Monthly Archives: February 2010

A welcome stranger

Call it karma, fate or divine intervention –  no matter the name, someone is really making things happen.

The kids and I said good-bye to our dear Bridget, a 9-year-old Newfoundland, in July. Arthritis and finally cancer had made our happy pet live a life filled with pain and we couldn’t watch her suffer.

Max, the Lab/Border Collie mix that grew up with Bridget, had a difficult time adjusting. He’s become my shadow, never leaving my side when I am at home. He begs for food more, and is more destructive when we are gone (I’ll be replacing my back door this spring).

I’d been thinking of getting him – more than us – another dog, but what? We’re not “little dog” people, but are we really ready for another big dog? What if we were to skip the “giant” breeds and go to “large,” like Labs or Shepards?

Then there are all those other issues: Max now gets to ride with us when we go away for the weekend, and with two dogs that wouldn’t be possible; Max has started enjoying being “the only child” and getting spoiled with the extra attention; and there’s always the financial issue, I’m saving close to $20 each month on dog food alone.

Then karma/fate/God intervened.

A neighbor stopped by my house Monday night wondering if I’d lost a big dog. As I was holding Max back, I told him that no, we no longer had anyone other than Max. He proceeded to tell me a large dog, “I mean Great Dane big!”, had showed up at his house earlier that day and wouldn’t leave.

This neighbor and his wife and young son live with his parents and another sibling in a small house around the corner. They already have three small dogs, “and we really can’t take in another dog – and this one’s too big for me to know what to do with.”

Without thinking, I said, “Go get him.”

As I watched him walking the dog to my house, my eyes began to well up. I called the kids into the kitchen so they could see.

My neighbor was bringing us a young Newfoundland.

I was surprised at the dog’s appearance. It was well-groomed, happy, healthy and had a collar. Someone was missing this dog.

I set about making phone calls – the sheriff’s office, the nearby veterinarian, neighbors – and e-mailed a friend on the Cedar Valley Humane Society’s board. The next morning, complete with migraine, I made a few more calls. I talked to someone at the Humane Society who told me that yes, they did have a lost dog report that matched the animal in my home.

I called both the cell and home  numbers and at 4:30 that afternoon I got the call. The owner, in tears, told me she never thought she’d see her dog again. About an hour later she and her husband were there to pick up the Newfoundland now known as “Bear.”

I think we’re ready now to welcome another giant breed into our home. My son, when he first saw Bear, said to me, “What are the odds that another Newfoundland would find us in Coggon?”

What are the odds, indeed.

This weekend we meet a female Newfie whose family moved to the city and can’t keep her. She and Max will ultimately decide whether this is going to be a transition that will work.

I’m really hoping it does.

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Mars and Venus collide yet again

As if we needed further proof, I was hit with yet another sign that men and women really do come from different planets.

I got a phone call Monday from a friend — a male friend — who wanted some advice. He and I are both single and have recently decided to kind of “help each other out” when it comes to finding someone (we’re a mess when it comes to dating each other, but are finding out that the friend thing really does work for us).

This friend had met a woman and went out on a date on Sunday, then met for lunch or some such thing Monday. During the lunch this woman apparently threw up some pretty strong “red flags” which made my friend decide he’s not interested in pursuing the relationship any longer.

He initially asked my opinion on one of the red flags, and I agreed with his decision. But the advice came to be about an invitation to the woman’s birthday celebration with friends, to which he was invited. He said he planned to go, then let her down easy.

I said, “Bad idea.”

His thought was that he didn’t want to ruin her birthday and would go and “be nice.” My thoughts were that birthdays were special days and, since all of her friends would be there, he would be kind of “meeting the family” and implying that he was happy to share her special day with her.

He wasn’t convinced – not nearly as much as he’s convinced my take on relationships can sometimes be neurotic and angst-ridden.

So, without his knowledge, I conducted a short poll among my female friends. What advice would they give? I sent an e-mail out to 25 friends of all ages, walks of life, marital status, etc. Of the 12 responses I got back ALL of them were against his going to the party.

Then I told him of the poll and emailed him a copy of the answers – with everyone’s name removed. His response? “Thanks for the poll. I get the message!”

It’s just another insight, really, in why relationships can be so difficult – his thoughts on the party were valid and understandable, but as women, we knew how we would interpret his presence. And the two opinions had completely opposite outcomes.

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Women really ARE hard to understand

For years I’ve listened to men joke about how difficult women are to understand. No we’re not, I’d think. All you have to do is pay attention.

Today, I started to see the light.

I’ve blogged about this before, on my Losing It blog: reality slapped me in the face this week and I’ve discovered/realized that I’ve not just gained “a little bit of weight.” I’ve officially gained back half of the 115 pounds I lost with my divorce. Ugh.

I was talking to my mother about it earlier today, and I told her I was a little upset with her for not having mentioned it to me. “Could you have at least said, ‘Hey …?'”

And then it hit me. Would I have really wanted my mom, or my best friend, or my sister, or anyone to tell me, “Hey, you should really think about losing some weight.”

I’m not sure.

On the one hand, it would have been nice to have someone agree with me when I said, “Wow. I can’t believe I’m gaining so much weight,” rather than say things like, “No, you look fine,” or “Really? You don’t look like you’ve gained weight.”

But is that something we really want to hear? We tell ourselves that yes, we would want our mothers or best friends to let us know, but when it really comes down to it, do we? How would I react if I was sitting at dinner with my best friends and, when the waiter took our order, my friends looked at me and said, “Do you really think you should get the chimichanga? I’m thinking the chicken fajitas would be better – without the tortilla.”

To say I wouldn’t react very well is a bit of an understatement.

So, dear guys and men, maybe you do indeed have a point. Maybe we really are a little hard to understand.

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