Tag Archives: Dawg

Why I didn’t do my homework tonight


So we have this little black dog and he occasionally gets a little neurotic and pees in the hallway.

My theory is that he does it when he thinks he’s home alone.  We crate him and the other dog when we’re not home, but sometimes The Lovely Rhonda leaves for work before I get up and I think that Jake, for that is his name, forgets that I’m home and figures it’s his opportunity to saunter down the hall and leave us a little token of his esteem.

This morning was one of those mornings, and after putting enzyme solution and a towel on the offending spot, I texted TLR to inform her of her dog’s actions.

He’s not my dog.  He’s HER dog.

MY dog is the one we got to keep HER dog company.  MY dog digs holes in the yard and is too mouthy, but what he does NOT do is pee in the house.

So anyway.  TLR came home from work and looked at the hall and festered about the pee stains until I got home.

We decided to think about laminate flooring.  We decided to do this at Ikea, because reasonably priced probably horse-meat-free meatballs.  Sadly, Ikea is phasing out their laminate flooring, at least at our location, so even after traipsing all over the store we came away empty-handed.  Well, sort of.  It was Ikea.  We had to buy a Kermit-the-frog-green spatula and some other odds and ends.  One does not simply leave Ikea without buying things.  Gah.

And we ate dinner.  Because HELLO MEATBALLS, GET IN MY BELLY.

What should we have been doing?  Going home to do our homework, of course.  What did we do?  We went to Home Depot instead.

So now we have laminate flooring.  Because painting the entire interior of the house isn’t enough to do.

This is where Kenny comes in.  He comes in, rips out carpet, and lays down laminate flooring like a boss.  He does this without displaying more than a soupçon of buttcrack, and for this we shower him in money.   And sarcasm.

Mostly sarcasm.

Say goodnight, 2012.


So it’s New Year’s Eve.

Shortly I’m going to log off and make fudge and take it over to some friends’ house and sit and play games and talk to people and eat things dipped into other things and drink things mixed with more things (but not very many things because I want to come home tonight safe and sound, so really it’ll be mostly soda) and aside from the fact that The Lovely Rhonda won’t be there, it’ll be a) lovely and b) essentially a repeat of last New Year’s Eve, except I drank more things that time.

I won’t be sorry to see the end of this year in some respects, because some Difficult Things happened, but there were other things that happened that were nicer.  So it’s not like it was the worst year ever.

We lost an ebullient backyard Lothario of a cat who mercilessly slaughtered every small animal that crossed his path.

We gained a petite girl cat who loves food in almost all forms and sleeps curled up in an impossibly small ball.

We lost the friendliest, most unassuming fetch-obsessed dog in the world, and with him the, um, fragrant clouds with which he liberally salted the house.

We gained a small black bundle of energy, part terrier, part wiener dog, whose only real fault so far is that he cannot resist the siren call of the hallway carpet if left alone too long.

We endured many discomforts that cannot be discussed here, and we were not always nice to each other.

We always made up and learned from our mistakes.  Mostly.

Okay, maybe just Rhonda did that part.

We did millions of loads of laundry, paid many bills, washed many dishes, and sent many text messages.

A few days from now we will stand in front of a bunch of weirdos our friends and family and pledge to keep doing what we already do, only now with certain legal benefits previously unavailable to us.   And we will eat cake and high-five each other, or something, and life will continue as it has but more so.

Come on in, 2013.  Stay a while.  Maybe about a year?


Good Boy, Otto.


So the other night I was back in one of the kids’ rooms “helping” them wrap some gifts for The Lovely Rhonda.  And TLR came home, knowing where I and the kids were, yet still called to me from the other room.  I was slightly annoyed, but eventually came out of the bedroom to find her with Otto.

Otto who greeted everyone with a hearty bark and a tail wag like the lash of a springy steel cable but was now splayed awkwardly on the floor with a blank expression on his face.  Otto who was clearly not right.

We had to call someone to stay with the kids while we whisked him off to the vet.  I think we both knew Otto wouldn’t be coming home from this trip.  He’d had to be carried to the car.  He was panting and he couldn’t stand up.

The vet told us he probably had a hemangioma — a tumor.  His spleen, he said, was huge and had sharp, defined edges.  His gums were pale and his temperature was dropping.  He wasn’t in any pain but there wasn’t anything anyone could do.  He was thirteen, a gray old man whose enthusiasm for The Ball had never faded.  Yesterday he seemed fine, maybe a little less energetic, but up and moving around and eating.  Today he was leaving us.

