Monday, January 26, 2009

Brooklyn Baby

I can't talk about Mr. Mop and not tell you about his little brother, Brooklyn.

Brooklyn is a ten-month old Bichon/Yorkie cross.  He is very cute.  He is not nearly as clever as Mop, but what he lacks in brain he makes up for in complete sweetness.  Since I brought him home, Brooklyn has been the most chill, easy going puppy.  He gets hyper for approximately three minutes and then is pooped out.  He loves pigeons.  He is afraid of nearly everything (except pigeons), which includes children.  This fear is derived from the weekend my three-year-old niece stayed with me.  She insisted on carrying Brooklyn everywhere he went.  He now hates little people.

Brooklyn gets picked on a lot by Mop, mostly because Mop is jealous.  But when I try to cuddle Mop the same way I cuddle Brooklyn, he growls.  It's a case of "I don't want you cuddling anybody".  Brooklyn often has his head eaten or his back jumped on but has recently been getting his own in the form of biting Mop's tail and dragging him around.  Being only eight pounds he doesn't get far.  

Brooklyn and Mop fight like human brothers but they love like gay lovers.  I often find Brooklyn on his back with his eyes closed as Mop goes to town 'grooming' his face and belly.  As soon as I walk into the room they break apart like naughty teenagers.  At the dog park, Mop chases other dogs and Brooklyn tries to keep up.  When he can't, Mop lets him hold onto his tail.  It's very cute.  And if a dog picks on Brooklyn, Mop beats him up - well, beats him up dog style so basically growls.

Brooklyn does not provide as many funny stories as his brother, but that's okay.  He is my gentle sweetie pie who I can take anywhere because he is just so lovable and sweet.  Except for his annoying game of 'let's run away and bark when the leash comes out' or 'it's fun to wake mum up at six in the morning by sitting on her head'.

He has a breath problem.  For some reason, food gets really stuck in his teeth causing him to smell like an outhouse.  At first, I did not know what the problem was so changed his diet and got him breath biscuits.  Then I opened his mouth and was blown away (literally) by the reek.  He had crap stuck in all of his teeth.  It took me, the Engineer, and my friend K (she just took photos so didn't really help) holding him down and scrubbing his teeth with a facecloth.  The toothbrush just did not work.  You would think brushing the teeth of an eight-pound dog would be easy, but no, it isn't.  They are squiggly little monsters who can move their heads around in exorcist-like contortions.  It took about twenty minutes, a blanket to wrap him in and the Engineer using a pillow to force his head to stay still to get the offending odors out.  

How does the Engineer act with my dogs?  He's coming around.  Slowly but surely.  They aren't allowed in the bed when we are together.  But I do sneak Brooklyn in around 3 when he asks to come in (he sleeps at my tummy like a hot water bottle).  Apparently it's not a secret, the Engineer knows.  Also, when I go out and leave the boys at home with him, he ties Mop to the bed so that he doesn't jump and slam himself into the door.  The Engineers' other pet peeve is me referring to myself in third person as 'mummy'.  He really hates that (He also hates it when new dads send emails out that say 'mum and baby are healthy').  He feels strongly one should refer to themselves in first person and others should refer to them by name.  I have caught him talking about the dogs as 'ours' a couple of times, I take it as a sign that he loves them.  

Just not as much as me.

The Dog Days of Brooklyn

I thought I would share with you all one day in the delightful life of having dogs in Brooklyn, NY.  The following are the events of one and a half days:

