Saturday, July 17, 2010

Paperwork and Dogs

Swan family out for a swim on Haas Lake in Michigan

Hello Dear Miss Mermaid!
I certainly hope you are feeling much better by now.   I read your blog a couple of days ago and noted you had a little despair in your penned voice - something a little unusual for you!   Take Care!
A.F.


Ah yes. A little despair. Usually I keep all those thoughts to myself!  But sometimes they slip out in my writing. I write every day, whether I post or publish it or not. I am juggling several writing projects, stuff you don't see here at all (headed for the next book!) Words don't always just fall on the paper, some days it takes a lot of effort.


Usually anything with despair in it, it tucked away in a file, and never posted, but yes, sometimes (I am so guilty) it creeps into my postings and it should never do that. Negative thinking is bad, positive thinking is good.


Typically I am upbeat and super happy about life.  I KNOW I am so LUCKY to be alive at all. Each day is a wondrous gift and I need to be a lot more thankful for all my blessings. 


There is someone in my life that is a super downer, the happier I am, the more irate they become, and it can make me super cranky at times.  Shame, shame, shame on me!  I have to be more careful and be impervious to their constant negativity. That same person said I wasn't much of a writer, I had only published two books. It was one time when I burst out laughing in their face!  There are thousands of writers out there in the world who would LOVE to have published one or two books. Sure, I would like to have 50 books published like the prolific writers, though some of those engage ghost writers and use formulas for their books. It's their name that sells, even though someone else did the actual writing.   Anyhow, I plan to publish a 3rd book (that I wrote myself *giggle*) and refuse to let that certain person hammer on me anymore. 


So much of my day seems consumed with improving my health, that I wonder WHEN will I get all my work done?  It's never done.  I don't like that...


The paperwork!


What happened to America?  When I left 23 years ago, we were on the cutting edge with computers.  I was a senior partner in an accounting firm. Computers had saved us mountains of paperwork. We were thrilled. Our file cabinets were not expanding at the alarming rate they had been.  No longer was I pushing pen across huge big ledgers, trying to make every little number as neat as possible.


People were no longer tortured by my dyslexic  memos, the computer was letting me correct my errors. 


A few years back,well  a while back, I saw a documentary on a cell phone test in Finland. Folks there were using their cell phone like an electronic wallet. They could point at vending machines with the phone, and pay for purchases without having a pocketful of coins or bills or bank cards. When they went shopping, not only could they pay for their purchases with their electronic wallet stored in their cell phone, but they could retrieve the receipts and store those in their cell phone and transfer later to their computer.  A near paperless world. It seemed like heaven to me. 


I truly thought we were going 90% paperless in this world and entire rain forests would be saved.


How WRONG I was.


Shopping now for a $5 item results in a paper receipt 14 inches long with all sorts of advertising and disclaimers and store policies on it.


I think the American lawyers and the resulting lawsuits, many of which I think are totally frivolous and designed to make the lawyers richer, the insurance rates skyrocket and so on, seem to now require that we continue to have piles and piles and PILES of paperwork in our midst.


Wonder why so many American jobs end up overseas?  It's not the cheap labor, it's the lack of frivolous lawsuits, the lack of paperwork, the lack of skyrocketing liability insurance.  Even the pill bottles in America have "take by mouth" on the pill bottle. 


What?  Are they afraid I will stick all those pills in my ear and sue them when they get stuck and I can't hear?  


Sometimes I think America is designed for pure idiots now. Buy the tiniest thing, like a lighter, and it comes with all sorts of labels and disclaimers and warnings. At some of the campgrounds I have to sign paperwork attesting I have read all the disclaimers and so on. It's maddening. Some campgrounds hand me so much paperwork when I check in, I feel like I should have brought my briefcase into their office.   Sure, the map is handy, but then there are receipts, stickers, tags, things to dangle from the mirror, lists of rules (which sometimes can be quite hilarious).


Help...   I am drowning in paperwork here. 


If you see a motorhome, dragging down the highway with tires flattened out and the oil pan scraping the bumps, that is ME and the mountain of paperwork threatening to weigh me down. Literally.


So last night in sheer frustration, I began tackling some of the many cabinets in my motorhome that have seemingly accumulated 100 pounds of PAPERWORK in the few short months I have lived aboard.  Not sure what you properly say when you live aboard a motorhome, I know "aboard" is usually reserved for those on boats. But trains say "All aboard!"  so maybe I am "aboard" when living in my motorhome, even if it's not a train or plane or boat. 


Anyhow, I certainly threw out all I could, of junky paperwork I didn't think I needed.   But then there were things I needed to refer to later.  So I grabbed the camera, set it on micro for the close up clear stuff, and began snapping away at my paperwork, then tossing it in the garbage.


