Tuesday, October 13, 2009

Greyhounds Reach the Beach 2009 (in a Nutshell)

Well, another Greyhounds Reach the Beach event has come and gone. We are back from hot, sunny Delaware and our hotel 30 feet from the ocean, back to crisp, fall Upstate N.Y. This post will be a little recap. We'll categorize it by the Good, the Bad, and the Ugly.

The Bad:

Thursday AM: Getting ready to leave. I have elected to bring Jack-it will probably be my last year at Dewey and he's young enough to walk all over the place. We can walk Dewey, walk to Rehoboth, walk to Silver Lake, walk miles on the beach, walk Cape Henlopen State Park. Lucy and Clifford have arrangements to stay with my parents on a mini vacation. Leaving my best buds makes me feel really guilty but I'm afraid they won't be able to get up the stairs to the second floor hotel room (and there are no elevators) which would really aggravate their arthritis. And I'm worried about all the walking hurting their joints even more. And I'm feeling bad bringing Jack- he's my new dog and I LIKE him a lot but I don't LOVE him yet. I don't fall in love easily- I'm going on a trip with a virtual canine stranger. And my friends Bridget and Trace won't be there, and I love them to pieces and they've shared Dewey with me since 2004. And I'm starting to feel really down in the dumps about the whole dang trip.

Oh yes, you can admit he's practically perfect.

THEN my vet calls as I'm finished packing up the car. Clifford's blood test looks really "great" but there are three values really off. She thinks it could possibly be Bone Marrow Cancer. I get off the phone and spend some time breathing deeply, trying to contain myself before I implode across the ceiling. The Big C? My first thought is, How can blood look "great" but then their be a chance of Cancer? Why would she say those 2 things in the same sentence? Isn't Bone Cancer the most painful and worst cancer? Does that explain Cliff's significant weight loss recently, and his limping?? My second thought is, Shit, there's no way I can go to Dewey now and if I have to euthanize my beautiful Clifford, then I'm going to kill myself. I can't live without him, I can't live without Lucy, and I'm going to have to OD on all those prescription sleeping pills and barbituates I've been squirreling away in my medicine cabinet, quietly piling up, for the past several years. Oh F*ck, my dog is going to die!

And then in the midst of my little breakdown, Mom calls to see if I've left for Delaware yet. I repeat what the vet just told me on the phone and she tells me that two of the values are white blood cell related, it's probably just an infection, etc etc., the vet is just giving worst-case scenario, etc etc. I can tell she's desperate to talk me off the roof and get me the hell out of the house so I don't go into complete breakdown mode. "It's just an infection! It's probably just an infection! White blood cells mean infection!" she says repeatedly. I elect to believe Mom over the vet because it makes me feel better and even though I'm an adult, I still have that nagging mantra running through the far reaches of my brain that "parents are always right." Parents are ALWAYS right. Vets can be wrong, but parents aren't. And Mom works for a doctor, so she knows medical stuff. Mom promises Lucy and Clifford will get special attention and have a wonderful vacation in the country and Dewey is ONLY 4 days, so I should go, have fun, and bond with Jack.

Anxiety attack averted (for now), I can go on vacation.

The Ugly:

(Whoops. Well, they tried.)

Thursday PM: Arrive in Delaware! Here comes Country Bumpkin Jennifer and her clueless teenage greyhound Jackhammer, all excited to see her expensive hotel digs after an excruciating 8-hour drive. She has never stayed in a hotel so expensive ($110 a night!! Holy cow!) and is excited to see the lap of luxury. She walks into her hotel room and frowns with dismay. Everything is in place- 2 big beds, a TV, a bathroom, a fridge- but everything is REALLY shabby. Jen has stayed in a converted flophouse off the Bowery in Southern Manhattan that roughly compared to this room. It looks old, dingy, and well-used. Jennifer calls her Mom to check in on Lucy and Clifford, and her Mom says she isn't paying for a luxurious hotel room, she's paying to stay 30 feet from the beach. Jen agrees reluctantly but will be disappointed over the room for the rest of the trip.

Jack thinks the room blows, too.

