Monthly Archives: October 2016

I Am a Perennial

I read an article the other day that struck a chord with me.  Entitled “Meet the Perennials”[Gina Pell, “Meet the Perennials”, NewCo Shift, 10/19/16, https://shift.newco.co/meet-the-perennials-e91a7cd9f65f#.8ihtv1ojp%5D, it describes a segment of the population that cannot be classified by the year in which they were born.  For one reason or another, they TRANSCEND the limits of their generation.  I believe I qualify as a Perennial and I make my case as follows.

One of the characteristics of a Perennial is that they have friends of all ages.  This is most definitely true of me.  I have friends that range from my 83-year-old neighbor (who, unlike the lady downstairs, will NOT be happy to see the back of us), to one of my most beloved friends who is in her early 70s, to my buddies from the shelter who are in their 60s (I worked at an adoption event with them last weekend, and we joked that I had to do all the heavy lifting because I was the “kid” of the group), to a cluster of cohorts in my age range in our 50s, to some younger folks – the ones I consider my “international friends”, in Ghana, Dubai and Sweden – who I met through my job who are in their 30s and 40s.  I don’t have many friends in their 30s, though, probably because I no longer travel in circles with folks in their getting-married-and-having-babies years.  And then there are the 20-year-olds, my daughter’s friends, who aren’t MY friends but who I know and care about through her.  Finally, there are my daughter’s siblings, who aren’t related to me by blood but who I consider my friends.  I had a lovely dinner with the 12-year-old for her birthday the other night, and we’re making plans to go to the movies together (I’m dying to see “Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children” and also “Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them”).  I’m fond of her 14-year-old brother as well; when his father asked me to pick him up from school after he complained of a stomach ailment a couple of weeks ago, our conversation in the car was comfortable and easy.  So clearly I am not limited to the enclave of 50-year-olds, or even Baby Boomers, who comprise my “age group” when it comes to the people with whom I enjoy spending time.

I may not be up on all the latest trends or lingo, but I am certainly open to new music – there’s great music being created every minute, so how could I limit myself to only the “oldies”, or “classic rock”, like some of my fellows (although that music certainly has its place and appeal in my record collection)?  My favorite radio station, WFUV, does skew a little older, but my other favorite source of new tunes is Passport Approved, which I’ve recommended before in these blog posts and features cutting edge music from all over the world – avant garde, ahead of the curve, the latest vibes.  I still watch plenty of MTV (and I confess that, until recently, I used to be a big fan of Degrassi but I think I’ve officially outgrown it!).  I cannot believe that “The Real World” has been on for 32 seasons – and I have unabashedly watched every one!!

The clothes I wear are timeless – ragamuffin style transcends all ages!  When we were traveling through Europe a few summers ago, my daughter scoffed at the women of a certain age who continue to dress in a youthful style– perhaps in an effort to LOOK younger, but probably just because they figured, why not?  Women (and men, for that matter) should be able to dress any way they please, without judgment or restriction by their age (although belly shirts and short-shorts on grandmas are just beyond the pale).  That being said, if anything, my androgynous trousers-only, oversized outfits are what I imagine the clothes of the future will be:  clean and comfortable, sustainably made.  The cover subjects in Interview Magazine this month (September 2016) were Jaden and Willow Smith, who themselves could probably be considered Perennials, given that they come across, in many ways, as older than their years – 15 and 18, respectively – and were talking with their interviewer, Pharrell Williams – another Perennial at age 43 – as if they were all peers.  The outfits in which they were photographed were baggy, shapeless, unisex things, covering the kids from head to toe, that I actually quite liked for myself (unlike most of the fashion that I see in Interview Magazine which, I confess, I JUST DON’T GET).

Pell says of Perennials, “We comprise an inclusive, enduring mindset, not a divisive demographic.”  I am all about bringing folks together, finding similarities and points of connection rather than focusing on the things that divide and differentiate us.  My dream for the world is that humans achieve tolerance and togetherness, building bridges and not walls.  That’s the calling card of a true Perennial.  (Which brings to mind one highly unpleasant person, (t00) much in the news lately, who shall go nameless, who is as far from a Perennial as a human could be.  The ANTI-Perennial, if you will.)

