20 December 2010

Prepping for the holiday pilgrimage

Like many people, we're preparing for the holiday pilgrimage across the country to spend a few days feasting, connecting with family and feasting a little more. This includes T2, as we'll be driving.

The first time Toni made the trek, it was just the two of us. Chris flew in a few days later. We had only had Toni for a few short months, so we didn't know what to expect.  

As I got onto the expressway, it occurred to me that we had no idea at all if she got carsick. We'd taken her an hour-long drives up to that point, but that's nothing compared to 14 hours. What would I do if she spent the whole 14 hours heaving down the back of my t-shirt? Worse—what if she spent 14 hours heaving on my suitcase, full as it was with many of my favorite clothes (which were also all I had to wear for the next week)?! As it turns out, I had nothing to worry about. A car on the expressway works for Toni the same way it works for a baby: like a giant sleep machine. No heaving transpired.

When we pulled up to our first rest stop, I realized there was another issue or two that we hadn't thought about. First, Toni is petrified of new situations. When she's frightened, even enticing treats that normally make her salivate become suspicious and dangerous treats in her fear-addled brain. Toni at that time weighed around 70 pounds. I weigh more than that...but not much. What would I do if, predictably, she refused to get out of the car? As it turns out, I did the obvious: I lifted her. (But if some day I write that I am posting from bed because my back has finally given out and I am bedridden for life, know that I blame it in part on this trip and all of the heavy lifting.)

I also realized that I had absolutely no one to guard her while I went inside to take care of my own business. Being from Chicago, we are sadly aware of what can happen to an unattended dog who gets snatched by someone with an interest in dog fighting. And although Toni does look intimidating to strangers, an experienced dog handler would assess that she's a gentle soul. And then he would snatch her. I had visions of my trip turning into some bizarre I-turn-all-Laura-Croft-in-order-to-rescue-Toni scenario. There was no way I could make it 14 hours without going inside somewhere to use the facilities. So I became the fastest facility user I could possibly be. No primping, no tucking, no dawdling under the hand drier. Hell, no hand drier at allmy jeans were as good a place as any to dry my hands on. Not that it mattered, after all of my worrying. No one probably even noticed us; I was just some lady filling up her gas tank like everyone else.

We've made the drive several times now, sometimes with Chris and sometimes just T2 and me. We've learned that Toni is more likely to hop out of the car on her own now that she has Téa to lead the way. We know that for some reason, storms, thunder and lightening are not scary when viewed from a car. We've learned that no one is stalking us in order to snatch our dogs while I'm honing my fast facilities use technique. We've also learned that Téa is more than happy to take her turn behind the wheel.

Wishing you and yours (the human ones and the furry ones) happy holidays and safe travels.

02 December 2010

Decorating: Not impressed

We purchased a fixer-upper this past summer. I'm glad there is a cute name for it—it's less depressing than saying we purchased a complete wreck of a house which will need virtually everything except the studs (and maybe even some of those) updated and/or repaired.

I'm also glad that there is a multi-million dollar industry in place to support people like us. There are books, magazines, big box stores, videos and  disastrous reality TV shows to show us what to do, what not to do and to remind us that we are not alone.

We are not making progress as quickly as a Type A like me would prefer, though this is not unexpected. So currently I focus on celebrating the little things: "One electrical outlet in the kitchen was replaced today! We now have one outlet that may not kill me when I use it! Let's whip out the hand mixer!" "One of the weeds in the weed garden turned out to be Greek oregano—hooray!" "Some day way in the future when we get around to addressing the dining room, I have bookmarked the perfect chandelier that we will purchase and install!" It's a bit pathetic, but it keeps me going. 

One of my latest "Hooray!" moments came when I realized we had made enough progress on the bathroom that I could warrant purchasing a small rug for it (trust me, it was not rug-worthy for the first several months we were here). I brought our new rug home, carefully cut off the tags, patted myself on the back when I noticed it didn't get stuck under the door when the door was opened or closed, placed it this way and that until I had it just right and then I wandered off to make myself a celebratory cup of tea.

On my way past the bathroom a few minutes later, this is what I found:

"I'll help you hide this hideous rug until you come to your senses."

Apparently, Téa has decided that the new rug fails miserably as a rug and is trying to spare me the embarrassment. I know this because she has taken to wadding it up into a tiny ball every day and then tries to make it disappear by flinging herself on it so there is barely a bit of fluff visible to confirm its existence.

Maybe next time I'll just take her shopping with me so I can get her opinion up front...