Thursday, December 31, 2020

I Love Mom The Best!

 Cujo here. Mom says I have a following! Who knew there was an audience for the words of a dog?

It has been a strange few days here at our house. Mom has been sick. I am happy to report that she is feeling better today. I was really worried. I can always tell when she is not feeling good. She will sit with us dogs longer than usual. Sometimes she will decide to have a nap. I like naps. I think naps are quite healthy. I nap as often as I can. Eddie agrees with me on the naps.

When Mom decides to nap she will put Bo and Toni Louise outside and tell Dad to let them in after she has gathered Eddie and I into her bed. I don't mind sharing this special time with Eddie. We both settle in close to Mom and then all three of us will snooze. Not a long nap, but we all feel refreshed when we wake up.

Well, Mom was feeling really bad. She was sitting, then standing and walking in circles. Eddie and I both knew something was not right. She said her head hurt, actually she said her head felt like it was going to explode. I tried to imagine this, but I couldn't. Her stomach hurt, too. She kept going into the bathroom, then coming back to sit and walk in circles. I felt bad for her. When she did sit down, she begged us dogs to stay off her belly.

Bo did no such thing. Bo likes to hurl himself through the air and bounce off Mom's belly, legs, or where ever he happens to land. Mom actually cried once when he fell onto her belly. Eddie tried to crawl onto her belly to protect her from the shenanigans of Bo, but she pushed him off. She pushed all of us dogs off and went to the back of the house where the the bathroom and bedroom is.

There is a gate there. It stays closed all day and open all night. That gate has been there forever. It is not a tall gate. Mom and Dad simply step over it. I know that Toni Louise could jump over it with little effort, but we never try to get over the gate. Oscar told me long ago that Mom put that gate there and told all the dogs not to even think about violating the gate. He said that even the big dogs obeyed out of respect for Mom. I am just glad they leave it open at night. Sometimes I need a drink of water!

Back to the day Mom was so sick. She steps over that gate all the time to get to the back of the house. She carries laundry back and forth, she makes the bed, and vacuums. She is never gone too long. But this day, after Bo decided to dive onto her belly she went over the gate and did not come back.

You may think us dogs are not paying attention when we are spread out on the couch with our eyes closed, but we are. We can hear everything! We are just resting our eyes, you know. After a bit of silence from the bedroom, Eddie whispered to me that something was wrong. I told him that maybe Mom just needed a break from the puppy. Toni Louise heard us and said that she needed a break from the puppy.

But, Mom usually takes Eddie and I for a nap ..... could she be napping without us?  I was worried, so Eddie and I both got down to sit by the gate and listen for sounds of Mom. I could hear her breathing and every now and then she would moan softly. "This is not good!" says Eddie and he starts to howl. Not a loud howl, mind you. Still Dad hissed at him to shut up. I started a low howl myself to accompany Eddie. I thought the harmony was kind of nice. Dad kept hissing at us and Bo found our howling to be to his liking and he joined in. I must say that Bo's howl was not at all unpleasant. Toni Louise ignored us all.

Eddie told me that Dad was not too smart in the ways of dogs, why did he not know we were trying to get his attention to go see about Mom? That is when Mom appeared. Dad said, "I tried to keep them quiet." By hissing at us to shut up? 

Dad asked Mom if she felt better and she said that she did not. He asked if she wanted something to eat and she did not. He asked if there was anything he could do. She told him that unless he could make her stomach and head stop hurting, that she could not think of a thing. She made herself a cup of tea and sat down to sip it. It was like we were starting the day again! I waited patiently for her to lift me to her side. Eddie made fun of me because I am afraid to try the steps he uses to gain access to the couch. One minute Mom was sipping her tea and the next she was jumping up and headed back over the gate to the bathroom! We looked at Bo and asked if he had jumped on Mom's belly again, but he was in Dad's lap! 

Mom announced that she was sick. Dad told her to call the doctor and offered to take her to the hospital. Eddie started barking. Eddie said that if Dad took her to the hospital she might not come home! Then I remembered the virus lurking outside of our campground, so I started to bark, too. No longer hissing, Dad yelled at us to SHUT UP. But we did not. Mom calmly led us outside, knowing full well that it had not even occurred to Dad that we might need to pee. We didn't, but a normal activity calmed us all down. Toni Louise and Bo chased each other round and round before tackling Eddie and Bo proceeded to lick Eddies teeth. I know, disgusting!

We went back inside and Mom said she was miserable. Dad told her to call the doctor or let him take her to the hospital, She ignored him. It was just beginning to get dark and Mom decided it was bedtime. Dad was wondering about supper. Mom did not offer any suggestions other than to mutter that he was more helpless than us dogs. Us dogs just went with Mom and got into bed with her. Bo sleeps in a kennel and he was being extra cooperative since Eddie had had a talk with him about Mom being sick. Toni Louise waited with her master and they came to bed, too.

We watched the TV for awhile and finally everyone went to sleep .... except Mom. She kept getting  and heading into the bathroom and walking in circles. The walking in circles was bothersome to me. Toni Louise does that when she tries to catch her own tail. Mom does not have a tail!

I know all this because I got up every time Mom did. I followed her everywhere she went. I even walked in circles when she did. Doesn't anyone else care about Mom? Just me, I am the only one. I care. I love Mom the best!

The next day came and Mom said she felt a lot better, but still not good. She was afraid to eat anything. She drank some of her coffee, but didn't finish it. Toni Louise confessed that she tried some of Mom's coffee once and said it was vile and she wondered why Mom liked it. She finally ate some soup and kept it down. We went to bed early again and I am happy to report that Mom and I slept straight through the night! She drank her coffee this morning and she says she feels good! I am so relieved!

Wednesday, December 30, 2020

Bad Tenant

 Cujo is doing such a good job with this blog, I might just step back and let him have it!

I have joked a lot about writing a book about owning a campground. A cautionary tale for anyone thinking it would be fun to own a campground. I have compiled a lot of stories from actual events (truth really is stranger than fiction) that have occurred here. Never blogged about some events, as I didn't want to discourage campers from staying here. Why would you want to stay here if I am going to make fun of you? The events I do publish never have names and even if you recognize yourself, you can't be absolutely sure it is you.

That being said, the events that are truly funny or baffling are not what I am talking about. There have some truly disturbing issues that have come up that I have never written about. Some things have to be written down for me to remember them. Some will never be forgotten, no need for a reminder. I can usually find something to laugh about in any situation. Some situations are just deadly serious.

Am I referring to the Corona Virus? If you know me at all, you know that I am fierce when it comes to protecting my family and that I take this virus very seriously. 

This past weekend had nothing to do with Covid and I realized at one point that I had totally forgotten to mask up before talking to the sheriff. I don't know when I will publish this, so anyone trying to guess when this happened will not know unless they were participants.

Years ago, over 10, I think, there was a murder here in my campground. It was a cold November afternoon and no one paid much attention at the sound of a shotgun. It was, after all, hunting season. The tenant who killed someone was a squirrely character and funds were low during this particular time in our business. I initially had misgivings about renting to the man. Every instinct told me to send him on his way, but we really needed the money. Winter is hard in this business, making for lean times. The first 5 years were hard, but we have finally made the campground into a profitable business.

It was terrible, a life was lost on my property and there was nothing I could do about it. I will write the entire story one day, but the event that is weighing heavy on my mind is a more recent event. After the murder, I posted a sign on the door of my office prohibiting firearms. I have been told many times that I should have a gun in the office. I joke that my husband forbids me having a gun, because I would use it. 

It is a joke, because I don't think I could shoot someone. I have no problem smacking them and the only thing that stops me is knowing they could have me arrested. I just don't know that I could take someone's life, even if it would make the world a better place. I do realize that my sign prohibiting guns is not really a deterrent, just like locked doors only keep honest people out. A lot of my tenants have guns that are legal. They keep them in their campers and don't flash them around.

Living in close quarters, such as a campground can bring out the best and the worst in people. Tempers will flare, words will be spoken and time will heal things. For the most part my tenants are compatible. If you absolutely cannot stand your neighbor, I will work with you to find a solution and move one or the other to another site.

Occasionally there will be a troubled soul who finds it entertaining to annoy everyone around them. Fielding complaints is in my job description and I can handle most things. When I have reached the limits of my ability to deal, I will hand it over to HeWho is too nice or I will simply evict the tenant. This usually happens when you refuse to pay rent.

The incident that occurred was over a trivial matter that never should have escalated to a gun being aimed at someone and then being fired. My long term tenants that have been here for some years are like an extension of my family. They feel free to tell people to slow down and are quick to come to my defense if anyone should think they are above the rules. 

