little_tristan: (Bunny)
All the library books are read and ready to be returned. I worked out a recycling system for Murphy's little tin cans, and found a great deal on his food on Amazon. They not only have the good stuff available by the case, it's Subscribe & Save eligible. And the cases are variety packs, so I can have two sent every month and get six or seven flavors.

Murphy's definitely better in some ways. He loses his balance more than ever, but the problem isn't new. He was less than a year old when the guy we were living with sprayed him with a toxic chemical and Murphy licked a lot before I could wash it off. I don't know if it's a neurological problem or an inner ear one, but ever since then he falls over when he shakes his head. Now he falls over when he tries to groom, too. The other night he wanted to sleep on my ribs and went rolling off down my back four times before he got settled securely. I love his determination.

The good thing is that he's put on a little more weight. And the skin breakdown on his rear legs, the part kitties sit on, has reversed. The little sores are all healed over and starting to grow new fur. Even his coat, which has always been amazingly glossy, is suddenly more so.

On the subject of pretty coats, Ranger's having a good winter, too. Her prior recurring problems haven't come back, so we know the meds are working. Other winters she's been having treatment instead of preventative care, which made her fur turn dusty grey and fall out. Constantly. In ridiculous amounts. This year she's as pretty as a puppy.

Willow's being extra pretty too. I wish the light had been better in that pic the other day. It didn't really do her justice. I've been spending more time on her coat, raking the fine hair behind her ears and on the backs of her legs so it flows properly. She likes to play in water and mud. We have a lot of that in the yard right now and much of it comes inside on her legs. I don't know why it's on her head.

I woke up at one this morning needing to fix my blankets. Mark is a terrible blanket thief. But I couldn't budge them because there was a cat in between us, weighing them down. I couldn't even get my hand under the cat to reach Mark. Murphy's gained weight, but he's not that heavy. He is, however, the only cat that sleeps at the head of the bed. There are rules. I got my hand out from under the blankets to feel the cat and discovered it was Big Orange Roy. (12 years old and still 13 pounds of lean muscle and attitude.) He was so happy to be petted he stood up and started licking my hand so I got the blankets. Then he curled up on my pillow and went back to sleep.

Mark says Roy can never have Murphy's place. He'll never be Head Cat of Gilead, even if that means the post stands empty after Murphy moves on. I agree that Roy and Kenny aren't Head Cat material. But I hope he lets one of them sleep on my pillow anyway. Roy's been sleeping between our feet for a decade now. He deserves some face time. If he promises not to lick our faces while we sleep*.

I finished online Christmas shopping yesterday, and the cards I ordered arrived. They're so very cute. If you've never gotten a card from me and want one, PM with your address and I'll be happy to add you to the list. If you've gotten one before, you're already on it.:) (Except maybe [personal profile] amine_eyes, because you keep moving!)

Heather's coming over soon so I need to get writing or I won't accomplish anything today. Except for all the stuff I was doing earlier, but that hardly counts.

*He'll totally lick our faces while we sleep.
little_tristan: (Puppy Upside Down Willow)
To the best of my knowledge, [personal profile] oddmonster safe. <3

As soon as Mark and I left Thursday afternoon, Russ took Willow upstairs to eat and watch tv. Ranger stayed downstairs to patrol the house and wait for me, as is her preference. She just has to be able to watch the doors or she gets really anxious.

After about an our and a half, Will started running around whining and pawing at the bedroom door. When he wouldn't get up, she jumped on the bed and grabbed a mouthful of pants leg like Lassie when Timmy's down the well.

She pulled him off the bed--it was either get up or lose his pants--and dragged on him until she was sure he was going to follow. He let her out and she ran down the stairs, through the kitchen, and down the ramps to the library. When Russ got to the kitchen she was at the bottom of the last ramp, not barking or whining, just standing in a perfect bird dog point aimed at the backdoor. Border collies point beautifully. It's weird.

Russ went down to see if there was a possum or something out there, and what did he find? Ranger, sitting patiently on the backdoor ramp, waiting to come in. We've no idea when the arch-nemesis put her out, but Willow certainly knew when it was time to bring her back.

We're not only thrilled to finally have one of those pull-you-around-by-your-pants-leg-when-they-need-to dogs, but also one that's looking after her elderly friend. Whether Ranger appreciates it or not.

