Sunday, September 29, 2013

Stepping Stones

I keep everything.  Some call me a horder.  I just can't handle the thought of something that could be potentially useful just being tossed out.  I don't buy a lot of stuff, so I don't feel like I have a plethora of "crap", but I keep every little thing that I think I might be able to do something with some day.

This stepping stone is a good example of what I view as garbage potential. All the little bits are pieces of broken glass that I have kept because they might have been useful one day.  The cement is leftover from a mixture I was using for something else.  I had to think quickly.  "I have leftover cement! Quick! What do I do with it!" And this is the result...

Not the most beautiful stepping stone. I suppose it isn't bad considering that it was my first attempt, that I learned the process from google, that I didn't have all the materials suggested on the website (I substituted packing tape for contact paper). Still, not super attractive.

So now what do I do with it?  I don't have a garden to put it in. (Well, I have a community garden plot, but I don't feel it would be appropriate to adorn my section with knick knacks.) It's not exactly beautiful enough to sell or give as a present.  It seems that the pieces  had more usefulness BEFORE I created something out of them. 

Anyone want a stepping stone? FREE! 

Tuesday, September 24, 2013

Follow your dreams

When I moved to Houston, I had a burning passion for the environment.  But I found it difficult to do simple things like recycling paper and cardboard.  And although there is cardboard and paper recycling now, I kept running into more and more obstacles when it came to environmentalism, and it started to weigh on me.  

I started focussing on work.  My business. My dog grooming business.  No.  Not the recycled crafts business that I had started at the same time.  I focused on dog grooming.  

I dropped the crafts altogether.  And as things got busier with the business, I started grabbing food on the go more.  That meant more packaging. Frozen meals, pizza and remade sandwiches and salads meant less dishes to worry about, but now, instead of a garbage bag filled in 52 days (see previous blog), I'm filling one every couple of weeks. 

I succumbed to the "convenience" factor.  It's just... easier.  But every time I took the garbage out, every time I walk past my abandoned craft room, the weight grew on my shoulders.  Now, I am exhausted every day. And I'm not even getting paid well for it.

When Dan lost his job recently, I kept asking him what he WANTED to do.  Encouraging him to search for a job that he WANTED.  Then it hit me.  The thing that is holding him back is the same thing that is holding me back. This business.  We can't even seize an opportunity if t presents itself because it's such a long process to sell or close a business.

So, it has to go.  The business is for sale.  That is the first step in the process of following our dreams.  We are hoping to be able to move by spring.  Where? Doesn't really matter.  Somewhere in southern BC.  

I have already applied for a position in Vancouver.  It's a long shot, but within reach and something that would be VERY exciting for me if I do get it. (WHEN! When I get it.) Change is in the air!

Saturday, September 14, 2013

Moral choice, but no social right

I'm lying in bed, unable to sleep.  Every time I try to quiet my mind, I can't help but replay an unpleasant event that occurred today.  Or, rather, imagining all the terrible things that are being or will be said about me because of it.

I am not the kind of person to create conflict.  In fact, I tend to avoid it if at all possible.  But today, I got angry. I actually felt a bit of rage inside me that came out in an I-don't-care-what-comes-of-it sort of way.  Unfortunately, I do care.

Story is: there is a specific dog, whom I've groomed four times now, and every time I have groomed him, someone other than the owner has brought him in and paid for him to be clipped.  Today was no exception.  The only thing is that today the person who brought him in asked for his nails to be clipped because the dew claws had grown right into the pad by about a half inch.  

So I did.  There was blood because of it.  Poor dog took it well.  He hasn't been groomed in over a year.  He was matted to the skin.  The lady who came in with him said she might also make an appointment for him.  I said it wasn't her responsibility to pay for the groom, but that I would do a quick shave down to get rid of the matts for free.  It wouldn't be pretty, but the dog would be more comfortable.  She was like, "Yeah okay."

So I did.  He took it well, yet again.  He's such a good dog and doesn't deserve to have to live in that state.  Within half an hour I got an angry phone call from the owner. 

"What the @;$( did you do to my :@(,ing dog!" 

I said that it wasn't pretty, but that the dog was more comfortable this way.  And he replied, "Say that to him when we're out in the bush! He's going to get sick because you took away all his hair!"

I explained that if it's that cold, he's better off shaved than matted.  At least the short hair will dry out rather than cause skin problems such as frost bite.  

Then he proceeds to tell me that if I'm going to do the job to do it right.  Well, even if I had taken the time to make it look good, he would have been the same length because of the severity of the matts.  And I said that to him.  

"Don't ever touch my +}!~ing dog again!" 

Okay I won't.

But that leaves the dog groomer-less (almost). So now this dog gets to live out the rest of its life matted and uncomfortable? I'm such a bad guy for trying to prevent further issues for the dog. (Oh, did I mention that on top of the two nails that I had to remove from the dog's pads, I also uncovered a cyst or something on the dog's foot that needs to be drained?) Yeah, I'm the one putting the dog at risk.  

I wish I had taken more pictures.  I usually do when I get severely matted dogs. But I was in a blind rage where I just wanted to help the dog and I didn't care what the owner thought. But it still hurts to be accused of putting the animal at risk.  

What bothers me most is that the owner really does believe that he's acting in the dog'a best interest.  It's really a matter of education.  Of getting people to put themselves in the dogs' shoes. They cannot talk.  They cannot tell us that they are uncomfortable or in pain.  

And I get to see first hand how much they suffer when it does come time to remove the matts.  They scream, wiggle, fight, bite, yelp and twist to get away from the pain.  The pain that wouldn't exist if they came in more often and/or got to see a brush at home. There are fantastically well behaved dogs that end up biting because of the discomfort.  But because they aren't sitting there screaming all day, it's the groomer's fault that they feel pain at the salon.  *sigh*

The terrible things that are being said about me right now.... Well, I guess I'll have to live with the consequences of my actions.  In that moment, I felt like I was doing the right thing. But I feel like I might have been doing the dog a better service by going about it differently.  And maybe I would be in a better state of mind right now, too.