Wednesday, December 26, 2012

It's a Dog's Life

I have five dogs, and I'm currently sick of five of them.  Any takers?  Let me describe them to you, and I'm sure you'll be bowled over by their charms and ready to drive right over here to snap them up before someone else beats you to it.

  1. Overweight black lab.  Her desire to jump on you is proportionate to how clean your clothes are.  Also related is how muddy her plate-sized paws are.  Very sweet and loveable.  When one is laying in the hammock relaxing, she does her best impression of a tea cup chihuahua as she attempts to nestle in the crook of one's neck.  So adorable.
  2. Half beagle, half unknown something, but quite possibly not canine.  Male, three years old.  Great with kids.  Playful, beautiful, sweetest, bestest dog we've ever had. Until...he ate the neighbor's dog.  Someone's getting snipped...
  3. Toy rat terrier, five pounds soaking wet.  Three of those pounds are his ears.  Annoying little snot face that peed on the Christmas tree and left little presents under it every day.  We couldn't even have a tree skirt. Yippy little sucker too.  I'm trying to think of something nice to say...I'll get back to you.
  4. Doxie.  Six feet long and two inches off the ground.  The authority of a drill sergeant but the self-discipline of a gnat.  When it's raining she refuses to do her business outside. She stands at the door and barks at ten second intervals.  I never knew dogs could tell time, but she's got it down pat.  She once jumped out of an upstairs window and sailed off the porch roof.  Her ear's kept her airborne for a hundred feet.
  5. Mutt.  Brown, stupid, somewhat lovable if you don't want a dog that has any semblance of a brain anywhere.  He likes to lay down in front of you when you're walking then when you trip and fall on your face in front of him, he looks at your like you're an idiot.  He also likes to stand in the middle of the road causing car accidents.  I keep waiting for someone to hit him, but they keep slowing down. No one's perfect, I guess.
One or more of these dogs ate my Christmas chocolate.  Numbers one and five are exempt because they stay outside, but two through four are likely culprits.  You may choose any of the five.  I know it'll be hard to narrow your choices down, given their high quality of breeding and training, so don't feel you need to limit yourself to just one.

Thank you and Merry After Christmas.

Thursday, December 20, 2012

Dits and Toodles

Just a fly-by post today with some tidbits of this week:

  • We had strong winds last night and woke up this morning to find the dumpster turned over.  Chewie had a fun time dragging the trash over every inch of our property.  Did I mention we have ten acres? Never name a puppy Chewie.  Every time we say his name, he thinks we're giving him an order.  It's the only thing he minds us on.
  • On the way to Covington, we noticed a blown over Porta-Potty.  So glad I wasn't sitting in that when the winds hit.
  • I've decided to be more conscientious pay more attention to stuff.  I stopped in a gas station to buy a Dr. Pepper a couple days ago, and I made sure to count my change instead of just shoving it in my pocket as usual.  I was so proud of myself for being diligent and a good steward that I patted myself on the back all the way to the car.  Yup, I left the Dr. Pepper on the counter.
  • I got my hearing aid back... three weeks to the day after I dropped it off.  Seven to ten days, my foot.  And it cost more to fix than my first hearing aid cost, period.  But hey, it comes with a six month warranty.  Yippee skippy.
  • Found a great way to send annoying child to bed on time.  I start cleaning house and ask for volunteers.  Instant sleepingness.  The reason this is not a favored option is that I don't like my part in it. 
  • There's a dead animal in the chimney, or at least I assume.  I can't find it anywhere else and the smell is more or less in that area.  In desperation, I'm currently burning that sucker out with sweeper logs.  Either it's going to be cinders or the house.  One way or the other, the smell will be gone.
  • A little hint on decomposing animal smell - Febreeze only goes so far. It really doesn't kill all odor.  And candles?  They mingle and you get Decomposing Pumpkin Spice.  Not pleasant, and I'll never eat pumpkin pie again.

