The dogs and I went for a walk today, longer than our normal walk. Since I've become so addicted to short Starbucks Signature Hot Chocolates, I decided that I could have one, and enjoy it guilt-free, if I walked to the Starbucks to purchase it. A walk to the nearest Starbucks would pretty much be a waste of time if I didn't take the dogs, too (that, or listen to a podcast), so off the three of us went.
Fortunately, "walking to Starbucks" doesn't mean "take the normal route" or "take the longest route." We started on our normal route, heading south, then turning west. Last time I took the girls this way, along the long walk route, they took to *sprinting* across the street, then *screeching* to a halt as their noses caught wind of an interesting smell, which, on a new path, meant every 15 feet.
Today, we walked along the sidewalks near the local middle school. Several classes of kids were out for gym class, which started by running around the perimeter of the school's athletic fields (about 10 acres or so), before stopping at the tennis courts. My heart went out to the stragglers in the bunch. I so wanted to tell them "learn how to play ultimate, here, I'll show you."
I didn't, though.
When we arrived at the Starbucks, I tied the girls up to a post and went in. Unfortunately, the line was annoyingly long, and, despite the loud din in the store, I could *still* hear Bella howling outside. Dogs.
I asked the woman in front of me if she could order me a short Signature hot chocolate and handed her $5. When I left to calm the dogs, then came back in to see where she was in line, she needed to leave the line for her son who REALLY needed to pee. I offered to buy her what she wanted, which was fortunately only a $1 milk. She handed me a $10, but I passed it back to her with the milk, which sorta weirded her out, I think.
Tragically, the hot chocolate was a regular, and not a Signature, so I was massively disappointed in the drink.
We started back home, taking a less trafficked route than our walk out. We walked along a fence that bordered a sports field next to a park. As we were passing the field, a squirrel sat out in the middle of the field, watching us.
I couldn't resist.
We wandered onto the field, with Annie crouching low, and Bella completely oblivious. I released Annie, and watched her slink sprint close to the squirrel, then shirt into full speed as the squirrel took off. She *almost* caught it when it zigged up a tree then leaped back to the fence. Annie was under the squirrel as it leaped, and only barely missed it. The speed of the chase was impressive.
The walk wasn't completely fun and games, though. At one point, we walked by a house where a good dozen people somberly walked out, all dressed in black, saying little. I wanted to offer my condolences on their loss, but thought that might be just a little too weird.
We also managed to visit a napping mail carrier, who was sleeping in his truck. I thought about taking a picture, but figured that it might get the guy in trouble. I somehow managed to refrain.
I'm glad we went for the walk, though I do wish the hot chocolate tasted better.