Friday, March 24, 2017

It's Official...ish

When we first looked at Toby on the Humane Society website, he was described as a mixed breed. When we got his papers, he was more specifically described as a Beagle mix. After our beloved Buddy moved on the Celestial Rabbit Field, Best Guy always maintained that he would never have another beagle.

Flash forward to now when we're already talking about adopting a beagle puppy when Toby joins Buddy. In like.... years.

hashtag beagles furever


Ever since we got Toby, we've been trying to figure out what his other half is. We've tossed around idea after idea: Corgi, Collie, German Shepherd... we just didn't know.

A couple weeks ago during a potluck dinner at our place, someone floated the idea of a beagle/golden retriever mix. It kinda wandered through my brain, but I moved on to other things like worrying needlessly about, well, any number of things.

This morning my brain fog cleared and there were two ideas floating in my head: it's either a german shepherd or a golden retriever. So I turned to Google and I asked it: what does a Beagle/Golden Retriever mix look like? And Google answered:
This is not our dog.

I wanted to get a comparison picture of Toby in the same position and expression, because we see this all the time, but it turns out most of our picture are of him sleeping. Because he does that a lot. But here is something closeish:
This is most definitely our dog.

There is a little more white on the first pooch, but the resemblance is unmistakable. Pretty much every picture we see reminds us of our Bugaboo. So we're calling it: Toby is officially (to us, anyway) a Beago (beagle/golden retriever mix).

Unfortunately, the friendly nature that is supposed to be a trait of this mix is not present in our pooch (as his picture above warns). However, we think that's more nurture than nature. He spent the first eight years of his life not being socialized and being taught that other people were scary. We've come a long way in the almost-year that we've had him, but at this point we're only going to get so far. Many of the other traits are very present: loyalty, intelligence, his need to guard the house, affectionate. And of course, there is no way of knowing if his parents were pure breeds or mixes themselves.

It's nice being able to have an answer when people ask what kind of dog he is. Short of a blood test we'll never know for certain, but we're glad to have figured this much out. This makes sense to us, and we're going to go with it.

Our Toby. We love him. Oy, that punim.

Monday, March 20, 2017

It's Renovation Time!

We've been in this home for going on two years now. The previous owners were house proud and loved keeping their home nice and neat, so we haven't really had to do much to the space save paint. Oh, and rip out a closet that wasn't original to the space. They obviously spent some time and money bringing their home up to date when they put it on the market. So we were spared the hassle of having to rip out 30 year old carpeting or spending a small fortune updating a bathroom and kitchen from 1979.

However, that doesn't mean we haven't found things to do. 

Since the day we moved in, I have been talking about closing up the wall between the kitchen and third bedroom. There is a sliding door there, and the previous owners would cut through there to get to the bathroom/bedrooms. We know this because we have it on good authority that she wouldn't allow anyone in the living room. 

The door has always bothered me, because who the hell wants two-door access to their bedroom? If it weren't listed as a bedroom, that'd be one thing, but it is. And as I use this space as my "Woo Woo Room", the second entrance that never quite closed harshed my hippy energy. 

It had to go.

We also hate the floors in the kitchen (linoleum) and the layout of the dining area. So...without doing much of anything to the kitchen itself, we are re-doing the kitchen, dining area, and apparently the Woo Woo Room, too. This is going to be a bit of a production, and we're planning on doing most of the work (save the kitchen floor) ourselves.

So, to give you an idea of what I'm talking about, here are the before pictures!

Our main entry into the house. We've already completed one task
of our project by replacing the hooks and shelves with a lovely armoire.
The sliding door from the Kitchen into the Woo Room. Taking up valuable
wall space on both sides, and never closed all the way.
Yeah, I'd want to sleep in that room. Eye roll.
A picture of the fugly linoleum and the "dining" area, which we don't use as such.
We are planning on replacing it with either laminate or vinyl to mimic the wood floors.
The "dining area". The traffic pattern in this space doesn't lend itself to
sitting and eating, so we're kinda up in the air about how we want to
use it right now. My biggest goal is to make the trash bin less obvious and ugly.

Post sliding door removal (which happened yesterday morning). It's very echo-y now.
But already both spaces feel much different.
Now that the door is out, we think originally, the wall was open and this space
was meant as a formal dining room. If you look closely at the floor, the original wood floor
is laid out in such a way as to delineate the space. They converted the space to a bedroom
not by closing it in, but by giving it a crappy sliding door. No wonder the kid preferred to sleep in the basement. 

The Woo Woo Room. Originally we were just going to re-paint the walls
once the dry wall went up. But they ruined the floors when they re-did them
so now re-finishing them is on the list of things to do.

This space came with a tiny closet (currently chocked full of belly dance clothes).
The light switch closest to the door will get turned around to be in the kitchen,
which is the light it turns on. The other switch turns on the Woo Room light and will
hopefully just go away. There is another switch by the main door and once this hole
is closed up it would be a random switch in the literal middle of a wall. 

