I was even more angry with myself. It should have been no surprise, given everything else we have been shown about Donald Trump. Nonetheless, it shocked me. I was sick to my stomach and could not see straight. Luckily it was the end of the work day, so when it was time to leave the office, I decompressed in my car for about an hour, grabbed some coffee, and wandered through a book store before driving home.
This was the final straw. I had finally taken all I could. Then I saw how people were responding on social media. I was proud of our elected officials who stood up against him.
At the same time, I was dismayed by so many strong women who were pointing fingers at Hillary and saying at least it’s not as bad as what she has done. Now I find myself making similar judgments about Trump supporters that those women from the leadership conference made about me when I said that I would support him. Now that it’s personal to me, I don’t see how someone could stand by a candidate who is saying such horrific things about someone like me. So to those women who confronted me during that evening in late May, I apologize and I thank you. I already apologized that night and I told them that it was a tough decision, as I was still struggling with it every day. But now I finally get it.
I ask you this: Who are we if we defend ourselves by saying, “Wow this is horrible, but not as horrible as that over there?” Regardless of your party or your opinions on issues, we need to have candidates who can stand on their own merit and be honorable.
This is also not an isolated incident from a decade ago. This is one of way too many times where Trump has used unacceptable words and actions. That is what makes me so sad for my party.
I should have spoken up long ago. I do not like attention. I did not want to rock the boat. I wanted to honor my commitment in my role for Republican women.
I’m not trying to excuse the multiple chances that I gave to Donald Trump. I am telling you what was going on in my head, right or wrong. I honestly thought at some point we would turn a corner, things would get better, apologies would be made, and it would all be OK.
I was wrong, and it really pains me to have to say these things less than 30 days out from the election. I am not going to talk about any of the Democrat, Independent, Green, or Libertarian Party candidates because this is not about them. This is about who our Republican nominee for President is and what we as Republicans will stand for.
I will work my heart out out for our candidates down the ballot who deserve our support. However, I cannot pretend to support our presidential nominee any longer, and I also cannot be silent. That is why this evening I have submitted my resignation as president of the Iowa Federation of Republican Women:

“To the IowaFRW Executive Committee, Board of Directors, and members,

It is with a heavy heart that I submit my resignation as your state president today. Since I cannot support Donald J. Trump for President, nor can I advocate for his election, I feel that I cannot adequately fulfill the duties of my position. While I am still a Republican and plan to work hard for our down ballot GOP candidates, I cannot fulfill our mission ‘To elect Republicans at all levels of government’ with Trump as our party’s nominee.

Additionally, I cannot support the National Federation of Republican Women President Carrie Almond’s statement (http://www.nfrw.org/news-releases-20161010) that was released yesterday on behalf of Republican women nationally, as I do not support Donald J. Trump.

I will do all I can to ensure a smooth transition in leadership, and this is truly a last resort for me. I cannot in good conscience lead this organization or look at myself in the mirror each morning if I do not take a stand against the racism, sexism, and hate that Donald J. Trump continues to promote.”

I am saddened that I even have to make this choice because I want to support all of our Republican candidates. I truly intended to do that when I was elected as president.

However, I am not being true to myself if I don’t speak up and and say something. The first candidate I worked for full-time as paid staff was Elizabeth Dole for President in 1999. Elizabeth Dole ran for president over 16 years ago, and during that campaign we fought a lot of sexism. I vowed that I would always remember the lessons that I learned from that campaign. I can never condone sexism.
I don’t claim to have the moral high ground, and I don’t claim that any of our candidates are perfect. However, there is a clear line that has been stepped across when candidates fuel racism and sexism and the darkest parts of our minds – over, and over, and over again.
I look forward to working diligently for our many fine Republican candidates and issues this year. I will not be advocating for Donald Trump or voting for him.
This is not about being conservative, moderate, liberal, establishment, or anti-establishment. This is about common decency as Americans.
As I mentioned previously, I was immediately outraged when I heard the tape. I made myself wait to respond though. I needed time to process it all, and I wanted to speak rationally. Quite frankly, I have been through so much of a roller coaster already, that I figured another couple of days to engage in a few more conversations and think through things could only help me become more at peace with my decision.
And even during my waiting period between being done with Trump and announcing it, I have been dismayed by Trump. In the same breath as saying he is sorry for what he said on the tape, he continues to defend his words as locker room banter, and then point the finger at the Clintons. During the last debate, he also made the outrageous statement that had he been President, Captain Kahn would still be alive.
So I am ending this bad and unhealthy relationship right now. I am done making excuses. I am done hoping for a change. As Condoleezza Rice so eloquently stated: “Enough!”
And since it is not good to jump into one relationship right after another has ended, I am not going to use this post to speak about whom I may vote for on November 8th. For now, I need to be single and find myself. I will decide in 28 days who I am voting for. Until then, I am going to respect everyone’s opinions and I hope you respect mine.
When I look back on this election years from now, I want to be proud of taking a stand for what I thought was right, even if I cut it a little close on the deadline. Decency transcends party loyalty. I still believe in an America where we can elect decent and honorable people to lead us.

