Meet Henry!

I’d like to introduce you to the newest member of the Tharp household: Henry!


My son is an eight-and-a-half-week-old Jack Russell, and the sweetest puppy imaginable.

He is still too small to get up on my bed (if he fell it would be a Henry pancake!) but you would think he had epilepsy the way he clamors to reach me when my parents come into my room.

Henry does tons of sleeping. Actually I’m looking at him right now, and he’s out. Anyone with kids, be it human or canine, knows how dangerous a baby sleeping in the daytime can be.

It’s gonna be a long night.

Say It Ain’t So!


I heard a door slam behind me and a gruff voice over a loudspeaker say, “Erin, report to Hardware!” What was happening? Where was I? And what the heck was hardware? I looked down, hoping it would provide a clue.

This must be a dream, I thought as I saw I was wearing a blue vest with “Erin” on the name tag. Not a dream—more like the scariest nightmare! I worked at Lowe’s! I realized, looking around. Yep: cement floors, industrial round lights on the ceiling. My biggest fear had come true. I thought of the trips with Dad to Home Depot growing up. They probably only lasted 45 minutes; Dad was like a kid in a candy store. But forty-five minutes to a kid is an eternity.

“Erin to Hardware!” the voice repeated, sounding annoyed. It took me at least ten minutes to find the hardware department, and I was extremely confused. Wasn’t the entire store a hardware store? Frantically, I combed the aisles. Finally finding it, I looked up and saw my first customer. The man was my father! I became nervous, and hoped my internal hysteria didn’t show. Dad didn’t accept incompetence, either in his hobby or in his career. Which were woodworking and the power tool industry. Great, I thought.

“Erin, you work here?” Unfortunately, yes. “I need seven wing nuts.” He might as well as speaking Japanese! I’d heard the phrase before, but what a wing nut was I had absolutely no idea. More to the point, I absolutely didn’t care.

My palms wet—dripping, almost—and my hands trembling, I heard a bark. What on earth? Why was there a dog in Lowe’s? This whole thing was getting weirder and weirder. One bark became two before I recognized it: it was my dog Maggie! And she wasn’t in Lowe’s—she was in my bedroom! The whole awful thing had been a nightmare!

“Erin, awake already?” Mom asked as my heart pounded in my chest. Awake? I might never sleep again!


(Photo: Courtesy