Sunday, April 09, 2006

Dog Walkin' & Name Droppin'

Since Jack Frost has essentially hit the road (or at least written his seasonal “Dear John / Jane / Fools who Live North of Carbondale, Illinois” letter), I’ve been taking Daisy for a walk every morning before work. At this time of day, the neighbors are usually conveniently at their own places of employment or indoors being held hostage by toddlers packing diaper-heat and I can go about my business without being sucked into a lengthy conversation that could make me miss an amusing call on Kathleen Dunn’s show.

Because Daisy has to meet everyone. New sex offender moves in down the block and is outside filling the birdfeeder? Let’s go say hi! Drug dealers across the street having a barbeque with their raggedy clients? Such friendly people—let’s go ask for a belly rub! Frail, elderly women in PVC kerchiefs who want nothing to do with us during their daily dinos-become-oil-faster-than-their walks around the block? Let’s jump on their arthritic legs, tangle our leash around their fragile ankles, and drag them down the street!

But twice this week, there were conversations that couldn’t be avoided with people who were out and about.

First, there was the dynamic carpentry duo sprucing up the ghettified house one block over. A young woman and an old man were on the porch cutting 2 x 4's with a table saw and Daisy took off towards them on her extend-o-leash, whining, tail wagging, positively explosive in her desire to meet them. The man seemed amused and surprised at the extent of Daisy’s eagerness to throw herself onto their shoes for a scratch. Personally, I suspect she’s a meth addict. Or at the least, more manic than Christian Slater right before the party runs out of coke. “Whoa!” he said. “She must be a reincarnated carpenter!”

I started to panic at the possibility that he knew about her compulsion to craft wood cutting boards and decorative switchplate covers with the jigsaw in the shed late at night. Was this man peeping in our windows? I’ll have to ask Daisy to make us some wooden blinds.

The next day we encountered a cute college-age girl who crossed our path on the sidewalk. Daisy was beside herself, because she’s a bit like Joe Francis in her enthusiastic affection for pretty young girls who smell of vanilla. Making urgent, high-pitched noises that Lindsey Lohan might make if trapped in a Krispy Kreme shop, Daisy threw herself onto her back in the girl’s path. “Oh, you’re so cute! You just want your tummy rubbed, don’t you?” she said, bending over to pet my furry maniac. Daisy whined in a pathetic, desperate bid for approval, tail a thumping blonde blur.

We managed to part ways and three steps later I heard the girl say behind me, “Ew! It peed on me!”

I wish I could have said something clever in response, maybe even an effusive apology, but my face flushed, I faked a cough to pretend I didn’t hear, and skedaddled. And this is probably just how I’ll deal with things when my future toddler bites another three year-old on the playground.

Oh yeah. How I did at my workshop. First, thank you all for being so awesome & wishing me luck! I think I did pretty well…for the six people in the audience. Including my parents. But I can now check one literary milestone off the list: the sparsely attended author event. Next time? There will be bribery with booze and cheese. Also, hopefully the book will be … you know … out. (Thanks to Mel at Limelite for such a nice set-up!)

25 comments:

  1. D'Oh! Bummer about the sparsely attended event, but that just means you'll be chomping at the bit the next time something like this rolls around. I doubt you'll be nervous at all.

    And it's well known that carpenters are reincarnated as dogs (usually beagles). If more owners would set up lathes at dog height, they could get rid of that furniture-leg-chewing altogether.

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  2. Sounds like one faboo neighborhood you live in, Mama. Hey, you're in Wisc? Maybe I can make it up to your next event! I'm near Chicago ... ? Who knows. :-)

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  3. Oh, if I had a quarter for every time I've been peed on... By a dog. Sickos.

    You've got your hands full with that little fur-baby! You should bring the pooch next time you have an event since dogs are usually our biggest fans. Just don't forget to include the liver treats with the booze and cheese.

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  4. Sparsely attended? Well, the people who didn't go will be kicking themselves soon enough for missing an opportunity to see Jess Riley without paying a cut to Ticketmaster. I would have gone if it weren't eleventy-six hours away. If you're planning to sweeten the deal with cheese, however, I might have to make the trek next time.

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  5. Well, *I* would have attended, if you were in my neighborhood. I love nothing more than to stalk the online personalities that I read. ;-)

    And yes, you got it with the selective hearing tactic. It works in the even to of so many different occasions/fiascos. If you can fake a little sign language, you can even tell people that you have a real hearing loss when they confront you with their wounded toddler.

