Things I don’t understand

Why did I write out detailed directions for a semester long project, and make sure those directions are in at least three places in the course, only to have students turn in anything but what those directions tell them to do?

Why does Maverick thing he’s the lead dog and I’m the sled?

Why can’t I leave the chips alone? I’m not even hungry but they’re calling my name

Why is it 4:15 and I have yet to get a shower today?

Why am I doing this instead of getting a shower?

Why did I decide to make apple cake when I’m feeling fat? (The fact that it’s in the oven is why my fat ass is not in the shower)

Why do people think that their quirks are more important than mine?

Why is the sky blue?

Why do we have to have changing seasons? It could be summer all year and I’d be fine with that

Is it acceptable to take a nap when you have piles of stuff to grade?

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Get your shoulders down from your ears, kid

Maverick has a bad habit of licking his paw when he’s bored – or, as Dr. Dave says, “he needs a girlfriend.” (My response to that was, “I will do most anything for my puppy, but I draw the line there.) (He stopped laughing eventually)

Maverick also has a bad habit of taking off into the woods whenever I trust him offleash. (This will not be happening again any day soon, bow season starts soon and even though he can be a horrid little shit, he’s the center of my world and I prefer him without arrow holes.)

Yesterday, he had a good old romp – was gone for at least five minutes during which my heart stopped several times. (Now you see why I say he’s a little shit)

He came back, all kinds of happy with himself, and full of boogie lice. I promised to brush him out later, when I wasn’t tempted to use the brush in ways that were more appropriate than what I was imagining at that moment.

He took a nap, which he thought was well deserved, and which I thought was a good idea since I was a wee tad annoyed with the little shit.

He woke up when I went to make supper. Came towards me, putting very little weight on his right front paw. What the hell did you do, little one? He may be a shit, but I cannot deal with him being injured – why did I let him out, why did I think it was okay for him to run free, what the hell have I allowed to happen to my baby? (I am a drama queen, okay?)

(In case you didn’t know)

He proceeded to lick the paw, nonstop, for the next half hour. Nothing I did could stop it. I was in tears, knowing he’s making things worse and unable to stop it. I called a friend, who came bearing a cone and epsom salts. She examined the paw, nothing stuck in it, just red and sore. When she left, I attempted to soak this paw in a bowl of water with the Epsom salts.

The water ended up all over me and the floor.

I gave him a baby aspirin and he finally settled. This morning, little evidence of a limp, no licking. Till after lunch, and then it began again. The limping is less pronounced but the licking – stands on my last nerve and twists. I tried the cone – that was a disaster.

So it seems we’ll be off to the vet on Monday if this doesn’t resolve tomorrow. And I’ll try to remain calm and not think I’ve somehow damaged my puppy forever.

(Drama queen, remember? I need booze!)

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It’s a smaller place than we think

I can’t remember how many years ago I started following this lovely blogger She has introduced me to more than a few wonderful things over time, and tonight was another of those times – with a post she wrote about fabric birds. I searched out the creator of those birds, and voila, a new blog to follow.

Thank you, my friend.

I was feeling a bit annoyed with the world – we have a new publisher for the text we use to teach accounting and I’m struggling with their online portion. I thought I was pretty good with computer stuff, I teach a bloody accounting class online and I thought I did a pretty decent job, but this is just…………words fail me. Cluster comes to mind! It is a frustrating experience, and one that daily gets more frustrating.

But I’ll manage.

I was also feeling like I’m not getting anywhere with training the puppy – and then I remembered – Progress, not Perfection.

I’ll manage.

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Damn you, robo-calls!

Maverick doesn’t nap easily. He’s the kind of kid that just gets more wound up the more tired he gets. I’ve learned that I have to tell him firmly to go to bed, and then walk away and refuse to interact with him at all, he’ll pace for a few minutes and then settle. Naps rarely last more than 30 minutes – 30 blissfully peaceful minutes – during which I can answer emails from students and pretend I know what I’m doing in my class.

Today – we got up, I did a quick email check, and we went out to the patio so he can chase butterflies and I can drink my coffee. Then we went to the park, did a mile and a half walk, and came home. I went for groceries, he watched the door because there was a chance I might not come back. I did – and he was as excited as if I had been gone all day. 🙂 Lunch was shared because how dare I have watermelon and not share it? Upstairs we went to change the sheets and clean the Cpap and clean the humidifier and all this had to be supervised closely while jumping on and off the bed several times, stealing pillows to beat up, jumping in the tub to get a drink of water – yes, I turn it on for him – and then back downstairs, back out to the patio, chase the butterflies, bark at the helicopter, walk out to the field because peeing in the back yard is just ewwwwww.

Finally, finally, at 5 pm, he settled. 10 minutes – phone rings and wakes him up. GAHHHH! Five minutes more of barking and staring at me like I needed to catch a clue and play and he’s finally asleep again.

Oh, to be so young and full of energy!

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Sometimes you just have to go back to bed

My day started with a puppy demanding to be outside – he chases butterflies while on a long long lead, and I sit on the lawn swing and drink coffee and try to wake up. Usually I get a few minutes before having to go out but I overslept and he wasn’t having anything to do with this slackerish behavior.