My new adventure in politics

As of January 1, 2016, I am on a new adventure. I am serving as President of the Iowa Federation of Republican Women through the end of 2017. Having been involved with the organization on and off since age 19, I never thought I would step into the president’s role. I have always been involved in politics in some way, and others saw it coming long before I did. I always pushed it off with a, “No, that’s not for me.” or “I will help in other ways.”

When the nominating committee chair called me last year, I tried to tell her all of the reasons I should not be president: I work full time, I am sometimes involved in primaries with my day job (also in politics!), I like to challenge the process a bit too much at times, I would have high expectations for achievement, I haven’t always been the most tactful with people in the past (working on this!), etc. None of this dissuaded the nominating committee.

Then I learned who my potential teammates on the executive committee would be. I was sold. They are an amazing group of women. So I said yes.

Still, I worried. Did they really know what they were getting into? No, seriously! I’d like to think I have mad political organizing skills, but I am human and thus, not perfect.

When working behind the scenes, imperfections can be easily overlooked. When being the one front and center, they are often magnified. Don’t get me wrong: I am a confident person. In fact, Self Assurance is number four on my Strengths Finder 2.0 Assessment. But even confident people worry about doing the right thing.

And this is about so much more than me. It’s about an organization that is tied to local, state, and national level organizations. Our mission is to elect Republicans, and we have a huge election in 2016. I wanted to do the role justice.

I was elected on October 17, 2015, and then I had October 17 – December 31, 2015, to navigate the transition between President Elect and President. During this time, I decided that I would do three things to be the best leader possible:

1. Communicate openly.

2. Be authentic.

3. Work my heart out and leave everything on the field.

On New Year’s Day 2016, I sent the following email to our IowaFRW members and friends:

I hope you are enjoying a wonderful holiday season and take a little bit of time to rest up for our busy year ahead.

Thank you for all you have done, are doing, and will do to spread our message, sign up new members, and help elect Republicans.

We have a lot to be proud of! Let me ask you this: What do the first female Iowa Senate President Mary Kramer, the first female Iowa Speaker of the House Linda Upmeyer, the first female Iowa Auditor of State Mary Mosiman, and the first female U.S. Senator from Iowa Joni Ernst all have in common?

They are all Republican Women! “Republican War on Women,” my foot!

We are the party of women’s suffragists and abolitionists. We are the party who lifts people up because we know a hand up is much more respectful and sustaining than a hand out.

We can hold our heads high going into 2016 because we are doing good work.

And yet, we have so much good work to do. Our job is never done.

We must sign up new members, engage our members, and implement an aggressive ground game to turn Iowa red in 2016.

Rep. Elise Stefanik (R-NY), the youngest woman elected to Congress, recently commented on her new role within the Republican party and on the Hill in D.C. She stressed that we need to be authentic, citing how she wears patterned tights instead of traditional panty hose from time to time. She also has her own way of connecting with constituents that is unique to her.

We each bring our own uniqueness to the table. I have been told more than once that I do not look or dress like a Republican (whatever that means!). We are a diverse group of women, and we are leaders in our communities. You are who you are everywhere, so always be recruiting women and men to join us.

