Thursday, August 30, 2007

Beyond Thunderdome

EDITOR'S NOTE: Lucy's fine. She's entertaining herself by rolling around on the carpet. If she were less busy, she'd thank you for your concern. This is not a sad post.

Yes, there's knitting content coming. Yes, there's house news. I'll get to it this weekend.

You know what's more important? That we stop and take a minute to acknowledge and be thankful for groups like BadRap.

Several years ago, one of my co-workers sent out an e-mail asking for help. I probably still have it somewhere in my archives. The gist of it was, "Please help! There's a sweet dog at the shelter, and she doesn't have much time. I'll find another home for her if someone will just get her out of the shelter!"

I'm a sucker, so of course I called him. "Tim, how much time are we talking about?"

"You'd have to decide by the end of today. She's only got a few hours. Do you have time to drive up there right now?"

"Well, I'm at work, so it might be kind of tough. What kind of dog?"

"Lab-pit mix. C'mon. Nobody will miss you. Meet me in the parking lot!"

We drove twenty-five miles up to the Martinez animal shelter. I knew the moment I saw that gaping smile that I couldn't let her take that long, last walk. I called Accountant Boy when I got back to my desk.

"You're not really asking me in a way that lets me say 'no', are you?"

"Awwwwww honey! We can't let her DIE!" It came out of my mouth as a distinctly Lucy Ricardo wail. That's how she got her name, by the way.

"Do I have time to at least meet this dog before we bring it home?" It turned out that he didn't. I ended up adopting a dog that he'd never seen before.

Still, I was concerned. The Engineer and Big Guy had both owned pit bulls, and both dogs had been more than a little cat-aggressive. There'd been tragedies. "We'll save her, but Tim, you MUST find someplace else for her. We won't risk Buddy's safety. We made him a promise. We're giving you a chance to find her a permanent home."

As everyone other than the two of us knew, we were her last chance. As the weeks went by, it became apparent that Tim wasn't going to find another sucker to take a hyperactive, burly black pitbull off our hands. Problem was, every time we tried to bring her in from the back yard, she went after Buddy. She had a lot of territory issues, and God knows what else from her life before meeting us. "She's a good dog, and she's trying so hard, but we CAN'T KEEP HER!" Much weeping and hand wringing followed. "Maybe there's some pitbull rescue that can take her."

Enter BadRap. We called them, hoping they'd just, I don't know, sweep in and take her somewhere else. Naive, sure, but we didn't know any better. We didn't know how overtaxed their extensive volunteer and foster care system was, didn't think that if Lucy was already in a good home, she was infinitely better off than the dogs that they were still valiantly trying to pluck from the shelters. As much as they wanted to help, they didn't have a foster home for her.

"Are you sure you can't keep her? She sounds like a real sweetheart."

"We tried to introduce her to our cat, and she tried to EAT HIM! It was HORRIBLE!"

"How did you introduce them?"

"We had her on a leash, and we let him out of the bedroom, and..." We basically described the second half of 'Beyond Thunderdome'. Two pets enter, one pet leaves. "...yeah, I guess I can see where that'd go wrong..."

There was laughter on the other end of the line. I was then gently and good-naturedly informed that we hadn't done the introductions right at all, and that we should give it another try, this time with a crate and a little more control. We followed her recommendations, and you know the rest of the story.

So since then, I've been a big cheerleader for BadRap. It gives me great pleasure to link to this news article. Look at how, even in the middle of such horror, there can be good.

Wednesday, August 22, 2007

Glass Table Gator

"You guys? Hey, you guys? You know what I really like? I like you, and I like Buddy, even though he wants to claw my face off, and I like my rope, and I like you, and I really like El Pollo Loco, so I was thinking that maybe you could drop some chicken under the table, you know, if you wanted to do that, because that would make me really, really happy. By the way, this is Lucy. Umm...hi!"

Oh, such bad, bad habits we've stopped actively discouraging in her this summer. She does this thing where she gets as flat onto the floor as she possibly can be, then follows our movements with just her eyes. "Aww, but look at her! She's so cute! And she has cancer! Give her half of your dinner, just this once. We'll start making her obey again tomorrow."

Nothing new on the house front, except that the trouble in the mortgage market is holding us up. If a high tide raises all boats, the inverse is also true. This current ebb is stranding the whole fleet. Without going too far into it, I'll just say that if Accountant Boy and I can't get a reasonable rate on a home loan right now, nobody can.

I'm only an hour away from finishing the chimera that was once Shaped Lace Tee/Krista/Bella. All that's left is weaving in the ends. More on this later.

Wednesday, August 15, 2007

Inner Monologues

From left to right:




"That fill flash is going to make me look like Satan. Wait a tick. Maybe I AM Satan. Who's to say I'm not? I wonder if any of these people know that they're in my presence. Glowing red eyes, supremely bad attitude, distrust of any food that can be prefaced with the phrase "spicy buffalo-style", that doesn't make me Satan. That makes me French. I wonder if any of these people know I'm French?"

* * * * *

The routine, she is blown all to Hell and gone.

Accountant Boy and I have decided that, as beautiful as our little house has become over the past few years, we're never going to stop referring to it as our "little" house. Deciding that we were, in fact, living in a charming starter home, and that we could afford to live in a home that doesn't need qualifiers like "starter" or "little", we launched a home search.

On our first weekend out, we fell hard for a multi-level contemporary house with a view of the valley. There's a long story about it being snatched from under our noses and then subsequently becoming available, only to then not hold up to our scrutiny and criticism. Let's just say she was pretty in the club lighting, not so pretty in the daylight. I've already bought a house with water damage, sewer problems and a stove that spills gas into the kitchen, thank you very much. I'm not falling for that shit twice. Anyway, the take-away from that story is that we spent a lot of time looking over the property report from old Coyote Ugly there, and it made us realize that we had some work to do on our own home before having it appraised or, God forbid, put on the market.

Work. That's what we've been doing for the last two weeks. Work. Trimming, patching, sanding, painting, grouting, pruning, scraping and cleaning. No knitting. No long cardio sessions at the gym. Very little cooking. Too many burritos. Not enough couch time with Buddy. (I am displeased, the Woman. Severely displeased. --BtC) Like I said, routine shot right to Hell. Now that the appraiser has come through, and it's looking somewhat likely that Daisy and Falstaff will be renting our current house once we move into a new one, some of the pressure is off. We can get back into the good routine we had going during the early months of summer, with the gym, good dinners, and a little relaxation every once in a while.

I hope to get back into some knitting sometime soon, maybe once I regain the use of my right thumb.

* * * * *

The guy just to the left of me in the above picture? That's my cousin. We'll call him Scooby, because when we were all very young, he loved to imitate Scooby-Doo. He's also my real estate agent. We love him, because he isn't trying to sell us a bill of goods along with a home. He gives us an honest opinion. "You think this place smells like cat piss?" "I don't know, Scoob. I think it just smells like closed-up, overly warm house." "Nah. This place is a cat-pisser. Onward!"