Jump to the Jam, Boogie Woogie Jam Slam

In other words, funky, funky, which best describes the mood I was in for the past couple of weeks. (If you have no idea what I’m talking about, you may be too young to read my blog, and you should probably watch this).

God, I miss the 90’s sometimes – that little teeny tiny moment in time when it was cool to be an Xer. Because honestly, sometimes, I feel like we’re just gasping for air, smooshed between the Boomers and the Y’s. But that’s probably another rant for another day.

Anyway, I was stuck in a really big funk and that’s why I wasn’t blogging. Noelle wrote about having a new year breakdown and crying about everything crappy that happened in 2008, and I had one of my own. While I was sobbing uncontrollably (in the backyard), I was actually thinking, this happened to Noelle too, maybe it’s just a 2009 rite of passage or something.

What spurred it? Well, of course it was dog related.

Since Thanksgiving, I have worked my ass off with Stella. She wouldn’t pee while she was on her leash, so we had to let her off leash in the backyard to go, so she wouldn’t end up exploding, or peeing on our rug (which happened 3 times). But we don’t have a fenced in yard, so getting her to come back in was a challenge. Add to that her inexplicable fear of doorways, and you have a big problem.

After working with her to the point where I was beginning to feel like my only purpose in life was to be a dog babysitter, I finally got her to come inside easily when I called her. But then, last weekend, when it was all of 10 degrees out, Stella ran off after some birds and discovered that Mrs. Gnome leaves chunks of meat in her backyard.

Yes. Chunks of meat.

I spent an hour (in my slippers) running around trying to get the dog to 1. drop the meat, and 2. go back in the motherflipping house. When the snow pulled my slipper off mid-run, and I ended up barefoot in snow up to my shin, the stream of profanity that left my mouth would have made George Carlin proud. J came out to help me, and we got Stella back in the house. One problem. She still hadn’t peed.

I found Argo’s super long training leash and used that to bring Stella out in the yard again, hoping that the 20 or so feet of personal space she could get on that leash would be enough to get her to go, but it still took a good 30 minutes before she peed. And somewhere in those last 30 minutes in the back yard, I lost it. I started openly weeping and whimpering things like “Why can’t you pee like a normal dog?” and “Who puts meat in the their back yard?” But it wasn’t all about my urinarily handicapped dog and the freaking meat chunks. I cried because my goal in life is not to be a dog babysitter. I cried because I hate our house and our neighborhood and our not-so-delightfully wacky neighbors. I cried because I miss my best friend, and I was tired and it was cold and I hadn’t seen sun for days, and I didn’t accomplished everything I set out to in 2008. I cried because no matter how much I accomplish, what I don’t accomplish always seems to matter more.

But, let’s get back to the important part of this story. Who the frack puts meat out in their back yard? At first, I thought maybe Mrs. Gnome was trying to poison Stella, because Stella may or may not have peed in The Crap Garden (ha! That’s funny) earlier in the week. When I finally got Stella to drop the meat, I ran into the house and dropped the meat in a plastic bag to store in the freezer, ranting to J that if Stella got sick, I was going to tell the authorities it was a homicide attempt and they could test the meat and Mrs. Gnome would totally do hard time in a bad place with other dog killers. After running around for an hour in slippers in 10 degree weather, I’d given up on being rational. Also, in my near hypothermic-rage, I may or may not have threatened to urinate in the gnome’s garden. I am thankful that my husband realizes I am all bark and no bite.

Later, I remembered Mrs. Gnome telling me that she feeds the fox that lives behind our houses to encourage him to stick around and eat the bunnies that eat her garden.

Um. . . wait a minute. Bunnies don’t hibernate. I see 2 or 3 of them a day. Our yard is littered with bunny tracks and little brown marbles, and I would like to go so far as to propose that we have so many bunnies in our yard, because Mr. Fox has an endless supply of meat waiting for him in The Crap Garden. I mean, if I were a fox and I had the choice between running around in the snow after bunnies and chowing down on meat that’s already cut up in neat little cubes waiting for me under the bird feeders, I know what I’d choose. I spent an hour running around in the snow after Stella, and, it wasn’t fun. Although, admittedly, I had no desire to eat her once I caught her, so perhaps the chase was missing some essential element.

So now, despite my two months of work with Stella to get her to come when she’s called, I am forced to take her out on her long leash and wait and wait and wait for her to pee (last night, when it was 2 degrees, it was especially fun), because Mrs. Gnome hasn’t seen enough episodes of nature to know that a fox with a belly full of meat probably isn’t going to chase a rabbit.

But I did get a good long cry out of the deal, and that, like a fever breaking, was the beginning of the end of the funk.

We really need to move. Also, if we ever do, I am going to have “Good Fences Make Good Neighbors” tattooed on the back of my hand before we start househunting, because I believe no truer words were ever spoken.


  1. Oh, my. That is quite the story. I’m not sure there’s anything that would make me run around for an hour in the snow in my slippers. By then, I’d have been all, “FINE, GO AHEAD AND EAT THE POISON MEAT.”

    OK, I probably wouldn’t have done that. But still.

    Yes, you need to move. Yes, you need a fence.