For about a week the tenant in question had been working on a vehicle on his site. We do not usually allow this, but his main vehicle had been repossessed and he bought a questionable replacement that arrived on a tow truck. The currant rate of unemployment and hard times for people being laid off has made us relax the rules. But, he didn't even ask if it would be okay. I am not rabid about my rules and regulations and none of my other tenants would presume to simply disregard rules. They would ask me if they could and I would usually say yes or tell them why it was not a good idea.

I allow my seasonal and monthly tenants two camper washes a year, but never on weekends or when the ground is saturated with moisture. Imagine if one started to wash their rig and the park was full and all 75 sites were suddenly turning the water on and washing their campers at once. Monkey see, monkey do.

Bad tenant changed the oil and spark plugs, etc in his new ride and was revving the engine ..... endlessly. This was brought to my attention by more that a few campers. I happened to be outside as he was speeding through the park. I think we all know how I feel about speeding. 

I stopped him as he was coming around the corner, going the wrong way on a one way road. The only speeding vehicle in my park better be an ambulance or law enforcement and they better have lights on and a really good reason. This was the second time I told him not to go the wrong way on a one way drive and the speeding was really irritating me. I told him to go on the public road and head down that road if he wanted to run fast, but that I better not witness him speeding again within my park. I could tell he did not like it, my reprimand.

I had experienced a situation with this tenant in the first month he was here. I think he might have a problem with a woman telling him what he can and can't do. That time he blew up and was yelling at me. His wife to-be was with him and he stalked off, leaving her to beg me not to evict them. I remained calm, although I did have to raise my voice to be heard above his tantrum. I simply told him that I made the rules because the park was mine and that if this was a problem he should hitch up and find another place to live.

She told me that he had a hot temper and "when he gets like this, you have to leave him alone until he makes the effort to talk to you again". I looked at this soft spoken woman and with much empathy I warned her to think long and hard before she married this man. I do not tip toe around HeWho loves me, anymore that he does around me. Being fully grown adults, we can talk and work things out if we have a problem.

I was the only one who witnessed what I thought to be bizarre behavior over something that was relatively insignificant. All my friends and fans told me I should give the man another chance. I did and I am sorry that I did not simply follow my instinct that has proven to be pretty much on target (pun intended).

So, it was a cold dreary afternoon, suitable for watching a movie or taking a nap. Phone rang, not mine, but my husband's. If you ever call him, just know that if I am in the room I will hear every word, on speaker or not, he has volume at the maximum level.  The caller was pretty upset and I heard gun and shot. We were both up and headed out in seconds. I had my phone already calling 911 as I exited the office. Good tenant had been shot at!! Bad tenant was driving towards office and abandoned his vehicle to run up to my husband screaming that "I didn't do nothing wrong, he attacked me out of nowhere". Literally screaming in such a high pitch I thought a woman was screaming.

Good tenant was walking up the road towards the office. As he got closer, bad tenant started picking up rocks and throwing them at him! This certainly did not support his earlier statement. I was relaying all this to the 911 dispatcher as it was happening. A state trooper arrived at that point and we disconnected the call.

Bad tenant walked to the troopers car like a sulky child and got in the car, as the sheriff and a deputy arrived. They went back and forth, listening to each man tell his story of the incident. I had already decided that bad tenant had to go. He was already late with his rent and considering the fact that his vehicle had been repossessed and that he was self employed, but had not been out to work for the past week as he spent his days revving the engine of the vehicle he bought to replace it, I didn't see any way he was going to be able to pay rent.

While I was pondering this and listening to various eye witnesses tell their stories, good tenant is apologizing to me about the disturbance! This man has a heart of gold. He may lose his temper and yell at someone for doing something stupid, but I couldn't ask for a better tenant. He works around the park and since HeWho had his heart attack, he watches over him like a guardian angel. 

Good tenant was anguishing over pressing charges against bad tenant. I learned that, not only did he shoot at him, he actually hit him with the offending vehicle before I watched him throw rocks at him. "He doesn't have the money for bail and it is a bad time to be locked up.  I don't want to send him to jail. What should I do?" says good tenant.

I went over to talk to the sheriff. I was told that they could certainly lock up the bad tenant, but would also have to arrest the good tenant. This is where HeWho put a calming hand on my shoulder. He knows me well, as I was about to lose it with the sheriff and tell him he would have to lock me up, too. Seems, according to the law that good tenant broke the law when he stepped onto bad tenant's site and was told to get off "his property". Some domain law. I get it, I really do, but that didn't mean I would sit idly by without expressing my opinion.

My argument is that good tenant trespasses daily when he does the ground maintenance as my agent, working for us. He was in that capacity when he asked bad tenant to stop creating a disturbance. Nobody wants to listen to a revving engine. This is a campground, not an auto repair shop. Sheriff argues back that good tenant should have called me and let me handle it. While I already knew that was true, I still argued with him, as I like a good debate. I wanted to evict the tenant immediately, like hitch that camper up and go right now, but it doesn't work like that. The law is a strange thing sometimes.

I came to a compromise and told the sheriff that the bad tenant could stay as long as they took his firearms away. He agreed and good tenant agreed. 

You would think that the story would be over at this point, but you would be wrong. When I was talking to 911, HeWho told bad tenant that he would need to make other living arrangements. We already knew we would just have to take a loss on the rent. You can't get blood out of a turnip.

We let things cool down for a few days. It rubbed me wrong that he was sucking up my electricity and there was nothing I could do about it, short of filing for an eviction process that could take months. I finally decided to tell bad tenant that he could pay the money he owed me to stay until the end of his month, or he could leave in two days and not pay anything. Of course he chose option two. Who wouldn't? Why would anyone want to stay in a close knit community where you had acted like a fool in front of everyone?

So, it was settled and life could get back to normal. Yes, but no. I was settled under some canines, all cozy with a throw warming my toes. Went on Facebook where I can see pictures of my children and grandchildren and old friends and new friends. Totally unaware of the post I was about to see. I had accepted a friend request awhile back from bad tenant.

He had the foresight to unfriend all the others in the park, but must have forgotten about me. I read a totally different version of events in amazement. He said he had been spending a quiet afternoon with his son when "out of nowhere" his neighbor attacked him. Said he was afraid for his life, so he got his gun and shot into the air.

I went on to read the comments of his friends and his responses to them. One should always remember that social media is a public forum, there for all to see with no expectation of privacy. In other words, don't air your dirty laundry in public. One of his friends asked about the safety of his son and he responded that he was okay, but scared. He described the "assault" as happening inside the camper in one statement. He described his assailant in ways that would make him to be a giant of a man with a threatening demeaner.

Another of his friends advised that he should have shot to kill and then claimed self defense. Another friend suggested that he should have run over him with his revving vehicle. They sounded like good citizens. One asked if the offender was "on something", suggesting meth. This must have seemed like a good idea to bad tenant who readily agreed that this must be the case. So now they have a giant in a meth induced rage that for no reason decided to come into the camper and attack man and child, and he was simply defending himself and his son.

Then he did the unthinkable and NAMED good tenant! I was outraged as I read the entire passage aloud to HeWho. "You need to respond and set the record straight, that ain't right!" I did not respond. I didn't want to bring attention to myself and the fact that he must have forgotten to block me when he blocked everyone else. How else could I spy on him?

He did block me after that, so did his wife. Yes, she did marry him in an extravagant trip to Florida, partially funded by my rent money. Another example of poor decision making on his part. Her decision to marry an unstable man says a lot about her.

They need to watch more TV! Like Law and Order and Judge Judy! Does he not realize that statements made on social media are admissable in court?

Another thing he must be unaware of is that people in the same line of business talk to each other. I had heard he would be moving to another park in this county, but farther away than my competitor right across the highway. I had failed to warn her, as I had always warned the previous owner and she warned me. I called her and we chatted about her new tenant. She admitted that she knew she should have called me before letting him move to her park. He was due that very day.

Moving day was not uneventful. Bad tenant had sent a text to HeWho, informing him that they planned to be out of their site by 5pm. He went on to say that they just wanted to move peacefully and hoped that their wishes would be respected. Respected, indeed! He must have known better than to send that text to me! I may not have a gun, but I do have a shovel. In this time of Covid it is important to have a weapon that respects the 6 feet apart needed for safety!

The first trip out pulling the camper happened without incident. Well, other than revealing the ELECTRIC HEATER he had OUTSIDE underneath the camper. On my dime, or as it turns out a $400 electric bill for just his site! This means that in addition to not paying the rent due at $510, he also increased my power bill. The site he occupied was a premium site on a concrete pad with shade and a very large lot. His rent per month was $550. I allow sheds on long term sites as long as they aren't ramshackle. He had a tent shed and a hot tub that he decided to put up on his site WITHOUT PERMISSION. 

I will need to have another chat with his new landlord. It has been brought to my attention that his camper is bereft of plumbing and is not set up for the propane heater. Just because I was ripped off doesn't mean she has to be.

