Friday, March 29, 2013

Thursday, March 28, 2013

Puppy School Week 5


Today we learned that "Rocket just doesn't know where his feet are" . I do not agree, I think Rocket does know where exactly his feet are,  I think he thinks that walking between the rungs of a ladder is a dumb thing to do and he doesn't understand why he is asked to do it.

But he has to do it. I brought the ladder up from the basement and I had him walk it a few times but he was a dismal failure so I stopped working on it because well, "dismal failure" does not motivate me to want to do it over and over and over again. It should be the best reason, but it doesn't.

Smashing Success makes me do it over and over and over again! Ask us to run through the tunnel again or through the lamo tire jump and we'll just do those all night! He very much likes the tunnels and he's waiting for the pretend teeter-totter to be interesting, no teeter and very little totter. That damn ladder though, that's a huge bitch.

Next week is our graduation.  They said we could bring someone with us to record our dogs doing the agility course, I really want someone to come with me to record him... Any volunteers?

Wednesday, March 27, 2013

Garden 2013 part?


I made another step forward in Project Thinking Outside the Garden . I brought my pallets home!

It wasn't easy, they were free which is nice and  all, but even "small" pallets are heavy, bulky, and oddly shaped. Not to mention filthy and splinter factories. The ecstatic nature of most of the How To videos and tutorials tend to gloss over that part. And there is no mention at all about getting those heavy, dirty, oddly shaped things into your car, over lunch, dressed for work.

There is some mention of the need to "sand a little" and that the pallets will be heavy after they are kitted out into planters - in reality, they are heavy before too and you sand blast them and you would still need gloves to handle them. They are also really, really big, even the "small" ones I pulled, they are bigger and heavier than I had anticipated.

I don't care! I'm going to do this. I am going to need to score a heavy duty stapler though and probably invest in a better quality weed barrier than I normally buy, but it'll be worth it in the end I think, if it works the way they promise it will.

I was starting to doubt that my potatoes were going to work out. I planted the first batch at the same time I planted last year and they froze and I had to start over. Today I found my first sprout. Considering I have a lot of them in the bins, one sprout is really not quite the outcome I am looking for, hopefully it will warm up soon and my spuds will get with the program.


There are two there, the smaller one I think is going to be flowers and it is going to live on the front deck, the larger is going to be strawberries and herbs. These are not a cheap way of gardening, you plant very densely in order to hold in the dirt with their root growth, so what ever I end up planting I am going to have a lot of it. I haven't decided what herbs I'm going to use, but I'm pretty sure its going to be "all of them" and I will start researching recipes for strawberries.  The flowers are going to be easier, pretty much anything that drapes and flows and there are a lot of varieties that will do quite beautifully. Its going to be work getting them set up but I think its going to be worth the extra effort. The tutorials tell me so.



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Tuesday, March 26, 2013

New Door!

The new crate door arrived!



What was wrong with the old door?


The door comes with two latches, one up, one down. The crate I bought on Craigslist for $35, only locked on the upper latch. The owner fixed it when I pointed out that the crate was faulty, but unfortunately, a real fix was beyond him. The door functioned, roughly, but it wasn't really functional and it wasn't secure and that was a problem.

I did some research online and eventually was able to track down the manufacturer and with their help, ordered the correct door. It wasn't easy as the crate is a good eight years old and is not made anymore  and is a model that was among the dozens listed on the site. Petmate has outstanding customer service, should you be in the market for a dog or cat crate.


New door! It ran be $16 and saved me from having to shell out $88 for a new crate. The total is $37 less than I would have paid if I had just given up and bought a new one. Lets hear it for replacement parts!!!  Reuse, recyle, repair, repurpose!

Monday, March 25, 2013

The joys of doing almost nothing.

There are some weekends when I can report that I did, this and this and this and this and boy was I ever busy! Goodness, I need to go back to work just to get some rest! And then there are weekends like this one. I did laundry and looked up recipes for dry dog shampoo,  priced concrete blocks and, well, that's about it, oh, and I paid my Sam's Club bill.

The only un-restful, not relaxing portion of my weekend was when I decided to wash the dog, hence the search for dry dog shampoo - because while the bath was a slightly less awful experience than the last time I gave him a bath, it was still awful and now I am desperate enough that  I'm willing to experiment with alternate remedies. And then I collapsed in front of the TV and stayed there.

