Anything Lime

Category Archive

The following is a list of all entries from the Stories category.

To get to the other side

Woke up 30 minutes late. Had a mental breakdown while trying to dress myself. Wore my hair up because of the matted-down sweaty look from having slept on it. Typical morning stuff.

I was finally on my way to work with an estimated time of arrival of 9:07 – math I did while sitting at my first of 17 red lights – when I saw an innocent creature attempting a death-defying feat. A turtle was trying to cross the road. In the land of normalcy, you drive by, maybe ignore the turtle or at most think a good thought for it and hope it makes it across. In the land of Whitney, this falls into the CATASTROPHE!! column and ranks right up there next to a bomb in a maternity ward set to go off at the sound of a baby’s cry and blow the entire Midwest off the map. Needless to say I re-focused my energy and made this turtle my first and foremost priority. Because sometimes there are more important things than hunger and world peace.

I pulled the most illegal of U-turns and parked my car on the wrong side of the road in the exit lane of a driveway headed into a nook housing business buildings. That might be hard to follow or picture in your mind, but just understand that it was risky. And James Bond-ish. Well, more like Jack Hanna meets James Bond. Yeah, that’s probably pretty accurate.

I got out of my car – other vehicles flying past – and looked forward at my little shelled amigo who had by now made his way into the center of one of the two lanes on this road. Cars were honking and swerving to miss him. My heart pounding, I got the scare of my life (or so it seemed at the time) when a big black Escalade came speeding toward the turtle. It seemed to happen in slow motion as I flailed at the driver, and then the turtle and I seemed to perform the same series of movements as though we were a pair of synchronized swimmers moving through a choreographed routine. Both of us extracted all of our extremities into our mid sections. My head was completely buried in my arms and neck, wondering whether I should even look up. My heart broke at the thought of him being squished, but I lifted my head and was overcome with a feeling of relief. I puffed up my chest and took commanding steps into the road. Horns were honked, middle fingers were thrown, but I managed to STOP TRAFFIC WITH MY BODY in order to grab the turtle. And by God, I was proud.

He was much bigger than he looked from the side of the road. I scooped him up with both hands and ran him to his destination – the other side of the road. He poked his head out a little and showed me his eyes. This is why I save animals – because even though he couldn’t speak to me and tell me he was grateful for the lift, I knew he was. And that makes it worth it. That look in his beady little eyes makes it worth having run into traffic. And being called “crazy bitch!” by the passersby who apparently had an estimated time of arrival that was much later than 9:07.

I carefully got back into my car and tried to avoid touching anything with my turtle fingers. I started thinking about how that’s a great way to start the day. Saving a turtle from the middle of the road. Putting him in a safe place. Well, ok, maybe not a “safe” place, but at least the place where he was headed. Ok, well, maybe not even close to a safe place. In fact, wasn’t there a fence right there? So what now? He gets across the road, discovers there is a fence and then TURNS AROUND? WHAT WAS I THINKING?! I SHOULD HAVE TAKEN THIS TURTLE HOME AND TUCKED HIM INTO MY BED BECAUSE THIS WORLD IS REALLY NO PLACE FOR A TURTLE!

The rest of the way to work I thought about where else I could have put him, maybe over the fence? Maybe driven around until I found a happy turtle lake for him to bathe in? GEEZ?! WHY IS BEING A GOOD SAMARITAN SO FREAKIN HARD?!

I arrived at my office at 9:12 feeling lousy. I figured I’d just try to distract myself by going through my to-do list and throwing myself into non-turtle tasks to get my mind off of the fact that I might or might not be seeing a mound of shell and turtle sauce on my way home from work. Patrick called after about 20 minutes, and the conversation was filled with a lot of frustration on my end. “I’m sorry, Patrick, it’s not you,” I explained.  “It’s just that I’m not sure I found the safest place for that turtle.” Needless to say I’ve since been committed.

We discussed a few other things – bills, plans for the day – before the conversation circled right back around to where it started – my amphibious acquaintance.  Patrick hesitated a little before asking, “Where is the turtle?” He asked in a way that was of utmost seriousness – a tone that I knew meant he was planning to swoop in and save me as he so often does. I knew just by his asking that he was going to go find that turtle.

