I was going to write my usual “oh no, Winter is coming” post where I lament the colder weather, but I’m not going to do it. I know, it’s a shocker, so I’ll just wait for the gasping to subside. It was such a fabulous summer weather-wise that I have nothing to complain about. That’s not entirely true, I do have things to complain about but certainly not about the weather. Did I mention that my county has a frost advisory tonight? Still not complaining. Aren’t you proud of me?
I know, you are all wondering if the boat is as great as we thought it would be. The answer is: “How do I know? We haven’t gotten it, yet!” That’s right, we ordered it 2 1/2 months ago and they say it’s made, but no boat has arrived. No dock either. They have made one excuse after another. Finally, I texted the dealer and told them we’d take delivery in the spring. No response. So I’m not sure what’s happening, but I do know the thing isn’t going in the water this year. So I could complain about that, but I’m still riding high on the ‘it was a beautiful summer’ thing so I won’t say a word. Even though I could. Even though I’d be justified. I still won’t. Yet.
In other news for Cornville, I just saw the cast list for an upcoming movie a friend of mine is directing. He’s been working on this concept for ten years and I’ve been helping him with some dialog along the way. I was amazed to see that he’s credited me as a writer for the film. That was a total shock! I was happy to help where I could, but never expected to it to be so publicly acknowledged. Big revelations in the mainepaperpusher household today!
The only other big news in Cornville is that I have ordered some new devices. I watched the Apple Event a couple of days ago and of course, I wanted all sorts of Apple-icious stuff. Last night I drank the Kool-Aid. I drank a lot of it. At the end of this month, I’ll be drowning in Apple-flavored goodness. Ask me if I’m excited! Just ask!
And for those of you Walter fans out there, here’s a pic I posted on Instagram a couple of days ago. I have to keep Walter’s adoring public happy, after all!
For skort-shredding, grit-in-the-teeth, foot-blistering fun, tour Vancouver, Canada like your child is away visiting relatives and you and your spouse might not get a vacation alone again in a very long time. That’s just what Nate and I did this past weekend. We toured. We toured hard. We lit up the streets with the friction between our thighs—we were walking that fast. And we rocked it. We rocked it hard. Here’s how you can rock it in Vancouver too:
Stay at the Executive Hotel LeSoleilon Hornby Street. We always stay there when we visit Vancouver and we’re never disappointed. Here’s why:
It’s not haunted at all. I made up a ghost story that took place in this hotel a year or two ago during my Halloween “blog blitz.” I was trying to do a ghost tour on the cheap by DIYing it. The blog post was called: “Haunted DIY Ghost Stories of Vancouver, Canada”and the results are just what you would expect from the Fixin’ Leaks and Leeks team: unusual, bizarre snippets of absurdity provided in the hopes of a laugh or two. I just want to take the opportunity now to tell you all for real—in case there was any doubt or confusion due to previous blog posts—that in this hotel, you will not wake up in the morning all possessed and stuff. In fact, this last time, when I did fall asleep for a moment or two, I had a beautiful dream about receiving two separate emails about two short stories I’d sent to literary magazine editors in the hopes of publishing them. In my dream, both emails indicated that two different magazines would accept the stories in question. This dream was so fantastic and real, that when I woke up in the morning, I used my phone to immediately check my emails. However, I did not get any acceptances from literary magazine editors. Instead, I got a rejection for a story that I’m having a hard time placing. It’s called “The Change” and it’s about an ax-wielding menopausal Sasquatch named Chloe, who finds her purpose in life. I’m hoping to get it published because I think it can help a lot of people. It’s kind of a Dear God, it’s me, Margaret . . . but for menopausal Sasquatches. Maybe it’ll end up in the self-help aisle of a bookstore someday. Who knows? In any case, I don’t blame the hotel for my story rejection. The mattress on the bed is very soft and the rooms are tastefully and luxuriously appointed. I always feel like a queen, but not one that’s trapped in a Sasquatch’s body—unlike some other hotels I may have stayed in while on vacation, but that story can wait for now.
DO eat at the Copper Chimney Restaurantin the hotel. Ignore the 3.8 rating on Google. This place deserves a much higher rating. At first, Nate and I tried really hard to pay attention to that rating. Here’s a sample of our conversation beforehand:
Me: I don’t know. This place has a 3.8 rating. Do you really think we should eat here?
Nate: A drink couldn’t hurt, I suppose.
Me: Oh, no—you’re right. A drink does not hurt at all.
