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Herding for dummies

November 30, 2017

I remember back in the day when I thought agility was complicated. Oh that front cross had me tripping over my own feet until I understood how to do it and where to use it (and why!). Now it’s second nature and something I wouldn’t even think twice about.

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Agility concepts now seem very easy when you put them next to herding. I don’t know why I decided to try herding, other than like agility it’s something people with Border Collies do. The thing with herding is that you have sheep moving in the arena too, and you have different sheep grouping combinations almost always, so every time you walk out into the arena things WILL be different. That’s pretty much the only thing you can be sure of.

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I started out in NC with both Olaf and Loki herding, but Olaf doesn’t find it to be particularly interesting. Olaf will do very well for just a very short period of time, but he just thinks it seems kind of boring unless there are reckless lambs that jump out of the herd because they don’t know any better. Without any of these rogue baby sheep to police Olaf will find a scent he’d rather investigate, so I’ve stopped taking him so that it can just be a momma & Loki activity.

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I tried taking Loki to a few different sports after we got him, but quickly found that herding was the only activity that didn’t put him in the red zone. And by that I mean Loki zips through life at 100 mph. Life to Loki is Olaf! then ball, or frisbee, then swimming, no wait sticks, oh he is a crazy hot little mess. It is only in herding he slows down and engages his brain – you can literally see it – he is thoughtful and has such a nice pace and some modicum of self control. Something that did not exist for him with agility, which is why I persisted in herding and not agility with him (even though he was “supposed to be” an agility dog). Famous last words, always aren’t they?

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When we started, I didn’t understand a thing about what we were doing while herding, so I would just walk behind our instructor, Claire, as she worked Loki. She told me lots of things about how Loki worked, which side was his weak side, how he was sensitive to pressure, the stock stick, body movement, you name it(!), how energy as in this conceptual “energy” was a factor, and how his lack of confidence would show itself when he’d get into a corner or get worried and bowl into the herd.

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I listened to everything because she was an excellent instructor and reader of dogs, but I didn’t really understand what it all meant until I started working him for myself.

Thursdays, Loki and I go out to a farm in Vacaville to herd with a bunch of other Border Collie people. There are lots of other breeds that herd, but on Thursdays for some reason it’s almost always exclusively a BC club. It is reassuring to see so many different BCs working that each have their own challenges because all of us are owner-handlers.

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A few weeks ago a very famous herding instructor, Derek Scrimgeour, came to our training farm for a weekend clinic. Our instructor, Debbie, who has known Derek for I think about 8 years, invited a few of us for working spots and Loki and I were lucky enough to get one. I was a little worried because I knew I was one of the most novice handlers and am still trying to understand basic CONCEPTS, Derek has an accent and I suck at hearing regular English much less British English and I didn’t know how Loki would do because, well, he can be a bit unpredictable and I knew a lot of other people would have wanted that working spot!

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Derek was a fantastic instructor (and I could understand almost everything he said)! He also talked about the same things that Debbie has observed which were the same things that Claire had told me too. The difference was that now I knew a bit more about herding.

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Before Derek came I was able to move Loki into corners with no trouble, he would get between stock and the fence if I needed him to (and sometimes voluntarily when he was having a confident day), we could run a PT course with no issues and we could pen stock in a stand-alone pen in the middle of a ring (which is a LOT harder than it just sounds, believe me!). So basically I thought we would be ready to trial in the next season.

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But, did he really know the difference between a “come by” and an “away”? Was he taking square flanks? Could he do it on a verbal command alone? Could he do it with me out of the picture? Was his “walk on” straight? Even more basic, was it at a speed I could control with the tone of my voice?

I learned the hard way with Olaf that just because you can do something, it doesn’t mean you are really doing it right, or have an understanding you can eventually build on. So of course just because I can do lots of these things with Loki, until I start doing them RIGHT and imprinting the correct shapes on the brain, we will never really advance eventually running into frustration and difficulty somewhere down the road.