When people first meet me, and even after they’ve known me for a while, I think they find it hard to pinpoint my age.  I’ve got the wrinkles (although made slightly less obvious because of the face fat – the ONLY benefit to carrying excess weight) and the little-old-Italian-grandma central spread in all directions, yes, but I’ve got a youthful outlook and a skip in my step.  I also don’t SEE myself as a 57-year-old person in my mind’s eye, although when I look in the mirror I can sometimes believe it.

Where I fall behind a little is with the gizmos and doodads of life.  Pell says Perennials “stay current with technology”, but sadly I am a dinosaur in that regard.  Still, I have an android phone and I’m on Facebook and am capable of sending email and surfing the web, so I’m not TOTALLY incompetent where technology is concerned.  It’s not something that terribly interests me, though; it’s just a means to an end of communication and research. If I put my mind to it, I could probably go beyond my current technical stasis, but I firmly believe that if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it.  Who needs a new iPhone every year?  Why do we have to constantly upgrade our software and operating systems to version 2.0 and beyond?  I’m perfectly content with the level of my digital knowledge at this stage, until obsolescence forces my hand.

Fortunately, I have a kid just beginning her adulthood, so I can rely on her to educate me when I need to be updated on things that matter in life.  I never felt a “generation gap” with her; I’ve just tried to keep up with her and impart whatever knowledge I’ve gained over the years that might serve her well (that is, if she’s willing to LISTEN, which she isn’t always – at least not OBVIOUSLY, although sometimes, years later, I can hear my words coming out of her mouth, which always gives me a feeling of secret satisfaction).  That’s one of the benefits to being a Perennial:  “We get involved, stay curious, mentor others, are passionate, compassionate, creative, confident, collaborative, global-minded, risk takers who continue to push up against our growing edge.”  Yes, that sounds like me, if I do say so myself.  My roots are sturdy and deep in the ground and I bloom at least once a year!

 

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Patience

It is said (by whom?  To whom are such clichés attributable?  Is there any way to know, really?) that patience is a virtue.  True, in our fast-paced world, it’s hard to just stand still and WAIT for something, no matter how desired that something may be.  Of course you always have the option of throwing in the towel (another unattributable cliché) and choosing NOT to wait – you have other more essential things to do, for instance, or you can come back at another time. But sometimes you just have to WAIT.

Today offered a prime example of my waiting when I probably should have left and come back, although, in retrospect, there was nothing pressing in my life – work was going to be there when I got back, and I had to wait to pick up a prescription at CVS anyway.  On my way into the optician’s office to get one of the nose pads on my glasses re-attached, I thought I saw the optician Ella pass me on the sidewalk on her way out.  She might be going to grab a bite, I thought.  I’ll just sit here in the waiting room and wait until she comes back.  Half hour went by and Ella did not return.  A couple of ladies came in, but they did not appear to be looking for Ella; instead they walked toward the back, where a dentist and an audiologist had their offices.  At that point I thought it might be a good idea to go out to my car, where I could use this free time to sync up my new cell phone to my car’s Bluetooth.  I had a clear view from my car of the front door to the office so I would see Ella as she was approaching.  After a few minutes, there came Ella.  I finished setting up the Bluetooth, locked my car and went back into the waiting room.  THERE WAS A LITTLE OLD WHITE-HAIRED WOMAN IN A GREEN SWEATER SITTING IN ELLA’S OFFICE!!!  GAH!!  How did that happen?  Where did she come from?  I was certain there had been no one in the waiting room when I went out to my car.

