Tag Archives: Chauncey

Just Enjoy the Walk

My mom’s dog Chauncey is allergic to bees.

We didn’t know this until he got stung for the first time a few years ago, which unfortunately, was when I was taking him out for a walk. His little 13-lb body swelled up within minutes to the point that he looked like a hideous, wrinkly, bloated caricature of himself and he started having trouble breathing.

I swooped him up and ran the half mile back to my mom’s house. She wasn’t home–which is why I was walking him–and so I threw him in my car and literally sped the 10 minutes to the vet with him cowering and shaking on my lap the hole time. Long story short, he was eventually okay after the vet gave him an emergency shot and sent me home with drugs and an epi-pen for future accidents.

But for the first few months after that, he wanted nothing to do with me taking him for a walk, and any fly that even came within feet of his head made him crazy. Understandably, he was scared it would happen again.

Eventually he got over it and I could walk him again, and while he still is extra alert with bugs, he’s pretty much back to normal. He loves going for walks.

For me, even though I know we have his emergency kit and I take my phone just in case, I’m still scared every time that I walk him.

I still remember that day.

In fact, I still remember “that” day in the sense that I remember all of those days. I remember traumatic things that happened 15 years ago, being stuck in the blackout for three days while living in the heart of Detroit, getting sick and being in the hospital, the day that I lost my job, the stress of this last big “basement filled with water and expensive repairs and cleaning,” experience, etc.

Of course you never forget those things, but with me it’s always been different.

Every time we get a storm, I get neurotic about losing power (and now about my basement flooding again.) Every time I start to slip down, I worry that I’ll end up in the hospital again. Now that I have a job that I love and adore, I’m paranoid it might get taken away.

Nobody puts this stress on me but me, but in a sense I’m always afraid to get stung, afraid to have it all happen again.

This is good in the sense that it makes me prepared. This is bad in the sense that it can also makes my OCD ramp up and I physically wear myself down to try and gain some control, but also suspicious of all the good things, wondering when the other shoe is going to drop.

OK. Now I’m rambling.

But my point–I think–is that sometimes bad things happen because you made a bad decision or sometimes for no reason at all. Sometimes good things happen because you work hard or maybe you just caught a break. When either of those things happen, you have to learn to just accept it.

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Shit happens. Sunshine happens.

I don’t know what that means but I’m just trying to say that you’ll never forget “those days.” Whether you were seriously ill, lost a job or a loved one, or suffered any type of trauma–you know you’ll never forget. It changes you, but it’s up to you to decide that direction of change.

As for me, through all the stuff that’s happened, I didn’t believe people who told me that things would get better. I wanted to, but when you’re in the middle of whatever that thing is, everything seems so far away.

Now that I’m kind of working on getting to that other side, I realize that they were right (have to insert “knock on wood” because, well, see above.)

Things might now work out exactly as you want them to–or when, but then again, maybe they’ll work out even better than you planned at a time they needed to happen. Whatever it is, you’ll get through it. And when you do and come to unfamilar place of “happy” or maybe “content”, don’t waste time wondering why.

In other words, don’t shit on your sunshine or shine the light on the shit or something kind of like that. Maybe a bit more eloquently, don’t be scared that you’ll get stung again.

Instead, enjoy the walk.

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Questionable Karma

Not too long ago I had the unfortunate experience of waking up with a Nickelback song in my head.

For some people—the dozen or so fans of the band—this would have been a delight. For other people—the person writing this post who is not a fan of the band and who has OCD, therefore causing the song to remain there all day—this was the opposite of a delight.

After about 10 minutes of contemplating either a lobotomy or going back to bed and starting over, I instead decided to be proactive and figure out how I must have ticked off the karmic gods to deserve such an ill fate.

Despite my legions of charitable acts—flipping a worm off the burning sidewalk onto the grass, joining in a sense of community when an entire line of cars silently agreed to prevent a jerk from cutting in at the front—I suppose there were a few questionable things I could blame.

Questionable Karma

When the weather is nice, I often take my mom’s dog for a walk and always make sure to have my plastic poop bag on hand for pick-up. However, there “might” have been an occasion when I could tell he was going to dump and I “might” have dragged him to the next yard to go, simply because I didn’t like the people who lived there.

The little boy who lives there “might” be a huge brat who always yells stupid things at us when we walk by, so I “might” have pretended to pick up the poop and instead grabbed a leaf to place on the top of the pile. I don’t think this is the reason though, as if the karmic gods are watching this kid, they would probably thank me.


I admit. I got your voicemail and just didn’t listen. To alleviate this problem in the future, maybe send me an email or a text and let me know if the voicemail is actually worth listening to.


I’ve retweeted a compliment. Personally I find this extremely annoying, as I would never go around the grocery store and tell people, “Hey! My friend just told me she actually liked my book and I think you should know!”

However, sometimes I apply the “tweet others as you would like to be tweeted” rule and acknowledge those misled souls who take the time to follow me, as I do appreciate it. It still annoys me when it’s self-promoting though, so karma might have just stepped in.


