This is Calvin. A couple of months ago, his mom Gerri rescued him from Liberty Humane Society in Jersey City. Gerri says Calvin was covered in mange, and was "the sickest dog there."
Not now. Last night, when they met Calvin and Mavis did a beautiful dance of submission (one guy I know calls it "a submit off") where they sniffed, lolled around, and began again. Calvin's no puppy--maybe 4 or 5. But he is ready to greet the day, every day.
So, this happened a little faster than either I or my husband expected.
Faith died on February 10, 2013. (One of Faith's fans, another dog owner, said: "You never forget the date.")
Jeff and I had planned to have a few months to ourselves. To grieve, to travel, to write. We had expected to have our old girl for one more summer, one more plunge into the lake. But cancer had other ideas.
I missed Faith a lot.
I missed her so much I couldn't write about it. Here, or elsewhere. Except for Facebook. By the digital waters of Babylon, I lay down and wept. Mark Zuckerberg, you may be an evil supergenius, but you certainly have provided us with a place to grieve almost anything.
I also missed the routine of being a dog owner: the walks, the conversation on those walks. The friendships that came out of owning and/or loving dogs. It felt positively weird to talk down the street, day after day, without a creature at the end of the leash. Without the connection to other people that came from walking Faith.
I got to know Hoboken through walking Faith. I met our city's mayor when she was first running for council--because Faith wanted the donuts she was giving out. I met the mayor's kids with Faith and was mightily impressed with how they handled dogs. And when Faith was still a work in progress, one of the few dogs she got along with was the soon-to-be-mayor's dog.
And this had been even more precious to me and Jeff because Faith started out as such a difficult, unpredictable dog. After we adopted her, we discovered that she hated most other dogs. So much so that once, when she thought she heard a dog on the other side of the street, she tried to climb over a car to menace it. It gave me no peace to realize that all Faith had heard was some guy's wallet chain jingling.
But she changed, because she felt safer, because we all--Faith, Jeff and I--worked very hard. Four trainers-worth hard. And because Faith was the kind of dog who, when she got older, she got sweeter. So the walks at the beginning of our time with Faith were fraught with anxiety and terror. And the walks at the end of her life were lovely and magical.
Don't get me wrong. I hated losing Faith, but I liked, very much, no longer having to rush home to walk our dog. To wander. To make dog-less vacation plans. To stay put when the weather was crummy because nobody in our house had to go to the bathroom outside.
We had the canine equivalent of an empty nest.
And it lasted all of a month and a half.
Dogs happen, baby. In the next installment, I will talk a little bit more about our pocket pit, Mavis the Strumpet.
In Hoboken, we lost power on Monday. Acrid water flooded our streets that night. Almost all of Hoboken went black.
The next morning, the stinking water rose so high, we couldn't leave the building. We were safe on the third floor, but it nearly breached the first floor. Our first floor neighbors bunked on the second floor with neighbors. Wednesday, the water receded, so we could finally leave the apartment. Our neighborhood deli, where Faith used to get her cheese every morning, is so flooded, it probably will never reopen. The freezer units filled with flood water, and apparently floated to the ceiling.
Hoboken remained without power. Wednesday night, Jeff went out and convinced one of our neighbors, Brendan, a handyman, to pump out our flooded basement. Because Brendan's was running out of gas, Jeff went out into the dark to look for some gas. After some time, Jeff was lucky enough to run into another friend, Bobby, who had some extra gas. Brendan, along with two other neighbors, Charlie and Adam, spent hours in the cold running the pump.
Things smell bad already. Kerosene, gasoline, food gone bad. Sewage.
When my phone ran out of power, I went to the local church, where they were offering free charges. I had some wonderful conversations with fellow phone owners. On the door, the sign said, "No food or drink in the church please. Thanks, God."
Thursday, my office reopened. I walked up to Washington Street to catch the bus. Along the way, I saw that another cafe we go to, Legal Beans, had had its floor to ceiling windows blown out. The owner, Chris, was being interviewed by someone from Fox News. "I always wanted European seating," he said. All the booths inside are destroyed. Chris asks after Jeff and our dog by name.
