Buster Butt’s Best Friend

If you’d have told me a year ago that Buster Butt would have a new best friend who just happened to be an 80 year old man, I’d have laughed my ass off. But, here we are and this is going to be long. Sorry, not sorry.

Buster Butt absolutely adores Neighbor Frank.

You may know this because we are friends and Facebook (and you actually look at my posts, sometimes.) But I’m not sure most of you realy GROK what this means. It’s huge.

It didn’t happen overnight, but it happened a whole lot quicker than I’d have expected (based on how many times and how long some other people have tried to gain Buster’s trust and affection… cough…Chris… cough…)

In the early days of living here, all of the dogs barked a lot — particularly when people came outside into their own backyards. It took them awhile to settle down and realize that Neighbors Frank and Jackie and Jim (and to a lesser extent Neighbors Caroleanne and Joe) belonged in those spaces. All of the neighbors were immediately kind and understanding. They said things like “They’ll settle down.” and “That’s what they’re supposed to do!” and “They’re the quietest dogs in the neighborhood!” (the latter made us look at each other with both concern and amusement…)

They did settle down, mostly. Especially with Neighbor Frank. They really didn’t bark much at him at all after the first week or so, unless he was wearing a weird hat or carrying a stick. Even Buster was pretty chill, though he did continue to bark the longest when first seeing (or scenting… the scenting becomes important in a minute…), but he stopped immediately upon realizing it really was just Frank.

Before long, I can’t really remember how long, Neighbor Frank had bought himself a box of Milkbones (he calls them biscuits) and asked politely if he could give them a treat. We said he could, we preferred only one a day because SOME DOGS are CARRYING A LITTLE EXTRA, and told him that Buster probably wouldn’t take a biscuit from him because Buster goes on hunger strikes simply because we move a box or a chair where it does not generally belong. When stranger fear hits, well… no, he would not take a treat from Frank. And he didn’t. Days passed and Frank did not give up. He also didn’t push the issue either.

And suddenly, Buster would take a biscuit from him, through the chain link fence. He’d snatch it fast and run. But every now and then, he’d get spooked and wouldn’t take the biscuit. Frank did not give up. He just kept on chatting with all of the dogs as he wandered around the yard. And every day he’d go into his shed (now called The Biscuit Closet) and get a bone for each dog.

Sure enough, it worked. Buster would take the bone and sit right at the fence and eat it like the other two dogs. And then, Buster was hooked.

He would scent Frank before anyone realized he had come outside and wherever Buster was in the yard (and sometimes even in the house?) he’d go dashing to the fence, tail wagging, and making a whining noise — that’s the “It’s Frank whine!” He wouldn’t let Frank pet him but he would lick his fingers sometimes through the fence. That was a huge deal.

And thank Neighbors Frank and Jackie went to Tennessee for most of the summer. Poor Buster sat right there at the fence every day for hours on end, waiting for Frank. Months passed and he never seemed to give up on the idea that Frank would be back. He barked mightily at any of the neighbors who went into Frank’s yard (to pick fruit or water plants or mow lawns.)

I wasn’t really sure whether Frank might have to start all over again in the wooing of Buster, once they returned in October. But no, Buster barked and he got excited and his tail wagged a mile a minute and he barked some more but he also took that biscuit immediately and has never ever looked back.

Frank is his BEST FRIEND. And lord does Frank love Buster. He loves all of the dogs, he calls them “his dogs.” He bought another type of Milk Bone — the extra large bones because he thought bigger is better! He quickly realized that those are too big for Lola because she’s a tiny thing who doesn’t even really like the bones. And Buster still has some anxiety about this so and won’t gobble down the big bone fast enough. Which means Skeeter was getting most of these big bones for herself and there was some risk of dog fighting over. So Frank went out and bought THREE different sized biscuits. The big ones for Skeeter, the medium for Buster and the small ones for Lola. (And he does indeed occasionally slip Buster an extra biscuit. He thinks we don’t know this. We know this. lol)

If you had told me we would have an 80 year old neighbor who loves these dogs, who buys them the right sized biscuits, who worries over them like they were his kids… well I wouldn’t have believed it. We are so lucky.

