Well here I am and it's day five of being a dog-walker and the end of the working week. Things are good. Different in some ways, the same in other, but, as I say, all good.
My current day schedule consists of being the first one up (630a), taking the dogs out, climbing in the shower, waiting for the water to wake me up, getting ready and rolling out the door with Maggy at about 745a. We get to the first client around 9a, and walk until 230p, when we have a 2 hour break before our last walk of the day. Then back home to walk our own beasts again and then climb into bed where I either write or zone out with Maggy in front of the TV (or, in yesterday's case, have a lovely Skype date with some bangin' bitches) until it's time for bed. I'm still really tired and trying to catch up from the jet lag. Slowly by slowly, as my old boss used to say.
So far I'm basically just sort of tagging along with Maggy during her walks and sort of re-learning the city. I'm having THE hardest time orienting myself to which was is downtown and which way is CP, but I know it'll come to me. Where I'm currently walking is the Upper East Side, close to, but not in the same area I was working before. It's tricky, though, because there is a slight overlap during my commute here and back, so I'll be trucking' along, thinking I know what's what, and Maggy will be like, "HEY. Over here!" And I'll see her from the other side of the subway tunnel, across the tracks.
ALSO, I may or may not have racked my downstairs mixup on a turnstile on Sunday. Real hard. Not to worry, I'm totally fine. I mean, these stabbing pains couldn't be in ANY WAY RELATED, right? RIGHT?!?? Right.
Anyway, I'm more concerned about the people who witnessed it. I think I really shocked them, because to cover my embarrassment at slamming my body into the ENTIRE train station(Seriously. The walls shook.), once I got to the other side of the gate I put down all my stuff and started doing jumping jacks to distract any and all onlookers from the fact that the ONLY WHITE GIRL in Washington Heights just smashed her lady bits on a 3 armed machine of death.
This last part didn't actually happen anywhere but inside my own head.
What DID happen is I laughed at myself, swiped the card again, and went on my merry way to the train that I rode to 116th, which is where Dan's new vet office is.
Now, gentle reader(s), you may be wondering WHY ON EARTH was I already visiting the vet? You may not be wondering with that much enthusiasm, but I bet you were wondering. Or at least, you are now. AT. ANY. RATE. *ahem* Dan had to go see the vet on Sunday because I woke up and noticed that sometime in the 24 hours he had fleas, he most likely ate one. One that had tapeworm larvae in it. And that wee larvae grew up into a NICE. BIG. WORM. or worm-suh. And some of those worms had made their way out of Dan's butthole and into his butt fur. Where they then dried up like little balls of hate. Or, you know... rice. Whatever.
So we went to the vet where they asked me if there were dried balls of hate/rice present, got him all taken care of PLUS a new vaccine, and then came back home. And that was our Sunday. I'm STILL getting over my jet lag, and by Sunday there wasn't really any noticeable change in my perception of time (read; I was effing EXHAUSTED) so we went home and hung out until it was time to go to bed.
Glamorous, no? Haha!
Saturday was pretty uneventful as well, I got in an hour late due to a delay on the PDX end, took a cab to my new apartment, got all my stuff inside and proceeded to curl up on Maggy's new bed with her until about 2:30ish in the afternoon. The rest of the day featured a trip to Target, a delicious dinner at Maggy's mom's house of pork ribs, chicken, rice, salad, sweet potato and some corn-based stuff that was sweet and…interesting tasting. Not for nothing, but I could have pork every single day for the rest of my life if it was prepared the way Maggy's mom, Ramona, does it. She seriously… she has a gift. Three years ago, on Thanksgiving, I was at Maggy's house for the holiday, and Ramona made this dish called "Pernile" which I guess translates to "pork shoulder". I remember sitting down to the table, feeling very conspicuous, being one of the only two people in the apartment that didn't speak Spanish (out of like, 17 peeps), and at Maggy's urging, trying a small piece of this meat referred to as "Pernile" .
It. Changed. My. Life.
Never had I had such a deliciously juicy and succulent meat, and I grew up eating VERY WELL. One so elegantly spiced as this, so pure and yet complex tasting. Once the first bite hit my tongue, all urge to chew, to continue to move this nourishment through my body in the natural order of things, totally evaporated, and I just wanted to sit with this slice of magic held lightly against my palate so I could feel the juices run down and pool at the bottom of my mouth, lightly pushing the tender meat apart using only my tongue. Not to hurry the experience along, nay. To simply spread the heaven around in my mouth.
So… yeah. I had some more on Saturday.
