Buster Butt’s Best Friend

If you’d have told me a year ago that Buster Butt would have a new best friend who just happened to be an 80 year old man, I’d have laughed my ass off. But, here we are and this is going to be long. Sorry, not sorry.

Buster Butt absolutely adores Neighbor Frank.

You may know this because we are friends and Facebook (and you actually look at my posts, sometimes.) But I’m not sure most of you realy GROK what this means. It’s huge.

It didn’t happen overnight, but it happened a whole lot quicker than I’d have expected (based on how many times and how long some other people have tried to gain Buster’s trust and affection… cough…Chris… cough…)

In the early days of living here, all of the dogs barked a lot — particularly when people came outside into their own backyards. It took them awhile to settle down and realize that Neighbors Frank and Jackie and Jim (and to a lesser extent Neighbors Caroleanne and Joe) belonged in those spaces. All of the neighbors were immediately kind and understanding. They said things like “They’ll settle down.” and “That’s what they’re supposed to do!” and “They’re the quietest dogs in the neighborhood!” (the latter made us look at each other with both concern and amusement…)

They did settle down, mostly. Especially with Neighbor Frank. They really didn’t bark much at him at all after the first week or so, unless he was wearing a weird hat or carrying a stick. Even Buster was pretty chill, though he did continue to bark the longest when first seeing (or scenting… the scenting becomes important in a minute…), but he stopped immediately upon realizing it really was just Frank.

Before long, I can’t really remember how long, Neighbor Frank had bought himself a box of Milkbones (he calls them biscuits) and asked politely if he could give them a treat. We said he could, we preferred only one a day because SOME DOGS are CARRYING A LITTLE EXTRA, and told him that Buster probably wouldn’t take a biscuit from him because Buster goes on hunger strikes simply because we move a box or a chair where it does not generally belong. When stranger fear hits, well… no, he would not take a treat from Frank. And he didn’t. Days passed and Frank did not give up. He also didn’t push the issue either.

And suddenly, Buster would take a biscuit from him, through the chain link fence. He’d snatch it fast and run. But every now and then, he’d get spooked and wouldn’t take the biscuit. Frank did not give up. He just kept on chatting with all of the dogs as he wandered around the yard. And every day he’d go into his shed (now called The Biscuit Closet) and get a bone for each dog.

Sure enough, it worked. Buster would take the bone and sit right at the fence and eat it like the other two dogs. And then, Buster was hooked.

He would scent Frank before anyone realized he had come outside and wherever Buster was in the yard (and sometimes even in the house?) he’d go dashing to the fence, tail wagging, and making a whining noise — that’s the “It’s Frank whine!” He wouldn’t let Frank pet him but he would lick his fingers sometimes through the fence. That was a huge deal.

And thank Neighbors Frank and Jackie went to Tennessee for most of the summer. Poor Buster sat right there at the fence every day for hours on end, waiting for Frank. Months passed and he never seemed to give up on the idea that Frank would be back. He barked mightily at any of the neighbors who went into Frank’s yard (to pick fruit or water plants or mow lawns.)

I wasn’t really sure whether Frank might have to start all over again in the wooing of Buster, once they returned in October. But no, Buster barked and he got excited and his tail wagged a mile a minute and he barked some more but he also took that biscuit immediately and has never ever looked back.

Frank is his BEST FRIEND. And lord does Frank love Buster. He loves all of the dogs, he calls them “his dogs.” He bought another type of Milk Bone — the extra large bones because he thought bigger is better! He quickly realized that those are too big for Lola because she’s a tiny thing who doesn’t even really like the bones. And Buster still has some anxiety about this so and won’t gobble down the big bone fast enough. Which means Skeeter was getting most of these big bones for herself and there was some risk of dog fighting over. So Frank went out and bought THREE different sized biscuits. The big ones for Skeeter, the medium for Buster and the small ones for Lola. (And he does indeed occasionally slip Buster an extra biscuit. He thinks we don’t know this. We know this. lol)

If you had told me we would have an 80 year old neighbor who loves these dogs, who buys them the right sized biscuits, who worries over them like they were his kids… well I wouldn’t have believed it. We are so lucky.

