Coffee heat rising

Eight Dogs and a Bird

Make that eleven dogs: add in Cassie, Ruby, and Charley.

This morning I needed to make a Walmart run fairly early in the day, so as to buy another package of giant pee pads with which to protect my floors from Cassie’s incontinence. In fact, she’s getting a lot better. But not having to mop up great Salton Seas of urine and then disinfect the lake beds made such a difference in the human’s misery quotient that I determined not to run out of the things.

Charley, who’s visiting while M’hijito junkets in Colorado, also tends to defile the floor…but not with pee…

Leaving them here unobserved so soon after feeding time was ill advised. So I did something even more ill advised: decided to leave the back door hanging open while I was out, so they could come and go as nature called.

It was, after all, pouring rain. Not likely any burglars would be working in that deluge. If they were, they would earn whatever they stole. 😀

So yeah. No burglars came visiting, but another intruder moved in: a hummingbird flew in the back door. Once in the house, he flew up into the kitchen skylight, where he became hopelessly, despairingly confused. He could see the sky through the cloudy glass, and of course, being a bird he figured that WAS the sky. But being a bird, he could neither figure out why he couldn’t get through it nor figure out that he needed to go DOWN, not up, to get out of his trap.

This is the second time such a thing happened. Last time, some years ago, I called Liberty Wildlife. The volunteer I reached this morning was dubious. In the pouring rain, all their distressed-critter rescuers were hunkered down, and believe me: NONE of them wanted to venture into the downpour.  Quite reasonably so.

He asked me to call back after 11, when a different volunteer would be on duty and more folks might be available to call on.


So I called several other rescue organizations, some of which could not be reached at all, some of which had endless yakathon/ear-splitting Muzak phone trees (how i HATE those things!) that were so discouraging that after five or ten minutes I’d hang up, some of which just didn’t answer at all.  Game and Fish greeted me with the familiar electronic run-around. Called the Fire Department’s non-emergency line. They suggested Game and Fish. I said I thought not. So they suggested the Humane Society. The Humane Society’s aggravating yakathon said they’d answer the phone in about ten minutes and then blasted an even MORE infuriating loud fake music at me. I couldn’t turn the sound down on the phone-set low enough to make it less distracting or less infuriating. Finally I realized that the Humane Society is less than ten minutes away from me. So jumped in the car and drove up there, where I found a roomful of live human beings. They suggested Game and Fish. 😀

Back at the Funny Farm, I called Liberty Wildlife again. The new wrangler on duty said they really weren’t supposed to rescue birds that weren’t large enough to harm a person.

Heh. Do you suppose I could persuade them that the hummer was trying to poke my eyes out with its long spear-like bill?

She agreed to call some volunteers, having identified the person she thought was closest to the Funny Farm. But she wasn’t sure she could round him up.

So that was pretty discouraging. I figured I’d just have to wait until the little bird became exhausted and dehydrated enough to fall to the floor, at which point it would die.

But no! Not too much later, along comes a phone call from a man who says he’ll be right over!He lives in the mid-town area, and seemed not to be fazed at the prospect of driving through the rain to rescue a hummingbird from a strange woman’s house.

LOL! Liberty Wildlife has come through!

He arrives at the door. Cassie, Ruby, and Charley, all three of ’em, fly into an ecstasy of Dog Joy upon greeting the guy. They clearly think this is the single best human they have ever seen on this planet, bar none. He introduces himself as Chris. The dogs apparently interpret that as “Christ”: they are now in full-out worship mode.

Chris says he loves dogs. He and his wife have eight of them, several of which are rescues. I say I found Cassie at the dog pound, where she’d been relegated because she barks. He agreed that barking was surely a unique trait for a dog…

I’ve already hauled the ladder in and wiped it dry. Takes Chris about thirty seconds to snab the hummer in one of those nets you use to lift fish out of water. I make a mental note to get one of those next time I’m near the sporting goods store. Bird delivered to the Great Outdoors, it takes off like a feathered rocket, chirping furiously.

