Saturday, January 28, 2012


As you can see in the picture, Walter is teething - on everything.  Do you see his toy on the rug behind him?  There's a hole where Walter chewed it, eventually getting the ball free from the toy.  He chewed off two legs from the toy.  He chewed holes in his bed, and stuffing is strewn all over the floor.  One of my slippers fell on the floor, and of course, he chewed on that, too.  He tries to chew on your hand, if you let him...
Walter's First Day At School

Can you imagine this grinning fellow in class?  It was an easy class because he was the only dog in the puppy training class today.  We learned "sit," "stay," and "down."
He is so smart.  Don't I sound like every obnoxious parent you ever met who tells you how smart their kid is?  Yeah, yeah, yeah, that's me.

Friday, January 27, 2012

Walking Like Frankenstein

Had knee surgery yesterday for a torn meniscus.  My knee is wrapped up with a bulky dressing, and I can't bend my knee, so I'm walking like Frankenstein.  My husband took the day off to "wait on me hand and foot," but he's trying to do everything I've been doing pre-surgery, and he's already worn out.  Um-hmmm...

Saturday, January 21, 2012

Goodbye, Slippers!

I was stepping over the baby gate, and one of my slippers fell off.  When I went back to get it, I couldn't find it.  Then I saw Walter chewing on it.  Oh well, those slippers were old, and it was time to replace them....

Thursday, January 19, 2012

Raise Your Hand If This Has Ever Happened To You

I slipped in cat throw up tonight, and I hit my head on the door frame.  I fell flat on my back, and all I could do was say, "Oh my God!"

I got up eventually, stumbled to the freezer to put an ice pack on the side of my head, and lay down on the bed and cried.  Oy vey!  When I finally got up, I saw that there was blood on the ice pack, and then I saw blood on the light switch.  Then I looked at my face in the mirror.  Double oy vey!  There was a cut about an inch long just above my left eyebrow.  I guess I will need stitches....
Make That One Day

I spoke too soon.  We've only had one day without an accident in the house.....

Wednesday, January 18, 2012

Walter, the Escape Artist

Walter escaped!  My husband and I had replaced all the missing boards in our backyard fence the day before we went to the SPCA to pick up Walter.  We thought we did good.  Well, the second day we had our precious pooch, our neighbors across the street told us Walter had escaped.  It's only been a week that we've had Walter, and today he escaped by digging another hole under the fence.  We filled and blocked the first hole, and now there's another one.  Oy vey!  We're going to have to put chicken wire all around the bottom of the fence.  No more unsupervised backyard time for Walter until we do that.

The good news is that he's had two whole days without accidents in the house.  I think he's getting the hang of it, or I'm just bringing him outside more so that he doesn't relieve himself on the kitchen floor.  I've already thrown away two rugs, one by the kitchen sink and one by the back door.  Oh well, I guess I was tired of them anyway, right?

Friday, January 13, 2012

Dog Tired

No, the dog is not tired.  I am.  I am exhausted.  Having a puppy is physically demanding, and this is only the third day we've had Walter.  I pop up out of bed and roll straight toward the dog's crate, snap on his leash, and bring him outside so he can pee.  I don't even care that I'm in my robe and my hair is unbrushed.  The goal here is to get outside before Walter pees on the floor.  He peed three times on the kitchen floor yesterday.

Once he pees on the lawn, we go back inside and I get him his cup and a half of Science Diet for puppies.  Then I have half an hour, or so I've been told, before I need to take him outside so he can poop.  That gives me time to get dressed,  drink a cup of coffee, and eat my cereal.  My husband tells me to let Walter go outside in the backyard so we don't have to worry about his having an accident on the floor again.  OK - that will buy me some more time.  I'm catching up on e-mail when we hear a knock on the door.  It's early in the morning, so a knock on the door cannot be good news.  It's our neighbors telling us that Walter is running around in the front yard.  My husband calls Walter's name, and Walter races in through the front door.  He dug a hole under the gate!  And we thought we had made the backyard secure.  Oy vey!  Walter is a digger.  My husband puts bricks in the hole to block the space.  No more unsupervised backyard time.

Then we're out the door again for our serious walk.  Inevitably, I forget to stuff my pockets with the plastic grocery bags, because you can't just leave the poop on the ground.  Back in the house for the bags, and now we set off on our walk.  I'm trying to get him to heel so he doesn't think he's the lead dog.  There's a whole new psychology of the dog that I'm having to learn.  He's not supposed to be out the door first either.  And I'm not supposed to let him jump on me.  It's a lot for this old dog (me) to learn.

After I've worn us both out from the walk, then there's time to read the paper.  But he's not too tired, because he chews his leash in half.  He's already torn off a leg of one of his toys.  I caught him chewing on the curtains.  I think the corner of his bed has a hole in it. No, he's not tired enough yet.

Next comes the introduction of each cat to the dog.  The dog is on one side of the baby gate, and I sit with one cat at a time on the other side of the gate.  There is hissing and growling and whining, and claws are out.  I'm not expecting miracles any time soon.  It would just be nice for them to regard each other with the attitude of peaceful co-existence.

