hradzka: Cassidy, from Garth Ennis's PREACHER. (Default)
Although a mostly rational person, I have a few unusual superstitions and convictions. One of these is that we are fated to only meet a very small number of really great dogs in our lives.

In thirty-five years on Earth, I've met a lot of dogs, and only two of them could be characterized as really great. One of them was my mother's dog Boswell, who had to be put to sleep this morning.

In Memoriam. )
hradzka: Cassidy, from Garth Ennis's PREACHER. (Default)
This is the routine at Ma's: in the morning, one of us takes the dogs out to get the paper. This involves putting them on lead, walking down to the street, and then doing a quick little stroll along the sidewalk that cuts between Ma's house and the next-door neighbors'. We don't go all the way to the other street, just to the end of the neighbors' backyard fence, and then walk back. The neighbors have two dogs of their own, and they rush to the fence to sniff at my dog Cigarette when we walk past. Ma's dog, Boswell, ignores this silliness, as he's above it all, but Cigarette positively relishes it. At least, until the walk back. This is how it plays out:

NEIGHBORS' DOG #1. "Oh boy! Oh boy! She's back!"
NEIGHBORS' DOG #2. "I know! Miss! Hi, miss!"
MY DOG. "Good morning, boys."
NEIGHBORS' DOG #1. "Could… could I sniff your bottom, miss?"
NEIGHBORS' DOG #2. "Could I sniff your ears?"
MY DOG. "Oh, boys. Of course."
NEIGHBORS' DOG #1. "Thank you miss!"
NEIGHBORS' DOG #2. "Yes, thank you, miss!"

The neighbors' dogs sniff my dog eagerly.

MY DOG. "Hope you liked that, boys." *moves further down the fence*
NEIGHBORS' DOG #1. "Ohmigod, she smelled AWESOME!"
NEIGHBORS' DOG #2. "I KNOW!"

They fall over each other to follow her down the fenceline.

MY DOG. "Yes, boys? What is it?"
NEIGHBORS' DOG #1. "Oh, miss! Miss!"
NEIGHBORS' DOG #2. "Miss, could I smell your bottom this time?"
NEIGHBORS' DOG #1. "And could I smell your ears?"
MY DOG. "I suppose so."
NEIGHBORS' DOG #1. "Oh wow oh wow oh wow!"
NEIGHBORS' DOG #2. "Which smells better?"
NEIGHBORS' DOG #1. "I can't decide! *I can't decide!*"
MY DOG. "'scuse me, boys." *moves away again*

The neighbors' dogs run after her.

NEIGHBORS' DOG #1. "Ooh! Miss! Miss!"
NEIGHBORS' DOG #2. "Could -- could we both smell your bottom? AT THE SAME TIME?!"
MY DOG. "If you like."
NEIGHBORS' DOG #1. "Oh, man! Oh, man!"
NEIGHBORS' DOG #2. "Holy *crap,* this is awesome!"
BOSWELL. "I am pretending that I DON'T KNOW ANY OF YOU."

We reach the end of the yard and trun around.

NEIGHBORS' DOG #1. "Oh, miss! Miss!"
NEIGHBORS' DOG #2. "Miss! Please!"
MY DOG. *smugly* "Sorry, boys. Have to be getting on, you know."
NEIGHBORS' DOG #1. "But miss --!"
NEIGHBORS' DOG #2. "Please, miss!"

MY DOG. "Nice seeing you, boys. Have a good morning."
ME. "You should be ashamed of yourself, honey."
MY DOG. "I'm sorry, boss, I can't hear you over the sound of how awesome I am."
hradzka: Cassidy, from Garth Ennis's PREACHER. (Default)
DOG. *limps*
VET. "She doesn't get upset when we move the limb around. Nothing on the X-ray -- no breaks, dislocations, bone spurs. So it's probably a small injury she occasionally aggravates, or a mild inflammation. Have her take it easy. Especially today, because we had to sedate her to get all the angles."
DOG. *is groggy*
HINES. "Okay, honey, ready to go home?"
DOG. "Boss... I missed... the morning walk."
HINES. "Yeah, no kidding. Look, honey, we're back!"
DOG. *falls over*
HINES. *pets dog*
DOG. *staggers to feet*
DOG. *staggers toward door* "Waaaaalk. Le's go. Waaaalk."
HINES. "Honey, you can't go for a walk now. You can barely stand."
DOG. "I... still... function..."
MA. "Well, I have to get the neighbor's mail. She can come with me for that."
DOG. "See... boss... I'm... walking..."
HINES. "You can barely keep up with a woman who's just shy of seventy."
DOG. "I'm... walking... look... Boss... I'm... "
DOG. *staggers back into house, falls over*
hradzka: (rex the wonder dog)
So, I heard a loud whacking noise earlier. It sounded as if somebody were hammering on my cabin. I didn't think the landlady had any reason to be doing that, so I peeped out the window. I didn't see anybody at first, but then I angled my head around and saw, to my surprise, a huge pileated woodpecker systematically demolishing one of the lower front porch rails. It was pretty much hanging upside down while doing it.

