Dogs Make (almost) Everything Better

Kids can be so mean. When I was a little girl my feet turned inwards when I walked – like my big toes were trying to point at each other. To add to it I had almost no arch. So I had special shoes I had to wear every day and a bar at night that turned my feet/legs outward. Because no one thought as much about kids then as they do now, there was zero shoe styles to select from. They looked like white ankle booties.

I was the only child until I was almost 6 years old. I remember bringing all my best toys outside and sitting on the front porch- to entice other kids to play with me. Some would stop, but the first thing they’d do is laugh and say I wore baby shoes. If they didn’t care for my toy selection they’d deem me a baby and move on.

Around this time, my parent’s beloved chihuahua, Pedro, passed away. He got in a fight with a Doberman over a female dog he couldn’t have mated with even if he’d won. One well-calculated bite from that Doberman and it was adiós for Pedro.

On that day my Daddy made a decision he didn’t share with my mom for whatever reason. It was he’d never have a dog that could be picked on again (knowing chihuahuas, Pedro probably started it but tomatO/tomaHto, right?!).

Some time later, and unbeknownst to my mother, he set his plan in motion. Then had a few beers and brought home my mom’s “surprise”. A surprise she never asked for – and wouldn’t have in a million years. He walked in with an 8 week old Great Dane that, at 8 weeks, could already fill a grownup’s lap. She was less than thrilled. Way less. That didn’t make him any less ours. He was named Smokey Joe, or Smoke for short.

You remember I said we lived in a neighborhood, right? I’ll tie that story up there back in- just hang with me.

Great Danes grow so fast you have to give them special vitamins for their bones. Smoke was no exception. Not unless you consider growing to become the largest Great Dane in the state of Alabama at that time – weighing in at 175 pounds an exception. If you do, then I guess he was. Our little suburban backyard housed a dog the size of a small horse who could pick up a basketball with his mouth. A BASKETBALL. In 16 short weeks he went from the 8 week puppy size – about 20-25 lbs to being his full height- with weight at about 100-110 lbs. He’d reach 175 within the full first year.

Now picture suburbia…where we were connected to neighbors on 3 sides – just a chain link fence between us. Now imagine you’re our neighbors. If not dealt with daily, do you know what a gentle breeze means? It was as if we had a full grown man crapping in our yard. To keep the neighbors at bay it meant DAD had yard duty. Oh yes, cleanup on aisle 5 done daily by a man with a very weak stomach. But he did it.

Of course Mom fell in love with Smoke, which was awesome because Smoke turned out to be my very best friend. She used to have to spank Smoke first BEFORE she could get to me when I was being a little goblin. *Yes, now we’re circling back to the beginning of the story.

A dog can make things better. Even things that you, or in this case my Dad, didn’t realize needed improving. One, no more loving a dog only to have it die in a fight (Dad’s intentions); two, if Dad went out of town, no worries. We had the biggest, most protective and ferocious [looking] guard dog EVER. But those are NOT the most important problems he solved…I had a big guardian friend until the day he left this earth 10 years later.

Although initially Smoke ran me over to the point of laying me flat on my back in his excitement when I’d come outside, I loved him. Despite being 4 and about the height of his [long hard] tail that would slap me in the face when he was excited, I loved him. Even better, I didn’t have to drag my best toys out anymore. Smoke drew the kids in because they always wanted to get a good look at him. Plus, *I* got to choose who could come into the fence and play with him. BEST OF ALL? I never again heard those first words “You wear baby shoes!”. All I heard from that day forward was “Hey, I like your dog.”

Dogs make everything better.

This is us on his first night, then 6-8 weeks later. A much happier girl although still wearing “baby shoes”… LIFE. WAS. GOOD.

FLYING BARBIE REALLY DOESN’T FLY

She just doesn’t…that’s all

The title of this comes from years ago when my daughter, age 5, wanted a “Flying Barbie”. The commercial showed Barbie flying and talked/sang about how wonderful she was. At the very end a man’s deep voice said “Flying Barbie really doesn’t fly”. The next time we saw it I made sure she listened to the man at the end. She decided she didn’t want it anymore….

