06 December 2009

The Giveaways

There are two things that belie the fact that I'm not a native-born Oregonian:

1. I don't like dogs.
2. I have no interest in the state of my yard or in having a garden.

As for item number one, I will tolerate dogs, but I have no interest in owning one, and I fear the day the kids start to ask for one. Is it wrong of me to hope that one of them turns out to be allergic? For now, both Maddie and Riley have a pretty strong fear of dogs, so perhaps that will persist. I'd consider owning another cat, but a dog? Stinky! Slobbery! The walking! I already have two kids; no thanks on a third.*

And as for item number two, I totally appreciate the beauty of a well-maintained yard. My mom and stepdad have a gorgeous yard that they work hard to maintain, and I love to sit out on their patio in the summer and enjoy it. But it is SO MUCH WORK to properly keep up with a yard, and I don't seem to find it satisfying in the way that many people do. And the thought of tending vegetables? I like the idea of walking outside and harvesting that evening's side dish, but I think I'll support the local economy and join a CSA.

It is thus somewhat ironic that I have rented a house with a pretty substantial yard that I am required to "maintain." It's the only thing I don't like about the house. To be fair, I just spent a rather enjoyable hour outside trimming some bushes and gathering up the resulting yard waste; it happens to be a gorgeous (if seriously windy) winter day, and the fresh air and bit of a workout were nice. But even to do the bare minimum in the yard is a big time investment, and it's time that I prefer to spend in other ways.

Maddie and Riley will turn four this spring (!), and they love to be outdoors. I'm hoping that some kid-sized yard tools will make it so that we can all be outside doing work together and just enjoying the weather and family time. That will help. The yard is one area of my life where I seriously do not ask perfection of myself, so at least I'm not beating myself with that stick. I'd consider paying someone to do minimum upkeep, and might look into that in the spring. Do tweens and teens still look for lawnmowing jobs?

Maddie, Riley, and I are slowly integrating ourselves into a Unitarian church out here. We actually cross the river to attend a church in Washington state, lured there by a childhood friend of mine and her family, who had been sporadically attending and were looking for a reason to cement their participation.

The church is quite different from the one we attended in Massachusetts. The building itself is much more modern, the service less traditional. We attend the early service, which I suspect is the more sparsely attended of the two Sunday options, and the other parishioners are generally older couples. There is more layperson participation in the service itself. I miss Fred Small and the weekly singalongs from First Parish But I like the fact that the religious education program starts at age three, and I also like the smaller, more intimate feel of the service. Maddie and Riley miss all the singing they did in the nursery in Cambridge, but love that there is hot chocolate available during coffee hour.

It feels good to be finding a church home, a place where I can spend some quiet time each week just feeling the things I either don't allow myself to feel during the week or the things I put off feeling because I just don't want to take the time in the moment. I'm a total waterworks during service, and today I forgot my Kleenex. Eeeek! There was much sniffling and wiping of tears with my shirtsleeve. Sigh. Time to go tuck a pocket pack of tissues in my purse while it's on my mind.

*I shall now refrain from going off on how much it irritates me when people don't respect leash laws. Or when they put their bags of dog poop in my trash can. Gah.


Jen said...

I'm so glad you've found a place for spiritual reflection that speaks to you. After my husband died, I found a Unity church that feels like home. I too cry every week, when we bless the children at the beginning of service, when the call to worship includes a particularly moving song ("The Impossible Dream" gets me every time), when the congregation sings "The Peace Song" ("Let there be peace on earth, and let it begin with me"). Luckily, we have boxes of tissue strategically placed at the ends of each pew.

Gillian said...

We keep our schmupp on a leash, but I'll definitely cop to dumping his poop in trash cans as we walk. I figure - at least I pick it up! Trash is stinky anyway, right? And I hate carrying it for blocks, especially when trying to hold the leash and my kid's hand.

We we enjoy taking our kid to church, too. It feels so grown up, somehow.

mek said...

Really, no requests for a dog yet? Cora was pretty sure for a while that she was going to get a puppy for Christmas. I've managed to get her to admit our (ancient) cats would be hurt by that. (Now she's hoping for a boy doll "with clothes on"...uh huh.) THere's nothing that puts a damper on my own yearning for a dog like the start of winter in the upper midwest!

I know what you mean about the kleenex - the "moment of silence" in our church nearly undoes me every time.

Tricia said...

Illegal Dumping! I've avoided it myself, but I understand the urge, especially on trash day.

I'm a dog-lover married to a dog-hater. He finally allowed us to get a dog, though. A mean spirited Havanese. I do love him lots. But, he hasn't made my dog-hater husband into a dog lover. So, good luck with that if the twins ever ask!

I also love the songs on the local fellowship here. I love singing the kids back to their classroom...Go now in peace...I wish I had known that one when the boys where babies. It would have made a nice lullaby.

Anonymous said...

Don't like dogs, don't really like people who love dogs above all else - and especially wouldn't like the person who used my trash can to put their dogs poop in - disgusting! Our trash sits around for a week - can't imagine the smell at the end of a week - yuck!

Christie said...

Guilty on both charges. I have also placed the occasional bag o' dog poo in a stranger's trash when it came down to carrying it for blocks or holding the hand of my toddler while keeping the dog on leash. As for the leash law, I've noticed dogs tend to be a lot more aggressive when leashed than they are when allowed to roam.

Anonymous said...

