Saturday, July 31, 2010

Saturday morning Sheba and/or Nina picture

LAST-MINUTE EDIT: We had a minor flood in our basement last night -- about 3/4 of the basement floor was covered by about 1/2 inch to an inch of water (1.3-2.5 cm). We didn't notice until 10 PM, it had started to recede again by about 10:45 PM, and it was never very deep, but still.

As I write this, I don't really know how bad any of it is going to be, except to know that our situation is not as bad as that of many of our neighbors, who have 1.5-8 inches (3.8-20 cm) of water in their basements. There's also the possibility that we may have worse flooding in the future: during the really big flood of 1993, I'm told the basement of this house was about five inches deep (or possibly more -- the story was sort of vague as to the actual depth). 1993 isn't the kind of flood that's supposed to happen often, but it sure seems like they do anyway, see 2008.


I don't know whether this will affect the blog or not, because we really don't know much about the situation yet, but there is the possibility that posts may have to become less regular for a while. I have one pre-written for Sunday (and I'm now suddenly worried that it could be the last impression I leave people with for a while, which you maybe will understand once you see it), but after that I have no idea what's going to happen. Updates, obviously, as they are relevant, but I figured y'all should know, in case I can't update for a while because I have cholera or something.

We now return you to your regularly-scheduled post, the mood of which is so drastically different that some of you may suffer whiplash. (Sorry.)

When I first posted about Fervor, way back when, Diane left a comment on that post saying, in part, that "having a dog around makes life so much better." I needed confirmation of this at the time, which CelticRose ("And yes, having owned both dogs and cats and lived without either, I think I can say with some authority that pets in general improve your life.") and Diane ("Oh, absolutely they make things better!") provided.

ALERT! Sheba.

Then we took Fervor back because I was allergic (in case anyone is interested -- Fervor hasn't been back on the Iowa City shelter's website, so apparently this adoption is going to take, whoever and wherever it may be) and wound up with Sheba instead.

The dogless period in between Fervor and Sheba was definitely worse, but I was still unsure about having a dog making life better, especially considering that most of my recent prior exposure to dog ownership had been through Cesar Millan's show, which is all about incredibly problematic dogs. Problematic dogs being rehabilitated, granted, but still. The show did probably make us more reluctant to adopt a dog than we would have been otherwise.

And, after four months of having her here, I can say that yes, it's true, life is better. It's actually hard to imagine what it was like before we had Sheba, so I can't pin down exactly why or how it's better. It's nice to have a big, soft, furry thing around to touch occasionally, especially since the husband and I are both of an age where a stuffed animal collection would be creepy or off-putting. She's often entertainingly goofy. It's somehow incredibly delightful to see the look on her face when she's waiting for me to throw a ball for her to fetch. She's someone to talk to when I'm watering plants and the husband is outside doing stuff. I don't know. Life is just somehow less depressing, with a dog. It's weird, and it bugs me that I can't describe it better (the husband concurs but can't describe it either), but there it is. So.

Relaxed Sheba.

In case you'd wondered.


Ginny Burton said...

Aw, what a sweet tribute to love. It is indescribable, that's why you're having trouble explaining how Sheba has improved your life. You love Sheba; Sheba loves you. It's simple and it's complex, but it's definitely life-improving.

So sorry about the basement, however. Been there and mopped that up. It's no fun. Find someone giving away wooden pallets on Craigslist and put everything up several inches off the floor.

Liza said...

Basements, basements, oh right, those are those rooms below the house right? Those rooms that hardly anyone in Albuquerque has, for whatever reason. Ginny's idea sounds like genius to me.

Rohrerbot said...

Ah rain...I feel your pain...I have the same thing going on right now at my place. We've had torrential rain and it has been coming in through the windows and we patched it yesterday and yet it's still leaking!!! Good will get fixed and it's not the end of the's just staying on top of the mess:)

Anonymous said...

Hi - I've been lurking around your blog for a while since stumbling upon it looking for plant info, and since it seems like you appreciate actual scientific knowledge over laypeople's crazy theories, I thought you might be interested in this page:

It's a critique of Cesar Millan by a very knowledgeable veterinary behaviorist. I know that just because you watch the show doesn't mean you're his BFF and are a fan of his techniques, but I also know that a lot of non-dog-experts are as innocently clueless about who is legit as non-plant-experts are about houseplant care. SO, in case you weren't already aware of the above info, I respectfully submit it for your consideration.

Forgive the unsolicited advice from a stranger! Sheba (and Nina) are adorable and I hope they continue to be delightful presences in your life.

- Chris (vet tech & CPDT-KA)

CelticRose said...

I'm glad everything's working out so well with Sheba. :) Love those alert ears in the pic.

