Tuesday, June 28, 2011

My dog can count

I'll update this blog more often when there's more to say. I'm sure you're sick of hearing about my dogs by now, but tough, because if you read the rest of this post, you'll be reading about them again.

Several weeks ago, I started taking my dogs out to run around the block, which is roughly a quarter mile around. I can't keep up with them when they run, especially not Akela, so I put on roller blades or ride my bicycle. Normally I prefer the roller blades because Akela has pulled me over on the bicycle twice (although neither of us got hurt either time).

Jack doesn't like roller blades, so when he was here, he would often ride his bike with Blitzkrieg while I had Akela pull me on the roller blades. This worked well, because we were able to switch off dogs as necessary. Neither of the dogs bother stopping to poop while running anymore, and a few times, it has been necessary for Jack to pass me both dogs so he could stop and scoop the poop (it's easier to stop a bike than to try and scoop poop on roller blades).

But Jack's been on a business trip for the last week and a half. Taking both dogs running at the same time doesn't work too terribly well on the bicycle, and if I use the roller blades, I have to try and scoop poop--usually about eight little poop balls spaced ten feet apart all the way down the street--while holding two dogs AND roller blading. I've done it, but it isn't easy. Especially if the poop happens to be in front of one of the houses with yippy dogs. (Oh, how I'm growing to loathe those annoying little squeaky nuisances!)

So I've worked out a routine. I take both dogs outside on the leash, then I tie Blitzkrieg up in the yard and let Akela run three laps around the block. She usually starts off so fast I can barely keep up with her, but by the third lap, she's gotten out most of her explosive energy, and I have to coax her to keep running. So after the third lap, I tie her up so she can have a rest, and I run Blitzkrieg for two laps. He goes much slower, and he has this habit of holding the leash in his teeth as he runs. I know he could go faster than he does if he wants to, but that's beside the point. Anyway, I usually continue to switch off the dogs--Akela for three laps, then Blitzy for two--until they seem to be getting tired out.

Well, today, when we got to Akela's third lap, she seemed to be doing well. She was still running strong and looked like she wasn't ready for her break yet. So I decided to take her for a fourth lap before taking Blitzkrieg. Blitzy, who had been sitting by the truck, calmly waiting his turn, saw us coming, then watched us pass him to go on a fourth lap. Just after we passed, I heard him let out a confused, high-pitched yip, which he's never done before. At least, not when I passed him while we were biking.

I swear, my dog can count, and he was able to tell that I was taking Akela for an extra lap. Apparently, he thought that was unfair. That or he thought I had forgotten about him.

Weird dog.

Saturday, June 4, 2011

Weeds and Baseball

Yesterday was the busiest I've been since moving here, I think.

When I woke up, the first thing I did was let the dogs out into the yard, like I do every morning. Unfortunately, I didn't think to check if my backyard-neighbor had her floormop in the yard first, so I was startled from half-awake to full-wakefulness by the dogs charging the fence, the yip-yapping of her dog, and the sight of my dog smashing into one board of the fence so hard she knocked it askew and got her head through. The hole was small enough that she wasn't able to get through any more than that, but judging from what the neighbor was saying, the appearance of my dog's head where a board of the fence used to be just about gave her a heart attack. I dragged Akela away, tried to reassure the lady that Akela just wanted to play and wouldn't actually hurt her dog, for whatever that was worth (she didn't believe me), and took the dogs inside.

My next task was to finish weeding the flowerbed. Our landlord came by about two days ago and told us the Homeowners' Association would be doing a walk-around this Saturday (ie - today) and we would be fined if we didn't remove our trailer from our driveway and weed the garden. No, not the garden, he amended. The whole yard. Then he proceeded to walk me around the garden/yard, saying this is a weed, that is a weed, that's a--no, that's going to be a daisy when it blooms, scratch that. But that's a weed, and there's one, and maybe I could leave that one if I wanted. But every single dandelion in the grass had to completely uprooted, because apparently people get real snitty about dandelions. Which is a shame, because I really like dandelions. I think it's nice having a splash of color in the grass.

