Friday, May 27, 2011


I. Am. Frustrated.

You could probably tell that from my post title.

Seriously, though, I am frustrated.

And it's not just one thing or another. It feels like it's everything.

The dog. The apartment. Work. Finances. The only things that aren't frustrating me right now are my relationship and writing, for which I'm profoundly grateful.

The dog, though...these last couple of days have been really rough with him. A few days ago he twisted his foot, and while we think he's fine, sometimes it looks like he favors it a little. I don't want to make it worse if there is something wrong with it, but I also need to make sure that he's exercised enough before I leave him to go to work. This was thrown into sharp relief the other day when I arrived home to find the apartment quite literally torn apart.

Torn. Apart.

Garbage all over the kitchen floor, things pulled off the table, the cat scratcher utterly destroyed, at least five cardboard boxes shredded and the pieces scattered to the four winds...I've never seen anything like it. I mean, I expected to encounter something like this, having a puppy and everything, but he's close to a year old, hadn't shown any particular tendencies towards this kind of thing before, and I thought he'd do most of his acting out while he was still adjusting to us. But now he's adjusted, and the acting out has begun. I really don't know what we're doing wrong, but he seriously has all kinds of attitudes going on right now. He's still mostly very good, but we can't get him to stop pulling on walks with the three of us (he's fine when it's just Nate or I with him), and he will not listen when I tell him that he has to wait to go in or out of doors. He absolutely insists on going first, which means that he thinks he's in charge, but...I don't know. I really don't.

He's also identified me as the "weaker" one, which I hate. I got so mad today when we went outside - he caught me by surprise and dragged me through the entryway instead of letting me go first. But the entryway has this stupid concrete step, so of course I tripped and almost bashed my head in on the pavement. I rolled him, though, and he submitted, but damn. I was absolutely furious, and worse, stressed because I only had so much time before work and had several errands to run. It made me not even want to take him to the field. He was pretty good from then on, though, so...I suppose I'm glad I did.

He's kept us so busy, though, that we've been too tired to really work on unpacking and organizing the apartment, which has built up this steady layer of grime (half figuratively, half literally, unfortunately) over the last week. I did some cleaning last night, but it barely made a dent. I hate being in there. I can't think, can't write, can't even relax. The mountain of clothes in the bedroom has gotten worse, not better. The kitchen is awkward and makes doing dishes utterly suck. It's just...AGH. AGH, AGH, AGH.

That felt good.

How do you keep a dog from controlling your life while still giving it the attention and exercise it needs?

At least it's a three-day weekend.

Friday, May 13, 2011

Deleted post, frustration, agh.

I wrote about half of an entry yesterday and saved it as a draft, and it's been deleted by the Blogger outage. Oh well.

I guess I'm just sort of frustrated right now. I feel like there's a ton of things going on, and a ton of things that I should be aware of and keeping track of, and I just can't do it. So I'm going to make a list.

1. Sarah's going to be home for a week, and she and my parents will probably be coming to Winona to visit. This is great and everything, but the apartment is a mess, not everything has been moved in, and Nate rolled his ankle last night on our run, so I really can't move the big things too well by myself. But the dishes need to be done, the floor needs to be mopped, we've got a ton of laundry to take of, and I know that no matter what I do, there's still going to be some kind of a mess when they get there. And I'm just not up for being judged on that right now.

2. Work. I have a few forms that I keep putting off filling out (401K, ahem, making investment decisions is haaaard), and I need to do them this afternoon. Or else. Also, having this job split between two receptionists is making for all kinds of miscommunications, and since the other girl is super take-charge and keeps leaving me annoying notes, I'm getting a bit peeved. She's also getting morning training that I'm not, which means that while it may not been good that she still needs someone to sit with her, I'm also getting left out of the loop on some things. That's not really how I want to start this job out. We should always be on an equal footing.

3. Bills. My brain just sort of shuts down when I think about them, like avoiding them will make them go away. I know this isn't the case, so why do I keep doing it? Not having internet isn't helping, either. I really, really need to get these taken care of. I also have a check from the coffee shop that I haven't deposited, because I'm not even sure WHICH bill I need to pay with it. I worked out yesterday that if I only work 15 hours a week at BG, I'll make enough to nominally cover my bills, even if I have nothing left over. Problem is, I'm not even getting that many hours right now. And if I pick up another job, the puppy is going to have to spend more time by himself (we're trying to keep it at three hours or less a day, until his separation anxiety wears off).

4. The puppy. God, I just love him so much. But he's messy, horny, and hates it when either of us leaves, which is adorable when he's just tracking us around the apartment, but worrying if I have to tie him up outside for a few minutes or go to work. The other morning I left him outside of McDonalds for like, three minutes, and he got himself so badly tangled in his leash that it started to choke him. So I had this screaming puppy twisting around, and I couldn't get at the knot because he was so scared he was snapping, and it was only sheer luck that he managed to flip over and right himself. It was terrifying. I never want to see anything like that ever again. I mean, seriously, I'm still not over how badly that scared me.

That walk was actually just really interesting overall. I was able to calm him after that incident with some bacon and hash browns (I know, feeding your dog McDonalds is bad. But it did make him feel better, and that's all I cared about), and we went down to the levee to sit for a few minutes. While we were there, though, I was approached by this guy in his middle ages. I had been watching him because he was walking down below us, and I wasn't too thrilled when he came up and started walking towards me, but I wasn't actually worried - or if I was, I wasn't hiding it too well, because Samson was having none of it. He stopped the guy about ten feet away from me, and wouldn't let him near. And damn, that pup can bark. The guy literally backed away with his hands up. I'm not going to lie, though - I didn't feel too bad about it. In fact, it was actually pretty cool. Even if he didn't mean any harm, I really don't need strange men approaching me when I'm in an isolated area.

