Adventures In Dog Sitting Part Dos

The day Alvin ran away was a miserable one. I can’t adequately describe how horrible I felt. I had just ruined the lives of a family I cared for. They would never see their beloved pet again. I wasn’t sure they’d ever forgive me! Not long after my sister-in-law called her sister I got a phone call from Alvin’s mom. Despite the tragedy of losing her dog,  she was so unbelievably calm and understanding about the whole thing. I explained what steps had been taken and that I was praying someone would find him and call.

We re-washed our clothes and took them to dry at the laundromat. We went grocery shopping. We continued with our day as any other. We never stopped thinking about Alvin. I went to bed praying for this little dog.

I woke up early Monday morning to make sure the twins were up for school and got out the door on time. I noticed it had rained during the night and my heart sank. While they were preparing for their day they talked about how bad they felt about the day before. So bad in fact that they thought they heard Alvin barking around midnight. I got hopeful that he was still in the neighborhood somewhere. Maybe someone would call today.

I opened the door for them as I was saying goodbye and waiting for us on the other side was this black curly wet ball of DOG! He had found us! I don’t know how, but Alvin had returned on his own! The boys HAD heard him the night before. I was so overjoyed I woke B and E up to witness this miracle. I think B just growled at me, but E was as happy as I was. I dried Alvin off and gave him food and water. I took a picture to send to his mom and realized it was 4 am where she was. Oh well. I sent it anyway. The relief was evident in her response back.  The prodigal dog had returned!

Alvin stayed with us another week and a half. I can confidently say he never ran away again. Well…there was one this one time he started to one day and no one chased him. I guess without the challenge he wasn’t interested. My niece came to visit me the following weekend and Alvin was super excited to see a person he knew. See how happy he is?

Alvin part 2

By the time his family returned to pick him up we’d all fallen into a comfortable routine. He and B even mended their relationship and I caught them playing together several times. In fact Alvin started following B around the house.

Lest you think this is the end, there is another part to this tale.

As I mentioned last week, B and I got in our cars to search for the Alvin. My son J went with him and G and E came with me. We stopped and asked everyone we saw if they’d seen a little black poodle. Even our neighbor drove around a while looking for Alvin before he took his kids to the park. It wasn’t until a few days later our neighbor told us something very interesting.

Apparently, while he was at the park, a cop drove in and asked the parents there (including our neighbor) to be careful because they had received a call from concerned parents that a man with glasses in a black car had tried to abduct their child by asking about a lost dog (which is the oldest trick in the book). And he already had one kid with him! After the cop left, another woman commented that she had seen a crazy blonde man running down the street barefoot yelling at the top of his lungs. Our neighbor later discovered a community watch email about the possible pedophile incident.

B and our neighbor couldn’t stop laughing about the situation, while I couldn’t stop fuming! I couldn’t believe the stupidity and judgemental-ness of people and their jump-to-conclusions small-minded thinking! (I’m starting to get mad all over). BUT now in extreme hind-sight I can see the humor. Really, I can. To prove it I’ll share another cute photo of Alvin, this time with B. Pictures really do say 1000 words!

Alvin and Billy




The Adventures In Dog Sitting

There’s been a lot of conversation in my household lately regarding the addition of a four-legged family member. It’s a converstation I am not entirely opposed to. There are of course the usual concerns of pet health care costs and the responsibility of feeding another mouth, not to mention doodoo duty (I can’t believe I just typed those words) and multiple walks a day (which really wouldn’t hurt any of us).  Other than those concerns I think it could be a nice addition. That’s why I volunteered our pet sitting services twice last summer, and for the most part they went off without a hitch with one HUGE exception!

I saw the post on Facebook. My sister-in-law’s sister needed a dog sitter for a little over a week while her family was on vacation. I didn’t answer right away since I live a good hour from her but a couple days later I sent her a message asking if she’d found someone. She was so relieved that we were willing to watch Alvin for her and since they were flying from the airport near us it would be perfect!

