Tuesday, February 23, 2021

Doggy Dandruff


Most of the snow has melted. Mr. BoJangles loved the snow. He is sad that it has all gone. I take that back! This little guy is never sad. Always happy for a new day no matter what it may bring. He tried to move the boulder. He still does not realize just how small he is. I think he wanted to get into the dirt that lay underneath the boulder and see what other animals may have left some DNA behind for his sniffing pleasure.

I am slow moving today. Just the normal creaky joints, but I am feeling lazy. Like somebody switched my coffee to decaf. Being Monday, the phone has been annoying all morning. A call to thank me for choosing Marriot, another to wipe out my student loans and yet another to offer me a med-alert contract. Never stay at hotels, we have always had an RV so that our dogs can go with us. Wonder how I got on that list of calls. No student loans to speak of, but do I need the contract that would allow me to shout "Help, I've fallen and I can't get up" to receive a bunch of strangers to my aide?

It is nice and quiet here. No other sounds to hear than the tapping of the keys on the laptop. All 5 animals contently napping around me. Cujo snugged up next to me, Eddie and Bo next to him. Eddie's head  my lap with Bo cuddled in the "v" of his two older brothers. Toni Louise, having had her cuddle time with me already is on the ottoman with my feet. Martha, the fat old man cat is perched in the dog bed on the floor, contentedly washing his face and looking quite smug for having stolen the bed.

Here, take a look! Eddie is protecting his little brother. Is this not the sweetest thing you have ever seen? Eddie is the epitome of gentle! 

This is a close up. Eddie has a kind face, don't you think? Bo is sweet when he is sleeping. The slightest noise will bring him form a dead sleep to attack mode. 

I know I should get up ..... there is plenty to do. I am happy to report that Eddie and Toni Louise are mostly itch-free. Toni has one patch of flaky skin on her back where she can't reach. It is in the healing stage. Eddie is back to normal, all of his flakiness is gone. I have been relieved of the strenuous bathing schedule. It was the dog treats. My dogs are allergic to wheat! The number one ingredient in the treats. Soon as I cut the store- bought treats from their diet they started to clear up.

The food they have been on for the past few years is grain free. The freeze dried food that was crazy expensive didn't help because of the dog treats and the fact that HeWho loves his pets thought they should have as many treats as they begged for. Now we are having different treats. They love apples and carrots. Sweet potatoes and green beans, as well. And, of course, peanut butter. Think how much money I will save! No more cute looking treats that are mostly flour and food coloring. They loved them and HeWho did make sure they were manufactured in the USA, he just didn't read the ingredients. To be fair, neither did I until recently. I just didn't consider the treats to be a substantial part of their diets until I realized just how many treats they were getting.

So, all is well in my little claustrophobic world. My RV parts have still not arrived. I find this baffling, since I can order something and have it arrive with-in a matter of days, sometimes, the very next day. Without the part in question, we would not be able to put the slides out, or use the automatic leveling device. The slides make such a huge difference in comfort. We could still make a trip, as long as we parked on fairly level ground and left the slides in. It would be hard to move around inside and I trip over the dogs in open space, since they all prefer to be in my company. Such is life. I must get up and put real clothes on, as it is almost noon ....

Thursday, February 18, 2021

Using Boredom as an Advantage

Happy to say the Wi Fi has finally sped up a bit. I would read a blog, then try to comment ... and try ... and try. And then get a message that I was no longer on line. I am still having some problems, but not as bad.

In my utter frustration, I would give up and do something else. Hard to find the space to do much, confined to the indoors. I finally decided to re-do a wall that had been a thorn in my side, an eyesore, a travesty of interpretation by HeWho rarely hears what I say.

If I had a "before" picture, you would better understand ... When we decided to put up a wall in order to add additional retail space and eliminate what had been our living room, we were left with a really ugly wall. The wall had been an opening in the form of a door way to enter the living room and an opening adjacent to the door way that could have served as a window to maybe serve as a pass through for whatever  reason you might want a pass through from one small room to another.

The process of doing this was pretty unpleasant. HeWho usually goes about helping me with my projects somewhat begrudgingly. It was nice outside when we were working on this and he longed to be there and not stuck inside wielding his rudimentary construction skills on my behalf. He refused to use the sheetrock I had carefully salvaged from an earlier wall removal (hey, can I help it if I am good at this?), instead buying new material.

I may have mentioned before that he loves to go buy stuff. He will rarely measure anything or call to check availability before jumping in his truck and hooking up a trailer and hitting the road. This causes me much angst. I am a planner and enjoy much satisfaction in getting things done in an orderly fashion. But, I digress.

