Monday, February 15, 2010

Snow (Hey Oh)

Snow was in the forecast for Friday, Feb 12. I admitted skepticism, considering that the coast of South Carolina is one of the least likely places on earth for snow. Considering that last year it snowed in Daytona while we had warmish weather. When I left work around 4:30 on Friday, the wind was picking up, but the temperature was a solid ten degrees too warm. Probably not going to happen, I told myself. Best not to get any hopes up. However, by the time I picked Will up from work, it was quite cold. And then it started to rain on the way home. After an hour of rain, we had Snow. I was in the kitchen rolling spring rolls for our Chinese New Year dinner when the neighbor boy pounded on the door. We opened the door and crept out on the porch, awed by the snowfall’s beauty. There was already at least an inch on the car, and the footprints on our front steps were swiftly filling in.

It took a moment to believe what we were seeing, but only a moment. Seconds later, we were gloved, booted, and be-hatted (me), dashing out into the wintry night. It was incredibly satisfying to pelt the 15 year old boy next door with snow balls (I firmly believe teenagers should have things thrown at them as often as possible.).

After getting socked in the thigh by an ice ball Will ducked, I was done with the snow ball fight. So I disengaged and moved to the demilitarized zone, i.e. the end of the driveway. I spun around, feeling the snow brush against my face. And here’s where the night got all romance novel-y. I was caught in strong arms mid spin and shyly peeked up from under my hat brim at my William. He said slowly, “You are so adorable” and kissed me. And then we kissed again to make sure we liked it. Oh yeah. That’s an item off my bucket list.

I scampered back inside not long after that, turned on the Olympic opening ceremony and fried the spring rolls. My first attempt at spring rolls turned out beautifully, by the way. I made about 16, and probably ate 9 or 10 of them. I’m not going to do that again, but spring rolls are such a treat, and they tasted so authentic and fried things go bad fast and, and…Yeah, I paid for it, but it was worth it. With the spring rolls, I served “froggy food,” a stir-fried soy bean (edamame) and pork mixture over rice. Just a little feast for Chinese New Year. Xin nian kuai le and gong xi fa cai!

I went to bed that evening starry-eyed with a belly full of grease. Life was good. The snow stopped falling around 1 am. 4 inches total. Magical.

Saturday morning, I woke up just long enough to push Will out of bed so he could go to Taekwondo. About an hour later I woke up to find a very sheepish William offering me a bowl of cheerios, a strawberry yogurt, and a mug of tea. Breakfast in bed! It turned out that the gym was closed due to the snowfall, and the roads were still slick. I loitered in bed a little longer, but couldn’t stand the inactivity and got to work. I had already taped off the master bath; now it was time to paint. While I brushed the dusty plum color on the walls, I had a very cute view. Will had obviously taken a cue from Friday the guinea pig and was snoozing with just the ends of his hair sticking out. I admit I took some pictures. Blackmail may be forthcoming. Painting the bathroom took about two hours, then I moved on to cleaning the living room, watching the Olympics, and burning things. I’m embarrassed to admit that the front left corner of the living room was still covered in fir branches I cut off the Christmas tree to use for tinder. Ouch. It was appropriately cold, so I kept a toasty fire going all afternoon, burning broken boards from TKD, fir branches and junk mail. My pyromania is satisfied…for now. I played a little WoW and made Will help me hang a shelf in the dining room. By mid-evening the paint dried enough to finally hang the huge round mirrors I bought in August(!) I also swapped out the old paint-spattered switch plates for brushed nickel and put up two black and white art photos my dad took –one of a fern draped over bamboo, and the other of a snail shell encased in concrete. Because snails are totally what someone thinks of when they think of a bathroom. There! Voila! Finished! I promptly collapsed into a hot bath to enjoy the spa-like ambiance (and new paint smell).

After all that physical labor, it was hard to get moving Sunday. We were very late to church. Will’s nose twitched longingly as we walked past a favorite restaurant: Jestine’s Kitchen. After church, I noted that the line to get in was not that long, and we could at least see what the specials were. He nodded vehemently. The specials were pot roast (yum!) and catfish (yum for Will!), so we waited in line, flirting shamelessly with each other. It was windy and cold, but I sure didn’t feel it. During lunch, Will casually mentioned that his phone was very busted, and the Apple store was right around the corner. I laughed, knowing he’d been dying to get an iPhone but wanted to wait until his current phone was good and dead. The surprise was not that he got an iPhone, but that he wanted to get me one too. So now we have black and white, bride and groom iPhones. This is truly a luxury I didn’t know I couldn’t do without until I had one. I love it!!!

After the spending orgy at the Apple Store, Will dropped me off at home for a nap. He went out again on his own and got me hot pink roses and a white case for my iPhone. And then he made lasagna from scratch for dinner! This after I said I didn’t want to do much for Valentine’s Day! What a man I’ve got! What a great, romantic, productive weekend we have.

