If It Smells Like Poo….

It’s a tush-dragging kind of a day. Back sore. Legs sore. Arms sore. My eyelashes are fine however. Not sore.

I’m not exactly sure why I’m dragging, unless my body is fighting something I don’t know about or it’s something to do with that “a-word” (age). Grrr.  Thursday I took two SWEAT classes back to back; lifted weights (hitting another benchmark for dead-lifts), followed by my favorite  punch bag class. Then I cycled 42 miles on Friday. I was so tired from that ride that once home, I made myself a sandwich, grabbed a glass of milk, sat in my comfy chair and didn’t move for nearly two hours…not even to shower post ride! Gross, I know!  I was just so tired; I had barely finished my sandwich before dozing off. Since The Poodle was at my side, I’m sure he was mightily disappointed that there wasn’t a morsel of cheese left on my plate as I drifted off for a good twenty minutes or so. Although he is pretty well-behaved around food he’d throw good training out the window in a heartbeat for cheese.

So this fatigue that I’ve been dealing with for a couple of days seems to have made me quite dopey in the head as well. More so than usual one could say.

You see, I was talking to my good friend Ms. Cookie who lives in North Carolina. She’s considering a three-day adventure to middle-earth just to see moi! I’m pleased as punch she wants to come for a visit though I’ll confess I’m wracking my brain over how to entertain her… here. When I lived in Southern California entertaining an out-of-town guest was never a problem. With a plethora of terrific restaurants, miles and miles of beach to enjoy and a host of places to explore, not to mention the fact that people watching anywhere in LA, provides entertainment on a whole different level. And, living in the Washington D.C. area was a breeze for entertaining visiting friends and family too. I lived there for over 14 years and I still haven’t experienced all there is to see and do! So when Ms. Cookie comes to town, she’ll just have to be over-the-moon for the Space and Rocket Center. (Ahem…..so…. if you’re reading this Cookie, I’d forever be in your debt if you would fake it any way you can!).

Back to the point of this story: I’ve got my iPhone ear buds in and I’m talking to Cookie and all the while I am multi-tasking like a beast. My Garmin VivoFit activity tracker is happily ticking off the steps as I walk circles around my kitchen island, wash dishes by hand, dust the living-room furniture, sweep the back patio, and take The Poodle out for a walk around the block. I love carrying-on conversations this way. I’m moving and in the process, lots of things get done. Chores seem considerably less mundane when you’re talking to a friend all the while. Of course there can be one little drawback:

Sometimes one’s attention to detail is not quite optimal.

Case in point: I’d been walking around the kitchen island about twenty times now and it’s time to switch gears to the laundry (before dizziness set in). As I chat with Cookie about her latest good book read—and mine too— I’m heading to the bedroom for the laundry hamper. I haul it into the laundry room and start stuffing clothes into the washer (it’s a white load if you must know).  As we chat on and on I notice a smell. A somewhat vague but particularly unpleasant smell.

To be more specific, it smells like poop.

If it smells like poo…. then….there has got to be poo…somewhere!

Hmm. This is not good.

Ms. Cookie is talking about her Australian friend who isn’t too keen on Bill Bryson’s book about Australia. I had recommended it to Cookie back in August and I just loved it.  She’s reading it too and finds it quite entertaining.  Or…hmm, is it his book “A Walk in The Woods.”  Damn…I’m not paying attention (sorry Cookie…I’ll make it up to you with wine!).

“Oh why is that?” I ask half listening. I’m busy turning all the shoes over that are housed in the shoe bin on the floor, inspecting the soles trying to find the source of the poo smell. Perhaps I stepped in poop while out in the back yard. I was there too, cleaning out a couple of flower pots and the like before walking The Poodle.

Hmm; nothing here. The shoes are practically clean as a whistle.

