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Monday, August 5, 2013

Return To Climbing, And My Dog(s) Troubles...

I used to climb; not obsessively, but a lot. Typically three times a week. Even on my work week when I worked a week straight of 12 hour nights. I made it to the rock gym in the early hours of the morning when a couple climbing friends and I had a key to let ourselves in. When I decided to train for competition, let's just say it got ugly.

Then one day I quit. What happened? I moved to Wyoming. I moved to a small town with a small rock gym that at the time was owned and operated by someone who didn't seem to care. We went a few times but over several weeks when no routes were refreshed, or new routes placed, I became aware that I had been spoiled to a wonderful gym. Then I tried outside. Finding people to teach the newbies where the good places are, was difficult at best. The person I did find seemed offended the day I wouldn't let her new husband who was recovering from a back surgery belay me. We'll discuss the safety issues later. All in all I think there were several issues there and I never warmed to the new husband and therefore I never climbed with them again and I just kind of fell out of climbing. No pun intended.

But a month or so ago I ran into one of the new owners of the local gym and she encouraged me to come check it out. Same building, same walls, but even in the three times since we started again, there have been new routes placed. So, I have let the knitting needles slow, the spinning wheel stop and have started climbing again. And with new climbs, come new calluses.
There's more calluses waiting to blow. Athletic tape here we come!
Ouch. Actually, that doesn't hurt that much. It's more of an irritation because it gets in the way of knitting. I just did it this afternoon. It will heal soon. The bigger pain is in my feet. Last week I broke atleast one toe. Worse than that, is that i bruised the tendons on the top of my foot good. It will all heal. I set the toe that needed it and taped it good. I ice the foot regularly and have been taking my ibuprofen. But shoving said foot into a rock shoe hurts. There's no two ways about it, but I'm willing to hurt a bit because dammit, I loved climbing and I'm finding that I still do. I love the ache it causes, the screams from my hands and muscles as I strain for a hold. The sense of strength and the glow that comes from getting to the top. I missed it. I missed it a lot.

While I'm on the topic of things I do miss, let's discuss things I don't. Stupid people and their dogs/kids. Yes, that's right. We're on this again. I actually have two things that have happened recently. Let's start with Saturday night. We here in Casper have an annual bluegrass festival on the mountain. This saturday night they held a free concert at Washington Park that the big name for was a band I've wanted to see for a long time so we went. The opening act, let's not discuss. The second act was better, and I have to say that the gal sounded just like Joan Osbourne when she sang Bring Me Some Water on VH1's Crossroads series. But more to the point, I took the dogs. After the first set Tucker and Sullivan were acting antsy so I took them with me to get food at one of the food vendors. I had multiple people get dragged to me by their dogs with no control and seemed horrified when I insisted that my dogs behave. My dogs no what is expected and I remind them when they act stupid that this is not allowed. While dealing with my own dogs and trying to detangle them from other peoples dogs, I had several people step in front of me in line. I was nice. I didn't say anything. Even when one of them had children that were hanging from the windows of the vendor vehicles, screaming and running through the crowd in "keep away from Dad" all while the parents thought their little scrotum rat in his Captain America outfit was adorable and funny. And my dogs have to be on leash? I finally took my place back in line when the said Captain America wanna be literally entered one of the food vendors trucks and ran amok.

Long and short of it, I got my food, and headed back to Bob and the other two dogs with my two. As we ate, we were accosted by many wanting to pet our dogs, kids running through my dogs, including one jumping over my dogs running between his parents and the play ground. I get it that I'm at a park. I get it that I'm at a family event, but really? You are going to let your child use a dog twice his size as a hurtle? My Great Dane Sullivan is not a fan of children, and to be honest, having this kid startle him by not only running up on us in surprise, but then jumping over him freaked him out a bit. I said something, and I said it kind of loud and I think the parents around us got it figured out because they had their kids give us a couple feet. Not a lot, but just enough to keep everyone happy.

As the sun went down the crowd started to thin out. But there was still the guy with his young golden retriever who was freeking out about everything. Yanking, pulling, barking. Basically letting him and everyone else know that he was not in control. Maybe not a venue to take this dog to? Then we had the continued assault from other peoples dogs who were not under control wanting to come say "Hi". Over and over again they stated how we get four dogs to do what they can't with one.

As it got completely dark, the boys got restless and as the space around us grew I let them have a little free time. Played with them with plastic bottles, let them chase and goof off within a certain excitement level. Solas took the stage and the crowd started moving with the music. Unfortunately, the family with the Great Dane Hurtler started to get a little rambunctious too. One of the dads started chasing some of the kids and when he tackled one child and they screamed, my dogs thought the kid needed saving. They stopped when called and came right back, in fact they didn't even get halfway to them. I had my kids settle since theirs were getting stirred up again. Well, several of the kids and parents went over to the playground and when they came back the one that had jumped over my dogs decided to tease them. He danced and pounced at my dogs who were in a settled stay. Sullivan's tail wagged once. Then he barked, and sprung as the kid got closer.
Lies, all lies. I swear! Do I look like I would have done that?
I honestly don't think he would have hurt the child. His ears were forward, and his whole posture said "Let's play!" As he bounded forward. He has tackled other people and dogs before to wrestle and that is what it looked like he was about to do but to a parent, a dog that outweighs your kid taking him to the ground is just scary so I shouted as he leapt. Sullivan broke off immediately. I wasn't even done saying his name as he turned and ran to me all galloping goofiness with his tail wagging and tongue lolling and I realized what had gone through his Great Delay of a brain. "You're going to tease me, Game on!"The kid unfortunately didn't see it as so fun. Or maybe fortunately. I don't think any of the parents saw it. They heard the deep bark, our shout and turned to see our dog coming back to us and their kid running to them. Needless to say the kid didn't wander far from his parents before they left. Maybe next time he'll think twice about teasing a dog he doesn't know? I kept waiting for a parent to say something to either the child or us, but nothing was ever said. The people a little ways over that had seen it came over and scrubbed all the furry butts and complimented us on them. After they asked that is. At least someone had manners around dogs.

