Should I Get a Dog in My 20s?

Are you in your 20s and trying to decide if you’re ready to get a dog? Do you want an adorable creature to take pictures of, but not sure if you’re really up for the responsibility of caring for it? Lemme give you my version of the lowdown on dog parenthood.

What to Expect During Puppyhood
Puppies are cute. They got this stank skunk breath that smells wonderful, despite the stank skunkiness of it. They hip hop around and chase butterflies and are soft and snuggly and floppy. And yet, much like Ben Franklin, puppies are the devil.

They pee and poop on your things—usually your floor, but sometimes other things, too. Like your bed. When my dog, Dizzy, was a puppy, he peed on my brand new mattress in the middle of the night. I took him outside to finish any remaining business, he didn’t do anything except sniff, we came back inside, and then he pooped in the hallway while I was trying to clean my mattress. I texted my mom and said “I WANT TO PUNCH HIM SO BAD RIGHT NOW.” That’s a terrible thing to think and to say, but I did want to punch him. Peeing in my bed I could forgive, but pooping in the hallway! After I’d just taken him out! I didn’t punch him, but if he were a person I maybe would have.

If you don’t want your puppy to pee and poop on your things, you’ll have to take him outside all the time. And you’ll have to follow him around the house to make sure if he does pee or poop, you can catch him in the act and tell him to quit it. Even if you work really hard at that, it still might not make a difference. Dizzy was still pooping inside after eight months. The little bandit pooped TWO TIMES during dog obedience school—in the middle of class, right in front of the dog trainer. Watching puppies all the time is exhausting, and it doesn’t even necessarily make a difference.

Other bad things puppies do: chew your things, chew other people’s things, bite you, bite other people, bark, try to eat stupid things that will kill them, take up all your time, take up some of your money.

Before getting a dog, you only ever have to worry about yourself. After you get a dog, you’ve got a real live creature whose well-being depends almost entirely on you. It’s a big adjustment. Before bringing home a puppy, make sure you got back-up. If it weren’t for my parents, I don’t know if I would have made it through Dizzy’s first couple of months. It was weirdly sad and lonely. Felt like I had postpartum depression or something (I say “or something” because I’ve never had a human baby and I don’t know what postpartum depression actually feels like). Dizzy and I are super tight now, but puppies are dicks. Know that it’s not all snuggles and selfies.

Screen Shot 2015-01-04 at 8.26.22 PM

BUT STILL SOME SELFIES Y’ALL

What to Expect During Doghood
Having a dog definitely gets easier once they get a little bit older. They stop with all the indoor peeing and pooping, mostly. They can be left alone for hours at a time and trusted not to eff up too much of your stuff. Though they’re probably not as cute as they were as puppies, they’re still cute and they suck way less.

They will continue to cost you money. Dog food and dog toys and vet visits aren’t cheap. They will continue to take up your time, because they rely on you for entertainment and exercise and love. Also they get a little bit smellier. Most dogs will seek out rotten things outside just so they can roll in them. Their breath loses its puppy scent and instead smells like old hamburger and salmon. Dogs with long fur get poop stuck in the fur around their b-hole. If they’re like Dizzy and they suck at peeing, they splash pee on their legs and smell bad that way, too. Expect to do gross things, like pull rope out of their butt and cut matted fur off their wieners (if they have wieners).

Besides the gross parts, though, grown dogs are the bomb. They love doing activities and will be down for almost anything, unless it involves vacuum cleaners or fireworks. They’ll probably stare at you a lot and that’s annoying, but they’ll also be stoked when you come home from work and will keep you warm in bed if you let them sleep with you. All good things. Remember though: They are work. They need exercise and love. Be a person that’s cool with exercise and love.

For real: You ready?
In your 20s, most people are used to living young and wild and free. So what you get drunk? So what you smoke weed? You’re just having fun, you don’t care who sees. So what you go out? That’s how it’s supposed to be. But then you get a dog, and all that gets much harder. You want to drink booze and smoke marijuana? Your dog needs a walk, not a rain shower in the studio, Wiz Khalifa.

