Every dog is a new challange

Every dog is different. Siblings from a litter will still have their own quirks. My first true dogs (not counting my Yorkshire Terrier that hated me), Rakunna and Ceasar were Great Pyrenees and siblings. They were very similar in temperament. Sweet, intelligent, and calm. Ceasar was a thief. He’d steal food from counter tops. We had to hid things on top of the refrigerator. After one failed attempt, Rakunna gave up that lifestyle.

Over the years as I’ve matured, made mistakes, had successes, and science has progressed, as has my dog raising. Yet, life is not static and I have never been able to raise two dogs in identical situations. I’ve moved. My work schedules have changed. My social life has changed. Nyx, for instance, was raised on a mountain with ten acres of land. She had few chances to see daily things like cars and people walking down the sidewalk. Nox on the other hand, moved  five times over a decade and was with me through my twenties and the changing jobs and schedules, cars, and lifestyle. While my training efforts were similar the environments were different.

Intuition has his own set of unique aspects of environment. My mother now lives with me. She retired a few years ago and came to hang out. She never left. Fortunately, we like her and it helps us meet life goals of travelling. It also means that Intuition has never had to tolerate erratic schedules and long days in his crate as all of my other dogs have.

This has created an interesting problem. Intuition does not know how to calm down and sleep or be still unless he is in his crate. Some of this is his personality. The rest is because he has never had to face twelve hour stretches alone. He has had a few here and there when everyone’s schedule desyncs, but I suspect it has been two. My mother even plans her trips around my work schedule to decrease the stress on the pets. This includes that ancient rickety kitties that eat four times a day now.

Inty struggles with the television. We just don’t use our television much anymore. Our computers satisfy our needs. We’ve also moved away from consoles over the years, perfecting the ability to multitask on our desktops.

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That leads to barking at StarTrek. He calms down but the first reaction is growling and barking at the strangers he can both hear and see.

That also connects to our other problem. He doesn’t know how to lay down and do anything. Some of that may come from our couchless lifestyle. We have one couch and it is currently acting as a backup desk for stuff of my husbands. His HTC Vive box is there as is a motorcycle helmet he is trying to get a bluetooth speaker installed on. He also cleaned off his desk last year and never moved the box of stuff he cleaned off. He stares at the couch sometimes and says that it’d be nice to use it. I mention that everything on it belongs to him. To be fair, even if he were to move his stuff off of it, the couch is two individual seats and not a single spread couch. We used to have one and got rid of it due to lack of need.

All of that means Inty has never spent time lounging with us on the couch. He has never spent time physically lounging with us until now and he has absolutely no idea what to do.

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He is a cuddly dog. The thing is that he expects for there to be something else to do after he has cuddled us. Instead, we wanted him to just stay laying down with us. He was very confused and it led to a restless night for all of us and some very bruised legs as we introduced him to the concept of sleeping in the bed.

Normally, I’d have introduced this around six months, once he was potty trained. Inty proved to be a challenge in hat respect. His destructive chewing was relentless at that point. If he had something with fabric in it, he ate it. Even his beds are all deeply scarred.

His chewing has improved but it has taken longer then I expected for him to calm down and for the girls to start tolerating him. I’ve also never had dogs hate a puppy with such an intense passion as Sage and Autumn has expressed with Intuition. I blame that on not having a strong personality like Nyx or Nox around to correct him early. Autumn is a very concerned dog and Sage has reached grumpy old lady status. Intuition is bold, headstrong, and obnoxious in his size and youth. The girls loathe him and often look at me with a sigh, wondering why I hate them so to bring this hyper, licking, thing into their lives.

Still… last night was a good test. While I am far from rested, he did manage to get a few hours of sleep and the bed is whole. I tried to get him to lay with me this morning but he was more interesting in licking the comforter where Autumn had been.

I’ve never had to teach a dog to settle down and snooze in comfort. I do hope it will be one of the easier challenges to overcome.

