Friday, July 31, 2009

Windows of Opportunity

With how humid it's been here lately, we've kept our windows shut tight and the central air-condition humming. We stay nice and cool (and dry) in our controlled climate while the world outside wilts.

The canine crew, too, prefers to be indoors during these 90+-degree-high-humidity days. Here are the girls hanging out together: Pinot, Kenya, and Elsie, l-r below:

Ah, but when moisture factors and temperatures drop, the windows fly open and dogs come in and out at will (well, they come in at will since Tuc and Elsie can both open the back door; going out, however, necessitates opposable thumbs, i.e., human intervention).

We love open-windows kinds of days.

Open windows invite cool, crisp breezes to flow through the house. They allow us to replace stale, predictable, recycled air with clean, unpredictable, even robust odors of the outdoors (including wafting manure smells of distant farms..hehe...I did say "robust"). It's enlivening, uplifting, refreshing.

Open windows feel exciting and new. I love the scent of fresh air and the caress of cool breezes on my skin that open windows afford.

But I'm also allergic to molds and pollens and grasses (thankfully not to dog dander), and, to boot, I have allergy-induced asthma. So opening windows, though refreshing, is risky for me. I've learned to open windows at certain times to maximize the fresh-air benefit, but minimize the risk.

I'm learning to do the same with windows of opportunity.

Maybe it's because I'm a big kid now, a "grown-up" (otherwise known as an "adult"). Maybe it's that, at a year shy of fifty years old, I'm in full-fledged mid-life reevaluation. Maybe it's just that I've learned about life the hard way too many times. Whatever the reason, I just don't need the thrill-a-minute, blind-risk-adventure I used to enjoy.

I don't dive in without measuring the depth of the water. Not anymore.

That's how it's been with our Lab-breeding windows.

Am I a little sad (and disappointed) that we missed our window of opportunity with Kenya's heat cycle? Yes.

Did we weigh the risk vs. benefit of opening the window to a fall litter from her? Indeed, we did, and we decided that it was the right time.

But opening that window would not have been without risk:
  • This would've been Kenya's first pregnancy. You just don't know how it's going to go with an unproven dam. That risk will be there until she whelps for the first time, whenever that happens.
  • DH's job situation is still very up in the air. At this point, we don't know if he'll be commuting two hours (one-way) each day starting in late fall.
  • We just found out DFS is not returning to residential college this fall, but will be commuting to community college instead. That means me driving him, until he goes for, and hopefully passes, his driver's test. He at least has his permit now (Yay! This is his first attempt at getting a driver's license, and he's 25 years old -- a welcome milestone).
  • I'm still having trouble with the pinched nerve in my neck, and will be seeing the orthopedist next week. I have no idea how long this will take to settle down.
When we made the decision to attempt to breed Kenya this time, we knew about the first-time-pregnancy risks and the up-in-the-air job situation. We did not, however, know that DFS would not be returning to his residential college, nor did we know that my pinched-nerve trouble would worsen again.

Perhaps, in the grand scheme of things, our missed window of opportunity with Kenya is really a blessing in disguise. Perhaps we're being spared the stress and responsibility (though missing the joy) of raising a litter when I would've been spending hours a day driving DFS back and forth to school (45-minutes one-way) or when I physically, because of the nerve thing, may not be in any kind of shape to care for pups by then.

The nice thing about windows is, though sometimes it's best they stay closed, there are other times, perhaps just around the bend, during which they can be opened again. It might be a different window or a different season, but it's an opening nonetheless.

And so it will be with Kenya.

And Elsie.

And Pinot.

And Ridge.

And Tuc (note the tail-wag blur -- one big, happy boy!).

And it will be that way with any other endeavor we pursue.

So, yes, it's definite: we missed our window with Kenya, and she will definitely not being having a fall litter.

But while that window is shut (perhaps for our protection and benefit), another will open. Of that I'm sure.

In the meantime, we'll enjoy the always-open window of loving and living with our Labs.

And, in this season, I'll try to more regularly share that window with you.

'Til next time,


Anonymous said...

What is it with labs and the smell (if not the actual) manure. I can always tell when my neighbour is cleaning out his barn. When I let my chocolate lab out for a pee, she instantly stops on the front stoop and a look of pure bliss comes over her as she points her nose into the smell.

Gotta be a dog thing...

JackDaddy said...

Just remind Tuc that it's been well over 100 degrees for the past few weeks where he was born! :) Unfortunately, the puppies still have to go out sometime!

Jennifer said...

My Leo looks JUST like your Ridge! Red coat, pink nose. Leo isn't as muscular as your boy, though. He's a bit tall and lean.

I love their coloring. Does Ridge have amber eyes? Leo does and I think that's what makes him so handsome.

Anonymous said...

hi.. just dropping by here... have a nice day!

Life With Dogs said...

More is always better in this case. It will be great to tag along.

That said, the heat has broken and fall is coming in a hurry. Our dogs are thrilled, I'm guessing yours are as well...

Deepa said...

Hi am a regular follower of ur blog for almost 2 yrs... if uremebr u had helped mewith some tips wen my lab was pregnent.... just dropped to see that the blog is not updated since some time. Hopes all well at ur end