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Good news and bad news: Hubby's pursuit of tall things leaves wife with her own 'Chase'

Voices of the Clarion

Posted: Sunday, April 06, 2008

I have good news and bad news.

The bad news is my husband, Mark, is preparing for another climb actually two this year, that I know of.

The first one is happening this month. He will be ascending Mount Iliamna.

This isn't really all that bad of news, as it's close to home, not near as high as Denali which he summitted in June and he'll only be gone a week. Besides, I can practically look out the window and wave at him.

The second summit will be a little harder to swallow. Mark has ambitions of topping the tallest peak in South America: Aconcagua. It's in Argentina. At 22,841 feet, it's a tad bit taller than Denali at 20,320.

No, I'm not going. I've been asked that a lot, but I'm not an altitude person. Heck, stepladders make me woozy. And I have no desire to sit in a foreign country worrying about my husband, trying to get sympathy from complete strangers. It's so much easier to milk it from people you know.

To say the least, last year's climb was quite difficult for me. I made it perfectly clear to anyone who would listen while he was gone that Mark's trip was stressing me out. After 15 days, everyone had had enough, and they were quick to let him know when he got back.

After about the 10th person telling him what a pain I was, it was decided that he could not take anymore uphill journeys without a satellite phone. That was the deal, and I've been assured that one will be with him on all future trips.

I feel better already. Knowing he's just a phone call away and I'll be able to hear his voice is so comforting.

Of course, that's assuming he can get a hold of me. I have some big plans myself, you know.

Some of you may recall my last column, where Mark and I had "acquired" a new addition to the family. She's a border collie rescue, who found herself in the middle of four golden retrievers and a cat about three months ago.

Since then, a lot has changed. Oh sure, she still has to go outside and potty a lot, but we're also minus one TV remote, some speaker wire, multiples toys, coasters and the interior of my van. She's one wacky dog.

But, believe it or not, we are making headway. First, we needed to find her a name. We wanted something that fit her personality, but Spaz just didn't sound girlie enough. Then it hit me, all she does is run after the goldens and the cat, and then I run after her. Her name is Chase.

Secondly, she needed obedience. While this will be ongoing for the rest of her life, she has made considerable progress and can now sit still a major step forward for this squirmy dog while we dole out dinner bowls, and, most importantly, she can be quiet while we're doing it.

This was a huge obstacle to overcome, as border collies are not particularly known for their silence. She has a bark, and she's not afraid to use it.

I've also got her in agility classes. This is where dogs traverse obstacles, like tunnels, jumps and teeters, while their handlers race frantically behind pretending to be in control.

Have I mentioned that Chase is a border collie? Border collies can run very fast.

I don't.

My goldens can run, but they only go as fast as I do. Chase doesn't care. She'll leave me in the dirt.

I definitely have my work cut out for me, and who knows, maybe I'll lose weight in the process. Either that, or she'll kill me.

Still, this is not a bad thing. In fact, it's good news. Like Mark, I have found my passion, and there is a lot for me to learn. And I will learn plenty, as I chase Chase while he is off gallivanting across the globe.

I'm really going to miss him, but let's face it, with the mountains I have in front of me, I'll probably be too exhausted to even notice he's gone.

Here's to chasing your dreams.

Dori Lynn Anderson is an agility fanatic and the managing editor for the Clarion. She can be reached at dorilynn.anderson@peninsualclarion.com.



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