Don’t Tell Her About The Door!

 

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Maybe she saw where I scratched the door!  I’ll just ‘hide’ behind this sofa cushion in case I’m in trouble.  No, that can’t be it.  She’s laughing.  I wonder what I did?  Don’t tell her about the door or I’ll have to find a bigger cushion!

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News From Cornville…Bits and Bobs

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!

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The Weird-Ass Boat Saga – Part 4

 

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…

 

The EU3000i Handi is lightweight and easy to transport. 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…

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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.

 

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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!

 

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The Wizard of Drool

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.

Safety First!

 

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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.

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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!

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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.

 

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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…

 

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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!

 

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“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!

 

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I Woke Up Early…

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?

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*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…

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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.

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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.

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*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!

 

 

 

 

 

He Peed Where?

I’m not sure if I shared this fun fact about Walter, but if not, it’s time I did.  Don’t tell him I mentioned this or he might be embarrassed.  What am I saying?  Walter is never embarrassed.  Walter doesn’t care what the world thinks of him.  Not one iota.  He just goes about doing his Walter things, in his Walter way.

This particular Walter thing embarrasses me, however.  You see, when Walter gets very excited, he pees a little.  Or, depending on the situation, he pees a lot!  When someone he likes comes to the house, he will jump up and down ecstatically while sprinkling the floor with pee.  This is very embarrassing.  Especially if it happens when a stranger comes to visit.  Someone new can be rather surprised to see a Great Dane pee in excitement!  How do you say to someone:  “Hey, he likes you!  Look at that, he peed!”  Yeah, it’s not something I brag about.

That’s bad enough, but this wouldn’t be much of a story if it ended there.   A quick mop-up and an apology can usually remedy that problem quickly.  But if he gets too close to the person coming in the door, he’s been known to pee on their foot!  I am not one who likes to entertain, but having my dog pee on a guest’s foot is going a little too far!

But that isn’t the worst of it.  Now I will say that this is probably not all Walter’s fault.  Mostly, but not all.  I’ve often written about the gal who comes to clean/landscape/dog sit for us.  Wendy is a marvel.  And Wendy loves Walter.  More to the point, Walter LOVES his Auntie Wendy.  He gets very excited when he sees her.  We have already ascertained what Walter does when he gets excited.  You know what’s coming…

Now, this is where I have to explain why this incident wasn’t completely Walter’s fault.  Wendy likes to play with him and get him all worked up.  She will pretend to step on his toes and chase him around. There have been vacuum cleaner wars and games of hide and seek.  They will be all over the place as they play.  This particular time, Wendy reached down for a dog toy and that was so exciting that Walter took his chance and peed on her head!  This behavior would normally embarrass me no end, but I think she asked for it.  She knew how he is and she knew the risks of playing with him like that.  I might not have been terribly sympathetic.  Actually, I might have laughed uproariously.

But this wasn’t the ‘crowning glory’ of Walter’s urinary indiscretions.   Not long ago, Walter had to go to a vet he normally doesn’t see.  He needed a quick, minor procedure done and she took him out back to perform it.  A few minutes later the tech returned him to me and he was all happy.  Since he wasn’t used to this vet, I asked how it went.  The tech said:  “He peed on her head!”  I’m not sure what kind of relationship this tech had with the vet, but she said it with a big grin on her face.  After a very embarrassing moment, she tried to reassure me that it happens all of the time.  Somehow, I think she was just trying to make me feel better.  I mean, how many dogs would do that?  How many could!?

Do you know how hard it is to skulk shamefully out of a vet’s office with a bouncy Great Dane riling up all of the other patients?  There was no uproarious laughter this time.  Walter was happy as can be, but I was the one leaving with my tail between my legs.

When it Comes to Walter, The Mind Boggles

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It’s been a while since I’ve mentioned any of Walter’s indiscretions.  He’s been the subject of numerous posts here.  If you decide to pass this one by, I promise I won’t think less of you.  You see, I’m insufferable when it comes to Walter because I talk about him a lot and I’m like a grandmother proudly showing off photos of her grandkids in a grocery aisle, keeping all of the other shoppers from reaching the frozen asparagus that is always on the top shelf.  I’m sort of like that, only I’m not keeping others from frozen asparagus and I am not proud of him.  When it comes to Walter, one can only ask:  “What has he done now!” or “Can you believe he survived this?” or “How could my cute puppy turn into Destructo-Dog?”

