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Animals are dicks

So guys, looks like I’m on a stealing-blog-inspiration BINGE right now. I’ve milked The New York Times dry, so it’s time to move on up to more prestigious material. This inspiration steal comes from the ever witty, critically acclaimed, guaranteed to make you snicker just loudly enough in your cubicle to be embarrassing, Another Damn Life by Lyn.

In her latest post, Lyn recounts a recent camping adventure. Since John and I happened to go camping last weekend, I really felt I could relate to many of her experiences of the slightly oversold joys of camping, especially this little nugget of wisdom:

Animals are dicks.

Yes, animals ARE dicks. And on our camping trip one of them was IN OUR TENT.

Ok, so we invited her in and she happens to live with us, but details, details!

Full disclosure: While these are pictures of us camping, they are not from the camping trip in question. We failed to take any pictures worth sharing. 

It was Cassie’s first camping trip and she did not quite grasp the concept of the tent. Not that I blame her – it IS weird considering we have the option of an actual roof over our heads. We thought she might enjoy getting in touch with her ancestral roots in the great outdoors but turns out she really prefers a queen sized bed with a memory foam topper. She made this painfully clear when, immediately after we zipped up the tent, she jammed herself at the exit so violently that she tore a hole through the mesh big enough for her to fit through.

Did I mention we had just spent nearly six hours driving to our destination? And that upon arrival we had realized we left behind our patented Camping Box of Essentials and that only the presence of our more prepared friends prevented this from being a complete disaster? And that as a result, a certain female member of the household was already none too pleased with a certain male member of the household, and now also wanted to kill the K9 member of the household?

Oh yes, camping… so relaxing. And so few people to hear you kill violently hug your nearest and dearest.

And thus this happy family settled in for a night of barely contained evil looks marital bliss, complete with a leash tied to John’s wrist to keep our spooked-out dog from running outside through the hole in the tent.

Why was she spooked you ask? Well, back to the original premise: ANIMALS ARE DICKS.

The campsite we were at was infested with marmots. In case you’re not familiar, marmots are basically fat squirrels that live in the ground. We learned that they squeak. Especially at night. At high enough frequencies to really freak out a dog.

None of us really slept much that night. We tossed and turned, grabbed at Cassie when she tried to escape the tent, and looked at each other in fearful confusion when the chorus of marmots outside reached an alarming decibel at about 3 am. (It may have been a sacrifice of some kind, it’s better we don’t know the details.) I believe it was about 4:30 am when the marmot squeaks were finally overtaken by the birds on a mad, ultraviolet cocaine binge.

When I crawled out of the already-too-hot tent the next morning at 7 am, having slept approximately 45 minutes, and walked to the outdoor tap to splash cold water on my hideously puffed-up face, I looked over at the lake next to us bathed in beautiful morning light and thought, fuck I love camping.



Cassie got the hang of camping the next night and slept peacefully. We patched the hole in the tent entry with duct tape. The marmots continued to be fat.


Tie breaker

When we were home-hunting, we found two places that tied for the top spot. They were the same price and size, only about 7 blocks apart, but one was more dressed up with new floors and gleaming bathrooms while the other had room for improvements but a more open and pleasing layout. It was a toss up that was keeping us up at night.

On a quiet spring evening, we decided to walk around the neighbourhood of both homes to get a better feel for them and also hopefully clear our heads, because this home buying stuff was making us both a little nuts.

Right by the room-for-improvements place we stumbled onto a pedestrian overpass across a major road. But it was so unlike any overpass we had ever seen. Lush with plant life and paved in charming little stones, you could hardly even tell there was traffic below unless you climbed up the banks on the side to peek over.

We then followed this path directly into our home-buying tie-breaker: the most charming little park in Vancouver.

The park is along the seawall that connects up most of the shores of Vancouver. It is almost entirely an off-leash dog park, with a small elementary school and playground tucked onto the side. The dog area is large and laced with little winding paths. It has a giant field for running your doggie heart out, a duck pond for our feathered ‘friends,’ lots of fun little crevices to explore for semi-edible things to chew on (Cassie’s specialty), and a small waterfall with a pool below to cool off in. Yeah, a waterfall.

I think it’s safe to say these dogs are spoiled rotten.