Our flowerbed--not the one in the backyard I've been working on--is almost as big as the whole rest of the yard. We have a strip going all the way down either side of the house, which has to be completely weeded, and then another one wrapping around and edging the porch. That one extends out about four feet. Then there's yet another one that's a big maybe-eight-foot-diameter circle near the sidewalk. I guess we share that particular flowerbed with our neighbor and we're only responsible for our half of it. That's a lot of flowerbed for someone that's never had a flowerbed before and is scared of bees and consequently doesn't really want one that close to the house.

Anyway, I began weeding the day before and finished up yesterday. Altogether it took me six hours or so, and I stabbed my hand in three different places in the process because I wasn't wearing any kind of gloves. Also, now there aren't weeds in the garden, but the garden looks a little bit empty. So here's hoping the HOA doesn't decide to ding us for not having a pretty enough flowerbed. Also, uprooting the dandelions in the grass left a couple of small bare patches of grass. I read the contract and apparently they can ding us for that too if they want to be poofaces.

While I was weeding, one of my Cub Scouts' parents came over to drop off her son's uniform and some patches. Being generally un-busy and often bored, I had offered to sew patches on any kid's uniform if the parents couldn't sew, didn't like sewing, didn't have time to sew, or just didn't know exactly where the patches were supposed to go. Jack had talked to her about it on Tuesday and when she said she felt like she should pay or something (apparently to take it to a professional tailor or seamstress, they charge $5.00 per patch), Jack had said, "Lint Monkey likes cookies. You can pay her in those." So they brought chocolate chip cookies! :D

We talked with them for a while, then I finished weeding the yard. After I finished with that, I swept the porch and driveway, then took up a hammer and nails and headed over to my backyard-neighbor's house to face the music. I apologized for my dog and fixed her fence and took my first step in the right direction for getting along with her. She appreciated my fixing the fence (I had to fix it from her side because of the way the fence was built) and was fairly friendly. I suggested we get the dogs together at a dog park or something and let them meet each other to see if that helped them freak out less, but she didn't like the idea. She's fully convinced that my dog wants nothing more in the world than to snap her dogs up in two bites.

After that, Jack took me on a short motorcycle ride and then we went to the Tacoma Rainiers' baseball game against the Reno Aces. They're AAA teams, and the Aces are the top of the Pacific North Division and the Rainiers are at the bottom. It was my second baseball game ever (the first was two weeks ago--Rainiers against the Memphis Redbirds and we lost 3-4). The game was phenomenal. Luis Jimenez broke another bat, my favorite pitcher (Chris Seddon) started the game and showed a lot of improvement from the last game I saw him pitch, and the baseball players continued to pat each other on the butt, which always cracks me up, even though, as Jack says, "It's not gay; it's sports." We won the game 18-4. In the fifth inning, we scored nine runs. It was really embarrassing for the other team's second pitcher, because after the first pitcher loaded the bases, they replaced him, and the replacement pitcher walked the next two batters, which meant he walked in two runs and kept the bases loaded. Later in the same inning, he hit a batter on the arm with his pitch. Ouch!

I didn't get to see a grand slam, but I saw four home runs. The first one was the coolest because it almost hit the fence and stayed in the park, but the outfielder jumped for it, and it bounced off the top of his glove to go out of the park. We scored two runs from that. I felt a little bad for the visiting team because when our team hit home runs, the stands erupted in cheers, but when their team did the same, the crowd went, "Awwwww." That has to be demoralizing.

There was also a foul ball that fell into the stands. That happens a lot, and when it does, all the audience crowds together and tries to get the ball because apparently you're allowed to keep foul balls as souvenirs. One guy jumped for it and fell over a seat and landed on his butt across a couple seats in the next row down. Another guy picked up the ball. Awww, embarrassing! Then the guy who got the ball gave it to the one who fell over trying to get it and everyone applauded.

Because we won the game, there was a really nice fireworks display after the game. I like fireworks. They're sparkly. :D