Saturday PM: The TV breaks. Jen pushed the "Power" button on the TV and it slips inside the casing and disappears. And the remote control hasn't worked since she arrived so NO TV. Jen begins to panic because 48 Hours Mystery is on at 10 o'clock and she needs her paranoia fix for the weekend. If 48 Hours Mystery is a bust then she watches Lock-Up on MSNBC, where you get to go inside American prisons and hear about how the prisoners get tazered and throw feces and urine at each other. Missing these important shows would be a horrible turn of events. Eventually, after several trips to the front office, Jen gets new batteries for her remote control so at least she can power the TV that way, and it works, but only after maintence people come and take apart the power button area on the TV for her. Phew.

Sunday PM: Jen and Jack go back to the hotel after a long day of beach-walking, shell-collecting, dolphin- and jelly fish- watching, and exploring, only to find their room reaking of cigarettes, which really upsets Jen's sensibilities. The bathroom is especially stinky. The housekeepers never came that day so they wouldn't have smoked in there. Jen then discovers a hole from the bathroom closet (which has no door), inside the wall and INTO the next hotel room, where 2 ladies are sitting and smoking. Jen is taken aback and tapes a newspaper over the gaping hole and tries to turn the room's AC unit on to cool it down and extinuish the smell. Unfortunately the AC won't start. Jen and Jack go downstairs and find nobody in the front office, with a sign attached to the door saying the hotel closed that morning for the season. No one is around anymore until next summer, and all the ammenities are turned off. WTF? Jen is leaving the next day so in the grand scheme of things it really doesn't matter, but STILL. How wierd. The hotel is still full of people. Why would management close up and leave when guests were still there? And what if one of the women next door had crawled through the hole into her hotel room at night and butchered her and Jack? With no Front Desk Management there, nobody would find her dead carcass for weeks! After many scenarios run through Jen's head, she finally comforts herself with the fact that she could probably out-fight the women next door because they don't seem very agile. Plus, she has a dog with her and that always counts for something, even if it's a hound.

The Good:

This part is best shown in pictures. :o)

We saw such beautiful skies... and Jack got to see the ocean for the first (?) time.

On Friday and then again on Sunday, we watched pods of dolphins just off shore, swimming leisurely south.

Of course it was a greyhound event, and we met dozens and dozens of other greyhounds on our travels around Dewey and Rehoboth beaches.

Align CenterBrindle sandwich

Vendors around the villages and down the boardwalk had out bowls of water and biscuits for the dogs...much to Jack's delight!

Jack got a winter coat to prepare him for upstate NY winters! And he and Clifford got Heart Throbs, which are THE best durable stuffed animal I've ever found (and really cute to boot)...

...And we bought Lucy and Clifford great big dog-biscuit lollipops which they really enjoyed when we got home! Yum!

We loved walking the beach and saw dozens of jellyfish, several species...quite amazing creatures.

...and we spent hours combing for shells and smooth ocean rocks.

And last but not least!!...

The art show was successful. I sold three of my six pieces, and my auction print went for a higher price than I valued it at (all benefits going to the greyhound health program at OSU!). It wasn't a total sellout like last year, but considering the economy and the fact that there seemed less greyhound folks at the beach than last year, I'm really pleased. The folks who bought my work seemed so pleased with it, and that made ME happy. And those who stopped by to ask about Lucy and Clifford, and say nice things about linocuts, and support myself and the other artists in the show- THANK YOU!

And I'll leave you with one last picture... the beauty of coastal Delaware.

We ended up having a pretty swell time. Now it is back to "real life"- my 9-5 job, investigating Cliff's blood values, dealing with the squirrels that chewed a new hole into my house while I was gone and made a nest in my kitchen ceiling. We have a really tall lawn to mow, a house to clean, a really sandy car to clean out, a grandpa who was just put into hospice. We will have new hiking adventures, new projects around the house, and new art to make! It will be interesting to see what the rest of autumn brings.



IHateToast said...

the "ugly" bit blew my mind.

Maria Peters said...

Loved this post. Moms are wonderful. I freakin' hate yucky hotel rooms. The beach look gorgeous and Jack was so cute with his stuffy. Big hug to you and Clifford and Lucy. Congrats on your linocut sales. You are truly a gifted artist.

Hiking Hounds said...

Sorry to hear about Clifford. I think you did a great job dealing with it! Have you heard anything else yet? The beach looks wonderful and Jack is so sweet. We almost named Zephyr Jack.