Tag Archives: Otto

Flex Day Fun

I didn’t produce any new words of fiction today, but got a lot accomplished. I looked over four chapters for a friend and exchanged thoughts on that. Then I wrote two blog posts for Story Empire. I have one more, but it’s late in December so I’m stalling that one.

It may not seem like much, but there was a lot of time involved. I feel pretty good about it all.

What it served to do was clear the deck for my next effort. I’ll have to re-read my WIP, then I intend to move it forward as best I can.

There were obstacles, there are alway obstacles. This time it was in the form of Frankie the bulldog.

I swear she wanted outside a hundred times today. She likes to play with the neighbor dog. They run up and down the fence together and act all tough.

She’s also become pretty good at spotting the squirrel. She doesn’t care about the squirrel, but she wants Otto to chase him. This is because she bites Otto in the butt while he chases the squirrel.

She spotted it on the fence this morning so I let her out. She stopped on the porch and looked back for Otto. Once he was ready, it was all fun and games again.

She’s also taken to flopping across the back of my chair like a monkey. She leans her head over my shoulder and occasionally licks my glasses. Makes it kind of hard to write if I can’t see.

This is an older picture, but you get the idea. I keep thinking, “We named the monkey Jack.” It makes a pretty good position for squirrel spotting.

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A long week.

This was the week I went to San Antonio. That’s really nothing new, at my level seminars are a fact of life. This one had its good and not-so-good parts. Some of that has to do with my seasoning. I’ve been around this stuff for a long time, and it’s getting kind of hard to show me something new. They managed it though.

One of the unexpected things is kind of telling. I’ve been to many a seminar, but the seats in those meeting rooms are starting to wear me out more than ever before. A day or two, no problem. Four days, and I think I need a wheelchair.

Add air travel into the mix, and it gets even worse. There is no such thing as a comfortable chair on an airliner. I wound up with the middle seat on all four legs of my journey. From Phoenix to Boise, the guy with the window seat never showed up. I moved over and it was wonderful just to have a bit of extra room.

I actually left my iPad Pro at the TSA check in stop in San Antonio. Fortunately, my employee spotted it and saved it for me. I’m starting to feel like I need a keeper.

As far as San Antonio goes, it rained. Then it rained some more, followed by rain, with an additional portion of rain. It stopped raining while I was at the airport to go home.

We braved it anyway. We wandered down the street to someplace called the Buckhorn Saloon for lunch. It’s one of those places that seems dedicated to taxidermy. Animals covered all the walls, and they call part of it a museum that requires an admission fee. Apparently, it was not dedicated to cleanliness. To make it clear, polar bears and mountain goats are white, not grey.

The lunch itself was pretty good, and I scored a local beer that came off quite well. Craft beer wasn’t easy to find, but Texas brands were in abundance. I wound up living on Shiner Bock. Not awesome like a craft beer, but you can live on it.

While we were there, a Ted Cruz Rally broke out. My co-worker took a photo, but I didn’t feel the need. Cruz is kind of an odd dude, and I sat on my hands, lest judgment be passed upon me.

My co-worker has several Army buddies in the area, so he went out with them most nights. The one night we wandered around didn’t turn out all that great.

We got to the Alamo just as it closed. I still snapped a photo, the only one I took.

I briefly considered storming the fortress, but that’s already been done, and seems so 1800s by today’s standards.

Note: It was raining.

Then we wandered down to the River Walk. I went through the Alamo years ago, and spent a lot of time on the River Walk. This time, the River Walk seemed like it’s lost some of its spark.

The last time I was here, there were shops, bars, and restaurants filled to overflowing. This time, very little was open, people were scarce, and some construction was going on. It does make for a lovely scene to put some vampires in and have them stalk the patrons stumbling out of the bars.

My co-worker said his buddy, a former Army Ranger, told him this part of town wasn’t a great place to hang out after dark. We took the hint and went back to the hotel. I settled for another Shiner, some poorly conceived bar food, and called it my birthday dinner. I went back to my room so I could watch the World Series. It’s hard to ask a group of Spurs fans if it would be okay to change from basketball to baseball. (Sounds like something for one of John’s top ten lists.)

Old What’s Her Face called me on Face Time, something I’d never done before. This was so I could talk to Otto. He missed me and was confused how I got inside the iPad. It was kind of fun.

