Friday, August 27, 2010

Clover meets Tovah!

I thought some of you might want to see a clip of Tovah meeting Clover. They met officially last weekend, and both did great! They are truly really cute together. Clover will run up to the gate and wait. Tovah will go to the gate and offer play bows and tail wags. The second day they were together, she pawed Clover's head as if to play.

I don't know yet whether Clover will ever be a full free range bunny (not sure I can handle teeth chew marks on more wood and door frames--she seems to do this mostly when she has been introduced to something new/has more freedom), but I think she really enjoys the moments I let her hang out with Tovah. Eventually, I'll let Hank meet her, and Daphne is still just a little up in the air.

I have other posts in mind to write that are more ED-related, so hopefully, I can crank those out this weekend. In the meantime, enjoy the video.

p.s. The voice is me in the background. I still need to work on my video recording skills, but I'm sure as time goes by, I'll get better.

Sunday, August 22, 2010

Mediation 2

I first posted about the mediation appointment my boss A and I had several week ago. We had a follow up appointment on Friday. Really, I had nothing to discuss during this appointment, so I was not sure what to say. A. apparently brought up 2 squirmishes we had. One was about class time--she felt I should have wrapped up class sooner on one evening and not showed the interactive toys which clients had asked about. Sharply, (a word her husband came to describe how she says some things) she said "from now on, wrap class at 50 minutes." I was a bit defensive saying technically I finished at 55 minutes with 5 minutes to spare." Then, she sent me home, saying it was late (normally we finish cleaning up together) Without a word, I finished what I was doing, gathered my things and left. I decided after that I'd start showing the interactive toys at orientation, the first class, rather than during other classes unless someone specifically asked.

The second disagreement was on bed washing. I felt it was kind of dumb to wash the beds every single day when 1) it is the same dogs coming in on certain days, 2) some dogs like their scent on stuff, 3) it is not very eco-friendly at all--wastes water, 4) wears out the bedding a lot faster, and 5) some dogs are there for only 3 hours or so and then come a second day during the week. My theory was to wash the bedding every week unless it was really dirty or stained, etc. After I said my viewpoint, and A,. just said it was her personal preference (she's very germophobic), I just let it go, not really thinking about it again. (This was during the week, not at our appt. so none of this was said)

So after all this, I thought the appt. would be over, but A. decided to ask me questions like "why did I decided to come here, what were my expectations, hopes, desires, etc., was I reaching those goals," and other questions along the same line. This threw me for a loop, because I wasn't expecting it at all and she already knows why I came here. I obliged and answered the questions thoughtfully which I guess made her happy.

However, there were a few remarks that leave questionmarks in my head. One is that A. said "I want this to work." I guess I'm wondering if she is second guessing herself as to "choosing" me to be there.

Another is that she feels we usually have good rapport before and during class but not the rest of the day. Honestly, I don't see here that much throughout the day aside from passing info. along about the dogs and doing our own computer work.

Another is that she says she is picky (true), but she views me as relaxed. I'm beginning to think she doesn't know me as well as she thinks. She said this to our dog consultant who just reiterated the fact how good it was to be picky when running a business. Certainly, I agree, but A's statement gives off the impression I'm not which is highly untrue. I think A. also doubts my leadership ability if I had to confront a future employee about something they were doing wrong, could be better, etc.

A. knows my previous situation and doesn't want this environment to be the same which I highly commend. But at the same time, it is a bit similar too. The difference is me actually. I don't want to be always be worrying whether I'm doing something right or that I'm going to anger that person or face conflict, etc. Even though A is different from my previous employer in that she is much more direct (other employer was more passive aggressive) and supportive, I'm beginning to feel this creeping in, and that is just not cool. That feeds the ED and overexercise component like crazy, and that is not where I want to be. Currently, I'm doing okay (no exercise in months literally), but do see a few behaviors slipping through like weighing myself every week (I want to justify this with my latest ice cream habit which will be another post) and general body checking. Though I know much of this is internal, my work or school environment has always been an attributable factor to my health. Of course, I know I can go on for a long time in a difficult work environment--did for almost 10 years, but it is not necessarily what I want nor deserve.

A. says she wants me to tell her when she says something harshly or to call her out on something. This is really hard for me, because as a general rule, people really don't like criticism and take things personally. This was evident by something I said to her a month or so ago after she had told me to be truthful to her. I highly doubt A. wants me to be some robot and agree with every single thing she says, but I feel like I can't win either way.

I'm just a bit bummed about all this. I am hopeful this is just a transitional phase, and we'll each be able to get past it and figure out a way to work together more effectively. (not that we aren't, just that it could be better) Sometimes, communication, though necessary, is a tough battle to navigate.

Saturday, August 21, 2010

The story of the fence damage

In my last post, I'd tell you the mystery of the fence.  It's a bit interesting actually.  I began to believe there was more to the fence damage after someone pointed out to me these tracks:

My mother's husband and father was convinced the neighbor's had something to do with it, and that it has to have been from their yard.  The latter I do believe, but I was unconvinced on the former.

