Fetching with Artemis

I don’t usually do fancy stuff like “click here for a bunch of photos after the jump” or anything, but I figured it’s worth warning everyone.

This blogpost is less “lots of words about something funny”and more “here are lots of semi-blurry photos of my dog”.

Sorry.   It’s the best I can do with my life right now.  I did mention I have poison oak on my hoohah…. but did I mention that it migrated?

I thought poison oak of the vajayjay was bad.

It turns out that poison oak of the butt crack is even worse.

YEAAAAH.

Also, I know everyone is just sooooo turned on at the mental image of me with butt crack poison oak, but sorry, I’m already married.  What can I say?  You snooze, you lose.

Oh, did I forget to mention that patches of the poison oak became infected, and I developed cellulitis?

It’s okay. I know you’re disappointed, but not everyone can be me.

Anyways, here’s a bunch of photos of Artemis playing fetch to scrub that mental image from your brain.

Lots more photos after this pic:

I love playing fetch with Artemis.

I know all labs love to play fetch, but her intensity is amazing.

Although she’s still completely obnoxious for the first five minutes after she meets new people, for the most part she’s one of the most laid back dogs I’ve ever owned.

I find that pretty amazing, considering she’s still only 10 months old.

The thing is, she’s only laid back until you ask her to retrieve.

Then she’s all business.

(If you stare at this picture long enough, after awhile she doesn’t even look like a mammal.)

(This one’s not much better.)

As soon as she gets the ball in her mouth all of that I’m-a–wolf-about-to-pounce-for-the-kill body language shuts off and she reverts back into her normal, happy-go-lucky self.

She charges so hard after the ball (or bumper, or toy, or whatever I ask her to retrieve) that even though she loves it I try not to let her retrieve more than about two times a week.  She’s still a growing puppy, and while I haven’t read any literature supporting my instinct, I figure it’s like any growing thing – you really don’t want to stress their joints too hard.

Besides, if I throw it, she will absolutely give everything she has to get the item back to me, no matter how far or how buried in the brush or how deep in the water it is.  I feel like I need to take this borderline god-like responsibility seriously.

The best part about our fetch sessions it is how much the boys enjoy playing with her. I’m all for activities that tire all three of them out.


The only downside with this arrangement is that there are two kids, and only one dog. 

This means that while we play fetch there is always one kid who is gloating:

…and one kid who is, well… not:

That’s okay.  Life goes on, and we switch off throwing the ball every five minutes, so eventually they’re both equally happy (or miserable.)

Besides… Artemis has enough fun for all of us:

Run.

Derp.

Run.

Derp.

 I seriously love my dog. 

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How to Feel Sorry For Yourself

“Artemis Bean, you get your butt back in this yard, right now!”

Artemis broke off playing with our neighbors’ dogs, wiggling her butt excitedly as she romped back to the fence dividing our properties. 

OMG HI!  HI!  I LOVE YOU!  HI!  I’M PLAYING!

“I’m not in the mood, Artemis.  We’ve fixed this fence THREE TIMES.  How are you even getting over there?”

OMG!  I LOVE YOU!  I’M GONNA GO PLAY NOW! I LOVE YOU!  BYE!

“NO.  Artemis, COME.  You’re a bad dog.”

OMG.  YOU HATE ME.  I’M SORRY.  YOU HATE ME. I’LL LEAVE.  I’LL LEAVE FOREVER. I’M SO SORRY….. LOOK!  A DOG!  TWO DOGS!  I LOVE THEM!  I LOVE YOU!  I’M GONNA GO PLAY NOW!  BYE!

“NO.  I said COME.  COME, Artemis.”

OK!!!  I’LL COME!  OMG!  THERE’S A FENCE HERE.  DID YOU KNOW THERE’S A FENCE HERE?  I LOVE YOU!!!  I’D COME OVER THERE, BUT THERE’S A FENCE.  I LOVE YOU!”

“You got in there somehow, so you can get out.  Artemis, COME.  Show me how you got in their danged yard again.  COME.”

OK!!!  I’M COMING!  WAIT.  THERE’S A FENCE.  DID YOU KNOW THERE’S A FENCE?  I CAN’T… OH, LOOK!  LOOK!  I FOUND A HOLE!  WELL, NOT A HOLE, BUT I BET I CAN MAKE ONE IF I SLAM INTO THE FENCE HARD ENOUGH AND FORCE IT TO GIVE….. YAAAY!  I’M HERE! I LOVE YOU!!!  I LOVE YOU!!!! YAAAY!!!!!!”

Sigh.  “Good come, Artemis.  At least I know how you’re getting through.”

