Good News Bad News

Good news:  Downstairs neighbor took proactive step towards easing her dog‘s separation anxiety by getting another dog to be his companion.

Bad news:  New dog companion also has separation anxiety and its screechy wails are even more painful to listen to than original dog’s barking and howling.

Good news:  Finally got  manuscript back with editor’s comments.  Editor’s comments were very positive and got me geared up to tackle the rewrite.  Dove in head first with enthusiasm.

Bad news:  Realized I have no idea how to do a rewrite.  Spent hours every day this week putting in and taking out commas and replacing adjectives with better adjectives (then deleting the adjectives altogether).  Very lost.  Head hurts.

Good news:  Sammi and Ronnie are no longer fighting.

Bad news:  No longer see the point of Sammi and Ronnie’s presence in the Jersey Shore house if they are not trying to kill each other.  Cannot quite figure out the meaning of their existence in this new context.  Am having a weird 3rd person existential dilemma about it.  Am  hoping Ronnie will have a bout of ‘roid rage soon and “dog” Sammi, so that their reality t.v. existence can once again be justified.

Good news:  Finally got myself to do the thing I dread most — check my mailbox.

Bad news:  Upon opening mailbox, several weeks of piled up junk mail leaped out at me like a jack-in-the-mailbox.  Mail bounced off of my frozen-in-shock face and scattered all over floor of entryway.  Had to make two trips to get all the mail to my apartment.  After throwing away the dozen Victoria’s Secret catalogues, the – Bed Bath & Beyond catalogues, and all the mail addressed to the previous tenant of my unit, still ended up with a tall pile of mail to sort through.  Pile of unopened mail currently sitting on edge of desk, staring at me whenever I enter the room.  Think maybe the mail hates me as much as I hate it.

Good news:  Think the serial killer who lives upstairs has given up his murderous ways.  (No moans or screams for almost a week now.)

Bad news:  Think the serial killer who lives upstairs has taken up late-night carpentry as a hobby instead.

Good news:  Only spent $2 on lottery tickets this week.

Bad news:  Did not win the lottery.

That about wraps up this session of “Good News Bad News.”  Until next time…

The Runaway Dog and the Bad Samaritan

Yesterday, I parked my car outside my building after returning home from a trip to the suburbs with my dogs, Duncan and Woody.  When I opened the back door to leash them up, Woody shot out of the backseat in a move that reeked of  premeditation and started running around my neighborhood like a dog gone mad.

I was taken completely by surprise, as Woody is a nearly 10 year-old lab who usually spends all day playing a game of “Guess What I’m Pretending to Be” (the answer always being “big furry floor rug.”)  This 85-pound dog,  who has taken to groaning loudly every time he has to “break character” and get up from lying down (usually only to check his food bowl), was now dashing up and down the streets of my neighborhood, leaping over hedges like a gazelle, and artfully dodging capture with the agility of a doggie-ninja.

Panicked that he would get hit by a car (and cause irreparable damage to the car), I ran after Woody, waving my arms in the air, and calling his name.  He ignored me.

I ran back to the car to get the bag of potato chips I was snacking on during the drive.  Then I ran after Woody again, waving the bag of potato chips and yelling “Who wants a treat?!  Woody, do you want a treat?!  Yummy yummy treats over here!!”  Still, he ignored me.

My panic rose at his unresponsiveness to the offerings of food.  If food wasn’t going to get him to come to me, I didn’t know what would.  I got desperate and started tossing potato chips at him every time he ran by, in case he didn’t believe that I actually had something for him to eat.  As the potato chips landed on his back, he simply turned his head to catch one or two without breaking his stride.

Clearly, this dog was toying with me at this point.

After 10 long minutes of this, I was out of breath, out of potato chips, and running low on dignity.  Then, a ray of hope shined on the situation.  A man walked across the street with his dog.  He had undoubtedly witnessed at least some of my humiliating antics to catch Woody.  Perhaps he decided to cross the street in an attempt to help, like any good samaritan would.  Falling right into the would-be trap, Woody spotted the man’s dog and trotted over to sniff hello.  I thought, Hallelujah!  

Relieved, I jogged over towards where the man and the two dogs were standing, already thanking the man profusely for helping me catch my runaway dog.  As I approached, Woody stopped sniffing the man’s dog and looked at me with ears perked, obviously getting ready to bolt again.  I did not slow down, however, as I fully expected the man to reach down and take a hold of Woody’s collar to keep him from running off again.

The man did no such thing.  Instead, he just stood there, watching with mild interest as Woody took off again.  With no time to process my own disbelief over what just happened, I reinstated the pursuit.  As I passed the man, I heard him commentating the scene to his dog:  “Oh look, Max.  Your new friend is running away again from his mommy.  Look how fast he can run.  Look at that fella go!”