“You don’t have to go there, Patrick, I will go after my meeting at 10 and move him,” and then I thought, I just hope he’s not dead by then!

Patrick decided that checking on the turtle would make me feel less stressed. And relieving my stress would relieve his stress. So he left the course, which is 25 minutes away, to go check on my turtle. He never found the little guy, but he thoroughly inspected the situation and figured that the turtle likely made a short trek along the edge of the fence before finding refuge in some nearby shrubbery. Patrick said he’d probably followed his senses toward water and was most likely basking in the nearby lake just beyond the fence. Then Patrick told me that the turtle was no doubt thinking about me and how grateful he was to have met me. And this is the story I am going to tell whenever people ask me how I know Patrick is the one.

Sometimes life is about sticking your neck out for those who are helpless and can do nothing but duck and cover in the face of danger. And sometimes life is about containing the crazy, which is something Patrick’s become an expert at doing. He knows that I’m not without my quirks, he knows I’m not perfect and he knows that sometimes in the midst of a normal morning I’m going to run into traffic and stand up for a turtle. There are a lot of things about me that people don’t understand. But this is where Patrick is different – he understands everything about me. He consoles me and comforts me and saves me and protects me. And when faced with a choice, he makes a long drive to check on a turtle because he knows just what to do to make me feel at peace.

And that is why I am marrying him.


Destined for a life in seclusion

Last night my handsome darling offered to take me out to dinner as a way to pick me up from the long, exhausting and somewhat saddening day (see: workplace bullying) I had at work. He got it into his head that it would be a good idea for us to go to Applebee’s because of a current promotion: one appetizer and two entrees for $20. So we hop in the car, head out for a FANCY! meal, and arrive in good spirits and good conversation.

We’re waiting in line to check in with the hostess when we overhear the couple in front of us. “Two please,” the woman says. “Can I have a name?” the hostess asks. “Whitney,” she says.

To any normal person this isn’t a big deal. Yes, that is correct. To any normal person this isn’t a big deal.

For me, however, such a thing meant catastrophe. “Oh my God!” I said to Patrick. “What on earth name am I supposed to put down now?!” (Keep in mind the Spazz Factor has now reached near maximum.) “Hello,” the hostess greeted us, interrupting my frenzy. “How many?” “Two please,” I responded. “Non smoking.” She laughed a bit, then asked, “Are you guys from out of town?” “No, we live in Orlando,” we said. “Well,” she went on to explain, “In Florida, all restaurants have been non smoking for the last five years.” We laughed a little, by this time other members of the wait staff have entered the scene to look into the faces of the people who haven’t been to a Florida Applebee’s in five years. “We don’t get out much,” I said in a joking voice. Though I certainly wasn’t joking. “The name’s Patrick,” he chimed in. A rush of relief went over me. AND THAT IS WHY I’M MARRYING HIM.

We took a seat in the waiting area and fixed our eyes on a nearby TV. We were there about five minutes – watching and chatting – before we heard, “Hoyt, party of two” come from the hostess stand. I looked over at Whitney and Guest and was relieved that she was not, in fact, stealing my identity. The name belonged to a middle-aged couple wearing matching pairs of khaki shorts.

We ate a meal that was what we expected – worth $20 – and then finished it off with the best part of the day: dessert. When we go out Patrick usually vetoes dessert, but yesterday was different. Yesterday I was on the verge of a mental breakdown (see: Wednesday).

While at dinner we had a long discussion about the stressors in my life, and I filled my gut with molten chocolate cake (which is, of course, the greatest answer to all of life’s problems). And I went home feeling a little more ill, a little less stressed and a lot more thankful to be spending my life with someone so great. No wonder we never go out in public – we’ve got everything we could want in the comfort of our own home. Plus, we could have given ourselves diarrhea if we wanted it, no need to pay 20 dollars. Our time, we decided, is not best spent in public, but best spent at home together. Away from human civilization.

