To love a pet

Recently, John Scalzi’s cat, Rex, passed away and just a few weeks ago, my boss’ cat, Mickey Man, passed on as well.
I’ve had innumberable pets over the years, all of which I’ve loved dearly and every pet’s death brought me to heartbroken tears, even the death of the fish when I had the aquarium.
Ghengis is the first pet that was completely and entirely my own. The fish were for the most part, but also fish don’t cuddle. When I first brought Ghengis home he was just a little 11 week old puppy, so very small. I’d never had a puppy so young. I’d made up a little bed for him but realized immediately that I could not lock him in another room to sleep alone.
I brought his little puppy bed into the room with me, set it up on my bed next to me and fell asleep with my hand on his back.
This seemed to work well, so the second night I installed his puppy bed again in my bed next to me and drifted off with my hand in his bed. Eventually, he stirred and squirmed and there was a little thump as he rolled himself out of the puppy bed and onto my mattress. He whimpered once and curled up next to me with a sigh and he’s been there with me ever since.
The thing about that moment is that I was struck with thoughts of his death. It seems so morbid and wrong, I know, but he was laying there falling asleep next to me and I knew he was going to be my companion, he was going to be my dog-buddy, and I knew that (if things go well) in 12 or 14 years I was going to be standing in a vets office telling him what a good boy he is and thanking him for being the best dog ever. I’d had my dog for less than 48 hours, he wasn’t even 3 months old yet and already I was sobbing because SOME DAY he was going to die.
And this, people, is why I don’t have children.
So, yeah, I just replaced $684 worth of eyeglasses (but only paid half, thank you gods of the ‘buy one get one free’ coupon), the interior of my car is completely covered in mud, he’s eaten remotes, knitting needles, shoes, shirts, books, my very treasured security blanket and probably a number of things I don’t even know about, but…
But, he’s a loyal companion, loyal almost to a fault. He’s taught me to calm down and be patient (especially when housetraining him), he wants very little more than scritches behind the ears and the occasional snausage but you can see the joy when he gets a new stinky dinosaur or settles in with a giant rawhide (he’s not a big dog, but he has the jaw of a big dog so all his chew toys must be very big). He’s jealous of David and occasionally acts out and yet he loves D for taking him running around the park when I’m too tired and for feeding him when I’ve forgotten.
He IS the good and loyal comapanion that I always hoped a dog would be and though he is only a year old, i do definitely know that when it comes time for him to go, a part of me will go with him.
Morbid? Yeah, but also very happy for getting to have this delightful little monster creature with the big eyes and the dopey face.

Domingo! Domingo! Domingo!