Well, the woman in the green sweater and Ella proceeded to chit-chat and try on glasses and get measured and WHATEVER for another 45 minutes.  By now I’ve been waiting there for an hour and fifteen minutes.  A large gentleman in sunglasses with a heavy accent (Spanish?  Middle Eastern?  It was impossible to tell) came into the waiting room and engaged me in conversation (certainly not at my invitation) about topics from politics (Trump is “not very educated”) to the sign for Ella’s optician business being so hidden that, even though he lived nearby and walked past her office nearly every day, he had never seen it (I agreed that the same had happen to me the first time I came).  I also told him my tale of waiting for Ella, which prompted him to ask me a bunch of rhetorical questions (at least I don’t THINK he expected an answer) about “What is the hurry, really?  Why not wait?  Where else do we have to go?” that actually made me think about the nature of patience and how, sometimes, maybe just slowing down and sitting a while is not such a bad thing.

I could have gotten upset – and, to be frank, I WAS a little upset.  When it became apparent that the woman in the green sweater was going to be a while, Ella could have interrupted her meeting with her to briefly check to see if there was something she could help me with quickly – which, ultimately, she could have:  all I had to do was show her the broken nose pad and leave the glasses with her, and I would come pick them up later, which is what I ended up doing.  If I were a different sort of person (i.e., a PUSHY sort of person – believe me, there are plenty of those in the world and they make me a little angry; like, WAIT YOUR TURN, DAMN IT.  What makes you think you’re more special than I am?), I might have tapped on the glass divider window that separated the waiting room from Ella’s office and said, “Excuse me, can I just leave these with you?”  (In retrospect, I probably should have, but then I wouldn’t have a blog post, would I?)

But the sunglasses man’s words had touched me, somehow.  What WAS my hurry?  Where else did I have to be?  I could wait.  It was actually nice of Ella that she DIDN’T interrupt her meeting with the woman in the green sweater.  That would have made the woman in the green sweater feel like she wasn’t a valued client (although she clearly hadn’t been waiting for Ella as long as I had, having just come into the waiting room right before I went out).

Fortunately, the advent of cell phones has provided diversions while you’re waiting.  One thing I do is play a little game called Neko Atsume (which I understand means “kitty collector” in Japanese – see “More Whining About Time, 1/20/16), where I set out food and goodies – things to sleep on and play with – for a bunch of adorable animated cats with names like Smokey and Spot, but there’s also “specialty cats” like Joe DiMeowgio (who wears a little baseball shirt and only shows up when the baseball is out in the virtual
“yard” where the kitties hang out) and Mr. Meowgi (with his little samurai sword).  [An aside:  Periodically the makers of this game add a few new goodies and kitties.  My kid – who originally introduced me to this game while we were waiting in the DMV for her to get her license renewed – has told me that new cats have arrived in HER yard and there are new goodies to buy but that was fully three days ago and I have thus far not seen a single new kittie or goodie.  I feel gypped.]

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My current go-to diversion when standing on interminable lines or growing roots in an uncomfortable waiting room chair is Spider Solitaire.  I am wimpy and play at the simplest level but even then I don’t win every time.  I love to wave my finger when the completed ace-to-king row magically folds itself up and flies to the top of the screen.  If I could figure out how to add the Words With Friends app to my phone, I would also play that during forced down-time.  Goodness knows I spend enough time playing it on my home computer while I’m waiting for responses to work emails and phone calls.  Or maybe just read a book, or catch up on the gossip magazines.  Don’t sweat the wait – enjoy the peace and quiet!

I generally pride myself on being a patient person, but is that just a symptom of a lack of assertiveness (of which I am somewhat guilty, I confess)?  In the end, though, I’d rather be polite and patient than pushy and in a rush.  It’s just more in keeping with my temperament and personality.  And really, what’s the hurry?  If I miss out, it wasn’t meant to be in the first place.  There’s usually enough to go around.  Isn’t there another cliché that goes, “Good things come to those who wait”?

Brain Salad

There are too many jumbled thoughts running through my brain this week, so I’ll just chop them up like vegetables and serve them in a salad.

* * *

I think I may have come up with a (regrettably late) solution to the noise problem in my apartment:  rubber tile mats, 2-foot squares like puzzle pieces that I can mix and match and make into whatever configuration I need for this oddly shaped apartment.  It only cost me $100 and I can actually re-use them once I’m out of here and back in my own house.

