The intellectual equivalent of a ham sandwich.

Posts tagged ‘dog’

Attn: Ellen (10/17/18)




Back (apologies for my handwriting!)



The text of the postcard is

Dear Ellen,

I decided my dog is like a crazy scientist who has come up from her lab and is yelling about some potentially world-ending catastrophe and we’re like, “nah crazy scientist, that’s just the neighbor – you JUST saw him” and she’s like “RUN! RUN FOR YOUR LIVES!”

It’s charming.

Sincerely, OR

Why am I doing this?


Attn: Ellen (8/29/18)




Back (apologies for my handwriting!)



The text of the postcard is

Dear Ellen,

My son is now a big one year old! That’s exciting! And the dog, I think as a self-preservation technique, has started to go deaf. Good thinking, pooch!


P.S. Headed to listen to a train toy sing about the alphabet … for the 17th time this morning.

Why am I doing this?


Slight Improvements

When I was going to start first grade my family moved from Korea to Alaska. The school was close enough to my home that I would walk to school every day (including when it reached -60 degrees out, I was just bundled up to a point that I could hardly move).

The first winter there we also happened to have record snowfall. It was crazy. People had to come shovel your ROOF for fear that the weight of the snow might cause damage. That’s a lot of snow.

Every school day I followed the same path. I’d go out our front door, cut across a field and then be on a sidewalk until I had to cross the street directly across from the school.

After the initial big snowfall I walked to school happy and charmed by the snow. Stomping along happily through the snow and taking it all in. This was a mistake. Because then more snow came along, and more snow, and more snow. The snow was deep enough that trying to walk through it would lead to thighs of steel, and/or a boot lost when your leg sinks into the deep snow and you wiggle your leg around until it finally pops out but whoops … no boot. This meant every day that winter was a reminder – I took some awfully big, goofy steps that first snowy day! By tracing the same steps every day I was able to keep cutting across the field, and avoid sinking into the snow. But unfortunately, my steps were hard to follow.

The next winter I had learned my lesson. After the first big snowfall I didn’t lift my feet at all, shuffling through the snow all the way to school. I created a nice, easily walkable path across that field.

This winter, confronted by snow again, I have also made some slight improvements.IMG_20180202_073547663

I shovel the front porch because otherwise ice is liable to form there, and it’s no fun to walk on snow or ice in your slippers. With a clear porch I can let the dog out in slippers no problem.

And I shovel a bit of the grass because our dog is a dope, and she will wander aimlessly for a while if she sees no grass to pee on. Eventually she gives up and picks a random spot. But it’s easier if I have what I affectionately refer to as the ‘pee patch.’ If this spring that grass is dead, I’ll know the dog is overdue for a visit to the vet.

How Not to Visit Mesa Verde

Mesa Verde National Park is a park in the southwest area of Colorado. My wife and I live in Colorado now and with a three day weekend greeting us, we thought it’d be a great idea to visit there.


How awesome does this place look?!

I booked a campsite for Saturday night, a tour of some of the historic ruins at the park on Sunday, and a hotel in Durango for Sunday night. What a weekend we’d have!

We would also get a good hike or two in, lounging by the campsite, see great stars, and enjoy a scenic drive back along the Million Dollar Highway. What a trip!

But wait. Let’s rewind.

Sunday night before Memorial Day weekend our little dog, Jody, was not doing so well. Jody was due for an appointment on that Friday, so the ol’ ball and chain called the vet and moved the appointment up to Monday. I took Jody (doing her best impression of a leaf in the wind) to the vet and they said “ok it might be this, let’s give her this, and we’ll see what the blood work says.”


Jody, aka Pupperdoodle, Pupperoni, Pupperdoo, Jodykins, the dog (that last one I came up with).

Tuesday the ball and chain takes Jody BACK to the vet because the blood work says something was wonky with her gall bladder. Gall bladder! Who knew!? They say here’s the fix, and we are content although a little lighter in the pocket book.

Friday the lady takes the dog to our pet sitter, who we have used before and she’s awesome. We found her via Rover, and it’s great because it’s cheaper than a kennel AND Jody stays with our pet sitter at the pet sitter’s house. Our pet sitter is sweet, she and her boyfriend take Jody for walks – frankly, Jody is living the life with them. The ball and chain hands Jody over to them and says here’s what happened with Jody this week, if she seems off please call me and the vet said we could call her too.

Now, back to the trip.


My camera and my photography skills can’t do justice to how beautiful the drive was.

Saturday arrives and around 7 am we are on the road. And oh, what a pretty road. We got to see the Rockies from any number of angles and after six years of living in Houston, I can’t get enough of seeing the mountains.

At some point the petsitter calls us which immediately fills us with fear and dread – Jody’s acting a bit funny. She seems to be walking a bit stiff and she’s not herself. The pet sitter kindly agrees to call the vet and get back to us. Several long minutes later we talk again and the vet said, “it’s ok – but if it gets worse then you should worry and bring her to me.” We’re nervous but it checks out, Jody was at the vet on Tuesday so surely we must be fine.

The drive from our house to the park is no quick trip, it’s almost seven hours. About five hours in we stop off for a nice sit down lunch at a Mexican place. Sadly, it is the best Mexican restaurant we’ve been to since moving here (why can’t our town have this place!).

Finally we reach the park. It’s been a long day on the road, but we are here and it’s 3 or 3:30 pm. We head in to the visitors center and I buy (of course) a pack of postcards and find out where to check in for our campsite. While I’m putzing around the gift shop the pet sitter calls. Dread, once again.