This is a picture I took of Will today. She was nervous and whiny with the boys gone (there was a floor being painted at work so they didn't think it was safe to take her). But she likes to sit in the rolling chair to be brushed. When I was done, I moved it over by my desk so she could sit up beside me and get petted without jumping while I was working. She's also learning the command "get in your seat".

little_tristan: (Books)
I forgot to turn my phone ringer back on after the concert Saturday. Goes to show how long it's been that I actually thought a ringing phone would be a distraction or something. Gunfire could easily have gone unnoticed by anyone more than four seats away.

So I didn't know Heather was calling all morning to tell me her son and the girl she babysits are both sick so she couldn't come over. I very much appreciate this. Being sick is the worst. If she doesn't get it, too, she'll be over Friday.

The dogs don't know it, but they'd be happy. Willow gets to stay inside and Ranger doesn't have to be on alert for the baby (who's almost THREE) trying to get off the couch. She knows he belongs there and is incredibly vigilant in her self-assigned duty.

Now I get to write all day. I'm very excited. Not only have I figured out what the ending is supposed to be, I think I'm onto a plausible way of getting there.

Plausible is one of my favorite words. It lets me write the most unlikely things without having to say it's a different universe than ours. A grand capacity to love and sacrifice should be probable. But I'll settle for plausible.

I also get to read. My Currently Reading stack is back to five. Or six. This morning I got back into Commandant of Auschwitz. I'm at the part where Hoess he explains how he wanted to run a clean, efficient camp full of healthy, well-fed prisoners who would be grateful and want to work hard in return.

It didn't work out for him (poor Hoess) because he was given incompetent and malicious underlings who refused to unlearn the cruelties they brought from other camp postings. And the young ones were no better, because they preferred to learn from the cruelest of the "old hands". So everyone ignored the poor misunderstood commandant, who was doing his best to accommodate his prisoners but simply couldn't be everywhere at once. The man literally begs for our sympathy, if not outright pity, for how hard he worked and how unappreciated he was.

I guess when you know you're going to get hung, there's no reason not to say whatever you want. It's a shame, though, that no one seems to have written a point by point historical breakdown of the claims he makes. One prisoner's brother did. A long footnote comments on all the inaccuracies written by Hoess about his "friendship" with the prisoner, who survived the camps and also read the book. They weren't friends.

It's going to be very hard to finish. But I still want to know.

Before bed I'll switch to Doug Adams.
little_tristan: (Bloom County cutter john)
After all the excitement Saturday and sleeping on Sunday, it's a regular Monday again. I'm recovering by telling myself that it won't be thirteen years until my next concert. We really have to get out more often. It's been two or three years since we've even been to a play. There was the airshow this summer. That was nice because Mark went. I hope we do something together again some day. He's more fun than he thinks.

This is me putting off starting writing for the day. I should do it before Heather gets here, but I still like it better in the afternoon. Except I'll probably be too tired after chasing kids all day. There's no school so she's bringing CL, who still kind of hates me. Really, she hates Ranger. But it's too cold for Ray to be outside now, it aggravates her arthritis and then she can't get on the sofa, so she stays in and Willow goes out. They fight if they're both inside with company to get jealous and weird over.

But CL, who is nine and somehow knows absolutely nothing about behaving in other people's homes, bitches at me the whole time about how she can't stand being around Ranger and why can't I put her out so she can play with Willow. She won't play with Willow, but she pretends she would.

I hate government holidays. Veterans Day is important, but it was yesterday. Doesn't it somehow cheapen the whole thing to stretch it out so government employees get a three day weekend? Sort of exploiting the memory, isn't it? I really feel that way. It's not just because I was expecting a Netflix today.

Okay, no more screwing around. Must start actual work now or it's going to be a mess.
little_tristan: (Gilead Gunslingers)
I almost put an exclamation point in there, but it felt too excited for my level of sleepiness. Which is ridiculously high.

Nothing that happened yesterday was what I expected. Heather spent most of the day--when she wasn't washing dishes and herding kids--trying to get her friends on the phone. No one had school (thanks to No Child Left Behind, most of our schools have no budget and five day weekends aren't as uncommon as they oughta be), yet no one showed up. At least three other mothers were supposed to bring their kids and none of them even answered the phone. I guess that's why I was invited--so someone else would be there no matter what. It's an important role we fill for each other.