There’s been progress on that front as well:  My house was lowered onto the foundation today!  There is an enormous amount of work still to be done – in fact, the entire back third of my house, including the roof, have to be rebuilt from scratch.  The floor supports for the surviving section of the house were like spaghetti, going in every direction, so the contractor has to make everything more uniform and up to code.  They’ll hopefully start the framing this week.  They keep telling me that, now that the house is down, “it moves fast” (an actual quote from my contractor today).  This remains to be seen.

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The house is down!

It also remains to be seen if I’ll have the money to cover it all before getting my final payment from the New York State grant, which won’t come until after the work is completed and inspected.  My financial advisor has loosened up some funds from “65-year-old Nancy” (as he refers to my retirement account), because getting my house in livable, FEMA-compliant and partially brand new condition is an investment that 65-year-old Nancy will surely benefit from in the end.

* * *

Talking about money always makes me a little sick to my stomach.  Speaking of which, my gut was in knots watching that debate on Sunday night.  Every time Donald Trump opens his mouth, I want to vomit.  And what comes out of his mouth is nothing but word diarrhea, empty drivel, meaningless, unsupported bullshit (excuse my French).  And yet an inordinate number of people – well, the media, anyway – came out of that debate saying that Trump had held his own, or stopped the bleeding, or actually “won” the first 30 minutes (which is also what they said after the first debate).  I DID NOT SEE IT.  True, I am predisposed to think of him as an ignoramus and anything he says as nonsense, but even reading the transcripts afterward, I could not get over the fact that (a) the man cannot put together a full sentence, (b) he repeats himself incessantly (how many times did he call something a “disaster”?) and, worst of all, (c) he makes statements as if they were true and fellow idiots immediately believe him, despite most of what he says being “fact-checked” into oblivion.  He’s a vainglorious, narcissistic, entitled pig man, and how ANYONE could want him to be the foremost face of our country is utterly beyond me.

This becomes especially apparent after reading an article entitled “The way ahead” in The Economist earlier this week written by our current president, the polar opposite of Donald Trump in every way.  [Barack Obama, “The way ahead”, The Economist, 10/8/16, http://www.economist.com/news/briefing/21708216-americas-president-writes-us-about-four-crucial-areas-unfinished-business-economic ].  I’ve spoken in this blog before about my admiration for President Obama, and I continue to believe that he has been the greatest president in my lifetime.  [See “OK POLITICS”, 6/30/15.]  A fantastic quote from this impressive piece:  “America’s political system can be frustrating.  Believe me, I know,” which is a really polite way to say he has done everything in his power to rise above the obstructionist Congress that has made its prime objective to reject everything the President – OUR President – proposes, to the point where they are not doing the jobs for which they were elected and entrusted by the public to do.  And despite that, gains have undoubtedly been made over the past eight years in our evolution as a nation and as a species.  We certainly don’t want to start going backwards now.

The other thing that really troubles me about this election, though, is how vilified Hillary has been.  This is a woman who has devoted her LIFE to public service, who puts herself out there to be slammed and insulted on a daily basis because she wants to make a positive difference in the world.  She may be politically ambitious, but what’s wrong with that, really?  Such ambition would be – and usually is – lauded in a man candidate.  She may have learned, through her decades on the fringes and later at the epicenter of the political world, how to spin her statements so that they sway folks her way – again, as all politicians worth their salt do.  And yet she is portrayed as a liar and a sneak and a crook.  She is a flawed human being, as are we all, but she deserves more respect than she is given.  It boggles my mind when I hear people say that they equally abhor BOTH candidates.  No matter how much you may dislike Hillary, she is the only QUALIFIED candidate in the race, and that alone should be enough to elect her over her opponent. And right now, they’re the only two choices we have (apologies to Jill Stein and Gary Johnson).

