Friday, August 27, 2010

The Dog Whisperer

I should have known it was going to be a strange night when I saw three or four deer standing on the side of the road on my way home, ready to run out in front of me. Then a rabbit did try to dart out on the road moments after, but I think it went on its way.

It was about 11:30pm. Pmo was taking out the dogs for their last round when I heard barking. I went out on the front porch to see what was going on, and all of a sudden this big white dog comes bounding up the driveway. Pmo was trying to control our dogs and I was wondering where the runaway came from because I didn't see anyone around. A few minutes later, a woman comes walking up the driveway with a leash and a collar in her hands.

Apparently "Boomer" had made a break for it and his owner could not wrangle him. He toyed with Bug and Jack for a few minutes then he was off again, running around our house and into the backyard. I thought eventually he would calm down and let the woman put the collar back on, but that just wasn't happening. So I decided to help. I went back inside, got my shoes on and Pmo suggested I grab some treats.

And so the hunt began. To be honest, Boomer's owner wasn't doing much to get him under control. She had come from a neighborhood across a busy road where the dog almost got hit, and she seemed to have given up. And Boomer, well, he was playing a game. The treats did not tempt him at all. He would run up to me, almost where I could pet him, then he'd bolt away, jumping around like he was having the time of his life.

After a few trips around the house, I started to get irritated. I know, shocker, right? But here's this crazy dog running around my yard, his owner doesn't know what the hell she's doing, it's almost midnight and there's quite a commotion going on. That's when it hit me. My tone was all wrong. I was doing the high pitched, "here Boomer, come here, come here boy" and whistling which is fun and playful. He needed the low pitch "I mean business" voice. So that's what I did. I said, "Boomer, come here, come here, Boomer" in that stern Mom tone. You know, the one where she uses all three names? And just like that, he started to walk toward me really slow with his head down, and I walked toward him a little, making sure he wasn't going to bolt again, and I had him.

I yelled at the lady, "I got him!" She ran over, put the collar on him and thanked me a million times. In the meantime, her sister had pulled up in a vehicle, ready to take them home. But I heard the woman say she was just going to walk Boomer the rest of the way. I secretly hoped the collar would hold up and we wouldn't have to entertain Boomer again. So I am proclaiming myself: the dog whisperer. Now if I could only get my own dogs to listen to me!

Sunday, August 15, 2010

Gimme a Head with Hair

I have a love/hate relationship with my hair. Mostly hate. It's always been a thick, hard to tame, unruly mess. It was long and heavy down my back until college when I finally got out on my own, sorta, and was able to cut it. My parents never wanted me to chop it off. I used to cut pieces off and hide them in the closet or flush them down the toilet when I was a kid. Yeah, I'm neurotic that way.

Since college, it's been short most of the time. Really short sometimes, even boyish. But it was so much easier to take care of when it was short! And I always had a knack for styling it. I somehow knew exactly what to do with it. Or maybe it was just more cooperative.

I've grown it long a few times since the intital whacking. I'm at one of those in between stages now. It was actually getting past my shoulders a few months ago when I decided to do an inverted bob. But since it's been so hot lately, I tend to pull it back in a ponytail all of the time. Styling it takes too much energy. And heat. I don't want to have to fight it. I just want it to look right. With minimal effort.

But I know it looks better longer, so I go back and forth in my head, trying to figure out what to do. If I don't want to take the time to style it, then what's the use of having it long? If I cut it short, I can't pull it back into a ponytail at all. And depending on how short it is, it will always be on my neck somehow. And that gets tedious, too.

It's also so much easier to color when it's short. I used to be able to do it by myself but now I have my hair dresser just do the roots. There's got to be a happy medium or else I'm going to go back to my Dharma look. Something's gotta give. I'm afraid if I cut it off again, I'll regret it. But it's hair, it will grow back, right? It always does. In droves.

It's making me have an identity crisis. Along with my weight. I change my mind on that a lot, too. Some days I pull the "I'm happy the way I am" attitude. Other days, I know better. So we'll see what happens. I may peruse the short hairstyles section of the internet. Right now.