We moved here two years ago, and I have never seen so many people who think it is perfectly okay to ignore leash laws. "Oh, it's okay, he's friendly!" is all I hear as their dog runs at my five year old and sends him almost crawling up my body in fear. Yeah, he probably is friendly, but he outweighs my kid by at least 20 pounds, and there is a sign posted right over there that says "all dogs must be on leash."

It is beyond frustrating, especially as there is an off-leash area not 500 feet from where theses encounters usually take place.

Anonymous said...

Dog owners will also, I suppose, have to refrain from commenting on how annoying it is to have toddlers screaming and screeching in a restaurant, store, post office - really, any public place that the rest of the world (why they call it PUBLIC) is trying to conduct business.
Just as much as you don't want to deal with our dogs, we don't think your kids are cute. Take them outside until they can be as well behaved as my dogs are. Wait, that might be a few years.

Sandi said...

I LOVE the Unitarian Churh we've joined and have become very active in it.

I like dogs. My son LOVES dogs, but as he will so eloquently repeat, "Mommy can't handle one more thing."

I, too am joining a CSA.

I can't grow veggies because the bear, deer, rabbits, groundhogs and other wildlife will eat everything. I just do potted herbs.

Wow, anonymous. That was uncalled for really. It figures you would post "anonymously". I don't think Snick would go to your "Doggie" blog and criticize you for saying you don't like kids.

Anonymous said...

Yes, teens and tweens still mow lawns! Several other kids in the neighborhood do this for money. I'm sure whomever you might ask would love the chance to make some extra money.

deb8able said...

Holy Cow that was a nasty comment about kids.....you know that person is way too chicken shit to leave a name. It's easy to be rude behind anonymous.

christina(apronstrings) said...

Well, we know anonymous is having a good holiday season.

I would def. hire someone to do the yardwork-i know $ is tight-but you can do it on the cheap.

I don't think it's bad to hope that they are allergic- : ) (and i love my dog-and dogs in general). And we're kind of on the same team-the thought of my daughter being anywhere near a teenage boy makes me hope that she is gay. And I'm only half kidding.

Natika said...

My husband doesn't do yard work. Never has, never will! When we moved to Washington (from MT Park) yard work took on a whole new meaning....FROGS! Yuck! I hate them.

erk said...

Dude!!! How do you figure that the end of June is a spring birthday??? The summer solstice is June 21.

I'm getting all technical on your ASS, girlfriend.

A said...

As long as you are a renter, you can use my no dog excuse -- we're not allowed to have a dog in this house. I love dogs, but adding a dog to work and two kids is more than I can manage. I'm happy for you that you found a spiritual home. I would love to be able to say the same.

Erin said...

So sorry to hear you don't like dogs. At our house we raise service dogs for Canine Companions for Independence.(cci.org) These dogs change disabled peoples lives in amazing ways. A person in a wheelchair cannot reach for that cell phone or pencil that they dropped, but their service dog makes them almost whole and able to live independently. We get these dogs as puppies at 8 weeks old and return them to CCI at 18 months old, a very bittersweet thing. But it is worth it because we know that the dog we raised is going on to do wonderful things for someone who needs their help. You might consider raising a service dog as a family project. It's good for the kids and good for the person who will eventually receive the dog... and how can you resist not loving a little puppy;)

Megan said...

Nothing will spark comments galore like declaring you don't like dogs!

I'm a dog lover (and owner) who totally understands why someone wouldn't want to BE a dog owner. They are a lot of work. And I'm guilty (though I do not feel guilty about it) of letting my dogs off leash in what I feel is an appropriate situation. For example, I let my dogs off leash on a trail on which I have seen people maybe 5 times out of 500 walks. I do get somewhat annoyed when an off leash dog charges my two leashed (large) dogs in our neighborhood, but have no issue with it if the off leash dog merely barks or ignores my dogs.

I truly believe we'd have far fewer issues with dogs if our leash laws weren't so strict. It's really, really hard for a dog to burn off all his energy on a walk alone. Imagine if we had to leash our kids and never let them run except in very small, designated areas. They'd be OUT OF CONTROL! This is what it's like for the vast majority of dogs in the US. They never get to actually burn off all that energy.

I'm not saying dogs and children are equal, but I do believe that we've reached a point of strictness with leash laws that is counterproductive.

Regarding a dog poop bag, I use the standard of "would I put a dirty diaper here?" to determine if it's acceptable to deposit a dog poop bag in a trash can. I wouldn't put a poopy diaper in a newly emptied residential trash can, so I would only do that with a dog poop bag out of sheer desperation.

I think that anon's comment earlier was snarky and inappropriate, but it is true that some people are annoyed by children and others by dogs. As a person with both dogs and a toddler, I get annoyed by both at times. But I also see that it's unfair to hold either to a standard of perfection in public.

Thy said...

Hey i like both dogs and gardening - and have neither...
But maybe garden sharing is something for you

chrissoup said...

You're the grownup, you get to decide about the dog. You don't even have to give a reason. :-)

And, as blog owner, you can delete ol' anonymous just. like. that.

Anonymous said...

Wow...I guess I'm glad to know I'm not the only person who gets upset that someone puts their dog POOP in my trash container. I don't understand the logic of putting feces in another person's trash.

Can I poop in a diaper and put it in your trash and say "oh sorry, I was on the way home from shopping, pooped in my adult diaper, and it was so uncomfortable that when I saw your trash bin by the side of the road, I felt justified?"

What is wrong with you people? Quit putting bacterial infested feces in other people's trash cans!

Here's a clue for you. I don't like dogs. I especially don't like dog poop. If you like dogs and dog poop, then keep them close to you on a leash, and put their poop in your own trash can! Geesh.