Aaannnd…another post a month later.

So, first: everybody is totally fine, my blog silences are not anything bad. Except my job, which still sucks, and I haven’t won the lottery, and I’m cranky and tired. But there may be a light at the end of this endless tunnel, maybe. Let’s hope it is not a train.

I took a day off earlier this month and spent it on retirement job research. I went to Animal Kingdom with a purpose beyond getting the F out of my office for a day. I wanted to talk to Cast Members (hereafter CM) about how they got the jobs I wanted. I’ve joked for years that my dream job is working the gorilla enclosure at Animal Kingdom, and talking to guests about my favorite animals. I now feel that this might, maybe? be possible.

I made a reservation for an “extra” tour, an optional private tour offered in the park. It was only available at 9 a.m. that day, which meant I had to leave the house earlier than I would if I’d been going to the office, which I do very infrequently. I barely made it, mostly because I’m out of practice at getting out of the house at all, and Eddie was mighty put out about the entire concept.

I made it to the tour with about 5 minutes to spare. Caring for Giants is a behind the scenes hour with a keeper, getting the “insider info” on the elephants. In all the many visits I’ve made to Animal Kingdom I’ve never done any of these tours, because they fill up fast. When I found a slot at 9 a.m. when I was already planning to visit I snagged it, and I’m glad I did.

We met at a booth near the Kilimanjaro Safari ride, checked in, got our lanyards with our badges, and got the lecture about animals, dust, allergies, etc. etc. before signing the release to do the tour. It was a very small group, just a dozen of us, half kids under 10. Our guide was a young guy who knew his stuff. We got to go into the behind the scenes area of the park, which looks like any industrial park kind of place, and boarded a small bus and bumped over very bumpy dirt roads behind the public area of the park, where we went up a ramp (wheelchair accessible, though you might need a push) to a viewing area behind the safari.

We were lucky, three elephants were right there having breakfast. There’s no guarantee you’ll get close to elephants because they are free to wander wherever they want, but that day Stella and her mom Donna and another matriarch whose name I’ve forgotten were hanging out.

This is Stella. I remember when she was born! She’s 7 years old now, and still totally a mama’s girl, which drives her mom Donna a bit crazy. She keeps trying to ditch the kid, but Stella has to eat with mom and sleep near her. The keepers are working on gently separating her from mom so she can become a big girl with the herd. Donna is ready for her to go be an elephant. We saw Donna walk away, and sure enough, as soon as she did, Stella noticed and started to follow her.

Totally a Mommy’s Girl.

So, the tour was great, there was tons of information about Disney’s role as an accredited zoo and what that means, and the elephants in particular, and it’s all impressive. Our guide was personable and informative, and even with all my many trips to Disney World over the years, I learned new things about more than the elephants. I did not know that Disney World grows 85% of the food for the animals on their own property! I knew Disney owns a lot of land and knew they grow a lot of the food they serve in their restaurants on property, but didn’t realize they fed the animals too! Our guide pointed out that it makes so much sense because they don’t deal with market prices or supplier issues, and they do their own quality control. They can literally look at fruit on the vine/tree and judge its ripeness, instead of opening a box and seeing what they were shipped. There’s so much going on at WDW, it’s a huge employer and an innovator of so many things the public doesn’t notice.

The name tags in our lanyards were fun, because they were printed on paper that was made from 85% recycled elephant poop. Not kidding. Again, it just makes sense; elephants eat tons of fibrous plants all day long, and poop all day long. Somebody figured out how to wash the poop and recycle the fiber left behind. It is kind of a cute gimmick thing now, but as our guide pointed out, elephants produce poop all day, every day, while it takes many years to grow a single tree. Paper recycled from the poop of grazing animals makes a lot of sense.

The kids in our group were of course fascinated, and also were dared to touch a (sealed) elephant poop our guide had with him. It really did look like a globe made of mulch. As poop goes, it’s very tidy.

So after the tour was over and we were saying our goodbyes, I asked our guide what his educational background was and how he ended up with what is basically my dream job. (He was a young guy in his mid 20s. I’m a 65 year old corporate burnout.) He was happy to talk about his path and even give me advice on getting hired. (Basically, get in anywhere, retail, park cars, whatever, and then make a lateral move.) He did tip me off that there’s a public facing job that involves talking to kids in the park that’s a great step toward doing the animal education stuff. I have filed that tip away in my plans.