Cookie chats on. She is explaining her friends’ thoughts on the author… something about not liking the author’s uniquely dry sense of humor. I’m starting to feel badly because Cookie is losing my attention… and to poop no less! Surely you understand! Though still vague in the air, my mind has escalated it to something much more. Like I may as well be in a port-o-john during a marathon.  The smell is starting to assault my senses big time. I’m vexed beyond measure as I inspect trash cans, cupboards, the powder room (which is right next to the laundry room) and the entire downstairs floor area. Did The Poodle poop inside the house?!  Impossible!  That only happened once and that was six years ago because I’d given him a sampling of fresh veal that I was preparing (let’s just say it wasn’t a pleasant experience for either of us and leave it at that!).

Desperate now to find the source of the smell I start to rifle through a basket filled with dirty laundry.

Then, I shudder at a thought….

Poop cannot possibly be in the clothes hamper.

I’m standing in the middle of the laundry room, hands on hips, my head now clearly not into the conversation I should be having with my dear friend. Was I losing my mind?  I definitely smell poop.  Where the hell is this smell coming from?

Then, as if a switch had been flipped, a certain fog lifted from my brain. Little wheels that were at a dead stop were once again set into motion. A thought hit me square between the eyes. Early this morning—at 5:30 a.m. to be precise— I had walked The Poodle for a good forty-five minutes. And, then later in the day during my call with Cookie I’d taken The Poodle for a walk around the block.

Hmm. I used different leashes. He’s got three of them; a short lead leash in the car, a green leash in a basket by the front door and another blue one hanging in the laundry room.

And there it was.

Hanging on the wall by the door to the outside. The Poodle’s blue leash.  poopholder

The Poodle’s blue leash has a nifty little plastic gizmo for the express purpose of holding poop-filled bags. And indeed, there were two—not one…but two— large, particularly odoriferous poop-filled bags hanging on The Poodle’s leash. This was the leash I had used for his early morning walk. I remember It was a two-poop kind of a walk. I’d obviously completely forgotten to properly dispose of the poop bags before entering the house!

I slap my forehead and let out a huge sigh of relief. Whew. I wasn’t going crazy (well…you know what I mean). The smell was not a figment of my imagination but rather a result of being totally scatter-brained and maybe just a wee bit tired! I start laughing, and of course must ‘fess up to Cookie over my dopey senior moment. We share a laugh over it while I think to myself that in the future perhaps I shouldn’t multi-task so fervently whilst catching up with my girlfriends on the phone. It’s best to be present with the ones you love. Poodles included.

Today’s bliss? Laughing at self…over and over again!

Urban sprawl….a mixed bag

When we moved to “middle earth” we intended on renting initially.  I’m pretty sure my hubby was nervous about buying particularly since he nearly had to drag me by the hair to get me to move here.  Anyhow, it became apparent in just a day of pounding the pavement in search of a decent abode that renting would not be an option.  There just weren’t many homes to rent and the ones that were for rent certainly didn’t meet our standards.

So we bought.

Our house is enormous compared to the townhouse we lived in, in Southern California.  There we “squeezed” into 2,500 square feet.  Well, that’s what it felt like anyway (I know…that’s a mansion to some) after living in a single family, two-story, home with a large basement in Northern Virginia.  Somehow with the layout of the townhouse we didn’t have room for certain furniture.  I actually gave an entire bedroom suite to one of the moving men.  He didn’t even have to unload it from the moving van.   He was a young kid, married –didn’t look older than eighteen–with a child on the way.  “Take it…its yours,” I had said.  “We just don’t have the room for it.”  And, while that was definitely true since we were down one bedroom and an entire basement from our Virginia home,  I’ll confess that I loathed that colonial style furniture, vestiges from a previous chapter in my hubby’s life.  This was the perfect opportunity to pass it on!  The young man was most appreciative and that made my heart glad.

So, here…we enjoy 5,100 square feet.  I know. It’s crazy!  There’s just the two of us and the furniture we have looks like doll-house furniture in this house.  We have one room with practically nothing in it (currently, I use it for storage).  Maybe someday, if we stay here long enough I’ll figure out what to do with that room.

“We do not need this much house,” I told my husband last year during our second walk-through with the real estate agent.    And every day when I have to clean it I am reminded of that statement!  Hubby’s answer to me then was “I know…but it’s the floor plan we like and it’s so quiet up here.”