So in fifty years when kids ride their bikes past our house – a house no one is ever seen going into or coming out of – and throw things in our yard because we’ve become the neighborhood crazies who do crazy things; and when origin stories and urban legends start to trickle down the grapevine about us, all I ask is that you tape a nice little note to the brick you use to throw in a taunting manner through our living room window.

Next stop: Milan

For the first time since hacking my hair off, I whipped out my curling iron two days ago and gave myself a quirky little style change. I was 20 minutes late to work because I wanted to get every last inch of my hair swirling like a ribbon dancer at a gay pride parade. I took a picture with my phone to document it because I knew that by the time I was halfway through my day at work, it would have fallen into a droopy, stick-straight  mess. Which would have proved that the 20 minutes I came late to work would have been for nothing (even though I choose to hit the snooze button five or 10 or 19 times and am late to work EVERY SINGLE MORNING!).

So glad I was wrong. Hours later my coworkers were still complimenting me on my bouncy, swingy locks that, let’s face it, I couldn’t be more proud of, and no one was more surprised than I was that they remained in tact.

Pulling out of the parking lot after the day was done, I realized I had left my phone in my desk, which is, living in these times, the equivalent of forgetting to put on your clothes, OR YOUR FACE. I executed a driving maneuver that I was too embarrassed to even tell Patrick about later that evening, mostly because the only reason I didn’t get into an accident was sheer luck. I pulled back into my work lot, hopped out of my car, shrugged off my coat and tossed it back into my car. It was about this time that my life started happening in slow motion as a gush of hot Florida wind came blowing toward my face. I did what any girl standing in front of a giant fan on the set of a movie who never got to live her dream as one day becoming a Victoria’s Secret model would do, I seized an opportunity. There I was, poised with my still intact curls blowing in the most perfect wind Mother Nature could ever conjure up, inspired to unleash my walk. I strutted through that parking lot with my lips pursed, my eyes fierce and my cheekbones looking as anorexic as I could make them appear. The asphalt was my runway. Poetic, almost. 

Though, this moment, however precious to me, meant nothing but annoyance for the drivers looking to rush away from work. The booming sound of a horn in my face yanked me violently back to reality. I jumped straight into the air, ignored the profanities seeping out of the driver’s side window and trotted toward the door of my building. A smile took shape on my face as I reached for the door handle.

It turns out I hadn’t left my phone at my desk. My trip back had been for nothing. My illegal and potentially homicidal driving had been for nothing. But my once-in-a-lifetime runway moment (yes, once-in-a-lifetime, I’m only 5’6″ people! Speaking optimistically, of course) was totally worth it. It’s not every day I can just let go and feel free and good and not care what other, apparently impatient drivers eager to leave their place of business think about me. I didn’t care about any of that. And it was awesome.

Clutch, Pronounced “Life Ruiner to the Fullest Extent”

Tuesday seemed like any other evening when I bolt out my office door like a wild banshee away from the prison that is my cubicle. I hopped in my car, turned on my jams and made my way out of the parking lot and into the 5:00 traffic rush. There I was, belting out words along with the radio while neighboring drivers peered into my windows. I ignored most of the strange looks people gave me, even the driver of a little blue BMW who stared unrelentingly while I sang “Womanizer” at him. Then pointed. Then nodded.

I turned onto Lee Road, a busy four-lane traffic jam, and shifted from second to third gear, then third to fourth. Enter fourth gear. Any day now, fourth. Where are you, fourth gear? I must have lost it somewhere between “Boy don’t try to front,” and “I got your crazy,” but there’s no way to say for sure.

I coasted into the median to get my revving, non-shifting car out of traffic. I immediately called Patrick, then Volkswagen, then a tow truck. Yes, I realize how backwards my judgement was. Forgive my inability to think clearly, I was at that very moment a tiny little spec in a large, fast game of Frogger.

