Tag Archives: Pets

Weekend

Mom and Dad came for a visit this weekend. It didn’t leave much time for authorly things, but it was fun. We went to dinner, and Mom did some Christmas shopping. I tagged along and scored a beer at Old Chicago while they hit the mall.

We stopped by the pet store, and the dogs scored these cool tire toys. They have ropes through them, and they love them.

Frankie loves her new toy

I managed to prepare the shtick for a new Lisa Burton Radio interview and send it out. I also worked my way through some critiques. It doesn’t sound like much, but it’s enough for one afternoon.

Hope everyone else had great weekends too.

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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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Introvert Hell

Take a perfectly adult household. Invite everyone for Thanksgiving. Let the fun begin.

My brother-in-law and sister-in-law are here. They brought their two small dogs with them. Otto and Frankie want to play. The little dogs don’t. Honestly, Otto takes a crap that’s bigger than these dogs are every morning. I don’t want him to break them.

My son came over, and brought our grandson at about 9:00. He’s making the turkey on his fancy-schmancy smoker. It takes some watching, so he has to stay. Old What’s Her Face gave our grandson a gaming console that apparently has to be turned up to full volume.

Add in the fact that my brother-in-law insists on watching 12 hours of football. What I mean by that is the TV must be on, but nobody is even watching it. In fact, he isn’t even in the room right now. Add football to the gaming console as far as noise goes. Note: My team doesn’t play today.

But wait, there’s more. My daughter is here and brought Jackson, the cat. I’d kind of like to see Jackson, he grew up here before he moved to Sun Valley. However, he’s been running for his life because the tiny dogs want to get him. This means Otto and Frankie have to chase the little dogs. Put all of that on my hard-surface floors, and it creates quite a din.

There is also the nearly constant calling out of dog names. Mostly the little dogs, but imagine a harsh voice saying the same word over and over and over and over and over and…

My daughter-in-law just arrived with the rest of the grandkids. Oh, by the way, they brought their dog with them. He is an Airedale mix of some kind. I’ll be shocked if we don’t wind up with at least one dead pet by the end of the night. Also the tiny dogs like to bark at the new arrival.

My daughter’s friend is also showing up, but I don’t think she’s bringing pets. Same thing for my son’s mother-in-law. They really don’t play into this story.

Imagine a group of people surrounding me, and they’re all honking airhorns at me. Add in some arguing and barking, along with a video game soundtrack at full volume, and you get a fair idea of how I feel.

I’m actually writing this before dinner, and while they are all here. It gives me some focus and a bit of a breather.

It may not sound like it, but I love these people. Hell, I even like their pets. I had some great one-on-one conversations with a few of them before the mob showed up. As an introvert, it is about all I can handle, but I’m being a trooper.

I think I’d like to have Thanksgiving somewhere else next year. I can handle this stuff for hours, but eventually I can go home.

Let the celebration begin, and by that I mean drinking.

Oh, and not for nothing, I went to bed about 11:30 last night. I had to raise dough and make my rolls. The dogs started barking at house guests at 6:00 AM. Kind of a sleep deprived state to add to the mix.

Bonus, I gave my entire department tomorrow off. That means I have to work tomorrow. It’s not my first Thanksgiving/Black Friday.

Update. Two beers later and things are looking better. This stuff is 9% alcohol by volume, so that’s a bonus. New Belgium Oakspire, Bourbon Barrel Aged ale using Knob Creek barrels.

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Macabre Macaroni, even better the next day

Lisa Burton

Companionship

The front door opened, and Tom extended his hand.

“I brought rosé. Seems to go with everything.”

“Fair enough. I’ve got the grill warming up, and your sister is just finishing her salad. Come on in.” He used our handshake to pull me into the house.

I walked down the hallway, and Monica wiped her hands on a towel. She ran around the island and gave me a hug. “So how’s the new town dentist?”

Ugh. Old Doctor Thorp’s records are such a mess I’m surprised the dental board wasn’t all over him. If I don’t get them sorted out, they’ll be all over me.”

“Here. Let me take that. I’ll put it in the refrigerator to chill for a bit. Tom will need a minute before the steaks go on.” She put the wine away and carried her salad to the table. “So… Have you been to see Mom since you moved back?”

“Not yet. There’s just so much to do with the new business. Besides, I don’t like those places. They’re like a holding pen for death.”

“I don’t like them either, but she’s your mother.”

“I have to go in Saturday and work on those files. I’ll knock off at noon and swing by. How bad is she?”

“Kind of catatonic most of the time, but she has her moments. Might be good for her to see you.”

Tom stuck his head inside. “Ten more minutes you two.”

Monica got up and set the table.

“The old house seems smaller now to me. Maybe it’s because I’ve been gone so long.”

“Same old house. You’ve just been living in the city for a while, and expect more.”

“That’s not it. Even my old room seems smaller. I haven’t been sleeping well either.”

Tom brought in the platter of thick ribeyes.

“You get instant potatoes tonight. I didn’t have time to bake some. Hope that’s alright.”

“Not a problem, Sis.”

Tom opened the wine and sat down with three glasses. “So what’s the topic?”

“Mom,” we said in unison.

“She got pretty bad at the end. Spent most of her time on the back porch, just staring into the forest. Neighbors said they saw her out there at two o’clock some nights. Like she was sitting with an old friend.”

“Never mind that,” Monica said. “Older people often keep irregular hours.”

“Just her and old Rusty,” I said. “Wish she had him with her now. Might help.”

“Might,” Monica said. She dished up our plates and tried the wine, pronouncing it wonderful.

“He isn’t handling it well either. I hear him whining on that back porch at nights. I’ve tried leaving food out, but he never eats it. Won’t come in the house. When I go outside, I see him slinking into the forest. If I could, I’d leash him up and take him to see her.”

“You must be mistaken,” Monica said.

“I think I’d recognize old Rusty.”

Tom put a hand over my wrist. “I buried old Rusty in that forest two years ago. That was about the time your mom started slipping away.”

***

Some places the veil is thin. Two old companions can comfort each other between our world and the next. One waiting patiently for the other to cross over. The other one ticking away the hours until they can be together once more.

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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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