OMG!  I’M A GOOD DOG, AREN’T I?  I LOVE YOU!!!  …… OMG.  LOOK!  THERE ARE DOGS OVER THERE!  I WANT TO PLAY!  BUT THERE’S A FENCE.  DID YOU KNOW THERE’S A FENCE HERE?  HI, FRIENDS!  LET’S PLAY!”

“Artemis, NO.  NO, NO, NO.  You may NOT go through that fence.  Bad dog.  BAD dog.”

OH NO!  YOU HATE ME.  I’M HATEFUL.  I DESERVE TO BE HATED.  I LOVE YOU.  I DON’T DESERVE TO LOVE YOU.  I’LL LEAVE NOW.  I’LL JUST GO… GO OVER HERE?  OMG, LOOK!  THERE ARE DOGS OVER THERE!”

“Oh, for crying out loud. Artemis, NO.  No fence.  No.  Just… go inside.”

YAY!  INSIDE!  I LOVE INSIDE!  IT’S MY FAVORITE!!! I LOVE YOU! I LOVE EVERYTHING!

I stomped my way back to the laundry room and proceeded to change the loads.  I popped the dry clothes into a hamper, popped the wet clothes into the dryer, and filled the washer with a load of colors. At the last second I decided to wash the jeans I was wearing, so I stripped out of them and put them into the wash, too.  Sure, all my other pants were dirty, but I didn’t have anywhere to go.

Besides… I was just going to sit on the couch and fold laundry while I watched Malcolm in the Middle.  You didn’t exactly need pants for that.   I hefted the laundry hamper onto my hip and walked into the living room to begin folding.

YOU HATE ME.  I’M SORRY.  I DON’T KNOW WHY, BUT I’M SORRY.

“Artemis, you don’t have to give me that look.  I’m not mad about the fence thing.  Just don’t go out there anymore.  You might get out of their yard and get hit by a car.”

I LOVE YOU.  I DON’T DESERVE YOU.  I LOVE YOU SO MUCH, EVEN THOUGH I DON’T DESERVE YOU.  I NEED TO BE WITH YOU.

“Ooof.  Artemis, no.  Down.  You’re too big to crawl in my lap.”

I NEED TO BE NEAR YOU.  PLEASE.  COMFORT ME.  COMFORT ME BY LETTING ME BE NEAR YOU.  PLEASE LET ME CRAWL ONTO YOUR LAP AND INTO YOUR SOUL.  I LOVE YOU.

“No, Artemis. Off.  Here – you can just lean against me while I fold laundry.”

I NEED TO BE NEAR YOU.  I’M GOING TO PLACE MY HEAD ON YOUR LAP AND LEAN INTO YOU, AND MAYBE IF I PRESS HARD ENOUGH I CAN MERGE SOULS WITH YOU.  PLEASE.  CLOSE ISN’T CLOSE ENOUGH.  I LOVE YOU.

“You can put your head in my lap.  Fine.  Just don’t lean on me so much.  You’re heavy.”

And so we stayed for nearly thirty minutes- the dog leaning her head in my lap with all her might, the laundry slowly getting folded on the couch, and Malcolm in the Middle quietly blaring on the tv.

Only…….

Did you know that a dog’s fur is very effective at transporting the oil from poison oak?  Dogs aren’t allergic to it, but they can bring it into your house.

I learned this the hard way last summer, trying to hunt down how I kept getting infected by poison oak.  It took several weeks before we eradicated most of it in our yard.

Here’s another interesting fact:

Did you know my neighbor’s back yard has poison oak? 

Yeah, I didn’t either.

I think you can see where I’m going with this.  Guess who has poison oak rash all over the inside of her thighs?

It gets better.

Do you know how they say you can’t spread poison oak by scratching?

I have found that to be a lie.  Maybe the blisters contain some kind of an oil, but I seem to have an unusually strong reaction to poison oak, and each time I’m exposed it is a little more severe, and it lasts a little longer.  Two months ago I had some on my wrists that lasted almost 5 weeks and left a little light scarring.  It spread a little bit each day for the first week, until it traveled almost to my elbow. 

The problem is that it usually takes a few days before my poison oak rash blooms into something recognizable – it starts off as a series of small bumps that look almost like mosquito or flea bites.  Unfortunately (and this may just be for me, and not everyone) while it’s at this innocent-looking stage it’s still able to be spread – it’s only when it slowly progresses into the stereotypical welts that ooze that I tend to recognize it, but by then it’s too late.

Anyways, here’s another fun little fact.

Do you know what else is located near your inner thighs?

Oh, yes.  That’s right.

Call it what you want – the love canal.  Cooter.   Muffin.  Honey Pot.  Cooch.  Mommy Parts.  Hoohah.

