Monday, October 25, 2010

Now I understand why parents post facebook statuses about their children's bowel movements...

There are so many things in life that we simply aren't taught in school.  For example:
  • How to find a Primary Care Physician in a strange town
  • How long you should wait to mow your lawn after it rains
  • What the opposite sex is thinking
and my current favorite
  • How to manage the first few days of having a new dog in your house. 
Dogs are supposed to be relaxing for us humans, right?  Our own personal therapists, only without the hourly rates and the annoying questions about our parental issues.  I've read that petting a dog reduces a person's blood pressure. 

All this may be true eventually, but it's certainly not the case in the first few days of dog ownership.  Good grief.  What an emotional rollercoaster of worry and joy.  Although for me, there wasn't much joy.  There was mostly worry.  Which, of course, rubbed off on the dog until I think we were both basket cases.  She wasn't eating, I wasn't sleeping.  We did really well on walks when we both had a job: me to project calm-assertive energy (thanks Cesar Milan) and she to follow my lead and practice calm-submissive energy.  But get us back home and it was fretting and following and fighting over going outside. 

This evening, though, we turned a corner.  She greeted me with wagging tail when I got home (and much as it hurt, I waited for her to sit and be calm before bestowing some love), and then we promptly went on a long walk, practiced the "sit" command, and came home for dinner.  For the first time in two days, she ate and slurped her water, and then we played for a bit.  Now she's sacked out on her pillows and I'm basking in the glow of being a successful pack leader, at least for tonight. 

Yes, she jumps on the couch when that's a no-no in my house.  Yes, she hasn't grasped "stay" yet.  But she ate dinner!  And I had to stop myself from posting that on my facebook page, because, really, who cares?  (I supposed you could say that about any of my facebook posts, but that's a little too large of an ego hit for me to tackle tonight.)

And best of all, we've found a name. 

Sadie, meet the world (or a few people in the world, anyway).  World, meet Sadie.  Tonight, she's holding the "Best Dog Ever" crown.  Sorry, dogs of the world.  You can have it back tomorrow.

As my mom said, "Sadie, get your butt over here" rolls off the tongue quite nicely.

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

It's a dog's world...

Those who have known me for more than 24 hours probably know that I've wanted a dog for years.  I grew up with a black lab in the house, and though my parents will say owning dogs was more trouble than it was worth, the dogs were very much a part of the family.  Our last dog, Bozworth, died more than 7 years ago, but sometimes, when I'm home in NH visiting, I still expect to see his head peering through the screen on the porch door, welcoming us home.  And I still shove the food to the back of the kitchen counter because that damn dog could be counted on to jump up and snarf anything that wasn't bolted down (edible or not).

When it comes to big life choices; new car, new rental house, even a new flat screen TV, I tend to hem and haw for a while before I make a decision.  I analyze, compare, second guess, and generally drive myself crazy with "what if" scenarios. In this case, I've been waiting for years to get a dog because I have always lived in apartments, and unless I want to get a dog that could double as a mop handle, apartments are generally not conductive to dogs.  I've never had a yard, and dogs are not cheap.  I'm a workaholic, and I travel, etc., etc.  All very valid reasons to put off the acquisition of a canine companion.

But now I have a house.  With a fenced in yard.  And enough money saved to pay for the occasional boarding needs, the dog food, the vet visits, the new toys.  And more friends than I can count who have offered advice, walking services, play dates, places to drop the dog when I'm away, you name it.  They must be tired of hearing me talk about it, or my need for some love and affection to greet me when I come home must be more obvious than I thought.  :)

When my new landlords readily agreed to build a fence onto my rental house, I thought that was a good sign.  When the city's newest dogpark opened a week ago less than 10 minutes from my house, I thought "Hmmmm..."  And when two completely different people recommended the same dog to me, and when her foster home turned out to be owned by respected colleagues of mine, well...there's not much else to say. For form's sake I'm sleeping on it, but I'm pretty sure I've found my dog.

In an effort not to jinx it, I won't go into the ways my life is inevitably going to change soon.  But I'm almost there; I'm almost a "dog person."  I can't wait.

Friday, October 15, 2010

5,700 hundred miles later...

Wow.  The blissful days of motorcycle festivals seem like eons ago, when in reality it's only been a couple of weeks.  Busy weeks.  Weeks that took me to San Francisco, Berkeley, Cleveland and the Minneapolis and Chicago airports, among other places.

There's a lot I could say (good stuff) about my visit to San Francisco, but I think I'll save that for when I'm less tired, and less delighted to be home alone on a Friday, because being home means I'm:

1.  Not sleeping in a hotel room
2.  Not having to put up with airports and cities full of supremely annoying strangers.

The bedbug scare has definitely lessened my love of hotel rooms.  Luckily, neither of the hotel rooms I patronized during my 8-flights-in-6-days adventure had them, but the thought is enough to make my skin crawl, literally.  As it's doing right now.  Excuse me while I go bathe in alcohol or something.

