The weather has taken a slight turn towards chilly. Chilly enough that George gets the shivers if he stands outside too long in one place. If you know George at all, you know it is a rarity that he would ever stand still long enough to observe him getting the shivers. Today it was apparent and as a responsible person, I knew that it was time to track down some “honden jassen” (dog jackets) since our stuff won’t get here until the end of the month and that is too long to watch them shiver. It was also time for Petspoiler Jo to return to her real life and family in the North so we went to walk her to the tram.
There’s a tiny pet store right on the corner. I think every available inch of wall space is stacked with things for pets. Its also clearly a store for people who love their pets a bit too much – in terms of they really carry foods that are good for pets, not just your enormous 50 pound bag of rendered parts. What they do not carry however, are pet clothes. Since as the owner put it, he doesn’t have room. He does, after all, have eight freezers of frozen raw foods for dogs and cats. He is absolutely willing to let me browse his catalogs and order them. But like everything, it will take two weeks to arrive. So, that wasn’t what was going to work today. In the end, I got the cats some wet food that both Jo and the owner likened it to “making your mouth water and you wanted to put it on toast”. I opened the can tonight to feed the cats and while I prefer other things to put on my toast, I understood what they meant. It was shrimp and tuna and it looked human grade and it didn’t even smell. The cats ate it right up.
Two blocks up, there was a dog salon and they do carry coats and sweaters. So, the boys did end up with a sweater each to hold us over until their jackets come in the household goods or we get the ones from the catalog order. The point I am getting to is that I love the fact that there are all these tiny specialty shops. At first, I was getting frustrated that I couldn’t buy a cat litter scoop at the HEMA (like a Target) or by Albert Heijn (the grocery store chain) because my logic is if you sell cat litter, why not sell scoops and boxes? And I have had some time to turn that around in my head. You don’t buy the cat litter scoop at the grocery store, you go to the small pet store to do that. There are so many little businesses that specialize in one or two things. I like this concept a lot and I like supporting them. This is completely ironic because normally, I believe in efficiency before all else and even list and complete my errands in the correct geographical order so as to make the most efficient use of my gas and car time. But now I am on foot most of the time. However, this morning I did still try to stack my errands in geographical order, instead of going where I felt. I will just have to keep practicing.
The boys are snoozing since they have had three big walks already today. There will be another one before we call it a night. Last night, the weather was so great that we stopped in the middle of our walk to stop and have coffee. There were other dogs in the little café so we stayed outside. It is interesting, this concept of being rather than doing. I am trying very much to just practice being. So, like when I am walking the dogs at night, I put some euros in my pocket in case I might want to stop for coffee and not focusing on what time it is or what I should be doing to get ready for the next day. What I am really trying to say is that I am trying to spend more time doing things than thinking about what I should be doing. My goal is to be able to get to use my 26 days of vacation in the manner they are intended rather than being restless about being unscheduled If you know me well, you are probably laughing at that goal right now!
I have been doing the dishes every night. Dishes at night vs the morning was one of those things that my mom and I disagreed on. When two strong willed women end up sharing the same kitchen, small issues like this can arise. I will never regret living with my mom but I would encourage anyone thinking about combining two households to have a very open conversation about domestic issues and schedules At night, my mom would REFUSE to do dishes. She believed 100% that dishes should be done in the morning. And for me, in the morning, I wanted a clear path to the Nespresso machine, a place to make my toast and nothing in the way. It wasn’t a matter of just me doing the dishes at night – her argument was based on two statements. Number 1- doing dishes in the morning was part of her routine and “putter around” time. But this is not the reason that she would give you. She would give you reason #2 – which was that the French don’t do their dishes at night so why should we? This statement used to drive me crazy. Because while my mother moved to Paris at 18 to take a job as an au pair and eventually joined the Dutch Foreign Service, we had no other ties to France. We’re not French, our French language is not even that good and we certainly didn’t dress with a French sense of fashion (fleece is not French). This was her argument and she would stick to it no matter what. I think she would repeat it to drive me nuts. It worked. I find myself regularly saying out loud to the air as I do the dishes after dinner “Mama, we are not French so I am doing them now”. Some nights I even do them before dinner. I do wish I could hear her give her French argument one more time.