Wiley's Wisdom

Joy: From the Ground Up

Battle Baby Bump Royale September 10, 2013

There’s nothing I can do about it. And that’s straight from the mouth of your resident doggie optimist. All I can say is poor dad. There’s nothing he can do about it either, and yet I’d say he’s got it a lot worse than I do. He can’t win either.

Battle baby bump royale has commenced in the Schmidt household. And it isn’t pretty. CORRECTION: the emotions aren’t pretty (that is exactly the kind of comment that would throw dad to the dog house right quick). We all knew it would happen eventually. And at 22 weeks along, I’m honestly kind of surprised it didn’t happen sooner. But now that it’s here? It’s like world war three is happening right there in my mom’s closet.Feeling Thoughtful

Nothing fits right, which is uncomfortable, which causes frustration, which causes tension, which causes friction. It’s the snowball of doom. The next thing you know there are tears involved (and not the joyful kind). It’s a bloody awful thing to witness, mostly because I know dad and I both favor the popular opinion that pregnant women and their baby bumps are to be embraced. Not sucked, tucked, and squeezed into all sorts of uncomfortable looking elastic contraptions.

This all came to the surface a few days ago when mom couldn’t figure out what to wear for a Friday night on the town. Like most women (sorry ladies, you know it’s true), it’s not unusual for her to spend a great deal of time picking out the perfect outfit. But I’ve noticed a trend lately that this not only takes longer, but it never seems to end well.

Except for the other night. Sure, it took the usual turn for the worse when mom threw aside the sixth outfit in disgust. But dad handled it like a champ. They left home for a while, and when they returned spirits were lifted and all seemed well again. They came home with a few bags filled with delicious smelling clothes I couldn’t wait to get my paws on.

It didn’t take much. Mom hardly has a whole new wardrobe. But it didn’t take me long to figure out it’s not about the clothes. Or the bags they come in. It’s about the patience. The unconditional love. The excitement of things being restored. I don’t know what dad said to mom on their car ride (since they ditched me at home) but whatever it was sure did the trick. There’s no winning for dad and I in this particular chapter of life. (It’s best for us to just keep our distance from the war zone). But there is peace in believing the words of Saint Augustine. “Patience is the companion of wisdom.”

 

It’s That Time Again August 9, 2013

Hot dogs. You’d think as a dog I would love them. You’d think as a lover of all things people food and meat related it would be one of my most favorite things. You’d be wrong.

I was reminded of it today while I kept mom company at the grill. I was in a very happy place and lost myself in the moment as I deeply inhaled the fabulous smell of people food cooking on the grill. She was grilling steak, chicken, corn and potatoes, but she wasn’t the only one grilling in our neighborhood. Somewhere nearby I smelled them. Hot dogs.

That’s when it happened. I closed my eyes and I saw him. The man with the leather belt. I flashed back to his idea of an ideal Friday night in. I’ll never forget how he would completely ignore his daughter Jo (my person at the time, and one of my most favorite little people ever). He would make a whole package of hot dogs for dinner and eat the majority of them while drinking a six-pack of beer and watching baseball on the television in the living room. I would keep poor Jo company, since he wanted nothing to do with her during his manly time.

I’ve never cared much for baseball. I’ve been known to bark at the television when people swing the bats (which is unusual for my typically silent self). I’ve even barked at dad when he practices with his bat in the backyard. I don’t like baseball bats, and I don’t like baseball. And I have my reasons.

But I kind of love American football. More specifically, I love Green Bay Packers football. Not particularly because I like watching it on the television, but because of everything it involves in my forever family. That’s why mom was grilling all of that delicious food (which you’ll note did not include hot dogs). She was going overboard, as dad says she always does, to prepare for a big night of Packer football. (Which I noted was incredibly unusual since it’s a Friday night rather than a Sunday. But I’m not complaining).

The thing I love most about it is it wasn’t that big a night to be fussing about. It is the first pre-season game. My man Aaron Rodgers only played for one drive for crying out loud. But it didn’t matter. We all got gussied up in our Packer jerseys, I got a couple samples of mom’s steak, and we watched the game together as a family. Go Pack Go!

I think that’s why I love football so much. It brings the people I love together (plus I get yummy treats). There’s so much joy in our home during those three hours. And, in case you’re curious, we lost. 17-0. It was kind of brutal. But that didn’t scare the joy away.

 

The Company We Keep July 5, 2013

Advertising works. I’ve seen it happen in forever home enough to know it to be true. That latest miracle face cream appearing in the bathroom a few days after the commercial. The occasional trip for ice cream after a tempting tease between classic “Friends” episodes. Even that new kind of dog food that (definitely doesn’t taste as good but) is supposed to be better for me.

This came to my mind as I made the best of my people deciding to watch entirely too much television when they got home from that place called work today. Here it is, a gorgeous afternoon and evening, squandered away with mindless chatter. We could have gone for a walk, or to the dog park, or on a car ride! But as I’m in the habit of finding the silver lining in things, I pawed my way into the perfect cuddle spot between my two favorite people and joined in the (albeit incredibly boring) family activity.

Watching TVCommercials always have a way of catching my attention (usually because of the animal activity) and tonight I got to thinking about one particular type of commercial that used to be a head-scratcher to me. The dating sites. We all know them. E-Harmony, Match.com, OurTime.com, and ChristianMingle.com are among the first to come to mind (see what I mean about advertising working?). I used to see those commercials and (somewhat mockingly) dream up my own personal ads.

SCM (single canine male), 5 people years, 24 inches, 22 pounds, with floofy tail and point ears seeks a friend for the end of the world. (Nope, sounds too desperate). SCM, 35 doggie years, 24 inches, 22 pounds, with a heart of gold and lots of joy to share seeks a female canine to spoil with love. (Too cheesy?) SCM, mysterious, seeks someone to enjoy the journey with as much as the destination. (I kind of like this one).I'm a Half Full Doggie

All joking aside, I didn’t believe in this cyber-dating concept until recently when I found a new home in the blogosphere. We are family here, friends joining together from all over the world to comment on life’s refreshing moments of silliness and embrace each other in moments of struggle. It reminds me of one of the first moments I found myself just outside my mother’s protective cuddle zone when I was a puppy.

At first I was all alone in the tremendously bright sun feeling miles away from my mom and brothers who had all been cuddled so closely together for what felt like forever. (It was really only the first few days of my life, but time has a way of dragging when all you can do is sleep, eat, and sleep some more). In reality, I only felt far away from my family because of the closeness we had previously shared. Then I remembered I was there, out in the open, with my brothers and mom by my side. Suddenly it wasn’t so scary anymore. I didn’t know it then, but the company I kept in those terrifying moments made them worth living.

“Sometimes the most ordinary things could be made extraordinary simply by doing them with the right people,” suggested American actress Elizabeth Green. Advertising has a way of making even the least desirable things seem necessary. But when the rubber meets the road, we don’t need the miracle moisturizer, ice cream cone or even the fancy designer dog food (that tastes like cardboard). We need people in our life to share moments with, even if it means cuddling together in front of the TV instead of enjoying the great outdoors. From our everyday people to the family we create on the world wide web, the company we keep make moments worth living.