After speaking to them again, they too had been thinking about it.  And this is what we all came up with.  There had been an old car in their yard.  It was near their house and not that close to where the damage of my fence was.  A guy from up the road was going to buy the car, and was paying off on it in small increments.  He still owed $200 on the car, but instead just took the car a few weeks ago when neither the neighbor nor me was home.  The weird thing was the car did not even start, so somehow he had to have gotten it started.  So our thinking is that the car somehow rolled into the fence, damaging it.  He may have tried to put the fence back as well.

The neighbor said if they saw him, they would ask about it.  They really did feel awful about the fence damage, and their loss of $200.  I do not know this neighbor formally, only that he stopped by my house one day while I was coming back from work. Our brief exchange was him telling me that at one point he had wanted to buy my house, but it was too late.  Then, he asked if my car was for sale which was a bit odd. ;-/

The good news is that the fence is now at least temporarily fixed.  In a weird twist of fate, last weekend, there was a guy up the road who was having a yard sale.  He had a large outdoor chain link dog kennel for $125, a great price for its size!  My mom and her husband bought it for me, then we zip tied the panels.  The funny thing is that the guy selling it was telling me how if I put the dog kennel up before winter, throw some hay in, it would be a nice place for the dogs.  My reply was that my dogs are indoor dogs. However, what did come to mind was that I could actually use this for Clover!  It would be a good way to let her roam outside in a safe enclosure that is high enough for her not to jump out of! (yes, she jumps on my dining room table!)

I called my insurance and got an estimate--$681.26.  The only problem is that my deductible is $1,000, so they would cover nothing.  Right now, I'm not going to worry about it too much.  It is stable and repaired for now, and when I have extra money, I'll repair it--about four feet of fencing will be needed.

That is the story of the fence damage.  It is nice to know there is a logical explanation for it, and it is likely that no one was trying to actually pull up on the fence.  I can now breathe a little sigh of relief, though I do admit the guy who stole the car still kind of gives me the heebee jeebies.

Tuesday, August 17, 2010

Brief news on my side of the pond

I don't have much time to write, but I want to say I believe the fence damage has been solved.  It's a bit of a long story, so I will have to write the details later.  Thanks for those who commented and were concerned.  

While trying to solve that mystery, the rest of the weekend has been quite busy with my mom and her husband visiting.  They are so helpful to me when they come.  In the 4 1/2 days they were here, my mom put up new curtains in the living room, basement, and mud room, did all my laundry, hung up some pictures rewired a lamp, put some new outlets covers on, weeded and cut limbs outside, and primed my bedroom--it's white with blue tint.  It makes the room look SO much better.  It was a deep burgundy/red color before.  Her husband, M. worked on my deck, so there is no longer a gigantic hole.  Now I can have chairs, a table, etc. and sit outside in good weather.  He also temporarily repaired the fence, so it is at least secure for the dogs now.

They left this morning.  I have a tendency to go through a little withdrawal, but I have quite a lot to do around here still to keep me occupied.  While we were going to clean out my little pond (we think that is the source of the mosquitoes-yuck!), we found a surprise--lots of tadpoles!  I decided to leave it for now, because in a couple of weeks, they'll turn into frogs and eat more insects.  It'll be a mutual benefit to both of us.

I'll post more soon about everything.  In the meantime, here are a few photos of the tadpoles!

I love you can see the eye in this picture.

Friday, August 13, 2010

When criminal mischief hits close to home

Tuesday afternoon, I found a very bizarre thing in my yard. Well, actually Tovah found it--a big gigantic hole in my fence. Wondering how in the heck she was in the neighbor's yard, I took a closer look. Three large sections of my fence had been completely scrunched up, leaving huge, gaping holes, the dogs could easily walk right under. I was truly aghast! When I inspected the fence inch by inch and ran many scenarios through my mind--animals, maybe my weeding from the weekend, etc., I noticed that roots of weeds had been pulled up, some chain link pieces had been pulled, the fence had been pushed both outwards and inwards. All of these things a re difficult to do and takes a lot of work, even with chain link that isn't in the greatest of shape.

Later, talking to R., my co-worker, she thought perhaps someone was trying to steal my riding fairly new riding mower. A bit worried, I checked yesterday, and it was there fully intact. After talking with neighbors on both sides of me--neither saw anything and Karen who was here taking care of the dogs on Sunday, I decided to file a police report this morning. Once I have that, I'll submit it to my homeowner's insurance. I'm truly grateful to have some nice neighbors and friends who care. Everyone told me if I ever needed anything not to hesitate to call them.
Normally, I do not get too concerned about these type of things, but I'm feeling the heebee jeebees a bit now and slightly paranoid. All those questions like what if someone has been watching me run through my head, but at the same time, I also wonder if I am making too much of it as it could have likely been kids. The neighbor did tell me there were some "bad" boys that lived a few roads down and walk up here. A few years ago, they went around bashing people's mailboxes. The police officer verified the bad boys as well. Despite my partial minimization of the problem, I did ask the policeman if he could have extra patrol around here.

