Thursday, October 31, 2013

Bette Update

Bette goes for a walk
It's been three weeks and I am totally frustrated. Bette is a very sweet dog, both cute and cuddly. The problem is I cannot house train her. For three weeks I have been trying to catch her peeing in the house so I can grab her and rush her outside. She is a stealth pisser, just like Sasha was, only Sasha peed in the shower. Bette pees in the sun room off the living room. I have been going through one and a half rolls of paper towels per day. Not only that, but the volume of pee has been steadily increasing and Mark insists on buying the cheap paper towels that turn into wet mush when dropped on a pee puddle. Sometimes she goes for four or five hours without peeing, other times she pisses every hour on the hour. I am honestly considering a diaper on her ass, and a bell on her collar. I did catch her pooping the other day. I shouted "NO!" real loud, then grabbed her and ran through the house to the back door while poop pellets popped out of her little ass like a furry Pez dispenser.

It's not just the toilet habits that have me pulling my hair out. Bette refuses to walk on a leash. When we walk out the front door all is fine. She struts down the front porch and out the gate, then stops. I've tried coaxing her, tapping her ass lightly with a stick to get her going, and dragging her along behind me. Nothing, she refuses to go along with the program. So when it's time for her "walk" I have to pick her up and carry down to her favorite poopy/pee place, and then when she is done pick her up and carry her back home. One of the neighbors suggested strapping her to a skate board. That might work, or I could just give up, buy better paper towels, and let her turn the sun room into a permanent toilet.

Wednesday, October 30, 2013

War of the Worlds

Don't Blink
I absolutely hate going to the eye doctor. Not only does he poke, probe, and shine the brightest light known to man in my eyes, he never gives me good news. I knew something was wrong when he held up a card with a grid on it.
    "Tell me what you see. Are the lines clear, wavy, or blurry?"
    "Uh, ummm, all of the above and I see shadows coming off them."
That was the wrong answer. Suddenly he had half a dozen more tests to put me through, including three things that actually touched my eyeballs.
    "You might feel a little tickle when it touches, just don't move."
I moved, just a little, but it was enough to make him have to stick whatever it was he was sticking into my eye, into my eye again. Anyway, after a lot of sticking, shining, stabbing, and having to look this way and that, here is the diagnosis. For starters I have a cataract. The doc says that it might be the source of my decreased visual acuity, but there is something a bit more disturbing going on. He says that the scar where an incision was made about ten years ago in my eyeball, seems to be deformed and changing. Sort of like an over ripe grape. So he made appointment for me with another doctor, a specialist's, specialist. I'm not looking forward to seeing this guy. Not because I know he will also put me through a lot of eye poking, but because he's in another county and Mark will have to drive me there. Have I mentioned lately that Mark is the worst driver in the world.

Tuesday, October 29, 2013


Yesterday I mentioned cooties in my little story. I don't really know what cooties are, only that they are bugs that you catch from girls, hobos, the kid down the block with the dirty fingernails, and just about any undesirable. At least that is what I believed when I was a kid. Cooties was also a game that was popular back in the nineteen fifties. It was a game that consisted of a bunch of colorful plastic bug parts that I distinctly remember playing up in my sister's bedroom. The object was that you threw the die (singular for dice) and the number that came up allowed you to acquire the body part assigned to that number. Then you threw the die again and that told you which part you could connect to the cootie body. It seems like I enjoyed it very much when I was just a little kid, but reading the rules to the game now make me wonder if I wasn't just a little "twisted in the brain" (my mom's words, not mine). Anyway, I don't think we played the game the way it was intended more than a couple of times before we decided it was more fun to create cootie Frankensteins by sticking body parts where they didn't belong. As for getting cooties from girls, I still believe that could be true.

Monday, October 28, 2013

A Neighborly Day

I try to get along with my neighbors, even the cow next door who leaves her barking dogs out in her yard at midnight. I'm cordial to her, and I wave hello every time she goes by in her noisy piece of crap car, belching oily smoke. In answer to Rodney King's question, yes I can get along.