Upon returning for the remainder of his belongings, the revving started up again. So, for the remainder of daylight HeWho sat in his truck and watched the activity until they left. They over-estimated their ability to move within the time frame and had to return the next day for what was left.

In the meantime, HeWho's truck tire suffered a puncture by a screw driver. Can't prove it, but bad tenant is the only one with a grudge and his child like behavior from before points to him. He is still too close for comfort.

Saturday, December 26, 2020


One should NEVER complain about a gift, right? But I am going to. Not so much about the gift itself, but the fact that someone NEVER listens to me.

I enunciate well, I speak clearly, sometimes loudly, I have a good command of the language and I can even dumb it down if I need to. And yet, the message remains unheard.

It is well known in our family that HeWho loves me often struggles to find a gift he decides to bestow upon me. I don't really know why. I am an open book. I will even tell him exactly what I want and then in a misguided effort to surprise me, he will go in a totally different direction.

For example: When we moved to Minnesota as he moved up into a corporate position with American Paging, he apparently thought my personality changed. He thought I would change my frugal ways. He got me every credit card available in the stores in Mall of America. He thought I would embrace shopping as a hobby, as well as lunching out.  I didn't. Not to say that I NEVER shopped or had lunch with the wives of his cronies. I did and I did enjoy it. Just not every day.

I still maintained a budget and one day when I was pinning laundry to the line outside I was reprimanded for not using the dryer. It was a lovely day and I actually like to hang laundry out to dry. Anyway, that Christmas he handed me a rather heavy box that had been professionally wrapped. He was giddy with excitement for me to open it. I was busy watching my kids open theirs to see their faces. He made all activity come to a halt for me to open this gift. He was so excited as I pulled away the wrapping paper to reveal a box ....... that had the name of a furrier on it.

I was already feeling a little um, disappointed. A fur? I don't do fur, I love all the little animals. I was, in fact, pretty happy that the fur coat his mother had in her closet for years was too far gone to save for me. I tried it on and it was so heavy. No doubt it would keep me warm, as I would be sweating from the efforts of hauling it around on my back.

I opened the box to find a full length black mink coat. Supposed to end about mid calf, but hit my ankles. I hope he didn't watch my face as closely as his daughters did. I think it was Adrienne who looked at him and asked, "Do you even know her?"

I don't know that he heard her, as he was too busy extolling the virtues of the extravagant gift. "Look, it's reversible, if it rains, you can turn it to this side!!" All the while I am wondering where I would even wear this coat. He seemed to think I could wear it when I went grocery shopping. You bag your own groceries there and I can just see me now, hefting the coat up and getting down there to bag my produce. Sweating profusely. I think I wore the coat three times. Total.

Our anniversary is also in the month of December. He was agonizing over something he had ordered and it had not appeared. I told him to just give it to me later. It's not like I am a 5 year old Santa forgot. He was headed to a store anyway, so I told him I would love a nice warm robe. Mr. BoJangles had commandeered mine, and I chose to let sleeping dogs lie.

So, on Christmas Eve morning, as I sat with coffee and canines, I watched the UPS driver on the monitor as he struggled with a big box. To be honest, I wasn't even curious about the box. Lots of deliveries come every day and most of them are for my tenants.

As I dressed for the day, HeWho sleeps a lot went outside and managed to drag the boxes inside. He put the big one right up to the desk. On my way to put another coat of paint on a sign for the park. I took note of the location of the box. Knowing that one of my tenants was looking for a box, I yelled into the house and asked who the boxes were for.

HeWho got all excited and demanded that I "get out of there". Now I am curious. He might as well have told me to examine the box. Clever man that he is, he positioned the box so that the Spanish side was showing. Clever man disregarded the ILLUSTATION on the box. What did he think would happen? I read so well that I don't look at illustrations? If he were really clever, he would have told me that all the boxes were for someone else.

I may have been complaining of late about HeWho and his slovenly habits. He does very little to help maintain the household. He will now take his laundry as far as the laundry room and fling them towards the washer. I am happy to be making progress, such as it is. But he is still leaving dishes everywhere. Okay, not everywhere. He is careful to make sure a dog can't reach his cereal bowl and will usually put it in the windowsill. Doesn't everyone do that? Cereal consumption is done in the late evening. Or perhaps a glass of milk. How hard is it to take the dishes to the sink and rinse them?

I have always said that I did not want a dishwasher, preferring the storage space. It is tight in my kitchen. Not to mention the therapeutics of hot water on my aching hands. There is just the two of us and it doesn't take long to wash the dishes.

Despite this, he got me a dishwasher for Christmas. Yes, I was annoyed. The dishwasher is small and portable. I had to think fast to find a solution for storing the dishwasher while not in use. I will make a top bigger than the dishwasher and create an island of sorts to house the dishwasher and whatever I think of. 

Still, I am annoyed that his take on my nagging about where he puts the dishes wasn't addressed. I am quite sure he thinks this is the solution. It is not. There will still be a milk ring in the bottom of the glass to deal with. I still have much training to do! 


Tuesday, December 22, 2020

A Special Puppy

 I have told you about all my siblings with the exception of Charming Eddie. If you are a long time reader, you might recall reading about Eddie from his beginning.

Oscar was getting old when I came to live here. He was already 11 and his wife dog, Sweet Emmy Lou had passed away. He was still very sad when I came to live here. Since he was the alpha male of the pack, he is the one who had to accept me before I could stay. Mom tells me that she was afraid he would reject me because he was missing Emmy and I am a boy dog.

What can I say, Oscar knew quality when he saw me! I am quite a handsome specimen of a red dachshund. Dad says I am not red, but brown. Mom says I am red. This means I am red. We became friends right away. Oscar lived for 6 more years until he was very weak and couldn't see anymore. He had cataracts and at the beginning when his vision started to blur, us dogs would play tricks on him by moving things in his way, then we would laugh as he tripped.

I was already starting to feel bad about these tricks and Wall-E refused to participate. Often it was Martha, the boy cat, who would instigate these events. One day Mom caught us. That was a bad day for us! Right away Wall-E started crying his ugly iodine colored tears. Mom scolded us and took away snack time. Wall-E cried and cried until Mom finally picked him up and held him for awhile.

 Wall-E had a sensitive nature. He would cling to Mom with his claws. Mom called them talons because he refused to let her clip them. He would allow anyone to do anything to him, but watch out if you touched his feet! He would bite! I don't mind Mom clipping my toenails, although, I groom them myself by biting them off. Toni Louise has long nails, too and refuses to let Mom trim them. I keep telling her that she would feel better and be less likely to injure he toes if she would just let Mom give her a pedicure. She does not listen!

Oscar allowed Mom to cut his nails. Oscar allowed Mom to do anything she wanted. He loved Mom as much as I do. There came a day when Oscar felt really bad and Mom called our vet that we all loved so much. I heard Mom say "I think it is time" and then she said she would see her soon. 

Time for what? Mom was sad the entire day and would start crying for no reason. I am so thankful that her tears were not the ugly kind, like Wall-E's. Dad came home and she told him she was ready. She picked Oscar up in her arms and he settled his head into her shoulder. She told us dogs that Oscar wanted to say goodbye.

Goodbye? Oscar can't leave, I said. He is the boss of all us dogs. He is the leader. Who will take his place? Not me, I can't be a leader, I am a follower! Not Wall-E, he's a follower, too and he is too sensitive, he cries a lot. That left Toni Louise. She is quite bossy, but she lacks the caring part of being a leader. She is only concerned with herself.

I suppose you know that Oscar did not come home with Mom and Dad. It was very quiet and sad around our house. Toni and I are about the same age, although no one knows our birthdates. Toni says she is a year older than me, so that meant that I was the youngest animal in the house and I was already about 8 by then.

Mom was sad and she cried a lot. Oscar was 17 when he died and he had been with Mom since he was a puppy. She told Dad that another puppy would liven the place up. He said what he always says when Mom talks about getting another dog or cat. "NO MORE DOGS"

If Mom hadn't been so sad she would have laughed at him. We all missed Mom laughing. When Mom is happy with us, she will make up songs and sing to us. Mom has a song for everything us dogs do! Dad says her songs are annoying, but us dogs like them!

Oscar died the same month as the big party for Halloween that goes on here. Mom went through the motions and decorated and cooked, but she said she wasn't feeling it that year. Mom likes to dress up like a witch and she does a wicked cackle and says, "I will get you, my pretty!" it scares children when she does this. She sounds just like a witch! Well, I have never seen a real witch, but I have have heard some on the TV. Are witches even real?

As Christmas was coming close, Mom wasn't sad all the time, just part of the time. She still made cookies and treats and did all the stuff she always does. Sometimes, when we got in bed at night, we could see outside the window before Mom put the shade down and there were lights blinking everywhere! Mom called it festive, whatever that means.

