Retirement and Dogs Part Five

Hating her coat plus bad hair day

Smoke Alarms: Argh

Let me say right now I’m all for smoke alarms, however the smoke alarm in my apartment caused me a lot of problems. I just going to reiterate there was a no-pet policy in this development. Why did I get a dog? Simple. I saw people out of my balcony window that had cats. I reasoned a cat is as much of a pet as a dog, so that’s it. Right or wrong that’s how I reasoned, also I hated coming home to an empty house. You know when you’re used to coming home to a person or a pet and that goes away, sometimes you just don’t get over that emptiness. Things were going as well as they could with me sneaking around with GG. I don’t know if I mentioned this, but is was around Thanksgiving, so it was cold out and this was another thing I didn’t consider when I got this bright idea for a dog. She had to go out for my sanity. It was easier to deal with her “I want to play because I’ve been alone all day” by taking her out for a few minutes. This meant coats, which meant dressing and undressing her. No fun, she hated clothes and to this day she still hates putting on clothes. Okay, smoke alarm. You know how every year usually a housing development will send someone to check the smoke alarm? I had a notice on my door one day that someone would be coming in to check my smoke alarm batteries. I panicked. Wouldn’t you? I had to think they only gave you about a week’s notice. I knew I had to go into my 007 mode to not be found out that I had a pet. I stayed home from work, that was no problem. The problem was that it was January and snowing outside. I couldn’t go out with her even to sit in the car. Well, maybe I could have, now that I’m thinking about. I could have cleaned the snow off the car and turned on the heat, and we could have sat in the car which was parked right outside my building. We could have watched the worker go in the apartment and come out. I just didn’t think of that then. What did I do? I put GG in her carrier, which I placed on the other side of the bed and closed the bedroom door. I turned music on and up loud. The smoke alarm was right outside the bedroom door so when he put up his ladder to check the smoke alarm, I stood right there and started some stupid conversation. I can’t remember what it was. I could hear GG barking. Thank God her bark was not loud. The smoke alarm guy would periodically look at the door, and I’d just keep talking. It only lasted about five or six minutes, but that was a nerve racking experience. I was so happy when he left that I took GG, and threw toys from one end of the livingroom to the other. I was so happy we hadn’t been found out. The doorbell rang and I was wondering who that can be? You don’t visit me without calling first. I picked up GG and practically threw her in the bedroom, no carrier this time, just put her in there and closed the door. It was him back for me to sign a paper to say he’d checked the batteries in the smoke alarm. I will always believe he came back trying to catch me in the wrong. I didn’t let him in because there was no reason he needed to enter the apartment, I stood in the doorway and signed. Wow, that was close. I got away that year with the smoke alarm check, but not so lucky the next time, but that’s another blog. Have a blessed and safe day.

Retirement and Dogs – Part 4


You can tell from my last post I was like agent 007 from the television show Get Smart. I did all kinds of crazy things to keep her from being seen, such as pretending she was a baby. I would wrap her in a blanket and hold her like a baby. When someone would start walking in my direction, I’d just say “bad cold.” That was enough to keep people away. You know kids though: that was harder – they didn’t care about measles. I used a different approach. With clenched teeth and a smile, I shook my head to say “no.” It worked, that’s all I know. The other method of getting GG out was putting her in a gym bag. I must say, this turned out to be the best way. I guess people thought I worked out seven days a week, because people would see me in and out, with my gym bag. There were hiccups along the way that were nerve-wracking for me. GG still wanted to run and play in the house, no matter how long I kept her out. She never seemed to get tired. It got so bad that at times, I would sit in my car because I just couldn’t deal with her playing. Yes, I would be sitting in my car listening to music trying to get the energy to confront her. Was I a bad parent? I didn’t care. I was away from home 12 to 13 hours a day. I commuted to New York from near the Poconos. I was being kept up way past my bedtime. I felt like a walking zombie. Pep talk time, Anita: you wanted a dog and you didn’t like coming home to a empty house. Well, GG filled all the criteria. I had to get it together and drudge back upstairs. The next bad experience I had was giving her a chicken bone. Remember, I said people I grew up with gave a dog a bone and kept it moving, well, that’s a big no-go. She was so sick, I was up all night with her. I thought to myself: “this is great – I have a dog for a few months and I’m killing her.” I was so stressed. She looked so pitiful and there was nothing I could do. I didn’t have any of the dog-lovers from my job’s telephone numbers, so I couldn’t call anyone that I thought might know what to do. I had to find a vet and quick. I didn’t care how far I had to go, or how much it was going to cost. I just wanted her fixed. Thank god for the internet. I found a vet about 10 minutes away. My first vet experience was OK, plus the doctor was good to look at. I thought it was love at first sight, but, I digress, I was there for GG, not for me to pick up a date. The vet gave her fluids and a shot, and told me to buy Pepto Bismol. I had to ask her to repeat the directions because I was now wondering if this vet, who I was getting ready to ask for a date a few minutes ago, had graduated from medical school. I reluctantly and I mean reluctantly bought and gave GG the Pepto Bismol. It took about two days before she was back to her playful self. I was so happy to throw her toy across the room for her fetch. The days would go by with our routine of sneaking her out and playing. I was still exhausted, but I no longer had to give myself pep talks, or sit in my car to get away from her. Things were going along fine until smoke alarm changing time. You’re going to have to wait until next week to find out what craziness GG and I had to deal with. Have a blessed week everyone.

