Forgiveness

Dogs don’t hold a grudge.

If I forget to go to the pet shop and get my dog Buddy his ridiculously expensive dog food and he has to eat leftovers for a day or two, he forgives me. Or, if I forget to put water in his bowl, he drinks from the EVER FLOWING FOUNTAIN OF WATER otherwise known as the toilet; he doesn’t begrudge these errors on my part.

Perhaps those aren’t good examples.

If I get distracted on the internet and he needs to go outside for a walk and he has to wait for just a little while too long, he forgives me. I am not going to go into detail about the pancake batter that I spilled on his head or the time my husband ran over him with the car. You get the picture.

Not everyone is like that.

I once had a job where I hit “REPLY ALL” instead of “REPLY” on an email with information that didn’t put our office department in the best light. It wasn’t THAT big a deal, and disappeared into office – cyber- forgotten – space in a day or two anyway. It was just a mistake on my part but my co-worker was mad at me for TWO YEARS, long after everyone else had forgotten about it, even after I apologized, even after I left the job. She probably hasn’t forgiven me yet.

Here is one thing I have learned: ignore the “REPLY ALL” choice on email. Pretend that it isn’t an option in your email toolbox. Just take my word on that.

Buddy wouldn’t be mad at me for that. He doesn’t seem to mind anything that I do. He loves me no matter what.

He is a little softhearted puff of fluffy forgiveness and unconditional love.
I am going to try to be like that.

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Forgetfulness

Buddy suffers from short term memory loss. 

He literally forgets what he was doing WHILE HE IS DOING IT.

We will be playing with one of his toys, and I will throw it on the bed. Off he will run to get it and then somehow is distracted. 

I will say ‘Buddy! Where is your toy?”  He will look at me as if he is thinking, “Huh? What toy? Do you want me to find a toy?”  He will completely ignore the toy that is RIGHT IN FRONT OF HIM and go look for one.  Then he will proudly come back with a different toy.  This concerns me.  If it only happened occasionally I wouldn’t be worried, but this happens ALL THE TIME.  He can’t seem to hang on to a kernel of thought for longer than say, twenty seconds.

OK, to be truthful, perhaps I am projecting my concerns about myself on to him.

Seems like I can’t remember anything recently. I will go into a room to get something and can’t remember why I am there. Or, I will be on a mission to do something, say, get an envelope to pay a bill.

I will go to get one and notice that perhaps a table that needs to be dusted; off I will go to get the furniture polish and once at the pantry, followed by Buddy, I will give him a doggy treat, completely forgetting about the furniture polish.   One thing leads to another.  These distractions continue from room to room, a swirl of unfinish-ness which leaves me wondering at the end of the day, what DID I get accomplished?

So, of course, I am quite tolerant when Buddy forgets what he is doing.

I was going to tell you something else about that but I can’t remember what it was.

First Impressions

A lot has been written or said about making a good first impression. I have just completed significant scholarly research regarding that, and it is often said people make a decision about you in the first three seconds they meet you.

Oh, well, alright, I actually Googled that, but you can too. Look it up.

Often a dog’s first impression is his bark. Now, I am not a fan of yippy little barky dogs so it is a good thing that my dog Buddy does not have a yippy bark. In fact, he doesn’t bark, he “Boofs.” This has earned him the nickname “Da Boofer” at our house. He sounds like he might be a cross between a Newfoundland and a gentle old Golden Retriever. When a delivery person arrives at our door, he will often be amused and surprised to see the dog that has been boofing behind the door. The first impression he makes is that he is a very large dog and he is prepared to protect the property.

Not very much like the dog he REALLY is who would ask any intruder to “Rub my belly!”

I gotta hand it to Buddy, he fakes it until he makes it. HE is a dog to be feared, HE is the guardian of the house, HE is “Da Boofer!”

I admire his bravado.

When I was young, I walked to and from school with my best friend. All through elementary school we silently made the daily trek back and forth. In seventh grade we started attending middle school. My friend said to me, “Look, those girls are TALKING to each other on their way to school.” Nonplussed, I said, “Well, I guess that is what the big kids do in middle school. What should we talk about?”

Neither one of us had any idea.

My partner-in-middle-school-crime had just the right idea. She said, “Let’s just take turns moving our lips so we look like we are talking.” The perfect solution, which we did, I think for at least a year until we discovered boys, but that is a different story.

There is something to be said about “Boofing” or moving your lips.

It makes a good first impression.

The Doggy Tower of Terror

I don’t like amusement park rides.

