Saturday, February 20, 2010

Interview with Marley

(Click on the photos to zoom in)
My first 2 weeks with Mom and Dad have gone pretty well. Yeah, mom started out saying she wasn't going to be a dog's mama, but she gave in pretty fast. I think my name is Marley, but she also calls me her "woobie". Maybe that's my middle name. Dad calls me a lot of things in his big voice, and I don't always know if he's being funny or mad. He lies down in the floor and lets me romp all over him till I start biting. What else is a puppy s'pose to do?

There's a lot of exitement over where I go potty. They seem to like it best when I do it on the pads in the kitchen; when I do it on the carpet, they stop being happy. Dogs are always happy; I wonder why people aren't. I don't know what they do with the poo when they take it away. Maybe I don't want to know. They ask me a million times a day if I "need go potty". Get a life, people! I'm workin' on muscle control here! When I remember to go on the pads, mom gives me a taste of peanut butter. Oh my goodness! Have you ever had peanut butter? If I were a people, it's all I would ever eat! Hold on a minute, there's something scary in the corner.............I have to bark at every scary thing or else it might steal the peanut butter.

Yesterday I forgot and started peeing on the carpet in the computer room, and mom grabbed me up with her hand over my pee-pee, and as she ran through the living room, she said to Dad, "If someone had told me a month ago that I'd be running through the house with a handful of dog pee, I would have called them nuts!" She wasn't mad at me, though.

That mom of mine is soooo beautiful! Not beautiful like a dog and maybe not even as a people, but I sit at her feet while she's on the computer and gaze at her. What a babe! I love Dad, too, but mostly for his shoes! I kid you not, his old house slippers smell heavenly! I try to stuff my whole body, head first, into them. Mom wears shoes, too, but hers are nothing to write home about, if you know what I mean.

Mom and Dad are slightly bonkers about clean. It wasn't such a big deal over at Peggy's house where I was born, but everyday Mom brushes my hair and washes my face, ears, paws and privates. She has even started brushing my teeth, which isn't so bad 'cause I eat the toothpaste. I try to eat everything I can find. I found a big, crusty dead bug in the yard yesterday, and it tasted nice, but mom took it away from me; I guess she likes bugs, too. She gave me a dandelion instead, which didn't taste nearly as good but was fun to eat, and she laughed because I had yellow petals stuck in my whiskers. So, that's how things are going. They're doing a fairly good job taking care of me. Mom reads a lot about dogs on the internet and in books. I guess she's trying to get smart as me.

Sunday, February 7, 2010

Puppy Love

Who'd a thunk it? Me with a new puppy!! My sisters and I were raised to believe that dogs are unclean and that if you must have one, it stays outside forever and ever, Amen. If a dog ever touched a dish from my mama's kitchen, the dish could never come back into the house. My sisters recovered before I did, (Hi, Mom! Love you) and Dave and Deb always seem to have some fancy new puppy in their home, but then I've got Jim who said before we were married that we'd never have an indoor dog. Add all this to the fact that when I've spent the night with pet owners, I've gone home with runny eyes and stopped up sinus. A dog for me? Not likely.....

But as my 62nd birthday approached, I thought more and more about a puppy for companionship. I knew I wanted a small, fluffy one, and when I researched the most hypo-allergenic dogs, I was surprised that Shih Tzu made nearly every list, that despite all that hair, there's minimal shedding if they're kept groomed and brushed regularly and have very little dander. Okay, Shih Tzu was at the top of my list, too. Now to broach the subject to Jim; I knew he'd ask, as he always does, "What do you want for your birthday?" This year, I actually had an answer.

He said, "No," matter of factly, and tried to change the subject. He's generous to a fault with me, but this dog thing could really be the sticking point. I pressed onward, undaunted, and laid out my carefully prepared case. (Girls, don't act as if you don't do this.) He ended by saying, "Let me think about it a few days." I didn't care how many days he thought on it, I already knew I was getting a dog.

On Friday, he asked, "Now where are you planning to get this dog?" Ta-daaah!! We got out the Democrat-Gazette and looked under pets. Betty Williams had 10-week old Shih Tzu puppies for sale right here in our town, about 5 minutes drive away. I liked her when we talked on the phone. I didn't get "puppy mill" from her situation, just an older lady who raises a few litters of registered puppies in her home to make extra money. On the drive over, Jim delivered the speech you give to a 7-year-old who has begged you into buying a puppy, "Now, this is your dog. You will feed it and take care of it; I'm not having anything to do with it." Yeah, right.

