Wednesday, September 27, 2006

The Trials of Our Fur Baby's Existance

Frankie, our Pomeranian, lives a very difficult life. He has trouble getting us to understand the simplest of commands.
We don't respond quickly enough when he wants to go outside.
We accuse him of barking at nothing, when he knows perfectly well that there is a child outside riding a scooter in his parking lot.
We buy him dog food that he doesn't like, and he has to go on a three day hunger strike to convince us that we must buy a different brand.
Whenever we offer him a treat of doggie jerky, he has to inspect it carefully, sniff it thoroughly, then take it off to a corner where he can examine it at his leisure, just in case we have tried to slip in a vitamin, heart worm pill, or something equally nasty.
We don't go to bed when he thinks it is bed time, so he has to bark at us and nudge us until we finally turn out the light so he can get to sleep--this, despite the fact that he has slept for a couple of hours on the couch in a brightly lit room--it is bedtime, and he needs for us to go to bed so that he can get some sleep.
Whenever we leave, he is seized with anxiety unless we take him along. He has to sit in the passenger seat so that he can be prepared to take over at any moment, if our concentration should lapse.
He is ever vigilant for 18-wheelers, which he knows harbor other dogs, and he takes it as a personal affront that they are allowed to drive on his highway.
He must also be alert for the presence of round hay bales; although you may think they are inanimate, he knows otherwise. He has seen them moving steathily along the roadway, on the back of a truck or trailer, and they might attack us at any time, with no warning. It is his job to protect us from them.
Also, once a person is allowed to enter our home, he is met with suspicious sniffs, a snort or two, and his departure must be hastened by Frankie barking at his heels all the way to the door.
He has to remake his bed every time I wash his bedding; and he has to roll around on it for several minutes to eradicate the odor of the detergent and softener.
Just when he gets comfortable on the couch, head on pillow, one of us is sure to make him move over by threatening to sit on him.
We are selfish with our bed pillows too, refusing to let him take over the whole pillow.
It's so sad.
Even after eleven years, he just can't seem to get us trained.

Wednesday, September 20, 2006

Works for Me Wednesday--Dry cleaning bags

If you have stuff dry cleaned, you know those bags I'm talking about.
thin, filmy, almost insubstantial, but still potentially lethal to babies, small children, and pets.
I don't have any babies in the house at the moment, but I do have a dog, so I try to dispose of those bags safely.
Here's how I do it:
First, smooth the bag into a long strip, by running my hand down the length of it and twisting.
Then tie knots in the bag every few inches.
Tie the knotty strip into a couple more knots, just for good measure.
Then throw it away.
This way, if the bag does manage to sneak out of the trash can, it is too compressed by the knots to be a safety hazard.
Of course, if your dog (or your child) manages to swallow it, you have another problem.
But that is another post.

Sunday, September 17, 2006

Going to the Dogs

When we moved into this apartment, we were asked for a picture of Frankie, our Pomeranian, and his medical records (rabies shots, etc.), and informed that the weight liimit for dogs in this complex is 30 pounds.
Since Frankie weighs about 10 pounds on a heavy day, with full fur coat (not his summer cut), we were well under the limit.
Apparently, the managers only consider the weight of the dog or puppy at the time it is aquired, however.
Yes, there are many small dogs here. Scotties, mini-pinschers, toy poodles, rat terriers, and fluffy little mutts whose looks and personality are much more important than their pedigree.
There are some who apparently did not read the terms of the lease.
They have overgrown the standard, some more than others.
For example, in the apartment directly above ours is a dog who started out as a bundle of white fluff not much bigger than Frankie. I think it has turned into one of those huge white Pyrranese dogs used for herding sheep--and it sounds like a baby elephant when it runs across the floor above our heads in the middle of the night.
In the apartment next to that one, we often see a black Labrador on the balcony. He is a young dog, with the sleek shiny coat of a puppy, and he is obviously lonely, since he whines in the most pitiful way when Frankie and I walk past below him. I just hope he never decides to jump off the balcony, because he would most certainly squash Frankie if he landed on him.
Another fellow apartment dweller has three dogs on leashes when we meet early in the morning. One is a definitely legal size scottie.
The other two--well, let's just say that if you put a saddle on one of those puppies, he would be in the same league as a Shetland pony.
Once in a while, we get a glimpse of a large dark hulking shadow peering at us through a patio door-I suspect it is a Rottweiler, but it is hard to say for sure, because we never see him outdoors except after dark.
Which is why Frankie and I take our long walks in daylight hours, and after dark run to the nearest fire hydrant and then duck back into the safety of our apartment.
Frankie is our fur baby, and we love him, but as a body guard he comes up rather short.
Of course, living in an RV, and now in a tiny apartment, what we need--and what we have--is a pocket sized dog.
Obviously some of our neighbors just had no idea how big their puppies were going to get, when they adopted them.
I would have thought that the size of those paws would have been a small (or rather a large) clue.

