Saturday, December 18, 2010

The Christmas Dog

Thought I would repost this holiday blog for all my fellow dog loving friends.  Don't forget all the abandoned dogs (and cats) that need a home for Christmas.

Two days before Christmas of last year I received a call from my friend, fellow realtor and neighbor, Kelly, asking for my help.  Kelly had sold one of her listings and the sellers had moved away.  Earlier that day, she had been at the now vacant house overseeing some repair work that the buyers required before closing, only to discover that the sellers had moved away and abandoned their dog.  After trying, without success, to convince one of the workers to take the dog home, she loaded up the orphan and took him home with her.  Now Kelly and her husband already had 2 dogs and 2 cats at home, so I chided her about bringing in another dog, but she is way too tenderhearted when it comes to rescuing animals (Her husband, a pilot, even volunteers to fly rescue dogs across the country to their new homes!).  The problem was, Kelly and her husband were driving up to Oklahoma on Christmas Eve to spend Christmas with family, and although they were taking their two dogs, Chewy and Rufus (cute, cute, cute Brussels Griffons, you know the "As Good As It Gets" dog that stole Jack Nicholson's heart) with them, there was no way they could risk taking a strange dog as well.  She asked if I would check on the dog and feed him for the 3 days they would be gone.  I said sure and went over to her house to meet the dog before they left town.

Upon arriving at Kelly's house I was greeted by a friendly, black and white, mix breed of a "yard dog" if there ever was one!  He was obviously a good dog, but pretty skinny and so dirty his white fur was a dull gray color, and he was a little all over the place, the way dogs in a new enviornment are.  Not knowing what his original name was, they had decided to call him Dexter, because, well, he looked like a Dexter.  Kelly assured me he would be fine staying in the backyard until they returned and showed me where she kept the dog food.  The next day, Christmas Eve, Kelly and her husband, Garrad, took off for Oklahoma.  I wasn't due to check in on Mr. Dexter until the next morning.

In the middle of the night, I was awakened by the noise of howling wind and rain outside.  A big old cold front had blown into San Antonio and temperatures had dropped down into the 30's.  I couldn't sleep another wink the rest of the night, worried about poor Dexter stuck out in the cold and wet.  Even though I knew Kelly had prepared a dog house for him to sleep in, I couldn't wait for the sun to come up so I could rush right over there.  When I got to the house,  I ran to the back door calling and calling for Dexter.  I didn't see him anywhere and the dog house, which I was glad to see was nice and dry inside, was empty.  Oh crap!  I just knew that storm had spooked poor Dexter to jump the fence and I had lost him!  Then, thank God, he suddenly came running around the corner of the house...tail wagging and clearly none the worse for wear.  I didn't care how dirty or flea covered that dog was, I hugged and kissed him like a long lost brother!  Well, suffice it to say, Dexter and I made it through Christmas.  When Kelly and Garrad came home they made Dexter a permanent member of the family.

Well, just a few days ago, Kelly called to ask if I could watch the dogs and the cat for a few days while she and Garrad went down to Mexico on a family holiday trip.  I was happy to help and I even drove them to the airport yesterday morning.  Yesterday afternoon, around 4:30, I jumped in the car and scooted over to their house to feed the animals and spend a little time with them.  When I walked in the door, Chewy and Rufus, barked and barked then, looking past me to the door, seemed a little let down that Kelly and Garrad were not right behind me.  Frankie, the cat, wandered into the room, also a little let down that it was just me.  Then Dexter came bounding in, tail wagging and pushing his head up under my hand as if to say "Why Hello my old friend".  I couldn't help think about the Dexter of just one year ago...this dog's coat was clean and soft, fresh from the groomer, he was practically shiny and, well, a bit fat!  In fact, I think we both had put on a few pounds since last year.  When I had sufficiently scratched him behind the ears he turned and streaked back through the dog door (take a note Dixie, if you're reading this) to run circles in HIS backyard.  I hung out for about an hour and half, tossing toys to the Brussels and petting the cat, with Dexter running in and out to check on me.  Once everyone settled down, I washed my dish (thanks for the great tamales, Kelly), turned out the lights I had turned on, and counted furry heads to make sure everyone was accounted for.  Chewy and Rufus were snuggled together on one end of the sofa, the cat was perched on the back of the sofa at the other end, but I didn't see Dexter.  I walked back to the master bedroom and there I found him, curled up asleep, smack in the middle of Kelly's king-size bed, snoring the way only fat, happy dogs can.  I tell you it was a picture that could knock the Bah right out of your Humbug.  I didn't move past the door, I just whispered, "Good night Christmas Dog", and mosied on home.

