Not a pretty sight this morning …

I was halfway through an entirely different post here ..

When I heard it.

You know.. the sound animals make when they’re heaving .. getting ready to throw up and just lay it all out there.

And if you have pets, you know it’s usually in the worst possible place.  For instance, they may have just gotten in the trash, devoured all your leftover pesto, garlic cloves and tomatoes to boot (no pun intended.  well, maybe it was) and they find the middle of your white plush rug to get sick.

I know better anymore than to have a white plush rug.  And yes, from experience.  Because out of an entire house of hardwoods, which I have always had, the one area rug I might have in the house, has always been the preferred site for my animals to gather and look for comfort apparently, when they are getting sick.

……………….

Back to the events of this morning.

I hear it happening .. And as I make a mad dash to get her to the hardwood floors before she actually throws up.. There it is.  The heave.

………………

My parents, as I was growing up, wanted just one pet.  We usually had one small breed dog.  And that was it.

I, on the other hand, wanted them all.  I’d bring home cats.  Ask for a horse daily.  Rabbits.  Goldfish.  A parakeet.

Our dog Bugsy growing up and the parakeet ..

Even rats.  God bless ’em.  I started with one.  One rat.

I eventually ended up, thanks to a breeding mishap in the back of our 7th grade science classroom, with 24.

“No.”  

That is what my parents said when I asked if I could bring more than the one home.

So, at the end of my 8th grade year, the rats were fed to the eagles at the MacKenzie Environmental Center.  Because no one else wanted them.  Or maybe they did, but their parents didn’t want them, either.  Traumatic for me, but apparently a wonderful treat for the eagles.

……………..

One pet.

I never understood why one was great .. but more wouldn’t be even that much better.

Until recently.

Don’t get me wrong, I love them all.  Dearly.  The two dogs I have (one that I share with a friend… I’ll explain that one later), the cat (we used to have 3) .. the horse (used to have 2) and the goldfish (which recently passed, and this reminds me, we have yet to ‘bury’ him.  Oops.) have all been wonderful companions.  I’m so grateful we have been able to give them all a home and a family and I wouldn’t trade their company for the world.

And if I made even one trip to the Humane Society or saw a stray running down the street .. chances are I’d do everything I could to save them all and make sure they found a good home.  Mine or otherwise.

My daughter is exactly the same.  In fact, she may be worse than I am in the animal lover department.

But it’s been increasingly exhausting .. the constant level of care, the upkeep, the running home everyday at some point to get the dogs out no matter what the day looks like or how tough it may be to get there .. the financial strain .. and the constant hair, cleaning, picking up after, litter, poop bags, paper towel, vet appointments, I could go on.  If you have pets you know what I mean.  It all gets to be a lot.  For anyone.  But especially for someone who is single, gone much of the time and wanting post-divorce, to rebuild financially.

I now understand why my parents said, ‘No’.  And wanted just one.

I’m exhausted.

…………..

After a funeral this morning .. I have to stop by to pick up the cat who is at the vet.

Off to the vet ...

Yesterday was cleaning up after her.

I finally realized, after trying to deal with certain issues she’s been having myself here at home, she needs more help than what I can give.  Chances are, my aging cat has issues that are medical.

I’m fully expecting a significant bill.

The fish still needs to be buried.

The ants are now gone from the kitchen.

But the trash I took outside to get rid of the ants brought raccoons.  A whole other thing to clean up this morning.

Which I discovered, taking the puke I cleaned up from the dog, out to the trash.

Feeling better ..

She’s feeling better ..

I on the other hand, if I didn’t have a day full of running around already, would be ready to go back to bed.

Advertisements

What the Cowboy Says He’s Learned in the City. No. 1 ..

I wonder if I didn’t have to stop to pick up after the dogs … how long it would actually take me on my run each morning.

……

Many of my friends really seem to enjoy talking with the Cowboy.  The cowboys.  My ‘city’ friends too.  They are always asking him about some of the things he does, they know little to nothing about.  Things that back home for him (or even 20 miles outside Madison), are everyday things that everyone knows about and ask rarely for explanation.  Even the posts I happen to write about anything cowboy way-of-life here on the blog, seem to consistently get the most hits.

