About Me

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Recent retiree--35 year's experience teaching reading, English, adult basic education and volunteer leadership skills. Started this blog to exchange ideas and commentary with friends and others having an interest in joining the discussions. Greatest life accomplishments include: 1.organized my 3rd grade class to check out library books for me to get around librarian's weekly limit--Amazon.com, the Mullins Elementary 3rd Grade Class of 1956 is still waiting for "thank you" notes; 2. volunteered in the Peace Corps, island of St. Kitts, West Indies; 3.taught adults to read, earn their GEDs., and speak English as a second language; 4. bought a border collie puppy for $6, got evicted rather than give him up, and began a life-long love affair with all things "Dog"; 5. joined a physical fitness boot camp in my mid-50s--don't mess with someone who's been doing regulation pushups in wet grass at 5:30 a.m.; 6. walked across Northern England with best friend Sally--over 80 miles from the Irish to North Seas; and 7. travelled to many foreign countries for pleasure and work.

Monday, December 1, 2008

Moonin' the Neighbors

(Tacky post alert! When Ari, our Fun Monday hostess from over at Beyond My Slab asked us to share tales of neighbors from hell, one came to mind right away. The voice student who lived in an apartment above me and practiced endless arias--before I'd learned to appreciate "finer" music--for her senior recital. Then this six foot amazon songbird also took up apartment roller skating. So, on a given day I was treated to either the Metropolitan Opera or roller derby. I had plenty stories to tell about her, but I googled "bad neighbor" images and came up with the one below that reminded me of a great Crazy Zack the Border Collie story, so I'll share that one instead.)

I was not smart enough to raise a border collie. However, when I saw Zack in this litter of six week old puppies rolling around in a dairy barn I bought him from the farmer for $6.00 and brought him home to the no dogs allowed duplex where I was living at the time. We got evicted. I bought us this little house on Valley View Dr. and immediately became obsessed with growing things--grass, trees, roses, shrubs, flowers, vegetables, fruits and berries. I knew nothing about landscaping--hence the white pine planted too close to the driveway--but I read books, watched TV how-tos, and suckered my backdoor neighbor,who ran an agricultural supply store, into many Saturdays of lawn renovations and digging holes to plant trees and shrubs. I suspect that the rocks for this wall came from the yard because we encountered boulders and rocks every place we dug.

I also raised Zack the crazy border collie here and tried to keep him contained within the backyard fence. Look closely at the fence near Zack's tail. You can barely see the short grey post which held an electric goosey wire--the only way to keep him from climbing over the fence and running away. Zack learned to avoid the wire after a couple of jolts. I, on the other hand, was slower to learn and regularly shocked myself when mowing the lawn. . .

Zack was a wild, careening gorgeous bundle of pent up border collie from his puppy days. In order to visit in our home, guests had to submit to either getting feet and ankles spritzed with Bitter Apple spray or cover themselves with a quilt when sitting down. Zack loved to attack any exposed Achilles tendon with his sharp little puppy teeth. Another game he enjoyed was snatching the newspaper, magazine or book out of your hand and flying through the house hoping you'd give chase. Even better when the chase continued out the back door. That was most of the time because having a working screen door cramped Zack's style. He ripped out the screens so he could just jump through the hole and be out in the far corners of the yard with his prize with me hard on his heels. On a good day, he managed to steal from the laundry basket and parade around the back yard with my "delicates" flying from his mouth like a white truce flag.

This was my first house so I wanted to be out in the yard working every minute, even before getting dressed for work. At night I'd pile sweatpants and gardening shoes on the floor by my bed and then roll out each morning as soon as it was light enough to see to work in the yard. I'd pull on my pile of clothes, make a cup of coffee and rush outside for an hour of digging and weeding before I had to get cleaned up for work. This getting dressed was done in the dark.

On one side of the driveway I planted a bed of peonies that I'd inherited from my Aunt Draxie's garden. She had grown these flowers in her garden for over 40 years, since she was a bride. I was very proud of how well the bed had done in my own yard and enjoyed kneeling on the rock wall to tend them and cut a vase full to take to my office--one of the most pleasant early morning gardening chores.

Now the neighbor just across the street liked to take his early morning coffee on his front porch and watch all the activity in my yard. He was not a gardener and, I suspect, thought I was nuts for working so hard in my little suburban eden. One particular morning I was upended in the peony bed and couldn't help noticing that he seemed to very amused about something. When it was time to quit gardening, I climbed off the wall and called out some pleasantry to Howard. He burst out laughing and said, "You may want to check your pants when you get inside." I didn't think any more about it because he was always teasing me about what low fashion standards I set for the neighborhood.

I get inside and peel off my gardening clothes only to discover that the entire butt of my sweatpants had been chewed out. Apparently a certain border collie had hopped off the bed in the night and helpfully ventilated my britches for me! Howard got plenty of mileage out of getting an early morning moonin' from his neighbor. Zack, I'm sure, enjoyed the joke just as much as Howard.

Now stop by Ari's place and get some neighbors from hell tales that make this one seem pretty tame by comparison. Tacky? Now that's another question.