When I got home, the house was dark. My wife had to work today. That didn’t stop the dogs, and they swarmed me. I had to stay up for an hour just snuggling them. (Mostly Otto.)

I have a big old list of things I should be doing today, but I’m kind of worn out. Spending a lot of time with my old friend, Mr. Hot Pad today. At least I got to spend some time editing while I was on airplanes. That and reading a mediocre craft book I bought. I’m finding that craft books are kind of like seminars these days. It’s isn’t exciting and awesome anymore, but there are small nuggets of information that I find valuable.

That was the week that was. I really do have a ton of things to do, but this whole month has been like burning the candle at both ends. I think I’ll take a day and see how I feel about it tomorrow. I wonder if John Wayne is defending the Alamo on television somewhere today.

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Trying to get some things done

I’m doing all the fussy little things today. Things like making sure I have battery chargers in my suitcase for my trip. I set out my wallet and other glasses to make sure they get packed too.

Then there are things I can’t pack until morning. Things like combs and blood pressure medication.

I used the app to get my boarding pass. It also gave me my employee’s boarding pass, and I hope it doesn’t screw him up. I suppose we can meet at TSA and go in together somehow.

I looked for a Steelers game, but it doesn’t look like there is one today.

After placing some things out, I decided to tackle a few more chapters of Lanternfish. I got through a couple, but there were interruptions.

“Daddy, this looks like fun. Check out my rope toy.”

Meanwhile, Otto decided to go spelunking again.

I’m still remembering things, and getting up to place them out for my trip. I should probably focus on that and get offline for a while.

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Presto!

Today was my day to get some things done. I screwed that up before I even got home last night. I was supposed to pick up medications for Otto, one of our dogs. This is about two blocks from where I work. I failed to do this. Let’s face it, at the end of shift you have hundreds of reps involving getting in the truck and going home.

This meant that I had to go back downtown this morning and pick up his pills. It took me an hour and a half. It’s a forty mile round trip, plus the time inside the vet’s office. It kind of killed any forward momentum I may have had.

My wife wanted to go to pizza tonight, and our daughter decided to drive over from Sun Valley to go with us. Sounds nice, right? The hospital called my wife back in, so we had to cancel the whole thing. She has to work until eight o’clock tonight. I feel bad that our daughter drove all the way over here for nothing.

I don’t know what some employers are thinking. They are cutting everyone’s hours due to what they call “low census.” I won’t go into a deep explanation, the main point is reduced hours.

When there is a problem, they seem shocked that people don’t want to drop everything and pull extra hours now. “Gasp!” I’ve learned over the years that happy employees will do anything. Unhappy employees will place you lower on the priority list.

I got a decent small visit with my daughter after Old What’s Her Face went back to work. Everyone is gone now, but it’s time for baseball.

Today, I had low expectations and failed to meet them all. Things can change fast, so I’m just going to go with it. Tomorrow will be partially about packing and getting ready for my flight. I’ll be in Texas next week, but I’ll take my iPad with me. At least I can keep up with blogs and such.

I’m looking forward to the trip. There are times in life where the author in me has to take a back seat. Perhaps I can get some forward momentum when I return. If not, I have vacation coming around the Veteran’s Day holiday.

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And Otto goes berserk

I got through a couple of my projects, then we paid the bills and managed date night. We had a couple of errands along the way, one of which involved stopping at Pet Smart for dog food. Lo and behold, pumpkin balls are available once more.

Otto is bouncing off the walls with joy. Frankie doesn’t know what to think. She has only had tennis balls, and these don’t have fur.

Ever since he was a puppy, the pumpkin ball was his favorite toy. They have a squeaker inside and they flash when they bounce. Otto is a simple soul. It doesn’t take much to make him happy. Maybe I should take a lesson from him.

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A small miracle

Here is some great news on the Frankie front. Weeks ago, a piece of a toy went unaccounted for. She was chewing on it when I spotted the rubber arm of this squeaky toy missing. My wife and I looked everywhere for the missing piece, and decided she had to have swallowed it.

She vomited in the middle of the night about two weeks later, and aspirated some of it. Bulldogs are notorious for breathing issues, and this is about par for the course. She wound up with pneumonia from this and was really sick for a day or two before the meds kicked in. I mean middle of the night emergency vet sick.