Ah, the disclaimer voice…that wise and knowledgeable voice saying words of wisdom you rarely hear. For example, you’re driving and hear you can lease a brand new top of the line, fancy/expensive car at an unheard of low monthly payment. All you hear is that you can get a $60-75k car and drive it for 2 years or an extended 45,000 miles for $375 per month. So you’re busy picturing yourself in that car thinking you can be just as fancy as any other so-and-so. So while you’re busy NOT listening, that wise voice is telling you: 1) $10,000 is due at at signing; 2) your credit score must be at least 950; and 3) it doesn’t include tax, tag, dealer fees, markups – basically any other charge they add – but at 10 times normal speaking speed.

Now here’s the flip side. When it’s NOT sped up you almost wish it were. Yes, medicinal TV commercials, I’m looking at you. It was nice back in the day when medical companies couldn’t advertise. Then, when they got the initial green light, it was confusing because they couldn’t say what the medicine treated. You’d see a happy couple walking on the beach and it would end “Ask your doctor about [medicine name].” So they fixed it! Now the condition it treats is named but the possible side effects must be said IN FULL and SLOWLY. Given all possible side effects I don’t know why they bother. I saw one for acne medicine. Acne, sure, we all hate it. But one of the side effects was ANAL LEAKAGE. I am not making that up. Maybe it’s just me but I’m gonna say NO to that possibility. I’d rather have acne all over my face. At least you’re prepared for that. Try explaining why you have to leave work and change pants all of a sudden. Seriously, ANAL LEAKAGE?! I’d rather be called Pizza Face than Poopy Pants any day of the week. 

So my point is that both fast speaking disclaimer voice and slow speaking “possible side effects” voice are pointless.

So where would this voice of wisdom be useful? I’ve got an idea. When I’m at the…..

…GROCERY STORE:

“Avoid when hungry. YOU are hungry. You will never eat that.”

“This is not recommended for people on a diet. YOU are on a diet.”

“Product knowledge is encouraged. YOU do not know what this is AND cant even cook.”

“Over-stocking discouraged. YOU have 1,000 of the same type cleaners at home – none used.”

…MALL:

“Not recommended for those under 5’10” in height. YOU are short.”

“Encouraged for people who want to look pregnant. YOU do not want to look pregnant and that time is well past for you anyway.”

“Possible side effects include an upset husband and low bank balance. YOU know one cute outfit shouldn’t cost $300.”

“Avoid these shoes if your activities include standing or walking. Only meant for avid shoe collectors. Do YOU want to become a collector? You do have 15 pair in the closet you can’t bear to wear- just like these.”

 

In summary, 1) Flying Barbie really doesn’t fly; 2) You can’t lease a $60-75k car for $375-400 per month; AND 3) Some acne medications can cause anal leakage.

You’ve been warned. 

BUMPER STICKERS: WHAT YOU TELL THE WORLD…

bumpersticker-cantfixstupidNo offense to those of you that have these things on your car, I’ve just never gotten them. The reason why is that I’ve never read one that helped me learn needful information about the person I’m driving alongside, behind, whatever. Although I have almost run into the rear end of a few cars when they stopped suddenly while I was trying to read a small print bumper sticker on their car (small print ones should be illegal, says the near sighted woman).

I really don’t get the ones people put on their actual car- that just ruins the paint. But there a few others that boggle the mind. These are bumper stickers that tell me about the following:


Your Child(ren):
bumpersticker-children
Again, no offense, but I really don’t care what school your child attends. Also the ones boasting about your child getting all A’s or being on the honor roll? If it looks worn and weathered that just makes me think your child was the model child at one time but maybe went down a different, darker path as I see no new ones.

