Monday, October 6, 2014

9 Months Fly By Like a Minute

I am always disappointed when I go to look at my blog (which I enjoy reading and re-reading and looking at the pictures) and I find nobody has written anything new. Am I the only one who can write around here?

Well, let's see about that. Star and I are going to leave in a few minutes to go play agility with some of our new friends. We haven't competed or practiced since May and we have a competition next weekend, so a little spin around a course might be nice to see if we remember how to function like a team. While we're gone, the boys will be here. Let's see if they will pick up pen in non-opposable dew claws and put down some words. Bye boys - stay outta trouble! We'll be back in a few hours.

Sunny: Hey Xander. Mom just left. Let's get on the computer and write some stuff. I can't see so how about I narrate and you type?

Xander: Okay, big brother. Let's have some fun. Let's tell about how Mom doesn't have time for us anymore and how she just keeps moving us and leaving us at home with someone new.

Sunny: Okay. That'll make a real tear jerker for our doggy friends to read.

Sunny And Xander's 2014 Report

Sunny: We should probably start about a year or so ago when Mom took Star on a road trip and left me (Sunny) home with Micki and the 2 Schnauzers. When they got back 5 days later, I smelled something funny. 

Xander: That was ME! You didn't like me right away. And then you really didn't like me when everyone wanted to throw the ball for me because I could chase it better, but eventually we got along fine.

Sunny: Yes. I realized you weren't so bad after all, and Mom really liked you so I learned to like you too. Well, then a month later, Mom was told she was going to lose her job. She started taking you to school on Monday nights and Star to agility on Wednesday nights, and working hard every day, which I wasn't quite sure I understood, because they already told her they were going to let her go after she trained the Indians. But then her hard work paid off, and she was offered the opportunity to move to Utah, the company headquarters. So we started packing again. Star and I know the routine - we had already moved a couple times since Mom adopted us.

In February, Mom loaded up the new van with dog crates and 4 bins of fragile house plants and beer and wine and survival gear and we headed out across the mountains. We tried to visit our friends in Montana but Mom's new van doesn't have AWD, so Paul had to come down the hill in his big truck and load all of us up and take us up to the house to run around for a while in the big snow drifts. That was fun. Then we were back on the road and safely in a nice hotel in Butte, before it started to snow.

It was about 5 degrees in Butte that night so Mom had to quickly move all the plants from the car into the hotel, and the water and other things that might freeze, like the dogs. The hotel had a great isolated parking lot with no moving vehicles far away from any busy roads, so we got to run around and play ball. Then it started snowing. All night it snowed. Mom woke up in the morning, looked out the window, and went back to sleep. We found out later that our moving truck stayed in the same town and was up and driving in that storm. We were smart and waited until the storm blew over and the roads were cleared and then it was smooth sailing. After repacking all the plants and liquids, etc.

8pm on Sunday night we arrived at our new rental house. Mom hadn't been able to check it out ahead of time so we were a little tentative coming into a strange place in the dark and looking around. We had all our camping gear since we didn't know when the movers would come with our other stuff, so we just slept downstairs. 12 hours later the moving truck showed up! That was too fast - we didn't know where we were going to put all the stuff yet. And the rooms were so small, our stuff barely fit. The basement was full. The garage had a lot of extra stuff in it. We had carried a lot of extra stuff in the car thinking we'd be roughing it for 3-5 days. And Mom said that she was looking forward to doing nothing for a few days. She looked a little worn out when the movers left and she had to start unpacking. After all, she had only finished packing 3 days before, and then spent 2 long days driving! And rest stops with 3 dogs are no picnic.

We spent the week getting settled and finding our way around town, and then Mom went back to work. First she had the neighbor girl come over to let us out at lunch. Then she hired a lady we didn't like. And then she hired Lauren. We LOVED her. She taught Xander to take food gently, and she played ball with me and Xander and cuddled with Star. Mom came home 2 days a week to take care of us at lunch, and Lauren came over 3 days a week. Then Lauren moved away and we were sad, but Denise and Megan started coming over, and we really liked them too.

But then Mom said we were moving again! We were buying another house, with a big backyard, and another dog, Kona, was going to come live with us. Mom didn't take any time off this time - she just left us home with Kona's mom, Loretta. Eventually Loretta got a job and Denise and Megan came back. But we never got to see Mom. She just worked and worked, 8 days a week. She said 80 hours a week divided by 10 hours a day equals 8 days a week. She said that's called Math. 

Then about 4 months after we moved in to our new house, Xander started limping. The doctor came and said he has a torn ACL. That's what I had - 2 of 'em! He doesn't know if he has to have surgery yet, but he can't do agility training right now, so Star had to start again so Mom had someone to play with, once she started working only 6 days a week, in October.

Mom was pretty excited in October when she got promoted to Assistant Controller after only 3 years as an accountant. I guess that's what hard work gets ya - more hard work! We're just happy when she comes home and rolls on the bed or on the floor with us. That's the highlight of our day!

Wednesday, January 1, 2014

Happy New Year 2014

A word to the wise, to start off the new year:

Do not let the universe, or Murphy, or whoever you believe in, hear you say "I plan to get 5 more years out of this vehicle", for he/she/it seems to enjoy a good laugh.

Soooooo, I have some sad goodbyes to close out the old year, and some happy hellos, or things I plan to be happy about soonish.

