Meera and the disappearing fluff balls

The Mister and I woke up yesterday morning to a scene most of you have seen at your own houses – a world covered in glittering fairy dust (aka – the snow that’s keeping us all out of school this week). I had actually seen it at 3:15 a.m. – and again at 5:30 a.m. – because Meera was sick all night and wouldn’t let us get any sleep. The first time I took her outside, the snow was so bright I didn’t need a flashlight. She plowed right in, hardly seeming to take notice except to look around in confusion because she couldn’t find the grass. That expedition was a potty-break failure. The second trip out worked though, because she was at the point that she didn’t care where the grass had gone, she had to go and she was going to go wherever she wanted.

After that she slept. Finally. And we slept. Sort of.

Good thing we didn’t have class or work yesterday because neither one of us would have been able to stay awake to write full sentences. Meera was very quiet and slept most of the day – she was as exhausted as we were – but we woke her up around lunchtime to see what she would do when confronted with a white-washed world in the daytime.

Now remember, she was born and spent the first year and a half of her life on a Caribbean island. She’d never experienced cold until we came home and the seasons started to change. We live in Tennessee, so she’d certainly never seen snow beyond a few flurry flakes. We expected her to be hesitant, or to flat-out refuse to leave the stairwell.

We did not expect her to dash out the door, snow flying, skidding on the ice, sticking her head into the drifts and completely, totally loving every second of it.

But that’s what she did. She dug into drifts and was delighted to find grass at the bottom! She chased her ball and dug it out when we covered it up. And, it seems mean, but she LOVED when we would get great armfuls of powdered snow and dump them on top of her! She wanted to be covered in it, and then shake it off in a cloud of powder. She wanted to jump and leap and catch it all and eat huge mouthfuls off the sidewalk. She would get up to top speed on the smooth part and then stop suddenly – I think purely for the purpose of sliding and sending up sprays of snow. Just like a child! It was so much fun to watch her experience this new thing.

Her favorite trick though was Daddy’s amazing ability to create white balls with his hands and then throw them — AND THEY DISAPPEARED!! Rather than getting frustrated when she couldn’t find the snowball, she would run back to us at full speed and jump around until we threw another for her to chase. I’ve included some short video clips below.

It’s the little things in life. ūüôā

How is your snow week going? Are you off work? Have you tried to drive? Let us know what it looks like in your area.

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I will never escape them.

So we’re back from our state circuit tour and are glad to have a vacation from our vacation. We loved being off work and getting to see everyone, but bouncing around like ping pong balls for ten days will really take the energy out of you.

If only we weren’t so popular. Hmm… ūüôā

During our grand tour my parents thought it would be a demented wonderful idea to buy my husband a giant plastic centipede. Yes, a centipede. Complete with fangs and stingers and jiggly little legs.

Remember these little nightmares? Yeah. I've been trying not to.

Remember these? Yeah. I’ve been trying not to.

Some of you may have been around for my post on these little nightmares, but just in case you weren’t, here are some pleasant facts about Satan’s many-legged minions:

  • They are FAST! Wickedly, otherworldly fast.
  • They have long fangs that leave puncture marks like a snake.
  • They are nocturnal.
  • They eat anything and everything. Including bats and snakes. And probably people, if they can catch you. Which they can.
  • They come originally from Africa, but are also abundant in the Caribbean, where they strike fear into the hearts of all but the hardiest of visitors.
  • They are very hard to kill. The best method is to cut them into pieces, but then even those pieces will run around and try to bite you (and they can).

So. Yes. Quite adorable.

And after traveling thousands of miles by plane to escape them, I now have one IN MY HOUSE! Thanks Mom. And Dad. Thanks so much.

Here is Meera, doing what sane creatures do when they find centipedes — try to kill them.

Meera chases down a giant centipede.

