BLOG: 6's & 7'S
In three weeks, I start over. For the past twenty years, I have been the wife and mother taking care of the house, the kids, the husband and pretty much everything else that came our way. Now the kids are raised, the house is a storage facility for collectibles and the husband is ready to sit on the porch and rock. I'm not. I recently accepted a job in Oklahoma and in three weeks, will pack a few things and journey from Nevada to Oklahoma and start over.
But I won't be alone. I have my dog. Which is proving to be a problem.
I've owned a home for the past twenty years, so the whole idea of being a 'renter' is foreign to me. The town I am moving to, Idabel, Oklahoma, is very small and as far as I've been able to deduce, doesn't have apartment complexes like those in Nevada. It's mostly private homes for rent, and the owners don't like to rent to dogs. I guess, in a way, I can understand that they may have had bad experiences, but I always think that in the case of a destructive or disruptive animal, it is the owner that is the problem, not the animal. But, I digress.
So, after twenty-two phone calls and at least as many emails, at this time, if I want to live in Southeast Oklahoma, I either buy a home, or leave my dog with someone. I can have twenty kids, an arsenal of weapons, a party every night, and a string of male suitors around the block, but not one dog.
Well let me tell you about my dog.
DeeDee, which is short for Kelly's Diamond Dog, is a purebred miniature Shar-Pei. When my sons were teenagers, I felt I needed another 'baby'. I searched breeds for temperament, compatibility, care, etc. and I chose the breed. Then I went looking for my baby. I found her in Chicago. She flew on United Airlines from O'Hare to McCarran Airport and from the moment I picked her up, she was my dog.
We made a pact. She would always be there for me, and I would do the same for her. She has lived up to her side of the bargain, always greeting me at the door, running around the block if I want to run or vegging out on the floor if I want to flop on the couch and watch a movie. When I'm in my office, she knows I'm working, and she posts herself at the door, not letting anyone in unless I give the word. I don't have to leash her, she heels without being told. She knows where she is supposed to be, and that place is next to me. She is better trained than most children I know.
DeeDee is ten years old, which for a breed with a life span of 8-12 years, makes her a little old woman. She has her problems: arthritis, thyroid issues and seizures and she takes a lot of medicine. It is very expensive, but that's okay, it's my part of the bargain, and if I have to make sacrifices to pay for her health care, I will. She is my friend and my companion. I know the dog lovers out there are nodding their heads. They know exactly what I'm talking about.
So back to Oklahoma. I spoke with a gentleman today that had the perfect home for me, in my price range, in a safe neighborhood. He suggested I find a home for my dog, then he would be happy to rent it to me. I told him I will live in my car before I will desert her. He said 'Good Luck'.
I received another call from a woman who runs a hunting lodge who periodically rents rooms for long term. It's a lovely place, one bedroom with a little kitchenette area, perfect for me---and DeeDee is welcome. The problem is, it's easily $250 a month out of my range and that is a lot of money.
But, if I don't find anything else in the next few weeks, I will move into the lodge and find another part-time job to pay for it. And I will do it as long as necessary. Because DeeDee goes with me.
And the dog is non-negotiable.
I recently visited the fabulous city of San Antonio, Texas. The occasion was to watch my youngest son graduate from Air Force Basic Military Training. We had the pleasure of spending five days in what is truly one of my favorite cities in the United States. The people are wonderful, the food is amazing and the weather is a little humid, but not unbearable. Of course, anywhere you go there is the good, the bad and the awesome.
And in San Antonio, there is also the Alamo.
The Good- If you are a smoker, you can still pretty much smoke outside without risk of being tarred and feathered.
The Bad- Okay, I lied. It was the end of September, the humidity was unbearable, I was sweating like a bologna sandwich dancing to the oldies.
The Awesome- Cowboys and Airmen. Everywhere.
The Good- Military discount. Basically, with a soldier, four free entries-once per season. That rocks, Sea World. Really rocks.
The Bad- If you are not in the military, you should consider whether you want to have groceries for the next month. The price of admission for a family of four is $220 and that does not include parking or any of the teasers your kids will be screaming for once inside the pearly gates. For 220 bucks, I want to free Willy.
The Awesome- I got to see a Walrus. Kookookachoo.
The Good- After ten weeks, I finally got to see my baby boy again.
The Bad- You have to leave.
The Awesome- Getting to watch your son or daughter get the Airman’s Coin. A true proud Mom moment.
The Good- Go down one flight of stairs and leave the city behind. A beautiful network of walkways along the San Antonio River that winds around eclectic shops, museums and cafes. It’s like entering a different world. The Enchanted Forest of San Antonio.
The Bad- I was pulled from my mystical Riverwalk dream when I noticed the outline of a gun on the hip of another visitor. That’s when I remembered, I was in Texas, and everyone was packing– except me.
