A Funny Type of Breed

Rebuilding rock dams

I’ve been working on my rock dams this week. My goal is to take one wheelbarrow load–a light load–of potato stones down the driveway to rebuild the dams to stop erosion. Yesterday I actually did two loads. Today I didn’t want to do any but I forced myself to do one load. I started at the top of the driveway and I’m working my way down. I figure that it’s best to start at the top in order to slow the speed of the rainwater rushing down the hill. I figure that I’m about halfway down the driveway now. I thought I was halfway down the driveway yesterday too so it doesn’t feel like I’ve made much progress but I sort of suspect it’s like driving toward mountains that never seem to get closer even though they are. I was sort of hoping I could complete the dams before it begins to rain, although I had no desire to push myself hard. I figured I would get done what I get done, and any improvement is better than none.

It is a cloudy and cool 63 (F) degrees today, but I felt very warm as I worked. I think the humidity, which is at 69% today–I remembered to check–makes the coolness feel warmer. Later we are supposed to get some rain, and it will rain for the next few days. This is our forecast from the National Weather Service. As you can see, the days and nights are getting cooler.

I am really looking forward to the crisp and colorful autumn. I also love the beauty of winter and the fact that the birds, deer, and turkeys come close to the house to eat from the birdfeeders. Although, to be honest, I’m not exactly looking forward to snowblowing the driveway or the possibility of slipping on snow-covered ice and breaking bones.

Anyway, yesterday after I rebuilt rock dams, I started a whimsical project I’ve been planning. I got the first step done–painting primer on some wood. I was going to work on the next step today, but I had low energy today so I decided to put if off for another day or two.

In yesterday’s mail I received an “Explanation of Benefits for Dental Care” from Blue Cross Blue Shield of Michigan. It looked like they were denying the claim, which is reasonable since BCBSM is not our insurance provider. I figured that the dentist office must have submitted their charges to the wrong insurance company by mistake. But, even so, I didn’t sleep well because of the statement. It’s stupid, but ever since JJ had cancer, the slightest hiccup causes me sleepless nights. I think we got so physically, emotionally, and mentally exhausted by his cancer battle that we are having a hard time getting back our strength. It’s also possible that cancer drove home that bad things really can happen to us, and not just other people.

This morning I called the dentist office about the claim. The receptionist said that sometimes companies use a different insurance providers for medical and dental care, but she’d look into it. She called me a few minutes later and said, oops, BCBSM is not our insurance company, and she would resubmit charges to the correct company. With that problem taken care of, I went back to bed for some extra sleep.

My birthday is in early October. Birthdays are the dates when people have to get their driver’s licenses renewed. In Michigan, we have to get our licenses renewed every four years. We can alternate renewing by mail with having to go to the Secretary of State’s (SOS) office–other states call it the Department of Motor Vehicles or DMV–to take a written driver’s test and have our photo updated.  Last time I was able to renew my driver’s license by mail so this time I have to go to the SOS for the written test. Although I’ve always passed the test–no problem–I didn’t know if I would remember the answers to the questions this time. I figured there must be on-line practice tests and, yup, I found one. I’ve been taking the tests every day or two to refresh my knowledge. I’m glad I am taking them because I got some of the questions wrong. It’s sort of like knowing exactly where a friend’s house is so you could drive right there without thinking, but not really knowing their actual mailing address. Like, I know to stop a distance from a school bus with flashing lights stopped along the road to pickup up/drop off children, but I couldn’t remember exactly how many feet from the bus to stop. I mean, I’m not out there measuring distances with a tape measure. And I didn’t know that “When you are driving on a freeway, the condition in which you feel that you are going slower than your actual speed” is known as velocitizing. I had never even heard the term velocitizing before. I can drive and understand the concept without knowing the word velocitizing. I did get that question right through process of elimination but I didn’t know the actual word. (In fact, my spell checker didn’t even recognize this word!) And then sometimes I know the answer to a question but I overthink it and then get it wrong. Ugh. I figure I will take the practice tests until I feel ready and then go take the real test. Then I won’t have to worry about taking another test for eight years.

Yesterday evening EJ and I were in the kitchen–I might have been finishing the dishes?–when I heard EJ shout, “No, Hannah! No!” He said that he had caught her with her paw and her snout in the pocket of the sweater I had draped over the chair. I often wear that sweater in the house, and Hannah has learned that I keep Kleenex in the pocket. She is addicting to eating Kleenex, paper towels, and toilet paper. Often I come into a room and find the sweater on the floor with the pockets wet (from her tongue) and empty. Hannah is a pick-pocket. Our vet told us to teach Hannah to not eat tissues, etc., by leaving them in various places and then commanding her not to touch them. Now Hannah waits until we aren’t looking or aren’t in the house before she steals them. Today when prepared to wash dishes, I couldn’t find the dishcloth anywhere. Finally, I just got another one from the drawer. Later I found the dishcloth on the bed where Hannah likes to take things she eats. Sigh.