 

Staple Solving

I woke up this morning with the blurry remembrance of delicious food waiting for me. After a few dispirited wanderings around the kitchen, slowly it bubbled forth that I planed to get lunch at Chipolte. I have one across the street but I am proud that I do not indulge regularly. I also make myself walk when I do wish to go. It is only a five minute trot including waiting for crosswalks, but it leaves a general feeling of warm productivity.

Today, we added a side trip to the grocery store in the shopping center. There my mother’s plan to buy two apples and two oranges evolved into an elderly black lady telling her that she was beautiful and complaining about Trump. My mother also picked up an entire box of clementines.

Once she extracted herself from the exuberance of the other woman, something that included hugs and random topics, we purchased the fruit and I told her that she was not allowed to turn down my suggestions of bringing the tote bags in the future.

A bit of momentary cleverness made us ditch the wooden box the clementines come in to save weight. From there, right on time for our pick up, we strolled into Chipolte.

When I order my burrito bowl, I often get the guacamole on the side. The bag of our order was presented to me, neatly stapled closed. My cashier says, “I guess the side guac is in there but its closed.”

He then begun to ring me up.

I blinked at him as the realization that he was not going to check the bag sunk in. Having had my fair share of incorrect orders over the years I cheerfully say, “Staples can be defeated” and popped the bag open. There lay my two containers of guacamole.

I paid and left.

Now. Some people may wish to have a stapled bag. Why? I don’t know nor do I need to address it. I will just accept that may be a very important thing for some. But, they had a staple to staple it closed. The idea can be presented that the same stapler can be used to address the issue of resealing the bag.

It was his defeat that interested me. He accepted the staple as a hurdle to great to waste his time on. One may go, “Of course, why should he care?” The why is because customer service is a harsh profession and decreasing the obstacles in your day is a valuable skill. The chance is high that not all bags have sides of guac. By addressing those bags that do have said sides he increases the chance of handing someone a complete meal. This is how he saves himself the hassle of angry customers. For food service is one of those areas where humanity is stripped from both parties.

Now to lunch.

The First

On the 31st you are supposed to discuss the previous year. On the first you are supposed to make resolutions and look ahead. The world does a soft reset and potential opens up.

Then one is allowed to run off into a state of alcoholic indulgence. Allowed by society on this one day to do what one can do any day but upon which the double standard of alcohol tolerance frowns upon.

Or at least, that is how it seems. Perhaps, it is not a reality but a way for people to give themselves the opportunity to restart and refresh. A time to break cycles or entrench oneself deeper into habit.

For me, this is a year of reset. I’ve created some goals. I’d like to start taking daily pictures. I’ve wanted to do a 365 picture journal for a long time. This is the first time that I remember that goal on the first of the year. I normally remember it around the 7th or so.

I also have a finished book that needs its clean up and I need to start submitting it to publishers.

In these last few weeks I’ve allowed myself to drown in nothing at all. Video games, reading, infosurfing. It has been pleasurable. However, I ordered my tomato seeds for the garden this year and that somewhat activated me. It is time to start planning and organization. My planting is only a few months away.

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Not that my romaine cares. January 1st and it is still growing.

Time and New Toys

The days do leak away, do not they? I am on the fifth of a seven day stretch. Sixty hours out of the 84 I will do. It will be my last stretch like this for a while. We have not had our missing co-worker replaced, but my other co-worker will not be taking leave for some months yet.

It is interesting to see how my fatigue has affected my writing. Yesterday, my creativity was blurred to char from exhaustion. Today, it is improved. Not great. The bubbling font of creative energy struggles when I work this many days. I’ve never noticed it before, but now that I’ve created the perfect writing environment that syncs between my mobile platform and my home system, it is noticed. I stare at my screen and find nothing to say.

It is a beautiful screen to stare at. My Surface Pro 4 is the first Microsoft branded device I have purchased. I’m very pleased with it. I had been convinced that I wanted an android environment, but I find the mobile windows platform utterly satisfying for my needs.

My laptop need not be my desktop as well. The Surface is not a perfect laptop because it has the form of a tablet. That leaves it lacking room for quad core processors and other such necessities. But, for someone that wanted a tablet to write upon, read upon, and draw upon, it does everything for me. To such an extent that my husband is eyeing the Surface 5 as that it will soon be released.