Because it was so relatively mellow, just Heather's two kids and the girl she babysits, I spent pretty much the whole day sitting at the end of the bar in her kitchen, feet up on a stool and reading. Finished The Dark Tower, with just a few tears, and made good headway in The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy. Having seen the movie so many times, it's awesome to rediscover all the little bits of genius that got lost in translation. Also, Mark has just got to read it!

I also didn't get to go to Burgerville, which is traditional for visits to Heather's because there's on right down the street. The boys had to buy a cubic fuckload of KFC for a potluck they were forced to do at work, and so weren't hungry. But they had half a bucket of chicken left over, including my very favorite piece. And a bag of assorted candy. So it was a pretty good road meal, considering there were no napkins.

And then there were trick or treaters! That never happens! Mostly because I turn off all the lights and pretend to be in bed by five. But this time, due to circumstances quite likely beyond your capacity for boredom, there was a lllotttt of candy in the house, and I forgot to turn off the living room lights. An intrepid band of Mexican fairy princesses and pirates braved the darkened porch and scored so big they told approximately everyone on the street. Leaving me no choice but to turn on the porch light and pick my favorite candies out of the bowl before it was too late.

Ranger also performed outside expectations by barking the minimum amount required to communicate that a) she's a dog; and b) she can see them, while staying well behind me and not once rushing the door. Even when I accidentally gave her a perfect opportunity to take out three princesses and a cuddly bunny. Possibly it was the costumes that held her back, but I like to think she understood it was a one time deal and we were all just going to play along.

Or maybe it was because I'd been gone all day and she was afraid to piss me off. I think she worries about things like that. But I'm home today, warm and safe, with a windstorm outside, books to read and a story to write. Maybe. I'm not quite sure what happens next.

Since writing that last line, I learned about MiniNaNo, so I'll try to get out a few words after all, just to see if I really can write every day. Odds are on no, but we'll find out.:)
little_tristan: (Bunny)
But it's not even dawn so here's yesterday's news.

Ranger made a full recovery and spent the day reasserting her dominance over Willow. Surprising how quickly a dog Will's age can forget a year and a half of fuzzy-butt-whippings and start thinking she's in charge after just one day. But that misapprehension has been corrected and all is well.

Tammy came over and dusted, which is probably boring to read about but never fails to thrill me. Everything is so clean, and she's so much fun to have around. Really breaks up the boredom of a Tuesday.

I've been playing around with The Dancer this week, too. With Steve out of the way (he was a bad influence on one of the characters) and no deadline, self-imposed or otherwise, I might get it fixed up this winter. Or not. Depends on if it keeps being fun.

The nemesis avoided me all day, which was really nice. I kept the heat turned up unbearably high to reduce the chance of yelling, and apparently made some points. He wandered in last night while Mark and I were kicking back with a little Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy (the first hour, at least--we'll have to finish it tonight) and offered to raise the rent. That's pretty standard. If shouting doesn't work, throw money at it. Well, if it makes him feel better, who are we to say no?

Today Heather's coming over. Hopefully with canning jars, or I'll have to send her to Goodwill to look for some. She also volunteered to take the old man shopping for proper clothes if he wants to go. He probably will. Hanging out with Heather is that much fun. I'm bummed that I'll miss out on her company, but having the house to myself is nice, too. There was a new Criminal Minds DVD in the mail yesterday, and I still have a disc and a half of the final season of House. Heather doesn't let me watch that stuff with the kids in the house.

Also big plans to finish reading The Dark Tower so I can start The Hitchhiker's Guide series. I haven't read them since I got them for Kindle and short books will help my numbers. (Next on deck: Anne of Green Gables series.) I think I need to read another 40 books before the end of the year to meet my goal. This has not been a good year for me and reading. Next year I'll raise my goal again and try harder. Maybe more Kindle Singles would help. They sure did last year.
little_tristan: (Otters Significant Otters)
The nemesis pitched a bitch over room temperature, as he does most days, because it was only 74 degrees and he was chilly in his flip flops and Hawaiian shirt. I didn't want to turn it up because I was wearing a heavy skirt and three shirts. It's October, after all, and this year it's the start of winter. (In 2006 October was summer. We never know which it'll be until it happens.) But I did turn it up, I always do, and got screamed at anyway.

It turned into a bigger problem when Ranger got sick. I'm not sure what her initial problem was but she self-medicated by eating dog shit, rocks, and those needles off the tree out back that we haven't identified. And then puking it up all over the house. She didn't care for the heat either, but the nemesis doesn't like her so her vote didn't count. She just slept against the front door crack all day.