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So I backed all the way up and we went back to creating nice shapes. We didn’t move the sheep anywhere, we just worked on flanks. Loki is strongly right-handed so when he has the stock on his left-hand side he comes in WAY too close. This is typical of a dog that is still learning things will be OK even on your weak side. When the dog comes in too close the sheep get stressed (which you never want) and if he comes in way too close they will respond by running into you and sometimes knocking you over or they say “this human is an idiot” and they will run away from you to their gate, which of course makes the dog say “oh my god the sheep are getting away” and chaos ensues.

I also finally figured out how to use my “energy” which was probably the biggest breakthrough for me. I’ve tried to explain to the boy what this “energy” thing is, but of course that was probably like when Claire was first explaining it to me and I’m thinking “uh huh, OK.” And then when Debbie said it and I was like “yes, I’ve heard all about this” and then when Derek said it too, “hmmm, I wish I could figure out how to do it.” But he came out and stood with me and showed me how Loki could respond to just his energy.

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[Insert light bulb emoji here]

And I did. I got it! But only because I had to. Loki is very sensitive to any move I am making, and as a person holding a stock stick (PVC pipe) unless it was positioned exactly where it SHOULD be (which I also didn’t fully understand) it was somehow affecting him. So I had to get him to flank and stay out from the stock on that bad side by just using my energy (and putting pressure with my eyes on the side I wanted him to take). And it worked! And it worked the next week after the clinic! And it worked after our break for the Thanksgiving holiday even today when I thought I wouldn’t remember how to do it!

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It’s funny how these breakthroughs really mean something to me (and I’m sure 99% of people that started reading this blog checked out long ago aside from the cute pictures) because this “energy” is something I’ve been hearing about for at least 10-11 months. And finally using it to take nice square flanks at such relaxing distances makes everyone happy! Not that every flank is perfect, but when I get a nice “away” with Loki it feels like I have won the lottery. Now the sheep want to hang out with me and rub all their snotty noses on my pants. They think I am calm! My dog trusts that we can work in a situation where I won’t put him in trouble, he can have stock on his left-hand side and nothing bad will happen!

If there is one thing having and training these dogs has taught me, it is that the smallest piece of progress is our own version of PR, and this too shall be reason to smile, feel proud and have some vodka tonight.

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Do some dogs poop like horses?

November 22, 2017

That is my question. My dogs do not, but do some dogs poop like horses?

I ask because I have noticed there are trails of poop on some of the bike paths around town here. And there really is no excuse for not picking up poop in Davis because there are trash cans all over the place, so you would never have to carry your bag of poop very far.

But why the straight-line trail of poop? Can some dogs poop without squatting? That is the only reason I can think that someone could not notice their dog on a leash pooping.

Loki most certainly could not poop while walking or running! While he likes to travel as he poops, it is in a distinct squat position and therefore it would be impossible to not notice his bowels moving. He also likes to poop on a hillside amongst vines or other underbrush, most definitely not the sidewalk.

I picture how a horse in Savannah would just be walking along and poop is falling out, and maybe that is what is happening to a bunch of dogs here in Davis.

I don’t really know enough about dogs to know why this seems to be such a problem – if perhaps my squatty dogs are the weird ones or if lots of dogs poop like horses.

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Where in the world is Maija

November 20, 2017

This morning when I woke up I had a Facebook memory about the last post I published on this website. It was a post it took me several weeks to write after we adopted Olaf. It has made me think about a lot of things today:

  • I can’t believe it has been three years since I have written anything for or about myself.
  • I can’t believe it took me nine weeks to share and write about Olaf who is – quite literally – the center of my universe.
  • I can’t believe that I now have no cats in my house.
  • I can’t believe I now have two dogs.
  • I can’t believe I am now 40.
  • I can’t believe I live in California. And that I live THIS close to Tahoe.
  • I can’t believe I haven’t worked out in as much time as I’ve been in California 💩
  • I can’t believe someday (soon!) we will have to decide where WE want to live.

