Thursday, May 28, 2015

Sun Guy

This is technically Ty's 4th home. He's been moved around and shuttled from point A to point B to where he's never had much continuity in his life. So it was very gratifying when I went to go see why he was so quiet outside and found him just lounging on the front porch in the sun.

We don't get much sun here, and there's not a lot of time to lounge around, so I'm happy to see Ty-my-guy taking some time for himself in the sun.

Wednesday, May 27, 2015

I'll Be Homeless Before I Abandon My Dogs

Yesterday I saw a news story on the web about a woman living in her car with multiple dogs because she couldn't find someone to take her and the dogs in. It gave me two immediate feelings: 1. How messed up people are to were everyone finds this lady's actions surprising and 2. How lucky I am that I found someone to take me and mine in.

We are taught from birth that some forms of life have value and some don't. People have value. Animals don't. That's what we're taught. But for some animal lovers and I think especially for dog lovers, our animals are family and we would no sooner abandon a dog than a son or daughter.

My mansion had plenty of room for 7 Chihuahuas plus my mother in law's two dogs living with her in the basement. That was 9 dogs in my house. It wasn't ideal and I was biding my time trying to figure out which dogs to re-home and which ones to keep in the long run.

Then my injury hit, and we lost the house. A few people in my life were telling me stuff like "yeah, that sucks all your dogs have to go to the pound, but what are you gonna do?" The missus, who's idea it was to bring most of these dogs into our house started talking like that.

Pardon my French, but fuck that. I'll be living in my truck with my 4 Chihuahuas before I'll roll the dice on any of their futures. The soon-to-be-ex missus has 2, and I feel the same way about Bear and Tidbit. I'll be living with 6 if it comes to it.

Society should be rewarding people who show that level of loyalty. Someone who would live in their car before they would break a promise to their dogs is someone I would want on my software development team, and in the corporate world in general.

Tuesday, May 26, 2015

Moving On

It looks really simple on paper: Figure out where you are, where you want to be, and plot a course from A to B. Then you decide the best path, and you do what it takes to get to where you want to be.

This strategy has worked well in my 48 years, even through some big life changes like getting married, raising kids, buying a house. I thought the kids growing up and downsizing would be a good thing we looked forward to, but with all our medical problems, losing the house, and splitting up, what should have been a great new era in our lives turned out to be not so great.

Where I needed to be and wanted to be didn't change through all this, With my medical problems and getting older I wanted less pressure. More time with family. More time with the animals. And I got all that and then some.

But getting through that transition turned out to be too much for my marriage, and so the era of my life I spent the last 10 years looking forward to so is bittersweet. I'm where I want to be--granted not in the good health I planned to be in--but all things considered I have it much easier than some.

So now I go forward solo with my 4 Chihuahuas in the simple life I've wanted, at least for now. I spent a decade wiggling into a high paying job with a big house and nice cars, and now I'm wiggling into something low overhead, and I'm almost there.

Last night I had a bad dream where the all the servers were down, all the clients were screaming, all the team members were pointing fingers at each other, and the boss was out fishing. Basically just another Monday morning. And then I realized that all I had planned for the day was loading the doggies in the truck and driving to the cabin in Kalama, Washington.

Ty likes to steal Smokey's bed. Ironically it was Smokey who taught him this

I never realized the dread I used to wake up to about the last year of a job I spent 11 years at until it was gone. Now the dread is just the couple minutes until I'm fully awake and realize that I'm debt free and don't answer to anyone. I have Internet and once I have reliable phone service, I can pick up a few steady clients and work from the country.

So this morning once I realized it was just a bad dream, I laughed out loud and spent an extra 20 minutes snuggling with Zoey just because I could. Life 2.0 isn't half bad.

Tuesday, May 12, 2015

Jealous Girlfriend

It's one of those things that's kind of cute at the beginning: little Zoey growling at the bigger dogs to guard her sleeping spot tucked between my shoulder and face. When the other dogs cuddle with me in bed, they have to go around her. She's only ever done it in bed and she's like like that most of the other time day-to-day.

But the other day Spot --her mommy-- decided that she didn't feel like going around Zoey. And Spot is batshit crazy on a good day. So they screamed and nipped at each other right in front of my face, which was a little disconcerting.

When I first started sleeping with the puppies a few years ago, Zoey would not allow little Tidbit onto the bed at all. They turn 4 in June, so man how time flies. What I used to do to Zoey back then was to drop her off the bed and onto the floor every time she did that to Tidbit. Of course because they are all Chihuahuas, Tidbit hence forth used that to his advantage until we parted ways when the wife and I split a few months ago. It's funny the dynamic between the dog siblings doesn't seem so different than human siblings to the experienced eye.

So, now I'm doing what I did before. If Zoey growls, then she gets ejected from the bed. She can still have her "privilege spot" mostly because the other dogs don't want the conflict. But she doesn't get to train the rest of the pack on my behalf.

Here you can see the "Zoey Effect" clearly in play as she stands on her spot even when I'm not there...

Sunday, May 3, 2015

The Provider's Dilemma: Time

It's the provider's dilemma: either spend your time working to give your dependents the stuff they need to survive and thrive, or spend time with them. I've raised children to adulthood and had many pets, not to mention all the strays of both species I've took in over the years.

Working at home solved that dilemma somewhat for me. Somewhat. The problem was that I was physically there for everyone, but mentally I was far away with my mind on the clients scattered all over the country.

If someone needed me urgently, it was no problem to drop what I was doing at work. But when everything was great at home, the list of daily emergencies at work piled up to the point where I just couldn't focus with a dog jumping in my lap or a kid needing help with math homework. \

Hunny-Bunny sees her daddy
Since I pretty much worked days, nights, weekends and even holidays, it just seemed like there never was a good time to stop and smell the roses, hug the kids, pet the dogs. I had to keep them warm, safe, fed. It seemed like a pretty easy choice to have them safe and fed wishing they had more of my time, than to have more of my time and not be safe, or not be fed.

But this isn't a story of regret. Raising kids, animals and running an empire is hard. This is about looking forward and deciding what's important, and my little dogs are important.

My little dogs are for the most part why I'm out in the country. I still have responsibilities. I still have the provider's dilemma. But we're in a much smaller and easier to manage empire now. So it's not much of a dilemma.

Someday soon I will have my own clients, if I ever finish building my office. But I won't be so overwhelmed, because I don't and will never have some huge overhead like a fancy office in a big skyscraper.

And when the day comes that Zoey jumps on my lap during a client emergency, the world's going to wait while I take that extra 15 minutes so she knows she's a good girl, and that she's my hunny-bunny.

If the extra few minutes to stop and smell the roses is routinely life-and-death for the clients, then I'll find different clients. My own empire will never be desperate enough for those highly dysfunctional client companies anyway.

It's definitely been an adjustment. The other day I was writing some computer code and Ty jumped up on my lap. I put him down and said "sorry dude, daddy's working" and then I picked him back up, minimized the compiler window and played some music while me and my little bro got to hang out. There's not going to be a lot off occasions going forward where I won't be able to pick up a doggie and make the world wait.