Soon, it was the day before Christmas and Mom was busy getting the house clean and making food for the next day. Do you know how much food people eat at Christmas? A lot! Dad said he had to run an errand and he left on his mission. Mom knew that whatever the errand was it was about her gift. She told us dogs that every year Dad will try to keep her gift a secret. He will give her clues, even though she doesn't ask for a clue. She will almost always guess what the gift is. He can't keep a secret, she told us dogs.

It was already dark when Dad came back home. Mom was getting worried. He had been gone a long time. Mom doesn't like to call or text him while he is driving. She says it is not safe. So when she saw his truck coming in the drive, she went in the store and to the door to meet him.

He came in and pulled his gloves off as Mom asked him where he had been and told him she had been worried. He slowly unzipped his jacket ... and there it was ... Mom's very special Christmas gift ... a PUPPY!! Mom started crying and scooped the tiny puppy into her arms, kissing his entire face. "Puppy breath, I love puppy breath!" she kept saying over and over.

Dad had kept this secret since the puppy had been born!! He was born on October 25th. This also happens to be the day Layla was born. Layla is Mom's granddaughter and mom says that makes the puppy extra special, because Layla is special. I remember meeting her. She was very gentle and kind to me. I liked her a lot. I don't like other people, in general. I just like my mom. But I like Layla and I like Adrienne and I like Gavin. Mom says that dogs know when they meet people who are kind and love dogs.

Christmas day will be here soon. I hope Dad doesn't decide to get another puppy! Mr. BoJangles is enough! Just yesterday he decided to jump on the keyboard while I was writing and I lost half my story and had to write it again!

Monday, December 21, 2020

Martha's Story

 Yesterday I told you how a cat ended up living here. I think he cast a spell on my mom! He was not here for two whole days before Mom was considering names. Not knowing if the kitten was a boy or a girl was a problem.

Everybody was eager to help Mom solve the mystery. All the men in the park came in to check the underside of the kitten. I would have been indignant!! So rude! Anyway, all of the men decided that the kitten was a girl.

Mom has a good friend named Martha. Martha was not in the park that weekend. She had gone to meet her new granddaughter. Oscar said he heard them talking about grandchildren and names. Oscar said he liked to hover near the door when Mom and Martha were chatting over coffee every Saturday and Sunday. This particular time they were talking about the fact that none of their children had named a child after them. Martha's new one was not going to be named after her and Mom says that she would have to wait for a great-grand! Whatever that is!

So, Mom decided to "honor" Martha with a namesake in the form of a cat. Oscar found this to be funny. He said he wondered just who would consider this an honor! Martha is also an animal lover, having dogs of her own.

The tiny kitten grew fast, thanks to Mom's care. One day about two weeks after he came to live here, he bit the nipple off his bottle! Oscar said he heard Mom ask Martha what he was doing and then she was in the kitchen looking for a saucer to pour his formula in. He says she grabbed a Chinese food container, too. She gets these when Dad brings home take-out. She loves these containers and will proclaim their virtues if she can find someone to listen. Seems she like the fact that they are rectangles and just the right size for leftovers and can stack neatly in the fridge, as well as the cupboard and the very best part .... they are free! See what I mean? She calls them Chinese Tupperware. I still have no idea what that is, this Tupperware.

She put cat litter in the container and formula in the saucer and put them both on the floor by the kitten bed that was actually a box with a blanket. He heard her tell the kitten to feed himself and then take care of business in the pan of litter. Then walked outside to garden. We both snickered when we got to "take care of business" part. Why does she say that?

Martha complied with Mom's suggestions and received much praise when Mom came back in. Mom always gets excited when we do what we are told to do. Oscar says this is when Mom started taking Martha outside with her. Martha would follow Mom's every step and would fall asleep in one of her gardens while she worked. Martha never ran into the road. He was, in fact, afraid of the sound of engines. He still is, though he hides it well.

Martha lived in the store. Mom put a kennel in the store and his litter pan and food and water were in the store. He came in the house and played with the dogs, Oscar says he could jump higher than any of them even as a little thing. He would make all of the dog's crazy, then jump up on something higher than they could reach and just stare at them. They hated him for that.

One day Martha was on the couch with Dad and he was tickling Martha when all of a sudden, he called out to Mom. Mom appeared out of nowhere, "what's wrong?" she asked. Dad said "Martha has balls!" Oscar says Mom was unfazed and said, "You are right about that, Tom says she does!" He said, "No, not that Martha, I am talking about the cat!"

So, Martha was a boy! So many thing come to my mind about this. I asked Oscar if Martha got to keep his testicles, cause us dogs didn't. I am still a little miffed that I wasn't even consulted about this. Eddie and Bo still have all the equipment they came with! Mom keeps telling me to be patient, that as soon as Covid is over we will be addressing issues such as that. 

Another thing about this, how dumb are  all those men? Oscar and I shared a good laugh about that. Mom never claimed to know if Martha was a boy or girl. Oscar says that Dad was so worried that Martha was a girl's name and that Mom would have to change it. Mom said "absolutely not, he knows his name and it is Martha!" 

Martha still accompanies Mom to her gardens from time to time. He grew to be quite large and fat. He is bigger than any of us dogs. He sleeps a lot, but he can move quite fast, especially given how fat he is. I have already told you that he will bring us dogs treats from time to time. 

I have a taste for mice and rabbit. He left a rabbit hind quarter for me not long after I swallowed that mouse whole. This time Mom did take it away from me. It was too big to swallow whole and I didn't feel particularly spry that day. I know I could have run, but what was the point? I knew she would catch me eventually, so I just succumbed and let her take it from me. She is relentless!

This is Martha's story. If you might be wondering how he got so fat, it might be all the hunting he does at night. Oh, he still gets his cat kibble, Mom keeps his feeder full. She calls it a self feeder and it holds a lot of kibble. Oscar told me the reason for a self feeder. He says that when Mom and Dad take a trip, they leave Martha here! Mom says us dogs are enough to handle. Fine by me!

Martha lives in the house, he, in fact goes anywhere he wants. He can leap to the top of the fence and go outside our yard! I think he does this to show off. He has done this so many times, the only dog impressed by this is Mr. BoJangles.

Sunday, December 20, 2020

Nine Lives

 It has been crazy here with Mom in the kitchen making all manner of delicious treats. Not for us dogs 😞, but for people. Cujo here again. Did you know that chocolate is bad for dogs? Mom said it, so it must be true. Thank goodness for peanut butter! We got lots of licks from peanut butter.

Toni Louise has a favorite treat. When Dad empties a jar of peanut butter he gives her the "empty" container. She will run to her favorite lounging spot and lick to her hearts content. If you should be brave enough to ask for a lick, you should be prepared to run! She does not share her bounty!

Mom emptied some peanut butter jars and when she handed the plastic jar to Toni Louise, Mr. BoJangles snatched it and ran! This was funny because the jar was as big as he is. He could fit his whole head inside. He only did that once, then Toni reclaimed her rightful treat and Mom gave the rest of us a carrot. I like carrots and Mom says they are good for our teeth. I guess she forgot about the teeth they pulled last time I took a nap at the vet's office.

Toni was disappointed with her jar. Dad leaves a lot of peanut butter on the sides of the jar. Mom scrapes it clean with this thing called a spatula. She has suggested many times that Dad make use of this kitchen tool, but he says the knife is already in use when he thinks about it.

Enough about that. I wanted to tell the story of Martha, the boy cat. It was spring time and lots of stuff was going on around here, as Oscar tells me. He said it was the beginning of the first holiday weekend and everything was happening at once. Mom was in the office, all ready to check campers in and Dad was outside with his cronies and the bobcat. Not the animal, although Oscar tells me that a real one was captured here. 

These "cronies" were clearing a site and using the bobcat. They picked the bucket up full of old limbs and dead leaves and such and when the bucket was up in the air something fell out to the ground. There were three men and they rushed over to see a tiny kitten on the ground. He was alive, they could see that, but he was also covered in his own poop! For whatever reason known only to them, they all took their shirts off and wrapped them around the tiny kitten and raced to the office with it. 

"Is it dead?" they asked Mom, who was busy unwrapping the poor little thing. Mom told them they had not managed to smother him and handed the shirts back to them. They seemed to be appalled that Mom was holding the poopy little kitten in her bare hands. She sent them on their way and took the kitten inside and bathed it.

She checked the kitty from head to toe. She said it looked like it's eyes had only been opened a short while, and decided the kitty would need a bottle and some replacement formula. She dispatched Dad to the store and when he returned, she fed the kitten. Before feeding him, she swaddled him, so he wouldn't knead her hand with his tiny claws. By then the park was filling up with campers and children were gathered in the office to see the baby kitten. Rumors fly fast in a campground!

The big question was "Is it a boy or a girl?" Mom said it was too soon to tell. Oscar found this to be strange. Couldn't she just examine the cat's private area? She had no trouble checking him out when she bathed him. He said the word "private" was very misleading!