I mean, Yea!!! lets her it for getting a lot of rest, which I did and for cleaning out my DVR, which I also did and  for spending a lot of time doing nothing, which I also did. I was so busy doing nothing that I let another weekend go by without watching whatever I ordered from Netflix.

While I was watching a three week old Cooking Channel special on cooking for Chinese New Year, I decided that I am going to make duck at some point. There is a very nice Asian market in Cary and they sell duck and someday when I have money again, I am going to buy one and prepare it. You gotta to dream big. There was also a nice recipe featured for baked chicken and it looked doable as well and I think I will, its always nice to have achievable dreams too.

Big weekend at the Dianaverse. I bought some carrot seeds to plant in my future bricks, so now I have to get them, carrot seeds are too small to deal with for no reason, I've never grown carrots before so this will be another new thing for Garden 2013.

Friday, March 22, 2013

Friday Cat Blogging


Getting our feet wet


There are two good things about getting up at night to potty the dog. The first thing is of course that a dog that goes out to potty at 2:30 in the morning doesn't pee his box at 5am and the second is that it is the unique opportunity to back to sleep.

  Of course all this going-back-to-bed rides on when he wakes up. - if he sleeps too "late" I don't catch much of a break, but then I also get annoyed when he wakes up "early" , thus allowing me to go back to sleep, because I take him out every half hour in the evening to prevent any waking up and peeing, much less waking up to pee an hour and half after we went to bed.

  I am doing everything right why is my dog not potty trained yet!!!????

I am getting better and alerting as soon as he wakes up instead of not waking up until he has started peeing. Now I jump out of bed at the first sound of wakefulness and race him outside so he can relieve himself. This does come at a cost though, since I am listening for him to start shifting around, I know I'm not sleeping as soundly as I could be and I can feel the difference.

At eight months old he should be completely potty trained or at least pretty much completely trained, and in his defence, as long as I am available to take him out periodically he is. On the positive sided, he isn't wandering around peeing on the carpet and he will go to the door to let me know he wants to go out. Score, but its an empty victory when I am cleaning the crate again.

I do think I have created some of the problem, I came home every day for five months and while he seems pretty good at the 6a-12p shift, its the 12p -4p that he has a problem with. Its the 12a-4a shift that's bad too. Do they make diapers for adult dogs?

Thursday, March 21, 2013

I think I'm in love!

Timer Heaven!



More garden equels more to water, this looks  like a terrifc solution.

Short and sweet.


Rocket really gave one of the obedience class teachers a piece of his mind! Literally, he head butted her so hard he left a bruise in the middle of her forehead. Oops. Other than that, he was better behaved in class than he has been at home and for the first time, he actually performed the commands when other people were watching! His "stay" was roundly praised! He continues to rock the agility tasks hard and was a champ at the  tunnel the first time we tried it. I also think now that there are only two classes left I may have figured out the secret pre-class formula : No walk and full dinner. I think he was better because he wasn't as tired and he had a full belly.

Wednesday, March 20, 2013

Planning is hard.

Before I beg/borrow/steal my blocks I need to know how many I'm going to need and just how long this garden is going to be. I also decided that the watermelon garden area is also going to get its own blocks as well, so I have to include that number as well, not to self, measure space.

I made a half arsed initial survey of the new garden and my phone tells me that its roughly, very roughly, thank you phone, about 42 feet long, not the entire length of the fence because I need to be able to access the vegetable garden and there is a tree in the way that would impede the sun my sunflowers will need. So roughly, very roughly 42 feet of space.

Now, just how many blocks will I need? I went a checked out a very conviently located and unsupervised pile of blocks and found them, um, lacking. Too many were in bad shape and would need a lot of cleaning up to be used for a project as decorative as this one. They were also "three hole" blocks and I think I would prefer "two hole" brinks. Because all of a sudden I am a concrete brick designer and these things matter to me.

I checked online, I could have just measured what I have in the yard but that would have entailed going to the basement, digging out the tape and then measuring it by hand in the dark and it a little cool outside so I asked the Internet and the Internet said that the average size of a concrete block is 8x8x16 . So each brick is 16 inches long, how many will I need to line a space roughly, very roughly, 42 feel long. This would be much easier if they were a foot long.