I’ve also been on the search for a perfect psudo-professional bag to use for work and carrying my basics in. I’ve abandoned the one bag approach. I now carry a simple tote bag for a lunch bag. It holds the bulky things. Then I have not a purse but a bag that acts as my work station, holding my electronics, cables, and batteries. I’d love one such thing but it grows too heavy and too cumbersome.

Ahh well. Soon, this work will pass. I can get back into my project which has been put down since May due to the demands on my time. I do hate having such a busy life. The money is excellent due to the overtime but the fatigue has become a bit much.

The end results of Black Friday 2016

I normally skip the Christmas seasons. Sometimes, I wait to see if something I want will go on sale. Last year, I waited to buy a Fitbit and got my Fitbit Charge HR for 30 dollars off. This year, when I decided to upgrade to a Charge 2, I didn’t wait for the Christmas sales. I would have saved twenty dollars but I am quite in love with this device and the twenty dollars does not upset me.

I have been waiting for sales on electronics and computer devices. I had been using my husbands Nexus 10. A several year old tablet. The battery died on it over the summer and I’ve been looking for a replacement.

I have a laptop. An Alienware MX14 that works fine. It is from 2011 but still a strong, robust machine. It has started to experience random freezes of late. It is also heavy. Six and a half pounds heavy plus battery and mouse. It becomes exhausting to drag around and after five, almost six years of doing so, I want something lighter.

The next problem was that I want to write on my tablets. I’ve recently become invested in some writing software. I tried yWriter because it is free and my productivity skyrocketed. I’m moving to Scrivener because it is a bit more feature heavy. But, nether is cloud based and the structure of it is better for me then gdocs.

I’ve spent a lot of time over the last six weeks figuring out ways to move documents between gdocs and the various programs. Conversions take 2-3 steps to get the document back to a text format. Its frustrating and irritating.

I also want to draw. I’ve been working kind of on a cartoon. My computer drawing skills are not to terribly bad. I tried a Samsung Tab A for a bit with pen. I liked it a but the OS won’t be supported for much longer and the tablet is already two years old.

That started my hunt for a tablet with a pen. From there, I expanded to Chromebooks. Samsung is coming out with a Chromebook with a pen. It sounded perfect until I sat and used Chrome the OS. That was when I learned that I am a Windows junky.

Back to the drawing board I stormed and that is how the Microsoft Surface series bubbled up. They had kept appearing on the artist sites as a great drawing experience on the high end of budget. At the time, my focus was towards replacing my tablet and not my laptop. But, I realized I could do both with a Surface. It is a laptop in tablet form and Windows 10 supports a mobile format. I was also here for the horror show that was Windows 8 on a PC when Microsoft decided that everyone wanted to use a tablet interface forever. Still, intrigued I started to dig deeper and found my solution.

A Surface replaces my laptop and tablet, lets me draw, can use my windows based writing programs, and weighs a pound and a half. A lot of research later and I was waiting for the Black Friday sales.

I settled on their main special. The middle of the road version which will suit me just fine. It is not the beastly gaming machine that my Alienware is, but I rarely play anything more stressful then Prison Architect or Civilization on a small screen.

This all led to me sitting at my computer on Wednesday night, waiting for midnight to tick around and order my new machine. I’ve never ordered from Microsoft’s online store. It went well except that the bundle they created for their Black Friday deal did not allow me to add Microsoft Complete which is an accident protection plan.

Surfaces are tablets with computer innards. They are a bit more fragile then a tablet and tablets and phones are known well enough to shatter already. Investing a pretty chunk of change into a device I will drag everywhere, the replacement insurance seemed like a good idea. Only, I could not buy it. If you do not buy their insurance package when you order from their site, you have to go to a Microsoft store with the device and order it once they have made sure that the item is not currently damaged.