So, we bellied up to the bar. I had a rosé and Nate had a Moscow mule and some yucca fries that came with a delightful sauce. We were just beginning to relax and unwind, when we received alarming texts from Alex, who was supposed to be in Chicago boarding a plane to Dayton, Ohio to visit relatives. However, his flight kept getting delayed and delayed and delayed. We weren’t sure if he would ever leave Chicago. I was in complete freak out mode. Though Alex is 16, this is my first time as a “free range parent.” That’s when the manager on duty sprang into action. He served me more wine and helped Nate and me move to a table where we could set up a “nerve center.” From this strategic site, I texted hundreds of heart and poop emojis to Alex. Then, I texted even more heart and poop emojis to my parents and brother and sister, asking for a prayer chain to invoke St. Christopher and whoever the saints of wine, headaches, and nervous stomachs might be. Nate, on the other hand, was more sophisticated with his texts. He sent Alex gifs of monkeys crashing planes and dancing. Then, the food came to the table and it was delicious: fresh, fluffy naan straight from the clay ovens. I ordered a tikka shrimp dish that was so spicy and flavorful—and cooked perfectly. Nate’s butter chicken sauce was really, really good too because I tried it by dipping a piece of naan into the sauce. The food was a delightful distraction, but we were still worried. The manager came by to check on us and reminded us about our options for Alex at the airport—other than texting nonsense. We could call the airport and request that an agent check on Alex to make sure he was okay. Then, he told us about his flying experiences. One delay of his was so bad that he missed his connecting plane, which would have put him on the doomed Malaysian Airlines 370 flight. So, now we were glad that Alex was safe on the ground at this point. However, after my third glass of wine, Alex was finally on a plane and he landed in Dayton an hour later. Long live the tikka shrimp, rosé, and night manager on duty 6/28/19 at this restaurant!
We also ate at the Season’s restaurant, which overlooks the gardens that continued to captivate me. Here’s a snippet of the conversation I shared with Nate:
Me: My beer tastes amazing.
Nate: Mine too.
Me: How much would it cost to have gardens like this at home?
Nate: About $100,000 to put in and $50,000-$100,000 a year to maintain.
Me: Hmm. What would that be in Canadian dollars?
Nate: Not much less.
Me: But less, right? So it would be better?
Nate: Not really. No.
Take the SkyTrain over to Yaletown. Walk and walk and walk and walk around the waterfront. Take a ferry over to Granville Island and walk and walk and walk until you think you can’t stop into anymore shops. But there are so many shops . . .
Take the Hornby Street ferry back and walk over to Water Street to find dinner and perhaps a new cultural “moment” you hadn’t anticipated. For instance, I stumbled into what I would call the “sister loo.” Inside the women’s bathroom of one of the restaurants where Nate and I dined, I found a couple of large bathroom stalls that I thought were for wheelchair accessibility, but perhaps they were not. These stalls held fully functioning side-by-side toilets and one was not a bidet. After a hefty pint of beer, my bladder was bursting enough to make me just rush into one of these stalls, but I stopped myself because I felt guilty. There was just one of me. What was the polite thing to do in Canada in this situation? Perhaps I should have invited someone else in with me. I obviously would not have needed both toilets by myself. Luckily, a “normal” stall opened up, thus saving me from a very embarrassing international incident. It left such an impression on me though, that I bolted from the bathroom grabbed Nate, and began my story with, “Girlfriend, I need to tell you something . . .”
Take the Lost Souls of Gastown Tour. It runs on Tuesday, Thursday, Friday, and Saturday nights at 8 p.m. Tickets are available online and groups meet near the Cathedral. Tracy was our tour guide and she did an amazing job. She dressed in period costume and took on the persona of an historical figure from 1898. No one in the group was picked on to get quizzed on their knowledge of Gastown or made to re-enact a pirate scene. Occasionally, Tracy did little asides that were fun, like “Am I right? I see this gentleman here knows what I’m talking about”—and everyone would laugh. Harmless enough. She did that to me once during the tour. She was telling a story about drinking gin and then she turned to me and said, “Am I right? This gal here knows what I’m talking about.” And I turned to Nate and said, “She’s psychic! Tracy is psychic! She totally knows me. She knows I would drink gin. I would totally do that!”
The next morning, grab a bite to eat at the food court in Canada Place by the waterfront. Here, you can see the cruise ships pull up—as well as amazing feats performed by both Canadian police officers and drug addicts. In fact, I was enjoying a fat free yogurt and a Coke from inside the food court, when I was treated to a fascinating show performed by a smartly dressed Canadian traffic cop and a rather rambunctious man who was armed with a rolled-up magazine. He held it under his arm and jumped around aggressively at passersby—trying to stab them I suppose with the magazine. The traffic cop just walked right up to him and smiled in a cheerful fashion. Now, since I was inside the food court, I couldn’t hear the conversation that transpired outside on the plaza, but this is how I think it went:
Police Officer: Well, helloooo there! How are you?
Police Officer: That’s right! A breakfast sandwich! I’ll just pop into this Tim Horton’s right here. You wait right there. I’ll be right back.
