Don’t Punch Teenagers

I hadn’t had a long weekend in a while. I love my job and the media consumption that comes with it, but after report after report on political craziness, dead people, crime, animal abuse, and statewide financial problems— I needed to unplug. Cue a four day weekend that coincided with N’s spring break. If I could do I back flip, I would have done one.

My excitement translated into social media posts counting down the hours to my mini-vacation. It is, after all, the fastest way to let the world know about my sunny mood, whether or not the world wanted to know. Every time I told someone I was headed to Lawton I was met with confusion. I’m not sure what’s in Lawton, but people’s responses didn’t do a good job of selling the place. To be more clear, I wasn’t going to Lawton, but to the Wichita Mountains near Lawton, and that seems to make all the difference.

In the car on a Saturday morning we loaded supplies, the dogs, and plugged in the address into the GPS. Ninety minutes to nature– not particularly far, but the flashing 90 minute trip estimate took me back to my time in Colorado where I lived 15 minutes away from Pikes Peak and countless trails. I was uninterested in regular hiking trips when they were easily accessible, but now I daydream about it. The whole thing makes me sound like a walking stereotype, but really it’s my dogs’ fault.

The majority of my time in Colorado I had cats. They were happy to just chase lasers indoors, and continue to be. My dog Mila is from Colorado, but I didn’t get her until a few months before we moved away. I do remember my interest in hiking picked up after getting her. Now, we have Magnus, a 100 lb ball of energy, and he only knows how to relax after a long walk or day of sprints at the dog park. I think Mila misses the mountains because she really comes alive when we get to play in Oklahoma’s version.

That Saturday was a really great day. I couldn’t get online much because the service is spotty out there, so relaxing and enjoying the moment was really my only option. The company was good, the weather was crisp, and the bathrooms in the visitor center were clean. No matter how much I’m starting to like being outside, going to the bathroom next to a tree is never my idea of a good time. That day will remain in my thoughts for some time, not just because it was peaceful, but also because it was the same day I almost punched a teenage girl.

Man, that sounded intense, didn’t it? What I mean is that I was filled with the overwhelming urge to punch a teenage girl, though I doubt I ever would. I’m more the ‘wound with words’ type. Besides, she was far too tall for me to actually reach her face, and punching people in the stomach seems like such a waste.

To be fair, at her age I was probably an insufferable jerk too. Here is what happened…

I was wearing a jammy pack. It’s basically a fanny pack with the added cool factor of allowing you to play music from your phone through a little stereo system. I did look ridiculous, but the unbelievable convenience won me over. Also, I wore it backwards because I vaguely remember that being the cool way to do it in the early 90s. Anyway, I was walking into the Visitor Center, and this six foot tall pretty girl wearing skinny jeans and ballet flats to hike looked at the jammy pack and started laughing. We make eye contact, and she walks off with her parents. You might be thinking, ‘Mireya, why would this girl’s minor outburst get in your head?’ Good question dear reader. I don’t think that’s what happened exactly. That brief experience, that was such an unimportant part of my day, remains memorable because I wasn’t sure how to react.

I have few problems with confronting people, and can clearly tell a person how what they have done has made me feel. If that exchange were with another adult I would have likely said, ‘What’s your bleeping problem,” but the person was clearly a minor, perhaps even half my age. In that split second I went with an emphatic eye-roll, and went on my way. The main take away for me is that I have no idea how to act around teenagers. I think there is no world in which I could have told this girl she was rude, and not looked petty. My husband often says teenagers, “are playing at adulthood.” Older teens like to pretend they are grown-up in the way they act and talk, but can really just be snarky jerks. Tip of the hat to those people that have to deal with teenagers regularly, and my apologies to those who had to deal with me at that age.

I find the experience, and thoughts that came after it comical, which is why I’m writing about it, but I sincerely hope that girl, and any other jerk teens, turns out to be a decent human with a good life.

In the hours that followed, I went on to see some longhorns, roadrunners, and even elk. We picked a trail, and explored. Mila and Magnus had the chance to play off leash at the top of a small mountain, and almost had a Looney Tunes moment when they caught sight of some wild animals, and seriously thought about heading off the side of a cliff to catch them.

After all of that, I had a belly full of tacos for dinner, and drove back home with the sleepiest dogs I ever did see.

 

12814178_10107312331046840_6822173607385853177_n

Take a Leap

It might be might my job, my age, or my disposition, but general holidays have lost their luster. I work every Thanksgiving, haven’t partied on the New Year since I had too much champagne at age 24, and one time I forgot it was Christmas.

It’s no wonder then, that today I forgot it was Leap Day. Luckily the internet reminded me with Facebook alerts, clever/not so clever tweets, and articles about the whole thing. I don’t think Leap Day is an actual holiday– just a calendar playing catch-up– but I was intrigued by the articles advising people on what they should do with their extra 24 hours.

Apparently, on this day, women can propose to men. I guess they might melt into a puddle of goop if they try something like that any other day of the year. You can also celebrate that one friend who insists they are six years old because they were a leap year baby. The rest I saw in passing talked about how you should take the day off to relax or maybe do some charity work. I opted for charity work– but only coincidentally.

