I am recovering from a bad cold that is possibly a flu. Yesterday and the day before all I felt up to doing was sitting on the couch and folding a little laundry. Today, thinking that some fresh air would be good for me, and feeling energetic enough to try, I take a walk around the neighborhood with Sweet Pea in the stroller and Glen on his leash. We have been working on the command "heel" and he is actually doing OK, so I walk for more than 30 minutes, even though it is quite cold. Sweet Pea is bundled up in her wool pants, sweatshirt and down jacket, and two blankets. She falls asleep in the stroller on the way home. We arrive home, tired and hungry and needing a tissue, to discover that I have locked the door to the house and neglected to bring a key. Well, I usually forget to lock the sliding glass door in the back, so we'll just try that. Locked. My phone has a blinking red light in the shape of a battery so I'm praying that there's enough juice left to make one call, and speed dial Average. Luckily, he answers right away and drove a car to work today so he will be able to get home fairly quickly and let me in. Phew. My phone turns off two seconds after I hang up. We wait a while in the back yard, play fetch with Glen, pick up some more of the garbage that he had strewn around a week or so ago, and Average arrives, lets us in, and drives back to work. Lunch is uneventful. Next, I decide that I really need to clean the floors because we are having company tonight and hosting Christmas for my family in just two days. I know this will be a challenge with my two little creatures around, so I go to my default plan for mommy-only activities: Sweet Pea in the pack n play, Glen back outside. This works for 20-30 minutes before one or both of them gets bored or impatient and becomes fussy and/or destructive. I get the house swept and mopped, and let Glen back inside after carefully wiping his muddy muddy paws. We take a nursing break with Sweet Pea on the couch. OK, now it's time to tackle the carpeted areas of the house: living room and bedrooms. I get out the vacuum, and Glen freaks out, barking and darting at it, trying to bite it. Sweet Pea also starts crying. I pick her up, and drag Glen to his crate to sit out the vacuuming. I vacuum each room with my baby in one arm and a serenade of barking in the background. This is not the way I prefer to clean, but Average is working every day until Christmas, and our evenings are full of events so now is the time. Things are starting to look pretty good but I know I still have a long way to go. Sweet Pea gives me some sleep signals, and I consider different options for putting her to sleep. I decide on wearing her while I try to continue to clean, and then remember that the ERGO is out in the car. Since she is fussy I know that leaving her inside while I go out will cause a furious bout of crying, so I hold her in my arms, head for the door, and grab some shoes. Glen sees, and gets right in front of the front door, not wanting to be left behind. Here is where I should have a) put his leash on him and taken him to the car with me; b) put him back into his crate until I returned; c) put him in the back yard for a few minutes. Any of these options would have been better than what I decide to do: try to squeeze past him without letting him out. Of course, he gets out. He walks to the car with me and hops in when I open the door. He doesn't get back out at my command, so I close him in, walk back to the house, drop off the ERGO, and then walk back to get him. When I open the car door again, he jumps out and starts racing around the yard. I try calmly walking back to house, and whistle for him at the door. He comes to me, then darts away again, looking like he wants to play. I don't want to play. I walk in the house and leave the door open behind me, expecting him to follow within a minute. He doesn't. I go back outside and whistle for him while he completely ignores me and frolics around the neighbors yard, stopping occasionally to gobble something up from the ground (cat poop?). This has happened twice before, and both times he returned to the front door within 15 minutes. Twice, I step outside again and whistle and call for him, to no avail. But that's OK, I can wait it out. No, I can't - I hear him barking, look out the window, and see a mail truck. Outside again in bare feet, Sweet Pea now securely strapped into the ERGO, I whistle and call Glen. The mail man thanks me as he drops a package off on our neighbor's doorstep. Glen circles close to me, then darts away again. I am calling him and whistling and he continues to act like this is a game, even though I have never ever played a chase game with him. He comes close, but not close enough for me to grab his collar (which is actually the lower part of the harness that he chewed up while we were gone last weekend, so it is loose). I head back inside and grab the leash, head collar, and some treats. The mail man drives off, and I decide to get serious. I follow as Glen trots into another neighbor's backyard. Ah ha! I might have him cornered! Nope, there is only fence on one side of this yard and Glen weaves back and forth between this yard and the one behind, sniffing everything in his path. I consider giving up again, but then he runs into another neighbor's yard, which I can see only has one opening and the rest is fenced. I follow after, whistling, showing him the treats, trying to convince him to come to me. He comes close, but hops away when I try to grab his collar. I realize that I'm going to really have to go for it the next chance I get. I station myself by the opening to the yard, and he passes by a few times before trying to dart through. I lunge for him, and feel the collar slip through my fingers as I fall to the ground, my foot sliding out of my shoe. Sweet Pea's head hits the ground too, although I'm doing everything I can to protect her body with mine. I hop back to my shoe on one foot. The other foot feels sore but I don't think much of it. Sweet Pea is sobbing as I pick grass and pine needles out of her hair, and I head back towards our house. Every swear word I know is running through my head, I am so mad at this dog, but I say only soothing words to Sweet Pea. Glen sees us leaving and runs up behind me to catch up. I put my hand down, and... easily grab his collar. I have to twist it around my finger to make it tight enough for him to not slip out, and he doesn't like being held this tightly but I know he can get away again if I don't. As we're about to cross the street back to our side, a UPS truck drives up and two guys jump down to take a package to a neighbor's house. Glen starts barking and lunging to chase after the delivery guys. I can't maintain my grip when he turns to chew my hand and his collar, and he once again slips away, this time leaving the collar in my hand. I yell out a SORRY! to the delivery men, and walk quickly back to my house, holding back tears. My crying begins as soon I get inside, just as Sweet Pea's starts to ebb. She seems confused by my sad face and strange noises, and just sits there with me for a few minutes. I think I might hear something at the door so I walk across the living room, and peek out but there is no sign of Glen. Heading back to the couch, I notice spots of blood all over the newly cleaned floor. Apparently I gouged it pretty badly when my foot slipped out of my shoe. I check it out in the bathroom, and see a big chunk of skin missing as I pick the dirt out, running my foot under water in the bathtub. After I've gotten all the blood off of the floor and rug and bandaged my foot, this story ends with a neighbor bringing Glen back (he ran into his house!). I know I'm supposed to welcome my dog back happily after something like this, so he thinks it's a good thing to come back to his owner, but it is so hard to be affectionate with him right now because I am so mad about hurting myself and my baby chasing after him and embarrassing myself in front of my neighbors and three delivery men. And remember my cold, and the cold weather, and the fact that we have a guest staying the night tonight. Ugh. Tomorrow has to be better, right? The worst thing might be that I can see that I brought most of this on myself: I forgot my keys, I didn't plan for the vacuum, I let Glen slip out when I opened the door, and I haven't fully trained him to come on command yet. Oh, so frustrating.
I'm in my final week of summer before work as a middle school teacher begins again. This time of year I'm always in a reflective mood. I look back and feel so lucky to have had this time with my kids. We went camping, biking, boating, golfing, and hiking. We celebrated my sister's wedding, we did projects together, watched movies, and just hung out at home. It really was everything that summer is meant to be. There were many events and plans that we canceled due to Covid, but we did all the most important things. We missed friends, but I also reveled in the togetherness with my little family unit. Today, I spent time registering for fall childcare and activities. It's less than usual, but still I can see the pace of our lives picking up. As we move into a season of more busy-ness, more work, and likely more stress, this poem sums up the feelings I'm experiencing.... Vacation End by Leslie Pinckney Hill From the charm of radiant faces, From the days we took to dream