When You Really Want A Dog, But You Get a Purse Instead

My Fashion Show experience ended two days after the actual event.  Late Thursday afternoon, I received an e-mail stating that my mom’s purse had been found in the parking lot.  Yay!  After a couple exchanges, the woman who found it called, and we made plans for a pick up.  This was not as simple as it sounded.  The conversation lasted 40 minutes.

We talked a bit about the Fashion Show itself, and of course, the sweet puppies came up.  I shamelessly threw my husband under the bus.  He was the sole reason I did not bring my little guy home.  The woman must not have heard that part because the next thing I knew, she was telling me all about a puppy she was fostering- -a puppy who needed a home.  Since her street numbers were exactly the same as the street numbers on my mom’s once missing driver’s license and since I had exactly the same name as her daughter, it was my true destiny to bring this puppy home.

In fact, she began planning an overnight for the pup, so the two of us could have a sleepover, a trial run, if you will.  Any number of things began running through my mind.  1) I did not want this puppy.  I wanted the little black one.  2) My husband was not in agreement with taking on the responsibility of a pet at this time.  3) Maybe I would absolutely love this puppy, and Steve would have a change of heart.  4) But the little black puppy had absolutely no one; he needed me more.  5) This was not the kind of woman a person says no to. 6) Holy crap!  I was in a real pickle here.  7) Did my mom really need her purse back?!

I tried again and again to explain that Steve wanted to wait for a bit before having another.  It had not yet been a year since we lost Drake, our 14 year old Australian Shepherd mix.  Steve was not ready.  As disappointed as I was with how he felt about this, I did understand.  Unfortunately, the woman on the phone did not.  Finally, she decided that she would send me a bunch of cute dog pictures and that I would talk to my husband again.  We would see each other the next day when I stopped to pick up the purse, and I could take the puppy then.

I hung up wondering what in the heck just happened!  I swore I said “no, I can’t right now” at least 10 times.  Needless to say, Steve was not at all swayed by this predicament.  Yes, the puppy was very sweet.  No, he had not changed his mind.  I had anxiety induced dreams that night- -something about losing my group on the way to a Harry Potter movie, finding a ride with someone I did not know, and then crashing her car into a curb trying to make a tight turn.  I simply hate disappointing people (and dogs).

Yes, I was incredibly nervous on the drive over to pick up the purse.  I imagined a suitcase, packed and ready to go, sitting on the counter, right next to the purse.  I had not yet worked out a story to explain the presence of a dog in our home.  And while I knew it was wrong, I imagined myself carrying the dog around in a cute tote bag as I ran my errands in town.

I immediately liked the woman who met me at the gate, which made it so much harder

Dulce, another “sweet” San Carlos dog, in need of a loving home.

to say no again in person.  It was obvious that she was kind, compassionate, and truly cared for the animals of San Carlos.  She introduced me to her pack and provided plenty of one on one time for me with Dulce, a beautiful golden girl.  Dulce sat on my lap, rested her chin on my shoulder, and let me tickle her belly.  And while Dulce’s foster was sad I could not take Dulce, she seemed to finally understand that a home with two people who were fully ready to embrace the commitment was best for the dog.

Then she shared that her house was for sale and gave me a tour.  Maybe I would want to buy it.  (At this point I may have uttered a few curses under my breath, directed toward my mother for losing her purse in the first place.)  “Great news, Steve!  I said “no” to the dog and bought a house instead!”

Finally, I got the purse and left.  Sad once again to be leaving a dog behind.

Later that same evening, I learned that the litter of puppies from the Fashion Show had been abandoned, left in the convention center by the people who brought them.  An emergency foster home was found for all.  The foster mom planned on keeping them until they were strong and healthy.  I made contact with a volunteer who knew where they were.  Steve and I are helping out by supplying puppy food and warm blankets.  I have not given up hope that I will be able to bring one home.

Fortunately for the dogs and cats of San Carlos, this is the passion people involved with the SBPA feel for their mission.  They advocate tirelessly for the homeless pet population in our area.  I cannot fault them for their repeated attempts to convince folks to take a dog home.  I may have had a nightmare brought on by some of the pressure and my own guilt.  But at least I had that nightmare in a warm bed, in a safe place, after a nourishing meal, next to someone who loves me.

(Part 3/3)

New York, London, Paris… San Carlos?!

The SBPA Fashion Show is one of the most popular events of the season in San Carlos.  Its cutting edge fashions are not the main reason, of course.  It is much more a party celebrating friendships, as tables are filled with long time acquaintances from pickleball and golf outings, gym classes, and other non-profit groups like Castaway Kids, Rotary, and Club Deportivo.

The doors opened at 11:00, and if you did not lose your purse prior to the start of the show or spend all your money on raffle tickets, there was an open bar ready to serve.  Woman mingled while looking over the items donated to the raffle:  massage and beauty packages, pet care baskets, nature prints, restaurant gift certificates, and jewelry.  In case the drinks at the bar did not give it away, the raffle items did.  This was a ladies’ day.

Well, ladies and puppies.  The fashion show always features a litter of puppies who are desperately in need of a home.  They are placed strategically near the entrance to the banquet hall.  I had a hard time moving past them to get to my seat.  Which was exactly the point, I am sure.  This year’s group came from a small, fishing village to the west of San Carlos.  They were shorthaired, skinny mutts.  I found my soulmate within seconds and began text bombing my husband immediately.