The man sat for a while, and then he charged through the front doors of the food court. That’s when I grabbed Nate and headed for the back door. I have no idea how this story ends, but I hope the breakfast sandwich hit the spot.
Head for the US border, hoping you can stay just a little longer—and you get your wish because you’ve been selected for a random car inspection, even though you have a Nexus pass with the words “Trusted Traveler” written on the front. I was so confused.
Me: Nate, you did tell the border guard that we’re not carrying any fruit or agricultural products with us? That’s what they’re really looking for.
Nate: Of course I told them we weren’t carrying any fruit or agricultural products! I have no idea why they’re doing this. This sucks!
So, we pulled our car around, and we were told to go inside the building next door and wait. While we waited, I watched border patrol/customs agents walk around behind a desk and go to cubicles to work. There was one very entertaining group of border officials that walked around with precisely two oranges and a banana. It took about three of them to carry these pieces of fruit efficiently: One to hold the fruit and two to parade around behind the agent holding the fruit. They looked pretty proud of themselves—like they had found the two oranges and a banana in a car and confiscated them. They looked like they were rehearsing what they’d say to the culprits when they presented the oranges and banana to them: “We told you. We told you to tell the truth about agricultural products and declare them. Do you recognize these? We found them in your lunch sacks!”
We were probably “detained” for 20 minutes and that same group of border patrol agents paraded around the back with the fruit at least three times. At one point, I convinced myself that they would juggle the fruit. In fact, I was really hoping they would. I kept saying, “Please juggle!” in my head until we were called to the counter and told that we could leave. All in all, we could have probably avoided the whole “random car inspection” fiasco if I could have just applied what I learned from the Canadian police just a few hours before. I would have looked at the border agent, smiled cheerfully and said, “Do you know what you need? That’s right! A breakfast sandwich!”
Next on the agenda was to get some boating accessories. I had no idea I would need so much stuff to outfit our weird boat. And we, as weird boat owners, needed a lot, too. You may very well think that this will be an uninteresting list of stuff. To be fair, that may be true, but I promise at the end of the post there will be photos of Walter modeling his very own boat accessory.
You scrolled down, didn’t you? Just couldn’t help but skip right to the swimsuit model.
Finding a generator to charge the boat’s batteries was a bit of a challenge. Generators are heavy. Very heavy. If we were thinking about using the thing to run part of the house during a power outage, we needed something in the 3000-watt range. There was no way we could lift one of those things. I looked around and finally found the cutest generator ever. Can a generator be cute? It sure can! Check it out…
It’s a wee rolling generator with a suitcase handle! It even has a cute name. The Honda Handi is now part of our boat saga. It only weighs 78 pounds, which is half as much as a more typical generator with the same wattage would be. Now we have a weird generator to go with our weird-ass boat when it arrives.
The boat and the generator were just the first two things needed for our highly anticipated boating lifestyle. Next on the docket was the dock! Luckily, the boat guy was also a dock guy. To be honest, the boat guy had a dock guy. Luckily, the boat guy’s dock guy could manufacture whatever I might need. I probably should have warned him that I’d need a weird dock, but for the first few days, I just had him price out a typical dock. It was only later that I started adding a few changes and the true weirdness became clear. I wanted railings on both sides and steps into the water. I wanted dock ‘handles’ to hold onto when I get into the boat. Anti-convulsants make staying upright a challenge, so I need all the help I can get. The weird dock is going to look like a wheelchair ramp but at least I won’t fall in and drown if I have a seizure.
This whole epilepsy thing is a real buzzkill. If only I had gills! If I had gills I wouldn’t have to worry about all of this boring dock safety stuff. Gills would be awesome, but since I sadly don’t have them, I had to explain what I needed to the boat and dock guys and they figured out a way to do it. Of course, this means that now I have to wait for the boat and the dock to be built. Patience is not one of my virtues, but weird-assedness has its price.
Next on the list are life jackets. Did you know that you can get a life jacket that has a CO2 cartridge that will inflate the thing if it gets submersed? Whoa, this is some pretty cool technology. That whole not having gills thing is a major downer, but this might make things a bit easier if I end up in the drink. Since I’m going to be stuck wearing one of these things most of the time, I wanted one that was as unobtrusive as possible. The one shown below seemed like it might work out just fine. Although mine is in a nice fuschia color.
I have to admit, it’s hard to be unobtrusive as a large woman in a fuschia life jacket, but one must do what one must do. I suppose the bright color will help them locate me while I’m flopping around being all seizure-y and totally oblivious to my gill-lessness. I cannot stress enough just how unfair it is that I don’t have gills. I don’t even have one of those cool, scaly mermaid tails. Nooo…instead I get a self-inflating life jacket like the one below…in fuschia…and no gills. Sigh…
Have we forgotten about Walter? Of course not! Walter will be part of the crew even though he can’t pedal the paddle wheel. He still needs a slip-resistant dog bed and…yes…a lifejacket of his very own. You think I’m joking? Look below. Oh right, who am I kidding? I know you’ve already looked. I know how you are!
