Saturday, December 29, 2007


Hey, you know what sucks about getting a NikonD40x for Christmas?


And you know what sucks about pumpkin pie leftover from last Monday?


I have had a pretty fantastic day of doing nothing and going no where, which was greatly needed. SB is in New Brunswick for his brother's wedding, but I have a no-fly policy over the holidays for obvious reasons (ie 400 million cat visits per day). This weekend I have two girls working, so I didn't have to do any visits myself (yes!) but I didn't want to chance being away if some kind of crisis arose. Which it turned out that a minor crisis did arise - snowstorms on the east coast caused many flight delays which caused many last minute additions to our schedule. It was all handled okay, but I could just picture one of the girls being here "in charge" and having a mild panic attack.

So I'm relaxing. Eating pie. Doing a puzzle. In my pyjamas.

100% awesome.

Thursday, December 27, 2007

Not feeling creative

Wowie, so....

Instead of a well-written post, here's some list action:

My Christmas week was even more eventful than I ever could have imagined. Here are some of the high and low-lights:

1) After about 30 cat visits on Christmas day, on our very last visit at 9:30 at night we enter a house where one of the cats had two explosive diarrheas on woven natural fiber rugs (read: big fat pain in the ass to clean) and two giant vomits (luckily on linoleum). The place smelled SO bad. Kitty was fine boxing day morning, but I'm sure the scent will linger...

2) after leaving the kitchen tap dripping as per client's request, kitchen sink leaks and creates a mini-flood. Fabulous. No damage, other than a few cardboard boxes that were stored under the sink.

3) My Mummy made a surprise visit, declaring that Christmas is in fact NOT dead and that there WILL be turkey dinner at my house this year regardless of how many stupid cats need insulin. Well, who am I to argue with that?

4) None of my employees lost, broke, or otherwise screwed up anything. Phewf.

5) SB spoiled me rotten and I am now the proud owner of a Nikon D40x. I have only played with a it a little bit so far as I get a bit bored taking photos of our two mongrels, but SB has been snapping away. But, the first three photos I took were awesome, which confirms my suspicion that I suck at taking photos with small cameras like our Canon. They never turn out. But now I don't have to care because I have a super awesome kick-ass camera. So excited!!!!

Friday, December 21, 2007

Still hangin' in there

I've been trying to think about stuff to talk about for the past two days. Something to leave you with because I'm sure I will not have time to blog next week. But my brain, it's empty save for prettily-colored schedules and curse words.

I just remembered that I have a whole bunch of super-action shots from dog walks in the snow that I could have blogged about but I am not sure where the camera is.....maybe after the holidays we'll get to that.

Christmas presents are all taken care of. SB never did provide me with a list of "these will wow me" gifts, so I got him some stuff I'm pretty sure he'll like okay, and if he doesn't, there are gift receipts.

NB presents were sent and arrived there yesterday. That was a relief - I totally thought we would never get those there on time, which is disgusting, because we've had them all bought for weeks.

One thing that did make my day - one of our regular clients left a gift for his regular walker and for me - a sweet gift certificate to my favorite spa! Totally unexpected and really thoughtful, so it makes it even more appreciated.

Tomorrow night we are going to see The Nutcracker, which is pretty exciting. We have several clients who are dancers in Les Grands Ballets Canadiens and they will be in the show, so that will be cool, and I have never even watched the Nutcracker on TV, so the whole show will be new to me. I think this will be the most Christmas-y that we get, and while that is a lot of expectation to put on something, I'm sure they won't disappoint.

Tuesday, December 18, 2007

Status update

Christmas gifts: NB gifts: still not sent; SB's: still not purchased. This is a problem. Hopefully we can send off the New Brunswick gifts tomorrow. And hopefully they will arrive on time. Hopefully SB will quit telling me he wants a new rug and a new vacuum cleaner for Xmas and pick something fun.

Work: glad I put that "leave us alone, we're booked solid" message on the voicemail. Much less stressful this week in the whole message-taking department. Snow = making my work day hell. Also, am pretending Xmas is still four weeks away so I do not throw myself into cardiac arrest thinking about all the crap I'll be scooping next week (that is literal).

Snowstorm: big fat pain in the ass as usual. Our street hasn't even had the sidewalks cleared yet. Some of the main roads had one side done last night and will have the other done tonight. Oh, and here's a fun story. Today while traveling down a one-way street I got stopped up behind a line of like four cars. I could see that in front of them there was a BMW sedan trying to get out of a parking spot, but it's pretty icy out there, so he just kept spinning his wheels. Big shock, none of the asshole guys in front of me were getting out to help. Cars lined up behind us and started honking. There were probably about 20 cars back there when I got out and helped the guy push his car out. It took about 7.7 seconds. I gave the men in the cars in front of me dirty looks as I passed them on the way back to my truck. Come on people. Just come on.

