You Can’t Escape from Stupid

Apparently can’t escape the neighbor’s dog, either…

😀 People are stupid. No matter which direction you look or how you look at them, people are plug-stupid.

Oneself included, of course…all too often.

Today, we have proof of both.

So…the ongoing bug is taking its toll on me. I’m effin’ exhausted. Meanwhile, the wounded hand hurt ALL. NIGHT. LONG  And was all swollen up come the dawn.

It’s normally been a little swollen, but this was beyond the pale. Bound an ice pack to it and wrapped it up in elastic bandage.


But meanwhile, after two months of coughing and gagging and fever and misery, the bronchitis I picked up (probably at the Mayo’s ER) healed up…only to be followed a couple days later by a new epizootic — this one apparently just a garden-variety cold.

I don’t do very well with garden-variety colds. For me there’s no such thing as “just a cold.” These things make me effin’ miserable, and they go on and on and freaking on. Like, for weeks. So now I’m coughing up gunk and sneezing and snorking and struggling for air through a blocked nose…and on and on. Yes. Always on and on.

Annoyed — this means still more time off choir, more time feeling awful, more time low on food because I can’t face the thought of doing battle with Christmas crowds to buy basic groceries, more…whatEVER — I start treating the stuff as per usual: generic Afrin to clear up the nose, and generic Robitussin to stifle the frantic coughing. This is working okay.

Meanwhile, the Mayo gets on the phone to discuss upcoming X-rays and wtf is the matter with my busted-up hand. Their nurse practitioner now catches wind of this new ailment. She is not pleased and starts asking the usual questions, to which I respond with the usual answers. I mention the antibiotic I was given for the UTI, which is known to cause lung problems — some of them life-threatening — in older women. She allows as to how it might be a good idea to add a chest X-ray to the upcoming paw X-rays. “Had any chest pain?” asks she. “Uhhh….no,” say I, with some degree of honesty.

Fine. Now I spend the next few hours mostly loafing and reading, after consuming a breakfast (coffee, fruit, rye bread, nuts, cheese) so outrageously late that it qualifies as lunch. I medicate myself so as to be able to breathe and not to be able to cough my lungs out.

While I’m reading a particularly interesting new book, suddenly I get a sharp little pain in the middle of the chest. Sometimes this is scar pain. But I think…no…probably gas. And in fact, a burp or two come up. But this subtle jab recurs. And recurs again.

Holy sh!t i must be having a heart attack! This is IT, dear Lord!

Should I call 911? What’ll I do with the dog? Should I try to drive the 15 miles to the Mayo? What if I don’t make it…who will I kill on the road? Am I doooomed?

Well…after a moment it becomes apparent that I’m not dying. Maybe I’m having some sort of heart thing. Maybe not. It passes.

I get up, go in the other room, and take my blood pressure. Elevated. But not extremely so. As I take and average the usual four or five measurements that comprise an effort to get an accurate reading, the numbers drop by 15 points. Looks this is one more thing that’s not going to kill me.

Realize I’ve gotten exactly zero exercise all day long. Decide to do a short, calming yoga routine. After a few easy poses, I try the blood pressure routine again: first reading is down 22 points off the previous set’s initial reading.

And it’s off to the Internet — aka The Hypochondriac’s Treasure Chest — whereinat we learn that Afrin (nose spray) can raise one’s blood pressure, and Robitussin can cause “dangerously high blood pressure” and chest pain.

Uh huh. Name a drug, any drug, List its side effects. And invariably I will have the weirdest, most far-fetched, and most alarming manifestation possible.

So there’s stupid stuff No. 1. I probably should have called the doctors, but out of stupid orneriness I did not and am not going to because I have bloody well had enough of doctors, and because this little flap now looks not very alarming.

Moving on… While I’m not getting any exercise, Ruby the Corgi is not getting any exercise. I haven’t taken the poor little pooch out all day. And the skies are clabbering up. It’s supposed to rain off and on tonight and tomorrow, and then pour all day on Christmas.

Decide to take her for a Doggy Walk. So, along about 3:30, we set out.

It’s a nice afternoon, under gray skies. We socialize with various wandering neighbors, children, dogs. Marching through Lower Richistan toward Upper Richistan, by golly, what do we encounter but those astonishingly stupid people with the dog that keeps trying to plunge through their front picture window. The old man is outside standing around the sidewalk, with this dog once again wandering around off the lead.