Friday, August 13, 2010

The Tom Petty Experience

I became a Tom Petty fan early on in my life. I remember it like it was yesterday. I was in the front yard, Mom came out of the house yelling, "Tom Petty, Tom Petty! That's who sings that song!" She was talking about "I Won't Back Down" and she had finally caught who sang it on the radio. That was the only way to find out back then. Still is for Mom because she doesn't have a computer. Unless she asks me to look it up on the internet.

So when the opportunity arose to see TP in Nashville this year, I jumped at the chance and knew I had to take Mom and Perry. I had seen concerts with each of them but never the three of us together. Mom and I saw TP 15 years ago when he came to Roberts Stadium. In April, she and I saw Bon Jovi in Nashville for the third time. Perry and I saw Tesla at the Centre last year. And in July, Perry and I saw the Scorpions in Nashville. So since we all like TP, it was only fitting the three of us head back to Music City.

We picked up Mom yesterday afternoon and headed south. We stopped at Sumner Crest Winery to pick up some of our favorites bottles of wine and ended up in a traffic jam about 4 miles away our destination. Once we finally got parked and took the shuttle to downtown, we had a difficult time getting a table at our favorite eatery, Big River Brewery, because the place was packed and our usual open bar seating wasn't very open. I guess we looked like we were on a mad hunt for a table because this guy came over to us and offered to share his table with us. It was just him and his wife and it was a huge booth. That was so nice of them! We drank some beer, scarfed down chicken tenderloins, fries and pizza, and had great conversation with the generous couple because, of course, they were going to the concert, too. We were so grateful they let us sit with them. Otherwise, we wouldn't have made the concert on time. In fact, we walked in and found our seats (in the dark) right as Crosby, Stills and Nash took the stage.

I know a few CS&N songs but I just wasn't prepared for them. They were good, don't get me wrong, just very slow and folky. Plus the people behind us kept talking and talking and talking about them. They were also in the wrong seats which they also talked about for 20 minutes. They finally moved, thank God. In between CS&N and TP, the roadies did a lot of sound checks and tuning. I've never heard that before. Usually, they just set up the next band's stuff and go on. I always assumed they got all of the mic checks out of the way earlier in the day.

Finally, Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers took the stage and began with "Listen to Her Heart" which I thought was awesome because I was just talking about that song in the car on the way down. I love how it starts: "You think you're gonna take her away, with your money and your cocaine." TP went on to sing "You Don't Know How It Feels", "Free Fallin'", "Mary Jane's Last Dance", "King's Highway", "Learning to Fly", "I Won't Back Down", "Refugee" and more of the old stuff, plus 4 or 5 new ones. I loved them all. One of favorite moments was the end of "Don't Come Around Here No More". It was like a strobe light jam session. Really intense. They ended many of the songs with a lot of momentum. The encore included "Runnin' Down a Dream" and ended with "American Girl" which I predicted. It was great.

The trip home was long. I drove the first leg. Perry took over in Bowling Green. And I got back behind the wheel after we dropped Mom off. We didn't get home until after 3am, very tired. But it was one of the best shows I've ever seen. Not many bells and whistles or theatrics. Just a sample of 34 years of some of the greatest rock 'n roll of all time.

Saturday, August 7, 2010

The eBay Way

When I first started eBaying in March, I quickly became addicted to buying. I was timid at first, so worried I would get taken advantage of. But then I started putting bids on items, watching them throughout the day, and the end of the auction, I would either feel the thrill of victory or the agony of defeat.

My first purchase was a Wii Fit balance board plus the Wii Fit and Wii Fit Plus games which I got for well under the $100 asking price at the store. And I've definitely gotten a lot of use out of it, although I've been slacking lately. After that purchase, I would search for things I "needed" constantly and end up with DVDs and other items in my mailbox every few days or so. Then I got the itch to sell.

I decided some of the things I would normally give to Goodwill could actually earn some money in a yard sale, but I didn't want to bother with that: getting up before the crack of dawn, pricing everything with little stickers, haggling with people who want to talk you down from a quarter to a dime. No thanks. So I put 12 items up for bid the first day and expected great things. Then I got worried I hadn't judged the shipping correctly and my bids would be so low that I would be paying people to take these things off my hands. So I took off some the heavier items that hadn't yet received bids and put them on craigslist because there's no shipping involved there. None of the craigslist goods have sold yet, but at least I won't have to ship them if they do. I got a bite on my camera but the woman's never emailed me back.

