Must Love Dogs, Peru

Do all you get my Christmas card? If not, do you want to? Look, I know cards are pretty when they sit on your mantle spreading cheer for the three days you display them before Christmas, and they make a nice garbage can filler when you toss them, but I do understand that not everyone is enamored of them. Usually they include a poem about someone’s specialness, either the recipient or the Lord, and occasionally you get a signature that says, “Love you, XOXO” but otherwise there’s not a lot of substance. My favorites are the ones with pictures of your family, whatever that format looks like. I don’t have one of those to put on a card but I do try to make my card special with glitter and also a letter in which I am charming and funny. Sometimes I’ll make you cry, and I’ll be honest, that is intentional.

This past December I wrote in my letter about the loss of my kitty varmints, one to old age and one to a sense of adventure (hopefully). It was with no sense of regret that I threw the litter box away although it did take me six months to do it because I remained hopeful that Seamus would return with a wife and children in tow. I do know he lost his neuters at the tender age of “kitten” but a girl can dream.

Anyway, if you receive my card you already know this but if you don’t, surprise! I’m animal free and have been since September which is often really lonely. I pee alone all the time now and I sleep with all six of my pillows all to myself. It’s nice until it isn’t.

Also, since I can’t (won’t) seem to write with any regularity anymore, I’ll also tell you that I recently redid my living room. I got new paint and new furniture and a nice new rug that mostly covers the cat barf stains, and the orange fur coating that once blanketed my house has virtually disappeared. Things look nice and clean, and I’ve been very pleased. It’s just, I guess I can’t have nice things because since the orange fluffy loves of my life disappeared, all I can think about is a dog. YOU ARE NOT TO ENCOURAGE ME. My looking at the Humane Society website daily is encouragement enough. Also my Instagram stalking of all cute dogs, and my seeking out people with dogs, and my researching adoption policies for doggie rescue centers – that’s all I can take.

Everyone who knows me knows that I am not ready for a dog. I have a nice new clean living room with a new rug and new sofas. I travel way too often. I work way too far from home. I do not have expendable income to be spent on bowel surgeries after a dog eats the socks I lost under the new sofa. I don’t particularly like dog licks. My bedroom linens are solid white. I am not prepared. I still want one.

What will save me, I think, is my list of requirements for a dog. I have potential suitor requirements, found here, and I now I have dog requirements. Both of them are strict and if my ring-less left finger is any indicator of how well my strict process lends itself to actually putting a ring on it, I imagine I’ll be dog free for quite some time.

  1. The dog cannot have a dumb name. I’m really over the Hendrixes and the Cobains and the trend of naming pets after weed and then abandoning them to a shelter because you are too burnt to take care of them.
  2. My dog must wear t-shirts. Cool ones but not ones in memory of Hendrix or Cobain or weed.
  3. My dog must not be interested in showing affection by licking.
  4. My dog must not smell like Fritos.
  5. I need a tall dog, a burly dog, a dog with large feet.
  6. My dog must not have social anxiety or panic attacks or need any medication to control his mood disorder. A thunder shirt is fine, though.
  7. No puppies! I need a stately dog, with some wisdom and potty training.
  8. My dog must not need more grooming than me.
  9. My dog must be able to be a couch potato sometimes. We are not taking up distance running, no thank you.
  10. My dog must love dogs.
  11. My dog will be a rescue or adoption.

This is by no means an exhaustive list.

I went to Peru, do you remember? Most of this content was a lead in for that question, and for the following photos, a collection I affectionately call “Street Dogs of Peru.” Guys, lookit them!

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I might have tricked you.  One of these might be a llama.  These dogs (and llamas) will also try to trick you. They will look at you with those sad eyes, in a posture of pitiful, but they aren’t, not even the hairless ones.  They are the most well-behaved, healthiest, cleanest dogs you have ever seen.  Happy, too.  Not when you walk by with American pizza, of course, or a street taco, because they want you to feel bad so you will share your delicious treats, those fat little beasts.  Some of them wear clothes and some wear collars. Some of them just roam all night like alley cats.  You won’t catch their names yet they have friends everywhere.  Aren’t they all so cute? Even the hairless ones!

Real Peru coming soon, not just Peruvian dogs.

 

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Pee-Tah Moved

I bet I didn’t tell most of you because I couldn’t really tell it without crying, but Pee-Tah moved away from me. He’s done it before and he’s very good about keeping in touch and visiting, but it still feels terrible when I want to go over to his apartment on a Friday night in my pajamas to watch Jason Bourne do unspeakable things to bad guys.  Or speakable things.  Jason Bourne is one of those guys who isn’t really all that good looking on the surface but then he does something like knock out a guy with one punch and you find yourself dealing with overactive ovaries and wondering why it all of the sudden got hot in the room and speculating about why you feel compelled to fling your bra at the television screen.  Like how women react to Dammit Todd.  Those people are the good-in-motion people.

