Okay, I’m a little late, what with the spending the weekend at my parents house, with additional visitors, (I love you all, but still, ugh), trying to convince a little dog that the world isn’t going to end just because there’s thunder and/or fireworks (ugh. Also: July is a tough month for Lulu), trying to do five days worth of homework in a day and a half (see: spending the weekend with family and friends. Also, ugh) and my washing machine breaking. (expletives considerably stronger than ugh. At least things didn’t flood) So, I hope both of my American readers had a better holiday weekend than I did, and I hope that the one outside the US simply had a good weekend–you know, because it’s Wednesday now…
This is from an advertisement for a local grocery store. I’m choosing to believe that whoever put this ad together knew full well what random quotes do to a phrase, and truly meant those quotation marks around “safe” and “sane”.
After all, “safe” and “sane” fireworks are the best kind, right?
Please, tell me. I don’t remember–I’ve spent the last three Fourth of July’s trying with various degrees of success to peel a nervous little dog from off my face.
I’ll readily admit that I’m not the smartest person in the world, but I know that acting in anger only leads to more anger, retaliation, and the next thing you know the Navy SEALs are sent in, when the whole situation could have been avoided with simple words.
After giving myself a day and a half to rage about the lolcat, (also, here) I came up with several revenge plans–which are much funner to plan than to enact, especially if you’ve got enough foresight to envision the consequences–then made a decision as to what I should do. And, when I’m trying to smooth things over, what I do usually involves baking.
Today, I made a batch of bread, and left one of the loaves on the lolcat’s doorstep, along with this letter:
Please accept this homemade whole wheat bread, and my apologies. I feel like there is an animosity between us that, as neighbors, we can ill afford. I am sorry that my dogs are noisy at times, but I want to make my position known.
I have spent most of my life battling severe emotional disorders—I was diagnosed with major depressive disorder at the age of ten, and my depression often manifests itself in the form of anxiety. I have spent a lifetime talking to therapists and trying to find the right combination of drugs that would get me, if not to normal, than at least to functional. Over the years I’ve learned that acting in the heat of emotion never results in the outcome desired, so I’ve allowed myself a couple of days to calm down, and collect my thoughts and feelings. I wish I was a brave enough person to explain all this in person, but I am not.
I share this with you not as an excuse, but as an explanation of how important Max and Lulu are. It’s been three years since they’ve come to live with me. In that time, I’ve been able to completely cease both psychotherapy and drug treatment—and it’s because of my dogs. On my very worst days, the days when I don’t want to get out of bed, I still have to, because Max and Lulu need me. They calm me down when I’m anxious. They cheer me up when I’m sad. They have quite literally saved my life—when I lost my job last year, I was suicidal, but I couldn’t abandon my dogs. The simple fact that before I could do anything to harm myself, I needed to provide for their care and welfare prevented me from doing anything rash.
Max and Lulu were adults when I acquired them. Their previous owners had done an excellent job with most of their training, but socialization was lacking. However, as the previous owners live on a side street in a quiet, rural town the fact that they would bark at passing vehicles or pedestrians wasn’t as big of a deal.
When they came to live with me three years ago, everything seen and heard outside the windows would set them off. Passing vehicles, people on foot, the roosters in the pen to the east, the trains, the birds…everything. I spent a lot of time teaching them to be apartment dogs, and have gotten them to the point where they only bark when they see, smell or hear another dog, when people are talking loudly outside, or when Lulu wants someone to come pay attention to her. And yes, I realize that that seems like a long list, but consider how much noisier they would be if they barked at every car that drove by, or every person going to check their mail.
I have tried to be a good neighbor when it came to Max and Lulu, and I honestly thought I was succeeding until a couple of weeks ago. I realize that living in a condo complex like Lakeridge comes with challenges, like hearing the neighbors dog’s bark, or crying babies, or loud music, for instance. I assumed that everybody else did too. I’m not really sure how to proceed at this point. On one hand, I’m angry at the idea of having to run the air conditioner when it’s in the 60s outside, because if I leave the glass door or windows open the dogs might bark and be annoying—I’m still looking for a job, and am on a very fixed income, and I don’t want to pay a cent more in utilities than I have to—but on the other hand, I don’t want you to be angry at me, or my dogs.