Last month, Frank and Jackie went up to Tennessee. They had planned to spend a week in TN then go on a trip to New Orleans with the seniors up there, then go back to TN for a bit before coming home. The plan was for them to be gone for a few weeks.

While they were gone, Buster pined away at the fence. Barking angrily when Joe came over and mowed the lawn and watered the plants. Three weeks is a long ass time for Buster but he didn’t give up and Frank came home. A little early (we’ll get to that…) and Buster was happy. So happy that he didn’t just take the biscuit and wag his tail, he actually stood up at the fence so that Frank could pet him. The look on Frank’s face when this happened… good lord. It was like a kid at Christmas. Buster had never, ever done this. NEVER. Never even considered it.

Frank was thrilled and this was extra good because Frank isn’t feeling well. They cut their vacation short because he ended up in the hospital on his 80th birthday and they felt they needed to come home to be close to his doctors (and they never even got to go to New Orleans.) :-(

A few days later, Frank went to the doctor to discuss this problem he’s having and… we didn’t see him (or Jackie) again for a couple of days. We were very worried. They always come out and take care of their plants. ALWAYS. TW went over and knocked on the door – no answer. We were afraid Frank was in the hospital. So I sent an email to Jackie to see how they were doing. I got the update… They’re fine, right now. Frank has a treatment plan. Frank’s looking at some surgery at the end of the month… and still we didn’t see them. This was very troubling to us and to Buster.

Yesterday, I was out on the deck in the afternoon with the dogs. Buster had moved to the deck after staring at Frank’s house for a half hour. He was sound asleep. The other dogs were also chilling on the deck. I was working on my phone. I looked up for a second and noticed a shadow behind the cedar tree… it was Frank, peeking under the branches of the tree.

The wind was blowing like crazy and BUSTER had not scented him. None of the dogs had. I stood up and started walking toward the edge of the deck and before I made it two steps, Buster realized FRANK WAS THERE. He took off like lightning, leapt over Lola and raced to the fence. The other dogs realized what was going on and tore off after him.

Frank laughed, grabbed their biscuits and talked to them about how much he’d missed them and once again Buster stood up at the fence so that Frank could pet him. Frank said, “You guys are the best company and the best medicine” and I almost kind of cried.

Buster butt loves Neighbor Frank. We all love him. I sure hope he’s our neighbor for many years to come. (Sniff.)

Sick poodle is sick. Very Sick. For real.

After a full day of us saying we were not taking the Skeeter poodle to the vet ONE MORE TIME for eating something she shouldn’t and having an upset stomach, we took her to the emergency vet at around 1:30am, last night. As we drove, as we sat in the waiting room, as we sat in the exam room, we thought we were idiots for doing this AGAIN. She ate something. She has a tummy ache. They’ll give her fluids and anti-nausea meds and we’ll have spent $1K and lost 6 hours of sleep and if we just waited it out, we’d have had those 6 hours of sleep and the $1K we were about to shell out… But this time, when the doctor turned on the x-rays and said she ate something, and this doesn’t look good either… welp. Turns out this is not like those other times. It’s not like that at all.

It looks like she swallowed a penny. And they’re pretty sure it’s a penny due to the exact size and measurement of the penny. (I am still skeptical about this, coins have never been her thing — so while I can see her eating pretty much any damn thing… coins? Huh. That’s just… weird.) And apparently pennies are particularly toxic to dogs because they’re made of zinc. So letting her try to poop it out was not an option that was even suggested.

They tried to make her vomit to see if she would clear it that way. This dog is the least vomiting dog EVER and I was pretty sure it wouldn’t work. I was right. They dosed her with the morphine mixture TWICE and no vomit.

So we left her there and the emergency vet said she wanted to consult with the internist at 7:30am about whether they could retrieve the item through endoscopy or whether she recommended abdominal retrieval. We got home at 5:30am and the phone rang at 7:15…

She was resting comfortably, they had done another set of x-rays to see if anything had moved — her intestines looked better (did I mention they were all weird? well they were… another reason for not suggesting we just let her poop it out) but nothing in the stomach had moved even a millimeter.

