Saturday, May 31, 2014

Pleased to greet you! And then the other shoe drops...

Merrell, size 10, plenty of miles--cheap!
Right into the pond. It's just my Tucker-y way of saying hello. Actually, it's my Tucker-y way of saying: "Where have you been? I am so annoyed that you did not take me with you that I, perforce,* will have to take one of your shoes, run outside with it (perhaps through the screen door you left carelessly closed), and drop it in an inconvenient location."

If I am very annoyed, I will drop said shoe right into our little pond, where I had my Eureka! moment. No, it was not in a bath,** not by any stretch of the imagination. You know how I am with baths. No, the moment came when, after I dropped Dad's size 10 wide Merrell, I discovered that not only is it waterproof--that I knew, having dragged Dad hundreds, nay thousands (7,117 at three miles per day, 365 days per year, 6.5 years), of miles through all kinds of weather in those shoes--but that also it is buoyant.

As am I, whenever my folks come home.

*Perforce: used to express necessity or inevitability. I think this word works perfectly here. It's from the Old French, "by force." And you know I have a French connection. Plus, doing things by force is kind of my M.O.

**The reference is to Archimedes, who supposedly came up with the theory of water displacement after soaking in a tub. He then ran around shouting "Eureka," meaning "I have found it!" That's what Dad said after finally discovering his shoe in the pond.

Sunday, May 25, 2014

Yellow paint on Sleepwalker's dog, yellow warblers, and me

Commiserating with the Sleepwalker's dog.
I added my voice to that of the yellow warbler during my Sunday morning stroll at Lake Waban, hoping that the pack of birdwatchers would appreciate my musicality.

Not sure whether they had a checkbox for a Walker hound on their list, but I bayed, just in case. A fine group, they took the time to point out the winged warbler to Mom and even shared a bird book so she could identify the magnolia warbler next time we're out.

I haven't been by the Sleepwalker statue to view its damage, but I inspected its companion seeing-eye dog's state of disarray. Both Tony Matelli sculptures on the Wellesley College campus, I am sure you have heard, were vandalized with yellow paint last week. While I am certain Sleepwalker and pal could have used coats during this spell of rainy, cool weather, I am more certain said coats should not have been applied by any other than his sculptor.

And as there is nothing more unpleasant than a bath, I am also sure that Sleepwalker's dog would much rather have been left au naturel.

Sunday, May 18, 2014

Crafty tip: what to do with an unused dog crate

Hare-brained idea? Absolutely.
My $100 avoidance chamber having little use besides a providing a winter bunny home in the basement and a stolen kitten hideout, Dad decided to dream up a new use for it.

Dad, not being the crafty type, is not given to thinking up new ideas beyond ones of interest to those in academia. In short, he's more the theoretical, Mom the practical.

So when he had the idea to renovate my brother bunny Licorice's triplex into more of a ranch, Mom actually listened. This, too, is rare.

Here was the problem: Licorice, perhaps being a bit slow of foot these days, kept getting one of said feet stuck as he traveled from the second story to the first. Mom posited that this problem was less due to a lack of agility and more to one of rotundity. The descent involves a rather sharp turn around the ramp into a cramped space.

Once the academic semester is over, Mom insists that Dad spend a day or two (if she's lucky) on some home repair related project. Last week it was the so-called lawn, so-called because it's more of my romping and digging up ground, but they made a valiant effort anyway.  I say "they," because it started out as a two-person project and ended up, not surprisingly, as a one-person project. It becomes Dad's lawn only when things start to grow.

In any case, the rabbit hutch retrofit was project #2. It now needs a roof and a mesh bottom so Licorice's feet, big as they are, do not poke through, but good weather being predicted for a few days now, Mr. and Mrs. Project should have no trouble.

Sunday, May 11, 2014

"No, Tucker!": Newly-bathed dog makes great Mother's Day escape

Remember that great children's book, "No, David!" by David Shannon? You don't? Not even the part where a muddy David, forced to take a bath, is so enthusiastic about his pirate play that he gets most of the water on the floor? And then escapes, au naturel, down the street?