Likewise, keeping them contained isn’t an option. I know you didn’t believe me when I tried to explain this on Sunday, but being confined to the crate doesn’t stop the barking, rather, it intensifies it, and adds digging, growling and howling. The crate lives in my bedroom—directly above your bedroom. If the dogs are keeping you up at night, (and if they are, why don’t you tell me that, rather than the vague “annoying”?) restricting them to the crate would only make things worse. Furthermore, I don’t feel good about restricting their access to water at any time, especially as the weather warms up. You said that it’s not that hard. I say it’s not that easy.
Max and Lulu are my world, but I know to you they are only yappy little dogs. Imagine if someone was leaving vulgar notes on your door complaining about your sweet baby, and perhaps you can understand why this has upset me so much Please know that we are trying, and we are getting better. In the mean time, please be patent with us.
I tried to be gentle. I tried to show understanding and compassion, and above all, I used vowels. I also signed my name.
I don’t know what’s going to happen next. I hope that we can put this whole business behind us. I’m afraid that it won’t be that easy, though.
edit:The neighbor that I thought was the lolcat came to return the bread. She’s not the one who left the note. On the plus side, I have a new friend, and an ally in this whole issue. On the downside, I’m horribly embarrassed, and have no idea who the Lolcat actually is. So… now, I don’t know what to do.
Is happiness an inherent right? As an American, I’ve totally been indoctrinated to the idea that “Life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness” are inalienable to all men.
So, pursuing happiness is okay, but what happens when I find it–or don’t, as the case may be? Is my potential happiness worth more or less than another persons? Should I abandon what makes me happy, or at least what has the potential to make happy to allow someone else to find their happiness? I think the answer to that is a resolute “yes” if my happiness willfully causes someone else pain, but what about otherwise?
This all stems from my neighbor the lolcat. She struck again yesterday, but this time, I caught her at it. And, apparently, I can’t have my windows open, or let the dogs have free range of their home because they might bark, and that’s annoying to her. Never mind their mental or physical well-being, or mine, not to mention energy consumption because I have the air conditioner on when it’s 60° F outside. If she mentioned sleep, or disturbing her baby, I wouldn’t be so upset by it all, but no, what she says is “annoying”.
On the whole, this has put me in a bigger funk than it strictly should have. I don’t like inconveniencing other people, and the thought that what brings me the most happiness on a regular basis–to whit, the dogs–causes someone else annoyance bothers me a great deal. I don’t know how to deal with this situation, I hate that my neighbor has had this much power over me, especially when she didn’t have the balls to come and discuss her issues face to face. At the same time, I realize that I do have neighbors that I share common walls with, and don’t want to annoy them any more than possible.
I do have to wonder, though, if the lolcat complains about the other children, or the loud music, or the trains, or the roosters, or the traffic or the other dogs or any of the other noises that comes from living in an apartment complex conveniently located to both campus and the freeway. And is the random, loud sobbing of a grown woman better or worse than a barking dog?
In less whiney news, I’ve started gathering inventory for an Etsy shop. I’m still not sure it’s going to pan out–I’m working out shipping and pricing and the like. Still, I figure it won’t hurt (much) to try.
One of my neighbors is a LOLcat.
Shocking, I know, but how else would you explain the note left on my door today?
We’ve got the cutesy handwriting and the purposeful misspellings (unless the author of this note honestly can’t spell “please”, “night” or “thanks”, in which case, she has bigger problems than a barking Lulu). The random swearing and the passive-aggressive nature has me confused, though. These weren’t qualities that I normally attributed to LOLcats.
If we were to look at option number two, I’d almost think that this was a Mormon schoolgirl who knows she’s not going to get in trouble for swearing at a stranger if she remains anonymous. I think she failed to take into account the fact that the random swearing and the misspelled words make me much less likely to take this seriously than if she had taken a respectful tone.