Last month, Frank and Jackie went up to Tennessee. They had planned to spend a week in TN then go on a trip to New Orleans with the seniors up there, then go back to TN for a bit before coming home. The plan was for them to be gone for a few weeks.

While they were gone, Buster pined away at the fence. Barking angrily when Joe came over and mowed the lawn and watered the plants. Three weeks is a long ass time for Buster but he didn’t give up and Frank came home. A little early (we’ll get to that…) and Buster was happy. So happy that he didn’t just take the biscuit and wag his tail, he actually stood up at the fence so that Frank could pet him. The look on Frank’s face when this happened… good lord. It was like a kid at Christmas. Buster had never, ever done this. NEVER. Never even considered it.

Frank was thrilled and this was extra good because Frank isn’t feeling well. They cut their vacation short because he ended up in the hospital on his 80th birthday and they felt they needed to come home to be close to his doctors (and they never even got to go to New Orleans.) :-(

A few days later, Frank went to the doctor to discuss this problem he’s having and… we didn’t see him (or Jackie) again for a couple of days. We were very worried. They always come out and take care of their plants. ALWAYS. TW went over and knocked on the door – no answer. We were afraid Frank was in the hospital. So I sent an email to Jackie to see how they were doing. I got the update… They’re fine, right now. Frank has a treatment plan. Frank’s looking at some surgery at the end of the month… and still we didn’t see them. This was very troubling to us and to Buster.

Yesterday, I was out on the deck in the afternoon with the dogs. Buster had moved to the deck after staring at Frank’s house for a half hour. He was sound asleep. The other dogs were also chilling on the deck. I was working on my phone. I looked up for a second and noticed a shadow behind the cedar tree… it was Frank, peeking under the branches of the tree.

The wind was blowing like crazy and BUSTER had not scented him. None of the dogs had. I stood up and started walking toward the edge of the deck and before I made it two steps, Buster realized FRANK WAS THERE. He took off like lightning, leapt over Lola and raced to the fence. The other dogs realized what was going on and tore off after him.

Frank laughed, grabbed their biscuits and talked to them about how much he’d missed them and once again Buster stood up at the fence so that Frank could pet him. Frank said, “You guys are the best company and the best medicine” and I almost kind of cried.

Buster butt loves Neighbor Frank. We all love him. I sure hope he’s our neighbor for many years to come. (Sniff.)

Cleaning House and Doing the Work

An open letter to anyone reading this who supports Donald Trump (who I will refer to from now on as “45” so that I don’t have to type his name again.),

I’ve always been a pretty moderate liberal. I was raised in the south, in a military family. Liberalism wasn’t something I was born to. I’ve occasionally voted for a conservative candidate and I’ve always felt like the way to influence others was to simply make personal connections and model the type of behavior and beliefs you’d like others to adhere to.

I’ve always felt like the “other side” deserved a voice and a platform and I’ve worked hard to give that to them. I’ve been friends with people whose experiences and views varied widely from my own and so long as they weren’t blatantly uncivil or aggressively attacking others, I felt OK about maintaining those relationships.

Quite often, this tactic worked. I’ve had many people tell me that I helped them change their way of thinking and acting simply by being who I was. I’ve had people thank me for sharing points of view and information that they’d never been exposed to because it helped them understand “others” better. I have had people tell me that they did not understand “gay people” until they got to know me and TW and were able to see us as just normal human beings with kids and jobs and dogs and a life that was very much like their own.

Everything should have been fine. Life should have gone on like that. It was good.

Except it was a lie. All of it.

I started noticing it awhile back, I don’t remember exactly when but it’s been in the last couple of years. People I thought I knew well, people I thought were decent human beings who just tended to vote the conservative ticket for fiscal reasons or religious reasons or normal reasons like that were displaying some behaviors and using language that concerned me.

So I started paying closer attention. I watched what those people “liked” on Facebook and what they didn’t “like.” I paid close attention to what they said and how they said it and I began to see the hate underneath.

I started posting more political content. I started stately plainly and clearly that “45” was not a qualified candidate. I stated clearly and plainly that the hatred he was campaigning on was not acceptable. I posted factual story after factual story and some of you got very quiet on my wall. Very quiet indeed.

It became apparent that some of you were actually going to support “45” and that was something that I could not tolerate.

If it had been any other conservative candidate, it might have been possible. But not this candidate.