Retirement and Dogs Part3

The first day back to work was stressful, and that’s an understatement. I worried that GG might cry being home alone, or that our training pad sessions hadn’t gone as well as I thought. The commute I took to work was at least 2hrs each way, so there was plenty of time for her to get into mischief. I had read online that giving your pet an article of clothing would help reduce their anxiety. I gave her one of my socks to hopefully pacify her. I couldn’t take her out, because it was dark at the time I left for work. I barely wanted to go out myself at 4am to go to the bus, so I knew she wouldn’t want to go out. I can honestly say that was one stressful long day, not knowing what I was coming home to.

When I got out of my car in front of my building, I looked both ways before I got out. I didn’t want to get ambushed by neighbors or rental office personnel. I gingerly walked to the door, and put my ear against it, “Ahhhhh… Nothing.” No noise whatsoever. I opened the door and who did I see, but GG. Let me explain: there was about 30 steps to climb to get into the apartment. I picked her up and hugged her. I wondered how long she had been there. I can’t imagine such a small dog getting down all of those stairs without hurting herself. I did a once over of her body, to make sure that she wasn’t hurt anywhere, and got our dinner.

I was exhausted. Between the commute and the stress, I was ready to relax and go to bed; 3am comes very early. Well, GG had other plans, like playing and running all over the apartment. The neighbors downstairs must have wondered whether I lost my mind with all that tapping on the floor. What choice did I have but to throw toys for her to fetch, hoping she would tire out (which was not happening). After fetch, it was rubbing her, and I must have fallen asleep in the middle of that, because I remember her little bark that caused me to jump up. “No, there can’t be any barking. None whatsoever. Doesn’t this dog ever get tired? It must be the dog food, it must have some energizer ingredient in it,” I thought to myself. I was exhausted by the time she finished her night of seeing what my breaking point was. This nighttime playtime had to go. I would never be able to go to work if this was going to be her nightly routine.

What I forgot to tell you is that I worked for the Federal Government. Federal Government workers try not to work hard. They spend their hard work trying to figure out how not to work. I will not say that this is the case with all government workers, but it is with a lot of them. I had risen up the ladder to the highest position in my agency, and I didn’t want to go anywhere. I had it good. I slept on the train to work and slept going home. Why was I so tired from trying not to work? If I had a demanding job, I don’t know if GG would have made it with me. I really felt that something had to be done.

I thought Shih Tzus were lap dogs, which meant that they only wanted to lay in your lap and sleep, not run around like a maniac. I had to get her outside to burn up some of her energy. That was a challenge, because again, I was not supposed to have a dog. I had to figure out how to get her out the door at a time when people where coming in from work. She also had to be quiet and not to draw attention to us. I also had to figure out where to take her where no one from my development would know me. This was as bad as a robber making plans to rob a bank. I had to go over every detail in my head. How did the plan go? You’ll have to read next Wednesday. Have a blessed weekend everyone!

