Tuesday, April 12, 2011

A tar covered dog can give you perspective

Yesterday was....different.  There were challenging moments and there were happy ones and there was an unexpected 2.6 mile walk with a baby in a hiking backpack and a toddler in the jogging stroller that very nearly made me think and say things that I would not be proud to share with you here.  And then I found out that I was being given The Versatile Blogger award by my new friend Bernie over at One Mixed Bag (she is good people.  Visit her and tell her I sent you!) which mandates requires suggests nudges the recipient to share 15 facts about themselves. 
15 facts?  Well, no one wants to hear what my shoe size is or where I was born, but you may, and will if you are already following this blog, want to hear 15 things about what happened yesterday.  So here we go, in honor of being accused of being versatile: 15 things said/thought/did on a manic Monday.


I can't just start the list there, because there's something I haven't told you.  Or almost anyone else I know, for that matter.  Something I was too...nervous?  embarrassed?  to mention (remember that thing about only wanting to share joy?).  But, in the spirit of getting on with our story, it's time to tell you that Tommy has gone and gotten a job.  Sigh.  The guitar orders had been rushing in for the first few months and for all the years prior and then suddenly: nothing.  And while we have some savings, it's better to keep it that way rather than wait until we're down to our last penny, so he done went and procured himself some regular employment.  Only a 15 minute drive from the house and fairly easy weekday work hours, but still....it was sad when we had to make that decision.  Okay, shake it off.  Shake it off!

Where was I?

Ah yes, number one...

(1) Tommy got up, got dressed, ate breakfast, made himself a lunch and then left.  For the first time in almost 10 months I said good-bye to him at the door of our crazy house and watched him as he drove down the street to a brand new job.  I took a deep breath and thought "What could possibly go wrong?"  Oh yes, I really did.  Note to self: tempt not fate for it will laugh heartily and then poop on you.

(2) Immediately following, upon the suggestion of my son, I made the life altering decision to open the front gate and wait for the school bus with all of my sweet children.  After ushering the two smaller ones back into the yard and through the front door of the house I proceeded to wholesomely (3)"start the day off right" by taking them into the back room to wholesomely help me take care of our wholesome flock of chicks.  (4) Until the phone rang.  And when I answered it, there was a creaky voice on the other end, a voice who spoke entirely in exclamation points, who I had never heard before...

blue merle australian shepherdYes, hello!  You got a black and white dog?!
(ohdearlord...knot forming in stomach)
Um...well...we have um...he's mostly grey really...named Tuff..
Yeah, that's it!  Says "Tuff" right here on his collar!
(running to look out the front door.  gate ajar. two good puppies still in the yard smiling at me innocently)
Oh no!  The gate is open.  Oh my gosh...
Yeah, well I got him here for ya at my house!

I then went on to apologize and explain to him that I don't have a vehicle as my husband has gone to work (have I mentioned that we have only one car?  Well, it's true.  So cheap, yet so inconvenient...), to which he replied:

That's just fine!  He can come get him whenever he has a chance!  I'll keep him tied up!

Tied up??? 

And that's when I had one of those I-can-do-this-all-by-myself moments (5).  Those moments when I decide that I don't need any help and I don't want to be a burden, and what the heck did the pioneer women do when their dogs ran to a house that was only 1.3 miles away?  Not sit around and wait for their husbands to get back from their very first day at work only to discover that their hair-brained wives had left the gate open and the dog had run away, that's what!  What am I, some kind of pansy?  Pffffft!