Danny

My beloved Danny, who died of cancer last November, was a very introverted dog. He was sweet, polite, rarely barked, and liked to do his own thing. Danny loved food–although not nearly as much as Hannah. He was completely devoted to me and would follow me everywhere. People sometimes asked what kind of dog he was when we took him for walks, but we really didn’t know. We think he might have had some Chow in him. EJ sometimes jokingly said that Danny was part American Moocher and part English Stalker. We believe Hannah is part Lab and part Pitbull but if I were to make up a funny type of breed for her, I think I would call her part Attention Hound because she always demands attention and part Pit-Pocket because she is always stealing stuff. I’m sure she has a few other “breeds” mixed in as well. LOL.

Danny was an awesome dog and so is Hannah. She has a lot of funny little quirks and she is just mischievous enough to make her interesting. I always loved that Danny was so very devoted to me. I was first in his heart and everyone else was a distant second. But I also enjoy that Hannah loves both EJ and me equally. When she plays fetch, she takes turns bringing the ball to first one and then the other of us. Sometimes she snoozes on my lap and sometimes she snoozes on EJ’s lap. She really is an adorable dog. EJ says that he sometimes has trouble remembering that she’s not human. 🙂

Hannah and EJ
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13 Comments on “A Funny Type of Breed

  1. We had an all-day rain here, really torrential this morning. My birthday is in April and it had been 8 years since I went to the Secretary of State and I was dreading it because I always miss some questions too. I spent the day before going over all the chapters of the “What Every Driver Must Know” book and just like you, I missed some. I always miss stupid things and one time I said to them “look, I have no kids, and no kids are climbing in the car, so I never paid any attention to the child seat laws” … in my opinion, why would I. I got a look of disdain for that. Also, I’ve never hauled something, nor will I haul something and I missed a question on hauling as well. So, by the time I went to the SOS on the Monday morning, I was a bundle of nerves – I had crammed a lot of stuff into my head to be able to remember for the test – I was getting nervous about street/lane markings, street signs … so I got there and they didn’t make me take the written test, but I didn’t do great on the eye test for some reason She asked when I was getting an eye exam and I said I go every May, so she was okay with that, but said I didn’t do well on the eye exam. I said I was due for new glasses – every year a stronger prescription and worse now … on a computer about 10 or more hours a day between work and blogging. So, I got my driver’s license in the mail and it is ghosted in the corner, so only good for four years – mad, as I’ll have to memorize all that stuff again. I don’t drive in alot of situations like they describe – I work from home – no sleet or snow or ice situations. Sigh.

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      • I was the same way TJ … the more I waded through that stuff and drilled it into my head I was getting frantic. I had so many facts in my head when I walked in there that morning … next time I’ll plan earlier. And didn’t it amaze you how many different signs there were and why don’t they have the name right next to it, not three pages past so you can associate them? Plus I had to drive about 15 or so miles to get there as they’ve closed all the SOS offices around me – we had them in every city around me, including my own (Lincoln Park) … not happy about that either!

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      • I have to drive about that far to my nearest SOS office too, although I don’t think it’s as busy as some are so there is that. I keep telling myself I’ll go there in another few days, and then I tell myself I still need to study so I’ll go in ANOTHER few days…

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      • I went before my birthday but that’s because we had such a snowy Winter and I don’t like to drive in the snow and we happened to have a few snowless days so I got it over with – believe me, I would have waited til April had I known the weather would be okay. I am bummed about having to go do it in four years and for sure they will make me do the test. And everything is SO different from 8 years ago. Even how they take the picture, but everything is modern and you queue up and then they call your name and separate you down by actual renewals and other items … it was funny because she processed my paperwork and I had the eye test, then I gave her the check and she said “go to the other side for your picture, then you’re all done” … TJ, I said to myself “oh boy, she forgot the written test, aren’t I lucky?” I was on cloud nine … I had whipped myself into that kind of frenzy. Then I got the license in the mail. And they take your picture and show it to you on the screen. I said “oh my” and wrinkled up my nose. She said “want me to take it over again?” I said “no it is the subject.” They never did that in the past.

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      • I keep reassuring myself that I won’t have to do this for another 8 years so I feel bad that you have to do it again in 4! I’m going to study hard over the next few days and then take the test next week. (Or so I tell myself). My birthday is not for about 2 weeks, but I want to just get it done and over with.

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      • I hear you – the more I read, the more I agonized. I thought “why didn’t I do better at the eye test?” But I was telling my friend Ann Marie and she is 75 and she said when you get older you have to go more often. I just turned 62, so maybe that is why? But still … I never had to go back at four years for decades, always 8 years, so you are likely good until 2026 … lucky you!

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      • Too late now! Oh, well. I’ll just study, do my best, and see what happens. That is, if I can see well enough. LOL.

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      • Yes you will pass. I have 3 1/2 more years to stew over it. I just searched my blog as I was sure I wrote about it. And, I wasn’t sure where it was and it was at a busy intersection and so I went to Heritage Park and mapped it out so I knew where it was the weekend before. I was already apprehensive, no use driving in rush hour traffic (went before I started work) and looking for the place at the same time.

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