Sunday, November 20, 2016

Before the cold

I just finished as the wind changed direction and started howling and the temperature dropped.  I had heard the latest weather report on the car radio on my way home.  WINTER WEATHER ADVISORY!  It scared the bejeezus out of me.  So as soon as I parked the car in the garage and hauled the groceries inside, I gave in to the temptation to do something I always vowed I wouldn't do until the last turkey leg was history.  I am somewhat ashamed to admit to such a grievous sin, but you can't mess with Mother Nature at a time like this.

You guessed it.  I put the outdoor Christmas decorations up.  Checked all the little lights to make sure they would provide a bright twinkling holiday.  We should have another well lit Christmas since all the lights worked.  Yes, miracles do happen. I just feel that since all the lights will contribute their festive gift, God is smiling on me and letting me know that I did the right thing.  As a compromise with my doubts about the early arrival of Xmas decorations, I promised to not turn on the lights until the Thanksgiving  holiday played out.

So I beat the weather and got a jump on the season, And I don't mind skipping the frozen fingers or running nose while working outside at this time of year.

Monday, November 14, 2016

The Caricature

You know that caricature we've all have seen of the elderly gentleman who thinks he's well dressed and is otherwise totally unconcerned that anyone else might think differently.  He wears his shorts cinched under his pot belly with an oversized belt, his polo shirt is so tight he looks like he is stuffed into a sausage casing, the shirt a size too small so that a sliver of that pot belly is poking out as if looking for a glimmer of light and a breath of fresh air. The clincher that he is clueless about his clothes is, of course, the ultimate anti-fashion statement: wearing those shorts with black socks and dressy brogues.

Well, I hate to admit this, but this afternoon I came close to being that old guy who dressed badly and didn't care.  After watching the Badgers play some lousy football, I decided that since it was so nice outside, I would clean the deck with my power washer.  I was wearing jeans and black socks and shoes, so I looked like I knew how to dress myself.  But then I decided that getting my good jeans wet was not good, so I shed the jeans and grabbed a pair of shorts to wear instead. I figured that if I was worried about my jeans getting wet I should be more concerned about my shoes getting soaked as well. So I took the good shoes off and slipped on my well worn brown schechers.  I looked like that old guy we were making fun of but without the pot belly.

I knew I looked bad because when I saw some neighbors out for a walk, I quickly ducked inside to avoid having them see in such a state.  After they passed by I got real busy and finished the job quickly to avoid another accidental sighting by another neighbor.  There I was, black socks, brown shoes, old shorts and Mary didn't even make a comment about how I looked, let alone laugh at me.

spot on changes

.We added a bit of variety to our life today.  Instead of seeing a gastroenterologist, neurologist, or a therapist of some kind, we changed it up and went to see a dermatologist.  Mary has been concerned about the various spots that speckle my head. Actually, I think she's worried that I may be losing my manly good looks with all those spots marring my exceptionally pleasant countenance.

There was some concern about precancerous spots on my head since I worked outside in the glorious sunshine for many years and spent a lot of time on the golf course as well.  I never bothered with sunscreen either.

I wasn't particularly concerned about all those discolored beauty marks, but I had to humor Mary or she would be on my back like another big spot until she drove me crazy and drove me to a doctor. I also wanted to se the dermadoc about an ouwee on my left ear that has been there for a very long time without healing.

It turns out that all those spots we were dealing with were nothing more than "wisdom spots" as the doc referred to them.  That was just a nice way to say "old age" spots. Nothing can be done with them. And I should expect to have more of them appearing as I get older.

The ear sore was something else though.  The doctor diagnosed it as chondrodermatitusnodularishelicis.
I said, "That's easy for you to say, but what is it in English."
He said, "sore ear."

Funny guy.  He told me that the soreness was caused by compression on my ear, probably from sleeping on it too much. His recommendation: get a piece of foam and cut out a hole for my ear to fit into so nothing is touching it, and eventually it would go away. If I do that you will never know because I will forbid any photographic evidence to appear for you all to make fun of me.

Then, to mollify Mary, the doc said he would freeze some of those "wisdom spots" and make them disappear so I wouldn't get too much uglier.  He grabbed his liquid nitrogen gun and proceed posthaste to zap the chosen offenders.  What he did not do is warn me that freezing them would be stingingly painful.  He caught me surprise, and I am not ashamed to admit that I screamed like a little girl when he shot that liquid nitrogen on those spots.  He looked unapologetic, even pleased with himself, when I squeeled in pain.  And I am not too pleased with Mary's reaction to my suffering either.  She seemed disconcertingly pleased with my reaction. We will have to talk about that real soon.