By City Hall, there are National Guard trucks and troops. The soldiers look very young. They will have a lot to do. There are lots of people stuck in high rises, many of them older, many of them poor.
The PATH train isn't running, as the tunnels are flooded. Lots of people at the bus stop don't know how much the bus costs. I give one guy a quarter. A kind woman hands her remaining bus tickets to the people behind her. The bus driver drives carefully down Washington, which has no traffic lights at all.
At the gas station, the police officer directs traffic and screams: "NO GAS NO GAS NO GAS!"
Ghost town in the office. My boss, also in New Jersey, is staying at his sister-in-law's, one of our project managers has had to move back in with her parents with her husband and her baby. Since our job is to run a government website, we are hurting; half our team can't work remotely at all. Our developer, who biked to his job, gives me a hug, and offers to shop for an extra battery for my phone where he lives, as my phone is starting to seep power. I can't stop sneezing, and I feel really queasy.
I walk home in the dark. Jeff and Faith and I eat in the dark. There's no Internet, no heat; thank heaven for WNYC, windup flashlights, candles, quilts, and peanuts.
Friday we find out that our building's wires have suffered an electrical fire, and the electrical boxes in our basement have been damaged by the flood. Repairs are going to be very expensive and lengthy. I take a shower at work, and gratefully accept an invitation for us to stay the weekend at my friend Heather's in Manhattan.
It's about 30 degrees outside. I am glad to be warm. So many people lost so much more. My 82-year-old godfather, on West 12th Street, took the stairs to his 15th floor apartment FOUR times. In the dark.
Well, it's been an extremely challenging week. But I managed not to kill anyone, and that is pretty darned good.
Not even the guy at the outdoor cafe who was TALKING SO LOUD he was ruining five tables' worth of conversations.
At 10:30 on a Saturday morning.
I live in Hoboken, which some magazine or other recently declared superfantastic for single people, or at least single heterosexual people who like to pick each other up in bars, of which we have mucho. Bars and young straighties, that is. I'm not unrealistic. I expect loud-talkers on a late night weekend bender, which is just one of the reasons I don't go to bars. Booze totally ruins your volume control, while it improves your belief that that guy or girl is sexxxxay.
But this guy? He was an upstanding daddy, who was talking so LOUD about a PARTY (he kept flashing the invites) that Jeff and I had to start miming what we wanted to say to each other, and the waitress kept forgetting things, and other eaters at other tables just cringed. I know you think we all should have moved, but there was no room in the next section, and you know, it was a nice day...we were eating outside because it was pleasant. And surely the guy would eventually shut up. Hope springs eternal. But sometimes hope is dumb.
Then when Loud Talker and his party got up to go, they spotted a couple they knew...so the eight of them stood at the entrance of the section, talking LOUD and ...blocking any person's ability to get in or out. Especially our waitress. Then their little girl started petting the dogs at another table. The dogs took their paws away from their ears...no, now I'm just exaggerating.
But I don't think I'm imagining what I heard when the new couple, who accepted an invitation from Loud Talking Man, sat down.
The woman pointed to the invitation and said, "Well, this way, we'll be able to see them, but we won't have to talk to them."
So Faith and I were walking this morning, and we came upon this.
This isn't an uncommon occurrence, the big big truck parked in the middle of the crosswalk, blocking handicapped access, making it really difficult for the young, the frail, the handicapped, and the overburdened to cross--not to mention, you know, doing something illegal and dangerous.
If I were charitable, I'd say, well, maybe the driver of this truck had to do an emergency cable/wireless installation. Maybe the person the truck driver was helping really NEEDED that installation. And after all, this driver is probably aces at assessing emergency situations because he or she...works for a local fire department.
However, then there is Traders of Babylon, which is, wait for it, our neighborhood jewelry AND comic book store, a glorious pocket of eccentricity in the Mile Square City. The jewelry is lovely, the comic books lovelier, and sometimes--as in this picture--the twain meets in their display window.
Maybe you, faithful reader, can tell me if this action figure is a good girl or a bad girl--I didn't recognize her. Is it Catwoman? Sheena of the Jungle? Buffy in a catsuit, warding off a vampire? Let me know what you think.