For the record, woodpeckers will fly away if you yell "scat!" loud enough.
hradzka: Cassidy, from Garth Ennis's PREACHER. (Default)
I haven't mentioned it, but the rain hereabouts has been absolutely staggering. Huge, huge, heavy rains, every day, multiple times a day. The eight acres I'm on looks like protected wetlands. This is bad for me. Why? Because I have a septic tank, and it is set up in just such a way that when there's a ton of rainfall, the water drains into... yep, my septic. It drains out again, of course, as the ground desaturates, but having a septic tank full of water means that I can't do some little things. Like, you know, flushing my toilet.

I mean, I am manly enough that I don't mind basically having to urinate off my back porch, but using toilets is a surprisingly hard habit to break.

I am not the worst off hereabouts, though. Last night I heard a loud noise, and then high-pitched chittering of a sort that I'd never heard before. I turned on the porch lights and went out, whereupon I encountered the grumpiest, wettest, all-around most miserable raccoon I have ever seen in my life. If you know what cats look like immediately after a bath, that's pretty much it, only with opposable thumbs. The chittering wasn't coming from this raccoon, but from a tree in front of my cabin, which I gathered contained another raccoon, who had apparently taken umbrage to the miserable raccoon trying to seek shelter in raccoon #2's tree.
hradzka: (beret guy)
My main reason for coming to visit Ma was to build her a shed. THIS IS DONE. Well, mostly. Also, it was sort of rebuilding. She'd had a shed in the yard, but it had been disused for years and had been overgrown. So she had some guys take out the overgrowth, and her neighbor Don did some demo work, reducing the shed to its frame. When I came up, Don and I got together and started work. Don handled the design stuff, and I handled the heavy lifting, and together we beefed up the frame, put on spacers, added new siding, pulled the shed square, put on a roof, and asphalt-felted and shingled said roof. Also, we built a front door. The only thing that needs work is a small bit of siding and trim work, and Don said that he and Ma can work that out on their own. So I can leave with a clear conscience, which is good because some matters back home demand my attention. This was our last day of work, and as such was highly productive: we hung the door, installed the roof, felted, and then I did all the shingling. The shingling involved a little racing of the sun.

Also, the dog never fails to amuse.

RANDOM PERSON. *walks by*
DOG. *runs along fenceline* "Grrr! Arf!"
HINES. "CIGARETTE. You know better."
DOG. "Grrr."
HINES. "Are you actually growling under your breath while you run along the fence line?"
DOG. "Grrr. Arf. *goes through dog door into the house to sulk*
hradzka: Cassidy, from Garth Ennis's PREACHER. (Default)
Apparently, this was bee moving day, because

1) a huge cloud of bees flew over us on the job site

2) at the end of the day, a bunch of bees were swarming around our car

3) and when we got to our equipment truck to put stuff away, we found it alive with bees. LOTS of 'em.

Guess who got to open the equipment truck, put stuff in it, and then climb inside to check on some stuff? Yeah. I moved very slowly and tried to remember every TV show I'd ever seen about beekeeping. The bees didn't mind me, so that worked out fine. The only tense moment was when one landed in my hair, but it flew away on its own.

...I preferred the bunnies.
hradzka: (pepper)
Remember how I mentioned that the site I'm working has a plethora of animals, from pigs to rabbits to snakes? Yesterday, when we untarped for the first time after the long weekend, the rabbit took off running.

But it left three little somethings behind.

Cut for adorable. )
hradzka: (pepper is the sidekick)
Wrapping up a (far too brief) visit at Ma's. For those who've been following me a while, you'll know one of the high points:

DOG. "...boss? Boss?!! OMG BOSS I MISSED YOU."
HINES. "I know, honey. I missed you too."


