Tuesday, October 18, 2011

Dog days

My dog has been driving me crazy lately because he has apparently developed separation anxiety.  It's so frustrating because this has come out of nowhere - one day he obediently goes in the kitchen when I leave like always, and the next he's growling and acting like I beat him and rob little old ladies.  I really don't get it.  I mean, I know I'm pretty amazing.  No - strike that . . . I'm FABULOUS.  But I still don't understand why he feels like he can't live without me while I run to the store.  Why he has to go crazy, bark, aaaaaaaand then pee on the kitchen floor.  I just don't get it.

So I have mopped the floor more in the last few months than I have in my entire life and it's driving me crazy.  Luckily for my dog, though, mopping is very therapeutic so it keeps me from strangling him.  As I'm mopping, I think about how I'll probably NEVER understand the way a dog's mind works. 

For instance . . .

We were out walking the other day and a lady who was walking toward us stopped me to tell me how cute he was.  As she was going on and on about his preciousness, he disinterestedly hiked his leg and took care of his business.  That's some major self-confidence.  I mean, when someone is going on and on about how cute I am (which, believe me, happens ALL  the time . . .), I smile my best smile and try to look the part so that nothing that I do will change their opinion.  Not my dog.  He looks at the lady, wags his tail, and says "You think I'm cute just STANDING here?  Check THIS out, toots . . ."

I kinda wish I were more like that. 

And then there's the way he greets people when they come over.  I mean, I think I'm a pretty good hostess, you know?  I make people feel welcome, I offer them a drink or something to eat, I make sure they're comfortable, and I pat myself on the back for being the hostess with the mostest.  Meanwhile, my dog is running laps around the dining table because he can't contain his excitement over their arrival.  He'll take a break just long enough to do a little dance on his hind two feet so that he can get his little head high enough for them to pet him and then he's off to the races again.  Now THAT'S how you make people feel important, right?

I wish I were more like that. 

And he's not easily offended.  He gets so excited to see me and tries to lick my face to show me affection and all I do is scrunch up my nose and tell him how bad his breath stinks.  And he never feels rejected by that. If someone responded to me that way, I'd first apologize for trying to lick their face . . . and THEN I'd feel so rejected. But my dog never is - he just comes right back and tries to give me more kisses, bad breath and all.  He just gets right up in my face and never stops trying to show me that he loves me.

Why can't I be more like that? 

But I think the most impressive thing about him is that he absolutely FLIPS out for milk bones.  Milk bones.  A treat whose most flavorful ingredients are wheat flour and flaxseed.  But when I open the cabinet where his treats are stored, he goes crazy.  I mean, you'd think that I had given him a piece of cheesecake.  The human equivalent of a milk bone is what?  Maybe melba toast?  Or rice cakes?  If you tried to reward me for something good I'd done by giving me a rice cake, I'd smack your face and tell you your breath stinks. 

So consider yourself warned.  Because I'm not my dog.

I won't lick you affectionately and, frankly, I don't love you enough to run circles around my dining room table for you.  I know that's a bummer.  BUT, on the bright side, if you were to leave me alone to go buy a piece of cheesecake for me, I would NOT bark my head off and then pee on the kitchen floor.

So . . . why can't my dog be more like THAT?

Tuesday, October 4, 2011

Walking with Nora.

This weekend I found myself in Chicago. You know - the Windy City. Chi-Town. The City of Big Shoulders. I took a break from my j-

What? Yeah, I know - that's such a weird nickname, isn't it? I have no idea where it comes from - I didn't see a particularly large number of Big Shoulders while I was there so your guess is as good as mine. Frankly, I think it's a bit offensive. But it apparently IS a nickname for Chicago, at least according to Wikipedia. I probably should have just left that one off, though, huh? Let me start over, okay?



This weekend I found myself in Chicago. You know - the Windy City. Chi-Town. I took a break from my job and headed north to some cooler, breezier weather and, let me tell you, it did wonders for my stress level AND my hair . . .

The goal of our little trip was to de-stress and spend time with my mom's side of the family. And we had the greatest weekend. I really don't remember the last time I laughed as hard as I did with my aunts, uncles, and cousins. It was SO much fun. And, as usual, my mom provided me with a good little story to tell you . . .

My mom has always told us about how she used to have to walk to and from school uphill both ways in 10 feet of snow, blah, blah, blah. So this weekend, she decided that she wanted to take us on her old walk so that we could see how far she really had to go to get to and from school each day. My uncle dropped us off at the house where my mom grew up - which was pretty cool to see in person - and then we all started walking toward her elementary school, Our Lady of Mt. Carmel. We walked down her old street and up to a busy intersection where we turned right and started walking along the sidewalks that ran in front of the various businesses lining the busy street.

And thus began the long walk to my mom's old school.

As you can imagine, the neighborhood has changed in the intervening years - the old drug store where my mom used to stop and buy candy has long-since closed up and been replaced. Same with all the other businesses that my mom used to pass each day as a young school girl. Instead, we passed by several gay nightclubs and at least one shop that sold adult, ummmmm, items. In fact, the display in the window was like everything you'd need for a Bachelorette party, including something called a "Wiggly Wand." I'll spare you the description on that one and let you use your imagination. Unfortunately, we were already peering into the window of the shop before we realized what types of wares they were peddling. Before we pulled my mom away, she had already spotted said "Wiggly Wand." Fortunately, though, she hadn't really seen what it was. Phew, right?? Not so much. Because UNfortunately, she kept asking all of us questions like "What IS a Wiggly Wand?? I don't get it."

Because I didn't think that the authorities of the great city of Chicago would appreciate me curling up into the fetal position on their sidewalks, I just ignored my mom, giggled maturely with my sisters, and kept walking.

Then, as luck would have it, she caught a glimpse of a game called "Pin the Hose on the Fireman." Again - use your imaginations on that one. Fortunately, and for reasons unknown to me, she thought the game was called "Pin the Ponytail on the Fireman."

I know. I know. It made sense to HER, though.

Just as I was thanking to Good Lord that my mom had miraculously misread the name of the game, she started saying excitedly "We should go get one of those for the kiiiiiiiiiids!! They would think that's HILARIOUS! Pinning the ponytail on the fireman?? C'mon! They'd LOVE that!"

Frankly, I think I preferred it when she was asking about Wiggly Wands. There was less potential for CPS involvement.

We grabbed my mom by her elbows and quickly ushered her away, shielding her eyes from the "Shower Contest" advertisement in the window of a club we passed. Because, contrary to what the title might imply, the photo on the ad suggested that the contest was NOT about how efficiently you lather, rinse, and repeat. What a disappointment - I would have been a shoo-in for that one.

Finally, we got to Mt. Carmel and I had to admit that my mom had to walk a LONG way to get to school each morning. It's pretty amazing that she and her brothers and sisters made that long trek each morning as children - my how times have changed. Part of me wished I could wave a wand (but not of the wiggly variety) and be transported back in time to see my mom as a young girl standing in front of the steps of Our Lady of Mt. Carmel. But, for a few minutes on Friday, I got to see at least a glimpse of what life was like for my mom back then. As we started walking up the steps to go inside the school, I looked at my mom and really took the moment in. And I have to say that it was pretty cool.

Uuuuuuntil she turned to me and said "We really SHOULD get one of those Pin the Ponytail on the Fireman games for the kids."