Sunday morning I took the car out for a quick trip up to Dunkin' Donuts. I like to drive on Sunday mornings because there are so many less things for me to run into. Anyway, as I made my way towards Dunkin' Donuts, I saw my neighbor from across the street walking. You may remember her from my story about her seeing alien landing craft one morning. She isn't well. I know she drinks a lot, and probably abuses other non-commercial products, but she's always been nice to me. She also saved a dog that had spent her entire life tied up to a tree when the bastard owners moved away and left her. So there is a lot to like in this neighbor despite her substance abuses. I stopped the car and asked her if she would care for a lift.
    "Whaaa? I've never seen you drive Alan."
    "I do have a drivers license. Come on, get in."
She slowly opened the car door, and got in. I asked her where she was off to.
    "The Quality Diner. I didn't know you could drive Alan."
    "Yes, like I said...  "
    "So you can drive? I didn't know you could drive."
It was obvious she had already started drinking, or more likely, she was still drunk from Saturday night. Her hair was a mess, her arms looked like she was wearing skin that had been shed from a lizard, little scabs covered her face, and there was a distinct foul odor about her. When we pulled up in front of the Quality Diner she leaned over and gave me a big kiss on the cheek. Let me make a small point here, I don't like kissing. Inside I shuddered and every organ in my body clenched when I realized what she was doing. Her lips felt more waxy than moist on my skin, and I am now very sure that I have cooties. I will give her a ride if I ever see her walking again. I'll just be ready to dodge that kiss next time.

Friday, October 25, 2013

So What's Bette Been Up To?

I have been bragging to everybody who will listen, and isn't sick of hearing it, that Bette is one tough puppy. I've told everyone that she isn't afraid of anything. Today she proved me wrong. She is afraid of something, something that Sasha was not afraid of. The vacuum cleaner. Sasha stood up to that big blowhard. Sasha would chase it around as I busily vacuumed the living room, barking madly at the interloper. Not Bette, she steered a wide arc around the vacuum as I went through the bedroom with it. And when I had her cornered on the far side of the bedroom she ran under the bed, and popped out at full stride on the other side. That's something Sasha could never do seeing as she was the size of a very large Butterball turkey. So Bette is afraid of the vacuum and it just might be my fault. Maybe if I used it more often she would have got used to it right away. I think yesterday might have been the very first time she ever saw one, and that doesn't say much about my housekeeping skills.

Wednesday, October 23, 2013

Close Shave

Mark has a friend who refers to my legs all the time as freakishly hairless. He thinks it's odd and has accused me of shaving them. I don't. I am not a hairy man. I feel for women who have to shave their legs all the time, that must suck. I'm pretty much like a hairless Chihuahua. I didn't even have to shave my face daily until well into my twenties. Once every few days I'd drag a razor across the few patches of beard that I had. It's not like that any more. As I push into my mid-sixties hair is popping out all over. It's coming out of my ears and sticking out of my nostrils like curb feelers on a '57 Chevy. I also have a full compliment of facial hair that needs to be shaved every day. Here's the problem, with my bad eyesight I can't see my own damned face. Yesterday as I was going through my daily task of shaving, I thought I had missed a spot on my chin. So I tilted the razor up just a little bit, and sliced off a piece of my face. It was still bleeding this morning. For some reason razor cuts just do not stop bleeding. Anyway, I have added a new step in my morning routine. After the deodorant, and after the Q-tips in my ears, but before I start shaving my face, I put on my reading glasses. I tried it this morning and it worked out well. I didn't miss a single spot. The only problem I had was seeing my face very clearly, and very close up for the first time in years. It wasn't pretty.

Tuesday, October 22, 2013


Mark and I saw the movie Ratatouille about six years ago. As I remember it, a cute little rat from the sewers moves into the kitchen of a famous Parisian restaurant and proceeds to create spectacular dishes with a little help from a human cook. Mark and I both liked the movie, we just had to suspend our disgust of rats running around in a kitchen to enjoy it.

For the last few nights Bette has been waking me up. I hear the jingle of her tags, and when I look down at the foot of the bed I can see her silhouette in the dark. So I quietly get out of bed, and escort her through the kitchen so that she could go out the back door and pee. Why else would she want to get up in the middle of the night? One thing I noticed as I walked through the kitchen with my flashlight, the broom had fallen down and was laying across the floor. I stood the broom back up behind the door where it is kept and didn't think another thing about it. Next night, same thing, broom on the floor as I walked through the kitchen with Bette. It took my finding a gnawed on hot dog bun on the counter for me to figure out why the broom kept falling over. A rat! The rat is obviously climbing up the broom, jumping over onto the counter, and helping itself to my hot dog buns. On it's way back down it knocks the broom over. So it's all out war. I have put out traps and poison. I'm hoping the traps get the damn thing before the poison, because nothing smells worse than a dead rat stuck somewhere in the wall. Unfortunately I do not have an indoor cat anymore. But I do have Bette, though I'm not sure what she can do about a rat other than wake me up so I can listen to it scurry around the kitchen too.

