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Framing the not so picture-perfect day

So let me tell you about my day yesterday.

Nothing ruins your mood like a nail in your tire. I suspected that I had one so I went to (unnamed national tire place) and stood in line for 30 minutes to talk with someone, watching them be forcefully nice and work every single person over into a new set of tires. When it was my turn, finally, I got the same script, “I can’t legally touch your tire because the tread is in the red,” while flashing me the magic measuring tool. Of course that’s what he would say. I’d seen him tell 4 people in front of me the very same thing. (Insert eye roll.) I probably shot the most hateful look I have, and promptly drove next door to the (insert other nation tire place). While they dropped the robotically fake niceties, they apologetically couldn’t even look at said nail for another hour and a half. For real?! Meanwhile through all this, like the good wife that I am, I had been blowing up the hubs phone by sending and calling with a series of text messages and conversations about tire con artists and how I didn’t see how tires should fall under my purview seeing as how women and auto repair are – let’s be honest – two things that should never, ever come together. Husbands love this kind of spousal communication while they are in the middle of budget meetings. Trust me, this is the best time to repeatedly call your better half. He finally tells me to stop at the small, family-run tire shop on my way home and see what they can do.

That’s my hail Mary and that’s what I do. Maybe it’s the language barrier, maybe it’s the fact that there’s no wait, but when they say, “No problem,” to take out my nail and then actually SHOW me my shredded tire, I totally believe them without any of the previous irritation. Well, about their service, not my tire. I’m still irritated that I could possibly be needing new tires DURING CHRISTMAS when it feels like I just bought them yesterday.

So getting that and a consolatory latte behind me, I’m ready for the next major challenge of the day: taking all of the Perot under 11 set to see Santa. And when I say under 11, I mean it’s our yearly visit with the Cupcake and the puggies — and now plus The Beast — to see the jolly guy in red.

“Kevin’s parents told him there is no Santa Claus,” the Cupcake announces as we are gathering our stuff for to trek to the Shops at Willow Bend. Uhhhhhhhhhhhh. Thanks a lot Kevin’s parents. Not really the convo I wanted to have on the WAY to see Santa. She continues, “Does that mean he doesn’t get presents from Santa?”

“YES. Yes, that’s EXACTLY what that means. It’s very sad. Get dressed.”

Somehow I deftly defer what will likely be the real conversation but probably not for long. She never directly asks me THE question, so she’s still committed to telling Santa what she wants for Christmas and we stick to our plan.

And because she’s 9 and a half, she’s got opinions on what she wants to wear so just getting out the door was a major negotiation between her jeans and t-shirt she wore to school, a wardrobe collection that had zero holiday colors, to her Bah Hum Pug sweater, to any number of holiday dresses that I’ve purchased for her to wear that would be perfect, and all vetoed. We – by some miracle – do get out the door, still speaking to each other, and all 5 of us are headed to the Shops at Willow Bend for Santa Paws photos.

Here’s the cherry on top of the day.

Sidebar: The Beast turned one the day before. We bought him a new prong collar on his birthday shopping trip because he does not mind me at all. Okay, slight exaggeration, but he pushes the envelope every chance he gets. We took a run with it earlier that morning and it helped, so I feel like it’s a decent interim fix. I’m not a fan of prong collars but he is too strong and equally strong headed to get by with anything else at the moment. And, he ate his harness earlier in the day. So all was going well, he had a new plaid ID collar (also purchased on birthday shopping visit) with a bow tie on to see Santa, and he was looking sporty and ready for his inaugural Santa visit.

Back to story: The Beast was being pretty patient as I loaded the puggies into their stroller to get everypaw into the mall. Yes, we have a doggie stroller. My little old lady pug has mobility issues and it’s really a lifesaver. You try carrying her around for more than a ¼ mile and see if you don’t buy one too.

I evaluate the risk of The Beast making a deposit IN the mall is probably pretty high so I’m walking him in the grass and this is when he, unbeknownst to me, launches 007 spy mode. As we go back to the car (which is only a few feet away), I notice his collar is inside out so crouch down to flip it back and at this very moment, he takes off like a rocket. Have I mentioned that I run him most every day of the week? He’s FAST. He’s not going to be caught if he doesn’t want to be. His mission apparently, is to terrorize an elderly couple with their four little dogs. I had no visual of him, I only heard angry barking and a man shouting (also angry) beyond a landscaped display. I am throwing leashes and my purse at the Cupcake who is screaming at her beast, sprinting through the parking lot in my red Mary Jane Danskos to try and catch The Beast who now thinks it’s a game (Yes, I remember you’re not supposed to chase the dogs but let them come to you but I had to get him away before someone bit someone). There are cars, people are staring, there are other people clutching their dogs to protect them from mine who I’m sure now looks like a pit in their imaginations. He’s not. He’s a boxer mix. It’s total chaos.

I was horrified to see the older couple scrambling to pick up their dogs while mine was simultaneously bouncing and orbiting and barking at them. I think he was only trying to play but he’s an obnoxious Tigger of a dog, and they were little Shih Tzu-type dogs and The Beast has issues with other dogs ever since a little grey poodle tried to attack him a couple of times on the bike path, so really, I have no idea what he was thinking.

Beast senses Mama is PISSED and eventually has the good sense to let me get close enough to him to grab him, which I do, and he immediately rolls onto his back in fetal position while I’m yelling at him. I’m praying that this new bow tie collar is going to hold it together enough for me to drag him across the parking lot to get back to the car because that’s all we have left at this point.

I look for the couple to apologize and they have, not surprisingly, gotten the hell out of there. How I got managed to escape that incident without paying someone else’s vet bill, I’ll never know. I felt terrible, like the worst pet owner on the planet.

The bow collar holds. I put his sorry self into the car, crack the windows (Relax, it was in the 70’s and the sun was setting.) and take the pugs and only the pugs with the Cupcake into the mall for photos. The Beast is SO grounded. No Santa for him this year. Maybe no years ever. I can hear The Beast’s separation anxiety-laden barks get softer the further we get away from the car, and finally peace when we enter the doors of the mall. I’m still steaming with every step as we walk to Santa’s setup. I’m envisioning what The Beast is destroying in the car while we’re gone and all the awful ways that whole scenario could have gone worse, and feel certain that the Plano police will be waiting for me when we get back to the car from either animal abuse for leaving him or because the couple has reported an assault. I am confident he will destroy the leather and can’t wait for another winning conversation with the hubs later that day.

Not entirely thrilled her dog is in the car.

In the end, we get our Santa photo with essentially no waiting in line.

The puggies are on point with their perfect behavior. Beau howled at Santa just like he does every year. 

This was a different Santa than it’s been from all the years past which further adds to the Cupcake’s suspicion – although she’s already told me the mall Santa’s are all fakes so maybe I get a pass there. The only luck I’ve mustered today manifested itself into getting the last one of the adorable light up SANTA frames.

Maybe, just maybe, I’ll get Aunt Molly to Photoshop The Beast into the picture so I can still use it for our Christmas cards. Other than the drool that covered every blessed inch of the car, The Beast had the good sense to not destroy anything while he mulled over his bad deeds during his time out.

Today is a new day. And while I may have more than once threatened to pretend I don’t know whose dog that is and drive off and the next time The Beast tries a stunt like that, this upsets the Cupcake so I need to stop saying it. I don’t mean it 100%. I also may have given The Beast the cold shoulder the entire night, and this morning, and he’s been mopey because of it. I should probably make up with him too. For now though, I’m enjoying his subdued behavior and adding “return broken prong collar” to my to-do list right next to “tires.”


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