Patrick arrived to help ease my frustration, and he was able to push my car onto a side street during a break in traffic (See? FROGGER!). The tow truck arrived about 20 minutes later, and the wait wasn’t too bad aside from having a full bladder (which I emptied in the restroom of a nearby vet’s office where I met the most peculiar-looking dog. His toe hairs were so long it made his feet look like he was wearing an old fashioned pair of boat shoes. He had a significant underbite which protruded from his curly black face, and he pranced around with happy, springy steps. Hello?Stop reading this tangent and get back to the story!).

We got to VW and they took good care of me. And by good care I mean they accepted my payment in the form of human organs. Now I won’t tell you where I got them, but let’s just say there’s a good chance I won’t ever have liver disease. Or children.

My new clutch feels foreign to me. It’s as though I have spent my whole life lifting boulders and now I’ve switched to lifting pebbles. Though instead of feeling relieved that my life has been made easier, I instead lift the lighter load with incredible amounts of force, sending the pebbles flying through the air and my car screeching through mid-day traffic. This analogy would have been much funnier if instead of boulders vs. pebbles I had used fat chics vs. babies. Just a thought.

Although I enjoyed my temporary chauffeur service, I’m thankful this is all over – at least for now. I got a list of necessary car repairs that need to be made within the next year. So it’s unlikely that I’ll have both of my kidneys by the time I get married.

Bedtime circus

The winter means two things: the first is that Patrick’s traveling season has come to a close so he spends all of his evenings at home. The second is, well, it’s cold.

There are few things more uncomfortable than the feeling of ice-cold ceramic tile under my feet first thing in the morning. And I don’t think to put my slippers on until about point two seconds after I take my first steps into the frozen hallway. I know, I know, cold is relative. Since moving to Florida I haven’t seen ANY snow let alone scraped my windshield or shoveled my driveway, but I just wasn’t built for the cold. And, if his sleeping tendencies are any indication, Patrick isn’t either.

And so our night time routine begins – teeth are brushed, contact lenses are in their respective places and the apartment is locked down for the night. I, in my sleeping moo moo, carefully sneak below the covers so as not to cause any untucking. After strategically placing all of my pillows, moving my hair away from my neck and face, straightening out any bunches in my night shirt and putting on lotion and lip balm, I’m ready. Patrick’s routine consists only of flopping onto the bed and falling asleep on top of the comforter.

Maybe an hour later, Patrick will violently wake up, yank blindly at the covers and finally find his way into the sheets. By then I’ve become an insulated heat capsule that he carelessly destroys merely by allowing his frigid body to come anywhere near it. So I do my best to retain as much heat as possible, and at about this time he discovers that my side of the bed seems to be radiating heat. Hmm. Fancy that.

Still half asleep, he turns his back to me and backs his body up against mine in a shameless act to steal any heat I’ve managed to retain. This I can handle. It isn’t until his feet fresh from the frozen tundra press up against my legs that I have to actually fight back. Mostly I try the defensive plays such as tucking my legs up closer to my body or scooting away. Sometimes I even resort to using my knee pillow as a wedge between us to prevent him from making physical contact. Such a move comes at great cost to me because I then have to spend the rest of the night figuring out a way to sleep without letting my knees touch.

I should be glad that he wants to sleep close to me, but sharing a bed with someone isn’t as glamorous as it seems in the movies. Too many times than I’d even be able to count, I’ve woken up with one of Patrick’s elbows in my side. He sprawls out in an area that is CLEARLY not his side of the bed and then juts his bony elbows at me. Meanwhile his body is bent at the waist and his long legs are hanging off MY side of the bed. Not sure how he makes this work, but all I can do is just try my hardest to withstand the cramps in my legs as I’m curled up in a tiny ball – my knees still not touching.

Then some nights after he’s annexed all the blankets and all I’m left with is my knee pillow, I’ll make the slightest of movements and my night gown will brush against his fragile arm hairs. He’ll shoot up, make a huge fuss, and loudly say, “WHA?! WHAT?! WHAT’S GOING ON?!” And when I’m all, “sorry darling, I was just getting situated,” or even, “Sorry my breathing upset you, dear,” he reacts as though I said, “Bad news, dude, I just crashed your car …into your mom.” He spins sideways, slams his body down onto the pillow and then yanks at the covers violently as he mutters angrily and tries to fall back asleep. Which, by the way, HE DOES INSTANTLY. I know because as he’s falling asleep he thrashes about violently as he experiences limb spasms of every variety.