I was at church when Alvin arrived so B was there to greet him and get all the care instruction for him. Her one warning to us was that he likes to RUN. As in run AWAY. She also said he may follow us around a lot since he had some anxieties. B said when she left Alvin cried and repetedly ran from the door to the window and back. By the time I got home Alvin had calmed down but was still very wary of us. We took him for a walk and then got ready to take laundry to the laundromat to dry. The plan was to crate him while we were there. You know what they say about well laid plans…

Alvin part 1

I think we got one basket of laundry out the door before Alvin slipped out and ran halfway down the street. B ran after him barefoot, laundry completely abandoned. The further B ran the further Alvin ran. B persued the chase through the neighborhood yelling “ALVIN” at the top of his lungs (sounding a lot like Dave’s rendition of “ALVIN” from Alvin and the Chipmunks, only a little more frantic) for at least 30 min before we got in our cars. For the next hour we’d stop and ask everyone we saw if they’d seen a little poodle running around, every once in a while hearing a cacophony of barking that would stop before we got to the source. It was as if Alvin was always one step ahead.

Defeated we headed back home. I couldn’t believe the tragedy of the situation. This little animal that was left in our care only hours before not only ran away, but ran away in an area he had never been. An area that was over an hour away from his home. How would he ever find his way back?  How would his family feel? How could we have failed so incredibly? I did the only thing I knew to do and put an ad on Craigslist hoping that if someone found him they’d contact us (as I had done when we found a lost dog months before). Then I called my sister-in-law who in turn called her sister.

(To Be Continued…sorry)

Mom To The Rescue!

I can’t believe it’s been 3 weeks since my last post!! Really I thought it was only 2 and that was bad enough, but 3?! I should be ashamed! And I am. While I have my reasons for the hiatus (as usual) I’ve decided to wait another week to share them with you. Don’t worry, its all good, in fact some of it is super EXCITING!! (EEEE!) In the mean time, I leave you in the very capable hands (and feet?) of MOM who has a refreshingly comical way of looking at potentially disappointing occurrences. I hope you enjoy it as much as I did!

For Sale: Medieval Torture Devices

A few days ago, I did something completely out of character for me. In my older age, I love comfort. Nothing makes me feel more comfortable than a pair of worn flip-flops. Why else would we live in Florida?

We have an EVENT coming up this weekend, which requires something a little more sophisticated than flip-flops; so, I went shopping for some sensible but somewhat attractive shoes. That’s when they caught my eye – the cutest pair of high-heeled sandals — and in MY size. I’m not too old to look tall and elegant, am I? Shakily, I tried them on. They were very good-looking on my pedicured feet. I felt a little pinch on the little toes, but nothing a bandaid or two won’t cure. With glee and a little guilt, I purchased my new high-heeled shoes.

The event is in a few days, so I donned my new shoes to break them in. After six seconds, I put bandaids on my pinkie toes. Ten seconds later, I slapped bandaids on the instep; a few steps later, bandaids on the heels. Now I have mummy feet dressed in cute little shoes. No problem. They just need to be worn awhile to stretch out.

I have no fear of heights. I have stood toe to glass in some of the world’s tallest buildings and looked straight down. I have flown in gliders, small planes, and helicopters. Nothing made me as dizzy as elevating my heels three inches. I walked into the kitchen, hanging on to the walls, with tiny steps and dizzy head. I felt motion sickness coming on, and reached for the Dramamine. By now, I was more determined than ever to BREAK these shoes in and get used to them.

Have you ever done laundry in high heels? Do you know that when you bend down from the added height, you have a lot farther to bend than normal? I held on to the dryer to keep from toppling over. I pulled laundry into the basket one-handed, dizzy-headed, and noticing a slight pain in the Achilles tendons of both legs.

When I straightened up, I saw that my hot-pink-tipped, pedicured toes were dead white. You’d think if they were dead, there would be no feeling. Oh, no! Each mincing step shot lightning bolts of pain into my poor, zombie toes. The pad of my foot spoke LOUDLY in protest. I ignored their accusatory complaints because I am determined to BREAK IN these blankety-blank cute little shoes!