So, to my neighbor who doesn’t have the courage to face me herself:
I’m sorry about Lulu. I’ve been working on keeping her quiet for the past three years. It has gotten much better, I promise, although I do acknowledge that we have a long way to go yet.
I would like to keep her inside all day, but there are times when I can’t be home to take her for a walk before she needs to relieve herself. This is the reason I have the dog door onto my balcony, so she can go outside, in the little yard I had built for her, and not on my carpet.
Again, I apologize for her noisy behavior. We are working on it. I wish you had told me who you are so I can explain this to you in person, and not on my obscure blog that you probably aren’t going to read.
So, a few months back, I re-arranged my bedroom. Before that time, the dog crate was at the foot of my bed, and I had taught the dogs that they could jump from the floor to the top of the crate, then from the crate to the bed, thus, saving me from having to completely wake up in the middle of the night when Lulu goes investigating, then comes back and wants to get back in the bed, but is too lazy/thinks she can’t get all the way up herself.
Lately, Lu has been waking me up in the middle of the night. A lot. So I decided that however awkward and weird it looks, I needed to put the crate somewhere where the dogs could use it to get on the bed.
Funny thing, when you don’t ask a dog to do something for five months, they forget how to do it.
So, all day, we’ve been working on re-learning how to use the crate to get on the bed. Like the first time around, Max got it in one go. Lulu… not so much…
And just when I was congratulating Max on his cleverness, he started growling at the video of himself.
It’s a good thing they’re cute.
The problem with knowing that you are a hypochondriac is that it’s often difficult to know where there’s an actual medical emergency, or if your worst case scenario drive is kicking in.
This morning, for instance. I ran down to my car to get the crock pot that has been sitting in the trunk since Easter (the trunk of my car is a little like a black hole. Once something goes in, there’s a good chance it’ll never come out again). The dogs were acting like they needed to come out too, so I brought them along to attend to their own needs.
Whatever happened to Lulu happened while I had my back to her, so I don’t know what it was. All I know is that I turned around, and she wasn’t using one of her front paws. I tried to examine it to see if there was a piece of glass or a splinter of a bee sting in it, but she whimpering and crying and wouldn’t let me look at it.
After picking her up the first time, she didn’t want to walk (not that I can blame her, poor girl,) so I ended up carrying both her and the crock pot upstairs. Upon reaching the safety of our house, she relaxed a bit, but was still not using her paw, and trying to follow me around while I got ready for class, with a “mommy make it better” look on her face.
After watching her for a bit, I decided that I needed someone a little less hysterical than myself, so I called both Mom and Sis to ask for advice–I didn’t want to call a veterinarian because I knew they’d say to bring her in. Sis said take her to the vet just to be sure, but maybe wait until after class. Mom reminded me of my limited funds, and counseled waiting for a few days. While I was on the phone, Lulu started putting more weight on her foot, and moving around a little better–even if she was still whimpering and limping.
So, off to class, then back home again. And guess who greeted me at the front door happy and bouncy and ready to play?
Her paw looks fine, it’s not swollen at all, and she’s letting me handle it.
So, I have no idea what happened, except that I had my own little mini freak-out. All in all, Lulu handled the whole situation better than I did.
And Max just sat back and laughed at the both of us.
It’s funny how inspiration works, when I was sans computer, and thus couldn’t update my blog, I was getting all sorts of ideas for posts. Upon getting it back, however, my brilliant ideas seemed less brilliant.
I spent yesterday fighting. Mostly with myself, which was a bit odd, because I was fighting for myself. See, I’m the kind of person who doesn’t like to ask for help. (Really, B-I-L and Jon. I feel horrible when I ask you to help me) Even if the person I need help from is paid to help me (store clerks, for instance) I’m hesitant to ask for help.