I am learning disabled and math phobic and there are too many numbers involved here. I think, using all my fingers and toes and writing down a lot of sixes, that I will need roughly, very roughly, 22 bricks, plus the unknown number for the un-measured watermelon plot. Good. Half of one problem solved, next issue,  actually getting my hands on the bricks...

And then there is the dirt issue. I'm going to need a lot. And then there is a water issue, I'm going to need a longer hose... I need a plan.

Tuesday, March 19, 2013

More Ideas


I am still in love with the concrete block planter idea and in fact I am going to expand on it! I took a quick look online and found that many people have found that using concrete blocks as planters is a good idea and they have had some really really good ideas of how to use them .

My new love of concrete blocks is primarily that concrete blocks are cheap and a quick scan of craigslist showed me that in many cases they are free which is even better than cheap. I'm going to line the new garden where the sunflowers are going to be with the magic blocks and then I am going to plant in the blocks! I am going to get dirt from the city (Hi Dad!, Hi Tony!) and add it to the swath and make it into a raised bed. I'm still going to have to dig deep for the sunflowers but some of the deep will be new healthy dirt instead of the blechy clay that is there now.



See? Really clarified the whole idea yes? I have also decided that I am absolutely going to do the pallet idea, I had been going back and forth about doing it because it looks a little hard, no matter what the video says but after looking through yet another seed catalog, now there are going to be two pallets! One is going to be herbs and the other strawberries. They are going to go along the wall next to the potatoes. Free time is for suckers.

I think I will plant the sunflowers toward the back of the space and plant something else in the front,the blocks will protect the area from Rocket and the flowers in the blocks will make sure they are pretty to look at. They will be like Leila Ali, pretty but totally able to kick your ass.

This is not going to be an easy thing to do but I think long run its going to pay off. True, I will have less "lawn" area, but I don't have much "lawn" anyway and Rocket didn't spend a lot of time in that swath of property anyway, so its no loss to him. The summer the yard itself is not going to be  dog friendly for him anyway, most of the area is going to be planted and thus off limits to him any way.

I think the long term goal for the area will be to plant knock out roses along the fence. They are a very tough and flower for a long time, downside being that they have no scent but they are pretty. I know I'm most likely going to have a long wait to have my dream of honeysuckle growing on the fence, unless I miraculously find a lot of it, unprotected and easy to dig up and remove. I still want it though, and it would smell divine. The fact that its habit is pushy and it has to be strongly controlled is a little bit of a bummer. I think I could be a vine nazi if I had to be though, I would hope.

Monday, March 18, 2013

Its time to tell the garden that nap time is over

Its never too late to show your yard who is boss.

I decided that it was my turn to be in charge and since I was in charge, we were going to make some changes. Change the first, the yard needed to be mowed  the back yard needed to be mowed. The front yard also needs to be mowed but I don't want to start a precedent out there because once you start to mow the yard you are going to have to keep mowing the yard and then if you are going to mow the yard you are also going to need to clip the hedges and do the edging and I'm not ready to go there.

So instead I turned my attention to the back yard where my gardens live. My garden's are much more interesting than lawn mowing and hedge trimming. Garden "S". There is the traditional garden, the outer garden, the to-be-constructed bean tee-pee location TBA, the potato cubby, the watermelon patch location TBA, and the  wall o' sunflowers.

I've got big plans and a small yard.

But I needed to get as much whipped in to shape as I could before the weather decides to be all March and yucky again. I needed to get some stuff done and I wasn't afraid to use every piece of garden equipment I own.

First there was weed whacking, then mowing at the highest setting, then mowing at the lowest setting and then tilling. I love my tiller. I didn't take any before and after pictures because  I inadvertently blocked my way out of the yard when I was moving stuff around pre-mowing and I blocked my point of egress.

The future wall'o' sunflowers.

It turns out that sunflowers, specifically the giant kind I am going to plant are not quite as easy as I thought. They are not like planting green beans, my only other experience with starting a plant by seed. It turns out there is a lot of work involved with sunflowers that I did not expect.