Today it wasn’t bad.  When I woke up this morning, I found trash scattered around the kitchen.  This is rather common behavior for a dog if given the opportunity.  But it brought to mind all of the really weird stuff he’s chewed and/or consumed.  Mostly the latter.  I know I’ve mentioned some of these before, but it’s rather impressive seeing them in a very long list.  As long as it is, this list is abbreviated because I’ve effectively blocked out many of his more heinous crimes.

Anyhow, here it goes:

Toilet Paper,  Taking toilet paper off the roll and threading it through every room of the house without breaking it takes true skill.  Walter is a toilet paper genius.

Toilet Bowl Cleaner.  I have no idea why.

Leveling feet for the washing machine.  You know the things that are like big bolts that can be screwed in to make the washer level.  Yes, he ate those.

Orchids x 10?   I’ve already lost count.  Walter is a very experienced orchid-eater.

Houseplants  Many, Many more in addition to the orchids.  Maybe he thinks he needs more vegetation in his diet.  Speaking of which…

Virginia Creeper.  This vine covers his kennel fence completely.  Or at least it did until he managed to tear a bunch of it down and consume it.  Grapes are poison for dogs.  Since Virginia Creeper is a cousin of the grape, it was very bad.  I actually thought I might lose him.  But I should have known that he would pull through.  I swear he’s indestructible.

Lightbulb packaging. Disconcertingly, the bulbs were never found.

My Journal…there are no words.  Well, there were words in the journal before he decimated it, but there are no words to express how I felt about this one.  I didn’t take it well.

Knives.  Now before you get all worried, he did not cut him himself, he merely chewed the handles off.  He has now de-handled a set of four and he’s eying my other set.

Scouring pads. He particularly liked to steal and chew the plastic one I use to clean his water bowl…I must admit it’s in the shape of a dog bone, so I “might” give him a pass on this one.

Pens and Pencils.  Oh, so many pens, pencils; and other pen and pencil-shaped things that he has deinked!  They are truly innumerable.  He chewed so many markers till the ink bled that my old sofa was psychedelic!

Crayons.  Yes, he ate crayons.  Bill said he was pooping rainbows for a couple of days.  Perhaps he was trying to become a unicorn.

My previous sofa.  Thank goodness it was old and had already been through three puppies.  However, before Walter, it was pretty much intact.  Most puppies chew a small bit of the cushion.  Not Walter.  He would chew a BIG hole in the fabric and then proceed to rip the stuffing out!  Great Danes apparently suffer from EBS more than most other breeds.  Exploding Bed Syndrome is a real thing and I suddenly feel better knowing that I’m not the own Dane owner who suffers this.   Given enough time, Walter would have turned the sofa into this…

 

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CD cases.  They have always been a favorite.  Poor Cake took the hardest hit. I suppose if you name a band Cake, you really should expect a dog to give your disc a chomp or two.

Cacti.  More than I care to count.  How he has avoided looking like he tangled with a porcupine INSIDE his mouth, I’ll never know.  He feels no pain.

Handsaw.  Recently he chewed the handle of a brand new saw, and then he chewed the cardboard safety guard exposing the very sharp teeth of the saw.  You would think that chewing a saw blade would hurt, but Walter truly must be oblivious to pain because he did it TWICE!

Bananas.  I only mention this one because he adores bananas, and he will go to all lengths to get them.  He eats them whole, skin and all.   He loves them so much that he has snagged them from a shelf seven feet off the ground.  Nothing is safe.

Cat food.  Typical, right?  Not this time.  He took unopened cans and chewed them until the cat food oozed out.  Then he chewed the cans into smaller pieces that were strewn throughout the house.  I am usually barefoot and I was not happy when I stepped on the tin shards.  And I really wasn’t amused when my rug smelled like ‘Salmon Entree’ even after three scrubbings.

Aquarium filter cartridge.  Now you might think that I left it out and he just grabbed it for a little chew.  Oh no, he actually opened the filter and snagged the filter cartridge from the running filter!!  Wet carbon everywhere!  I don’t know how he did it or why.  Walter is inscrutable.

Very dark chocolate.  This is another big no-no for dogs so I “encouraged” him to vomit.  Everything came up foamy…and blue!  Come to find out, he had grabbed a…wait for it…

Steel wool SOS pad!  The mind boggles.

 

 

 

Deer and Dogs in Springtime.

Snow makes for some interesting behavior when spring comes around.  Animals aren’t quite sure how to deal with the receding snow.

Years ago, I was quite amused by the fact that the dogs would pee only on the snow that was left over until it was melted and they had no choice.  It still strikes me as odd, even after all of these years of witnessing the behavior by one dog after another.