When it comes bugs, I figure the outside is their area and I don’t bug them, so they shouldn’t bother me in my lair. However, if one makes it into my house I often try my best to do the “shoo them out the door” or “capture in a cup” method of catch and release. But some spiders choose their own fate, particularly those that fall from the ceiling and land on the counter in front of my face.

It’s a primal reaction to grab a paper towel and pummel the sucker to death, and I admit that I did this last week. The only problem is that even though I know spiders can run really fast with all of those legs, I keep thinking I’m going to find a spider in that same exact spot everyday. He is haunting me from his grave in the garbage, so karma need not apply.


Finally, I totally committed discount deceit by passing through an old coupon. We’ve talked about this before and I’ve been trying to harness my egregious behavior, but when the possibility to save $1.50 on a ridiculously overpriced vegan veggie burger arose, I couldn’t resist. Carefully ripping the coupon so that the expiration date was “accidentally” torn off, I passed it through the self-checkout.

But come to think of it, I don’t care if I had to endure Nickelback for that one. The fact that they charge $5.50 for four vegan burgers warrants a karmic kick in the ass to those people instead. I was actually reversing the universal order of things with that discount, right? Right.


So while I can’t quite pinpoint my cardinal sin, I do feel better having gotten these offenses off my concave, size AA chest—something else I must have pissed the karmic gods off to receive.

At any rate, I feel a bit better. Now it’s your turn. What would you like to confess today?

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So I think my mom’s dog is a serial killer*

*Please note I said “my mom’s dog” and not “my” dog. Even though we no longer live together, I still consider Chauncey to be “my” dog when he’s cute or does something cool like show off how he knows the names of all 4,396 toys he has. But when he does something like fall over when peeing because he lifted his leg too high or exhibits characteristics of a serial killer, he becomes my mom’s dog.

This is the text my mom sent me the other night:

Chauncey just flung Bumble and his little arm flew off.  Bumble’s arm, not Chauncey’s. He still has all his arms and legs.

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Apparently Chauncey got a wee bit wild with Bumble and with a vicious shake of his head, sent Bumble one way and his little arm across the room in the opposite direction.

Bumble was immediately prepped for surgery, and I’m happy to report that he pulled through like a champ. Despite the fact that his right appendage is now a little bit shorter than his left, he’s back to business as usual.

But if you will recall, this is not the first time that a certain member of the toy family has lost a limb at the jaws of this 13-pound beast.

Monka was once a thriving member of pet toy society with rope arms and legs for casual play. Unfortunately, Monka became “Bob-a-Monka” when ALL FOUR OF HIS LIMBS were ripped off his body and unable to be reattached, due to the fact they were ropes and not solid limbs.

Because of patient privacy issues I didn’t take pictures of the other victims—Hippo, Stinkin’ Squirrel, Tiger—but my mom does have a cupboard in which she keeps the animals who are currently awaiting their transplants.

Where did we go wrong?

Perhaps he learned this behavior from Wendell, the one-toothed wonder cat with a crooked crotch (may she RIP,) as she used to bat flies around on the window sill and then leave them there, bored when they gave up the fight. 

Or maybe these rages are being fueled in an effort compensate for the fact that certain parts of his own manhood have been ripped off, if you know what I mean.

But despite the disturbing rate at which his toy’s limbs are falling off, I suppose I won’t worry until he starts cutting out letters from old magazines and sending ransom notes. Considering he also finds delight in eating rabbit poop and can be distracted by the jingle of his leash, I think we’re pretty safe.

And if you feel so compelled, feel free to send Bumble’s get well cards and cash donations directly to me.

I’ll make sure that he gets them, of course.

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I Don’t Have Kids, So I Brag About Pets

The big fundraiser for the Humane Society every summer is the Wag-n-Walkathon, a Saturday at the park filled with a walk and fun games for the animals and people. One year I was given the honor of leading the walk, and I was also given a cute little Pug named “Naked.”

This was so they could say we were walking “Naked.”

At any rate, I asked you about pet names because a) it would give me a chance to brag about my dog in this post and b) I just love hearing pet name stories. You guys totally delivered, and as a reward, you get a picture of these two cuties who are not mine, but those of a friend.

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Pickles and Monkey. I want to completely squish their faces off.

My mom is Dr. Doolittle and we’ve had everything from rabbits and birds to dogs, cats and horses as pets. When it comes to indoor pets—minus fish—there’s been Kilo, Grover, Mitten, Gonzo, Skeeter, Cromwell, Lucy (as in Lucifer), Wolfka, Wendell and Chauncey.

That’s the short list, one that doesn’t include the million other outdoor creatures (and lawn gnomes) that have been given a permanent identity.

This is where I divert your attention away from the fact that we name lawn gnomes and get to the part about how my mom’s dog Chauncey is super smart.

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This is his pile of toys.

