Send my Love To Your New Lover DC

To my loyal Tails of A Crazy Dog Mom readers, taking a time out today to write a more personal piece not necessarily all about dogs…normal content to return soon!

If you’ve never done it, I highly recommend everyone drive on the George Washington Parkway into the DC area. I once made a pact with myself that if I were ever driving that stretch of road and the DC skyline with the Washington Monument came into view and I didn’t smile or it didn’t take my breath away, I would know it’s time to leave.

I have to break that pact.

You see, it’s just impossible not to be mesmerized by that view. And as you get closer or go along the Parkway other monuments come into view. Whether you’ve lived here 9 months, 90 years, or like me, almost 9 years, you just can’t help but be blown away by DC’s beauty.

But. And there’s a but. It’s expensive. It’s hard to live here without family close by. It can feel like a rat race and wear you down. So DC, after almost nine years, I have to break up with you. But not before I say Thank You.

When I arrived in January 2008, I was 25 and knew only a few people. I was wide-eyed and if I had to pick a song, Wide Open Spaces from the Dixie Chicks is what would have defined me. I started a job at a legislative tracking firm. I loved the Metro. I thought it was the coolest thing ever. My job was tough but I was so fortunate to meet a great group of young people just like me- eager to explore the area and mostly people who didn’t know that many other people. We explored new restaurants and neighborhoods. We went up the Washington Monument at night. We did the 4th of July fireworks. We went to Nats games and golfing on East Potomac Park among the monuments. We drank too much. Or not enough depending on the work day. We laughed, we cried. We helped eachother move. We cursed the Metro (I don’t love it as much as I did anymore). We formed good friendships even after some people started to leave the area. We were in each other’s weddings. I truly learned here that friends are family.

I never felt like I was a DC-lifer. In fact, at one point I even temporarily left, only to come back six weeks later with a great job offer and more importantly, I had met THE boy who was here. A few months in, it was clear that this was not just another relationship, but THE relationship that would lead to marriage. I had to persuade him a little bit, sitting on his front porch asking him if he was my boyfriend (I had to make it clear before he went on an all guys college football roadtrip). New memories were made. Even a skydiving trip. Families met. We became an official family in 2012 with our marriage. That next year we got our puppy Tucker. We enjoyed the area and every year when our lease came up for renewal we discussed leaving and every year we decided to stay.

Until this past year. We made a decision that we would really strive to leave the area. We had interviews in Pennsylvania that didn’t lead to anything until June. An opportunity was presented to me that we couldn’t refuse.

And yet, I sit here in our apartment in Arlington a few days away from starting a new job and I’m nervous about leaving the area. It’s scary because the boy will be staying down here until our lease ends in October. There are lots of unknowns but there are also several ways life will be easier. New adventures await which we are excited for. I’m hoping Tucker will enjoy his new adventures as well. I’m hoping for a fenced in back yard for him! But I will never forget my time here. In fact, if we ever have kids, I am making sure they spend at least a year in DC. I just hope they don’t need me to pay their rent when that time comes.

So DC, in the words of Adele:

I’m giving you up
I’ve forgiven it all
You set me free, oh

Send my love to your new lover
Treat her better
We’ve gotta let go of all of our ghosts
We both know we ain’t kids no more
Send my love to your new lover.

Except don’t treat her better. Treat her exactly the same. Because for every tear I may have cried here, I also laughed 1,000 times more. For every time I cursed the metro, I remembered that’s where I met the husband. So when I’m driving out of here today, I will glance in my rearview mirror back at you but then look onward to the future (and don’t miss me too much, I’ll be back on the weekends!)

Things I’ve learned from my dog

The other morning, Tucker and I walked up Arlington Ridge to Prospect Park, which overlooks the city of Washington D.C. and Arlington VA. From there I can see the Washington Monument, the Pentagon, Arlington Cemetery…and all the cars stuck in morning rush hour on 395 :). I was in a particularly reflective mood for some reason that morning and it got me thinking of the ways Tucker has changed me in the year and a half since we’ve brought him home:

One of the best days ever: when we picked Tucker out!

One of the best days ever: when we picked Tucker out!

1) Mornings are great: I have to say, I love my morning weekday and Sunday walks with him (my husband lets me sleep in on Saturdays while he goes running with Tucker or to the park with him).  In the DC area, it is very busy and I constantly feel on the go. Before Tucker, I was never a morning person. I would get up about 30 minutes before I had to leave for work, eat breakfast, get ready and off to the Metro I went. Now I get up most weekday mornings at 6 or earlier so that Tucker and I have plenty of time to go out, come back in and eat our breakfasts and settle a bit before our morning walk. The mornings are mostly peaceful- fairly light traffic around the neighborhoods and most of the foot traffic is a few people getting an early metro or people with some of our favorite 4 legged friends. Not only is it great exercise for both of us, but it gets me prepared for the day at hand. When I have to travel or have to be somewhere early for work and my husband walks him, I often feel like I’ve missed out on something. Are there some mornings where I would rather just stay in bed? Absolutely…mostly on those rainy mornings where I have to balance an umbrella and a golden retriever. However, it’s probably my favorite walk of the day.

Selfie on our morning walks.

Selfie on our morning walks.

