Thursday, January 24, 2013

Finding the Right Tools (subtitled: Still Learning From The Golden Girls)

Some of you may know this about me and some may not:  I am the "lucky" person/owner of two very different dogs.  Technically, my family are the "lucky" people/owners, but I do the bulk of the training and feeding and walking.  Everyone else does the loving and chastising.

Lucy is my grande dame.  She's 110 pounds of drool and fur.  Part St. Bernard-part Golden Retriever (we think).  Charlie is the mini-Schnauzer we found on the highway last September.  Lucy is almost 8.  Charlie is almost 8 months.  Lucy is gentle and loving, but fiercely loyal so don't be getting up in my grill.  Charlie is a noisy little whippersnapper.  In Golden Girls-speak, Lucy is my Dorothy and Charlie (while younger than Lucy) is my Sophia.

Or for a more urban and equally dated comparison, Lucy is my Willis and Charlie is my "Whatchyoutalkin'bout?" Arnold.  Charlie drives Lucy crazy.  She drives all of us crazy.  Her nickname from The Huz when he likes her is "Charles Nelson Reilly" (because, like me, all of his pop culture references pre-date the year 1985).  His nickname for her when he doesn't like her is "You Little Shit."

In order to calm the crazies for Charlie - especially while the roofers were here and the back yard off-limits last week - I have needed to take the dogs for more walks than normal.  Yes, I know, I'm supposed to walk the dogs daily.  Guess what?  I don't usually do that.  Call the ASPCA.  Lucy is a bear to walk.  She has dragged me down the sidewalk once and knocked me over when I was 8-months pregnant.  In the middle of the street.  I now have a harness for her, but she still barks like this "WOOOOOOF.  WOOOOOOOOF."  Think angry James Earl Jones with a cold.  She also still pulls on me.  I hate walking her.  Charlie is more of a ping-ping-ping racing around in circles kind of walker.  She's not annoying on walks because she only weighs 10 pounds and doesn't bark much . . . on walks.  In the house is another story. (She also would rather relieve herself indoors, but let's try to stay on topic.)

The other day I bought two useful tools: a harness for Charlie so she would stop choking herself on walks and a y-connector leash thingy.  Yes, that's it's real name.  The y-connector allows me to hook both dogs together so that I walk with one dominant leash.  It also is a mess of mesh straps and buckles.  I took the dogs out with my new series of straps yesterday, dubious that it would make any difference.  But, hazaa!  It was the easiest walk I've had with the two beasts!  Basically, Lucy walked Charlie.  In my head my dogs sound more street than they really are:

Charlie: This smells good.  And this smells good.  Oh, lookee here, this smells good.

Lucy: (yank)

Charlie:  This smells g-  Bitch, I was sniffing that!

Lucy: Talk to the paw, Chuck.

This leads me to firmly believe that tools are important.  Let me rephrase that: tools are important, yes, but the right tools are imperative.  Y-connector thingy = right tool.

I'm looking for the right tools to help me organize my ADD brain better.  I'm always looking for tools to help with my essays and now a memoir.  And parenting tools.  I have a parenting toolbox, but lately the screwdriver is not what I need to hammer in good eating habits.  I am always looking for new and more effective tools.

What tools can you NOT live without?  What new tools have you discovered in life/parenting/art?  What tools would the Golden Girls use?


  1. Dogs, Golden Girls, Parenting, Leashes.. Did I keep up? This was funny. Fortunately, if I go for hikes with the Weimaraner, I can keep him off leash and let him sniff and pee to his heart's content. But when we first adopted him (he was 5) teaching him how to jog with me was a trip. Literally. And I did, right over him, several times.

    1. I've thought about letting my dogs off-leash, when I want them to run away.

      Glad to know I'm not alone with the dog walking injuries. You should see me trying to stuff my obstinate St. Bernard into the car for a vet visit.

  2. First of all, The Golden Girls is still one of my all-time-favorite tv shows. EVER. I'm a Dorothy, I think, as much as I'd like to be a Sophia. My sister is a Rose. I married the Rose-Sophia hybrid. In male form. Or, for another pop-culture reference, I married a man strikingly like Martin Crane in Frasier. But enough about that.