Here is our very own Walter sporting his new Ruffwear personal floatation device. Now we’ll be known not only as the people with the weird boat, but more specifically as the people with the weird boat with a Great Dane on board wearing a red life jacket. What can I say? We live a colorful life.
I know it seems odd to have a life jacket for a dog but the dog-paddle will only get you so far, especially if you are a Great Dane who never swims and only goes in the water up to your belly. I figure if he goes overboard, he’ll need all the help he can get! I might need to get a rope, though. If he goes overboard, there is no way I’ll be able to haul him back onto the boat…even if there is a life jacket handle. I am envisioning more of a towing situation. He’ll float along in his life jacket and we’ll tow him back to shore. The pontoon boat will become a tugboat, of sorts. Toot Toot! Walter coming through!
Buying the weird-ass boat posed a few, let’s call them, challenges. First, we had to pick all of the options. Solar was a must because we don’t have power at camp and no power means no electric backup. No electric backup means more pedaling for me. Solar was a necessity!
Upon further research, it became apparent that the solar backup was not going to provide enough power to keep the boat going without charging via electricity. Damn! This meant I had to get creative. Bill’s no-gas rule was really putting a crimp in my style. I was not looking forward to hauling batteries back and forth to charge them, either. What to do? What to do?
Maybe I could set up a solar array on the shore and it would provide enough power to charge the batteries? Hmmm… I started to look into wattages and voltages and amperages. My head was spinning. It was time to bring in an expert.
We have a merchant marine friend who is an engineer. Mike knows boats and electrical stuff and I was sure he would know how to make this work. Or at the very least, come up with an alternate plan that would work. I called him up and he was so intrigued with the weird-assedness of the boat, he came over to look at the specs and see the pics. After he stopped laughing, we talked about options.
Mike checked everything out. Being a guy who likes his motorized toys, he thought this was a pretty cool boat. Once that was ascertained, it was time to ask him what he thought about my solar idea. I couldn’t quite figure out how the voltage put out by the solar panels would work with the voltage needed by the boat. If it could work, Mike would know how to do it.
I told him my thoughts and posed the question. Now, let me just preface this by saying that Mike has no filter when it comes to what comes out of his mouth. Political correctness is not on his radar at all so his response to didn’t surprise me. He listened to my idea, and with an incredulous look on his face, said: “That’s retarded!” All I could say was: “I KNOW!!!”
He tried to explain why it would be improbable by throwing electrical terms at me that went over my spinning head. I finally had to tell him that he was explaining how to make a watch when I merely asked what time it was. Hell, when it came to this, I didn’t even know what day it was. At the end of it all, it was obvious that charging the electrical part of this boat was going to be impossible without hauling batteries back and forth to charge them.
It was then that Mike asked why we didn’t just get a generator. When Bill realized that he meant a gas-powered generator, he didn’t want anything to do with it. Mike went on to explain how easy it would be. Bill was unmoved. His vision of a gas-less lifestyle at camp was going up in smoke.
By the end of the evening, Mike had me looking up generators online and had Bill convinced that it would be insanely simple to run. Then he sweetened the pot by telling us that we could use it as a backup in case we lost power at the house. After a lot of hemming and hawing, Bill agreed.
So that is how we ended up buying a gas-less boat that will be partially powered by a generator that takes gas. Poor Bill just bought a new gas can. He just can’t win.
Just for fun, I mentioned the boat to Bill and got the questions I expected. I really didn’t think this would be more than an exercise we often engage in. One of us will come up with some crazy idea (usually me) and the other will pose very logical questions (usually not me) trying to show how ridiculous the idea is. The person who is being questioned (ok, it’s always me) has to come up with very logical answers to support the idea. It’s almost always theoretical and rarely ends in shouting. It didn’t end in shouting this time, either. There’s really no sport in the thing if I just get the questions I expect, but this really was an odd topic so it could go in any direction…probably around in circles.
The conversation went something like this (his part is in red):
“How big is this boat?” 15 feet long. “Are you crazy!?” As if he didn’t know the answer to that already.
“Does it take gasoline?” No, it’s powered by pedaling, along with electricity…and maybe even solar if we want to get that package.
“No gas?” No gas.
“I can pedal it?” Yes, you can pedal alone or we can both pedal together.
At this point, his face lit up. Not only would he get his exercise, but I might get a little, too! For some reason, he thinks it’s healthy for me to get exercise.
“You’d really go boat-pedaling with me?” Yes, I would go boat-pedaling with you…with electrical back up and an optional solar package. I might have left that last bit out, but in the spirit of full disclosure here, I figured I’d mention what I was truly thinking at the time.