As for the rest of the week up till today, I have just been trucking along, trying to pretend like 300 pounds doesn't hurt to carry around for 6+ hours. Actually, on Thursday I got to stay home and sleep extra in order to avoid a cold that I can just sort of feel on the periphery of my life. That was awesome.
OH! I got to witness AND be part of my first NY crime!!! I know I shouldn't be all THAT excited, but come on! No one was really hurt, AND we got to call the cops!! And some of them were hot! Love me a man who makes/maintains the rules.
On Monday, which was my first official dog walking day, Maggy and I went into this dog run that is in the Carl Schultz Park on East End and E 84th. We had this awesome dog named Luca with us. Luca is a "Spanoni", an Italian breed which really means he's kinda janky (not sure if this is particular to the breed or just Luca himself) in that his hips sway HELLA wide (think Beyonce), his back is dipped in the middle like a spoon rest, and his lower lids hang out about a full inch off of his eyeballs. SO spectacular. OH. And, he generates this AMAZING drool that is like Spiderman's WEB It's so flipping sticky! He'll get all KINDS of thing stuck in it, leaves, twigs, squirrels, and today, a Boston Terrier! It's so lovely.
Well. It's not REALLY, obviously, but I like to pretend it is, otherwise our morning walks would just be a game of how long Abi can keep her morning coffee and bagel down. I mean, I come out the loser no matter how it ends, AND Luca gets vom in his super drool, so really. REALLY? Let me have this one.
Also? He looks like Falcor from the Never Ending Story (La a A La a A La A aaaaah).
Okay, yeah. Luca, Maggy and I were in the dog run, and it's just us and this other dude with HIS dog. Luca does his business (with that swayback, all he comes to do is crap in the sand, not to romp and play. I do believe that is the only thing about him that could be compared to a cat.) a whopping three times (THREE!!!), and after Maggy performed her clean up duty (heh. duty.) she grabbed a few extra bags for future poops. She got about 3 bags in (and before you freak out, she took a total of 7. Seven. No one is going to die with seven less bags in the dog run.) and while pulling out the 4th one, the man across the park, who up till now had innocently (or so we thought) been sitting in his ratty PJ bottoms and house shoes, long coat and beanie, doing the crossword puzzle, watching his dog run and play, yells out "Excuse me, how many of those do you plan on taking?"
Maggy: *rip* "Excuse me?"
Man: "I said, how many of those are you planning on taking? Those aren't for personal use, they're for the park."
Maggy: *rip* "I'm going to use them in the park."
Man: (gets up and comes over) "Then GRAB THEM AS YOU USE THEM, WHAT ARE YOU DOING?"
Maggy: *rip* (says nothing, but DOES smile to herself)
Me: (just in my head) "ooohhh, man."
Man: (standing less than 2 feet from her) "Oh you think this is FUNNY? YOU'RE A TERRIBLE PERSON! IT'S PEOPLE LIKE YOU THAT ARE WHAT'S WRONG IN THIS WORLD!!! YOU'RE A DISGUSTING PERSON, YOU ARE THE WORST KIND OF PERSON, YOU SHOULD JUST GO WALK IN FRONT OF A BUS!!! YOUR LIFE ISN'T EVEN WORTH LIVING, YOU NEED TO GO, YOU AREN'T WELCOME IN THIS PARK ANYMORE, YOU DISGUST ME YOU ARE TERRIBLE AND SHOULD JUST DIE!!!!"
Maggy: "I'm a dog walker in the park. I'm using these to pick up after dogs in the park."
Man: "YOU DON'T SPEAK TO ME!!!!!!"
Me: "Maggy, let's go. Come on."
And we leave. No big deal, right? But as we're walking away, the part of me that makes me me starts wondering things like "What if he had stabbed her? Or you know, hit her? Or ANYTHING her? I was so unprepared!!" I was actually on the phone with a friend during this whole altercation, and he brought up a few good points, one being that Mace makes your eyes bleed(awesome) and is illegal(probably a good choice), and two, that I didn't have any PEPPER SPRAY!!! Now, I DO actually own some of that stuff(thanks, Brandy), it's just likely that my brain wasn't working correctly during crunch time while deciding what to bring in my suitcases and what to ship in boxes, and I probs packed it in a box, thinking that I would see it soon.
Note to self: GET SOME DAMN PEPPER SPRAY. And a gun. NOT A GUN. It wasn't that scary.
Well, okay, it was. A little.