The internist asked that they try to make her vomit again… using hydrogen peroxide this time. They dosed her twice with that, no vomit. (THIS DAMN DOG!) The internist is concerned about the penny but she’s equally concerned about all of the other things in Skeeter’s stomach since they haven’t moved at all.

So, because the intestines look better — we’re waiting eight hours and will do another x-ray to see if any of the contents of her stomach have started the move through the GI tract. If not, she’ll have full abdominal surgery. If stuff has started moving, they’ll probably go in and try to retrieve the penny through endoscopy (unless of course the penny has moved into a place where it can’t be retrieved through endoscopy.)

So I’m glad we took her to the vet for another stomach ache and foreign body ingestion check. I’m glad we lost six hours of sleep. I am hopeful that she’ll be home again in a day or two and I will try not to complain at all about the recovery period issues we’re going to face.

Damn, poodle.

That 70s House: All the *#*$()#*@)$(!*! Beeping

Backstory: I hate appliances that make noise. I don’t even really like the beeping my car makes when I unlock the doors with the fob. And I very much dislike the beeping it makes when I’m backing up. Beeping is stupid. I particularly hate appliances that don’t let you MUTE the noise they make. When we replaced our microwave a few years ago our only criteria was that we be able to mute the damn sound. When TW’s mom replaced our almost dead toaster oven and bought one that BEEPS non-stop (and cannot be muted) TW suggested we trash it before we moved and purchased a proper toaster oven that does not make noise. Being thrifty and a little stressed over home buying/moving costs, I said no. So we still have that damn horrendously loud toaster oven (more on that later…)

So… we bought a house, you might have heard about that. And after all of the papers were signed and the keys were handed over to us, we happily drove directly to our new home with lots of ideas about how we might spend our first few moments in OUR new 70s HOUSE. I unlocked the door and went directly to the alarm system where I dutifully typed in the code that was provided to us by the previous owner, Mr. C…. and the damn alarm started blaring.

What? I know I typed it correctly. I typed it again. TW typed it. We pressed all the buttons and still the BLARING. OMG, the blaring. I had no phone battery so TW stepped outside to call our fabulous real estate agent and ask for help. She didn’t have the code. She called the seller’s agent and they said they didn’t have the code, (this makes no sense. You’re telling me less than 15 minutes after closing they had thrown away the seller’s entire packet which obviously included the code? Whatever.) They said they’d try to reach the previous owner and TW and I frantically pressed buttons while the alarm BLARED NON-STOP.

I had almost reached the point where I was willing to take a hammer to the thing to shut it up when it stopped. And, ten seconds later Mr. C comes ambling through the yard … he’d been at neighbor Frank’s house the whole time and had just gotten a call from the real estate agent about the issue.

Mr. C shuffles over to the alarm system and types the code into the system and umm, that wasn’t the code he had given us. LOL. He sheepishly said, “oh, I’m sorry.” and then meandered back to neighbor Frank’s house while TW and I stood there and stared at each other, waiting for the ringing in our ears to stop.

The first 30 minutes in our new house did not go as expected. And, that was just the beginning. It turns out we bought a very loud beepy house. WTF, right?

Later that same day, I used the microwave for the first time only to discover that it beeps like a SOB and there’s no way to mute the damn thing. Whatever. It’s old. Microwaves are cheap. We’ll replace it later. (Though when it broke in May, I chose to repair rather than replace but more on that in another post.) So, yea. MORE damn beeping.

Let’s move forward a month, we’re actually moved into the house and one of the first things we did was buy a new washer and dryer. I researched for a full month before purchase and ended up buying the brand, if not the exact model I’d originally intended to buy. I knew it made noise but also knew I could turn it off. But I didn’t realize the damn thing SINGS. It sounds like a high class ice cream truck. Weird… but I can turn it off, though I haven’t because it’s out in the Florida room and the brick walls block most of the noise. So far, it’s not annoying.

What was annoying was hearing a weird beeping noise when I was in the bedroom, some time in June, and not knowing what in the hell it was. Maybe it was a truck outside, backing up? It sort of sounded like that but not really. It also sounded like it was in the house or really close to the house but there was no truck outside. I investigated and never did figure out what it was. Maybe the old AC making a weird noise, as old ACs do? Whatever, the noise stopped. Until it did it again a few days later. TW and I investigated together and finally realized it was coming from… the MFing refrigerator!