“Where would we store it?” We have two acres of land at camp, store it anywhere you want. We can just cover it and let it winter over.
“How would we get it there?” I’m sure they deliver, and if they don’t, we could always buy a trailer.
“A trailer!? I don’t want to drive a trailer with a huge boat on it!” Then we will offer them some money and they will deliver it, I’m sure.
“How will we moor it?” We’ll get a dock. “A dock!? We’ll need a dock!?” Yes, that’s generally how it’s done.
“I really won’t have to deal with a combustion engine and gas?” Not even once.
“And I really won’t have to haul gasoline to camp?” Not a drop. I think we were repeating ourselves quite a bit here, but if that sort of emphasis gave weight to my arguments, I was willing to endure it.
“Where do they sell them?” Uhh…let me look. I told him where it was.
“That’s on the way to your appointment tomorrow, let’s stop and look at them.” HUH!? Here I was, winning the purely theoretical argument (go me!) and suddenly things got real. I had to tell him that no one in Maine had one of these in stock because they are so weird, but he wanted to check the place out anyway. I couldn’t believe it.
And that’s how we bought a boat while on our way to my appointment*
A week or three ago, we were on our way to an appointment and we bought a boat. Now it may seem like an odd thing to just pick up along the way, but that’s what happened. You probably think this was an impulse purchase, but I assure you that we talked about it for TWO whole days before pulling the trigger. It was one of those “hey, you know a boat would make our time at camp more fun” sort of conversations.
The more I thought about it, the more I liked the idea, but I knew there would be hurdles. You see, Bill is allergic to gasoline. Not really allergic to the stuff itself, really. It’s more like an allergy to things that are gasoline adjacent. He has a very strong dislike for internal combustion engines. This feeling runs deep. He won’t have any more to do with them than necessary. The post lawnmowing cursing is usually quite colorful. Crayola doesn’t have enough colors to give it justice. Gasoline and the motors that require it are his nemeses.
Bill’s dislike of anything associated with engines stopped my boat fantasy dead in the water. Then I remembered that my Dad used to tinker around with outboard motors and he had this fleeting electric trolling motor phase. This was years ago but I still remember him hauling the car battery into the boat and hanging that tiny motor on the back. It wasn’t fast, but it sure was quiet. All the better to sneak up on those wary trout!
Hmmm…electric…hmmm…no gas…hmmm. Yeah, my thought process went on like that for a while. I really am not exaggerating the number of ‘hmmms’ going on in my head, either. I was hmmm-ing a lot. You see, Bill wasn’t the only one with a set of must-haves. His was really a list of must-have-nots, but I won’t belabor that point.
What I needed was a pontoon boat. I know, they have this reputation of being party-barges and I am certainly not a person easily found on a party-anything. However, I needed the stability so I wouldn’t drown. It’s not that I don’t know how to swim, I just can’t be trusted to stay alive if an epileptic seizure comes along. That sort of scenario in a typical boat might be the end of me. Being in a canoe would…well, let’s just not think about the canoe scenario. I could become smallmouth bass food. The Pumpkinseeds could actually eat me rather than just nibble my toes as they usually do. We won’t even talk about the snapping turtles!
A pontoon boat wouldn’t normally be my first choice of craft if my mortality wasn’t an issue, but on further consideration, it made some sense. I love wildlife and a pontoon boat wouldn’t be so scary for them. We could toodle around the pond to see what’s going on without actually visiting people. Did I mention that I’m an introvert? I guess a wave toward someone on the shore would be ok, but let’s not go overboard. 😉
Keep in mind that none of this was real. It was all fantasy and I was just thinking about boat types, and motors, and gas-avoidance as a sort of mental exercise. How could one propel a party-less barge without gas? It really didn’t matter because it would never happen. But just for fun, I looked at a couple of the boats online and they were overwhelmingly huge…with correspondingly huge gas motors. That made sense. What electric trolling motor could move one of those behemoths? I remember thinking “ok, that query was fun…what’s the next topic I should explore?” Deck planking was on my list of research subjects, but my heart wasn’t in it. Your heart really has to be in it to research deck planking. I’m not sure when my heart will be in it, but it wasn’t going to be right then, that’s for sure. Maybe they make tiny pontoon boats?
During one of my fantasy pontoon/electric trolling motor searches, a number of sites popped up with the typical gas-powered boats. Surprisingly a couple of them were smaller than usual. I aimlessly poked around and then I noticed a site that specifically mentioned a pontoon boat with electric backup. Well now, let’s look at this!
When I opened the page, I was astounded. It was like the manufacturer had read our often disparate minds and cobbled together the most weird-ass hybrid the boating world has ever seen. As I read down through the specs, it was becoming clear that this was a craft that even Bill would like. It wasn’t an electric pontoon boat, it was a pedal-powered pontoon boat with electric backup! Oh, I knew he would be all over this one. He’s an exercise freak and he is always on his bicycle. This way, he could pedal his little heart out and I could wave as we passed gape-mouthed onlookers wondering what the hell that weird boat was!