Now that I've successfully sold a few items on eBay, heavy and light, I prefer to ship on the lighter side so I don't lose my shirt. No pun intended. My friend has been blogging about her Dave Ramsey experience and the "snowflakes" she's been collecting from selling coupons on eBay, so I thought I'd give it a try. It's pretty simple shipping. Stuff them in an envelope and slap a stamp on. So far, I've sold 3 sets of coupons and a gift card I've had for several years that still has the full amount of money on it. I couldn't believe how much I got for that.

I didn't really know how to go about this, so I just did what made sense to me. I grouped the coupons into similar categories and tried to rack up the money count. Like, $45 in coupons for Dole, Yoplait, Totino's, etc. $50 in coupons for Bounty, Windex, Scott, Charmin, etc. I've even got $95 worth of coupons for some health and beauty products. Coupons are back. I mean, they've never really went away, but I think they're trending right now. It's cool to coupon again. Kind of like the breastfeeding comeback. Talking 'bout my generation...

Anyway, the eBay thing is a daily adventure and I'm making a little bit of dough on the side so I'm happy. I get a brand new batch of coupons every Sunday and sometimes through the week. I still clip my own but there are so many I have no need for. I could swap them but if there's someone out there willing to pay a buck fifty for me to ship them out, I'll take it. I have had to relist many of them because they didn't sell. And if it gets too close to the expiration date, I'll just toss them in the trash. No harm done.

I'm also considering putting some books and jewelry up for bid on eBay. I went online and sent some books to a few entities that will pay me a few bucks for them. But some books they just won't take. So I'll see how this goes, could be heavy to ship. And I have a lot of jewelry I never wear. It would be interesting to see if anyone wants it. I can't make a living out of this but every little bit helps. And I love to declutter!

Friday, August 6, 2010

Little Houdini

My dog, Jack, is a free spirit. He does not like to be confined to small spaces. He also does not like to be left alone. And if you do either, or both, you pay dearly for it. In fact, Pmo has to tie Jack up outside when he's mowing or else Jack leaves a nice little present inside. And when I leave for work, I make sure all the bedroom doors are closed because Jack's been known to create a trail of unpleasantness if I don't.

So when I had to work a dayshift this week, and the dogs were going to be cooped up all day, I did what I always do when they're put up for more than a few hours. I barricade them in the kitchen with a tall piece of black cardboard and a couple of chairs. That way, if there is an accident, I can clean it up with no problem. I can't use the baby gate that keeps them in their bedroom at night because the entranceway is too wide. And I have a feeling Jack would jump over it if he really wanted to. He doesn't really care about being cooped up at night anymore. As long as he's not in a pet taxi.

Anyway, I threw my plan into action and start with Bug, who was good to go. He just curled up on his quilt I tossed on the kitchen floor and looked at me like, "You still here?" Jack, however, needed a little more coaxing. Physically. I had to pick him up and place him in the kitchen because he wouldn't go on his own. As I slid the cardboard across, Jack was whining from underneath the kitchen table. And I knew he didn't like it but I didn't want any surprises on the carpet when Pmo got home. Just gotta tough it out, kid.

The rest of the day went pretty smoothly. Before I left work, I was even talking with a co-worker about Jack and his "separation anxiety" as they call it in the dog world. And right before I went to the booth for the 6pm newscast, I get a picture like this from Pmo:

Yep. Jack had chewed a mouse hole and found his freedom. I've used the cardboard trick several times when we've been out on day trips and he's never tried to destroy it. The good news is there were no other messes.
I would have loved to set a camera up to see how the process went. Did Jack stare at the tall black wall for awhile... thinking how he could get on the other side and back to the couch and carpet? How long did it take him to realize he could chew through it? Did he do it in the morning or the evening? Did he have to test it out... chew for a little bit, try to get through, then realize he needed more space? What was Bug doing all this time, watching? Did Jack chew a hole big enough for Bug to fit through? I doubt it.
Nevertheless, our little Houdini has outsmarted us once again. I have another dayshift coming up next week and I'm not sure what I'm going to do. Leave the dogs loose like normal and hope for the best? Or invest in a less destructible barrier? It really doesn't matter. What Jack wants, Jack gets. Whether it's freedom or retribution, it's never my choice.