The saved sheetrock was the correct size, what he bought was not as thick. He had tossed my salvaged sheetrock and proceeded to use his thinner sheetrock to fill the openings. He proclaimed himself to be done with his part, leaving me with a bucket of sheetrock mud to "just fill it in". I was prepared to fill in gaps, but not to have to build it up to match the walls around his questionable construction. Leaving me wondering why I asked for his help, I attempted to "fix" it. 

In the meantime, I just did my best and tried to hide the mess with lots of pictures and empty frames. It was okay until winter set in again and the endless days of being inside would find my eyes drawn to the wall imperfections. A few years later found us residing the building. It was clad in cedar. As the pile of discarded boards was stacking up, my mind was at work finding uses for the boards. HeWho was thinking of a bonfire, while I was squirreling away the valuable material. I knew that as long as it was out of his sight, it was safe.

As the next winter approached, I told the reluctant carpenter my plans. I was going to clean up the cedar and apply it to the ugly wall. "How are you going to cut the boards?" he asked. With the chop saw was my reply. I asked that he bring the saw and the nail gun up to the house so I could use it. "You will cut your fingers off!" This is his standard answer to my request to use the chop saw. My standard reply is "Only if I put them under the blade."

If you read my blog, you can probably guess what happened next. He waited until I was otherwise occupied and he slapped those boards up in his willy-nilly fashion, acting like he had done me a huge favor. I wish I had a 'before' picture.

This is the 'after' picture. This has been my project to kill boredom. I am not finished. You can see that the bottom wall needs to be painted. I removed all the boards and pulled all the nails and trimmed off raw sides, then reapplied it to the wall using finishing nails and a hammer, rather than hunt down the compressor and nail gun. I am not good with a hammer, the weight of the hammer is hard on my arthritic thumb.

The canines were opposed to my renovation activity and the noise. The chop saw now resides in the laundry room on a rolling cart for my convenience. I try to time this usage to when HeWho has left the building. He tends to stand behind me like a saw stalker watching me work if he knows I am in there. You can't saw quietly. Then he will offer his expertise, which is not welcome!

I couldn't find a chisel, although I am sure we probably have 3 or 4 of them. His habit is to just buy a new one if he can't find the other one, his theory being than one cannot have too many tools. I improvised with a flat head screwdriver and hammer to trim the edges of the wood to make them more consistent in size, then I applied them to the wall, using the level I claimed as my very own and threatened bodily injury should it disappear.

I was hoping for minimal cuts to the wood and did pretty good using the materials at hand. I have more long boards outside ... covered in snow. Used what I had, then did a combination of a white wash/dry brush to lighten up the wood and make the darker boards blend with the lighter ones. I am pleased with my efforts, although my eye is drawn to any imperfections.

You may be wondering what this is. It was a drawer in a previous life. The drawer front on the top. A cabinet door was cut to fit by HeWho in the barn. The two pieces lingered for weeks after I painted them and had them ready for the hinges. The hinges are on the bottom. The door comes down and is used as a surface for my laptop. I drilled a hold in the back of the drawer to pull the electrical cord from a surge protector through. It sits inside and I can charge the laptop, my phone and have room for other cords if need be. It can be closed with the phone and the laptop inside. I am impressed with my own self!

Now I will need to paint. I am hoping to find the paint that matches the rest of the room somewhere in my many cans of paint. I hoard paint. When I am out shopping, I always head back to the paint department to check for "oops" cans that are discounted. I can usually use whatever color I find on some project. All depending upon the markdown. If it is cheap enough, I will buy some hideous mistakes the mixer made. I paint all the outdoor signs in the park and can use just about any color to prime with.

Boredom has it's advantages.

Wednesday, February 17, 2021

Bad Night, Bad Day

 Cujo here. Well, I knew that kennel was too good to be true! HE SLEPT IN OUR BED LAST NIGHT!

I know! It was awful. Mom puts his special blankets in the dryer before we go to bed. He has a nice warm bed all to himself, so why did he start whining last night? Who cares if he whines a little? Mom, that's who!

Dad says to Mom, "Put him in bed with us, he will be good." How would Dad know who was good or bad? He goes to sleep and never wakes up. One night Eddie even threw up in the bed and Dad never noticed. Even when Mom turned the light on and cleaned it up.

