How to Appear Pathetic: Lessons From My Dog

That's My Shoe

I write and talk about my dogs a lot. Arguably I post more photos of my dogs online than of my midgets. I have a good reason for this: my dogs can’t be exploited?/endangered? as easily as my midgets. Everyone knows about the faceless numerous creeps online who get their jollies by looking at photos of kids. Usually I dismiss my fears because I want to share photos of my darlings, but generally I feel more confident about sharing photos of canines than I do of children. It’s a modern problem.

Another modern problem is getting noticed. My midgets are skilled at looking pathetic, but my dogs are pathetic all-stars. When I make plans to leave my house and I attempt to leave the hounds at home, they put on quite a display while barely making a sound. All I need to do is put on my shoes and the dogs react by swiftly walking to the front door and either prancing or sitting to block my way out. And oh, how their faces fall when I tell them No, you can’t come. Dogs aren’t people and so they don’t have the range of emotions that we do, but man are they good at imitating them. Unless I’m headed somewhere dogs aren’t allowed, or if the weather is especially cold or hot, which would make leaving the dogs in the car or outside unwise, I take them along.

My family had a mini poodle when I was growing up, and his act was sitting by the front door with 1 front paw raised, body shaking while whining at a low volume. He was very good. But, dogs aren’t allowed on a school bus or in an elementary school and so Pepper was left behind that time. I’m sure within 5 minutes of our departure he was on our couch, snoring. And I’m sure my dogs are on the couch or dog bed, having their 8-hour daily nap within 10. But if I can make them happy by giving them a walk or car ride, I’ll do so. Simple emotions, simple problems, simple solutions. This is why I, and many others, like having a dog around: we experience small victories every day.

 

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I Need the Motivator from Wipeout

If I could get that installed at my house, I could better propel myself out the front door of my house.

My jobs in the morning are: let dogs out for a pee; take my pills; get midgets up out of bed (sure, they have alarm clocks, but that doesn’t mean they will heed them, so I’m their backup, their plan B); monitor the progress of the aforementioned midgets, offering solutions to problems such as forms that need to be signed, swimming stuff to find, and a distinct lack of socks all while keeping an eye on the clock; get myself ready for work, the effort of which varies depending on the dirtiness of my hair; feed dogs (because if I feed them as soon as I get out of bed, they wake me up earlier and earlier every day); kiss girl midget good-bye; take dogs for a walk; and go to work. Would I want my midgets to be more independent? I used to think Yes, but I’m glad to be included in their daily routines. This involvement keeps us connected.

I can (usually) get myself out of bed easily enough, and I crank some tunes via Songza to get my mood to a happy state. It’s the leaving of the house that presents a problem, one that would be solved by The Motivator. For now, the warmer weather is my metaphorical Motivator, and for now that’s good enough.

I’ve been riding my bike to work and that’s providing some joy. Always people wonder why I bike on busy streets instead of the bike path. The bike path is boring. The landscape is homogenous, the wind is formidable, and there are no flower shops, bakeries, or traffic lights to break up the windy monotony.

The warm weather has also quieted down the plaintive whining in my head that appears during the winter to wonder why in hell I live in such a cold climate. So there’s that.

Behind the Curtain!

On my mind right now, is:

  • making a decision on a house/pet sitter to live at our apartment during our time away this summer (lots of applicants to wade through);
  • find reasonably priced rain boots for boy midget (time sensitive – he’s going camping soon);
  • stop beating myself up over not taking good care of my physical self over the past 6 months of winter (i.e. too many carbs and way too much wine);
  • keep up with the bike riding in the face of cold weather and husband offering me rides to and from work (today was tough but I persevered);
  • I’m slowly ruining my midgets by letting them eat in front of the tv.  Yes, I know! But I like to eat in front of the tv too. I don’t eat the same food as they do, which already presents a mealtime challenge. I’m also very fucking tired at the end of the work day, and on weekends, and at all times during the fucking day.
  • This year was the last one where I could crawl under the back deck to store the Xmas stuff. In 2 years when it’s Xmas time again at our house, once of the midgets will have to dig it out.
  • We are meeting with an accountant so we can get a realistic idea of how many financial mistakes we’ve made and how much we’ve fucked over our present and future.

