Tuesday, February 19, 2008

Owen: week three


Owen is not happy about the baby gate. He is very very not happy and he breaks hearts all up and down the block every time I swing even one leg across as if to leave. The secret, I have found, is to tire him out with tireless affection which I do, then I sneak away and do selfish stuff like brush my hair while he naps.

To our great good fortune my work schedule this term generally permits me to come home every few hours most days of the week, and when I am unable Clark usually is able to come home for lunch so that Owen is rarely alone for very long. And even still, it is only a few more days until vaccinations and dewormifications and all that permit he and Sunny to spend all their days together in puppytumbling bliss.

I have been trying to get him to walk on a leash but he belly flops down and lays there with both his front and back legs dragging behind him. Thats fine because I am married, and married to a man at that, but even my HUGE GLITTERY RING and my WIFELY BUN aren't enough to ward off the hordes of women who use OWEN as an excuse to try to get into my pants every time we go out in public. Ladies, Please!

So we'll leave the walking for later. In the meantime I've taught him to sit with both verbal and hand cues, given together and separately. (You should see how well he sits! Who would have thought a sit could be executed so cutely! The women at the video store swooned and fainted from affectation when his tininess sat down crisply for a cookie.) This afternoon we began with the 'down' command. He is a eager and willing learner but with the attention span of, well, a ten week old infant. I keep the sessions short but even five minutes at his age is pushing the limits. I am in no rush.

If Owen has lot to learn I clearly have more. There are no less ten (10) puppy books around here... three on the floor next to me, one on a stack of papers I need to file away, one opened up spine down on the breakfast table, two in my bag, one in the car, one on the couch and two next to the bed... how many is that? Doesn't matter. Two were birthday gifts and the rest are dog-eared library books, one which has clearly been gnawed on by needle sharp puppy teeth and one of which will turn me into a dog psychic thereby solving issues like separation anxiety by teaching me, among other things, how to create a psychic golden thread connecting our hearts across the baby gate and through the remote work day.

Anyway, My birthday was EHH, ANOTHER YEAR. My run alone was exceptional. I asked Clark to drop me off at the top of Mt Tabor and I ran all around south east Portland. Next year I expect Owen will be running along side me, if I can ever get him to agree to the leash.

birthday run

Wednesday, February 13, 2008

Owen: week one

The first week with Owen has been life on fast forward: infancy to the terrible twos in seven short days. Today, on the seventh day he mastered going down the stairs which means no part of the house is off limits if the baby gate is down.

The kitchen, paved as it is, served as an e-z-wipe nursery during the three days of his infancy, a place he had little need or interest in exploring beyond. Now when the gate falls all breathing becomes a pant, a frantic search for electric cords, preferably plugged in, cat food (or even better, the cat herself) and poisonous house plants. He has metamorphized from a 10lb doe-eyed crying baby to a hysterically wild-eyed intoxicated 13lb pre-adolescent who needs CONSTANT supervision. The sole consolation of this phase is that his play/sleep ratio is still 30/70. The vet says within a month it should be closer to a 99/1.

Today for the first time I found myself thinking WHAT HAVE I GOT MYSELF INTO? I mean, the idea of communication, of consistancy while communicating with this dog is TOTALLY IMPOSSIBLE. Like, how do you isolate an incident of good behavior in a hurricane slipstream of constant activity, because by the time the second 'O' in the phrase 'GOOD DOG' is out of my mouth Owen has already done three bad things.

And this is when I am giving him my undivided attention. Today I actually tried to balance my checkbook with one eye and one hand while the other warded certain death and destruction away from that tiny little unit of puppy will.

One week! Three pounds! Twice the dexterity! He has the ability to tear through the yard in a tight donut formation, navigate both stairwells in both directions, and he actually hasn't even quite begun to think mischievously.

What have I got myself into?

Saturday, February 09, 2008

Sunday, February 03, 2008


We went to a superbowl party for a couple hours this afternoon, then left just a few minutes into the game. This day, for me, is about eating chips and cheese dip, and all these red faced old dudes analyzing football on the telly kills the deal. Anyway, I was standing there talking with my husband and his friend Doug when, right in the middle of a sentence, I had the oddest sensation in my brain. It was almost like standing up too quickly but instead of rushing vertically the blood moved horizontally sounding internally like Doppler effected shoosh. It was not induced by any actual movement, I had merely stood there talking and my thoughts were just washed away confused in a rush of blood draining or flooding, ebbing or flowing. I am not sure which. I struggled to think and muttered something universal to the faces I found myself talking to. A moment later equilibrium returned and I felt perfectly normal.

