Thursday, June 1, 2023

Who's Your Daddy?


I'm a terrible foster daddy. The whole idea of fostering animals from rescue groups and shelters, is to not get attached. The idea is to give the pet a loving and healthy place to live until a forever home can be found. I failed on my first official try at fostering. I have taken in stray and unwanted animals before. Cats that tenants and neighbors have left behind. I never could find homes for them, so I ended up with a lot of cats over the course of forty years. Did I mention that I'm allergic to cats? Then there are the dogs. I've taken in unwanted dogs a few times, but other than Sasha, our first schnauzer, I did find homes for them. Including a three legged dog named Tuffy. Can you believe that? I found a home for Tuffy the three legged dog. My nephew, I gave Tuffy to my nephew.

Back in early February I chauffeured an adorable little dog out to Batavia, or it may have been West Chicago, I forget. I did that for Cairn Terrier Rescue, the group that gave me Scout. On that short ride to the suburbs I fell in love with that little dog. Sadly, he was going out there to have his leg amputated. His name was Bucky and he had cancer. This was all explained to me up front. A month later I volunteered to foster Bucky while he had treatments in Chicago for his cancer. He became the star of my block. Everybody up and down the street got to know Bucky in a short while, including my neighbor who has the hair salon on the corner. She would cook up sweet potatoes for Bucky and trim the hair around his eyes while human patrons of the salon sat and watched.

Bucky and I connected immediately. He also won over Scout. He took over her bed. She didn't care. He ate next to her, drank out of the same bowl, she didn't care. Like I said, I was a bad foster father to Bucky. I fell in love with that little guy and became his good daddy instead, until the end. That was yesterday.

Wednesday, May 24, 2023

There is Always That One Guy


I sprayed my backyard fence with a tinted waterproofing yesterday. Not on my side of the fence, but on the neighbor's side. I tried to be very careful because I didn't want to get any overspray on her vinyl siding. However, I did get some on the air conditioner that sits just inches away from the fence. All day long I worried that she would notice that and complain. She didn't. That property used to be owned by a guy who never cut his grass, so I used to cut it for him. Not because I'm such a nice guy, but because his unruly lawn made my house look like crap. The new owner has a service that cuts the lawn, so that's not a problem anymore.

Every morning and evening, when I walk the dogs, I pass by another neighbor's house. One of those little Chicago bungalows that line so many of our streets. This place is owned by an older guy (My age) who appears to be in bad shape. I was talking to him the other day and noticed that one of his feet looked like a big wrapped ham. I figured that probably was why he never cut his grass. It was about two feet high at that point. So I told him that I was going to mow my lawn the next day and would he mind if I also ran my mower over his front yard. Once again, not because I'm such a nice guy, but because I was tired of my dogs wandering through that jungle and coming out covered in dandelion fuzz and other things. Yesterday I cut his lawn. Only the front yard, the part I can see. While I was chugging away, back and forth with my mower, his next door neighbor motioned to me. I figured he was going to ask how much I charge or something like that. I turned off the mower and he says to me in one of those crabby old fart voices, "Why are you doing that so early in the morning? You're waking everybody up." I smiled and started the mower back up. It was nine in the morning.


Tuesday, May 16, 2023

Life With Bucky


Bucky and me going to the suburbs

Back in February I saw that Cairn Terrier Rescue needed a ride for a little white dog named Bucky. Bucky had to leave his adopted home in Chicago and go out to a foster home along the Fox River. Bucky had cancer and was to have his right fore-limb amputated. It was impossible for the elderly lady who had adopted him to deal with all the vet visits and care he needed, so I messaged the rescue that I could be his chauffer. They had given Scout to me seven years earlier, and I felt I owed them something. Even though Scout turned out to be a bossy little girl who over indulges on cookies and food, I love having her with me. I picked Bucky up, strapped him into the backseat of my car, and off we went. At the very first stoplight I looked into the rear view mirror and saw his innocent little face staring right back at me.

About one month after that trip with Bucky, Shell Lewis from the rescue, texted me about Bucky. She spelled out exactly what was going on with him and what he needed. Then she asked if I could possibly foster him during his medical issues. I texted back one word, "Yes". I had fallen in love with that little dog during our short trip out to the suburbs. I couldn't say no.

He has been a joy to have here for the last two months. Scout likes the company, and who doesn't love two sets of eyes staring at you while you dish out dog food and walking down the street with two bags of dog shit in your hand? Unfortunately the inevitable has come. Bucky has been getting less active and two days ago he started having trouble with the stairs. Also, yesterday he did not want to go for a walk and instead spent the entire day under my bed. It seems that Bucky was crashing, and I should be making plans. I knew what I was getting into. This morning I got up expecting things to be worse, but Bucky got up, went outside and peed (I carried him), ate with Scout, and then went for a walk with me and Scout. It's a miracle! No, I'm not stupid. I've seen dogs bounce back like this before. He has cancer that has spread to his lungs and lymph glands. It is incurable. But hell, I got another day with Bucky and so far it's been a good day.

Thursday, April 27, 2023



My winter hosta garden

It's that time of the year again. Planting season. Out in the yard, all of my perennials are coming up nicely. I dumped my usual giant bag of wild flower seeds along the back of the house and next to the front porch. They have sprouted and are growing. Last week I drove out to the suburbs to dig up hostas from my sister's yard and transplanted them in my yard. They look fabulous.