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  6. Hey, I'd definitely have come if I didn't live so far away. And you wouldn't even need the booze. (Maybe just a little cheese!) I'm eager to read the book!

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  7. Ugh. That sucks. People didn't know what (or WHO) they were missing... Wait until your book is out. Puh-lease. Standing room only. Even without the booze.

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  8. lol we had a dog that when she got excited she pee'd!! Your story made me laugh so hard!

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  9. sometimes I pee on people when I get excited too. it's no big deal really. ;)

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  10. Listen, can I borrow Daisy for a few weeks? There's a few home improvemtn projects that Pookie isn't taking care of on my timeline (read: right bleeping now!) I can provide her with the best food and toys and I don't mind if she pees on me.

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  11. Awwww! Now I feel like double crap!!! Would it make you feel any better if I told you I was getting almost 2 paychecks back for taxes? Next time I promise (pinky swear!) that I will be there.

    Daisy's the opposite of Wolf. He just wants home. Once he stops pulling to turn around, he just focuses. No barking, no socializing, home. Daisy sounds like a little lovergirl. :)

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  12. Don't feel bad. My parents' mini schnauzer recently attempted to bite a friend's face off, and I was all, "Uh, hey. Sorry. He does that sometimes." This seemed inadequate, so I followed up with a few humiliated, lukewarm nonexclamations of "bad dog."

    As for your sparse crowd, well ... the book isn't even OUT yet. Wait until there's a book! Where there's a book, there's people, that's what I always say. Or at least what I'm going to start saying from here on out.

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  13. Daisy sounds like our dog, Lucy. Perfect social skills. :)

    Six people will turn into 60 before you know it. :)

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  14. I'm sure you were a hit. Don't worry the next ones will fill up as the word gets out. :)

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  15. "Making urgent, high-pitched noises that Lindsey Lohan might make if trapped in a Krispy Kreme shop" - HA! Good stuff, Jess.

    Barky nailed in my quarter-round this past weekend - maybe he and Daisy should get together. I'll try to get his balls back from the vet and then he and Daisy could make some Bob Villa-quality babies together. We could sell them to TLC for a pretty penny.

    Seriously though, I'm so glad that your workshop went well! Were you relieved that it was only a handful of people, or disappointed? Or both? If your next appearance is in DC, I'll be there!

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  16. I would have tried to come, but then I would've had to catch a plane. :-(

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  17. Oooh, there are a few people I'd love for a dog to pee on...

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  18. I have to take Daisy's side on this one. There's nothing like a belly rub from a drug dealer.

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  19. You need to post a picture of your pup. Also if you haven't read Marley and Me by John Grogan, run, don't walk, to your local bookstore. BTW- should you wander north of the border I will attend any and all reading and act like a ringer. "She's FAB!" I will say in a loud voice. "You must buy her book."

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  20. "..the neighbors are... indoors being held hostage by toddlers packing diaper-heat" LOL! And I didn't know we were neighbors!

    Do you think you can send your dog by to teach my cats her woodworking skills? And hey, if she knows painting, that'd be really helpful.

    Sorry to hear you didn't get a huge audience. Hopefully next time you'll have a crowd so big you can hardly fend them off. ;-)

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  21. So glad the event went well! Yeah for you, we knew you could do it.

    As for my dog, she likes everyone except the Marios. That is, Mario our super who looks like Sadaam Hussein, and Mario our doorman who looks like Mario our doorman. She'd take their arms off if given the opportunity. Everyone else? She loves.

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  22. We have no dog. My husband longs for a dog. My child Longs for a dog. But I hold firm. No dog.

    Yeah, and nothin like the neighborhood meth house to liven a walk up in the AM.

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  23. "Ew! It peed on me!"

    Trust me - you'll still be hearing this when you have kids.

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  24. That's why we have 2 outside cats... whenever someone comes up to the door they jump out of the bushes and hiss. Got to love em!

    Oh and maybe alos cuz the hubby wanted a pitbull and I would only get a little yorkie. The cats were a compermise.

    Funny post and I'm sure it's the quiet before the storm on the book thingy!

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  25. LOL. but not so L that I'm "pulling a Daisy".

    I'm glad you feel good about your workshop (except the numbers? or did that make it better?), I agree with Kiki next time it will be no sweat!!

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