The idea was amusing. I might have even chuckled to myself. But as I continued to read the specs and look at the picture, I was the one who was gape-mouthed. How in the hell did they ever think of putting pedals in a pontoon boat with electric backup AND a solar option!? Since there is no power at camp, the idea of hauling a battery home to charge it was daunting, but if solar could help… Hmmmm….
The picture of it sent me into gales of laughter. Look at that thing with the solar panel on the back and what the hell is that? The thing doesn’t have a proper propeller, it has a paddle wheel like the boats on the Mississippi of Mark Twain’s era! I was beginning to think I was having one of those Alice in Wonderland kind of trips. Nothing about that boat made sense, and yet it made all the sense in the world.
This post is about dog drool and Walter’s copious dispersal thereof. He’s very good at slinging the slobber so don’t forget to pick up your Drool Abatement Kit before proceeding.
Having a drool-producing canine can be an annoyance. If you have a big dog like Walter, it can be life-changing. He drools…a LOT! Think of a St. Bernard and a Newfie combined. Yeah, you get the picture. The very drippy, soggy picture…
It wasn’t supposed to be this way. There are two types of Great Danes: American and European. American Danes have, what I would call, normal jowls. European Danes have jowls that droop to their knees. Walter should have had taut, trim American jowls like most of his ancestors.
No hint of drooly, droopy jowls when he was a puppy
Instead, his jowls are so droopy, it’s amazing that he doesn’t trip over them. All of his ancestors were American except for one European great or great-great (I forget) grandfather who came from Euro stock. I suppose I shouldn’t be surprised that Walter is a throwback, I should have thrown him back years ago!
The Wizard of Drool
If there was a Department of Drool at Hogwarts, Walter would be the Wizard of Drool. The Wiz of Drool has a rather fun ring to it, don’t you think? He could also be the Wiz of Whiz but that was the subject of one of my previous posts. Walter’s urinary indiscretions are, after all, legendary. Between the drool and the pee, Walter’s most-heard words are “Walter, no! Walter, get away from me!” Walter never goes away. If there is any chance at all that he can pass a little slobber along, he will find a way to do it.
People are not his only targets, either. Windows and doors are obvious choices, but for Walter, any vertical surface is fair game. Horizontal surfaces are not immune either. I always say that anything less than 7 feet off the ground isn’t safe from him. (If you are a banana, I might stretch that to 8 feet. Walter loves bananas.) But the drool knows no limits. Ceiling-slobber is not unheard of. Do you know how hard it is to clean dog drool off a tin ceiling? Repeatedly? I do, and I wish I didn’t.
Tulip wore Walter’s head as a hat…just before he ‘kissed’ her
The cats have not been left unscathed, either. Our little kitten Tulip likes Walter. I don’t know why, but she does. One particularly slobbery day, Tulip walked up to Walter and he gave her a kiss…one long lick from her toes to the top of her head. I’ve never seen a cat shake like a dog does in order to shed water, but she did just that. Oh, Walter…
The drooliest, droopiest jowls ever!
One might think that dog drool is only a negative thing and nothing positive could possibly come from it, but that’s not true. Much like his shoe-peeing prowess, the drool thing tends to keep away unwanted visitors. Being an introvert, that is sometimes a handy thing. “Oh yes, he tends to jump and drool on you. He peed on your shoes? Yes, he tends to do that, too. Oh, must you go so soon?” Heh heh heh Goodbye salespeople, religious pamphlet-bearers, and the dreaded “oh I just thought I’d drop by”-ers. Seeya! Or not.
Unfortunately, Walter’s fluid-sharing predilections can keep away wanted visitors, as well. This can be a problem. I will often try to corral Walter in the living room if it’s just going to be a kitchen table sort of visit. But if we want to sit and chat on the sofa for a while, I have to march Walter past the wanted visitors to the other end of the house. He does not like to be marched past potential targets…especially if they are unsullied drool-wise. Drool virgins are his favorites. I feel sorry for the drool virgins. There are few things scarier than a 150-pound drooling dog who is eyeing your shoes for their potential as a good pee-stop. He really likes to slobber chests, too. Boob-drool is more common than I care to admit. I just thought I’d mention these things to all of you who make excuses for Walter and think he is just awesome. I dare you to come and visit me for a dose of boob-drool! I.DARE.YOU!
“Any drool virgins down there?”
The other day, I realized that Walter had outdone himself drool-wise. He had a long line of it strung across the top of his own head. That takes skill. I got out the drool towel and cleaned him off. Yes, I have a drool-towel. Actually, it’s a purple batik drool-bandana and when I’m not using it to clean him up, he wears it as a fashion accessory!
