Saturday, April 25, 2015

Believing in Fences

Fenway caught red-pawed
Dang. There's another hole. Ole Fenway's been at it again.

This must be the 15th escape attempt (most of them successful, I might add) since we fenced our backyard three weeks ago. The conclusion is obvious.

My dog doesn't believe in fences.

I should have known that from the beginning; after all, that's how the scruffy little poodle became part of our family nine years ago. I found him as a one-year-old pup, barely out of Huggies, trotting down the center line of a busy road at rush hour.

The vet said judging by the filthy dreadlocks matted to his bony body and the callouses lining his well-tread paws, he'd probably been on the road for many months.

A travelin' man.

This was more than confirmed when we cleaned him up, gave him a crew cut, and hung a collar around his neck sporting a tag that read, "I'm Fenway Coty. Please return me to 833-562-7814."

I can't begin to tell you how many new friends we made from the dozens of neighbors within a 3-mile radius who called that number within the first year. Fenway always appeared overjoyed to see us, leapt wriggling into our arms, licked our faces, and then took off again at the next opportunity.

Eventually the little dickens seemed to work through his born-to-run tendencies and as his hair grayed and energy level diminished with middle age (just like his Mama mia!) he generally stuck close to home. Or at least within a few blocks.

Then came the ill-fated day last month when the new fence went up around the yard to protect the wee grandbuddies playing therein. I could see my betrayal reflected in Fenway's confused eyes as he stared down this slatted foe that taunted him with definitive parameters.

He turned his furry head and looked directly into my eyes, his incredulous look plainly stating, "Are you serious? After all we've been through together?"

I felt like Judas Iscariot.

So now on a daily basis, little Fenners presents me with big innocent chocolate brown eyes and a dirt-encrusted snout. He's clearly risen to this new challenge as testified by neighbors on adjoining streets who've told us he pops over for brief visits and then hurries to pop back under before his homies realize he's gone.

Although Spouse has tried to thwart Fenway's escapes by digging chicken wire into the dirt beneath the fence in all the obvious gaps, Fenway has managed to unearth and exploit all the UNnobvious gaps. He constantly tests the perimeter for weak points like the raptors in Jurassic Park. 

I just can't find it within me to stay angry at the little rebel. Fenway simply doesn't believe in fences. That's who he is. I can identify with that. I recall many a time over the course of my life when I've dug my way under boundaries Papa God has erected. Most of the time my forays into the wild have turned out badly. There are penalties to pay. Backtracking to do. Holes to attempt to cover up (but somehow you never quite can).

So I've learned to respect those boundaries and recognize that Papa put them there for my own good. Because He's my Papa and He loves me dearly.

Even when my snout is clogged with dirt.  

Thursday, April 2, 2015

The Amazing Adventures of Carrot Dude

Carrot Dude goes shopping
It's been an A+ week - I don't remember when I've had so much fun! And it's all because of an unexpected 6-inch friend I dug out of my garden last weekend.

Such personality for a vegetable!

I knew the moment I uprooted Carrot Dude that he was someone special, with his long knobby legs and chubby arm resting on his tummy (or knee, depending on how you look at it), adding a suave, elegant yet witty flair to his orangeness.

Yep, he's quite debonair. Reminds me of the late great Cary Grant. Only he's Carrot Grant.

That first day, after I brought him home and scrubbed the dirt from his little orange face (or maybe that was his bum - it's hard to tell), something indefinable about him captured my attention. And my imagination.
Farmer Carrot Dude reporting for duty

I started carrying him around the house with me, propping him up on counters to keep me company. What da ya know - we bonded. I was smitten with a vegetable.

So, I thought, why not share Carrot Dude with the world? Who could resist breaking into an enormous, stress-shredding grin at his unpretentious adorableness?

So off we went - me and my wee orange buddy. To work, shopping, gardening, the playground ... you name it. And I documented our adventures on Facebook.

On the road again
I couldn't believe the scores of followers Carrot Dude collected. I had to stay up late every night just to keep up with all the comments. Most were like these:

Jacki: I am really enjoying Carrot Dude! Please don't stop.
Amy: Okay, I love Carrot Dude ... makes me laugh!
Sue: Absolutely ADORE this dude!!!

A few worried about my mental health:
Carolyn: Deb, you may need to find a new hobby. Digging up new friends from the garden, I'm a little worried. Remember, it is just a carrot.
Bette: I think you may be working too hard. Perhaps you need a little rest.
This Staples mgr wanted his own Carrot Dude
Kim: You've been under a lot of stress lately, right?
Janeree: I think you have separation anxiety.

Some were deep thinkers:
Susan: Kind of like Flat Stanley, only orangier.
Joy: Carrot Dude gets out more than I do ...
Robin: Life is for laughing!

Many were encouraging:
Cindy: It's okay to get a little crazy sometimes :)
Don: This carrot is one of God's little laughter miracles ... just a funky little heavenly reminder that we are all different.
Working out those pecs
Carolyn: Have your fun. It won't hurt anyone. You are as sane as you ever were. Take that however you want.

Some proposed interesting ideas:
Donna: Maybe you could take him to the grocery produce section; introduce him to some string beans. If they hit it off and get married they could have some 'lil sprouts!
Alan: 3 more pictures and this will be a 14-karat event.
Sean: If the adventure continues for more than a week, you may consider ensconcing Carrot Dude in either a jar of vinegar or a suit of urethane.

OK, so not everybody loves C.D. 
And of course there were plenty of questions which I did my best to answer:
Jody: Are you getting strange looks from people?
Me: You betcha! But most people just jump right in and enjoy the laugh. Although a few jump and run.

Carrot Dude won the door prize at my speaking event! 
Carol: So where is his head? You really need a head for Carrot Dude.
Me: It's a handicap; he was born headless. The good news is that it's not fatal - I know several people with this same handicap and it didn't slow them down in the least. They became politicians.
Nancy: Why are you holding him upside down?
Me: Whoa - good catch, Nancy! Once those boots and cowboy hat we ordered come in, we should be better able to tell which end's which.
Jeane: You do know that at some point the carrot is going to die, right?
Me: But he'll have no regrets ...
Carrot Dude comes clean 

And the best question yet:

Wen Dee: Inquiring minds want to know: What is the story behind Carrot Dude, please?
Me: You know, I honestly had no idea until a FB friend hit the nail on the head today with a comment that she completely understood the Carrot Dude thing. This was baffling because I, myself, didn't understand the Carrot Dude thing. I just knew it was something I had to do or bust.

Carrot Dude taking his happy nappy
Then she went on to say that she, too, is helplessly watching her daughter suffer through a difficult pregnancy (like I am) and she totally gets that we just need to let our silly out sometimes ... like an overflow valve.

I suspect the fact that I burst into tears when I read her comment means there's more than a little truth there. A certain freedom comes with oozing pent-up silly. And in this case mine is drooling out all over the place.

I'm always appreciative when someone explains me to me, because I'm usually clueless.

So I'm now closing out this rather long post with some of my favorite Carrot Dude comments:

Nancy: I love the idea that you planted him, grew him, dug him up, dusted him off, and he became somebody. This is not just any carrot.
Kim: A chuckle disperses stress!
Juanita: Can't wait for tomorrow's adventures of Carrot Dude and Debbie Duddette!!! Is that even a word?

Breaking news, Carrot Dude fans: Stay tuned for the movie  ... coming soon to a computer screen near you!