The reminder of my lag in writing is serendipitous as I have been thinking hard lately about making a website for Olaf & Loki. (Loki, by the by, is the dog who we have had since January! But who I just decided to start loving a few months ago when I finally accepted it would never be Olaf and I by ourselves on walks ever again.)

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The reason I started thinking about making Olaf & Loki a website is because we have such a fun time together and I love taking pictures of them, but I kind of feel bad always posting their pictures on Facebook because I’m sure it is annoying. Yet I want a way to preserve our memories since life is a funny thing that can be unpredictably fleeting.

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But to circle back and address my primary point: why did it take me nine weeks to write about Olaf?

Like my relationship with Loki, it took me some time to fall in love with Olaf. It was hard, it was different, he had so many problems (leaking pee being the BIG one that we spent tens of thousands of dollars trying to figure out because of his crushed pelvis and broken hip – which after countless types of treatments and medications eventually cleared up on its own, of course).

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Olaf chased the cats. Olaf pulled on his leash and wanted to meet any other dog walking by him.  When he was off-leash at our community beach he would run up to joggers and chase them barking his head off. He barked at children who were just DYING to meet him. He would never, ever take a nap during the day in the house. I had to take him out on hikes every day and hope he’d fall asleep in the car so that I could leave him in there to sleep and get work done. Especially vacuuming! He could definitely not be around loud machines. Or doorbells. He hated being in a crate, he hated being alone. He hated the dachshunds next door (I don’t blame him, they were really annoying ALL.THE.TIME). Olaf wouldn’t potty in his own yard, or in fact within 1/4 mile of his house.

And people would say “well, just leave him in his crate, he will deal with it” or “he will love his crate if you feed him treats in it” or “play crate games” … you see what I am getting at. And we did this. All of this! But since we couldn’t understand if he was leaking pee from the physical damage (yes) and also the emotional stress of everything (yes) I just COULD NOT do that.

So you see, I struggled to share about Olaf because I wasn’t yet head over heels with him. He was a mess. I was a mess! The boy still teases me about being in tears literally every day for weeks, because he falls in love with an animal unconditionally IMMEDIATELY. I would see other people on Facebook or Instagram talking about this new dog they brought home that was just SO PERFECT and I couldn’t understand how that was possible! (I actually still do not think it is possible because Loki has his own set of problems we have been working through – and at nearly 10 months in we are down to just one BIG one still: his fear of people looking at him or god forbid, trying to touch him!)

As time went on, we began ticking off these problems of Olaf one at a time. Well, everything except the doorbell that is.

What changed? First, my attitude. I could love a pee-dribbler (or the mad diddler of Moore county) and just always have my soft flooring covered. I could do that. Poor Olaf would be so embarrassed about me telling everyone about his problems, and I’m sorry for that!

Then I started training activities with him – first I did the ones everyone said we should do with a Border Collie, and eventually I realized I should do activities that Olaf wanted to do! So we did, and our relationship continued to grow. I now know Olaf well enough to trust his instinct for almost anything. And when I choose not to, I always say “well, you were right Olaf” like when he wanted to turn us around on a walk the other day earlier than I planned and we got caught in a DOWNPOUR. Or when I followed the snow footprints that I thought was the trail yesterday to a dead-end and Olaf, annoyed that I did not follow HIM, came tearing back from the correct trail to find us and direct us back on track.

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And of course, anyone that knows me knows that Olaf really is my everything, and has been for several years now. In February we almost died together when I passed out at the wheel of my Subaru driving 55+ mph (I passed out because I was sick with pneumonia, which I did not know I had) and we flew off the highway crossing a lane which was miraculously empty for the morning rush hour and crashed into a metal gate that slowed our final descent into the woods and missing the stone pillar that held the gate in place (and would have been certain death) by inches. The first responders said we should have been dead but we both walked away with barely a scrape between us.