Wednesday, December 12, 2012


Someone in my house is an insomniac, but I'm not mentioning names.  This particular person came storming up to me last night as I was anxiously awaiting the results of who will be the very first winner of Abby's Ultimate Dance Competion.

She stands between me and the tv, blocking my view just as they prepare to announce the winner.  "I can't sleep!"

I fumble frantically for the remote.  Everyone has to have priorities, and mine is pausing the show lest I miss the announcement while my drama queen has a nervous breakdown.  Hey, it was pause the show or push the kid out of the way.  I think I chose the loving mother route. 

I found the remote and paused Abby in mid-mouth.  "You were saying?"

Fists balled at her sides, veins throbbing in her neck, she glared at me as if I personally played clanging cymbals at her bedside while tap dancing on her forehead.  "I. Can't. Sleep." She spoke through gritted teeth.

"Have you tried taking a warm bath?  I find them soothing."  In other words, go away.  She went away.

Five minutes later she was back.  "I don't feel any different."

I stared at her.  "You were supposed to soak in the tub.  Relax?"

"It was boring."

"Try reading."

She stomped to her room and I went to bed, secure in the knowledge that my favorite dancer won Abby's Ultimate Dance Competition.  All was right in my world.  Now, for some background, I also struggle with insomnia.  I used to spend hours walking the floors or counting sheep until the voices in my head would shut up enough to let me sleep.  Then I discovered the wonderful world of sleep-inducing drugs.  I'm now a big fan of my pillow and blankie.
For the first time in a week, I was dozing off blissfully without pharmecutical help when an elephant charged right up to my bed.  "I...can't...sleep...," it trumpeted. 

I gave her various ideas.  She hated them all.  Baths were stupid, reading boring books were stupid, watching tv with the sound off was stupid, and listening to music was stupid.  Want to know what was sounding pretty good to me?  A hammer. 

Does that make me a bad mother, to think of that?  It's not like I actually did it, right?  But a nice little knock on the noggin would solve both our problems quite effectively. 

Quite soon, she was curled up in the bed next to me, snoring contentedly.  I was wide awake, staring at her, still thinking of that hammer.

What Do You Write?

The other day a man asked me, “What do you write?” 

I opened my mouth to answer him before I realized that I had no answer.  What do I write?  He was waiting for an answer and my mouth was hanging open, letting flies in. 

“Uh, I write…” I swallowed, trying to think of the last thing of import that I’d written.  Does the annual Christmas letter count as literature?  I blog, sure, but doesn’t everyone?  And I’m fairly sure that, while my 503 Facebook friends absolutely adore my status updates, that doesn’t count as being a published author. 

I looked at the guy, still waiting for an answer, the darling patient man. Darn him.  “Crap.  I write crap.”

His eyes widened as he backed away.  “Nice talking to you.  Hope to see you around.”  Or not.

But I’m still a writer.  Sure I am.  It’s all in my head, just waiting to be put on paper.  What is writing, after all?  Black ink on white paper. 

Sunday, December 2, 2012

Heart Horse

My Heart Horse

As a horse person, I love all horses.  I love the variety they come in – so many colors, from the palest palomino to the dark bay, from glimmering white to black as sin.  I love the aristocratic stance of the Andalusian, with their flowing manes and tails, and I love the shaggy little Shetland pony in someone’s backyard.  Each one has a story, from the most expensive to the one not worth the cost of their hay.  And each one is priceless.

At some point in their life, every horse person comes across that one special horse.  We know that horse is going to be important to us from the moment we first lock eyes on it.  This is our heart horse.  Let me tell you about mine.

I answered an ad for a horse I really couldn’t afford – but if I could, he was in my price range – and in my excitement I practically sold him to myself over the phone.  The owner’s wife didn’t even have to say much.  Her answer to “how big is he” was “Not too little but not real big.”  My response was, “sounds perfect!”  When I asked about his personality, like, was he sweet natured, she said, “He doesn’t bite or kick or anything.”  “How wonderful!” I exclaimed. 