Sunday I’m standing in the shower trying to wash the lack of sleep off my face and I’m trying to map out the plans for the day. Gotta get everything super clean, gotta go to Lunds to get roadtrip snacks and windex and hey may as well get coffee while I’m there since Caribou is giving away a free extra shot because of daylight savings…daylight savings…
SHIT
I completely forgot to set my clocks, I’m in the shower shouting to David to get up, it’s not 8:30am it’s 9:30am, I’ve got an open house at noon, I want to get out by 11am so that the realtor has time to set up and anyway I want to get on the road early.
Blegh, so hardcore, quick running around. My peaceful, long shower that I had intentionally gotten up early for was cut short since I wasn’t up early, I was up late. We got dressed, divided tasks, traded tasks, tried so hard to wake up.
I went to the grocery store for road trip snacks and found myself briefly contemplating then shunning the Doritos. WTF? I bought apples, plums and carrots to snack on. Jesus, what’s wrong with me? This get’s rectified later, also, we already had a bag of chips.
Coffee was purchased, I came back, David was slaving away in the kitchen. We collected things together, I got him in the car and we headed out.
Ghengis is very funny in the car. He loves going for rides because going in the car always means going somewhere fun. Even the vet is fun because he gets good treats and he gets to see other dogs. While we’re on the road going fast he settles down and takes in the scenery but the moment I slow down he’s shivering with excitement, he literally starts whining anxiously as we MUST be getting close to the fun place. The instant I put the car in park he bolts from the back seat to the front seat, climbs in my lap and waits to be let out. This is a problem when you are stopped for a train and decide to put the car in park as it makes for easier waiting.
This also makes getting gas at the gas station in Red Wing a problem. I have a number of little nervous tics and habits. One of the bigger ones is that I chew my lip. With all that’s been going on lately I have been chewing my lip a lot. i’ve chewed a bit of a hole on the right side, it’s swollen, cracked and it looks like someone backhanded me (no one back handed me, no one would survive laying a hand on me for if I didn’t finish them off, my dad surely would). The dog, in his excitement, landed on my lap and as I was trying to put his compact 35 pounds of pure muscle and impulse into the back seat he managed to hook his nail right into the chasm in my lip. Like directly into it. Ow.
I got a call from my realtor letting me know she was on her way to my house. I called her back, perplexed as it was already noon. No, it seems the open house was changed to 2-4. Fine fine, easy enough, we’re already on the road but it would have been nice to have not been so panicked.
I couldn’t remember how to get to Barn Bluff, the big, pretty bluff over Red Wing so we went on as we had another destination in mind for hiking and all that.
We stopped at Frontenac State Park where we did some walking on trails and stood high over the river. I have pictures, they’re not very interesting, mostly the dog and David walking in nature. I got to watch a sea plane take off and a giant barge go by. This time I remembered to bring a water dish for Ghengis. We had a snack, played with the dog some more and took off.
We headed south again, with David navigating and me driving. I love love love driving long road trips. if it weren’t for the trashy meth habit and the weird bowlegged walk you seem to develop I might have considered a career as a long haul truck driver. Except not.
We meandered our way down and around until we got to Whitewater State Park. Here’s where I got all healthy and defied my true fat-girl nature. We hiked up to the top of Chimney Rock Bluff and god dammitall I forgot to bring the camera. That thing is high, way high, not ‘oh i’m fat and i had to climb without an escalator’ high, but for real high. I couldn’t find any good photos showing just how high a climb this was, but these are some good photos taken by someone I don’t know who seems to have gone during a very pretty time of year (my photos, had I taken any, would have been more barren and desolate with the lack of foliage and all). None of the photos show just how high I climbed so you’ll just have to trust me that I climbed a very very high bluff (one composed mostly of sandstone and quartz with no fossils to be found) and I hiked a goodly long way to get to and from it as we parked in the wrong parking lot.
The dog LOVES hiking through the woods (as does David), he’s a muscley strong little trooper who never ever runs out of energy. We met some people at the beginning of the hike and a couple hours later, when we were heading back we saw them again and they noted that Ghengis was not worn out at all. I know, as long as there’s some of stimulation that dog will not get tired. Luckily he passes out the minute he gets in the car. In addition to new and exciting things to smell and explore, the woods offers up an exotic buffet of animal turds for Ghengis to sample. He seems fond of deer turds and decidedly uninterested in owl pellets (not technically turds, but I thought he’d be more interested). I can now identify many major turd groups.
David slows me down (driving, not hiking, I slow him down when we hike), he’s not nearly as impatient as I am, he doesn’t really need me to drive fast. There’s soemthing about that lack of impatience that causes me to slow down as well. I don’t have to urge to drive as fast as possible, even though I love driving fast. We meandered over to Rochester to get some dinner and I wasn’t even worried about getting there quickly.
I’d spent the day doing healthy things and eating healthy snacks and the time had come. We hit the Culvers and I got a double cheeseburger deluxe with everything except onions, fries and an ice cream soda. The universe was demanding balance and who was I to deny this. The dog got about half the meat in the burger and more than half the fries, but still it felt dirty and greasy and decadent.
We ate out dinner in a park as the sun was setting, we watched the kids play and the geese land and we relaxed.
We headed home. The dog was passed out in the back, he barely wanted to lift his head until we got home. Once in, we put things away, settled on the couch and watched ‘Clash of the Titans’. What better way to end the evening than with a half naked Harry Hamlin and a claymation medusa battling it out as I dozed.
I got very little rest this weekend. I’m exhausted and I hurt, but this was a good and happy weekend. One of the best I’d had in a long time.

sacrifique el hígado!!!

