A Little Love Note to A Woman And Her Border Collie

Dear Woman with Stroller and Big Beautiful Border Collie,

I have seen you near the Patterson Park Boat Lake on multiple occasions over the past several weeks.  The weather has been nearly perfect and I’m glad to see you are taking yourself, your daughter, and your dog out for some fresh air and exercise.

I’m sure you’ll agree, the Boat Lake is especially wonderful this time of year.  There are mallards with ducklings, and kinglets, and thrashers, and thrushes, and widgeon, and heron, towhees, creepers, and flickers, red-winged blackbirds, and warblers.  Not to mention turtles and squirrels!

You might have noticed on your walks there are also plenty of people fishing the Lake, sitting quietly beside the Lake, taking photographs of the flora and fauna. . .families with small children, folks with other dogs. . .

You did notice right?  You’re there almost every day.

It appears you enjoy the Lake very much.  I’ve even seen you and your daughter feed the ducks.

Yet, I feel like you don’t actually appreciate the Lake.  It also appears you do not much respect people or care that much for nature. . .

In fact, it appears you don’t even care about your own dog. . .

Because every damned time I see you, your positively obnoxious dog is tearing around the lake at break-neck speed, running into the reeds where ducks are nesting, chasing squirrels, barking incessantly, approaching other dogs recklessly, and digging holes under trees.  All the while you walk entirely too far behind him, with a stupid grin on your face and his worthless leash dangling around your fat neck!!!!!

The first time I saw you, I tried to give you the benefit of the doubt.  Perhaps your dog just really needed exercised?  I know border collies require a lot of stimulation.

The second time I was appalled and speechless.

The third time, I was so angry and disgusted with you I started thinking immature mean girl things about how fat your ass looks in those ridiculous spandex capris you wear all the time.

You know what?  When I revert to mean girl thoughts, I’m clearly harboring waaaaaay too much resentment.

So, there is no fourth time.  The next time I see you, I’m calling whatever number I need to call to report a leash violation.

You might know leash violations cost upwards of $1000 in these parts.

Yeah, I’m probably being harsh, but consider it tough love.  And by tough love, I mean my concern for your dog.  If he can’t be controlled, he needs to be leashed for his own safety.  One of these days he’s going to confront the wrong dog, chase something into traffic, or even stumble upon the fox everyone has been seeing.  It’s for his own safety.

If you are not concerned about your dog’s safety or the interests of others in the vicinity of the Lake, including the little girl who cried as you dog barreled towards her and those squirrels he aggressively treed today, you should pay.  Ultimately the dog isn’t the asshole terrorizing the park, you are.

What is wrong with you?  Put your dog on a leash already!

Much Love (to the dog), Deni

As an aside:  I have no problem with any breed of dog.  I love all dogs.  We have two large dogs ourselves.  I have no problem with dogs being off-leash if they are well-trained, well-behaved, and it’s appropriate given the circumstances.  Also, I have never reported a dog off-leash.  Hopefully, I’ll never witness something so egregious as this, which would necessitate my doing so in the future.  

Creature Dis-Comforts. . .Or Why You Should ALWAYS Read the Entire Hike Description

Monday was supposed to be a “You Can Do this Post” but I’ve been on vacay and my Parents came to visit and I got thorough that without my head effing exploding so that should be enough already.  Instead, I’m going to tell you a little story about yet another one of my idiotic ideas.

Saturday Chris went to his niece’s lacrosse game while Mac was sleeping so I was left to my own devices for a couple of hours.  Do you really think I did anything productive? NCIS bitches.

When Chris got home, I convinced him we should go to a place called Morgan Run Natural Environmental Area. It’s an hour away from our house. So basically, it was an hour away from my housekeeping, my showering, and my attending mass. BUT our book called 60 Hikes Within 60 Miles – Baltimore 2nd Ed mentioned in the first sentence of the trail description: “the first thing you’ll notice at Morgan Run is the birds. . . .” CHA-CHING!!

Mac got awake. We sucked down a late lunch. We packed up the back pack. I packed food for a modest snacking picnic. I had visions of a walk through meadows and mixed forests until dusk. . .when we might just see an owl.

I think it’s safe to say when I have idealyic visions, it’s going to hell in a hurry.

We arrive at Morgan Run.  The parking lot overlooks an amazingly beautiful open meadow. Bird paradise. Warbler paradise. I’m giddy with possibility. We check out the trail-heads. We check out the book. The book suggests we start at the lower trail off the parking lot.

This is the path that is basically un-mowed tramped down 4-inch brush.

We descend down the hill from the parking lot. Chris is sporting his outdoor gear plus the back-pack. I had heretofore had worn my outdoor pants so many times in the past few days, I opted for regular shorts. I’m pushing Mac in the stroller. Mac is wearing his insanely expensive miniature version of Chris’ outdoor gear.