I really, really wanted a horse, and I guess I wanted one right that day.  I guess it could be said that I’m a bit of an impulse buyer.  I loaded the kids and the husband in the van and drove the thirty miles to see him, right that very minute.  I have to admit, my first sight of him was a let down.  He was a plain ol’ red horse.  Just…blah.  I guess I expected bells and whistles or something.  He wasn’t going to be my horse after all.  My heart drooped. 

But then, he heard our voices and he looked up, ears pricked forward.  The blah exterior was gone and I all I saw was his glorious white blaze between two alert, attentive brown eyes.  His neck arched and he shifted so that I saw his white stocking, a stocking so tall it ran past his hock on his left hind leg, ending in a jagged lightning strike.

The owner didn’t seem excited about me riding him.  “He can be a handful,” he warned.  I hadn’t ridden much in years, and as much as it shames me to admit it, I’d lost my nerve.  I’d been thrown by a crazy horse and had a second crazy horse run over me.  My faith in horses was shaken. 

But looking at this one, dancing around, flashing the whites of his eyes, he didn’t make me nervous at all.  He was upfront about being crazy, you know?  Not trying to act like he was normal and then taking me by surprise.  I liked that.  I knew we’d be okay, this red horse and me.  I climbed on his back, which was fun in itself, since he was turning in circles around the man holding the bridle. 

“You can let him go,” I said.

“I dunno if I should…”

The horse was wound as tight as a bowstring, but I nodded.  “We’re okay.”  He let go and the horse spun, ready to go in all directions at once. 

“Need a whip?” The man yelled.  Uh, no thanks.  I don’t think he needs any encouragement to go.  Geez.  We whirled our way around the yard, through rose bushes and pine trees and something else I sincerely hoped wasn’t poison ivy.  When we got out of sight of my sobbing children and hand-wringing husband (who was on his cell phone making funeral arrangements), I whoa’d the horse.  Foreign concept or not, he finally stopped…sort of…and we talked for a minute.  Then we walked….sort of….back to the barn.  Everyone breathed a big sigh of relief when they saw us come back into sight.  Peter gave me a nod, and we made arrangements to pick the horse up asap.

“We call him Blaze,” the previous owner told me.

I smiled.  “His name is Blitz.”

It’s been more than six years now since the day Blitz and I met, and I love him more every day.  He’s getting a little bit older, and maybe I am too.  His health isn’t doing so good, and only recently have I finally accepted the fact that he probably won’t live to be an old horse.  Every winter he loses weight and we struggle to put it back on.  He eats more than twice what the others do, but he stays underweight.  He has dental problems, high metabolism, and would you believe he has seasonal allergies… to grass?  He’s a horse, for crying out loud.  So andeasy keeper he is not.  I could not give him away if I wanted to, but that’s okay, because I have no desire to part with him. He’s my friend, my baby, and my therapist.  I would say he’s cheaper than a licensed therapist, but I’m not so sure.

Just recently, we’ve started to suspect that he has heaves.  This is horse speak for COPD.  It will continue to get worse each year, especially in the winter.  I’ve noticed his stamina is down, but he still loves to run.  As long as he’s happy, I’m keeping my boy with me.  When he suffers, though…

When Blitz’s life is filled with daily pain, and I know it won’t get better, I’ll let my sweet boy go.  But until that day, I will enjoy my time with him and treasure the years I’ve had.  I’m not going to try to prolong his life by keeping him in the pasture un-ridden.  He wants to go, he wants to run, and I’m going to let him.  The saying from the movie Steel Magnolias comes to mind:  “I’d rather have thirty minutes of wonderful, than a lifetime of nothing special.” 

He is my heart horse.  I knew the day I met him that he would be special, and he is.  When I open my door and call his name, and he looks up with those bright eyes and perky ears and whinnies his girly-horse whinny, my heart feels a tug.  So the next time he tears down the fence to take a midnight jaunt down the highway or breaks his bridle in the middle of a 20 mile trail ride or bites my butt to get to the carrot in my pocket, feel free to remind me of how much I love my sweet boy.