The pet sitter is on her way to the vet with Jody because she definitely seemed worse. My wife, who has had Jody since Jody was just a puppy, is fearing the absolute worst. We sit and wait to hear word from the pet sitter / the vet anxiously in the parking lot. After what felt like a very long time we hear from the vet – Jody could have had a stroke, or might have some sort of inflammation in the brain, or other. Another possibility is that Jody could’ve gotten into something toxic, but we think that’s unlikely. It’s hard to tell if what happened Sunday night (a good bit of vomiting) was related to the gall bladder or this … The vet recommends we take Jody to the local college where they have a 24/7 vet setup to have her looked at by someone who knows the ways of dog brains. Aha, dog brain specialist. (It actually wasn’t nearly as expensive as I had assumed that kind of phrase would imply.)


“Say darling, isn’t that view great? But wouldn’t it be nice if we were driving toward it? Well, we’re in luck!”

Our pet sitter, who, again, is awesome, took Jody to the college to be seen and the lady and I wave goodbye to the national park visitor center (oh and what a visitor center!) and we begin the drive back.

A seven-ish hour drive after having done a seven-ish hour drive with the added bonus of fearing you won’t get to say goodbye to your dog is a hellish experience.

The good saint pet sitter kept us informed of Jody’s status regularly on the drive back, and she sat at the college vet and waited (and waited, and waited). Somewhere between 9 and 10 pm we found out they said Jody likely had a stroke. This led to a lot of relief and cautious optimism on our part. A stroke certainly isn’t good news, but it was better than the alternatives, and much better than the fears dancing in my wife’s head. We’d make it home to see her, and as my wife said, it’d make us more aware and appreciative of Jody than we’d been before.

A bit after midnight we picked Jody up and then drove home to sweet, sweet sleep.

Jody is still not herself, her movement can be a bit funny at times, and we have a list of questions for the vet (the vet is also awesome and said call away and ask questions – which we will certainly take advantage of). BUT, Jody is here, and she seems to be coming around to normalcy a little bit. I think we’ve got a different Jody on our hands now, but we’ll take it, and we’ll do the best we can to nurse her back to health.

Last but certainly not least – happy Memorial Day! Cook up some food, be thankful, appreciate your life and the hard work of those in the armed services.

You and Your Adorable Dog

Have you seen the bumper sticker “who rescued who?”

The idea is that by rescuing a dog from a shelter you are the one obviously doing the rescue … But this sticker asks a much more deep and emotional question, wondering if it really WAS you who rescued the dog. Or, perhaps because the dog has dragged you from a burning house while you were unconscious after a night of excessive drinking that would make a coked-up investment banker blush, it has turned out that the dog has rescued you.

But then, fueled by a massive ego and inflated feelings of self-worth, your dog may begin to demand sacrifice. Not one or two but ten walks a day. Not just kibbles and bits but things too. And possibly even stuff! Kibbles and bits and things and such add up, and with your rehab costs … can you afford it all? (The night of excess was your rock bottom, and your rescued dog/savior was your guiding light to taking a good, hard look at your life).

That’s right, Rover, without me this stuff might as well be a figment of your imagination.

In this case perhaps a “mutually rescued” bumper sticker would be the way to go. Or you could stick with “who rescued who” but next to that add a second sticker to let your pet know who is in charge. “Can open cans” text imposed over a human form (that would be you) or a hand print (to stick with the theme of appendages).

Yes, you and your adorable pet are both grateful for the other. But just know that your cat doesn’t give a flying funky about any of that.


Monopoly Pieces

I have a Monopoly app on my phone which is great for plane rides. This past time I played I got beat by the computer which was being controlled by AI. Here’s what I noticed, some Monopoly pieces work better than others for beating you.

For example, if I say with anger, “stupid dog!,” that is a phrase that makes sense. “Freaking car!!” also works.

“Gah, stupid wheelbarrow!” … Still works but it doesn’t flow as naturally to me. Maybe if I spent more time with wheelbarrows it would work better.

“Oh COME ON, battle ship!” is certainly something I don’t tend to say. Also, “oh you little a-hole, top hat,” isn’t something I say but maybe if I was a hipster I might have more top hat woes.

Thimble, iron … Other pieces … You guys get the gist.

WELCOME HOME! … From Your Dog’s Perspective

Recently I was thinking about the range of emotions a dog must experience as soon as it’s mom/dad/master/owner (whatever category of dog owner you consider yourself) gets home. It must be pretty crazy.

Think about it, imagine if your BEST FRIEND in the WHOLE WORLD for some GOD FORSAKEN REASON locked you in a small apartment with no bathroom and then left for eight plus hours most days of the week … Can you imagine how excited you’d be when he/she got home? You’d be stir-crazy, a little loopy from being alone all day with no one to talk to, and … you would have to use the bathroom in ways that would make communicating your need almost impossible.

It’s pretty incredible dogs have pure love for their food-providers/captors/best friends/bathroom-withholding tormenters.

Here we go, the breakdown of a dog’s emotions:

  1. 100% excitement at seeing you, so much excitement that their body cannot be in one place at one time, it needs to be everywhere at all times
  2. 100% excitement knowing that dinner is coming up
  3. 100% excitement that they will get to go outside to clear up some space for dinner … (hey, it’s true)
  4. 100% excitement that they can finally stop sitting around being bored and finally doing something awesome like sit around beside you while you watch TV – HELL YEAH ADVENTURE!
  5. 100% excitement that they can tell you about this dream they had … wait … the dog is having trouble expressing him/herself … allow the pooch to just run in small circles in front of you to convey the deep psychological meanings of the dream

Appreciate dogs, folks. Because if you left me home alone like that I would be giving you a silent treatment, sulking in one corner (what’s in the other corner?) … and there’s no way I could’ve held it. Get the Spot treatment out.

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