*BUT* there’s the more practical aspect of not having bumper stickers about your child(ren) and that is this: Let’s say some perv who likes kiddies is behind you – and they’ve noticed your bumper sticker and maybe they see it as you’re pulling into your neighborhood – and THEY ALSO live in your neighborhood (it happens; if you live in suburbia there’s a creeper within a mile from you guaranteed). Now they know you have a child and you’ve peaked their interest – so they’ll keep an eye out for your car and your child. Even worse? You live on a busy road and some rando perv happening through is behind you as you pull right into your driveway which is showing the perv exactly where a child resides. Yuck, right? Indeed. Again, just my personal opinion and that and a nickel will get you whatever 5-cents buys you these days. I have a dark sense about anything involving kids. In fact, my [now grown and nearly grown] children have each told me on random occasions that I instilled so much anxiety in them regarding strangers that I’ve made them socially awkward as an adult meeting new people. My response? “Sorry. But did your picture wind up on the news with a tearful me pleading for your return? No. I’d rather you be ALIVE and living with anxiety regarding strangers vs no longer being with us OR living your life trying to get over some horrible incident you lived through.” I never gave mine the choice of not knowing. That’s because MY biggest fear was their being taken (doesn’t every mother think her kid is the prize?!). I let them in live in the land of La in other ways- many other ways- but not when it came to strangers. My youngest (now nearly 18) said to my response “….ok but when you told me that if I ever walked from the bus stop to the house and some car started slowing down that I should suddenly go cross-eyed, drool and make my body start twitching was a bit much…”. Well, maybe, but whatever. I still think as far as quick strategies go it was a good one.

What You Stop For:

These are just silly to me. “I stop for yard sales” being one I recently saw I’ll use that as an example. It’s good to know you’re going to stop, but how often do we pass yard sales? The fact that you like to yard sale in your spare time does me no good. This is especially true since I’m most often on the road going to work alongside others doing the same. It’s doubtful you’re going to suddenly stop at some yard sale and call into work “sorry- gonna be late- passed a yard sale and you know how I stop for those.”

The Church You Attend:

Now this is going to hit some the wrong way but let me just say this: I appreciate and applaud you for showing others that you love your church so much you’re willing to have a bumper sticker- but let me warn you of one thing- with that comes responsibility. Case in point (and this is a true story, cross my heart): One day I was headed down the interstate and was in the middle lane. Speed limit was 70 and I was doing 80 (yes, guilty of typically going 10 mph higher than the signs except in neighborhoods). Anyway, this lady gets so far up on me that I can’t see the front of her car. I can see her face as she is clearly screaming at me. Suddenly she pops out to the left, passes me and flips me off. A precious moment, right? Even more precious? Her bumper sticker that said “Follow Me to [my church]!” Not a good advertisement for her church, am I right? So let’s just say that if you’re a good person who suffers from road rage- and there are many- you should probably refrain from dragging your church into it with you. Avoid the awkward “Uhm, we recently got a call and we’d like it if you removed our bumper sticker from your car.” I mean it *could* happen and wouldn’t you want to just crawl under a rock? And no, of course I didn’t call her church – that would be a hideous thing for me to do – but you know there’s someone out there who would. Some old biddy with time on her hands and an axe to grind. With you. But the VERY WORST THING THAT COULD HAPPEN? That “Small World” scenario that sometimes kicks you in the face- you didn’t recognize them but they actually attend church WITH YOU. They saw your screaming face and recognized it. Then you flipped them off and they thought “oh well that can’t be [insert your name].” BUT THEN they saw your bumper sticker and they. just. knew.


Who You’re Voting For (or did):
bumpersticker-better

 

 

 

 

 

 

Do you remember a time when that was a private thing? Oh, the bumper stickers were there but that’s about it. To me there’s nothing sadder than seeing your tired, sad “Bernie” bumper sticker. A man who never made it to the “finals”. No offense to his supporters, but I don’t need to know who you’re about to vote for or who you did vote for. Never have I ever (there’s a game in there somewhere) heard anyone say “You know, I was going to vote for ____ , but I saw a bumper sticker this morning that changed everything.” Seriously, why are these timely things so important that you need to stick one to your car?! I don’t get it.


Your Opinion on Abortion:

Sure, most of us have one but I don’t need to know yours while we’re driving. I am neither saying I’m pro or against abortion – would it matter if I did? Would it change your mind? That said, why is it important for every other driver to know where you stand? The majority of us don’t know you. You’re another driver on the road at some point in time. That’s it. Stop stirring emotional topics with a sticker on your car.

