Saturday, November 22, 2014

Where's the Other Half of my Dog?

It was getting to be time. In fact, it was past time. Marshall the Cocker went out for Halloween as JK Rowling's Hairy Cocker.  When you're unemployed, you have to cut things back; things like expensive groomers.

Speaking of Indians, why is it that certain groups grivitate toward certain occupations?  Both recent groomers have been gay Mexicans. No thank you, I don't want his nails painted (I am not making this up).  And all of the dentists in my neighborhood are Indian. And the PITA job recruiters are Indian.

My best job offer ever came in this week: would I like a three month contract in Montreal, Canada? Ummm.. no. I've had some real doozies, but Montreal?  At least stay in the same country, guy. Plus, as we all know, it's not polite to speak French in public, making this offer impolite and rude.

But enough about that topic. Whenever I say job, an angel gets shot out of the sky. Have you ever tried to get blood out of white wings? It's not happening, people.

So Marshall gets back from the groomer, half the dog he used to be. To be honest, he looks silly. And as if that weren't enough, they put a bandana around his neck.  Talk about rude!  My dog needs a bandana like the president needs a dunce cap.  No, wait a minute.. my dog needs a bandana like any dog needs a bandana. I've killed people for less. What's next - a bee costume?

Mind you, my wife thinks he looks cute. My wife also thinks I look cute: there's no acounting for taste.

Cat Food Ballet has gotten even worse at my house.  I think I've figured this out... the cat gets his food behind a door so Marshall doesn't nudge him out of the way and eat all of it himself. Poor Marshall has to stand on the other side of the door, waiting for the Cat Food Gods to open the door so he can lick out the bowl. Sometimes he sits there for ten minutes, cleaning the cat food bowl of every microscopic bit of its former contents.  It turns out that the cat purposely leaves some of his food in the bowl for the dog. We know he was raised with dogs but that doesn't even go halfway towards explaining this behavior. One day my wife watched the cat push a pizza box off the table so both of them could eat it. Everybody loves pizza in this house. So the cat and dog are co-conspirators: the old swatting and barking bit is just for show.

The cat is slowly training the wife and it's not pretty to watch.  Having his claws makes our life a bit more complicated, as he won't play with a cat toy, he prefers to use furniture. My wife used to let him outside when he started this and after a few days, he had her trained to let him out with a scratch. He also trained her to feed him on command. Whenever she goes into the kitchen, he races in there and sits by his bowl. If that doesn't produce food, he head-butts her leg and annoys the crap out of her until she produces the food.  Then, of course, he eats a bit and opens the door for the dog to come in and finish it. Sometimes he walks to the dog bowl and eats some of that, making the circle complete.


Relatives are out of town for an event. My job has been to pick up mail and manage trash cans. Unfortunately I've proven pretty good at managing trash cans but I am terribly afraid to look for a job managing them. Plus I never wanted to be in management.  Unfortunately this golden effort has been sabotaged by the real trash guys, who failed to empty one can.  How am I going to tell my family, including She Who Must be Obeyed, that there was a Trash Can Emergency on my watch? It reflects very poorly upon me. What if they go away again and won't let me manage the cans? What about the mail - will I still be allowed to pick it up?

On the way to pick up the mail today, I asked Marshall if perhaps there were anybody who wanted to take a ride, perhaps in the car... he looked at me wide-eyed and ran halfway up the steps. No one knows why. So I asked him again and he got all excited, almost hovering above the step but still not coming off the step. Finally he moved when I picked up his leash.  It's almost as if he's very hopeful but not entirely certain so he wants to be asked a second time.  If my wife's napping and I have to go into the room, he follows and jumps onto the bad, making himself comfortable, usually on my pillow. When I leave, I tell him to follow me. He just sits there. So I have to close the door, at which point he leaps off the bed and I re-open the door so he'll come out. It's like COPS, when the police have to tell everybody twice to PUT YOUR HANDS UP.