It rained all day today. The neighborhood was full of cars, including people parked in our alley way where my side-yard growing out into the gravel road causes me to mistakenly feel entitled and proprietary about what is actually a public right-of-way. Three houses up the street the neighbors, really the next-of-kin to my recently deceased neighbor, were holding an estate sale. The woman who lived there died quietly in her old age a few months ago without a ripple. Until today when, ripplingly, people are haphazardly parked on my lawn to make off with her washer/drier set.

I couldn't bring myself to go simply because I couldn't bring myself to do anything at all but eat oatmeal in a significantly esoteric manner in front of the heater, imagining how on Earth I'll get out running. Ritual is the last refuge of rootless vine like myself. I laid out my running clothes. Some of them, a neck gator I adapted from my snowboarding gear into a hat, gloves and jacket, are still damp-ish but can be worn again. Shirts and sports bras I never wear twice, reeking like they do of ammonia. Yes, after I run I smell like a locker room full of felonious, untrustworthy men for at least a layer or two. In the summer I have been rejected outright by my husband. BABY WOAH! SHOWER AND COME BACK NAKED, BUT RIGHT NOW, DO NOT GET ANY CLOSER.

Everything else, socks included are usually dry and clean after I run. I may be an emotional tornado but at least I am not at all hairy, don't sweat much and have feet that have never smelled bad. Being me, there are so few consolations but occasionally, yes, I get to wear my socks twice. Anyway, I sniff tested myself dressing to run. And then.

There is no reason to not run just because it is raining. It makes more sense to go run 7.5 miles in the rain for your own ghost then it does to walk 75 feet for someone else who died. I have my own life to run for. Besides, once you are moving the raindrops can't hardly find a place to land.

Around four and a half miles I see a family down the street leaving their house to get into their car. The son, 6/7ish, starts charging around when he sees me coming. His mother laughs, partially apologetic. YOU WANT TO RACE? thats me asking, not slowing down and his mother is like YEAH, RACE HER, SEE IF YOU CAN and he charges after me, surprisingly fast. I have more then enough gears that I can keep ratcheting up my speed and he is still coming after me, churning and red in the face. Finally, nearing the end of the long block, not willing to let him win but not wanting him to lose, I hold out my hand behind me and he slaps me five and the race is over. He runs home and I run home, circuitously, between rain drops.

Friday, February 01, 2008

P-Day minus seven

Sunny, 7.5lbs

Let me make this clear: THIS ABSURD LITTLE UNIT IS NOT MINE. My pup is landlocked in Wyoming because of prohibitively cold winter weather. The pup you see pictured above is from a litter born in Salem, our capital city just a 45 minute drive south of here. This infant, who isn't even yet a "puppeh" because he can't even quite yet operate in four-wheel drive is the new baby of my in-laws. Their wedding gift to us, besides graciously and unassumingly footing most of the financial burden for that event, was our new (eventual) puppy in the event of Edison's (inevitable) death. And they thought LET US LIVE LARGE AND GET ONE FOR OURSELVES.

Our dog is from a breeder in Wyoming, a breeder who specifically breeds champion retriever dogs. I have written about all this before and I think I posted something about it here, about my misgivings regarding expensively bred dogs and even though I know this is the battle I am choosing to not pick I can't help but have niggling, worm-like soulful objections. I believe the world is whole and cannot be factored out. THIS WILL NEVER CHANGE ABOUT ME (in case you were wondering about certain intractable failures of my character). Whatever. Don't get me wrong...

Or get me wrong, just don't get me started.

Anyway, our pup, who I already do love fiercely, was born on December 7th, the same day as this lethally adorable, infinitely lovable, brother-on-law baby, and (great unjust universe!) won't be coming home until next weekend, weather forgiving. In the meantime I feel reasonably consoled with Sunny here.

I still believe you gotta meet a dog to know their name, but having a short list ready doesn't hurt. I would love to hear any and all puppy name suggestions between now and Friday (P-Day).


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