Last night he was uncomfortable because of a recent rib injury from golf, so when he fell asleep and backed up into my territory, I didn’t want to wake him. I didn’t want to move him, I just wanted him to rest. The problem was, I wanted that only slightly less than I wanted to not have my legs and feet exposed to the cold air that was was coming into our room from under the balcony door, so I knew I had to try to move him. I softly put my hands on his back and whispered, “Patrick, scoot scoot.” I couldn’t believe it, he inched like a worm toward his side. Though, he didn’t go very far, so I had to try again. This time I pushed a little harder on his back thinking that I would give him a little help. “Scoot scoot,” I whispered, and he made his way back to his own pillow. I climbed back under the covers and reclaimed my dent in the bed. And as I put my ice-cold feet down toward the foot of the bed, I felt the comforting warmth from his feet reaching out to warm mine. I suppose loving someone means taking care of that person even in your sleep. And despite his having no apparent knowledge of boundaries, or my having to be on the receiving end of an occasional head butt or eye gouge, I feel pretty well taken care of.

My green thumb is looking a little brown these days

During their mid-October visit, my good friends Aimee and Christine took notice to all the outrageous things on my dream board. We bonded over the fact that the Magic Bullet is obviously the greatest thing EVER created and it’s impossible to watch the infomercial and not want it.

So for my birthday, Aimee sent me something she knew had been on their for months – a sarracenia leucophylla, more commonly known as a pitcher plant.

When I got my little seedling in the mail, it seemed easy enough. I planted her in a shimmery turquoise bowl in some healthy potting soil. Strike one.

Actually, maybe strike one was giving her too powerful a name. I chose to call her Pomona Jubilee. Pomona because it means “powers that protect orchards and gardens” because, duh, she eats bugs. And Jubilee because I tend to come up with extravagant names for my plants and they’ve grown incredibly well, so I wanted to stick with what works. I’m not certain she started wilting because of her name, but I admit I could have gone with Jill or something. Ok, not Jill, but you get it.


I also decided that the climate control system in place with this plant was my sense of hot and cold and my impulsive decisions as to when she should go out, when she should come in, where she should be displayed, and so on. Little did I know that she is a finicky plant that needs to be slowly acclimated to the changes in temperature. What a fricken baby.

Apparently what Princess needs is extremely moist moss, not potting soil. In fact, potting soil is packed full of nutrients. AND THIS PLANT HATES NUTRIENTS! Nothing like nutrients to ruin your day. Needless to say, we have nothing in common. But I’ve continued singing to her with the hope that she’ll forget about our differences and just be a good plant. One that doesn’t need to live in a rare form of long moss cut into one-centimeter pieces. And the bottom of her habitat, she prefers sand. WITH ALL THE SALT REMOVED. She drinks only rain water and needs 16 to 18 hours of sunlight each day. Going back to the point of the name, I’m considering “Snob.” I think it suits her.

So last night Patrick and I ventured out and spent hours looking for a terrarium, yes, you heard me, A FRICKEN TERRARIUM to house my innocent little Snob. Her beautiful color has faded and she’s begun growing brown patches. I’ve spent the past two days sitting at my desk poring over all the research I can find about sarracenia leucophylla plants er… doing my work… and I discovered that the brown patches might be because of fungus. Not only does she prefer water with NO minerals or gases, but her pot has to have an ample drainage system so the water doesn’t sit. Apparently my breed of plant is more susceptible to fungus and root rot than any other carnivorous plant. Had I paid better attention to the shipping label, I would have seen that she came from

Two hardware stores and a few closed nurseries later, we settled for one bag full of moss and another full of sand. We headed to Whole Foods to pick up dinner, and I spotted a whole congregation of pitcher plants potted outside the store. They looked huge and happy and healthy. Rather than spend money experimenting with glass enclosures and mirrors and anti-fungal spray, I decided to take a different route. I decided to surround her with a family of plants that was obviously harboring positive energy.

