Saturday, August 14, 2010

Neighbors - Ya Gotta Hate 'em

The clock is creeping toward midnight. I can't sleep. The drumbeat coming from next door is like the tell-tale heart, slowly driving me nuts. Even with all the windows shut, the air condition running and earplugs stuffed in my ears, I can hear it.

All summer the neighbors on the north side (renters who moved in last fall) have partied. They have a stereo set up in their garage that they turn up full volume, then retreat to their deck to party. Sometimes it's on the weekend, sometimes it's in the middle of the week. Sometimes it's an all nighter and sometimes it's just for an hour. Monday the music was still blaring at 11:00 p.m. I finally blew up the air mattress and slept in the living room; the only room in the house where I couldn't hear them. Saturday, when the party started after midnight I broke. I called the police. Ten minutes later blissful silence. I haven't heard a peep out of them since.

Now the quiet neighbors on the south side have taken up the challenge. It's almost midnight and they're in the garage with the music full volume and have been reveling since around seven. When I let the dog out, they asked me if the music was too loud. At first I was going to do the Minnesota Nice Thing and lie and say no. Instead I very nicely asked if they could just turn it down a notch. They didn't have to turn it off, just turn it down. The neighbor, who I genuinely like, seemed horrified at the thought that they were being too loud and I could hear her asking her guests to turn it down. Obviously, they didn't listen.

I'm not against partying. They're not a bunch of drunks, they're just having a good time. But I'm not. Maybe I'm getting old, but more than a party these days, I really enjoy a good night's sleep. What ever happened to common courtesy? It seems the more crowded this planet gets, the ruder people get. There's a since of entitlement among people these days. No one has the right to infringe on their rights, but they don't give a damn about how they infringe on yours. The only right I want at the moment is the right to a good night's sleep. But the beat goes on. And on. And on.

Tuesday, March 16, 2010

Driving Miss Crazy

No one can drive me crazier than I can drive myself. It's a more direct route and I get there a lot faster. Take my vacation plans. Please.

Last week I set a new goal for myself. I want to spend my birthday in a more exotic location than Minnesota -- out of the state, out of the country. Doesn't matter. I just want to be somewhere else. Don't even ask how I came to that decision. It's not even one of those landmark birthdays with a zero as the second digit. It sounded like a good idea at the time.

So did taking a Mediterranean cruise. I've never been on a cruise before; never wanted to go on one. Traveling on a ship that's bigger than the ports it visits seemed wrong somehow. I mean, the Mall of America is fun to visit, but the thought of spending two weeks living on its floating counterpart was intimidating. Still, a lot of my friends love 'em and I was warming up to the idea, mostly because it seemed an easy way to see a lot of countries in a short amount of time.

I approached the planning as I do everything. With lots of research. I've been an information junkie since before Al Gore invented the Internet. In the early days, I used the library. Now I have information on every cruise ship in the world at the click of a mouse. I explored itineraries and prices. I read reviews. I learned the personalities of each cruise line. I learned the lingo. I spent every free hour doing my due diligence until I had it narrowed down to two cruise lines.

Not satisfied, I made a quick trip to the library. I picked up a book -- The Unofficial Guide to Cruise Ships-- with the hopes it would help me choose the right cruise line. The book looked harmless enough, but I think it was written by a secret cruise hater. Instead of getting me excited about going on a cruise, it confirmed what I had known all along. Cruising is not for me.

I still want to take that trip. Still want to be gone on my birthday. Now I just have to figure out where and how. Back to the drawing board.

Sunday, January 24, 2010

Training Trixie

Most foster dogs come with at least one behavioral problem. The prevalent challenge among the dogs I've taken care of is that they haven't been properly housebroken. Trixie is one of them. The problem is that Trixie hasn't done anything since she arrived at my house yesterday morning.

I have been watching her like a hawk. When she's in a carpeted room, I'm either playing with her or she's cuddled on the couch next to me. I took her outside every half hour or so but all she did was eat rabbit shit (I rent a space under the garage to an ever growing population of bunnies). Either she's a pro at sneak and pee or else she has one of the largest bladders a dog has ever had. Last night she slept next to my bed in the kennel. Every time she whined I got up and took her outside. Even though I have a fenced in yard, I put her on a leash in a useless attempt to keep the bunny doodoo out of her mouth. That was the only thing we accomplished -- that and a pretty much sleepless night for me.

This morning I took her for a long walk. It resulted in some much needed exercise for me (2,979 steps according to my pedometer) and a very wet dog. She's now regulated to the kitchen where I've spread today's sports page all over the floor. Later, when PetSmart opens I'll buy some puppy biddle pads and hope that works. Keep your fingers crossed

Saturday, January 23, 2010

Remembering Dixie

In a couple of hours I will be meeting Trixie. She's a six-month old cockapoo and she'll be the first dog I've had in my house since my own dog, Dixie, died two weeks ago. I'm thinking it might be a bit too soon to have another dog in the house, but I couldn't say no. It's what I do.

I've been fostering dogs for about four years now and have fallen in love with everyone of them. This will be my first puppy. All of the other dogs I've fostered have been older. Dixie was a senior, going blind and partially deaf and didn't need a playful pal jumping all over her. She must have had some clout in the dog world as each dog I fostered was always respectful of her. Some downright ignored her. Some might try to steal her bed, but always moved out of the way when she came back to claim her space.

So today I'm puppy-proofing the house again and remembering Dixie.