After that, I go to the Animal Hospital to give them Walter's microchip barcode, go to the library to check out Cesar Millan's books on dog training, go to the drugstore, bring a friend to the airport, come back from the airport, eat lunch, and take Walter out for another walk.  Oops, forgot the bags, go back inside, get two of them, stuff them in my pocket, say hello to more neighbors and introduce them to Walter, then down to serious walking.

We come back from the walk, and Walter knocks out on the Persian rug.  I think I tired him out.  He's dog tired now, too....

Thursday, January 12, 2012

Meet Walter!

Is he a cute dog or what?  I've been looking for a dog for a long time.  I've visited so many sites online and looked at pictures of dogs (and cats, rabbits, and chinchillas), but when I saw this picture, just his expression caught me.  He's a mixture of German wire-haired pointer and terrier, at least that's what was written under his picture, and he's about six months old.  This particular time, it was about 3 a.m., and I was on the SPCA adoptable dogs site.  I heard my husband get up to use the bathroom, and I kind of ambushed him.  "Come see this dog!"  He stumbled into the computer room, barely awake, and when he saw Walter's picture, he laughed.  I took that as a good sign.

We adopted Walter today, or actually, since it's 2 a.m. right now, we adopted him yesterday.  It's been a long day, and I think we are all worn out - me, my husband, Walter, and our four cats.

As soon as we left the SPCA, we went to PetSmart, where we spent $347!  We got him a bed, a crate with a mat, dog shampoo, dog food, treats, toys, bones, collars, and bowls.  Then we drove home, and I took Walter for a walk.  I didn't even bring him into the house yet - I wanted to wear him out a bit before introducing him to the cats.

We went straight into the bathroom after returning from our walk, and I used the dog shampoo we'd just bought to give Walter a bath.  He did pretty well, and he even tolerated the blow dryer.

How to describe Walter?  Exuberant! Yes, that's Walter.  Everything seems exciting to him, and he makes me laugh with his delight in all that he encounters.

Now, about the cats.... When we were at the SPCA, we asked how he got along with cats, and we were able to bring Walter into the the cats' enclosure.  He didn't even seem interested in the little kitten that one of the SPCA workers was holding.  So far, so good.

After Walter's bath, I let him run around the house to explore.  When he saw the cats, he ran after them.  They ran under the bed, except for Harry, the resident "King of the Neighborhood," who sat up on the windowsill, hissing and making deep guttural sounds, voicing his extreme displeasure.  Harry eventually ran under the bed to join Henry, Violet, and Zoe.  They stayed there for several hours.  The females cats were braver than Harry and Henry - they came out to inspect the newcomer.  Zoe even sat on the dog bed.

You know, it's funny because my husband and I both read all the SPCA literature on what you're supposed to do when you bring a  puppy home.  We had all of that information stored in our brains, but as soon as we got him, it just flew right out.  Walter's already jumped on everyone he met when we went for our walk.  We tried making him walk at our sides instead of pulling.  Yeah, you can already see him wrapping me twice with his leash.  We "babyproofed" the house, but of course, we forgot to put up the shoes and the cat toys.  He's chewed three of the cats' little furry mice.  You're not supposed to give him all of his toys at once.  I started to give him all of them when I heard the voice, "Don't give all of his toys at the same time."  At least that piece of information stayed with me.  He only has two toys in his crate with him right now.

My sister-in-law called to ask "Am I an aunt?"  I told her "yes, we got Walter."  I told her we were signed up for obedience/training classes, but the ones for this month were full, so we had to wait six weeks.  She said, "You better find some other classes, because you guys are going to suck at being parents, I can already tell."  What could I tell her?  I had to agree.  I'm indulgent, and my husband is strict.

Then she said, "Do me a favor, and don't leave Walter to me in your will."  I said, "Oh, I forgot, we have to add Walter to our will in case anything happens to us."  I've already informed my brother and my sister-in-law that they were getting our animals in case we die.  Now we need to decide who Walter's godparents will be.

It's peaceful in the house right now.  I think all the cats have come out from under the bed, eaten, and used the litter box.  I've seen Henry skulk around close to Walter's cage, but he hasn't formally introduced himself yet.

There will be time for that later....

Friday, January 6, 2012

Twelfth Night

I took down the Christmas tree tonight.  Usually, I wait until the second weekend in January, but I decided to go with tradition and take it down on twelfth night.  I put the tree up, and I took it down, all by myself.  I had said that I had to live for at least another nine years to get my money's worth from the tree, but as I was putting it into the big green plastic bag that it came with, I was wondering, how am I going to make it look good for next Christmas?  How will it look after spending all of this next year in the attic?  We shall see...

The cats took great interest in my efforts.  They intently watched everything I was doing.  I amuse them all the time, just by doing chores.  It makes me laugh, the way they're entertained by me.  That's a fair trade off - they are entertained by me, and I laugh when I see how they watch me.  I have to be satisfied with that.  It's not like they're going to start helping me with housework!