We went back to the inner recesses of the vet office to say goodbye to him.  He was already mostly gone and when he heard Rhonda’s voice, he let go completely.  The vet gave him the medicine just to be sure he didn’t linger, but he didn’t charge for it.  He had been Otto’s vet since he was six weeks old.  Everyone there was so nice to us.  I’m sure they see this kind of thing every week, but they were all so nice to us.

His bed and his crate are gone from the house.  There is more floor space and fewer noxious clouds without him here.

We would have it all as it was before if we could.

He was a good boy.

The very good dog

Why I’m not so much of a dog person.


So we got this new dog and his name is Jake.  And he’s a dog.  And he barks.

Jake barks at the doorbell.  Except, we don’t actually have a doorbell. Poor Jake!  How can he bark at the doorbell if we don’t have one?

I’m so glad you asked me that question.

Jake barks at the doorbell that rings on TV.

Guess how many doorbells ring on TV?

LOTS of doorbells ring on TV.  And sometimes, when you’re up late watching a little TV by yourself because you can’t sleep or The Lovely Rhonda has gone to bed at 9:30 because she is in the ICU tomorrow or whatever — sometimes, the doorbell on TV rings really late at night.

And of course if Jake is going to bark, BY GOD I MUST BARK AS WELL says Otto.  So there you are just watching some crappy rerun of The Nanny or something in the quiet of the night and suddenly there is a cacophony of dog barking.  And you have to shush everybody before TLR comes out of Grone Up Land (as one of the kids spelled it) and murders us all with just a look.  That look.  That one look of flaming instant death.

It wouldn’t help to remind her that these dogs?  These noisy, hairy, smelly, flatulent dogs?  That bark at the TV and poop in the yard and chew things up?  These dogs were HER OWN DOING.

No, no.  That wouldn’t help.  Don’t do that.

Let’s move on to cats.

We have three cats.

They poop and pee discreetly in the bushes.

They have never barked, in my experience.  Even if a doorbell goes off on a TV show late at night, there is no barking from the cats.

Cat farts are seldom and, again, discreet.  They are rarely audible and only occasionally can you even sense that one has occurred.  (Granted, if  you do sense it, it’s too late and you are doomed.)

I have yet to meet the cat who will, left unattended, chew the right shoe off of a La La Loopsy doll left on the couch by one of the children.

Last night I was obligated to feed the dogs because TLR had worked all day whine whine whine and had to get up early tomorrow whine whine whine.  Ugh, fine I’ll do it if you stop whining.  So I went to head outside where the dry dog food is kept in a big plastic bin on the back porch.  Except I had picked up the big dog dish and Jake was so excited about FOOD OMG DINNER that he jumped up at my hand and knocked the dog dish out of it and it fell on my toe with a big metal CLANG.

And it hurt!  It hurt in that way that you have to hold really still and Not. Say. Anything. for a minute or else you’ll blister the paint off the walls with your colorful invectives.

And then I had to open the can of wet food to smush into the dry food, because I am now a short order cook for dogs, and the smell about knocked me over.  The worst part about this is that the can has to be cleaned out with a dish brush so you can recycle it, because the dog food sticks to the inside of the can like paste.  GROSS.

And then I fed them and had to sit in a cloud of dog food smell, dog-breath-after-eating-dog-food smell, and, after a deceptively short time, the smell that dog food makes when it has navigated its way through most of the dog.   TLR had already gone to bed so it was just me and the dogs and the smells.

And the doorbell on TV.

How it turned out


So we tried a couple of dogs on for size.  We went to look at Jake, thought he might be too shy for our busy household, wanted to try Chloe instead, ended up with them both, and tried them out for about a week.  Some of these rescue places have decent return policies and we were careful to keep the receipt.

A week later the shy dog is not the least bit shy and the goofy, busy ball-obsessed dog is back with the foster family.  She’s a whippet mix and whippets have a high prey drive.  Cats might be considered prey… and we have three cats.

Hermione the bomb-proof cat got over it pretty quickly but Heals and Mrs. Norris just couldn’t deal with Chloe lunging at them anytime they poked their heads into the house.  She would scramble after them barking madly and they would race across the yard like they were on fire.  Nothing we did stopped her most of the time.

So today we returned Chloe to her foster family.  They have decided to keep her now, as she is not only not cat friendly but also has allergies.  We could have handled the allergies but not the cat-chasing.  We had also decided that three dogs was kind of a lot of energy at ankle-level for us.

