Home Ownership: A Year in Review

It’s hard to believe it’s been a year since we settled into our first home. An event of this magnitude can only be summed up in list form. Here are my highlights and most poingant memories from the past year:

1. The blissful realization that I don’t have to move this summer – for the first time in nine years. Actually, I don’t ever have to move ever again unless I feel like it.
2. Shock and awe at a $9,000 plumbing estimate. Kinda made me wish I’d been a plumber. Note – we still haven’t resolved the tree root problem, but are $9,000 richer for it.
3. The joy of having friends and neighbors in the area pop in.
4. Mice and rats and exterminators, oh my.
5. Building a block wall.
6. Witnessing dog jump over block wall.
7. Modifying block wall to dog-proof it.
8. Countless dinner parties, wine club nights and bbq’s with friends.
9. Freaking out when I got my property tax assessment. Called parents, realtor and friends in a panic – only to learn it’s irrelevant to the actual value of the house.
10. Learning how to bribe Jim into endless projects (love you).
11. Trying to plant flowers for the first time with little success.
12. I feeling of pride I get every time I show someone the house for the first time.
13. The harsh realization that there’s no landlord to call when things break.
14. The even harsher realization that any discretionary money is now spent at Home Depot, not on clothes.
15. The irony of getting an anonymous complaint from the City that our weeds are too high.
16. My first experience cleaning baseboards.
17. The rainiest winter in years means roof leaks abound!
18. I have a new interest in seasonal decorations that had previously remained dormant.
19. Dogs + irrigation + grass = mess
20. I love being a home owner.

Lessons in livestock

I just watched a news feature on the the Maricopa County Fair here in Phoenix. The reporter made a big show of interviewing a young FFA member about her prize winning lamb.

What’s FFA you ask? Um…Future Farmers of America. Why do I know this? Because I was in 4-H.

Yep, that’s right, I was in 4-H. This confession should bring my brother great joy as it’s fueled harassment for over a decade: I raised and showed pygmy goats when I was about 12.

Talk about getting a weight off your shoulders.

The fact is, as embarrassing as it is to reflect on, I don’t regret being a part of the program. I have a lot of fond memories and it likely helped push me out of my shell at a very awkward stage of adolescence. Not to mention it’s a dynamite addition to ‘Two Truths and a Lie.”

The funniest part of this whole situation is meeting other adults who also participated in inane livestock related activities in their youth. Do you think finding someone of the same religion is ironic? Maybe you get a kick out of meeting a fan of your favorite sports team? Just wait until you meet someone else who wore a hideous vest and spent their teenage weekends picking up poop. The bond is magnanimous.

Flying Dog – part deux

A few months ago I chronicled Bruno’s attempts to jump into our neighbor’s yard. We solved that little issue and for the past few months we’ve been in the clear with doggie drama. I should’ve known it was only a matter of time until it reared it’s ugly head again.

Last Thursday I got a call from Jim who was also at work. My cell phone was on silent and I hadn’t heard our neighbor calling to tell us he’d found Bruno. Fortunately Jim answered, and the neighbor spotted and housed him (bless you dog-friendly people). Thankfully, Bruno was totally unharmed. Ironically, I’d just gotten both dogs new ID tags the week prior, so our neighbor had both our numbers and our address.

I rushed home from work to claim my delinquent pup and decided that from now on he could only go outside under supervision.

We began exploring fencing option to contain our leaper and decided on a method where we wired the top of our wall, and put a special box on Bruno’s collar so when he tried to flee he’d get shocked, and theoretically retreat.

This method seemed to work for a few days, but when we got home on Easter after being out for about six hours, Bruno was nowhere to be found. Not a good feeling. It was 6:30 and starting to get dark so Jim and I immediately set out in separate directions. He biked east and I went west on foot. I started out at the house he’d run to earlier in the week. Our neighbors were sympathetic but hadn’t seen him. Choking back tears I continued wandering and questioning neighbors.

About ten minutes later Jim called; he’d found Bruno running near a very busy street. He was happy as a clam, likely reflecting on the best day of his life! He was soaking wet and filthy but joyful as always. His expression was sort of like, “What? I was just doing my thing…”.

Ok. enough.

We started putting him inside in his crate any time we left the house. I’ve been looking into different fencing options – fortunately we were able to get a refund on the first system – and hopefully we’ll have something figured out soon.

In the mean time, we witnessed escape number three. I was driving home this evening from some errands after work and saw a dog galloping down the road. My initial reaction was that it was finally my turn to return good karma and save someone else’s dog. Oh no. As I got closer I noticed this dog had a tail just like Bruno. In fact, it WAS Bruno.

I slammed on my breaks and bolted out of my car after him. Bruno’s very bad about coming when he’s called, but I’ve learned that by screaming at him, he gets scared and lays down, and I can pounce on him. I shoved him in the car and headed home. He’d made such a swift getaway that Jim hadn’t had a chance to notice his absence.

This dog certainly has nine, (or ninety) lives. I’m not taking our good luck for granted to recover him three times completely unscathed. We’re working at being as vigilent as possible and are crossing our fingers the fence modifications don’t cost us a fortune.

He’s lucky he’s so darn cute.