Sure enough, the refrigerator was warning us that it was too warm. Why was it too warm? Was it broken? It didn’t SEEM broken? After much research, I decided it was because I’d put food that was hot in there after I cleaned up the kitchen after dinner. Sheesh. MORE freaking beeping appliances. What the ever loving fresh hell?

I figured that was it, nothing else could beep. Right? Wrong.

The dishwasher went haywire and started beeping like crazy. I couldn’t make it stop. Well I could, finally, after opening and closing and pushing all the buttons finally noticing a CLEAR/RESET button and that made it stop. I have no idea why the dishwasher went crazysauce. It seemed fine. I ran it again and it was fine. Until it did it again a couple of weeks later. Same thing. No idea why it did it. The dishes were clean. It continues to wash just fine and it hasn’t beeped since then. (Though I’m sure it will beep again one of these days because of course it will.)

To top it all off, the damn toaster oven that we hate because the MFing thing beeps for five minutes after you use it, has started setting off the SMOKE DETECTOR. I keep cleaning the toaster and for a day or so, it’s fine, and then it’s back to setting off the smoke detector again. I’ve given up and just resigned myself to the fact that it’s going to beep and the smoke detector is going to blare every time someone uses the damn thing.

All the freaking beeping.

KonMari Problems: Scissors

A long time ago, we had a house full of kids and constantly missing scissors. TW, being TW, ordered a gross of scissors from ebay — a mix of all kinds of scissors, probably those confiscated at an airport by TSA or something. It was a glorious thing to see all of those scissors. To have them all inside of this wonderful metal box that belonged to TW. To always know that if you needed scissors and none were immediately at hand, you could just head to the metal box of scissor joy.

box

Fast-forward 10 (or more?) years and we still have the metal box but it’s a lot less full of joy than it used to be. Scissors have disappeared to wherever scissors go. Or, scissors have been thrown away because they don’t actually do the job of cutting any longer. Or, I don’t know. They’re just gone.

boxscissors

Which is fine. Really. We’re no longer a house full of children and we do have more than enough scissors to bring us joy. I cannot see us buying any more scissors in our lifetime. Really. TW’s purchase was a great investment on our future. Truly. If they still sell these huge boxes of scissors on ebay and you have a house full of kids and constantly missing scissors, you should consider just such a purchase. It will serve you well.

But, here’s where I’m having some KonMari joy problems.

1) Some of the scissors in this box really don’t bring much joy. I can’t see us ever using some of these types of scissors, ever. They’re just not the kind of scissors we actually use or need. We definitely need to Kondo these. Immediately.

2) Worse yet, we’re notoriously bad at putting scissors back to the place that they belong. (I’m sure we blamed the kids all those years ago when TW bought all of the scissors, but it’s clearly a shortcoming of the adults in the house, as much as the kids.) Putting items back to their proper place is a clear mandate of the KonMari system. Determine where items belong and put them there. Keep them there. Always return them there. That’s how you prevent clutter and prevent yourself from buying more things that you don’t need. If your things are always in their proper places, you will always know what you have and not find yourself buying more of things that you ultimately do not need.

A few days ago, I rounded up all of the scissors I could find in the downstairs part of the house (again, I’m not touching the girls’ rooms upstairs and I’m not touching TW’s mom’s room.) I’m sure there are more scissors that I have not found but I rounded up dozens of scissors from all over the place. The only scissors I did not remove from their existing locations were a) a pair of scissors on my art table b) the broken kitchen scissors, which I repaired and left in the drawer, (though I suspect these are more broken than I’d like to think and will ultimately be discarded.)

kitchen art

Since the day when I rounded up all of the scissors, during a conference call at work (I’m one hell of a multi-tasker), scissors have found their way back to a variety of places where they’re somewhat useful but… they do not actually BELONG in these places. Or do they?

Is that my problem with scissors? I think they should always live in the big metal box but maybe the excess scissors should always be in the big metal box but other scissors should live in other places?