So I think I will start sharing the adventures of Olaf & Loki (and myself) and eventually the boy if he ever finishes his MBA here and change the name and all, in case anyone gets to wondering what is going on. Because I know our pictures always look awesome, but what you don’t see are my wet pants from falling in the snow, my wet shoes because I was too dumb to wear gaiters and I was post-holing up to my mid-thighs inviting snow into every available crack, and things like that. Things are not always as they seem, and maybe a little more transparency is what we all need.

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I got a dog

November 20, 2014

About nine weeks ago I got a dog named Olaf.
Olaf likes sticks:

 

 

 

 

Olaf really likes sticks:

 

 

 

He doesn’t mind the odd pinecone either:

 

Olaf likes to bury tennis balls at the dog park:

 

There are no free rides here. We make Olaf do chores, including fetching his own water from the lake.

 

Olaf has some good buddies at the dog park including Mikey. They decided to tug-of-war over a tennis ball that Mikey had in his mouth the other day. Mikey is a Jiu-Jitsu master when they wrestle which is why his “limp” defense here is even more funny.

 

This is rare. The yawning that is. Olaf rarely tires out.

 

Olaf is starting to go longboarding with me!

 

Olaf has no love for cartoon Olaf:

 

Oooshey hates Olaf and now spends almost all his time upstairs in the loft. Poor Oooshey. Olaf is too loud and rambunctious for him.

 

Dante also hates Olaf.

 

Olaf makes me very tired. I can’t think of the last time I’ve been awake after 9 p.m. Even though I am still not in bed, I fall asleep in my chair like clockwork every single night. Doesn’t matter if I drink or not. Maybe I’m just turning into my dad though.

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You don’t need to see my face

August 22, 2014

Although I am far from being what I consider ‘old’, I realize I am becoming more and more persnickety as I age.

And even though I spent the last five years of my life developing a name for myself as a consultant in social media, all that time spent on social media has made me HATE certain outlets, like Facebook.

Why?

Because too much time on it day after day after day has made me dislike people.

People I would otherwise enjoy in real-life, face-to-face time can often become SO annoying on Facebook.

I actually think I have more people ‘hidden’ on my Facebook feed than those that show just because I didn’t want to start hating them in real life simply because they are super annoying with their posts, comments, photos or combination thereof. And then there are those that I purposefully don’t hide because I get so much pleasure out of saying “can you believe they posted this?!?!” or “what is wrong with her?!?!”

There are many types:

1) The wannabe politician: this person argues about all things politics with anyone and everyone and is ALWAYS right. Because even though it’s all a debate about opinions, theirs is the only right one.

2) The recent divorce: this person has gone through a recent breakup (whether a marriage or just boyfriend/girlfriend) and has taken to social media to make themselves feel good. Tons of posts taken in the bathroom to show how hot they are, along with self-help memes about how they are stronger than you know constantly fill this feed.

3) The over-sharer: this person re-posts stupid crap constantly. And a lot of it is memes with mis-spellings produced by radio stations.

4) The selfie poster: pretty self explanatory. Just absolutely OBSESSED with posting pictures of themselves taking pictures of themselves. There is an important distinction that needs to be made here however, because I don’t mind seeing photos of people that someone else took – but there is just something about a proliferation of photos taken by the hand of the person posting that niggles at me.

5) Tommy or Toni Tough-nuts: this person has a life full of first world problems which they use Facebook to complain endlessly about. However, they would never think to go politely ask the neighbor to turn down the music when they can instead passive-aggressively complain on Facebook. That’s where the sympathy is at.

6) The person who grew up in the United States but has a thin grasp on the English language. Simple words like ‘their’, ‘they’re’ and ‘there’ befuddle them. While I know we all make grammatical mistakes these people don’t even bother to try not being idiots. They may simply omit punctuation consistently, or not care that ‘your’ and ‘you’re’ are totally different. Or even know. All I know is that it drives me crazy.

