Friday, March 02, 2007

Stormy Days

Yesterday was one of those weird days where things aren't quite right but I didn't really care. I felt like reading, or watching TV or just napping for the day.

I took the kids to the library in the morning, as planned, to avoid the bad weather coming our way. Then, because I was in a lazy mood, we went to Wendy's for lunch. I know that the kids are getting bigger, because they don't all beg, pledge their eternal allegiance, or even whimper for a kid's meal. No! They want fresceta sandwiches, burgers with bacon, 350-piece chicken pieces. Only three wanted kid's meals, but even those three weren't full afterward. There was not an extra french fry in sight! Gone are the days of scarfing down my kids' leftover french fries. (Which I guess is a good thing.) They are starting to ask for MINE! So, for all seven of us (Keva was at school and Keith at work), it cost -- gulp -- $27! I needed a equity line of credit. Then, because they weren't quite full, we got $7 worth of frosties after that. $34 for lunch. That's horrible. We could have gone to a restaurant for what that cost. I felt like hiding my head in shame as we left, but we did get three bobble-head toys that, when we got home, Kody promptly got to work on chewing into little itty-bitty bits.

Then, we just kind of sat around and read. The rain came down and we all took our places. Keri Lynn and I claimed the two recliners in the living room. Kristofer was upstairs in his room. Then, Keri Lynn and Kathleen moved on to a book on tape, while the little kids. We definitely covered our Language Arts for the day, but not much of anything else.

Then, later in the afternoon, looking at my watch in surprise, I ran out the door with a list of errands that I needed to get done before dinner, the most important one being to pick up our Olan Mills pictures that we had ordered after getting our church directory picture done (or as they say here in the south -- our picture made. Keva was a little cross-eyes and I was squinting, but everyone else looked just fine. In fact, I was a little taken aback by the fact that the kids looked so BIG! Everyone is growing up! The last picture we had done professionally, the little boys were three and four. What a difference a few years make. Pudgy cheeks diminishing. Long angular bodies with teeth that desperately need braces emerging!

And because I just "didn't have time!" (HA!) to make dinner, I dropped by Little Ceasar's to get some of those wonderful $5 pizzas. Pizza has got to be one of life's greatest inventions. Not because I necessarily enjoy eating pizza. I do, but hamburgers and fries are always my first choice for take-out. But because pizza takes so little clean-up. The kids don't even use plates usually -- just paper towels (the "fancy" plates). Keith throws the pizza boxes in the fireplace and we have eat pizza by firelight! No fuss, no muss. What more could a family ask for on a stormy night.

Pretty much the whole state of Georgia was on tornado watch last night. No trips to the basement. We didn't go into tornado warning, that I know of anyway, because we turned the TV off at 10:00 last night, but -- all in all -- the weather was pretty mild compared to other storms we've had. The ground is nice and soggy and the weather remains warm. We're supposed to be in the 60s today. Warm air + cold air = tornadoes. It's really not unlike California "earthquake weather." After a big storm, I'd always wonder if we'd get an earthquake soon because of the rain water soaking and shifting the ground. Still, if there are no tornado watches up today, I'm going on my walk.

Speaking of walks, earlier this week, while I was on my usual trek into Phase 2 of our development, I came across a very loud, vicious, frothing-at-the-mouth barking dog, tethered tenuously at the front lawn of a new neighbor. If it hadn't been tethered, I would have run back the other way, but -- as it was -- I walked on, trying to be calm and not scared, because (you know, or so I've been told) dogs can sense your fear. I gave it no eye contact. Tried to remember to look in control. Channeled Cesar Milan! Tried not to remember when I was bitten as a young child by just such a vicious dog. Heard an old woman call powerlessly from the house's front door for the dog to be quiet. Wondering, all the while, that if the dog did manage to come loose and come after me, should I run, stand straight and tall and act unafraid (ha!), scream . . . Meanwhile, the dog was literally choking itself to try to get out of its tether. I walked on, continuing my walk to the bottom of the hill and back up past the same house.

I saw a construction worker at the house at the corner and debated with myself for a few minutes whether or not I should ask him to walk with me past the dog! I finally decided that my Spanish was not good enough and, even if it was, I'd feel terribly foolish being such a wimp. Still, in all honesty, as I walked up the hill, if I'd seen the dog still out on the lawn, I would have gone back to the worker anyway and asked for help! Tether or no tether! That dog had really scared me. Fortunately, the woman must have been able to lure the dog back into the house. Maybe she had a t-bone steak that it ripped to shreds. I don't know.

Later that night, I told Keith about the vicious dog and asked him what I should do if that dog or any dog came on the attack. He said comforting things like to not let the dog take me down because vicious dogs like that go for the jugular. He told me to never show a dog fear. (Note to people talking to those with dog phobias -- this is not helpful!) Then, Keith wisely suggested that I go back to the house and talk to the dog's owner and explain about how scared I had been walking by their dog and find out if the dog was dangerous. Ahhh, now that was a good idea.

So that's what I did the next day. Only I didn't go alone. I asked Kristofer to protect me from the mean vicious dog. He said in his sweetest totally relaxed voice, "Of course I'll help you, Mom!" He asked what kind of dog it was and if it was very big. I told him it was HUGE, probably a rottweiler or a pit bull, all slathering teeth, ready to eat me.

The dog wasn't out front this time, when we rang the doorbell and the same old woman answered the door, but didn't open it all the way. The dog was starting to bark. She didn't know who were were yet, so talked to us from the screen at the front room of the house. Bailey, the much-smaller-than-remembered, boxer barked and made a fuss, but by the end of the conversation was licking us both through the screen and wagging her cute stubby tail. Apparently, she's not bred to eat wayward pedestrians, but she does bark at anyone daring to come close to her territory. The woman, the grandmother who lives with her son and family, watches the toddler while the parents are at work, and she never leaves the dog out without being tethered. Of course, when we left, after a very nice conversation, I looked at the tether and saw that it was straining out of the ground. Not exactly comforting, but I'm no longer afraid for my life! If Baily does get loose, I think I'll be okay!



Oz said...

I have a different take on non-huge dogs then most people do.

I force myself to get angry emotionally when I am not on their property. I also tell the dog (not yell, but tell) that "I own the street."

My theory is that if I'm angry inside, it will give off a non-fear smell and make the dog reconsider.

Jackie said...

I could see where that would be better than running away screaming, but what if it makes an aggressive dog more aggressive, "So, buddy, you want a fight, huh?!"