After picking up the mail, I put on my seatbelt and took off. Definition of seatbelt: the thing that holds your dead body in the car after a crash. In PA, there is no motorcycle helmet law but there is a seatbelt law. Anyway, it's mighty uncomfortable in the car, largely because there's a leash there. On closer examination it appears that I somehow managed to put the seatbelt on through the leash. I couldn't do that again for a million dollars.

On the way home from the groomer's the other night, we got into the car and I noticed the passenger seatbelt warning light flashing.  Apparently I don't have the smart car, which shows a picture of a dog instead of a person on the flashing light.  Can't it tell the difference between a forty pound cocker spaniel and a... much heavier person? The wife made the mistake of leaving her Dunkin Donuts coffee cup in the console.  In a matter of seconds Marshall had the lid off and was face-down in the cup. I shooed him away, noticed the light turn green and in that second, he was back in the coffee. I yanked him out of the coffee and drove down the block and yanked him out of the coffee again. At this point I put the lid back on. And he took it off.  And I put my hand on the top of the cup, at which point he started trying to nudge my hand out of the way.  Trying to keep both of my hands on the wheel was most difficult, as I had to keep pulling him out of the coffee.

And how is the car, you ask?  [get ready...]
The car is fine, thank you. The house is fine too, thank you.
Why is everything fine?  Sage.
When one gets a house or car, a friend provides sage for something called Smudging. This is where you light the stuff and take it to every room in the house. You also see this is the Ghost Chaser tv shows, where they use it to cleanse the house of certain entities (you can choose to believe any of this or not). So Wifey smudged the house and, on the advice of a friend, did the car too.  And why not? At this point, I'm about ready to call a gypsy to wrap up ten thousand dollars and burn it to ward off the Evil Car Spirits.  When she was done, she put the mostly burned sage into a cat food can in the car, as an ashtray.  Fortunately we haven't been stopped by the police because it looks like a giant blunt.


Did you ever stop to notice how difficult it is to put stuff in bags?  Think really hard about this one, folks. Just try opening a fresh new trash bag, if you can. This is a major effort in itself, moreso if you're already holding something in the other hand. You wind up shaking it like mad and if it inflates, it makes a horrible noise, causing the cat to Go Elsewhere in haste.  If you somehow manage to get the bag open, you will require a phalanx of assistants to get whatever you're trying to get into the bag whilst simultaneously making certain that it's not landing on the floor.  It's veritably impossible, I tell you. Even with one assistant, it's a peach. He or she holds the bag open. You attempt to put the first item in the second bag. And you fail.  The seemingly open bag has now folded back up, in spite of your assistant's valiant work.

Again, the assistant opens the bag.  This time you're trying to put a bag inside a bag, which makes the task exponentially difficult to a degree incomprehensible even to Albert Einstein, which makes things even more difficult as the has the temerity to be dead.  Even if you get half of the bag into the bag, the other half with not fit or will wind up on the floor, taking the second bag (and possibly the assistant) to the floor with it.

One day I thought I won the war.  After a time or six trying to get something into a no-longer-folded bag, I succeeded.  I was joyous and thankful.  And when I turned to wash some dishes, the bag fell down on one side, spreading a disgusting substance all over the floor.  It was almost as if it performed some sort of acrobatic leap or possibly a suicide jump. Much mopping up and lots of screaming later, I had everything in the bag, as it were.

Going back to washing the dishes, I put a washed knife into the silverware drying rack, causing it to take a giant leap (for fork-kind) back into the sink. I carefully inspected the knife, thinking that it might still be dirty but no, it was perfectly clean. This must be related to the box of coffee k-cups we have on the shelf. It keeps hurling itself to the floor. Last time I put it where gravity couldn't get it and I actually heard it go to ground.  One day a friend walked by the dining room table and a glass hurled itself off the table. I had hoped that sage would have cured the leaping bit but apparently it did not.

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