Annoyed, I make a quick about-face and head back toward the ‘Hood. At Feeder Street N.S., I realize that this guy’s house is a half-block east of Richistan Way, so that if we take the next neighborhood lane to the north of him, we can circumvent him and his pooch and get where we want to go. So that’s what we do: head west on the next little street. Get about two-thirds of the way to Upper Richistan, and there the jerk is! Standing there with his massive dog.

Yes. He has walked east to Richistan Drive, north to this little road, and west a half-block in our direction, where he’s now standing around waiting for us to confront his fuckin’ dog.

Well, that’s probably not how his train of thought, such as it is, actually goes. But it’s the upshot. He simply does not grasp the possibility that his dog has been living and breathing for the opportunity to take out my annoying little corgi.

So now I have to do another about-face and walk back into the ‘Hood, curtailing our walk significantly.

The last time this idiot and his pea-brained wife saw me coming and noticed me turning in another direction, they called after me in their best ninny voices, Ohhhhh don’t worry! He won’t hurt anybody!

That’s fine, but how’s about you obey the leash laws, you morons? And how’s about we don’t tempt fate?

This is the dog that takes up a position on a shelf or table that these two have installed in their front picture window. It dozes all day in this window. Every time the critter sees me and Ruby walk by the house, it flies into a freaking berserker RAGE. It roars and barks and growls and, more to the point. throws itself against the window over and over, banging the window so hard it rattles and groans.

Eventually that window is going to break. When it does, the dog will come flying out through piles of glass shards and, if it doesn’t disable itself by getting mortally slashed, will come right straight after me and my pipsqueak dog.

These people are retirees, so it’s hard to believe the fools don’t notice their 90-pound beast is bashing itself full-force against a plate glass window. They couldn’t possibly miss it. That means they’re simply too fuckin’ stupid to surmise the obvious consequences.

They’re the folks who feed the coyotes.

Yeah. That’s why that street and the alley up behind their house are home to Coyote and all his wives, pups, and cousins. At night they put out two or three dishes of food for the feral cats (which they love dearly), thereby calling the coyotes to their driveway to consume the food. Being Belaganas, they’re none too bright about Coyote and appear not to understand that a fed coyote is a dead coyote. Or rather: incapable of understanding that concept. They have been told and asked and told again and asked again not to leave food out for stray animals, time and time and time again. But these idiots seem to think common sense doesn’t apply to them.

Stupid: it’s an epidemic.

Golden Shepherd? German Retriever?

This dog here…


…is not a golden retriever. Or even an English retriever, the proper name for a “white golden retriever.” He’s a German shepherd tricked out to look like an English retriever.

HOLY mackerel, what an adventure last night.

M’hiijto has gone off to southern Colorado to visit his ancient grandmother, leaving Charley the Alleged Retriever with me and Ruby the Corgi for a few days and nights.

About a half an hour or 45 minutes after our little tribe had shut off the lights and gone to bed last night, somebody came up to the house and apparently tried to get in. Charley was in his accustomed nest at the front end of the hall, where he can see the front door in case his Human shows up (hope springs eternal in the canine breast). All of a sudden, that dog EXPLODED. I mean, Ger-shep explosion: high insane rage explosion. He started out loud and angry, got more and more emphatic and then rose to GET YOUR ASS OUT OF THAT BED, GRAB YOUR DAMN GUN AND GET OUT HERE!

Holy shit.

Welp, I grabbed the phone, not a pistol, and flew up the hall, pursued by Ruby, who was barking LIKE HE SAID! LIKE HE SAID!

Charley was just insane, trying to get out the door, trying to get through the window, roaring like a freaking lion.

They hadn’t set off the motion sensitive lights, but they’d called for backup. Someone drove up in front of the house; they jumped in the vehicle and it shot off down the street.

So I guess Charley scared them off.

Gooood dog, Charley!

One thing after another…

Man! Has it ever been a busy few days! Where to start?

Dog Busting, Friend Busting, Weekend Busting

My good friends KJG and VickyC have been machinating a weekend junket to Payson, whither KJG and Mr. KJG recently moved. We were hugely looking forward to seeing the G’s in their new home, a Very Big Deal indeed.