That policy did not bother me if I had chosen to not purchase the insurance. But, I did. And I could not due to their website not being where it needed to be for Black Friday. They corrected it after I ordered but I did not feel that I should have to take the hit for this. The nearest Microsoft physical store is about half an hour away, tucked against the city. This is the shopping season and that particular mall is never slow.

You have 45 days to add it, but it is accent protection. Protection that I wanted from day one. I decided to call them.

Calling on Thanksgiving was not the smartest thing to do in retrospect. I hit an outside customer service line but I decided to work with it. The first one read me the script and said I could not add it. I responded that I was unhappy with that response considering the reason I had not added it upon purchase was an error from their website. I asked to be escalated, and I was. That lady said that they’d add it. She put me on hold and came back about five minutes later to say that she was incorrect and they could not add it and that I’d have to go to the store. I expressed my displeasure that they could not add the insurance policy to a package that had not yet shipped. However, I did not yell because it was not their fault.

Later that day I received a, “How did we do!” survey and I ripped it apart. I made sure to comment on the politeness of the two people I had spoken with. Still, I was not happy with the experience and I made it known.

Imagine my surprise when I got an e-mail from their global escalation services the following day offering to let me add the insurance before the package shipped. To my surprise, they called me on Saturday and we had the matter settled in under five minutes.

I was pleased and it points to the power of polite complaint. But for now, the doorbell just rang and UPS delivered my new toy. Time to set it up.

Twelve months of Intuition

I realized it was Inty’s birthday while I was at work. I sighed a bit. There went the whole idea to take pictures on the exact day. I need sunlight to capture him and sunlight was not something I was going to see for a while longer.

But, finally after having slept the amount of a normal person, I woke to a bright and sunny day. Sixty-one degrees (16) felt warm today. My mother gave Inty a bath the previous day so he was glossy.

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He looks majestic. I’m not happy with his shoulders in this picture. However, notice he is looking up. That is because he was barking at the decks on each side of us. The community’s landscaping company is mowing and trimming bushes. He blames all of it on the Rottweiler that used to live next door. He has not accepted that he is no longer there and it has been six months since he saw him.

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He looks up and barks and barks and barks. He is such a mouthy thing.

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He looks quite the monster does not he? But he is not in fact scared nor are his ears back. I just caught him mid bark.

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Quite the change over time. Who knew he’d grow up to be such a bodacious jerk? Right now we are still working on him learning how to slow down. It isn’t going well. But he is young still. Twelve months makes him a young adult but it does not make him grown.

We will get there. Probably with both of us still sane.

Catching up with it

Time.

Time is such a  fascinating thing. A concept that one must understand. One that is defined in a simple way. We can’t get it back. It is always before us. And it continues until some point that is baffling to understand while gnawing on a piece of pizza.

Time is something I have not had enough of. Oh, in some ways I do. My day is scheduled into chunks of time. Those chunks have importance. Work is first. Food is second. Sleep is third.

I can’t sleep when I am hungry so it has to have less importance then food. I can’t eat or sleep if I don’t work. And work? It does not care if I don’t have things like food or sleep. And sleep is elusive. I’m getting about five hours a night which keeps me running but it does not leave much for anything else. In fact, I find myself just sitting and struggling to focus on anything much less be creative and interesting.

I have run out of time because things do not go as they do. We are down a person at work and that makes the job of four people now the job of two. Before, it was the job of four on the backs of three. It gave each of us an uneven load to carry where one would get punched in the face by events and the other two would wait for their turn. In a proper setting, we’d have been given another person to fill that gap. Instead, we beg and plead and suffer because life goes on. Leave goes on. Training still has to happen and we are left covering our own gaps which often gives one person the work of four.

But, it will not be forever, even if it is frustrating now.

Garden Takedown

Since May, my year has not been quite as I planned. I have experienced three two week periods between May and October where I worked for two weeks straight. Being an organized person with an addiction to planning, these stretches of work render me behind in my day to day life. Twelve hour shifts just don’t leave a lot of time to do everything else in a day.

With this weekend being my first and only time off this month, I needed to get the garden down. I stopped watering it a week ago.

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I feel a bit bad. They are determend but it has been to cold for them to do more then make flowers.