1. Mop eats a roach trap (we all have them in NY apartments)
2. I discover a 'bed bug' in my bed after putting together all my Ikea furniture and making my house nice
3.  Freak out
4. Strip all sheets, blankets and pillows and take to laundry people.
5. Jody and I sleep badly on our couch
6. Wake up to Brooklyn peeing on the new carpet 
7. As I am getting ready to take the dogs out after pee incident, Mop oddly pees on the carpet as well. When I pick him up he sprays pee everywhere and continues to pee on hardwood floor.
8. Brooklyn thinks it is funny to run around, hide and bark before we go on walk
9.  Mop eats a chicken bone on sidewalk.  Brooklyn finds a used condom which I must pry out of his mouth
10. Come home, take shower, leave couch bed pulled out with last sheet in house still on it
11. I get out of shower to find Mop on pullout bed, eating the barf that he barfed on the BED and the only sheet we have (suspect roach trap combined with chicken bone is culprit)
12. Barf is also on floor
13. Spend an hour scrubbing carpet and couch - then use a hair dryer to dry it. Couch still has odd stain.
14. Take dogs out again and discover Kerri Russell is my neighbor
15. Go out
16. Come home to pee on the floor again and two piles of barf
17. Take dogs out, Mop squats to poop and out comes a strange, bubble explosion of fart/liquid poo. He jumps in the air to inspect his butt. I jump because I thought it was some stray sick cat or bullfrog making the offending noise.
18. Mop liquid poops himself around the neighborhood. Poor boy
19. Landlord says we do not have bed bugs and refuses to get exterminator.
20.  Turns out he is right, what I found was just a regular old bug.  Did not get bitten for rest of stay in New York.

Lesson?  Do not let dogs eat roach traps or chicken bones.

Mr. Mop & Me



I find it odd that I rarely talk about my dogs in this blog.  I have two:  Mr. Mop and Brooklyn.  Let's introduce you to Mr. Mop.

I just saw that movie 'Marley & Me' which is based on the book about the world's worst dog.  Mr. Mop may not be Marley but he definitely is not far off.

I adopted Mr. Mop from a dog shelter up in Fort Smith, North West Territories.  I was shocked to discover that such a sweet looking, little white dog with one cocked ear could survive such a harsh winter (he lived outside) and not get eaten by a polar bear.

Then I met him.

It took a while for his true nature to show itself, and when it did I realized Mop had probably given those polar bears a run for their money (or seals. whatever).  

He is very sweet and loving.  Very cute and cuddly.  Very bad.  He is part Bichon, part asshole (aka Jack Russell Terrier).  He is incredibly clever, incredibly determined, and incredibly ALPHA ALPHA ALPHA.  So we have enrolled in obedience school (six months after getting him home but better late than never right?)

On our first night,  Mr. Mop cowered at my feet in the unfamiliar and smelly surroundings as the other MUCH BIGGER dogs barked and cried.  I thought that perhaps the environment alone would tame him.  I thought wrong.  The trainer used him on her first example to which he cried, lay on his back (feeble trick) and finally bit his leash and jumped at her face.  Crap.

Needless to say we got extra homework.  I mean for crying out loud, this class has two German Shepards, a crazy Bull Mastiff, two Labs and a Rhodesian what-have-you, but which dog is the asshole?  The 14-pound Mopster.   All the other dogs got to go home and get treats but Mop and I had a lesson in the corner on manners.

We (and I use that term loosely) have to:  not be on the furniture, not sleep in my bed, eat after I have eaten, go through the door last,  and basically change every single habit he has been allowed to form.  Ugh.

Here's the thing:  what's the point of a dog if you aren't going to cuddle with them?  That's my philosophy anyways.  So in the middle of the night, when I miss the presence of puppy breath on my cheek, I possibly wake up, tip toe to the living room and pick Mr Mop off his bed in front of the fire (I think he actually prefers not being in the same room as me when sleeping) and put him under the covers next to me.  So wrong.

Other than that little slip-up, I think we are progressing famously.  My little guy is very clever, and figured out the 'stay' after the second try.  So in class tonight, when we had to show off our maneuvers, Mr. Mop was the only dog who could do the heel, automatic sit, AND stay.  Take that, suckas.

I have soon realized that dog obedience school must be what preschool, or any level of school, is to for people with human babies.  All the owners stare on at the other dogs, smile and pretend we think they are as cute as our own dogs.  We secretly revel in how smart our own dog is over the idiot mastiff who still can't sit properly.  