So that was good. Sent them a little donation as a token of appreciation.

That and the fact that Cassie is getting much, much better were the only decent things that happened today, a true, certifiable Day from Hell.

This, That, and the ‘Tother…

Drawing a bit of a blank about what to write about this morning. Yesterday evening I had some brilliant idea, but now can’t remember it. But of course I can’t remember my name, so…no surprise there.

Here’s an Abert’s towhee out here in the backyard, pecking up some bugs under the paloverde tree. They’re effective insectivores — the birds, that is; not the trees. Along with a thrasher or two and a passel of sparrows, they’ll keep your yard free of ants and any number of other little crawlers.

Most of the hummers have (wisely enough) migrated north. They’re leaving the Valley earlier each year, in response to the climate change that doesn’t exist.

The Anna’s hummingbird used to migrate with them. They stopped doing so, though, with the influx of human admirers who hang out sugar water for them. For many years they buzzed about the Valley all year round. But this particular variety of flying gem is also damn scarce this spring…summer, or whatever it is. Reloaded all the feeders but have only seen one or two of them. So presumably this is yet another loss to what was once a pretty spectacular quality of life in Arizona.

My son says he wants to buy 40 acres in southeastern Utah, park a Tiny House in the middle of it, and go completely off the grid. Just him and his golden retrievers.

I have to say…there are times when that sounds pretty damn good. Think of how many unpublishable novels a creative type could scribble under those conditions.


But turning to the writing career, let us speak of cabbages and journalism…  The other day I picked up a sort of scholarly disquisition published by a Canadian university press. It is, shall we say, spare. Not to say “slight.” Which is, yes…that is what it is.

It’s only about 100 pages of copy, including a very lightweight introduction that does nothing but outline the book’s contents.

Looked at that thing and thought…huh! What I’ve already got in the “Drugging of America” series would fill that much space. Especially if, as this guy’s book is, it’s set in large type with wide margins. The guy has gotta be someone’s son-in-law.

So I decided to trick out a proposal. Preparatory to that, I took the first post and de-bloggified it yesterday. First step was to convert the links to end-notes.

Well. Naturally this led to another garden stroll through the Internet. HOLY shit, but this is a rich topic. Madly saved sets of links to a new Wyrd file, and came up with material for a good three more chapters. This would give the proposed book ten solid chapters, plus an introduction, plus a bibliography. And that would be one heckuva lot stronger than this little hardback I’m looking at now.

So over the next few days, I need to write an introduction, a chapter outline, a TofC, and a proposal. In a week or two, I hope to have that ready to send off. I’ll also send it to Columbia, which has published another of my books. And the UofA Press, where I have friends who have friends.

Step aside, Barbara Ehrenreich…

Choir season is winding toward its end. It’s been a splendid year with our two new musicians operating as director and associate director. The latter proposes to give voice and music lessons over the summer.

A friend and I have already imposed on her for the same, during the past couple of months. She (assoc. director) would like to be paid in the form of donations to the church. That would’ve been OK if I hadn’t used a large slab of this year’s required minimum drawdown from retirement savings to pay off the damned car. But having done that, I’m running dangerously low on money — have about four grand to last till the end of the year…and since operating this shack, eating, and maintaining the hounds and the car cost about two grand a month…well. Houston, we have a problem.

Really, I don’t know how I’m going to get through the summer, to say nothing of making it to the end of the year.

Complicating matters, the pool replastering job can’t be delayed much longer. There’s a crack under the coping that clearly extends through the shell, meaning the water that’s leaking through it is quietly creating some major structural problems. So that needs to be fixed.

Maybe it can be patched. But that will not fix the other issue: the plaster is flaking off because it’s almost 15 years old. That will cost four to six grand.

Ohh well…

Speaking of the writing career, I told myself I would finish (or at least make progress on) a chapter of Ella’s Story. Since I have to be out of here in an hour and a half to meet my business partner in lovely downtown Tempe, I seem to have procrastinated about as much as possible on that scheme.

And so, away…