Soon puppy and I had to make a trip to the dumpster in the campground.  The bags of discarded paperwork were so heavy, my arms grew longer, my steps grew shorter. We came back, all refreshed, he had watered every tree and bush he could find along the way, plus we had to stop a dozen times, while he smelled the grass, checked out a flower, and enthusiastically ran to greet other dogs. Many much bigger than him. 


I began toiling again at the paperwork, taking pics and tossing more in the garbage. Amazingly, in under an hour, the garbage was so heavy again, puppy and I had to make a 2nd trip to the dumpster, me struggling with the weight of the paperwork while puppy tugged me left and right.


Why he thinks at 5 whole pounds, he can tug me around, I don't know. He has to wear a leash and harness, not a dog collar. His tiny little neck would surely break otherwise.


He had to go visit the Alaskan Wolf Dog, and the Siberian Husky.  The Husky wanted to play as rough as Harley plays, so puppy was busy using his super fast agility to escape the Husky who was playful, but clueless to his own bigger size.


We were lucky that both these big dogs were sociable. But sometimes we have run into aggressive or non-sociable dogs in campgrounds and parks.


I am PUZZLED.


WHY would people take their ill-mannered dog in public?  I am convinced all dogs can be trained to be sociable and exhibit decent manners (though little Harley may prove me wrong!)  Yet, inexplicably, while out walking in public campgrounds and parks, not private neighborhoods, where dogs are expected to be territorial over their home and land, we have encountered awful dogs with owners that could not control them at all.  Some announced from 50 feet away "Stay away!  My dog HATES other dogs and people!"


I watched one lady, with both hands on the leash, be dragged about 100 feet, because her dog was rapidly heading our way and appeared to want to eat  both my puppy and me. It was frightening, as I can walk, but I can't run.  Puppy thought the dog wanted to play (he used to think all dogs were wonderful, he is now learning that some are not so wonderful and a few are downright dangerous, and there they are, out in public, on a flimsy leash with an owner that has NO control whatsoever over them. 





Harley says "I wasn't going to let that mean old dog eat me! Look how TOUGH I can be!"


My left knee was in a bad boating accident years back, then I busted up the right leg and knee, resulting in casts for months.  To keep my original knees, which I plan to do, the physical therapist said I should concentrate on walking and forget all about jogging or running. The constant painful pounding would just do further damage and that I surely don't want.  Nor do I want fake knees (implants) or whatever they call those things. I prefer to keep my original equipment, though I must admit, the surgeons were forced to remove some internal body parts 10-15 years ago, to save my life. I was so out of it, at the time, I barely knew what was happening around me, but I woke up in recovery, with less parts than I arrived with. 


Anyhow, we were making a hasty retreat towards the motorhome, which was about 300 yards away, and the lady was hollering "Wait!  My dog wants to play with your dog!"


Silly me BELIEVED her. I must have been a fool and not feeling well, to *AHEM* engage my brain fully. We stopped and let her catch up, and sure enough, her dog tried to eat my dog, but fortunately, Harley let out a LOUD shrill yelp and raced out of harm's way. He looked so confused, I think it was his first time to meet an aggressive dog who didn't want to play, but wanted to rip his throat out. She STILL continued to tell me how her dog was just really harmless, and meanwhile he is growling and plowing up the ground, while she is being dragged along.  His teeth were bared and his tail was not wagging in a friendly manner at all. Perhaps the owner was blind too?  Or just a pure idiot that needs drug bottles that read "Take by mouth..."


Clearly, she couldn't even control her own dog. I was scared silly, as at that time, we were in a remote state park in Georgia.   The nearest veterinarian, as I later found out, was over 20 miles away down winding country roads.  My poor pooch could have been seriously injured or killed right before my eyes.


So I am now a tad more timid around other dogs in public places. I watch THE DOG for signs of aggression or playfulness.  I don't take the owner's word for it.  


Most people who bring their dogs to RV parks and campgrounds have wonderful canines with good manners.  Many large dogs, see my little Harley, and furiously wag their tails in hopes they can get a closer inspection.  Harley always wants to play, play, play. He is a puppy and puppies play, play, play. Other big dogs sometimes simply look bemused at my little pooch who often resembles a squirrel hiding in a dog costume.


So I've rambled on and on today.  The windows are open, the wind is blowing, and it feels nowhere near the 89 degrees on the thermometer. The lake out my window is gorgeous, with swans drifting by.  


Life is SO good and what  despair I feel, is tucked far away, while I focus on the good, the positive, this wondrous day, the sheer miracle of life and that I am still ALIVE and able to enjoy it all. Yes, I need to be more thankful for all my wonderful blessings. 


Gotta run!  


Well not run, but walk...  Later! 



Swans on Haas Lake in Michigan




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