And I got to talk to a woman my age who has my ultimate dream job, talking to the public about the gorillas. She’s been with Disney for 30 years and says she still can’t believe she gets paid to do what she does. I wish I could say that. She offered the same advice as the young CM, get hired for whatever you can do at first, then make a lateral move to what you want to do.

I’m totally serious that I’d be happy behind the scenes chopping vegetables for the small animals. It’d be more fulfilling than what I do now.

Seriously, would you rather sit at a desk and stare at maps and databases, or prep food to feed these little darlings?

The baby Cottontop Tamarin twins are already climbing and jumping!

Another Long Silence…

Life is just life. It’s still hot as hell here, and every day we are threatened with thuderstorms that never happen. Today’s chance of rain was over 70% yesterday, so I changed my plan to go to Epcot today to go tomorrow. Know how much rain we had today? ZERO. NONE. ZILCH. But I did do practical stuff and that’s fine, I’ll go to Epcot Food and Wine tomorrow.

It’s been crazy dry here all summer. We get threats of rain daily but they seldom happen. We had a nice big storm a few nights ago and I realized it was the first decent rain we’d had all summer. I don’t want a hurricane, but I’d actually welcome a nice soaking tropical system at this point.

Gidget finally had her overdue dental surgery on Wednesday. I had to reschedule for work reasons, then the vet had to reschedule because he’s the go-to guy for orthopedic surgery and had a 3 hour surgery to do last week. (The dog is doing great.)

The vet called me when Gidget was done and said yeah, all of her molars were “gnarly” and had to go, but the teeth at the front of her mouth were good. I picked her up at 1, she was alert and bitched at me on the drive home. Seriously, she stood on the passenger seat and told me how awful it was for 20 minutes. Then she took a long nap and woke up her normal self, ate a big dinner, took her meds with peanut butter, slept comfortably all night, and was chewing on her normal treats the next day. We should all recover from extensive dental surgery like a middle-aged Chorkie.

Eddie is splendid, other than being a barking asshole when he sees another dog on a walk.

I just don’t have the energy to rant or laugh about politics right now, though the Boebert thing is just too hilarious. I’m old enough to remember when that sort of thing would be a career killer, and Serious Republicans would condemn her behavior and gather to discuss her removal from office. Now, what the fuck, you can get kicked out of a theater for maybe being drunk/high or just your trashy self, and letting your boyfriend grope your new fake boob while grabbing his crotch, and Jesus and the GOP will forgive all, because Christian Family Values, amirite? This would have been the end of a political career. Now it’s just another story.

Idalia Check-in and Random Stuff.

Hi, I’m fine. Idalia basically missed Central Florida. We had rain that woke me at 4 a.m., a little wind, a little more rain, more wind, etc. etc. We were lucky.

The Gulf coast got BLASTED from bottom to top. I work on a remote team and our day started with roads closed and bridges flooded out down around St. Pete, south of Tampa. Bayshore Blvd. in Tampa was underwater. The storm surge was epic. Then it came ashore up in the Big Bend, and a lot of little beach towns got blasted by both the storm surge and the wind. It was UGLY there, but we’re all fine here. We didn’t even lose any large tree limbs, let alone trees, around here. We have worse weather on a random Wednesday afternoon.

Our moment of Idalia excitement did happen very early this morning. We were up and out a bit earlier, because I did wake up early when one of Idalia’s outer bands pounded my bedroom window so hard I wondered if it was going to hold. It did. But I couldn’t go back to sleep so I got up a bit before 5 and took the dogs out after it passed.

Eddie met a raccoon, sort of. The raccoon was across the street. Eddie saw it and was fascinated! He didn’t erupt in his insanely loud “DOG! I SEE A DOG! THAT’S A DOG!” barking he still does at the sight of any dog, even a quarter mile away, but he did bark and talk softly. (Eddie is a talker, it’s so cute.)

And the raccoon didn’t run away. It went behind a large oak across the street and peeked around at us (seriously, so fucking adorable). Eddie kept talking to it, and the raccoon came out from behind the tree. And started walking toward us.

So, it’s before 6 a.m., it’s dark, it’s wet, I have had no coffee. My phone is in my pocket and I’m holding two leashes, one with a dog who already peed and pooped and would like to go inside thankyouverymuch, and one happy young extrovert who REALLYREALLYREALLYWANTSTOMAKEANEWFRIENDPLEEEZEMOM?

Mom is mean. I dragged him home, glancing over my shoulder as the raccoon crossed the street after us because the attraction was mutual and I was disappointing two cute animals. If only I had a third arm and could have gotten video.