The other issue I had last week was a recurring issue I've had at the dog park. On Monday I was nipped by these mouth breathers terrier mix as I was lifting my old girl into the car. All my dogs were in the car or my arms when it occurred. I didn't' kick the dog. I turned around and sternly said no and pointed away to it's owners (They're special I swear, and someone needs to tie him into a shirt that he can't take off. None of us want to see his 50+ year old hairy beer belly) while saying, "Go on now!". The dog ran back to it's other tall rat brethren that are all under 15 pounds while they stared at me. They had seen it. They didn't ask if I was okay, they didn't correct their dogs behavior. Nothing. They stood there and let their dog bite a stranger and laughed and waved and made some stupid comment about their bully dog who thinks he's boss. I looked at my leg. He barely broke the skin and as much as I wanted to I couldn't make an argument for rabies. The dogs are just untrained assholes. I took a deep breath and let it go. Or so I thought. I wiped off the blood, cleaned it up in the shower and went to work.

Wednesday I got down to the dog park, parked in the almost empty parking lot and was closing up my car when they pulled up next to me and told me, "You took our spot." Now, this is a public park. There are no handicap spots, and I don't park in handicaps spots as a rule. There are no assigned spots. There was only two other vehicles in the whole lot that can probably fit 30+ cars on a busy river day. I kind of looked at them, shook my head, locked my door and slammed it as I told my kids to heal and walked away. WhenI ran into them on one of my loops they glared at me. When their dogs went to approach I told all the dogs no, made my dogs pass and did not turn my back on their ankle biters. The dog that previously bit me was wary and kept an eye on me. I have to admit, if he bites me again, I will snatch him up, place him in my car and call the police to do an official complaint.

I did my two laps that are slow since the old girl comes with us in the morning. She is killing my exercise plan but I can't say no to her when she really wants to go. She's 17 for Gawd's Sake. I don't know how many walks she has left. I got back to my car and they had parked within an inch of the rear of my car to keep me from opening the rear hatch to load my dogs as usual. Stupidly they didn't look closely and notice the curve of their CRV's hood lets me open my rear hatch fine. So I did, and I let all three of my boys jump on the hood of their car to get in mine. I know... I know! I'm an asshole. I shouldn't have done it. My little guilty voice did pop into my head when I had to use the mean voice to get Emmitt or Tucker to do it. They were both thinking, "WTF? You don't let us jump on the car. Only in. Oh okay." Sullivan thought it was great fun and kind of popped in a divot as he jumped from their hood to my car. Another walker I regularly walk with was laughing. I had to open a side door to lift the old girl in, but other than that they didn't hamper me at all.  It was a parallel spot so I just pulled away when I was done.

The next morning as I was getting ready to leave the river here they came. They slam out of their car and he get's in my face pointing at his hood saying I owed them for the body work bill. I quickly pointed out that all they had to do if they weren't idiots was open the hood and pop it out. The metal wasn't creased, the paint wasn't scratched. No body work was needed but they were stupid enough to take it in and stupid enough to pay a bill for something they could have taken care of in 3 seconds. I also pointed at the scabs on my leg that their dog had left on Monday and that they and others had witnessed and offered while we were settling it up with a police officer to make a formal complaint about their dog. I also pointed out that I'm sure it's not the first time their dog has bitten someone and it's a single bite state. They got back in their car and I heard him call me an asshole. There is no excuse to what happened next. They had gotten me mad, then after all the shit they had pulled they had called me names in a passive aggressive move as they got in their car. Still, that is no excuse, but I was pissed. I slammed my hand on the window making them both jump and yelled. "What was that? Really? You're going to call me names as you get in your car? If you want to have a name calling contest you f*ing stupid hick, let's do it out here, because I think I'll win! Put your shirt on first though so I don't keep making eye contact with your lint filled belly button." They left. I calmed down, and I left. Thank God it was knitting day because I needed to vent, share my incredulity of the situation with my friends and relax. At least they let me think they're on my side. They probably thinking, Dammit Q, you're crazy, and not always in the good way. I know they'll bake me cookies when I'm in the state hospital though and wait for me to get out and tell them all the good stories. I will always be the dick of the dog park. Sorry.

Speaking of, I need to walk the kids.  Have a good one!


  1. Lesley told me I needed to read this one, Q. Thanks for the morning guffaw! Stupid hicks.

  2. You lead a very doggy life,Ive been taking my little girl out bush for walks as the boys are off doing their own thing and i made a promise that if I took for a one on Sunday then they would during the week,shes getting old with arthritis starting to rear his ugly head but she gets so excited when that word is said,we even have to spell it now though I do believe she picking up on that one too. Good luck with those ars...pes an stand your ground!!