Friday, April 30, 2010

The Problem with Being Your Own Pack Leader

If you are considering bringing a dog into your home - beware, consider this post your warning!

In our house...we have these two poochies and three people. It appears that I am the only one that "speaks dog". I am the only one that can interpret the dog cocking her head to the side and doing an anxious dance....(that means, please check our water bowl and you will see that it is EMPTY.)

IF, you are preoccupied and don't catch on quickly. They will revert to doing the "stand on back two legs and jump repeatedly for the ceiling" if you happen to turn the faucet on at the kitchen sink... you see how they are?

Anyway, somehow - the dogs have come to learn that I am the person that will meet their physical needs. Let me clarify....

I am the ONLY person that will meet their needs.

Now, in all fairness - this is not really the truth of the situation. The child will feed or water the dogs if this need is pointed out to him. He will let the dogs out. He will let the dogs in. (Usually with prompting.)

Hubby has also mastered the art of dog care- in the event that I am not home (be that for an evening or for multiple days).

BUT, if I am home...the dogs will not accept the care of anyone other than their pack leader. Sure, it sound cute and like it's a complement of adoration....

Fast forward to any point in the middle of the night...hubby may be just coming to bed - I may already be in deep slumber mode. IF the dogs decide they need to go outside - NO amount of prompting from hubby will suffice. I will have to get up to let them out or they simply won't go (yet they will continue to skitter across the wood floor in a pacing manner from their bed to the bedroom door in a maddeningly disturbing way until you wake up).

It does not matter if I am sick. It does not matter if I have worked 40 hours in 3 days. It doesn't matter if I'm grumpy. They simply won't accept an offer from anyone else to meet their night time potty needs if I am present in the house.

Something to consider, if you are thinking that "Pack Leader" sounds like a good title. The fine print = solid night sleep no longer guaranteed.

Wednesday, April 28, 2010

Wishing Wednesdays - 15

I wish last Wednesday hadn't escaped me - the whole week flew by before I knew what happened...may have something to do with many extra hours worked and many committments after hours.

I wish for my current blooms to last at least until the next batch shows signs of promise for future blooms.

I wish for state budgets to be decided - hopefully without eliminating my entire field of work.

I wish for more organiziation and less chaos.

And lest you think I've been asking for wishes for 15 weeks straight without being thankful....

I'm greatly thankful for the tulips - I smile every time I let the dogs out / in / and back out again. (I think they have spring fever too.)

I'm thankful for the signs of returning life of plants that have survived our brutal winter.

I'm thankful for changes and excitment in life.

I'm thankful for pleasant weather and time spent outside.

What are you wishing for? And are you balancing that with gratitude?

Thursday, April 15, 2010

5 Second Fish

In our house - we like resiliency.

There is a reason that I am drawn to plants that say "low maintenance".

There is a reason that I am thankful when the dogs are smart enough to "tell me" that they have a physical unmet need - you know, like food or water.

And there is a reason that when it comes to fish - we like the tough kind.

The kind that can go without weeks without regular feedings, that are strong enough to survive water in less than ideal pH levels, and that are not prone to disease or early expiration.

When I purchase these fish (which is seldom) I know they will not play nicely with others but I also know they will be around for many days.

And then....

For my birthday this year I got 2 parrot cichlids. While the cichlid breed is pretty strong and pretty aggressive, the parrot has some behavior tendencies but lacks the ability to act on it with great conviction for two reasons.

1. They are chicken, skidd-ish fish and like to spend much time in hiding.

2. They have a smaller mouth opening - which slows them down when it comes to eating their tank mates.

Because of their nervous nature, they do better when they have some kind of schooling fish to assure them that all is well in the world. After some research, we found picked out a tank-mate that should have been a lovely match. We added 5 to the tank. Slowly, they began to disappear.

We noticed that this often happened when my work schedule got out of control. (Read as: I forgot to do regular feedings - motivating the big fish to pick on the small fish.)

When I realized that I was part of the problem. I resumed feeding and went to the store to pick up some fish - as I had one lone survivor.