I somehow missed getting the “thrill seeking, roller coaster, zip-line riding” gene. When our family went to Disney World, my husband would take my boys on rides named “Splash Mountain!” or “Space Mountain!” Nope, those were NOT for me.

They did, however, convince me to go on “Big Thunder Mountain Railroad.” “ Look mom,” they said, “the ride description says that a ride on Big Thunder Mountain Railroad provides mild but wild thrills to those aboard—from big kids and teens to adults not up for the really big thrills found on the other two Magic Kingdom “mountain” attractions: Space Mountain and Splash Mountain.” Feeling guilty that I was the family vacation party-pooper-spoiler, I agreed to go on it.

Big Mistake.

I emerged from the ride, hair disheveled, nauseated, with stiff hands from gripping the ride handles tightly in a white-knuckled grip of sheer terror.

Now, I want to reassure you that NO DOGS WERE INJURED IN WRITING THIS POST, but Buddy has had a similar experience recently; the DOGGY TOWER OF TERROR.

We moved recently to a 20th floor downtown Chicago apartment, which is reached by elevator. Well, I suppose one could climb up and down the twenty floors of stairs, but in my mind, that is clearly not an option. So, in order to walk the dog, we have to take the elevator. Going up the first time for Buddy was apparently not a problem for him, but going DOWN was a different story

When I asked him what sounded to him like,

“Cpihshakepoininaitreatadjfoijgoforawalkaoadrideinthecar?”

He responded with his usual enthusiasm because it meant SOMETHING good was going to happen, and we headed off down the hall to the elevator.

We got in on the twentieth floor and I pushed ONE. When the elevator started its descent, Buddy threw himself flat down on the floor, pancake style, feet splayed out in every direction with a look on his face that could only be read as, “I am somehow on the DOGGY TOWER OF TERROR! Hang on, hang on, we are all going to probably die!”

When we returned from our walk, as we approached the elevator he leaned back, dug in his heels and refused to get back on. Now I understand this from my own experience not wanting to go on any sort of amusement park rides. So I carried him in my arms up and down the elevator for several days, and I am happy to report now he views the elevator as that little place where he meets people who say, “Awwww, he is soooooo cute, can I pet him?” A sort of doggy petting pre-walk holding area. So apparently he has recovered from his fear of amusement park rides.

Me? Not so much.
“Who me? Want to go to Navy Pier and ride the Roller Coaster?”

“Ummmm, no thanks.”

Photo: from Wikipedia: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Twilight_Zone_Tower_of_Terror
http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/3.0/

Sunday Drive

”Crusin’ and playin’ the radio
with no particular place to go.” Chuck Berry

My family used to go on “Sunday Drives” when I was growing up.

We would pile in to my father’s 1960’s era Chrysler New Yorker with no destination in mind. The car was so big that you could be  in different zip codes riding in the same car. My sister and I were allowed to pick directions at each intersection; “Right!  Left!  Indifferent!” we would call from the back seat. We would end up in some unexpected Michigan small town and get ice cream cones from an ice cream shop named something like “The Freeze” or “The Whippy Dip.” On the ride home, my parents would smoke in the front seat, windows rolled down, looking eerily like Don and Betty Draper from the TV show Mad Men while my sister and I would sing along to the AM radio, “Hang on Sloopy, Sloopy hang on.”

Reminiscing about these car rides, I said to my husband one day, “We should go for a Sunday Drive.” His response was less than enthusiastic. Of course the cost of gas has increased from 29 cents per gallon to over four dollars per gallon, which may have dampened his enthusiasm a bit. But even if the cost of gas wasn’t an issue, he just didn’t get the point.

Buddy does. He LOVES to ride in the car. Anywhere. If I ask him (as he hears it)

“Cpihshakepoininaitreatadjfoijgoforawalkapofjgoodboycookiejpoadrideinthecar,”

he discerns the sound bite “car ride” and springs into alert and ready-to-go mode, tail thumping on the floor.

Buddy will go for a ride in the car. Anytime.

Buddy will go on a Sunday Drive with me. He will go anywhere in the car. With paws on the door handle, nose sticking out the cracked window, ears blowing in the wind, he is in car ride nirvana. I’m not sure why he likes it so much. But off we go, simpatico, a couple of road warriors, “cruisin’ and playin’ the radio, with no particular place to go.”