7) The chain-mail pusher: there seems to be an increasing number of ways people use Facebook to peer pressure others into doing something (most brought on by the infamous ‘tag’). The most obvious one right now is an ice bucket challenge, which also has the great side effect of people lecturing others on why THEY should think it is important too, just because they are doing it.

Now isn’t that just what I need, someone who is supposed to be a friend lecturing me because I don’t want to be peer pressured into donating money for their cause? (Far be it from me to lecture them about not donating to the charities I find important!)

All this is to say that I am taking a big old break from Facebook.

I don’t want to be a person that judges people based on their online ‘persona’ which is really what it is! I am a horrible, rotten person that then complains about people on Facebook and I don’t want to be like that anymore. What a ridiculous waste of my time!

I want to enjoy people in real life, and stop making decisions based on Facebook posts.

I want to be a better person, and I hope getting off most of social media, but primarily Facebook, will help me do that. I will still be on Instagram though, since I never get sucked into the comments on there, and mostly don’t know the people I am following.

I am also spending more time publishing silly things on http://trackingmaija.com/ – for some reason, I feel more pressure to write in-depth blogs on this site. Yeah I know, I am a total weirdo!

Ironically, this post may automatically show up on my Facebook feed. I have to see if I can turn that off from WordPress. Happy weekend, everyone!

One last thing. Just to be a hypocrite, here’s a selfie for ya!

Haha, #selfie

Haha, #selfie

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Living on a lake

July 18, 2014

I know there are at least two people who have been waiting patiently for me to update my blog on what it’s like to live on a lake.

I’ve tried to write this post at least 18 times, but it always ends up with me coming off as a total asshole.

Why?

I can’t lie.

It’s freaking AWESOME.

More awesome than I could ever put into words.

More so than I ever would have imagined.

I mean it is so, so fun and beautiful, I feel like I am living in a dream. I honestly don’t know what on earth I did before I lived on a lake?

How will I EVER not live on a lake again?

I am ruined. For life.

And we don’t even have a boat yet! Imagine what the jet ski and or tubing shenanigans will be like.

Here is the best way for me to show you how it is to live on a lake. And this doesn’t even really encompass my new favorite activity: longboarding. I just LOVE doing this every night around the neighborhood as the sun starts to get lower in the sky. My neighbors thought it was weird at first, but now they all wave at me as I cruise by. I think I may even get a few of them riding soon, too!

 

Anatomy of a SUP cannonball:

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The haul up onto the board is so graceful. Thanks, boy, for capturing this for me.

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Make sure you put on your best howler monkey face!

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Entering the water butt first is always preferred.IMG_2994

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I love to go paddling in the morning as the sun rises. I have too many of these to choose from:
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We have even gone paddling at night under the light of a full moon:
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I have even taken up SUP yoga:
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And if you believe that statement is true you don’t know me at all!

OK, we do like to hang out in the floaties, and jump off the dock:

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This is the photo I have assigned to the boy on my iPhone.

It makes me laugh every time. He has no idea (well, he will after he reads this).
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We are lucky to have lake access on the front and back side of the house.

The boy is showing off his new longboard on the driveway, you can see the lake behind him.
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This is the beach just on the other side of the road:
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There is a lot of wildlife here at the lake.

Almost every morning I see bald eagles. The other day there was a lot of lake fog and they were flying just inches above the water. It was SO cool. There are also blue herons, ducks, swans, geese and other assorted waterfowl.
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It can be exhausting to have so many things to do…

which necessitates some mid-day weekend napping:
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I have a million other pictures I’ve taken since we have moved here, but I think you get the picture. Living on a lake is the luckiest thing I’ve ever had happen to me! I plan to live it up as much as I can while we are here at Bragg, and research a good retirement lake spot too 😉

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$h*t Show

June 16, 2014

A couple of weeks ago we moved to North Carolina.

To a house on a lake!!!! Which believe me, it’s SUPER fun to live on a lake.

But I need to tell you about my move which was a total shit show from beginning to end.