So I grabbed shoes and jackets and the tire-pump.  Got the jogging stroller out of the barn.  Pumped up the tires.  Put baby into the hiking backpack and boy into the stroller...have I mentioned he had a fever? (6)  Good times.  And started off down the road.  The gravel road with lots of hills.  And as I was pushing and slugging my way up the biggest one, all 734 feet of it, I realized that I was wearing clogs instead of walking shoes and I had on no socks.  (7) No socks, my friends!  On a gravel road whilst walking with clogs on.  Now I will let you in on another of my awesome little secrets: if you are pushing a jogging stroller with a three-year old in it up a steep hill whilst wearing a fat one-year-old on your back, particularly if there are (8) wind gusts of up to and including 30 miles per hour, do not wear gardening clogs without socks unless you enjoy the prospect of tiny bits of rock and debris digging their way into the supple flesh of the instep of your foot.  Or feet, as is more likely.

Never has 1.3 miles been so unpleasant.  I literally found myself saying (9) "If I can give birth to children, I can do this.  I think.  Hopefully.  Please legs, keep moving".  Because I had already started, you see.  I couldn't just give up.  Um, hello???  (10) Did the pioneers just give up?  Did those miners just give up?  No freaking way.  It would be an insult to mothers and pioneers and miners all over the world for me to give up now!  So I didn't, and eventually I made it...to a house with a black dog tied up outside it.  (11) A black dog.  Oh sweet baby Jesus...tell me I did not just walk to the wrong house...

But thankfully (or not, depending on how you look at it) it was indeed Tuff.  Just a disgusting, mud-encrusted, mange-ridden version of Tuff (12) who had clearly arrived at this destination via the La Brea Tar Pits.  So I clipped on his leash (yes, I did one thing right that day), said my thank-yous and my good-byes to the tiny old man, and made the journey again in reverse.  And as I trudged back home, with Paul demanding that I go faster and Cecilia banging me on the top of the head, it happened.  I broke through the wall (13).  My frustration at the task turned to gratitude for an able body.  And then I did what every female-singer-songwriter-lovin'-flower-child-turned-runner must do: (14) I started to sing.
spring maple tree Michigan

Get out the map get out the map and lay your finger anywhere down
We'll leave the figuring to those we pass on our way out of town
Don't drink the water there seems to be something ailing everyone 

I'm gonna clear my head...
I'm gonna drink that sun...

I'm gonna love you good and strong
while our love is good and young....

 It was a darned good thing I gained my perspective back during that walk home, dear readers, and I'll tell you why.  Because when I got here, there was a message on my phone (15) which the tiny, screamy old man had left just after we had departed on our journey, saying that if I were to give him our address, he'd be happy to just bring the dirty dog home....for me.


  1. Bless your heart. That sounds like a very stressful day. Yikes! I don't know how you always stay so darn Polly Positive. I envy that about you.
    Good for Tommy. I'm sure its not what you guys want now, but in this day and age to have a job is a blessing unto itself.
    I love how you accepted your award. That has to be one of the most clever ways I have seen. You go girl!

  2. A difficult day, but what a great story that you shared with us so well!! And Get Out the Map is always a fantastic song to lift the mood!

  3. Do you want me to make you some slippers for those blisters, sister?

  4. Ahahahha, this is too funny "did the pioneers just give up" um, yeah, I feel ya on that one. Love this post. But congrats on the award ;)

  5. @Bernie- honestly, the prospect of having to confess to you all of you what I did and said really helps a lot. It's true! I HAD to start singing so I could tell all of you that I had started singing. It's a beautiful system, really :) And thank you again for the award. It means a lot!

    @Elizabeth: I'm so glad that happenstance led you to me. I <3 stuff like that :)

    @Cathy, you know I am your number one homemade slipper FAN! Good thing I wasn't wearing those on my walk or I would have been so comfortable that I wouldn't have a story to tell ;)

    @Texa- I think if you spend enough time in Texas or Germany, you're required to have the pioneer never-give-up spirit. Isn't it some kind of law or something?

  6. Love this! Isn't it funny how a small task can turn into an adventure!

  7. ROTFL I'm sorry but this is absolutely hilarious.

  8. Okay, so I started following you the other day upon the recommendation of Bernie over at One Mixed Bag, and I have got to tell you I am SO GLAD that I did. Bernie recommended that I read your entire blog, which I definitely intend to do when work is not in the way...probably this weekend. But I couldn't resist reading a post, just to see what you're all about. I can tell that you're all about what I love. I adore your style...you were cracking me up with this story...even as I was feeling so bad for you, I couldn't help but laugh.