Monday, October 21, 2013

Ginger Snap

I don't think I am in the early stages of Alzheimer's. I don't remember anybody in my family as having had it, but of course I wouldn't if I had it. I do often have a hard time remembering words though. Simple every day words, and more often, words that occasionally come up in conversation escape me. See, like right there. I froze when I came to the word 'escape'. I had to stop typing and just sit there with my mind whirring away until I remembered what word I meant to put in there.

Friday evening Mark and I were watching Hard Ball with Chris Matthews. Chris Matthews was interviewing a nice looking young guy with red hair, or ginger as they refer to it in the U.K.. Suddenly I lost interest in what they were saying because the young man with ginger hair reminded me of somebody else, somebody specific that I could conjure up in my mind but not put a name to.
    "Mark, that guy reminds me of a singer from the 1980's"
    "Hmmm.... "
    "You know who I mean. Come on and help me."
    "That's all you're going to give me? A singer from the 1980's?"
    "Red hair, wore a suit in his video... " At this point I started to dance in my chair trying to mimic the dance the guy did in the video. Mark just stared at me as if I were having...  (Again I have forgotten a word that I want to use here. Please wait while I try to think of it. Oh yes, now I remember.) convulsions.
    "Come on Mark, help me out. Red hair, suit, video, anything?"
    "Do you mean Rick Astley?"
    "Bingo! And he sang that song... you know, that song?"
    "Never gonna give you up was the song, and he didn't wear a suit in that video. He wore a trench coat."
Nearly seventeen years together now, and it's finally paying off. I can now give Mark the most vague of hints, the least amount of information, and he knows what I'm trying to say. That's kind of scary, because how will I know if I have Alzheimer's if all I have to do is look to Mark for what I'm thinking.

Thursday, October 17, 2013

Whipping Boy

Mark had to pick up a few things for dinner on the way home, so we popped into the Publix. As Mark strolled up and down the aisles, I tagged along behind him. We turned into the condiment aisle, and Mark stopped the cart to reach for a jar of Miracle Whip.
    "I haven't had this for years." Mark said dreamily.
    "Ugh, don't waste your time with that crap. I won't touch it."
    "Yeah, but I like it. No, I love Miracle Whip."
That seemed incomprehensible to me. How could a cheap imitation of mayonnaise be loved?

There is a long list of foods I won't eat. I have made Mark acutely aware of my feelings about these things with the hope I will never find them in the house, or on my plate. Despite that, I occasionally do find them hidden in a dish. Here are a few that will turn my stomach every time.
  • First of all there is that Miracle Whip. It tastes like a penny, very metallic with a dash of sugar. It tastes nothing at all like mayonnaise. Growing up, Miracle Whip was all we ever had in our house. I didn't even get a taste of mayonnaise until I was old enough to drive myself to a cheap restaurant and order my first BLT sandwich.
  • Velveeta; My god, where do I start. How did they ever figure out how to make that orange goo, and market it as food? It comes in big bricks that don't even need refrigeration, and I think in a pinch you could use it for caulking.
  • Pepperoni; I can eat it on a pizza, but with a lot of sauce and cheese to disguise it. I used to love pepperoni when I was a little child. In fact, because I ate up all my dad's pepperoni once, he bought me my own pepperoni sausage the next time he went shopping. An entire pepperoni sausage, all mine to eat all by myself, which I promptly did. After eating about two thirds of that thing, my gag reflexes kicked in. I buried the last third in our back yard, next to our dead canary and never ate it like that again.
  • Cooked carrots; Slimy, mushy, and nasty. Enough said.

I know, to look at me you'd think there wasn't anything I wouldn't eat. That is pretty close to the truth, but even though I eat ninety eight percent of what Mark puts in front of me, I can be picky. All I ask is that he doesn't ruin a good pot roast by sticking those goddamned carrots in there.

