It has been a year and three months since my last post and while a lot has happened, nothing has happened. We moved from the mid-Wilshire area of Los Angeles to Pasadena! Funny enough we moved here a year and a month ago. As I move forward with the continuation of this blog and with the sharing of my pet parent troubles and tribulations I will be sharing more and more of my personal journey. Yes, I’ll try to keep it dog related but life is rarely so clear cut. Why does any of what I just mentioned matter? Well, because it’s all to do with life with my dogs.
We moved to Pasadena March of 2015 and we have gone through changes that have affected both my dogs and myself. Three months after we moved to Pasadena, I found a new job at a nearby medical center and that changed everything. I am about to sound either really stupid or really spoiled, or both. This new job was really different from my past job in some key points. I went from working at small surgery center to working at a huge medical center. Before moving to Pasadena, I did not know the true meaning of stress and never-ending work loads. I did not know that ending my work days at 4:00PM was such a privilege. This new job was 10 times more difficult and I was not making it home before 6PM every night. Yes, I know. Spoiled. Shut up. But it wasn’t just about coming home at 6PM, at the very beginning it was more like 7PM because there was so much to learn, it was about coming home and being completely drained.
I am no expert here but I will venture to say that dogs are creatures of habit. They like routines. Apparently, sanity sometimes hangs on the balance of routines. Ellie and Argos’s routine has been out of whack for 11 months and we are paying dearly for it. Eleven months is how long I have been at this new job. Congratulations me. I stopped walking them, Ellie is currently on two medications and Argos has turned into a little bitch. They used to get a 1 mile walk every day without fail back in Los Angeles. Here, we are lucky if I can make it around the block before I lead everyone back home. And yes, I usually wait till 9PM to take them on the walk because I want to avoid all the other darn dogs that make Ellie loose her freaking mind. Oh yes, but that’s another blog post. So the length (time), distance and quantity of walks went down severely.
But let’s talk about me for a moment. I never stopped to think about the impact that moving to a totally different location would make on my life, mind and body. When we first moved here, I was in the best shape I had been in my life. I was running consistently, I felt strong and I was 7 pounds lighter because of it. It turns out that this foothill area has so many ups, downs, hills, micro and macro valleys to explore. The streets of L.A. did not train me for this shit. The cool weather of the west side did not warn me about the relentless dry summer desert heat. Needless to say, I stopped running because it was too hard and too damn hot. Chris had recently taken up cycling right before the big move and once we got here, he found a cycling group that he clicked really well with and well his hobby turned into a passion. He is down 30 pounds since we moved here. Do you see where I am going with this? Well, the struggle was far from over for little ol’ Normie.
I was desperately searching for work, and working really hard towards getting into a graduate program at a university. I managed to score three different job offers during my search for work. I took the one the looked the most promising to furthering my career and I’ve never regretted a decision more than I’ve regretted making that one. I got into the program I worked so hard to get into only to decline the acceptance in order to stay at my job full time in hopes of scoring the position as an official employee and not a temp. Yeah that’s right, I turned two other job offers to be a temp. Anyway, the most challenging job in the world!!!! I’ve struggled so much to learn the ropes at work, to understand my role and responsibilities and trying to figure out how to make my work efficient and useful. Well, something has to give right? Damn right it does! Chris, Ellie, Argos and exercise took the back burner while I tried to cope with my new work life. Today, I am nearly 10 pounds heavier than I was a year ago, Ellie is up 3 pounds and hugely reactive to outside stimuli and Argos keeps climbing on the dining table trying to score any edibles he can find and refuses to follow simple commands that I ingrained in him for the past 6 years. Chris took over most of our kitchen duties and well the household chores get done when they get done. Oh! not to mention that I’ve spent so little time with my mother and my siblings and their children.
But I am done with putting my life and my family in the back burner for the sake of a job. No one else does where I work at and I’ve decided I won’t either. I will accept whatever the consequences of that may be but I will never forgive myself for losing what makes me so special, which is being a part of the life of those I love the most; Chris, Ellie & Argos.
So here’s the plan. I have a brand new road bike to stretch my legs on along side with Chris. I have to practice on keeping up with him and his friends but the good thing is they are all a good bunch of people, very family oriented! I have a brand new pair of sneakers and one more half marathon to go this year so I can get the Beach Cities Challenge Medal I’ve been trying to get. I am also signing up to to the Conqur L.A. Challenge which includes the Santa Monica 10k, the Rose Bowl half marathon and it concludes with the Los Angeles 2017 Marathon. As for those pesky pounds I put on, well I am now a proud member of Weight Watchers and I celebrated tonight my 2 pound loss with a ice cream stuffed Cronut. Balance, am I right?! I’ve created a brand spanking new chore schedule to help me with that ordeal (Chris is the best chef in the world!). And finally, slowly I want to interject myself in the lives of my little nephews. I want them to grow up knowing who their auntie is. I think a Disneyland trip is in order. Churros! Churros!
Back to my mutt friends. Our veterinarian has strongly rejected my idea to let Ellie run with me in my efforts to get back into shape. She was on steroid injections for a while, she is taking atopica and receives antigen every two weeks. While we slowly figure out her mystery allergies, it’s best I stick to brisk walks. Argos will be enjoying some one-on-one refresher lessons every other evening with delicious high value treats. I will be reading up on canine reactive behavior. A coworker of mine passed on some names I should begin with as I learn about the more common issues related to reactive, timid and sensitive dogs. I hope that once I’ve done some basic research, I can enlist the help of a behaviorist to help me with Ellie’s issues.
While my dogs help center me, give me a sense of belonging and are my source of comfort they too are affected when my life is off balance. Their health and their mental state deteriorates and in turn both Chris and I have to deal with the consequences of that. Well, no more!
Come along to watch how I win, lose, give up and yet find endless hope for a better life. For a balanced life.