There are many different names for it, but it all boils down to one fact: 

Life is very, very sad when you have poison oak of the vajayjay.

Bad dog.

VERY bad dog.

    That’s Some Loud Underwear You’ve Got There

    Yay! I got another article published at The Shake.

    I should post it on my blog.

    But wait.  I just posted yesterday.  I should wait a day or two before posting this one.  I’m bad enough about updating regularly – I should spread the love out.  If I start posting twice in one day, they’ll think I’m on some kind of writing spree, and get all spoiled.

    I’ll wait a day.  Yeah, that’s a good idea.

    And then I’ll write a really interesting intro, so it doesn’t feel like I’m just sending them a link and shooing them away.

    Except…. Oh, geez.  SQUID!  THE YOGURT IS NOT FOR FINGERPAINTING THE DOG.  GROSS.  You either eat it or you put it on the counter….NO.  I MEANT EAT THE YOGURT IN THE CONTAINER, NOT LICK IT OFF THE DOG.  STOP.  I’m not joking, little man.  STOP, RIGHT NOW, OR YOU’RE GONNA PUT YOUR NOSE IN THE CORNER UNTIL YOU’RE 20.

    Has he stopped?

    Nope.

    If you’ll excuse me, I’m off to put a kid in the corner.

    Edit:

    I did a little more research and discovered that the undies I wrote on was a marketing prank done by a feminist group to raise awareness of how sexist Victoria’s Secret underwear is…. which, the more I think about it, just makes it seem even sillier.

    I actu
    ally researched it before I wrote about it, but I didn’t do a good enough job. BAD, Becky. Bad. Go get the Cone of Shame.

    Also, I’m bummed, because I missed the chance to make fun of the angry feminists instead of Victoria’s Secret. Boo.

    Ah, well.  It was a good lesson to learn.

    Thanks, DragonMonkey.

    I don’t have a lot of pictures of the boys and me.

    Oh, I have a lot of pictures of the boys.

    And I have a couple pictures of me.

    But I don’t have a lot of pictures of the three of us.   As the person who is usually behind the camera, it’s just one of those things.  So when my friend offered to take a picture of us with her cell phone, I was actually pretty happy. 

    Sure, her cell phone didn’t have the highest quality resolution, but who cared?  Slightly blurred has always been my best look.

    When she showed me the picture on her cell phone, I was delighted. Awesome!  Finally, a decent picture with my two boys.  We were all wearing clean clothes, all three of us were looking at the camera – perfect.   Visions of a new Facebook profile picture danced in my head.

    I asked her to send it to me, and she did.

    And then I saw the picture.

    I mean, I’d seen it on her tiny cell phone screen, but this time I really saw it.

    I have no idea what is going on with the DragonMonkey in this pic.  I really don’t.  All I know is that it appears picture-taking ability seems to be hereditary, and poor DragonMonkey seems to have ended up with the short end of genetic stick.

    Pizza

    “Oh, for goodness sakes.  I’ll take it.”

    The instant I saw the pizza waiting in the heating racks I knew exactly why everyone was dubiously ignoring it.  Pizzas rarely lingered there – a full bag meant a run, and a run meant a tip, and each tip added up.

    I’d just come in from a delivery so I should have been the last on the list of drivers, but nobody argued with me as I clocked the run out. I grabbed the red insulated bag from the wire heating racks and stomped out the front door, tossing the bag haphazardly on the passenger seat of my car before speeding out of the parking lot.

    I was fuming.   What a bunch of jerks. Nobody ever wanted to take the TIL runs – pizza deliveries to the Transition To Independent Living section of our local college.  The TIL section was a branch of dorms filled with high-functioning mentally disabled students in the process of learning how to live independently – how to live alone in an apartment, maintain a job, cook, pay the bills…. and even how to order the occasional pizza.

    The problem with runs to the TIL section of the college is they always took twice or even three times as long as a regular run.  More often than not you had to help the student count out the correct change.  They could underpay or overpay by obscene amounts, and after all the extra time and help you rarely got a tip.  I mean, you couldn’t very well pull your own tip out of the money you were counting back to them.

    TIL runs weren’t my favorite runs, but they definitely didn’t deserve to just sit there with the cheese congealing.  Jerks. My coworkers were disgusting jerks.

    Three minutes later I pulled the little blue Honda civic into the parking lot, tires squealing a little from the sudden stop. 

    I balanced the bag on my forearm as I jogged to the correct apartment, ignoring the heat as it scalded my forearm – after nearly a year delivering pizzas I’d learned how to tune it out.  I used my free hand to knock sharply on the door, and did my best not to tap my foot impatiently as I mentally calculated the minutes and potential tips as they steadily ticked away.