I pulled her out of the poison potting soil and gave her roots a bath. Her rhizome, or root base, looked a little brownish in color, but still felt firm. I nicked off a little piece and saw that it was bright white underneath. She was alive. After potting her with the moss and her new family (which believe it or not remains nameless) she looks as though she’s doing better.

Watching my plant gives me a strange perspective about life and a sense of peace. I feel like an observer always examining her and learning to understand the stages of her development. I hope this is the first of many years I can watch her continue to grow. Because, yes, it takes her years to reach maturity. Four to six years. Weirdest plant ever.

I love New York City. Oh yeah. New York City.

This weekend I saw the Statue of Liberty for the first time as my plane descended toward LaGuardia. Patrick and I had flown out for his brother, Andrew’s, wedding. It was a good opportunity for me to meet Patrick’s extended family and dance so hard my feet swelled up. I walked …er limped out of there with Fred Flinstone’s feet dangling from my ankles. My feet eventually fell off and now I’m forever confined to a chair. Lucky for me I took a few practice walks down Cherie’s aisle before the ceremony started, so I got that out of the way.

The ceremony was beautiful, and we were able to look closely at all the tiny details that went into making it magnificent. I looked around at the draping on the walls, the wide array of decorative pillows and matching seat cushions and could only imagine the many months of preparation that Andrew and Cherie the wedding planner had to endure.I was, as with every time I’ve ever found myself in NYC, overwhelmed. The noises, the smells, the constant sense of business, it’s all way too hurried to deal with on a regular basis. Lucky for me, I was a tourist, so stopping to take photos on the sidewalk, like this one: NYC on foot

…is perfectly acceptable. And by “perfectly acceptable,” what I mean is “possible if you act quickly before an angry New Yorker has time to spit in your face.” We roamed around the streets in between rehearsal dinners and brunches and other wedding activities, and it was just what we needed to get the most out of our New York vacation. Patrick ate about 16 hot dogs from street vendors, so it’s probably good we left when we did.

We stayed in a beautiful room at the Flatotel, where we enjoyed days of stunning views. And the people of New York did the same, I’m sure, as one of the many large windows in our room was in our shower. I kept fighting the urge to throw my hands up and shout “SPRING BREAK!” Which would, in reality, be much less fun than I’d planned. Because New Yorkers are probably used to this. And because no one else was around. And because no one else laughs at my jokes.

One theme of the weekend was “Undo Whitney’s calorie-limiting eating plan,” which entailed eating meal after meal after meal. I have to admit, though, that things do taste better in New York. Some people would think that grilled cheese, French fries and a chocolate shake couldn’t be vastly better than any diner across America. SOME PEOPLE WOULD BE DEAD WRONG.

The rehearsal dinner began almost forty minutes late, as all the guests were engaging in another theme of the wedding weekend which was, “Wait hours until the bride and groom arrive, however long after said time that might be.” Even if that means not starting your rehearsal dinner on time. Even if it means not having a rehearsal.

It’s easy to get caught up in the glam life New York. The whole lifestyle is wrapped in this cloak that’s three parts fashionista, nine parts confidence and two parts bravery. People throw one two random things they own, put a pair of leggings underneath it, carry a designer bag and spike their hair out in all directions. The trick, I’ve found, is to OWN IT! Even I got swept up in this, looking at Patrick wearing two different shoes going, “I can totally rock this.”

The view from our hotel room could hardly compete with the view from Andrew and Cherie’s 39th floor apartment in Manhattan. Out one side of the corner apartment you can see the Chrysler Building, the Empire State Building and out the other side of the room you can see the Statue of Liberty far off in the distance. I was in awe. What a magnificent city. And after days of hailing cabs and having heart attacks watching guys clean the windows of skyscrapers, I was both relieved and sad to leave.

One thing’s for sure though, I definitely plan to go back to Santos’ Party House, where the dancing never stops.