So, Mom put the evil puppy in our bed. Right away I knew it was a bad idea. Toni was NOT happy. She let every one know. She growled and snarled at Bo. Dad shushed her and he decided he would cuddle Bo next to him. Bo does not cuddle! Everybody knows this to be a fact. He only lets Mom hold him when HE decides he wants her to hold him.

Dad managed to hold Bo for just a few minutes before Bo did zoomies all over the bed. Eddie was quite upset. Our bed is the only place that Eddie can relax without worrying that Bo will tackle him and lick his ears .... and chew on his fur and scratch him and bite him. Like I said before, Eddie is just too nice. Eddie ran to Mom and scooted under the covers, hoping Bo didn't see him. I was right next to him.

Dad kept telling Bo "NO". If you are around Bo you will hear the word "NO" a lot. Bo doesn't listen to Dad. None of us dogs listen to him. Except for Toni, she does, but she does what she wants anyway. Bo just jumped down and ran out of the room. He came back and jumped up into the bed. He finally settled on Mom's feet and fell asleep. 

Mom says he looks angelic when he is sleeping. I do not agree. We all went to sleep. For awhile, then Bo woke and decided to try to play with Toni. Toni barked and woke Mom. Dad grunted and pretended he didn't hear all the shenanigans going on around him. Mom kept her eyes closed, too. She whispered to me that the entire mess was Dad's fault. We all waited and Bo finally went back to Mom's feet and settled down.

He was awake one more time before he finally got Mom up at 7 in the morning. Mom was not happy. It was snowing again and she wanted to sleep another hour. She got up, though, and took us out. She left the gate open. This means she was thinking of going back to bed. She didn't. Bo was too energetic. But I took advantage of the open gate and slipped into the bedroom. 

I have a confession. I pooped on the floor where Dad stands up when he gets out of bed. I was hoping he would step in it. He didn't, but he cleaned it up and told on me. Mom said I was being spiteful! That hurt my feelings! I did it for her to get back at Dad! 

So, not only did we have a bad night, I got in trouble with Mom and we had a bad day. Well, I had a bad day. Mom was all full of energy and she moved the furniture and cleaned and put boards on the wall with a hammer. She used that saw that Dad told her not to use and she cut the wood and nailed it. Then she painted it. Then she cleaned again with the vacuum. All this stuff is loud and annoying. I barely got any napping done. I found it all distressing. 

Mom washed all of Bo's bedding and blankets. She said they were smelling doggy. What did she think they should smell like? It is bedtime and this stuff is still in the dryer. I hope it is dry soon and that Bo will be sleeping in his kennel tonight. I just don't think I can take much more! It has been a disturbing 24 hours!

Monday, February 15, 2021

Snow and Bo

Cujo here. My mom was going to post today, but every time time she sat down Dad would start asking questions. Really annoying stuff! I tried to help out, I snarled at him and tried to bite him, but Mom scolded me and told me I was being a bad boy. Dad says that all the time to me and I don't really care. When Mom says it I feel bad. I love Mom.

I heard her tell Dad that she was dying from terminal boredom. That scared me until Dad laughed at her and told her she would not actually die, that no one had ever died from boredom.

The snow just won't stop. I am okay with a quick trip out, but I won't go far. Poor Eddie hates the snow. Bo, on the other and loves it. Bo will go out at least 10 times a day if Mom will let him. He comes in all white with snow and the yard looks like a herd of rabbits just hopped through. The bad thing about Bo is that he will tackle Eddie and roll him in the snow.

Bo tried that with me. I bit him. Toni bites him, too. He knows better than to tackle us. Eddie is just too nice. He doesn't like a conflict and he doesn't like to make Mom yell at Bo. I tell you, that puppy is a nuisance! Mom keeps telling us to be patient, that he is still a puppy, but I have my doubts about him ever growing up! The only good thing about Bo is that he sleeps in a kennel!

Now, if only she would make Dad sleep in a kennel with Bo, my life would be perfect! 

Friday, February 5, 2021

Bats In The Belfry

 My neck and shoulder hurt. Could it be the sleeping dog draped over it? The sun is shining and Mr. BoJangles is in rare form today. He woke me early and went out as usual. After that he usually plays with his toys while I enjoy my coffee and read emails. He takes all his aggression out on a small stuffed dachshund. He growls and shakes it so much that I am surprised it is still intact.

After this he will leap on me and demand my full attention. He always signals this event with a wet kiss right smack on my mouth. This means he wants me to scratch his back and rub his head until he falls asleep, after which I am supposed to hold him until he decides to wake.