I personally believe she will make a good first woman president (and I’ve said so before; see “I Don’t Know If I Can Take Five More Months of This”, 6/1/16).  And you know what else?  In a weird way, I actually think Ivanka Trump, after going through this whole maelstrom with her father, might make a very good future candidate for president, once Hillary opens that door for her and every other female for whom the loftiest of political goals will now be achievable.  I wonder if Ivanka’s good looks would help or hurt her, though.  I suspect it would be the former, given that we are a sexist society that objectifies and belittles women and doesn’t give them the credit they deserve (although one can only hope that will continue to change – I mean, women couldn’t even VOTE a mere hundred years ago).  For instance, consider House Speaker Paul Ryan’s response to Trump’s rude comments about the females he has man-handled:  He said women are to be “championed and revered”.  Well, that’s all well and good, but how about A FEMALE HUMAN BEING SHOULD BE TREATED WITH THE SAME RESPECT AS A MALE HUMAN BEING, NOTHING MORE AND NOTHING LESS?  That might have worked a little better, Paul.

* * *

Last night I had some weird physical feelings that propelled me into a “fear of dying” cycle.  In this instance, it was a severe lower backache, tummy troubles and a head full of cotton batting.  Flu?  Nah, I had a shot.  Sinus?  That would account for the fuzzy head, but not the back or the tummy.  New medication?  I was warned that it might cause stomach upset, so that could be the cause of that particular symptom.  Backache?  I went to the chiropractor on Saturday and have been sitting at my desk ever since – maybe something is out of alignment?  When I turned off the light to go to sleep, all these thoughts – and worse – swept through my head.  I woke up at 5 a.m. with a raging headache and required another visit to the porcelain throne, but by the time 9 a.m. rolled around, I was able to get out of bed reasonably pain free.  My back has started hurting again tonight (again, after spending most of my day at my computer), but my other ailments seem to have dissipated.

Whenever I have a pain or a weird bodily sensation, I feel a little like Dr. Gregory House, inventorying a whole litany of explanations (as evidenced by my thought process last night/this morning).  The thing I fear the most, though, is a heart attack, given that my father was killed by his sixth or seventh heart attack, on a racquetball court, at age 48, an age which I have long passed myself.  I also have chronic costochondritis, which starts in my back but radiates around to my front left rib cage, and of course my first thought is always, “This is it.”  I start having thoughts like, “When would I ever reach the point where I felt like I had to call 911 for myself?  Would I even be able to?  What would happen if I just died and no one found me for days?”  I heard last week about an ex-partner at my law firm, a woman in her mid-60s, a heavy smoker and alcoholic, who passed away alone in her apartment and wasn’t found for days.  I don’t want that to be me.  I really enjoy living on my own, but the one thing that scares me about it is dying alone and no one knowing about it.  I want to die in a hospital or hospice, in my 90s, surrounded by family and friends (and maybe a cat).

* * *

The title of this week’s post puts me in mind of a seminal ‘70s album in my collection, Brain Salad Surgery by Emerson Lake & Palmer (which actually survived the flood).  The LP — with distinctive cover art by H.R. Giger – came with a tri-fold poster of handsome head shots of the three band members, and I cut it up and hung them on the wall of my college dorm, among the black-and-white photos of football, hockey and lacrosse players from the Trinity College teams that I nicked from the Trinity Tripod office.  They all looked great in those (pre-Photoshop) photos, but my favorite was Greg Lake.  (I even once hooked up with a guy solely because of his resemblance to Greg Lake.)  His former band, King Crimson, was also a constant presence on my college turntable.  So, in honor of Greg Lake, I give you my Top Ten Favorite Rock Guitarists.  (You might notice the absence of Eric Clapton and Jimmy Page, both of whom are inarguably virtuosos.  But they are not in MY top ten.  I tend to prefer a guitarist who makes the guitar sound like a voice singing, although I will acknowledge that Clapton played with George Harrison on the ultimate singing-guitar song, “While My Guitar Gently Weeps”.)

In no particular order (apart from the top three):

  1. David Gilmour
  2. The late, great Randy Rhoads, stolen from us too soon (by his own recklessness, sadly)
  3. Mark Knopfler
  4. George Harrison
  5. Tony Iommi
  6. Brian May
  7. Mick Ronson
  8. Greg Lake
  9. Ritchie Blackmore
  10. Steve Miller

Honorable Mention:   Angus Young

This list is COMPLETELY personal to me, so I’d like to hear some other people’s favorites.  Leave them in the comments!!

