Sounds Of Summer Readiness

Summer is almost officially upon us where I’m living.  That means warm weather, bright sun, lots of being drinking and dining al fresco.  It means wonderful flowers and amazing storms.  It means children out of school and having fun.  It also means the incessant droning of lawn mowers, edgers, leaf blowers, sanders and construction.  These noises are from 8 in the morning until 10 in the evening as long as the weather stays decent.  Day in and day out.

My neighbourhood has decided to get an early jump on the sounds of summer, from loader music to sanders running four hours at a go (decks being fixed etc.) and sometimes you can’t even hear the birds for everything else. I wouldn’t mind, honestly, if there was a little less of the noise and more of silence.  Today has been one sander after another being used on a deck a few houses up from mine.  The sanders are accompanied by the random banging of hammers against wood.  For background noise I have a little loader running back and forth in the alley delivering dirt and dropping it in piles.

i understand people want to get everything done so they can enjoy their summer outside.  I get it and confess to being guilty of the whole lawn mower and edger cycle.  But can we all relax a little.  Summer is longer than a week so let’s enjoy all of it from bird song to lovely sunshine, children on their bikes to the distant hum of a lawn mower now and then.  Let’s just not make it an all day every day noise battle!

A Wee Something Just Because or Do The Spoiled Slope We Go

I will not deny that the four-footed one is a bit on the spoiled side, just a touch mind you, but spoiled all the same.  I’ve no one to blame for this except myself.  It’s a slippery slope where you think we’ll she could use a stuffed dinosaur and that’s about it.  But then she loves the dinosaur so much and it survives her most destructive behaviours so surely she needs the dragon from the same company as well.

Yes my dear friends it really is that slippery and it happens that quickly.  And it’s not just stuffed toys with delightful (if you are her) squeaky noisy things in them.  Oh no, it becomes a few different treats for training, which at some point slide into a treat because I’m having a human treat.

Of course we aren’t on this journey alone.  Oh no Beloved comes along bringing new toys all the time as “just a little something for the wee pup”.  And the training food/occasionally treat suddenly becomes a means to ensure she comes to him.  Which pretty much means that currency she believes everyone should be carrying treats in their pockets for her.  She has been known to pout upon encountering someone who is lacking in the treat department.  (This whole thing puzzled Beloved until we accidentally washed a small plastic bag full of treats when his jeans went in the wash.  Up until this moment he seemed oblivious to the fact he always has dog treats in his pockets.)

Needless to say I currently cringe when people come for a visit because my spoiled, and much-loved pooch is anticipating “just a wee something”.  So we have to work on this, when I get the energy to do it.

Walks, Water, What More Could A Dog Ask For

The four-footed one has discovered the joys of a sprinkler on a hot, sunny day.  Specifically the joys of running through the cool water.  Now if only she’d learn to enjoy it in her own yard rather than stranger’s!

It started with a slow stroll on a lovely afternoon.  Plenty of water for both of us, we each have our own, very different water bottles so there is no confusion, and sunscreen for me.  Not a huge walk and certainly nothing that prevented us from stopping to smell all the different flowers out in bloom.  We were basically enjoying our time, smelling the flowers, listening to the birds and enjoying each other’s company.  A nice, peaceful afternoon.

And then she heard it.  The distinctive ticking noise of an automatic water sprinkler.  A new noise that simply had to be investigated in a hurry.  Never mind the flowers or different types of grass to check out.  We picked up our pace to check out the noise and sample the water on the pavement.  Surely this would be enough for us to satisfy our curiosity I thought.

As soon as this thought popped in my head, there was a tug and she was off to run through the closest sprinkler.  Not once, nor twice but several times.  Until she was soaked and a good portion of me was as well.  Before we left she tried to drink directly from the sprinkler because being soaked after running through all that water is thirsty work.

At least the home-owner got a good laugh at her antics from the comfort of his shade, dry deck.

 

Waking Up To Someone New

I woke up face to face with a pink dinosaur with a yellow horn on her nose. Peeking around just behind her was a green and purple dragon, his red tongue resting on her head.

I didn’t climb into bed with either of these two.  As a matter of fact I climbed into bed alone, the four-footed blanket weight had curled up against on the bed, but not in the bed with me.  I haven’t slept with any stuffed animals in a number of years.  Perhaps my four-footed companion felt I need additional company.  She managed to sneak them into bed while I was sleeping thanks to medication and such.

Needless to say I was a bit surprised to discover my sleeping companions.  Waking up to someone new in bed who,wasn’t there when you crawled into the bed is shocking and disorienting.  Waking up like that while dealing with the side effects of strong mediation to tame lupus was enough to keep me in my bed a little longer.

Of course when I got out of bed the four-footed one decided the dinosaur needed to come with us.  So we moved into the comfortable chair to do some reading/resting, the three of us.  The four-footed one on my lap with the dinosaur resting on both of us.

