A humorous look at the little things in life

You know it’s spring when the dogs bark and the critters come a-callin’ March 31, 2010

Filed under: Uncategorized — ashleyolsonrosen @ 10:47 am

Recommended wine for today’s entry: Montes sauvignon blanc 2008. Since it’s supposed to be 80-ish degrees this week, I have been testing sauvignon blancs suitable for your outdoor activities. This one was excellent — it’s from Chile and Liquor Barn gave it an 88. The winemaker’s notes say, “A clear, crispy and fruity wine with light yellow-green color, bright and transparent. The aroma shows its power and super Sauvignon Blanc character.” Around $13, I believe. I liked it well-chilled while enjoying the late sunset …

Yesterday, my dogs barked ALL DAY LONG. 

First, the little boy across the street had a birthday and his mom put a cute race car balloon on their mailbox. Ten minutes of frantic yapping, because clearly this balloon-bearing, ninety-pound woman was a threat to our household. Then they barked at the balloon as it darted in the breeze. For a couple hours.

Next they spotted the evil garbage man though the dining room window. Shrill enough on this one that with every bark, the unarmed security system offered a quick beep-beep-beep, the signal for a door or window opening. Hmm… is our house so sturdy that a dog barking causes the windows to bow away from the frame?

Then the generator tested itself. Back window. Ten full minutes of all-out barking.

Five deer visited the backyard. Cleaning ladies arrived. I couldn’t take anymore, so I took the dogs outside. But it was hot, so I took off my conservative sweater appropriate for an almost-50 suburban housewife and stripped down to the wife beater that I think I bought when I was about 20. It, like me, hasn’t aged well.

Immediately a truck pulled up the driveway. It was one of those scenes where, if I’d quickly put my sweater back on, they’d think that I thought they were looking at me in an inappropriate manner and if I didn’t put my sweater back on, I think they would  look at me in an inappropriate manner. If you’re not a girl, you didn’t understand that, but if you’re a boy, you’re probably used to not understanding a lot of stuff.

Actually, if you’re a girl and you understood that, I’m impressed because I don’t think I do.

Back to the dogs — well, the truck held three guys from a pool company who came to measure our pool for a new liner because I bleached the hell out of the old one by overchlorinating. This is because I think everyone who gets in the cement pond is filthy and emitting e coli or other alarming bacteria into the sparkling waters.

The black Lab immediately rubbed her muddy, drooly Frisbee up and down one guy’s pant leg. While she distracted him, the golden retriever mix snuck around back and firmly stuck his nose between the guy’s legs. It was embarrassing, but at least they weren’t barking.

Then they started barking.

The whole day reminded me of when we got Tate, the golden retriever mix. I had volunteered at an animal adoption group for about 10 years at that point, and my husband and I had both served on the board. Shoo-ins, right?

We almost didn’t get Tate. It was a day like yesterday, but MUUUUCCCHHH worse.

The nice man arrived exactly on time for our in-home evaluation. The children, who were to be interviewed also, were dressed and free of weaponry; no cats had been tied up or inadvertently locked in a pantry; the kitchen, at least, was clean.

We sat at the  table and he fired questions at us like “how much time will Gilbert (his old name) spend alone in a day?” and “how will you prevent Gilbert from being eaten by a coyote?” All rational questions. Everything was going swimmingly until the cats began to make their appearances.

We had only moved into the house about three weeks prior and the formerly feral cats — who until the move had resided in a garage —  had remained upstairs, cowering from human contact. Until today.

Then, one by one, the cats, who indeed had had rabies shots … six years prior … began to thud their way down the steps. Knowing that they wouldn’t release a puppy into a home with an unvaccinated cat (or four), I gave my husband a look that meant “intercept them on the stairs and herd them back up.” He actually understood and I somehow babbled an explanation of the unclaimed two that had already been spotted. Phew.

Then the lawn guys came and started their tractors that sound like an airplane has landed in the front yard. Over the noise, I had to explain that I would make SURE the dog was in the house when they arrived, as they zipped their tractors back and forth across the lawn at speeds that would certainly allow them to take flight if they simply pulled back on the throttle.

Then the people who were digging the pool showed up at the back door. A short guy said, in very broken English, “You horse not in it house.”

Well, now, THAT was perplexing. Not only did we not have a house for our horse; we didn’t have a horse either. So I excused myself from our interviewer (who followed me outside) and there, indeed, stood an equine. But it was a mule, wearing a halter, and it was watching the men dig the pool.

“Pardon the chaos,” I said, and I walked slowly toward the mule, sending a child for a carrot or an apple or something, knowing full well we had no produce in the house and she would return with a PopTart or Dunkaroos.

The mule saw me and bolted.

“I’m sorry,” I said, acting like this is still a stable and safe home for a little helpless puppy. We sat back at the table where he had me recount the causes of death for all previous pets.

Another knock. Same guy, but this time his face had lost its tan. “Ma’am? There a snake … a BIG snake … we dig up. Where you want it?”

Oh, the snake? Yes, can you just put it over here in the corner? Wait, let me move the end table. What do you MEAN, where do I want it? I want it — gone.

But remember, I have an animal person here evaluating my caretaking ability for a living creature.  So I’m wracking my brain … is it better to say, oh I never kill anything or is it better to say, oh, my, that snake could do harm to my innocent little 14-week-old puppy. Crap. What are the odds? Well, he’d already been there more than 3 hours, so the odds were probably good that there’d be a disaster. I was going to have to offer him some Dunkaroos for lunch soon.

So I told them to banish the snake to the very farthest point on our property, which was not at all the answer the pool digger wanted to hear. They carried the snake between to shovel/pitchforky things across the creek and up the hill … and I am not kidding, it was at least four feet long.

The good news is, I think our evaluator just wanted to get the hell out of this insane place. So over the din of the lawn guys, he told us that Gilbert would be ours and we set up the logistics. Here is a picture of him that we took the next Monday after we picked him up:

"I'll have what she's having."

Yes, it is a picture of him standing at the bar, because we failed to take the requisite humorous picture of our children as sleeping babies with the empty beer bottle beside them. This was our way of catching up with the rest of the world.

Anyway, Tate just had his 8th birthday, complete with doggy cake and frosty paws and a cute little furry toy. No mule, no snake, no coyote. I knew we could do it!


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