Tuesday rolls around, and on our way to the park, we're wondering if the guy is going to be there, and we run into a client who's out walking her own dog (she must've been hella bored). Now, I've noticed from personal experience that people in general love to gossip. LOVE to gossip. The thing about people on the UES is that they REALLY love to gossip. Really. Like, I like to talk. And talk. And talk, and talk, and TALK. And I like to talk about people. A lot. But the amount of…momentum these people can get about something like a confrontation in the park is nearly mind-blowing, and actually slightly uncomfortable at times. In the right situation, any corner in this neighborhood can feel like being with a bunch of 6th graders crowding around a water-cooler. Or you know, sandbox. Whatever.
So Maggy tells her client about what had happened on Monday as we're walking to the park, the two of them get ALL KINDS OF WORKED UP, and are all abuzz with the possibility that he will be at the park again, and if he is, what might actually happen...
Lo and behold, once we get to the park we see him. We go to the dog run with Luca and before we're even all the way inside, Crazy McCray-cray comes up to Maggy and gets in her face.
CMCc: "I thought I told you you weren't welcome here! Go away."
Maggy: "And who are you?"
CMCc: "Who am I? Don't you worry about that. I volunteer here, keeping the park nice for people who BELONG HERE. What's your name?"
Maggy: "None of your business, and why? You going to call the cops? Because we can do that together."
At this point, the woman who Maggy has worked for before breaks into the conversation and says something to him. He tells her to back off, that this is not concerning her, and she tells him that Maggy does in fact work for her, that she is a good person, and if he needs an extra bag, she is more than happy to give him one.
CMCc: (to the client) "let me tell you about this person, and why you should fire her. She's a DISGUSTING, DESPICABLE person. Yesterday she came into this park and stole 20-25 BAGS for her OWN USE."
Maggy: "NO, NO, I already told you, I'm a DOG WALKER, and it was only FIVE."
CMCc: (to Maggy) "NO." (to the client) "She is what is wrong with this place. She stole all these bags for her own use!" (back to Maggy) "YOU NEED TO JUST LEAVE!"
Maggy's client tries to tell him to calm down, and that it's not a big deal, but it's at about this point that he notices that both Maggy and I are filming him with our phones. He does a double take, says, "Oh what, are you filming me now?"
Maggy answers in the affirmative.
He looks at both of us again for about two seconds, and then LUNGES for Maggy, grabs her phone out of her hand, hits her in the face, and throws the phone back at her.
Immediately after doing that, he gets this horrified look on his face and beats cheeks out of the park. He was in such a hurry to get out of there, he even LEFT HIS DOG BEHIND, I guess just trusting that the dog would follow. Total ass move.
A ridiculous call to 911 featuring me saying things like "I don't know where I am.", "I'm in a park by the river.", "No, I don't know which river."(I really hope no one EVER listens to the recording of that call), a manhunt(by the PO-leese) for Crazy McCray-cray, and a statement given to the cops later (2 of them HELLA fine. I'm so serious.), we were on our way to walk more dogs.
In the days since that happened, we have not seen that crazy man. Also, we learned that he picks fights with other people in the park fairly frequently, and the regulars from the park are on notice should he ever be seen again.
Honestly? I hope we never see him again. For his sake, and here's why: When Maggy and I were leaving the park to meet up with the cops, I put my arm around her and asked her if she would be breaking down/freaking out about this later. Her response was "No, I just want to come back tonight so we can find him again and stab him."
So tough. Foolish, but tough.
Important to know, in the days since THAT happened, we have not gone to the park in the night on a stabbing mission. Please don't worry.
Other highlights: I wiped a HUGE amount (think sticky silicone icicle) of Spiderman drool from Luca's chops that got on Riley puppy's front leg during some horseplay off with a napkin today and came legit close to ralphing all over the sidewalk because ittouched me. On my hand. That I use for living. And other things. DON'T YOU JUDGE ME, IT WAS GROSS AND I DIDN'T LIKE IT! Also, a woman told Maggy that I am too fat to walk her dogs. I'm not as upset as I feel like I should be about this, and I'm not sure if it's because I know that that's such a ridiculous thing to say, or if it's because I know that walking her dogs is more trouble than it's worth. I am SURE it's nothing like sour grapes. NOoooo, not at ALL. ;)
Today (Friday) is the first REALLY cold day since I've been here (yes mom, I'm wearing the wrist warmers you gave me. Thank you, they rock!), and it's also my last "first" day of the week in New York, since I technically got here on a Saturday. I'm really into being here, glad I came, and am looking forward to the way I will make this adventure work for me.
Picture post soon!