I would have just made a little hole, dropped a couple of seeds in and went on to the next one on down the row -  and in a few weeks, soul crushing sunflower failure. As it turns out, nothing having to do with the really big sunflowers is little. The big plants need a big hole, preferably, a big trench to grow up in to big plants. I did not know this.  I don't see myself digging a trench or a two foot hole for each plant, as suggested in another tutorial. I wonder I can rent some sort of residential grade trench digger? Nothing too big, I'm not looking to make a play for the county water gig, but I'll need to do something to give the plants their best possible chance that does not include me digging either a massive trench in our clay soil or digging multiple two foot holes in that same clay. Neither choice sounds like fun, I think I'll watch more tutorials and maybe I'll learn about other planting options.

Everything else looks by comparison pretty easy. I'll need to get the drip hoses and the weed barrier down and I need to get the outer garden raked and leveled and there is the matter of the bean tee-pee, but at least I got some of the work done and I reasserted who is in charge.



And I found  my "planters" for the foot of my front walk! They don't look like much but I think they are going to be really nice with some flowers flowing out of them and no one will think they need to steal them either, an issue with something pretty so far from the safety of the patio. These are too ugly and too heavy to casually walk away with. I go the idea from the class I went to a Logans, although they talkign about how you can make a vertial garden with these, I just saw "planter".

Friday, March 15, 2013

Friday Cat Blogging


Planning

Friday night is going to be all about drilling obedience lessons. All. About.  It was going to be Wednesday but then I had to go to Wally and I'm pretty sure I Had thought that Tuesday night was going to be All Drill All Night Night but then it wasn't and then Thursday was going to be all about the drill but I had a make up precinct meeting so that idea was shot all to hell.

I am now the vice chair of precinct 1-20, again so we have that. Last time I was too white for the position but apparently this year I'm just fine. Whatever.  I've been going to these meetings for eleven years, we meet once a year, new chair wants us to meet once a month! For what?! Its not an election year and you can't get blood from a stone and without anything to vote for you can't get those stones motivated and just try making them care about municipal elections.

We do however have a Voter ID issue and that might get their election. I didn't dare tell them I bring a picture ID and my voters registration with me every time out of habit and thus far my rights don't feel abridged. I am not poor and black and old either.I understand the alarm, its  a slippery slope and the NC GOP wants to turn the clock back and if I was a minority I would want to stop that clock before they pull the poll tax back into the light or decide that we should all be tested on Polish current events prior to casting our votes. Or even decide that maybe not all of us really need to vote...

This weekend when I am not drilling up/down/sit/stay the hell with the dog, I am going to replant potatoes with dirt harvested from the garden. I don't want to have to pay the city or buy bags'o dirt from Big Lots, but it is what I did in the past and my spuds sprouted and this year thus far we do not have sprouts. I want sprouts.

Thursday, March 14, 2013

Dog Park

Rocket and I made our first visit to the dog park and we did not experience or take part in Dogageddian . Which of course came as a giant surprise to me as the minute we walked in the gate I began having flash backs and I wanted to pick my dog up and go home where we would be safe and  the other dogs would be safe from us .

 I haven't been to the dog park since May 30, 2008. I went back and reviewed old entries and I'm pretty sure that the sad, rainy, muddy -yay-we're-all-alone-at-the-park day I talk about is the last day we went. I gave up. The only way Daisy and I could be at the off leash dog park was for Daisy to be on a leash. I talked in several entries about Daisy increasing aggression and how miserable and frightened it made me and how I had to limit her interactions and ultimately stop going to to the park because it just wasn't worth the aggravation  anymore.  As frantic as the situation it was making me, she never seemed to have a problem and always had a good time, even on leash.

Fast forward to March 13, 2013. The park itself looks pretty much the same, the gate where Daisy got into her last fight was the same, the shed they ran behind to more effectively brutalize each other is gone now and the park has lost a couple of trees and there is a new fence on one side.

There is a new crowd with new dogs and  all our old dog friends are gone. Probably, literally, gone, like Daisy. I try to not think about this as I eye the new dogs and their people. They don't know they are new, they think they are old and I am new. I am not new, my dog is new. I was here before the park opened officially and I was there every day for two years. Seven years ago...