Ah, the magic of rediscovery

Two-ball fetch: noun 1. A game of retrieval played with two balls rather than one to avoid having to wrestle the single ball from the mouth of the dog time after time. 2. Kya’s all-time favorite game to play.

Months ago Kya and I were playing in the park when we lost one of her two heavy, yellow balls. We play fetch with field hockey balls, which I discovered to be more durable and less likely to collapse under the jaws of Kya than tennis balls. They’re hard to come by, which is why it saddened me after 30 minutes of hunting to leave the park with one ball short of what we came with, a sadness that made me feel a deep emotional connection to Lance Armstrong. Eeesh, ok, I take it back.

The next day we went back out to the park in search of the mysterious vanishing ball. I spoke to a few of the maintenance workers who spend much of their time in golf carts out in that area. I talked to a few kids who frequent the park. But even though they all said they’d keep an eye out for it, I was quite discouraged. Mostly because it was about this time the landscaping trucks were pulling up. If my ball was out there, it was a) in a bush, in which case I’d never find it or b) about to be run over, chopped up or drilled into the ground by the industrial mowers. I heaved one of the neighborhood children into the dumpster in an act of protest before realizing that it was not, in fact, a good idea. No formal charges have been filed.

One-ball fetch: noun 1. A game of retrieval that takes much longer because it requires having to wrestle with the dog to get the ball back after every single throw. 2. Not fun. 3. An explanation as to why my body is covered in bruises and bite marks.

Days in the park were much less enjoyable. Kya wouldn’t get as much exercise,  but would instead spend all of her time chewing the ball and running away from me. She’d find a spot in the shade, lie down, and then I’d find out on the walk home that she’d rolled in something even more unpleasant than a game of one-ball fetch. Like dog poo. Like a snake’s nest. Like a pile of McCain-Palin buttons.

I almost didn’t believe it when I saw a tiny patch of yellow peering up at me from the ground. I recognized it right away, and realize that the landscapers had run over the ball buried all but a tiny bit of it.

“Kya!” I shrieked in my most excited voice, which I have to use when she’s preoccupied chewing on her ball and rolling in the shade. “Kya, what is that?” She was immediately intrigued by my excitement, not like that time last week when I caught on fire and she did nothing, but instead poked Soto a few times before trotting off to chew a dentabone.

“Kya! Look, Kya, what’s that? What IS that?” She looked around the ground for a few seconds, and the minute she recognized it, I thought she was going to collapse and fall asleep. This dog can only handle so much excitement.

Her ears perked up, her eyes widened to resemble those of a demon, and she pounced on the ball and dug it up instantly. She reached down and scooped it up, then looked up at me as drool and dirt and worms and a few bits of grass dripped slowly from her mouth. She flashed me a smile as if to say, “I found my ball mom. Look at it. I have it back now.”

I’m picturing my mom cringing at the thought of my dog’s dirty mouth. It gets worse, mom, I LET HER KISS ME WITH THAT MOUTH.

Obituary will read, “was devoured by insects”

I went walking with Kya and Soto this morning, as I do most mornings that I’m actually able to fight the urge to hit the snooze button several hundred times before slinking out of bed and onto the floor. And that’s usually followed by a few slow but forceful log rolls into the bathroom where I curl up into a ball on the bathmat and fall softly back to sleep. I stay there until Patrick returns from walking the dogs, when he’ll open the bathroom door into my head and act confused like, “You still live here?” or “Aren’t you supposed to be at work?”

So anyway, the walk is about a mile out and a mile back, a journey that is essential to both Soto’s energy level maintenance program and Kya’s weight-loss plan. Not to mention it’s the only time I am not confined to my cubicle, so breathing outdoor air is always more than just a bit refreshing.

We’d reached our landmark this morning, done our business and were turning around when it hit me. I mean, bit me. An ant. I looked down at the point of origin: one red ant had his face sucked onto my ankle bone. I flicked him off in one swift motion, and I got a sensation that he was a leach attached to my leg. I started flinging my feet every which way when I discovered that this ant, the one who had bitten into my flesh and left a burning sensation in my leg, had brought along his entourage. And, judging by the size of this posse, he must have been some sort of celebrity. Maybe a rapper or reality TV star.

