PA Countryside and Smith Family Tennis

PA COUNTRYSIDE: 9.  I certainly don’t complain about Pennsylvania as much as I did in high school, when I was more than ready to leave, but I still do my fair share of comparing it to North Carolina (my home of choice). That being said, every time I drive home on Route 15 up through Maryland and Gettysburg, I’m reminded how beautiful the countryside is.  A bit different than North Carolina because you can pretty consistently see hills in the distant, and this time of year it’s full of fall.  Hay barrels, corn, farms and colored trees, with the windows down and the right music it’s one of the best drives ever.  If you’ve never checked it out, I’d highly recommend a road trip.  -1 because the mountains of western NC are still my favorite.

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FAMILY TENNIS: 7.  While the Smith Family Smackdown was probably the lowpoint of my career (minus earning the highly coveted title of Miss Congeniality), I must say I’ve been on the up ever since.  I don’t play that regularly, which inevitably leads to the constant losing, but some recent coaching appears to have improved my game.  Plus, I got paired up with the family all star today, helping a bit.  Turns out even chemo can’t slow her down, and my mom and I put up a pretty decent fight today.  The dogs were well behaved, and the temperature was just right, so overall I’d say today was a success.  Too bad we also decided that this year’s Smackdown would switch from tennis to bowling…  -2 for my lack of serious skill (although, I did hold my own today), and -1 for losing.

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DOG PACK REUNION: 8.  By far the most entertaining part of the trip home so far has been the reunion of ‘the pack’.  Now that the house has three dogs (my two and my parent’s new puppy) I affectionately call it ‘the pack’.  Without a video camera I can’t nearly do it justice, but I can certainly try.  Today’s adventures have included many, MANY laps run around the house (usually Maggie chasing Murphy and Dakota resting for both of them), a near fight between the two puggles, unending patience on Dakota’s part as he lets the others launch themselves off him, and the pup attempting to walk both of the big dogs.  Constant energy = constant entertainment.  Minus two for the near fights and the battles for attention.

It’s also been interesting to observe the way they all seem to handle their food just a little bit differently…  Meet the pups 🙂

MURPH’S TABLE MANNERS: 3.  A constant mess, Murphy doesn’t really ‘eat’, he sort of vacuums up the food.  As soon as you put it down he nearly shakes with excitement while waiting for me to say ‘OK’ and give him permission to dive in.  He then immediately stands up, throws his face into the bowl, with food going everywhere, and is done 2.5 seconds later.  Next stop= the other two dogs’ bowls to make sure they didn’t accidentally leave anything behind.  If Dakota’s still eating, he rudely pushes his face into the bowl (explaining the comment earlier about Dakota’s unending patience as he moves aside and lets Murphy take over) and frantically tries to inhale as much as possible in as little time as possible because he knows I’ll be there any second to kick him out.

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MAGGIE’S TABLE MANNERS: 8.  While there’s still some puggle in her (meaning she gets super excited at even a hint of food, treat, crumb, etc) she handles much more ladylike than Murph.  She always eats while sitting, fairly calmly, and if she ever accidentally knocks a piece out of the bowl she has to clean it up before moving on to the rest of the bowl.  Once she’s done she pretty much leaves everyone else alone.  Let’s see if this ladylike behavior sticks around or if she grows out of it…

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DAKOTA’S TABLE MANNERS: 7.  Not always consistently the best eater, it often depends if he likes the food.  Luckily I’ve discovered Purina Shredded Blend (chicken) which he LOVES, and never has a problem with.  That being said, he’s easily distracted and a bit too nice.  When Murphy barges in to take over his dinner he willingly steps aside and lets him.  If he doesn’t start stepping up Murphy’s going to be bigger than him.  He often makes a mess, and unlike Murph’s mess he doesn’t clean it up, but just leaves it behind for one of the other dogs.

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MAGGIE’S ATTEMPTS TO WALK THE ‘BIG’ DOGS: 8.  While waiting for Cheryl to pack up and take off we leashed up the dogs to get ready for our night time walk.  Well, Maggie, and her excessive energy, decided to cause some trouble.  She began to grab each leash and attempt to pull the dog around the house, essentially saying ‘Fine, if you’re not gonna walk ’em I will.”  Highly entertaining when she succeeded at pulling Dakota a couple feet across the living room.  Murph just stood there and looked at me like ‘Seriously?  You gonna let her get away with this?’.  -1 because she never attempted both at once, and -1 because I broke three digital cameras in the past year (really Dakota broke one and I blame BG/Andy for the other loss) and had no way to catch it on video.

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EXHAUSTION AFTER A LONG WALK: 10.  While walks are time consuming, boy is it worth it when the pups pass out immediately after returning.

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Off to watch the Emmy’s and spend some QT with the family 🙂

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One comment

  1. Dakota and Bruno tended to eat their food at the same pace… and because of it, when they finished, they would simultaneously pick their heads up, look in the other’s bowl, go check it out for leftover scraps, then return to their original bowls to make sure nothing had changed while they left it unattended. Very amusing.

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