Clearing the Mind

The weather here lately is stunning. This morning it was 65 degrees, sunny, with zero humidity. Here in Dallas, it’s as if we are being rewarded after the beatdown of the summer heat, which this year wasn’t so bad. Sort of like getting that lollipop after a shot at the doctors. Funny, I’ve never gotten such a reward after a prostate exam, which in my mind is worse than any shot.

But I digress.

Every morning when I’m working, I get let the dogs from their crate, get them outside to do their business, then fire up the computers for a days work. I feed them, feed me, handle emails, get my head in order for the day. After a suitable amount of caffeine, I take the pups out for a walk. They know when it’s time. They tell me.

There’s a method to my madness, which I was reminded the other day. Herself was off for the day but had an appointment, so she wanted to do the walk early, way earlier than I normally do. The dogs were ecstatic about this, of course. They love my wife, and it makes their day when she’s here and walks with us. But that time of day, things are popping out in the neighborhood – Everyone, it seems, is walking their dogs too. There are people walking, jogging, escorting the kids to school. We have a top notch elementary school in the neighborhood, as well as a really good high school. It’s one of the major reason people move here.

So the dogs, already wired because Herself is with us, wind up to “11”. So it’s not a walking as much as being pulled down the street by a couple hundred pounds of dogs. One thing they learnt that day, was Herself gives treats if they stop when she stops. Turns out, Jasper caught the lesson. Didn’t think he did, but he did.

Today wasn’t such a day. We went out into the sunshine at our normal time. There were few squirrels, and only one dog. The same damn one I run into whatever time of the day we walk. It’s an old dude that ambles along, letting his dog run/walk dragging her leash behind. I’ve seen more than one complaint on NextDoor of that particular dog dropping bombs deep in their lawns. The older dogs don’t pay her any mind. But Jasper is fixated. He wants to meet her.

But I knew something was up. Every time we stopped, Jasper stopped and got his treat. When we passed the old man, he whined a bit as we passed, but then the three stopped for a reward for behaving spectacularly during the incident. After, Jasper chilled right out, and continued walking with the others, as opposed to pulling. Total gentleman. I think we’ve turned a really good corner here. He’s been tougher to train than the others, but he’s smart and eventually he figures things out.

Which made the walk a wonderful head clearing time. We returned totally refreshed. I was out of treats, but I wasn’t beaten down, and wasn’t sweaty whatsoever.

The next part of the routine is I play with them in the yard as I go about my morning chores – Tending to the spa’s chemistry, doing a poop patrol in the yard, tending the garden. Then I get back to my real job, secure in the knowledge I’ll be left alone to work, for the most part.

I explained this to my boss at one point. Seems like I’m goofing off, but I’ll be working until 7pm or so. I’d rather work this way over 12 hours than go to an office. I get more done with a clear head than I’d get done if I were to endure a normal commute-work-lunch-work-commute schedule.

Herself isn’t so lucky. Her busy season is over, so I see her more. But then, she sees my work life and is rightly jealous.

Who wouldn’t be?

I’ve done my time. I’ve had those 15 hour days, running all over hells half acre, making sure my employees were doing what they were supposed to be doing. The job I have now started as a 50% travel gig. I’d leave on Friday, work 7 days, and return the next Friday. It was a super unhealthy lifestyle in more ways than I can count.

But that’s over.

As I write this, the big guy – Jethro, is curled up at his spot at the back door. Jasper is in his spot on the couch, and Aria is laying on the lawn, holding court, waiting for the squirrels and the trashman.

Jethro in his spot
Jasper in his spot

And I’m in the office, working.

(FWIW, I have lax periods as my computers render and process video and web sites. So it’s not all goofing off, it’s multitasking)