Retirement and Dogs Part 2

The problem start mounting when you make impulsive decisions, you are usually unprepared for the results. I was very unprepared, and not very knowledgeable about dogs. I have a cousin who had a dog, but I really didn’t see her Shih Tzu often enough to know what was involved in her care. I grew up where people had mutts for dogs – you gave him a bone and go about your business. But high-end dogs take some care and thought. What kind of food should she eat, wet or dry? Do you know how many kinds of dog food there are? What about shots? You know what, let’s stop right here – I haven’t even given her a name. The next day, I was going to say “we”, but what did she do but look at me suspiciously..? I had more pee to clean up, does this dog do anything but pee, I thought? I gave her the food I grabbed at the store the night before, and sat trying to figure out a name. I wanted it to be easy and a reflection of her personality, whilst to be honest at this point I knew nothing about her. I thought maybe I’d name her DEE, but nope, that won’t do – my mom would kill me for naming a dog after her! Then I thought DD… Nope, still too close to my mother’s name. I went through the entire alphabet in my head, putting two letters together. Finally, I decided on GG. No Gigi for her, just two letters, easy to remember. I was a proud mama, I managed to give my dog a name. The next problem to tackle was actually buying dog food, and getting more training pads. I couldn’t take her with me, because I wasn’t supposed to have a dog – so what was I to do? I had no choice but to go, she needed things. As I was leaving for my quick run to the store a Cesar dog food commercial came on. I stopped in my tracks and just stared at the television, as if I never seen this commercial before. This time was different, GG needed food and the Cesar dog was cute. I went to the store so fast you’d think it was a matter of life and death if I didn’t make it in 5 minutes. I was in and out, and it helped that I knew the layout of the store. It was obvious I was a proud mama with all the toys I bought, with the training pads and dog food. I just hoped that nobody behind me in line knew where I lived. I rushed all the way from the checkout line to my car just grinning. Well, that smile got wiped right off my face when I got home… GG had pooped on the floor, torn up a training pad and dragged my shoes out of the bedroom. How can one little dog do so much in 20 minutes..? I was furious, and she got her first and only spanking with a newspaper. I’d learned a few things from the dog lovers at my job. They had said to crate train or put the dog’s nose in the pee, and then put the dog on the training pad. I wasn’t crate training, it seemed inhuman to me, so I chose the latter, which GG and I practiced all weekend. I had to go work in NYC. I left at 4 in the morning and didn’t get home until 5. I had forgotten all about this when I impulsively got GG. I never considered that she might be lonely being home alone for that many hours. I do realize now it maybe was selfish… There was also the issue of noise. I had downstairs neighbors and I know with those thin walls the floors were probably not much better. I wondered, did they hear her running or see her little head, looking out of the patio door? I was just glad her bark was weak and the neighbors were nice. The next blog will be “Off to work I shall go”.

Retirement and Dogs Part 1

I decided to do this blog because, as all people would probably say, my dogs are special. I have two dogs, GG and Mason, who are both a handful. Since I retired, it seems like I work harder than ever before for the government. If you are a government worker, you can probably relate to how hard I have worked. I want to start this blog at the very beginning, when I got my first dog.

