Ruby and Cassie’s pet Human is merrily confused today. In my old age, I no longer can tell what day of the week it is. Because in old age the day of the week no longer matters.
😉 😀 😉
We roll out of the sack, this morning as usual, whenever the sun wakes us up. It’s around 7:30. I don’t care: just want to sit in front of the space heater and get warm, but that’s not very practical because it’s pretty bracing in here after a heatless night at the Funny Farm. We turn off the heat at night because if the outside temp dips into the 30s, a damn heat pump will freeze up and blast icy air into the house. Plus of course we can’t afford to run the heater in the winter and still have enough in the annual poche to run the air-conditioning in the summer.
I decide to climb back in the sack, put my feet under the heating pad, cover up, and read the morning’s computerized news. The dogs have other ideas about the use of the heating pad and get into a little squabble over who will get first dibs on shoving the Human off the thing. After they’re pulled apart and duly yelled at, they settle down. This is a good thing, because a dog’s body temperature normally runs around 102 degrees, meaning I end up with three heating pads instead of just one…
Along about 9:00, they begin to lobby for food, so we stumble off the bed again, stumble out to the kitchen, and put down a couple dishes of Their Queenship’s Fine Cuisine. Glance out at the porch thermometer: it’s about 45 degrees out there. But at least the wind has died down and the cloud cover has burned off, meaning eventually the sun shining on the dark roof will warm the inside of the house into the tolerable range.
A list of things to do materializes on the white board on the office door. None of them entail any serious work: most of the day is to be occupied by reading a new iteration of a pair of Chinese co-authors’ elaborate research report, 36 pages the gist of which is “all your bases are belong to us.”
I love this stuff. For one thing, it’s a rare day when a Chinese scholar says something brain-banging stupid…not the case with American and European academics, who seem to love to roll around in arcane nonsense. For another, the amount of work these folks put into their projects is astonishing. In an old-fashioned word: they do not spare the horses. So it’s kind of a delight to read it. You find yourself hoping they get published; they get promotion; they get recognition: whatever it is they’re trying to get, they get it done.
This project, at 36 pages much of which I’ve already read once before, will take two or at the outside maybe three days to get through. I hope.
Finish off a fairly large breakfast of
cornmeal mush…uhm, “polenta”…and am just carrying the dishes back into the kitchen when JANGLE!!! Phone rings. Damn! A f**kin’ phone solicitor on Christmas Eve?
No. It’s SDXB. He says he’s not coming to the midnight mass tonight because he prefers to go to the right-wing fundamentalist Prod church his present girlfriend favors. That’s fine. But then I say…wait… We don’t sing til tomorrow!
He says you sing on Christmas Eve.
I say, yeah, that’s tomorrow.
He says today is Sunday.
I say no, it’s not. Today is Saturday.
Traipse back to the bedroom, open the computer, and Dayumed if it isn’t Sunday!
But don’t we sing on Christmas Eve? What? Isn’t Sunday Christmas Day?
No. Christmas Day is not Sunday. And yes, today is Sunday. And yes, we’re singing tonight, which is not the same as singing on Christmas Day, which is not Sunday…which is today, which is not Christmas.
It takes a good hour to become un-confused and figure out that the list of things I needed to do today is still the list of things I needed to do today, and no, I don’t have to worry about M’hijito showing up over here this afternoon for a ridiculously early high-speed dinner and gift exchange and shoveling him out before I have to fly down to the church to rehearsal.
Now I get an e-mail from M’hijito that indicates I’m still confused. Thought he was supposed to come over tomorrow but apparently he thinks he’s supposed to come over this afternoon.
So I have no idea.
Clearly I am not going to be aging in place in this house, because my marbles are falling out my ears a lot faster than anticipated. If this continues to worsen, soon I will have to move to assisted care.
The corgis have learned to exploit this phenomenon. They have devised a Trick the Human routine. It’s pretty clever, when you think about it.
The Human has trained them to come to call by luring them with a doggy treat. Come into the house when called; get a piece of kibble. It also has trained them to lobby at the back door whenever they need to go out to do their doggy thing. This is also a rewardable activity.
So: they know where the doggy treat jar is, and they know that certain behaviors will elicit a doggy treat. What if….what if one were to combine these behaviors in a convincing way?
So what they do is dance a jig around the back door, begging to be let out. The Human aroused from its comfortable chair and persuaded to open the door, they walk outside, stop at the edge of the patio, pause, turn around, and come back in. Or in Ruby’s case, she stops, stands there, and stares with an expression that says “if you close that door now I will be stuck out here to be eaten by the coyote who lives in the alley, the one that came over the neighbor’s back wall a few days ago.”
She then trots back in and they both charge over to the counter and stand there staring expectantly at the doggy-treat jar.
Assuming I’ve become correctly un-confused — not an especially safe assumption — the only thing I have to figure out for this evening is how to get this giant crockpot full of fake cassoulet warmed up and over to the church in time for it to be hot for the half-time potluck. There really isn’t enough space in the meeting room for a passel of crockpots — if you don’t get there first you may not find a plug. And I will not be among the first to get there.
Normally I would buy a dessert from Costco for one of these shindigs. But a) the last thing I want to do a day or two before Christmas, at the height of the worst flu season in years, is go into a Costco, and b) even if that were not a problem, I’m flat broke and cannot afford to buy anything at Costco, much less dessert for 40 or 50 people.
And so…onward to the mysteries of running a de-facto state-owned enterprise in the ecology of International Business…