Shelley Widhalm

Archive for the ‘Babysitting’ Category

Goodbye Zoey

In Babysitting, Confrontations, Dog sitting, Hard goodbyes, Leaving Zoey on September 5, 2010 at 10:06 am

When my mom said she would no longer babysit Zoey, I took that cute, adorable puppy with me on “an errand” and called my dad. He told me to not sell, get rid of or drop Zoey off at an animal shelter (I would rather drop myself off than her). He said he would take care of her until I moved into my own place. (It took me awhile to do this because I was facing a potential layoff during the Great Recession, but, as of yet, I still have a job).

A couple days later of my mom and I avoiding each other (this was in October 2009), I put up the white flag and asked her if she wanted to get coffee. She said, yes. While we sipped lattes, I told her that I was sorry for expecting her to take care of Zoey, She said that she was sorry for some of the things she said, and so did I.

But then a week later, I came home from work and my mom was in a very bad mood. She snapped at me a couple of times and physically pushed Zoey away. I suggested kenneling Zoey.

Mom said, “I want her out of here.”

And that was that.

So on Friday, October 16, 2009, I took Zoey to my dad’s house to stay with him. Two days later, I gave Zoey a big kiss and hug goodbye and tried not to cry as I drove 123 miles from his house in Eastern Colorado to mine along the Front Range. That night, I couldn’t sleep because I kept crying. We were separated, not only by distance but by something that had nothing to do with her, or maybe it was all her (and me).

Dog Sitting Zoey, Part III

In Babysitting, Dog sitting, Moms and daughters, Not easy to raise on August 29, 2010 at 10:27 pm

(NOTE: I was sick last week and tried to post, but forgot to hit “publish.” So here is what I tried to post a week belated.)
This dog sitting story is quite long, but blogs are short, and then I push their length as it is. They are supposed to be 250 words. Given that I like words and lots of them, 250 isn’t much, unless you give me a $ and a few zeros. Oops, I’m starting to pretend …
In June 2009, my mom and I came to a compromise: Zoey would spend more time in the kennel and I would take her to doggie day care once a week.
For my end of the bargain, I failed to take Zoey to doggie day care every week, but I tried. Some weeks, I worked several late nights in a row and, as a reporter, did not know when the city council or school board meeting I was covering would end, so I couldn’t count on getting to the boarding facility before it closed.
My mom did not kennel Zoey, so Zoey continued to be a nuisance for her. Zoey wanted to go in-out all day long, preferring to be outside for the smells but also inside to keep track of her people. She barked at every passing dog, car or person. She wanted to sit on my mom’s lap all day long, or if not that, she wanted to play, play, play. My mom wanted her old life back …
(Come back next week for the rest of the story. Do I sound like a commercial? But I do have the 250 words to consider, or in my case, it’s up to 260 …)

Babysitting Zoey, Part II

In Babysitting, Confrontations, Dog sitting, Journaling on August 15, 2010 at 2:42 am

In late May 2009, I stayed the weekend in Fleming with my Dad, as did my brother and his girlfriend Kim, along with Sophie, a then-1-year-old golden retriever belonging to Kim’s parents. (Zoey will tell you about what we did in her blog.)

I got home at 10 p.m. on a Sunday, and my mom was mad at me about the dog. She said she has been a pest, making it so she can’t get anything done, and this weekend with her gone made her realize how much time she uses up on Zoey.

She said she didn’t want to take care of Zoey anymore and wanted me to get rid of her. I thought that it was a ridiculous request. I said I would look for a better job so I could afford puppy day care, though I didn’t think I could find one in this great big recession, plus I didn’t want to exactly quit a job I had just started not even a year earlier.

I told Mom that she expects Brian and me to take care of her, but mostly Brian.

My mom said, “Well then, don’t.”

The tone of her voice was like a slap. I told her I was going to bed, not wanting to hear more about how I’m an awful daughter.

The next day, my mom and I apologized to each other.

I wrote in my journal (something I’ve kept since second grade), “I now know it was a mistake to get Zoey, since Mom doesn’t want to take care of an active, hard-to-discipline dog, who seemed very sweet in the pet store.”

I was angry, to say the least. I figured that if my mom doesn’t want to babysit my dog, she certainly wouldn’t want to babysit any child I had. But maybe I was over-reacting, because Zoey certainly wasn’t for the faint-hearted.

Dog Sitting Zoey, Part I

In Babysitting, Dog sitting, Joint purchase, Leaving Zoey on August 8, 2010 at 1:59 am

My mother and I got Zoey together. She paid half and I paid half when we adopted her on February 21, 2009. We held her in the pet store, this sweet, shy and cuddly 2.8-pound piece of love.

My brother Brian, who I moved in with a few months after getting laid off in April 2008 from a metro Washington, D.C., newspaper, said I could get a dog, as long as I trained him or her and eventually moved out (he said this all very nicely). My mother said Brian might let her have the dog instead, but he said Zoey should be mine.

I made the mistake of assuming that my mom would babysit, or dog sit, given our joint purchase. I thanked my mom here and there. I rushed home from work (if I didn’t work nights, I got home between 5:30-6:30 p.m.) to spend time with Zoey, playing with her and taking her on walks. I spent more time with my mom and if I wanted to get Starbucks, which I do pretty much every day, I invited her along.

I pretty much dropped my social life, not that I had much of one to start with after moving yet again (I can’t even count the number of addresses I’ve had in Nebraska, Colorado and Virginia) and trying to recover from mono. I was diagnosed with mono in July 2008 just months after my layoff. I think the stress of that whole time period wrecked havoc on my immune system. I didn’t have much left over for going out. If I went to bed late or didn’t sleep at least eight hours, I was flu-like exhausted.

Anyway, I spent more time with my mom than was normal for a 30-something. But despite my being the ever-present, good and angelic (don’t laugh) daughter, it turns out my mother did not want to babysit a dog.