Some days you just need a little dinosaur in your life, and if you are lucky, a four-footed companion takes care of this for you.

A Yard To Die For or Gardening To An Early Grave

My neighbor has a yard that is to die for.  Everything is just perfect and neat, always trimmed and never a stray limb from a tree to be found.  Maintaining his of lush lawn, heavenly perfumed flowers, and graceful shrubbery requires diligence, time and a great deal of physical effort.  And it almost killed him, literally.  He suffered a heart attack while uprooting a small juniper the other day.

I didn’t know what happened to him until this afternoon when I noticed it was his wife out dead-heading the flowers and pruning a few branches here and there.  Normally her husband is out and about doing these tasks while humming some piece of classical music.  Naturally I asked after him and she told me he had suffered a massive heart attack while tending to the dying juniper.

Because I wasn’t home I didn’t hear the ambulance come to scoop him up and whisk him away to the hospital.  Because I was out the following day I didn’t get a chance for our friendly chats about how the welfare of my plants.

The cardiologist told her that whatever he was doing in the way of yard work had to stop.  Gardening should be calming and soothing and yes even healing.  The need for perfection and order was creating too much stress, add to the mix heavy manual labor in an older person and, according to the cardiologist, you have all the ingredients for the perfect storm of a health crisis.

My yard is not one to die for. The grass is cut and edged, he flowers are cared for, but not dead-headed.  I like the way the branches from my small tree are randomly poking about here and there.  In other words I will never win a medal for a perfect oasis of a yard, but I also will get to enjoy my yard without working gardening myself into an early grave.  Nature provides her own version of perfection and we have a small agreement about this.  Nature agrees to help me with the watering (I’ve been known to forget this stuff) with I keep the lawn cut and let her do her own brand of artistic expression.

The Fine Line Between Fan And Fanatical or Lessons From Plush Eggs

The four-footed one is a fan of plush green eggs that squeak with the slightest touch.  She will ignore all of her other toys for one of these eggs.  I believe half the appeal of these toys are that they fit under chairs and such.  She likes to hide her eggs under the chairs and then demand that someone (human) find them for her.  Once they have been uncovered she wants to run around the house with an egg in her mouth while said human chases her.  She will happily squeak the egg the whole time.

The thing is, this human is not a fan of the plush green eggs.  I was at first because they bring her such joy.  Alas the whole hunting and chasing not to mention the non-stop squeaking has taken all the fun out of the egg thing for me. I guess this is why we do Easter Egg hunts only once a year!

Perhaps though what is the biggest turn off my four-footed one’s fanaticism when it comes to her egg.  The obsession of her’s for all things plush green egg is too much to handle at times.  She has, dear finds, crossed the line from fan to that crazed fanatic that we typically see in the sporting world.

To help her overcome this obsession we take the eggs away now and then.  (For the record if we don’t take them and put them up high she will spend hours squeaking the, with no regard to human ears.)  But the fanatic in her is not so easily subdued.  A compulsion, unyielding, sets in and she just continues to seek out her precious eggs.

I suppose there are far worse things for her to be fanatical about.   Perhaps if the eggs weren’t so noisy…  But the lesson is that anything can become too much, too-consuming so it is important to step back from it now and then.

The Usual Problem

A fiend invited me out for coffee to a place she had “just” found.  Not a chain coffee place either, just an honest to goodness local cafe which happened to serve French style pastries as well.  Who can resist?  Certainly not I, and since I was feeling decent-ish there really was no reason not to go.

As we don’t live in the same neighbourhood, my friend and I agreed to meet at the cafe’s parking area so we could do some catching up while walking in.  (You might say we have a lot to catch up on!)

An interesting thing happened upon our stepping through the door.  The two women working behind the counter called out my friend’s name and said “the usual?” as a cup was already being pulled off the shelf.  Interesting in that my friend had just found the place so how could she have a usual?  I didn’t say anything, but I raised my eyebrow as my friend said she might in fact be changing up her order.  This declaration created a bit of confusion for one of the ladies working behind the counter because she had already grabbed a pastry and put it on a plate.

There is nothing wrong with having a usual.  It’s nice to go into places where people know exactly how you like things and see you as more than just an order of coffee.  The problem arises when you suddenly want to change up the usual.  It alters the easy routine, and can affect the relationship as well.

I’m not sure how many times my friend had been to the cafe to have a usual, but the minute she altered her order it was as if she was a new customer to one of the employees.  The light and causal conversation became a little awkward, as if by changing her order my friend had created some type of insult.  In the end my friend had her usual to go because she couldn’t resist the pastry or the coffee.

Being a city girl, I have found very few places that I go to frequently enough to even know e names of the employees let alone have a usual.  While I relish the relationship my friend seems to have with the employees, I don’t relish the idea of only being a specific order all the time.  After all part of the fun is changing things up, which is hard when you have a set usual everyone knows and expects.