The Dynamics of Dog-dom

The Chesnut dog kingdom is an evolving society, played out on a complicated four-legged stage, largely for the amusement of the two-legged audience. Let’s introduce the players:

Rosie – The oldest member of the yard at eight years of age, Rosie¬†is the queen-bee of this society. She knows all the procedures, expects the best of all her humans and does not do anything she doesn’t want to do. She has been known to look down her nose (which is difficult, considering her sheltie head¬†is only about two feet off the ground) at newcomers and still considers herself to be above her¬†boy’s wife (me) in the pecking order. She is dainty and regal and carries herself with an air of authority. Rosie’s primary role in the yard is to patrol for cats and bark at her humans’ cars as they leave. She is the brains of most operations.

Lexie – Lexie is technically the “middle child,” although she is by far the smallest of the lot. This tiny sheltie is about five years old and easily frightened because of her small size. She has as much hair as she does actual body mass and is the primary look-out for the return of the humans’ cars, emitting a squeaky bark to alert Rosie when the people have returned. While never the primary aggressor when cats and other intruders approach, she will run after Rosie and defend her back from 10-15 feet away as a show of support.¬†Lexie is a known thief and her favorite activity is to sneak into closets and bathrooms and steal anything that smells good and hide it around the house.

Meera – Meera is the youngest of the yard at less than two years old, but is the largest and fastest of the group. She is the primary muscle of most activities, using her loud, echoing bark to threaten intruders and birds and surprising them with her incredible speed. She is also the one who creates the most trouble and has made the dainty shelties hear the dreaded word “NO” more times in the past month than they’ve heard in their entire lives. She is not incredibly smart, and the shelties have learned to use this to their advantage.

For example: Meera has a perfectly good doghouse and I’ve seen her go into it – so I know that she knows that it’s there – but she can’t seem to figure out under what circumstances she should use the doghouse (like when it’s raining). [Side note: This gives a whole new clarity to the phrase “doesn’t have the sense God gave a goat,” because the goats next door go into the barn when they are cold and wet, while our dog ignores her dry doghouse and sits in the rain instead.] We had hoped she would eventually get tired of being wet and follow the shelties’ example, but instead the plan has somewhat backfired. Instead of Meera learning to sleep in her doghouse, the shelties have learned that if they DON’T sleep in their doghouses (and instead sit by the back door with Meera and be cold and wet and miserable) we will eventually have pity on the stupid one and bring her inside… thereby giving the shelties a free pass into the big house as well.

Oh how they know us.

Meera has also developed the bad habit of pulling over Lexie’s food barrel and eating to her heart’s content. We fixed the stealing problem with a heavy-duty bungee cord, so now instead of eating the food she drags the can across the yard and chews on the lid in frustration. (She’s not hungry. We feed her well. She’s just bored.) This morning we had to have a come-to-Jesus meeting about that. And wouldn’t you know that not FIVE MINUTES after I came back inside, I looked out the window and saw her pull the thing over again. We had to have another talk about her attitude. And she KNOWS that’s why I’m mad at her! Because she jumps around all happy to see me and then the closer I walk to the barrel the lower she slinks to the ground. She knows!! People who tell me she doesn’t know what she’s doing and doesn’t know why she’s in trouble are wrong, because she definitely knows that I’m going to be mad about the trash can.

Rosie has also trained Meera to chase the cat from the yard behind us. Meera’s never really had a problem with cats before, but Rosie hates cats and Meera is Rosie’s minion. Generally how it works is that Rosie sees the cat first and sends up the alarm; Meera takes off toward the back fence at rocket speed; Rosie observes from the middle of the yard, where she can help and give directions as necessary; Meera eliminates cat; Meera does victory lap around the yard; Rosie goes triumphantly back to her porch chair and goes back to sleep without having had to do very much work. All hail Queen Rosie.

All the while Lexie is dancing around the perimeter barking encouragements and trying not to get run over by the great gray bullet.

Rosie is too old for rough dog play, and quite frankly is too dainty to play even if she weren’t eight years old. Lexie plays primarily by keep-away, both by taunting Meera to chase her and then running behind furniture and by stealing clothing and keeping it away from its human owner. Meera, on the other hand, wants to tackle and tumble and wrestle and basically roll around in a fur-flying frenzy with anything that moves. So, since her sheltie sisters won’t wrestle with her, she tries her best to play with the goats next door. They are of course separated by a fence, but Meera will run along the fence where the goats are eating and bark at them, puppy butt in the air and tail wagging furiously. The female goats don’t seem to pay her any mind and continue their eating, but Meera and the big billy goat have become strange buddies. The billy will come right up to the fence and allow Meera to stick her head through the gap and smell him right in the face, and he will grunt back at her when she barks. It’s an odd friendship, but they seem to make it work.