Well now I feel like shit. So here is a nice list to lift me up again:

  • My kids don’t eat McDonald’s. They actually say No if someone offers to take them there;
  • My kids don’t drink cow’s milk at my house;
  • I’m biking to work everyday that I’m in the office (4x a week). That’s 7.5 km each way;
  • Quinoa is one of my favourite foods; and
  • My midgets will eat any bread, no matter how seedy and dark.
  • We are being responsible and meeting with an accountant.

Peel and Stick

This is the act of getting your under-the-weather, recalcitrant, whiny child off the bed, out of the house and dumped off at school. Against all odds!

The Balancing Act of Buying Airline Tickets

Duration vs. Price vs. Number of Stops

And if there is a long layover (13 hours or more), hotel costs have to factor into the overall price. And don’t forget how to get to the hotel when all of the travellers are already feeling bedraggled, having risen at 5 am to get to the airport. The adrenaline rush associated with travel has long since worn off, probably at the precise moment the airline ‘meal’ arrived at your fold-down table. Yes I know, creating edible food for the masses is extremely difficult. Still. Ick.  But we are always hungry by that point (and don’t know what the next meal will contain or when it will be available) and so we always eat what we are served.

Add to this the general confusion at the in-between airport, where we need to find the next gate, and get through security for that gate (take off shoes, put all belongings onto a conveyor belt to be x-rayed, submit our passports and possibly dignity if we need a personal pat-down by security). It’s no small process. At the airport in Frankfurt we were very worried about making our connecting flight, AND we were each patted down. I had a female pat-ter, but I still didn’t appreciate having my genitals touched a few times during that process. I was wearing yoga pants, so I’m not sure what they thought I could have concealed there.

At this point, I’m looking at long layovers on our way to our destination because non-stop flights are way too expensive. This situation leads me to explore what airport lounges might be available at our in-between airports. This is not to say we qualify, but sometimes you can purchase a day pass. I was excited when google turned up this gem. But one can expect only so much from an airport lounge. There are comforts available there such as refreshments, wifi, and nice chairs (which probably recline and don’t have armrests that restrict leaning over to one side), but there is definitely NO SLEEPING allowed in any of them. This means we would need a hotel nearby to rest for about 10 hours. This means we would have to take our carry-ons on quite a journey (reminds me of The Mission) through the huge airport (because they are all huge, being hubs and all), into a taxi, and to a hotel to check in. However, I suppose we aren’t adding any security clearances to our trip, as we would have to go through security even if we stay at the airport.

It’s pretty frightening to me when I read articles saying how insecure our airports are, considering all of the scrutiny all travelers endure.

I draw the line at 2 stops per direction. Or I try to. If the connections have good spacing (~2 hours seems to be good), and the ticket price reflects this inconvenience, I can sell it to husband and the troops. If there is a single layover for a very long (more than 10 hours and some daytime hours included), maybe the city is interesting enough to squeeze in a meal or museum in between flights. The worst layover seems to be 5 hours. That time is not enough to leave the airport, and is too long to be happy about hanging around a building in which all the diversions (stores or food) are barely passable and oh-my-god expensive.

Before I book airline tickets I look at dozens of web sites and perform hundreds of searches for nearby airports on various dates to see what our best options are. Basically I’m what a travel agent used to be before the great unwashed (including me) each got personal computers and discovered travel web sites.

I have read lots of articles on how to get the best prices – travel on a Tuesday or Wednesday, accept long layovers, watch carefully for sales, adjust your travel dates, etc. etc. Recently I read an Ask Me Anything on Reddit from a travel agent who says clearing one’s cookies before performing a search (or search while in Incognito Mode) is not necessary; the fluctuations in prices are due to there being hundreds of thousands of people searching at the same time you are, and some of those people booking tickets or cancelling them.

The search continues…

Your Life Is Yours To Destroy Or Build

Yes, exactly.