Mark was closing up the house for the night when his dad caught him and ordered him to order me to turn up the heat during the day. They yelled at each other for a good ten minutes about heating costs and my right to be comfortable in my part of the house (not unlike his right to keep his part of the house at 90 degrees and make us pay for it), but that didn't count for much, either. He insists he only wants 15 minutes of extreme heat while washing dishes and flat out denied the two other times he walked into the kitchen that afternoon, shouted Christ, it's cold in here!, and stood around waiting until I turned it up for him. It's similar to his version of asking (How about some damn heat in here already?), but he says it doesn't count. I guess because I cut off the screaming before he made it a question.

Anyway, I went in there and ended it when I heard Mark ask him if he understood what muscular dystrophy actually is, and he said of course he does, he's been living with me for years. I can not hear that from the person who puts my food on the highest shelves, leaves broom handles lying across doorways, and routinely locks me out of the house because he can use the door with the key and I can't. If he refuses to grasp that I can't change my clothes when it gets too hot or too cold, he doesn't get to claim to understand anything. But just because we got to go to bed, that doesn't mean it's over.

We didn't give Ranger her pills or supper, the vet thought her stomach needed the rest, but we left the bedroom door open so she could sleep with us. I didn't want her thinking she didn't get fed because I just went to bed and forgot about her. But she wasn't very happy and didn't want to lick my hand when I said goodnight.

It got better, though. First because having her curled up beside the bed kept Mr. Sloane on my pillow much longer than usual. I do love sleeping with a peaceful, fuzzy cat in my face, but he leaves early when the room is too warm. Unless there's a dog present. We even have a saying for it, recited to the tune of shave and a haircut: Dog in the cat-room, oh no!

The nemesis got hold of Mark again this morning, waylaying him by the side door on his way to start the truck and sending him all over the house in search of a bathrobe which may or may not exist. The a-n says he bought it years ago but none of us remember it. Mark never found it, but he was late to work so the point was made. Stupidly, of course, as it's very cold in this old barn in the morning and all the heaters were on everywhere. But he wouldn't be able to torment Mark later, so he had to pretend to be cold and blame us for it while he had the chance.

Fortunately Ranger seems to be all better. That overrides senile stupidity and lets me say my day is off to a good start. Her nose is cold and wet again, which I couldn't help but notice when I got my crazy happy morning hand licking, and she ate her supper for breakfast. Although she did eat it lying down, which tells me her joints hurt and I ought to give her a pain pill to make up for the one she didn't get last night. Then we can be stoned and happy together.

Last night I was kind of sad about having so few people friends, at least in RL. (I understand it and it's my fault, but it still makes me sad.) But when I have a giant wet dog nose under one hand and a warm furry kitty under the other, it really doesn't seem to matter that much. Fortunately the world will never lack those two things.
little_tristan: (Ranger)
Ranger was having a nap on the sofa this morning when I noticed the little bald callused spot on her elbow where it rubs on the floor (she doesn't like padded beds) was sort of shiny. And mildly chewed, like she's been licking it a lot. On closer inspection, I discovered a small pea-sized lump under the skin, like a fluid cyst. Her behavior's been off a bit of late, the last three weeks or so at least, and I've been chalking it up to a variety of age, medication, and situational issues. But with the weird little pea as a variable, it could add up differently.

I called the vet and started off that way with her a couple hours later. It's been a lovely sunny day, if a bit breezy, and she was walking slowly but excited about going out. I put Barenaked Ladies' Gordon on my iPhone and sang most of the songs to her on the way over. She loves being sung to, and What a Good Boy is our song.

Michelle, the doctor who owns the practice, was in for a visit. I haven't seen her in nearly two years, not since the day her migraine was so bad she literally couldn't remember which dog Ranger was or why she was seeing her, but she's a lot better now. Still not ready to work, but she comes by a couple times a week and does a little nail clipping or abscess draining just to keep her hand in. I love the other doctors, too, though. They both worked there as techs before going back to college for their DVMs, so we've known them forever.

Ranger checked out beautifully on the exam and stood still for the biopsy as long as she was allowed to lean against me. And in ten minutes we knew conclusively that she doesn't have cancer. It's a pressure related cyst from lying on the floor, but the doctor gave me some advice on what to do to keep it from getting worse. As it is, it's not a big deal. And this wonderful news only cost us $35.

