V-Day: An Update

So, Bandit’s vet appointment came and went. The news, you ask? Let’s just say I’m glad he doesn’t have to go back for another year. Without going into details, it was rough.

My boy is a good dog, but he hates the vet. I can understand that. When I go to the doctor (which is rare, as you will soon discover), I panic. Literally. Needles are my biggest fear and I’m always afraid I’ll get stuck by one. So when I think of it like that it makes Bandit’s reaction a little more understandable, even though I doubt he’s scared of needles too. He just gets it from his momma.

Since V-Day, however, I’ve taken him to the park for walks and he does great like always. He doesn’t bother anybody. He minds his own business. It’s just something about the vet…

As I type, he’s curled up on his doggy bed fast asleep. We went on a long walk (small hike?) this morning and he’s tuckered out. Poor thing.

Dapple (our other dog) is due for an appointment soon. I don’t have to worry about her, though. She and Bandit are night and day. Where Bandit is constantly wired like he drank an espresso, Dapple is chill and loves everyone. Except Jehovah’s Witnesses when she’s alone with them, but that’s another story.  Read it here.

I imagine when Dapple goes, everyone will be wondering how we have such different dogs and how they get along. That will forever remain a mystery, even to us.



I stared at them. They stared back, indifferent. I reached out, stopped–they saw my hesitation. Sweat trickled down my spine. My eyes darted back and forth. I was breathing too fast. They would know how nerve-wracking it was.

My chest felt tight. Indecision clouded my mind. The sound of the clock ticking on the wall seemed five times louder than normal. I looked for help, but I was alone. Just me and them. They remained still. I swallowed, but my mouth was dry.

I reached out slowly, carefully. This time I didn’t stop. I touched one of them, trailed my fingers down the spine and picked it up, flipping it over to see if the book was anything I would be interested in.

Just when I thought I had a good one, the sound I had been dreading came across the room.

“The library closes in five minutes!”

And all of the sudden, the race was on. Panic set in. Was it the right book? Why did I pick it up? What if it wasn’t good? I needed another.

Frantically, I grabbed another one and scanned the back. Good enough. I rushed to the front desk and checked them out, completely unsure of my choices as I walked out to my car.

It was the most intense experience of my week.


Thursday is the dreaded day. V-Day. Nope, that wasn’t a typo. It also doesn’t stand for Valentine’s Day. It’s much worse than that. Something sinister. So before I reveal what the dreaded day is, shut your windows and lock all your doors. Bring your kids inside and secure your animals.

It’s Vet Day.

For one Mr. Bandit Wildman Wooten, it is the day he has dreaded (presumably) all year. His annual exam.

This day is not to be taken lightly. Last year, after getting his exam and booster shots, he was terrified of getting in my car for at least a month. No joke. He hates going to the vet. I can’t blame him, really, because I hate going to the doctor’s office.

It was such a shame that he was so scared of my car. It’s like he thought it would kill him if he even got near it, because we all know my car is a dog-killer. He’s good with my car now (maybe because it hasn’t tried to kill him lately). Now I have a battle plan. I’m taking him in the backseat of the family truck. And then soon after I’m taking him for a fun romp in the park.

So cross your fingers and hope for the best. Bandit is going to have a rough morning Thursday, even though he doesn’t know it yet.

Moody Phones

My phone won’t talk to me. I think it must hate me. Either that, or it assumes I’m literate enough to read its response (which I imagine takes on a smart-aleck tone if spoken). In my mind, it says, “You’re a writer. Read THIS!”

I don’t have an iPhone, so it’s not like Siri is being PMS-y. Mine is an LG, which I love. But when I watch commercials, it shows people asking Google (which I guess is my phone’s mascot) questions and Google speaking to them. When I try, Google gets moody. I’ve been a faithful user of the search engine for many years, but I guess that doesn’t matter.

Aside from my phone not speaking to me, it’s also outdated and I only got it a few months ago. They have just released the newer version of my phone (maybe Google talks on that one). That explains why mine was so cheap when I upgraded from the basic phone I had for two and a half years.

Yes, this is my first smartphone. Yes, I’m aware that the year is 2015.

I’ve also had trouble with the GPS talking to me. Well, at least when it’s set as a woman’s voice. The man’s voice will talk all day. The woman says, “I don’t care how lost you get. Figure it out yourself.”

Come to think of it, Google’s voice on those commercials sounds feminine. Maybe that’s my trouble. All electronic devices are stuck on the PMS setting when they use a woman’s voice.

How to Drive in the City

Southern drivers are not known for being the fastest in the world. Unless you’re in NASCAR, but that’s another category in itself. In California, this Southern girl had the opportunity to drive a few times. No, I didn’t get run over. It reminded me of drivers in a city near to where I live, but more aggressive. So I’ve come up with a guide that will help you navigate cities and areas with faster drivers than, oh, say, your grandma. Unless she’s a leadfoot.

1. Stop Lights

In the city near me, these are more like suggestions. Green light? Go. Yellow light? Go faster. Red light? Hurry through that intersection so you don’t get hit.

Though I didn’t see as many people in California following this rule (maybe they understand traffic signals better), I didn’t drive a whole lot. And while I was riding in the car, I wasn’t paying much attention.

