The Underpants Bandit strikes again

When I came home from the gym this morning, sweaty and tired, I went straight to the bathroom for a shower. I dropped my sweaty gym shorts and underpants to the floor, stepped out of them, and pulled my shirt and sports bra over my head. In those few seconds, my underpants disappeared.

Topping my short suspect list was the dark gray underpants thief named Dougal.

Underpants? What underpants?

I looked down the hall and saw him standing there, underpants dangling from his mouth, a challenging gleam in his eye. We stared each other down for several seconds before I launched forward and the chase began.

Down the hall, around the dining room table, through the living room, back down the hall, to the bedroom, back through the bathroom, and around and around again. For a dog that’s built like one of those log reindeers at Christmas, he sure can hustle when he wants to.

After several laps and a few near-misses (and Barley running interference), Dougal ended up making his usual mistake: he tried to squeeze his full-figured self under the bed. He can fit, but it takes him several seconds to wriggle and squirm his girth under there, and, by that time, I can usually grab his hips and slide him back out.

If you’ve ever doubted dogs feel real emotions, try taking away a freshly-worn pair of stolen underpants from Dougal. He slumped in a heap and stared up at me, heartbroken and defeated, but determined to win another day.

Happy Tuesday, everybody!

Green tampons and a whole lot of questions

Last weekend, I went to my local Walmart to buy a cartload of things I only purchase a few times a year. One of those things is an ugly necessity…tampons. Now, I’m not an adventurous tampon-buyer. I use the same brand I used in college, when I first started using tampons. I don’t buy into all the new features and complicated marketing. I like my brand. Playtex regular unscented. Nothing fancy. That is not an area with which to monkey around.

Of course, my Walmart is painfully deficient in the “stocking items people actually need” department, so it didn’t have my usual brand in anything but Super Plus, which I suspect can only be used for plugging gunshot wounds and the occasional dam break (no offense to those of you who use Super Plus, but it sounds scary!). So, I had to pick up the next best thing: Playtex Sport.

Scared yet?

I’m not terribly sure what “sport tampons” are, but I’m a little terrified. For one thing, the applicator is toxic waste green. And torpedo-shaped. I don’t know if it’s a tampon or a portable launcher of toxic chemical missiles. Either way, I’m dreading these things. Emotionally, I need a few months to warm up to the neon green tampons with the offensive shape.

I really wonder how products like this get made. Was there a woman on the committee to make gangrene-colored tampons? I certainly hope not. Considering where these things go, the last thing I want to imagine needing is a hazmat suit.

Wish me luck.

“Well, you’re ugly and my dog can diet!”

As deficient as I am in the tact department, I would never dream of pointing out that someone’s child had a weight problem. However, it is astonishing how often people make comments about my smallest dog’s weight.

Dougal's not fat. He's big-boned.

For the record, he is not fat. We take 4- to 8-mile walks and hikes several times a week. He’s on a very restricted, healthy diet, and gets few treats. He’s well within the healthy weight range for his size and breed, and he’s surprisingly strong.

Yet,  still people feel compelled to make jokes about him being fat. They’ll say, “Looks like someone hasn’t been missing any meals,” as they pat his sides and giggle. Or, they’ll compare him to my older dog, Barley, who has a completely different body shape. It’s really unfair.

I know I shouldn’t get defensive about it, but I feel they’re making a judgement about how well I take care of them, and it makes me mad. So much of my life is about making these dogs happy and healthy that it’s insulting when someone jokes that I’m doing a poor job. It is the equivalent of telling a total stranger their kid is chubby, then poking his belly like he’s the Doughboy and laughing. It’s unacceptable.

Obviously, I needed to vent. I hope the next person who comments about Dougal’s weight is standing there with a chubby husband I can insult.

In other news dog news, Barley had a setback in his health this week. After getting the green light from the vet (not our usual vet, but another in the same practice) to take Barley off of his gallbladder medicine, he began relapsing this week. It seems as though he may need to take the medicine for the rest of his life. It’s upsetting. I was so happy thinking the last six months of health issues and worry were behind us.

Barley takes a breather during a hike last weekend.

Barley also has something wrong with his left eye. We’re headed to the vet today to get that checked out. I’ll keep you all posted. I really hope it’s nothing too serious.

So, that’s about it for now. I’ve been feeling a bit glum the last few weeks. Hopefully this weekend will be a nice one. I’d really like to get out and do something fun. Hope you all do the same!

The scariest campfire story ever and the rekindling of a childhood dream

For Erik’s birthday, we spent last Saturday night in the woods near Mount St. Helens, watching the skies for rain, celebrating Erik’s ability to make fire, and eating processed meats roasted on dirty sticks. It was heaven.

Here’s what I learned from my 18 hours in the wilderness:

• No one wants to hear about my toenail. Occasionally, halfway through a story, I realize it’s a bad one and I should probably stop, but I keep going. It usually ends with awkward silence and someone saying, “Well, anyway, who’s up for cake?” This happened Saturday night when I was telling everyone around the campfire about my disgusting pinky toenail. (Note to self: The toenail is gross. No one wants to hear about it and offering to show it only makes the story worse.)

•  S’mores are never as good as I think they should be. In my head, I love s’mores. In reality, they’re okay. I love roasting a marshmallow on a stick. I love lighting it on fire, blowing it out, then letting it smolder near the coals to a perfect state of gooiness. Actually eating the s’more is the disappointing part. The chocolate never melts. Does everyone have this problem? Is there a technique for getting the chocolate to melt? Until this chocolate issue is sorted out, I’m issuing a moratorium on s’mores.

• A minimum two-night stay is required. While I’m issuing edicts, I really have to insist that a single night of camping is not nearly enough. I’m barely dirty by then and I don’t even have BO or long leg hairs. Camping is being smelly and lazy, and hiking and swimming all day and not taking a shower afterwards. It’s eating questionable food and gassing your tent-mates out. I need more than one night to accomplish these goals. Considered it ordered, camping is two nights or more.

• I’m bringing tetherball back. If Erik and I are ever so blessed to have a house, we are totally installing a tetherball set and I am totally kicking his tall ass every night after dinner. It’s going to be total domination. He may have a height advantage, but, as Kramer said, “It’s not the size of the opponent, it’s the ferocity.” I rediscovered my love of tetherball (I was the champion of my grade school) at the campground, where I dominated a noodle-armed, weakling of a child. Sure, she said she only recently graduated preschool, but I show no mercy, especially when I’ve been off the tetherball circuit about three times longer than she’s been alive. Plus, she didn’t laugh at any of my jokes. Snob. I crushed her.

Erik promised we’d go camping more this summer, so stay tuned for more reports.  In the meantime, if anyone wants to see a picture of my nasty toenail or is interested in challenging me at tetherball, let me know! I’m thinking about starting a league.