A few questions to answer before getting a dog:

1. Do I like dogs?
2. Do I like the dog I’m thinking about getting?
3. Do I have enough money to pay for food and vet visits?
4. Am I OK with spending that money or am I too cheap?
5. Am I lazy?
6. Do I mind gross things?
7. Am I all right with the outdoors?
8. Am I cool with exercise and love?

If you answered yes, yes, yes, yes—OK with it (not cheap), no, no, yes, double yes, then you’re probably ready to get a dog. Good luck!

A thing I’ve been working on

It’s been damn near three months since I’ve posted anything new here. That’s because:

  1. I’m lazy as hell.
  2. My left shin is acting up and freaking me out.
  3. I’ve been working on something else.

This something else is a longer, non-blog story that I’m planning to submit as part of an application for graduate school. I’ve included an excerpt of it below, but the whole thing is about 22 double-spaced pages. If you read the excerpt and have any interest in reading more of it, I would love to send you the full story and to have you tell me what you think of it. Tryna make it as good as I can, and your feedback would help. If you email classygallie@gmail.com, I’ll send it to you A$AP. (I’d use my real email address but I’ve seen the Google searches that bring people to this site. I got mad weirdos coming through.)

Also, a disclaimer: Some of this stuff I’ve already blogged about. Sorry if that’s boring. But! If you choose to read the whole thing, there is some freaky stuff I’ve never blogged about before, like the first time I shared a bed with someone (I was old and acted strangely. I’m not that thrilled about sharing it.)

 


 

In 1993, I had a bed head of blonde hair, a bug collection, and an insane speech impediment. I spent my days at home in Maine playing with Barbies, catching frogs, eating chips, and telling anyone who would listen how much I loved “big, black, muscly men.” I was four years old.

If I ever have a daughter who, at age four, confesses to me her love for big, black, muscly men, I imagine I’d be both horrified and delightfully surprised. If that’s the reaction my own mom had when I made the same confession, then I must have only registered her delighted surprise. She, like everyone else, loved it when I said my type of man was the LL Cool J type of man. So I told it to everyone.

“I heard you lost your first tooth, Allie. Nice work!” said Clayton, my next-door neighbor.

“Nah. Michael Jordan, now that’s some nice work,” I told him. “Asked Santa to bring me that ass for Christmas. Clayton you already know I love me some big, black, muscly men.”

“All right, kiddos, it’s nap time!” said Diane, my daycare provider.

“Word!” I said. “‘Bout to have some chocolate dreams up in this bitch. You know, cause I love big, black, muscly men and I think about them in my sleep. Nighty night, y’all.”

“How would your daughter like her cheeseburger?” asked a Ground Round waitress.

“She’ll have it done medium—” said my mom.

“Make that well-done, gurl,” I interrupted. “I want it black but juicy, with extra firm buns and a spooky big pickle on the side. I call it the ‘Allie’s Manwich’ in honor of my love and appreciation for big, black, muscly men. Yo, and that comes with chips, right?”

I never actually said any of those things, but I really did use that exact phrase (“I love big, black, muscly men!”) all the time. It was true; when I was four, black men with big muscles were the only men I was into. While other girls my age were watching Snow White and Sleeping Beauty and falling in love with Prince Charming, I was busy watching rap videos and counting how many rows of abs Tupac had. My mom has always been a big hip-hop fan, and by default my three older sisters and I were, too. Since the three of them had mostly grown out of Disney movies by the time I would’ve grown into them, and since they ruled the TV remote, all we watched was MTV. Once you’ve seen Tupac rapping naked on a toilet in his video for “All About You,” there’s not much to be gained from watching a cartoon prince kiss a sleeping cartoon princess.