W T F ?

Eventually, I managed to catch Woody, but not without several more embarrassing chase scenes through people’s backyards, culminating in my tackling Woody while he was autographing his 27th tree of the day.

As I dragged Woody home, both of us exhausted, I mentally cursed the Bad Samaritan for being a bad samaritan and couldn’t help but wonder [bitterly], What is the world coming to?  Chivalry, it seems, is not only dead, but has become a big joke.  Very sad indeed.

(p.s.  Today, Woody is still recovering from his wild escapade and is about to set a record for number of consecutive hours of snoring by a dog.  Oh, the wondrous joys of being a dog-owner.)

Is Your Pantry Armageddon-ready?

Was about to go to bed last night when a thunderstorm started outside.  A thunderstorm in the middle of January?!

Thought, “Oh Lordy, it’s Armageddon.”

Whenever there’s any weather anomaly, that’s my first automatic thought.  Have Al Gore to thank for that.  After all, if it weren’t for Al Gore’s efforts to terrorize the world with his global warming charts and monotone warnings about melting polar ice caps, I might still have rational thoughts about the causes of weird weather.  (News flash, Al — ice melts.  That’s what ice does.  You can’t claim to discover that fact AND the internet, too.  That’s just greedy.)

Out of morbid curiosity, decided to inspect my pantry to gauge how long I could survive on its contents, in case the thunder and lightning were, in fact, signs that the 4 Horsemen were answering Al Gore’s call.  Contents of pantry (largely condiments and canned tomatoes) failed to promise more than a few days of survival.  Disappointing.

Bag of dog food sitting at far end of kitchen floor caught my eye.  (Yes, I’m going there.)  Suddenly found myself wondering how long I could survive on 10 lbs of dog food when one of my dogs trotted into the kitchen.  He looked at me, then looked at his bag of dog food, then eyed me with suspicion.  I shrugged and said: “Survival of the fittest, Duncan.  It’s nature’s law, not mine.” Continue reading

Mission: Procrastination

It’s 2 p.m.  Been up since 7:30 a.m.  Wow – that’s a lot of awake-hours already.  What have I accomplished today?

Should first temper rising guilt and anxiety due to suspicion that I have not been as productive as I could have been by reducing number of Awake-hours by number of Not-Writing-But-Doing-Other-Necessary-Essential-Tasks-Of-Daily-Living-hours:

Total Awake-hours = 6.5

Breakdown of Total NWBDONETODL-hours =

(Drank 3 cups of coffee to wake up while watching a re-run of Jersey Shore –> 0.75 hours (did not watch the full episode cuz had seen it before and already knew the ending))

+ (Took dogs out –> 0.25 hours)

+ (Fed dogs –> 0.03 hours)

+ (Calculated the decimal portion of an hour for the 2 minutes it took me to feed the dogs –> 0.03 hours)

+ (Caught up with friend on IM –> 1.0 hours (mostly talked about various revenge scenes for men who had scorned us in the past, but part of discussion was about book project, so only fair to deduct that portion from this total and add it to the productive-time total) –> 0.75 hours)

+ (Finished episode of Jersey Shore, as it was a good one and I needed a chuckle to ease bitterness roused by discussion about bad boyfriends who deserved being revenged-upon –> 0.25 hours)

+ (Sat down to write.  In need of inspiration, looked outside window.  Trusty writer‘s manual says: “Nature = Inspiration.”  Noticed it was snowing.  Checked forecast to see if there will be 2 or more inches of snow, in which case I’d need to move my car to another street.  Weatherman on local news channel said “1-2 inches of snow accumulation.”  Which one will it be, weatherman??  ONE or TWO?  Do i need to move my car or not?   Just tell me and stop with your coy estimation game!  Mentally added local news weatherman to list of people to portray in unflattering parody in book.  Mental note reminded me that I should be writing my book.  Sat down to write, but then heard what sounded like snow plows outside and got paranoid.  Ran outside to see if car was still in its spot, fearing it had been towed, and prepared to throw self in tow truck’s path to prevent $250 tow fee.  Car still there – phew!  Ran back inside.  But now cold, and bottom of pants are wet.  Changed pants.  Probably shouldn’t be in my pajamas at 2 p.m. anyway, but isn’t that supposed to be one of the great perks of being a writer?  Sneezed twice in a row.  Will probably catch pneumonia now.  Mentally added local news weatherman to list of men to victimize in scorned-woman-revenge scene for forcing me to wear day clothes despite my writer’s-right to wear p.j.’s while I work, not to mention causing my imminent death due to pneumonia –> 0.5 hours)

+ (Searched various job sites for jobs to apply to in case this writing thing doesn’t work out –> 1.5 hours) Continue reading