A Visit from My Downstairs Neighbor

I hadn’t heard much from my downstairs neighbor for a couple of months, for which I was very grateful.  I know my creatures disturb her, especially at night, but I figured she had just resigned herself to the fact that her upstairs neighbor has pets and they are boisterous, but we’re only going to be here for a short time so she’ll live with it.  I hear hubbub from my upstairs neighbors all the time – some days it sounds like they’re lifting (and dropping) weights or something, and there’s definitely a high heel wearer  – but I would never bang on the ceiling (with what does she bang?  A broom?  The ceilings in these apartments are pretty high) or pay them a visit.  It’s just LIFE.  LIFE is noisy.  And this is not a terribly quiet location.  There is a lot of commotion from outside and also from the nearly 100 apartments (16 per floor on six floors plus two on the ground floor), not to mention laundry rooms on every floor and an incinerator that makes a loud “WHOOMP!” every few hours.  I’ve always known there were a few other dogs in this building, but  I’ve only ever seen one other dog parent face-to-face (she actually had two adorable black Maltipoos), and I did see (and hear) a little white one hanging out on the terrace with its mom.  According to a building resident with whom I shared the elevator, she feels bad for the dogs who have been trained not to bark (one person evidently uses an electronic collar):  “It’s like asking people not to talk!” she said.

Truth be told, the biggest noise, at night, in my apartment is not from the dogs (although they do occasionally release short, sharp barks at the cats or in response to a sound from outside).  Rather, it’s from the cats, in particular Savannah, my 16-pound Big Bertha who likes to go rug surfing at night when everyone else is asleep.  I’m sure that’s what my neighbor is hearing, although I seem to be able to sleep through it.

I may have exacerbated matters by taking home an adorable little Pom puppy named Natalia on Sunday night (my friend Barbara took her sister) for an emergency foster until she can go into the city to get spayed and move in, with her sister, to a more long-term foster home (although I bet they’ll get adopted pretty quickly – they’re cute and very even tempered, but do require more of a firm hand than I’m able to muster).  It was just going to be for a couple of days – how hard could it be?

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Natalia smiling.  Who could resist that face?

Well, first of all, she hasn’t gotten her rabies vaccine, so she can’t walk on the dirty ground.  But I can’t leave her in the apartment by herself when I walk the other two because she barks – a sharp little yip that’s definitely on the annoying side – so I have to carry her (luckily she only weighs about 10 pounds).  Second, contrary to the story told by the woman who surrendered them to Post Pets, neither of the girls turns out to be housebroken.  I put a wee-wee pad by the door, where she has tended to poop, rather than trying to convince her to go on the wee-wee pads I already have in the kitchen for the other guys.  But her pee spots have been hit and miss (mostly miss).  Third, she annoys EVERYONE with her playfulness.  She’s adorable, but she doesn’t understand why no one wants to engage with her.  Mimi has been a hissing machine and has even developed a bald spot from the stress.  Gizmo and Munchie are constantly growling at her, and I’m afraid Gizmo might bite her because she doesn’t seem to heed his warning messages.  She follows me everywhere, which sets up awkward battles with Savannah in the bathroom.

She also seems to have separation anxiety, which is something I’ll have to warn her new foster family about.  I was doing laundry today, and every time I left the apartment I heard her shrieking.  Then, when I attempted to go for my early evening walk (I’ve been diligent, I’m proud to say, for three weeks now), I could hear her ear-piercing yapping from outside on the street.  As it gave no sign of abating, I turned around and went home.  Things were already bad enough with my downstairs neighbor.