That is not to say there were not low points. We are, after all, talking about a Very Special Dog.

DOG. "Hi, Boss!"
HINES. "Hi, honey. What're you licking your belly for?"
DOG. "Oh, no reason. I KISS YOU, BOSS!"
HINES. "Aww! Thank you, honey... hey, what're these red bumps on your belly?"
DOG. "Poison ivy! I LOVE YOU, BOSS."
HINES. "...crap."


(It's clearing up nicely, thanks.)

up at Ma's

Feb. 17th, 2008 09:45 am
hradzka: "Trust me, I know what I'm doing." (sledge hammer!)
So Cigarette and I are up at Ma's now. We made the drive night before last; I was a little tired, so we pulled over for some naps when it got late. Boy, highway rest areas are sketchy places, aren't they?

DOG. *growls* "Boss, we got company."
EXTREMELY SKETCHY DUDE. *freezes beside car*
HINES. "Y halo thar."
SKETCH. "...this car is not as empty as I had thought."
HINES. "No. This car contains me. Also, my pit bull. Also, my Glock."
SKETCH. "I'm going to stammer a bullshit story and walk away now."
HINES. "You do that."
SKETCH. "Just gonna get in my truck. With no license plates. And drive off."
DOG. *grumbles suspiciously*
SKETCH. *beats hasty retreat*
HINES. "Good dog."
DOG, grumpily. "He interrupted my nap." *curls up, snores*

If I weren't licensed to carry in thirty-one states, I would not feel nearly as comfortable napping in roadside rest areas. Not to say this counts as a defensive gun usage -- I didn't actually mention my gun, and it was dark enough in the car that I don't think he saw it in my holster -- but knowing it was there made the difference between the encounter being annoying and its being a little frightening. Best sleep I got was in a field beside a construction site off some little road near Richmond that I couldn't find again on a bet. Thank Ghod for GPS systems. And for furry alarm systems.
hradzka: (pointy teeth)
When I got home today, I noticed something odd across the street. Vultures, lots of them, in the trees and in the undergrowth. I parked the car, went into the cabin, let out the dog, then put her on lead and walked over to see what the birds had chosen to go NOM NOM NOM on. I was worried that it might be somebody's pet, or a stray dog, but no -- it was a deer. No fooling, a good-sized deer, with a hole in its shoulder where vultures had been nibbling. Not sure if it was hit by a car, or just selected that moment to drop dead, but there it was.

The odd thing is that the smell of decomp wasn't so strong right there, but back in the pasture near my cabin, across the road and a little down from it, MAN was the pong strong. Puzzled the hell out of the dog, who was sniffing the air in the pasture and wandering around, obviously wondering, "Well, okay, where the heck *is* it?"

DOG. *sniff sniff*
HINES. "No, you're not allowed to roll in it."
DOG. "..."
DOG. "BOSS. You READ MY MIND."
HINES. "I know, honey. I know."
hradzka: (donuts?)
I took the dog for a nice long walk by the creek this afternoon, and afterward we stopped by Wok'n'Roll and picked up some Chinese food. There was a liquor store nearby, and I checked inside for Jameson's. I've been indulging heavily in THE WIRE lately, of course, and McNulty is on a tear again, which for him includes drinking Jameson's hard. I'd never had Jameson's before, but hey, McNulty drinks it! So I bought some. (If you're wondering: I like my whiskey the way Batman likes his Robins: twelve years old.)

This late afternoon and evening has been given to watching season one of THE WIRE on DVD while eating Chinese food and drinking Jameson's on the rocks, with occasional forays into Jameson's and Coke. The verdict: McNulty has good taste in Irish whiskey. And Jameson's is highly effective at making me tipsy and lowering my reaction time.

DOG. "What's that you're drinking, Boss?" *snurfles cup*
HINES. "It's Jameson's and Coke, honey. It's not for dogs --"
DOG. *slurp slurp*
HINES. "HEY!"
DOG. "Wow, Boss, that's not bad."
HINES. "I am not contributing to the delinquency of a puppy."
DOG. "I'm almost a year old!"
HINES. "YOU ONLY WEIGH THIRTY POUNDS."
DOG. "I want to play tug of war! YAY!"
DOG. *jumps off couch*
DOG. *faceplants*
HINES. *facepalm*
DOG. "Jameson's is fun!"
DOG. *leaps back onto couch*
DOG. *plays several rounds of tug-of-war with an old sock, then curls up and falls asleep*
HINES. "I'm going to miss this. You know that?"
DOG. *snores*

(Due to unavoidable circumstances, as discussed in an f-locked post, dog is going to live with Ma for a while. This is a sadness. OTOH, we will be back together before too long.)
hradzka: Cassidy, from Garth Ennis's PREACHER. (Default)
So my cabin has some plumbing issues, and I'm outside consulting with the landlady. The dog is recuperating from her spay, and so is not allowed to be running around. So she's on the leash. I tie her to the porch railing and go over to talk to the landlady.