I signed up to join the Iowa Federation of Republican Women in Mardelle Helmke’s living room in Humboldt, Iowa. The year was 1999, and I was a campaign staffer working for Elizabeth Dole for President. The IowaFRW President at the time, Deb Foster, cornered me in that living room and would not let me leave until I filled out a membership form. I gave her every excuse, including that I didn’t have time, and you know what? She said, “That’s OK. Just join and do what you can.”

You do not need to be President of IowaFRW to recruit new members. And you don’t need to be at a political event to ask someone about joining us. I need each and every one of you. Our country needs all of us.

Take a risk. Pour your heart and soul into our cause. You will not be disappointed. Our Republican candidates are all so much better than the alternative.

My challenge to you for 2016: Familiarize yourself with our IowaFRW 2016 Goals and do one thing you have not done before to help elect Republicans.

We must provide value in addition to being present. Too much is at stake to simply do what we’ve always done in the past.

In the words of Amazon founder Jeff Bezos, Let’s “Work hard, have fun, make history.”

I look forward to meeting or re-connecting with you during my travels. Let’s do this!

Melissa Gesing
Your 2016–2017 President
Iowa Federation of Republican
Phone: 563.506.3826
Email:
melissa@iowafrw.org
Twitter:
@melissagesing

So, here it goes! I’m on Day 19 in my role. I have already experienced a few successes and survived a few mistakes. Guess what? I’m still standing and more energized than ever.

India: Go Big or Go Home

India: Go Big or Go Home

Prior to my trip to India, I had never set foot outside of the United States. I was becoming a world traveler overnight. To my surprise, I was not very tightly wound about this whole concept of going from 0 to 100 out of the gate.

I told myself when I found out I was going on the trip on December 10, 2013 – nearly a year before I was scheduled to leave for India – that I was going to embrace everything uncomfortable about it. That was easier to do than I had anticipated. The trip seemed so far off, and so I just continued on with life. Even one month out from the adventure, while I was sitting on conference calls about security and travel requirements, it still seemed forever away.

I crave change, almost too much at times. I was going to be traveling with a group, many of whom had traveled a lot internationally. I listened in on all of the pre-trip conference calls and read everything that OneSight emailed to me to prepare for the trip.

When you do something big, you have to break it down into manageable pieces.

For me, the first manageable piece was taking in all of the information thrown my way. In addition to reading the OneSight email updates, I googled Jodhpur, the city where I would be staying. I watched multiple YouTube videos. I began to buy a new Indian food each week when I went to the grocery store.

Then came the paperwork for my U.S. Passport and my India work visa. I have to admit, I waited until nearly the last minute to get all of these things processed. I think part of this was due to my suddenly laid back approach to this process, and the fact that I have passed multiple secret service background checks during my years in politics when I worked presidential events and had a Vice President come to my office.

The U.S. Passport proved to be an easier process than the India work visa. I take for granted that I live in a country that is not physically surrounded by so much turmoil.

The next thing was packing. I actually packed light. I did not pack every little thing that was recommended, such as a flashlight. Yes, I am such a risk taker! 😉 I am pretty proud of how well I packed, since I did not take a lot and I had never traveled out of the U.S. before this. The planner in me was somewhat on autopilot, as I did not even take my suitcase out until a few days before I left. And I bought my final item – an outlet adapter – the day before I left home.

While I did a pretty good job of packing for my first time traveling overseas, I could have used a lot more paper products. Instead, I confiscated as much toilet paper and as many napkins as I possibly could from our hotel room and dining area to tie me over and to prevent me from blowing my nose like a farmer. The dry northwest India winter air did a number on my sinuses. I was miraculously back to normal within 48 hours of arriving back in the U.S.

And then all of a sudden, the time had arrived. Once I was at the airport, the rest was out of my hands. I was anxious and relieved all at the same time when I checked in at the Moline airport. With each leg of my trip to India, I became less anxious. I was getting closer to the destination. It was really happening! I was going to India! I had such a laid back approach because the idea of going to India was so big that my mind just shoved it to the side. Then the anxiety of not forgetting anything nagged at me for a few days leading up to the trip (when I finally decided to start packing). The entire journey to India still seems surreal to me in some ways. I knew no one going on the trip with me. I had not even met any of these people in person prior to meeting them in Newark, New Jersey. Thanks to a crazy broken exit sign on our plane scheduled to take us from Newark to Delhi, we had an extra night in the states to “bond” while we waited for the next flight on the following night.