Imagine my horror when I literally released the fish - and it immediately ended up in the mouth of a big fish. It did manage to escape. But only to be captured in the mouth of the second big fish. By the next morning - we once again found the tank with only one lone survivor - bless his heart, the same little yellow guy.

Lessons learned?

1. Fish warranties are no good when there is not a body to bring back.

2. Old fish can learn new tricks when properly motivated by starvation.

Wednesday, April 14, 2010

Wishing Wednesday

Week 15:

  • I wish there were fewer weeds in my rock garden - already.
  • I wish there were fewer weeds in my work life.
  • I wish it were the season of Weed (the show, not the plants and not the drugs).
  • I wish I had a crystal ball - and could tell if it is too soon to plant the elephant ears that will soon spend months torturing me by taking forever to surface.
  • I wish for a highly successful growing season, a long spring and a mild summer.
How about you?

Wednesday, April 7, 2010

Wishing Wednesdays - 14

Week 14:
The one that is dedicated to a select few of my co-workers:
(And while it sounds crabby - this week has not been quite as intolerable as others.)

I wish you did not often motivate me to try out the theory that "Absence Makes the Heart Grow Fonder" far, I'm thinking that is nice way to invite you to go away.

I wish you could figure out / remember to replace the copier with WHITE paper (you know the STANDARD color of office paper) when you are done using it. And that I didn't find the paper tray empty on every other trip.

I wish you could respect the fact that the sink is NOT for a holding ground for your plant! It is for hand washing. Furthermore, if the plant never leaves the bathroom sink / counter - one must wonder why it continues to be a necessary item in this workspace.

I wish that you could let go of the passive / aggressive behavior and get off your high horse. Is it really such a chore to say "good morning" or "see you tomorrow"?

I wish you would know that when you "sneak" out for your long lunches / errand running...oops, I mean "meetings" that we are perfectly aware of your absence.

I wish I could wrap my mind around why a trashcan of recycling is offensive to your eyes - but food left uncovered overnight is okay? Paper waiting to be carried to the recycling bin (by magic fairies - I assume) thrown on a chair and left for DAYS in public view is acceptable? The logic escapes me.

What about you? Do you have wishes for your co-workers too? Go ahead...
We'll return to our regularly scheduled "nice-ness" next week.

Monday, April 5, 2010

At Odds With Myself

Sometimes - we are our own worst enemies.

I'll site my life as an example...

I want to be a responsible environmental consumer. This means lots of recycling. It also means lots of piles of recycling goods that are either waiting to be washed, waiting to dry, waiting to be taken to recycle boxes, or waiting to be sorted. In short - loving the earth = cluttering my kitchen / garage. Paper to take to work (fundraiser / recycling project). Paper to shred. Paper that doesn't count as "paper" at work - but can be taken curbside - I don't even begin to understand this one.

This same problem applies when I have the desire to "just throw it away". It seems wasteful. Just because I'm not loving it / using it - does that automatically mean that it should go to a landfill? And I like to donate - but again, it's not something I drop off often - so it kind of piles up before I make the trip... which does not help with organization.

So as much as I would NOT like to ---when I watch Hoarders - Buried Alive (great show btw) I understand what they mean by "don't just throw it away". Now, sometimes they are pretty close to crazy...but other times, I'm like - can't you just HELP these people find a place where they CAN send their piles of crap that will be USEFUL?

And then there is budgeting. I'm embarrassed to say, that until recently - I didn't pay attention to what I spent on food. *gasp* I know, I know - I need a support group. I just went to the store and bought things - not even things that resembled a "plan"...just food that at some point I thought we would like to eat.

I have learned that this leads to peanut butter with no jelly. Kool-aid with no sugar. Missing ingredients for the most basic's a source of frustration.

Watching the weekly ads seemed like a lot of hassle. I generally went to one place and did all my shopping - regardless of the digits that would total up. I don't like going multiple places. I don't like totally not knowing where things are in the store. And let's face it - when I'm only going to 1 place, I still can't keep it straight due to their strategic plan of endless rotation to disorient the customers.

But I've started to be inspired by fellow bloggers and our family is practicing what I will refer to as Project Bracing For Impact (preparing for the worst case financial scenario). And I'm starting to keep track of the spending. And I'm trying the "shop the ad's" method of cooking. Oh yeah, I'm also trying to have a "plan" for the meals when I shop - novel idea, I know. Slow but steady, folks.