Having lived in AZ all my life where basements are next to non-existent, I can't say I feel your pain, but that's got to be awful to go downstairs and find everything sitting in an inch of water. I, too, like Ginny's suggestion, except for the wood part. Wood rots and gets moldy. I'd suggest ideally something plastic or perhaps metal if you can't find plastic.

mr_subjunctive said...

Ginny Burton:

Is love what this is? I suppose it is.

We didn't have that much stuff in the basement to begin with, really, partly because the husband has been anticipating, and trying to prevent, flooding since we moved in. What there is, already was mostly up on blocks or shelves or something. So we're okay there. Mostly it's just a giant inconvenience, at this point. The husband is downstairs pulling up carpet as I type. (I helped for a little while, around the plant shelves, but . . . I am not actually that useful, since I tend to overheat almost immediately, especially in very humid spaces like the basement currently is.)


When my family first moved to South Texas, we were sort of flummoxed by the lack of basements. I never really got a good explanation for it, either, but apparently it's a Southern thing?


Yeah, there are a couple people on Twitter who have had basement flooding recently too. The National Weather Service has flood warnings up for large chunks of Iowa, Illinois, Missouri, and South Dakota right now. It truly does suck.

The NWS thinks we got 3-3.5 inches of rain basically all at once last night. I'd noticed that it was raining very hard around 8 PM (so hard it looked more like fog than rain), but hadn't thought that much about it until I was going to go down to the basement for the thesarus, and then . . .


I hadn't seen that specific one, but I'd seen criticisms of Millan before, right after we'd gotten Fervor and I was googling around, trying to figure out how to walk him without getting body parts dislocated.

I've gotten some stuff out of Millan's show, certainly, but that's mostly been about reading body language, recognizing when Sheba's overexcited or fixating on something, stuff like that. We haven't had to do a lot of actual training with Sheba, but if we did have a behavioral problem, we would be more inclined to use a rewards-based approach than a dominance/punishment approach like Millan uses.

Emily said...

I actually just started fostering (with a plan to adopt) a shelter dog this Thursday. I am currently at the she's-great-but-I'm-overwhelmed stage of things, which I have been assured is a common initial reaction which ought to evaporate with time.

As far as the basement thing, that sucks. I hope your insurance company isn't being difficult.

danger garden said...

Yikes. I've been lucky to never experience first had a flooded basement. But I did once loose a couch that I had stored at a friends house. It's amazing how heavy it became after soaking in 3 ft of water for a week. Wishing you a better outcome...

Ginny Burton said...

Re: basements in Texas. Caliche -- solid calcium carbonate. To dig through that in order to have a basement would make the house much more expensive.

Tigerdawn said...

In Oklahoma we don't have basements because our soil isn't deep enough (Dust Bowl and all that). If you dig down a couple of feet you hit bedrock and/or the water table.

Tigerdawn said...

Oh yeah, and you may want to check out 'Inside of a Dog' by Alexandra Horowitz. It is a really great book and it may help you explain some of your emotions about Sheba.

Sentient Meat said...

Hi Mr S,

Like you two, my husband I have a hard time remembering to exactly what life was like BEFORE Leenah Dog wandered into our life (and now Dezmond Dog, too).

How to articulate what dogs and cats give me? Besides something to nurture, dogs and cats provide an independent point of view -- a fascinating flow of opinions and motivations, all somehow familiar but also foreign and constantly surprising.

What's more, I think human personality is partly built out of mental habits, and Leenah and Dezmond bring out a part of me which is pleasant for my husband, for instance, to be around. As I unconsciously practice inhabiting those attitudes, my personality -- every so subtly -- begins to change.

I think for the better.

lynn'sgarden said...

Really enjoyed this post and adorable pics. We've ALWAYS had houseful of pets...they entertain us and give us unconditional love. Extra bonus is kids learning responsibilities at an early age ;) Of course, vacation planning is always a pain in the....

Diane said...

I told you so. :)

Welcome to the wonderful world of being a dog person. It is hard to describe, which is why I didn't describe it very well. It's just a general feeling of ... attachment and well-being.

Diane said...

As for TV shows, I like Victoria on "It's Me or the Dog." She's taught me a lot about how to behave around dogs and how to use positive reinforcement.

Flooded basements suck massively. We learned the hard way; most things are in plastic boxes or hanging from the rafters.

Lynne said...

Wow. I was going to suggest Victoria. That woman gets results.

Not that I need any help with the dog I kind of inherited from my grown up daughter when she moved out of home and to a different part of the country. Kids are good like that. I inherited her two cats as well.

Regarding the dog, I have grown utterly attached to him. I just came home after a four day absence (fear not! my sister was house-sitting) and when he came running to me he was actually stretching the corners of his mouth in what appeared to be imitation of a human smile. Experts will probably say it was something else entirely, of course. But as far as I am concerned, HE WAS SMILING!