It all started back in March. Or maybe before then, but this is when weird things started happening.

The boy was assigned to take a certain job here in North Carolina. In order to do that he had to come out and take some tests so they could make sure he wasn’t an idiot, or retarded, or both. So he’s at the airport getting ready to fly out – I am due to follow in a couple of days so we can look at a few houses and try to decide on an area where we want to live. Most people say Fort Bragg is THE WORST place to move, so we wanted to be really careful especially since I don’t have a ton of really close friends that can give good advice on this place.

At the airport the boy’s boss’ boss came up to him to tell him “surprise!” he was going to take a different job in North Carolina. Not a job that he needed to interview for. Which was weird to find out in such a happenstance airport ‘oh hey there!’ kind of way because he was literally on his way out of town. The boss’ boss told him to still go to North Carolina anyways though, so he did.

Now believe me, I understand the jerking around bit that goes on with jobs in the Army, but this continued for a few more months until it was finally decided which job he was going to take. All this jerking around meant the one thing that wasn’t getting done were orders to move. For those not associated with the military you cannot do ANYTHING as far as move prep without orders. Because without orders you aren’t actually going anywhere. Finally the orders started getting worked on but of course the boy needed a special paper signed because we had been in Tennessee for less than a year. I swear, it was more bureaucracy than getting married in Italy! But we hired a lady to deal with all that, which we couldn’t do here.

Finally the boy got his orders and he immediately called transportation to arrange for the movers to come pack our things into boxes, load it onto a truck, drive it to North Carolina, and then unload it into our new lake house. Buttttt lucky for us they wouldn’t even TRY to call a moving company to move us because it was the “busy season.” And they are government employees and don’t have to do anything they don’t feel like doing.

Suddenly we were in full-on DITY move mode, which the Army has now cleverly started calling a PPM, personally procured move because everyone knows DITY moves are the worst. And a distaster.

So I made the first of 10 trips to the U-Haul store to buy boxes, tape, paper, bubble wrap, and spent the next two weeks packing up the house one room at a time and staging it all down in the garage. By the time moving day came the only thing in the house was our furniture, which definitely helped speed things along. So did the two guys from the boy’s work that came over to help. They were good mediators for how to solve the Tetris problem that is packing a moving truck from the floor to the ceiling since obviously the boy and I each have different ideas on how to do it and neither of us is ever wrong.

On the day we loaded the truck the ’99 Saturn was away in the shop for some rattling noise. The shop said it was just a loose piece of material near the exhaust, so not a big deal. They did however recommend replacing some hoses and crap, so we paid them to do that. Thank goodness we got it taken care of before we drove away, right? Ha.

Saturday morning we shove our last remaining bits into the cars, along with both cats in mine. Dante is a good car rider after the first 20 minutes when he is afraid you are taking him to the vet. When he realizes he’s not going, he totally chills out. Baby Ooosh is the worst car rider ever. I have driven him on every single move and he’s such a disaster. I tried to put him in a carrier this time, but before we even GOT to the interstate he was practically pulling his own nails out clawing at the carrier to get out and sit on my lap. So, I pulled over to do that.

Dante is not amused with Baby Ooosh freaking out. Dante is also the only cat I've ever had that has not peed or pooped directly on me.

Dante is not amused with Baby Ooosh freaking out. Dante is also the only cat I’ve ever had that has not peed or pooped directly on me.

A few blocks later the boy signals that he needs to pull over now. Weird. His car says there is low radiator fluid. This happens to be the one random bottle of car fluid we keep in the Saturn, so he fills it up and we get on I-24.

Oooshey is fully worked up and totally freaking out. He marches back and forth on my lap, looking out the window, panting, and HOWLING. Like you are skinning him alive, howling. This is all normal Ooosh behavior, except about 20 minutes later on the interstate he starts dropping little kitten turds on my lap. I don’t even think he knew he was doing it. He’s a bit of a stress pooper, I’ve seen him do it at the vet, too. So out come eight little steaming kitten nuggets on my lap. I frantically call the boy to tell him I need to PULL OVER NOW. So we pull over on the Interstate so I can throw cat turds out the window. At least they were good and hard, so thanks for that Baby Ooosh.