Tonight, that same said mastiff was the dog who misbehaved and entered Mr. Mop's personal bubble when he was heeling which in turn made Mop growl (I would too if a big lady ten times the size of me got in my face out of no where) which in turn made the big dog jump and attack.  And yet the parent's of stupid dog gave me dirty looks?  I felt like what the parent of the smart geek must feel like when the bullys' parents blame her child for their own childs' stupidity.

I tell you, the power of love is strong and even though Mop has a bit of a personality, I will take on anyone, or any dog, who is mean to him.  Or any owner.

Mr. Mop has his kinks but I love him for all his faults and will work until everyone can see his good side.

Thursday, January 22, 2009

Lessons in Flirting

The producer of our would-be travel show told me that I need to flirt more with the camera, and with the person I am interacting with, male or female.  Fine, I can do that.  I used to be an expert flirt.  I was known far and wide as the best flirt in town. Okay, maybe not far and wide but definitely at the Roxy.  And perhaps at the local coffee shop.

In grade three, a friend (and fellow bridesmaid in wedding #8) instructed me on the art of flirting while sitting on my front stairs eating Dickey-D ice cream.  She wisely told me that in order to get boys to like me I must laugh at all their jokes.  Done.  Not that I utilized this information for another 8 years or so (late bloomer and proud of it) at which point I brought out her expertise from the recesses of my brain and went to town.

Obviously it was a skill that needed some honing. I mean, you can't just simply laugh at things boys say.  It's in your body language, your witty repartee, the way you flash your smile and touch their arms.  Needless to say, it took me quite a while to get it just right.  But by the time I perfected the art I was in a relationship with the Engineer.

I wouldn't call flirting cheating, not at all. But for some reason, when I started dating the Engineer I lost all my flirting ambition.  I am very very loyal that way.  I don't think I even flirt with him.

When I told him what the producer had said, he was very supportive.  He even told me that I was a really good flirter back in the day when he would hold my lip gloss and camera at the bar while I cruised the room for my next victim.  Once when we first got together and found ourselves on a booze cruise without any money, I used my flirting skills to get us free drinks all night. In fact, I believe that was the last time I ever flirted.  Wow, that was a really long time ago.

Once again, I must go into the far reaches of my mind and retrain my brain to flirt flirt flirt.

So far, not so good.  I had to go into the editing suite for our trailer and work with two guys.  What better place to start than with them right?  Wrong.  You know how when you laugh at a two-year old they do the same thing over and over again hoping to make you laugh but it only annoys you?  Well that is what I was like.

One of the guys had a black eye from a altercation on the weekend.  By the end of the session, I had teased him so much about it that I could see in his eyes it was time for me to stop.  But I just couldn't!  I kept going!  I left the session by wagging my fingers at him and telling him to stay out of trouble.  YIKES.  Amateur for sure.  

Then I tried flirting with the guy making my non-fat half-sweet tea latte at the coffee shop.  What ended up happening was me tripping over my words so that it sounded like I was the tragic victim of a stroke/lobotomy.  Terrible.  I think he felt pity towards me.  PITY!!!

GAH!  What to do?  I have a show and need to be charming and a flirting fiend.  So far I am a flirting fraud.

All is not lost, I did talk and smile myself out of a speeding ticket the other day.  So I must have the good stuff somewhere right?  I don't know.  I feel that I have reverted to that awkward 16 year old with the bad haircut, trying to flirt with Paul Marion in the library but ending up blushing horribly and putting my jacket on upside down.  Yes.  That actually happened.  I put my jacket on upside down.  He didn't even help me, he just stared at me with a look of bemusement and shock at my lack of 'cuteness'.  Or maybe it was cute?  No.  It was just embarrassing.  

Flirting is hard work and takes lots of energy. It's way easier and less thinking to be in a relationship.