Between the time I left  yesterday morning to drop Ruby the Corgi off at my son’s house for the day and the time I arrived at VickyC’s house in a historic downtown neighborhood, KJG had called, reached VickyC, and said the plans were off.

Mr. KJG had taken their beautiful and endlessly beloved pet greyhound for her morning walk, and while he was out a neighbor’s loose mutt attacked them. The greyhound was alarmingly injured. What the status is now, I do not know — no reply was forthcoming from my emailed inquiry, so in true Drama Queen mode, I assume the dog is dead or in extremis.

This greyhound is Mr. KJG’s baby. They both really love that hound. Should it be permanently hurt or dead, then that is a major tragedy in their household.*

The thing is, rural veterinaries are often not equipped to cope with this kind of emergency. When Charley had his self-induced heatstroke while on the road with M’hijito, the vet up in Nowhereseville said that if the dog was to survive at all — which he did not think would happen — he would have to be transported to a 24-hour emergency vet in the Valley. Additionally, greyhounds are not like normal dogs. One of their eccentricities is that they cannot tolerate the anaesthesia normally used in veterinary practices — they require a special anaesthetic, and they require a vet who a) knows this (good luck with that!), b) who has the stuff in stock, and c) knows how to use it. So you pretty much have to have already established a relationship with a vet before anything happens to such a dog. They’ve been there plenty of time to have done so, but I’m sure this esisode was not a grand way to launch the weekend.

Meanwhile, a new bishop for the diocese was consecrated. It was quite a chivaree and one that I wanted to attend and to sing at. However, my friends and I had made these plans many weeks ago, and trying to get three busy schedules to coordinate is quite a challenge. So I didn’t feel I could duck out of it…

*Some hours later: We’re told the dog is patched up and will be OK. Good news!

Planning for Good Works

VickyC and I punted by going to breakfast, then briefly browsing some antique stores, and plotting some schemes for volunteer work. She is a graduate of the Valley Leadership program that trains young executives, and so has all sorts of contacts and projects.

After many years at her current job with a regional water supplier, she recently applied for a position with a national nonprofit for which my ex- once served as state president and then as a national board member. Naturally, I was very interested in this development and suggested that I’d like to volunteer, assuming all his old cronies have now moved on. That appears to be the case, and so if she gets the job maybe I can sign back on.

Meanwhile, her employer encourages people to participate in community work, and so she already is much engaged. Among of her interests are the de-privatization of our prison system and initiatives to rehabilitate offenders back into society so they do not end up going back to jail. One of the groups she works with is looking for volunteers, so she may introduce me to those folks.

Sometimes I think it’s time to quit the editorial business — just shut it down, rather than continue wrestling with getting paid and ponying up cash to have the taxes done. WonderAccountant has already suggested we de-incorporate it, and we’re about to send in the paperwork to convert it to an LLC. This would much reduce the costs of tax preparation, and also much de-complicate the work she does for me and the bidness. But…given what I’m paid, I do wonder why I even bother: wouldn’t it be better to do something that helps folks for free?


All the edible contents of the pantry have been sitting in the freezer for a good three days now. That’s twice as long as is supposedly needed to kill off any infant moths and their eggs. Yay!

That cabinet is now mightily cleaned and very tidy. So today I retrieved the food and packed it back onto the shelves. Very nifty.

I’m almost certain that this infestation came from the dog kibble, an elegant variety of which I buy at an expensive gourmet grocery store. This stuff, I use as doggy treats and to spike the corgi’s custom-made chow. Although I threw out a bunch of aging products, the kibble was really the only thing that clearly was occupied.

WhatEVER. All the pantry goods are now secured inside jars with tight lids, even the pasta. That should discourage any further depredations. And it sure makes the shelves nice and neat.


Mattress Gambit

So I finally gave up and went to a MattressFirm outlet, the one next door to the Whole Foods at Town and Country. The general over-pricedness of this shopping center — well, with the exception of the Trader Joe’s, the upscale thrift store, and the Nordstrom’s Rack — does not inspire confidence. However, I did find a very comfortable inner-spring mattress, exactly what I had in mind, for well under a thousand dollars.