Everything was already new once I reached Newark: the people, the airport, the whole international flying experience, you name it. I did take comfort in the familiarity of Starbucks. 😉 I was so excited that I could barely sleep during our short night/day at the hotel in Newark. And when the plane FINALLY took off from Newark, I took a deep breath and pinched myself for about the 20th time since leaving home.

The truth is, you can’t really prepare yourself for the really big stuff. That’s because going big requires a big leap of faith that everything will be just fine.

My journey across the globe to help people see

My journey across the globe to help people see

Three months ago today, I returned from the trip of a lifetime. I was part of a OneSight global clinic in India.

While I journaled regularly while in India, once I started my long journey home, it was difficult to put pen to paper. Thus, it was even more challenging to think about how I would even begin to blog about my trip to India.

I fully intended to blog while I was in India, but alas, the internet and wi-fi there is spotty. So I stuck to my once or twice daily 140 words or less posts on Twitter and Facebook. And thankfully I had a paper journal that my dear friend Beth had given to me specifically for the trip.

So here I am, three months later, finally starting to share everything I saw and felt while experiencing life on the other side of the world. It will take multiple posts to cover everything I want to share. I somehow managed to condense my thoughts and photos down into a twenty minute presentation for the Durant Lioness Club on St. Patrick’s Day just a few days ago, so I will kick off my series of India posts with a small section from that presentation titled “My journey across the globe to help people see.”

By the numbers:

360 days of counting down

40 people from 8 countries on our clinic team

20 of those people flying from the United States

2 – 15 hour flights, in addition to the domestic connecting flights

11.5 hour time difference

1 broken exit sign on the departing plane

1 – 24 hour delay due to cancelled flight after broken sign

10 clinic days

432 near accidents while riding to and from anywhere (animals, other vehicles, you name it)

23 photos taken with random Indians because they asked me to pose with them

7 compliments on my nose ring from Indian women

1 almost glorious meal at McDonalds in Jodhpur (no beef and no ice!)

956 times I told myself how thankful I am to live in the United States

5,000 patients seen, with most receiving Rx eyewear

5,000+ pairs of sunglasses donated and distributed

7 offers to refill my plate each time the villagers fed us lunch

321 “namaste” greetings

3: the number of people we were required to have in groups when exploring the city of Jodhpur solo – and my native New Yorker friend Helen actually counted as 2 people 😉

36 hours spent traveling to get home

5 days to fully recover from jet lag

1 redhead whose life has been changed forever

indian girl

I look forward to sharing more of my journey with you!

Percy the Puggle

Six months ago today, my life was forever changed. This single gal adopted a dog.
I realized I really was ready for a dog in my life when my heart ached because my brother Mitch found a home (not mine) for his little daschund Toby the Tank. I had been his back up plan, and I had no idea how excited the idea of being a dog mama made me until my first potential pup went to another *great* home.
Getting a dog is a huge step for someone like me. While I have been Jagger Q’s mama for twelve years, Jag the cat is very self sufficient. This was a huge step.
I started searching various shelters online when I began to get the feeling that I would not become Toby’s mom. I had fallen in love with pugs a while back and thought a black pug named Ozzy would go well with my rock star cat Jagger. As I perused the websites, I really tried to keep an open mind. I knew that if I kept an open heart, the right dog and I would find each other.
And then, there he was: a puggle by the name of Percy at the Muscatine Humane Society.

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While cute, this little one did not look too happy in his mug shot. On May 17, 2014, my mom and I went to meet Percy. He trotted out of the back room and was pulling me to the front door as soon as I had a hold of his leash. We went out to the fenced in yard and played for a bit. Percy let me play with him for a little bit and had a sweet disposition. Yet he also frolicked on his own, telling me, “It’s all good. You are awesome and I am not going to push you into this. I am a cool pup and can go with the flow.”
I was immediately in love and decided to take him home the next day. This way I could make a PetSmart run, sleep on it, and see how cool he could be two days in a row.
I officially adopted Percy on Sunday afternoon, May 18, 2014. As we rode to my sister’s house, I nearly started crying out of pure joy and love for this little guy.