This is the second morning in a row that I’ve been awake before 10 AM. For those of you who have jobs that might seem a little indulgent, but I had one of those for over 30 years and now I get up when I damned well please. Unless I inexplicably wake up early. Then the indulgence turns to sorrow and disjointed thoughts.
When I first woke up I kept having potential blog topics running through my head. Snippets that were totally unrelated. For instance, I experienced a bit of guilt about providing so many Walter posts and never giving any blog space to my cats. But then I let myself off the hook because, after all, the cats are normal pets and Walter is not. Not by a long shot…
Then I thought about discussing this very unusual boat we are getting. Do we get a normal boat? Hell, no! But that’s a post for another time. Maybe I’ll do that in a few minutes if I don’t get sleepy. If sleep doesn’t appear soon, I’ll be a grumpy, sleep-deprived zombie whack job when I write it, so be prepared. Preparations should include an appropriate hiding place, preferably one with coffee. Mmmm coffee. That’s what I want right now but shouldn’t have because I really do want to sleep and cease becoming a grumpy, sleep-deprived zombie whack job. Who am I kidding? If I get more sleep I’ll just be a slightly less grumpy zombie whack job who is well-rested.
My next potential topic concerned my obsession with a cell phone game rated for ages 4+. Stop judging me! It’s perfectly normal to wait impatiently while my flowers grow and watch for some sort of weird bug/creature to appear. *checks game* Why do I wait for weird bugs on virtual flowers? It’s because collecting enough of them can get you spiffy prizes. These include outfits I can use to dress my character and furniture I can use to decorate a little campsite. *checks game* I am currently behind in my bug collecting and I might not make my quota before tonight and then I will miss out on getting that sandalwood resort hut. It doesn’t matter that it will probably sit in my virtual inventory and never be used, I want it. I want it bad. I don’t just want it, I NEED it!
It occurs to me that not having a schedule might be deleterious to my Age 4+ mind. I don’t care. I’m going to get that damned sandalwood resort hut if I have to haunt my phone constantly until 2 AM because that’s when the bugs go away and my chance of getting my NEEDED sandalwood resort hut is gone like a bird on a boat potentially bringing me snacks. Yeah, it’s a strange game and it really is early in the morning for me, isn’t it?
*This blog has now been interrupted while Walter howls at horses.* Yes, this is happening real-time. Did I make this up? No. If I had made it up, it would be the start of a Walter post. Since I am currently a coffeeless, sleep-deprived zombie whack job, I will resist writing another post about Walter, even though horse-howling is a rather interesting topic and does deserve to be explored. Maybe later…
Back to irregularly scheduled programming. *checks game* I went to a wedding reception yesterday. How was that for a non-existent seque? Get used to it, there will be more. The reception was a casual affair hosted by the blissful couple at a cottage on a lake in the middle of a savage thunderstorm. I had cake.
What do you all know about docks? *checks game* We have to get one for the weird boat and I’m a dock virgin so there are many questions. I was reading about mooring whips and water agitators and started to fantasize about becoming a dock virgin pond dominatrix.
Yet another Walter interruption. He has traded in his howling for whining. There is a Golden Retriever down the road. Even though said retriever can barely be seen, except by him, it doesn’t matter. The whining continues. Horse-howling is a distant memory.
*boof* I promise, I’m not even going to give Walter his own paragraphs anymore because he’s just indiscriminately boofing at a spot where a Golden Retriever was…and is not anymore. *checks game* Golden Retrievers are like that. They have the nerve to move out of Walter’s view, and apparently, that is boof-worthy. *checks game* Oooh, I got some bugs and a white beach dress as a prize!* Thirty-four bugs to go! *boof*
Wow! Did you know that you can get a water-agitating, muck-removing thingmabob? Neither did I. I know this subject just randomly popped up but I think it’s important to know that The Aquasweep Muck Blaster starts at only $1195! I cannot make this stuff up. *boof* Maybe my potential as a pond dominatrix could be achieved if I got a muck-blasting water agitator. It does sound sufficiently painful, don’t you think?
*boof..bark…howl* I wish I could put videos here. That sound combination is YouTube gold. It’s not often I get a threefer from Walter. It’s usually one sound or another, but we have now reached trifecta status in the dog noise emission category this morning. Stand by for farts. That’s the only dog noise emission left. Other dog emissions are not allowed. If he pees on the sofa again there will be whimpering, and I hate whimpering before coffee.
*low growl boof* Hey, that’s new. Walter never ceases to amaze me. Oh damn, I am actually giving him another paragraph when I promised I wouldn’t. Oh well, you’d better let me off the hook on this one. Keep in mind that I’m a pond dominatrix and I can moor-whip you into submission regarding Walter paragraph promises. If the moor-whipping isn’t sufficient, I’ll get out the Aquasweep Muck Blaster and then you’ll be sorry!