I finally made it in to see my advisor yesterday, except, she wasn’t my advisor. Really, I shouldn’t be surprised, that’s how this whole going back to school thing has been for me. Still, she was able to take the hold of my record so hypothetically, I can register for classes–after waiting so long that there’s a very good chance I’m not going to get in to the classes I need.
But, I got my bus pass figured out, and I know who my advisor is now, and, after the system recognizes that my major has been changed to the one I actually want, and I still can’t register for classes I know who to talk to.
Today was destined to be a bad day when, after finally getting to sleep around three, I was awakened two hours later because Lulu was scared of the thunderstorm that was rolling through. And two hours after that because she needed to go outside. Which pretty much describes my day.
I was getting ready to write a post yesterday, when my computer died. I’m grateful that my sister married a computer engineer–even if he was camping, and therefore unavailable at the time.
I managed to get a hold of Sis and the B-I-L, and B-I-L agreed to take a look at my computer, agreeing with me that it was probably the power cord. But not tonight–they were on their way to a play that the B-I-L’s sister is in. And so, I was preparing myself to face a weekend sans computer. Again.
But, I started thinking, and remembered that I had a surge-protector that I could attach to the power cord, and it would light up if it was getting power. So I did that. It spat and flickered, but eventually, lit up, and my computer then told me it was plugged in, and therefor usable. All I had to do, apparently, was threaten it with the B-I-L.
With all this drama I don’t remember what I was going to write about yesterday. But it was going to be good. Really.
This morning, I loaded the dogs into the car, and took them to the vet’s office to get shot. Er, I mean, to get their vaccinations–rabies and distemper and whatnot. Apparently, they haven’t been to the vet enough. Max was anxious, but it was more being in a strange place, surrounded by strange people and animals, including the cat next to us with an abscess that even I could smell. Lulu was having fun making friends with the other people, dogs, and yes, even the abscessed cat. She would have gone exploring back where the exam rooms are if she wasn’t on leash.
I asked the vet-tech who gave the shots about Lulu’s ear, and told her what I was doing for it. She said what I was doing was good, but told me something better to do. Which means, when the dogs get their hair cut on Thursday, then Lulu’s going to be shaved. To like an eighth of an inch all over, so I can get to her ear better. Lulu’s been shaved before, and, I have to say, a bald shih tzu is not a beautiful shih tzu. Pictures will follow. I promise.
My new roommate has started to move in, and I have mixed feelings about it. I like her, I really do–but I’m not really excited about having a roommate, extra income aside. But, she’s outgoing, and talkative, and has engaged me in more conversation in the past two days than I’ve had in a week. She’s going to be good for me.
And, if the cute boys who’ve been helping her move keep coming around, then all more the better, right?
The good news is, what with being without a computer, and hiding in my room to stay out of the way while the roommate moves in, I’ve gotten a lot of reading done. I’m not caught up, by any means, but it’s a good start. I always forget how much I love reading until I lose myself in a good book.
I figured something out: If you want to cheer up, you should do something that you enjoyed doing as a kid. Like building a fort.
One of the things that sold me on my condo was these awesome shelves that a previous owner had installed in the bedroom–great storage for books without cluttering up the floor with an actual bookcase. For most of the time that I’ve lived here, I’ve had my bed next to a wall with a short little shelf.
When I thought I was getting a desktop computer, I moved my bed to the wall under the long shelves, and ever since then, I’ve wanted to drape sheets off the shelves to make a fort.
Here’s how my bed normally looks: Notice the beautiful quilt and pillowcase my mom made, and gave me for Christmas. And the totally awesome shelves. And my book collection. Doesn’t this call for a fort?
I went to a thrift store today, and purchased some sheets that were bigger than the twin size I have around my house (That’s not the only reason I went to the thrift store, but since I was there…)
After washing them in hot water, I carefully suspended the sheets, using my books and book ends as weights. This is what I got from the outside:
Okay, so it doesn’t look so great, BUT forts don’t have to look great, right?
The inside is much better, AND has the added benefit of confusing the heck out of shih tzus:
The part you can’t see: When Lulu can’t figure out how to get down, she starts playing with my toes.