From the kitchen to the bedroom to the living room – I straightened the house, did laundry, fixed breakfast, washed dishes, and finally – FINALLY – sat down at the computer for a much longer stay than I had planned. If I sit through the entire event we’re going to, I should be able to show off my cute little shoes with minimal anguish. Right?

Do you know that as your feet swell, the straps of fancy little sandals do NOT stretch to accommodate the swelling? Now I have FAT dead-looking feet sticking out of these cute little shoes.

I no longer want to break the shoes in before the event. I simply want to BREAK them. Take them off! Soak fat feet in a cold bath! Rip the bandages off and wait for relief, and wriggle my newly freed toes in comfy flip-flops.

Seriously, does anyone want to buy a barely-worn pair of medieval torture devices with cute little restraining straps and three-inch spikes? Size 7 ½ wide, they should fit just fine. Bwaahaaahaaahaaaahaaaaaa.

The Unexpected Visitor

This is a high traffic week for Unforgettably Ordinary! First a special guest blog post from my mom and now this little diddy (or is it ditty?). I actually wrote this last week, the same day of the adventure, but as they say, all good things come to those who wait. Enjoy!

This morning I woke up as I do every morning to see the twins off to school. As they were leaving one of the neighbor kids came up on my porch because it was drizzling and he was cold. He asked to stay there until the bus came. Compassion got the best of me and instead of getting in the shower as I would normally do I looked around for a sweatshirt I could offer him. When I offered it to him he politely declined and I closed the door and proceeded to return to my regular schedule.

Half way up the stairs I hear a frantic knocking on the door. This same kids rushes past me as soon as I open it. He looks…frightened! I look out and one of my sons is walking up to the door followed by a mangy looking dog. At that same moment the bus pulls up to the corner. My son turns to run back to the bus stop. I tell the neighbor kid that he has to go now to get the bus. He’s not budging. He only says, “I’m sensitive to dogs!” The dog is standing at the bottom of the stairs to the porch physically blocking this kid from leaving my house. What was I to do?

I grabbed a hold of the dog’s collar so the boy would make it to the bus, which had already started pulling off. While I love dogs I am allergic to most of them so I am that person who stands back and watches others play with the cute furry creatures. But that compassion took hold again and instead of letting the dog go I asked her to come into my house and escorted her to my sunroom. I got her some water and finally got into the shower, all the while wondering what the heck I was going to do with her.

image image-1

My first attempt at finding her owners was a flop. Apparently you need more than a Rabies tag number. The next option was to call the shelter, but they didn’t open until 12pm! All this time B is still asleep. I usually wake him up as I am leaving. I woke him up a little earlier to tell him the news, “Honey, you will have some company today.” He practically jumped out of bed. (He’s been talking about getting a dog and this was just too exciting.) I left her in his capable hands and headed to work.

I kept thinking about her all day. B kept me updated on his findings. The shelter said they were coming to get her. Does that mean that they are taking her to her owners? I don’t know, let me call them back. No, they are going to take her to the shelter. I told them to hold off. What should I do next? Try posting a lost dog ad on with pictures. I’ll do that. The computer is not allowing me to set up an account.

Meanwhile I had called a neighbor to borrow dog food and a leash. B took her for a walk and she bit right through the leash! I came home, successfully posted the ad on, bought a new leash, and took her for a walk during which she bit through that one too! (I am going to have to buy one more to give back to my neighbor..sheesh!) We made it back from the walk with the dog still with us regardless of the fact she was leash-less. I checked my inbox…nothing. Two minutes later there was a message, “You found my dog!” Before I could even call the woman back she and her husband were in the car headed in my direction. It was a happy reunion for all. The boys and I discovered that her name is Clemmie and she lives 2 blocks away. There was just one more thing that needed to be done. I had to tell B!