DOG. *attacks leash*
HINES. "Stop that, hon. Besides, it's damn sturdy -- has a hell of a guarantee on it..."
DOG. "Must... break... free!"
HINES. "Look, I'll free you in a second. I just have to go in to check something."
DOG. "No, Boss! Don't go inside without me!"
DOG. *trots up to front door, stub of leash dangling from collar*

HINES. *eyes dog*
HINES. *eyes porch railing*
HINES. "You bit through it. ...in five seconds. Through the leash."
DOG. "The leash? ...OMG I FORGOT!"
DOG. *races back to starting point and attacks leash again*
HINES. "Bwuh?"
DOG. "HAVE AT YOU!"
HINES. "You do know you're already free, right?"

DOG. *unties knot and pulls remains of leash free from railing*
DOG. "See? I'm free now."
DOG. *lies down in bushes in triumph*
HINES. "I should really yell 'no' and scold you, hon, but that was actually pretty brilliant. If you ignore the whole part where you didn't realize you were free."
DOG. "Hey, Boss? Does this mean I get a new leash?"
hradzka: (bitchjerk)
DOG. "Hey, Boss, I'm running! Look at me running!"
HINES. "Good girl. You run your bumpers off."
DOG. "Wow! Look at THIS!"
HINES. "Honey, that's a fire ant nest. You don't really want to -- NO!"
DOG. "OH BOY! It's soft and fluffy!"
HINES. "Well, I suppose this is one way to learn."

DOG. *jumps up and runs away, leaving a streaming trail of ants*
HINES. "There you go. See, I told you -- "
DOG. *runs perimeter of field, pulls high-G u-turn, dives back onto fire ants*
DOG. "This'll teach 'em!"
DOG. *flops on fire ants, looks satisfied*
HINES. *shakes head*
DOG. *leaps to feet and starts running again*
HINES. "Look, that's twice now. Don't you think that --"
DOG. *dives face-first into milling fire ants*
HINES. *facepalm*
DOG. *sits up*
DOG. *facedirt*

HINES. "Look, I *told* you."
DOG. *shakes head, gives fire ants a dirty look*
DOG. *races away and starts pedalling in a circle on the ground like Curly of the Three Stooges*
HINES. "Will you at least let me pick them off you now?"
DOG. "yes please boss."
hradzka: (donuts?)
We went to the beach yesterday.

Pics! )

dog update

Dec. 24th, 2007 10:59 am
hradzka: (bruce and diana)
Went to the vet this morning. The dog has no chip, and she's much older than I thought -- based on her dentition, she's ten months to a year old. So, um, yes, I was *extremely* off, probably because she's so small; I'm used to larger dogs, particularly larger pits, and she's only 29 pounds. She is quite small. Very mild positive for heartworm, the kind of thing preventatives are enough to take care of. But that she has it at all means lack of preventatives, which means lack of care; she's friendly, so she once had a home, but she's not housebroken. (Though I'm crate training her now, and it seems to be taking.) Which means she's been neglected, and she's not a recent stray.

So, um, I have a dog now.

After the vet's, where she got a hefty sum of vaccinations and preventatives, we went by Petsmart and bought a few supplies. She likes fuzzies rather than squeakies, apparently, so I got her a fuzzy monkey, and a rubber ball to chew and chase. Plus the usual supplies. Now she's snoring beside me on the couch, with her paws in a tangle.

You may be wondering what I'm calling her. The question was pretty much settled when I found her. When my father was young, a friend of the family, Captain Bennett, had a pit bull. When she had a litter, my father got one of the puppies. He named her Cigarette. Much later, he had another pit bull, and he named her Cigarette, too. I knew that Cigarette when I was a kid: she was an absolute mushpot who weighed twice what a pit was supposed to weigh but thought she was a lapdog. I have a lot of fond memories of that dog. (She also brought home Watson, an Irish setter who was being neglected by a neighbor. We fed him for months, and when the neighbors moved they sold Watson to us for twenty bucks.) So the precedent was set: apparently, when Hines men take on a female pit bull, we name the dog Cigarette. It's what we do.