Can you imagine: $1,300 to $1,500+ for mattress from Penney’s????? Next door to the Costco in one of the grungiest shopping centers in the city???? A store that employs, far as anyone can tell, exactly ZERO sales people? Give. Me. A. Break.

This prize is supposed to be delivered tomorrow, and they will cart off the huge, unmoveable clunker that’s been occupying space in the bedroom for the past fifteen years.

Briefly, I considered having the delivery guys just tote it into the former TV room, which just now serves no purpose. A bed in there would turn it into a guest bedroom, eh?

But really, the room is too small for a queen-sized mattress. I’d have to buy some sort of platform for the thing or else just set it on the floor, neither of which I wanna do. Other furniture in there would have to go. And given that no one ever stays here overnight, the whole idea looked like a great deal more trouble than it’s worth. Really, it would make more sense to get an Ikea bed platform and toss a twin-size Tuft and Needle pad on it. Or a futon. So…

Vacuum Cleaner Fiasco

Now that did turn into a fiasco, when in a fit of frustration and exhaustion I abandoned the supposedly unfixable Shark vacuum at the 35th Avenue Sew’n’Vac, an outfit that in the past has cheerfully repaired the things.

Apparently staff there outright lied when they said parts could not be purchased (oddly, they’re readily available on Amazon) and the machines cannot be opened to work on them (oddly, Amazon customers report all kinds of repairs having been done on their older models).

By leaving the machine there and asking them to throw it out so I didn’t have to tote it home and figure out how to dispose of it, I essentially let the store steal it. And…they have in the past sold second-hand vacuums.

But…I have another old Shark vacuum, which runs fine but is just old and tired. I use it to vacuum the car and pick up the occasional mess of broken glass. After I realized that yea, verily, parts are easy to order and others report no problem with repair jobs, I called another vacuum repair store. The guy who answered said they could clean and refurbish that vacuum.

Since I truly hate the new Shark I bought at Costco the other day — it’s swiveling suction head threatens to yank your shoulder out of joint — I’m thinking I’ll have this other repair guy fix up the old one and then return the $150 number to Costco. So that will put a bundle of cash back in my checking account and relieve me, temporarily, of yet another source of annoyance.

Pool Fiasco

The newly (expensively) refurbished pool pump doesn’t seem to be working. Just now I’m too tired to be mad as a cat about that…but I surely should be. Yesterday I spent half the afternoon cleaning up the algae infestation that resulted from sending the damn pump to the shop for a week or ten days. WHAT a mess, and what a project!

The vacuum just simply does not run when plugged into the (expensive) new inlet on the side of the pool: hangs up on the accursed new hair-resistant drain covers and stops dead. And it is sucking air, causing the pump to cavitate.


So it’s now plugged into the strainer basket inlet. Again. This required reattaching three lengths of plastic hose. Still sucks air, still cavitates but now it runs like a bustard.

I’m thinking it’s possible one or more lengths of that hose is leaking. A couple of them are pretty old. But that stuff is ridiculously expensive . I really, truly do NOT want to go out and buy half a dozen lengths of it. They do have pool vacuum hoses at Amazon, but reviewers seem to hate them, and they come in 30- or 40-foot lengths. The shorter lengths — four or five feet — are preferable because you don’t have to replace the entire pricey length if one crack shows up, and because they’re easier to store.

At any rate, I’m getting very, very tired of paying Swimming Pool Service & Repair to get the damn job done right. They soak me for a service call every time they come over here to do something that should have been done as part of the refurbishing job.

The newly purchased hose bonnet gadget — used for picking up large debris that could damage Harvey the Hayward Pool cleaner — proved to be exceptionally annoying. The maker has added a new blandishment: lengths of nylon brush around the circumference. This stuff a) does not play well with the coarse new Pebble-sheen surface and b) pushes the debris out of the way instead of letting the device suck it up into the bonnet.

This afternoon I realized I could take a flat-head screwdriver to the frame and prize the stupid brushes out. By then Harvey had sucked up most of the BBs that had blown out of the damned palm trees into the pool, so haven’t yet tried to see how this “improvement” works. But, dammit, I see that I can get the old-fashioned no-cutesy-brush version from Amazon, for a lot less than I paid at Leslie’s. So I may try to snap those things back in, return it to Leslie’s, and order one that’s not so extortionately priced.

