My dogs are trying to kill me. I’ve suspected this for a while now, but after our walk this morning I’m sure of it. Yesterday, they were straining against the leash searching the dark for an unknown opportunity to jerk me around like a puppet. This morning I saw the deer a fraction of a second before they did, but not soon enough to rein them in before AJ and Orso lunged forward to give chase. AJ weighs in at seventy five pounds while Orso weighs a mere ninety five pounds for a combined weight of one hundred seventy pounds, just a bit more than me. Not to mention the difference in muscle mass. I come out the loser on both counts and they know it. The only thing I have in my favor is opposable thumbs.
Charlie trying to get a better angle at the deer made a quick turn from being on my right to circling around behind me and lunge forward on my left, with the leash positioned perfectly behind my knees. My only saving grace was that he bumped into the other two keeping me from crashing to ground on my butt. They dragged me about a half of dozen steps forward before I was able to get them under control with my steely voice. I really screamed loudly enough to wake the neighborhood. The three heathens didn’t even have the good sense to pretend to look repentant.
I don’t understand it. I am the bringer of food. I take them hiking and swimming. I’m a good time. Why would the dogs want me dead? Just because I make sure they get a bath every two weeks in the winter and at least weekly in the summer. More often depending on what they smell like. I make them behave, no chasing the cat or running up and down the neighbor’s fence taunting their dog. I don’t let them eat the disgusting dead thing they have found. That couldn’t be it, could it? Surely not. Maybe I should sleep with one eye open.
I am always on alert when I walk the dogs in the mornings. Mainly because it’s dark and I don’t want to get caught off guard when a critter moves causing the dogs to try and give chase with me as the boat anchor on the other end of the leash. This morning though the dogs started off on high alert as soon as we walked out the door. Charlie with his head high sniffing the air, catching the tantalizing scent of something. Orso had his head cocked, with his ears up and turned forward listening to the predawn noises. As we started off on the walk, Orso and Charlie were straining at the leash, pulling ahead searching the dark for the unknown threat or possible prey. I reined them back closer to me in an effort to avoid having my shoulders dislocated while I searched the dark for movement too. I strained to hear any sounds of a possible threat, but the wind was too strong, blowing the dead leaves and bushes all around, making it impossible for my sorry ears to pick up the sound of any imminent danger.
The dogs were keenly aware that something was out there but not sure where yet, jerking back and forward, working to pick up any clue to find the unknown early morning intruder. Because of their actions, I started imagining what could possibly be out there, watching us. I have a very vivid imagination and being an Underworld and True Blood fan, I came up with all sorts monsters and creatures out there in the dark waiting, watching and tracking us. It was a toss-up between, vampires, werewolves or mountain lions. I also threw in muggers, murderers or the random escapee from the insane asylum. I was able to concoct a pretty good story about a harrowing encounter with a very large mountain lion during the walk. Of course, it all worked out and now I have a pet mountain lion. Not really, but it’s fun to pretend.
Whatever was out there in the dark watching us, moved off because about halfway through the walk, both dogs calmed down and focused on the task at hand, finding the perfect bush to pee on.
When I was supposed to be concentrating on my breathing and clearing my thoughts in yoga class, I started thinking about my performance or lack there of, at my last Zumba class. I was thinking about Zumba class partially because it was on my mind and partially because I don’t dare totally relax in the breathing exercise for fear of falling asleep. Mitch swears that I snore and even though I know I don’t snore, God forbid some fluke accident and I did maybe snore, I would be mortified. And that would be the end of yoga. Yoga classes twice a week and Zumba class once a week are my most recent attempt to get back in some semblance of shape. I really love yoga class and the way I feel since starting the class last summer. I can do a tripod again, something I hadn’t been able to do for decades. I can’t remember the yoga name for it, but we called it a tripod in school. A tripod is where you are on your hands and knees. You lower your head to the mat between your hands, with your arms bent at a right angle, then bring your knees up and place them on your bent arms and balance yourself on your head and hands. When you get really good, you can move up to a headstand, but I don’t see that happening anytime soon. Since I’ve had such great success doing yoga, I figured I’d branch out and take more challenging classes, like Zumba. Yeah right.