I think you know I have a childish and somewhat inappropriate sense of humour. I don’t hide it and in fact I am rather fond of it, so you will not be surprised to know that my recent camping adventures have developed a most fantastically inappropriate twist which I am certain you will love too – even if you don’t admit it.
I didn’t come up with – it was something I saw on Amazon’s ‘Grand Tour’ but do know it will stick with me for the rest of my days.
So what is it you ask? Well quite simple really. You know how caravans have fantastically inspirational names, well you put ‘Anal’ in front of them and then giggle like a twelve year old until your wife shouts at you for being so childish. Not that 12 year olds have wives. Well not unless youre american. But I digress…
Check out the photos below and if you don’t manage a chuckle then you’re dead inside! I for one am a big fan on the ‘Anal Hobby’. You may however be a little more of a classical basic humour sort of person and prefer the ‘Anal Breeze’ or perhaps the ever popular ‘Anal ambassador’.
A couple of hours ago, Bill informed me that his riding lawn mower had a flat front tire. Ok, simple enough. Keep in mind that Bill is allergic to all things mechanical. I, on the other hand, have half a clue about such things because my Dad was a mechanical whiz and I tended to pay attention. Doing that has paid off handsomely in the years that followed, but back to the lawnmower…
I go out to the barn with my Dad’s handy ratchet set. I figure if it has a non-metric nut I can just take it off and pull the tire. I look at the mower and try to determine the best place to jack it. But then, I actually thought ahead and figured before I did that, I’d best see what I’m dealing with. I pull off the axel’s dust cover and there is no nut; only a smooth cylindrical thing and what appeared to be a couple of large washers behind that. Ok, Dad’s ratchet set isn’t going to do squat here. Sorry, Dad! This is something I’ve never seen before. I knew I had to tell Bill and I’d have to endure that crestfallen face that is so very hard to endure. Nope, I wasn’t going to do that just yet. There was only one thing to do.
I headed indoors and fired up YouTube to see if there was anything that might help me. Sure enough, there was this wonderful guy who not only shows how to pull the tire but also shows that he is replacing his pneumatic tires with solid rubber ones. Bill would love that! No flats! Ever! I would love that because I wouldn’t have to hear about flat mower tires again! Ever! This was worth pursuing.
So I watch closely and I see that there are no nuts involved in this thing. Apparently, that cylindrical thing was the end of the axle. Then what held the tire on? The only thing that’s holding this tire on is an e-ring. At least that’s what this guy said it was. What is an e-ring? He takes it off and kindly shows us e-ring newbs what it looks like. WHAT THE HELL IS AN E-RING? I’d never seen anything like it. Obviously, this was not my father’s e-ring, to loosely quote an old Oldsmobile commercial. To my knowledge he never had e-rings. But you never know. Some dads can be tricky if they are hiding e-rings from their daughters, but I just know that mine was not an e-ring hiding dad. I’ll never know for sure, but I bet he wasn’t. I would think an e-ring hiding dad would have a certain vibe, wouldn’t you?
Ok, those of you who are laughing at me because you know what an e-ring is can just go stand over there in the corner till I’m done. That’s right, over in that corner right there. You’ll just have to imagine me pointing, but since you can’t see me, just go to any available corner and wait for further instructions.
On with the YouTube video. The guy presents his audience with his spanking new no-flat tires. He does admit that they cost $42 a piece and he thought that wasn’t cheap. I almost shout at my computer screen: “Who cares what it costs if it means never having to deal with e-rings again? No flats and no e-rings!” I try to calm down. He just slaps those tires on, puts the washers over the axle, puts that e-ring on, and proceeds to grease the wheel. Damn it, I don’t own a grease gun. That’s ok, I know I can get one, and I’m pretty sure I can do this thing. Easy peasy and extra greasy.
After a few deep breaths, I go and tell Bill I have good news and bad news. It went something like this:
“No, I’ve never seen anything like it but this very nice guy on YouTube showed exactly how to do it. Really! Once I found out the subtle mysteries of the e-ring, all became clear.”
I got a sideways glance. He says: “Maybe I should call Janusz.”
Janusz is this little man who comes every spring to get the lawnmower going. After he yells at Bill for not bringing the battery in for the winter, he gets everything tuned up and sharpens the blade.
“Humph! Why call Janusz if I can do it?? All I have to do is buy the tires and a grease gun.”
He grabs the phone and tries to call Janusz. No answer. He doesn’t leave a message but says he will call again.
I guess I’m the one who got the message. It seems that I won’t be replacing mower tires any time soon. I am incensed, yet secretly happy that I don’t have to mess around with highly suspicious e-rings. Besides, Janusz will yell at him for not knowing what to do and that provides a certain amount of entertainment value right there. I think I’m still going to buy that grease gun, though. You never know when I might need to grease a few wheels here or there.