This candidate is unqualified, in every way, to be president of the country that I love.
This candidate has a temperament that is completely unsuited for the position of president.
This candidate is a misogynist, racist, lying, xenophobe.
This candidate took advantage of your fear and used it against us all.
This candidate took advantage of the anger and hatred in your hearts and he used it to take control of this country.

I cannot and will not ignore this. I cannot pretend that I have any respect for people who supported (45). I cannot pretend like I have any desire to find common ground with any of you.

There is no common ground to be found.

You supported a candidate who has pledged to destroy every single thing I believe in. You supported hatred and racism and sexism and homophobia. You supported a candidate who is not qualified for the position.

I started unfriending people on Facebook, shortly before the election and have continued to do so every day. I’m sure I’ll be unfriending more of you. Luckily, I don’t see many of you face to face very often — but should that happen, we won’t be having a drink, I won’t be buying you coffee, and we won’t hang out reminiscing about days gone by.

I choose not to have relationships with people who support the calls for violence that occurred during “45’s” campaign. I choose not to have relationships with people who bought into the promises of “45” that will harm women, lgbt, minorities across the board and people who aren’t Christian.

Some of you were friends from school Some of you were friends from online message boards 20 years ago. Some of you were friends from work. Some of you are my family,

There are a million things I can do to make a difference in the lives of those who are in danger because of your votes. There are a million things I may have to do to keep myself and my children safe because of your votes. There are a million things I can do to make sure no president is ever elected by running a campaign based on hatred, ever again. And, I’m going to do those things.

The time I spent chatting with you on Facebook or playing Words With Friends with you or texting you or reading your blogs or being there for you when you needed someone .. that time will be spent on people who care about me, my partner, my children and the people of this country that you so blatantly threw into the fire with your votes.

I’ll miss you. Some of you terribly so.

If you ever come to understand just why I’m so angry and why you made such a horrendous choice for this country, I’d be happy to have a one on one conversation with you. But until then, I’m out. I have work to do.

#fake

I wrote this a long time ago, on BlogHer, and since the formatting is broken and the content type isn’t one that’s used any longer, I decided to republish it here. People still ask about the history of “#fakecat” and “#fakehusband” and it’s so much faster to just point them to a post than to try and explain it.”

Lots of people are wondering why @sassymonkey’s husband is called the fake husband (or #fakehusband, since hashtags became a thing.) Since I’m the one who started this madness, I should be the one to explain it.

It’s a long and complicated story and it’s a bit of a joke. It’s also not something you should feel left out for not knowing. So, now you’re going to know.

Way back, years and years ago, @sassymonkey started talking about a cat. Her cat. Her cat named Piper. She talked about this cat constantly. She was beginning to sound like a crazy cat kid (not lady because lord, she was young back then.) She talked about this cat on message boards, on blogs, and possibly in chat rooms.

Some of us (me) asked to see photos of this cat that we heard so much about. No photos appeared. No photos appeared. No photos appeared. Thus… fake cat. She was LYING about this cat just because, well, just because people online sometimes lie about stuff. I know, shocking, right?

Finally, after YEARS and YEARS of hearing about this fake cat, she produced a picture or two. Well ya know, anyone can find a picture or two of a cat. We (I) was sure this was just some fake cat she’d made up and found photos of. No matter that she has since produced dozens and hundreds of pictures of aforementioned fake cat, and some video. The cat remains fake. Once fake – always fake.

Flash forward a few years and suddenly, @sassymonkey starts spewing stories about going away. On vacation. To foreign countries that aren’t Canada or the US with some man. Named “L”… who eventually became “Lee.”

Well ya know, people make this stuff up all of the time on the internets. And who in their right mind goes on vacation, to foreign countries, with a man named Lee who she’d never met before the day she told us about this trip? Because lord knows, if she had not told us (me!) about this man before announcing this trip, he was not freaking real.

Again, she is making this stuff UP. No matter that there were photos of @sassymonkey with a man in foreign countries. You can get a guy to do anything, pretty easily, when you’re a woman like @sassymonkey (or any woman actually.) So… this man, obviously a FAKE boyfriend.

