Monday, December 30, 2013

2012: Fort Lauderdale, Neptune Beach, New Orleans, Des Moines, New Place Not To Be Named

Okay, it's almost 2014 but I want to mention 2012 because I didn't post anything that year. It all really started in the latter months of 2010, when Fru switched jobs and moved to New Orleans . . . At that time I was still teaching at the University, (in Miami-Dade County) and we had our house in Fort Lauderdale. I get a little confused, but anyway. Second Daughter was in her senior year at the high school and we didn't want to take that away from her by moving the family at the time and (as I said) I was still teaching and was basically contracted to teach Creative Writing classes through the spring semester. So, off Fru went to her new job, securing her a condo on Camp Street in the CBD where she could walk to work. First Daughter was, I don't know, back from a disastrous semester at FSU but was preparing to return after the new year . . . So, we got through the rest of 2010, then into 2011 with Fru in New Orleans, First Daughter in Tallahassee and Second Daughter and I in Fort Lauderdale. Many many visits to New Orleans were made and we were all excited to move there, despite the many great things about our home in South Florida. But then the bank where Fru worked got sold--merger!--and then it was uncertain if she would be kept on. Then it was another bad semester for First Daughter and she went to live with Fru in the Crescent City while Second Daughter and I stayed put (because employment and everything else was up in the air). This situation lasted until September of 2011, then Fru and daughter finally came back to Fort Lauderdale where, very quickly a new job was secured and we had plans to move back to the midwest. Well. We put the house up for sale and it sold much quicker than we anticipated and we had no house yet in the new place (new place was in the midwest and shall not be named) (at least not yet) and so Fru went on up to start work, (First Daughter eventually joined her, just before the new year)--staying in an apartment paid for the her employer while she looked for a house. Meanwhile, Second Daughter had started college (at FSU) so I did the prep work for the movers and was the last one in the house--that was January 7th, 2012.

Yes, 2012.

2012--the year some said that world would come to an end... Well, that year I had no house, had a carful of belongings, had two older cats and a 45lb dog. I couldn't quite move to the New Place in the Midwest with Fru and First Daughter because no pets were allowed in the place being paid for by her employer. Plus, I really didn't want to go. Had dreams of not even going, to be honest. Anyway, I stayed at Billy's across the street for a while--which was too sad and my dog could not figure out why we didn't cross the street and go home. So I hit the road and drove to Jacksonville--to Neptune Beach to be precise and I stayed three days with Bill. That was okay but also was not. Bill was great but he had a roommate and it was small and it wasn't conducive for two cats a dog and his semi-feral cat. But, I then called and re-rented the same condo in New Orleans, which allowed pets, which these pets had spent time in (the animals, as you can imagine, were quite confused and upset). Much more than all this, but I'm trying to be quick here . . . Anyway, the day I was driving up to Jax my brother called and said my mother was in the hospital. I was in flux and said I'd get up there (Des Moines, Iowa) if I had to but for now she was okay (though she wasn't). So, after three days there I moved to New Orleans, stopping in Tallahassee to visit Second Daughter. By then all the animals were infested with fleas. So a vet in Tallahassee sold me some of those flea kill-off pills and, when I got to New Orleans and single-handedly moved all the crap from the car into the condo at about eight or nine at night, I administered the flea kill-off pills which did indeed kill off the fleas--right on the condo bed. That was okay ....

This is 2012.

I'll try to keep this short but obviously I'm not. Anyway.... My very good friend from Montreal, Francis, decided to come visit me in New Orleans. I also already had a very good friend--Mike--who lived in town. Things were good, in that sense. Though the condo was small and I had two cats and a dog, now a French Quebecer would be added to the mix (there was a pullout couch in the front room). But he was going to help me drive up to the New Place even though I didn't really want to go. Well--then my brother calls and my mom has taken a turn for the worse and I need to get up there. So, I leave Francis in New Orleans to take care of my animals while I fly to Des Moines to see my mother who, essentially, going to die. She didn't. I was there a week, but she was to be placed in a hospice. So. I had animals and a friend and no home, no family... Blah...and going to have to move to a place I abhorred. yes. Abhorred.!!!

