Today is my Grandma’s birthday. I don’t think she’d mind me telling you that she is 89 years old today (and if she is bothered by it, she can let me know and I will take it down. Yes, my grandma is 89 and online, because she definitely does not act like someone who is her age).

Grandma, me and one of their dogs, Bru. In case it isn't obvious, this was not taken recently.
Grandma, me and one of their dogs, Bru (in the background, you can see Prince, a collie). In case it isn’t obvious, this was not taken recently.

Growing up, my Papoo (Greek for Grandpa) and Grandma always had dogs – Collies and a German Shepherds. Before we got a dog of our own (the infamous Sundance, who will someday be the subject of many posts, because Sundance was definitely memorable), these were the dogs I was around the most. I grew up with these dogs pacing the edge of my grandparents’ pool, terrified something would happen to one of us kids swimming around. My brother, sister and I encouraged them to misbehave and played with them in the yard, we brought them to my grandparents’ house as puppies and said good-byes to them when they got old. They weren’t our dogs, but we definitely loved them.

This post isn’t actually about those dogs, though – it’s about the time Choppy got in trouble at my Grandma’s apartment.

After my Papoo died a couple years ago, my Grandma sold their house in the country and moved to an apartment in a retirement community. It’s a great place, and not just because happy hour there starts at 2:30 PM.

Retirement: it's like being in college, except you don't have to go to class!
Retirement: it’s like being in college, except you don’t have to go to class!

I regularly take Choppy to my Grandma’s apartment, where she usually begs to go run around the large lawn behind the building and sometimes manages to nap. We sometimes leave her there while we go out for lunch or supper, and, as a regular hotel resident, she calmly goes to sleep or otherwise quietly occupies herself until our return.

Except the one time she didn’t.

I was about to start my trek up to Alaska, and my grandma and I were going out to the local Mexican restaurant for a quick bite to eat before I continued on up the road. Like we had done many times before, we left Choppy in the apartment and headed out. After an enjoyable lunch, I pulled out my phone and saw that I had multiple text messages and voicemails – definitely not the norm for a quick bite to eat. I quickly listened, and realized that we had a problem:

Choppy was barking and crying and otherwise causing as much trouble as she could back at the apartment.

We quickly went back to the apartment, where we opened up the apartment to find Choppy, seemingly happy and contented, lying on the floor by the door. Nothing looked remotely amiss. Had we not gotten the phone calls and texts, we might never have known of the problem.

Except, of course, this is a retirement community. If you think high school girls like to gossip, think about what happens when those girls grow old and all end up together in a place with very few men.

More or less immediately after I left, my grandma got to hear all about Choppy’s misbehavior. Apparently, the woman across the hallway – an older woman, according to my grandmother (which is saying something, because 89 is not exactly being a kid) – had attempted to comfort Choppy, who would temporarily remain quiet while the woman came by the door (whether because Choppy didn’t want the woman to know she was there or she was actually comforted, I have no idea). The moment the woman left, Choppy went back to whining. Apparently, this repeated itself many times. Many, many times.

Even worse? The people at the retirement community couldn’t get in touch with us, because despite being online, my grandma doesn’t have a cell phone that she uses, and no one knew my number. My aunt who is listed as my grandma’s emergency contact didn’t have my cell phone number, and when she attempted to get in touch with my parents, they weren’t home. Eventually, she found one of my uncles, who had my cell phone number. By this point, we were on our way out of the restaurant, so it was somewhat useless to have figured out how to get in touch with us.

[Note: on the plus side, there is lots of hearing loss at the retirement community. I’m guessing the loud televisions blaring at the hearing impaired residents drowned out much of the barking and whining]

This story is really a long way of saying happy birthday to my grandma: someone who has put up with Choppy’s shenanigans.