2) Meeting people: I am an introvert. Once you get to know me, I open up and am silly and love to talk…but I generally shy away from big social settings. Having a golden retriever puppy, EVERYONE wants to pet your dog. We’ve met a lot of our neighbors and their dogs (I admit, I don’t know a lot of their names-its mostly ‘Fluffy’s mom, Bella Boo Bear’s Mom, etc) but there’s a sense of community that I didn’t feel before we got Tucker. We take Tucker most places that we can–wineries, running races, dog friendly restaurants and our newest adventure yesterday: the Washington Nationals Pups in the Park event. Yes, we took him to a baseball game–and he performed phenomenally well. Tucker is a conversation starter and that has helped me break the ice and has even helped me in situations when he isn’t with me.

 

Friends

Friends

Tucker even has little human friends aka cousins he loves!

Tucker even has little human friends aka cousins he loves!

3) Partnerships are stronger and better: I’m an individual through and through. My husband doesn’t define me and I don’t define my husband. Prior to Tucker, my husband and I enjoyed doing things together, but many nights we might watch one things on TV and then go our separate ways- maybe me watching something in the bedroom, while he stayed out in the living room. Or we approached things differently. This may be a longer way of saying that we weren’t always a unified team. When Tucker came into our lives, we had to become a team- who took him out and when, who fed him and when, etc. When he’s gotten sick as sometimes our pups do, I’ve been a stressed out mess and Jason has been the balance. The calm in any storm. Not only does that help me but it helps Tucker too. This also leads to my second favorite walk: Family Walk. Every night after we’ve had our dinner, we walk Tucker around the neighborhoods for our nightly “family walk.” We talk about our day, what’s going on in the world, etc. I admit, the growing partnership hasn’t always been easy and there have been bumps in the road but there’s no one I’d rather do it with.

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Our first night at home. December 2013.

April 18, 2015. At Nats Park!

April 18, 2015. At Nats Park!

4) Persistence is key: This is not my favorite Tucker life lesson as sometimes it shows my weaker side with him, but he has taught me that sometimes if you really want something, persistence is key. This is where I sometimes Mommy fail. You know how they teach you in obedience that if your dog barks because he wants something, to ignore him? Easier said than done when you are trying to get something done and he’s barking for his special bone in the cabinet. I usually start strong- ignoring, making sure I don’t give in to his barking too soon, etc. Some days, he does just get it at the first bark. However, he has learned that if he is persistent, and barks but then behaves perfectly, he will get a reward. We’ll get there soon enough with the good behavior, but it takes persistence—–and sometimes a little bark.

Sometimes we have differing opinions...persistence is key

Sometimes we have differing opinions…persistence is key

5) Life is for living, loving and smiling: I think this might be part of Tucker’s mantra. A woman walking her two small dogs the other day stopped me to tell me that Tucker was the happiest dog she’s seen. And he really is. He is frequently smiling and has an air about him that he loves life. The world can be a scary place-how often do we turn on the TV to see horrific news? Do yourself a favor–the next time life gets you down, turn ‘off’ (or mute if you can’t turn off completely) and play with your dog- or if you don’t have one, take a walk-chances are you will find a dog that wouldn’t mind another friend!

Smile!

Smile!

Where we Like to Walk

Hi!

I hope everyone is having a great start to their weekend. My second post for NoVADog Blog is out! Please go here to check out a few places in the DC area where we like to walk Tucker. Also, please be sure to check the blog out for other informative articles like learning how to run with your dog and a training plan for starting to run with your dog from other guest bloggers.

Tucker enjoying a Spring Day!

              Tucker enjoying a Spring Day!

Tucker has a playdate today with someone from Rover who may watch him when we’re on vacation this summer. We’re trying out these services (people host your dog–its almost like Match for your dogs) so if anyone has experience with them, please let me know!

Tomorrow is Easter and you can bet your bottom dollar that I have an Easter Basket ready (or almost ready) for Tucker!

Happy weekend!

Carly

Glow Dog Glow 5K!

Glow Dog Glow 5K!

September to Remember

Greetings! I have to say that regularly blogging is harder than I expected. It’s already been more than a month since my last post. Everyday life busy-ness and not wanting to be at the computer when I am home from work can make this challenging. Tucker turned 10 months old at the end of August. We’ve had adventures in Great Falls National Park, some more dog park fun, and we just started our Canine Good Citizens Class this week. We also checked another monument to visit off our list and went to see the Lincoln Memorial a few weeks ago. Of course, the month wasn’t without some concern- we had some tummy aches and the dreaded diarrhea. Something was going around our neighborhood. We’re fortunate to have wonderful vets- Caring Hands Animal Hospital who handle this crazy dog mom with incredible patience.

We’re fortunate to live in a very dog friendly area of Arlington, VA and today we will be attending Pups n Pilsners- an outdoor beer garden that is ALLLL about the dogs. Last year we went to the event before we had Tucker and felt so left out without a dog. I can’t wait to bring him today thought I hope it’s not too overwhelming for him. Fall is starting to descend on us and cooler temperatures are allowing for some great walks.

I promise to start blogging more and hope I can meet more dog parents. I love learning from you all.

Carly and Tucker

Tucker has to deal with 2 college teams and 2 NFL teams to root for. Purdue with Daddy...

Tucker has to deal with 2 college teams and 2 NFL teams to root for. Purdue with Daddy…

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And Penn State with Mommy. He also roots for the Chicago Bears and Pittsburgh Steelers

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At Great Falls- all Tucker wanted to do was run and jump in the rocks. Mommy is a city girl and was a bit more nervous about the terrain..

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Lincoln Memorial!

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Family Portrait. Crazy pup, crazy parents.