Meera went from having a tiny strip of grass that she couldn’t roam without a leash because of the gardeners, to having more than 1/2 an acre of open yard with tons of trees and wood piles to smell and places to dig and birds and cats to chase… and yet her favorite thing to do is climb up on the couch and nap with her legs in the air. Silly dog. I guess you just can’t change the court jester.

Home again, home again, jiggy jig

Acorns are hitting the roof, leaves are turning red and mornings are foggy and chilled. Yup, we’re sure not in St. Kitts anymore!

Meera¬†didn’t travel well at all – the poor thing vomited all over the inside of her kennel and her blankets on the flight to Miami – but has been in good spirits since we took her out of the kennel in Nashville and seems to be adjusting relatively well. Her biggest problem is that she thinks she’s a person and doesn’t think she should have to be outside all day with the dogs, but that’s just something she’ll have to get used to. The shelties (my in-laws’ two dogs) have accepted her pretty well considering she’s a giant, barking heathen compared to their dainty ways. Rosie has started showing Meera where to patrol and what to smell throughout the day to make sure there aren’t any unauthorized intruders in the yard. Meera does not like the horses across the street or the goats in the next yard, but she loves fallen apples and barking at birds on the feeders. At least that’s something.

The Mister and I have been trying to organize what we need from our luggage and store away the things we won’t need for a while. I’m working on applying to a few different jobs and building up inventory for my hopefully-soon-to-exist online store, and the Mister is meeting with various contacts to talk about his potential employment options. Please continue to keep us in mind in the coming months while we’re looking for jobs and, after that, a more permanent housing solution. We are living with my in-laws for the time being but hope to be back out on our own in the not-too-distant future. (Although now that I’ve started cooking several nights a week I’m not sure my mother in law is going to let us leave. Haha!)

If you’d like to see videos of Meera’s antics in America, my youtube channel can be found here:¬†https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCz6lS8QUcNQ3TBrULF3e8OQ

Meera’s Ten Commandments

Ten rules for living in Meera’s house (as declared by the head barker, me, Meera, the most high furball)

1. There will be no dancing, jumping, wiggling, jiggling, excited hand gestures or any other movements that might be misinterpreted as dancing. If such activity occurs, it will be broken up immediately with loud barking that lets everyone in the immediate area know of your transgression.

2. There will be no public displays of affection that are not directed at or do not include me. This includes hugging, kissing, snuggling and hand holding. If such an activity does not include me, I reserve the right to forcibly insert myself into said activity.

3. When swimming in the big water bowl, there should be no jumping, splashing, laughing or horseplay of any kind. If this occurs I will immediately take it as a sign that you are drowning and in need of life-saving assistance and I will leap in after you. Probably half-drowning you in the process anyway.

4. Dinner will be served promptly at whatever time I decide I am hungry.

5. Upon entering the backyard the first order of business is to patrol all five mongoose holes, from left to right, to ensure no breach of the perimeter is in progress. Then the yard and surrounding wall will be checked for birds. After the area is secure, bodily functions may be addressed, but only if there are no interesting branches in the grass to play with first.

6. A visitor’s danger-level is arbitrary, determined solely by me. Your friend with the funny white dog is acceptable, as is the funny white dog. The man who fixes the big water bowl, the man who takes away my poop from the can and the man who cuts the grass are undesirables and will be chased from the premises at every available opportunity. The next door neighbor is ok if she is in the yard, but if she is on her porch I will bark at her. The stranger who came to fix the neighbor’s water, however, is acceptable. He smelled good.

7. One set of scratchies demands another. Beginning the first set obviously means you don’t have anything better to do for the rest of the day and are therefore required to continue the scratchies until your arms fall off.

