Tuesday, January 01, 2008

New year, new beginning, clean slate, do-over

Back in November I wrote that Thanksgiving Day is my favorite day of the year. I must have been living in the moment or I would have remembered that New Year’s Day is my actual favorite. Thanksgiving runs a very close second.

New Year’s Day edges out Thanksgiving only because I get so excited when I anticipate the arrival of a new year. As much as I enjoy Thanksgiving, I don’t think much about it ahead of time. And when it gets here, my gratitude always seems to be about what is or has been.

New Year’s Day, on the other hand, is all about looking forward. I pretty much keep a running tally in my head of things that need changing in my life, so I don’t have to do a lot of reflection as the new year approaches. I know exactly which things I’d like to do better, more of, less of, differently. I enjoy wallowing in my old ways on the last few days of the year, knowing that once that magical calendar page turns, it’ll be a whole new ball game.

I fantasize that I will instantly become more energetic, more health-conscious, and better organized, and that I will vacuum more frequently. Those goals have carried over from one year to the next for several years now.

More realistically, I promise myself I will drastically decrease the number of times I say “a--hole” during morning drive time, even though the people to whom the term applies will still be on the road. I will drink no more than four Diet Cokes a day, and none after six p.m. I’ll use the DVR to record must-see TV that comes on at nine p.m. or later. That way I can go to bed earlier, read for half an hour or more, and still be able to get a good night’s sleep. Getting enough sleep is problematic for me, and I'm resolved to make it a priority this year.

Yesterday I stripped the bed and washed all the bedding, including the mattress pad, blanket, and bedspread. I wanted to go to sleep in 2007 and wake up in 2008 in fresh, clean sheets. Can you appreciate the symbolism of that gesture?

There were fireworks last night, of course. From just after dark until two in the morning, bombs burst in the air, each one accompanied by a whistle or an explosion of the sort that normally freaks out Butch and Kadi. I felt fortunate that the dogs seemed to be managing their fear better than usual. Butch found a good spot and stayed there without moving, asleep or pretending to be. Kadi’s eyes were visible, her pupils dilated enormously. She stayed close to my side but, in spite of her fright, didn’t attempt to climb on top of my head or shoulders even once. I thought that showed great improvement.

At bedtime I took the dogs outside one at a time, on an extra-long lead, to do their business. In the past they’ve refused to go, but last night they risked it, and at least one of us went to bed happy.

Butch curled up on his bed, and Kadi lay in her usual spot on mine, snuggled close to the body pillow that lies between us. She shivered and panted as the fireworks continued, but her behavior wasn't panicky. At midnight, when the outside noise was at its greatest, I stretched out my arm to pet her. Reaching for her in the dark, my hand encountered a giant wet spot right under her rear end. She may not have panicked in her usual way, but she’d peed in my nice, clean bed and lain right there in it for who knows how long.

So, my symbolic fresh start ended right there in the soiled sheets. But I will not view the peeing incident as an omen.

Happy 2008, everybody!


  1. Oh, the perils of sleeping with dogs in the bed. I know them well. Now you get to have another all-clean bed -- hopefully this one will last.

  2. Javagirl, thanks for putting a positive spin on it; that makes me feel better. Kadi never pees in the house, let alone in the bed, so I'm sure she was as horrified as I was.

    I just popped over to your website looking for news of Barney. How's he doing?

  3. On the bright side, the wet spot wasn't under you last night!

  4. Thanks for asking about Barney, Velvet. He's doing very well. His pressure is down and at his last ophthalmologist appointment, she said she didn't need to see him for six months. So we're very happy that he's doing so well. Thanks.

  5. Oh poor Kadi! At 13, Vannie just started having bladder incontinence at night and seems mortified by it. She just began taking estrogen and her vet said to watch for signs of boys being too interested in her...at her age! Hope the rest of your New Year was bright, uneventful, and dry!

  6. oh, Velvet! I hope the pee didn't get into the mattress. Isn't that par for the course when you have a dog-you work so hard getting whatever clean, and it gets dirty in less than 24 hours?

    We had firecrackers here on New Year's Eve too, Spot was a little upset but not as bad as on the 4th of July-maybe because the closed windows muffle the sound?

  7. ever feel like you can't win? what we admire is that you take this incident and as you say, will not view it as an omen! That is the attitude than can make a day instead of breaking it. our best wishes to you


  8. Annie, you're exactly right. And that made ALL the difference.

    Javagirl, that's great news! Glad to hear he's doing so well.

    Carmon, are you saying that Vannie's taking estrogen to help with the incontinence problem? Or am I just reading that into your comment out of wishful thinking?

    Janet, I was lucky. It didn't soak through to the mattress. It's muddy-foot season again, so that's the dog dirt I'm dealing with mostly these days.

    Keepers, your comments always make me feel good. Thank you.

  9. Yep, bladder incontinence is really common in older spayed females. For most of them, estrogen clears it right up and makes them feel great! Carmon

  10. Velvet, Are you sure it was pee??? Mabel gets nervous and licks... and licks and licks... She did that at Mom's one 4th of July and I woke up to a big wet spot under my hand... Maybe I'm just wishful thinking.

    Poor Kadi girl. Please give her extra hugs and scritches from me.

    Happy New Year!

  11. Carmon, thanks for the info. So far (knocking on wood here) Kadi has just had the one problem, which I assume was fear related -- but she's never peed before when she was so afraid, so something has changed physiologically.

    Creekhiker, yup, unfortunately, it was pee. Your hugs and scritches have been delivered.

  12. Happy New Year Velvet and hope it is a happy and healthy one for you all.

    Fireworks were always a problem with our dogs, especially for Goldie, as she got older, and would be dismayed at her little "accident", as said just be glad it wasn't you. :-)


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