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)

To Sell Or Not To Sell? Is It Even A Question?

The longer I’m a home owner the less I see the benefit of it. I understand the concept of building equity in a home, if that’s really what’s happening, and the whole putting down roots thing did resonate with me at one time, but that honeymoon has ended. I am ready to be a renter once again. I can hear the exclamations already: You’re paying for someone else to reap the benefit of equity; The taxes and interest are tax deductible; You can make whatever changes you want to the house if you own it; You don’t have to worry about having pets; etc. It’s not enough though. The time has come and of course I am going to tell you why…

Reason #1: Taxes!

I have a great house and it’s got great space for my family. I have a yard that’s mostly fenced in (I’ll expand on that one later) and I live in a nice neighborhood. Since I’ve lived here I have refinanced 3 times! And still my mortgage increases ever year. Why? Because of taxes! I know that rent increases as well but you get  a couple months notice before it happens and you can make a choice to stay or look for something more affordable. Every year I am completely surprised when all of a sudden I go to pay my mortgage and it’s $10, $15, $20 dollars more than it was the entire last year. I don’t like those kind of surprises. Can I look for a cheaper place to live? Not without preparing my home to be shown hoping it will be sold, if it will even sell in this market, and going through a lengthy paperwork process that can take months. Just talking about it gives me anxiety.

Reason #2: Trapped!

While the real estate market is improving it is far from healed. When we decided to buy this house it had only been on the market 3 days. We had to rush to get our offer in because houses were flying off the market. Now I see realty signs boasting “Sold. Only listed 45 days!” My parents listed their beautiful home with an in ground pool for 2 years without a single offer! In order to move quickly…well, chances are high that you won’t be moving quickly unless you vacate the house before it’s sold leading to BAD credit. No bueno! It really puts a damper on the discoveries to be had living in a new place (or several  new places).

Reason #3: The Ex!

My Ex and I have a pretty amicable relationship. We still make an effort to be on the same page with parenting the boys and have successfully gotten along better after the divorce than we probably ever did before it. With that said, the house is the last tie to him that allows his controlling nature to rear it’s ugly head. It’s a tool of manipulation for both parties and I don’t believe there will be complete peace until it’s sold. Not to mention the strong desire I have to make a fresh start with B in a place that’s ours and not mine and my Ex’s. He’s done very well with making this his home, we repainted and redecorated, but there are little reminders that I lived here with another in a life before him. It’d be nice to be free of them (and by them I am NOT referring to my sons!).

Reason #4: Things Break!

This past weekend we had a great visit with some friends at our home. Halfway through the day I noticed it was getting warmer but the air conditioner was on and running. I could hear it and feel the air moving at the intake, so I didn’t worry too much about it. It took another hour or two to realize that the air being pumped through the vents was room temperature. I was freaking out inside while maintaining a cool demeanor outside for my friends and the boys. In reality I was living one of my worse fears. My mind was a jumble of what if’s, trying to plan out what to do next, knowing full well that I didn’t have the money for a new HVAC unit. That night we bought a window AC unit and B, the boys and I all slept in one room for two nights (we tried to make it exciting rather than dooms-day’ish). THANK GOD all the unit needed was a new compressor! And THANK GOD we have extended family with the know how to replace a compressor! That doesn’t remove the gut wrenching anticipation I constantly feel waiting for the next big thing to break though. I still have part of a fence out thanks to a wind storm and a HUGE tree that broke through said fence and landed on the trampoline. (The trampoline was not harmed much to the boys’ relief.) Then there’s the hole in the bathroom wall, which mysteriously gets bigger after my youngest has been in there, and the door bell that’s missing the part you push on, and the bath tub that wants you to take a bath every time you shower, and the weeds that think they’re trees, and the broken window in the garage that the birds use as their personal door…and the list continues. How nice it would be for all that to be someone’s problem that’s not me.

So now I just need to get the repairs done and the house ready to be sold. No big deal…right?

Side note: The boys still ask if we can all sleep in the guest room again. I guess we made it too exciting!

A New Job and A Wedding (not mine)

It has officially been a week since I started my new job so I thought I’d share my first impressions with anyone who might be interested. Besides the fact that I get to work in the same building as one of my very best friends, thus having a lunch buddy most days, I am actually enjoying work at a huge company. I wasn’t sure I would as I have mostly worked at medium to small sized companies, but there are many amenities a larger company can offer. For instance, there is a different restaurant that brings food for purchase every day of the week, so you don’t have to leave the building. There is also a parking garage that keeps my car cool during the day so that I am not scorched when I leave work. There are elevators for ones convenience although I take the stairs to avoid that dizzy feeling I get in elevators. And there are vending machines on every floor!

