Saturday, December 17, 2011
Back in the Saddle
Aah, where to begin? Let's see, I put an offer on my new home at the end of March, but, because it was in probate, wasn't able to close on it until early June, which was excruciating. In the meantime, the Bruins won the Stanley Cup!!!! BOO YAH!!
Once the house was mine Mom and Dad moved into it and did extensive work (painting, electrical, etc.) while I stayed in the apartment a few blocks over and worked.
Once I was able to move in (isn't it adorable?!? and built like a brick shithouse, let me tell you), I was finally (FINALLY!!!) able to get the four-leggeds shipped out ... 366 days after leaving them behind in MO.
I was so nervous that they wouldn't recognize me! But they all did, immediately, so that was cool. There were a few issues, in that the girls were no longer house-trained (we had to go through crate-training again) and one of the cats was deathly ill (Vonnie was hospitalized but is all better now). Oh! And the yard wasn't fenced in for about the first 3-4 weeks they were here, so I spent many, many, hours walking the girls around the house.
Nope, not the block ... the house. They'd always been fenced in, and weren't all that well leash-trained (yes, we were that comical troupe of walkees and walker entangled every which way possible in leashes and legs and leaping dogs) ... so we didn't venture much further than the curb at first, and by the time I was comfortable taking them around the block, the fence was finally installed.
And what a fenced-in area! Four times the size of the dog run in MO, with a HUGE 50 year old Sugar Maple smack dab in the middle, and a 12' paved section with a dog house, and a 5' berm leading up to the neighbor's back yard, and two gates (we'll get back to the gates later).
They. LOVE. It.
It's now December 17th and I can count one hand the number of days the girls have spent indoors while I've been at work. Cold doesn't bother them, sun doesn't phase them, they scoff at rain ... it's really just active snow they don't enjoy (so our first snow just had ot be sticky). I try to get them to come in on days I think the weather will be imclement, but they rarely pay attention so end up outside for the day.
I was worried the neighbors would hate them, because our old neighborhood in MO was dogville ... almost every household had at least one dog. Here, I am one of four households (out of 12) with dogs. And the girls are definite watch dogs. And people who are bothered by barking dogs are REALLY bothered by barking dogs.
But I lucked out (again) because my neighbors love the girls (they're Labs ... it's tough not to love 'em) and appreciate them barking at strangers. It's a close-knit block, so that's good. And now the girls are house trained again, so they have beds of their own.
The traffic here is an all-out nightmare; it's pretty much bumper-to-bumper all the time. It's so bad they open the breakdown lane to traffic during rush hour. I counted almost a three week stretch where there was an accident every day. Every. Day. These people can't drive!
This house is much smaller than my old one in MO, and doesn't have the storage space, so I went out to Craigs List and found a bunch of pieces of furniture that has helped. In one Saturday afternoon fell swoop I got two new (to me) hutches, dressers with mirrors,and book cases ... as well as a diningroom table and chairs set, and an entertainment center. Now all I have to do is finish unpacking boxes from the move.
We knew the house wasn't suffuciently insulated, so a few weeks ago everybody came over and the guys (Dad, brothers, and nephews) insulated both my attic and my basement.
The difference is unbelievable! This house is so toasty warm it's just not funny.
And I've had a couple adventures, most notably being Wednesday of the week before last, when I got home from work after dark and discovered the back gate open and the girls gone ... on a day they were not wearing their collars. I was devastated ... nothing like this has ever happened before! Gate was wide open, yet still padlocked.
In the course of my search I learned a great many things: 1) the girls escaped 10 minutes after I left that morning; 2) they played with the neighborhood kids on the way to school; 3) no-one could catch them; 4) many people tried; 5) a lot more people know who I am (and where I live) than I do them ... and they all love the girls; 6) the girls ran round the neighborhood visiting the other dog homes for hours; 7) none of my neighbors had my number to call; and 8) the girls are travelers, as they were picked up by Animal Control the next town over ... at noon. But because they didn't have collars, no one knew who they were.
So I spent that Wednesday night looking for the girls (until 4:15am) and going bonkers thinking the worst. I called my local Animal Control and Police ... they hadn't collected any dogs that day (now I was REALLY worried); so then I called and emailed the neighboring Animal Control officers.
I went up to the grade school the next morning, because the school was the last place anyone remembered seeing them, and just as I parked the car the phone rang. Next town's Animal Control had picked them up the day before and brought them ... get this ... to my vet. MY. VET. Which is where the next town houses it's strays.
So I beat the odds and got my babies back, and now they wear collars all the time, and I've chained and bungeed the gates to supplement the locks. Also figured out Boogie popped the gate in the first place by lunging at it. She's tried a couple more times that I've seen, but can't budge the extra precautions.
Then last week I made sweet potato casserole for the office Christmas party, and Saturday noticed the kitchen sinks wouldn't drain. Enter the plunger. No dice. Call plumber. Snaked the drain, all is well again.
And that's where we are now. Since things are finally calming down at work, I'm hoping to start back up on the blogging ... this time around so the folk I left out in MO can keep up on my shenanigans (at least, waht they don't read about in facebook!).