1.08.2015

A Day in the Dog House (that's my house...)

I woke up this morning about 7 AM, primarily because my dog Buddy woke me up at 7 AM, with his usual whimpering doggie tone that I have come to translate as, "I'm hungry, dude. And I need to shit."

So up I got.

I wanted Buddy to wake me up before the alarm went off at 7:30. In fact, I wanted him to wake me up even earlier than he did, like maybe 6:30, notwithstanding the added sleep deficit that might have caused. I had high hopes for a solid hour sweating it out on the bike trainer while watching "Californication" on Netflix (my current binge addiction) before I had to go to work.

My other dog Foster is not at all a morning canine like Buddy. Being a small, short-haired Boston terrier, he prefers to stay curled up and warm on his doggie bed in the morning, until I raise the thermostat a few degrees, and who can blame him? Even then, he kind of stumbles around like he has the Palsy for a while and doesn't quite know where he is.

Buddy has always been a voracious and unfinicky eater, sometimes with dire gastrointestinal outcomes. Lately, he has taken to sneaking vegetable scraps out of the compost pile in my backyard. I have to keep an eye on him. He ate an entire slightly moldy daikon radish a couple weeks ago, and now he's after the cabbage leaves (not moldy, but definitely not fresh).

Foster, on the other hand, is the finickiest dog I have ever had. I feed both my dogs at the same time, but while Buddy is scarfing down his food without even chewing it, Foster just sniffs at his dish and then walks away, like a spoiled prissy boy. He does this a few times and usually won't eat until after he has been outside. I adopted Foster, so I don't know if he learned his food snobbery from the last humans he lived with, but in my house you eat or you go hungry. I mean, it's not like I skimp on dog food either. They get a high end grain free brand.

I have to be careful when I feed the dogs together, because sometimes Buddy will try to pirate Foster's food while Foster is wandering aimlessly around the house. Sometimes Buddy succeeds, if I am off wandering aimlessly around the house too and not paying attention. That happens pretty rarely though and when it does it just means Foster is hungrier at the next meal and more likely to eat, the prissy boy.

Buddy eats just about any food scraps I throw him when I am making a meal, even vegetables. He doesn't like mushrooms, but pretty much anything else is fair game. Foster wants nothing to do with vegetables, but he will sometimes go after a scrap that Buddy misses, just to be a dick. He'll even chew on it for a little while without swallowing it, to really bust Buddy's balls. But eventually he just leaves the mangled vegetable masticant on the floor, and Buddy still freakin' eats it. Buddy is like Honey Badger. He don't give a @#$%.

Foster won't eat treats either, unless they are the super high end irresistable ones, like Beggin' Strips.

I fed the dogs. As usual, Foster didn't eat his food right away, so I set his bowl on the kitchen counter where Buddy could not get to it after he was done inhaling his own kibbles. Then I put on my jacket, scarf, gloves, and hat let the dogs out through the patio sliding door. I also put a doggie sweater on Foster. He hates the cold. And damn was it cold!

One of those global climate change induced arctic ass blasts is "plunging southward" from the North Pole right now and it has been far colder than normal the past couple of days. Snow was predicted for today, and it came, but it had not yet started by this morning.

Foster's paws get painfully cold if he stays out in this kind of weather too long. One by one, he will start lifting his paws off the ground because they are too painful to walk on. He is smart enough to know that he should quickly do his business before this happens, but when it occasionally does, I have to pick him up and carry him inside because it is too painful mentally for me to watch him try to walk like that. Again, Buddy is a trooper and he has a pretty thick coat of long black hair. Over the years (he is 14), he has adopted a habit of going potty while walking across the yard. It's kind of funny and kind of sad as he waddles along dropping poop pebbles as he goes. He's a multitasker. He's also deaf, so he can't hear me call him and I have to flail my arms to get his attention when it is time to go back inside.

After the brief foray into the sphincter clenching cold, I put on my workout clothes and did 30 minutes on the bike trainer. I showered and got dressed for work. I should have pulled up the weather on my phone before I put my work clothes on. It was going to start snowing around mid-morning and keep snowing for most of the day, according to my my smart phone weather app.