The Cowboy asked me the other day, what are you going to write about today.  I answer, “It hasn’t hit me yet.”

So he says, “You should write a blog about what I’ve learned from you.”

I laugh …

“I’m not so sure I know what you’ve learned from me,” I say at first.

Plus that isn’t as interesting, I say to myself.

He starts down the list of things he’s learned.

“How about, picking up dog poop.”

He laughs…

………..

The first few times the Cowboy visited this past fall, after I decided to stop being a vagabond (I house sat for awhile after selling my own home just over a year ago, not sure where or if I wanted to plant firm roots anywhere again, yet) and settle into my own place ..

He offered to walk my dogs while I was either a) getting ready to go wherever it was we were heading off to or b) at work.

I came home one afternoon after work and happened to see a big pile of evidence he had most likely been in the back yard of the apartment building with the dogs while I was gone.  But hadn’t quite completed all the steps of ‘taking the dogs out’.

“Is that from one of ours?” I ask.

“Probably,” he says.  “I took them out awhile ago.”

I head out to pick up after them.  And then we have ‘the talk.’

“I hate to tell you this, but you’ve got to pick up after them,” I say.  “I know that’s not a fun job, so if you want to leave that for me, I’ll get to it.  But just know, it’s got to be picked up.”

I’ve been doing it for about as long as I can remember.  Always had dogs.  Always lived where it needed to be picked up.

I used to use Oops Scoops.  But they seem harder anymore to use the cardboard piece inside .. to pick up the pile.  I find myself chasing the pieces around on the grass more than I am picking them up.

So I’ve reverted back to biodegradable small plastic baggies.  Which, used to totally gross me out, but they’re quick, convenient and they just work.

http://tlc.howstuffworks.com/home/green-pet-poop.htm

……..

“You have to pick up after your dogs,” he starts laughing.  “That’s a new one for me.  I live in the country .. never had to do that one.”

For a man used to turning ’em out, letting them run, having them do their business in a pasture or nearby grove of trees and them coming back when they are through… he’s gotten the hang of it all.  Now when I even think of asking if everything is taken care of.. he beats me to the punch.

“Yep.  All taken care of,” he usually says, smiling.

The dogs, couldn’t be happier.  I’m not so sure about the Cowboy.

I promised though, to not even consider asking for help..

With the cats.

The South Shore …

We had planned this weekend for months.

Had it not been on the calendar, I would have still needed a getaway.  My dad’s .. quiet, calm and as far away from the chaos of my everyday.. at least as far as I could get in the state of Wisconsin, was the perfect getaway.

“Wish we could be there,” said the Cowboy, several times as we talked on the phone.

He had the kids this weekend and the hope was we’d all meet there.  But, the drive is just too much for the short time they all have together on any given weekend.   Some other time, we agreed … soon.

……

The temperatures on Sunday had warmed up to a balmy 20 degrees..

So before leaving to head back home… we decided it might be fun to hit the beach.

Explaining chaos of the ice

With half of Chequamegon Bay near Bayfield still open, the ice where it was frozen, was spectacular.

Even more precious, to me anyway..

As I grabbed a few things from the car, to look up and already see my dad, explaining to my daughter, why the ice was all chunked up along the shoreline versus what she might be used to seeing on the lakes at home.

Sandy Shores of Lake Superior

We spend time on this shore as often as we can during the summer, this was our first trip during the cold months of winter.  (The water during the summer, doesn’t seem like it is much warmer than it would be to take a swim at the moment, either.)

With the open water from the rest of the bay, seeping where it can under the the ice..  there is this low, eery but beautiful, constant growl.

“Can you hear that, mom?” shouted my 10 year old.  “Did you hear that?!  What is that?” she asks from a distance as she pokes at the shoreline with a stick she’s found.  Dogs in tow.

Who needs a tennis ball. New game of fetch ..

Looking at this photo, I think its time my dog had her nails trimmed.

Sorry, sidetracked ..

