Sunday, September 14, 2008

Ghost Writing~

Browsing at Barnes and Noble this afternoon, I noticed a display filled with books for the Halloween “season.” I looked over several titles and came upon a box, sealed in cellophane. The outside of the box said, “Ghost Writing.”

The box is sealed, but there are helpful pictures on the front and "directions" on the back. Apparently, with this Ouija-looking ‘planchette,’ you can contact the dearly departed. A special pen is provided that you insert into a hole in the palette thing. You put your fingertips on the edge and wait for the spirits to start writing. This contraption costs $19.95, before the membership discount.

Now, Barnes and Noble is a reputable bookseller. This isn’t some hole in the wall, San Francisco boutique that caters to the occult. This is a suburban retail outfit.

I would be thrilled if such a pen and planchette could actually be used by my dead family members to chat with me. Heaven knows we have stuff to talk about. Nobody wants to believe that this is possible more than I do. But something about this niggles at me and I just couldn’t add the “Ghost Writing” box to my stack o’ books.

I do wonder though – IF you buy the box and the contraption doesn’t work, will Barnes and Noble refund your money? Or will they blame the customer because the ghosts don’t want to write? Or will the harried, eyebrow-raising clerk inform you that since you didn’t BELIEVE hard enough, OF COURSE the damn thing didn't work?

K (who is scratching her chin hairs here….)

Saturday, September 13, 2008

Bad Doggy Gramma

Danny has reported to San Diego for Game Warden duty and Brandy is visiting family in Las Vegas. So, I am on Dog Sitting Duty.

This morning Ziggy awoke early. He is now five months old and at least 50 pounds. He is used to getting up with me at 5:30am but THIS is not a 5:30am day.

Saturdays mean nothing to him. My precious sleeping-in time is of no consequence to the black Labrador. It was O’Dawn Thirty when panting puppy breath, just at eye level, invaded my peaceful weekend slumber. I turned over. He licked my neck.

I am assuming he came upstairs because nobody downstairs would wake up. When licking my face didn’t work, he began working on the brown dog – trying to get his attention. Seamus was having none of it. He growled at Ziggy, sighed a doggy sigh, and went back to sleep.

So naturally, Ziggy attacked the bath mat. He killed it and then killed it again. Then he shook the carcass and ran it around the house, announcing his victory. Next came the bathroom trash can and its plethora of fun contents.

When the spewing of old tissue and the chewing of used Q-Tips failed to elicit response, Ziggy went after clothing on my closet shelf. Down came the brand-new, white and fuzzy hooded sweater, the one on sale. He killed it. Then he shook it and paraded the remains around the house. Nobody applauded his victory. I opened one eye while Dan yelled at him to SETTLE DOWN! He didn’t.

So, back to my face with his puppy panting. I noticed white sweater threads and a piece of toilet tissue around his snout. Feeling suspicious, I got up.

I took him outside and ordered him to “go potty.” He gave me a “pity pee” and began running around the yard. I threw toys, his ball, and an old bone. He dutifully ran after them and plowed into my legs with all of his overgrown puppy force. I stepped in mud trying to avoid broken bones. I found bathmat and white sweater wreckage around the family room. He attempted to wrestle the parts from me and kill them again.

I went upstairs to take a shower.

Now, Ziggy thinks all bathroom activities require canine attendance. A closed shower door is an invitation, apparently, to hurl his 50-pound-plus body against the glass and howl miserably, demanding entrance. Huge puppy paws clawed at the glass. The idea of sharing shower space with a stinky dog first thing on a Saturday morning is less than appealing, so I told him NO and he flopped down to wait. Mostly.

In between waiting episodes, he tried to get the brown dog to play with him. Seamus wouldn’t budge. He jumped on the bed but that didn’t work either. The brown dog does NOT get up early unless hell has frozen over. The weather has cooled, but there is no evidence of freezing over.

So, Ziggy tried to get into the closet but I ordered him, through soapy hair and water-blurred vision, to LAY DOWN! He did, temporarily.