And, oh yeah, we got a dog.

Roxie the would-be Superdog

Here she is, Roxie, the super dog. I have never known such gentle, trusting, lovable cuddler.  I have never allowed a dog to sit on my lap or to sit on the furniture, but I find myself reaching for her, coaxing her up onto my lap. I am a changed man when she is in the room.

Lest you think that she is a perfect angel and can do no wrong, I have to tell you about her first night here in her new home. She is very curious about her surroundings and seems to be storing all the information she learns by watching every move we make.  We put her bed, a big cushion, in the kitchen under the church pew.  She knew it was her bed without our needing to tell her, making herself comfortable.  So naturally we thought  she would be content there all night.

A few minutes after we turned off the lights for the night, we heard a peculiar noise coming from the kitchen.  We couldn't immediately identify the sound, so fearing what the dark had hidden, I boldly ventured into the scary black hole.  I reached for the nearest light switch to stymie the darkness and was rewarded with the strangest sight I've ever seen.

Roxie had managed to push aside the gate we had put in the doorway between the kitchen and dining room, as a way to control her wandering around and getting into anything that a dog should not get into, but she was still in the kitchen, eschewing the opened gate and the freedom it represented for something that she must have thought was more interesting or exciting or enticing to a curious intelligent dog.

She greeted my entrance into the kitchen with what I would describe as a "who me?" look of false innocence that nearly had me convinced that she was placed on the table by some gang of elves just passing by.  She can be very convincing.  But she was really laying on me a disdainful look that said, "you mere human. Did you really think that you could confine me with a silly little gate?"  She gave me that look from her perch on the kitchen table, which she had begun to clear off so she could be more comfortable.  The newspaper was across the room near the refrigerator.  I could swear that I had left it on the table. The magazine I had left there was on the floor and one of the placemats joined it there.  The noise we had heard that brought us to the scene of the crime must have been the falling lamp that was now on the bench. Who knows what other mischief she would have gotten into if we would have ignored that unfamiliar noise. All this happened in less than a minute.  If nothing else, she is damn efficient.

We got her back into her bed where she actually stayed for the rest of the night. I know that most of your would say crate her at night or when you are away so she can't into trouble. But my instincts say this dog would be very unhappy confined in a cage, and would likely make a commotion worse than anything she would do with the freedom to roam around.  We solved the problem by allowing her spend the night in our room on her bed, not ours.  She just wants to be near us, the rest of her pack. And really, how could I resist such a loving addition to my pack.

As long as Roxie continues to make me smile and not scowl, she will be welcomed in my home.

Roxie the Superdog

Ok, so I like to play like I'm a tough guy badass.  It's just the image I want to project so the real bad asses out there don't mess with me.  But if any of those guys saw me today they would know a bad actor when they saw me.

Today we left Roxie, the Wonder Dog, home alone for the first time.  We confined her to the kitchen by blocking the door with a temporary cardboard gate that I had made for Carrie's and Ezra's dog, Hova, when they were here for 10 days a couple months ago.
I figured Roxie, Wonder Dog or not, would have too much difficulty surmounting such a formidable obstacle as a 4 foot high wall, and would give up after her attempted escape was thwarted a couple times. This was a test of both her obedience and her possible bad dog coping skills when she knew no one was watching and she wanted to try her Houdini impersonation.  But she fought off any thoughts of destruction and curbed the urge to let us know that she would not tolerate being left home alone when there were so many interesting things out there in the world that she needed to explore.  Instead, as a good dog should, she simply repaired to her bed under the church pew, and calmly and patiently awaited our return home.

Well, I am happy to say, and quite proud as well, that she passed her tests with nary a demerit.  When we got home after being gone for about 6 hours, she greeted us with the biggest show of love and affection that any dog would be proud to display.  She was jumping up and down, running in circles, and putting on a display of happiness unprecedented in this man's home.  Not a thing was out of place in the kitchen.  Nothing was destroyed by doggie teeth.  There were no little surprises waiting to be discovered in a corner or anywhere else.

I was reduced to tears by her achievement.  There went my status as a tough guy.  If any of my would-be tough guy brethren were present for my emotional display, they would have drummed me out of the tough guy club and forbidden me the use of the secret handshake and would have taken away my key to the clubhouse. But I didn't care.  I didn't care because I had found me a DOG.  I couldn't help picking her up and giving her the biggest hug I could muster.

Roxie, the Wonder Dog, having earned her first merit badge in doggie endearment, will get to stay another day.