I still have to pinch myself daily that this is the place where I get to go walk my dog. In the sun of May, it is easy to love as everything glows emerald green and a cool breeze off the inlet washes over your face. But even during the bleakest of rains in February, when the park is nearly empty of colour and visitors, it is still remarkable. In fact, it inspired the name of my blog, which is appropriate since most of my blog ‘writing’ happens when I’m walking along its paths with Cassie.

Panicking about babies

I’ve had babies on the brain lately, probably because nearly every conversation with my friends, both in person and online, somehow comes around to babies eventually. And turning thirty was a giant reminder that I can’t keep putting this decision off forever.

On paper, I probably shouldn’t have children. Despite having ovaries, I’m really not the type:

1. I don’t find babies all that cute and I fear that might be essential to being able to put up with their desperate, never-ending needs. In fact, I would rather hold a porcupine than a newborn – those things look like uncooked sausage.

2. As an only child, I grew accustomed to sweet, sweet uninterrupted quiet. For hours – days even! Oh glorious quiet.

3. I am somewhat temperamental. And by ‘somewhat’ I mean ‘really, very.’

4. I don’t do well with sleep deprivation. It seriously amplifies problem #3.

5. I also can’t seem to be able to nap effectively to compensate for sleep deprivation. It takes me forever to fall asleep and I wake up sweaty, disoriented, and you guessed it, with more of problem #3.

6. I don’t like kid things. This includes kid songs, television shows, cheap gigantic plastic toys, gigantic plastic toys that make noise, gigantic plastic toys that were assembled by orphans in China, and gigantic plastic toys that ruin the clean IKEA-like aesthetic of my home. I know what you’re thinking – just don’t buy gigantic plastic toys! Problem solved. Well clearly you haven’t been to a 6-year old’s birthday party lately (lucky you). Turns out this is the opportunity for everyone you have ever wronged (even just by inviting them to this party) to exert their revenge by giving your kid the loudest, biggest, tackiest shit they can find at Toys’R’Us. And all you can do is stand helplessly by while your kid falls in love with their new full-size, pink, plastic Barbie guitar that belts out “I’m a Barbie girl, in a Barbie world…”

7. I’m really scared of being pregnant. And of giving birth. And of breastfeeding. And of taking care of a TINY HELPLESS HUMAN BEING. Seriously, I hear they let you just walk out of the hospital with the baby! Don’t they realize I don’t know anything?!

So case closed right? Let’s just tie up my tubes and start drawing up plans for the wine cellar that we can build now that we won’t need any room for gigantic plastic toys!

Umm… just one thing though – I think I kind of might want to have a baby.

Ok, I’ll wait till you stop screaming “Nooooooooooooo crazy lady!!! I just read your list up there! FOR THE LOVE OF GOD, why would you DO THAT?!?!”

Done now? Ok.

Well, as with most things, you can blame our dog.

Don’t be fooled by her sweet face – she’s pure, manipulative evil.

Getting a puppy, while not really like having children, introduces you to some of the essential elements: being responsible for another life, doing what is best for them rather than what you might prefer, finding activities that let them come along, and learning to deal with the (usually unwanted) advice and judgement of those around you.

But the most important thing about getting a puppy wasn’t learning that we could rise to the challenge of caring for another being – it was the shocking realization that we might actually want toThat there might be something in it for us.

[This next part is slightly too sentimental for me to admit to for real, so please just let your eyes glance over it, hold back your gavomit, and then let us never speak of it again.]

Our life and the things we do are enriched so much by the shared experience of watching this creature learn, have fun, and experience the world. The thought of that being our child makes me finally realize why someone might be willing to put up with everything that parenting entails.

[Whew, ok done. Sorry about that.]

The concept that children bring joy to your life as well as bodily fluids and gigantic plastic toys probably isn’t new to most of you, but for me, this was an honest-to-goodness, eye-opening realization. Sure I had heard tales of it but I thought it was sort of like wedding Zen – a promise that would never quite deliver for me, even if it does for lots of other people. I had to catch a glimpse of it myself before I believed it.

That being said, I am obviously still scared shitless. I’m scared of not being able to conceive, I’m scared of conceiving and then having a miscarriage, and most of all, I’m scared of conceiving and then being pregnant and then having a baby.

My point is, we’re not quite there yet but we’re starting to think that ‘there’ might be somewhere we want to be.

P.S. The title of this post is a reference to this hilarious book. It makes me cackle in my bed at night.