But what does a moving bath towel mean to a Labrador puppy? YES! Tug! Tug! Tug! This explains the loose threads in my favorite $50.00, extra-plush bath towel. All mysteries are eventually explained.

FINALLY, Ziggy got breakfast. A few more throws of the ball were obviously NOT going to cut it, so I saddled up for a bike ride around the block to tire the dog out. The loop is hilly and Ziggy runs like he’s possessed. This is a GOOD thing for exercise so we rode around and around and around and around. He kept up with me until the fourth go-around, so I slowed down. Then we went around some more. He kept running, smiling his doggy smile, panting his doggy pant.

Until he stopped running. Just like that. No warning, no slowing down, nothing. Just… errrrk!

I noticed he was sending doggy saliva all over the place. We stopped at a corner house down the street where a pair of nice ladies were watering. They were more than happy to hose down the hot puppy and provide water.

“I don’t think dogs are supposed to foam at the mouth,” one of the hose ladies said.

“He’s not just tired?” I asked, feeling like Gramma of the Year.

“Um, no. He’s getting over-heated,” she replied, covering Ziggy with cool hose water. The dog flopped onto the shade of the sidewalk, licking up water and looking generally exhausted. It was really pitiful.

“Well, shoot. I’m not a very good doggy Gramma,” I confessed. Ziggy rolled over so the nice lady could hose down his belly. He snorted and looked more pitiful.

“Let’s just hope you do a BETTER job with the real thing,” said the hose lady. Her tone of voice indicated that SHE would never encourage a dog that kills bath mats and new sweaters to run around the block to the point of exhaustion. SHE would know when to stop.

Feeling contrite and wracked with guilt, I walked Ziggy home. To add to my misery, he began limping.

When we reached the house next door, Ziggy revived. He ran at the neighbor, rolled on the grass, and demanded a belly rub. Then he did a somersault and tried to bit the neighbor’s inert weed whacker. Then he resumed limping home.

I think I am forgiven because the black lab is asleep ON my foot right now and the bath mats of the house are safe from doggy destruction.

K (Bad Doggy Gramma)

Monday, September 01, 2008

Our House... is a very, very, very, fine house...~

My house is an insane asylum.

Brandy and Danny left their animals with us for a few days while they take care of some business.

Ziggy, the 12-week old Labrador puppy, can’t stand it that Duke, the 14-year old dachshund, doesn’t like him. The solution is to stalk the poor geriatric dog all over the house.

Seamus goes ballistic if Ziggy comes near me. Ziggy always comes near me. Seamus needs Prozac.

Tallulah, the cat, can’t stand the fact that she was moved without her permission. She is pissy, nasty, and actually HISSES at me in my own house. Every move she makes attracts the attention of Augie, who won’t let her be. This adds to her “mood,” I am sure. Augie sits for hours on “point” outside Danny’s bedroom door. The cat sits inside, plotting my demise.

Koka, the red-tailed boa, won’t eat. “Little Guy,” the ball python WILL eat. I am tempted to smear the cat in mouse droppings and have her “ visit” the snake enclosure “by accident.”

Otis refuses to come inside, favoring the garage and the back patio. Until the Zigrador figures out he is there – then the gray cat hides behind the compost pile or jumps into the yard next door, where there are only 3 dogs in residence.

Dan keeps trying to “talk” the dogs into calming down. During the last negotiation session, I took the Zigmeister outside to run around. He promptly mistook my hand for a tennis ball. It still throbs. When the swelling goes down, I will check for broken bones.

And Dustin won’t believe me when I tell him that the dachshunds just belted out the last portion of the Jeopardy! theme song. He served up some leftover dinner, ate standing up, then drove out of here like a bat out of hell, saying something about me seeing the Virgin Mary in the Grilled Cheese Sandwiches next.

He didn’t take ANY of the dogs with him.

If the ball python won't dispatch Tallulah, I’m going to put that bitchy little feline in HIS room and won’t HE be surprised…….