Now I'm new again and my old dog is not here. I took Rocket to the small dog park to let us both get acclimated. Rocket seemed okay until some mid sized dog in the big dog park started to bark at him through the fence -  freaking us both out. The dog and Rocket ran up and down the fence a few times and the other dog stopped barking at Rocket and eventually I decided that we needed to jump in to the big park because I didn't bring him here to play by himself.

The other dogs barked at him! His little hackles came up and he ran away! I was horrified. He seemed to get it figured out though and he played chase with a few of them until one fuzzy dog took him down. I was again horrified. I had to keep repeating to myself Not Daisy. Not Daisy. NOT DAISY  Rocket seemed to like the dogs that barked at him the best! I was like IS THAT AWFUL DOG BARKING AT YOU? DON'T BARK BACK! STOPITSTOPTSTOPIT! MOMMY WILL RESCUE YOU! BE NICE TO THAT DOG! and then I looked around to see which dog person was neglecting his or her animal to the point it was BARKING AT MY DOG! and clearly they were not freaked out to the level I was, dog neglecters! occasionally someone would break from their cell phone to suggest that little Barney or Karma or whatever, "Leave it" or whatever and stop freaking that weird lady out. My dog was fine but I was experiencing agita.

Rocket did okay with the other dogs, he ran and nuzzled and wrestled - all good , except Rocket has his balls and they can lead to dog on dog violence at the park. I've noticed he is lifting his leg more and more and that's a sign that my little boy  puppy is growing into a male dog and  unaltered male dogs can be a problem. I want to keep taking puppy boy Rocket to the park because its a great chance for him to get socialized with other dogs and people but I'm not as sure about male dog Rocket.

Another positive I saw at the park, Rocket approached all the people very calmly and did not jump or be in any way obnoxious. He acted like a dog gentleman. I left the park happy and relived and he left exhausted. Yay!

Wednesday, March 13, 2013

Not going to be pumped up.

I took Rocket for our forced march daily walk and along the way we passed a coffee bar and while it was closed on Monday, they were totally open to leaving sealed bags of used coffee grounds marked "FREE and GOOD FOR YOUR GARDEN!" outside their door.

Win! I said to myself. I love free stuff and I am especially open to free stuff for my garden. So I hefted up one of the bags- this should have been a portent of things to come, "hefting" implies weight and I should have thought about the weight.

It got weighty. By the time we started home I was exhausted and my arms felt like wet spaghetti. Later on it didn't get better, my upper arms and shoulders ached all night . I tried to look at is as a positive addition to my work out but I don't really look at the walk as a work out. Its an hour, so it s a but more taxing than a stroll but its been a long time since it was a real work out.

Enter real work out. I didn't like it, I think an hour walk every day is a pretty good bit of exercise and I don't need to add to my regime at this time , although I am thinking of getting a pool pass again now that Rocket can and will hold it from lunch to after five. He can hold it as long as I am not at home, once I am home its a whole different story. I can take him out every half hour for hours and he will still wet his box at a quarter to one in the morning! But he can hold it from when I leave in the morning to after four when I get home. Could it be that me being there is an issue? But for some reason, nights are harder for him,  Monday night sucked especially hard, I was awake with my aching arms when he started to pee his box. It put me in a super good mood.

The days are better, but days we have a  rather strict rationing program for water and as we get into the warmer months that isn't going to work. I think I'm going to see if I can add a cup of water to his kibble in a addition to the cup of water he has with his breakfast and see if he can hold it until lunch. But not at night, at night we aren't adding a drop to the all you can drink water bar he all ready has going. I can't restrict his intake in the evenings since he gets so little during the day, I don't want to give him kidney damage.

I think that now he is back to  a unyielding bed of newspapers he might be able to do it, a soft bed makes him more incontinent. He went from wetting during the day and being dry at night to be dry during the day and wet at night. I can't win.

Tuesday, March 12, 2013

Vertical Gardening Ideas


When I wasn't playing with the animals or sunning myself in the yard I attended a class on Vertical Gardening at my favorite boutique-y garden nursery.

One of the ideas we were told about was turning a packing pallet into a vertical garden. This sounds very interesting to me as I don't have a lot of horizontal space and I do have some very lonely brick walls. I found this how-to on YouTube, its not exactly what we were taught in the class, but I think it makes more sense to me.