8. The first order of business when Mommy wakes up in the morning is to open the upstairs porch doors and look for golfers. The second order of business is to climb onto the big bed and stick my nose under Daddy’s arms until he wakes up.

9. The being known as Va-CUUM and I may never be in the same place at the same time. I understand that Mommy likes to have him around several times a week, and because I love Mommy I will allow this. However, I must be given enough notice of his arrival that I can go out onto the porch and watch him from a distance until he goes back into hibernation. Then, and only then, will I come back inside.

10. If Daddy is in the big bed when I go out to patrol the yard and is not in the big bed when I return, this is cause for considerable alarm and I will rush frantically throughout the house until I determine his exact whereabouts, even if he is standing in the strange water hose behind the curtain in the bathroom. Daddy is important and his activities must be monitored at all times for his safety. However, if Mommy and Daddy are in different places, I will go with Mommy. Unless Daddy has food, then that changes things.

Observation of these ten basic commandments will help ensure smooth daily living. Please find “Meera’s Rules for Peaceful Living” at your local library for the other 4,572 miscellaneous ordinances.

Thank you, and you may return to your regularly scheduled activities. (Unless you’re dancing, jumping, hugging, kissing, swimming…….)

Rocks with Legs, and the Ensuing Panic

Matthew had his mid-semester break (aka – one day off every four months) this past Monday and we had a movie and beach day, which explains my absence from the blogosphere. The funniest part of the three-day weekend definitely happened on Friday night at a friend’s house when we introduced Meera to the idea of tortoises.

She obviously thought they were just big rocks in the grass while she played with the other dogs. Even after we pulled them out for a race (yes, fifteen 20-30-somethings sat in the driveway and yelled at their chosen tortoise for half an hour), she was more interested in grabbing the banana we were using as bait than in the abnormally large, spotted rocks sitting nearby. Then they stuck their legs out and started to move, and you could see her whole world turn upside down. Her eyes went wide and she growled and snorted at them, while still straining to get closer and investigate. Every time they inched forward she would jump back in surprise and fear, dancing indecisive circles around them. When the race was over we presented one to her to smell, and she was obviously torn between trying to eat the waving legs and running in fright from the moving, banana-eating rocks. It’s hard to describe in words, but the whole thing was hilarious.

Then last night, she was playing with her egg (a food-dispensing toy) and it rolled over next to the vacuum cleaner. Meera hates the vacuum cleaner; it is the most evil thing in the whole house. So what did she do? She laid down in front of it, like a worshiper bowing to an idol, and whined pitifully until I approached the mighty vacuum cleaner and retrieved it for her. Silly dog. (Although, I have been known to chase her with it while I’m cleaning, so that probably doesn’t help.)

Tell us about a time your dog discovered something new about the world. What was his/her reaction? Did you catch it on tape?

Things Dog Moms Say

I know I’ve discussed this before, but there are a lot of things I say now on a regular basis that I never expected to come out of my mouth. I’d say a majority of those things come about because I am a dog mom. So, in honor of being a dog mom, here is a list of ten things I find myself saying every. single. day.

1. You’ve already pooped and peed, so you don’t actually NEED to go down to the yard. You just WANT to go down and find cat poop. And that’s gross so we’re not gonna do that.
2. What do you want?? USE YOUR WORDS!!!!
3. You’re a whiney pants, that’s what you are.
4. You nap whenever you want throughout the day, so when you want to go to sleep at night why don’t you just go? Why do I have to go to sleep too?
5. Just a minute, Meera. Yes, I know it’s your dinnertime, but you can wait five minutes. FIVE MINUTES, I SAID!!
6. Meera, come here. Come here, Meera. Meera? Meera, come here! COME HERE! Dog, don’t make me come after you!
7. I KNOW you can hear me!
8. You are making me look bad.
9. Ok, you can lay next to me as long as you let me sleep another hour. No, next to me. On this side! Oh alright fine, sit on my legs, just be still.
10. Why do you have to curl up and be sweet on the one tiny space of bed not covered by your dog blanket? Why?