Happy Holidays, Ya'll!

Post Script.  Dexter is still "living the life" with Kelly and Garrad.

Wednesday, December 15, 2010

Life in Dixieland

Dear Hearts, I have completely lost control of my house (and most of my life) to an 8 lb, four-legged tyrant named Dixie!  With winter around the corner, I finally got off my duff and installed a little doggie door for my yorkie, so I could avoid leaving the back door open or getting up and down every time she wants to go outside.  Now, little Miss Dixie had a dog door the first two years of her life that she navigated beautifully.  She has gone without her own door for the past 4 years, until a few days ago when her loving mommie risked life and limb to cut a hole in the back door!

I trained Dixie to use her first door in about 2 minutes....a couple of passes back and forth with a treat on each side and success.  This time around Miss Thang has, apparently, figured out how to train me!  For the last several days she has stood on either side of the door, refusing to pass through without a treat.  Even if I just give up and open the door she will not come in or out unless I produce a treat.  I was really beating myself up thinking the door was too small, or too high, or I'm not patient enough....yea, that was until yesterday when a squirrel appeared in the backyard and Miss Thang was through that door in a shot!  3 points...nothing but net!!  Cool, right?  Wrong.  Today we're back to staring at the door like it's some kind of torture chamber she could not possibly pass through without the proper coersion.  Oh, it's on!  Like Donkey Kong!  But, not just yet, because I just ran out of treats...

Happy Holidays, Ya'll!

Friday, December 10, 2010

My Pick for This Season's Best Gift

Of course, it's the Amazon Kindle!  I love books.  I love receiving books, and I love giving books to all those bookworms among my family and friends (and there are quite a few).  But, as an organizer the Kindle warms the cockles of my old librarian heart.  When I think of all those cartons of books we lug around, dust covered bookshelves in our homes, stacks of books on our bedside table, etc., etc., I could just scream!  So this amazing wireless reader, which holds 3,500 books, weighs less than a paperback, downloads books in seconds at a cost of around $10.00 per book is a great way for book lovers to begin living a less cluttered existence.

 OK, OK, don't get your knickers in a bunch!  I am not suggesting you should put your treasured book collection in the recycle bin.  But, I do have some suggestions for paring down that collection to something more manageable and meaningful.

To begin with, I keep art books and coffee table books on subjects I am interested in.  These books make beautiful accessories around the home and I love to look through them again and again.  I also keep any books that were signed by the author or contain sentimentally significant written messages from the person who gifted me the book.  And, lastly I keep any "collectible" books like first editions, limited editions or antique volumes.

All others I donate to libraries, hospitals, senior living facilities...whoever needs them.  You can donate your magazines as well...I for one, love a good magazine, but if there is an article that I really want to hang on to I tear it out and file it, and recycle the rest of the magazine.  You can also download your favorite magazines and newspapers on the Kindle as well....can I get an Amen?!

Now, am I going to stop hanging out in Barnes & Noble on Sunday afternoons?  No way.  Will I stop buying hardbound books all together?  Definitely, not.  But, as an avid reader I would love to find the Kindle in my stocking!

If any of my readers have more good ideas about what to do with used books I would appreciate your comments.

Happy Organizing

Wednesday, December 8, 2010

I'm Published!

I recently received an invitation from to submit articles as a "Real Estate Examiner" for San Antonio.  Today I published my first article, "12 Reasons to List Your Home During the Holidays".  You can go to and check it out!  I am really excited by this opportunity and look foward to contributing many more articles about buying, selling and staging residential real estate.  And, to think it all started with this little blog.

Happy Organizing

Monday, December 6, 2010

It's Here!!

The amazing Julie Neill, Elizabeth chandelier that I won in the Cote de Texas giveaway has arrived!!  My beautiful niece, who coincidentally is also named Elizabeth, was on hand to join me in opening the package and we were both mesmerized by the contents.  We just stood there in the middle of my garage, peering into the box as if it were a meteorite from outer space that landed in my garage and cracked open to reveal a baby Superman inside.

Elizabeth meet Elizabeth

My darling niece had come over to help me install a doggie door and go onto my laptop computer to show me a picture of the engagement ring she and her fiance had picked out.  This was a bonus day for a doting aunt, dear hearts.  If, like me, you don't have children of your own, take my advice and invest heavily in a niece or nephew.  I have shamelessly done whatever I could to buy Elizabeth's affection over the years and, in return, she has been the light of my life.  So, it's no wonder, after opening that big box in my garage she just had to give it a shot...  Wedding gift?  Not a chance.  Inheritance?  Absolutely.

Happy Organizing