yeah, so I have this dog and while I do love him dearly he has cost me an incredible amount of money for a thing so small. Obviously, I don’t begrudge him the cost of his care and feeding, these are to be expected and I want him to be healthy and happy so he gets pricey food and goodly dog treats and more toys than most kids. Beyond these things my dog has still managed to squeeze from me an amazing amount of cash. He chews, he chews a lot and he has this incredible knack for finding those things which actually cost a lot. He has expensive tastes, what can I tell you. Along with the two remote controls, the pillows, the sheets, the clothes, the shoes and the carpet (all the carpet had to be replaced, but to be fair the carpet was old and stained up, but he was the impetus for the replacement), he also chewed up 2 pairs of prescription glasses. So fiday night I went in and had the glasses and the prescription sunglasses replaced. Luckily, they were having a buy one get one free deal going on, but still, i’ve spent so much on glasses this past year it’s not even funny. No, it’s not funny, it’s damned expensive.
ah well, I needed new sunglasses for florida and I needed to replace the regular glasses as I’ve been wearing the ‘funky special occasion’ glasses almost exclusively.
So that was my friday night, dragging David to Pearle Vision to pick out glasses. Um woo? The only sad thing was that I could not get the same pair of sunglasses that I had before as they were hugely expensive, so I went similar but cheaper. I loved those glasses.
Saturday David, Alan and I went to OPH for massive amounts of pancakes and coffee and all that. After, the plan was to clean the house and get ready for the Sunday open house but luckily fate stepped in and we got a call for a showing. We frantically cleaned and straightened things out and grabbed the dog and headed out to spend the rest of the day in the sunshine. So much better to be outside than inside cleaning. We headed northwest ostensible to find the Anoka cat colony, but we never really found it. Instead we explored and drove and ran around. We stopped at a park to let the dog run wild for a bit and he LOVED that. Dogs like to play games or romp or fetch, but Ghengis will shun all these for a full bore, hardcore run. That’s what he loves best, just running like mad.
Then I got the biggest Ghengis scare i’ve had since I got him. He ran up to the semi-frozen pond and in an instant was on an ice chunk, before I could react and call him back he decided to go to the next ice chunk by way of the thin (THIN) sheet of ice between. A split second later he’s under the ice, completely submerged. I thought my heart would stop. With a scream on my lips as I’m running he comes bounding out of the water. He wiped his face all over the grass to get the freezy water off, shook himself off a few times, got a snausage from me and went on his merry way.
Then I cried a little, that quiet relieved cry when the surge of adrenaline seeps out and you’re left feeling a little scared and a lot relieved and when you play it all back you realize that the whole thing took less than a minute and yet every detail adds up to almost an hour.
More driving, exploring, chip eating, laughing, and talking. This is really one of my favorite things to do, get in the car and drive all over the place exploring. We took highway 65 back into town, marvelled at all the ethnic diversity in the restaurants and promised to get up there and sample the food. I don’t know what it is about Central avenue, north of the city but there’s just this huge diveristy, all this stuff going on and you never hear about it. The best part is that things aren’t divided in any way. You don’t have the ‘Indian’ block here and then the ‘East African’ next and the ‘Lebanese’ all bundled together away from the ‘Ukranian’ Corner. It’s all mixed together, one after the other.
We got home, David napped with the dog for a bit and I finished reading my book. The lesson I learned is that if more than one person, completely unrelated people who don’t know each other, tells me that I will not like Robert Heinlein, they are probably right. I read ‘Stranger in a Strange Land’ and I absolutely hated it. HATED. It was terrible. If I had to read ‘Thou art God” one more time I was going to rip the book to shreds. Go take your ‘fish out of water’ innocence and your superior grokking skills and stuff them up your own butt. I also hated the hippie style religious commune orgy bullshit and the ‘we never rush anywhere, we don’t hurry’. Hated.
I also learned that if a lot of unrelated peoplee keep telling me that I will like something I should try it out even if it seems like something I wouldn’t like. I finally saw Monsters Inc this weekend and loved it. I thought it was terribly cute and a lot of fun. Not a masterpiece by any stretch of the imagination but so damned cute and fun to watch. Not as good as Lilo and Stitch, but what can you expect?
In my continuing quest to make vegetarian comfort food (mostly I’m just craving comfort food, it’s what i want to eat and since I have a vegetarian to feed, I have to make comfort food that he can eat) I made a mexican version of shepherd’s pie with tvp. It actually turned out really well, I was happy with it, but I should have added some corn to the base, that would have helped. Yum.
Sunday posted in a bit, I don’t want to make the world’s largest post here!