Well, I should say that this is part of his pile of toys, as some get stashed for a few weeks and then brought back out as a “surprise” to liven things up. As you can see, there’s no shortage of options for the furry little guy to bring out and fling, and he will often completely redecorate the living room by doing just that.

But the cool thing is that my mom has assigned a name to every single one of these toys—most of them sports-related— and the freaking dog knows them each by name and will dig to the back and bottom of the pile to search for and retrieve:

Grandy, Chucky, Hippo, Mags, Gator, Bumble, Rocky, Jiri, Stinkin’ Raccoon, Purple Polly Polanco, Puppy, Huey, JoPa, Monka, Bob-a-Monka, Bunny, Tiger, Migs, Burger, New Toy (someone dropped the name ball there,) Baby, Zetts, Chicken, ChrisMoose, Ducky, Bite Me, Bushcka, Platty and any number of golf balls, which are his favorite toys ever.

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That’s the short list.

And in case there’s any confusion, there is a “Monka”—a monkey with rope arms and legs, and then there is “Bob-a-Monka”—a monkey who has lost his rope arms and legs.

monk

We’re still looking into the incident.

Considering there are dozens of options for Chauncey to chose from, the fact that he has about a 99 percent accuracy rating of selecting the correct toy—even if it’s hidden somewhere around the house—is pretty amazing.

Then again, maybe I’m just jealous.  As I’ve said before, if there was an award for putting stuff "where I won’t lose it" and then losing it, I would totally win that award.

And then I would probably lose it.

But if I told Chauncey what the name of it was, I’m pretty sure he could find it.

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Warning Signs

There are warning signs.

The sun gets molested by layers of dark and ominous clouds. Birds and small animals—even the simple ones that hang out in the street—run for cover and hide. Occasionally the earth will quake.

No, I’m not talking about  impending planetary doom, but rather warning signs that I’m boarding a bus to Funky Town. In other words, falling into a funk of crankiness.

Most of the time I’m positive and can deal with whatever annoyances pop up—an oppressive heat wave, getting yelled at by old people, a flare up of old issues—but sometimes I’m get positively pissy.

My-name-is-Vivian-and-Im-in-a-bad-mood_

I display all the classic symptoms of crankiness—snarky shortness, passive-aggressive Facebook updates that run more aggressive than passive, etc.—but I also have a few of my own that are a bit harder to detect with the naked eye. They aren’t quite as obvious as Voodoo dolls or the situational hyperbole above, so I thought I should educate the general public on how the innocent can avoid my wrath in these moments of crankiness.

*For those who have contributed to causing this crankiness, there will be no warning signs before I attack. I can slip into stealth mode like a cheetah stalking prey and hit you when you least expect it—possibly in a literal sense with random office supplies.

Warning Signs

I’m rather hippy-dippy and a huge advocate for recycling and nature. In fact, I think people who litter should be forced to eat  the crap-filled diapers they leave in parking lots or have the McDonald’s bag they threw out their window strapped to their lazy ass for a week.

But in compiling this list, it appears that I take my angst out on Mother Earth in subtle ways. No, I don’t do anything drastic like destroy the habitat of an endangered bird or go around spraying aerosol cans like a maniac, but for me, these little rebellions are out of character.

  • I spit my gum out in inappropriate places. While I usually make sure to dispose of my gum in a proper trash receptacle, when I’m in funk phase, I spit it out like a pitcher spitting chew out on the mound or subtly spit it into my hand before launching it into the street.
  • I rebel by not recycling. It could be a water bottle or some junk mail, but when I’m pissy, I get this urge to bypass the bin and directly deposit potential recyclables into the trash. It’s never a large amount of something, but it’s enough.
  • If the dog has the misfortune of being dragged on a walk when I’m pissy,  I don’t pick up poop—a huge pet peeve of mine (no pun intended.) I’ll try and drag him to the empty lot to do his business instead of the perfectly manicured lawn he prefers, but if that doesn’t work, I proceed to exhibit the most ridiculous behavior ever.  When I’m in a funk, I will take the plastic bag and pretend to pick up the poop, but really just pull up some grass next to it and cover it up. In the moment, I feel victorious. He pretends not to know me.
  • My flowers don’t get watered. I think it’s because I see them as needy, and needy annoys me when I’m pissy (and frankly, even when I’m not.) I will look at them, look at the hose, feel a bit powerful and as long as they don’t look on the edge of death, I look the other way. In fact, I might even pour myself a big ol’ glass of water and go outside to drink it among my potential victims of  horticultural homicide.

There are a few other warning signs—refusing to let people into my lane when driving, as I know if they don’t give me the courtesy wave and mouth “thank you,” I will be tempted to run them off the road and unleash a string of profanity involving their mother and a truck stop, for example—but it’s possible these are just part of my personality.

At any rate, I admit I’m not proud of these mini rebellions that seem to pop up when I slip into a funk, but at least it’s temporary and you’ve been warned.

And at least you’re not one of my plants.

Do you have any warning signs that are a bit out of the ordinary?