And when they bowed to the freaking patriarchy and tried to kill me… he became the FAKE husband (#fakehusband.) And so he shall remain. Once a fake, always a fake. If she starts spouting stories about fake kids… well that might really kill me. But they’ll always be fake, no doubt about it.

Pinterest Frustration

Like all new social media platforms, I joined Pinterest without really thinking about how I might use it, whether I might use it for the rest of my life and whether I was going to find myself with a mess if the darn thing took off like wildfire and became the next big thing that STICKS.

So, years have passed and Pinterest is a thing. A thing that should be used. Properly. Or at least in a way that makes a little bit of damn sense. Having not enough boards or the wrong boards has been making me CRAZY so I finally decided that I either needed to FIX it or STOP USING IT and since I obviously can’t stop using it, I’m fixing it.

I’m making new boards. Deleting old boards. Moving pins to the proper places. Getting rid of pins to dead content or pins that I don’t even understand why they were pinned to my account in the first effing place. What was I thinking?

I started out saying I’d spend 30 minutes a day on Pinterest, fixing my damn account. But after 15 minutes this morning, I was feeling a lot of anxiety. I don’t really LIKE Pinterest, lol. So I’ve decided forget that 30 minutes a day, I’ll just do 15 minutes. I can handle 15 minutes and when it’s all fixed — I’ll feel better about Pinterest. Right? RIGHT!

Do you have boards that make sense? Do you have too many, not enough or just the right number of boards? Do you tidy your Pinterest account regularly or just pin and forget about it?

Zentangle Artist!

I made a contribution to Laurel’s GoFundMe project and she sent me this awesome bookmark!

It arrived right after we got back from #BlogHerFood and every morning I told myself I was going to take a photo and thank her properly and blog about it.

And every afternoon, I collapsed into my bed without having done so.

I love it. It’s beautiful. Thank you Laurel! I hope you make your goal and become a Certified Zentangle Teacher! Your work is fabulous and I’m proud to own a piece of it.

People Are Unreasonable

We went to Target this morning, just to grab some of the Christmas clearance stuff — and found ourselves with an overflowing cart. This is why we don’t go to Target very often and why we never go with a vague list of what we are looking for.

But that’s not what this post is about.

This post is about the woman checking out in front of us. She had a ton of 90% off Christmas clearance stuff and she really flustered the cashier — when something didn’t ring up 90% off, she SWORE it was in the Christmas clearance area and so he kept having to over-ride the price. A couple of times I was tempted to say — no, it was in the area that they are beginning to stock NEXT to the clearance area… but I kept quiet.

She also kept taking things off of the belt saying she’d gotten more than she needed. Sometimes after he’d already scanned some, so she kept asking him to make sure that he’d scanned only the number of items that she really wanted. She was a mess. Really.

At the end, he totaled her up and she insisted he had rung up the wrong price for one item or maybe he had rung an extra one up… he tried to get back to the list of items rung up and… lost the entire thing. Poof. Empty.

The cashier called for help… but no, there was nothing that could be done. The woman was livid. She didn’t have time for this… the floor person (where’s Michelle to tell me what these people are called) offered to ring it all up and have her come back later and just pick it up and pay for it at her convenience. No, she lives a half hour away and did not want to come back.

She decided they should just ring up one item at whatever she believed her total was… $74 and change, though the last total I saw was $89.67 but whatever… the guy said, no I don’t think we can do that. We need a record of exactly what you bought… she asked to speak to the manager.

The dude called the manager, explained what happened, asked if they could just ring up one item… while they waited for the manager to find out if there was a way to retrieve the entire order, the guy said we can offer you a percentage off of this order if we have to ring it all over again.

The woman said fine. I want something for this inconvenience!

The manager came back and said no, we have to ring it all up because we have to know exactly what was sold — and I was saying, “DUH”…

The woman said WELL I DON’T HAVE TIME FOR THIS AND I WANT SOMETHING FOR THIS INCONVENIENCE! and she started to pull items out of the cart back onto the belt.

At which point I said, is it possible for you to re-ring this at customer service since you’ve already held this line for a half hour? The guy said, yes — of course, you’re right, we’ll move to an empty aisle at which point the woman yelled, “FINE BUT I WANT SOMETHING FOR THIS!” as she walked away fuming.

