The courage to change the things I can. That was my mantra for 2015. The year started off rough with a huge tragedy affecting a former classmate of mine. The weather was brutal, job opportunities were few and far between. I felt pretty stuck.
So I set out to figure out what I could change. I had no control over the job front. I could apply for 10 jobs a day and it was up to someone else to decide if I was worth an interview. So I tried to work a little harder at my current job. Busy days make the day go by quickly and almost bearable.
I couldn't change the job right away but I could change my living situation. I grew tired of my downstairs neighbor waking me up in the middle of the night with her sex noises, door slamming, and singing at the top of her lungs at all hours. I got tired of the first floor guy singing opera at 3am. I got tired of walking 12 blocks to the laundromat. I got tired of having such a small amount of space. I knew I wanted to make the move to South Philly but it was the dead of winter. I also wanted a dog.
So I haphazardly browsed Craigslist. I found two listings, one in Passyunk and one in South Philly West (not to be confused with Southwest Philly). I went to check them out. The first apartment was a studio and it was so small I couldn't even fit all my furniture in it. I felt bad because the landlord seemed really nice and was willing to cut me a series of deals because I seemed like I'd be a good tenant. I could not make it work.
The second apartment I went to see looked like a penthouse compared to the first one. It had two bedrooms, a living room, a brand new kitchen with a brand new oven and plenty of cabinets and counter space, and well...was pretty much awesome. Plus they were willing to (with a deposit of course) allow me to have one Boxer dog.
I didn't waste a second. I filled out the papers, contacted my landlord and waited for approval. And I got it! Over 50 people inquired and applied for that apartment and the landlords chose me! They were impressed with my maturity (please, I'm 28 going on 58) and were really happy to have a clean and put together new tenant. I moved in the first weekend of February. Of course the packing process was swift and I got super sick. I developed a horrible barking cough that kept me up at night and restricted my breathing. The weekend of my move, I wasn't sure we were actually going to succeed. I had move as much fragile stuff as I could prior to "the big move."
Of course I thought the Uhaul was too small but I had expert packing/moving friends help me and they filled that sucker up full. We didn't require any additional trips. Now, mind you I moved from a 3rd floor to a 3rd floor. Gotta love those steps! I like 3rd floor apartments because I feel safer being so far from the street, but yeah...those stairs are a bitch.
I went to the doctors after the big (and wildly successful) move. I was diagnosed with a viral lung infection and basically the world's longest asthma attack. I was put on oral steroids, a new inhaler and cough syrup. It took over a week to recover and be back to normal.
My parents came to visit the following weekend, bringing up some furniture from my house in VA. I converted one of the bedrooms into a living room and the living room into my office. So I have one bedroom, a living room with a loveseat and daybed/couch, a front office and a kitchen and bathroom. I was also set to adopt a dog in New Jersey that weekend. His name was Cash and for a week the current owner led me to believe he was mine and I would be picking him up on Saturday.
Friday night, the eve of the day of picking him up, I got a series of emails and text messages stating there was a huge miscommunication and I would not be getting Cash. He was supposed to be held for another family and not given to me. It was devastating. The parties involved just blamed each other. My parents were going to drive me to Jersey to get him and now there would be no dog.
Heartbroken on Valentine's Day I spent 12 hours straight unpacking everything I could. I barely took a break to eat. I just wanted to unpack and get my apartment in order. My parents were forced to leave early on Monday due to an incoming snowstorm in the south. They were supposed to stay another day or so but they didn't want to get snowed out. It is a good thing they left when they did because the Shore did have a significant snowstorm that shut everything down for days.
I went back to work on Monday feeling pretty down. My parents had left, my apartment was emptyish again and I didn't have a dog. I found another dog on the PSPCA website and scheduled a visit to the SPCA to see about him. Unfortunately he was on a behavior watch list, meaning he had a series of behavioral issues ranging from food aggression to a distaste for other dogs. I couldn't even meet him. I really wanted to devote the time to train him properly but the SPCA was going to make sure I was ready, willing and able to devote time and money into trying to make this work. It was a gamble.
Ever the dog stalker, I was browsing for other Boxers as well, just in case. I found one in Stroudsburg, PA. I contacted the shelter to ask if they had any geographic restrictions for adopting. They said no. Then they replied to my email later in the day AGAIN to say no. That prompted me to submit my application in which would be approved as long as my lease allowed dogs (it did).
By the next morning I was approved and the dog was put on hold for me! His name was Brutus, he was a 2 year old Boxer. Apparently another application went in for him too but I was approved first. I'm so glad I got that weird second email or else I may not have applied for him when I did.
The week dragged on but finally Saturday arrived. I rented a car and drove to the mountains to get him. The trip took about 2 hours. When I reached the shelter, many of the staff knew of me because of my frequent emails (I wanted to know that he made it through is nutering surgery ok). I filled out the papers, they grabbed my leash and next thing you know the most wiggly little brown and white boxer was brought out to meet me. He was excited. I was excited. They had to take us outside so we could take a picture before heading home.
Brutus was so excited, he did actual somersaults in the backseat. I'm serious...flippy flips galore. Of course it started to snow and snow driving makes me nervous. We had quite the difficult drive back, taking almost over 3 hours. Then I brought him home. He was very excited to be home, doing little tornado circles around as he sniffed everything. I got him settled and then had to return the rental car.
It was the most difficult drive of my life. It took over 5 hours to get to the airport and back. It was scary, I had a panic attack. The roads were pure ice and snow. The car slipped and slid. It was...a nightmare. But with prayer and faith I made it to and from safely. After leaving my new dog home for 5 hours on his first day, I had no idea what to expect. I walked into the apartment and found him sitting looking at me. He hadn't messed with anything. No accidents, no chewing mishaps...nothing. He was an absolute angel. I couldn't be happier.
His name is now Bronx Brutus Rodabaugh because back in 2008 I decided I wanted to adopt a boxer and name him Bronx. He's adjusting to home life really well. He can make it through the day without accidents. He shows a lot of affection. He walks great on a leash and is friendly with other dogs. We went to the dog park last night and he exceeded my expectations with his ability to play alongside dogs of different sizes. He is pretty calm unless I'm just getting home or we're about to go on a walk. My downstairs neighbor met him and loves him. He gets compliments daily on our walks and he loves his orange dog coat! He is a true angel dog and I'm so happy to be his momma.
So now I'm just adjusting to dog mom scheduling. I have to get up earlier to take him for a long walk so he doesn't get anxious while I'm at work. Plus as soon as I get home, we go for a walk. Adjusting to someone else around 24/7 is going to be a process but a good process.
My goals were: rowhome in South Philly (well, I got a 2 bedroom apartment), adopt a Boxer (check), full-time journalism job (working on it) and green Kia Soul (will happen before 2016...because I think I may just need a car to survive now).
Halfway there and definitely much happier.
The courage to change the things I can and the wisdom to know the difference.
Until next time...