POSTED ON APRIL 16, 2008:
Get Outside, Tulsa!
Pampering your pooch is just a walk in the park
I can now put to rest any fears of sleeping through a tornado warning. Before the morning of the 8 of April I was concerned, but I know now the siren, the real warning, makes my alarm clock look like one of those rainforest CDs people throw on during a massage. After spending 15 to 20 minutes inside my girlfriend's closet (it's bigger than mine) wildly winding a crank radio while huddled on a king's share of pillows and shaking like a leaf, I was convinced, with some help, that all was clear so I crawled back into bed and attempted to return to sleep. I tossed and turned for three hours, thinking often of where I would rate the career of storm chaser on my list of "jobs to avoid in life." As my heartbeat slowly returned to a normal resting rate, I thankfully dozed off. This was my first taste of a real tornado warning, one I am quite content not to repeat for some time.
I suppose I can't complain. This is just something that comes with the territory. I am enjoying Tulsa. And I love the spring. It ranks within my top 5 favorite seasons. I can put up with a little scare every now and again.
Spring means I get to say "adios" to my gloves, coats, and Chap Stick and embrace short pants, pasty white legs, and picnics in Woodward Park. Yay!
Woodward Park's got it all: a park, a rose garden, teaching gardens, swing sets, and an occasional ninja (the explanation is pretty simple; I saw some ninjas there working on their "martial arts"). It's a perfect place to take the kids, the partner, the dog, or even a venue to settle a ninja disagreement. There's plenty of space for walking, playing, practicing the traditional ninjato, or imitating Donatello, my favorite mutant ninja turtle.
I personally enjoy taking a blanket, camera, snack, and a book to make an afternoon of it. It's not as exhilarating as leaping out of a plane, but I am okay with relaxing and being on the ground. At 45 acres, the park really has a good deal to see and do, but I'm sure you're aware of that, Tulsa. After all, it's almost 100 years old.
Get your picture with Carl Linnaeus outside the Linnaeus Teaching Gardens next time you're in Woodward Park. You'll be happy you did. Linnaeus was one of the fathers of ecology and being seen in a picture with him will only make you look smarter. Take the picture to work. Maybe your boss will be so impressed you'll get that promotion you've been pining for. It worked for me!
Dog Washing 101
If you're anything like me, after you're done with Mr. Linnaeus, the ninja practice and the park's streams, you'll be ready to wash your dog. If you have several rolls of quarters burning a hole in your pocket, a dog in need of cleaning, and the need to "get out of the house," I suggest considering the Sloppy Dog Wash (sloppydogwash.com) at 4316 S. Peoria Ave.
Taking your dog to a bathhouse was a new concept to me and seemed over-the-top. I love animals, but I don't see the sense in spoiling them like human children. Bows-okay, treats- yeah, a dog brush- of course, but a bathhouse for dogs? Really?
I don't even give myself a blueberry facial, so why should the dog get one?
The self-wash at $15 seemed pricey, but later I had to admit it was far easier than a garden hose and bucket. Shaq could have bathed in that tub without any problems. Hell, I even considered it, but I am a little shy about bathing in front of dogs.
There are pricier ways to wash your dog at the Sloppy Dog. You could put the staff through the misery of washing your troubled animal for you, if you like. I couldn't do it, but I will say they were good with the dogs.
My girlfriend's dog hated the bath, but not as much as one of the neighboring dogs at the facility, which was crying as if it were enduring a canine bikini wax. I imagine the only way she got through it was to visualize tearing through the trash in several hours. Dogs visualize pleasanter times, right? I know I visualized it for that poor puppy.
Weeks later you will probably hear the dog conversing with other dogs back at Woodward Park...
"Yeah, the warm water, massaging, and feeling of cleanliness were barely tolerable. The thought of feasting on rotten cheese, spoiled meat, and baby diapers is all that got me through it, Sergeant Peppers. Let's go roll in that other dog's crap!"
I don't think I will ever drop $15 of my own money on the dog wash, but if you're a fan of convenience, don't want to dirty your home, or just really feel like rewarding your dog with a deluxe bath and gourmet dog cookie, (yeah, a dog cookie) put the Doggles on your special pet, roll down the windows and head over to Brookside. Your dog won't love it, but at least they'll smell much better and might forgive you after you reward their patience with a dog treat the size of your wedding cake.
Tulsans have told me that when Woodward Park was being planned many of the residents thought it was "too far out in the country." Common sense suggests those 20th century Tulsans would most likely respond differently now. At $100 an acre, the park was quite a deal. I wonder if in 2110 Tulsans will look back on the idea of a $15 dog wash with such fondness for a time that was.
I don't know, but if for some unforeseen reason I'm still around, I doubt I'll have forgotten the first time I heard a real live tornado siren, the signal that my first spring in Tulsa was upon me. It's spring, Tulsa, get out and enjoy it!
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