In short, if you’re going to put a bumper sticker on your car, let it tell me these things:

1. You’re a horrible driver who doesn’t signal when turning;

2. You have no insurance;

3. You’re an avid gun-toter with inexplicable road-rage;

4. Your car has parts that may or may not remain intact as you drive;

5. You often slam on your brakes for no known reason

I will say I’ve seen ONE bumper sticker that made me smile. One. What’s even funnier is that based upon the driver (yes I had to look at him), I truly believe the sticker was 100% true – he was serious business about this topic. His bumper sticker read “ACID RAIN BURNS MY BASS!” with a large mouth bass in the background. I’m sure he didn’t feel it was funny, but it made my ENTIRE day!

Yes, I am quite easily amused by the little mundane things- I find humor in everyday simple things that we’re all used to dealing with. When you stop to think about these little things, you probably will be too. Stop and smell the roses but if there are no roses, just stop and laugh at the silly things you see each day. Believe me, there are sooooo many things to laugh about.

I didn’t even speak about the occasional “BABY ON BOARD!” that used to be so prevalent but you can still find every now and then. When I’m driving insanely crazy, I just see one of those and think “Oh wait…a baby. I better slow my role and drive super careful because THAT CAR contains an infant. 😉

THAT LAST PIECE IS DECORATIVE

Now maybe my upbringing was different from yours. I was brought up in a southern home with a southern baptist upbringing. That said, there was just a rule regarding food. The last piece isn’t to be touched – unless there was “just enough” and Daddy wanted it. But to be fair, that wasn’t a “Daddy makes the money, Daddy rules” sort of thing. Let’s be honest, my sister & I were little goblins with eyes bigger than our stomachs. We’d have taken the last piece of something and picked around it and ruined it for any adult. But beyond that, it was something instilled in us. No matter if everyone said they didn’t want that last piece- whether it be chicken, a plate of steaks or pizza- you still didn’t touch it. It was rude. Once we were having steaks and I remember looking at the last one. They were big steaks my uncle and Daddy had grilled and they were so good. I wanted more. My uncle, not thinking of anything but his little big-eyed niece, said “baby get that last piece- go on.” My hand and fork met to go, but you better believe my little goblin hand and fork never made it to touch that last piece. I’ll leave that right there.

Fast forward to something I heard on the news today. In a town about an hour north of here there’s a buffet. It’s a certain type food BUT they offer crab legs. People stand in line for over 10 minutes- more like 20- and await the next batch to be brought out because they’re said to be that good. The crab legs come out & some guy loads his plate- gets way more than his fair share while standing behind him was a mom- hungry children in tow. Now I want to think the best of this mom for two reasons. One, she did what we’d all feel like doing; and two? Well when someone has the chutzpah to do what we all feel like doing then I say kudos to her.

Maybe it was having her kids behind her and forgetting she was in public, I don’t know. All I do know is that what happened next was solid GOLD. I wish I’d been there to see it. The mom takes the other set of tongs and whacks the man with them. Yes she did. So to defend himself what does he do? He keeps his tongs in hand to ward off the incoming blows and deal some of his own. Picture it. A modern day sword fight with tongs. Over all you can eat crab legs.

Now let’s be clear. Sometimes the phrase “all you can eat” throws people off. It doesn’t mean take all you can while others are waiting for the exact same thing, right? It doesn’t mean your $10.99 is worth more than theirs and doesn’t mean you can have the “lion’s share” of one particular item. I have to think this particular gentleman did not have a strong southern Mom. I bet he ate the last piece of everything if someone said “No, I don’t want it” because in the south, 9 out of 10 times that isn’t true. We want it but we know better than to take it. Of course when this happens, when we say we don’t want it and someone actually does take? Inwardly we think “ill-raised heathen”. I’m just being straight with you. It’s what we do, say and think. Some won’t admit to it but let’s be honest. Southern people- you know you DO want that last piece but you just don’t. *Unless you’re at a buffet, no one is looking and then you totally take the last one because it’s a buffet and it’s up for grabs. But I digress..

So this man loads his plate full of what everyone is waiting for. And apparently they don’t bring out tons. A woman who has reportedly eaten at the restaurant in the past said that she has been in that same crab legs line before and waited 10 minutes only to have to wait 20 more for another plate to come out.