Ah, but these are just the little things (having my BF there is not a little thing, for the record, just everything else I wrote about). The best parts of my job are not having to answer the phone and being able to complete a task without being interrupted. Listing to my music (instead of the classical station ALL DAY LONG) or podcasts with the use of ear buds, effectively creating the “my own little world” effect (LOVE this). And for the administrative part of my brain, I get to sort and organize docs all day long. Sigh! I guess you could say, “So far, so good.” I am curious though about the end of the year when my contract is up and what my journey will look like then. But I am REALLY trying to stay in the now.

I briefly mentioned my friend Leslie’s wedding last week but I want to take some time to GUSH all about it. It was beautiful, warm, colorful, fun and delicious! Everything seemed to go as planned. B and I had the privilege of shooting the wedding and got to witness the inner workings. I have a new appreciation for the assembly of a Saree. It’s amazing how quickly and efficiently the women that outfitted Leslie were at making a beautifully designed dress out of one LARGE piece of intricately decorated fabric and safety pins. In a hotel room filled with 12-15 people you could have heard one of those many safety pins drop. Everyone was mesmerized by the process. In the end, Leslie looked like a goddess!

And what better location for a goddess than a museum! The NC Museum of Art to be exact. The intimate ceremony took place in one of the gardens outside the museum with just the immediate families present and included a “ring warming” (which I loved). The party that ensued not long after included a wonderful pallet of tastes, colorful garments and lively music EVERYONE could dance to  (Drummers accompanied the DJ = WOW!). However, it was the people who attended and the two amazing people we were there to honor, that made the wedding what it was. AWESOME! Now, to capture all that in a 6-10 minute video…shoo, B has his work cut out for him!

L&V back

I Can’t Bare It!

As I mentioned in my last post I started a new job this week so I’ve decided to use that as a convenient reason to not write this week. That and the amazing wedding B & I went to and shot this weekend for our dear friends Leslie & V. We have tons of BEAUTIFUL footage! I can’t wait to start the editing process. Unfortunately there is just not enough time in a week to do it all. But have no fear! Mom has come to the rescue! (Wipes sweat off brow.) Today I present a fun little tid bit on grammar, everyone’s favorite subject, written in my mom’s witty style. I promise you will enjoy it! Really. Would I lye to you?  

I CAN’T BARE IT!

If you’re like me, the title would have made you cringe. There are few things as disturbing to an avid reader as the misuse of words.

Call me Gramma Grammar Cop. Before you call me out on my perceived misspelling, may I point out that Gramma, like NaNa, Pop-Pop, Nanny, Granny, etc., is a proper name and the phonetic spelling of grandma as spoken by little mouths.

I recently read a book which had the elements of suspense, great characterization, interwoven plot lines and a dynamite ending. I would have enjoyed it, had I been able to cruise past the jarring walls thrown up by common grammatical errors any good editor should have picked up on. You know what I’m talking about. Here are some examples:

“I can’t bare it!” Whatever it is you can’t bare, probably should remain covered up. If the burden is too heavy, then you might not be able to BEAR it. Yes, bears live in the woods, too, but there are sometimes two or more different meanings for one spelling of a word. Welcome to the English Language.

Their they go, getting there knickers in a twist again. And they’re hair is a mess, too. My teeth hurt from grinding. Do you see the problem here? “There” is how you spell it when you mean over there. “Their” means it belongs to them. “They’re” is short for they are.

Yesterday, I seen a billboard with a gross misspelling. Ouch. I SAW it. I HAVE SEEN it. See the difference? “Seen” is not the past tense of see unless it’s used with the helper word “have” or “had”, depending on the meaning you want to convey.

I do not loose my keys, unless I’m setting them free. When I lose them, it’s usually not with the intent of liberating them.

I am no techno-phobe, but one disservice technology has given us is the auto-correct function. It just turned the correct use of “they’re” to “there”, as I typed it. The challenge is to catch it in the act and nip it in the bud, or, use an extra set of eyes to catch it later. That’s called editing.

I’ve been guilty of letting some of these typical errors lie in wait for the unsuspecting grammar cop to find, so I don’t feel badly about airing my opinions here. Sometimes two sets of eyes don’t catch the little devils. It’s when an entire document, or book, as in the case of the one I labored through, is fraught with these little trip-ups that Gramma Grammar Cop is ready to tare her hair out. Oops. “tear”.