This week I’ve been watching the deer quite a bit.  We have a lot of them in the field behind the house.  I rarely see a deer lying down, but this week I’ve seen a number of them all resting on the last bits of snow.  The field is mostly bare, though there is plenty of snow on the shady parts.  That is where I saw the deer in repose.

I suppose that behavior is like that of the dogs peeing on the snow.  They do what they’ve done for months until the circumstances change.  I suppose we humans are much the same.  Short-term memory makes for easy decisions on what to do next.  Long-term memory makes us who we are.  I wonder if the deer and the dogs would agree.

House Holes

Today I’m going to talk about holes in houses.  House holes, as it were.  You know the type…doors, windows, that sort of thing.  In the last couple of days, house holes have been rather important around here.

Bear with me as I give you a bit of personal door history that seems irrelevant, but isn’t.  I break door latches.  I am a world-class latch breaker.  You see, we live in a farmhouse that is well over 100 years old.  Old houses like to move with the seasons.  When they do, the outside doors often don’t shut properly because everything ceases to line up and the latches don’t latch.  To me, this is unacceptable, so I try to force them closed until I break the latch.  I should be more precise and say latchES because I’ve done this more than once.  I swear it will work someday, but don’t tell my long-suffering husband Bill that I said that.  I’m in enough trouble already.

Since I’ve broken multiple latchES, I’ve had to make do.  I swapped a latch from one much-used door to another that is used rarely.  They are identical so I thought: “hey we never use this door so let me swap the latches out and we’ll be good to go!  So I did that and we WERE good to go.  The two doors we used the most were in perfect working order.  For a while…

It was when the frost settled under the sunroom that things got a little dicey.  You know where I’m going with this right?  Yes, the main door at the back of the house was no longer shutable.  Is that a word?  Hey, if I typed it, it must be. Being the stubborn person I am, I HAD to make that door close. Yes, I broke that latch, too.  This was a problem because this door would now swing in the wind unless we locked it.  But if we locked it, we could no longer enter the back of the house.  I finally figured out a bungee cord solution that kept the wind from opening it up, but we still locked it most of the time because our Great Dane Walter would get out otherwise.  It wasn’t a perfect system, but it worked…sort of.  Keep in mind that during all of this, long-suffering husband Bill is trying his best to avoid saying:  “I told you not to force that door closed!”  He would be right, of course.  Still, saying it might have been life-threatening so he restrained himself.

Yeah, that’s the very long door history.  It does provide a backdrop to explain why the next part was so mortifying.  Yesterday was a ‘Wendy day’.  Wendy comes here a couple of times a week to clean and generally keep us from being the slovenly people we are.  She puts up with a lot around here.  She keeps things somewhat orderly and keeps us in our place if we mess up.  ‘Mess up’ literally and figuratively, that is.  She’s like family and I don’t know what we’d do without her.  She loves Walter, too.  That’s saying a lot right there!

Yesterday, Wendy informed me that she entered the house through the dog door.  I’m not kidding!  That door with the broken latch was locked and she couldn’t get in that way.  She could have tried getting in by the front door, with a perfect working latch I might add.  But since the snowbanks are high, she would have to walk along a very busy road to get there.  She didn’t want to park in front because the carpenters were working away on the new garage and mudroom.  This was not going to deter her.  Wendy, being the resourceful woman she is, just crawled through the dog door to get in.  Let me emphasize that she not only had to get through the dog door itself but also had crawl under a flight of stairs and through another opening.  It’s hard to describe, so see below.  Why didn’t she call and have me unlock the door?  It was because it was very early and she didn’t want to wake us up.  I know I can be frightening before I’ve had my coffee, but still!  Silly woman.

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Dog door accessed under a stairway and through an opening into the back of the house.

 

Crawling through the dog door won’t happen again, thank goodness.  I still don’t believe she did it, but after today things will be much easier.  Today the carpenters are putting a hole in the side of the house.  They are cutting a great big hole in my pantry to put in a door.  We’re getting a new house hole that will be the opening for a man-sized door…or woman-sized door, as the case may be.  It will definitely be a Wendy-sized door. The new mudroom and garage are going to be accessible from the main house!  This is all very exciting but still, let’s have a moment of silence to mourn the desecration of my beloved pantry…  Sigh…

 

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Meet Steve, our carpenter/designer who made this process so easy.  We are so lucky to have him.

 

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Here’s Joe, Steve’s trusty sidekick.  He’s always smiling, even when he’s trying to avoid the camera!