Altogether, it might rate as the best day of the week.
little_tristan: (Kitten Prepared for War)
The house has become sort of an unarmed camp. Since I last posted, the boys have swung around to my side, but even with three of us we're losing. Or maybe we've already lost. The nemesis is convinced that Willow is attacking him when he's sitting in his office chair in the library. (Having finally destroyed the manual wheelchair he took from me, he's now appropriated the last of the boys' chairs with working features.) She jumps on him, yes, because we can't seem to break her of jumping on everyone. But when she does it to us, we either tell her off in an appropriately stern voice (followed by sit, so she has something to do), or, if we're feeling warm and fuzzy, grab an armful of puppy and get our faces licked. Really, it depends on if she's been out in the mud or not.:)
Much complaining this way... )
little_tristan: (Supernatural sam spoon)
Willow just had her first successful leap-in-the-air-and-catch-the-ball moment. Unfortunately, she failed to complete the twist and landed on her side. The ball popped out of her mouth and Ranger picked it up, so I think the game is over. Possibly also the ball.
little_tristan: (Puppy Willow)
The weekend's Freecycling went great. We got rid of everything, even the thing that Bruder said was garbage, because nothing is garbage when someone needs it and can't afford it. I put up my first wanted post, for a larger crate for Willow, who still loves to hide in hers even though she can't stand up in it, and got a reply last night. Of course it was from someone who missed my note to call before 6 pm, so I wasn't awake for it. I'll call back in a few hours, when people who were up all night will be up again.

And speaking of Willow, Bruder just came in and told me a story that made me cry a little, but in a good way, so I'm going to share it. (I think it's [ profile] oddmonster safe, but if not, let me know so I can adjust the definition.) He and Herr are working in the office off the library and he put the dogs out for a bit. Both of them can open the sliding door--years ago I put a handle on the bottom outside so I can open it with my feet and Ray picked right up on it--but Willow uses her head and shoulders while Ranger uses her paws. This is very hard on her defective elbows so I try to always be there to let her in before she can do it herself. But since Bruder let them out, it was up to him to watch and bring them back.

Of course Will got impatient, as border collies do, and opened it herself. She uses her nose to push on the handle until she can get her head in the door and then just shoulders it open far enough to squeeze through. But Ranger, who was right behind her, couldn't fit. She tried to push it with her paw and then sat back whining because it hurt. Willow, who was almost to the office (no doubt planning to jump on people while her feet were still good and wet), heard her, went back, and pushed the door open a few more inches so Ray could come in.

We've seen a lot of teamwork among our dogs over the years. Our favorite has always been little Doodle barking for backup before facing strangers at the door. She would seriously run to the kitchen and call down to the library, then run barking at the front door only after she was sure the big dogs were coming. But that was home defense and self-preservation. This was Willow caring that Ranger is hurt and can't open the door anymore. I've seen videos attesting to things like that (please don't comment with examples, they aren't [ profile] oddmonster or [ profile] little_tristan safe), but I've never seen it personally, among my own dogs, and Bruder says he hasn't, either. Not in 50 years and dozens of dogs. I guess Will was the right choice after all, even if she is 9 months old and still crapping in the house.

Now I need to get busy finishing a fic in progress, because this week I'm going to start gutting out and rewriting The Dancer, my non-Bedlam novel for 2012. I feel like a writer right now. My sister started talking about my books on her FB yesterday and it turns out that a couple of her internet friends have read at least one of them without knowing I was her sister. And now a cousin has come forward and admitted to reading, too. It seems to be stirring interest among Sister's 2nd Life followers, so I'm a little excited. And in the mood to get back to work.
little_tristan: (BtVS Spike Sod Off)
I'm completely failing at my enlightened approach to be nicer to Captain Senility. I was moderately failing before, but then I so generously killed an entire Friday setting up a computer for him (which felt oddly like deleting my life so he could replace it with the yawning emptiness that is his own), and that earned me some points. It's like collecting indulgences so I can get to heaven.

But today we're screaming at each other again and I am awash with hate and rage. Why? )

I'm going to make popcorn and watch horror movies now. It's fun to fantasize about being a vengeful ghost.
little_tristan: (Ranger)
The vet just called. She sent Ranger's x-rays to a radiologist for a second opinion, just to be sure she wasn't missing anything. The radiologist reported back today that she has arthritis like we thought, except in her elbows. There's some arthritis, but it's really elbow dysplasia. The care is the same, rest and pain meds, purely palliative, but I'm grateful for the diagnosis for one major reason.

