20 Jan 2014

For Anyone in Need of a Good Vomit

I received a few nice emails from people after my recent post, specifically about how lovely pet ownership is. One woman even wrote to tell me that I had inspired her to look seriously into rescuing a dog. Aww.

But let me throw a small dose of reality on things, because I'd hate for people to turn around and be like, "YOU DIDN'T TELL ME ABOUT ALL THE DISGUSTINGNESS. EXPECT A BOX FILLED WITH DIRTY PUPPIES AT YOUR DOORSTEP."

Huck's dog walker just informed me that Huck has taken up the fantastic hobby of shit eating. And no, not just, "Oh, there's a little turd, let me sample it," but an enthusiastic fresh-is-best approach. How fresh? Huck gets around the three-second rule altogether by ensuring the poop of his canine pals never hits the ground.

In other words, my dog is wheezing the juice:

Jesus H. 


1 Jan 2014

Year of the Dog

Last New Year's Eve wasn't a particularly happy one. I had just returned from a nice Christmas with my parents but brought an awful cold home with me. I therefore decided to stay in that night rather than infect anyone else (not that I had massive New Year's plans anyway, truth be told).

I didn't feel like I had a whole lot to look forward to in the New Year. I was weeks away from handing over all my money to someone who had betrayed me, all in order to keep the home that *I* had bought. I was stewing over the unfairness of it all; the consequence he faced for breaking our vows was walking away richer. But mostly, I felt like a moron for ever trusting him in the first place. I should have known. I should have never bailed him out of trouble those times. I should have insisted on a pre-nup. I should have dumped him when he never came home that one night. I should have left when he showed up late to our very first date. I should have, I should have ...

I was calmly and dignifiedly wallowing in these thoughts on that New Year's evening when a minor incident turned me into a sobbing mess of First World self-pity:

While attempting to put a new bulb in the overhead porch light, the entire thing came down except for the electrical wires that kept the heavy fixture precariously clinging to the ceiling of my porch. The sky was quickly darkening as I stood on my step ladder holding the glass fixture over my head. As my hands were busy, my nose took it as an opportunity to drip uncontrollably, stinging and chapping my upper lip. Over and over again, I tried to get the damn fixture up without success. Gloves made it impossible to feel the spot where the light was supposed to latch onto, so I stubbornly kept at it even though my bare fingers were numb from the December cold.

After an hour of frustrating effort, I was forced to leave the stupid fixture hanging there, where it swung about in the growing wind. I thought a flurried gust would surely pull the fixture too hard, the wiring would get ripped out, and an electrical fire would somehow ensue. I would die stupid and alone and the ex would walk away with the insurance money because the house hadn't been fully transferred into my name yet.

The last part, especially, made me mad.

And so I cried.

I wondered why I was fighting so hard and relinquishing every bit of savings I had (and didn't have) in order to keep a house I was too inept to manage. I mean, I couldn't even change a lightbulb properly! I wondered why I was the one who had to deal with this shit by herself. Why was I the only one dealing with consequences. And why the fuck was I financing his latest romantic getaways. I wondered how I got myself into this stupid position with the stupid light fixture and stupid house and stupid life to begin with. At one point, I'm pretty sure I even screamed, "WHY!?!" in a moment of ridiculous drama that puts Darth Vader to shame.

And that's how I ended 2012: screaming and crying my sorry ass to sleep.

The next day was infinitely better. With the promise of a new year, the arrival of a morning's light, and a build-up of mass hysteria purged from my system, I conquered the porch fixture. I never could get it back up, but thanks to phone consultations with my dad, a friend's husband, and the Internet (the trifecta!), I figured out how to turn off the power, remove the connected wiring from the fixture, and cap the wires. ALL BY MYSELF. I even took a frigging picture of it.

I capped those wires. Yes, yes I did.

(Mind you, I didn't replace the light until later in the spring, but that's not the point.)

It's amazing what not feeling helpless will do for a person, and that's something I've taken with me since that night.

But onto the real point of this post ...

Even though I didn't know it at the time, The Great Removal of the Porch Light wasn't the best thing to have happened that day. I wouldn't realize until months later that something else fantastic occurred on January 1, 2013.

You see, my sweet Huck, the heartbeat at my feet, is a New Year's baby. Somewhere around the time that I was figuring out my breaker panel, my darling little dog was being born.