Thought Catalog

Unsplash / David Di VeroliUnsplash / David Di Veroli

The truthiest of all the truths is that you’re the only person who has to live with yourself. It’s all up to you to make yourself feel good and happy and fulfilled and all those gooey things we want out of life. It’s on you and you alone. There are people who will come into your life and stand beside you on this journey: your family, your friends, your loves, your random encounters, that girl from high school who still wants to keep in touch on Facebook. They can comfort you and love you and connect with you and annoy you and frustrate you and teach you all the ways you’re not showing up for yourself. They can do that and believe me, they will. But, they are not responsible for you. That’s the best and worst truth of life. That however your life ends…

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23 Michael Scott Quotes That Prove He’s Secretly A Lost Twenty-Something

One of my favourite characters on one of my favourite shows.

Thought Catalog

The OfficeThe Office

“Sometimes I start a sentence, and I don’t even know where it’s going. I just hope I find it along the way.”


“I knew exactly what to do. But in a much more real sense, I had no idea what to do.”


“I am Beyoncé. Always.”


The OfficeThe Office


“What is it like being single? I like it! I like starting each day with a sense of possibility. And I’m optimistic, because everyday I get a little more desperate. And desperate situations yield the quickest results.”


“It’s never too early for ice cream.”


“You don’t know me. You’ve only seen my penis.”


The OfficeThe Office


“It feels like somebody took my heart and dropped it into a bucket of boiling tears. And, at the same time, somebody else is hitting my soul in the crotch with a frozen sledgehammer. And then, a third guy walks in and starts punching me…

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Putting ourselves last

Our kids’ emotional needs come first, because whatever our needs are, our personalities are already formed and our emotions largely predictable. Even if they aren’t, we are adults. It’s too late for us. The clay has dried. It’s not too late for our kids though. My midgets have a great relationship with their Dad and with me, because their Dad and I have consciously grown those relationships and supported each other’s involvement in the lives of our midgets.

Maybe I’m so passionate about this issue because if I give this situation my ‘all’, and my midgets turn out emotionally stunted or damaged in spite of this effort, I don’t have to blame myself. My first instinct is always to avoid offending someone or affecting them in a negative way. This has led to my avoidance of conflict, although I’m working on that. So perhaps my passion comes easily to me because my life goals are aligned with the goal of raising my midgets surrounded by love. I saw an episode of Grey’s Anatomy where a working mother was jealous of the bond between the nanny and her child. I have never felt that way toward my caregiver, and in fact used to call her my midgets’ day-time Mommy. She is still an integral part of their development, and, together with her husband is one more element of love added to my midgets’ lives.

Just this morning I was patting myself on the back once more, after I read an article in the newspaper.

I can’t imagine how guilty I would feel if I screwed up my chance at perfect parenthood. Perfection is a pipe dream, I keep telling myself, but I don’t believe that. I am doing the best I can, same as all parents do, so what makes me think my method is correct? Will I look back on this in 10 years and see I was wrong? What will I do then, to console myself? I’ll probably tell myself I did the best I could, and at that time I will have to admit I didn’t do a perfect parenting job. Perfection is always my goal; through all of my schooling and achieving traditional milestones. That’s what got me into the wrong marriage, into a beige cube job that probably doesn’t suit my personality, and pushes me to push my midgets into socially sanctioned roles of good helpful teens who will be university educated and gainfully employed. And then I see a TED talk like this, which makes me question my effectiveness in preparing my midgets to be happy successful adults.

I want my midgets to be proactive, creative, and independent. Does achieving a university education and a ‘regular’ job promote these qualities?

5 Reasons No Man Should Marry And 1 Reason He Might

I like the Gloria Steinam quote in this article!

Thought Catalog

via Flickr - nola.agentvia Flickr – nola.agent

I write this as a woman happily married for 15 years. We met in graduate school and neither one of us had any real understanding of the risks legal marriage involves, so we did it. It wasn’t about having a big, fancy wedding, either. We got married in a park with only close family and friends present and then we went for pizza. I bought my dress the day before. To us, it was about making a lifelong commitment and pledging to love one another, til death do us part.

If I knew then what I know now, I might have made a different choice.

Being legally married is like having a loaded gun in my hand. I can choose not to pull the trigger, but ultimately his life is in my hands, and that is unfair. No one should have the right to destroy another…

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