So things had been cooking right along with Grey Area Guy. The status had not really changed— he’s officially still working on “trials,” but we talked more and more over the last couple of weeks. I was on an impossible deadline and wildly stressed out, and he was great— very supportive. Distracting, but supportive. He made me smile when I needed that, he had my back when I needed that. And it was hard for me not to let my feelings deepen.
One of my problems with the intensity of things with Grey-area Guy this week is that it’s taking up so much of my energy. A few days ago, I texted him first (a new thing— I had a rule not to do that before things shifted earlier this month) to tell him about a win at work. We started texting a little before I left the office. I stopped to get celebratory take-out and we texted off and on then. Later in the night, I was walking the dog and we were texting until my phone shut down from the cold (the dog hates it when I text and walk him, because it makes me slow. I’m already slow because it’s icy, so he totally hates it and I like not to be distracted my whole walk with him— it’s my quiet time and I love it as much as he does), and we texted for an hour before I went to sleep.
Then, last night, he texted me after I was home from my walk and I was watching TV with mom. I didn’t want to be distracted and absent, so I told him I’d text him later. He said okay and was sweet about it, but was a little excited to talk, and I was aware of that, so when the show was over, I quickly fed the fuzzy ones, cleaned the litter box, did a few things in the kitchen and got back to him. We texted for maybe an hour, again.
But I felt like I was up too late talking with him for a second night in a row, and when I came down this morning, I saw a bunch of things that I thought I took care of but didn’t, because I was distracted and trying to hurry. I started the day thinking that I needed to tell him that we’re not dating and we need to dial it back until he’s ready to date. Single girls who aren’t putting their lives on hold don’t behave this way. And I think there’s truth to that. But then I started to wonder if there wasn’t a more positive way to handle it.
Sorry for the radio silence. I’m wrestling some alligators, which is apparently what I do now.
Work is crazy. I’ve been put into a back against the wall situation for reasons that I feel like have less to do with me than they appear, but time will tell. So far, I’ve made better progress against the work alligators than I think anyone expected, but I’ve got at least another six weeks of alligators promised, so the story’s far from done.
I was at church yesterday. I serve in a few different volunteer roles at my church during the service— among other things, I read some weeks and I sing in the choir. Yesterday, I was just supposed to sing. So I got there and rehearsed with the choir. But five minutes before the service was supposed to start, I didn’t see the readers. They’re supposed to be there 20 minutes in advance, and get the book from a prep room 10 minutes before the service and put it on our ambo (if you’re not Catholic, you’d call it a pulpit.)
Tonight is my Christmas concert. It’s a bit of a wild ride, as I’ve practiced some of what we’re performing exactly once, and some of it not in a long time. A lot of the preparation happened while I was in Italy. I was the only choir member who attended the mandatory “dress” rehearsal earlier this week. I started to hear something about bringing cookies.
Here are some of my favorite visual moments from my trip. All rights reserved, on the photos, by the way.
I adore my dog, I really do. Probably goes without saying, if you’ve read about him here— the physical therapy, the surgeries. Two years together and we’ve covered a lot of road.
Last night, I didn’t want to brave the snow and cold to walk him, though he deserved a walk.Knowing it was not enough, I thought I could at least give him a little mental stimulation before we turned in, so I hid some treats in one of his puzzle toys and played some training games and did some physical therapy exercises with him. With that German Shepherd blood, you have to keep them mentally stimulated.
He was trying to predict my commands— if I paused, he’d lay down, expectantly, or put a paw up to shake. I was trying to stump him. I don’t know that it’s a stumper, but sometimes he’ll “give me a kiss” (lick my cheek) on command, and sometimes not. I bent down, held out my cheek and tapped it and said “give me a kiss.” I was startled to see him lean in, mouth puckered, and bump his muzzle against my cheek. That is, of course, how I kiss him, and how I reinforce the command, but he’s always just either licked my cheek or declined to play. Once I recovered from being stunned, I laughed and laughed at it— so surprising, so funny because of how unnatural it was.
This isn’t the first time he’s caught me by surprise by understanding better than I thought he did. We had rabbits in the backyard, busting through fencing to take up residence under the deck. I started running out of the house to haze them, and telling him to “get the bunny,” assuming that he didn’t really understand what I meant. Until the day I found the bunny dead in the backyard. I didn’t see him do it and I can’t prove anything, but I started to be more careful about what I say to him (I’m a softie— I wanted the bunny out of the backyard, but I wanted him to go join his cousins on the greenbelt behind the house. I learned not to blame pets for obeying instincts that serve them, like hunting, though.) I praised him and disposed of the remains.
We’ve had major construction demolition in our area, and the area population of field mice has gone up (I think) as a result— mice fleeing abandoned buildings that were being torn down and ending up in our neighborhood. We were walking one night and he went nuts in a neighbor’s front lawn. For reasons that sound mildly delusional when I tell this story (in my last neighborhood, we had a lily pond, and one night, we saw a frog near it (extremely unusual in our arid climate) and he tried to catch it. I freaked out enough that he let the frog go.) I thought it was a frog, and started freaking out. He let it go, and I watched a mouse run from his paws across the street. Though I’m not crazy about the idea of him eating anything that could be disease-infested, I’m pretty positive on the idea of his keeping the backyard his exclusive domain, and hunting is mentally stimulating, so… I let him go after the mouse into the bushes. Too little, too late, that night.
A few days later, I saw mice in the backyard, coming through the garden, one exploring our deck. I’m against mice in near proximity to the house, and I’m pretty sure they got more out of my garden than I did this year, which kind of annoys me. But I’d learned my lesson from the bunny thing and didn’t say anything to him. A day later, I saw him toying with something. I went outside. Sure enough— a confirmed kill. I praised him but took it away and gave him a treat in its place.
My cats are hunters too— my dear departed boy-cat was a great moth-killer, and my girl-cat would follow me into the crawl space of my condo on the extremely rare occasions on which I’d enter it, to jump up into the struts of the house and lay in wait for whatever else was down there (somewhat terrifyingly, somewhat comfortingly, to me.
It just goes to show you that the minute you think you know a boy, he puckers up and pecks you on the cheek. Thank heaven.