I was just out of a relationship and I hated – and I mean literally hated – coming home to an empty house. I had coworkers who were always talking about dogs, so with me hating coming home alone and them filling my head with the wonders of pet ownership, I decided to get a dog. I had just moved into a new apartment, unaware that I wasn’t supposed to have pets, as it wasn’t something I originally had to consider having not yet had the idea to get a dog. After months of going back and forth and seeing the people that lived across from me with a cat, I decided that if they can have a cat, I can have a dog. I did inquire with management, who told me no pets. I think there was a double standard there, as it seemed that they could rationalize when it came to cats, but not with dogs. I wasn’t hearing it. I was sitting at work one day a week before Thanksgiving, bored crazy, and I decided “today I’m getting my dog!”. A coworker told me where to go, which was way out in Brooklyn. I lived way up in New Jersey, close to the Poconos. I was not to be deterred by distance. I took the train to Brooklyn. I didn’t know what I was looking for exactly; just a small dog that didn’t molt all over the place. There were a lot of people looking at dogs and a lot of dogs looking for a new home. I saw this group of Shih Tzu’s, all different colors and so small. I was in love, but which one? The one I chose ran to me when the owner of the store took her out. I had already fallen in love when the bad news came. She had a hernia and they planned to treat it, but I wanted my dog now and I didn’t want to make that trip all over again. I went back to the small group of Shih Tzus and picked another. When the store owner let her out, she walked in the opposite direction to me. Stubborn, I decided to take her anyway. I purchased a carrier that looked like a purse for the long trip back to New Jersey. She slept most of the way and I guess people kept looking at me because the carrier kept moving. ‘What now?’ I thought to myself. We finally arrived at my car after what seemed like hours. I was tired and I was hoping that she was too. I hadn’t prepared at all for this dog. I had no food, no training pad and no permission to even own a dog. It was dark and she was asleep. I ran into the store which fortunately wasn’t too crowded, as I had to leave her in the carrier while I picked up few things for her. Finally, I arrived back home. I let her out the carrier so she could get familiar with her new home. She peed on the floor and almost fell down the stairs that lead into the living room. I was tired, and my reasons for getting the dog went out the window after cleaning up the pee and baby-proofing the stairs. The problems start mounting the next blog.

Women In The Military

Women in The Military

Women have always had a place in the military. The women in the military in 1943 belonged to an auxiliary unit called Women’s Army Corps or WAC for short. They didn’t do any of the dangerous or hazardous jobs that men did. The jobs that they did were mostly clerical and nursing, or any of the behind-the-scenes jobs that needed to be done. None of the jobs they performed put them in a position to make high rank, which would have meant more money. This unit was disbanded in 1943.

Then, in 1978, women were integrated into the main body of the services. Women being integrated meant that they had to undergo the same physical and mental testing as men. I was in one of the first classes of this new Army. The group of women that I went through basic training with didn’t hear about this change until we arrived at the base in South Carolina. We were caught completely off guard. There was weapons training, which involved shooting and taking the weapon apart and also night fire, which involved bombs going off and the pretense that you were getting shot at. In addition, there was the physical training of a timed, 2-mile run and ‘no-mercy’ drill sergeants barking orders, which was an everyday occurrence. There was also the issue of the men not really wanting us there, and they made it known in any way that they could. We wanted to be equal, but had no idea what being equal truly meant. The way to pass the testing was to be friendly with the testers, if you couldn’t make it on your own. Women did whatever they had to do, so that they could pass and not be sent home, which was the ultimate failure. The jobs that women got were still clerical, nursing, and anything not on the frontline. The ranks were still below the men, even when the man was doing the same job. The high ranks were reserved for men on the frontline or the decision makers. The women were still not satisfied with their roles.

The Military’s Reasoning for No Women

There are many arguments as to why women should not be put on the frontline. There was the fact that the composition of a woman’s body made her not as strong as a man physically. The men didn’t feel comfortable having to depend on women in life and death situations. It was thought that women would freeze or emotionally breakdown in life or death situations. There was the thought that fraternization would take place, and the military was not prepared for women having babies. The biggest reason was that women were needed for reproduction; if too many got killed, it would stunt the growth of our population.

The military and corporate America had a lot in common in the way that women were treated. Corporate America believed that a woman’s place was in the home and most of the available jobs were clerical in nature. Women were always kept below men and they were never put into any decision making roles. They to had to do whatever was necessary, not only to be employed, but to stay employed. Women were tired of the limited thinking of men when it came to their trying to move ahead in their careers.

With the military, women wanted inclusion, because they were ready to die for their country just like a man. The military provided the best job around, and women wanted to be part of it. Soldiers were provided a free education, job security, and the chance to see places that you only dreamt of.

Times Change for Women

The voices for true equality for women in the military kept getting louder and louder. Women started proving themselves more and more physically and academically. They took their weaknesses and made them into strengths that couldn’t be ignored. They no longer had to be friendly to testers to pass, because now they could pass on their own merit. They now relied on their own intelligence and built up their strength at the gym.