Wednesday, October 16, 2013

Falling for Chicago

A cool front came through here the other day. I could feel it when I took the dogs out that evening. The breeze was a nice northerly, the humidity had dropped to just under fifty percent, and the temperature had dropped about two degrees below the eighty five it had been the night before. If my mom had been here she would have said, "Oh, it's so humid and hot. How can you stand it living here?" You say potāto, I say potăto. You say it's hotter than Rosie O'Donnell's armpits, I say it's not nearly as miserable as yesterday.

I was looking at the weather up in Chicago over the weekend and it made me nostalgic. I must admit that I miss the crisp fall weather with the crystal clear blue skies. They say you can never go back home, meaning back to the home you remember in your youth. That is probably very true. On most cool fall Saturdays, when I was a kid, fathers would rake up the leaves in the front yard and pile them along the curb. Then just before they went into the house to watch hours of football, they would strike a match and burn those leaves. I loved the smoky, yet pleasant aroma of smoldering leaves. I miss it, but even if I lived up north, because of air pollution, I wouldn't be allowed to do that. I miss the burning leaves so much that sometimes when the weather finally cools down here in Florida, around January, I rake up a few leaves from around my live oak, and burn them on Mark's backyard grill.

I'll continue to watch the weather on WGN, and check the internet throughout autumn to see how lovely it is up in Chicago. I have to, because I don't want to miss that moment when it all goes to shit, turns into snow and sleet, and drops to ten below zero. That's when I'll be happy about living here in Florida.

Tuesday, October 15, 2013

Top Dog

I have taken to shuffling around the house like an old man. It's not because I am so old, or because of some infirmity, it's because of Bette. That dog follows me everywhere. She's only seven pounds, and when you walk through the house she resembles one of Chandler's squeaky toys. So to keep from stepping on her and killing her, I shuffle. Mark is furious. Bette was supposed to be his dog. He picked her out on the internet, he named her Bette, and he was the one who wanted a new dog so soon after Sasha died. I'm glad he did because I really like this dog, and she likes me. What she doesn't like, or is indifferent to, is Mark. It's as if he doesn't even exist on her radar. She loves Chandler. When I leave the house Mark tells me that she follows Chandler everywhere. So the pecking order of the dog pack for Bette is, Me, Chandler, her bowl of food, and then Mark. I don't know how to change things for Mark. I've suggested he walk her, and feed her, hoping that would imprint him upon her tiny little brain. I even told him that he doesn't have to pick up her shit, or wipe up her pee puddles. I think those suggestions would go a long way to building a relationship with Bette. In the mean time she sleeps on my head exactly like Sasha did, she is in every room I walk into, she clings to me like Saran Wrap. The only time she leaves me is to take a pee, and for that I have to be very observant because she is a stealth pisser. Mark has a way to correct the problem of 'his' dog not being his dog. He wants to get another one. The only problem I see with that is that I'd have three dogs following me around the house instead of two.

Monday, October 14, 2013


A few months back I started watching the television show Breaking Bad on Netflix. They had the entire first four and a half seasons on there. It was like reading a good book. The writing, the directing, and the acting were all so good I couldn't stop watching it. I finished up watching the final half of season five on AMC along with millions of other people. While browsing through available shows on Netflix Saturday, I came across something called The Walking Dead, also an AMC show. If it was anywhere near as good as Breaking Bad, it would be great. So Saturday afternoon, instead of watching hours of mind numbing college football, I watched three episodes of The Walking Dead. Later that evening I watched one more episode before going to bed. That turned out to be a very bad idea. If you haven't watched this television show, it's about zombies. It's about zombies and the few humans left who aren't infected with zombie juice. It is about how to kill zombies, and how to escape from being bitten by zombies. Basically, to kill a zombie you have to destroy its brain, and on The Walking Dead they destroy a lot of brains. They shoot bullets through them, they cleave them with hatchets, they send arrows through the skull, they stomp, they beat, and they pound zombie brains with whatever is handy. It all involves tons of blood and guts. I know it's all movie blood and guts, that it isn't real, but tell that to my subconscious. Tell that to my brain while it is trying to get some sleep. I woke up at least four times Saturday night with nightmares. Will I watch any more of this horrific show? Of course I will. I'll just not watch it in the evening, before bed. By the way, Mark ran screaming from the room during the second episode I watched, and never came back into the room. Now there's another good reason to keep watching it.

