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.