Okay, 2012.

Let me be more succinct. Had to move away. Spent the first few months sort of homeless with 3 animals while my mother became terminally ill. Was used to warm South Florida and was moving to icy midwest town. Then got up there and had to stay in a furniture-less condo for over a month while the house Fru chose was moved out of and then worked on a bit. All the while I was going back and forth to Des Moines to visit my mother. And in 2012 my mother died. And then, a month or so later, Bill from Neptune Beach died. Yes, I said died.

2012: My mother died. My good friend from Montana days and more, Bill, died. I moved to a town I don't care for.  I don't know. I wasn't good. So, I wrote nothing. Nothing . . . Is that succinct enough?

Thursday, December 12, 2013

Getting A Puppy: Fort Lauderdale 2006

It was my second daughter who wanted a puppy. She had wanted one for a while but I had put it off for a number of reasons: 1. because both girls were still quite young and that was trouble enough. 2. because we had two cats and that was trouble enough. 3. because dogs are trouble enough and a puppy is even more trouble. But, what are you going to do? Getting a dog is somewhat like having a child, there's never the perfect time to do it so it's best, at some point, to just jump on in.

So, we jumped on in.

She wanted a purebred golden retriever, a male, that she would name Oliver. My second daughter was--what?--in sixth or seventh grade maybe? Still pretty young but old enough to help take care of her own puppy/dog. (Or so I told myself.) Anyway, I nixed the idea of a purebred. Too much money, too many nice dogs at the animal shelter that needed homes. She said okay and started looking. I also made her wait until school was out (in June) before we got one. So she looked online (they had a website where they listed the animals for adoption with photos etc) and we went in person to browse. Well, the day came--Last Day of School!--and we went to the shelter where there was a puppy that was part golden retriever (and who knew what else). It was a Friday, during the day, and not many people were there. So, we saw the dog--a cute puppy alone in a pen who jumped and frolicked, who played by herself with a worn dog toy, who looked you in the eye and was happy to see you. We asked to see her and the attendant took us to a room and then brought the puppy in.

The dog--small as a puppy but not a small dog--came bounding in and went right for my daughter. Happy happy puppy. Happy happy girl.

Well, that was that. We'd take her . . . But wait! Someone else was interested in her. The puppy was on hold. The other people were deciding if they wanted her and we were next in line. The attendant took our names and number and said they'd call tomorrow around noon if the other people decided they didn't want this little bright eyed reddish puppy with a white freckled nose and white feet and white belly and fluffy ears. So, we went home without the dog. Second Daughter told First Daughter about the puppy (First Daughter was pretty much strictly a cat person) and then told Fru--her mother--about the puppy. But, we had to wait . . . The next day--Saturday--I got up and my daughter wanted to call about the dog. "No," I said, "we have to wait for them to call us. Maybe we won't get her." So, we waited, noon came and went, and then we got the call: "Do you want this dog or not? We've got ten people on the list who want her!"

Well (again). No mention of the other people. No call to tell us the puppy could be ours. But I didn't complain. I just said, yes we want the dog. And so all of us got in the car and drove over to the Broward County Humane Society Shelter and met our future family member. And she was as bright eyed and lively as before. When we went to see her other people were admiring her and wanting her and when we got her one poor girl cried and cried. Sorry. Even the attendant who did the paperwork and took our money (yes, shelter dogs cost money) cried a little to lose this dog. And we bought a leash and collar, a tag, a water bowl, food bowl, food, a bed, treats, a stuffed duck for a toy (more money) and then she was ours. We took her outside and she just jumped and jumped and wanted to play and then in the car she was quiet and good and we took her home and the two cats freaked out for months.

Having a puppy was akin--at first--to having a camel in the house. There were trials and tribulations but also great joy. This all happened after Fru's breast cancer, after her chemo and radiation (such truly profound trials and tribulations). So, it was time to have a dog. Something new. Something positive . . . And she turned out to be more my dog than my daughter's. She turned out to be a wonderful wonderful dog who is still with us.

She wasn't a male purebred golden retriever named Oliver. No. She was much better than that.