My fort even has a TV:
Okay, I admit, I’m about 18 years past the point when people usually stop building forts out of blankets and sheets, but dangit, I haven’t stopped giggling since I started this little project.
I’m going to have to do some experimenting, to make sure that books and bookends won’t come down if the sheets get tugged on too hard. If that works, I’m totally going to leave it up overnight.
* NOTE: I love my dogs. I actually do try to make their lives easier. I don’t confuse them on purpose very often. A confused shih tzu is entertaining, but a content shih tzu is a great cuddler, and I prefer the cuddles.
My sister is always saying that she wishes I could put a “like” button on my blog. Sis, I looked, but I don’t like the options that WordPress has. I have learned, though, that I can automatically have my blog posts post directly to my Facebook wall, and, if I did everything correctly, this should be the first post to do so. Of course, now, you do realize that you are now under obligation to click the “like” button for all my blog posts from here on out.
Today is my Bro-in-law’s birthday. I was feeling sorry for myself a few days ago, so foolishly I volunteered to babysit while he and my sister went on a date to celebrate. Of course, it couldn’t just be for a few hours in the evening. He wanted to meet with his family for lunch, then take my sister out on the town tonight. E is sick and had been fussy all morning, so I watched him while my sister took G on a picnic with the bro-in-law. When they got back, I insanely suggested that G and I take Lulu, Max, and G’s dog Polly to PetSmart. There’s at least four things in that sentence that would prevent a peaceful trip.
Actually, it wasn’t that bad, at least, once I got the kid and the dogs loaded into the car, and they all figured out where they wanted to sit. Before that happened, though, I said out-loud to myself, “I’m crazy to be doing this.”
G heard me, and answered, “Don’t be crazy.” That’s the best advice I’ve ever gotten. G also kept insisting “Polly is my dog. She needs to sit next to me.” Well, next was a good idea. Polly though she needed to sit ON G. I should probably mention that Polly is a mostly corgi mutt–about thirty-five pounds. G is tall, but really skinny, and weighs in at about 40 lbs. Polly thought that G’s car seat made a great step to look out the window on the way to the store. Fortunately, G thought that was hilarious.
When we got to PetSmart, G insisted on holding Polly’s leash. I was leery, because I know that Polly is stronger than he is, but I also know how good she is with him, so I let him keep track of her. They were so cute together. They would run up and down the aisles together, and when I lost track of them, I could call “Here Polly!”. Polly, as she should be, is more loyal to G than to me, so she wouldn’t come, but she also wouldn’t budge from wherever she happened to be until I found them.
I took a picture, but the camera on my phone isn’t very good, and they were about 20 feet ahead of me when this picture was taken. Still–can’t you just see how much these two enjoy spending time together? And fortunately, the drive back to G’s house involved much less three-year-old being squished by a dog.
A few hours after I got back from the store, my sister went to pick up the bro-in-law from work, then go out to dinner. I stayed to watch the hyperactive ball of…hyperactivity that is G, and the sick baby.
This is where the title of this post comes in. My sister is a superhero. She takes care of G and E all day. Every single day.
The more I thought about it, the more I decided that ALL Mommies are superheros. Especially the Mommies who don’t get enough or any help from the Daddies, and/or have to work all day at a job, then come home and take care of the kids. A single day watching those two–and half the time I only had one of them, and I’m worn out, and asking myself why I want one of my own.
I grumble about Max and Lulu being four-legged two-year olds, but I can also count on them to fall asleep after 20 minutes of hyperactivity. Or lying around doing nothing. Whatever. I can also leave the house when they get to be too much, and not worry about them.
So, yay for Mommies! Yay for Daddies, too! Yay for all those who selflessly give of themselves to make this world a better place, for us and for the future generations!
Y’all wear me out. I’m going to bed now.
Apparently, I didn’t do the Facebook thing correctly, because my blog isn’t showing up there. Oh well, I’ll keep working at it. Sooner or later, I’m bound to figure it out.