Doggy-Walk Fail

On the way back into the ’Hood from church, what should come galloping across the road but the BIGGEST, HEALTHIEST, HUSKIEST coyote I’ve ever seen in my life. He was gorgeous — in great health, full coat, and at least as big as a German shepherd. And on a dead run, presumably streaking away from something that spooked him.

One of the little girls on the corner of the road that leads toward La Maya and La Bethulia’s house started to putter after him on her bicycle. No grown-up being in evidence, I pulled a U-ie and cruised down the street after him. Didn’t see him in the alley, though that’s the most likely place for a coyote to take shelter. Stopped by La M’s neighbor’s house, where the family was puttering in the front yard, and told them to keep an eye out for the coyote-hunting kidlet. They hadn’t seen him come by, so he presumably shot up the alleyway.

At any rate, it’s now after dark. Ruby the Corgi has not had her daily doggy-walk, but with that big fella in the offing, I think I’d just as soon not take her out in prime coyote-prowling hours. So…she’ll be unhappy with me all evening.

So. Yeah:

One damfool thing after another!


Credit: Scottsdale Parks & Recreation

It is passing crisp here in Sunny Arizona. Yesterday it snowed in Scottsdale — a lot. And in Fountain Hills. Forty inches fell in Flagstaff, richly needed. That much snow in the high country will go a long way toward breaking the decades-long drought. KJG posted a slew of photos and videos of The Fireman and the Greyhound in the white fields of Payson…wow! VickyC and I are supposed to go up there in another ten days or so…hope it’s calmed down a bit by then.

It has been a shade on the chill side here in lovely uptown Phoenix and, as soon as the clouds clear, it’ll be bloody cold. It’s only supposed to get into the mid-30s tonight, but you may be sure that when there’s no clouds to hold the ground temps in, we’ll get a fine hard frost.

Meanwhile, it has rained and rained and rained and rained in our part of town. Two full days and nights of pouring rain, and then light sprinkles off and on (mostly on) all day today. Took Ruby the Corgi for a doggy-walk in it this morning…beside herself with corgi joy. Something there is about drizzling rain and soggy grass that a Welsh shepherd dog loves! 😀

Finished one of the Chinese engineering papers. Another awaits. Uploaded the stuff I’d finished to the Latina journal, but my system is running SO slow on Cox that a passel of errors occurred. When I have a chance, I’ll have to upload each and every goddamn paper in two iterations to the journal’s editor, by email. One email message at a time. Won’t SHE be thrilled.

What looked like a hacking attempt — with evidence that someone had access to my bank account — turned out to be User Error. How, exactly, escapes me: apparently when I sent the monthly e-payment to Cox, the system decided to pay the credit union, not the phone company. You couldn’t have persuaded me that it was even possible to set up a payment that way, much less that I would have introduced such a bizarre error into a routine transaction that I repeat month after month after mind-numbing month. Oh well.

Meanwhile, PayPal is shafting me and I haven’t even started to do business with them. They refuse to give me the money my client deposited to the new account I had to create. So it looks like I’m just going to have to write off a hundred bucks and change.

Charged today’s client considerably more than that for a considerably more difficult paper, and asked him to hold payment until I could figure out another way to remit money from China. There’s always Western Union, of course, but they’ll probably charge as much as my bill to the guy. There is, however, a service called Stripe, revealed to me by our wonderful Web guru, Grayson Bell. Transaction costs are modest — $2.90, which for a hefty bill will work out to less than PayPal’s gouge. Grayson has been pleased with it. This outfit will generate an invoice for you containing a link that the client can click to pay the bill, via a variety of credit cards. And they do operate in Asia.

So tomorrow’s first project of the day will be to open an account there and try to make that work.

To make everything perfect, I picked up a cold at Young Dr. Kildare’s office. (True, the scenery was worth it…and he did something that somehow made the back pain almost disappear. What, I do not understand, but since he enjoys lots of back pain himself, I suspect it’s something chiropractic that he’s learned on the black market…). I’m pretty sure it’s not the flu — so far no very noticeable fever. But Helle’s Belles.