I am okay with this for the most part and he will remain content as long as I have one hand on his head or belly. I can scroll with the other hand as I continue reading. But, this was cut short this morning.

His hackles rose. His long wiry hair on his back makes his hackle rising a magnificent event to see. I could feel the low rumble of a growl start and I looked towards the gate to see if perhaps Toni Louise had decided to leave the warmth of the master's bed to go outside. Toni is always ready for a growling, barking frenzy as soon as she comes into our tiny living room. It is a ritual the two perform  daily .... not for my benefit, as I do not appreciate the noise.

But, Toni was not there. His entire body stiffened and he started barking as a bird flew towards us!! There was a bird loose in my house!! How did it get here? How long has it been inside? I know for sure that I didn't see one come in the door when I let the dogs in and out. It was snowing yesterday, and nary a bird did I see. Looks like a barn swallow. Not that I tried to get close!

It was not even 9 am, but I called HeWho was still asleep on his cell and told him there was a bird flying around in here. Must have intrigued him, because he got up. While he was getting up I went to investigate the status of openings through which a bird could enter. 

Both doors leading in and out were secure. No windows were open. Then I remembered! There is an "attic" access in my laundry/electrical storage room. Years ago, I encountered a bird in my laundry room, dead on the floor. 

At first I blamed Martha, the boy cat. I thought he had caught and killed it, then brought it in as a gift for me. I know I would have noticed a bird in his mouth if I had let him in. That doesn't mean that HeWho would have noticed it, though. And ... Martha's gifts are usually disemboweled. This bird was intact, I looked closely as I picked it up with a gloved hand.

I notice things. Despite the fact that I lose my glasses and phone on a regular basis and have to employ HeWho's help at times, I still notice things that are amiss. Like the gaping hole in the ceiling that I had asked to be covered. It is not that I feared a bird or bat invasion, so much as I was concerned about the cold air coming in through the gaping hole.

He trimmed out the hole into a neat square right away and it only took several months of incessant nagging for him to put a piece of styrofoam up there and I am the one who supplied this from a shipping box, realizing that it was about the right dimension. It was supposed to be a temporary fix until he could find a piece of sheetrock to do it properly.

Out of sight, out of mind. Cold air no longer hit me when I did laundry and I forgot about it, as well. Until this morning. I carried my investigation to my laundry room and sure enough the styro had been moved enough for a bird to come in. 

I already knew that birds were in the attic. I can hear the baby birds chirping in Spring inside my sewing room and outside where the roof change is. There is an opening there that the men assured me could not be used by the birds. Translation, they just don't want to fix it. They know I am not a good ladder climber, so don't worry that I will attempt to fix it myself.

HeWho closed the opening while I showered. He discovered that his tire was leaking on his truck and told me he was going to get it fixed. "Did you fix the hole?" I asked, no assuming anything with him. He said that he had. "Where is the bird, did you let it out?" No, he doesn't know where the bird is.

Welcome to my world. The bird just flew in here to sit on the blade of the ceiling fan until Bo and Toni let him know how dangerous it would be for him/her to inhabit the same area as them. He flew back to the laundry room, no doubt trying to go back into the attic. Times like this I miss my Kevin! Kevin would not have left me in this predicament!

There will be no sleeping tonight until that bird has been returned to the great outdoors!!   

Thursday, February 4, 2021

Service and Parts

 As is often the case, HeWho had his phone on speaker. He was calling, looking for the part to fix the hydraulic lifts that stabilize the motor home. He called Camping World and asked for the parts department. " I need the parts department." says HeWho. A perky friendly voice says she will connect him. "Service and parts, this is so and so, how can I help you." HeWho asks if he can look up a part to see if it is in stock. "No, we only do service."

Made me feel confused. Did he not just say "service and PARTS"? He was nice enough to transfer the call and that is how we discovered that the part had to be ordered and no timeline for when the part would arrive. New plan is to rebuild the old part. No timeline on that either. I just wanted a short get away.

Now that I have completely unloaded and transferred all of our stuff from the Class C into the newer motor home and am itching to leave ... We could go anyway, who says we need to be level?

Another delaying factor is that I have registered us for the Covid vaccine. My luck would have us getting a notice for the next day and we would be 2 days away.

So, here I sit, watching the swirling snow out the window with the sleeping dogs piled up around me. Yesterday was lovely, the sun was shining and the weather was mild. I didn't even need a jacket. I bathed two dogs while the 3rd load of laundry was drying. Then I showered and headed to the grocery for a much needed re-supply of staples and fresh veggies. Normally I complete this task in a brisk manner, but I went up and down each aisle and found things I didn't even know I wanted until I saw them. My haul barely fit into one cart and my new car has a small trunk. I filled it to capacity with two bags left for the front seat.