Not only children, but adults wanted to see the cat missing a couple of his nine lives. NINE lives? A cat has NINE lives! This came as a revelation to Oscar and he demanded to know why an inferior being should have NINE lives, while he had only ONE! He was still upset after Mom explained to him that it was just a figure of speech. Cats seem to get themselves into perilous situations and survive, making people say that cats have nine lives. Oscar said the joke was on them if they believed this.

The bigger question was ... where was this kitten who sucked a bottle every two hours going to live? "Surely not here!" said Oscar to all the other dogs. "We do not need a cat among us dogs!" But, Oscar had a bad feeling that Mom was becoming attached to the tiny scrap of fur.

All day long he sat by the door to the office in order to eavesdrop. Mom was talking to the cat!! It sounded like she was holding it and talking softly to it and he did not like this! He says he even heard her purring to it. He heard the sound of children coming in and out and when it was time to feed the kitten, a whole bunch of little girls would come in the store and watch. One little girl begged for the kitten. He heard Mom tell her that she would have to feed the kitten every two hours, even through the night. The little girl said she would do that. Then Mom showed them all what had to be done to the kitten after it's belly was full. Oscar was wondering about this, himself. He knew that when he was a tiny puppy his dog mom took care of his every need.

Mom had a wash cloth handy for the task and she showed the entire group of girls how to help the kitten pee and poop. Oscar cannot figure why she would do that! Now, the little girl who wanted to take this kitten home no longer wanted to have anything to do with owning a new pet. Oscar said he thought she did it on purpose, because he heard her tell Dad later that once an animal pees and poops in your hand, it owns you.

Check in tomorrow and I will continue with the rest of the story.

Saturday, December 19, 2020

It's A Scam!

I may have mentioned a time or two that this place where I live is the dustiest place I can remember. I am constantly dusting and dusting is not a favorite chore.

Have you seen those ads on line about the old woman whose grandchildren refused to visit because her house smelled funny. Her daughter asks her when she last cleaned her house and she says she just had it cleaned by a professional! Daughter runs her finger through the dust on the surface of a table and Grandma is all sad because they won't visit. Then a friend comes along and tells her that the air in her house is so bad that she can't breathe. She leaves and returns that same day with these miracle devices that will purify the air in your house. After a week her house was dust free and her grandchildren even stayed the night. The ad shows what looks to be a device you plug into an outlet.

HeWho loves gadgets decided to order 5. Took forever to ship and they finally arrived. From a company named Clarifion. I had wondered how it would eliminate dust from the air. It looked to be the size of one of those rodent eliminators you plug in and they emit a frequency that only rodents can hear. I have those and they work quite well.

I have no idea what is in the illustration for this product, but what we got was five small bags of activated charcoal. The instructions say to hang them in rooms where odors are a problem and once a month you have to place them in the sunlight for a day to "reactivate". After two years, dispose of them. The suggestion is to dump the contents of the bag in your garden to provide valuable nutrients to the soil.

How did they know I had a garden? How did they know I am a faithful composter? But ... if these "dust eliminators" work as promised, where does all that dust go? These are small and I have a lot of dust. The answer is that I am a sucker!                                                                                                                    


Thursday, December 17, 2020

46 Years

The new stove is here and the cookie baking must continue ... or does it? The stove is very basic. White with various scratches that I will touch up with appliance paint. The kitchen appears to be much brighter, since the old stove was black.

I had thought I wanted a black stove. I hated the way is showed everything that ever came into contact with it. The window had dust and dog hair trapped between the two layers of glass. How does that even happen? I researched methods of cleaning it. Because it was self cleaning, you couldn't just pull the door off and clean it separately. One tutorial would have had me taking the drawer out and laying down on the floor and scooting my head under the stove and using a long thin item to stick up between the glass. After the part where my head was under the stove, I was pretty much done with that tutorial. Yeah, that didn't happen. 

No worries about that with the "new" stove. No window, not self cleaning. Old style ring elements atop the oven. Doesn't even have a timer. The one time the man listens to me! I got what I asked for.

You know how you become one with your appliances and know all the little quirks? Let me just says that when you have six batches of cookies to make is not a good time to become acquainted with an oven. I over cooked two batches of macaroons before I finally located a thermometer to check to make sure the oven temperature was accurate. This oven is almost 25 degrees off.

I finished the cookie dough that killed the stand mixer and baked those just fine the day the stove came here to stay. As waited for the stove that day, I wondered why HeWho just didn't hunt down a new oven element and replace it. Perhaps he thought I expected him to lay on the floor and shove his head under the old stove to clean the window? I had mentioned it more than once.

Now that the white stove is in place, he is all excited about "fixing" the black stove. Does he think I want two stoves? Who knows. I could cook twice as much.

So, after the initial cookie baking resumed, I was making the dough for thumbprint cookies. In my defense, I am often distracted while working in the kitchen. The phone still rings enough to make me want to open the back door and sling it as far as I can. Add four dogs stalking my every move in the kitchen, hoping I will drop something, as well as a giant cat weaving himself between my legs endlessly. So maybe I forgot I had already added the butter and did it again.

Thank goodness I used parchment paper! Other wise that excess butter would have been in the bottom of the clean oven. As it was the "cookies" were flat gooey things. My mind was calculating all the ingredients and we all know I hate waste. I scooped all the "cookies" into a bowl and today I added a block of softened cream cheese to the bowl of the unfortunate cookie mess. I figured I could roll the results into balls and dip them in white chocolate if nothing else. 

Turned out it made a reasonable dough and I re-baked them. Turned out fine. Now I am exhausted and have to sit for a bit before cleaning the kitchen and moving on to dipping the macaroons in chocolate.

Today is our anniversary. I had to do some math to figure out just how long we have been married. 46 years. Wow, that sounds like a long time. Seems like forever and just yesterday all at the same time. I wouldn't change a thing, because I wouldn't be right here if I did! I wouldn't want to be anywhere else or with anyone else!

All the cookies are done and I baked 8 small cakes today and made a peanut butter pie for my anniversary man. The kitchen has been closed down and HeWho loves me is off to get our take-out.


Tuesday, December 15, 2020

Possum Tales

 It rained yesterday and turned very cold. Everybody was cranky all day. Well, except for Mr. BoJangles. Sometimes his perky attitude gets on my nerves. Today isn't much better, but at least it is not raining. Mom is not feeling well and Eddie got in big trouble with her!

This is Cujo again. Eddie has been itchy for some time now and has to take these long baths. Because of this, Mom has been treating him special. It has become really annoying to the rest of us dogs, with the exception of Bo. Well, today he pushed Mom to her limit. He refused to go out side and peed on the floor. She scolded him and tried to make him go outside. 

He looked at her and just walked away. He asked me what she thought he needed to go out for since he has just peed on the floor. I had to agree with him that it did seem kind of senseless. I didn't tell him that it made me a little happy that he was in trouble. He is hardly ever in trouble and Mom makes a big deal about how good he is. Makes me jealous!

Well, I can tell you why she wanted him to out after he peed on the floor! He pooped on the floor! Dad is the one who cleaned that up and then Dad chased him out the back door. Mom asked Eddie why he would do such a thing and why he couldn't behave like Cujo and Toni Louise. Wow, I feel like I just won an award!

I forgot to mention that we have a cat. He was already here when I came to live here. Oscar told me that there used to be two cats here before I came. One of the cats came from Minnesota with him when they moved here. His name was Gemlin and he was sort of a snob. He thought he was better than the rest of us because he had a pedigree.

Gremlin was a blue Himalayan. Oscar said he was more gray than blue and could argue for hours about his fur color and heritage. He rarely got down on the floor with the dogs. He was too busy looking down his nose at them. He made constant fun of Wall-E because nobody knew what kind of dog he was. Gremlin claims that he had a birth certificate and that he came from champion blood lines. Oscar says that Gremlin was very impressed with himself. Gremlin stayed inside and could often be found lounging on Mom's bed.

Gremlin was old, the same age as Sarge, the Collie. Another cat was living here on the camp ground when they all came to live here.  She was a non-descript gray cat. She lived outside and refused to come inside. She wasn't very friendly at first, but she had never met the likes of my mom. Oscar says it didn't take long for the cat known as Spooky to learn to be held and petted by people.

Spooky and Gremlin did not like each other much. My mom sort of forced them to meet. Spooky was suspicious of this coddled cat that lived indoors and used a litter box. Gremlin started down his nose at her. Well, if a cat with a smashed nose can do that. Makes me wonder if he ever consulted a mirror. Maybe he would not have been such a snob if he had ever seen himself.

My mom was very worried about Spooky the first winter they were here. Spooky would not come inside and Mom was afraid she would freeze to death. She finally took an old covered litter box and lined it with a wool blanket and put it on the front porch with the cat food and water. Spooky took the hint and took up residence in her makeshift home.