Who wants to do that at a buffet, right? You’re standing there getting full on what you’ve already eaten and wasting that $10.99 because you’re not going to be able to eat as much as you would’ve had you not had to wait! Your belly is sending the “I have food now” signal and you’re just wanting to make sure you have some of those delicious crab legs, apparently a highlight of the place. *Side-note: if that’s the case, your game plan needs to be to go in and get crab legs first. Even if you have to wait. Again I digress.

The end result? Police were called, both parties admitted to having gotten away from themselves. The man [ill-raised heathen] was shown wearing a couple bandaids on his head so no one could view the blood where the mom had gotten him with the tongs(!). Both are being fined and the mom was charged with 3rd degree battery. Yes, with crab tongs. Probably not her weapon of choice, but she’s probably lucky that’s all she had or her hungry children might’ve wound up not only missing those crab legs but missing mom due to a prison stint.

So in summary, if you’re from the south you know this and if you aren’t just learn it. We love food. We LOVE food. Look at health statistics in the south and you’ll get it. But we also have manners. Very good ones. So just know that some southern mom may decide to discipline you should you show your ill-raised heathen manners in a buffet line. And also know that ONLY if you’re 1) in a buffet line with 2) no one waiting behind you and 3) no one looking, may you take that last piece. But in NO SITUATION WHATSOEVER should you take that last piece anywhere else (especially someone’s home!). Yes, everyone says they don’t want it- and they do but really they don’t because no one wants to be the ill-raised heathen. Never. Ever. So you see that last piece of food…have reverence for it. Respect it. Because that piece is NOT for eating – it’s DECORATIVE!

HOT FACE & GRATEFULNESS

I was determined to find something positive today. Regardless. Before even 8AM, I’d walked into my office having been out a day with a sick daughter and the emails & work I’d looked over within 20 minutes gave me what I call “the hot face”. I don’t know if that’s blood pressure or just a rare form of a stress-handling mechanism I’ve been dealt. But my face feels like it’s been at the beach all day and I’ve now come in and realized it’s sunburned. You know the moment- after your post beach shower when you look in the mirror and your body is hurting, super red and super hot (but before the chills). That was my face at 7:50AM.

Determined to take care of what I would’ve done yesterday and tackle today’s issues, I was determined to find a positive in all of it. Determined to be a better person and determined not to spend the whole day with hot face.

*Please do not confuse hot face with embarrassment face. That’s a quick reddening and although not comfy is definitely not the hot face of which I speak. I felt like my face would be peeling by noon.

Though not at all a positive, around 9:30AM or so, when I was well into my groove and past the hot face, I thought I was experiencing some sort of physical oddness. I asked “Am I the only one who smells bleach?”. I wasn’t. Initially my coworkers thought it was the building management’s answer to an odor that received many complaints the day before. We later found out that it wasn’t.

So as I said, I was totally into my work groove and well past the hot face. Then we found out management hadn’t used any chemicals for the prior days odor at all. Oddly enough, the water treatment plant close to us had a chemical spill. It closed one of the busiest highways here, sent at least 14 of their workers to the hospital, and eventually sent the fire department (or some other team that tests air but fire trucks were all around) to our building. We were ordered to evacuate.

Short and sweet it goes like this:

When the weather calls for rain and you don’t want it, ask me to bring an umbrella. If I do, there will be no rain. If I don’t? Massive flooding and possibly famine are soon to follow (& no, I don’t think it’s all about me but it is an oddity- me and the umbrella/rain effect). So after my stress-induced hot face before 8AM, I tackled my work with a vengeance and was feeling GREAT about it. After learning of the chemical spill and enduring the bleach smell, I scanned files in the copy room. When I came out I swear I saw a tumbleweed blow by. There were no coworkers to be seen except one of the men I work for with his items packed – leaving. He said “You’re not leaving?” and that’s when I learned we were ordered to evacuate the building.

The building was deemed safe after 6-7PM tonight, so the work will be there for me to tackle tomorrow. And tomorrow is another day now, isn’t it?

I said I’d find something to be grateful about…I got home and full of work-energy with no place to go, I tackled our much needed dirty house. So there’s that.

And tomorrow IS another day.