I came home thinking I would be able to get the Christmas lights down and put away. HeWho is good about bringing the groceries in, not so much in putting them away. He did help with the frozen stuff, but I had to show him how I wanted it done, knowing he would just dump it all in the ice cream freezer in the store all willy-nilly. I have it sectioned off for different items and I like to rotate my stock while I am putting things away. Same with the canned goods.

He was hungry and I was hungry, so instead of following my better instincts and taking the lights down and at least bringing them in to be properly stored, I cooked. It was getting chillier and dark and I was tired by the time we ate. The lights are still out there. Yes, I know it is February! They aren't plugged in! If it keeps snowing I might venture out and plug them back in, though.

The dreary gray sky is depressing and I have no incentive to get up and do anything. I think I will just follow Cujo's lead and take a nap.

Monday, February 1, 2021

But, Does It Wash Dishes?

 Eddie and Toni Louise seem to be feeling some better with the itching skin. Toni gets another bath today. Yesterday when Eddie got his, Mr. BoJangles pitched such a fit that I gave in and bathed him, too.

He was as awful as he was the last time I bathed him when he decided to bite me. He bit me again and once again, I bit back. I am beginning to think Spawn of Satan might have been an appropriate name for him. When he is bad, he is very bad. Then he can be very sweet and cuddly for as long as 10 minutes. Right this minute he is curled up, asleep on my feet.

Speaking of bathing things, let's talk about the dishwasher. I have had many dishwashers in my past. Never one as difficult as this one, though. Beyond the dragging it to the sink and plugging it in and hooking up the water hose. That was simple enough. It is the array of push buttons on the inside of the door and the instruction manual. The instructions leave much to be desired. Seems you have to push those buttons in the right sequence and end with a double push to one. Weird symbols on the buttons and the manual might as well be written in a foreign language. What happened to simple instructions and words like on and off?

HeWho jumped right in to wash the first load. I was on the phone with my son and the sounds coming from the kitchen did not sound promising. I heard water rushing into the machine, as HeWho said he didn't really know what he did, but it worked.

Later I unloaded the machine and put the dishes away. The very few dishes he had in the machine. The man cannot efficiently load a dishwasher, a moving van, or a suitcase. He has no sense of space.

You may be wondering about the dishwasher hider island I commissioned and swore to wait for before I would allow use of the dishwasher. It is about 75% done. More than I could have reasonably hope for, I suppose. I will be the one painting it, just waiting for the elusive trim. He even installed the tip out door for the trash receptacle. Progress.

Back to the machine itself. After the initial wash, I loaded the next load. Two days worth of dishes for the two of us. No pots and pans or using the top rack to hold only a colander and nothing else. I hooked it up and was ready to turn it on. I tried to read the instructions, then texted the man who ran the first load. "Just follow the directions in the user manual." he said to me smugly. I punched buttons just like it told me to and nothing happened. HeWho finally came in and got it going. 

It seemed to take forever and I couldn't use the sink for over 2 hours. Fortunately I had a lasagna in the freezer I could pop into the oven. Next day, I unloaded the dishwasher and put the dishes away. They looked and felt clean, but I had been the one to load and I rinse before I load.

On the third load, I loaded most and HeWho "helped". He does not rinse the food off first, saying "clever" things like "it's a dishwasher, it should take care of it". Since it ties up the sink, we decided to run it after supper. Once again we had a hard time getting it started. At one point it said ECO, which we took to mean economy. Hewho said I had already washed them, so that should work.

It did not. Next day I opened it to find that the detergent did not dissolve. It was laying on the door. The compartment opened, but there it lay. Of course the dishes were not clean. HeWho ran it again and the detergent was still in a glob on the door. I filled the sink with hot soapy water and unloaded the dishes and washed them by hand in a highly annoyed state of mind. 

I discovered that the sprayer mechanism was still attached to the top rack with two ties from shipping. I had assumed (and we all know what they say about that) that my husband, who neglects to rinse the dishes before loading had made sure that everything was in working order BEFORE he loaded the first load. That could have had something to do with the condition of the dishes. That and I don't think the water got hot enough. If ECO means economy, maybe the heater in the dishwasher did not come on.

So, for now, I have a spiffy island still in need of finishing and a machine that is tucked away in the belly of the island and I am still washing dishes with my own two hands.