Dysplasia, for anyone who doesn't know, is when bones fail to come together properly in their respective joints. It happens before birth, when the fetal puppy is forming. So, call me selfish, but that means it's not my fault. Several years ago, when she was only two or three, another doctor asked me when her left foreleg had been broken and who set it, because her foot turned out funny, as if the bone was crooked. I said no one had set it, I had no idea it had even been broken. Shame-wise, that was one of the top five worst moments of my life.

All these years I've believed that I broke it one of the times I ran over her with my chair when she was puppy and somehow never noticed. It's haunted me, I swear to dog. But now I know better. That joint is such a mess, they couldn't make her paw point forward with steel plates and a year of traction. And it's nobody's fault. It's just who she is. I still get to feel bad for working her all these years, but now that she's retired, I think she thinks she had a good time. Ranger pretty much always has a good time.
little_tristan: (Volcano)
But I'm feeling a little jerked around today. We scheduled Ranger's overnight stay last Friday, and then today the receptionist, the same one who did the scheduling, called to say it wouldn't work. They have surgery on Tuesdays so the schedule will be packed, and the male tech they'll need to lift her won't be there, so now we're supposed to leave her on Wednesday and pick her up Thursday. (Thursday being a really bad fucking day this week, which I told her, but whatever. That's my problem.)

The thing is, Tuesday is always surgery day, and Gerald's schedule is the same every week, so why the hell did she plan it this way in the first place? If we'd just started out with Wednesday, I could have had a good weekend, at least.

I know everyone needs time off, but I wish the good receptionist could be there every day.
little_tristan: (Ranger)
And already I'm having a mild anxiety attack over the idea of Ranger spending the night at the vet. I know she'll be okay. She likes everyone there and they're all very nice people. She'll have her evening meds before she goes and I'll pack her supper and her morning meds for tomorrow. And Harvey, the big orange cat who lives in the office, will keep her company. Ray loves Harvey, and sometimes he's kind enough to acknowledge her.
Probably not Oddmonster safe... )
little_tristan: (Kitten Interwebs)
They should do a remake of My Two Dads and, near the end of the first season, have the dads actually fall in love. They wouldn't even need to change the dialog much. (Joint custody is unnatural. A child should have both her fathers.)

I'm supposed to be writing checks and paying Mom's bills. I've figured out that I don't want to because then it'll be over. When it's over and we split up her money, she can't come back. Grief logic is easily the most fucked up mode of thinking I've ever experienced, and I've been mentally ill all my life. I know that the money could sit there forever and she'd never come back for it. And yet--I wait.

On the other hand, [ profile] catyah, who is alive, will be here tomorrow and I won't enjoy it nearly as much with this hanging over my head.

The living room also needs dusting, but at this point that would just be an excuse. Ditto brushing Ranger.

Why can I not get Dark Star Safari: Overland from Cairo to Cape Town for Kindle? It's 500 pages. I'm thinking about filing some kind of discrimination lawsuit against publishers who only put out books in inaccessible 2 pound versions. I'd be willing to settle out of court for e-books.

Herr very adorably thinks he's getting his Volkswagen back today, just because the guy said so. He can't seem to understand that this mechanic, M, may be the best in the county, but when he says Wednesday, he means Friday. When he says Thursday, he means Monday. Maybe Tuesday. Also, three days = one week.

But after two weeks of driving the Chevy Venture, I'm not sure how much he really misses it.

Yeah, okay. Pay bills, brush dog's butt, then I get to finish House of Leaves. I can do this. Maybe even before the sun comes up.
little_tristan: (Firefly Bright Kaylee)
Good things that are happening: Willow is a month away from being an official dog! We consider 6 months to be a dog, since that's when she'll be spayed, get her rabies vaccine, and be licensed with the county. We're all very relieved to have gotten her through the delicate puppy months, and today she's going to the dog park for the first time. I'll try to get pictures. She doesn't often hold still anymore, but we have a new highspeed camera. Here's a foretaste, with Ranger... )

Last weekend we celebrated Sister's birthday with a Hello Kitty cake, baked by Bruder and decorated (under my supervision, of course) by Cousin H, who also delivered. That, I got a picture of. )

Yesterday I got the information packet on my new sponsored child. [ profile] barancoire will be glad to know they gave me a girl this time--Veronica, of Kenya. She's not quite 12, so we should have many years to get to know each other.