Betty's small, neat home was alive with yelping dogs! Eight puppies from 2 litters in an enclosure in the living room and 4 or 5 adults in another room. I went in thinking I wanted a female, but you know how you're drawn to some more than others, and I was smitten with this little male I later named Marley (after Bob Marley, not the movie).

We're working on paper training.......with occasional successes. Jim's resolve not to be involved melted within the first hour. He sneaks him extra food and water, making house breaking even harder, and since Marley has become my little shadow, he's a tad jealous, but he loves the wild romps on the floor with Jim and hops around like a little bunny on speed; he also plays alone with his toys beside my computer chair, and when he's tired, he snuggles in for a nap under my foot rest. The only time he barks is in the kitchen; that's because of the monster. I'm not sure if the monster is in one of the potted plants or if the monster is a potted plant, but it must be watched closely.

That very first evening, while I was cooking supper, Marley clambered into the lower shelf of my napkin cart and snuggled in, on top of the clean, ironed napkins. He looked so cute and pleased with himself, I couldn't say no, just removed the napkins and put a towel in their place. Now he has claimed the second shelf, so I've taken out those napkins as well. Maybe it's his doggie bunk bed. He didn't even cry the first night he was away from his brothers and sisters, just snuggled into his crate and slept the whole night. So, it looks as if this is the beginning a beautiful relationship. I will likely post more Marley photos as he trains us in the Art of Puppy Maintenance.

Monday, February 1, 2010

Decorating My Space

Decorating my home is telling a story about who I am and where I've been. I usually don't do theme rooms. I prefer to think of my style as Shipwrecked, as in, I was washed up on a South Seas island, and my belongings are all the things I've rescued from the waves. I guess you could call it eclectic, and I find a lot of joy in decorating with my finds.

My former daughter-in-law paid big bucks for decorators to decorate for her. Her home was impressive and beautiful, but I never thought it said anything about her, except that she had the money to buy whatever was in style.

Anyway, cabin fever finally got the better of me last week, and I decided my bedroom and master bath walls had to be painted! They were a deep taupe and a great color to sell in a house. Buyers like neutral walls, but I decided they were depressing, and I was craving color and light! I had spent some time thinking about color, and then I happened to find 4 blue and yellow, cloth-covered boxes at Tuesday Morning, and the colors in those boxes were exactly what I wanted for my walls. If I'd pressed the issue, Jim probably would have agreed to find a painter to do the work, but I wanted it done yesterday, so I came home from Home Depot, paint buckets and paint rollers in hand, and told him I would do all the work, knowing full well that he'd help some. I also said I wouldn't be in a hurry, might even take a month to do it, but once I got things dismantled and strewn about, I was in a rush to get it finished; it took 3 very full days.

Our rooms have some interesting angles and insets, and I wanted to accent them, so I decided to paint most of the walls Behr Ultra Moonlit Yellow, which is pale, soft, and lemony. For a couple of insets in both rooms I picked Behr Ultra Spring Bluebell, a soft shade that looks lavender in some lights and blue in others. They're happy colors.

I spent half the time masking off woodwork with that wretched blue tape, about 70 miles of it I think. I was on the ladder more than I was on the floor, and my body kept urging me to go look at my drivers license to prove that a gal my age doesn't belong on top of a ladder! As predicted, Jim couldn't stand to see me doing it all, and he took time away from helping the shop builder and did some of the edging for me. Do I know my guy or what?

The blue covered flawlessly, in one coat; the yellow was another story. It took 3 coats, and in some places twice that many. It's not a perfect paint job, but as I painted, I saw errors in the original paint; after it's up, people only see the whole picture.

Painting walls is a gamble; you can't be sure you'll like a whole room of what you see in a paint chip, but I'm so pleased with it! It's like a new blank canvas, and I'll have fun finding treasures that drift onto my shores to finish the decorating. I want to do a couple of stencils but haven't found any yet that deserve to be on my pretty new walls. I'll let you know if I find them. Oh, and don't tell Jim, but the living room is looking sort of depressing, too; it could get a color-lift any day now; he didn't suspect a thing when I bought a 48" canvas at Michael's yesterday for the new painting I have in mind that will hang over the sofa once the walls are finished.......Hope you're having a colorful day.