    And what a great way to accept your award. Congratulations! I look forward to following you and catching up with you on all your past posts!

  9. Poor Dwija! I totally expected you to get there and realize you had left the leash at home. I was envisioning you hobbling home with one kid on your back, pushing the stroller with one hand, bent over holding the dog collar with the other hand. :)

    I think packing up the family, moving across the country, to a house you have never seen, totally qualifies you as a pioneer.

  10. This was hilarious, almost painfully so because I felt like I was with you (I had a similar experience at Balboa Park when I decided to take all three on a walk down a path I'd never seen before. I don't know how long it was, but it was too long, too steep, and too "is this a real path or was it made by the homeless men who live here?" for comfort). Congratulations to you and Tommy for taking the step to a job. My prayers are with you for an easy transition and a pick-up in guitar sales!

  11. Number 14. Yes! I was so delighted to read your number 14. Go you for singing :)

  12. You are a brave, hearty pioneer woman who earned her stripes on that pebble-filled-clog walk, while carrying a child on your back and pushing another through the wild winds of Michigan to get that effin dog. Though, I'm pretty sure a pioneer woman would have cut her losses with the dog...

  13. By the way..I have my own 'effin' dog who likes to romp through the wilds of Maine..I say 'effin dog' with love.

  14. Look at all you awesome readers with your fun comments!

    @Retha: it seems like most of my small tasks turn into adventures these days!

    @Daenel: Don't be sorry! I'm GLAD you laughed :D

    @Katie: Aw, Bernie is so sweet. I'm glad you cheated and peeked ahead though!

    @Rachael: I am surprised and impressed with myself that I remembered it, believe you me. I had that exact same vision!

    @Mitzi: Oh no! Not a Transient Trail! That is never good ;)

    @Erin: My kids are not as enthusiastic as you are about my tendency to burst into song in public... :)

    @7: You're probably right...hundreds of pioneer women are laughing at me from their graves for giving that effing dog more than two minutes of my time!

  15. I just stumbled upon your blog and am enjoying it. I also have a mutt with a propensity for mischief and two mischief minded children as well.
    You're my hero for going after the dog with the kids in tow. Wow.

  16. Hilarious!

    You are so much more brave than I am...well for a lot of reasons, but I tend to just give up if something seems like it might be REALLY uncomfortable like walking more than 2 miles in umcomfortable shoes with two kids.

    Great story.

  17. I loved reading this! kept me smiling all the way through it. I will remember your story when I feel like I'm having a bad day. lol

  18. So, it turns out that in addition to being a tall redhead, Jesus is also a tiny screamy old man!

    I'm glad you got your dog back. It sounds like the Bataan Death March, with toddlers.

    Once our dog ran off, and I found her at a neighbor's (after posting posters and announcements on the radio). She was sitting there like the Queen of Sheba, chewing on a bone, oblivious to my presence. Turns out they had taken her for a walk around the neighborhood and she didn't even blink as they passed our house...the stinker!

  19. So I chuckled just a bit over this! So sorry that your day was horrible!

  20. Dwija, Dwija! You are too funny! I can't wait to read even more of your stuff!

  21. Great story. Looking forward to reading more too.

  22. That was, seriously, one of the most ridiculously funny renditions of a walking, living nightmare that I have ever heard!! If there had been a glass of diet coke within 10 feet of me while I was reading this, it would have been shooting out of my nose! Thanks for making the task of folding my laundry (while continuing to read your blog) so much more enjoyable :) You have a gift and certainly deserved the award you received!

  23. Still stalking. And I giggled through your ordeal. I feel a little guilty about that :)

  24. This is exactly why I don't have a dog. Too funny.


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