And you know what I've noticed? 80% of the ads are for food-like-products. Not real food. Not good food. Not food you should be eating more of. But crap-in-a-box. For anyone reading along with Does This Blog Make Me Look Fat? and for The Box Challenge....this is not going to fly. Does eating on a budget and eating healthy have to be working against each other? I mean, when was the last time you saw a sale on oatmeal or wheat germ or whole wheat flour?

It's a process - but why does it seem that when you try to make an improvement in one area - you end up fighting another one? I'm not giving up - I'm just looking for the peaceful answers.

Friday, April 2, 2010

Plus 1, Door Number 2, and 3 Don't Do's

I went to a wedding recently. It was one of those weddings where I really didn't know anyone - I just got drug along as the plus one. The nice thing about not being emotionally involved - is that you have lots of time to observe.

1st. There are lots of wedding traditions that just put a lot of pressure on the guests. Okay, so there is plenty of pressure - look nice, right gift, RSVP in timely manner. But sometimes there are "extra surprises" "we'd like to take your picture - right as you arrive, coming in from the rain." I don't take many good pictures on days where mother nature isn't pouring on my head - much less on a day like this, for an event that I was drug along to.

Please don't do this to your guests. As if that wasn't enough, I noticed that the photographer was ALSO sneaking shots of us as we casually waited for the festivities to begin. I felt like I should go introduce myself and let them know "I'm the plus one, don't bother pointing here."

We were also asked to fill out a card for the couple and they applied MORE pressure b/c this was the "guest book". I refused, but I can imagine them insisting that you give marital advice or maybe it highlights how you know the couple - which in my case would have been "barely, but thanks for the cake and mints".

2nd Weddings give you the chance to observe lots of religious traditions. Like putting the cloth that a pastor wears around their neck (I'd call it a Lay - but that seems wrong.) ON TOP of the bride / grooms hands when you bless the couple? Is this an old ritual to keep the pastor from catching "common people" germs? Are the seven deadly sins contagious?

Sometimes churches are designed in some fashion that makes you think there are secrets! Like in this one, I swear there were "little people" doors behind the cross on the main "stage". I kept waiting for the little people chorus line to break out...alas, it never happened. But what are the doors for? Do you have to know a secret handshake to get in there? Do they only open them on special occasions? Does it lead to a secret passageway? And if I had explored it after the ceremony what would the punishment be if I were caught?

As a general aside note - the musical selections at weddings may be special for the bride and groom - but I see little point in them. First, I think that public singing is best left for darkly lit rooms or concerts - a wedding is neither. If you love songs - play them at your rehearsal dinner, play them during your reception, play them as people are entering the church and sitting / waiting with the photographer pretending to be the paparazzi....but for heaven sake, stop insisting that everyone listen to a singer that may or may not preform well under pressure while the wedding party tears up and tries to avoid ruining their makeup. Your guests will thank you, trust me.

3rd. As a youth at our church, they let us light the candles for service - it was a big deal. Little did I know, it was trade school for later life - when someone would ask you to be the candle lighter in their wedding. And in this case, practice does NOT make perfect.

Candles are one of those things in weddings that are just begging for Murphey's Law to come into practice. Why do we insist that someone light them in front of the audience? Who needs that kind of pressure? You might as well invite a crowd to watch you apply your eyeliner and mascara in the morning...we only need it to get done, we don't need to watch.

I'm going to start keeping score - of weddings where some kind of "catastrophe" does or doesn't happen with the candles. I'm fairly sure that I can quickly prove - beyond statistical question - that you should avoid candles at all costs.

My final observation is for the guests. Is it really necessary for EVERY SINGLE person under the age of 30 to have their personal video / photos of the ceremony? Either save your money on the photographer and challenge your guest to get good shots OR ask them to put it away. I swear, at several points the bride / groom had 4+ video cameras on them with an additional 20 cameras pointing at them. And this was a pretty small wedding - as weddings go.

I know, I know, it's YOUR day. You can do it anyway you want. But have you seen any really awful wedding ideas / traditions?