Charbie the Wander Dog

I don’t have much experience with dogs.

I do know this, though. Charbie is insane. Completely. Insane.

Never in my life have I met such a character. This dog snuffles everything. Grass. Dirt. Rocks. Shoes. He snuffles the cat constantly. He eats cat food and cat treats and cat toys. And sometimes even the cat. He loves Remington so much that as soon as he is done snuffling him, he love-nibbles up and down his back. He follows this up with some more snuffling, just for good measure. (Don’t tell Remi that I told you this, but I think he secretly enjoys it. I have watched that cat sneak up onto the couch and slide under Charbie’s chin so he could lay with him. Remington knows perfectly well that nothing, and I mean NOTHING, lies beside Charbie without being snuffled. And if the snuffling involves Remi, then nibbles are sure to follow.)

He is also a hoarder. I think he has close to a dozen tennis balls by now. He started out with a couple, and now he snags every one he can find. Even those that were intended for, oh, I don’t know, tennis. I am pretty sure that he counts his stash throughout the day to ensure that nobody is stealing his balls. He then throws said balls around the house and chases them. I often catch him batting one around while another is still in his mouth. He also enjoys dissecting stuffies.

I pick up his toys and he immediately pulls them all back out again. I wash the windows and he follows behind me smearing his nose all over them. (And yes, I am pretty sure he does this on purpose.) I stand up from the couch and he steals my warm spot before I have a chance to sit back down again. His latest accomplishment is photo-bombing. The dog should seriously receive an award for his skills.

DSC_1032 Charbie

Our little photo-bomber. Yes, he is part cow. Grazing is one of his favorite past times.

Most mornings he wakes me up by trying to push one of his toys into my hand. Or shoving his face under my hand so that I will pet him. Or dropping his chew bone on the floor. (Over and over and over again.) Or stepping on my bladder or chewing on his toenails or playing tag with Remington P. Cat. My favorite part of the morning is making the bed because I never know what is going to fall out of it. I usually find a ball or two, a squeaky pig, a kong and a slobbery tuggy. All failed attempts at waking me up.

He seems to think that he is the coolest thing since shirt pockets and that everyone in the world wants to be his friend.

And he would be right.

I have a confession to make: Remington P. Cat is not the only one who enjoys Charbie’s love-nibbles. He is so sweet and dainty about it and while he is showering me with unmistakable affection, he is looking up at me with those big brown eyes that just melt my heart. There is absolutely no doubt about it. I am in love with this little dog.

I don’t have much experience with dogs.

I do know this, though. Charbie is perfect. Absolutely. Perfect.

(And, yes, completely insane…)

Happy Halloween!!

Themes are always fun on Halloween, and this year was no exception. In celebration of the 75th Anniversary of The Wizard of Oz, the kids decided to go as characters from the story. Charlie B. even joined in the fun and posed as Toto. Rob took the kids over to the University for treats and games, but with severe weather in the area, the city decided the safest thing to do was postpone trick-or-treating until Saturday night, which worked out well for the kids because they were able to head out for treats twice. Unfortunately, I had to work both nights so I missed all the fun, but the kids shared some chocolate with me. 🙂

DSC_1006 halloween

Catching Up

I had forgotten just how hectic this time of year is for us. It is great being back in Kentucky and we enjoy being back to work at Amazon, but between work and school and trying to get a little sleep from time to time, there is not a whole lot of time for anything else.

Things are in full swing, though. Rob is on his last work-hardening week and then he is on full 10-hour shifts, as I have been for the last couple of weeks. We are both picking, meaning we are getting a lot of exercise walking around the huge facility every night, picking items people have purchased. Last year we both left here a few pounds lighter, so we will have to see how that goes this year.

Back on the 13th of October, I ran my first official half-marathon in Midway, Kentucky. It was such a wonderful experience running the rolling hills of Kentucky horse country. Horses were running the fence lines with us and were just amazing to watch. After not running more than twice since my marathon three weeks prior, I wasn’t sure how it would go, but I was able to run the whole way and finished in 2:18:55. I even met Jeff Galloway! I followed his training plans for my marathon and it was neat being able to meet the person who made it possible.