 
 
If you don't like how it is presented in this one, there are dozens of others. I kind of think this is something I could do, but I would paint out the pallet to make it pretty.The instructor suggested blackboard paint but I would think you would have to re-do it every time you watered, but that might be cool too.
 
Another idea that seemed really do-able and easier than the pallet plan was to use a shoe caddy into a planter. I found this tutorial and it included an idea that we didn't talk about in the class. To keep the planter from rotting out whatever you have it hanging on, install a curtain rod and hang from it away from the wall. Excellent idea, here is the tutorial .
 
The instructor spoke briefly about using plastic soda bottles as planters, but I was having a hard time picturing the idea. I looked around and found a pretty good explanation . It sounds like a great way to make a lot of  cheap hanging baskets and hanging baskets are expensive and seem to have a short life span, I thought the decorative duct tape idea was kind of cool too.
 
 Lots of stuff to think about. Speaking of the garden, I may have planted the potatoes too early and they may have gotten too cold. I should have tiny sprouts and I do not. I see myself starting over.
 


Monday, March 11, 2013

Wild Weekend Photoblogging!


I did some laundry, sorry not photo-blogged as it wouldn't have been work-safe. Way too racy and provocative. I made some weird choices and there was some mixing of lights and darks and I'm just afraid it wouldn't be okay with the powers that be. I also took Rockets bedding outside to air out. I told you, weird, wild stuff.

Then I decided to tackle a problem Daisy never had. Hard to imagine, a problem Daisy didn't have. More and more I am learning exactly what a pillar of good citizenship and quick learning she was and I never gave her credit for it. Poor dog. When Daisy drank from her bowl she drank from her bowl. The water went form point A to point B with no stops in-between. When Rocket drinks he irrigates the surrounding farm land whether that farm land needs the water or not. It seem,s that he doesn't like getting his nose wet. He drinks out of the bowl but leaves his nose over the edge of the bowl. The water goes everywhere. Its only after he has built a dog-made lake on the floor that he will put his nose into to the water bowl.

I figured that there must be a solution for this. Rocket is not the sloppiest drinker in Dogdom! Shocking. Go online and ask a question and you will get answers, lots of answers .

After reviewing the choices and my responses ranging from You want how much!? to That would terrify him! I scares me! I decided to put the question in again and instead of looking for product, try looking for answers. And I got one that worked!


Cheap and non-threatening!

You may also notice that the surrounding floor is oddly clean appearing, its because it is clean! I saw a tip online about using scrubbing bubbles on you dirty, stained linoleum floors and damned if it didn't work as well as they said it would. My  ancient gross, pitted, stained floors now look just ancient.

Since I was feeling like Holly Homemaker, I turned to making dinner.  I decided weeks ago that I really wanted to make Pasties like we get in Marquette and I am sure that the women in my family way, way back in the day, made frequently. I of course made some changes to the recipe because I am not going to cube anything and I'm not going to eat turnip. This is the now and its Raleigh NC.

I bought some ground round and some shredded carrots and used some left over red potatoes and some dried onion flakes, powdered garlic, salt and pepper and a healthy dusting of herbs de' Provence, because I like it.

Instead of the heavier dough used in the traditional recipe, I substituted store bought pie dough, see "not standing a cubing".



When I make them again, and this time they were really good, but next time I will use more carrots and potatoes and real onions and I will brown them together on the stove before they go into the oven. They  don't look much like the traditional dish and they didn't taste much like what I remember and they turned out a little too meatloaf -in-a-blanket for true pasties, but  they were only made to please myself and they did please me, and they were delicious and will make for great leftovers.


And then there was playing with the dog and cat




And after that Rocket and I went to Lake Johnston to take advantage of the gorgeous weather





And now I have to go back to work. Blah.

Friday, March 8, 2013

Friday Cat Blogging


Local Politics

Well, out of nowhere I had this surprise precinct meeting and so, yeah. We again did not make quorum because why would any one actually come to the meeting?All the other precincts make quorum and have a huge turn out and we never do,its shameful and I know its someones fault, it has to be because its too frequent. I don't know who convinced people not to attend but someone got the word out years ago to skip the meetings. The neighborhood in the past was a famous  and very effective Democratic machine. I want to know who threw a wrench into it and why.