B had left by this point to record his podcast. I got him on the phone before he arrived and explained everything to him. He was quiet. When I asked if he was okay he said he was glad I told him before he came home tonight to her being gone. I detected a little sadness in his voice. It’s funny how attached we can get to an animal after spending a day with them. For this one day we had a pet and a ton of excitement. Don’t worry B, I see a dog in your future. Oh and by the way, can you fix the screen Clemmie pushed out of the window today? Thanks.

The Dead Thing Saga Continues and Ends

I haven’t been very good about updating on the Dead Thing saga, but by the end of this post you will be fully informed.  Sadly this may be the last post on the subject because the Dead Thing was finally found! Two days ago as a matter of fact thanks to an invasion of flies and a VERY brave critter control specialist. But I am jumping ahead of myself.

My first account of the “the smell” confirmed there was something dead somewhere in the recesses of the crawl space under my place of work. The first critter controller was unable to find the body. However, during that initial search we discovered a significant hole in the back wall from which the smell was traveling into our office. That led to my next assignment: find a contractor to seal up the hole. Within two days the contractor arrived armed with spray foam and…moth balls! Not knowing the full effect of moth balls he explained to me that since there was a critter problem they would put the moth balls in the hole prior to sealing it up. Apparently critters do not like moth balls. Neither do humans. An hour after the contractor left, my boss was asking me to get him back now to get the moth balls out! It was worse than the smell we had been dealing with for a week. The strong toxic smell of moth balls times 100 because an entire box had been emptied into the wall +  a slightly less-powering smell of rotting animal (we hoped that’s what it was) = NOT a good combination!

It took a couple more days for the contractor to fit us in. He removed the foam, took as many moth balls out as possible and sealed the hole back up with foam. In case anyone ever asks you “as many moth balls as possible” is never enough. Even if you remove every single last one of them it can still take weeks for the smell to dissipate. And since he didn’t remove every last one of them the smell was only slightly less-overwhelming, leading to my next assignment: get the contractor back again to tear the wall out if he has to and get every single last ball out of the wall!

The next time the contractor came out (we are at week 3 now) it was with his boss. It was determined that the wall would have to be dismantled from the outside to remove the last remaining moth balls, and on the third try they got ALL the moth balls. So everything was right in the world again, right? Of course not! That would not make a very interesting story now would it?

Over the next week, the moth ball smell lessened and the death smell lingered and moved. Eventually it went away altogether. Instead of going out quietly (because how cool would that be?), it left in its place an invasion of the biggest, blackest flies I have ever seen. At first we noticed 6 – 8 of them in the windows. My boss and co-worker took up the challenge (a little too eagerly if you ask me) of ridding the office of these offensively buzzing creatures the old fashion way, rolled up newspaper style, and they were successful…until the next day. The flies had multiplied over night. There were now at least 12 – 14 flies in the building! After some more effective swatting, I suggested getting a fly catcher (you know, one of those strips that hang from the ceiling in almost every corner store I’ve ever been in).

I have a new appreciation for those fly strips. They really work! The only trick is trying to open them and hang them without getting stuck yourself. If only their were a hidden camera for all the mess ups I had.  However, for every one I put up I caught at least 15 – 20 flies,  sometimes more. This lasted at least week before…

enter Brave Critter Control guy!

When he saw the issue, he went on a search for the source of the flies. He climbed into the attic (without a ladder I might add). He just shimmed his way up there. Then he moved to the crawl space. When he finally emerged about 30 minutes later, he asked for a trash bag because he had found the dead thing! While in it’s current position it was unidentifiable he was able to confirm that it was indeed an animal and not a human. Phew! It wasn’t until he pulled it out that he discovered it was an opossum that has been dead for about – you guessed it – 2 months! This was not his first trip to the abyss so how did he finally find it?  The trail of really big, really black flies led him straight to it. He also discovered how they were entering into the office and  stopped it up for us. Since then there have been no new fly sightings!

So that is the end of this saga. Just thought you might want to know.