I do everything I can to avoid colds or flu, because my body does NOT throw off those viruses the way normal people do. This is why I refuse to take Communion and quietly practice all sorts of other avoidance gymnastics that you would think radically neurotic if you know what I was up to. The last time I had a cold — no, not the flu, just a mild cold — the cough hung miserably and exhaustingly on for SIX MONTHS! The last time I had a real, verifiable case of the flu, I developed a depressive episode that went on for three months. La Maya picked up a real, full-out case of the flu at her doctor’s office, from front office staff who were sitting there sniffling and snorking while they were handing people paperwork and pens. Doesn’t that piss you off, when people do that? So she is one sick chickadee just now.

Corgis, however, are immune…




Pain Pain Pain

So while Cassie the Corgi was in her last days, I had to lift her up, carry her outdoors, and set her down, then lift her up, carry her indoors, and set her down. Because she slept on the bed and was too small to jump up or down (even if she had that much strength at the end, which she did not), I had to lift her onto the bed and left her off. She weighed about 23 pounds. That’s not much, of course. But she had a habit of arranging herself in awkward positions, just out of reach on the bed. Upshot: I wrenched my back, but good.

At one point I felt something tear and thought “oohhhh shit!”

Falling and spraining my wrist did not help things. I expect the fall probably added to the back injury.

At any rate, it hurts a lot: enough to be disabling. Yesterday I had to beg off a volunteer chore because I can’t even begin to lift things. Experience shows that doctors can do little for back pain, so I suppose there’s no point in wasting my time traipsing across town to see Young Dr. Kildare. I’m allergic to aspirin, ibuprofen, and acetaminophen these days, so there’s basically nothing anyone can do. Whiskey works pretty well, as does wine. Or a couple of beers. A long soak in a tubful of hot water. Applying a heating pad. Tincture of time…

It’s nowhere near as bad as the time Anna the German Shepherd put my back out, thank gawd. Holy mackerel!

Anna was only a few months old at the time. She had already displayed her life’s ambition: to bring down a car or truck by the oil pan. This, she passionately desired. Even as a pup, she was a very powerful dog, fully capable of dragging a 130-pound woman into the road.

This one time, I had taken her for a walk in the ’hood, which means I’d taken her for a linear wrestling match. Without thinking about the fact that we were approaching the height of the rush hour, I turned onto Feeder Street NW, which runs through our neighborhood on its route all the way from Gangbanger’s Way to the state capitol downtown. Despite stoplights that last an eternity, many people prefer to drive through the city on this street because it’s less hectic than the main drags.

As we turned north, I realized a steady stream of vehicles was sailing past us…and so did Anna. Within a couple minutes, she realized she was in Predator Heaven, and she went bat-sh!t berserk trying to catch the cars whizzing past us. To avoid being yanked into the traffic, I had to pick her up and carry her back to another street deeper into the neighborhood.

She weighed about 40 pounds by then, I think. WhatEVER: she was too heavy for me to carry around, and certainly not to haul some blocks. I didn’t realize how badly this antic had hurt my back until, some hours later, I almost passed out from a surge of pain. When I sat down, I couldn’t get up. I don’t think I’ve ever experienced such extravagant pain, before or since.

SDXB, who was living with me at the time, called 911. Paramedics showed up, loaded me onto a gurney, and carried me off to the hospital in an ambulance.

There they treated me by injecting me with ibuprofen or acetaminophen — don’t remember which. I had not yet developed the interesting sensitivities to these drugs, and so it worked without killing me. Today, that would be highly ill advised…

So that leaves booze and hot baths as the only analgesics. I guess I could go to one of those marijuana quacks and get a fake “prescription” to buy some dope. But I have a feeling that might be ill-advised…

At any rate, I’m getting damn tired of this. It’s been two weeks since Cassie was despatched to her Maker, and I’m mighty tired of hurting. But…apparently it can take six to ten weeks(!!) to get over a sprain. It looks like a month or so is more typical…but wow! That’s a long time to go with this kind of pain, especially when there’s no one around to do the household tasks.

The Queen Is Dead…Long Live the Queen!

Yes. We have a new Queen of the Universe. Ruby the Corgi assumed the late lamented Cassie’s crown without a blink.

It took her about a day and a half to register that she had fallen heir to the throne. Forthwith she began to issue new edicts and rearrange the realm to suit herself.