I wish I had pictures of this adorable nature scene, but phone in pocket, one dog wants to meet new friend and the other is hell no, it’s wet out here, so I’m following one and dragging the other. The raccoon stayed back but definitely thinks Eddie is a fascinating new friend.

It didn’t follow us up the stairs. I had visions of a wet raccoon at the door asking if it could hang on the couch with Eddie, because Eddie is cool and the weather sucks, but it had second thoughts. Thank God.

All of this before coffee. But the power stayed on and we’re all fine and I’m SO grateful.

Social Media is a GREAT Way to Reconnect with Childhood Friends!

So, a few years ago a woman I went to elementary school with sent me a friend request on FB. I remembered her name, but we hadn’t been in touch for (gulp) 50 years.

That might not be true, I think we saw each other for an hour or so at a mutual classmate’s house around the time we graduated high school, but still, it had been a lifetime. And our lives had moved in very different directions.

I accepted the friend request, quickly realized we had nothing in common and did not interact with her. Then the FB algorithm did the rest, I stopped seeing her posts. I honestly didn’t notice, she mostly shared tacky Jesus Glurge gifs and described herself as a “stay at home grandma.” So, we lost touch again, no harm, no foul.

In the last few weeks the FB Algorithm in its infinite wisdom decided to share a few of her recent posts in my timeline. God knows why, and boy howdy, did she ever go off the deep end! I am now her worst enemy – not me personally, but as a liberal in the reality-based universe, she literally wants me dead. She shared awful shit, she didn’t write it herself because I doubt she’s ever had an original thought in her life, but yeah, this “Christian grandma” shares this toxic shit day in and day out. FB removed several of the worst of the worst, but there was still plenty of cringe there.

And I will confess, checking her timeline is now my guilty pleasure. I am fascinated by how she spends her days, steeping in a toxic stew of the worst crazy out there. And Jesus. One of my faves was Trump looming behind Joe Biden, and the caption was something like, “Have faith, GOD will take care of Biden!” She’s seriously fucking crazy.

For years I had comforted myself when I saw these crazies online that most are bots and paid trolls. I know that’s still true, but the infection they spread is real and my former childhood friend (TBH, I can’t really remember how much we ever did stuff outside of school) is now lost. Of course she doesn’t see it that way, and she’d be happy to see me burn in hell.

But damn, it’s kinda fun to have a window into her brain. It’s dark and smelly in there, but I can now say I actually knew/know one of these crazies.

Eddie Meets the Groomer.

I know you’re all just waiting to hear how Crazy Eddie did with his first visit to my longtime groomer. (I’m not naming her because the internet is weird, but if you live somewhere in the vicinity of Apopka, FL and want a great groomer, just leave a comment.)

So, we arrived at 7:30 a.m. for his appointment and I carried him in. He was calm and interested. Groomer awwed and clutched her heart, and reached for him. He went to her without any fuss at all, and she cuddled him while we discussed the “mini-groom” he needed. (Trim face and the naughty bits, I want his coat to grow in a bit more from the Shelter Shave.) She popped him onto the grooming table and fussed over him, and he basically said, “Bye mom!” He was getting fussed over by a pretty blonde lady and totally fine with it.

Eddie is full of surprises. He was a perfect angel for her, and because it was a light schedule for her, just a few regulars, he was done very quickly. I picked him up and he was waiting in a crate, quietly watching the goings on. He was very happy to see me but not hysterical. I praised him for being such a good boy, and could he please have a word with Gidget when he gets home?

However, Best Groomer Ever alerted me that he has an ear infection. The same dog who collapsed in the grass when he stepped on something that poked his paw has a very sore ear and has said NOTHING about it. No scratching, no rubbing, sleeps like an angel, gave me no clue. We have a vet appt for tomorrow to get some meds.

Random Stuff.

It’s 7 p.m. and the heat index is at 109, down from 113. No rain in the forecast for days. This is not normal.

I have a whole collection of rants about stupid shit online, but “It rains every afternoon for 20 minutes in Florida!” is one of my personal faves. That was true in the 80s, but hasn’t been true for at least the last decade. I love it when someone who happened to be in FL for an afternoon thunderstorm years ago pontificates in the Disney groups on FB about our “afternoon showers.” I wish we still had them. And I’m dreading September through November for storms this year, because the ocean temps are record breaking hot and we have barely gotten any rain yet. I have a bad feeling that storm season will start late and be extra bad. I hope I’m wrong, I WANT to be wrong.