But, as it turned out, Spooky wasn't the only one living in the old litter box. One night Mom went out to fill the food dish and add fresh water when the other resident came out to eat. It was a possum! Mom named him Petey. If you are an animal and you decide to live here, you will get a name. 

Petey was not pleased to see Mom and hissed at her. He probably thought he would scare her away. I guess he had never met anyone like my mom before. She hissed back at him and he started to charge at her. She swatted him with her broom. After that he stayed in his new home and would only watch her as he waited for food. Apparently Spooky was sharing her residence with him.

Spooky lived a long life before she went down for a nap one day and never woke up. It was sad, but she was loved and lived a good life. She is buried here on the grounds, along with other pets that have passed here. No one knows what became of Petey, the possum. Later I will share how Martha, the boy cat came to live here.

Monday, December 14, 2020

All I Want For Christmas Is ...

 Cujo is enjoying a day off. Wouldn't want to tax his brain with all his "writing". Nope, today is all about me and my woes.

As Cujo may have mentioned I have been feeling a bit less than. I seem to have no energy. I still get up every day and try to pretend I feel better. I shower and do my hair and make-up. Then I have to rest from all that effort. I do things in fits and spurts, rarely accomplishing much. Feels that way anyway.

So, today I awoke and decided I felt better. Not great, mind you, but better. Last night I mixed up batches of cookie dough that had to chill and I was all set to make cookies today. I cleaned my kitchen and got a load of wash going. I was going to make the peanut butter blossoms first, because that was the biggest batch. I had all my ingredients on hand, thanks to HeWho loves to run errands.

I was mixing the butter and peanut butter when HeWho arrived home after getting the insurance set up on the new RV and paying our property taxes. Since he was unlikely to leave again, I told him he could be in charge of pushing the Hershey kisses into the hot from the oven cookies. He was definitely up for the task, he loves peanut butter and he loves chocolate and I was okay with losing a few cookies along the way.

Leaving the mixer to the creaming of the ingredients I had dumped in, I turned the oven on to preheat and prepared the cookie sheets with parchment paper. I was adding the eggs, one at a time to the mixing bowl when a light flashed behind me! What was that? I looked at the wall switches to see if HeWho had decided I needed more light, then quickly changed his mind. He sometimes does stuff, you know, to keep me on my toes. But He was in his chair, removing the foil from the candies. My back was to the stove and when I turned around, I saw a flame in the oven.

I called out for the candy man and opened the door to see that one of the elements was red hot, while the rest were black. Yes, the oven died. No oven, no cookies. Of course there is an oven in the RV, but my cookies sheets are too big. I wanted to cry.

HeWho went immediately to the phone and began searching for a good buy on an electric stove. Since we don't plan to be here forever, I suggested he go to a scratch and dent place. He asked if I wanted to upgrade to the gas stove I was longing for. No! I don't want to spend money on that! I am cheap, get used to it!

The mixer was still going and the eggs were all incorporated. I added the flour and MY MIXER DIED. Are you kidding me? I said that to my mixer, which, by the way is only two years old. It spoke back with that smell that electric appliances have when they burn up. It may seem like it had been running for a long time, but it wasn't. About half the time it would have been running to make a pound cake. I finished mixing the dough by hand and it sits waiting in the kitchen.

Waiting for what? Waiting for the stove that HeWho has left to obtain. Guess I am getting a stove for Christmas. And a mixer. I have enough time to get a nap while he is gone.

Sunday, December 13, 2020

Earning A Name

 It has come to my attention that I haven't told you how Toni Louise came to be a part of our family. This is Cujo, in case you were wondering.

In case you don't know, my mom has to be in the office a lot while the pool is up and running. I think she might get bored and starts to think too much. I have heard Dad say this. Sometimes she will find Dad sitting in his chair and will turn the TV down to tell him she has had an epiphany. He will get a look of pain on his face and us dogs will make ourselves scarce as she explains what ideas she has. I happen to think that all of her ideas are good. She has wonderful thoughts!

She found a website about dogs, dogs in shelters. She saw a dog that happened to be in the shelter in the town where we live. This dog was a young dog, even described as a puppy, the caption proclaimed her to be a Chiweenie. She was black and her face looked sweet. The puppy was in someone's arms, so it was hard to tell much about her. My mom even called about her. The adoption price was minimal, only $35.

She made Dad look at the picture of this dog. "We already have three dogs!" is what Dad said to her. Oscar tells me it was amazing that Mom said "You are right, we don't need another dog. She just looks sweet and we love the Chihuahua part of Wall-E and we love dachshunds and she would be both, but we really do not need another dog." And that was that.

Well, maybe not. Two days later the lady at the shelter called Mom and told her they had taken in quite a few animals over the weekend. She reminded Mom that this shelter was not a no-kill shelter and that the dog that Mom had inquired about had been there the longest. When Dad came inside to get some lunch, she relayed all of this to him. He told her that someone was sure to come along and get that puppy. Mom said he was probably right about that. Then she added that she had read that black dogs were the least adopted dogs. "We have two black dogs!" said Dad. "That is just wrong, I think you made that up." Mom told him she would look it up and show him.

Dad came in later to say he had to go into town to pick up something for the mower or the tractor. Oscar said that as soon as he left, she gathered all three of them and told them they were getting a new sister. Oscar said that Emmy thought this to be a fabulous idea since she was the only girl dog in the pack and that she had been missing Louise. Louise did love Emmy the most. She treated her like she was her puppy and would protect her if she got in trouble. Oscar said he was pretty sure that Mom was right, because she was always right about everything. Wall-E was scared. Wall-E was always timid and did not like changes. He was quite content to be in a pack of three.

When Dad came home, he didn't have any tractor or mower parts. He had this young dog with a smallish head and freaky long legs. Oh, it was the dog that Mom had seen. In the picture she could not see those legs! Mom picked her up and examined her, head to toe. "She has a hernia." she told Dad. "And she has no Chi nor Weenie in her, how did someone come up with that?" 

Oscar said that Mom named her Toni at first. Mom said that Toni had a kind face, like Sarge. Seems that she also had long fur with a skirt similar to that of a Collie. While her heritage remains a mystery, her personality earned her a middle name. Being a very young dog with freaky long legs made her somewhat clumsy and goofy, but it was her sense of adventure that made Mom add "Louise" to her name. In honor of the other escape artist before her. 

Oscar tells me that one time Louise, the St. Bernard, gained her freedom and went wandering around the neighborhood. When she decided to return home she neglected to look both ways when crossing the road and she hit an SUV. Yes, you read that right. The dog ran into the side of the vehicle. Louise was hurt, but she three legged it home and climbed up onto the deck and was nonchalantly laying there, wagging her tail when she was found.

She had to be loaded into the back of the car and taken to the vet. Seems she crushed her elbow and smacked her chest pretty hard, but she never whimpered a bit, denying to everyone that she had disobeyed once again. I suppose she forgot that the deck was outside the fenced in area she was supposed to be in.

Oscar says that when Louise came home again she had a big purple cast on her arm and the biggest cone ever made around her neck. Mom was happy that Louise's repaired arm prevented her from digging in the future. Little did she know how strong that wander lust was, as Louise commissioned Emmy and him to do her dirty work in exchange for taking them along on her adventures.

Toni Louise has that same wander lust and like Louise has ended up at the vet for emergency surgery. Only difference was that the vehicle hit her and tossed her into a ditch dislocating her hip! She earned her name!

Saturday, December 12, 2020

The Oscar Goes To ...

 So, yesterday I told you about Oscar and his big bluff. I wondered about Emmy and finally Oscar told me how she came to live with my mom.

When Oscar came to live with my mom, she didn't know just how much she would come to love him. I have heard her tell people that she fell in love with her first doxie, Oscar. She says she would never have named him Oscar, like Oscar Meyer Wieners. She was quick to tell everyone that he was special, that he was, indeed, an Oscar, like the award. She loved him so much and wanted more little dogs just like him. So, when he was 6 months old, she bought his wife, Emmy. Also an award, her name on her registration was Sweet Emmy Lou.

Oscar says that he was afraid that Emmy would steal the show, but she didn't. Emmy had the same color fur as Oscar, but hers was long. While Oscar was stubborn and demanding, Emmy was gentle and obedient. She did not grow to be bigger than 6 lbs. Oscar weighed twice what she weighed, but Emmy had a presence all her own.

Sarge, the Collie was a very kind and gentle soul. He always obeyed and looked out for all of us dogs. Louise was a big goofy girl, often an escape artist. She would dig under the fence and then use her big size to knock the panels away and off she go, exploring the neighborhood. Louise was never intimidating, just her size. She liked to meet people and other dogs, she even liked cats. She was afraid of mice and loud noise. She hated thunderstorms and would be the first one to head to the basement when a storm was brewing. Being a St. Bernard, she was bred to rescue people in storms, but that would never have happened with her!