After coffee, I decided to take him to the park, even though yesterday’s walk was a nightmare. Walks should not be an exercise in rule following, but more for sniffing and exploring and not being a rocket man. (Rocket man drags Mommah under things and into things without a moment’s notice, just whoosh, off we go!)

(Mommah does not like rocket man behavior)

So I came inside to get stuff ready and was met by Hawkeye on the TV. If there were ever a more self righteous, smirking asshat than Hawkeye Pierce ever on TV, I’m pretty sure I’ve never seen one.

Immediate crabbiness – I just can’t understand the fascination with a show that wasn’t all that great the first 200 times and has totally stunk for the next 500 times.

So I got Maverick’s leash and said, “let’s go.” He went alright, in the opposite direction. He refused to have the leash put on, or go into the garage.
It was door slamming time. I walked into the garage to calm down, and get away from Hawkeye, and there was a honkin big spider staring at me.

Mr. Spider, meet Mr. Broom. Not today, you bastard, not today.

Then, I went back to bed. Because screw it all – sometimes you need to hit the reset button. And had bad dreams.

So I got up, ate spaghetti, read a book, and then we went for a walk. And a good walk was had. Bear suggested ice cream – well, yeah!

Reset, start over, and please – no dreams about losing my purse and one shoe while trying to find a train to Gettysburg

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Break time

We changed the text book this semester, went not only with a new book but a new publisher. In today’s world, half the classwork is done online, so setting up and linking the course to the publisher’s website should be a simple process, wouldn’t you think? You’d be wrong.

Class started on Monday and it’s been nothing but trouble ever since. Also, students don’t read so there are endless posts saying essentially the same thing, and they should be grateful that I’m in front of a computer because at this point I’m screaming at the screen.

The publisher has been singularly unhelpful about the whole process. i don’t know still if I did something wrong in the set up or if they’re just having issues on their end.

I battled with this most of the afternoon. There were also endless critical emails and posts telling me that this and that was incorrect in the course. Ooops, sorry, didn’t update your checklist, how about you hang me from the nearest flag pole and beat me bloody?

So I’m taking a break. It’s either go read a dog training book or start drinking I’ve made a list of questions and will answer them later, and work on the next week’s stuff as well. I had to remind myself that I don’t have to be accessible 24/7 – I wouldn’t be for a face to face class, I don’t have to be for an online class.

Maverick had a wonderful play date today, and I’m seeing progress on a lot of fronts with him, so that’s my good thing for the day – the rest can go suck a lemon.

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Sleep is highly over-rated

My dog lady friends and I get together once a year and pretend we’re teenagers.

That’s a lie. We pretend we’re teenagers ALL THE TIME!!!!!!!!! (We’re a few years past teen years.) (Just a few.) (That’s another lie, we’re old.) 🙂

Once a year we get together and have a sleep over. We watch movies, eat pizza, eat ice cream, eat junk food, and watch more movies. We are hilariously funny at times. We are sobbing messes at others.

We need each other. We met because of our dogs. The original dogs that brought us together have gone to the Bridge – and if there’s any good in this universe, they are now playing together there and will be there waiting when we get there – and we’ve stuck together through the heartbreaking losses and the joys of puppies and the trials of training.

We’ve stuck together through the loss of parents, surgeries – our own and our spouses – graduations of children, and grandchildren, tragedies and triumphs.

I sometimes take for granted that these ladies are always there when I need them – because I will always be there for them. And once a year, I remember how special and how wonderful, our friendship really is. We are sisters – not by blood – but by choice.

May you all be blessed with such good friends.

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Judgy Eyes

Maverick pulls like a tank. He’s the lead dog and I’m the sled. No harness, collar, treat or threat will seemingly change this behavior. Some days are worse than others.
Today we walked down the hill to the creek twice with minimal pulling on the leash. We were going swimming tonight and I think he must have known because he was way too excited at the time we normally leave. There were thunder storms going on, and my friend – who was going with me – canceled. I’m not fond of taking Maverick to the pool alone, I’m not a great swimmer and if he should get in trouble, I worry that I wouldn’t be able to save him. (I’d grab a life vest and dive in, but that would probably drown both of us!) So I made the decision to go to Lowe’s and walk around instead.
He’s been there twice before, with no issues. Walked right in, walked around, didn’t pull much, was pretty much a success. I expected no less tonight.

I was wrong. He was fine for a few minutes and then he began what I call his rocket behavior. He goes from a sit to full out yank in a hot second. I did everything I could think of, walking backwards, stopping in my tracks, even getting down and telling him sternly that this was enough. Nothing helped. By the time we got to the door, I was choking back tears, and he was just flat out choking himself.

The store was full of people. Not one of them offered to help. Not one came over and tried to pet him, or calm him, or talk to us. They stood there, judging me.