If Cinderella is the ultimate fairy tale for most little girls, then mine was Salt-N-Pepa’s video for their song, “Shoop.” My entire notion of love and romance comes from that video. My entire notion of life comes from that video, actually. I remember watching it and seeing those chocolate chip, honey-dipped men dancing around shirtless—the guy in the leather vest and the do-rag, and the other guy in the baggy blue suit who stripped down to his underpants. I didn’t even understand what I was seeing, but I was most definitely trying to get a scoop.

It makes me sick to say that now—to admit that I was some kind of semi-racist horndog in pre-K, but I can’t change the past. I was a semi-racist horndog through-and-through. I was a blonde-headed, light-skinnded girl whose ideal Prince Charming was big and black and built. My sole redeeming quality was though I preferred black guys, I was down with just about anyone. I just wanted to shoop, goddammit—and with few big, black, built men to chose from in southern Maine, I had to take what I could get. That’s why a year later, on my first day of kindergarten, I fell in love with a scrawny white boy named Justin. He was the first boy I made eye contact with that day.

 


 

Willing to read more? Holla at classygallie@gmail.com and I’ll send you all of it! 

Making Friends

Curtis called me an awkward tomboy the other day. Not in a mean way, just in an honest way.

It happened when we were leaving the beach. This little freckle-faced girl I’ll call Susan rode past us on her bike. She circled around us a few times, complimented my surfboard, and then told us that her parents were gone and she was home alone. Remember that Curtis and I are full-grown adult strangers to this Susan, who was probably no more than 11-years-old. If I were to grossly exaggerate what she said to us, it’d be something like:

“Hey, stranger grown-ups. Hey, did you know my parents are gone? They’re off, probably drunk. Probably won’t even come home tonight. It’s just me, a child, alone in my house.” Susan pointed to a house. “That house right over there, the yellow one. The keys are under the welcome mat. I am so weak and dumb, it would be really easy to kidnap me. You tall, powerful-looking adults ever kidnap anyone before?”

It seemed like after Susan told us about her empty house, she realized she shouldn’t have. She mumbled something else real quick and sped off toward a gaggle of boys on bikes. When she was out of earshot, Curtis said, “Aw, she was just like little Allie. All awkward tomboy!”

And it’s true – I am. You don’t have to look any further than my relationship with my first best friend for proof.

His name was Jake, and here’s what a typical day in our friendship was like:

Jake would invite me over to the crib. I’d spent the first half hour there sitting cross-legged in the field next to his house pretending to talk to dead people. After a while I’d get up to go to the bathroom, do my business, discover the toilet paper was out, and use the cardboard TP roll to wipe. Then, since I don’t understand plumbing, I’d try to flush it and end up having to fish it out with my bare hands. Later we’d eat Nutty Bars and play hide-and-seek and we’d both pee our pants at the same time, but without having talked about it first.

Those are all real things that happened at Jake’s house. It was fine at the time because he was a 10-years-old and a boy and my ride-or-die.

That type of friendship, as wonderful as it was, was not sustainable. Like all children do, Jake grew up, shaved off his rattail, and got a girlfriend. I, on the other hand, went home and made fitness videos by myself.

Now, since I’m 25 and it’s no longer cool to hang out with elementary-school-aged boys, I try to make friends with people my own age. Here’s what a typical day trying to make friends as an awkward tomboy adult is like:

A few Saturdays ago, I had plans to meet up with a girl I studied abroad with, but whom I hadn’t seen since our program ended. We were finna get dinner together in Portland.

On my drive into town to meet her, I noticed that my breath was smelling stanky fresh. Like, straight up garlic-out-the-clove, everything-bagel-with-tha-veggie-cream-cheese, never-been-flossed type of situation. No disrespect to the man but my breath was out there smelling like T-Pain just ate a can of cat food and gurgled it down with coffee brewed with bat poop beans. Breath was kicking.

Fortunately, I make sure to keep a small tube of toothpaste in my car. When I realized the intensity of my stank breath I was stopped at a light, so I dug out the toothpaste and squeezed a line of it onto my right index finger (I did not have a toothbrush).

