Lead Balloon

Coffee Consumption
October 17, 2006, 12:58 am
Filed under: Uncategorized

This weekend, Todd and I bought a dining room table and chairs, and I LOVE them. We’ve been shopping for a table for a while now – when we’d find “just the right one”, it’d be way too expensive. Then we’d find one that “would do”, and I wouldn’t love it. When I’d just about settled on one, and I use “settled” in several contexts there, we decided to go to just a few more stores, and we stumbled across the perfect table. It’s beautiful, made of teak and with beautiful carvings. It’s really “us”, and we love it. We’re not formal, fancy furniture type of folks. We like things rustic and old and beat up a little bit. Character – even if it’s man-made character. We’re willing to admit that.

While we were out shopping, I remembered something that I’ve wanted to rant about on this blog but have never remembered to: teenagers drinking coffee. I can remember when I was a little girl and wanting to drink coffee like my parents and my grandmother. My grandmother would make a pot of coffee and pour it into my tea set and let me “have coffee” with her in the afternoon. On one occasion, I also ate one of her cigarettes – I guess one can want to be grown up a little too much, too soon. The funniest part of that story is that the family actually caught the consumption of the cigarette on video…meaning they didn’t stop me. Let me do it, for some good video action. Thank God their instincts were to take the fingernail polish remover away from me as I was gulping it down instead of rummaging through a closet for the video camera, God only knows what kind of problems I’d have today if I’d consumed all of it. It was pink. And pretty.  Or was that Holly that did that?  Can’t remember.

Anyway – my point is that past childhood, it never occurred to me to get into the kitchen and make a pot of coffee until I was in college and needed it in order to stay up all night to study for an exam or to dance the night away, partying like it was 1999. So I saw all of these teenagers with their Starbucks, middle of the day, and I’m wondering, “Would I have drank coffee if there was a Starbucks around? Does the fact that you can’t pick up a People or Usmagazine without seeing a movie star with a Starbucks cup in hand contribute to the coffee consumption of the teen-aged population?”

I have no idea what the long-term effects are of drinking coffee, or if there will be a correlation to any future widespread health problems of future 50 year-olds for their early adaption of the coffee habit. But it makes me wonder.

Mostly, I’m intrigued by fads. How we succumb to them.  I wonder if these kids ever do head into their parents’ kitchen and make themselves a pot of coffee because they like it, or if they just like it when it comes in a cup with a fancy sleeve and all kinds of Sharpie-marker chicken scratch on the side of it.

I, for one, hate Starbucks coffee. It’s just a personal preference. I find it bitter – and generally too strong. When we run out of coffee and have to run through a Starbucks drive-through (which is insanely convenient) in order to get our “fix” I find myself frustrated because I couldn’t pull it together enough to get my ass to the grocery store to buy my grocery store grade coffee.

It’s such a fad to rant about Starbucks.


The Potty Saga
October 3, 2006, 2:37 pm
Filed under: Uncategorized

I didn’t give birth to my dog, although I love him like I did. Some people say that animals will take on the personalities of their owners, even start to look like them. I’ve found the former to be true with Jack. Sometimes he’s impatient, sometimes he seems a little OCD. He does the cutest things, like rip the eyes off of every “baby” we give him, then pull the stuffing out of their heads. It’s just how he likes them, with floppy heads and no pointless eyeballs. 

I’m digressing. What I sat down this morning to write about is something a little weirder – Jack has the same issues with going potty as I do. Well, not exactly the same. As we all know, I’m very selective about where I go to the bathroom. Yes, there are those issues I have with public restrooms, but now even in my own home, I prefer to go in the guest bathroom over the bathroom in our master bath.  The guest bath is just more “me”.

Back to Jack. Jack’s potty experience began before we adopted him, where he was living and going potty outside whenever he pleased, with a group of other dogs. When I first took him home, I had to house break him, and this took about six months longer than I thought it should have. I blamed it on the fact that I lived in an apartment where I had to take him for a very long walk before we ever reached grass. There was no ‘instant gratification’ for him – when he started sniffing around on the carpet, we immediately ran out the door and started the 8 mile hike down to the grass. Sometimes he made it, sometimes he didn’t.

The next apartment was better. Still upstairs, but there was a quick walk down to the two grassy areas where he could go. He preferred the one that didn’t have the “Pet Waste Station”, in other words he preferred the one where he wasn’t supposed to go. But we got on a schedule, a good one. Todd and I married and he moved in, and between the two of us we had Jack going potty like clockwork. Twice in the morning, twice in the evening.

When we moved into our home we were so excited about the fact that Jack had a yard to play and potty in – even though it’s about the size of a deck of cards, it’s a fenced yard, and it’s his. But Jack wasn’t so excited at first. We had to put him on a leash (just like at the apartment) in order for him to go potty. After a couple of weeks, he weaned himself from the leash and was pottying like mad out there, whenever he pleased, and was enjoying the friends he’d made on the other side of the fence (four horse-sized dogs) as well as some mice that took up residence in some vines that covered the back of our fence.

One note on the mice and the fence – the mice lured Jack into the back yard. He’d stay out there for hours if we let him. He could hear them rumbling through the vines and he’d run back and forth across the length of the fence, trying to catch them. One day a mighty wind blew part of the fence down, and a couple weeks later the entire fence, the vines and all of his little mice friends were removed. A new fence went up, and that pretty much brings us up to date in the Potty Saga.

Jack won’t go potty in the back yard. He goes out onto the patio, and will walk to the very edge of it and look into the yard, with a look of fear on his face.  Todd and/or I will walk into the yard and lure him out there, and sometimes (if a treat is involved!) he will go. If he hears the horse-dogs in the back rumbling, sometimes he will run straight into the yard to sniff them through the fence, and hike his leg and pee while he’s chatting with them. Sometimes, he’ll go #2 in the flower bed. Never in the yard.

This morning went like many mornings have over the past couple of weeks. With my morning coffee, I spent 20 minutes outside with him, with a treat in my hand, trying to lure him into the grass to go potty. Didn’t work. As we were leaving for work, Todd and I both went outside (treat in hand again!) to stand with him and annoyingly repeat, “Potty outside, Jack! Potty outside!” No such luck.  The minute we open the fence or the front door and let him into the front yard, he immediately runs out, hikes his leg and pees for about an hour and a half. Also some #2 action. Quick and easy.

I’ve mentioned before, we can’t allow him to go potty in the front yard for a few reasons.

1 – There’s no fence, he could run into the street and I can’t even finish the sentence with the words that explain what could happen to him

2 – It kills the grass

3 – Our property line is so close to our neighbor’s on that side that if he’s pottying in our front yard, it’s likely also in the neighbor’s front yard.

I should also mention that I felt a wet spot on the rug in my living room the other day – I’m afraid he might be relieving himself in some very inconspicuous spots inside the house.

So this is my plea for help. Those of you out there with dogs – has this ever happened to you? Are there any suggestions for what we can do to fix this situation, or are there any ideas out there as to why he might be refusing to go in the back yard?  So far, I’ve only come up with this:

– Something in the back yard scared him. Maybe he saw a snake. Maybe a bird swooped down and gave him a big peck on the head.

– He misses the mice – doesn’t like the back yard without them (replacing the mice is not an option). Maybe he thinks that if mommy and daddy can get rid of the mice, they can get rid of him. 

– The grass is greener and prettier in the front yard. Maybe he’s a grass elitist?

– We need to try putting him back on the leash to go potty

I’m open to any suggestions you have.