RIP Maggie

You know, it’s hard to believe but at one point in my life, I used to be afraid of dogs. Yeah, me. Afraid of dogs. I had a couple of bad experiences with dogs as a kid, and as a result, I became an adult who was afraid of dogs.

In walked a beagle named Maggie.

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Oh how quickly I became a dog convert after my parents brought home Maggie the beagle.  I lived at home for the first year of that beagle’s life. I couldn’t find a job after college graduation, so I lived at home. During the day, I’d watch Maggie and when my stepmom came home, I’d take her car and go to my job at Blockbuster.

I can’t believe I was only 23 years old when she graced all of our lives with her presence. After 14.5 years on this planet and as a member of my family, Maggie has crossed the rainbow bridge.

Maggie was a very good girl.  She was full of sass and attitude, and I loved her very much.  When she was a wee pupper, she liked to bite the crap out of the cuffs of my jeans. It didn’t help that I didn’t realize in my early 20s that I needed to buy petite length, so she had a lot of jeans to sink her teeth in.

When she was still a puppy, but I thought she was big enough to be in the backyard unattended and off leash, she proved me wrong. She slipped through the deck posts and went running!  I had to jump over the deck and RUN after her. I mean, I ran like freaking Flo-Jo. I caught her and I remember my parents standing at the front steps, laughing their butts off and clapping at my efforts.

That wasn’t the first and last time I had to chase her. I might be a long distance runner now  but I have never been (and certainly was not then) a sprinter, so short-distance running hurt.

After I left her for the first time for a long period of time, my parents picked me up from the airport. I followed them in from the garage up the stairs to the kitchen. I remember Maggie greeting my stepmom and then my dad. When I came in, SHE ACTED LIKE SHE DIDN’T EVEN SEE ME. I was shunned! The next day, that dog peed in the house three times, despite not having had an accident in the house for several months.

One day visiting my dad, I was heading toward my car when I heard my dad screaming from the backyard, “LARA, COME HERE. I NEED HELP.” First, I thought my dad was having some sort of a heart attack, so I went running to the backyard. Here in turns out, Maggie had found a body part of a rabbit she killed the night before. She was running around with it in her mouth, growling at my dad who was trying to yank it from her mouth.

I took her for a walk once and a rabbit scurried past our path. Maggie reacted so quickly to chase after the rabbit that I was scared my arm was going to pop out of place. She whipped me across the street like a rag doll.

When I got my own dog, Boomer, I brought her to meet her “aunt” Maggie.  There’s a seven year age difference between Boomer and Maggie, and old dogs typically don’t care for the young pups.

Maggie tolerated the young, bigger dog. Boomer really tired the old girl out, but as you can see, Maggie seemed to have a good time.

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One time, I came up to my parents house and didn’t bring Boomer. When Maggie saw that I wasn’t with the overgrown puppy, her demeanor completely changed. She was overjoyed and exuding happiness that it was just me. If she could have done a jig, that beagle would have done it.

When my parents retired to Tampa, I was very sad to see the ole girl go. I am glad I got to see her in 2014 when I went down for Thanksgiving. I recently got to see her Christmas of 2016. I made sure to hug her lots and tell her what a good girl she is.

While Boomer is MY first dog, Maggie holds a special place in my heart as the dog who turned me into the crazy dog lady I am. She had loads of personality, and she made friends wherever she went. My parents spoiled her more than I probably spoil my own dogs. She had a good life.

I think the worst thing about dogs is that they don’t live nearly long enough. I will know this all too well when my own doggos cross the rainbow bridge and meet up with their “aunt.” Somewhere, where all the good dogs go, Maggie is chasing rabbits, tracking voles and getting into as much mischief as her heart desires.

Rest easy, Mags. You were a very good dog indeed.

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Resolutions

Since the beginning of the new year, I’ve started keeping an excel spreadsheet tracking my expenses. Nine days into the new year, this simple act is completely changing how I am view money and my relationship with money. I am well past the age I should be and not have a great handle on money.

I never ever ever ever want to find myself in a position like I did with the Ex where I become financially dependent on someone. He and I should have ended things several years before it did, and I was hesitant to pull the trigger because I’d have been financially wrecked without him.  In fact, I even told him this on several occasions.

The Ex rarely complained about getting me anything I wanted, and he was generous with his money during our relationship. Hell, he has been generous even afterwards. I am simultaneously grateful for his generosity but mad at myself for letting myself get comfortable and complacent. Maybe, if I had been more diligent about finances and making wise decisions, maybe I wouldn’t have spent those last years in a relationship with someone who had no desire to be with me.

I know when you live with someone, you are supposed to share bills and responsibilities. In the six years we lived together, we didn’t approach household finances as a team, and always as two people who happen to share a house. Yeah… that should have been a sign. It’s certainly something I never want to repeat ever again.

My relationship with him ended a year and a half ago, and I’m still in the process of learning how to fully get my shit together. I slip up a lot, and I fall into bad financial habits (Starbucks, I missssss you).

Things are going great with my Amor, but I never want to feel financially dependent on him or make him feel like he has to take care of me. (Granted, if I get sick again, then that is different, but the focus here is on healthy, able-bodied Lara.) If/when he and I combine our lives together, I want to have my shit together and be my absolute best. I want to get back to the Lara in her mid and late 20s who was making piddly squat, but saved like a champion.

This excel spreadsheet is a great start, and I definitely have additional steps I need to take to walk confidently into middle age with my head held high and my stress level not at a “Call my therapist” level.  Now and then, I want to check in here for accountability and to ensure I’m living solely within my means.