Friday, October 11, 2013

It's Been a Busy Week

Just this morning she ate a bag of Gummi Bears while I was walking Chandler. They were up on a table, well out of her reach.

Thursday, October 10, 2013

Writers Cramp

About a year ago I thought I had finished writing a book. It had taken me a year to write (which makes me jealous of some writers who seem to be able to write a book while taking their morning crap). Anyway, I sent it out to a few of my relatives hoping to get some feedback on it (Queue the crickets). My mom read it and when I asked her about it she used the word "well..." a few times, and then threw in the word confusing. I then sent it off to a few dozen literary agents. About a third of those took the time to send me polite replies, and in many different forms told me that it sucked. Finally one of my sisters suggested I contact a friend of hers, who knew a woman who did book editing. Here's what the book editor suggested, after I paid her. Bad ending, rewrite it. Bad beginning, rewrite it. Also, she told me that I didn't deliver on the subject that the title had suggested. That was about six months ago. I have done very little since, other than to add some details within the story and change the title. I did try to rewrite the first chapter only to make it worse than before. As for the ending, I am going to throw out most of the last chapter and turn it into three chapters. Finally, to spice up the story a little bit, I am going to turn one of the characters into a wizard, add some very kinky sadomasochistic sex scenes, and have the teenage daughter of the family marry a black vampire. I'll let you know how it all turns out in about a year.

Wednesday, October 9, 2013

Ardon Tires

If it weren't for junk mail, I'd get almost no real mail at all. Still I hate it. Mr. 'O' our Korean letter carrier makes no effort at all to put the flyers and supermarket sale sheets in the mail box neatly. Tenant's mail, Mark's magazines, and offers to have my body cremated are routinely stuffed between the pages of the sale sheets. And then there are the pizza and Chinese restaurant menus. Those are always left on the door knob by homeless people hired for a couple of dollars and a bottle of vodka. I have often considered gathering up all the menus, on all the door knobs up and down the block, then driving to the offending establishment, and throwing them back at them. So far I haven't done that.

Early yesterday afternoon I went out to our car to get some rolls of toilet paper that Mark had left in it. Toilet paper is too heavy for Mark to carry into the house so he always leaves it for me. As I walked out the front gate I noticed that there was an advertising flyer on the windshield. It had gotten wet, and Mark had tried to remove it by turning on the windshield wipers. That didn't work. Instead it stuck to the window and in the heat of the sun it became permanently affixed to the glass. I tried peeling it off, scraping it off, and scrubbing it with steel wool. It would not budge. I wasn't going to take this shit. So I noted what establishment it was advertising, got the keys to the car, and drove up to Ardon Tires.
    "Si, can I help you sir?"
    "Yes, you can remove that advertising card from my windshield."
    "Is that all? You only want me to take that off?"
The man had a quizzical look on his face, probably wondering if this gringo had drank too much tequila?
    "Yes, you put it on there. You take it off."
The man just stood there and stared at me for a moment.
    "I put it on there?"
    "Look at it. It says Ardon Tires. It has your address, your phone number. Take it off."
He walked away, and returned with a razor blade. Quietly he scraped it off of my windshield. When he was done, he stepped back a little bit and pointed to my front tires.
    "That is very dangerous. You see the steel belt coming through the tread sir?"
    "Yes, I guess I do."
    "You should replace those tires very soon. I wouldn't go far on those."
I looked the tires over. They were in horrible shape. So I asked him how much to replace them, while at the same time quietly cursing to myself. "Goddamnit, he got me."

Tuesday, October 8, 2013

Tick, Tick, Tick

I like raisins. I like them in cereal, in cookies, in a salad, in just about anything, I think raisins taste good. I especially like it when raisins are in cooked cereal, or a good rum raisin ice cream. That's when they become all plumped up and juicy. They sort of pop when you bite into them, and release their sweet juicy innards.