Pee-Tah arranged nights with each of his close friends to pack a section of his apartment and then have dinner together. I was slated for the kitchen packing night which works out well for me because Pee-Tah has only expired foods in his pantry because he forgets to eat, but he has great appliances and gadgets, all clean, barely used.  Packing his kitchen is easy.  Toss the food and place the unopened gadgets, already packed securely in their original packaging into the storage bins, then tape, date and stack.  After packing, we went to dinner and planned on talking about his new house, his new friends, the dates he had planned, but instead we decided to cry and touch fingers while people around us assumed we were a couple.  In a way, we are.

“I didn’t realize everything I would be leaving,” Pee-Tah whispered. “I didn’t think about leaving you, really.  I know we will see each other but right now you are just around the corner.  You won’t be around the corner anymore.”

“I know,” I choked. “I can’t come lie on your bed and you can’t serenade me with the piano, and I can’t rummage in your cabinets and steal expired raisins.  I can’t go to anybody else’s house in my pajamas and fling my bra at Jason Bourne.  Even if I could, I don’t want to!”

We sniffled for a while, watched our poor waiter flit around desperately trying to take our orders, and then talked about the logistics of the trip. That made it worse because Pee-Tah said with a warbled voice, “Pilot Frank offered to ride with me in the moving truck so I wouldn’t have to go alone and I said no.  Why did I say no?!  I don’t want to do this by myself!”

“I don’t want you to, either!” I wailed.

Then we looked at each other, and looked away and then looked back and I said, “I can go.”

Pee-Tah didn’t even hesitate. “OKAY!” he hollered.  “OKAY, CALL YOUR BOSS RIGHT NOW.”  Because she is great, she also said, “You can go,” and our short notice travel plan was born.

I’d like to talk briefly here about the moving truck but I have to be honest with you, I don’t think I’m going to be able to do that. You should’a seen that thing!  It was huge! Enormous!  Pee-Tah’s plan was to attach the tow trailer on the back for his car and have some good-in-motion moving men load the truck, and all of that worked out pretty well except for the part where Pee-Tah wasn’t fully packed yet and he and I loaded the last of it for a few hours.

I took a thousand pictures of that truck before ever clambering in it and when I say clambered, I mean clambered. Two steps with hand rails just to get to my seat, and my seat was a bench that I shared with Pee-Tah with storage underneath for our snacks and my purse.  I worried about us driving that thing for 14 hours to Minneapolis.  Would we be safe?  Would the car be safe back there?  Madre worried about us being safe, too.  “Drive carefully,” she fretted.  “Don’t go too fast,” she instructed.

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Once we hit the road, I no longer worried. There wasn’t a soul on the road that could hit us at any speed and cause us any damage.  That truck was a Sherman tank.  That truck was a hoss. That truck was indestructible.  The only worry about that truck was filling it up with diesel and I don’t even want to know how much of Pee-Tah’s money we spent on that bill.

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That truck also rode like one of those fat shaker machines – you know, the kind where you can strap yourself in and then jiggle with a cocktail in one hand and a cigarette in the other and still get a full and effective workout? That kind.  It was pretty loud, too, so Pee-Tah and I spent a lot of time speaking very deliberately and forcefully to one another while I shook my fat and Pee-Tah just shook his bones because he doesn’t have any fat.  When our 14 hour drive turned into a 21 hour drive because we never got over 50 mph because of the enormity of the truck (“don’t drive too fast,” Madre said), Pee-Tah and I spent a lot of time doing singalongs to 80s ballads and 90s love songs.  I sing great.

My favorite part of the trip, after spending 21 hours with Pee-Tah in a moving truck, and after sleeping about 8 hours total over two nights, and after the conversations we had about what we’d like God to say to us when we get to Heaven, and after we planned my next trip via plane to MSP, were the dinners we had at the truck stops. Truck stops, y’all!  I had dinner at some truck stops!  I love truck drivers.  I always have.  I’ve always felt very safe seeing those big rigs with all the lights on them when I’m driving in in the middle of the night in my small sedan.  I know not everyone feels that way, but I always have.  The truck stops were such a rewarding experience for me, but I am always particularly moved when I see someone in their element.  Those men (and probably women!) could back those trucks into the skinniest of spots.  They had beds in the back where they slept for the night on the exit ramps.  Some of them brought family members and all of them were friendly.  Plus I got to eat truck stop food which was not only plentiful but delicious. Well, as delicious as it can be when the partaker has given up all grains.

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Pee-Tah and I woke up on our last morning together at 4:30 am. Something like that.  We were puffy-eyed and sleepy but we had things to do:  he had to complete a home inspection and I had to catch a plane.  We performed our morning ablutions and ran out the door together where he fired up his big rig with a car attached, and I climbed into an Uber with a guy who desperately wanted to be an actor and wore all the gold chains and cologne to prove it.  We didn’t cry, we did hug, and we took off for our business.  It was the only way we could do it; otherwise we’d still be clenched in a lover-like embrace at the entrance of the Holiday Inn while people walked around us and wondered why we were boo-hooing like toddlers.  Pee-Tah’s house was inspected and then purchased and my plane was caught.  We talked later that night and were right on the edge of losing it when his mother arrived to help him move in.  We talk every so often to make plans for my next flight out there so I can decorate my room.  I have a room.  It’s the one with the full size bed.

