Hi, I’m Mary, and this is my column no one asked for about things I like!
Let me be up front: I’m in a bad mood. It’s cold and gray and rainy and we’re entering the part of winter when it starts feeling endless. Also, I currently have four dogs in my tiny two bedroom apartment, which is officially too many dogs. In fact, one dog is too many for my apartment — one in particular, and she’s here right now antagonizing the other three. My home is currently blocked off in the middle, allowing each pair (I have two tiny dogs that are sisters, two big dogs that are best friends) one half of the space. Unfortunately, they can see each other through my makeshift barricade. They’ve been barking at each other for seven hours.
Why do I have four dogs? I don’t. So why is my apartment currently filled with dogs that don’t belong to me? Because that’s how I make money, lately the only way. I’m one of those dumb bitches who has seven jobs but makes so little it feels more honest to say I’m unemployed.
As a struggling member of the creative class, taking care of dogs is a natural way for me to make an income. I am and have always been unusually obsessed with dogs, so spending time with them feels like more of a gift than a service. My love of the game, however, is also what makes the job so difficult. While most dog walkers and sitters I know (and I know many) treat it as a job, I seize it as an opportunity to take on the emotional burden of owning seven dogs (nine if you count two friends’ dogs I often take care of). For me, it’s not a job — it’s a passion, one that’s now become an obligation.
That’s partly because my dogs fucking love me, not to brag. Even when I have three dogs at once, people assume they’re all mine, perhaps because I look a bit…mature to be walking dogs but I prefer to think it’s because I have such an obvious bond with each and every one of them. When I take them to off-leash hours at the park — any which one of them — they run around me in circles, making me quite literally the center of their attention. One of my dogs in particular can’t go more than a minute off-leash without running and jumping on me just to make sure I’m still there.
All to explain why I currently have four dogs in my apartment, none of which (technically) belong to me, all of which have an equally large and special place in my heart. I agreed to take one dog over a month ago, then was asked to take the pair of little ones for a week, an opportunity I couldn’t resist, and when I was asked yet again to take care of the fourth dog at the last minute, I couldn’t say no. In the few months I’ve been taking care of him, he’s spent almost as much time at my apartment as his own. this past month, I’ve had him 3-4 nights a week. He, more than any of the others, feels like my dog, simply because he needs me the most. I can’t refuse to take care of my own dog! (This is what happens when you spend more time with dogs than people: you lose your grip on reality. Don’t worry though, I’m acutely aware that I’m crazy — especially about this one dog but also just in general.)
Why am I writing so much about dogs in a post about eye cream? To explain why I’ve been so stressed out and exhausted the last few weeks (years?). Of course I have other things going on in my life, many of which are even more stressful than caring for dogs, but it’s the dogs that are deepening and darkening the circles under my eyes, that are causing my legs to ache by the end of each night. The dogs, as much as I love them and as much joy as they bring me, often prevent me from getting any real work done (I began writing this at my kitchen counter six hours ago with two dogs fighting at my feet and am now typing away on the kitchen cart which I’m using as a barricade to section off my apartment as two play behind me and two stare at me with baleful eyes from the couch in the other room.). I’ve had to start reminding myself that right now, taking care of dogs is my work, and in fact my largest source of income, which doesn’t necessarily make me feel any better when yet another day ends and I have several items still lingering on my to-do list.
One of the items that’s been sitting on that list the past few weeks is taking care of the skin around my eyes, which has become increasingly dry and dark, in part because Dog 4 doesn’t like to let me sleep. I suppose it’s appropriate that he wakes me up at dawn because he’s the light of my life (lol how romantic). He’s the sweetest, cutest puppy in the whole wide world and I tell him every day, several times a day, that I’m lucky to have him in my life. He’s a very good boy but is still young, and like the best of us has a few flaws. One is his compulsive chewing (he’s absolutely shredded a blanket I bought at a market in Mexico this summer, among other things). The other is the fact that the second he wakes up, no matter what time it is, he likes to wake me up by jumping on my stomach, rolling over onto his back on top of me and flailing around until I rub his tummy. Sometimes he’ll jump on me 3-4 times during the night and he always wakes me up for good first thing in the morning, eager to start our day together (and hoping I’ll take him to the park so he can run like a maniac off leash, which I normally do).