ChrisB said...

I'm still laughing at the *ventilated britches* great post!

m (the misanthrope) said...

Hahahaaaaaaaaaa!!! Awesome story, especially the ventilated pants! And beautiful, beautiful dog! I love border collies...way back when, I volunteered at my local animal shelter. I got to work a little bit with a border collie who was awaiting a home. I'd never seen such a smart, sensitive, ENERGETIC dog before! Fear of eviction stopped me from taking her home :-)

IamwhoIam said...

My advice to all those looking at boarder collies is give them a job to do or they will find something to do and you won't like it. But that was a great story.

Lane Mathias said...

Isn't this your 100th post? Congratulations! And what a way to mark it with some stories about Zack. Sounds like he was so worth getting evicted for. And I think he was actually very considerate. He could have chewed out the back of your work trousers and caused a much bigger embarrassment:-)

I bet Howard remembered that morning for a long time.

Jan n Jer said...

Thats so funny, Zach sounds like a very spirited dog. Border collies are very smart and full of energy as you well know.

karisma said...

OMG! How embarrassing, but how funny at the same time! Im sure you really made his day! LOL!

Hula Girl at Heart said...

Ha! Hilarious. Ah, the trials of pet ownership.

Ari_1965 said...

Faye, you hussy!

Pamela said...

You needed the "Dog Whisperer" or "It's me or the Dog" lady.
ha ha ha.

Those pants would be in style in todays weird styles.

Faye said...

chrisB--still remember those britches were navy so quite a contrast for the "moon".

misanthrope--my choice was to give up Zack or be evicted. We chose eviction and I got 16 years of craziness and laughter out of him.

iamwhoiam--you're right, border collies live to work or cause mischief if you don't provide that for them.

lane--thanks. this my 100th post. I'm usually a once or twice a week writer, which is quite enough since I never know when to stop writing. Thankfully my mind was a bit sharper in those early days--I would have noticed a big hole in my workin' britches. Wouldn't guarantee it today.

janis--their energy is over the top. In my neighborhood there's what I call crimes against border collies. One is tied to his dog house. Theother is confined to a small deck. I can only imagine how frustrated they are. Oh, and two others run the borders of an underground fence.

karisma--Howard was such an old shoe I didn't even get embarassed by what he saw.

hulagirl--trials and rewards all balance out, right?

ari--I say if you got it, flaunt it!

Pamela--Willie the current dog has been Dog Whispered. Zack was before Cesar's time.

Sarah said...

My gosh what a funny story, that's brilliant. I bet you were a bit more careful when dressing after that!

Gattina said...

Hahaha ! at least your neighbor had a"live" TV show, lol !

Driftwood and Pumpkin said...

Oh my gosh, Faye! That is too hysterical! Did you not feel the natural air conditioning your pup provided for you?!? Note to self: Do not get a border collie...too hyper!

Hootin Anni said...

Ohhhhhhhhhhhhhhhh, how funny. It started out with the topiary and ended up that you actually MOONED Howard. Too too funny.

Loved it.

Happy Tuesday. Thanks for your kind words in my comments today. :o)

karisma said...

I was coming back to defend the actions of us aussies and our tongues! I was going to tell you that we are not like that at all! Oh no! We are such a cultured lot down here! But you know I am not a very good liar, and I do have a habit of poking my tongue out a lot too!

Oh dear! We are a bunch of crude louts after all! But really we have to be, we are the yang to UK's Yin, we have to be ourselves to make them all up there "keep it real"! Snooty is not a word in our vocabulary, "Snotty" would be more apt!

I am sure that you moony types know just where we are coming from, although you may be a little more polite about it! (We would not use a shrub, we would bare it ourselves! LOL)

Faye said...

sarah--I did hold my sweats up to the light before hopping into them after that morning.

gattina--just like current reality shows--a bit too revealing, don't you think?

iPost--90 acres should be about enough for a young border collie,
if you change your mind. . .

anni--my pleasure.

karisma--you aussies are a high spirited lot for sure. There were several Down Under travelers on Europe tour. My favorites were a mother and two daughters--from Perth. The young women were beautiful and fashionable and dog lovers. Great company on the long bus rides.

Jientje said...

Hahahaaaaaaaa, what a hilarious story!!! Oh and I loooooove border collies, they're so smart, and they have a great sense of humour!!

storyteller said...

Thanks for sharing this bit of hilarity in such an entertaining manner. I appreciate you dropping by Small Reflections and am sorry you were unhappy coming up 'brown' but glad the descriptors made you feel okay about it. I really wanted to come up yellow, orange, or purple ... but I'm blue every time. Such is life. I always enjoy my visits to your blog ... wish I could get here more often.
Hug and blessings,

Faye said...

jientje--exactly. If there's a dog smart enough to have a sense of humor it would be a border collie.

storyteller-blogging is all about striking a balance, isn't it? I'm starting to understand that it's not enough just to write a good post and then think that the readers and comments will come. It's all about finding other blogs and adding to their conversations as well--just as important, I feel, as what you're writing on your own blog.