I pondered a few seconds, then made a decision to work from home today. I can do that. I have a cool boss and a very Internet and computer driven job in an IT group. I pulled up the web mail at work and saw that I had no meetings today, so I was home free. Even if I had had a meeting, it probably could be rescheduled easily enough. I emailed my boss telling her my plan and asking her if that was cool. I never like to presume with people, most of all bosses. Ever since I started at my current job, my boss has encouraged me to work remotely from home, even when I didn't want to. I almost started to think she didn't like me being around. But no, she's just cool and hip and laid back. Plus, I am a contractor, so she probably sees me as kind of a free agent.

I have noticed, and this is only an anecdotal observation, that there is very little you cannot achieve by simply adding the query, "Is that cool?" to the end of requests that you make to others.

Nobody wants to not be cool. So these are kind of like magic words. It's almost a Jedi mind trick. If you ask, "Is that cool?" when you are requesting something, and granted the thing has to be rational and reasonable, a person feels compelled to comply, because there is the implicit implication that to not do so would therefore be uncool in the eyes of others. And nobody wants to be seen as uncool, even by inferiors.

I need more scientific testing of my hypothesis about the persuasive power of, "Is that cool?" So try it, people, and let me know your results. I realize there could be some inherent bias in this analysis, because most people know when something is cool and when it isn't. So you probably aren't going to add, "Is that cool?" to something you know full well is not cool. Because then you are just a douche or a creeper.

Anyway, working from home is, for me, totally cool, and both my boss and I know it, but as a courtesy, I asked for her verbal affirmation and I soon received it. For most of the day I have been remotely connected to work through a magical portal called Citrix. I don't know or care how it works, but it transforms my old tired and slow Mac computer at home into my work computer. I work about half as fast from the home office because of the slow Internet connectivity, but I am also interrupted less, so it is probably a wash.

I took a break around 4 PM to shovel the snow off my driveway. As I was doing so, my neighbor came home from work and offered to snow blow my sidewalk for me in the morning. I thanked him profusely and we bantered a bit before he said he had to go inside because his balls were freezing off, as were my own. Well, more accurately, mine had packed their things and migrated up into the warmer climates of my body cavity. My house is on a corner and there is sidewalk on both sides, all of which must be shoveled. While I do not mind the workout of shoveling snow, his offer did save me a bit of time.

However, not enough time to allow me to make it to the Jazzercise class my friend Sherry had invited me to. In an attempt to be more social and outgoing (and exercise more), I accepted a free month trial that her Jazzercise studio was offering. It's basically aerobics but a little more dancy and not very much jazz (mostly pop and hard rock songs). Sherry told me that mostly women attended her Jazzercise classes and very few men. A light bulb blinked on over my head that perhaps I might meet a few fit and active women at Jazzercise as well. But so far I have only made it to one class. That's weak. I could make the excuse that I have been fighting a cold, but that's an excuse that a weak person would use, so it is still weak.

There's still three weeks to go on the free pass, so I am sure I will hit a few more classes. I could see getting into it, but I am literally one of the most uncoordinated people in the world when it comes to aerobics. I look like a flailing imbecile. But I don't give a @#$% and it's fun to flail about and imagine that I'm getting leaner and fitter. Still, I am a strong believer in not paying for exercise, notwithstanding the social benefits. The whole world is my treadmill, as are the treadmills at work which I can use for free, and I don't even like treadmills. I prefer the bike trainer in my basement. But that's not very sociable.

Notwithstanding tonight's failure at flailure (did you like that?), I still planned to be Sherry's +1 for a poetry reading social thing at 7 PM tonight, 12 hours after Buddy had whimpered me into consciousness this morning. The blizzardly weather, though, had apparently also shriveled the cajones of the poetry reading social thing organizers, because they canceled it.

The silver lining, or course, is that I had a time window open up for writing this blog post, which if you are still reading, God bless your sympathetic little heart. It was not a very exciting day, so I hope this post wasn't too boring for you.

I must now retire.

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