Wednesday, September 13, 2006

RV Woes Update

As I may have mentioned before, a few times, we used to live in our RV. But it has been in dire straits since the last week in June.
The extended warranty company says they are not going to pay for repairs to the inverter, the refrigerator, the sleep number bed, the tvs, vcr, dvd, etc.
Our problems started the third week in June. It's been a mighty long dry spell here in Texas, and no rain fell, as far as I know, anywhere in north or east texas in June--we live in east TX, and we were camping in north TX when the problems began.
The extended warranty company says they are not going to pay for repairs. Why?
They claim that the damage was done by lightening.
In the middle of a drought.
The RV has been waiting since 27 July at the RV repair shop for the extended warranty man to make a decision.
We finally had to rent an apartment, until the RV gets well.
Because we had to rent an apartment, we had to buy a couch, a bed, and a washer and dryer.
Because, as I said, we used to live in the RV, and the RV had all those things, but not working, of course.
Because of the lightening.
Which somehow we missed seeing.
or hearing.
or maybe we just didn't notice.
Weren't paying attention.
Lightening hit the RV, with us in it, and we didn't notice?
So the extended warranty guy said, turn it in on your vehicle insurance.
Now I'm getting paranoid.
What if the vehicle insurance guy says no it was not caused by lightening, and the extended warranty company should pay?
But the EWC has already said no.
Then what?
I'll be posting about all this again, when we find out what the vehicle insurance guy thinks.
If you're still interested.

Monday, September 11, 2006


I was walking down the hall when my assistant principal stuck her head out the door of her office, and said, "Go turn on your tv in your room. I think we are under attack."
From her tone and the look on her face, I knew something serious was happening.
I went directly to my classroom and turned on the tv. I stood there in shock, watching the images on the screen. By the time the second plane crashed into the towers, my room was full of students.
Tears were streaming down our faces. I literally felt sick at my stomach--actually, more like someone had punched me in the stomach.
I wanted to go home.
I wanted to call all my kids and bring them home with me. Like a mother hen, I wanted to gather all my chicks together in one place.
I wanted to know if Jeana's husband was at the airport, and if he was, I wanted him to leave.
I wanted all my grandbabies in my lap, right then, so I could hold on to them, feel their soft skin and their clean scent and their soft breath.
But I had a room full of kids.
And they couldn't go home either.
So we sat there together, watching in helpless horror, as the towers fell, the air filled with debris, thefire fighters and police cried for the lost heroes, the emergency workers ministered to those who had escaped.
We hugged each other, wiped each other's tears, held hands.
It was horrible.
But we couldn't stop watching.
Every time the images of the airplanes crashing were replayed, there was a sort of collective breath-holding, as if this time it wouldn't happen. But it did. Every time.

Babies born to those fathers killed in the carnage are five years old this year. Five years without their daddies.
Men and women live with memories, instead of their spouses.
Families sit down to eat, with an empty chair at the table.
Fire fighters miss their buddies.
Police officers struggle to hold back their tears at the sound of bagpipes.

Oh Lord, creator of the universe, father of us all, help us to make sense of these events. Hold those who grieve close to your heart.

Saturday, September 09, 2006

A Pause for Technical Difficulties

I am not a technical type person. I can run the washing machine and the dishwasher and clean the bathtub and change the sheets.
I can not seem to master anything more complicated than my twenty year old steam iron (which has lasted so long because I hate to iron and hardly ever use it).
Wick was gone this morning, and I had several small projects in mind for my morning alone in the apartment.
First, I tried to empty the ice trays. The ice would not come out. I tried running water over the bottoms of the trays, which did indeed get the cubes out, but melted them to half their size before I could scoop them up out of the sink.
Then, after stripping the bed, gathering up all the towels, bath mat, dog bedding, and other assorted laundry, I started the first of six loads of laundry. That went well enough that I decided to try vacuuming.
We bought a spiffy new upright vac when we moved into the apartment. It has all kinds of attachments, gadgets, even a self-cleaning duster. What it does not have is instructions printed on the vacuum cleaner itself.
I started in the bedroom, where there is not much traffic, and not much dirt on the carpet. I noticed that it didn't seem to have much suction, but I kept moving it back and forth.
Then I bent over to pick up a bit of lint that didn't seem to be affected by the vac, and suddenly the end of the hose (where all the little brushes and attachments hook on, I guess) tried to suck the hair off my head.
That's when I realized that the brush part of the vac was not sucking--only the hose part was sucking. Which is how I was feeling about this whole carpet vacuuming thing.
I wiggled and jiggled every part of the vac, pushed and pulled, tweaked and twisted, and could not figure out how to get the suction to go to the spinning brush thingy instead of the hose.
The hose, however, sucked just fine.
By this time I was on the fourth load of laundry. I had cleaned the sink and countertops, loaded the dishwasher, folded, hung, or otherwise disposed of the clean laundry, and worked up quite a sweat with the vac.
So I thought I needed a little break.
I thought I would watch Animal Planet and drink a coke, and cool off, while I tried to figure out how to make the vac vacuum.
I poured the diet coke into the glass, over the pint-size cubes I had already half-melted, and turned on the tv.
It came on just fine.
The only problem was that I could not figure out how to change the channel.
We went from Dish TV to a weird cable thingy when we moved into the apartment, and while I was not fully qualified to use the Dish remote control, I could at least change the channel.
I have not yet mastered the cable remote.
I can not change the channel.
So here I am, unable to get ice out of the ice cube trays, unable to get the vacuum cleaner to suck properly, and I can't even change the channel on the tv.

And Jeana keeps asking me if I have a site meter.
Can we say technologically challenged?