Some people think that you should keep items where you’re most likely to use them. Marie Kondo says this is wrong. That when we need something, we do not mind the effort it takes to go to the location where the item lives to get the item that we need. The problem lies in the putting the item back. If it’s difficult to return a thing to its proper place, we will not do so. We need to make the item easier to return than to retrieve. Is that making sense? It makes sense when she says it, trust me.

The metal box is not super easy to get to, in its current location. It lives on the bottom shelf of a Billy in the office. There are often things sitting in front of it or on top of it. It’s less than 10′ from where I’m sitting right now, typing this. I can see it on the shelf. Yet, there are three pairs of scissors sitting in the coffee cup on my desk. Why didn’t I get up and put the scissors back in the metal box when I finished using them? I retrieved them from the box when I needed them. Three times! What made it so much harder to put them back?

Is it because I have this coffee cup sitting on my desk that’s full of pens? If that coffee cup wasn’t on my desk, would I be more likely to put the scissors in the box? If I move the box to another location, would I be more likely to put the scissors back?

coffee

How do I explain the scissors that are even closer to the metal box, on TW’s desk? A desk she does not use… as a desk. At all. Ever.

twdesk

Or the extra pair of scissors that found its way into another kitchen drawer?

drawer

Or the scissors that are on the dresser in the bedroom?

dresser

Did someone retrieve all of those from the metal box? Was it me? Or were they “found” not in their proper place, the metal box, but somewhere else and I just missed them on the first pass? And, where should the big metal box live that would make it easier for all of the people in the house to put all of the scissors away all of the time?

Or, should I just stop thinking about this and put one pair of scissors in all of the places scissors are often found and get rid of the surplus of scissors that live in the box, even though they mostly still bring joy (they’ll all bring joy, once we go through the box and toss out the really dumb scissors.)

Surely other people have scissor issues? But if that’s true, why has nobody recorded a KonMari scissors video? Maybe it’s just me? Maybe it’s just us?

Goodbye 2048

It took just under a week but I beat that damn 2048 game… Yay!

But, it’s so annoying because NOBODY was awake to hear me scream.

Well, Lola was awake but she was less than impressed. She looked at me with disdain and went back to bed.

I BEAT IT!

Hot, Cold, Hot, Cold

I went back to wearing two jackets and two pairs of socks in my house. I haven’t been able to bring myself to put on a second pair of pants. I just can’t go that far.

I’m not really warm with the extra layers but at least I’m not shivering so badly that I’m double typing every other letter.

Stupid weather is stupid.

Stupid hot flashes are equally stupid.

They cause me to want to strip off the layers but when I do, I find myself freezing my ass off again five minutes later. It’s a constant — put on the jackets, take off the jackets, put on the jackets, take off the jackets sort of thing.

Even more frustrating because I often take my jackets off and walk away and then have to figure out where I left them when I’m cold again five minutes later.

Today is stupid.

Jury Duty, Ho Hum

Remember when I said I was almost looking forward to jury duty? I think I said it a couple of times. Well yea. About that? Not so much once it came right down to it.

It’s not that I have any problem at all with providing that service to my community. Nope, that’s not it at all. It’s everything that goes with it.

I couldn’t get a venue change so I was stuck going all the way to the city, which means I had to leave at 7am to be sure I was there by 8:30am.

Then, the whole civil case thing kind of irks me. So many of these cases are a waste of everyone’s time. These things just shouldn’t get this far. Obviously, since three cases on the floor I was on settled before the jury selection process started. They called upstairs to two other floors looking for cases that were ready for jury selection to start. Nope. They all settled before jury selection could begin.

If you’re going to get to the point of actually being at the courtroom, less than an hour before jury selection begins then couldn’t you have settled yesterday? Day before? Really? You couldn’t come to some agreement until you got to the courthouse?

That’s the thing that’s so annoying.

So, I was released at 11am. I was paid $17.20 for my time. It’ cost me $34 to park my car.

People, if you’re considering taking a civil case to trial — don’t do it. FIGURE IT OUT BEFORE YOU GET TO THE DAMN COURTHOUSE for godsakes.

My Ass Is Cold and I’m Tired of It

One of the most annoying things about winter is the fact that my ASS is always cold. Always.