I’m okay. Pee-Tah is okay.  This is what being a grown up is.  We make our choices, the best ones we can, but we never lose sight of what is important. He is important to me and he always will be.  He moved, but he’s never far away and I’m so damn thankful for that.  Plus, we are good-in-motion people and you don’t just get over the good-in-motion people. You keep them, because they are the best.

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Welcome To The Masses, Jimmie

I have a new Boss story, and let me tell you, it’s a doozy.  First, though, you might like a refresher on Boss.  Boss and I have an unconventional relationship.  We act as if we’ve been married before or as if he’s my big brother.  I hold all of his personal information including credit cards, social security numbers, mother’s maiden name, etc. and in return, he makes sure that I am paid well and have lots of benefits.   We often fuss and argue like old biddies.  We don’t take any crap off of each other and make fun of each other on a regular basis.  Remember, he once offered to christen my grave with pink sparkly champagne that he first filtered through his kidneys.

Boss can be such a pain in the rear sometimes (see above).  He’s irritating, even when he isn’t trying to be. See, he leads what I call a charmed life.  Everything seems to fall orderly into place for him, without effort or conniving.  If he has accidentally double-booked himself for an evening, for example, he never has to make a call to let someone down.  Inevitably, one of the booked parties will call him with fawning excuses to back out of the evening and promise him something ridiculous like free flights to Costa Rica for the inconvenience.  It annoys me, mostly because those things never happen to me.  When I’ve double-booked myself I end up making no one happy and have to make my own fawning excuses and ridiculous promises to make up for the inconvenience.

Also, Boss seems to have a “way” with the ladies, except I’ve never seen him actually DO anything to or near the ladies to have this “way”.  He’s not what I call a conventionally attractive man.  He never appears to flirt or make excessive eye contact with women.  Still, I can’t tell you how many times he’ll come into the office, greet the new receptionist or new client (both female, of course), and walk out of the room having no idea that he’s leaving these women all atwitter and starry-eyed.   I get immediately bombarded with giggling, breathy questions like, “Is that your boss?  Is he single?  What’s he like to work for?”  It’s ridiculous.  I stand there agog, mouth open and answer truthfully that no, he isn’t single and that he’s pretty cool to work for. I’ve never swooned over him or really understood why women get goofy over him – I think of him as the engineer version of Austin Powers without the glasses. 

Just last week we drove through a fast food place and ordered a burger and fries at the squawking box.  “I’d like a number three,” he says, and the woman in the squawking box replied, “Okay, baby, drive on around.”  Already I was raising my eyebrows at the “baby” but seeing as how the only communication was squawking thus far, I gave him a pass.  However, when we arrived at the window the woman purred “Thank ya, sweetie.  Did you have a nice visit with us today?”  as she looked directly at me, cocking her eyebrow and  all but dipping her cleavage into his French fries while raking a nail down his hand.  She had only heard his voice!  And I was in the car! I could have been his wife! Or girlfriend!  Yet his “magnetism” made waves through the squawking box, into her headset, permeated the French fry grease and oozed out of her very pores as she gave him a come hither glance.  These women are brazen.  Really I should be thankful he has no effect on me.  I’d never get any work done. 

I have followed Boss from company to company.  When he moves, I move.  We work well together despite his pheromones or whatever it is he possesses, and we have done so for a very long time.  He has taken very good care of me, and it has always been clear where my loyalties lie.  He lives in Kansas, I live in Tennessee. I support him remotely and it works well for both of us.  Or it has until now.

Boss has received an offer from another engineering firm.  It is based in Kansas and with the new work, he will have new staff.  Staff that does not include me.  Over six years of my life have been spent working with Boss, maintaining his travel schedule, his credit card balances, some of the demands his kids and girlfriend make of him.  And now we are parting ways.  There has been much chaos at work over this, and our group has been whipped about like a rag doll trying to figure out our direction, our new leadership, our purpose.  It has been emotional and confusing and certainly trying.  After many weeks of this chaos, a plan has been hammered out and a direction focused upon, and everyone has wished boss well as he embarks on this new perfect-for-him journey that literally just fell into his lap.

What happens to me, you ask, now that the person who has taken such good care of me is leaving?  Ah, I have not fared so well.  I am what you call “collateral damage”.  I was shot down in the crossfire.  I am unemployed.  There is no space for me at his new company and as I just learned, without him there is no space for me at mine. 

I won’t lie to you – crying is a part of my daily routine now.  I do my very best to remain hopeful, to fight my panic, to not be angry, to look forward to a new adventure.  It is trying and promises to be exhilarating, but the transition from trying to exhilarating takes its toll.  May I ask you, readers, to think of me?  If I weigh on your heart would you send up a prayer for me? And of course, when you hear of an Austin Powers kind of man, a kind of man with unexplained charm and extreme unending good fortune, a man who needs an assistant, won’t you send him my way?  My resume is waiting for him.