I’ve had two classes so far, the first with two other women and the second was just me alone with the instructor. I really like my instructor. She is the sweetest person. Young in shape and she says positive things to me. I stood behind her off to the side so that I could watch her and myself in the mirror. Big mistake! I should have just watched her and not me. Her moves were fluid and in perfect rhythm to the music, while I was stiff, graceless and behind on every move. She would signal the upcoming move but half the time I was going the wrong direction, doing the move backwards, sideways or not at all. Basically I suck at Zumba. Maybe I was wearing the wrong clothes. A baggy t-shirt and sweats are not especially sexy or hot looking when trying to dance to sultry Latin tunes. Even the creepy old guy that came to gawk in the doorway took one look at me and ran screaming into the street.
Halfway through the class, as I was sucking air, sweating like a racehorse and becoming even more wooden in my moves, it dawned on me, maybe I should take up kickboxing. I don’t have to be able to sway my hips in a sexy manner when doing a roundhouse kick. I think I can do tough, because fluid and rhythm are definitely not in my body’s vocabulary.
On April 16, 2011, the first day of our vacation, we started the most labor intensive remodel of our master bath and on January 14, 2012, we are finally finished. It only took two days shy of nine months to gut and totally revamp the eight foot by ten foot room. I had this improvished model of reality that the remodel from start to finish would only take one maybe two weeks. I had no idea what taking out the bathtub, the vanity and removing one closet would entail. By some sheer miracle of faith, we are still married (to each other!). There were times I didn’t think the room would ever finish or that our marriage would survive. The only thing left to do is hang some decorative pictures, even though Mitch looks completely baffled when I mention that, as to why anyone would hang something other than a robe or a towel in a bathroom. This has been the crux of our differences.
But I must say that the bathroom looks awesome. Much better than it did, with the ugliest vanity on the face of the planet. No more is there a faux wood grain counter top. Gone is the chipping porcelain sink. The two pedestal sinks look so clean and contemporary. Banished is the cramped, closed in space. The custom cabinets made by Smithville Custom Cabinets look rich and warm, giving us ample storage. The outdated hanging lights attached to the ceiling are gone and recessed lighting floods the room. The tile floor looks so much better than the old linoleum and using the same porcelain tile as a baseboard was a stroke of genius, if I do say so myself. It really does look very nice, though Mitch says was too labor intensive compared to regular wood baseboard.
I took pictures of before, during and after, but you have to actually stand in the room to fully appreciate how hard Mitch worked and what an accomplishment he made. I kept a spreadsheet of all the money spent on the remodel and we completed the project in at just under five thousand dollars. Mitch did all of the work himself, with the occasional help from a few friends. Otherwise the cost would have been much higher.
I decided to start the new year off with a renewed commitment to take the dogs hiking more. Bright and early New Year’s morning I loaded up the dogs and my new camera and headed off to the park. The morning was cold and clear with a moderate breeze out of the northwest. I figured that most or all of the new year’s revelers would still be in bed and we would be all by ourselves on the trails. I was right, no one was around. The dogs were excited, pacing around in the back of the station wagon as I parked the car. The barking started and didn’t stop until I opened the back and let them out.
Walking down the long hill to the trailhead, was the easy part. The hard part would be coming back to the car and having to walk UP the hill after hiking four or five miles. I definitely need to get a pedometer. The dogs ran back and forth, sniffing the air, the ground and everything in between. Charlie as usual was hunting. Charlie is always hunting. He lives to hunt and hunts everything. It doesn’t matter what, mice to deer, as long as it moves and breathes air, he hunts it. AJ and Orso were more concerned with sticks and branches to play tug of war with. Chest slams, grabbing the back of the neck and wrestling was the highlight of the morning.
We were about a mile and a high from the car and I had already taken a ton of pictures, when we crossed a creek and started up the hill on the other side. I stepped on a frozen patch of dirt and ice, and started to slip. I knew I was going down so I made sure to save the camera and grabbed it with both hands to hold it up and out of the way, leaving me to fall hard with the only thing to break my fall was the large pointed rock and my thigh. I felt this burning searing pain in my left thigh and thought for a minute that I wasn’t sure I could get up. As I slowly stood upright, Charlie ran up to make sure that I was okay. As soon as the burning subsided and I realized nothing was broken, I headed off down the trail with the dogs.
After I got back to the car and loaded up the dogs, it dawned on me that it would probably be prudent to start packing a backpack with a small first aid kit, just in case. The bruise didn’t show up right away. It took a day for my thigh to turn purple, but when it finally did, it TURNED PURPLE! I haven’t been able to lay on my left side in bed all week. I guess I’m lucky I didn’t break anything, skin or bones.