i’m mad as hell


Holy Mary mother of God, I have more work than I know what to do with.  I guess I should feel thankful, but I just feel overwhelmed.

I wanted to share with y’all something that happened to me… I am extremely pissed off but I feel powerless to do anything about it at this point except inform others.

Now, back to reading, taking notes, coordinating weddings, scheduling cooking classes, applying for the Master’s program, doing laundry, cooking, ironing, walking and feeding two dogs…

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I took Morena for a walk (on lead, ha ha), and as we rounded the final corner towards Mr. T’s complex, I saw a guy in an old green Honda Civic.  He looked familiar, and as I approached the car I realized that IT WAS MY EX-HUSBAND

(Pause for collective gasp)

FORTUNATELY (Thank you GOD), he was looking down at some CDs that he was shuffling on his lap, and he didn’t see me as I walked by (strange, because I was wearing a bright orange shirt).  I was 90% certain it was him at that point, so I sped up and turned the corner into the driveway that leads to Mr. T’s building.

Crouching behind some bushes (damn bright orange shirt!), I watched as he got out of his car and took some items out of the trunk.  IT WAS HIM!!  At this point, I was certain.  There was no mistaking his thick legs, untucked over-sized polo shirt, bald head, and 1980’s Ray Ban sunglasses.

My heart pounding, I watched as he returned to the car two more times to retrieve items.  Each time, he disappeared from view as he headed towards the home he was visiting (or living in?  GAWD!).  I couldn’t see which condo he was going into, because it was located on a driveway that runs parallel to Mr. T’s.

I waited a few more minutes, but he failed to come out again, so I ran to Mr. T’s house and locked myself inside.

This is the second sighting of the ex in as many months, after eight months of blissfully ignoring to where he’d vanished.  Last month, he suddenly appeared (not as a guest, but as an onlooker) at a 320-person wedding I was coordinating for the daughter of a local politician.   Now, he shows up just one driveway away from where I will very soon be living full-time.

I’m trying to rebuild my life… Is it too much to ask that he do the same while keeping a reasonable distance from me?  Is this all just a coincidence, or is something strange going on?

I hesitate to tell Mr. T.  I’m afraid he’ll think I’m more trouble than I’m worth… First an undisciplined dog, now a lurking ex-husband.  What next?  A mother who comes to live with us?

UPDATE: I wrote the original text Sunday at around noon. It’s Monday, 24 hours later, and his car is still there. GAWD!!!!

If you have a baby, or know someone who has/is about to have one, please share this information with them. There are many more links online, but this interview is short and to the point. The only thing I would add is that Thimerosal is STILL being used in vaccines today. One in 166 babies born in the U.S. develops autism. Don’t let your child, or a child you know, be a statistic.

Mr. T’s home is at the tail end of a row of horizontal condominium-type townhouses, snuggled within a housing complex.  The Homeowners’ Association rules state that dogs cannot be outside the house if not leashed.  Fair enough.

For the entire time he has been living there (nine years), Mr. T has blatantly ignored this rule.  When he moved in, he had a Sheltie named Morticia.  Although I never met her, I’ve heard that this wonder dog put Lassie to shame.  She was brilliant, well-mannered, loved cats, and responded unfailingly to Mr. T’s commands.  Because she was such a good dog, he would walk her around the complex without a leash, and nobody would complain (not even Crazy Cat Spinster).

Morticia died two years ago, just before I met Mr. T.  At the beginning of our relationship I introduced him to Morena, my wild child Terrier mix from the streets of Mexico, and she seemed to lift his spirits with her spunky personality and crazy quirks.

Morena is far from being the perfect dog: she loves to chase cats, she’s territorial (a defense mechanism from her days as a stray), and she barks at big dogs (wouldn’t you, if you were all of 15 lbs. and had been terrorized as a puppy?).  However, she’s also extremely loyal, unfailingly comes when I call her, can walk down busy streets off lead and stops at each intersection, and she can brighten anyone’s day when she grins or snorts (yes, she grins and snorts when she’s happy).

A few months ago, Checkers came on the scene.  Mr. T’s new puppy is a lovely mini Aussie, expensively carefully bred to have a mild-mannered disposition and a high level of intelligence.  Our two dogs took to each other, and at first Mr. T was happy that Checkers had a “big sister” to play with.

However, as dogs are prone to doing, Checkers started imitating some of Morena’s bad behaviors – mainly that of barking at other dogs when they approach.  We have tried to discourage this behavior in both dogs, but we seem to be at a loss for an effective solution.  I can tell that Mr. T is not thrilled with his dog’s new habit, and he blames Morena for setting a bad example.

As if this situation weren’t stressing the relationship enough (because the man can be quite neurotic about his dog), a few days ago Mr. T left the front door of the house open when I wasn’t around, and Morena ran out.  She smelled cat and instinctively chased Crazy Cat Spinster’s feline up the steps to the neighbor’s porch.  Crazy Cat Spinster threatened to lodge a complaint, and this morning Mr. T received a formal notice stating that if either of our dogs were caught off lead, we would be fined.

I apologized to Mr. T for my dog’s behavior and assured him that I would be careful to have her on lead when we were outside.  What the hell more am I supposed to do??

However, methinks my man has taken the drama a bit too far…

“I almost never had Morticia on lead,” he wrote in an e-mail (because apparently he was too chicken to call me and discuss this).  “Yet she was attentive to my verbal command at nearly all times.  She was trained quite persistently by me from an early age to not bark or show any sort of aggression towards other pets or children at any time.  [Even the neighbor didn’t have a problem with Morticia, who was always offlead at home.]  I have been working hard to train Checkers in a similar manner.”

He continued, “Morena has just been trained very differently.  She has been allowed to have a sense of ‘her territory’ that she is allowed to ‘defend’, and you condone and praise her somewhat aggressive actions at times, when it is justified from your more complex human perspective (for instance, if you, but perhaps not others, understand that she has no real aggressive intent beyond making noise).”

Because, of course, it’s really easy to make a street mutt understand that she no longer has to patrol her territory.  And have her comprehend that barking at 100 lb. Golden Retrievers is not kosher in the rich kids’ neighborhood.  And where does he get off saying that I “condone and praise” her actions???  Since when is a yank on her leash and a sharp “No!” followed by “Sit!” considered “condoning and praising”???

You know what REALLY irks me?  The fact that it was me… ME… who house-broke Checkers, because she was peeing all over the house and Mr. T didn’t seem overly concerned with her behavior.   He never even thanked me.

And something else.  I’m sure if you were to ask Checkers and Morena whether their lives are ruined because they now have to pee while attached to a leash, their response would be, “Leash?  Leash means walk!  Walk, I wanna go for a walk! Waaaaaaaaaaalk!!”  What it boils down to is that he’s projecting onto his dog his feelings of frustration and castration of freedom.

Ladies and gentlemen of the jury, is this a case of “Dog snob who can afford to pay $1,000 for a perfect dog and looks down his nose at the less fortunate creatures of the world” vs. “Humanitarian girl who is doing her best with the crazy mutt she rescued from the streets of Mexico”???

I’ll leave you with Mr. T’s final words: “The priviledges of both Morena and Checkers to walk, pee, and play ball outside my condo offlead are now revoked.  I just want you to understand how we got to this point, and for you to appreciate why it is important for both of us to train Checkers persistently in a very different manner than Morena was trained in terms of the permissibility of aggressive behavior.”

*sigh*  I need a beer.