Today– probably while you are reading this– N and I will be sitting in the Oklahoma City Humane Society taking a short course on being a safe and effective volunteer. I had this type of volunteering on my to-do list for years, but I never followed through. It wasn’t out of laziness, but fear. I thought it would be too difficult, because I would want to take all the dogs home or that I would be too sad about the ones who aren’t getting adopted. I still think I’ll feel this way, but there is now an overwhelming feeling to do some active good, and this is good.

I am lucky my dogs, Mila and Magnus, can’t talk. If they could, perhaps they would point out the irony in me leaving them for hours to spend time with other dogs. When I return, I expect the will sniff my hands, look at me as if I have betrayed them, and promptly forgive me when they are ready for dinner.

 

mila and magnus

Mila and Magnus and Mireya. Causing trouble, but in a cool way.

 

 

Bad Parenting

I am obsessed with my dogs. They are better looking, funnier, and smarter than anything you have in your life. There is a chance everyone feels this way about their pets, and maybe everyone isn’t right– including me. Gasp!

MilaMy dogs are Mila and Magnus, and they have taught me many things. The sappy stuff, like selfless love, patience, and the ability to clean up poop. They have also taught me some less impressive things about myself– mainly that my laziness and inability to say no to my dogs, and mean it, makes me a bad pet parent.

MagnusToday, I had one of those experiences mothers of toddlers talk about while they’re on their third glass of wine. It was an experience I didn’t see coming into my life for quite some time. A stranger was awful and judgmental about my dogs, and by extension, me. I mean, I am not saying he was wrong, but it was embarrassing.

I went home for lunch on Friday afternoon to let the dogs use the bathroom and play. I normally let them play on this large ungated patch of grass in my apartment complex on sunny afternoons because it’s calm and people aren’t coming in and out with their dogs in the middle of the day– except today.

Mila and Magnus are large dogs who are obsessed with small dogs. So, a redheaded freckle-faced man came out of the side door of a building with a white fluffy little cotton ball of a dog. We’ve encountered this dog before. It is as mean as it is cute, and it considers my dogs’ needy playfulness as aggression, so they are not friends.

Mila and Magnus saw this little fluff ball and his ginger handler, ignored all of my commands- which they only do when it’s really important they listen- and sprinted their way across a parking lot. The man picked up his dog as I ran behind mine. As I got closer, Mila and Magnus changed directions and ran into an enclosed dog area.

I sighed and said, “ok, we’ll just go to the gated area.”

I was talking to my dogs– feeling annoyed, but happy that there was no barking and no drama. Then, I heard it:

“They sure do whatever they want, don’t they?”

Ginger said it in such a neutral way, but I couldn’t help but think the dig at my dogs was really just a dig at me. I turned, made eye-contact with him, and debated what to say…

“At least my dogs are friendly.”
“Mind your own business.”
“You sure are a jerk, aren’t you?”

I settled for: “I guess they do.”

He doesn’t know N and I work with the dogs everyday. He doesn’t know Magnus is huge but still a puppy and has a hard time listening. If he knew, would he care? Probably not.

Like I said, he wasn’t wrong. My dogs embarrassed me and that man, all his freckles, and I knew that to be the case. Did he need to point it out?

Either way– Good burn, Ginger, good burn.

She Has a Doggie

I just returned from 7/11, where health nuts regularly buy their dinners. There, I came face to face with some kid and lost! I should have kicked that little brat.

Just kidding, I don’t kick kids, but I do want to, sometimes.

Here is the deal: I had a late lunch and didn’t want a real dinner, so I thought butter toffee almonds and a diet coke were the most logical choice. I live like two blocks away from a convenience store that has these things, so off I went.

I grabbed what I needed, but didn’t beat a mother with two loud children to the cash register, so I waited. I was silently judging the woman because she came to the convenience store with her kids specifically to buy them some ding dongs or twinkies or something, fully ignoring my own reason for being there. I’m a jerk.

Anyway, the woman’s daughter kept staring at me in that unnerving way children tend to do. I made extended eye contact with her a few times to make her stop, but it didn’t work. The little blonde was just staring, and even looked a little judgey standing there in her pink Bratz pajamas holding her pre-packaged pastry.

I couldn’t figure out why she kept looking at me, so I just stared back with a scowl for good measure. Finally the kid said, in the loudest voice possible, “Mommy, look, she has a doggie.”  Her mother just ignored her.

I panicked for like a second. How does this little monster know I just got a dog? Is she a creepy psychic? Of course not, I’m educated, I don’t believe in those things– but wait, what if she is…

I look down, confused, and realize I was entirely covered in dog fur. Like, my black lulu’s look grey. It was gross, but I hadn’t realized I needed a date with a lint roller before I left the house.

I started laughing too loudly in the store after what the kid said, and her mother and brother turned to look at me as if I was crazy.

I realized, I had gone face to face with some kid, and lost. It wasn’t just because she totally burned me, but because to her I wasn’t even there. My clothes and their condition were just a mystery to be solved, which she managed to do very well. She never even talked to me, she just stared and wondered what was wrong with this woman’s clothes, and she made the right call.

Lesson learned, kid. I need to buy and use more lint rollers.