Sadly, the next home improvement project on my plate is painting the master bedroom. I have a lovely warm gray picked out, but I’m quailing at the scope of it. Five windows and five doors to tape around. Urg. I don’t think that’s going to happen any time soon, but when I get to it, it’s gonna look great. Our duvet is eggplant velvet, and I’m going to mix that with crisp whites and apple green. That should be very sharp, but first, I could use some sleep, because all this happiness is very exhausting.

Wednesday, February 10, 2010

Defiance, Compliance...Poop?

February 3rd, Will and I started obedience class for Toby and Frankie. This has been a long time coming, as we've had Toby since September 09 and have had plenty of time to observe and deplore his issues. Frankie came home with us December 30, 2009, and we're still figuring him out. He was a stray, so we're not sure what he knows. Furthermore, he was sick the entire first month we had him, and sickness tends to have a deleterious effect on bowel control. There were some unfortunate consequences for the kitchen floor. Sigh I've been watching him like a hawk, and I definitely don't trust him yet. I guess all this clean up has been good for me. Poop really icks me out. Maybe having dogs is supposed to desensitize me before we have kids. Gross.

The class was held at the Charleston Animal Society on Remount Rd, about five minutes away from our home. That's a good thing, too, because Frankie is afraid of riding in the car, and always raises a fuss. I drove, with Toby in the front seat, and Will and Frankie in the back. Will had both leashes and was coordinating the dogs like that old America's Funniest Home Videos clip where the couple has broken windshield wipers in a rainstorm. The woman ties twine to the blades, and through cracked windows, pulls the wipers back and forth manually. I never got why that clip won. It would have been funnier with two squirming, crying 50 lb mutts instead of windshield wipers.

With a mishap or two, we (Okay, I was the one having trouble. I had a leash with an excited, pulling mutt on the end of it, my purse, and two medical folders in my hands) made it through the door. There were probably eight other puppies. I was worried that Toby and Frankie would be much too large, but there was a sheepdog-type thing, and a year-old labrador mix that were about the same size. I had to laugh when the lab, named Will, was parked next to human Will and Toby. Canine Will was black, with a huge white blaze on his chest and face. The resemblance was uncanny. After the class, Will and I joked that canine Will had his looks and my personality. Whenever I looked at the dog, he was lying down, slobbering cordially. My kind of guy.

Two of the small puppies stood out to me as well: pretty little girls named Izzy and Reesie. Reesie was no doubt named for a peanut butter cup. If I were to guess, I'd say her ancestry was chocolate lab with maybe pit bull? She had a gorgeous, brindled orange-and-brown coat, and her tough-looking owner had decked her out in a pink and brown collar-the same paw-print pattern as Frankie's green and brown collar. I detected a softy.

Izzy was a proud little German Shepherd with a light tan coat and a delicately shaded black snout. Whenever she got a little slack on the leash, she dove to the end of the tether nose first and plopped on her belly with a surprised look. I hope I get the chance to scoop her up during the class, because she's going to be too heavy to carry pretty soon, and I'm dying to give her a good ear rub and chin tickle.

The class covered sit-stays, the "leave it!" command and how to let your dog meet another dog. Frankie sat like a champion, which amused me because at home, he's a slow, apathetic sitter. I guess he was showing off, or the super cheapy string cheese we used is his heart's greatest desire. Or something. At least he liked that. I don't blame him for being uninspired by the hot dogs we also cut up for treats. I wouldn't have touched those either. 88c a pack off-off-brand? Blech. At least my dog has good(ish) taste. We're going to have to practice "leave it" at home with a variety of tasty objects. Frankie has already eaten one of my shoes, and the dogs together shredded an old book with a cloth cover. Thank goodness it wasn't one I was attached to, but I was pretty mad that they made a point of taking it out of the basket on the bookcase. I guess the cloth cover had an interesting smell or flavor? Who knows? I turn to my default answer: Dogs are dumb.

Though my session with Frankie went swimmingly, Will had a war on his hands with Toby. Every time I looked across the room at them, Toby was straining at the end of his leash. He would not listen, he would not sit, he could have cared less about the treats, and every time Will forced eye contact, the expression in Toby's eyes was a hard, bright "[screw] you." I swear that beast slid out of his mongrel mama smoking a cigar. His entire attitude since we've had him has been "Oh yeah? What are you gonna do about it?" He's very strong-willed and high energy. The only thing we've found to calm him down has been schlepping two cans of tomatoes in his saddlebags. I guess that fulfills some psychological need deep in his little canine hindbrain. Too bad we can't take him to class loaded up and strapped in. Sigh. Dogs.

The class ended with a five minute play period off-leash. The puppies slithered across the tile floor quite endearingly. Toby went off by himself after a few cursory sniffs. What's wrong with him? Did he get a cat soul? Frankie went over and made friends with canine Will. I'm sure when they separate the dogs into play groups, Frankie and Will are going to be placed together. And why not? They're big enough to handle each other. A little more running around, and then the excitement got to Frankie and he dropped 4 huge nuggets on the floor. I was so embarrassed. Those tiny puppies made it through an hour, and my nearly 2 year old dog is the one to lose it. The trainers advised us to just not feed them at all next Wednesday so they're hungry for treats and we won't have a reprise. Poop. Why'd it have to be poop?