    The door opened up, and my eyes widened.

    “PIZZAAAAAAA!” came the raucous cry, rising above the deep beat of the party music.  The tiny dorm-like apartments were designed for a single person, but this particular room had somewhere around 10 people crammed into it, leaving it looking less like a room and more like an oversized clown car.  Everyone was wearing party hats – flamboyant cardboard affairs strapped onto their heads with thin, elastic strings, perched at crazy angles above round, flushed, smiling faces.

    The young man at the front of the door had a particularly festive hat  – a red and gold cardboard crown with glittering streamers and “IT’S MY BIRTHDAY!” written in a particularly obnoxious font.  His face was red with excitement, and the sandy brown hair beneath the hat was sticking to his forehead, damp with sweat.

    “Heeeeeeey!” He leaned forward, and before I could defend myself I found myself enveloped in a large, happy, slightly sweaty hug.  Despite the heat radiating off of him, he smelled oddly nice – maybe Axe Body spray, or some other kind familiar cologne.  “It’s my BIRTHDAY!”  His voice was a little too loud, speaking right by my ear, but the joy in it was infectious.  “MY BIRTHDAY!”

    “Okay, uh… okay.”  I hugged him back awkwardly with one arm, struggling not to drop the pizza.  “Happy Birthday.”

    He pulled back and turned around to the others in the room, who had fallen silent during the interaction, waiting with a strange, solid patience.  “It’s my BIRTHDAY!” he said, throwing his hands up in the air.

    The room erupted in raucous, wordless cheers – the kind of happy melee they always show on TV at a college frat party, but that never seems to exist in real life.  When the noise level seemed about to die down, Birthday Boy threw his hands up in the air again.  “And the PIZZA IS HERE!”   He worked the room with all the skill of a political orator, and his friends responded happily, right on cue.

    The cheers erupted again, and one girl in the back stood up and began dancing with abandon, overcome by either frenzied happiness or the deep bass of the song in the background.  What she lacked in rhythm she made up for with enthusiasm.

    I laughed.  Who wouldn’t, when confronted with such deep, unapologetic joy?  “Well, happy birthday, dude, and here’s your pizza!” Reaching into the bag I pulled out the two large pizzas with a flourish. “That’ll be $23.97.”

    Birthday Boy, flushed and sweating, grabbed the boxes from my hands and placed them on the table, returning to press two twenties into my hand.  I palmed the two bills in one hand as I reached into my pouch to pull out change, but Birthday Boy waved his hand magnanimously.

    “No change.”

    “No, no, you need change,” I explained patiently, as I dug around in my fanny pack.  “You gave me two twenty dollar bills – that’s forty dollars.  Your change is over sixteen dollars.” 

    He shook his head obstinately, ignoring a bead of sweat that slid down the side of his face.  “No change.  It’s your tip.”

    I ignored him as I recounted his change, making sure I’d pulled out the correct amount before I began the process of counting it back to him.  “See, a tip is the right thing to do, but that’s too much.  When you order a pizza you should only give about two dollars for a ti–”

    I broke off as his hand clamped over my own, thick fingers covering mine as he curled my fingers over the change.  I met his eyes in surprise.  He had nice eyes – hazel and warm.  Kind.  Happy.

    “No.  No change,” he repeated.  “It’s your tip.”

    “It’s too much.  I can’t take this much.  It would be wrong. You’re not supposed to tip this much.  It’s only supposed to—“

    “NO.”  His voice was firm, and he shook his head.  “You keep it.  No change.”  He looked at me smugly, taking his hand from mine, and pointed slowly at the towering crown on his head with its ridiculous display of streamers.  “It’s my birthday.  You have to do what I say.”

    He broke eye contact to turn back to the room, and raised his hands.  “IT’S MY BIRTHDAY!!!”  Obediently, the room broke out in cheers.

    I surprised myself by laughing.  It was hot, I was tired, I’d pulled a double shift with some of my least-favorite coworkers…. and yet standing there, in that doorway, I felt happier than I had in weeks.

    “Are you sure?  This really is too much.  I’d really prefer it if you didn’t give me…”

    He turned back, and pointed wordlessly at his hat again, his other arm still forgotten in the air. 

    “Alright, alright, I give up.  It’s too much, but thank you for the ti–”  The door shut in my face, our transaction apparently complete. 

    From behind the door came the muffled sounds of continued celebration.  As I stood there in the fading evening light, with the limp pizza bag dangling from my hand, I couldn’t help but wonder if maybe they had their life more figured out than I did.