I have been talking a lot about the snow lately (believe me, I would be very happy if it would just go away so I could stop talking about it) and I realize that people outside of our fair city probably have no idea what kind of hell I'm talking about. Here is a description.

a) snow falls

b) snowplows go around pushing snow off the roadway, but up against all the parked cars. This makes a nice little den for your car. Perfect for hybernation. Not perfect for getting to work.

c) snow fall ends

d) you have to work, so you dig out around you car (about 1 foot on three sides, and under the tires) and ram your way out of the snow bank.

e) the city puts up "no parking" signs on the side of the street where they will be plowing. They either prohibit parking all day or all night.

f) theoretically, if you work at a normal job, you drive home and have to fight with the snowbank to park your car. Usually I like the ram and slide method, wherein I ram either the front or back end into the space, hope to catch the tracks of the person who left, and hopefully slide into the spot. I do not work a normal job, so I generally fight with about 6-10 snowbanks per day with all my picking up and dropping off of doggies. I am a very good shoveller now. Very efficient.

g) the city passes for snow removal. This is actual physical removal of the snow. First a special sidewalk plow passes and pushes all the snow onto the street (where no cars are parked because of the helpful orange signs). Then a big giant snowblower passes, accompanied by a big giant dump truck. The snowblower blows the snow into the dump truck, and then the dump truck takes the snow away (they usually dump it in the St. Lawrence, I think).

f) everyone starts getting into fist-fights for parking spots on the good side of the street.

g) repeat the next day.

So, it takes at least two days to clear a street, and when you live on a small street like we do, you have no idea how long it will take them to actually get to your street. It's all very efficient, as you can see. (sarcasm intended).

Monday, December 17, 2007

And so there it is

Of course we get a major blizzard the day of our holiday party. Everybody still made it, which was awesome, and the food was great, restaurant was quiet, it was pretty great. After the party we drove home one of our employees and decided to help her dig out the work van from the alley where she parked it so that it wouldn't have to be dug out in the morning.

Three hours later, we finally got our truck into the alley (forging the path - probably about 100 yards) unstuck the van from the parking spot (requisite "digging out" that anyone with a car has to do at least once), unstuck our truck while trying to turn it back around (alleys are narrow y'all, and forward motion tends to work better when trying to gain momentum), drove our truck out of the alley, and drove the van out of the alley.

When we got home I begged SB to just ram the truck into any random snowbank and that I would worry about digging it out in the morning. He obeyed for about 7 minutes - I showered, then under pretense of walking the dogs he went back outside. Such a sweetie. Made my morning much easier today, that's for sure, but I sure did feel guilty.

One plus to shoveling snow in the bitter cold for three hours is that you get to see how warm your Uggs really are. Very warm. And my feet didn't get wet inside, either. Amazing. I highly recommend them - cute and practical.

Now we wait for them to remove the snow. Last time it took a week. If it takes a week this time, you may just see me on the news wanted for homicide.

Friday, December 14, 2007

Dear Snow,

I hate you.

Why do you always come on a Sunday, just in time to ruin our entire work week? Why don't you come on a Thursday, or even a Friday? Then the worst of the removal would happen on the weekend. You know, when my employees aren't working that much. Because as much as I love paying them for all the delays you cause like being stuck in traffic, or being stuck behind moron people who stop in the middle of the road because they can't find parking, or just plain being stuck because they are mindful to park off of the road, and in the snow, which sometimes is deeper than it seems, as much as I love paying for all that, it would be nice to just not have to deal with it for once.

Snow, for once I wish you would just cooperate. Or at the very least, facilitate your own clean up, and get it done quickly. Because I'm pretty sure I'm going to develop angina before this winter is over. And carpal tunnel. From shoveling out my truck forty times in one day.


Forever hating you,

Wednesday, December 12, 2007

Bah humbug

I don't know how many times I have to say it people, but at our house, Christmas is dead.

It's not like I'm happy about it - I used to love Christmas. I love giving presents. I love eating food. I love drinking. Christmas = awesome.

But when we bought this business, it was clear that Christmas from now til forever would be non-existent. It is our biggest time of year. We cannot travel. We spent 15 hours on Christmas day last year visiting kitties cleaning their poopers and serving them Fancy Feast. We had club sandwiches for lunch. They were good.

This year I am struggling to keep it together - we are about 400x more busy this year, and although we have help this time, scheduling is complicated, and anxiety is high. SB bought a tree on the weekend, but I don't want to decorate it. I know this hurts his feelings, but the tree stresses me out. So we have had an empty tree in our living room for five days. I haven't mailed any of the gifts we bought. I can't think of one thing I want to get SB for Xmas - I think it's the first time I've asked him for a list and actually needed it.

So, here is a message to everyone:

I'm sorry I'm a grinch. But I am. And that's that. If I thought about all the yummy treats and nog and slush I'm missing out on, I think I wouldn't make it through. So bah to nog.

But don't worry - I have your gifts. Hopefully I will get around to mailing them this week. And they might even get wrapped too.

Tuesday, December 11, 2007

The tough decisions

My hair is in an in-between phase, and I'm not sure how to deal with it.