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Many bags later we were done.

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What is left likes the cool weather. Carrots, basil, sage, oregano, beets, and lettuce.

11 months and 81 pounds

Yesterday, with the truck fixed, I was able to take Intuition to the vet for a weigh in. He turned eleven months four days ago and getting a snapshot of his weight, now was highly useful to see that is is where he needs to be when it comes to his weight.

As for our Sequoia, it was a twenty dollar fix at a small, person owned garage that we found earlier this year. This is a welcome change from the Toyota dealership that requires a hundred dollar diagnostic fee to look at the problem. The problem was the aluminum heat reflector had corroded at the connection points and needed a larger washer. It made a hideous squeak as the loose reflector rubbed against the exhaust.

My car is a two seater and Inty still gets car sick. He needs to lay down to not vomit everywhere. But the vehicle woes are all corrected and Intuition was weighed in and sparklingly healthy. He still starts drooling the moment we get into the car, but he recovered faster. He even got into the car for me without prompting. Ahh, the wonders of maturation.

Not that he is grown. There are beautiful moments when I see what is in store for me over the next decade. They are almost instantly eradicated by goofy, hyper activity and general mischievous wickedness.

Good pictures are a challenge. He is ether pointing away from me or he notices that I want to pay him attention and he is in my face.

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Why should I look at the camera?

The biggest problem is that he is too fun. He loves to eat vegetables and fruit. He is curious about everything you do. He will spend the entire time I am cooking in the kitchen with his nose over the edge of the counter watching and hoping for a tidbit. While he is in the way, he is mostly good and I wind up giving him said tidbits because he is good. That encourages him to hang out with me and we create a little positive reinforcement cycle.

One day… one day… he will be able to interact with people and other dogs in a sane and productive way that will allow me to continue his training. At the vet he climbed the tech that wanted to cuddle him and covered her in slobber as he showed exactly how tall he is.

 

Fall Cleaning

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Intuition kept me company as I started in on the fall cleaning. He has learned to jump onto the bed but not off of it. We keep non-slip bath mats by the bottom half of the bed for the dogs to use as landing and launch pads. It is amusing because our cleaners move them to a more normal position by where your feet would go. We always move them back because they are for the dogs. Our bed is high and the floors are hard and smooth. After a few to many slips and falls we installed the mats for safety.

I decided today that I wanted to clean my room. I need to arrange my yarn into something a bit more coherent. My room easily becomes a mess. I hate folding and laundry so it all piles up. This is our third bedroom and it functions as a craft room, bedding storage room, and my closet. It is not a large room and quickly becomes overwhelmed if I don’t keep up with it.

Throwing things away has been on my mind. My mother and I are about to start a major house cleaning project for her house. It is full of clutter and stuff she was to depressed to deal with. Now that we need to sell it, everything must go.

Our plans to move in 2 or so years makes me eye things such as my own clutter.  This helped to spur me upstairs with several trash bags and a mission to throw it out, even if it is in good condition. We have few charities around here that take old and worn things. I’m tired of trying to find things a home. Today, it was to the trash.

I had some things that didn’t fit, things I found uncomfortable, and clothing that has been in the closet untouched for five years. I threw it away, I cleaned the build up of clutter, boxes, packing material, and such. Over the course of the morning I hauled five bags of trash out to the curb for the trash to pick up that afternoon.

I was at my desk when the trash came. I watched as they took away my bags and then I noticed one of the guys open a bag. He pulled out a pair of shoes I had thrown away, box and all. They were pretty shoes, but they didn’t fit my wide feet as I wanted. I had tried to force it and gave up wondering why I was hurting my feet. He took these shoes and then opened the other shoe boxes and unloaded them. He also grabbed two dresses and took it all up to the front of the truck. Then they continued on.

To the web I went and a few searches later I discovered that this is normal. Now, I am familiar with people going through stuff at the curb as well as free items being left. I was just not prepared for them to open the trash bags. Knowing it happens and seeing it happen to my (ex)stuff  left me feeling a big strange, but I hope that they can be more productive with them then I have been.