The rescue organization took him in right away that day. He looked like this but smaller:

And last night, curled on my bed as the old year softly drifted away, he looked like this:

While this New Year's Eve was another quiet night in, it wasn't sad. It wasn't helpless. It wasn't drowning in self-pity. It wasn't wasted thinking bitterly about exes and poor decisions made.

It was gratefully spent with one of the best little treasures to enter my life. It was serene. It was warm. It was a happy New Year's.

What a difference a year makes.

If you've seen my Instagram feed, the fact that I love my dog should come as no surprise. I am, undoubtedly, obsessed with this little mutt of mine.

While I have many other people and things I appreciate, love and am overwhelmingly grateful for this year (including the best family ever, terrific friends, a good job, my health, a home of my own, and my first ever food garden), Huck / Huckers / Huck McDuck / Huckleberry / Dr. Huckstable / The Mother Hucker has been this year's standout.

He makes me laugh. He's forced me to become patient. He's taught me to let go. He's shown me how to enjoy the moment. He gives me the best excuses to stop what I'm doing and play.

He is 65 pounds of unconditional love.

Today, on his first birthday, I'm making it all about him. We're about to hit the dog park. And then nap. And then play catch. And then eat treats, nap and play some more, including goofing around with the toys that annoyingly squeak. I'll even feed him his fave, tripe (or as I call it, Death in a Can). And we'll hang by the window and get mad at all the cats that dare to enter our fields of vision. And maybe a last-minute walk. And then we'll call it a day - a very good day.

Happy New Year to you. Happy birthday, dear pal. You've made my year.


6 Sept 2013

I'm Sorry, I Have A Cold

From Wikipedia: Monty Python
I recently participated in some lame growing-older lady activities, namely looking at antique shops and perusing places that specialize in tea blends.

I realize this puts me just a few steps away from wearing shawls and acquiring multiple cats. I've accepted that.

Anyway, at one shop the elderly woman manning the counter was big on small-talk. After the obligatory mentions of weather and gardening (ah, yes, gardening. It's official: shawls and cats are in my immediate future), our attentions were turned to a noise just outside the store.

There was cheering, chanting, and eventually, a glimpse of what was causing all the fuss (fuss! An old lady term! I should just start stocking up on Fancy Feast now.): some guys were trotting along the sidewalk; not quite goose-stepping, not quite Ukrainian dancing, but doing something confusingly in between. (If I was being literal, I guess that would make what they were doing ... Polish?) It was clearly some kind of stunt brought on by Frosh Week. I deduced this not from a Sherlock Holmesian brilliance, but from the fact they were all wearing T-shirts that had "FROSH 13" written across them. Indubitably.

"Wow," I said to the shopkeeper. "Reminds me of the Ministry of Silly Walks."

She blinked.

"From Monty Python. You know. That sketch," I smiled.

"Oh! Now, there's a name I haven't heard in a while. What else did they do, again?" she asked, keenly.

And then my brain betrayed me, as it always fucking does.


"Ughh," I stammered ....


"Well, they did the one about ..."


"... well, wow, they had so many sketches. And movies. It's hard to pick just one ..."


"They're a funny group from Britain, right?" she said. "I just love British humour! It's so clever. So witty!"

And - finally - a different sketch (something completely different, if you will) came to me.

"I fart in your general direction!" I screamed in her face.

"Oh, yes, right," she politely replied, having no idea what I was talking about.

I really shouldn't ever leave my home.


7 Aug 2013

Overheard: Please Let This Be An Innocent Three's Company Kind Of Misunderstanding

Was just in the backyard, hanging out with my only friend the dog when I heard this conversation over the fence, a couple doors down. These people are in their 50s or 60s and I see the husband almost everyday while walking Huck:

Woman: You told me we'd try.

 *I perk up and pause the ritual post-work scratching of Huck's chest. Huck is not amused.* 

Man: What? Now?

Woman: Don't be an idiot.

Man: Well, you're bringing it up now.

Woman: They say it's better to talk about things after the fact, when you're not in the heat of the moment.

Man: Heat of the moment? When was that?

Woman: I guess that's our problem. There's no heat, sir. No heat at all.

Man: Fine. FINE! This weekend, alright?

Woman: Good. I'll pick up Vaseline from the Costco.

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I have no shame

Need words? I'm a Toronto-based freelance writer who injects great ones into blogs, websites, magazines, ads and more. So many services, one lovely Jen (with one 'n').

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