The Woo Room floors. When they varnished them for re-sale, they literally dumped
the varnish on the floor and moved it out to the sides. It was so thick that when
our first summer in the house arrived, the humidity caused everything (including my yoga mat)
to stick to the floor and the entire room to reek of chemicals. My current plan is
to figure out how to sand the crap off and re-finish the floors.

Wednesday, March 15, 2017

Just Another March Wednesday in Vermont

There is just over two feet of snow in Burlington Vermont this morning. It finally stopped snowing around 11:30 in the morning, and we've mostly cleared the driveway out.

Have I mentioned how much I loathe winter?

I really loathe winter.

Trying to open the garage door. There is only about 8 inches there
or so... there was an overhang protecting it.

You can see how the door was protected. The rest is, um, drift.
That is supposedly my car.

View out the living room window.

Our house. We've got some snow on the roof.

If you notice, not a single driveway has even been attempted.
2+ feet of snow all the way down. 

Thursday, March 9, 2017

Just call me Xena, Warrior Princess

Back in December I signed up for Kempo Jujitsu classes at a dojo five minutes from my house. I had been wanting to take Martial Arts classes for years, but every time I explored the idea, the dojo I favored either didn't have the times/classes that would work for me or the price was too high. Well, back in December all of the stars aligned and I found a great place that ticked all my boxes.

My Type A perfectionist immediately took to learning the new Forms and Techniques and I was determined to make the most of my time and money. I was having fun, but was also taking this seriously. I was there to learn.

Last night, all of my hard work paid off:
Gi's are the ultimate in boxy, unflattering gym wear. 

Not only am I no longer the newest noob in the class, I have been promoted to a Yellow Belt. Now, I have all new Forms and Technique to learn, and something new to work toward: an Orange Belt.

These classes have proven to me that I am strong and capable. They have shown me that I am, in fact, a Mighty Girl. More, I am a warrior.

I can and will stand for myself. I can and will stand for others.

I will Stand. I will be Mighty.

Unless you're a black belt. Then I'll just get out of your way.

For now.

Tuesday, March 7, 2017

It's Official... Everyone in the Neighborhood Hates Us

I believe I have mentioned in the past that Toby is highly reactive when it comes to other dogs. Well, he seems to have a vendetta going against another dog a couple of houses down, on the corner of our street. They both go ape-shit when they see each other. Unfortunately, the other dog is never leashed in his own back yard and can jump the fence. Which he has done before when seeing Toby. We usually walk Toby on the far side of the street to avoid confrontation and most days it works. Sometimes, however, we fail to notice they are out in the back yard, and it gets interesting.

Anyway, Best Guy got a bit of an earful from Dog Mom on Toby's walk this morning. It was a little passive-aggressive and coming from a place of fear, but she still got her point across.

No one likes your dog, and you are bad dog parents. If you moved next week, everyone on the block would be very happy about it.

I think I've mentioned before I get that vibe a lot when Toby is around others, but for Best Guy this was really the first time he encountered such blatant negativity.

What really, really saddens me is that if we had known how difficult Toby was going to be, we probably would not have adopted him. Which is awful to say, but also a truth. We have very much changed how we go about life to accommodate his fearful behavior. We have made progress in many areas, but it has been hard-won and is always on shaky ground.

I almost feel like he would be better placed in a rural environment where he would seldom come in to contact with anyone or anything else. I think he would thrive there. Being in a suburban environment with dogs in every other house means each walk is torture for him.

I now carry a mental map and time table of "acceptable" times to walk Toby in order to mitigate interaction with other living souls. He cannot be walked between 7:45am and 8:45am, because there are too many kids being walked to school. Between 4:30 and 6pm is dangerous because everyone else is walking their dogs at that time. Walk on the other side of the street to avoid these houses, who have dogs whose parents think they are better behaved then they are. This guy always takes walks around the block at this time, so avoid him.

I adore Toby with every fiber of my being. When it's just us, he is a good dog. However, we have already decided that after Toby moves on the the Great Bunny Field in the Sky that our next dog will be a beagle puppy, in order to nip any behavioral issues in the bud before they get started. I think we both agree that we just can't do this again. Which is heartbreaking, but true. Neither of us are dog trainers, and we simply don't have the money to hire a dedicated trainer for the length of time needed to turn his issues around. And at nearly 9 years old, how effective would it be?

Toby is my first dog (Buddy was my first step-dog, but he was and shall forever be Best Guy's Dog), and the last year has been an interesting experience. My love for him and embarrassment of his behaviors has twisted in to some bizarre... thing that I can't even describe. I hate taking him on excursions, because his fear and anxiety suck all the fun out of the day. Having people over to the house causes me huge amounts of anxiety, because I worry that this might be the time Toby finally draws blood when someone gets too close with a hand.

But I love him, and mostly I feel sorry for him. Because he simply cannot see past his fear long enough to see how many people would be his friend. If only he'd fucking shut up for five minutes.

Last Chance.

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