Zoe sat on the piano bench as I was sweeping the floor after putting Christmas tree into the big bag. She watched every movement.  That kitty imprinted on me, so she follows me everywhere.  Everywhere!  And she's very vocal.  She comes into a room and announces herself.  She will not be ignored, not by me, and not by the other cats.

There's something sad about putting away all the Christmas ornaments.  I remember where I bought each one or who gave me that one and when.  Lots of memories.  But there's also something cleansing about putting things away.

Now the house is sparse-looking.  I want to fill in empty spaces, but I'm trying to resist and keep things simple.  I find myself giving more and more things away.  That's been my motto for a while now:  if I'm not using it, give it to someone who can use it.  Sometimes what happens is that, in my zeal, I give things away prematurely, and I miss them, but I get used to their space eventually.  The trick is not to buy more stuff to replace it!

I don't have a gift for interior design.  People come over and make suggestions as to what piece of furniture should go there, or what would look better if I did this, so I listen.  Lately, I just try to get a sense if the placement of things feels right.

My office is still a wreck, but I will get around to straightening out all the scraps of paper I have lying around.  I am so much like my mother.  Isn't it amazing how that happens?  Not only do I look like her, but I have taken on so many of her habits.  But that's a topic for another time....

Sunday, January 1, 2012

Learning Curve

I feel like a kid in school all over again.  I learn new things every day.  My mother-in-law is teaching me how to knit.  I used to know how.  My mom taught me how to knit and crochet when I was a kid.  I remember crocheting a quilt, which was actually one huge granny square, but that was in my early 20's.  A quarter of a century goes by without any practice, and you're bound to forget things.

Don't laugh when you look at this picture.

To the untrained eye, it looks like a hot mess.  OK, maybe even if your eye is trained, it still looks like a hot mess.  The point is, I remembered how to cast on, knit, drop a stitch, and cast off.  That's a big deal.  I just need to practice - a lot.....
Facebook - Oy Vey!

I have had my home computer now for about a year, and I have resisted getting on Facebook for that long.  Until this Christmas.  Family members were talking about all the pictures they had posted and about the different games you can play.

So finally I joined Facebook.  That's hard work!  It's a lot to keep up with.  And if anybody on my "friends" list is as compulsive as I am, you spend a lot of time on the computer.  Hours can fly by.  I haven't figured out all the things you can do on Facebook.

I even tried playing Farmerville.  I've been given gifts of pigs and having my crops unwithered.  Don't ask me what I'm doing.  I haven't a clue.

My nephew told me about a website called Addicting Games.  Not a good thing for someone who possesses the compulsive characteristic.  It's only been two days, and already, those games are driving me crazy.  I have to force myself to stop.

I am worried that technology is making us pass life by.  Instead of actually doing things, we're doing technology.  Maybe everyone else out there is much less OCD about it.  I'm finding it as difficult to disengage as it is for me to give up carbs!

It's hard enough for me to try to download my pictures into my computer's photo library or to download an e-book from my community library.  Those tasks can stymie me for hours.  Now I have more reasons to spend hours on the computer - Facebook!  Oy vey!

I love fireworks.  Not lighting them myself.  Watching them.  Last night, we had the best fireworks in our neighborhood.  It was the easiest New Year's Eve.  In the past, we have driven to wherever the official fireworks were going to be, and parking was always an issue. Traffic, too.

I think we have a new tradition now.  We just walked out of the house about quarter to twelve and looked up.  Easiest New Year's Eve ever.....
Happy New Year!

The Christmas tree is still up - I'm usually one of the last people in my neighborhood to take down the tree, and this year, it's not a problem because the tree is artificial.  It's our first fake tree.  And guess what?  No Christmas tree needles on the floor!  I had gotten tired of being disappointed every year by the promise of a real tree that looked great on the lot, but by the time we got it home, it was already dropping its needles.  And then, I'd have to sweep up a new pile of needles every day.

I'd read in a newspaper column, that if you're going to get a fake tree, get it pre-lit with LED lights.  So that's what I did.  Boy, is it bright!!!  I figure I will have to live at least nine more years to get my money's worth out of this tree.

The cats were curious about this new addition, and I was hoping they didn't electrocute themselves by chewing on the LED lights.  So far, so good.  I usually decorate the lower branches with ornaments that I'm not worried about breaking.  The cats figure those ornaments are theirs anyway.  I just found a plastic reindeer ornament all the way in the corner of the room.  It's like they're hiding Easter eggs for us to find later.

The Christmas tree skirt is a plaything for them, too.  First, they act like they are the presents, sitting on the skirt under the tree.  The next thing you know, the skirt is in the middle of the hall in the next room.  Yep, those are some wild cats.  A few days ago, they broke the Christmas star I'd made years and years ago.  I found it in pieces on the floor.  My furry grey child didn't admit to anything, but he was seen lurking in the area, so I think he's the guilty party.  Oh well...

We finally bought a new Christmas angel.  They had knocked the old angel onto the floor so often that her head cracked, so we had glued it back together.  She kind of looked like Frankenstein-Angel.  I noticed that her wings had all kinds of teeth marks on them.  The angel I bought to replace Frankenstein-Angel is safe on top of the tree, I hope.....