Monday, June 13, 2011

Summertime, and the Living Is Easy

Summer vacation's about a week away for us. Boy, do I remember how I used to dread this part of the year. I so valued the routine of school, the way it occupied the time of kids who could not for the life of them occupy themselves at home. The end of the school year meant a transfer of expectation for time-filling to me, and as much as I loved spending time with my kiddos, oh my gosh, it was a lot of time to fill.

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Monday, June 06, 2011

Poop Happens

You know how we talk about one bad experience freaking our kids out for days and days afterward, leaving them all disrupted and disorganized and prone to extreme behavior well after the thing that caused it is over? I'm feeling like that now over a confrontation last week, and really, shouldn't I have gotten over it by now? It wasn't even an IEP confrontation over something important like my kids' educational future. It was a confrontation with a neighbor who screamed at me while I was walking my dog, because I was "letting" my dog poop on the strip of grass between the sidewalk and the street in front of her house.

I put "letting" in quotations because ... well, I don't know about your pooch, but mine doesn't ask permission. She just squats. I can let her finish and pick up what she left, or I can pull her away and strew dog feces all over the sidewalk. Surely my hysterical neighbor wouldn't want that, either. Yet she just kept screaming at me until the dog finished, I bagged it, and we got the heck outta there. I yelled apologies to her, I swore we'd avoid sullying her lawn in the future (though, again, sometimes, you know, that decision is out of my hands), and I left all jangled and somewhat hysterical myself. And I'm still jangled. And avoiding her house, which is causing me to take very convoluted and looping walks. And defending myself in my head.

Yesterday I talked with another dog-owner in our neighborhood, and she has also been screamed at by said lady, and feels similarly defensive about it. When did dog owners become public enemy number one? Doesn't "not being screamed at by your neighbor" count as a quality of life issue, too? Does she scream at the rabbits and squirrels who cross her lawn, the birds who fly over it, and forbid them to use her grass strip for unhygienic purposes? Can adults not be civil to one another? I can see her being angry if I did this every day, or didn't pick up, or my dog was digging up her tulips, but the screaming in this instance seemed aggressively over the top.

And so, I'm feeling like my son does when someone yells at him, grumbling and snapping at everybody but the person who done me harm. How are dogs received in your neighborhood? Have you noticed a dip in acceptance of canine neighbors by the non-pet-disposed? Or do you just wish I'd get off your lawn?