She taught Oscar and Emmy how to dig next to the fence and she would gain escape for all of them. Except Sarge. He would not leave the yard without permission. When Mom would discover the breach in the fence, she would dispatch Sarge to bring the three dogs back home. Then she would scold Louise, knowing that she was the one responsible.

The stories about the big dogs were fascinating! I almost wished that Sarge and Louise were still here. Oscar told me they would be very, very old. Oscar is the one who discovered Sarge after he suffered a stroke. He made Mom come with him to Sarge's side and they slept on the rug next to the wood stove with Sarge that night. Sarge came around the next day, but he could not stand up and had to be carried outside to pee. Oscar told me how Mom stayed with him until he died.

As sad as this was, it was comforting to know that my mom stayed with him. She really loves her dogs! Emmy died before I came to live here and now Oscar is gone, too. My mom says that Mr. BoJangles is much like Oscar. I think she might be right about that! He is not afraid of anything and he rarely obeys!

Friday, December 11, 2020

Oscar Made a Bluff

 I am beginning to understand why Wall-E liked to write! This is Cujo here again. I think I may have mentioned that Wall-E called our mom "Gramma". I learned more things everyday when I came to live here. Oscar helped me learn the rules, while Toni-Louise showed me how to break the rules. Wall-E was good at telling me stories about our family.

Wall-E came to live here because he couldn't stay with his very first family. He was given to a little boy named Gavin. Gavin was only four years old and he loved Wall-E very much. Wall-E loved Gavin as much as Gavin loved him. One day Gavin's mom called my mom to tell her that the puppy couldn't stay in the apartment she lived in anymore and that she (my mom) would have to come and get him (the puppy, not Gavin).

This was very confusing to me. Then he explained that Gavin's mom is my mom's daughter and Gavin's Gramma. Gavin's Gramma loves Gavin, so she went to Minnesota and brought Wall-E back to live with her and Gavin's Papa. That is how he came to know her as Gramma. Wall-E was so sad about leaving his boy, so Gramma helped him write some post cards to his boy. Gavin liked the post cards, his mom told Gavin's Gramma that he was sleeping with the post cards.

So, Wall-E started his very own blog! He wrote letters to his boy almost every day for four years! Every time Gavin came to see him or Gramma and Papa took him to see his boy it was like they were never apart. This made me wonder if I might like to have a boy until I realized that boys grow up to be men and I don't like men. Anyhow, Wall-E's blog turned into a book called "Letters To Gavin". 

One day, not long after I came to live here, my mom told me we were going to see a vet. Oh no, this was not good! I do not like vets! She told me not to worry, our vet is a lady and that I would like her. A lady vet? Okay, I can go along with that. It seems that I had an umbilical hernia. So, that is what that swimming lady was talking about when she said I had something wrong with my belly!

The trip to the vet wasn't bad at all. I stayed most of the day, but I was sleeping and don't remember much about it. My hernia was gone when I woke up and so were my testicles! No one consulted me about this! I healed just fine under my mom's care and I don't really miss anything that was taken away that day.

I suppose Oscar felt sorry for me while I recuperated from my ordeal and he stayed in with me and told me stories about how he came to live with my mom. He didn't start out being her dog, but he was still a small puppy when he came to live with her.

By this time I had met Gavin and his mom, Adrienne. I liked them both and Gavin was extra gentle and patient with me. He is okay, I like him. Now I found out that Adrienne is not my mom's only daughter. Jill gave Oscar his first home and his name. She didn't keep him very long, though. She already had a big dog named Crash. He was a St. Bernard and belonged to Gage, her son. So she was used to big dogs that obeyed her.

Maybe she should have done some research before getting a dachshund! Jill complained every day about Oscar and kept asking her mom to take the dog. Mom already had two dogs! One was the sister of Jill's big dog and her name was Louise. The other dog was a Collie named Sargent Pepper (Sarge).  Mom wouldn't even hold Oscar. She called him an ankle biter and said that she preferred "real dogs" like her big ones.

One day Jill said she was taking the tiny dog to the pound!! "Fine, bring the dog to me!" said the crazy dog lady. She took the tiny dog to her house where her big dogs were in residence. She placed the tiny dog on the floor along with his toys. She told the big dogs to be nice and they stood, silently watching the tiny dog, as he picked up a toy bigger than himself and carried it to big dog dish they shared and placed his toy atop the food. Sarge and Louise walked slowly over to meet this new tiny dog and just guess what he did? He barked and snarled at them!!

This how he became the alpha male and ruled the pack. Oscar confessed to me that he didn't know if this tactic was going to work and that he was intimidated by their size. He was bluffing!!

Thursday, December 10, 2020

Men, I Don't Like Them

Cujo here again. One thing I neglected to mention in my story yesterday was meeting Dad. I did not like him. He was a man, he wore a hat. He was nice to me and he held me, but I leaned far away from here and looked for my mom. I have lived here a longed time, most of my life and he has always been kind to me. He even gives me treats, but my heart belongs to that crazy lady, my mom.

I learned right away that Oscar was the boss of us dogs. He would nip you if you over stepped his boundaries. I bet if he was here today, he would be putting Mr. BoJangles in his place! For a long time, it was just us four dogs and Martha, the boy cat. Wall-E was the sensitive one. Wall-E was quite fond of our dad and Toni Louise is still partial to him. Oscar was like me, he preferred our mom.

I am not sure what my original name was. I was scared of everyone and every creature here at first. I only wanted to be in my mom's lap. She held me a lot. That first night, I was amazed to see that all the dogs got into the big bed with the people!! I had never slept in a bed before! I usually just found a place on the floor and was lucky if there was a blanket I could curl up on.

Oscar showed me how to wiggle under the covers and find a good spot. His spot was right next to my mom's leg. He slept there every night. Sometimes our dad would say he was cold and try to pull him over to his side. Oscar would snarl at him and snap his teeth together in warning. So, I chose to sleep next to Mom, right above Oscar. I still sleep there. Mom says I am in her arm pit. All I know is that I like to be touching her while I sleep.

Mom took me everywhere those first few days to introduce me to the people in the camp ground. I liked the ladies, but shied back from the men. I absolutely hated the children who wanted to grab me and hold me. Mom wouldn't let them, she told them I would bite them. How did she know this? She was right. Oscar told me to just trust her because she knows everything.

After much discussion, Mom finally came up with a name for me. She said that since I was afraid of everything, I should be named Cujo. I didn't care about a name. Wall-E informed me that this was a great example of irony. I didn't know what that was. Wall-E was a big fan of words. He wrote a book! That is another story for another day. He told me that there was once a very large dog named Cujo. The dog got sick with rabies and terrorized everyone around him and tried to kill his family.

Why would she name me after a mean dog? I asked Wall-E and he told me that was the ironic part, because I am just the opposite. Okay, so maybe she is a little crazy, I thought. I was most afraid of Martha, the boy cat. He is huge! He is not afraid of anything. He hunts a lot and will bring fresh meat to us dogs. My mom is not a fan of this fresh meat.

One time Martha brought a whole mouse to me! I was so excited. I picked my mouse up in my mouth and suddenly there was Mom. She yelled at me to spit it out RIGHT NOW. I ran from her, she chased me and told me to put the mouse down, but I did not! I was so busy trying to avoid capture that I didn't have time to chew and when she grabbed me from behind, I swallowed it whole.

That was a bad day and I do not recommend this method of eating a mouse. It made my throat hurt and it made my mom not want to kiss me. I like my smoochie time with my mom. It is a ritual we have first thing in the morning. I go outside and pee, then I run back inside and sit on her lap while she plants kisses all over my head and tells me how much she loves me. It is our special thing.

Oscar told me that Emmy was also a dachshund and that she died right before I came to live here. So now I knew how little Emmy had been lost. Oscar told me that he was still very sad and missing her. She was his wife. He told me that she was quite small, but had a very big personality. They had three puppies that other people adopted. This was when they lived in a big house in a big city. I wondered why my mom wouldn't keep the puppies and how she could let other people have them. Oscar told me there were many reasons.

In the place they lived, they were only allowed to have four dogs. So, I wondered about that, too. Oscar was one dog, Emmy was two dogs, why couldn't they keep two of her puppies? This is when I found out that there were even more dogs before me! My mom really loves dogs!


Wednesday, December 9, 2020

The Crazy Lady

 Cujo here. My mom is not feeling well today. I confess that I like it when she is not up and about. She is sitting next to me and the rest of my pack. 

I was just taking a stroll down memory lane. I have been told that I should be taking a brisk walk around the park. My mom says that her back is out of whack from picking me up. She says I am fat and heavy. I heard Dad say I was shaped more like a propane tank than a hotdog. This is insulting! 