We start driving again and are approaching the Nashville airport when the boy calls me and says the low fluid indicator is on again. He starts to pull off on an exit but then doesn’t because the light goes off. So we continue on to the far side of Nashville when his light comes on again and we pull off and go to a gas station. At this point I need a break from Baby Ooosh who is acting like the world is coming to an end and shrieking at the top of his lungs. I Google a car repair place and then lead the boy to it so he can get the car looked at.

So there I am with a car full of crazy cats. The shop can look at it in maybe an hour, so we decide it’s best if I continue on my own. Neither of us want to do that since dealing with the cats is very difficult in many ways. Getting gas and not having them run out of the car is just one example where it helps to have another person’s hands available.

I get on the road and we drive and cry and pace up to the mountains in Asheville. By this point Baby Ooosh has started getting weak. He will maybe only howl 6x/minute instead of 18x/minute. So it feels like a huge relief and I don’t want to stop but I have to get gas. I stop and get gas and look at all my tires while I am out doing so, because that’s what I do. Everything looks fine except I have a headache that is making me mad I didn’t drink 1/5th of vodka the night before and have a really fun time, because I am totally paying for that kind of feeling on this day. The only solution I can think of is to get the biggest size of gas station soda fountain Mountain Dew.

Back on the road I am enjoying my Mountain Dew when I hear an explosion and look in my rear view to see debris shooting out behind my car. I also see the car behind me swerve to NOT be behind me. Instantly I feel the telltale ka-THUMP, ka-THUMP, ka-THUMP that is a flat tire. So I brake as quickly as I can and pull over. Unfortunately this is just before an overpass with no shoulder. So when I get out to see how bad it is I am already over the white line and not feeling good at all. The tire has freaking WIRES sticking out of it, which is a first for me. I call USAA because I can’t deal with this disaster on my own. The guy on the phone asks me if I am in a safe place and I tell him I am most certainly NOT. He then says he can dispatch police. Well, I think that would be silly. There *was* an exit off the Interstate not too far back, so using literally every faculty I have I continue talking to him on the phone, keeping Baby Ooosh from jumping out a window and drive in reverse until I can take the exit.

Because why wouldn't my tire explode today?!?!

Because why wouldn’t my tire explode today?!?!

Off the Interstate I felt much better. It makes a difference when every car zooming by isn’t shaking you like a B15 bomber. USAA sent a guy to change the tire for me, and my car has a full-size tire in the trunk. Unfortunately, also in the trunk is my vacuum, my booze, my dishes, my bedding, and 800 other things. Tire changed, shit back in the trunk and we are on our way, now just maybe 2 hours ahead of the boy who had extensive (and $$$) repairs done to make the Saturn work again.

Our new landlord was out of the country without a cell phone this week we were moving. Since we were moving into a gated community with checkpoints we had to find a way to get INTO the community, and then get the key. Thankfully, the lady that was renting the house before us was still in the neighborhood (she loves this lake so much she built a house on the lake!) so she was able to procure a key, get us into the gate, etc. etc. I know it doesn’t sound like a big deal compared to cars with exploding tires, but it was just one more kink in the process.

Alas, we all eventually arrive at the house. I go to help the boy unpack his car and pick up a box of dishes, the only dishes we have to eat off of and the bottom literally falls out and all the dishes crash down onto the driveway while the box is still in my arms. I could only laugh at the disaster this day, the 31st of May was turning out to be.

But, at least we all made it. I wasn’t so sure Baby Ooosh was going to. First I thought he wouldn’t make it because I would throw him out the window. Then, I thought he wouldn’t make it because he was going to get killed jumping out of the car with the exploding tire debacle. All this is aside from him dying of a self-induced heart attack of course. But, he made it. Now we just needed to get our stuff.