Normally, I like the anonymity of hotel rooms.  But my San Francisco' hotel experience was marred by one of my more neurotic traits; I can't sleep when someone else is snoring in the room with me.  It's not all snoring; the quiet snuffle now and then is no big deal.  But when it's that heavy, saw-like snoring, I'm a goner.  I transition from a woman who could happily sleep for 9 hours a night into psycho-tossing-and-turning girl. This is a problem.  Not a terribly urgent one since I currently have my queen bed all to myself, but a disturbing one nonetheless.  What if the man I'm destined to marry (note the optimism) snores this way?  Will I drive him away?  Will I go broke on therapy?  These are the things I think about.  My travel companion was compassionate and scored us a second room for our second night, but starting a trip off with a night of no sleep wasn't my best strategy.

Luckily, the hotel room in Cleveland (my third different location in as many nights) was quiet and huge.  But I think by that point exhaustion was setting in as pretty much anything people did drove me crazy. From the heavy breather sitting next to me in a meeting to the women walking down the sidewalk with their giant, space-hogging strollers, I had very little love for my fellow man.

(Except, of course, for the Chilean miners and their rescuers; if I could have, I would have happily watched all 39 men emerge from the earth.  And probably cried at every single one. What a story.)

On vacation this past summer I discovered that I'm missing the gene that should help me talk to strangers on airplanes; on this trip I discovered a gene that I definitely AM NOT missing. It's the "I can't find a walking rhythm in airports" gene.  I swear, put me in an airport and I will always, always find myself walking behind the woman who's dragging 10 bags, 6 children, 3 cell phones and her wheelchair-bound grandma-in-law toward my gate.  Or, I'll be walking as fast as I can on a moving sidewalk, and some 7 foot tall guy with legs up to here will politely clear his throat and ask me to step aside into the "standing" lane.  Or I'll be strolling along in the crowd, finally, blissfully walking at just the right pace, when someone will abruptly decide they need to use the restroom, and I will have to do a little Riverdance-inspired jig to keep from mowing them down and/or falling on my face. 

Days like yesterday, when even scoring an exit row in one flight and a single seat in another couldn't shake my grumps, make me realize how I could never, ever be a "full time" traveler.  Maybe, if I did it all the time, I could develop that hard shell that chronic travelers seem to have.  Or maybe I should be like the people who have never traveled before (there are so many! This amazes and humbles me), who have no clue that when you wear knee-high lace-up boots and metal studded belts, you will stop the entire security line, and who really, legitimately, don't give a damn.

Instead, I'm stuck in a limbo world, cursed with an overdeveloped sense of self-awareness and a knack for choosing the wrong stall in the ladies restroom. 

God, it's good to be home.

Monday, October 4, 2010

Bikes, Blues & Barbeque 2011

Each year, Fayetteville, AR plays host to Bikes, Blues and Barbeque, supposedly one of the biggest motorcycle festivals in the country.  (I'm sure that Motorcycle Week in NH is bigger, but don't tell anyone around here I said that).  For the past two years, rather than shutting down our theater and going into hiding for the week, we've hosted a beer garden on our grounds.  For a few days, we stop thinking about the arts and instead think up to ways to deprive bikers of their hard-earned cash.  Which, of course, involves beer.

So I spent my weekend relieving leather clad folks (and a bunch of college students) of their money.  I am now an expert at the anatomy of the wrist, as I slapped bracelets on hundreds of them; even the ones that swayed along with their drunken owners.  I dodged lit cigars, teetering cigarette ash, and billowing clouds of tobacco (and other varietals) smoke.   And I got a taste of what hawkers feel as I shouted "One dolla, one dolla!  Only one dolla for the cleanest restrooms on the street!"

I like bikers.  They flirt with me, which is always fun.  And they are generally pleasant, except when you run out of Miller Light (a lesson we learned last year).  And yet, there were moments, as I watched the sea of black clad people, driving loud, belching machines up and down the streets while religious "protesters" held life size crosses up on the street corners, when I wondered whether I was living some kind of real-life Terminator-style apocalyptic vision.  Luckily, I was soon distracted by the need to collect more money. 

The stories are endless - here are a few of my favorites, in no particular order. 
  • Turkey legs.  Being waved in the air.  Enough said. 
  • I saw one of our house managers tying up a biker's chaps.  Let it never be said we don't provide excellent customer service.
  • The "Larry Shuffle"- Larry is a biker.  Shuffle is a form of dancing.  That's really all you need to know.
  • During "Freebird," a 50+ year old biker glided out of the beer garden and flashed his IPhone at us with a lighter on the screen (this one was funnier in person - the look on the guy's face was mischievous and hilarious).
  • Apparently, after a night of hot partying, two people decided to hang out INSIDE our ice machines.
  • It was obvious to one biker that I don't have kids because I refused to give him 3 beers for the price of two.  (huh?)  
  • Have I mentioned the turkey legs?
  • As I stood guard over a cash box, I was "held up" by a guy with two guns - that shot bubbles.
And here are some of my favorite quotes:
  • "I don't care what they say, but Jesus would not have built his cross out of PVC pipe." 
  • "Oh my god, I look like I've been at the titty bar!"
  • "You know, if you had fewer drink coupons, you'd kill fewer trees." 
  • "You're not going to card me?  You bitch!" 
  • Bikers against dumb drivers - this one was a patch on a leather jacket
I didn't get any kisses this year, which is disappointing.  Oh well.  There's always next year.