As I write this, I realize I’m sounding more and more like a grandmother, detailing the mundane details of her days, particularly as they pertain to care-taking. Not my grandmother, who always has plenty of interesting things to say, but a grandmother, one who often takes care of her several wildly energetic adopted granddogs.
I am, in fact, starting to feel like a grandmother, dry skin and forgetfulness included. My skin has been awful lately, dull and dry and spotted with stress- and hormone-induced breakouts. The most frustrating problem that’s been plaguing me, however, is dry skin at the outer corners of my eyes. It came on slowly, but in the last few weeks the skin at the edge of my eyes grew red and irritated, and during this weekend’s cold snap it started flaking right off.
The worst part wasn’t even how gross it looked but that the skin was itchy and irritated. I spent a few weeks trying everything I could think of to remedy the situation, dotting on all my various lotions and potions. I dabbed hyaluronic acid on it morning and night under a layer of an old eye cream I had sitting in my cabinet. (Something I recently learned: hyaluronic acid only helps hydrate your skin if you put it on under moisturizer. The way it works is it sucks the moisture out of the cream and down into your skin, so if you don’t put cream on over it, it could pull moisture out of your skin and leave it dryer than before. I learned this from a very helpful Who? Weekly caller and thought I’d share!)
No matter what I did, the dryness only got worse. I began to wonder why this was happening to me now when it never has before, then I remembered it has happened before, and is in fact a recurring problem I’ve had for the past several winters. I forgot it had happened before because a) in case I haven’t mentioned it, I’m tired and b) I normally use an eye cream that works so well I forget I ever had dry skin in the first place. Since I ran out of this miracle product over the summer, when my skin was so naturally moist I didn’t need it, I didn’t bother to replace it. As soon as I remembered, however, I hopped onto Amazon and ordered some Keys Eye Butter.
It made an immediate difference, and two days later the dry skin around my eyes is completely gone, as is the itching and irritation. Though I care so much about skincare I write about it for free, I often wonder if it actually…works. The supposed benefits of so many products are mostly undetectable, or take so long to reveal themselves it’s impossible to know if they actually worked. This cream, however, works so immediately that it has completely restored my faith in all skincare. From now on, I’ll expect my anti-aging products (of which this is one!) to make me look 17 within weeks, which shouldn’t be hard because 17 is my pretend age, and we’re only as old as we feel inside.
Keys Eye Butter is 100% all-natural and has only a handful of ingredients, so moreover it proves that all-natural skincare works, or at least this product does. The outside of the package says you can also put it on your lips, so I dabbed some on and my lips felt nice and hydrated. If it weren’t so expensive, I’d take a jar of this stuff and slather all over my entire body everyday, but I’d need to have 40 dogs in my apartment at a time to be able to afford that which, at the rate I’m going, seems terrifyingly possible.
Though I’ve spent nearly 2,000 words complaining about them, my dogs are getting me through the dark, cold days, even they wake me up so early I have to experience more of those days than I’d like to. But, in a smaller way, my Keys Eye Butter is also helping. Though I still have many reasons to be stressed, at least I don’t have to worry about itchy, flaky eyes anymore, which leaves me free to focus on more important things, like making sure I don’t step in dog shit in my own home. (Um wow, that last line could legit be copy in a skincare commercial! Actually crazy this column hasn’t been sponsored yet!!!)
As always, I’d like to clarify that this is NOT a sponsored post (truly unbelievable, right???). I received nothing for it and am pretty sure no one cares about my (not actually but you get it) dogs or (actually my own) eyes. Still, if anyone is reading and ever wants to give me literally anything for free, eye cream or not, I WILL TAKE IT!!!!!!
Anyway, I hope this was helpful. I’ll be back with more unsolicited recommendations soon!