Sunday, March 22, 2009

Monster Dog

The secret sign in front of our house inviting stray cats in for care and feeding has now apparently been translated into dog.

We took to calling him Monster because of his bizarre shape. He seemed so huge lying down, then when he stood up he was revealed as a rottweiler body and head laid over a bassett hound chassis. He appeared to have been put together by a mad scientist, a sort of veterinary Frankenstein, or a committee that had to work with only the parts of dogs no one else wanted.


But his sunny disposition soon allowed us to overlook his physical oddities--like the front foot that pointed off to the left as if he was constantly signaling for a turn.


Friday morning, after he spent the night in our now barren vegetable patch, I put him in the backyard. Did I mention I was still in my pajamas? He promptly trotted down the few steps to the the pool deck and before I could catch him walked his large, weighty self out onto the center of the pool cover, which is just a heavy-duty tarp. Not designed to hold heavy-duty bassett-weilers. Then he got scared and wouldn't come back to the edge. He was sinking slowly into the disgusting muck on the cover, which was slowly slipping into the pool. With those short legs, drowning wasn't far off.

Carla, our friend and newly arrived tenant, grabbed the pole with the pool brush on the end and pushed at him from one side of the pool, while I took off my slippers and robe in the 40-degree morning chill, and slid down into the green, slimy muck, grabbed Monster's sturdy tail and pulled him to the side. Carla ran around to the edge and helped me lift Monster out. He shook off the slime and looked up at us with sweet brown eyes as if to say, "What next?"


The next couple of days were much less eventful, as he started to become one of the family. Then Sunday afternoon his real family saw one of the signs we had put out about a found dog. They lived just around the corner and were thrilled someone had him. He raced (you know, as fast as his tree-stump legs would allow) to their car, obviously equally thrilled to see his people.

And while I appeared as happy for them all as they were themselves, part of me enjoyed having this very unusual, easy-going dog around and would miss him. But now that the sign out front has been translated into canine, maybe another dog will stop by before too long!

Sunday, March 15, 2009

My dad wrecked his Harley

Over the past week the response I've gotten most often to "My dad wrecked his Harley," isn't, "How is he?" but, instead is, "Your dad has a Harley? Cool."

Because he is going to be okay, I can live with this response. And it made me realize I don't know anyone else whose 71-year-old father has a Harley that he rides regularly. (Or at least used to ride regularly. He's still not sure whether it's totaled or not.) He rides it so regularly, in fact, that he owns assless chaps and a reflective, nearly glow-in-the-dark Harley vest.


He chipped his sternum in the accident, a break that takes a long time to heal because there's no setting it, and he can't stop breathing to hold it still. But his doctor says he'll be fine because he works out.

My father, who was a couch potato of the highest order for at least as long as my mother's known him and they were high-school sweethearts, started going to the gym after he retired. Before the accident he went to aerobics classes three times a week, shaming the other people (mostly women, he loves that), who are more than 20 years younger than he is. He's still looking for his six-pack abs, but he's not carrying around a keg anymore, just a case.

So I hope his recovery time isn't too long. I want him to get back to the gym, so he can get back on his Harley. (Or his airplane. He flies, too.) While I worry about him a little on his dangerous toys, I know he's a very cautious man. And I'd worry more if he took to sitting in his recliner and never moving from in front of the television, because my mother would kill him faster than the motorcycle or the airplane.


Besides I love having the only dad around who has a Harley, even if it also means he owns assless chaps!


Sunday, March 01, 2009

SNOW! March 1, Huntsville, Alabama

For Eli's 15th birthday we ordered up snow! It was a gorgeous, windy, cold day.


My nephews, Eli the birthday boy, and his younger brother Jake, enjoying the snow.

It's always such a great surprise when it actually snows--especially in March.