my dog has cost me $60

I stumbled across Sneaks a few hours ago, and now I can’t wait for her third album to drop on Friday.

We weren’t even in this apartment a full day when Missy stuck her entire head through the blinds. Although our apartment has windows that nearly stretch from the floor to the ceiling (6-foot windows and 8-foot ceilings, which is the lowest ceiling I’ve had since 2015), we hadn’t considered her doing that. But she did, breaking the corner of about two slats in both bedrooms because they face the parking lot. We decided that we had to stack things in front of some of the windows and raise the blinds slightly on the windows where blocking them was impractical. This, of course has two down sides: I can’t really open and close the blinds how I’d like and anyone behind our apartment can look into our living room and kitchen.

As for the broken blinds, there were near the bottom, as that’s where Missy’s head was, and the missing pieces were not entirely noticeable, in my opinion. I decided that I’d either replace them before we moved out or when they told us to fix them.

Fast forward nearly a year. The blinds in our bedroom had been fully raised since the summer when our air conditioner momentarily conked out and we had to open the window. The spare bedroom’s blinds were up a bit just like the ones in the living room and kitchen, as it’s mostly my closet.

Then we got a note that generically said to lower or replace the blinds within five days or we’d be charged $50 each to replace them.

I already was having a bad day, so that was one of the last things I needed to see. I angrily lowered the blinds — because I get them wanting the windows to look uniform and it probably was in the lease, but screw you for being aggro about it and not policing it for 10 month — and swore about it the whole time. And then, as the blinds hit the windowsill, I was reminded that Missy broke them slightly.

Since inspecting for blinds compliance suddenly is a thing now, it was time to buy blinds for like $10.

Easier said than done.

Remember how I said that the windows are nearly floor-to-ceiling? The closest place that had blinds that spanned that height was across Afton Mountain. No one within 30 miles had blinds the dimension of the master bedroom window, about 50 inches by 72 inches, and ordering them meant they would arrive past the deadline. Or I could get fancy wood ones that cost $50 anyway.

I decided to buy the one for the smaller window and deal with the consequences of the other. I also tried very hard to not be mad at Missy because she didn’t know what she was doing and we should have assumed she would trip to get her face as close to the glass as possible, even if the blinds were open. I got over it, but later that night I needed to be by myself for a while.

I measured the window several times and read on every store website that blinds are a little shorter than the window measurement so they actually fit. And then I discovered that blinds come in nearly width imaginable. I consistently got 35 inches when I measured the window. Never mind that there also were 34-inch and 34½-inch blinds. In retrospect, I should have measured the blinds themselves.


I went with 35 inches and headed to Waynesboro.

When I got back, I discovered that the blinds were just barely too large. Like millimeters. I tried forcing it, but it didn’t work.

Remember that already being a bad day? I wasn’t about to drive across a mountain to return those. I threw the blinds to the ground in frustration, sent Renée $50, since I decided we’d pay for one each, and put in a borderline aggressive work order for them to come replace the stupid blinds for their exorbitant deterrence fee. I’m surprised I didn’t curse in it.

Currently, there are things stacked up in front of all six windows in this apartment. If you come visit, now you know why. Missy can’t look out, and now I don’t have a desire to have natural light in here sometimes. Maintenance is coming in at some point Tuesday to measure the windows. If I’m home at the time, I’ll suggest the 34½-inch blinds for the spare room.


It’s my fourth wedding anniversary.

I turn 35 in 30 minutes.

By some measures, I’m no longer a part of the prime demographic.

I don’t know who new musicians are (generally).

I’ve been playing Beck’s Sea Change like it’s still 2002.

My beard has so many grey hairs.

I probably have two more job changes/promotions left before I’m firmly one of the olds and shifting gears is unusual.

As you probably can tell, we haven’t taken a trip. We’re adjusting to avoid once again vacationing in boiling heat. I’m glad we did. I had to run down to Hampton Roads for a family emergency, and my dog also is sick.

But, in all honesty, I’m not complaining.

There a lot of road and adventure ahead of me. And I’m looking forward to it.

This lament about getting older is nothing but that split second when all the traffic lights are red.


Inadvertent metaphor taken tonight.

if she were a boy, she’d be named bill

THIS IS our new dog, Missy.


Missy Pawlus

She’s 10, so we know we won’t have an awful lot of time with her, but she is a surprisingly energetic 10.

She wound up in the shelter after losing her home in the tornadoes that swept across Virginia in February. She probably kept getting passed over because people didn’t want an older dog.

Well, now she has a family who loves and wants her and will give her a home for all the years she has left.

Welcome home, Missy.