Wish we could have stayed longer.  At the beach.  And at my dads.  I know my daughter felt the same, because she made that very comment, as we began the drive back home.

Had the dogs had a vote, I’m pretty sure they would have agreed.  At least before crashing in the back seat, exhausted from a weekend of running around.

I, on the other hand, enjoyed doing a whole lot of nothing other than spending total down time with two of the people I love most (only wish a few others, including the Cowboy and his little people could have joined us).  And am refreshed, ready to face the beautiful chaos of a new week.

At my dads..

It was a late night of driving up into the northwoods of northern Wisconsin..

The two lane highway last night once we were north of Minocqua was pretty quiet.  There was an occasional car.  Otherwise, only the wind was howling..

We pulled onto the dirt road heading to my dads at about 2:30 this morning.

February, unfortunatley is a month I can not take any time off of work unless death is knocking on the door.  Sincerely.  I work in news.  Ad rates are based off of ratings four months out of the year.  Which means no time off.  So we didn’t leave town for the 6 hour drive until about 8 o’clock last night. 

I’m usually up late nights, so that part wasn’t a big deal.  But I’m not always a fan of driving in rural areas at that hour. 

We were dodging deer.  Random snowdrifts across the road.  People leaving the bars in their vehicles and on snowmobile.  And, worst of all, try finding somewhere in northern Wisconsin open to use the bathroom in subzero temps just after midnight.  Not an easy task.

But my dad wants more time with us.  And us with him. 

And its been too long since we made the trip north.  SO.. we packed up the the car, all of our winter weather gear, skiis, skates, snacks and the dogs and .. arrived in the wee hours of the morning.

….

We slept in.

It’s below zero. 

Still….

We might go skiing.

We brought our ice skates.

We fed the birds.

We’ve watched our two labs run around like this is the time of their life.  NO leash, lots of animal scents to check out and no one else as far as the eye can see is like heaven for a dog.

Its almost 2pm and we’re just eating breakfast.

I feel like I’m in heaven.

While there are a ton of things we COULD be doing, running from one thing to the next, which often is my norm, we are doing much of nothing today.  Except spend time together.

Quality time.

In fact I just spent the past two hours on the computer with my dad.  Teaching him how to use something most of us use everyday and take for granted that it’s easy.  It isn’t for him. I have never understood why. I’ve been frustated he wouldn’t use it more to keep in touch with us.  And, I never would have understood why.  Had I not taken the opportunity today to just be still, and spend time with him this morning.

I’m going to write about why that was cathartic later tonight, perhaps.

But for now.. I’m going to eat the delicious breakfast he just made that reminds me of all the weekend mornings he used to cook for us when we were kids.

Nothing like cheese smothered eggs

(I’ll post pictures later, have some fun ones of today but can’t figure out on his computer where to download the pics off my camera!)

The Cowboy’s mom wrote about the importance of time in her plea this week to South Dakota state legislators in regard to passage of bills that give children in divorce, equal time wherever and whenever in their best interest, with both parents.  I won’t dwell on that.  What struck me as I was thinking about what I wanted to write today.. was the theme of time.

And how when we have it, or the opportunity to have it especially with family, it is a gift.

My mom isn’t around anymore.  She’s been gone now, almost 11 years.  I miss her more than anything.  And the last thing I did before leaving our house for the drive here last night, was touch the photo I have of her on my dresser.  I have many others who are like a mom to me – for so many reasons.  I love them all dearly.  So does my daughter and I want for her to know how each of them has played a role in who I am today.  At some point this year, you’ll meet them too, if you stick around long enough. 

But my mom, is gone.  And I would give anything for more time with her..

I know my dad would too. 

We’ll ony be here a day and a half, and have to head home.

Down time ...

But I know the time with him is precious.  We need to make more late night drives.

The dog …

Since this is technically ‘my journal’ and its something I want to leave to my daughter.. I should chronicle the past few hours.  The wonderful time we’ve had tonight making dinner at home, having a dear friend over for a bit, hanging out with homework done and the excitement of getting a few things tonight for a dance class she’s been wanting to take, which starts tomorrow.  But then I’d also have to jot down some thoughts on the huge blowout we just had as well.  It happens more frequently than I would like.  At ten I guess I might expect we’ll have more.  I know I did with my own mother.  But I’m hoping to minimize or eliminate or reduce there ever being a need.  Is that possible?  In the meantime, while she implodes, I’ve been working on remaining as calm and quiet as possible (which doesn’t always work), which upsets her all the more.