Dental Fears

For some inexplicable reason, I don’t like going to the dentist. This is not a rational thing. It is not a result of some horrific dental experience in my past. Somehow in my deepest irrational imaginings I think that I will go to the dentist and they will have to pull out all of my teeth without an anesthetic and then I will subsequently die of some lingering painful death related to the procedure or something equally as horrible.

I always have the best intentions. I set up an appointment for an exam and teeth cleaning, and yet when the appointment approaches, I will call and cancel with increasingly more creative reasons for the cancellation. I mean, you can only have an important meeting at work come up just so often.  So I call with compelling excuses for why I can’t come. “We have an infestation of carpenter ants, and I have to stay home for the exterminator,” or “a foreign exchange student will be visiting my son’s school from Brazil, and I am the only person in his class who speaks Portuguese.”  While making these excuses, I hope they aren’t being entered into my Permanent Dental Record.

So of course, when Buddy was upset about getting his teeth cleaned, I completely understood. As Bill Clinton said, “I feel your pain.”  Now, they have to give a dog a general anesthetic when they do this. I tried to explain this to Buddy, but this is how he hears my speech:

“Cpihshakepoininaitreatadjfoijgoforawalkapofjgoodboycookiejpoadrideinthecar.”

When I brought him home after his appointment he couldn’t walk.  Well he COULD walk, but he only would hold up the paw where they placed the needle for the anesthetic and look pitiful as if to say, “It was horrible, I don’t know what they did to me because I was asleep, but I am sure they performed some kind of torturous experiment.”

Because I feel his pain, I carried him down the hall, outside and placed him on the grass and then carried him back upstairs to our apartment. The next morning, he was still holding up the same paw, so I carried him downstairs again. This time however, when he saw other dogs, he jumped up, played and ran around. When the other dogs left though, his pain reappeared and he had to hold up his paw again, unable to walk.

Now when this continued the NEXT day, I began to be concerned. So I called the vet who said, “Maybe I should have a look at that.” So we went back to the vet, and after she examined his paw, she said, “You know, I think he just wants a big puffy Band-Aid.”  His vet, Joan Burkhart from the North Central Animal Hospital in Chcago wrapped his paw in cotton, gauze and tape; a wise and empathetic vet.

When I took him outside, Band-Aid prominently displayed, he got all kinds of sympathy from people and dogs alike. The next morning he had chewed off the Band-Aid and was perfectly fine.

That’s OK, Buddy. I completely understand.

Buddy McIntyre is a Dot Com

Buddy McIntyre is a dot com. www.buddymcintyre.com

Now I realize that all you gen X and gen Y’ers could probably care less, but this is a major accomplishment for me.

I am a baby boomer and my technological skills, as they used to say on my children’s kindergarten report cards, are an “N.” That was actually a grade on my children’s kindergarten report cards, which stood for “Needs time to develop.” This was just a thinly disguised way to break it to you gently that your child was an “F” as a result of poor parenting.

It shouldn’t surprise anyone that my technological skills are lacking. I mean, I grew up in the sixties with a black and white TV with rabbit-ear antennas. I remember when they got THE computer at my first job.

Yep, you read that right; THE computer. One. A very large one.

It took up a whole room, and had multiple three-inch-diameter cords going in all directions.  There was a pasty-white computer technician who was responsible for interpreting all things computer to the rest of us computer neophytes. No one wanted to talk to him because every conversation ended in exasperation, both his and yours.

So it is understandable that I am rather pleased with this new development. I, unlike other stick-in-the-mud members of my generation, have boldly ventured into the world of blogging and the World Wide Web. I use website management terms in daily conversation like “Mega-data!” or “Widgets!”   OK, I don’t really know what these things mean, but I have overcome my fear of clicking on things.

So, if you are interested in continuing reading Buddy’s blog, Buddy McIntyre is a dot com.

www.buddymcintyre.com

Buddy’s Haircuts Cost More than Mine

I go to a fairly upscale salon to get my hair cut. Let me rephrase that. I go to a ridiculously expensive hair salon to get my hair cut.  Do you remember the huge media flap when John Edwards paid $250 for haircuts?  Yeah, he got his hair cut there a couple of times. I have a junior designer cut my hair, so I don’t pay THAT much, but you get the picture.

So you can imagine my surprise to find out it costs MORE MONEY TO CUT BUDDY’S HAIR THAN IT COSTS TO CUT MINE.  No one told me this.

Buddy is a small dog. A sixteen pound sit –on-your-lap-and-look-adorable dog.  I think his whole body is smaller than my head. You are going to have to take my word on that because I just don’t know how I can figure out how much my head weighs.