My mamma was spitting bullets I hear tell; she thought we were nuts to have bought such a large house.  Yes mamma, you’re right.  But guess what?  We have this big house for now…because we can!  This is not a forever deal.  We’re enjoying the moment, as it were.  Who knows where we will end up next and what we will have?  I’m almost 99.9% confident that our next home will be small again…and, eventually we may even be in some assisted living facility….and then we’ll be in an urn of some sort before our ashes are cast out into the sea….or wherever….

Home, sweet, home...for now

Home, sweet, home…for now

So, perhaps you can be happy for us?

Anyhow…

It’s mighty quiet up here, a complete turnaround from the wall to wall concrete jungle where we used to live in Southern California.  Now that it’s getting cooler it is almost eerily silent without the constant drone of frogs, cicadas or crickets.  I’m glad these critters are quiet now.  Some people find them comforting or charming.  Me…not so much!    Our home is situated on the top of a mountain, specifically Little Mountain.  When we moved into this three year-old home at the end of July 2012, there were only five homes on Little Mountain and about 40 lots for sale.  We thought that all these lots were never going to move.  Most of them had sat unsold for well over five years.  There is also a lot of rock up here (big rock) and although it adds to the beauty of the landscape it makes it difficult to plant anything).  Also, we’re smack dab in the middle of a forest of sorts.  Lots and lots of mountain oak, mountain ash trees, river birch, weeds large and small, etc.  Clearing lots with all the rocks and trees adds to the expense of buying these lots so we thought it would be years before more were sold.

We were wrong.

In the last six months eight homes have sprung up on Little Mountain.  In addition, two more lots are in the process of being cleared.  Naturally, this new construction has caused a considerable amount of noise (breaking up the big rocks has caused my house to quiver and shake and has proved might upsetting to the poodle!).  Add to that all the congestion on Little Mountain with all the construction trucks, not to mention loads and loads of trash, construction debris, and many flat tires (at this writing we have managed to escape being nailed.  I’d like to think it’s because of my diligence in picking up nail after nail during my daily walks with the poodle.).

The encroachment of more homes is a mixed bag for me.  On the one hand it is comforting to know that there are a few more souls living on Little Mountain.  I’m a city gal at heart.  I’m used to living close to the pulse of bright lights and shopping malls not to mention Starbucks at every mile post.  Sometimes I feel mighty isolated up here, especially at night when hubby is away on business travel.  Taking my poodle out for a walk in the pitch dark takes all the nerve I can muster some nights.  We do have a lot of critters up here.  There’s the skunk or two that has sprayed the neighbors dogs not once, but three times.  There are a couple of turkeys roaming around, hawks and owls, tons of menacing squirrels who take delight in taunting the poodle, chipmunks, bats, slithering snakes, and dreaded armadillos.  Those damned armadillos are almost as bad at tearing up the mountain as the construction machinery!    There are deer, possums, badgers, and even a couple of foxes.  And, don’t get me started on the plethora of super-sized creepy-crawlies. People are mighty plump in Alabama and the bugs are no exception!

Deer me!

Deer me!

What pains me is what’s happening to the deer population.  Mind you, there aren’t that many deer….perhaps eight to ten including several fawns this year.  It is clear that they are in certain peril of loosing their homeland.  Yes…. several homeowners have complained of flowers being eaten and gardens ruined, but still….for the most part its lovely to catch glimpses of these creatures during my early morning walks or late in the afternoon when walking the poodle.  They are rapidly being pushed down the mountain, into neighborhoods with lots of houses and little protection, and eventually out, onto the highway.  My heart aches for them; they have nowhere to go.

And though we are still considered rural, we are fast becoming part of the urban sprawl with more homes on the mountain,  the new Walgreen’s set to open next week down the mountain, and there’s breaking ground for yet another store yet to be named.  I’m still a city gal at heart but it is a mixed bag watching everything around me change so dramatically in just the course of a year.

Finding the bliss in all this change is challenging…

It’s all part of the journey and fighting it makes no sense whatsoever.  I’m not going to be here forever…there is bliss in that.  🙂