I did notice that no one seems to know how to navigate four-way stops just like here. For some reason, it makes sense on paper, but when people get to a four-way stop it’s every man for himself.

2. Turn Signals

These are practically illegal in California. I started out using mine until I saw no one else was. Literally. That guy who’s barely in front of you in the other lane absolutely expects you to read his mind and anticipate his lane change. If not, too bad. It’s your fault.

Not wanting to be a noob since the car had a California license plate, I quit using mine too. As long as I didn’t speak, I fit right in!

3. The California Wave

Remember that guy who cut you off? It’s perfectly acceptable to express your feelings with a one-finger wave. They expect these things. If you don’t, you might hurt their feelings. For good measure, and to make sure they see it, blow your horn too. Nothing makes them happier.

4. Turning

In addition to running red lights, it’s a good idea to squeeze your car into the five-foot space next to the car in front of you just so you can turn on red. The people who are coming will wait. Also, ignore the “no turn on red” sign. It’s just a suggestion.

Not enough room? Go up on the curb if you have to. Make room. Just be sure to turn on red because you are in such a hurry and that BOGO sale on shoes will run out in five minutes.

Happy driving!

If You Try This, Don’t Become a Chef

My fiance Kirk and I watch a lot of cooking shows. We didn’t always. We’ve been on a cooking-show kick ever since we got hooked on Kitchen Nightmares and Chef Ramsay’s constant yelling.  That doesn’t make me jump at the thought of becoming a chef, but the drama is fun.

Ever since then, I’ve experimented with some new recipes and combinations. To my (and everyone else’s) delight, it’s actually been good.

Kirk also has the experiment bug. However, his haven’t turned out exactly like the chefs we’ve seen on Chopped when they’re given a basket of random ingredients. Two major examples stand out to me.

One night, Kirk and I decided we wanted omlettes for supper. Breakfast for supper works, right? He wanted to be a sweetheart and make both of ours. I told him what I wanted and waited patiently in the living room. Not too much later, he brought my broccoli and cheese omlette. It was good!

I waited for him, all the while smelling a strange aroma coming from the kitchen. I couldn’t figure out what it was until he came in the living room and proudly announced he made a banana omlette. Not even joking. Out of morbid curiosity, I tried a bite. It was nasty. Half egg and half cooked, mushy banana. He ate the whole thing, but later said he thought it was gross. I’m not sure why he thought it would be a good combo.

I gave him the benefit of the doubt on that one. It was an experiment gone wrong. But last night, there was another banana incident.

In the South, we love banana and mayonaise sandwiches. They’re so wonderful on a summer day. Kirk isn’t from the South, so it took him a while to warm up to the idea, but now he loves them.

Last night he was going to make one. I walked into the kitchen as he was spreading mayo on his bread and saw, to my horror, mustard sitting out, waiting for him to use next. You just don’t do that. Yuck. He protested as I put it away, so I put a little mayo and mustard on the end of the banana and made him try it (by that time he was skeptical about it). Again, he agreed with me that it was nasty.

Where he comes up with these ideas is beyond me. I think I need to get him off the cooking shows. They’re a bad influence. Especially if he’s going to be cooking for me in the future when we’re married.

Either that, or I need to get used to strange banana dishes.

My Car Rules

I drive two cars. My primary car is my Honda. My weekend, sunny day car is my Mustang. It’s interesting that I ended up loving Mustangs so much because my family is all about Camaros. I’ve grown up around them, ridden in my dad’s classics, gone to car shows and admired them, but I’m a Mustang girl through and through. I’m a rebel.

But my family loves my Mustang too. Especially my brother who wants to play like it’s a secret.

Before I got my Mustang, I had already decided I would be as gentle and as careful with it as humanly possible. Therefore, I have established some ground rules for my car that have caused a lot of laughs, but that aren’t changing.

1. No Food or Drinks

Passengers can enjoy a ride free of food or beverage when they take a ride in my Mustang. If you’re starving or about to dehydrate, you might want a different ride. Dad once got a cup of coffee and got in my car, fully prepared to sip it as we rode around, and I made him wait. His coffee got cold.

It’s a miracle I participated in a Christmas parade complete with candy throwing.

2. Keep It Dry

People really don’t understand this one. I don’t drive my Mustang in the rain. Ever. Once I was out and it started sprinkling on it and I made a mad dash home to get it under cover. There was one rouge cloud waaaaaay up high.  So now I only drive it on sunny, almost cloudless days. I can’t stand the thought of it getting wet because I pride myself on keeping it clean (except for right now when it needs a wash).

3. Become an Anti-Social Parker

I never–let me repeat–never park next to someone unless it’s my parents, brother, or fiance. Ever. I choose a safe distance from others and then if I come back and someone has parked next to me, I have a minor freak out. Not really, but I do check to see if they hit my Mustang with their door in their hurry to catch the BOGO special on electronics at Wal-Mart. Heaven help the people who park next to me.

4. Don’t Race

It’s amazing to me how many people asked how fast my Mustang would go when I first got it. When I explained that I didn’t know because I kept a safe speed, they laughed. Then they proceeded to tell me how fast they would drive if they had it. That, people, is why I don’t let anyone (not even my fiance) drive it.

Do you have funny rules for your car? If so, I’d love to hear it. Leave me a comment and tell me the rules that made others laugh. I bet I’ll understand completely.