Tuesday, May 15, 2012

What a (sales) woman!

What kind of salesperson would offer to drive a new car to your home, pick up your dog, and take him for a test drive?

Wendy, that's who! Even when Mom showed up glummer than glum at the Honda dealer, having pinky-sworn an open mind to Dad before they left (her fingers on the other hand were crossed) and was unbelievably impolite, Wendy tried like crazy to please. She thought of every possible car that would fit our family's needs (as we know, those needs are tri-colored, XL, and awfully demanding). When it looked like one might do, she made the offer, with enthusiasm.

Unfortunately for her, though, this time it was Dad who wasn't interested. "Too small," was his only comment.

Why don't they make openings on the insides of pockets?
Because I was stuck at home, with nothing to do, I chewed on the car situation. Then I chewed on Mom's running jacket. She had left it, well within reach, on the coat rack, its pocket full of treats. What was she thinking?  Perhaps when she comes to, she'll realize there's really only one car for me.

Friday, May 11, 2012

Car shopping headaches—literally

Taking Mom car shopping is simply asking for it. She loves the old Volvo, and that's that. Take me car shopping, however, and you've got a partner for life.

So last week Dad and I hit the Wellesley VW dealer, with Mom slinking along. All of our hopes were up, sort of:
  • Dad's, because he liked the mileage of the diesel Jetta Sportwagen—and the sticker price.
  • Mom's, because she read that the wagon would appeal to the die-hard traditionalist. That's her, all right.
  • Mine, because I heard it was a great car for large dogs. I already had hopped into my friend Freckles' wagon one day, and found it charming.
  • My sister's, had she been there, because the car comes in a couple of good colors.
Kind salesperson finds a car for me to test drive—from the rear, of course. I hop in the cargo area just fine. Then Dad shuts the lid. I try to turn around, and, because the wayback clearance for a tall guy like me is pretty wimpy—BUMP—my head hits the window. I nearly was concussed.
Ye Olde Wagon outside our summer rental in Maine.
Note the wayback headroom. And the waterview.
So that was that. And even Dad, who keeps complaining that Mom is like Goldilocks, had to agree that the car was too small.

Monday, April 30, 2012

Hounds don't take baths and other lessons from picture books

Had a sleepover with some great pups over at Southboro Kennels this weekend while my folks went to visit my sister at college. She'll be home soon, claiming her bed and therefore reducing my sleeping options, so it was good practice for me to try something different.
Who says pigs are so smart?

Brought my big green bed so I'd be comfy, my own food, and my big self and Mary gave me an enthusiastic greeting. Like all great hoteliers, she recognized me, even though it's been awhile.

Spent some time sunning, with drinks provided by the attentive staff.

The only hitch came during the spa treatment, which I'm pretty sure I didn't schedule. That might have come from leaving the arrangements to Mom. Anyway, I checked out the tub, which while perfectly clean, would have meant that I would have had to become perfectly clean. So I pulled a No, David! (remember that scene in the David Shannon book where the boy takes off, without a stitch on?) and skedaddled out of there.

Mom reminded me of another picture book, Pirates Don't Take Baths, in which a reluctant pig finally is persuaded by his mother to come clean. He imagines he's searching for underwater treasure, but it would take some treasure for me to plunge in. Instead, I'll go the Mrs. Piggle-Wiggle's Won't-Take-a-Bath Cure route (remember, the girl grows radishes on her dirty skin?). Conveniently, it's planting time.

Monday, April 23, 2012

If I built a car...

My sister did an amazing parking job even with my bulky
self hogging the rear view. After snagging an ice cream cone
at JP Licks, I loomed larger, if that's possible.

Here's the challenge I'm posing to the Car Talk guys: what kind of car would suit a passenger who's relegated to riding in the way back, weighs in at about 90 lbs., measures 30 inches high, 51 inches wide (nose to rear, not including a 20-inch tail), without entirely blocking the rear view?

I pretty much fill up the window of my vehicle of choice now, a sturdy Volvo V70 2000 wagon that's boxy as all get out. My favorite mechanics, Doug and Dominic at Neighborhood Wrench in Natick, just love that car, and so do I.

However, there's one little, $450 problem: The tailgate won't latch properly, and Mom fears that somewhere, somehow, like maybe bumping over that crazy moonscape of holes called our street, that hatch will pop open and I'll leap out to freedom and fun. Meanwhile, Dad's been trying to put Mom into some lesser make of car (cough, Subaru, cough) while he tools around in his own speedy Swedish sedan, claiming he wants her to get better gas mileage.

Ever read If I Built a Car, by Chris Van Dusen? In it, a boy imagines the perfect car design—a swimming pool, snack bar, and jet engine are just some of his ideal features. The book has terrific retro illustrations, and, of course, a super looking hound.

I say, ditch the rear view camera and GPS (I've got a nose, don't I?), and pack this buggy with some real style:
  • Everlasting treat bar
  • Perpetual puddle water fountain
  • Tempur-Pedic memory foam lounge chairs (super idea, and as usual, you read it here first)
  • Way back sunroof
  • Dirt pile
  • Several cubic feet of bone storage
  • Unimpeded access to front seat
  • Automatic awning extender for dry entry/exits during rain events
So, what's the perfect car, Click & Clack? I need a recommendation, and pronto. It's time to hit the road.

Tuesday, April 17, 2012

Boston Marathon: to run or not to run was never a question

My marathon nap training program.
It was the question on Mom's mind all weekend, and after much to-ing and fro-ing (well, after Dad said it was absolutely not a good idea) she decided to defer her entry into the 116th Boston Marathon until next year.
About 400 other runners did, too, plus whomever just decided not to pick up their race number. It was a tough one: after all that training, all those missed walks for me and lack of attention, to not touch one's toe to either the start or finish?
Me, it was simple: I stayed home, where I stayed hydrated, rested, and air-conditioned. Nice.