By the time I started scrubbing, the light had turned green. As I drove down the road rubbing toothpaste on my teeth, I remembered that fingers don’t have bristles. And without bristles, ain’t no good way to work up no kind of lather. Toothpaste was mad runny. Before I knew it, I was dribbling toothpaste juice all down my chin and onto my only good pair of jeans.

Everybody knows you can’t get toothpaste stains out with anything less than a full-blown clothes-washing. I was already running late so without having time to turn around and change, I poured water on my lap and accepted that I was going to have several white stains all over crotch for my first meeting with a potential future friend.

And in the end, I showed up looking like if not a 10-year-old, then certainly at least a 13 or 14-year-old one. You know, looking like I had…

A Christmas Miracle

I have a great and very heartwarming Christmas tale to share.

Several years ago, my Aunt Mariah* came to town for Christmas. She came in a few days before the 25th to help with decorations and gift wrapping, because she is a nice, thoughtful lady. She is so nice and thoughtful, in fact, that she took on the burden of decorating the Christmas tree all by herself.

Aunt Mariah worked hard on that tree, so to keep her energy up she ate an English muffin with peanut butter while decorating. It was chunky peanut butter. Chunky peanut butter is the most delicious kind of peanut butter and, typically, is the kind you should always go for. The sole exception, however, is when you’re a lady named Aunt Mariah and you have gold crowns on your molar teeth. There are chunks in chunky PB and if you bite down on a chunk wrong, you’re going to eff up that molar crown in the baddest way.

And of course that’s what the crazy ho did. She was concentrating so hard on hanging tinsel that she didn’t pay any attention to the peanut butter chunks and next thing you know she bit down wrong and effed up her tooth crown. And then she swallowed it down whole! The nut!

The thing about Aunt Mariah, though, is that she actually wasn’t a nut at all. She was (and still is, bless her shart) an extremely practical person. After she swallowed that gold crown, she did a quick mental calculation and figured out that a new gold tooth could cost well over one thousand dollars! “Heck if I’m going to pay that,” Aunt Mariah thought. Instead, she ran down to the local grocer and picked herself up a metal strainer and a plastic mixing spoon. She was going to go a-gold-digging.

And by that, I mean she decided to do all her pooping in a strainer and sift through it in search of her gold tooth.

Well, that’s just exactly what Aunt Mariah did. Poor woman did all her crapping in a strainer for two days straight and didn’t see a flicker of gold anywhere. She was just about ready to give up when, on Christmas morning, the impoopssible happened.

“THE CHRISTMAS POO CAME THROUGH!” Those are the words that woke me up on Christmas morning 2006 (I think it was 2006, but I can’t remember for sure). My Aunt Mariah ran up and down the hallway, banging on every bedroom door in the house, screaming “THE CHRISTMAS POO CAME THROUGH!! IT’S A CHRISTMAS MIRACLE! MR. HANKY THE CHRISTMAS POO CAME THROUGH!!! THE CHRISTMAS POO CAME THROUGH!!!!!” (I’m serious. That is what my sisters and I woke up to on Christmas, word for word.)

Despite the failures of the days prior, Aunt Mariah decided to give it one last try on Christmas morning. She took a dump in the strainer, used the spoon to go through it, and found a glint of gold amid her crap. She plucked it out, rinsed it off, threw it in a pot of boiling water, and said a prayer to the Christmas Poo. She took it to the dentist a few days later and came home with her gold poop tooth glued back down in her mouth, looking something like the ice man Paul Wall.

Looking something like a disco ball

Call it a smile on da rocks

Need proof that this really happened? Like all good Christmas tales, there’s a Christmas carol about it!

(Sung to the melody of City High’s “What Would You Do?”)

What would you do if you swallowed your tooth?
Would you sift through the loo digging up your poo
Cause you’re frugal?
And the only way to find it is to
Paw through your crap for something kinda shiny
Cause the gold cap’s gone
Somewhere in your butt now
In and out your gut now
You ain’t got a tooth now
Cause for you this is just Christmas morning
But for my aunt this is what she calls life, mmm

*Names have been changed to protect the privacy of the tooth swallower.