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Percy immediately won over my family and behaved so well. We stayed overnight in Durant and then went to our home in West Des Moines the next day. He and Jag were unsure of one another, which I totally expected after seeking out lots of advice about integrating a dog and a cat.
I was a nervous and tired wreck during my first few weeks of being a new dog mom. I wondered if Percy and Jag would ever tolerate one another as I partitioned off my apartment and had to plan movements from one section of my place to another. This way-out-of-shape chick had sore, blistered feet after walking the puggle a few times. I stuck with the twice daily long walks though, and now they are no big deal. In fact, I love our walks.
Percy was my new travel companion and was the perfect passenger during a road trip to Northeast Iowa just a week after I adopted him. He still loves car rides and snores in my lap once we hit the interstate. I love treating Percy to drive through goodies: puppy lattes at Starbucks, frozen custard at Culver’s, and apple slices at McDonalds. Percy’s other favorite foods include carrots, peanut butter, red peppers, and cheese, amongst various dog treats.
Percy is great around kids, and he is distrustful of many adult men, especially if they are taller and/or have facial hair. This makes me wonder what happened to this sweet puggle prior to the Muscatine Humane Society finding him trotting down the road in December 2013. The vet located a hole on his floppy ear and explained that someone had pierced his ear at some point. It is probably best that I do not know about Percy’s past life. This way we can simply have fun and be thankful that we found one another.
I was unsure about Percy’s name for a few brief moments, when I thought about other possibilities. The shelter ladies named him so well though. Percy just seems to fit him, and he responds well to it. And….hearing Lucy and Gabriel say his name is the cutest thing ever.
That leads me to just how awesome my dog is. Percy is so good with Gabriel, Lucy, and Amelia. I tell them that Percy is their dog too, as they do not have a dog and they just adore one another.

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Meanwhile, Percy and Jag have a love/hate relationship. Here is the recently discovered loving side:

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Note: This is still the exception. It’s amazing to hear a cat growl. Only one plant tipped over and one set of blinds ruined thus far…..
Jag, Percy, and I recently moved to Brooklyn. We are adjusting well so far. I have learned that Percy is a great mouse catcher and while he made a great city dog, he is an even better small town dog. Percy loves to go into the office with me, especially when he gets to play with his girlfriend Waffles.

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Most recently, Percy dressed up as Batman for Halloween. He was such a good sport, and now this puggle mama is tempted to buy some sweaters for this cold winter weather.

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I could go on and on about Percy Power Gesing, and I guess I will just have to post some more puggle stories. Yes, I am using my puggle as an excuse for not blogging for so long. Six months in, and this rescue mama is finally getting back into her “me time” routine.

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Six months ago I had no idea how much this little 15 pound package of floppy ears, a curly tail, and lots of puggle snores could steal my heart.

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🙂

No TV-DVDs-Netflix Conclusion

I made it until May 16, 2014 with no TV. I had an appointment at Bob Brown Chevrolet on Friday, May 16th and the TV was on in the waiting room. I decided to watch it.

Then I visited my family in Durant that weekend. I could have resisted the TV, but I instead decided, “When in Rome, do as the Romans.” My family does not watch much TV at all, but it still counts.

I arrived home that following Monday with a puggle in tow. Introducing a dog and a cat require great patience, along with the help of some wine and TV.

Sure, I could have been stronger. I will likely try this social experiment again when I do not decide to bring home a new dog to my eleven year old cat who has always been an only child. (Stay tuned for more insights on dogs and cats living together in a future post.)

I went without Netflix until May 24th and pretty much made it the entire month with no DVDs. My DVD exception was putting in “Monsters, Inc.” for my friend’s daughter to watch when they visited me on May 28th.

I briefly dreaded having to post this conclusion, and then I remembered that I did this for myself and no one else. I went 15 days without TV, 23 days without Netflix, and 27 days without DVDs. Not too shabby. I had nothing to prove, and I will always be a work in progress. My sister and brother-in-law asked why I had not posted in a while, and the delay had nothing to do with shame. I have been busy parenting Jag and Percy through this crazy adjustment period. And I may have been procrastinating while watching TV. 😉