Wednesday, May 25, 2011


Where have I been?

Here and there and everywhere. Most of my time these days seems to be taken up by my little dog. Who is becoming less little every day. It’s good though- he gets me out of the house whereas, if left to my own devices, I’m much more likely to sit at home under a blanket, remote or book in hand. Other than that, went away for the long weekend, still working as a Receptionist, still looking for other opportunities wherever I can.

And, watching entirely too much House Hunters International.

You know you’re getting *ahem* more mature, when you shun MTV for HGTV. House Hunters International has replaced my 16 & Pregnant fixation.

Well replaced might be a bit of a strong word. It probably has more to do with availability than anything else. House Hunters International has been on for a while now and has a lot of episodes (that are on daily) that I haven’t seen. And The Boyfriend is just as addicted at looking at property for a surf school in Nicaragua as I am. Which means that I don’t need to hide my addiction this time.

But what initially started out as something fun to watch in between attempts at exhausting the dog (who today figured out how to open doors), has turned into a full blown attack of wanderlust.

My wanderlust was comfortably tucked away beneath layers of job envy, puppy love, (local) apartment hunting and all the other detritus that makes up our everyday lives. Who had the money to be thinking about planning an amazing trip anytime soon? Plans for a return to the magic of Oktoberfest with a detour to Italy were shelved after the bout with funemployment lasted way longer than either of us thought possible. I was content to focus on other aspects of my life, rather than the frivolity of trip planning.

But moving to another country had never occurred to me. And after watching a few of these episodes, of the houses that you can get for about the same amount as what we paid for our apartment? It’s taking every ounce of willpower and common sense not to list my apartment, sell my belongings and move away.

Restore a small Portuguese cottage by hand while I write about the experiences? Find a converted barn in Italy so I can be closer to my husband who’s been transferred here? Extend our life in Brussels because we all love Belgium so much? These kinds of things play into the fantasy that is the basis of wanderlust: namely that everything will be so much better, more romantic, easier, more amazing, if it’s done in a foreign locale. They all make it seem so simple to up and leave the life you have for a new adventure and a new life.

Alas, I was cursed with a common sensical mind and am rather attached to the people that live near me. As much as I like to fantasize about my life on the north coast of France, it would mean leaving my people and as small as the world seems these days, I don’t think that the charms of a Mediterranean life would hold without the people that I adore. Plus I’d have to teach my dog a whole new language.

However, I wouldn’t say no to a well timed vacation.

Finally, even though by the time you read this, I will most likely have made the decision but if you were choosing one of the following to read, which would it be?

a)      Queen by Right by Anne Easter Smith (historical fiction about Richard III’s widow)
b)      Tulipmania (about tulip speculation in the golden age of the Netherlands)
c)       The Happiness Project (a woman’s year long quest to do little things that make her happier)
d)      King George VI’s biography
e)      The Great Silence (about the period after the Great War and 1920)

The people I forced to answer this at work were torn between two.

Wednesday, May 4, 2011

Dog vs. Kid

You know how people say that getting a dog is good training for having a kid? And then people that have kids are like having a dog is nothing like having a kid?

If that’s the case I’m never having kids.

My dog exhausts me.

Don’t get me wrong. I love him to pieces- I love hanging out with him and playing with him and feeding him and loving him and training him. He does the cutest things and he kisses and sometimes, when the mood strikes, he’s totally cuddly. He’s so trusting, looks to us to let him know that a scary noise or person is OK and counts solely on us for food and shelter. Whenever we can keep him still for more than 10 seconds, he makes for the cutest pictures. He’s growing like a weed and everyone we meet is in love with him on sight and I don’t blame them.

But the sleeping? The sleeping is a work in progress. And my hand could use a few less bite marks.

Not that my giant German Shepherd puppy is vicious. Far from it. But he is teething and learning. And part of that learning involves figuring out that my hand? Is not a chew toy. Neither is my leg, nor my arms, my hair is off limits (even though it’s so shiny and pretty- I get the attraction to shiny) and so are my feet. I try to be patient but every once in a while he catches me off guard with a sharp little jab in my leg. Yesterday I was walking away from The Boyfriend and he noticed a mark on the back of my leg and he was like “what is that on your leg?”