Seriously: Ruby has become a whole new dog. She must have been utterly buffaloed by the Queen. As each day passes, Ruby grows and blossoms in some new way.

  • Along about yesterday, after the rains stopped and temps warmed, it occurred to her that she could take up a reclining position on one of the flagstones off the back patio, where she can keep an eye on the doings in the kitchen (lest the human approach the treasured Treat Jar) and at the same time watch the backyard for birds, cats, and Ratty whilst keeping audio tabs on everything the neighbors and the passers-by get up to. Hence, she has moved out from under the toilet in the back bathroom, where she used to reside.
  • She has trained the human to play with tennis balls, a major accomplishment.
  • She has trained the human to deliver chicken jerky treats several times a day.
  • She has trained the human to go out for a walk twice a day.
  • She no longer feels it necessary, at night, to perch on the edge at the bottom of the bed, so as to be ready to leap off at the twitch of an ear.
  • Nor does she deem it necessary to accept as an offering one of Cassie’s favorite treats, a blueberry: these, she ptuis out onto the floor. Ditto a piece of apple. None of that, Human!

For the human, that lowly creature, the New Reign means quite a few improvements.

First, for reasons unknown, the new Queen deposits many fewer mounds than the previous monarch. Picking up the backyard is weirdly easy. At first the human thought maybe Her Majesty was suffering some problem. But that does not appear to be the case. She simply dumps about half as much as her predecessor did.

This means that a Doggy Walk does not require a bulging pocketful of blue bags.

It also means that picking up the backyard is

a) not much of a chore; and
b) not likely to produce enough obnoxious debris to contaminate incoming junkmail to a large enough degree to discourage garbage-scavenging identity thieves.

It looks like the identifiable junk mail will, like credit-card receipts, have to be soaked before discarding in the public trashcans…but in Clorox, not just ordinary water.

Both dogs ate the same amount of food per meal. But of course, in the absence of the late queen, the dog food bill (and cooking, and doling out) will be half of its former glory.

Next, we have decided the Human will be required to dole out a whole lot more doggy treats than under the previous queen regnant. Naturally, Costco has quit carrying the favored chicken jerky strips. Amazon has them…for…hang onto your hat…THIRTY BUCKS A BAG.

Gimme a break!

So we’ll be making chicken jerky on the barbecue. This is not difficult and the equivalent amount most certainly will not cost $30…but it’s another hassle. Oh well.

Ruby is easily up to a fast one-mile walk. Indeed, she’s up to much longer hikes than that. This afternoon we visited a cricket team at the park…that was fun. If I ever get off my duff this evening, we’ll rack up another mile.

Maybe. My back hurts and I’m exceptionally cranky.

A few days ago I busted a caster off the rolling clothes rack in the garage. This, I need to hold rags as they’re pulled out of the washer or the dryer. Propping that end of the rack up with a rock was less than ideal.

So I bought a nice new one at The Container Store.

Putting it together looked, however, like more than I wished to take on with a spavined back and a sprained wrist, so I asked my son to help. He was supposed to come over today for that challenge.

But, not surprisingly, he demurred.

Roundly annoyed, I now decide to try my hand at putting the new rack together. So I take all the parts out and organize them on the floor and pick up the instructions…and realize they’re SO complicated they might as well be written in Martian. It has 87 gerjillion little parts, each fitting on a left side or a right side or an up side or a down side. It would have taken half a day to put the damn thing together. Upon inspection, I thought no wonder the kid doesn’t want to spend half the weekend doing this. I wouldn’t have done it for my mother, either! So I returned it and got my money back. Went on over to Bed Bath & Beyond and discovered they had the same device: no improvement.

Okay, so when I drove up to the house after navigating the wacksh!t traffic, what should I see by Mr. WonderAccountant lurking amiably in his driveway, he and his son having just finished working on the family cars. So I asked him if he had a thought about fixing the wounded warrior.

What we figured out in short order was that the thing doesn’t really NEED casters. Duh! There’s no reason for it to roll around. To the extent you need to move it a few feet, it slides across the concrete just fine. So he applied the male muscle power to pulling out the surviving three casters, and now it just sits there peacefully and levelly on the garage floor.

Voilà! Problem solved, for free and with no hassle.

At any rate, now the old one is “fixed,” Red Green Show style. If it works, it works…