The Most I Will Be

I just spent an hour reading blogs written by people who live in houses with hard wood floors, white walls, and home offices with salvaged barn door desks. They eat old cheese and hand pies and drink Pimm’s Cups and cocktails. They decorate their homes with peonies from their garden, hand-lettered signs, and nautical paintings. They go on picnics by the ocean with their black lab and wear really cool leather shoes and have jobs as photographers and web developers. They dope.

So I read their blogs, and I think, “Hey, I could do that! I could live by the beach and have a magazine-worthy home and eat delicious foods every day. Why don’t I do that?”

Then I set my laptop down, and I get up to grab a piece of pizza from the fridge and to take into the bathroom to eat while peeing with the door open.

And I realize this is the most I will ever be.

Photo on 7-6-14 at 12.47 PM

He likes pizza, too. (Fun fact: the shorts I’m wearing in this picture are from 7th grade.)

Going Crazy

On Saturday, Curtis and I went to the grocery store for sandwich makings.

While waiting in the deli line, the smiliest woman I’ve ever seen turned to me and shouted, “HELLO!!!!”

I didn’t know this lady – or at least I didn’t recognize her – but I turned to her and shouted hello right back.

Then, still smiling like a fool, she shouted, “How are you!!?!”

“I’m good!” I said. “How are you!?”

She told me she was good, and then kept on staring and smiling at me. I was smiling right back. It was uncomfortable but at the same time familiar and heartwarming. I really wanted to keep our conversation going and to make her like me, so I stared right in her eyes and asked the only question I could think of.

“How are you?” I asked for the second time.

She paused for a moment, said “…I’m good,”  and turned away. Curtis turned away too and even took a couple steps away from me. The great rapport I had built with this random lady disappeared in an instant, and I was left alone to think about how terrible I am at harmless social interaction.

Below is dramatization of the event. Dizzy plays the grocery store lady.

 Dizzy studied at Juilliard. 

You know when you go to the movies, the person you buy your ticket from always tells you to enjoy the show? And most of the time you just say thank you, but occasionally you’ll slip and tell them to enjoy the show too, even though you know they ain’t gon be watching the movie. Or someone will wish you a happy birthday and you’ll say, “You too!” You know when those things happen?

Those things are embarrassing, but there is something truly upsetting about asking someone the same question twice within a ten-second period. And when it’s a stranger in a deli line, there’s no explaining yourself. There’s no point in it. All that’s left to do is stand there and watch that stranger’s provolone cheese get sliced, knowing that at least one person in the world thinks you are crazy. Not jokey or funny crazy. Real, legitimate, this-girl-here-is-a-damn-kook crazy.

Airplane Tweeting

I went to Florida last week.** On the flight home, I ordered a $7 plane drank to help me fall asleep. It did help me fall asleep (#respect), but not before getting me a little lightheaded and then inspiring me to write down the tweets I would have tweeted had I had netwerk connectivity.

I’m going to share them here. I would share them on Twitter, but there is nothing worse than when someone you follow clogs up your timeline. I used Photoshop to make them look like real tweets to keep it more fun.

Disclaimer: I feel very fortunate that my plane did not have netwerk connectivity.
tweet1tweet2tweet3tweet4tweet5tweet7tweet8tweet10tweets11tweet12tweet13tweet15tweet16tweet17tweet18tweet19tweets20tweet21tweet22tweet23tweet24tweet25tweet26tweet27

 

**My trip to Florida was fly. My cool ass cousins and I went to the beach, went to the pool, went to the movies, saw friends, RODE ON BOATS, ate pizza/steak/shrimps/fresh fruits/other good things, drank drinks, learned the lyrics to Disney songs, and practiced rapping. (Side note: I think I could be a rapper.)

 

photo

Sunscreen in the eyez/saltwater surprize