Our newest addition to the family, Betty the miniature schnauzer, brought along some friends with her. I hadn't noticed when we picked her up, but she was infested with ticks. The paper work that came with her said that she had been treated for fleas and ticks, and the very efficient lady at animal control assured us that all her shots were up to date, that she had been micro-chipped, that her lady parts had been removed, and again that she had been treated for ticks, not to worry. So imagine my surprise last week when I was carrying my sweet Betty around and discovered fat juicy ticks falling off of her. Live, leg wiggling, blood engorged ticks. Immediately all steps were taken to remove said vermin from her tender little body. Cans of bug spray were dispatched upon the surfaces she had touched, and our bedroom was bug bombed. I thought we had tackled the problem until during dinner last night when Mark pointed to a plump gray nugget on the wall of the dining room.
    "Is that a tick?" He asked.
I reached over and touched it. Sure enough it moved. Amid much screaming and retching, I knocked it off of the wall and stepped on it. Thick reddish black liquid squirted out of it... like a cooked raisin.

The exterminator is scheduled to be here between eight and ten in the morning on Wednesday. Until then every itch and irritation on my skin will have me stripping down to find the little bastard that is trying to hitch a ride. Also, I think I'll pass on that rum raisin ice cream that Mark has in the freezer.

Monday, October 7, 2013

Dream Time

I awoke angry, with my heart pounding. In my dream I was just about to knock on my tenant's door and scream at them. Even after it was apparent that I was only dreaming I still had some residual anger. I hate dreams that do that to me. This time the dream was that one of the tenants was forcing pennies into the slots of the coin operated washing machine. I was angry because that is where I go for my Friday night drinking money, I empty out the coin box. That is the real reason I installed a coin operated machine in the laundry room. It certainly doesn't collect enough money to pay the electric or water that it uses. But it does collect just enough for two vodkas during cocktail hour. The worst part about that dream is that I have great tenants. They pay their rent on time, they're clean, and for the most part they are quiet. After calming down, I finally fell back to sleep only to be awakened once more by an equally upsetting dream. This one didn't get me angry, or excited, only upset. The second dream was of piles of dog crap everywhere in the house, along with puddles of pee. This dream upset me because it was extremely realistic, and very, very close to what my life is actually like.

Saturday, October 5, 2013

Friday, October 4, 2013

It's Bette; Pronounced Bet-tee, as in Bette Davis.

Yes I know, it wasn't even on the short list. Anyway, we picked her up yesterday afternoon. A sixty five mile round trip through the godawful Miami traffic. When we got there a man who spoke no English brought the baby out from the nether regions of the dog pound, with her under his arm like a sack of potatoes. She had just had surgery, she was spayed and very groggy.
     "Here's your dog. Sign here, and here."
     "You don't clean the dogs up before you do surgery on them?"
The lady at the counter looked up at me as if I had just said Fidel Castro was walking through the door.
     "No, we don't bathe them."
     "My god she's filthy. We're bringing her to the groomers tomorrow anyway." I said.
     "No, no groomer, no bath for ten days." She instructed us.
 So for ten days we will have a very smelly little dog in our home. She is very scared right now, and I would think a nice bath would make her feel better. However, I will wait... til maybe Saturday.

More of Bette

Thursday, October 3, 2013

What's in a Name?

I think I've established before how much I value my sleep, so I was not very happy when Mark loudly announced that I should get up and get dressed. Sure it was nearly noon, but I had got up at six to walk the dog, eat a donut, and watch 'The Colbert Report' before returning for some blissful sleep. I was tired.
    "Where is this address in Miami." Mark said, shoving a scrap of paper in my face. I wiped the sleep from my eyes, and squinted to bring it all in focus.
    "Hialeah, out by the Palmetto Expressway. Why?"
    "There's a cute little schnauzer there. It'll be killed if we don't go get it. So get up, get dressed, and let's go."