When my feet were clear, I carefully examined the paws and underbellies of my walking mates. They were fine, and we continued home, my leg on fire.

By the time we reached the apartment, my ankle had swelled up and turned red. This is the kind of morning that makes me feel worse, not better, about not having given into my morning sluggishness. Here I was, in the bathroom, throwing my clothes off in a fit and trying to talk myself out of dunking my legs into a barrel of battery acid.

I arrived at work a few minutes late this morning, which, for me, is right on time. I’ve stayed at work late the past two weeks or so finishing projects that needed to be done RIGHT NOW and are of UTMOST IMPORTANCE!!! I wish I would have had the nerve to tell the bossman that I’d rather be at home with my fiancé, who would soon be out of site and out on the road again as yet another series of tournaments fills his schedule.

He finally left yesterday for his prequalifier for Q School, the bridge to the PGA Tour. So this prequalifier is like a tinier bridge that connects to the original bridge that connects to the PGA Tour. I am thrilled. Plus, I love bridges. Especially when they lead somewhere good. It’s like magic.

So while he’s gone I just go about my routine and find ways to bide my time. I mostly spend my nights watching girly movies and prime time television, eating eggplant, developing flyball strategies and try to avoid dangerous situations – like that time I was ambushed by fire ants.

The art of scooping

I’ve had Kya for four years. Of those years, I’ve never had a fenced-in backyard. Meaning that for those four years, I’ve had to walk my dog on a leash during her “working hours” and I’ve had to carefully pick up her “business” with my hand, which is protected only by a small plastic bag.

I’m going to be honest, I’m good at the scoop. I have perfected the art of the scoop. I am a scooping gold medalist. Tonight I was shamefully knocked off my pedestal when I made a fatal error – ending my nearly flawless scooping career.

There were times, I admit, that weren’t perfect, like when I would realize too late that the bag I’d selected for a particular job had a pinky-finger-sized hole in it. Perfect for my pinky finger to slide through. You can imagine how I would discover such a hole. Six times. There was one time in college when I was running late for class and I didn’t take the time to correctly position myself before the scoop, which is actually an important step on the path toward scooping enlightenment. So when I bent my leg to move in for the grab, my knee (in a pair of white capris, mind you) went cap-first into Kya’s back end, leaving a distasteful circular mark on my pants. Classy. Then there were the countless times I moved in too quickly, and Kya, in her after-poop fit of joy of spinning and kicking and twirling and smiling. I’ve gotten mouthfuls of dirt, grass, mulch, etc. But none of those times compares to the mistake I made tonight.

Kya and I had a nice long, relaxing evening snuggling on the couch. By long, I mean, we waited until after dark to take our evening walk. Not good for me with my irrational fear that every person I encounter is out to gut me and feed my intestines to their bastard children, but I left my ring inside anyway, just in case. A girl can never have too much peace of mind.

We headed out together into the dark of the night. It was nearing ten o’clock as she assumed the position. As she was completing what looked like a hearty pile, I crept down, bag in hand, to grab it. Here’s where I made the mistake: I was so concerned with FINDING the poo, that I did the obvious thing. Ok, Whitney, you can find it. Just look at where her butt is and then feel directly below it. This is easy. But was it? WAS IT? If this technique was going to work, I had to wait until the opportune time – when she was completely finished, but still in position, and before she turns to spin and kick and chuck dirt into my face. It was a risky plan, but it was my only chance at success out here in this unlit, pitch black park. Here goes.

Bag on hand, I moved in. Perfect. I located the poo immediately. Success. One handed, I grabbed the entire mess with one swift gesture. Perfect. Wait. What’s that? ON MY WRIST? Shit. Well, it seems I had NOT made my attempt at the opportune time. It seems Kya was not finished. I backed off, made sure she was REALLY done, and then went again for round two. This time, I had the whole bunch. I was grossed out, still crouched down, tying the bag into a knot and wondering how I would ever survive this.

Meanwhile, Kya began spinning and kicking dirt into my hair.

I never stood a chance.