LOL! Yesterday was too hectic for much writing — or to get much of anything done — but I did manage to choke out a fairly hilarious post on my Corgi blog, a site I expect to feed into yet another planned book. A new RSS feed appears at left.  Check out this (wee hours!) morning’s post.

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Killed the better part of the day cleaning house, a job made bigger and longer and far more tedious than usual by the amazing puppy mess. Had I started the day feeling well enough to get any productive work done (which I most assuredly did not), we could have added a substantial opportunity cost to the price of owning Ruby (as she’s made herself known).

Turns out that corgis in general tend to be a little slow to house-train. Add to this supposed characteristic the theory that small, runt-like puppies such as Ruby may (or may not) be underdeveloped at birth and so “younger” in a way than their chronological age, and what you get is a gigantic mess. I’ve never had a dog that peed on the floor so extravagantly.

Fortunately, the entire house is paved with ceramic tile. But still: even though it’s relatively easy to clean up, it still has to be cleaned up. Ruby pees by mental telepathy — today I cleaned up a dried patch on the far side of a kiddie gate, where one would imagine the dog has never gone. So puddles get missed. And puddles get stepped in and tracked around the house. What a gawdawful mess.

So today I took it upon myself to sanitize the Funny Farm from stem to stern. Normally I would vacuum first, then dust-mop, then steam-mop. But because there was so much dog urine on the floors, I felt I ought to smear it around with some detergent. So, the order of business was

1. vacuum 1860 square feet of tile;
2. dust-mop 1860 square feet of tile;
3. wet-mop 1860 square feet of tile with a hot solution of Simple Green; and
4. steam-mop 1860 square feet of tile.

In effect, that is the equivalent of cleaning 7440 square feet of flooring (1860 • 4). By the time I finished, I thought I was gunna die. It took hours! Hours in which I did exactly zero paying work.

LOL! Father, forgive me, for I have $inned in what I have done and (especially!) in what I have left undone.

I have not graded student papers.
I have not responded to the 16 messages from benighted li’l students.
I have not registered ISBNs for the diet guide/cookbook or Fire-Rider.
I have not created a for-reference-only “chronological” list of events in book 1 of the Fire-Rider series.
I have not finished compiling the formatted copy for the print-on-demand version of Slave Labor: The New Story of American Higher Education.
I have not tracked down the guy who runs The Adjunct Project and begged for a plug.
Nor have I asked said guy to let me contribute a post to his free-for-all website.
I have not nagged BlueHost to remove the unused Beady-Eyed Babe site for which I continue to pay.
I have not transferred incoming cash from PayPal to the corporate checking account.
I have not billed the client for the latest unholy frenzy of work.
I have not sent to another client a discussion of a relevant passage in John Gardner’s Art of Fiction, which, IMHO, would help him a great deal in framing his current revision.

Of these, only one is an immediately paying task. But all of them either cost me money or may one day create money for me. Instead, what have I been doing?

Scrubbing floors.

If that’s not an opportunity cost, I’d like to know what it is.

This puppy is cute. Very cute. But as it develops, one pays for cuteness. The other day, in a moment of desperation, I asked the vet for a recommendation to a trainer who might help expedite the house-training process, at which I felt I was failing abjectly.

She recommended a franchise outfit whose strategy involves using a remote collar to jolt the message home to the offending dawg. The woman who showed up at my house to give me a “free demonstration” (i.e., a sales pitch) explained that this thing works with a vibrator that indeed does feel very much like your cell phone vibrating, or with an electric shock comparable to a mild static zap.

(Ruby, by the way, has begun to get the idea. She hasn’t widdled on the floor today, and we managed to get through yesterday with only one puddle.)

Today the woman followed up by calling me on the phone to prod me to sign up. I explained (with only slight exaggeration) that I’m living on Social Security and cannot pay their silly prices.

They want — hang onto your hat – $795 (!!) for a package that entails two or more private lessons and “unlimited group classes” held in public parks. For only $695 (!) you can get the same with only one private lesson; any extra private lessons will set you back $145 apiece. Then they have an “Indoor Only Training” package for — wait for it…are you ready? — $1,299 (!!!!).

If you want to buy the whiz-bang remote collar, you have to pay $225.

Understand…remote vibrator/shock collars can be had from Amazon for about $65. For two of ‘em.

I hafta ask you: Is it or is it not amazing that people will spend that kind of money on their pets? For services and products they can get for a fraction of the money? Or for free, if they’re willing to look up the instructions on the Internet?

The pet industry is a freaking gold mine, isn’t it?

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