Before we left the house Mark showed me the web site for the Miami/Dade County animal services, and the forlorn photo of a scraggly looking little dog named Lilo. This was the dog Mark wanted to save. So into the car we went for the hair raising drive into Miami in a pouring rain. I had never been to the Miami animal pound before. It was a bit intimidating, and very industrial in appearance. It is what I think a Nazi version of the Department of Motor Vehicles would look like. Gray, stark, and efficient looking. After walking through smelly halls ripe with the odor of animals and disinfectant, we came to the room with Lilo in it. Along one wall were stacks of cages, each with a small dog peering out. Some were happy to see us, and some were sleeping. Lilo was cowering at the back of her cage, looking very dirty and scared. I gingerly opened up the cage, and let her smell my hand. She was having none of it. I turned to speak to Mark. No Mark to be found. So I closed the cage door and went looking for him.
    "Oh my god, look at this dog. I want this one."
Mark had wandered off into another room of the building.
    "Okay, but I thought you came for Lilo."
    "Well not so fast. Look at this dachshund, he's adorable."
As we walked past each dog, Mark changed his mind.
    "Maybe we should get this one, or should I take the last one I looked at?"
Mark was suffering from DPSS, dog pound shock syndrome. He wanted to take them all home. I've been volunteering at Abandoned Pet Rescue now for five years, and though I know how heartbreaking it is to see all those dogs, I have become immune to DPSS. I slowly coaxed Mark back over to where Lilo was caged. I walked over to her and opened the cage door. As I gathered the scruffy little girl up in my arms, she pressed her head against my shoulder and looked up at me.

Lilo will be released to us tomorrow afternoon after she is spayed. We will take the hell drive back down to Miami, and return with Chandler's new little sister. She is mostly schnauzer, if not fully schnauzer, about six months old, and when she gets home her name will no longer be Lilo. We don't know what to name her, but we don't like Lilo. Here is a partial list that Mark has come up with. Let me know what you think.

Storm, Garbo, Ashley or Ash, Mist, Nene Leekes, Mrs. Howell, Gilda, Harper, Miley, Biscuit, Daisy, Wrigley, Oreo, Pebbles, Mamie, Macy, and Swirl (She's black, gray, and white)

Wednesday, October 2, 2013

Buy It Now

I took Chandler for his late afternoon walk yesterday. We stopped and had a little chat with Diane and her dog Olivia, then Chandler stopped again for some rolling around on Carolina's front lawn. All in all, we were gone for about a half an hour. When we got back home I took off my shoes, sat back in the big fluffy chair and watched some television. Some while later I noticed that the sun was low on the horizon and there was no aroma of my dinner being prepared. So I popped my head into the kitchen to find out what was up. No Mark. I looked into the bedroom. No Mark. So I picked up the phone and called him. In the background I could hear voices and mall music. Mark had escaped while I was walking the dog.
    "Where are you?"
    "I'm at Jo-Ann Fabrics with my friend."
    "But it's dinner time."
    "Look in the refrigerator and eat some leftovers."

This is nothing new. Mark has been haunting the malls since he was a child and figured out how to steer a car towards the light. What is bothering me the last few weeks is his activity on the internet. Lately packages have been arriving at the house. Large flat boxes, large square boxes, small boxes, every kind of box, with return addresses from around the country. Mark has discovered Ebay. I don't know how much he spends on it, or what exactly he is buying. Some of it is hard to hide, like the dolls, but whatever he is buying I hope it is just as easy to resell on Ebay when he goes broke. Of course the up side of these online shopping sprees is that it keeps him closer to the kitchen, where he belongs.

Tuesday, October 1, 2013


I knew there was trouble this morning when I took Chandler for his walk and he made a bee-line for the grass. No not to pee on it, but to eat it. Like a little cow, Chandler started munching down on my neighbor's lawn. Now I know that dogs do this when their stomachs are upset, so I let him go for a little while before we walked on. Half a block later he started doing the doggy heaves, arching his back, opening his mouth wide, and spewing forth a frothy mix of chewed grass and bile. As soon as he had expelled all the bad stuff, Chandler ran over to another neighbor's lawn where he again chowed down. When we got home I squirted a dose of Pepto-Bismal down his throat hoping that would settle his stomach. Even with the Pepto he continued to barf, as evidenced by the wad of chewed, wet grass I found in the sun room. Poor Chandler wasn't even up for his breakfast. Despite adding a bit of cooked egg as an enticement to his food, Chandler took one look at his bowl and walked away. For five hours that bowl of food sat there uneaten, full of high quality dog food. Dog food that costs sixty five dollars per bag. Then, around two in the afternoon, I went outside to clean the swimming pool and as usual I invited Chandler to come out into the yard with me. He immediately ran out the door to where the kitty cats poop, over by the shed, and started gorging himself on as many nuggets as he could dig up. Yes it is disgusting, but I look at it this way. If I could figure out how to produce cat poop flavored dog food, at sixty five dollars a bag, I could get rich.