Here’s a hint. Until you’ve had a puppy like this one, don’t judge. Make no mistake, I love him with all my being, but he’s a shit at times and this was one of them. My arms and shoulders are still hurting and probably will be for a few days. He does not give one shit. Did I handle it well? Most assuredly not. Pain and frustration makes me a tad crazy. Will I do better next time? And I promise you there will be a next time. I can only hope I learned something from this time, and that I will indeed be better. I can’t promise that. I’m quite used to failure in this regard.

Progress, not perfection. And keep your judgy eyes to yourselves.

Posted in dogs, Maverick, puppies, training | Tagged , , , | 4 Comments

two steps forward, three steps back

That seems to be my pattern with Maverick

He seems to be doing really well with training, he’s understanding words, he’s responding to commands, we’re having fun with this and then bam – we go out to the field, which we do every stinkin day because it’s where he potties = and he decides to turn into the lead dog and make me the sled.

My part – I got angry because this kid is seriously strong and it hurts when he just won’t stop pulling. ** I think I yelled loud enough to be heard in NYC. I know, wrong move. At the moment, it was my first reaction to 5 minutes of yanking on me. I talk to myself, “don’t pull back, makes it worse. Don’t move, he’ll stop. Take one step when he does.”

So after absolutely not even a drop of pee was let loose, he started back to the house. One very slow step at a time, with him straining at the leash, relaxing for a hot second and right back with more force.

Apparently this frustrated him, because he turned and grabbed the leash and the tug of war was on. Again, my mistake – not reacting is hard to do when your arms are being ripped from your shoulders. The one bright spot – he did sit when I yelled that word! And then grabbed on harder and yanked even harder. By the time we got to the house I was in tears, put him inside, sat on the swing and cried.

And then I got my shit together and we went upstairs and he jumped on the bed and he has no clue that he behaved very badly 15 minutes earlier.

To be a dog and live in the moment. I reminded myself, before I came in, that he doesn’t understand English, didn’t know what STOP IT NOW meant – hmm, can I train that? – and will have forgotten the whole thing by now.

Meanwhile, we go back to some work on basics, and yes, he WILL go out to the field again with me. And we’ll both behave better.

**I will not use a choke chain, a harness, or any of the other temporary fixes. Tried them all with Max, they work for a minute.

Posted in dogs, Maverick, puppies, training | Tagged , , , | 4 Comments

The proverbial cluster

This has been my life for the past week. Last Monday I left my house at 9 am to start what is normally a 6 hour drive to visit family. I rolled into town at 10:15 pm. 128 miles from home, my car broke down. Along a major highway. The saving grace was that I knew it was dying and managed to get off the road far enough that I wasn’t in any danger – had I been in the passing lane, I would not be typing this now. 45 minutes later, the tow truck appeared and – silver lining – I got to ride in a big truck and see scenery that I don’t normally see because I’m driving. An hour after arriving there, I learned that the fuel pump had died. We replaced this fuel pump 9 months ago.

Livid does not describe how I feel about this equipment fail. It should NOT have happened.

Renting a car so I could continue on was another episode of “are you kidding?” First it was arranged and then it wasn’t, no car till Wednesday. Umm, no. The wonderful Mercedes people drove me 30 miles south to get a car – silver lining – it was a really nice car.

By the time I got back on the road, it was nearly 7 pm. I had brought a sub along for lunch and eaten half of it, so I was hungry but didn’t want to eat tuna in a rental car. I also didn’t want to stop but when I had to use the rest room, I gobbled down some of my sub and some chips. It soon got dark, and I don’t see that well in the dark these days so that slowed me down some.

I wanted three things when I got here – food, beer and a shower, in no particular order. I stopped at McDonald’s – something I never do – then went to the grocery store for beer, checked into the motel, got a shower and finally let it all go. I think I cried for 10 minutes straight.

My Bear had said he would come get me. I didn’t want him to drive 128 miles only to have to wait for a tow and be stuck and all that jazz. We were in continuous communication – he was almost as exhausted as me by the end of this ordeal.

The car was done on Wednesday, but too late in the day for me to drive down to pick it up. We went Thursday. I am a bit nervous of it now although they reassure me that everything was replaced that needed it and I’m perfectly safe.

This hasn’t been one of my best visits. Strains in relationships are showing – too much togetherness is reminding me of why I moved away so many years ago. My plan is to stay 10 days because I have a great deal of work to do for school and with Maverick needing constant attention – my attention to him is excessive, I’ve been told since being here – I get little done. I thought I could spend some time actually working while here.

Last night the shower thingie that makes the water go from the faucet up to the shower head fell off in my hand. This morning I called the manager who was not able to fix it and thought I could just take baths for the next couple of days. No.

I moved to another room. The internet was okay in the first room. It sucked donkey balls in this room. After a disastrous lunch with two sisters – apparently I remember nothing of my childhood – I came back to the motel to do some work and could not stay online for anything.

My frustration levels hit a peak and I went to the manager and demanded to be moved again. He said, oh, I just need to reset the modem. Facepalm. DO IT!

I’ve got two more days here. Then home to my Bear and my Maverick. I’m so ready. I’m so ready I won’t even mind MASH, Well. Yeah, I will. 🙂

Posted in family, home, my life, vacation | Tagged , , | 2 Comments