 Our chair didn't even come because he resigned from the position and possibly the party because the Democrats are paying too much damn attention to those  nasty Hispanics and taking the African Americans for granted.

Super. Did not know he was a racist. I guess he's a libertarian now.

To make up for the fact we were short one person ( over and over and over again, every damn year) to make quorum we now have to meet next week like bad children and do the meeting again, hopefully without the hour of speechifying  but with the free donuts.

Thursday, March 7, 2013

Puppy School Week 3


 This week I took a momentary break from hyperventilating long enough to notice that the other dogs in the class are just as  bad at the tasks at Rocket is and that all the dog people complain that their dogs do much, much better at home than they do in class. I think this week I am going to film our practice sessions to prove to the instructors that he really can do the tasks and we really are diligently drilling the homework  and that he really can sit and stay and down - despite evidence to the contrary.

Rocket, as per usual did very well in the intro to agility portion of the class. My dog is a dumb jock.

Wednesday, March 6, 2013

Sit, Ubu, Sit. Damn it!


I am really hopeing that puppy school gets a snow day tomorrow.  My puppy ate my home work.

We didn't have the time to drill that we should have and it wasn't my fault. Thursday I had to go get the new crate so I had to spend time dealing with it and that ate Thursday night, Friday I had to deal with the crate some more and it was First Fridays and I had to go and support local business with my presence if not my money, Saturday I ran errands with the dog and watched TV, Sunday we went visiting, Monday I went shopping.

Last week we drilled and drilled and drilled and he made zero progress. This week I decided to focus on walking without the pinch collar and he made great strides and really surprised me by not pulling my arm out of socket or showing his ass all over downtown. I enjoyed walking him and wasn't exhausted afterwards like I have in the past when I didn't use the pinch collar. I'm not sure that this is going to be enough to make my instructor happy with his progress. I have learned that he will follow the commands to sit/down/stay -  if I feed him enough snacks. I don't want him to turn into a treat whore.

He is not going to his "place" because I don't care enough about it and I have never been told why this is an important skill set for him so we don't work it. He is pretty good about going to crate when told to "crate up" and this works for me. I also hate the clicker.

I am not into props and the clicker is a prop. I want the dog to do as asked because I told him to do the command, not because a clicker clicked at him or he got a snack bribe. I know its good for the training process over all but  all Pavlov's dogs did was drool on cue ,my dog responds very well to "Good Dog!" and I prefer that reward to a chunk of byproduct. Also, the store never charges too much or runs out of "Good Dog!", it also don't go through the wash  or gets ground into the carpet or goes stale or draws bugs.

It doesn't matter how well he performs the skills for me at home, the group class is a circus and my dog has performance anxiety.

Tuesday, March 5, 2013

Back and Forth


Plan "A" was to really quick run to Wallyworld and pick up the protean bars I was supposed to buy at  Sam's but couldn't because they didn't have any, I didn't want to have to make another stop to buy these but you do what you have to do for your protean bars. This trip to Wally was supposed to be easy in , easy out. And it would have worked! I went in I knew where my stuff was and I was out the door. And back home to take the puppy out to pee.

Well, my stuff and some other stuff, but it was on sale stuff so it was still part of the plan. Plan is going well, I'm going to be in and out and back home in time to do some housekeeping chores and watch some TV and maybe do some training drills with the puppy and take him out to pee.

And then I got to the check out and I had no money. I had no credit cards , I had my Sam's card. You can't use a Sam's card anywhere that isn't Sam's. You would think that at Wallyworld, you could use your Sam's card - but you can't. You might as well scan your library card.

So I went home and took the puppy out to pee.

And  and got my credit card and turned around and went back to the store and re-shopped for my stuff. My original stuff had been disappeared.

I got my stuff and went home, and took the puppy out to pee. Why am I taking the puppy out and out and out? Sunday morning I was woken by a flood of pee, Monday morning I was awoken by a flood of pee. I do not want to wake up Tuesday by another flood of pee. In respect to the puppy not being weeks old any long, the new schedule for my months old puppy is every forty-five minutes instead of every thirty - showing some respect for his advanced months of experience and know-how.