The Awesome- The margaritas. Everything’s bigger in Texas!
And then there was the Alamo…
First let me say I have been booted from a few places in my day. It’s not that I am a troublemaker, but more that I am…often misunderstood. But I was determined to be on my best behavior. Determined.
I am a history junkie. I have studied the Alamo and am pretty confident in my knowledge. And I had an audience—my two sons, one girlfriend and my husband, so I was talking the minute we walked in the doors.
“Shhh. Keep your voices down!” Was the first thing I hear from the snarky guide who, incidentally, yelled that bit from a microphone.
“Geez,” I said under my voice. “You’d think this place was a shrine or something.”
I shook it off, and continued to give my own tour to my family, albeit whispering, all the while, getting ‘that look’ from the keeper of the Alamo, Guardzilla.
Then I sinned. I took out my camera and snapped a shot.
“You cannot take pictures in here!” Her voiced boomed through the PA system, echoing off the walls.
“Oh, sorry. No one told me.” I was trying. Really trying.
“It’s right on the sign when you enter!” She was pushing. Really pushing.
“Sign? I didn’t see a sign.”
Hands on her hips. “Well, it’s right next to the one that says this place is a shrine!”
Okay, at this point, I did have to laugh, which wasn’t helping. I looked at my family, and they were bored, so I didn’t see the point in going much farther with the tour anyway. But I did want one more picture….
I understand that the big concern with picture taking involves the flash, so as a considerate tourist, I turned mine off. I also knew, for a fact, that the Alamo belongs to the state of Texas, which means the citizens of the state of Texas. Guardzilla was one of those citizens. I had two in my party. That, my friends, is called a two-thirds majority of the present voting population.
And she did. Using her superhuman hearing, she picked up on that tiny sound of my finger depressing the camera button. Flames shot from her eyes, and I could have sworn I saw a serpent slither from her ear. In a voice that would give Linda Blair nightmares, she screamed. “SECURITY!”
“Don’t bother,” I said. “We’re leaving.”
As I got to the door I couldn’t help but turn one last time to my new friend. With my index finger to my lips, I whispered,
“Shhh. Remember. The Alamo.”
So contrary to the rumors, I did not get kicked out of the Alamo. I left on my own.
And okay, maybe I am a little bit of a troublemaker.
This post originally appeared on "Like a Bump on a Blog" travel blog in 2011.
It's bad enough I have to be on alert for the badger that I know is stalking me on my morning run, but now I have another problem.
Yes, those creepy little flying rodents apparently have found a home somewhere in my neighborhood, and last week, I ran in to a colony of them (I was looking down trying to avoid a badger attack) and they weren't too happy about it.
Remember Hitchcock's The Birds? Imagine it with bats, and me running through the neighborhood at 5 a.m. screaming at the top of my lungs while bats dove on me, surely intent on sucking the life force from me, or at least messing up my hair. Forget the school children. I set a new record for my 3 miles that morning. Go Me.
Of course, the intelligent thing to do when you know there is a colony of bats in the neighborhood is to avoid their nesting area at dawn. However, in my family, we have a saying: If you didn't take a picture, it didn't happen.
So I went back.
I thought about dressing as Batgirl to convince the bats that I was one of their own and hopefully they wouldn't attack. However, running in the boots proved to be too difficult and purple isn't really my color. Oh well, it's just one picture, and I knew to stay far enough away that I could outrun them if they noticed me, so what could happen?
The colony, I noticed, consisted of a few adults and mostly babies. Babies learning to fly, most of them not very good at it. Cute, in a freaky flying rodent kind of way. I got as close as I thought I could, grabbed my camera and aimed.
Flash or no flash at dawn?
Contrary to myth, bats are not afraid of light. However, a sudden flash of light for new babies learning to fly in the pre-dawn darkness is startling, and although the babies were already uncoordinated, the addition of a flash was more than a few could handle. I heard one squeal, just before he hit a tree. I assumed he was laughing.
Mother Bat did not find it funny at all.
They say bats don't attack humans. Well, I know they chase humans, I proved that last week. And if they don't attack humans, what exactly was Mother Bat's intentions as she flew straight toward me, her wings spread to a good twelve feet (estimating), her mouth open and her claws sprung? I don't think she was posing for a picture.
And then I heard 'the words' that told me it was time to break a new speed record. As a mother, I can translate those words from any language: French, Spanish, Bat.
"YOU MESS WITH MY KIDS YOU MESS WITH ME!"
I ran like, like, like....A bat out of Hell.
And made it home again with my eyeballs.
Bats 1. Kelly 1.
I was willing to call it a tie. Until this morning.
I grabbed a cup of coffee and went to sit on my back porch with my dog.
I looked up and my pine tree was covered. With bats.
They found me.
This war is on.
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