When we decided to get Buddy I was told he was non-shedding, hypo-allergenic, fluffy and adorable.    All true, but what they didn’t tell me that it would cost MORE MONEY TO CUT HIS HAIR THAN IT WOULD COST TO CUT MINE.

I decided a while ago that I just wasn’t going to pay that much to get him groomed and how-hard-is-it-to-wash-a dog-and-cut-his-hair-anyway. Armed with doggie shampoo, towels, scissors and my hairdryer, I put him in the kitchen sink and with great sloshing and splashing managed to wash him. I blew his fur dry and despite looking like some sort of odd cotton ball Pokémon, I managed to trim his fur. Well OK, it was kind of crooked but it wasn’t THAT bad.

The next day the scratching started. He ran around the living room with his head on the floor like a little fuzzy lawn mower.  Chewing and scratching he began to create little raw areas all over his body. I brought him into the vet who supplied potions, salves, some sort of doggy antihistamine and a plastic cone to wear so he couldn’t chew or scratch. Apparently his fur had matted, so the vet also had to shave off random little circles of fur which made him look like a neglected child with ringworm.

So from that point forward, Buddy has gone to the groomer every six weeks. I just wanted to tell you this:  If you are considering getting an adorable fluffy non-shedding hypo-allergenic dog, it is going to cost you more to cut his hair than yours.

A lot more.

Buddy has become a Foodie

I have a son who is an architect in New York.  He has morphed over the years from the nerdy kid who only would eat hamburgers, even in five star restaurants, to an over-the-top look-down-his-nose-at-you foodie. This may be the result of “piano dinners” that I prepared for him while he was growing up.

For the uninitiated, “piano dinners” are dinners that ACTUALLY CATCH ON FIRE.  At times I confess that I would put a casserole in the oven when he was younger, and then put earphones on and play my Roland piano. I would drift off; notes and melodies leading me off to far flung musical happy places. All well and good, until he would be shaking my elbow exclaiming “Mommy, mommy there is a fire in the oven!”

So now he is a foodie. Because I live in Chicago and he lives in New York we often g-mail chat  when we are supposed to be doing other things. Somehow our roles have reversed. I will ask, “What are you going to make for dinner?” and he will tell me about his plans to make lime infused planked salmon with hazelnut risotto which is somewhat annoying because well, I was going to make tacos.

I have learned to live with the humiliation, but there seems to be a new development with the dog. I think he has been reading my emails with my son.

Buddy has become a foodie.

He has been fed a very high quality (read expensive) kibble with all natural ingredients since he was a puppy. The kind you can only get at expensive pet shops, not places like Pet Smart.  That is until recently.    Now he is only interested in finer fare.  I have had to make additions to his meal, adding little pieces of filet mignon, the occasional bits of marinated grilled chicken, or perhaps a small dab of an interesting cheese. If I try to just give him his kibble, he gives me that signature foodie look, that look-down-your-nose-at-you foodie stare that seems to ask “Really?”

I think I am going to go play the piano.

Buddy is a Feng Shui Master

 

 

Buddy is a Feng Shui Master.  He understands the artful placement of items in a home and the effect they have on the home’s “Chi.” Most dogs, when given a new toy, bone or chew react in immediate pleasure romping, chewing, and gnawing away at the new item.

Not Buddy.

A new toy or bone disturbs Buddy’s Chi. He reluctantly takes it, and then begins to wander around the house making an “errr errr errr” noise; a sort of “I-don’t-know-where –to-put it” sound. This begins the rearrangement of current items he has tucked away in corners, under the covers on the bed, and other secret places known only to him. One by one he moves them to different locations until he achieves some sort of doggy- yin-yang balance. This can take hours and requires much rearranging.

I can relate. Recently my husband brought home a little cut glass crystal bowl for me. One would think a simple little item such as that would not throw anyone into a tizzy. But alas, I had to spend time moving these vases over HERE, and this bowl over THERE until somehow a pleasing balance was created.

My husband watches this exercise in bewilderment with an “it is just a BOWL” look on his face. Not Buddy. HE understands me.

If you have ever seen the movie, Close Encounters of the Third Kind, you would understand what I am talking about. You know, when Richard Dreyfuss is compelled to throw mashed potatoes to create a sculpture in his living room?  When others in the movie who have had similar visions and compulsions find each other they are so relieved that SOMEONE understands their obsession. It is a similar situation.

Buddy gets it and accepts me as a kindred spirit and this is why I am thankful I live with a doggy Feng Shui Master.