Drama! or "Combining Households is No Joke"

Hello All and Happy Sunday!

I am procrastinating working on my lesson plan for Tuesday (though some thought and research has been put into it already), which is an important one as I'm being "observed" (Judged. Ach!).  The woman who is coming to observe me is kind, though, and I think more easy going than the one last year.  Last year's class observation was actually not a problem or "triggering" for me for whatever reason, though - it was the one-on-one appointment.  You can't plan those out; you just roll with whatever the student brings you.  I will have a different observer for that portion than for the class, and she is also kind and more easy going than last year's.  She has been at the college for a long time, however, and is detail-oriented.  Think "kind school marm" type.  I am focusing on doing the best I can and detaching from the outcome.  Please send me good luck!

On to this week's exciting and dramatic installment of the moving process!  It continues, albeit slowly and with many stops and starts.  More kitchen packing has happened this week with the much appreciated help of a friend, but my stuff is all still here at the old place.  I will begin living in the new place Sunday night, after my furniture makes the transition in the u-haul that day.  Zoey has visited the new place twice now.  The second time was last Friday, and she met the two dogs, which I will talk about in more detail in a little bit.  It was intense, and I made it more intense by my subconscious resistance to moving...

Yes, my fears have continued to come up at times, imagining potential negative impacts on Zoey with the environment change and meeting new dogs, and whether my stuff will even fit in the new place.  We have been quite sheltered here in a way, which has been both positive and negative.  I may have mentioned that living here three and half years is the longest I have lived anywhere as an adult, which shows how transitory my life has been, but my main point is that I really settled in to this place.  Even though the new neighborhood will have people I know - more than I realized - and will be walkable with many great places to eat and hang out (much more than the old neighborhood), it is still hard to let go of the old comforts.

One great thing about my old place has been the backyard - the raised beds with lots of garden goodies, the fruit trees and berries, and the expansive feeling to it.  The new place has a backyard that is nice enough.  It's enclosed for the dogs, smaller but not tiny, and has a lovely tree and bench to sit.  But it's not as open and "lush" feeling.  Not as great for Zoey to run around in.  I have sat a lot at the kitchen table here, looking out into the yard, so it's been a big part of my day-to-day environment.  I have enjoyed meditating in the yard and sitting in the sun, reading.  But part of why I have spent so much time there, as well as on my couch in the living room, is that the neighborhood is not a great place to walk and hang out.  So I think what I'm losing in backyard may be made up in neighborhood beauty and expansiveness, if that makes sense.  If I have talked about this already, I'm sorry.  It really helps to talk about all this - apparently more than once! lol

In any case, because of my fears, I have had my brakes on to some extent in relation to the move, without meaning to do so.  Normally, I would have checked in with my new housemate, J, to confirm when we were meeting Friday, but I kind of "forgot" about it and thus avoided the feelings.  I worked out Friday and was running errands when J texted asking where I was.  I let him know I was out running errands and would call soon.  When I got home, I grabbed Zoey and called to say I was headed over there.  As a side note, we had never agreed on a time, but J had "assumed" a time based on me saying I wanted to avoid traffic, and he hadn't checked in with me to confirm either...

In any case, J was quite frustrated, which I didn't find out until later when he had a minor meltdown.  It was so strange - I was feeling guilty for being super anxious about the dogs and making things worse, so I laid a hand on his arm trying to ease tension and said something about how we are just getting to know each other, too.  Well, I guess that opened a door for him to communicate, and "communicate" he did.  His emotions and frustrations kind of caught me off guard.  I may have mentioned his partner and he lived in this house for 10 years or so before the partner passed away last year, so there's that in addition to J having never been a landlord before and feeling unsure about how to handle some of the details.  Also, he apparently needs to have a renter in asap for financial reasons, which I am just finding out.  I can see my reticence and anxiety were adding to his insecurity.

So, bottom line, he has his own "stuff" going on, which I added to and triggered on Friday.  I imagined for a minute the whole situation might just blow up and was thinking, "Oh my God, where will I go?  I'll have to call my friend Elizabeth." But luckily, we hung in there and were able to talk through it.  Then we spent some time moving furniture around and putting up curtains in my new room, as well as discussing how to combine our household items, which helped us to connect and make things more real.  Whew!  And that was just the "people" dynamics...

The dogs were a whole nother layer!  We took Zoey on short walks with each of the other dogs.  The smaller one, a 6-year-old chihuahua mix named Moses, was first and it went okay except for a couple barking/lunging episodes from Moses.  Zoey does not tend to be submissive with other dogs, nor does Moses, who seems to have a bit of "small dog syndrome."  Meeting the second dog, a larger terrier mix named Rudy, was super smooth - both dogs sniffed butts and walked along fine together, no reactions.  Granted, Rudy is 13 years old and very mellow.  Then, J wanted to throw all the dogs in the backyard off-leash, but I put the kabosh on that, due to Moses' reactivity earlier.  We tried introducing the two of them again on leash at the side of the house but Moses barked/snarled/lunged.  Argh!  J thought it was because I had treats, and he hadn't had dinner yet.

So, Moses got fed, the two other dogs were put in backyard (Z was in house) - that's when the big convo between J and I took place - then Rudy somehow slipped in the dog door while we were putting up curtains (he's never done that before)!  Z and Rudy were again super fine and mellow together.  Then we decided J would get on the floor with those two, with a plan that I would let in the little one and if there were any reactions between him and Z, he would grab one and stand up.  I let Moses in the back door and quickly walked to the other end of the house, practicing my detachment.  I listened for reactions... nothing... J yelled over that everything was fine!  Thank God.  Little Moses got up on his bed in the chair, and the other two dogs just walked around the house with us.  At the end, Moses got down and was walking around too, so I think we got through the hardest part, knock on wood.  I hope to move boxes over Wednesday and/or Friday, before moving the furniture Sunday.

Yikes, here we go!


  1. SOunds like things between the dogs went well! It is good that you and J are learning to communicate together, could be the start of a wonderful friendship!

  2. While it is definitely stressful, it sounds like it could be the beginning of a very good situation. When my furboy met the dogs of both me last two roommates, he barked and acted more aggressive than he ever is. He quickly got beyond it and bacem good friends with each. :-)