Today, there are women in some of the frontline jobs that were previously closed to them. They proved themselves worthy of inclusion in the military in the Desert Storm and Iraqi campaigns. Michelle J. Howard is an admiral, and the highest ranking female, in the Navy. Ann Elizabeth Dunworth was the first female to be awarded four-star in the Army. These are just a couple of the leaders who helped women march to total equality in the military. They aren’t finished, but they’ve come a long way since 1943.

Commuters Dream

Commuting A Rough Life
Commuting Reality Check

The fact is, commuting is not for everyone. Even if it allows you to have a larger house where the kids can have grass instead of concrete to play on, it’s sometime not worth it. I’ve commuted to New York for the last 15 years, and as much as I hate it, sometimes I’m still drawn to being out of the city. Commuting definitely is not for everyone because by the end of your day, you are drained. I’ve seen what happens to people when they realize that their new home also comes with commuting and the large costs involved with that. I’ve seen people move back to the city within a year, or find a babysitter for the kids and live in the city during the week.

Commuters and Realtors

There are many people who get so caught up in what a realtor is saying that they don’t realize the realtor isn’t saying anything about commuting. I sold real estate, so I know they say very little if anything about commuting. They are there to sell you a house. Do you really think they care about your commute?

The perfect scenario of a home buyer: the couple gets up early on a Saturday morning and packs the kids in the car for the 90-to-120-minute drive to meet their realtor. The realtor meets them with a Kool-Aid smile on her face, and thoughts of hundred dollar bills in her mind. You ride around from house to house, listening to descriptions of each house, community news, and the big selling point for most married house hunters, which is the wonderful schools the area has.

Finally, you head back to the city with so many houses on your mind you don’t remember which was which. You get back to your neighborhood, look around, and before you can make it out the car, you’re dialing the realtor to buy your dream house.

Commuting Revelation

You move in over the weekend, and on Sunday morning, you realize you have to go work the next day. You call the realtor and ask that important question that never entered your mind until now: “How do I get to work from here? This is where the reality of what you have done finally hits home. The cost of two monthly tickets is hundreds of dollars plus the transportation fare once you get into the city. This is a big problem for most people because they have no budget for that big expense. The only thing you can do now is start calculating how to cut down expenses to accommodate this hefty transportation cost. The next awakening comes from not knowing bus or train schedules. This can mean that if you have to be at work by 8:00 a.m., you have to get up at 4:00 a.m. to catch a 5:00 a.m. bus. What an awakening! The only good thing is that one of your mothers is living with you, so you don’t have to worry about getting the kids ready for school.

Commuting Nightmare

When you get to the bus station, there are lots of sleepy commuters like yourself waiting for the bus. Ten minutes before bus departure, you start to line up single file to load onto the bus. Thank goodness there are two of you so you don’t have to sit next to someone who smells like garlic (I know some people take garlic for medical reasons) or who just didn’t bathe. The men can be the worst sitting companions because they like to spread their legs so women big or small get scrunched into the corner of their seat. Also, there is always one person who must have gone to bed at 6:00 p.m. the night before because he/she wants to talk the entire ride to anyone sitting in the adjacent seat. When you get that person, all you can do is close your eyes and pretend to fall asleep as soon as they start. You’ll know the person ahead of time because he/she is walking around the bus station trying to start a conversion that will last until the bus comes. There are situations on buses like arguments about reclining seats too far back or sitting in someone’s seat even though there are no assigned seats. This is your 90-minute trip in, and going home is no bargain either, because then you have to deal with the traffic. There is usually traffic no matter what time you want to leave the city, and this can add another 30 or 40 minutes to your trip.

You might be OK for the first week, but by the third week, you’re thinking, “How did I get into this predicament? Oh yeah, better schools, and better quality of life.” I have an issue with the “quality of life” statement, however, because you’re usually too tired to really enjoy that dream house or do anything but lie around the house when the weekend rolls around. If you have kids, there goes the lying around the house, because they need some of your time.

Commuter’s Dream

It doesn’t matter if you commute by train or bus; they can both break down and have you sitting for hours. There are people who will say the train is better, but what they don’t say is that it may be a little better for $30.00 more than the bus. The next time you think about your dream house, don’t forget that commuting is part of that dream.

Do you feel commuting is worth it?

Has commuting enhanced your quality of life?