Eddie remains splendid. His only issue is barking like a lunatic when 1) I leave the house (he starts when he hears the garage door open, then stops, then starts again when I return); and 2) he sees ANY dog while he’s walking, even if the dog is a quarter mile away. I asked my neighbors if they could hear him and they assured me they don’t. (These are 40+ year old buildings with thick walls, and the neighbors are all older than I am and hard of hearing.) Other than the barking like a lunatic thing, he’s a delightful little angel in every way.

Eddie will meet my long time dog groomer on Friday. He’d been shaved down by the rescue and now that his coat is growing in it’s raggedy, and his face of course was not shaved all the way so he’s now peering around random clumps of facial hair. That needs to be cleaned up.

Ears and dark patches are also darker than it was when he was shaved. He’s quite handsome, as well as smart and well-behaved (other than the dramatic barking). I got really lucky.

I will have to give my beloved groomer an extra big tip when she wrangles him, because I suspect he’ll lose his shit when I leave him there and scream non-stop for an hour or so. She’s just down the street so I can go collect him as soon as he’s ready.

Gidget is a perfect lady in every way and my groomer says she’s just SO good and a breeze to groom. I’m glad, because I suspect Eddie will be…challenging. My groomer is very experienced and I’m sure she’s up to it, but…this won’t be like grooming Gidget.

Work is tolerable for now. I really do like my boss a lot. I talked frankly with her about my situational depression about my working situation, and she actually made changes that I think will be beneficial, if it works out. She keeps telling me how I’m experienced and good at what I do and I need to be able to use my talents where I’m best suited, and it’s really hard to fantasize about quitting when you have a boss willing to figure out what will work. So we will see: I just need to make it to the sale of the “rental house” at the end of the year and see where I stand.

Catching Up on Life.

Gidget was supposed to have her dental cleaning and extractions on Friday, but the vet had to postpone due to an emergency surgery. It’s a small family practice, just him, his son, and a third vet, so they let you know up front that emergencies take precedence. She’s rescheduled for the 27th.

I’d taken the day off for Dental Day, because I’d be dropping and fetching, etc., and I was advised I had personal days to burn that would not carry over to next year, so you don’t have to twist my arm. I disposed of Stuff. It was satisfying.

Eddie had his New Dog Checkup this week as well; he was declared Officially Healthy as well as Officially Too Stinkin’ Cute. The vet (not Dr. B, but the 3rd vet I’d not met yet) agreed with my assessment that no way is this crazy little dude 4 years old. She looked at his immaculate teeth and energy and sparkle and said he’s probably 2, maybe 3, which fits with my impression of him. This is not a sedate 4 year old; he’s a happy little maniac.

Oddly enough, despite his throwing a wrench into her sedately napping middle-aged life, Gidget not only tolerates him but actually likes him. She greeted him like a returning warrior when he got back from the vet, dancing around and wagging and sniffing him.

So, it’s Sunday evening again, fuuuuuuck. While sitting in yet another interminable “team meeting” last week, which seriously feels like every office drone comedy ever (I cannot begin to describe the systems we use, how they don’t work, and yet how our working lives hang on the reporting these flawed systems generate) I set my “retirement” date.

“Retirement” is the date I hope to get to before my job is outsourced to a contractor (which is quite possible and of course super-ironic as I was a contractor in this company for SIX years before becoming an employee) or running away screaming, because damn, it’s soul-killing.

Anyway, I’ve picked April 30, 2024, as my retirement goal. It’s about a year short of “full” Social Security, which is itself a moving target, so whatever. I looked at the numbers and was like, “Do I want to endure this bullshit for another year for another $1600-ish in SS? No.”

I am not planning to totally retire, my retirement plan involves a part-time gig at Disney. I’m sticking it out at the current job, assuming they don’t make it a contract position and get rid of me, because we get a profit-sharing check at the end of the first quarter. I’ll take that money I’d earned for this year, and peace out.

This is all contingent on life working out on its current trajectory. My daughter and her guy are planning to find a house this fall, which will allow me to sell the house she has been renting for the last decade, which will put money in my retirement bucket, and give me breathing room to think about what I’d really like to do next.

An Eddie Story.

Eddie…is a Drama Queen.

I walk the dogs together and separately, because Eddie is far more energetic than Gidget (she’s at least 8, and no way he’s really 4). So he was bouncing around this afternoon and I said I’d take him to the mailbox to get the mail. (Gidget’s feelings were not hurt, it’s hot AF here and she wasn’t going to budge from the AC.)