DSC_0947 half

We have gone fishing a couple of times. It is nice to be able to relax a little bit while the kids explore. The fish in the area are new to Rob, so he is still learning how to catch them. He can catch trout like a master, but the bass and catfish and crappie are a little different. He did catch his first Kentucky fish, but it was so small that he wasn’t too excited about a picture with it. Notice his “Please just take the darned picture so I can throw the darned fish back in the darned lake,” look. It still surprises me that he keeps me around…

DSC_0894 fishin'

I have already made reservations at an RV park down in Florida, so at least we know where we are going from here. Now we must make it through Peak season at Amazon while keeping up on the kids’ schooling. But today is already the 23rd, so we only have two more months here, and if it is anything like last year, it will fly by.

 

Where is my family?!

Rob and I don’t tend to spend time apart, so when we do, it is quite an adjustment. Our original plan was for all of us to travel from Pennsylvania to Chicago, and then down to Kentucky for our new season at Amazon. SInce Rob’s job was extended (yea!), I had to go to Chicago by myself, and then continue on to Kentucky since I already had a planned start-date. William had the choice of whether or not to accompany me, and he chose to come, so we have  enjoyed some quality time together. The twinnies stayed with Rob, since he works right by our summer RV pad.

William and I have been tent camping in Kentucky, anxiously awaiting the arrival of the rest of our family. Rob’s last day at his summer job was yesterday, and they were planning on hitting the road today. Nathan called me this afternoon to let me know they were rolling! They are still a couple of days out, but it is so nice to know that they are on their way. By the time they arrive, it will have been almost two weeks since we parted. Too long, if you ask me.

Tent camping has been an adventure, though. The RV park we are it is located right across the street from Amazon, so all the RV’s here, close to 100 already, are part of the CamperForce program. People from all walks of life come here for the peak season, so there are fancy motorhomes and more simple travel trailers, big 5th wheels and truck campers. We, however, are the only tent. I have heard everything from “So you are the ones in the tent,” to “I told someone I thought the gal in the tent was blonde.” There was even a “You’re in a tent, is everything alright?” I think there is a mix of concern and the desire to gossip, and perhaps a lack of other conversation topics.  

We have been doing great, though. The weather has been amazing, William has been even more so and besides the fact that my bones are aching for my own bed, we have been very comfortable. I have rather enjoyed the time William and I have been able to spend together, and I know Rob can say the same thing about the twinnies. We don’t get this opportunity… well, ever. 

That being said, however, I miss the other 3/5 of my family, Charbie, Remington P, Wiggy Wabbit, Flash the turtle, sleeping on something other than a bed of rocks and a bathroom that doesn’t require a walk up a hill in the middle of the night.  

One thing this wonderous lifestyle has taught us is that you have to be able to go with the flow. Things change, they rarely go as we plan, but somehow they always work out, and we are usually stronger because of it. In a couple of days I will embrace my entire family once again, and the mere thought of the reunion makes my heart want to burst.

Fox Valley Marathon

Well, I did it. I am officially a marathoner! I could not have asked for a more amazing experience.

The weather was absolutely perfect, cool enough for a sweatshirt in the morning, but warm enough to take it off before the race even started. It warmed up as the day went on, but not too much. The course was a little crowded in the beginning, but eventually the half-marathon and marathon routes split, so it was not too crowded at all on the trails.  

The crowd along the course was spectacular, cheering for everyone as they ran by. Their signs were great. Even the chalk writings on the sidewalk were fun to read. There was everything from “You Rock, Runner!!” to “Don’t Stop Now!”, followed almost immediately by “That’s what she said!” My favorite signs were “Run faster… I just farted!” and “Marathon runners never die, they just smell like it!”

The course, as promised, was relatively flat, scenic and shady. I took pictures along the way, determined to remember as much about this day as possible. 

I didn’t really have a time goal in mind, but I knew what I could expect to finish in. 5 hours was realistic, so I lined up behind the 4:45 goal pacer. Eventually, though, I lost contact with the pacer and was running my own race. I had read too many stories about people who forgot to enjoy the experience because they were so focused on time, and I was not going to allow myself to be in that group. Especially not in my first marathon. So, I just ran. And looked around. Read signs. Took pictures. And I loved it. Every. Single. Minute. Of course, I would be lying if I said I wasn’t envious of the half-marathoners at the 13.1 mile mark…

In the end, it took me 5 hours, 8 minutes and 50 seconds to cross the finish line. I wasn’t fast at all, but I finished. And, since this was my first official marathon, I set a Personal Best. How could I possibly complain about that?