Jake, though, is a hoot.  He’s small, energetic, a little yappy, but cheerful and reasonably well-behaved.  He and Otto get along well and the kids like him.  He doesn’t like strangers and takes a while to warm up to new people but that just means visitors shouldn’t expect to pet him, and if there are kids around who can’t resist him we can put him behind a closed bedroom door for the duration.

This isn’t the best picture but you get the idea.  Ignore the laundry on the back of the couch and the fact that he’s looking super pitiful here.  He’s completely fine!

The prodigal cat


So we went to camp for a few days and entrusted the care of the cats and our loyal dog Otto to a neighbor.  This neighbor is a true gem; she even took Otto to stay with her at her house for the night of the 4th, which was good because from what I hear it was like a war zone around here.  Say what you will about the rednecks of Vantucky — we are nothing if not patriotic.

Well, okay.  Maybe it isn’t so much “patriotic” as it is “willing to spend most of our money on fireworks.”  That being said, I’m happy to report that the house is still standing and does not appear to be singed, at least not anywhere that I can see.

Hermione the bomb-proof cat was in attendance when we arrived home around lunchtime on Saturday, and the neighbor brought Otto by as soon as I called, but Heals was worryingly absent.  He is inclined to cat about the neighborhood using the pet door as license to come and go as he pleases, and when the weather is fine he may not show up here for a day or so, but I was concerned that perhaps he’d gotten frightened or hurt in all the hubbub of Independence Day.  I began to fret openly before going to bed Sunday night.  I am ridiculously attached to that cat, and we so recently lost Grandpa.  And where there are rednecks and fireworks, there are accidents and there are things that are not accidental at all.

I don’t know what time it was but at some point in the night I was awakened to the raspy, desperate meowing of Himself.  He came bounding in and vaulted himself onto us, rubbing his face all over us and purring madly.  This went on for some time until he broke free, probably to eat, and he later returned to continue inflicting his affections on us.  I soaked it up.  There is such pure joy in a returned cat.

This morning he would not leave me alone as I prepared for work, attacking my feet in the hall and yelling at me from the bathroom counter.  I spent the first half of the workday spitting out cat hairs and smiling.


Another Uneventful Trip to the Vet


So  The Lovely Rhonda was compelled to take two of the household pets to the local veterinary office yesterday for routine maintenance.  Hilarity ensued.

The dog is generally not so difficult to take to the vet.  He has Friendliness Issues.  He loves to Go Places.  Put a leash on him and he’ll go to Hell for you.

While he was there, the vet “expressed his anal glands.”  One assumes Otto’s glands, not the vet’s, but it’s none of my business what they do behind closed doors.

And he got a couple of shots, and that was it.  Easy peasy.

Not so much for the cat!

I was at work, so you can imagine how delightful it was to receive the following text message:

“Ew.  Pa Pa pooped in the carrier. Ew ew ew!”

And a moment later:  “And peed! Ew!”

Grandpa was just there for a rabies shot, so it was quick, and by the time they were done the befouled carrier had been cleaned and disinfected.

“So there’s this guy there, in khaki scrubs, and apparently that’s his sole purpose at the clinic is to hose out pet carriers.  He just whisked it off and it came back clean.  And they swap your towel out for a clean one!”

And they say customer service is dead.

I was thinking about what a trip to the vet is like for a cat.  They stuff you headfirst into a box and drive you around.  This terrifies you so much that you crap yourself.  Then a total stranger manhandles you and examines your most personal private regions and doesn’t even buy you dinner or ply you with alcohol.  Then they jab you with needles.  And at the end?  They stuff you back in the box.  Good times!

Stupid head cold


So Friday-ish I started feeling sort of crappy, and by Sunday evening I was falling asleep in the car on the way home from the festive holiday buffet at Mother’s.  I am not the falling asleep in the car type, with a few rare exceptions, and if I take naps then it means I’m feeling really crummy.

Ended up staying home yesterday and today, and today felt even worse than yesterday.  Ugh.

However, tomorrow I have things to do at work, and with looking at taking some time off in the next couple of weeks (in three day chunks) I had best drug myself up with cold remedy and bite the bullet.

Holding down the couch for two days means less Helga time, but I’ll be back in it hopefully by Friday.

In other news, we’re going to attempt to put gifts under the tree tonight.  The fear is that Max will chew on them, but we have bitter apple to spray on them.  Perhaps if we put gifts under the tree the large main dog, Otto, will stop dragging the tree skirt out from under the tree so he can mush it around and sleep on it.