We're going out all the time again because he does not know -how to experience not peeing in his crate. He did though, for a whole ten days! Saturday was the first day since I brought him home that I didn't get up at 5a that he didn't wake me up pre-dawn to take him out. It was beautiful.

It was so beautiful that it couldn't last. Ten days forwards, three months back.

Monday, March 4, 2013

Weekender


I had a better than average Friday. There was no way that the rest of the weekend was going to be able to stand up next to it. Last week I bought a bigger crate for Rocket, the crate had a broken door, I spoke to the seller and Thursday after work I went to meet him again and he fixed it.  By Friday morning it was broken again and I needed an new door.

If something is broken, you fix it, if you can't fix it, you buy another one. I had checked to see if I could buy a replacement door online and found many, many options. The problem is that you really have to know a lot about the lineage of your crate to buy a replacement anything for it. Its not enough to know the brand. ( many, many most have nothing to do with who made it) and seller , and you have to know who manufactured it . In my case, the crate  was sold by Walmart and is emblazoned with ASPCA. The crates shawdowy manufacturer and Wally gave a pittance to the ASPCA to stick their name on, but  the ASPCA  Store doesn't have anything to do with it and don't know who made the crate - I know this because I called and asked them.

There are several companies that sell replacement parts for your dog crate but you need to know a lot more than I bet you do about the crate in question. For instance, where did you buy it? when? what kind is it? There are thousands of different kinds. You have no idea.

After calling several replacement makers I was given the tip that Petmate had ASAPCA crates on their site. I then had to search for a number to call because looking at dozens of crate doors was making me cranky. It turned out that Petmate, once upon a time, under a different name was the manufacturer the crate in question.

And shockingly, I got a person and that person asked for a picture of the crate and that nice person did some research around the office and they found my crate! An old model called a  Pet Taxi Classic that uses a door that is not listed on the site, but she gave me the model number. I had to send a check in by snail mail because they aren't set up to do sell things over the phone if the item isn't listed on the site. Its going to take some time for my door to get to me, but its coming. Best Friday Ever.  Super customer service, absolute first rate.

And then I went to First Fridays and hit a couple of galleries and some stores  downtown I really like and didn't buy a damn thing (Yay!!)  but I did talk to a couple of artists and that was cool.

Saturday afternoon I stood in line for an hour and half to get Kitty his rabies shot at Petco and it only set me back $13 so I can't complain too much about the wait because my vet would have charged me an office visit fee and for the vaccination and I can't afford all that. Kitty is street legal and I got to hang out with a lot of really cute dogs.

You know what it says about you when you spend your Saturday night at Walmart - Entirely too much. I did a big bunch of nothing over the weekend and got next to nothing accomplished and I am still think I need a day to recover from it all.

Towards the end of my exciting foray into late night Walmart shopping - I did find a moment to harangue the family in front of me in line to Move up! Move 'em all up" complete with arm gestures and raised voice. I mean really, they were spread out and I couldn't tell if they were in a line or loitering.  Whatever they were doing, they needed to do it while moving . I knew they couldn't be trying to Occupy the Walmart because Occupy would never willingly step foot into a Walmart - they would  throw up a picket line and set up camp outside, but there are some things even they won't stoop to.

Anyway, I learned that if you say "move" with enough force that the idea crosses language barrier. I also think that telling them to "¡√Āndale!" while correct, would have been rude and possibly construed as racist. Instead I erred on the side of caution and was just a bitch. They did move.

I got my comeuppance though, the check out girl was a huge bitch to me and the key lime pie I bought half off was absolutely dreadful. I had to throw it away! I never throw away dessert food! I will hang out to the bitter end of a pie or cake, no matter how bitter that end is. I should have noticed that it was covered with meringue and I hate meringue , at first glance it looked like cool whip and I am in favor of cool whip. I tried prying of the meringue and to just east the key lime part but that was if possible even worse. A complete disappointment.

That's what I get for being a bitch, bad pie.

Sunday, March 3, 2013

Friday, March 1, 2013

Friday Cat Blogging


You didn't ask, but


Yes, it is possible for a dog crate to be smarter than I am.