Also last weekend, we solved our major fuel crisis. The boys were spending nearly $400 a month on gas to drive back and forth to work in either the F-150 or the Econoline, and after two years, we'd had quite enough of it. So we've been looking for a Volkswagen diesel pickup--one of the old ones from the early 80s that gets 45 mpg and runs forever. Then when Cousin H was driving me home from Sister's, we just happened to spot one parked on the street with a for sale sign in the windshield. She got the phone number, and long story short, we went back the next day and bought it. (There's actually kind of a funny story there where the three of us were trying to figure out how to get the cash on a Saturday afternoon in a town that doesn't even have a branch of our bank, and ended up at a foreign ATM using all three of our cards to withdraw the maximum amount allowed on each. Luckily he took a check for the rest, so we didn't have to go back.:)

So the boys have been driving it all week and couldn't be happier. Well, the radio doesn't work, and the glass fell out of the passenger side wing window when Bruder tried to open it, and shattered all over the highway. But you have to expect these little difficulties with second (or third or tenth) hand cars. The important thing is they've driven it all week on one tank of diesel, and it has an electric oil pan heater to help get it started in the winter. Last pic, I promise... )

Also, after absolutely wallowing in Marian Call songs and Firefly eps all week, I think I need to write a fic. I never expected to, but it might happen.
little_tristan: (Ranger)
Yesterday I got into all kinds of trouble when the old man found out I've been leaving the back door unlocked during the day. I go in and out a lot and the latch is kind of a bitch. You know how it is. True, there have been a lot of robberies in the area lately (20 in the last month!), and they all involve unlocked doors, but only between the hours of 1 and 4 in the morning. Which is when our house is waking up, and we lock the doors at night anyway. I explained all that (and wasn't he disappointed that I had heard the facts already), and that there's too much activity here for daytime burglars. Too many cars out front, too many voices inside, not to mention his radio cranked up so you can hear it across the street and down the block, and him standing in the window in his underwear all day. We're just bad targets.

When I added that, besides, no one wants to mess with my dog, he had what he must've thought was the final answer. He said all it would take was a pellet gun. He told me that when he lived in Albuquerque, someone broke into his trailer, killed his white German Shepherd with a pellet gun and stole everything in the place. I stuck to my theory in spite of that (he wasn't home, Albuquerque is a cesspool, our retired neighbors are outside all day and crime on the block is way down), but he wasn't having it.

Now here's what's interesting about his little dog story. It's. Not. True. I told the boys about it this morning and both of them were stunned by the length and breadth of the lie. He never lived in a trailer in Albq, and he never owned any such dog. The boys had a white Shepherd when they were kids in Texas, living with their mom, but he never did. And all his years in Albq, he lived in a motel that was essentially a concrete fortress. Bruder had a room there for a while to run his business out of, just because it was so impossible to break into.

So this is what we've come to. He's making up dead dogs to try to scare me into thinking someone will kill MY dog, so he can have his way about something that doesn't matter.
little_tristan: (Riptide Murray's Bad Day)
I'm swiftly losing my mind living with an idiotic old man who shouts normal conversations and SHRIEKS when he wants to raise his voice. And he shrieks often. Why? Because he feels it's his duty to constantly scream at the dogs to shut up without any regard whatsoever for why they're barking. And the noise makes Willow bark more, so there's a vicious circle in hell right there. Sometimes he'll wait as long as fifteen seconds after she's stopped barking before yelling at her to shut up, which of course makes her bark again.

But usually? There's something to bark at. And he never bothers to find out what it is, just stands there with his back to the dogs, or even in another room, screaming at them to shut up. Meanwhile, UPS men knock on the door, mail gets delivered, cars pull into the driveway, neighbors pop over to ask if we've seen their cats--all things that dogs are supposed to bark about so that we know something's happening. Sometimes it's not even that. Right now he's shouting and cursing because the girls were wrestling and Willow, who is, after all, only 4 months old, got so excited she let out a little puppy yap. No doggy sound is too reasonable, or insignificant, to escape the nemesis' demented orders to STFU. And no logic is obvious enough to convince him that he's only making it worse.


little_tristan: (Default)

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