It’s funny how quickly life changes. I don’t realize it’s curving in a different—and often very unexpected—direction, until I’m halfway to my temporary destination. It’s been busy lately, which is why I’ve not posted. But, busy is good for me because it keeps me out of my head. My boss at work always says we have to post a new (work) blog every week—without fail. So, I do. And, while it’s not difficult to do that at work, it’s not always so easy to maintain that type of consistency in my personal life because, well, I don’t have to. That, and, I spend all day writing at the office so when I come home I worry that my personal blog posts will feel forced.
Today, I felt like writing a post, but most days there’s just too much to do. I guess you make time for what’s important, and while I love to share my personal adventures (or misadventures) with a few friendly readers on the Internet, it’s not always my first priority. Maybe that will change after the wedding and after we go to the “moon”. (That’s what Eddie calls it…we’re bringing him along.) You know you’re a dog lover when you decide to bring one of them on your honeymoon.
Speaking of my little fury angels from Vishnu, they’ve been in rare form lately. Eddie misses LB, who’s traveling for work right now. I can tell he misses her because he goes outside and howls at the moon every night. Maybe he thinks she’s already there, waiting for him. I’ve discovered that he has a new favorite movie too. In case you don’t know about Eddie and his love for the television, let me explain.
Eddie, my border collie, is the only dog I’ve ever seen watch an entire show or movie from start to finish. If you don’t believe me, I will post a video of him at the end of this post. It’s weird to see him sit there like a child, as close to the television as he can get and watching intently. He will watch anything, including the news. But, when I say, “Eddie, do you want to watch your show-show?” He gets really excited and barks at me until I turn on his movie. I used to put The Dog Whisperer on for him, because he loved to watch the other dogs. Plus, I secretly hoped he would continue his training regimen on his own. But, then I realized I don’t particularly like Caesar Milan’s training methods so I switched to Victoria Stillwell’s It’s Me Or the Dog series. He likes them both equally. Although his training hasn’t advanced since the advent of his television adventures, he has his shows timed perfectly.
Eddie knows that when my phone alarm goes off at 7:20 am, it’s time to go. Once he hears that chime, he knows it’s my signal to leave for work (I don’t have the best time management skills so I have to improvise). He also knows that once I leave for work, I will put on his show. But, one thing always bothered me: his shows aren’t long enough. I’m away from the dogs for several hours, and with Lindsey traveling for work, they need as much mental stimulation as possible…especially Eddie. We do a lot of activities after work and on the weekends. But I know he gets bored throughout the day because the bay window is covered in dog spit and paw prints. He must be barking at the cars driving by all day long, which makes me sad.
So, I searched and searched for a fast-paced movie with lots of main characters of the furry variety. He’s not so much into cartoons, or I would have opted for 101 Dalmatians. But, my supervisor at work—we’ll call her Clementine for the sake of anonymity—thinks the marketing department should dress like the Dalmatians for Halloween this year. Maybe our boss—we’ll call him Johnny Walker for the sake of anonymity—will dress up like Cruella Deville. I doubt it though. He’s very masculine. Either way, I digress. I finally found the perfect movie for Eddie to watch—and let me tell you; he will watch it over and over all day long. He just thinks it’s that awesome. The movie is called Air Bud, and it’s about a litter of golden retriever puppies that have been personified for the enjoyment of children and border collies around the world.
I’ve never seen the movie myself, only parts of it. But the puppies may or may not save the world. You’ll have to ask Eddie if you want to know how it ends…or just watch the movie yourself. Anyway, I bought it on I-tunes for $9.99, and it’s the best/worst investment ever. I turn it on every morning before I leave for work and it provides him with a solid two hours of entertainment before Patty comes over to let them out. (Because we have a fenced in yard now….YAY!!!)
Here’s the only problem: now that Eddie loves Air Bud, he destroys every pillow within a 2,000-square foot radius. If I hide them, he finds them. If I bury them under blankets or push them behind the couch, he digs them out. He loves pillows. Most of all, he loves to shake the pillows intermittently throughout the movie—seemingly whenever something exciting happens. In dog translation, that means whenever a dog barks or howls or makes any other realistic animal sound. And, when they talk like humans, he watches intently like he’s just waiting for the right moment to find another one of our fucking pillows and rip it to shreds. You’d think I’d learn my lesson and stop turning on Air Bud every morning. But, it’s just too hard for me to deprive him of his favorite movie. It’s the thing he loves most, next to LB, car rides, sticks, whole tree branches, the bay window, the Conestoga River, laying on top of the hot tub, and herding anything that moves.
So, every day when I come home from work, I greet the dogs using Caesar Milan’s “no touch, no talk, no eye contact” technique—it’s one of the very few Caesar training tips I’ve adopted into my daily routine. Then, I make my way into the living room and brace myself for what I might find strewn across the floor, couches, and sometimes even throughout the entire house: pillow feathers, pillow fluff, pillow fabric, and sometimes even a stick he’s brought inside from the back yard. I clean up the remnants from his Air Bud adventure, and then I feed the herd.