    Your dogs are precious, even if one annoys the bajeezits out of you. But the Y leash tool is an excellent idea. Maybe it will help me actually walk the dogs, which seems to be impossible on my end as well. Lola will drag me into a pond somewhere because she saw a butterfly. And Rigby, poor lamb, when she gets tired, will just lay down in the street and start sh*tting herself. And no, I can't make this up. She's all, "I'm exhausted. I'm too pooped to stand up to poop. Leave me where I've fallen." Meanwhile Lola is all, "Holy sh*it! A butterfly! Oh, is that a bird?! Come here, bird!! Is that a runner!? Go away horsebeast runner person! I will bark at you in a psychotic way that will one day get Animal Control called on me." Maybe Lucy and Rigby could be friends and Lola and Charlie can go smell all the things together. We could put Charlie in a little saddle on Lola's back.

    1. The saddle idea has come up before, but I'm more in favor of a side car. Charlie could look like The Red Baron with aviators and a helmet from WWI and scream insults at Lucy while she steers them into a telephone pole (which, by the way, happened today).

      And what you're saying about being a Dorothy (because that's who I am too) is that you're a "hustla"?

      Btw again: I got in touch with AshleyRose and she has given me many resources and now I'm overwhelmed and will shut down in despair. But then I'll get over myself and learn. Thanks for the friend-link.

    2. Send me what she sent you! I need to be overwhelmed. It's been ever so long.

    3. She sent me a bunch of design resources. Is that what you want?

    4. Any and all. And can I say how much I love the sidecar image? The Red Baron bit was CLASSIC. That, my friend, is an essay waiting to be written.

  3. here on the bald-ass prairie our dogs go on walks by themselves. our nearest neighbour is over a mile away. birdie (the bloodhound) comes home with the most unusual treasures. she brought home a tiny pink monkey one day and a toaster on another. it is a curious but interesting life she leads off the farm.

    as far as parenting... i lie to my children all the time. i tell them lies of every size and shape. i lie to them to keep them on their toes and to entertain them. it has taught them to spot a lie because i tell them people will blow smoke up their bum for the rest of their lives and they must learn it is just that smoke, not the truth. in fact, i lied to my 14 year old daughter amy today. we were in a bookstore and my daughter said "oh, this magazine is warm" and i said "that's because they heat the magazines in the winter. the condensation from people's cold hands damages the glossy paper." she said, "oh my god, that is so cool" i said, "i know" a minute later she said, "oh my god, you're lying, that was a really good one. i couldn't even tell"

    i also tell them - there will always be someone stronger, faster, smarter, prettier and funnier than you so don't try to be a sheep. try to be unique.

    i also buy them as many books as our budget allows and then some.

    sorry that was a long comment. xx

    1. So, what you're saying is your best tools are lies. Not judging, just making sure I understand. (You are an impressive liar if you convinced your teenager that magazines are heated. I worked in a bookstore for 6 years and trust me, the staff could care less about the quality of the materials in stock.

      In other news, I must meet Birdie. Did I mention we really want a bloodhound? Charlie is NOT a bloodhound.

      I love your long comments. xoxoxo

    2. i wouldn't want you to think i'm a liar. i'm one of those people who think the truth is really important. i can smell shit from a long way off. i just want my girls to know that people will tell them things that are not necessarily true to build them up or tear them down and that it's important not to believe either. the truth is what makes them great. it's hard to explain. i want them to learn what a lie looks like and how to spot one. when i'm spinning the yarn about heated magazines i'm in my stephen colbert "truthiness" mode

      if you want me to email the "secret" for 500 followers. i'll send a pic of birdie.

    3. As writers, isn't it our prerogative (or imperative!) to embellish the truth? I think you're teaching your kids a great lesson. I do it with sarcasm with my kids.

      Okay, I'm game. Send me that picture of Birdie or show me the post that topped you out at 500!

      I feel like a blog sponge. I'm soaking up so much new learnin'.


Comments for me? Thanks a bunch!