Two rounds of X-rays, plus an ultrasound later, and there was no sign of this missing chunk of rubber. We knew rubber wasn’t likely to appear on an X-ray or an ultrasound, but the vet said other things like blockages and stomach lesions would show up. Nothing did.

Earlier this week, a big chunk of pink rubber appeared in our back yard. The culprit was Otto, and it passed through. I was not convinced, because the chunk wasn’t big enough.

Otto is huge, 65 pounds. Frankie is pretty tiny. She weighs in at 35 pounds, but bulldogs are so dense that it equates to about the size of a Scottie. (She was the runt of her litter.)

Last night I woke up to the sound of a dog horking on the floor again. I jumped right up, because she had that emergency trip recently. This time, I found more than froth to clean up.

The squeaky toy was some kind of monster, with rubber arms that ended in crab claws. That’s my key ring for perspective. I can’t believe she swallowed the damned thing in the first place, and it’s a miracle that it ever came back up. It would have had to line up perfectly just to fit back in her throat. If it had started out the other end, it could have killed her.

Surgery to remove a swallowed item starts at about $1500, but bulldogs need special intubation to make sure they keep breathing. We may have dodged that bullet.

Oddly enough, she had no other symptoms. I’m sure the aspiration pneumonia is related, but she’s been eating like a little horse, playing hard, and going potty regularly.

Now all we have to do is worry about the next damned thing. She and Otto chewed up the backing underneath one of our rugs yesterday. Underneath.

Our daughter swears she picked up handfuls of the stuff, and doesn’t think they ate any of it. This is all Frankie’s doing, no doubt. She’s psycho, but Otto will play her games if they look fun. I swear I need to start tranquilizing them when they’re out of my sight.

But we love you, Dad.

Note: I wrote this about 2:00 this morning, because up is up at that time. I scheduled it for tonight so Joan got to be the spotlight post of the day. If you missed Lisa’s show, check it out by rolling down the page to the previous post.

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A blogging kind of day

I didn’t set any gigantic goal for this weekend. Life has been throwing me curves lately, and plans seemed like a bad idea.

Today was a day to pick something up, finish it, and move to the next project. With that in mind, Lisa Burton Radio is assembled and scheduled for Thursday, and so is the following Thursday. This actually feels kind of good to get ahead a tiny bit. I used to track every questionnaire I sent out, and do appropriate follow up, but I stopped doing that this year. People seem to be benefitting from the interview slot, but they need to have some skin in the game too. There are probably ten or more questionnaires out, but it’s up to them to respond and get back with me. Makes my part of the process less stressful, and that’s a good thing. I’ll be here for you from now on, but I’m not twisting arms to fill the interview slots.

I also spent some time writing, assembling, and scheduling my next post over at Story Empire. It’s up on Wednesday, and I hope it comes across well.

Oh yeah, there is this post too.

Life continues to throw us curves. The range decided to go out, including the oven portion. We’ve been doing without it for a couple of weeks now. Between the barbecue and the microwave, we’ve survived. Now that Frankie seems like her old self, today was time to address our appliance problem.

The old range was original to the house, so seventeen years old. In this day and age, that’s a good run.

The debate of the day was whether to pay for the range or finance it. Holding back a tiny bit of cash seems like a good idea in light of current events. Free delivery swayed us to use our Sears credit card. In event of another emergency, we have a few bucks available, and can make minimum payments if we have to. If everything evens out, I’ll probably take two months to pay it off. That way we get a couple of paydays in there and don’t strap ourselves.

Delivery will happen next weekend. At that time, I’ll probably wake up Tituba, my sourdough starter and christen the new oven the right way.

To her credit, Old What’s Her Face chose a very reasonable range. There was a time when both of us did a lot of cooking. As the kids have moved out, the appeal of a Wolfe gas range isn’t there any more. We wound up with a decent Kenmore electric that matches all the rest of the appliances. Honestly, I’ve always had good luck with Kenmore stuff.

After signing the papers, we walked over to Old Chicago for pizza and beer. We called it an early night, because my wife has to work this weekend. A few Winter Olympics and I’ll figure out what tomorrow has in store. I might even add some new words to my work in progress. Maybe I’ll paste together a new background for Lisa’s Facebook page. I have some new images that might be fun to use as Polaroids on her table.

The dogs are getting some ball time right now. All posts are more popular with a picture, so here’s Otto being a crazy man with his oversized tennis ball.

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