I just keep wondering why someone would want to do this, or why they would go to all this trouble? In all my years of living in the country and alone, I've never had this type of mischief occur. I never worried about locking my door, car, shed, etc. And although this place is certainly not what I'd call crime ridden, it does make me a tad apprehensive. I'm certainly glad I have the dogs, and I hope that would be enough. Sometimes, this is when I feel like training them to bite/growl on cue.

Right now, my mom and her husband are visiting, so it is nice not to be completely alone, but they'll be gone by next Tuesday. Hopefully, the fence will be temporarily fixed by then, and I'll feel less heebee jeebeeish.

Tuesday, August 10, 2010

Animal updates

I realized that my posts have mostly focused on work and social circumstances, and that I've neglected to mention my animal crew lately. As they are an integral part of this blog, always teaching me many lessons, I thought I'd share some updates and photos.

Tovah, my youngest, has been going to work with me most days. She enjoys daycare, and we also use her for evaluating dogs as well. Though I've been lacking on her scent training, I'm hoping to be able to do this with her, as well as some possible therapy work. Unfortunately, I won't be able to use Delta Society, a premier organization for service and therapy dogs since their recent ban on raw food fed dogs which has caused quite an upheaval in the dog training world.

Tovah also had success this weekend as she took a road trip, her longest ever!  She was a champ and handled the car ride amazingly well.

Hank, my oldest, has several hot spots. I'm not sure why he decided to chew himself. The last two instances seemed to be correlated to when I was traveling. He'd be fine the time I was gone, then the very day I was coming back, he would chew a hot spot. This time, I noticed it last Thursday/Friday which was a few days before my trip to hand off G. to Cammy. Other than that, he is doing well for his 9 1/2 or so year old self.

Daphne, my Boxer, is also doing well, though she has had a few recent instances of pleasuring herself to my turntable where I keep non-perishable items. The last, a few weeks ago, was a canister of hot cocoa mix! Luckily, she only had some diarrhea, but it could have been worse. I'm not exactly sure why she has decided to do this, but it just goes to show you that even dog trainer's dogs are far from perfect. Actually, we jokingly remark that it is just like the saying " the shoemaker's children have no shoes."

Lastly, little bunny Clover just turned 5 months a few days ago! I truly keep forgetting she is so young, but she is doing well overall. Every month, I try to take her on an "outing." Last week's outing was a visit to the vet for a meet and greet. I had only expected to be there for 30 or so minutes, but I was there for 1 1/2 hours. Since there were no other animals in the lobby at the time, we let her run around the lobby and down the hallway which she found loads of fun. My vet also realized that they needed to be more "bunny" friendly since Clover helped herself to an ivy plant. She was quite proud of herself for finding this.

About midway through our visit, I noticed someone was coming in with a puppy. Eeeek! Luckily, this puppy was only about 3 months old and apparently fearful of everything. Clover did try to do a door dash which about made my heart skip, but I got her redirected. She met the puppy and vice versa. Both didn't know what to do, but it was certainly not what I'd call a traumatic experience. The hardest part was getting her back in the carrier which she truly loves. (she jumps in there multiple times a day and "nests") After about 15 minutes, I finally got her back in, and then headed back home. Overall, it was a successful visit.

Her other test was this past weekend when I had my boss, A., come over to let the animals out, including Clover. Last time, she would not come out for anyone, but this time, she came out, took treats, etc. Little by little she is getting used to new people and different environments. Bunnies, like cats, by nature do not like much change. Certainly, you can't expose them as frequently to different situations like dogs, but you can teach them incrementally to feel okay in certain situations. Clover will also be tested at the end of this week when my mother and her husband come to visit.

Lastly, like I mentioned above, I reunited Cammy and G. over the weekend. He was very happy to see her no doubt, but I think he'll miss seeing some of new found friends here too. He and Tovah became good playmates, and poor G. tried hard to get Daphne to play, but she didn't budge too much. We'll miss G. here, but I know he is glad to be home and with his person.

From L to R: Daphne, Hank, & Tovah in front of Baxter's Tree

Clover has apparently found the motherload!

This has become a favorite spot, obviously!

Wednesday, August 4, 2010

Relative update

Just a quick update from my last post, then I'm headed to bed after a long day. My aunt and uncle did visit on Sunday. Other than looking slightly less gaunt from the last time I saw her, my aunt looked pretty much the same as I had remembered her. It was kind of sad, but at the same time, there was one noticeable difference--she was happier looking. I know a lot of this is from getting out of the school system and doing more what she wants. I know she is really enjoying her therapy dog work, agility, and rally, as well as her volunteering jobs. Plus, she travels quite a bit too.

It makes me wonder at times if I am wrong. Maybe she really is that thin? Maybe my perception is too clouded from the ED? Even if she is thin, perfectionistic, rigid, and a private person, that doesn't necessarily label her with an ED. Still though, it makes me wonder.

In any case, the visit was brief and nice, consisting of a tour of the house, meeting the dogs, and visiting my workplace. Then, they were off to go home. We'll see if this leads to a renewed interest in relationship.