So, we’re walking to the mailbox, and the 4th of July Flags are still up here in MAGA Valley. We have a neighbor/condo board member/whatever who lines the streets with small dollar store American flags for any remotely appropriate occasion, and the flags are still up.

Eddie paused to sniff one, and before I could say “Don’t pee on that,” he yipped and fell over sideways, holding up his paw. I mean, he fell over on his side in the grass, like he’d been shot.

I of course thought “Jesus, I’ve had him a week and a half and we’re already dealing with a sting or a bite or something,” and was preparing to message my coworkers that I was dealing with a veterinary emergency.

I tried to get him to stand, and he held up that paw and whimpered. So I carried him home, grateful I didn’t have to wrangle Gidget too.

We got inside, I grabbed a cool wet paper towel and sat on the couch with him to check his paw. No blood, no swelling, no nothing, and in 30 seconds he was trying to chew the paper towel. I am questioning his story at this point. He’s still waving the paw around, looking sad.

I put him on the floor and he held up his paw and limped dramatically but somehow insincerely. I decided to test him and said, “Does anyone want a treat?”

Dear Readers, I’m guessing you know what happened next. That paper towel of tap water clearly had water from Lourdes. It was a Miracle! The deathly wound was forgotten and he ate three treats.

I’m sure he did step on something in the grass that gave him an owie, but seriously, his performance was over the top. Falling over on his side and whimpering really sold it. Drama Dog is Dramatic.

Don’t listen to her. It really did hurt a whole lot.

How’s It Going?

I think he’s settling in nicely. Gidget is getting an overdue grooming tomorrow morning, so this weekend I may recreate this shot as an after, when they will look even more similar.

For those who may have stumbled across this blog backwater somehow, the dog on the right is Gidget. I adopted her nearly 4 years ago (Nov. 2019) and she was approximately 4, but that may have been an underestimate. Her background is somewhat known; she came from an elderly woman who was going into a nursing home and had around 10 dogs, most of them were related. A small hoarding situation. She was described as a Yorkie/Long-Haired Chihuahua with a touch of Schnauzer. I believe the first two, no idea about the 3rd, and her age is also ambiguous. She’s at least 8, and may be 10. She has bad teeth and that may be age, but could also be just being a Chorkie. Bad teeth run in both breeds; Murphy had regular vet visits and premium food and his teeth went to shit early.

Eddie, who moved in late Sunday afternoon, is supposed to be a Shih Tzu, and approximately 4. I do not believe this. He’s definitely younger than 4. He has a puppyish joie de vivre and a puppy energy as well as lovely white teeth. He was found on the street as an overgrown mass of matted hair and sores, no microchip and not neutered, so no way did he ever get dental care. Those are barely out of puppyhood teeth. I have declared him 3, and I’ll go with that.

He thinks he’s in heaven now with the food and walkies and toys, and he has definitely had training, he’s polite and obedient, so I think something unfortunate happened in his original family. We will never know the story, but I’m guessing 3 at the outside, and possibly 2.

I have questions. I wish I could splurge on DNA testing, but that’s not in the cards for a while.

He’s slept in the big bed with Gidget and me since the first night, and Ellie has started to join us. I have been incredibly lucky with adopted dogs, and Eddie is no exception. He arrived Sunday afternoon and by Wednesday he was settled in.


20 minutes with this delightful, smart, funny, social (did I mention smart?) little dude and he was clearly an Eddie. The Kid pushed hard for Walter, but this is not a Walter.

I did not make him ride there, he snuffled around, chewed a chewie, and fell asleep there.

He’ll bring an energy that has been sorely lacking in this House of Old Ladies. He’s smart as hell, figured out where treats come from in five minutes flat, you whisper the word and he’s off and running to stand by the shelf in the kitchen. He’s definitely a foodie, has leash manners, will potty outside, has mastered stairs, and is generally settling in very fast. And I didn’t know it until FB told me, but this is the 7th anniversary of Ellie joining the family! Purely coincidental, but it’s clearly a good Gotcha Day.

We were at Animal Kingdom Lodge from Friday until noonish today, then I was off to the other side of the Orlando metro area to meet the Eddie formerly known as Wilson. I’m exhausted. He’s exhausted, Gidget’s exhausted. I am about to introduce him to our evening pastime: collapsing on the couch.