I don't know if it's a terribly insecure or bad thing for me to like about having a dog - especially a fairly protective German Shepherd - but I do. I really like it. I can walk comfortably around town at night, absolutely secure in the fact that this dog actually cares about who's approaching me. And at this point, he's met and been really, really good with so many other people and dogs that if he decides that someone is a threat, I'm not going to argue with him unless I know for a fact that they're not. It does mean that I have to make an effort to control my anxiety, because he'll pick up on it more and more the longer he lives with us, but he's also very soothing for it. We even brought him to Ed's the other night (they allow well-behaved dogs in the bar. How cool is that?), and I was able to comfortably socialize for about three hours. It was pretty great.

So anyway, I'm going to go fill out those bank forms I've been putting off, and then check out the summer NaNo program. (Which, btw, I am SO EXCITED about. A summer writing boost is EXACTLY what we need!)

Wednesday, May 11, 2011

Short entry, possibly expanded later.

Okay, the coding is all effed up, so Sam is just going to have to hang out up here. I ramble on about him further down.

Since I'm at work, I'm going to have to keep this short (there aren't any projects for me right now, and I've read all of the training manuals at least twice, so...not much to do. I guess banks are slow mid-week, so there aren't even very many calls coming in. Not complaining.)

Lots and lots and lots of things have happened over the last couple of months. I've had these periods of extreme business, where there was so much going on that I just couldn't keep track of everything (note to self: go over your bills, goddammit), and some times where things were quiet, and I was even able to teeter on the edge of boredom. Not often, though, because the time when I wasn't working was incredibly relaxing. In a somewhat uncomfortable way, given that I was living out of several boxes and the cat was miserable, but still, relaxing. Now, with the second move mostly finished, it looks like I might even be able to get a routine going, though the puppy will probably take some getting used to.

I'm really bad at transitions, which is one of the reasons I haven't been online much (the other internet. Still. And for the first few weeks, no laptop). If my world feels out of control, I've found that it's really hard for me to want to engage in the online one at all. But that's definitely getting better.

Anyway, the puppy. The Puppy. THE PUPPY.

If I weren't in a large, echoey bank, I'd totally be squeeing right now. I'm still that excited.

I mean, I've never had a puppy of my own! I know he's not technically "my own", since he's Nate's, too, but...I've never even held shares in the having-of-a-puppy. I never had much to do with my parents' horrible old lhasa apso, and I've helped take care of other dogs, but this one is mine! I'm a primary caretaker! It's so exciting!

He's not a young puppy - more like an adolescent. At almost eleven months, he's nearly full-grown, which I actually think kind of rocks, as it means that we don't have to deal with the teething stage or anything. I would have been happier if he had come to us neutered, but it's just something we'll have to do. I'd rather have him unneutered than not have him at all, is what I'm saying. His...ahem, "red rocket" pretty horrifying, though, and he's just getting to the stage where he's started trying to hump things. Mostly Nate, which is hilarious. Our dog might very well be bisexual. It's okay, I love him just as much.

He's a purebred White German Shepherd, and he's gorgeous. He has one floppy ear that just cracks us up, and it gives him the dopeyest expression when he's happy or confused. It also means that he's much more approachable than GSDs usually are - apparently the whites tend to not have the right temperaments for police or military work, so people don't associate them with, you know, 275 psi of terrifying jaw power. Still, though, I've noticed that on the street, people do approach pretty respectfully and ask before they pet him. I really like that, and it's good for my people skills, too, as conversation goes pretty easily when you're talking about a dog.

The adoption process was...well, it certainly wasn't anything like getting Juniper, with the application and whatnot. We found Samson on Craigslist, and since the ad was intriguing, we called up to get some info. Well, "some info" turned into "nearly half an hour of talking to the owner", which then turned into, "can we come see him tomorrow", which turned into an entire evening of chilling with the family, which turned into us driving home with a seventy-pound german shepherd sticking his head out the back window of the car. Yeah. It was that fast. But everything just checked out. He needed a home, the situation was fine (they had three kids and another dog, so a puppy was just a bit much for them. The dad teared up when we got in the car with Sam, though. It was pretty sad), they had his AKC and vet papers, he's in good health right now, and frankly, we may live in an apartment, but we have the space for a dog like this. And the time and energy, though he's going to be AMAZING for our fitness. Seriously, he'll chase softballs in a field for HOURS if you let him. I prefer the hikes, though - this morning, I took him up into the bluffs, and the hills were awesome for tiring him out. And me, but then, I don't need too much energy to work four hours at a bank. So it works out well for all of us.

Oh yeah, the bank. I haven't really talked about that at all, have I?

So I work in a bank now.

Actually, there's not much more to it than that. The building is pretty cool, though - I'm surrounded by like, a million tons of marble (white, from Italy! Green, from Greece!), and a lot of the furniture is original to the bank, which puts it at almost 100 years old. Walking into it is a little like going back in time. Orientation week (which did NOT need to be a week, but that's beside the point) was hell, and I've forgotten most of it because I had a monster cold for most of it, but I actually really like the job so far. I'll like it more once they have more for me to do, but that's reception for you - when you're needed, you're needed, and aside from that it's a pretty quiet gig. Not bad at all.

Man, I just realized how long this entry is getting. And I haven't had one phone call! Not one!

I should probably call it quits for now. I'll definitely be back for more blogging soon. Heather, your blog has been inspiring me - I check your updates every time I get the chance, and I'm starting to get the writing itch again. I LOVE all of those procrastination links that you posted, even though they make my heart hurt with the knowledge of how truthy they are, and how delinquent I am.