Friday 30 Sep 2016

Walking the Dog
Jennifer Flaten

I’m not much for exercising, except for walking. I love to walk. Walking is as close to sitting as you can get and still count it as exercise. Besides walking allows you to peer into the neighbor’s windows, errr, I mean, it allows you to take stock of the neighborhood.

Pfft, everyone does it. Our TV is viewable from the street, so occasionally I catch neighbor kids lurking outside trying to see what my kids are building in Minecraft. For the record, I was against the large screen TV, but I was overruled.

Unfortunately, the only place the TV fit was on the wall facing the picture window. I don’t like having my viewing choices broadcast to the entire neighborhood. Well, would you like admitting to the neighborhood at large that you are watching the Best of Joy of Painting with Bob Ross at 1 pm.

I don’t really peer into windows, but I do judge the neighbors based on their choice of outdoor decoration. I’m always a bit envious of the yards with a cluster of tasteful decorations. My yard always looks like an F5 tornado is passing through right at that moment.

Right now, an assortment of bloated phone books decorates my yard. Yes, apparently people still use those because they keep appearing on my doorstep. Sometime last fall a squad of phonebook bombers hit the neighborhood. I came home to five different phone books littering my lawn.

I didn’t get to pick them up before the snow fell. So, it was out of sight, out of mind, until the thaw came and now I have a phonebook reckoning.

Too many yard decorations is a different story. Does anyone really need six metal cowboy silhouettes? This is Wisconsin the closest we get to having cowboys is when someone dresses up like the Marlboro man for Halloween. 

Maybe it’s just me, but I think a gnome or two is fine-after all I have two pink flamingoes, but any more than that and no matter how you arrange them they always look like they are plotting to overthrow humans. Don’t think they wouldn’t take the opportunity.

Most of the time, on my walks, I am accompanied by my dog. She is actually the reason I walk as much as I do. I firmly believe a comatose, exhausted dog sprawled on the couch is a happy dog that won’t eat your brand new Steve Madden boots.

During the dog’s puppy days, we walked a lot and I still lost one pair of shoes, three pillows and a nice purse. Now that she is older one long walk, a day will suffice.

I have to plan, carefullym our walking route to avoid running into my dog’s archenemy. Why does my dog hate this other dog? I haven’t the faintest, what I do know is if we do encounter this other dog, my dog starts flashing gang signs.

My dog gets all puffy and snarls a lot. As my dog is roughly two feet tall, the other dog simply laughs and points. He remains unimpressed.

We also have to avoid walking the bike trail. In my experience, bikers don’t like to share the road with walkers. As if their two wheels makes them superior.

Today a biker waited until the very last minute to shout his passing warning. How is it possible to roll along that silently? I think they do it on purpose to scare the heck out of walker. I know I was so startled at his shout that I almost fell into his path. Maybe I should rally a group of gnomes and overthrow the bikers.

Jennifer Flaten lives where the local delicacy is fried cheese, Wisconsin. She writes about family life, its amusing or not so amusing moments. "At least it's not another article on global warming," she says. Jennifer bakes a mean banana bread and admits an unusual attraction to balloon animals and cup cakes. Busy preparing for the zombie apocalypse, she stills finds time to write "As I See It," her witty, too often true column. "My urge to write," says Jennifer, "is driven by my love of cupcakes, with sprinkles on top. Who wouldn't write for cupcakes, with sprinkles," she wonders.

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