Unwashed and Unemployed

I’m just gonna put this out there. If you come to visit me, you are likely to encounter an unwashed version of myself.

I do regularly bathe, or rather, I regularly shower, therefore it’s not like I’m atrocious or anything. And most who know me are used to a version of me that doesn’t wear make-up and sports questionable hair anyway. So you probably might not even know this, except I am an honest person and like to tell you this information before you come to visit me. In case, like, you had expectations or something.

Several tradesmen and at least four people who’ve visited me in recent weeks have experienced this slightly unkempt (I like to flatter myself) sight, and my new next door neighbor sees it on a regular basis. For my friends, it’s sorta like an agility trial version of me – except I think that I actually appear more presentable on agility trial weekends because I’m a weirdo and like to be color coordinated and showered for the day of being outdoors, covered in dog saliva and dog feet prints, cold or hot, and muddy and filthy. For my new neighbors, it’s like the nice, but slightly eccentric lady with four dogs just moved in. Oh. Right. That’s exactly what happened.

Welcome to our new house!

In fact, I feel my new house may like me almost as much as I like it. I recently learned that up until February, 2021, and for who knows how long before that, although the very large sequoia in the back yard is probably a clue, a hoarder lived in this house. A genuine hoarder that had narrow passageways cleared in select areas of the various debris that included a lot pf paper products. I’ve been regaled by my new neighbors of the rats that moved into the neighborhood as a result not only of my house’s former occupant, but also because he had at least two other neighbors that shared his sentiments about the value of ancient paper and magazines dated decades earlier along with various mechanical detritus. Those houses, including mine, are now cleared and emptied and restored to some degree of gentility. But the hoarder spirit lives on. At least at my house.

I have at least 15 cardboard boxes taking up residence at my new house, most filled with clean newsprint used as packing paper. This is a noticeable improvement as last week I dragged roughly 15 similar boxes filled to capacity with either newsprint of garbage to the end of my driveway. That activity took nearly 45 minutes in the dead of night that is roughly 6:30 pm this time of year and further assaulted my red, cracked and nearly bleeding hands, already beaten up by cutting through and unloading these very same cardboard boxes. I hate cardboard. I hated it before, and now I hate it even more. The sound and feel of it is akin to nails on a chalkboard for me. Even writing this caused a little shiver to go up my spine.

The only reason I still have these boxes in my house is because I sincerely do not want my new trash guy to hate me. So, I’ll drag them out again next week, and so on, until they are finally all gone. I estimate that could happen around February, 2022. I hope I’m not being too optimistic.

Soooo many boxes.

So, I think my new house feels very at home with me. I’m getting good vibes. This, despite the fact that after not quite two weeks here the furnace controller decided to commit a kamikaze mission, leading to a day or so of loud clanking noises, some fumes and black soot in a closet in which I thankfully had placed only a solo box. It pays sometimes to procrastinate on tasks like unpacking.

However, I cannot procrastinate much longer on obtaining some income. Moving is expensive. I haven’t even begun to do the interior layout design and furniture shopping I need to do. That will get put off for a while. And I’m fine eating at my desk for a while longer since I’ve been doing it since last February when my dining room table and chairs were placed in a storage unit where they presently remain. Eating standing up aids in digestion, I’m almost sure.

Today I did a zoom meeting and a recorded video for various potential job positions. Apparently this is the new normal. I still think it would be easier to explain in person why I want to work at a low level or entry position job despite what has been called by one dismayed potential employer as my “impressive” resume. I don’t need a “career,” I don’t want to climb any ladders, I don’t want to break any ceilings, glass or otherwise; I just want to do something that I don’t have to bring home and fret about and that will allow me to buy groceries and dog food, pay agility trial fees, and pay my utilities. Especially that last. I haven’t bought oil for an oil furnace in over 25 years. Little bit of sticker shock last week when I filled my nearly empty tank. Although, really filling up the The Living Room on Wheels for this weekend’s road trip should have been a major clue. I’m told oil is efficient. I hope so. I have an elderly dog that likes to be warm and a winter to get through.

The dogs now realize we live in a different place. The transition has been especially difficult on Youke, although Rhys too is a worrier. As a result of a bigger yard, I’ve now realized that Youke is almost completely deaf, and that Brady isn’t far behind. Youke also doesn’t see well at night. And if I’m not within hearing or seeing distance, even if I’m literally right behind him, Youke starts to panic. The move and the transition involved has triggered separation anxiety in Youke that I haven’t seen seen since he was a puppy. I’m hoping that as he adapts to this house and our new normal – which as of yet isn’t defined, and is therein a bit of an issue until it is – he’ll panic less.