I stopped wearing two pairs of pants, a couple of days ago, when the temps hit the 40s and 50s. My ass was still cold. It’s in the 20s today (windchill much colder than that) and MY ASS IS SO COLD I can’t even think of something to compare it to. It’s that cold.

I’d get up and put a second pair of pants on (flannel leggings underneath my fleece sweats) but it won’t help and will just make me even more annoyed that it’s March and I’m wearing TWO PAIRS OF PANTS IN MY HOUSE and MY ASS IS STILL COLD. That’s why I happily moved to ONE pair of pants for a couple of days (though I forgot that Great Lakes Naval Station is the coldest effing place on earth and froze MY ASS off when I had to pump gas in only one pair of pants on Sunday — though there was some idiot in shorts at the same damn time.)

The best thing about moving to the south in 27 months EXACTLY is that MY ASS WILL NOT BE COLD.

Damn it.

My Love/Hate (No Wait, My HATE/HATE) Relationship with the USPS

I kind of hate my mail carrier. But then I feel badly about that because it’s colder than cold out there and it’s got to be a horrible experience to drive around and deliver the mail.

Then again, our mail carrier(s) (because I’m sure we’ve had several since moving) suck a whole lot even when the weather isn’t bad, so I stop feeling badly for hating them.

They leave “We missed you so you have to pick up your package at the post office” notices all of the time, though they didn’t actually get out of their little mail truck to see if we were home. Because we absolutely were home and the dogs would have told us if someone knocked at the damn door.

They bring us more mail for other people than mail actually addressed to us. Which makes me wonder how much of our mail is ending up at other people’s houses… no, I’m not going to wonder about that. I’m going to pretend that’s not happening.

When I’ve caught the mail carrier to say “THIS IS NOT OURS” he’s said, well it must be miss-addressed and then I point out, no it’s not. It’s for the people on Melise Dr (across the street from us), he grumbles under his breath like it is MY FAULT that I’m not the person who the mail was addressed to.

They’ve folded up large photo envelopes and stuff them into the mail box.
They’ve wadded up mail to try and get MORE mail to fit into the mailbox.

Today, TW went to the street and found Michelle’s college diploma not IN the mailbox but stuck between the box and the mail flag. Just out there. In the open. In the GOD BLESSED WIND and freezing yukkiness. What would have led the mail carrier to think this was an appropriate delivery of mail? In this particular case, if he didn’t want to get out of the car in -20F, then fine — LEAVE ME A NOTICE and let me go pick it up, for godsakes. You’ve done it a million other times, for no good weather reason…

This kind of thing is why the USPS is in trouble. Why would I want to send ANYTHING via US mail and risk it being treated that way? I think my goal for 2014 should be to see if I can NEVER mail anything via US MAIL again. Ever.

WTF WWF?

Words With Friends is pissing me the hell off.

They updated the app again and that always means things are a little wonky at first but this time, it’s so bad I can barely manage to play.

For the first few days, every time I opened the app, I’d have to pull the screen down three times before I could get it to even show me any of my in progress games.

Then, when I’d open a board, I’d get 55 popups telling me “You won” or “You lost” and I’d have to dismiss them before I could access the board.

Then when I accessed the board, it often looked like this…

Worse yet, none of the actual words on this board are even ON the game I’ve just tried to open. STUPID, WWF.

Yesterday, Karenlynn messaged me with something like “are you too busy filofaxing to play two games at once?” I thought she asked that because I hadn’t played in hours and hours so I replied that I’d just been busy with work and then the 5 hour prairie dog rescue ordeal kept me away from my phone.

But no, I think the problem is that a game I know we started is just gone from the list. There’s another one that says it’s her move, and it has no tiles placed — but that board also says that the chat has been closed because the game is over.

WTF?

Then, on another board, I played a word — the screen reloaded and it was there, so I closed it to go to another game and… that first board, it’s showing that it’s still my turn and my word didn’t actually play after all. But when I try to play a word, it won’t let me.

It’s gotten to the point that I don’t even want to open the damn app — it’s so bad. (And yes, I’ve rebooted my iPhone and yes, I’ve looked to see if there’s another update to fix these problems.)

Get your act together, WWF. This is just stupid.