Tuesday, July 31, 2012

Dogs, Cats, & Children...

In case you didn't know, I live in Texas.  I grew up outside of Chicago in Illinois.  I think most of the people who read this blog are my friends or family so I might be stating this unnecessarily but...just in case someone has wandered over who doesn't know me personally... There you are. Informed.

I read something today that reminded me of how lucky I was growing up, surrounded my mostly responsible adults in a nice neighborhood.  If you'd like to read it as well, here's the link:  http://www.doranna.net/wordplay/index.php/2012/07/30/the-beagle-the-border-collie-and-the-idiot/

Moving to the South was culture shock in a lot of ways.  We have 'country' areas in Illinois but I only knew one family (My cousins via my mom's brother) who lived outside of a town.  Animals were not encouraged to run around loose where I grew up.  I never heard of people being attacked by a dog when I was a kid, at least not that I can recall.  But then if a dog was loose, it had usually escaped its backyard.  There was a Great Dane named (I think) Eeyore (?) from three blocks away who used to escape regularly, jump our four foot chain link fence and visit with our collie.  Luckily he had kids in his own family and we knew them, we'd call, the family would come get him and it was good bye until he came visiting again.

Eeyore was a great dog, friendly and good with kids who happened to be an escape artist.  He was well behaved with that one exception and we were perfectly safe.  We were really lucky.  Our dog Liz, was a large collie and very well trained thanks to my mother.  Mom has had dogs all her life and is excellent at making them obey.  She has a newer dog now, a cute little thing named Ginny, who she is constantly correcting because Ginny needs it.

Having a dog is a lot like having a small child. You have to watch it a lot, give it attention, make it behave itself. Instill in it the proper manners that will make it a productive member of its society.  This is the responsibility of its owners, just as a child's manners are the responsibility of its parents.  This is true for every pet that is capable of understanding commands, including cats. (Yes, mine understand no, and stop and their names.) And just like kids, dogs need rules.  Just like kids, dogs need to be taught.

I have three cats now. Spike lost his battle with cancer a week before I posted pictures of the dollhouse out of its box.  All of my cats started out as outdoor cats because we adopted them either off the street or from someone who let them be outdoors.  My cats are all indoor cats now and will stay that way for some very good reasons.  The first place I lived in TX was Orange which is way south and features things like alligators and cottonmouths.  My husband lost a cat to snakebite when he was down there.  Since then he won't have outdoor cats.  Our neighborhood now features many neighbors with dogs.  We love having the neighborhood cats visit our backyard because we don't have a dog, and its a safe place for them to hang out.  But we don't let our cats outside.  There's a good reason for that.

My husband knows a woman from work who had a cat and a dog. The cat was older and set in its ways and enjoyed time outside.  The dog was a Cardigan Corgi (I think, I know it was a type of Corgi) also older, and typically stayed in his fenced in yard.  When I say fenced I mean a wooden privacy fence, not something of chain link that allows for eye contact and perceived aggression to spiral out of control.  Though in retrospect chain link might have been better.

You see, the neighbors of this woman also have a dog. A large, untrained, unsocialized animal whose breed I have deliberately not asked.  This dog is aggressive.  This dog is not friendly.  And a few months after this nice woman's cat disappeared after it went for its outdoor time, the neighbor's dog, pushed and gnawed it's way through the wooden fence, got into her yard, and attacked her small dog.  The damage done was, the only word I can come up with is horrific.  Ultimately her dog died of its injuries at the vet's office.

The police were called.  And this nice woman who in less than six months had lost both of her pets, had to deal with the legalities of pressing charges along with her grief.  I won't go into the details of what happened legal-wise.  But the results were disappointing.

You see, the neighbor still has his dog.  It has not been put down for the safety of the neighborhood.  The aggressive unfriendly dog, who attacked and killed another dog after breaking through a fence to do it, still lives next door to this nice woman where she has to hear it barking and see it.  But that's not the most disturbing thing.

You see dogs are aggressive for reasons, sometimes its in their breeding and when they're properly trained by responsible owners they can be curbed and controlled. Big dogs and little dogs all have issues.  Socializing and training them is key to making sure they aren't a danger to anyone.  Aggressive dogs often see prey behavior in smaller creatures.  The happy prancing little dog with his tail wagging, the child in a stroller clapping its hands and staring, the person taking a walk who looks too long in an aggressive dog's direction, they're all demonstrating behavior that tells the aggressive dog that they are prey.  Dogs that become aggressive or attack need training to correct their behavior.

Now we come to the most disturbing aspect of this whole situation.  The neighbor with the aggressive dog, the neighbor who gets to keep his dog, has a small child.  A small child who isn't much bigger than a Corgi.  A small child who won't even know if she's behaving in a manner that makes her prey.

Chilling thought isn't it?

Saturday, July 21, 2012

Dragon Age vs. The Movies

So this weekend the original plan was to go see the new Batman movie.  Yes, original plan, as in, it has since been revised.

Maybe I should explain.  The husband works at a public library which means quite often he has to deal with (you guessed it) the public.  I work in an accounting department where we all take turns on the receptionist desk.  That means this week I got to answer the phone a lot.  It isn't as if substituting at reception is difficult.  But it is annoying.  I'm not what you could call a 'people person'.

