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From the Forest to the Shore, Connecticut, USA
March 12
Director of Change
An unnamed non-profit health care provider
Change is good...that's what I keep telling my colleagues. It's difficult and hard. It's challenging and rewarding. It's fraught with peril. It needs to be done...yesterday!


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MARCH 21, 2012 4:18PM

DWTS - Dancing with the Sheepdogs

Rate: 24 Flag

I have a unique link with Dancing With the Stars host Tom Bergeron. We both worked at the same radio station in Portsmouth, New Hampshire. We worked the 7-midnight shift. I preceeded his tenure at WHEB FM, a Knight Quality Station. WHEB was  24 hour station so it probably should have been a Day and Knight Quality Station. Perhaps if I had his voice and looks, I'd be on TV today, and he'd be writing this blog. But that's another story.

My wife and I have been together for six years, and married for almost four. We've talked about taking ballroom dance lessons since we first started dating. It sounded like fun. Sounded is a past tense usage of the word sound.

Well something, perhaps it was the unusually mild weather, or that fact that my wife needs to have microsurgery on her herniated disc, prompted her, meaning us, to sign up for eight weeks of classes.

I welcomed this, because I thought I could avoid watching DWTS if I could actually go out and learn how to dance. As they say, you can't teach an Old English Sheepdog new tricks, but I was up for the challenge.

Besides, it was a community continuing ed class. Who else would be there?

Twelve other couples. We are not the oldest ones there, and we could be among the youngest. I mean I think I look younger than the others there.

Our instructor, Irene, is an HR professional during the day, where she must inflict countless amounts of mayhem on unsuspecting employees.

Once a week, she gets to have 24 adults to abuse physically for two hours. After the first class last week, I found out I had muscle pain, where I didn't have muscles. 

Not to mention my perceived humiliation of not being to accomplish the most simple dance steps for the foxtrot. My wife, who likes to lead, had difficulty following. She was concerned about her dyslexia. I was concerned about my two left feet and no sense of rhythm or timing.

We did have fun, and I got to make her laugh while she was trying to be serious. She said you should use different hand signals to indicate which step or direction we're supposed to take. When she failed to make the correct step and criticized me for my poor communication, I said, "Hey I just gave you the "finger." Didn't you just get the "finger"?

She burst into hysterical laughter and the instructor came over to help with her making the correct turn. After the coaching Irene said to me, "remember to at least meet her halfway."

I responded, " I'm married to her. I do that at least once a day. Those are instructions I can follow."

This week, Irene had us switch partners and the women would practice the same steps with a different man, until each woman was back with her original partner. When Ms. Sheepdog got back to me she said with a large amount of incredulity, "You are not the worst one here."

While I'm self concious about my lack of dancing prowess and shared this with her, we quickly reverse roles for a moment and she tries to offer helpful advice and suggestions.

"No dear, I don't need the problem solved for me," I said. "This is where you're supposed to use empathy and say, "I understand."

Next week we're on to week three of this eight week engagement. Not a network cancellation or snow day in sight. 

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Congrats - you're still going for more! You got a thumbs-up with that compliment - I don't know where; but you got one! I didn't know dyslexia effected the feet; that's a good one! R
I love you and you can tell your wife that.
I LOVE that show and I suggested to Steve he might enjoy it more if we danced. The non-dancer gave me such a look I figured I was lucky to be able to watch the show.
How about that Cuban American dancer from some latino soap>>>
Il est hot hot hot hahahaha
Sheepie, if they can teach that hopeless Master P a couple of dance steps, I am positive we will be calling you twinkle toes at the end of your senten...er, instruction period. Have fun and relax.

this.is.hilarious. and it got funnier as it went along. i have to clean my computer screen, sheepie. damn. still laughing.
I'm glad you two are having fun. Lady Lucia and I need to get back to the ballroom thing (we took one lesson over a year ago. We liked it but time and money are both in short supply).
Sheepie, some days you truly make me smile.
Other times I find myself laughing out loud.
Today is one of them.
Dance onward and upwards.
Remember, dip and turn! Dip and turn! No fall down!! No chasing after trucks!! BE THE DANCER, NOT THE DOG!! :D

Marilyn -- I will see this until it's over. I'm committed, or soon will be.

Linda -- I don't have to watch...something for Steve to consider.

Lezlie -- We have fun. We're together and it's good exercise. Other men are worse dancers than me. It's a win-win situation.

Candace -- It's much funnier in person. Trust me.

Eva T -- It's worth the investment of time.

Mission -- Like I said to Candace, it's much funnier in person.

Tink -- I need advice like this like a cat needs a chew toy.
Funny post. I bet you're on the dancing circuit by the time the lessons are over.

You are so sweet when you describe your wife. I'm getting a kick out of imagining the two of you dancing together.


P.S. Please send my best regards to your lovely wife.
I took dance lessons for years and when I dance with someone who is beginning and gets stressed I remind them of one of the first things I learned, if you miss a step or a turn and you're smiling at your partner, it's okay.

Have fun, laugh a lot, it's still fun when you get really good at it but if you get better then it becomes more serious. The only thing I didn't love about all the years I danced was that my husband never wanted to try so he wasn't my dance partner. You and Mrs. Sheepdog are both lucky to be in the arms of the one you love.
Nothing like dancing lessons to bring you closer together. I've tried numerous times on ships. I can't remember precise steps. Prefer just freelancing.
Date Night at its finest! Love it...hope there will be weekly installment.
Sounds like your wife bet the Giants.
What a delightful blog, OE. Cheers to you for the dancing. Now we are greedy for videos when you get to where you want to be! The recital...R and hugs.
Oh man! this brought back such memories of Gwen's and my foray into the world of ball-room dancing--it must be somewhere in the universal genetic code for women that they lead their man around the dance floor. The good part of it all was that we were able to enjoy dancing a bit more when we were finished with the class. The down side was that I was now supposed to know what I was doing when a fox trot was played.

Give me a beer and a polka band. . .
I have a wife who likes to lead too. Cause and effect get mixed up: If you like to lead when you're young boys probably won't dance with you, so you never learn you're doing it wrong. Your choice of mates then narrows until you end up with me.
Many stars for your great efforts. Stars are what you believe them to be, dancing or not. Nice story.
It's good to know you are not the worst one there. :)
Sweet, Sheepie. ~r
Funny and sweet. My best to you and Mrs. Sheepdog as you find your respective (and hopefully complementary) grooves.

P.S. I would be the worst one there. Hands (and feet) down.
Nothing that practicing with a professional for 6+ hours/day for a week won't solve. Good luck.

Ms. Stim and I took swing dance classes. Unmitigated disaster for anyone partnered or sharing the floor with either of us.
How fun! Can I say that I'm a wee bit disappointed there wasn't any video? I bet you and the Mrs. are the Stars of your class. :)
I think this is so very cool! I want a video :)
That sounds like a fun experience! SO glad you are able to laugh at yourself. I am sure you are both doing great! I expect to see you on next season's installment of DWTS! What? I mean, Dancing with the Sheepdog's! hehe
this was purely wonderful. thanks! xoxo
Andy - this is ridiculously ha-ha-ha-larious! I was laughing out loud the entire time - with several loud guffaws thrown in for good measure! I've taken a few of them thar ballroom dancing classes - and - i must say, that if you WERE the worst one there - omg...you'd be major league pathetic...not minor! Still giggling...