A Busy Week

I have my first camp of the year starting on Monday. That means I’ve been busy prettying the place up and doing considerable back-breaking work. I moved the lumber pile and have reorganized it behind the green tractor shed. I’ve also done a lot of mowing and a miscellany of repair work.

Oh, and yesterday I killed about 30 carpenter bees who’ve descended en masse on my log cabin home as though it were a large luscious chocolate cake. As a consequence I gave myself a severely inflamed rotator cuff which kept me up basically all night long. It was a dreadful injury because it screamed with pain if I tried to lay down on my back. But it would really feel okay if I just sat up. Here’s the trouble with all of that… I can’t sleep when I’m in pain, and I’ll be darned if I can sleep when I’m sitting up either.

And so I’ve been working all day without the benefit of much of a night’s rest. In about an hour I have a private lesson with a couple ladies who’ve driven down from Cleveland taking our “cottage package”. They are staying in one of our two cottages out on the property and will, aside from our private lessons, attend tomorrow’s Sunday clinic.

In the mean time Marsha has taken in a foster dog who we have named “Mercy”, a petit Aussie girl who’s just had a rear leg amputated probably as a result of a run-in with a car. The people that had the dog couldn’t afford to take her to a vet, and so allowed her to drag her broken dead leg around for a month before someone decided to intervene. I reckon Marsha is a complete sucker for this dog and she’ll wind up as a permanent member of our pack.

I suppose I’m getting farther and farther away from going out into the world to get me a top notch competition dog. You know I teach agility for a living; but the world is fickle about giving respect or credence to people who aren’t knocking down the big competitions. Aside from Hazard, a sometimes shy and fearful little Sheltie, I live in a household full of rescues. On one level I figure I’d be “copping out” if I chased after the world class dog. But OTOH I also know how the game is played. It’s reasonably impossible to be a “genius” or even a credible player, if you don’t get a dog to validate those notions.

I expect that I’ll have to finish the step-by-step Tandem training methodology in blog this week. Today I’m too mentally tired I think.

Last night I was thinking about getting older. The pain in my shoulder was clearly traceable to my awful overhand swing with a bad-mitten racket. I’ve had a similar injury when I was younger when I hit too many buckets at a driving range. There’s only so much abuse that the shoulder can take. I feel okay this very minute. But I have no idea what tonight will be like. I’ve popped an Alleve or two and I reckon (I do my own meds planning) that a couple of beers will fortify my pain threshold just fine.

Okay, just so you know. Getting older really sucks. Things just don’t work like they used to work. If you’ve followed along with my blog over the last couple years you’ll remember when I gave my ankle a severe sprain (in a fishing accident)… well you know, I’ve never gotten my stride back 100%. I now have a hobble that I’ll probably take to the grave with me.

And frankly from time to time I’ll get some random pain in some part of my body, the knee, a shoulder, my neck, or wherever…. That’ll keep me up all night. I did a TDAA judging clinic up in Washingtonville this past year in which I literally didn’t sleep for two nights because of a raging and constant pain in my back, which, a couple of days later mysteriously vanished. You know, I think I pulled off the clinic but I felt dull and lethargic and unconnected. The “my bad” part of it is that I don’t take any pain meds with me on the road. A similar thing happened to me judging out in California a couple years ago; and I was so exhausted I actually judged a Starters class under Advanced rules for 15 dogs or so. I had to sort it all out at the score-keeping table and I felt awful about it.

Even though it’s only a game… the agility judge isn’t playing at all. It’s a job that requires a certain amount of keenness.

When I’m at my best I figure I have a mind like a steel trap. But this is the thing about getting older. We begin to have these periods in which we just aren’t at our best at all. Our best is a memory only.

I think I told a friend once that I’d take the Hemingway solution if things got so bad that I couldn’t function. If I understand the story right about Hemingway, he was in a small airplane crackup and it was so completely clear to him that life for him would be reduced to being crippled and in pain that he ended his own life. And now that I think about it I’m pretty sure that I’m not going to going to apply for a pilot’s license.

Writing a web log makes one kind of a stats junkie. Most days I’ll check how many have read my blog, from where they were referred, what external links they clicked… and so forth. On Saturdays and Sundays my stats take a complete nosedive. In my tribe (the agility world) most of us are out playing on the weekends. And so if I’m going to write something really unagility-like, like this entry, the weekends are the best time to do it. Nobody reads them anyhow.

Questions comments & impassioned speeches to Bud Houston: BudHouston@hughes.net. And Check out my new publication the Idea BookAgility Training for a Small Universe available at www.dogagility.org/store.

6 Responses to “A Busy Week”

  1. Teri Says:

    It’s true, getting older sucks. Get a puppy, you’ll feel younger. : )

    • budhouston Says:

      You know Teri, I should just surround myself with enablers like you. Okay… you’ve about got me talked into it. Let’s give it a few days though.


  2. larsj Says:

    Hey, I’m somebody reading your blogs on the weekend….I’m with Teri–Get thee a new dog. (Were you thinkin’ a different breed?)

    • budhouston Says:

      You know Judith, you don’t seem to understand the percentages in doing your BLOG reading during the week. If you do it at work, you actually get paid for reading my BLOG. Do you see?

      Thank you for joining the Society of Bud Enablers. I’m not sure that I necessarily want to switch breeds. Tho there is a certain attraction to the idea of getting a Border Collie for agility. That is a game that is separate and distinct from the game that everyone else plays. And it would allow me to demonstrate my concepts of handling while I’m still young enough to do so.

      Good to hear from you dear.


  3. Michelle Says:

    Hi Bud!!
    Oh how I can relate to the injury/age notes. My ankle hasn’t ever healed from a bad sprain 6 years aog; it is always swollen 😦
    Sine January I’ve been dealing with plantar fascitis in my right foot. I truly know what pain does to the sleep pattern.
    Today we wrapped up a 2 day TDAA trial; I ache all over! We empluyed the new FEO option and had 27 FEO run! Everyone seemed to like the idea. It was Heidi Jankowski’s first judging assignment and she did marvelously well. She renamed FEO’s as Fun Exhibition Only. I ran my 18 month old toy poodle as FEO and he has so much potential. Hey, a toy poodle would be a real cha,lenge for you and they can win the game too! Presley also ran, sort of, I believe he has some serious dental problems as he won’t even run in the park anymore. We will be getting his mouth thouroughky checked out. Already did blood work and physical exam. He’s just not been the same for a couple years..worries me.

    Anyway, have a beer (as I am) and get thee to bed for some sleep!
    Read Marsha’s blog about Mercy; think you’re right, she’s yours!
    BTW, I read both you and Marsha’s blog everyday, sometimes twice (once at work and once at home)
    Sure wish Countrydream was in Oregon!

    Take care of yourself,

    • budhouston Says:

      Thanks for the note Michelle!

      I too think the FEO provision is pretty cool. TDAA trials tend to be small. So, we should have done this a long time ago.


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