I am old and set in my ways. I am not sure just how old I am. I didn't always live here with my mom. I do remember the day I found her, though. 

I started my life in a puppy mill. My owner was a hoarder of dogs like me. As I recall, there were a lot of us. So many that you had to fight to get enough food. One day some people in authority came and took all of us dogs away. There were men with jackets and hats on and I was scared out of my wits!

These men chased us and then tried to grab us. This did not go well for either group. I am a dachshund, you know, and we will attack if provoked. I ran and hid, but they eventually cornered me and threw a sack over my head. I tried my best to bite and I think I may have caused some injury, though not substantial enough to let me loose.

We were shoved into cages and taken to a facility. Vets checked us out and gave shots to each and every one of us. I do not like vets! After that we were displayed in cages like zoo animals. It was humiliating! After a time, people adopted us one by one. It was strange to not be with all the dogs I had grown up with.

A man chose me one day. He drove a giant truck and told me that I was to be his new companion. I did not want to be his companion, I do not like men! He wore a hat and a coat, just like the men who chased me down and captured me. I was not nice to this man. I refused all of his attempts to befriend me. He finally gave up and asked a family that he knew to take me. They did, but I could tell they weren't excited to have me. They were nice enough, but they didn't really love me.

One day we all got into their car. I heard them say they were going swimming. Swimming? I don't swim. I have no desire to be dumped into a vat of cold water!! I sat in the back seat with the children and listened to them talk about a crazy lady. They said she was crazy about wiener dogs. Is that what they think I am?

We finally arrived at this camp ground and the mother of the family grabbed me and took me inside the office with her. Let me tell you, I was not happy about this turn of events. I could tell that something big was about to happen. The woman holding me went up to the check-in counter and said this: "My cousin got this wiener dog to ride along with him in his truck, but the dog don't like him. We took him, but we don't really want him. He has something wrong with his belly and we don't want to have to pay to have it fixed. I know you love wiener dogs, do you want him?" Whoa, wait a minute here! They took me, but they didn't want me? Who does that!

The crazy lady said that she had just lost her little Emmy and wasn't sure she was ready for a new dog. Okay, how did she lose little Emmy? Do I really want to know? Things are getting strange. The lady holding me said. "Well, I'll just leave him in the car while we swim." What is wrong with this woman? Leave me in a hot car, I could die!!

Next thing I knew was that I was being snatched from that woman's arms by the crazy lady. "You cannot leave him in a hot car! He will stay with me while you swim!" She sat down in her chair and started talking to me. To me, not about me. She told me not to worry, she would take good care of me. I think I like this crazy lady!

She sniffed my head and told me that I needed a bath and then she asked me if the people in that family were smokers. I wanted to tell her that they were and that I did not like it, but she could smell it. She took me into her house and grabbed a towel (she called it a dog towel) and some dog shampoo and proceeded to soak me in warm water! So, this was a bath, I thought to myself! She rubbed that shampoo into my fur and then she rinsed me and dried me. This all happened so fast that I didn't have time to object. She talked to me the entire time. She told me that she would take me to live in her house if I passed a test.

A test? I am no longer a puppy, but I have never had a test. What, I wondered, was a test? Like everything she had done so far, this happened really fast. She opened another door that led to a big fenced in yard and three other dogs came running in! She called out for a dog named Oscar.

She introduced me to this dog by the name of Oscar. He was a dachshund, like me. He was stunningly handsome with his black fur with touches of tan. I am red. Just red. This dog named Oscar had a regal stance. He came over to the crazy lady and she told him all about me, even the part about the people wanting to leave me in a car! She then put me on the floor in front of Oscar. He sniffed me thoroughly, barked very loud, then wagged his tail. The crazy lady clapped her hands!

She told me I had passed this test and that I was going to be one of her dogs. Then she introduced me to a white funny looking dog by the name of Wall-E. He was very timid and I liked him immediately. He told me later that the crazy lady was his Gramma and that she was not really crazy, she just loved dogs.

The girl dog, Toni Louise, was more cautious. The crazy lady told me she would come around and not to worry about it. We went back into the office and I sat in her lap while she checked customers in. The swimming people who were going to leave me in the car came in. She told them she wanted me. That is when they asked for money! The crazy lady gave them $50 and free swimming for the rest of the season. Later she told me she would have given them more, because there was no way she was going to let them take me back!

She put me on the floor and I walked over to the family that never really wanted me and just looked at them before I turned around and came back to  my new mom and put my feet on her knees to be picked up. That is how I came to live here with my mom, who is crazy about all of us dogs!

Sunday, December 6, 2020


 My persistent headache has returned with a vengeance. It makes me cranky and not fun to be around. It also seems to enhance all my annoyances.

Not big things, these things that annoy me and make me wonder. It annoys me that cookie is the singular form of cookies. Why isn't it cooky? Who decided which words and phrases should defy the rules of grammar? Why should there be exceptions that prove the rule? Who was in charge when this happened and why did they let it happen?

See what I mean? I have used far too much energy thinking about this. It really doesn't matter. Cooky or cookie, I will eat it! I am constantly searching for palatable recipes for HeWho love to eat. I am always on the lookout for things to enhance his salt free existence. It is not easy, you know. HeWho loves fried foods (who doesn't). 

So, when I saw a recipe for baked churros, it caught my eye. I had all the ingredients on hand and decided to just make a small batch. It sounded good. It was a little labor intensive, or maybe I just thought so because I was disappointed with the results. I have made cream puffs before and this recipe was similar, in that you boil the wet ingredients, then add the flour, then the eggs. No need for the electric mixer or food processer. Just a heavy bottomed sauce pan and a wooden spoon. It took some elbow grease to get the eggs to incorporate into the dough to the consistency of masked potatoes.

I followed all the directions and adhered to the suggestion of having all the elements ready in advance. I had my cookie sheets covered in parchment and my pastry bag all ready to fill and squeeze. While the dough was warm, it was easier to work with. I piped the long rows onto the parchment and popped them in the oven and cooked them for 10 minutes at 425. They were predicted to "puff slightly". This was followed by broiling until "golden brown". This last step requires constant attention, lest you burn them to a crisp.

The dough has very little sugar in it, but you roll them in cinnamon sugar while still hot. The ridges from the piping tip were rumored to give the sugar something to grab onto.

I am known to experiment with my cooking attempts. Usually the recipe is treated like a suggestion by me. I will offer up my experiments to willing subjects who will be honest about their taste. These were so bad, I didn't even do that. These were so bad that even HeWho wouldn't eat them. The dogs didn't like them and I didn't like them.

You know what they needed? Grease! They needed grease. Grease makes everything tastier.

Tuesday, December 1, 2020


 When last we spoke, I wove the tale of the rubbery chicken. I have since learned that we were not the only customers who returned a cooked bird. All from the same batch of chickens in the store's freezer case. I don't know if I will ever buy meat there again. I suppose I should reconsider that since, in 16 years this is the only bad experience I have had with their meat department. I learned early on to check the expiration dates. I do it in every store now. 

I am sure HeWho will ask what was discovered to be wrong with the hen. He is chatty like that. He has no filter when it comes to asking questions. He once asked a swimmer when her baby was due. Thank goodness she didn't hear him. She was holding her 7 month old at the time and was definitely not pregnant, just had not dropped all those baby pounds yet. Realizing she had not heard him, he was on the precipice of asking again when I stepped on his foot and continued to apply pressure until he shut his mouth. I prefer that he not be standing next to me when he makes these faux pas. 

Since the day of thanks I have found myself to lack energy. I enjoyed my day of sitting with my foot propped up. It was better in three days. I did end up washing the dishes, but HeWho helped. It should come as no surprise that he is clueless about the whereabouts of kitchen items. He cooked dinner. Hamburger Helper makes a great meal. He even made a salad. The next day, I found that he had put the lettuce on the second shelf of the fridge instead of the crisper drawer. He even put the leftover beef stroganoff in the fridge. He wedged the skillet he cooked it in on top of the eggs at an angle. To his credit, he did take the serving spoon out and left it on the stove.

Somehow I doubt he will ever become adept at household chores. The store is closed at least until March. We have a night registration set up and it should be pretty easy. I replace the brochures, envelopes and registration forms daily. There are instructions posted. A map of the park is on the front of the building and the brochure has a map. The drop box is right there in sight and the current rates are posted.

Unfortunately, I seem to have overestimated people. They call and ask me what to do. I always tell them to look to the right or left (I can see them on the monitor) and the instructions are right in front of them. But they want to be told how to do each step of the process. I am beginning to think that there is an entire generation out there that never learned to read. Or maybe it is just reading comprehension they are lacking in.

All this just makes me tired. HeWho wants to take a trip, but just the thought of getting everything ready 

and loaded exhausts me. All I want to do is sleep. My major accomplishment today? I bathed the dogs. I have been resting since and am looking forward to bedtime.