And really don't complain to me if we repossessed your vehicle.  We only do that if you don't make payments on your loan.  We'd much rather you pay us.  It's not like we get a lot of joy when we have to hire someone to hunt you down and take away your car.  Nobody forced you to get a loan with us and we really didn't force you to default on your loan.  And we especially didn't force you to not even communicate with us so we could work with you on payments.

Don't get me wrong, if I meet you, chances are I'll like you. You're an individual and you might just be interesting.  People though? To quote a favorite movie, 'people are dumb, panicky, dangerous animals and you know it'.

The husband likes helping people usually, which is good considering what he does for a living, but we're usually in agreement that people on average are fairly annoying.

So on Friday night when the time came to decide what our plans were for the weekend... we really didn't feel like getting up for a morning show and dealing with a crowd of mouth breathers.  I haven't gotten to write much this week and we're both in mourning so neither of us are feeling very social or friendly.

So we're (read the husband) playing Dragon Age.  Dragon Age, for those of you unfamiliar with video games, is a game where you become a fabled Grey Warden and save the kingdom from a terrible threat, a Blight led by an evil dragon.  The Blight literally destroys the land and is caused by Darkspawn, evil monsters from underground who want only to take over the world so their evil dragon/resurrected god can rule it.

Along the way you can collect companions to help you.  Some of these companions are people you can have a romantic relationship with, all of them have their own troubles and will need your help for little side quests.  And then there's the general populace of the country, some of whom are stupid, some of whom are noble, and others of which are out to get you.

You can have a lot of adventures, and ultimately you end up putting a new king on the throne, defeating the archdemon/dragon and becoming the hero of the land.  You meet elves, dwarves, mages and a lot of other people and its a very layered and interesting game.  Every action has consequences.  If you don't help a barmaid, you might not end up with a tavern named after you.  If you decide to not help the elves...you could end up overrun with werewolves.  Its fun and interesting and has a very good heart.  And in the end, it feels nice to be the hero.

Now if you'll excuse me, we're about to head into the wilds to retrieve some important treaties.  I'm sure the husband will need me to pay close attention so he doesn't miss any treasure along the way.

Hope everyone is having a good weekend. 

Saturday, July 14, 2012

The Dollhouse... Don't Get Your Hopes Up

Phase One - Getting intimidated and then annoyed...and resigned.

So today as a means of distraction I unboxed the dollhouse and oh boy... there are a lot of parts.  There are parts and pieces and then bags of both.  Its fairly intimidating.  Really figured most of what I needed would be in the box though.  I was half right.

Here are some pictures...they'll give you an idea of what I'm dealing with.

So here are some of the pieces.
And a few more...notice the big piece? That's part of the problem.
Oh, and the instructions nothing too confusing right?
So lots of pieces... they tell you what type of glue you should use.  Very helpful.  But the instructions... they tell you to pre-punch three holes in each of the grooves...

So I look.  There are no holes to punch out... you know something to indicate where the holes go or that they're punchable... (not a word probably but you get the idea).

So it seems like I need a drill...or bits because I've got a power drill but no bits for it, only screwdriver heads.  So that's problem one.

Notice the second sheet of paper under the first, the one with the bigger version of the house?  Yeah, that's the addition that came along with the house.

But looking at the big piece at the top... the one I'm supposed to drill holes in...that's the inner wall of the addition.  Notice there are no doors cut into it.

That means I'm supposed to cut the doors in.  I'm pretty certain you need a saw to do that.  And not a regular hand saw.  I think I need what they call a jigsaw, the kind that has the really skinny blade and can cut very cool shapes if you need it to.  Not sure how expensive those are.  Probably have to price a few out before I go too much further with this project.

Part of me was tempted to just start putting things together and worry about holes and cutting doors later...but I know that doing something stupid now will make it harder to do everything right later.

So I sanded down the door and window openings on the pieces I have.  Looked everything over and figured out what I'll need to look at Home Depot for.  And now I'll have to put everything back in the boxes.

But this is a start right?  And at least its a distraction.  I need one this weekend.

Talk to you all soon.

Saturday, July 7, 2012

And Now for Something More Fun

So the dollhouse still isn't assembled... still working on that... yeah, I'm slow.  And I like to write a lot so when its quiet in the house I tend to get a lot of writing done.  Makes for slow house construction.
But what I did do was buy a few more things for the dollhouse.  At the rate I'm going it'll be fully furnished before its put together.

A few things for the kitchen.  Including this gorgeous dish set.  It has fifty pieces to it...I'm amazed at the level of detail.  Teeny tiny blue flowers!


And then we've got a very nice stove...more Victorian than the other one I had which I like just fine, but I think the new one suits the house a little more.

The doors work and everything which is cool.  And it looks a little less 'frontier' than the stove I had.

One more thing which I liked because it uses two different color woods which I really like.  I don't think kitchens should be too matchy matchy because they're supposed to be practical, not perfect.  So this is good for my new little kitchen, blonde wood and dark wood.