Dog Burglar

I’m not stealthy, so I will never be a cat burglar.

Nope, not me.  (photo from The Washington Post)

With that cleared up, I’ll tell you a story.  We have some friends nearby who are in that special friend category where you’ve lost count of who cooked dinner for whom the most (or brought drinks or took care of the other people’s dog, etc.).  It’s pretty nice when you get there with friends.  I don’t even have to tidy up before they come over.  Ooh, aah!

Long explanation short, we’re dog-sitting for Spot for a few days, which is always fun.  He and Peanut get along really well, and he’s generally a great dog to have around.

In addition to a lovely personality, Spot possesses a dog door.  Or his house possesses a dog door, so he didn’t need a dog-sitter until this morning.  I went over after hitting up the post office, as planned.  But the situation got a tad bit complicated when I saw a car in the driveway.  [Dramatic music starts playing in the background.]  That’s right, there’s a roommate home at the casa de friends.

I’ve met this roommate several times, and I know he would recognize my face if we ran into each other.  I’m not entirely sure he knows my name, however.  We’re definitely not the type of friends who can sneak into each other’s houses and steal each other’s dogs for a few days.

Despite the car situation, I try opening the front door to retrieve Spot.  No luck.  I try the other doors with the same result.  Then I take the next responsible step and ring the doorbell.  I feel sheepish about that option, because I know a few things about this guy’s sleep habits, and there’s a good chance that he’s still asleep.

No answer.  Well, no human answer.  Spot barks at the door a few times.  Too bad he doesn’t have opposable thumbs.

Spot is also sad that he doesn’t have opposable thumbs.

Then I resort to the awkward option.  I crawl through the doggie door in the laundry room.  I wouldn’t normally feel weird about that if I needed to get into this particular house, but the roommate thinks he’s on his own at the house for a few days.  I would never crawl through the doggie door of a random college student’s house.  Never.  So what if I get inside and he’s playing video games on the couch of his own house, wondering how I got into said locked house when he purposefully didn’t answer the door?!

Fortunately, there’s no sight of any variety of roommate–sleeping or awake.  Spot looks glad to see me, and we get out of there with a huge sigh of relief (Spot because he doesn’t like to be alone and prefers to be not alone with an awake person, me because I escaped the house unnoticed).

I have my fingers crossed that the roommate won’t wake up and freak out that the dog is missing.  I might have forgotten to leave a note in my rush to leave.  I did accomplish my goal, however, as evidenced by the two happy dogs napping in my living room.

Communication 101

It has come to light in the last few weeks that Scott and I don’t communicate well with each other in one specific area.

That’s weird, because we can (and do) talk about pretty much anything.  That covers the spectrum from important life stuff to random embarrassing stuff.  It’s great, because I don’t need to worry about every stupid little thing that I say.  I don’t have to wonder if he’ll still talk to me if I tell him about spilling scalding cheese on myself at lunch (which isn’t a big deal as an isolated incident, but is made worse by the 100 other clumsy things I’ve done in the past week) or about the ridiculous life goal that I held from ages 5 to 20.  Not that those are the “worst” things we’ve covered, but they’re a couple of examples.

So where does this poor communication fit in?  In everyday details.  No big deal.  Scott and I can talk about everything, but we might be in different restaurants at different times, wondering where the other person could possibly be.

I would like to blame Scott for this, because he’s an engineer, and they aren’t generally known for their awesome communication skills.  Sadly, I think it’s my fault.  Scott knew that my roommate had plans to go camping this weekend, and he even knew when she was leaving and where she was going.  (His roommate is my roommate’s boyfriend, so it’s not creepy that he knew all of that.)  I didn’t even know they were going out of town this weekend.

That officially makes me the weak link in the communications chain.  Like I said, sad.

I’m not sure where this lack of detail-oriented conversation came from.  Maybe I’ve lived alone too long, and I don’t naturally ask people where they’ll be every minute of every day.  Or maybe I’m a jerk who doesn’t ask about people’s lives.  I hope it’s not the second one.  I would much rather be a spinster who needs to readjust to social norms than a jerk.

So what are you up to this weekend?  Should I know that already?

Crossing Guard Action

art by George Hughes, cover from Saturday Evening Post

Today is the first day of school for lots of kids in the area.  I forgot until this morning that that also means something for me.  It means that my friendly, neighborhood crossing guards are back.

There are two crossing guards on my way to work–one near my house and one a few blocks from the library.  They wouldn’t be a big part of my life if I tended to leave earlier for work, but I don’t and they are.

The crossing guard by the library is particularly memorable.  She has a neon vest, hat, gloves (complete with mini-stop signs on the palm), a different color neon belt, and shiny reflector shoes.  When it’s rainy or cold, she has neon gear for the appropriate weather, too.

The amazing amount of gear is actually only a small part of what makes this guard memorable.  The real craziness is that she’s posted at a spot where I’ve only ever seen one child (or person of any age) crossing the road.  She thinks she’s in charge of traffic regardless of whether children are crossing the street, and she often gives conflicting messages.  She’ll tell you to go and then angrily gesticulate at you when you do.  Or she’ll make you stop when there aren’t any other cars in the area.  Or, and this takes the prize, she’ll tell you to go when a child is in the cross walk.  That one didn’t happen to me, but it did happen to a co-worker.  Now my morning commute will require an extra deep breath or two, that’s for sure.

While I’m practicing my deep breathing, I’ll also be ignoring the fact that I’m an empty nester.  You watch them grow up (for an entire month and a half), and then they leave you.  Sigh.  I’ve been officially sans-roommate for 44 hours.  I’m very much looking forward to eating straight out of the giant yogurt container again and leaving laundry in the dryer for weeks, and my body is grateful for the extra sleep that might happen now that wedding planning isn’t part of my life.  None of that is really a substitute for having a good friend around though.

Maybe I’ll invite the crossing guard over.  We can become friends, and then I can gently suggest that she take a refresher course in crossing guard duties.  Or I could make her stay up so late talking that she’ll be too tired to work zealously the next day.  See, there are plenty of options if you’re resourceful.