Who would ever believe that you could just ring up some random item for some random amount of money and let someone walk out of the store with hundreds of things. They have an inventory to deal with, ya know? And if she hadn’t been such a butt about her order in the first place, the cashier probably wouldn’t have gotten flustered and hit the wrong darn key and she’d have been out of there in a decent amount of time rather than adding 20 minutes for ranting on top of re-ringing her entire order.

They do not pay those poor Target employees enough to deal with asshole customers — don’t be an asshole at checkout, ‘k?

You Don’t Suck

I took the girls to Michaels today — a little Christmas shopping, just the three of us. If I hadn’t had to force the child to get out of bed at 1:45 and hadn’t had to listen to her gripe about having to SEE PEOPLE when she didn’t want to SEE PEOPLE, I’d have turned around and gone right back home when I saw the parking lot. MADHOUSE, just in the parking lot. I’m not used to that. Normally when we go to Michaels, it’s pretty much empty. Darn holiday season.

But no, I braved it and by the third aisle I was pretty sure they were going to kick us out. The girls were… wound UP. They were those kids people talk about. The out of control, loud, touching everything, getting in everyone’s way kind of kids. And they’re TEENAGERS. Hell, one of them is an actual ADULT who can VOTE for godsake.

Some people glared. Some people stared. Some people grumbled. I couldn’t really blame them because OMG they were out of control.

But some people were nice. Particularly the man and woman in front of us in line. And we were in line for a really long time because there were cash register problems. I really appreciate nice people who don’t suck. Elly calls that woman my new BFF because she was so nice.

I sure hope I see more nice people who don’t suck this holiday season — she made my day. Go out there and be the nice person who doesn’t suck and make someone’s day!

Those Who Give Good Email…

I’m a bit of an inbox zero fanatic. I do not like an inbox full of unanswered, untended email. I don’t like a bunch of folders with untended, unanswered email either. I must answer my email ASAP or I cannot function. Which means I provide pretty darn good customer service, if I do say so myself. (I do say so — but others say it too, and I appreciate it when they do.)

I’m not super hard on people who aren’t as OCD about their inboxes but I do expect you to answer my doggone email in a reasonable amount of time. And when that happens, I’m very very very pleased. There’s nothing worse than asking someone a question via email and then NEVER. GETTING. AN. ANSWER. Or getting an answer three days too late. I hate that.

In the last few days I’ve had some pretty darn good luck with getting answers to my email from a variety of companies/individuals who I didn’t really expect to answer me quickly.

Alisa Burke — answered in a very timely manner and made my week.

ibotta — answered so quickly I barely had time to read a page in my book before I had the answer AND A SOLUTION to my problem.

SugarSNAP — I was a little afraid that it would take a long time to get an answer and it would be too late by the time it came. But nope, a great answer landed in my inbox within just an hour or so and that was perfect. I couldn’t have asked for more.

Thank you to all of the people who answer email quickly and efficiently. I appreciate each and every one of you.

Now I’m off to empty out my inbox for the evening.

What Would I Do Without My Awesome Library?

Seriously. What would I do? I cannot imagine what my life would be like if I didn’t have my library. I’ve read about 200 books already this year, from my library, and TW’s probably read twice that many. TW’s mom has probably also read twice that many. Yes, there was some crossover between the books I read and the books TW read but still… that’s hundreds and hundreds of books that we would never be able to afford to buy — even on Kindle.

I don’t know how people who don’t use their library manage. Do they really have that much money to spend on books? Or do they just not read? Both things kind of freak me out, ya know?

You and you and also you….

Today’s prompt is “a person who lifts you up” — a person. Impossible.

Certainly I could talk about JMP all day. It just takes a silly photo or an update from his mom to make my day. But it’s also TW who’s always been able to lift me with a tree joke or a mint on my pillow or topping off my coffee at just the right moment.

Or my kids, who even when I’m sure they’re trying to see which one of them can make me nuts the fastest, are also the ones who make my day every single day. Or my parents, who always seem to call me or text me on the very same day (still).

Or the people I work with who can make me laugh when there’s really not much to laugh about. Or the bloggers I’ve met and those I’ve never met who make my life better with their words and their photos and their desire to make connections and share their lives with me (with all of us.)

One person who lifts me up — impossible. I’m grateful for all of you.