In the morning, she had pounded on her kitchen ceiling, likely prompted by some dog-chasing-cats incidents that were admittedly a tad thumpy.  Natalia is an early riser, unlike me and the boys, who will stay in bed with me until I rouse, no matter what time it is.  (In fact, some mornings I only get out of bed because I feel bad that they haven’t been out for a pee for 8 or 10 hours.)  But Natalia wakes up at 7, and she wants to get off the bed (and it’s too high for her to jump), so I have to put her down and then get up myself to lead her to the wee-wee pad, where she just sits, cocks her head, and stares at me, like “You want me to do something?”  And even though I try to go back to bed, when Natalia is left to her own devices, that’s when she does a lot of her cat chasing.  If I lift her back into the bed, in an effort to get closer to me, she jumps on Gizmo (who sleeps right next to me, sometimes even partially UNDER me), causing him to grimble angrily and threaten to bite whoever might get in the way of his teeth (which could very well be me, if I’m not careful).

So there was that.  I was kind of bothered about the ceiling banging so I took great joy in vacuuming when I cleaned the litter boxes a while later.  She couldn’t very well complain about me CLEANING, could she?  Then I actually took Natalia out for a couple of hours to give everyone (including the downstairs neighbor) a break, bringing her with me to the vet to pick up Mimi’s medication and then taking her to Pet Value for a bath to try to dislodge some of the poopie that’s stuck to her butt, at which I was largely unsuccessful, although she’s nice and clean otherwise. (Linda, the head of Posh Pets, told Barbara and me that the girls needed to be clean before they went under the knife for spaying because they wouldn’t be able to get wet for a while post-surgery.  They both seem to have this dingleberry problem, which unfortunately requires scissors rather than soap and, as far as I am concerned, is a two-person job.)

But when we got back to the house at around noon, Natalia’s crazy act continued.  I completely understand; she just wants to play.  She’s a puppy, after all.  And there was the barking every time I left to go to the laundry room.  So when my wimpy old front-door bell clanged, I was hoping it was my friend Ellen to ask me about redeeming cans but I knew that it would be HER.

Of course, all the dogs (and especially Natalia) carried on as soon as I opened the door, and continued the whole time we were talking, which just underscored her complaint.  She said she knows I’m a nice person, and she doesn’t want to get confrontational, but the noise situation is out of hand, especially at night when who knows what goes on up there.  She said that other people complain, but she’s got it the worst because she’s the one right below me.  I sheepishly apologized and said I do try to minimize the noise as much as I can, but she said, “Can’t you do MORE?”  She said if she had the money she would pay for me to get carpet.  (I do have area rugs covering most of my floor but, for the most part, they don’t deaden the sound that effectively and, frankly, the area rugs are what Savannah uses for surfing purposes at night.)  I feebly tried to tell her it will only be for a few more months, and I’m sorry, I’m sorry, I’m sorry, but honestly, what does she expect me to do?

I feel for her, I really do.  I’ve had a million conversations with her in my mind (see “Truly Random Thoughts (Or, a series of pretty accurate snapshots of my daily brain)”, 6/22/16) where I try to plead my case and/or defend myself.  But she’s right.  We make too much noise.  I feel horrible about it.  And all I could do was stand there and apologize.  I wonder what would have happened if I had started crying (which I pretty much felt like doing)?  But what more can I do?  Perhaps I can look into some kind of inexpensive floor padding (my contractors are targeting a return home by the new year, and if they lower my house this week like they’ve promised, we’ll be well on our way to our homecoming, so I don’t want to spend a ton of money – besides which, I don’t HAVE a ton of money; what I DO have is a ton of debt and no end in sight, but that’s another blog post for another day).

I’ll be so happy when I get back into my house and can make as much damn noise as I please.  I’ve already promised the dogs I won’t yell at them for barking anymore.  I hate living in a high rise apartment building, tiptoeing around and shushing the creatures when they’re just being themselves.  It feels like I’m living in somebody else’s house, even though I pay my rent like just the next guy.  I try to be a considerate neighbor, I really do.  But there’s only so much I can do.

And so, downstairs neighbor, as I told you a dozen times today alone (and as I’ve ALWAYS told you, almost every time we’ve spoken, since the day I moved the dogs in), I’m very sorry for the bother.  But I’ll be out of your hair before you know it, and I hope a nice quiet lady-of-a-certain-age moves in and wears soft-soled house slippers and doesn’t have any pets to disturb you in the night.