Also, at the festive holiday buffet at Mother’s — Mom has this nativity set she got in Mexico when I was in middle school.  It features the usual Wise Men, Mary, Joseph, the manger, Baby Jesus — and, inexplicably, a hedgehog.  And it turns out that the hedgehog is roughly the same size and shape as the Baby Jesus.  And so it has become traditional for my brother and myself to swap the two and see how long it takes her to notice.

Today I received a text from Mother:  “Whichever one of you merry pranksters bet it would take me until Tuesday to discover the hedgehog in the manger wins.”

Another poignant holiday tradition observed.  *tear*

How things are, around here


So we have these animals, and they are numerous.

First, an amusing photo of Otto’s new bed.  Otto is a generous, unassuming soul, which means he occasionally entertains visitors.  Oddly enough, his visitor is always Grandpa, a cat so curmudgeonly that although he is only about two years old, we call him Grandpa.  We don’t call him by his given name, which is Tank.  Because he’s the cat equivalent of an old man waving his fist at the neighborhood yelling YOU KIDS GET OFF MY PROPERTY!

Oscar and Felix, eat your hearts out.

Now, Hermione has been trying to adopt the boys (Grandpa and Mr. Stupidhead) since she moved in, but they will have none of it.  Margaret, however, has been observed allowing such niceties as grooming and cuddling.  The other day I came home and found them en flagrante on a pile of sheets.  I didn’t get a pic but The Lovely Rhonda did, and I’ll post it as soon as she sends it to me.  She’s sleeping and I am afraid to wake her up, like, ever.

And Max.  Max is a scrappy little thing.  He’s all of about six pounds soaking wet and tends toward the anxious side of the scale, but he’s not one of those poor little dogs that does nothing but tremble.   And he’s not afraid to go after what he wants.  Exhibit B:

Oh, Otto. Man up a little, big guy!



So tonight I decided it was time to bake chocolate chip cookies with my 7-year-old.

Did you know that 7-year-olds are not, in fact, in possession of the best fine motor skills?

Also, they are not the best listeners.

This is a fantastic combination when you are dealing with dry ingredients.  I am considering suspending the dog, Mission-Impossible-style, over the stove so he can Hoover up all the spilled flour.  He would totally do that, because he is a dog.  More on that in a moment.

At any rate we managed to throw together some pretty decent cookies, and then she retreated to the Nintendo DS and yet another interminable Pokemon game.  I’m not sure why this is but she is incapable of hanging out playing her DS without giving a running commentary, often at the top of her excited, piercing 7-year-old voice, of the various things that her character is doing in the game.  Then she comes over and giddily shows me the screen wherein a tiny pixellated thing stands amid some sort of squarish map.  I HAD TO GO THROUGH ALL OF THAT MAMA AND IT’S A LOT AND I DID IT EVEN THOUGH IT WAS HARD AND A LONG WAY AND DO YOU KNOW WHAT A GROVYLE IS?  WHAT TYPE OF POKEMON IS IT MAMA IS IT LEAF TYPE OR GROUND TYPE OR WIND TYPE?  I have learned to nod and smile and back away.

In other news, the cat is almost talking to us again.  He is sleeping on the couch as we speak.  Eventually he won’t look at me with that haunted, accusatory YOU DID THIS TO ME look, right?

And the dog.  Oh, the dog.  You may recall that I recently mentioned that he was launching audible air biscuits left, right and center of late.  I invested a certain amount of thought in this recently and came up with a theory.

Otto is the kind of dog who has to have a wooby.  In the past he had a toy lawnmower that had once belonged to The Lovely Rhonda’s kids.  He had chewed the handle off and worked his way steadily through the superstructure until finally it was a rather unlovely sort of undercarriage with wheels, which eventually fell off.  He would get excited about a noise he heard outside and would run out, grab his beloved lawnmower, and race around the yard with it.

Sadly, the lawnmower finally disintegrated completely and so he scrounged around the yard and found a basketball, which he promptly deflated.  It had once been blue with an attractive Chuck E. Cheese motif, but over time and hard use (after deflation) had turned completely black.  Otto chewed it relentlessly and over the past couple of months bits of rubber and canvas could be found strewn around the living room.

Huh.  And in the past couple of months the dog’s flatulation had reached epic, noisy proportions.  He would tear one off and we would brace ourselves for the room-clearing stench that followed.

We took away the basketball, and guess what?  He found a super-tough canvas toy to chew, and the air quality of The Burrow has improved substantially.