This is not Cigarette as in "so round, so firm, so fully packed." No, this is a literary reference: in Ouida's (Marie Louise de la Remée) 1867 French Foreign Legion novel UNDER TWO FLAGS, the romantic heroine is a camp follower named Cigarette. I have not yet managed to make it through the book, because it is *really* Victorian, but I've downloaded it from Gutenberg and am giving it another crack. Curiously, while I know the book had a strong appeal for my father, I didn't know much about our pits' namesake; Da died when I was very young, so I wasn't able to ask him about it. So I checked around online, and -- well. This is from the Encyclopedia of Fantastic Victoriana:

Ouida's father, who she worshiped, abandoned her, and so Ouida seems to be using Under Two Flags to work out her daddy issues. Everyone in the novel worships Bertie, as Ouida clearly does. Cigarette proves her great love to Bertie just as Ouida wanted to but never could to her own father. In fiction written by amateurs or first-time writers, whether published in fan magazines, vanity presses, or on the Internet as "fan fiction" (stories written by fans featuring characters from their favorite books, television shows, or movies), a common phenomenon is the "Mary Sue" character. A Mary Sue character is an idealized stand‑in for the author, and is tougher, smarter, cooler, nicer, sweeter, more charming, more capable, and more skilled than the established characters, and becomes worshiped by them. Although Mary Sues appeared in 19th century magazine stories written by teenagers, as in stories where a teenaged girl saves a sleeping Indian chief from being mauled by a bear or is raised by Indians and becomes their leader, the traditional modern Mary Sue appears in Star Trek fan fiction, where a new ensign on the starship Enterprise is a better pilot than Captain Kirk, smarter than Spock, and makes both fall in love with her. Cigarette is Ouida's Mary Sue.


...my dog is a Mary Sue.

I think my father just punked me from beyond the grave.

Love you, Da.
hradzka: (spidey and mj)
Well, I still can't find my card reader, but since [livejournal.com profile] thefourthvine assures me that without pictures, y'all will stop loving me, I enclose a shot taken with my crappy camera phone.



That is my hand at bottom of frame, because offering it for her to snurfle was the only way to make her stay still long enough to be non-blurrily-snapped by crappy camera phone.
hradzka: "Trust me, I know what I'm doing." (sledge hammer!)
This afternoon was interesting. I bought a shotgun recently (my first), and had planned on testing it out at my gun club. Alas, things kept piling up, so by the time I made it out to run my errands, I realized I wouldn't have time to drive to the range and get a good amount of shooting time in. But then, on the way home, I drove past a sign for a skeet and trap range I hadn't known about. I went in and shot a couple of rounds -- abysmally! But I did better than the last time I tried clay birds, so I didn't feel too bad. (My shotgun also has a 22" barrel, which is a little short for trap shooting -- the previous owner swapped out the barrel. But this makes it easy to move around. All I need is practice.)

Then, on the way home, the unexpected happened: a puppy arrived.

My cabin is off a county road; I was nearly home, and at the intersection between my county road and another, when I saw a dog in the road licking a tossed-out soda can. I pulled over to the side of the road and got out of the car. When I whistled, the dog came right over. It was a pit bull, tan in color, pretty young -- I'd guess about ten weeks. She was friendly and in good shape, save for a scrape on her muzzle and a scratch over one eye.

I didn't see any houses, and I couldn't leave her there. So I put her in the car, said, "Please don't pee, honey," and drove the rest of the way home.

For somebody totally unprepared for the onset of dog, I'm not doing too badly. So far, she's had some water and a bowl of Crispix. I also gave her a bath, because she stunk; now she smells like wet dog, which is only slightly worse. Tomorrow, I'll start looking for her owner -- dunno if she's chipped or not, but I'll post fliers and call the paper. She is now sleeping beside me on the sofa. She was shivering, so I threw a towel over her to act as a blanket. Now she's just snoring. I'll post pictures, if I can ever find my card reader...

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A POEM EVERY DAY

The collected poems from my descent into madness year spent writing daily poems are now available from Lulu as the cheapest 330-page book they would let me make ($16.20). If that's too pricey, you can also get it from Lulu as a free download, or just click on the "a poem every day" tag to read them here. But if you did buy one, that'd be awesome.

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