The dogs do approve of their new yard, as well as of their new neighbor who regularly comes to the fence line to see them. Youke very much approves of the spiffy heat vents. and Brady and Rhys very much approve of all the windows, including the one in the guest bedroom where they can conveniently lay on the guest bed and stare across the way into the neighbor’s house, as well as onto the street, spying for UPS, Fed-Ex and USPS trucks – all of which Brady hates with a passion. Sometimes I close to the door to that room. I did warn my neighbor that the staring eyes she may feel actually belong to a nearly 12 year old red border collie who is more interested really in the vehicles that come to her driveway and not what she may or may not be wearing. Although with Brady, one can never be sure. Just saying.

The dogs also are getting used to having people come to visit. I’m quite amazed really in how quickly they are adapting to having company. I think of my dogs as rude, untamed little heathens with no manners. This is mostly true, but they are showing that they can rein it in and pretend like they are mostly polite. Except for Rhys. Rhys, never above checking out a counter for food, has now become blatant in his efforts and shows no shame, even if that means he is on his hind legs with his front paws on the counter right beside you as you prepare a tasty meat product for dinner, his head tilted upward to ask helpfully if you need a taster, drool sparkling in the kitchen lights.

Rhys also enjoys being on furniture and dragging my slippers around.

Today, I remained unshowered, despite a friend coming to visit, I’m as of yet still unemployed, and the dogs were mellow. We’re all recovering from a cold agility weekend.

Due to my move, instead of driving back and forth from home, I had to take a ferry, drive and stay at the trial location. It was great fun, Camm and Brady had some gobsmacking runs, but the days were long and as a trial secretary I couldn’t be with my dogs as much as I’d normally like, and it was cold. I worried the entire weekend about how cold the dogs were, especially Youke and Brady.

Despite my concern, Brady had one of the best trials he’s had in a while, if barking at me a great deal and spinning because he can’t hear me, constitutes a good trial. There was a redeeming moment on one course where he started to turn in to me and bark, then realized that my body cues were actually providing the correct information. He then just woofed during the entire course offering some kind of dottering old man complaint as old men are sometimes wont to do. Not that I can’t use improvement myself, but I am the handler he trained and sometimes I do good stuff.

On the other hand, Camm, in her usual style, and cold be damned, was nonplussed about recent changes and decided to run agility in typical Camm fashion. This meant we either went up in flames, or we incinerated courses, but in the best possible way. In fact, despite being a very cold Sunday, Camm had a run where I was truly surprised not to see burning ash and hot embers from her tracks. It was a thing of beauty, and for a recently turned 10 year old dog, stunningly fast at six yards per second on a standard course. We followed that up with a disastrous run of miscommunications – by which I mean Camm decided which way the course went before I even took her leash off. Camm would like to tell a judge or two about her ideas for course design. We were back in sync for the last run of the day which was a pleasant surprise given that I just wanted to be done at that point. Maybe Camm did too. It was her fastest run of the weekend.

I just can’t get upset about either Brady or Camm as the one is often right and the other simply makes me laugh with her certainty and ornery attitude. Plus, they try with a handler that isn’t always all there for them, but at least I try.

Rhys though. Ugh. Almost five years old and still higher than a kite in a competition ring. If I’m analytical, there were many good things. But I’m human and my human brain tried to focus itself on one particularly not so good attempt at a run ( I was attempting, Rhys wasn’t even). Still, I’m proud that after I got over being super pissed because he’s got talent, does marvelous things in training with The Relationship Counselor, should know these things by now, is almost five years old, yada, yada, yada and all the things our human brain tells us, I regrouped and broke the last course down into small reward-able bits. I’m hopeful that now that I will be able to access regular practice sessions in a low key environment, maybe we can better build on the great foundation he has and the fantastic athletic ability he is capable of and that I can actually utilize the handling skills I’ve been taught instead of being held hostage by his antics.

Funny how for years I’ve had the goal of getting a championship on my dogs by the time they are roughly 10 years old. Not multiple championships. Just a championship of some sort and just one was fine. I’m drawn to a certain type of dog and consistent performance bores me. With Rhys, I’d really like to have a Novice title of some sort, from any venue, by the time he’s 10 years old. While this seems superficial and against my philosophy of not being all about qualifying scores, it would mean that we actually ran an entire course as it was designed, clean, and at least on three different occasions. This seems reasonable to me.

Showering, employment, and goals are all on adjustable timelines.

Eh. Timelines are way overrated.

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