The last time I had my hair cut was on my birthday when my Mummy treated me to a day at the spa. That was five months ago. So right now I'm starting to look like a cross between the middle Hanson brother and an offspring of Celine Dion.

I totally don't have time for a haircut until after the holidays, so that gives me plenty of time to decide what to do with it. Should I:

a) cut it off again. It looks cute shorter, even when I don't do anything to it besides brushing it (which is pretty much every single day).

b) let it grow until I have a foot of hair to cut and donate it again.

It's really a tough decision, actually. Last time, my hair was already long, and was just dying to be cut off. Pleading for it actually. I was able to decide I was going to do it on a Tuesday and get it done on a Wednesday. But now, now we're talking about a commitment of another 5-6 months at least. Maybe even upwards of a year. Who knows, I'm getting older, maybe my hair's growth rate has been stunted. I have about a month and a half to decide. Meanwhile, I will barely be able to think about what I'm going to eat for breakfast let alone make and appointment to get my hair cut. But by mid-January I will at least need a trim.

Until then, any opinions are welcome.

Sunday, December 09, 2007

A very big loss

Last Monday morning when I took the messages, I was sad to discover that one of my favorite dogs had passed away over the weekend.

She had taken her regular group walk on Thursday, and was happy and hoppy and extra into trying to play chase with all the other dogs. Friday when her walker went to pick her up, she didn't meet her at the door. The walker found her in the bedroom, laying down, not interested at all in getting up. She brought her out for a pee break and I called her owner to let him know she was feeling ill and we weren't going to force her to walk on the mountain in that condition. He told me she had been throwing up all night, and that if she wasn't better by the following morning, he was taking her to the vet.

Saturday morning she was so weak, she could barely walk to go pee. He took her to the vet where blood tests showed she was in liver failure. He said there was no treatment, and that the most likely cause was tumors. The vet said the only option at that point was to put her down.

When I heard the news, I broke down crying. SB thought something had happened to someone in my family. In a way, it had. She was one of the first dogs I walked when I started this job. The previous owners of my company said that she was on her last legs, and that she could go at any time. But the more I walked her, the more I saw how this wasn't true.

She was vibrant, and excited to get out and see the world. She liked to walk along beside me and let me lay my hand on her back as we walked. She loved to play stick, and would hop up and down until I threw it - she looked like a newborn fawn with her big, long, awkward legs.

The thing that set her apart though was her sensitivity. When I looked her in the face, it always struck me how wise she seemed. She was always right there with me, engaged, and totally into what we were doing, what we saw, what I said. She was extremely sensitive to people - she knew a weirdo from a nice person and would often run to cower behind me when she wasn't sure about someone.

When I took over the company, I asked her owner what he thought about placing her in group walks. I had seen how much she loved other dogs we met, and thought it would be really good for her. He agreed, although said she hated the car and might give us some difficulty. She did, but we got through it. And for the past year she has been running through the woods playing and goofing around with dogs half her age.

We've lost a couple of dogs this year. But none of them hit me this hard. She was so rare - I don't even see a connection like that when I look in my own dog's eyes. I'm sure there are a lot of big black Danes out there - but none like her.

Friday, December 07, 2007

Here I am!

It has been suggested to me that perhaps it is time to post again. I can't say that the week off hasn't been nice, but I have tons to write about now.

This week has been extremely crazy. Pretty much every day something was happening that was "post-worthy" but I just didn't have the time or energy to write anything. So, here's a quick wrap up:

1. Big Giant Snow Storm ruined my life
2. One of my favorite dogs that we walk had to be put down
3. I met with about 6,798 new clients, which promptly caused me to have panic attacks
4. I received a big giant package of books that I had ordered and that felt gooooood.
5. The pharmacist gave me the wrong medication

Monday we woke up to about 30cm of snow on the ground, which is all very nice and pretty but it makes it a bit difficult to get around. Sunday night they wouldn't stop talking about the impending storm on the news and I almost had to break out a paper bag. We have one employee who travels from Laval and who has a very full schedule so I was positive she was going to get stranded and we would be screwed.

Luckily she made it, and everyone else was able to get around as well. We had a few clients cancel because they didn't want us to be out on the roads just to walk their pooches, but most everything went off as normal.

Probably the biggest challenge about snowstorming in Montreal is the snow removal process, or lack thereof. It's disgusting, really. Today is Friday. There is still 3 feet of snow on pretty much all streets. Yesterday, St. Laurent Blvd (aka the Main, aka one of the major South to North arteries in the city) was still down to one lane. The city says they had over 3,000 snow removal people working every day this week, but unless it takes 300 people to operate every snow plow I've seen, then I don' t know where these workers are. And even worse than the traffic due to lane closure is the parking situation. Every morning I have to dig out my truck to get out of the snowbank I rammed it into the night before to park. But that's not all! Because my job involves driving from client's house to client's house, I am often ramming into several snowbanks every single day. Which gives me the opportunity to break out the little shovel on average four times per day. Wow, thanks Ville de Montreal! Without you I wouldn't be sore in my quads, shoulders, biceps, and the heels of my hands!

More from the list to come....