I’m scared senseless.

What could be causing such unease and discomfort in such a beautiful place on such a lovely day, you ask?  I am not concerned about snakes. I’m so unconcerned about snakes I nearly popped a squat on a rattlesnake while birding nearly 20 years ago. I’m not concerned about spiders. I’m not worried about foxes or coyotes.

I’m not concerned about anything but ticks.

I’m scared to death of ticks.

I think ticks are possibly the most revolting thing on earth.  I actually put roaches and rats below them on my all time gross out list.

I try to keep my yap shut and not complain or whine about how miserable the path is and how difficult it is to push the stroller or that I’m approaching full-blown panic over the possibility of finding a tick on my smooth as silk, pale as porcelain skinned son.    I would be remiss if I didn’t mention that I’m keeping mute solely because this stupid hike was all my idea.

We get to the bottom of the meadow and Chris suggest we head towards the woods.  I pause briefly to inspect my bare legs for the 400th time in 15 minutes.  There, on my right shin, is a TICK!!!

For the love of all that is Holy. TICK!!!!!!!!!!!!!

I brushed it off and alerted Chris in my irrational, squeaky panic voice.

Here’s where it gets bizarre: Something snapped in the reptilian recesses of my brain. FLEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEE. Get the kid out now! My kid isn’t going to have a tick stuck on his adorable little ass at 11 months!

It was a steep incline back to the parking lot. Over rough grass. With a small cooler.

I like moderate physical activity, things like walking very slowly on flat surfaces and lifting the TV remote just enough to get it to function with the cable box.  I’m relatively muscular but that’s just genetics.  I am by no means physically fit.  But that didn’t stop me. . .

I turned that stroller towards the top of the hill, held the cooler and sprinted. My kid ain’t gonna’ have a bulls-eye rash for his first birthday.

In that moment, I understood something so primitive and so fundamental it was irrational but instinctive: I would rather die from some kind of crazy cardiac arrest or worse by pushing this stroller and cooler up a steep, overgrown hill at a break-neck pace, than put my son in the path of a tick.

It was so irrational scary the hair on my arms stood up. In that moment, all I wanted to accomplish was to get that kid to a parking lot where there was a reduced risk of ticks.

We obviously made it to the parking lot alive since I’m here admitting my stupidity and insanity.  However, I was so winded when I got to the top of the incline I thought perhaps for a brief moment I was going to pass out and face plant in the gravel parking lot.  As I stood there, hunched over the stroller, trying to conceal just how badly I was gasping for air so my Husband, who was still wandering around in the thick, tick infested brush, couldn’t hear my sucking from 100 yards away, I realized something else:

There might have been some pee.   

I guess all that running and pushing, caused my completely compromised 3 hours of pushing out a kid bladder to leak a little (again).  Insult to injury.

While we waited for Chris to get his non-tick fearing, stupid ass out of the meadow, I inspected us for ticks.  We looked “clean.”  Then we wandered around the parking lot, me a little bow-legged due to the soggy knickers.  I finally resumed normal breathing and now that the fear of fatal cardiac event or tick bite was behind me, I was very anxious to get the heck out of there.

Chris however, suggested that we take the other path.  The path that was better maintained because “he drove all the way out here.”

Sorry, honey, game over.  Even if you told me there was a stash of Tiffany’s diamonds, Louis Vuitton luggage, and red velvet cupcakes somewhere in that meadow/woods, I wouldn’t go back.  I started packing up our gear.  Chris was a little surly.  I’ve ruined other outings with my slight neuroses (the panic attack in Crisfield, the claustrophobic freak out in Hoover Dam), so he should be used to my insanity by now, but he always seems shocked by it.

We get back in the car very disenchanted.  Mac seems happy though.  I open the book and start reading the second page of the trial description:  “Also, be alert for ticks, which lurk in the tall grasses in the tree-line buffer, and take extra time looking for and removing ticks from your clothing and body at the end of the hike.  I hiked Morgan Run in the summer and picked off no fewer than two dozen ticks.”

Two dozen ticks?!  

Later that evening, as I stood in the glaring over-head lighting of our bedroom inspecting every inch of my husband’s fully unclothed body at incredibly close range – which, I might add, is not an appealing way to see your husband naked – I vowed I would NEVER again read only the first page of a trail description.

As for my non-tick fearing husband?  He walked out of that meadow with at least 6 ticks. That was pretty revolting even for him.  I’m happy to report he’s starting to come around to my way of thinking. . .

*Mac had no ticks, I had no ticks.

**We did see a field sparrow, which brings the bird species we’ve spotted this year to 108.