  2. I cannot imagine living without barriers!! I don’t think British people would be capable actually!!

    I’m sorry you were so low – I think a lot of people suffer a January slump don’t they? I think I did last year – and then everything in your world seems black even when it isn’t really.

    I have no experience with dogs, but I remember when my youngest son was 2 he would use the toilet fine for number ones but if he wanted a number 2 he went to a corner and did it there – any corner – on the floor. Well, it was funny initially, then tiresome but in the end it got me down SO MUCH cos I couldn’t stop him doing it (he was cunning and wilful). So I do know how you feel. My rooms got smaller and smaller as I tried to take away the corners!! In the end when he saw me slumped in tears next to a pile of poo he got the message. I suppose dogs don’t react the same way?

    There are so many neighbours from hell around – nearly everyone i know has had one at some time or other.

    Hope your tears cleared your way for you.


  3. Sometimes you really do just need a good cry. It’s not always one thing or another but the collective effect of it all that will bring you down otherwise.

    And yes to the fence. Growing up in Memphis, everyone had fences (and sidewalks) and then I moved away to various cities where NO ONE has fences (or sidewalks) and I just don’t understand. I can’t stand to stay outside that long with the dog and I have never trusted any dog not to chase a squirrel or rabbit beyond earshot range.

    Anyway, I hope the cry did some good. I usually find it does.

  4. Sometimes it’s the small things that push us over the proverbial edge. Several things struck me though:
    1) who tries to kill rabbits? I understand the garden is hard work, but trying to kill a rabbit?
    2) I ONLY feed my dogs raw meat and can assure you, they go for it above and beyond any other food item in the house. So much so that I am (once again) investing in a baby lock for the fridge because one of the dogs figured out how to open the door and help himself. Raw meat all over the living room=much sanitization and makes me a little bat sh*& crazy.
    3) a little late to the game and possibly redundant but have you tried the clicker training with Stella? Or the immediate offer of treat when she pees to encourage her peeing outside in the yard regardless of leash situation? I know some dogs are stubborn beyond measure and it doesn’t work, but I’ve had a good experience with it before.

    Good luck with the neighbors.

  5. I’m so sorry to hear that I’m not the only one with breakdown issues! Of course, part of my breakdown came from the fact that my cats just don’t get along, and they’re ruining my sleep. Animal behavior has got to be some of the most frustrating stuff in the world. If only you could just ration with the damn things.

    But then again, you’ve got a woman who has her meat-bunny-fox relationships all whacked out, and it sounds like reasoning with her is about as likely as getting a dog to understand English.

    Maybe in a few months when it’s spring, things will pick up a bit for you all, and me. I know that’s an incredibly long way to wait. I hope it doesn’t take that long.

  6. Umm, meat in the backyard for the FOXES? That is the weirdest neighborly behavior I’ve ever heard of. I’m sorry your Stella has peeing issues, I didn’t know that dogs could even be pee shy!

    If you ever need a break you can come visit our trashy neighbors in Boston!

  7. “Bust the dialect, I’m the man in command!” I LOVE THAT SONG! And now my kids (almost 5 and almost 2) love it as well because I play it for them so they can dance!

    I don’t think I’ve laughed so hard in months! I’m sorry that it has to be at your expense, but…well…there it is.

    It took us FOREVER (nearly 5 years) to convince our dog that everything wasn’t about to kill her. She was afraid of anything that moved, made noise, felt strange, was wet or flew…and then some. She’s almost 11 now and has most definitely mellowed with old age.

    I literally happened across your blog today while searching the words “incidents and accidents” because I was trying to remember which Paul Simon song they were in…and there you were!

    Hope you don’t mind a stranger butting in!




  8. How can I measure up to these super-long comments? I just don’t have that much to say!

    You need a fence. And shoes. No, boots. And that dog whisperer dude.
    And new neighbors.

    And then everything will be fine and the sun will come out again.

  9. Courtney – I think 10 more minutes and I would have been tempted to say that.

    RB – I don’t really know why fences aren’t the norm here. I’m glad your son stopped pooping in the corner. That would get old fast.

    MG – I resist crying so much, but it is usually a very good thing.

    Vanessa – Stella is signed up for obedience classes now. It was necessary.

    Noelle – I hope it doesn’t take that long either.

    JMS – Thanks for butting in! I’m so glad you stopped by. Feel free to laugh at my expense. That’s what I’m here for. :)

    Mickey – Want to be my new neighbor? Or come build a fence for me?

  10. Holy Cow. What idiot neighbors. Fences don’t solve everything though. The brats next door would climb up their crappy plastic toys and perch on top of the wall to watch me do gardening and stuff in the back yard.

    Two problems with this: I really like my privacy. I really don’t like kids, especially the high-volume screaming brat variety. Then they started climbing up the unmortared part of the wall that has to be “open” for utilities access. When the bricks started falling, we worried the kids would fall into the cactus below. Not that I’d have a problem with that, but then they’d be screaming and stuck in our yard. We replaced the bricks with a smooth wood gate bolted from our side…and planted more cactus.

    Hope 2009 is better and your dog learns to pee in less than 30 minutes!

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