Blood. It was blood.

(The Record is never coming over again after reading that)

I think we would both be less on edge about the teething if we were sleeping more. But the little man (who I shall refer to on the blog as Hugo Stiglitz) can’t sleep through the night just yet. His little bladder isn’t big enough. He sleeps GREAT when he’s in his crate, but when he has to go, he has to go. And right now that falls anywhere between 12am and 4. And once I’m up at 5:45 well so is Hugo Stiglitz. And The Boyfriend.

The housetraining is going a lot better this week than it did last week. The first week we neglected to treat him when he did his business outside. And we had a lot of trouble reading the signs that he needed to go out. It was especially confusing to all when he started scratching on the closed spare room door. The Boyfriend and I assumed that because the door was closed he was trying to tell us that he thought it should be open so that he could have free reign in the whole apartment. But it turns out now that that’s his signal for the need to go out. Which is weird, because that door is in the exact opposite direction from the front door that would actually let him out.

Where was I going with this?

Oh yeah. Those people with kids that say that a puppy is not like having a kid? Maybe didn’t ever get a puppy? Because from what I’ve heard, this is kind of exactly like a baby (maybe sans hand puncturing). Except that as my puppy grows up, he will become less of an a$$hole.

And then The Boyfriend and I will look back on all the little puppy pictures and look at each other and say things like “Remember when he was cute and small like this? Wasn’t he so great? I wish he was still small like this” forgetting all about the bloody leg, the urine on the floor and the lack of sleep.

In that way, it has to be exactly like a kid right? So I’m trying to enjoy every puppy moment while I can because from everything I’ve read and heard, it’s over far too quickly.

Hugo Stiglitz

Monday, May 2, 2011

Training With Attitude

I'm a terrible trainer.

I mean, I'm awesome at showing someone how to do a job. I will teach you the tricks of the trade in record time, hold your hand through the tricky bits and instil in you the confidence that you need to be a star.

But I will also give you a little bit extra.


I don't mean to do it. Back in the day when Anna first joined me in the 7th circle of hell (that's the worst one right? way too lazy to actually look that up) I remember taking pride in the fact that I let her form her own opinions and judgments.

Of course, I didn't actually train her. I just got up whenever she entered a room.

Just kidding. But I really did make the effort not to colour her experience of what I found to be the most excruciatingly soul crushing work environment, confident that in time she would discover it for herself. Or be Veronica's stooge in which case I didn't need to be talking to her in the first place.

So when I was handed the Seagull's replacement today with zero instructions as to what to do with her, I was confident that I would be able to maintain my professional distance and just teach the newbie what she needed to do in terms of job description.

She must be some kind of witch because before I knew it I was insinuating that the Seagull was crap at her job, that the Dinosaur was an a$$hole and showing her the results of my unofficial office census from last week: douchebags vs. people I like. The scary thing is results broke about even on that one.

At the end of the day she was ready to take the reins (the purpose of teaching her how to do my job when I'm not leaving the position? To cover the Seagull's vacation leave for the next month) and I left her on her own for the last hour to vote. In addition to knowing how to shut the Reception area down at the end of the day she was also equipped with the knowledge that if you needed anything from the Dinosaur you probably weren't going to get it, it's normal to be ignored by people walking by and I hate that people say my name wrong, most notably the Dinosaur.

I'm pretty sure that I will have her for the entire day again tomorrow. The Dinosaur labours under the misapprehension that Reception is a horribly tricky job that requires hours of patient tutelage to grasp. In this, as in many other things, she is very very wrong.

Now if you'll excuse me I'm going to indulge in some more Royal Wedding 2011 footage and photos because the 8 times I've watched it so far really didn't cut it. And then I'll probably check out some photos from The Met Gala tonight.

And you? You should read this.