The show had a western theme, and we were entertained by Country Western dance numbers from a very talented group of ladies.  The wine was beginning to do its magic, and the SBPA Board President had a difficult time competing as she outlined the success of the non-profit over the course of the last year.  Since its inception, SBPA San Carlos has performed nearly 30,000 sterilization surgeries at its permanent and mobile clinic locations.  The group also provides wellness checks and vaccines.  In addition, many of its dedicated members foster cats and dogs in emergency situations and help place them in loving homes.

Rescued dogs were the first to strut their stuff on the runway.  This has always been one of my favorite parts of the show for the simple fact that the dogs prance around the stage to the song “Who Let the Dogs Out”.  Even without wine, I pumped my fist high in the air and “barked” the refrain “Who, who, who who?”.  My own mother pretended not to know me.

Local stores provided the fashions for the human models.  Fashion is kind of an understatement.  San Carlos is a beach town after all.  Models mostly wore swimsuit coverups or souvenir t-shirts.  We do have a couple of thrift stores that generate funds for local charity groups that participate each year.   I am convinced they hold their best stuff back for the fashion show.  Not that I would necessarily wear what was being modeled (I am a pretty much “rotate the same five outfits” kind of gal), but I had to admit some of it looked pretty good!  And I did look through the racks at Rescate just a little closer when I stopped by on Saturday.

By this time, the crowd was in a frenzy!  Women were up and out of their chairs dancing and singing. Gretchen Wilson’s “Redneck Woman” was playing on repeat.  All I could hear was “Hell yeah” coming at me from every side of the room.  I had exhausted myself during the dog song, so I just watched with my mouth hanging open, filled with some kind of emotion.  (I laughed and cried- -but in a good way- – while listening to the song again this afternoon.)

thumbnail-5Everyone finally calmed down enough for the raffle drawing.  I did not win.  At least I do not think I did.  It was still pretty loud.  I was also unable to convince my husband that we needed an adorable puppy at this time.  I made sure to get lots of puppy snuggles and leave my e-mail address just in case.  It was a little difficult to smile on my way out.  Not because I did not win a raffle prize.  Because I really wanted that sweet puppy.

Maybe next year I will model a new fashion…  “Someone who loves me went to the SBPA Fashion Show, and all I got was this lousy t-shirt”.

(Part 2/3)

Procrastination: An International Language

thumbnailA couple of weeks ago, I received a very panicked, last-minute text from one of my former English students.  This young man needed help with a presentation for his science class.  We made arrangements to meet the following morning to work on the assignment together.  All I knew was that he needed to make a video of a science experiment in English, and we absolutely had to get together “tomorrow”.

I started to get a bit nervous when more than 15 minutes after our agreed upon time, my young friend had not arrived.  I wondered if I had misunderstood the arrangements we made the night before.  That happens sometimes when I am texting in Spanish!  Soon after, however, I saw him walking through the gate and heading my way.

He was a sweaty, tired mess- -having walked nearly four miles to my home from his in a small fishing village outside of town.  “Why didn’t you ask me pick you up?” I asked incredulously.  After gulping down a glass of ice water, he replied that it was no big deal.  Wow!  I was thinking what dedication this kid has to his studies.  Yeah, more about that later.

My friend explained that he needed to video tape a science experiment, detailing the steps in English.  He pulled a few of the necessary items out of his backpack and then asked if I had a wine cork and a book of matches.  (Is a cork a common household item?)  Now it was my turn to go into panic mode.  How were we going to be able to finish his assignment without one of the key parts of the experiment?!  Why did I not ask for more information the night before?!  I googled substitutions for a cork and came up with nothing.  As I  contemplated driving into town to buy a bottle of wine just for the cork, he suggested we ask one of my neighbors.

I do not know very many of my neighbors well.  Most of them are seasonal and keep to themselves when they are here.  Could I really just knock on their doors and ask for a wine cork?  At 9:30 am?  What the heck.  We headed off on our mission.  The first neighbor was not home.  We moved on down the block.  I rehearsed our strange request all the way.

Fortunately, the next neighbor was home.  Unfortunately, this meant I had to ask for the cork.  She jokingly suggested that I knew just where to come for a wine cork.  (I guess I do know some of my neighbors pretty well.)  She then proceeded to open a brand new bottle of wine just so she could give us the cork.  “Hey, no worries.  We’ll just have to drink it this afternoon.” she said.  I awkwardly thanked her, and we left.  We had used about 30 precious minutes of our hour and a half just securing the needed materials.

Rather than get right to work upon our return, the scientist asked for my wi-fi password and then checked his Facebook page.  Apparently, nothing urgent was breaking on his newsfeed, so we were finally able to focus on the task at hand.  First, we reviewed his brochure and made a few vocabulary corrections.  Then, he walked me through the experiment and explained what should happen.  Finally, he practiced in English several times.  We began filming.

I think we were both holding our breath at the climax of the experiment- -and then thumbnail-1simultaneously wondering what in the world had gone so wrong.  We had three matches left by this point, exactly the number we needed.  (Obviously, I am not at all prepared for scientific emergencies.)  I did a quick internet search for the experiment, thinking we could figure out our error that way.  Like the wine gods earlier, the science gods were smiling upon us as well because lo and behold, there it was!  (Interestingly, we could have conducted the experiment without a cork.)

I explained what I had found, requiring some new vocabulary to be added to the pamphlet and a few more rounds of practice- -without lighting the matches, of course.  This time, the results were perfect, and we were both pretty amazed with the science.  We fist bumped, high-fived, and did a happy dance.  Then the mad scientist quickly sent the video to his teacher, as the due date was that afternoon, not the next day.  We hurriedly cleaned up our mess so I could drive him home.  It turned out he had more homework  to finish before heading to school that afternoon.