Dinnertime is probably my least favorite part of the day. It gives me anxiety, so LB usually does it for me because she gets home much earlier. But, she’s not here for another week, and I haven’t yet taught Eddie how to do it because I don’t trust him with the other dog’s food. So, lately, I try to get it over with as quickly as possible. Having the type of anxiety that I have makes it difficult when I come home. Someone very intelligent recently told me that the reason feeding the dogs causes me so much anxiety is because I expend all of my emotional energy at work, so when I come home every little thing feels like a huge task. It was some really awesome insight into my psyche because it helped me to realize that I need more balance in my life. Since then, I’ve started planning out every little detail of the day before I get home. I think about it compulsively for the entire hour it takes me to drive home. UNLESS, of course, I listen to the new Shovels and Rope album, Swimmin’ Time, which is EASILY my favorite album of all time. Like, it’s the best. It’s so good; it’s musical Valium.
Once I get home, I have to follow my plan step by step, which goes EXACTLY like this: open the front door; get pummeled by dogs; greet them with no touch, no talk, no eye contact; open the back door to let them out; pick up pillow shreds; retrieve Jack from the doggy-motel and physically put him in the yard (he hates cool weather); make four doggy-dinners; place them strategically in their designated “eating spots” to avoid any fights or food harboring; and then monitor as they eat so I can catch the little ones before they try to go to the bathroom in the house. Why are little dogs so damn stubborn?
Once they’re finished eating, which happens in this exact order: Eddie, Riley, Lee-C, Jack—I let them outside one by one and sit on the deck to make sure they all go to the bathroom. Lately, I’ve been lighting a fire in the fire pit on the deck and playing the guitar out there while they run around and play and dig and destroy the yard.
But, sometimes we play “sticky” or “act like a wolf” or “hide and find” (I like that better than hide-and-go-seek because it’s an internal rhyme and it doesn’t take nearly as long to say.)
Sometimes Lee-C won’t eat dinner, go outside, or play games because all she wants is to sit on me like a five-pound lap dog. That’s annoying because she’s more like 40 pounds. It does, however, make me glad she’s not a bull mastiff or a great dane. That would suck. Not that I don’t like those breeds because they’re wonderful. But Lee-C thinks she’s my human child and wants to be as physically near me as possible. Like, I can’t move from one room to another without tripping over her as she runs beside me or gets under my feet. It’s super annoying, but she really is so fucking cute. LB calls her my little velcro dog. I call her lots of things…sometimes I call her my little angel, other times I call her Lucifer. It just depends on her mood…and mine. But, I always love her.
The truth is, I love all of these damn dogs. I know it’s obvious, but it kind of surprises me still to this day. My mom always says four dogs is too many. And, in many ways, she’s right. It is a lot of work, a lot of anxiety, a lot of grief, and very expensive. But, every second of every single day of my life these dogs give me something I’ve never had before…I don’t know what that something is, but I know it’s there. It’s like four little spots were wide open in my heart and now they’re filled. Make that six. Ok, seven. My dogs, LB, Donn C., and PKeen…it’s like I stumbled across this perfect little life that I never even knew I wanted. I mean, who wouldn’t love LB, Patty, Donnie, or my awesome dogs? They’re all very special. But, until this world became MY life, I didn’t know it was the one thing I was missing. Home. These dogs, my fiancée, my neighbors…they have become my home. The house doesn’t matter. It’s the occupants that make it truly special.
Oh, and this is a little off topic, but that’s to be expected here at Five Years to Mediocrity: let me leave you with this little piece of wisdom. I’ve learned a lot about taking care of a house, but this might be the most important thing I’ve learned of all…never, ever, ever light a grill and leave it too close to your house. Let’s just say I learned that lesson the hard way. Clementine tried to warn me, but lessons for me are almost always learned the hard way. Sorry about that, LB. I guess I should brace you for this before you actually come home to see it in person. This is the result of too many pickle martinis and burning all the hair off my arm trying to light the grill. It hurt. So, naturally I ran inside to run cold water over it. Then, I heard my brother—who was visiting from out of town—yell out to me, “Kristina, Dad always moves the grill away from the house when he’s cooking.” I thought he was just telling me that because he didn’t want me to melt the house. But, come to find out, he was telling me because I HAD ALREADY MELTED IT.
Oh geese. Well, another hard-learned lesson under my belt and a dozen roses for my baby (to make up for melting her house). Moral of the story: do as I say, not as I do. Actually, don’t do anything I say or do. Just to be safe:)
P.S. I’ve embedded the video below (for all you non-believers). Because….
But, dogs are cool too.