The trailer company we worked with expected we would get it no later than Tuesday. When we called on Monday they were already having a problem because of a “compatibility” issue with the credit card. This was in addition to our trailer taking a scenic tour of the southeast by going to Atlanta, Winston-Salem, and somewhere else before it even ended up in Fayetteville to get delivered here. Every day we would call to try and get delivery after a horrible night of sleep on our camping pads on the floor, and every day they would throw their hands up in the air.

Finally, we got a confirmation for a Friday delivery. I was so excited to get my bed back! I called around noon to see when they would actually drop the trailer off, 1-3 p.m. was our estimated time. Perfect. By 5 p.m. there was still no trailer. Just before 6 it showed up. But it did not come with a ramp. Nor did it come with the weight tickets we need to file the claim with the Army to get paid for the cost of the trailer. Then, when the driver told me he didn’t have a ramp for us to offload it, I literally burst into tears.

If you have never loaded a moving trailer, the bed is at least 4 feet high, which is why you need a ramp to get up into the trailer and down aside from crawling one step on the side.

The driver felt real bad that he made me cry, and I knew it wasn’t his fault, but I didn’t understand why you’d even bother bringing a truck on a Friday night with no ramp. So we could stare at our shit all weekend? He told us their office had been having problems since some lady got fired. She got fired because she messed everything up. This other guy the boy had been dealing with all week was trying to fix things, but when someone makes a mess it’s not always easy to clean up.

The other guy assures the boy he will have a ramp dropped off in the morning. On Saturday. I think he’s a liar. And a mean one for pretending he’d do that. I have no more patience for moving.

Yeah, we rule at this DIY moving thing.

Yeah, we rule at this DIY moving thing.

We start to offload what we can, but the poor boy is trying to set things from the bed of the trailer down on the ground and killing his back (my relatively easier job was to grab things from the trailer bed to take into the house). We at least get the kitchen boxes off and I unpack all of it before we go to bed.

The next day some guy actually DOES show up with a ramp. Actually, he has about a half-dozen in the back of his truck. I guess we got ours delivered first because I cried about it.

Then we start to uncover how horrible we were at packing the furniture.

I think there isn’t a single piece of wood in our house that now does not have a scratch, scuff, ding, what have you – from US on this move. We immediately broke a bed frame and also took a book shelf out as well. We gouged a leather chair and have black scuff marks all over the kitchen chairs. We are the worst packers, obviously. I am thinking it’s an artform, or else we should have had more blankets to wrap everything in.

At the time, stacking the chairs on top of the coffee table seemed like a GENIUS idea.

At the time, stacking the chairs on top of the coffee table seemed like a GENIUS idea.

With the help of a gracious neighbor, who heard us struggling with our one crux piece of furniture (the couch) we have the trailer offloaded by noon. By Sunday night we had pictures on the walls and no more boxes in the house, since I arranged for the trash guys to pick up EVERYTHING on Monday morning, which they did. By Monday night the trailer had disappeared too.

So that was pretty much the worst move ever. We figure it’s because we were moving to such an awesome lakefront location that we had to pay a steep price to get here. Who knows if we will make any $$ on the do-it-yourself aspect of the move once we take out the cost of the new engine in the Saturn and four new tires on the Jetta (I just went to get the one replaced and they showed me how another tire was all set up for an imminent Interstate explosion!!! So obviously I replaced them all.)

But we are here, living on a lake. I have a dock in the back yard and a sandy beach across the street where I put in my SUP every morning and can find Bald Eagles hunting at 7 a.m., sorry to be a dick on Instagram and post sunrise pictures every morning, but it is just magical to be out at first light with all the wildlife here. I LOVE IT.

Sunrise view from the SUP.

Sunrise view from the SUP.

Cooling off after an afternoon SUP.

Cooling off after an afternoon SUP.

Just 'ol SUP-ing.

Just ‘ol SUP-ing.