About hostas. Over the years I have spent a lot of money buying plants from HD, Lowes, and garden centers. To save some money I decided to grow plants from seed. Starting in January I would set up tables in my living room and put my newly planted seeds in the window. I watered them and coddled them. Marigolds grew well that way. Last year I tried begonias. The result was just so-so, but I got some flowers out of that. This year I ordered seeds from Amazon. I ordered two hundred hosta seeds of varying types. I carefully planted and watered them, and then I waited. Water, wait, water, wait. After over three months of waiting, this is all I got. One tiny seedling. Very cute and it will probably mature into a nice hosta. The only thing bad about that seedling is that it cost me twenty dollars.

For scale, that is my finger in the upper left corner

Friday, April 21, 2023

Old Friends


Leah and I became old friends about six years ago. I say old because I was sixty seven and Leah was eighty eight years old. She was the mother of Gary whose bowling team I am now with. The first time I met Leah, I was watching some friends bowl. She sat on a high seat watching her son's team, with a bowl of candy on the counter in front of her. She was the candy lady who brought candy for anybody who wanted some. Leah was also the arbiter of poker hands. For three dollars you could buy into the poker game. Two cards for a strike, one card for a spare. The cards featured nude men which kind of freaked me out at first. Not because I don't like nude men, but because nobody seemed bothered that they were showing an eighty eight year old woman cards with naked men on them. I got over it. After all, my mom used to have a party cake business and would make you a naked man cake for any occasion. Anyway, without hesitation Leah would look at the cards and declare which hand was better than another. Leah was fun to talk to and I got a thrill out of taking her out in my 1929 Model A Ford a few times. The car and the lady were the same age. We will miss Leah, everybody at the bowling alley knew her and loved her. She passed away on Tuesday.

Tuesday, April 11, 2023

White Heat


Mom, 1949

Yesterday I saw an old man walking down the street wearing a heavy winter coat with a knit hat pulled down over his ears. Seeing that made me think about my mom. It was seventy three degrees outside. The same temperature outside as inside the house. I was wearing shorts and a tee shirt and was ready for this spurt of summer like weather. I was ready, but my body apparently is not. I was cold. Seventy three degrees and I was cold. I seriously thought about turning the heat back on, but then I'd have to listen to Dennis whine about how hot his apartment is. Mom was the same way. She was always cold. I remember when I was a kid and Mom would stand in the corner of the living room where the heat register was, letting that blessed hot air warm her legs. When she got older, no amount of heat could satisfy Mom. When I would visit her, even on a summer day, the house would be stifling and the furnace would be blasting away.

"Mom! (You had to shout) You have the thermostat set for nearly ninety degrees."

"Oh, I do? I was cold."

I would turn the furnace off and open a window. Fifteen minutes later Mom would ask, "Is it cold in here? Aren't you cold?"  No, it would usually still be well over eighty degrees in the house. Mom would sit there wearing a sweater with a blanket over her lap, pouting. Moments later she would put her electric Hoveround chair in gear and zip on over to the hallway. I could see her staring up at the thermostat, at which time I would go over and pretend to turn the heat up. But I wouldn't

That's what I was thinking of as I sat in my recliner chair wearing my shorts and tee shirt. No, I did not turn the heat on. I went and put on long pants, a thermal long sleeve shirt over my tee shirt, and a sweat shirt over that. I also turned on the little fireplace space heater for awhile.

Mom, 2018

Monday, April 3, 2023

Mi Perro es Gordo


I put Scout on a diet  over a week ago. I had noticed that she seemed to be extremely overweight. So bad that I had a dream where I was using her back as a table because it was very flat and wide. I waited too long to do this, to put her on a diet. Scout is fat and it wasn't until Bucky came to stay with us that I realized just how fat she is. Bucky is lean, almost anorexic compared to Scout.

In the living room there are five huge windows that look over the street. It is Scout's realm, where she keeps a lookout for trespassers and strangers. She has a chair that she uses to get up on the radiator/window sill so that she can 'Gladys Kravitz' the street. It's the same chair that Bucky, our new roommate, likes to sleep on. Saturday I had noticed Scout limping a little bit. Later in the evening she was up on the radiator/window sill, but could not get down. That's because Bucky was sleeping on her exit chair, so she jumped. The thing about Scout, is that she thinks that she can fly. She jumped the two and a half feet off of the radiator and hit the floor like a sack of potatoes. She let out a yelp and I thought she had broken a bone. For half an hour Scout moaned and cried, so I took her to the Doggy Emergency Room.

First time I had been to the doggy emergency room and I was impressed. The building looks like a human hospital. After being triaged and given a tag to put around Scout's neck, we took a seat. It was a seat that I would get to know very well over the next five hours. Over two hours waiting to see a doctor, and three hours waiting for Scout to get her xrays. During those two hours Scout and I were first waiting, I got to see a large Doberman have diarrhea on the floor of the waiting room, and a small dog that looked like a cross between a Chihuahua and a Beagle, barf up a chocolate Easter bunny. We'll call that, the floor show. Meanwhile, Scout decided that she owned the waiting room and barked at every new dog that entered her new territory.

It turned out that Scout had not broken a bone in her foot but had only sprained it. She came out of the xray department all happy and walking on all fours as if nothing was wrong. She was on a methadone pain killer. The nice lady handed me her on the leash along with two bottles of pain killers and instructions for her to lose ten pounds. Oh, and a bill for nearly eight hundred dollars.

Scout and Bucky