Goodbye Dear Pilot. You served me well and kept me and Star safe when the other guy came sliding at us across the icy road. You have carried all 5 of my dogs, which was going to be the theme of this year's letter, and will still be. You looked so sad and lonely when we said goodbye in the wrecking lot. I'll try to remember you instead as you looked a year ago, in last year's letter, full of happy dogs ready to hit the road. Today I am grateful that everyone walked away from the accident, that the other guy was honorable, (and insured), and that Star and I both have very good chiropractors. Also that we had a great road trip to Colorado this past summer - one of many over the years.

(Mom, close your eyes and scroll past the pictures ...)

27 December 2013

Goodbye Dear Rock Crawler. I can't believe I had you for 15 years! You and Network and I (and Lily one year as well) enjoyed the most awesome adventures on the Rubicon Trail. Then you followed me to Washington, a little smog exempt insurance policy in the garage in case of Sudden Catastrophic Loss of Pilot (SCaLP) while I was an unemployed student. You looked so sad and lonely when I gave you back to Toyota Inc (too busy to deal with a private sale), but feeling more confident about my future these days, I set you free to find another adventurer to care for you.

31 December 2013

Hello Red Hot Sienna. You seem to be very nice - comfortable and roomy as well. I'm sure I will come to love you too in time. I already love your big clear windshield and bright shiny headlights, and all that space in back for crates to keep my doggies safe and still more room for all their agility gear. Welcome to our family. I am sure we will have many adventures together. I expect our first road trip will start before the month is out, as we say ....

01 January 2014

... Goodbye Washington. You've been our home for 3 1/2 years. I loved your beautiful summers and enjoyed a little snow in your mild northern winters (I wasn't here for any harsh ones). You gave me a master's degree, a good start at my accounting career, and a huge pile of wonderful agility friends who I will truly, truly miss. The SCaLP incident happened on the way to a competition on our home turf, and the many hugs and heartfelt concern you shared when I stopped by later in the day brought tears to my eyes. I was also relieved to see a friendly agility face at the scene of the SCaLP, when Rosemary stumbled upon us and stopped to make sure we were ok. You all are a very special family and I am so glad that Julie introduced me to the sport and to y'all. My future plans do include an annual agility trip back to the area.

Sunny and Star along the Spokane River

Hello Utah!

When I landed my first permanent accounting job in 2012, I felt confident that it was a place I could work for 10 years, and enjoy professional growth and participation in improving the business practices of a company with good people and good intentions. So confident in fact, that I immediately bought a house 2 miles from the office, in January 2013. I winced a little when reading an announcement from corporate the next day saying that the company would soon be sending most accounting jobs to India. Nothing happened until late September, when I was given 4 months notice that my job was going away. Please stay and train the Indians, they said, and we won't just toss you out into the cold. Me? Train the Indians?!? Ha - All I heard was opportunity knocking. I've done this before! "Can I show you how to do it?", said I.

Before the 4 months was up, they asked if I would consider relocating to SLC. I groaned. This wasn't anywhere in my plans! (refer to opening sentence of this post). A quick google search of "agility clubs in Salt Lake City" yielded 5 unique hits, and I suddenly found myself on the phone with someone who had responsibility for improving business practices. He had heard about me and thought I possessed the skills that he wanted on his team at the US headquarters. I said I would be honored. My first project is the perfect combination of all my skills and 25 years of experience, as I will be a liaison between the accounting department and the Oracle software implementation team.

So here's to 2014 - a year in which I plan to make no plans!

And here's a silly ode to the doggies who rock my world:

There once was a Lab pup named Network
    For 13 years he was my best dude
Though spoiled as a pup
He trained me right up
    And taught me that Labs are the best mates.

Then along came #2 - Lily
    With soccer balls she got quite silly
I got her at five
She brought us alive
    That Lab sure could run willy nilly.

As Network declined in came Sunny
    Through five surgeries he stayed sweet as honey
His sighted days are over
Yet he remains a Reading Rover
    He brings joy as he spends all my money.

Now Star, oh my Star, she is precious
    My heart dog, her face leaves me breathless
She's my agility star
And makes me stretch far
    She's perfect! This Lab does my life bless.

I didn't need three, but Xander found me
    To stay in the sport, a "next dog" is key
He came storming in
To make me grin
    Lab #5 - enthusiastic IS he!

Some of my favorite group portraits:

Lily and Network, New Year's 1999ish, CA Mountains

Network, Lily and visitor Chevy, July 2004, CA Beach

Star and Sunny, May 2010, CO Dog Park

Star and Xander, August 2013, CO Dog Park

PS - Colorado has the best dog parks
PS - Colorado also has Safe Harbor Lab Rescue, where I have been volunteering for 5 years, mostly from afar. In moving to Utah, I am also moving half way back to Colorado. Only a day's drive away, with the most beautiful scenery along the way. (And yes, Joy, I will be closer to CA too!)

Pawsitive Works will be upset if I don't plug them as well. I played a minor part with that organization in 2013, and still love and support Canine Angels Service Teams, although I didn't do much in 2013.

And one last PS - Thanks to my uncle Randall and cousin Hillary for rescuing me from the SCaLP, in your Sienna. I think I knew the minute you opened the back to load up my piles of stuff from the side of the road that I was looking at my next vehicle. If not for you, I might still be shopping. Or I might still be sitting on the side of the road waiting for a ride. Thanks for being there that day.

Goodbye 2013

Hello 2014

Yellow dogs and Red Hot Sienna - ready, set, go!