 

So that’s the story of the house holes.  Doors, dog doors, and a new entryway.  The only thing we didn’t talk about is windows.  A window is what I’ll be thrown through if I break any more latches.

Tulip and Ezra

There are times when you have to make something good out of something that isn’t.  After our cat Echo died a few days ago, I was determined to keep my spirits up.  He lived a good, long life and his passing wasn’t quite as terrible as it might have been if he was younger than his 19 years.  Still, I miss him.

I felt a little guilty, but I started looking for kittens quite soon after he left us.  It kept my mind busy and there was that excitement over bringing a new pet into the house.  Of course, this time it would be a challenge because of our goofball Great Dane.  Our entire lives have changed because of Walter.  Nothing is safe if it’s lower than 7 feet off the floor, and even then it’s not safe.  There is nothing we can do that misses Walter’s attention.  Bringing a new pet into the house was bound to create an uproar.  Still, Lily is now an only-cat and she needs allies.  She needs them badly!  Walter is a tour de force and a one-cat army isn’t going to cut it.  Lily needs some paws-on-the-ground support.  So I started my search.

I was pleasantly surprised to find that the local shelters had no kittens.  It is past kitten season.  Or too early for kitten season.  I think kitten season is just about any time other than now.   But still, aren’t there always unwanted kittens, even if they are a bit older?  I wasn’t locked into the idea of having tiny kittens, but I figured anything a year old or younger would be able to adapt to Walter.  Adapting to Walter is probably overly optimistic.  Tolerating Walter is probably even too much to ask.  See?  Everyone in this house has to work around Walter and his crazy ways.

After many phone calls, I finally got a lead on a rescue that had a lot of young cats.  It was an hour and a half away, but we were undeterred.  Off we went, armed with cat carriers and high hopes!  The place was packed, not only with animals but also with prospective adopters.  It was a zoo!  We headed for the cat area and sure enough, there were quite a few young cats and kittens.  Yay for us!  Everyone was in a good mood and the animals seemed to be very well cared for.  All good signs.  We started to check out the little felines.  I’m not sure if they were auditioning for us, or if it was the other way around, but it was quite the process.  They had quite a selection and we wanted to make sure we found a good fit.  One took to Bill immediately and another was inquisitive to the nth degree.  After all was said and done, we came home with those two kittens, both around 3 months old.

I’ve had a really hard time getting pictures, but here are a couple to give you an idea of what they look like.  Meet Tulip and Ezra:

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Tulip

 

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Ezra

 

Getting a good shot of Tulip is next to impossible.  She’s a scampery kitten, after all.  She’s faster than my shutter-finger, that’s for sure!  She’s mostly black with some white on her chest, toes, and just a hint around her lips.  She looks like she has a tiny milk mustache.  She could be a tuxedoed poster kitty for that Get Milk! ad campaign.

Then there’s Ezra. He’s all-gray with those arresting green eyes.  He looks like a space alien.  Enough of these reboots, Hollywood!  Alien Ezra would is ready to make his debut.  See E.T. Kitty on a screen near you!  Seriously, I really hope he grows into those eyes…they are intense!  They will probably be less overwhelming when he gains some weight.  He was taken from a hoarding situation and he’s had a rough start.  Thankfully, Tulip isn’t as thin as he is, and she has a nice thick coat.  She might have to share it with him till he puts some weight on!  Cuddle up kitties!

As time goes on, I’m sure there will be plenty of Tulip and Ezra stories. They are staying in the bedroom behind baby gates, for now.  That way Walter can see them, but not eat them.  I think it will take some time for him to get used to the idea of two crazy kittens.  I know it will take some time for the kittens to get used to him.

It will be interesting to see how Walter reacts to Ezra when the baby gates come down.  That little guy is kinetically supercharged, even by kitten standards. Walter is Walter.  He still chases Lily, our older cat, much to her chagrin.  I’m thinking the kittens will act as a diversion and she’ll be able to walk through the house at a more sedate pace befitting a middle-aged lady cat.  Who am I kidding?  There is nothing ladylike about Lily, or catlike for that matter.  She thinks she’s a dog and acts like one, too.  As much as she must be missing Echo, I can’t imagine that she’ll be amused to see these little upstarts.  My guess is that Ezra will be bouncing around Lily like Tigger bounces around Pooh while Tulip looks on, bemused.  Lily will view Ezra with gimlet eyes and put up with just so much.  What happens next will probably be post-worthy.  Never underestimate the powers and guile of a middle-aged cat-dog when confronted with an alien-kitten.