Today, I was David. Muddy after lying in my dirt pile in the sun, rolling all over lawns, with ring around the collar from my collar, Mom decided to give herself a clean dog for Mother's Day. Just like that unforgettable character, I complied. Up to a point.
I escape from my bath.

Saturday, May 10, 2014

Dog walker arrested after literal turf battle

What to do when you're bored and need a walk?

We all know that people are passionate about their dogs. Some of them even walk them for hours each day (thanks, Dad and Mom) no matter what the weather. Others, who don't have quite as much leisure time but love their dogs just as much, hire dog walkers.

When I was a pup and prone to destruction if untended for even a moment, I employed a walker, Kelly, who doted on me and wrote informative notes more detailed than most preschool children's daycare reports.

True. Mom's coworkers were quite envious.

So I was shocked to learn that a dog walker had actually been attacked, not by a pack of coyotes, a pack of dogs, or a swarm of black flies, but, police say, perhaps by a rival walker, in lovely Wayland. The walker who was injured had formerly been employed by my dog walking company, Wags 4 Walks; the accused, a current walker for that outfit.  Read the MetroWest Daily News story to learn the gruesome details.

And the next time you come upon someone in the woods with lots of leashes around their neck and dogs running loose, mum's the word. Having gone unscathed for at least a few months now, I wouldn't recommend starting anything.

A little rearranging's always good; plus, Mom can practice her squats.

Sunday, May 4, 2014

Wellesley mom discovers completely natural alternative to Botox

I find digging in the soil simply invigorating. Turns out it can be good for you, too, especially if you are of a certain age.

Now, I'm likely to be classified as a senior, if you check my extensive vet records. I'm a little gray around the eyes and the hair around my scar, where I was viciously attacked last fall, has grown in white.

Mom's not yet a senior, officially anyway. But those worry lines have started to cut a little deeper, so she wasn't entirely unhappy (or maybe that's just the Benadryl talking)  to be viciously attacked by a swarm of black flies.

Having heard that bee stings can help relieve arthritis symptoms, she can now attest to the benefits of black fly bites. Black flies naturally bite around the head and neck. Thinking they were merely annoying pests, she waved them away as she attempted to weed the garden. Dad's reaction to her bloody, swollen forehead prompting just a modicum of alarm, she checked the mirror. Then, being the researcher that she is, she checked Purdue University's Medical Entomology page on black flies.

The info told her that the giant swellings were normal, but nowhere was it documented that said swellings also provide some relief from those horrid worry lines that Grandma always warned about: "Someday, your face is going to freeze that way, and you'll be sorry!"

Mom, Day 2, in transition from E.T. to wrinkle-free. Visible bite wound.
The process, however, takes a few days for optimal effect. On Day 1, Mom was fit for an E.T. lookalike contest with a giant protuberance in the middle of her forehead, not unlike some kind of dinosaur. Day 2, the swelling had gone all the way across the forehead, not as visible, but giving a stretched, tight feeling. Dad advises Mom not to do any frowning. Day 3: swelling descends toward the eyelids, plumping them up and giving them a bit of a downward cast. The upside: no frown lines in between the eyebrows.

I haven't been attacked yet, but as Mom does all the worrying in the family, I haven't got any wrinkles at all.

Intrepid dog attempts to save stranded goldfish

Although I adore salmon, I haven't yet acquired a taste for goldfish.
Yeah, yeah, yeah. I've seen the great story about the couple who lost their dog during Hurricane Sandy and found it, a year and a half later, at their local animal shelter. (Happens to be the one that serves my family's Garden State hometown.) It truly is heartwarming and I couldn't be more happy for Reckless (that's the pup's name).

But let's talk about me. I'm always finding rare items on roadsides, some choice (muskrat skull, rabbit head, frozen bagel, chicken wings), some not (hmmm...can't think of any). Having braved rare sunshine and headed out on the more suburban of my two usual routes, I came upon a creature in need, belly up on the sidewalk.

I'm quite familiar with fish, as I have about three dozen near-relatives crowding our backyard pond. This one was different. This one was large. This one was stuffed. This one was too far gone to save.  I gave it one last nudge, and moved on.