But, the Cowboy wanted me to write something more lighthearted tonight.

So, I’m going to talk about .. The dog.

Oe of them anyway.

The dog

I had to leave my little yellow lab with the Cowboy this past week as my return trip home didn’t go quite as planned.  I ended up flying instead of driving.  Which means, the dog is still at the ranch, for now.

And, she’s not really a great ranch dog.  Not yet anyway.  She likes to play .. and wants to play with just about anyone or anything, regardless of size.  The horses for the most part, would prefer she go play in another pasture.  I’m concerned it may take a good kick for her to get the picture.

Confused by the dog

When she’s not chasing friends ..

She’s sleeping on the Cowboys bed.  Which he’d prefer she doesn’t do.  Or, apparently, she’s eating leftovers the Cowboy and the kids thought would be good to just set out on the porch after leaving them  in the crockpot too long they burned.

I warned him.  “Don’t let the dog eat anything but her dog food.  It’s just not a good scene,” I’ve told him on several occasions as he’s used to giving his pup, any and all leftovers.

He’s quickly finding out why.  The lab doesn’t have a very resilient GI system.  And straying from one of the only dog foods I found that worked for her to ever have a solid .. well, let’s just say she needs a strict diet or things get a little ugly.  I do believe if she were a cartoon character, there would be one of those, you know.. army green clouds following her around.

And as we talked this morning, all I could do was laugh as the Cowboy repeatedly said her name.. groaned at the scene or rather, scent unfolding before him.. and went to let her out, again.

So that she could go play with the horses.

The road home …

Its not often we get to ride together in the car.  Well, actually today, its the blazer.  Normally one of us is heading to see the other and flying solo, passing time between phone calls and the Cowboy anyway, likes to watch/listen to a few shows on Netflix.

The road home

But we’ve got the blazer pretty packed up (the Cowboy really misses his big ‘ol truck, we were lamenting that just a few miles back.  It was a sexy truck.  It really was.  But as part of the divorce he gave it up over some relatively humorous and unrealistic financial demands from the ex.  So he sold it.  And, because we’re both trying to be frugal these days and downsize more than upscale, he bought an old blazer he could still shoe out of .. that would be a solid vehicle for he and the kids .. and that he could pay cash for.  We promised we’d start looking at a truck again later this year.)

Tired after a morning run

We’ve got one of the dogs along as well..  Settled in amongst everything in the back seat.

And, a lot of conversations happening in the midst of it all.

One of which, is me…. fussing at the Cowboy for his driving.  He wants me to tell you, “The Cowboy is a great driver.  And I am a terrible back seat driver.”  But he tells me that as he’s drifting off onto the shoulder of any icy Minnesota highway.

Another conversation is…. do we feed the dog the burrito bowl leftovers from our lunch stop.. which is a mix of black beans, rice, chicken and guacamole?  Or will that make for an extremely long, stinky ride the rest of the way to South Dakota?  Sorry.. but you know its true.

Its been a relatively insane, far too busy week.  All good things.  Work stuff.  Mom stuff.  Trying to fit exercise back into my daily routine after being out sick a couple weeks.  We drove through the snow last night to have the most wonderful evening with some of my best friends in this life, from college and now from all over the world.  Truly an honor to be among those around the table at the Capitol Grille in Milwaukee.  I adore my friends.  And I adore the Cowboy so I’m glad they’re all getting more time to know each other.  Plus it’s fun to see him dressed in a suit coat once in awhile.

But the busy days, late nights, work in-between and not to mention.. the awesome company have me thoroughly enjoying the downtime today in the passenger seat.  (Even if he isn’t the best driver that ever lived..)

Riding shotgun...

Especially because the Cowboy and I have a big week ahead … and the road this week will take us to Pierre.