January 2 2017

It occurred to me in the middle of the night that my ears are not equidistant from the top of my head. My right ear is lower than the left. Glasses sit at an angle and I think all I need is a small shim to attach to the arm, maybe with a piece of duct tape. Or surgery to move my ear a little up and back.

The middle of the night is when I have my clearest thoughts. Like I’ve left the butter on the counter for… all my life. And it’s probably spoiled and I’m killing my family. But then I read that it’s okay. It doesn’t need to be refrigerated. Where was that information when I really needed it?

I wonder if Costco straightens ears?




Actual Dog Conversations

Things I’ve actually said to my dogs:

“There seems to be a dog tooth hole in my iPhone 6 Plus. Does anybody here know anything about this Roxy?”

“Don’t bark at the neighbors; you’ll never have any friends.”

“Get your nose out of Taylor’s ass, Roxy. That’s rude.”

“Ladies be quiet. Jeopardy’s on and I need to concentrate.”

“Where’s the other half of this plant?”

“Roxy stop riding Taylor like a horse. Everybody deserves a quiet moment to take a crap.”

“I’ve got to change the channel. You know you’re not supposed to watch Jerry Springer.”

“Who peed on the rug Roxy?”

“Where did my loaf of bread go Roxy?”

“Get your nose out of my dinner. I don’t eat your dog food, do I?”

“Please don’t eat the grandchildren.”

“Pansy I’m leaving you in charge. For God’s sake, don’t let the puppy out.”

These are all rhetorical questions. They have not answered me. My sanity is currently intact.

Talking to the Dogs

“Okay, ladies,” I say, “and I use the term loosely, it’s time for lunch. Do any of you need to use the yard before we eat?”

This request is met with blank stares.

“Are you hungry?” I ask.

This question is answered with an impromptu dance from Taylor who shimmies so forcefully she practically knocks me down. The other two look interested, but noncommittal. The feeding ritual begins.

As Pansy ages, she eats less and less. She’s 11 now. I serve her bowl to her as she lays on the couch. I can drag her off the couch but this just serves to aggravate her and then I have to follow her around with her bowl. If I let nature take its course, Roxy and Taylor will eat her food and she will die of starvation. That’s not true. She eats enough treats to keep her fed.

The afternoon is very quiet as all three of the dogs sleep. Roxy is in her crate. If I let her roam free and I lay down on the couch, she would casually perch on my head to look out the window or follow me to the bathroom.

Actually all three dogs follow me to the bathroom and then wait for me outside the door in the cramped hallway. What do they think goes on in there?

“We thought you were playing with some other dogs in there,” Pansy tells me.

“Yeah,” Taylor says. “And they get better food than us.”

Roxy just laughs. She’s sure I’m afraid to go anywhere by myself. That’s what dogs are for.

A wet golden retriever

It’s hot and very humid. I suppose that’s what makes my olfactory senses so sensitive. The whole house smells like a wet golden retriever and we all know how bad that is.

Today’s luncheon selection includes jambon-frommage (ham and cheese for nonFrench speakers). For a second it looks like all three dogs are enthusiastic, but when I put the bowls down, all I get is feigned disinterest. I know Roxy and Taylor are hungry; they just want to be enticed. Yes, these dogs would starve in the real world.

I have to coerce them to eat their lunch, but I’ve given up on Pansy. When I deliver her bowl (she hasn’t stood up to eat in years) she looks away. She’s reached an age (11 years) where she just isn’t that hungry anymore. Although thankfully she will reward me by eating any treat offered her. This way I know she won’t pass away during the afternoon nap.

Like speed bumps, the three dogs lie on the floor and nap, snoring loudly. I’m changing the air fresheners.

The Dog that Ate our House

As I look around my house, I notice a common thread — duct tape.  It holds the couch cushions together. It keeps the batteries in place on the remote, or what little is left of it. It keeps the stuffing in on the chair the cat uses as a scratching post. Yesterday I threw away the pet bed that had been liberated of its stuffing; couldn’t use duct tape there. The rug in the living room seems to be getting frayed and smaller in size. It’s actually a recent purchase as its predecessor was no longer usable.

Years ago we had a big black lab that was part Giant Schnauzer and he grew to a hefty 140 pounds. We called him the dog that ate our house. He ate through the drywall in the hallway, and also the linoleum in the laundry room. He had a penchant for leather shoes but usually only chewed one of the pair. I brought a winter coat home and minutes later he had eaten the furry collar.

But the cherry on the pie of my day was the lawn furniture episode.  We came home from shopping to find our back yard was a veritable sea of yellow foam. Shadow had ripped the cushions apart and was madly scattering the insides near and far. That was it, after all, this was the second set of lawn furniture cushions.  I put my foot down. Either I go or the dog goes.

Shadow must have known he was living on borrowed time. He straightened up and became the most wonderful dog in the world. When he was very old, Chris would lie with him on the floor and cuddle. Sometimes you don’t get what you want, you get what you need.

Dog Blog #4

This morning we are featuring Greek food. Along with their dry food and canned food, the dogs get a special treat of rotisserie chicken, diced bacon hotdogs, or leftovers. Minus the tomatoes and onions, they will be enjoying a gyros today. I just know they will love the cucumber sauce.

Dining is always an adventure at the Childers house. Roxy and Taylor feign total disinterest until the taste-tester, Pansy, acknowledges the delightful ingredients and begins to eat. Sometimes when her meal is delivered to her, Pansy will decide to relocate to perhaps the living room. This will involve her bowl being picked up by the referee from the prior location and delivered to the new location. Sometimes she will remain on the couch so her meal will be hand delivered there. However, until she begins to eat the other two will look upon their bowls with disgust.

If, for any reason, the referee leaves the area to go to the bathroom or whatever, all eating will cease as the three dogs follow to the hallway and wait for her to return. At that time lunch is probably over because they have forgotten what they were doing.

It looks good. Pansy has approved the meal. Roxy goes to her dish and begins to eat. Taylor is confused as to where her bowl is although it has been delivered to the usual spot. A secondary location is under the dining room table, and a tertiary spot is in her office where she ostensibly answers e-mails. (a/k/a laundry room).  Taylor walks around the island, spots her dish, and approaches it cautiously. She begins to eat.

Delay of game. Pansy is thirsty and motions for the referee to fill the water bowls. While she drinks, Roxy steals her food. The referee guides the puppy back to her own bowl while Taylor backs to the sidelines. Taylor looks despondent and the referee notes that the puppy is now eating Taylor’s food. Roxy is again cited for theft and guided back to her own bowl.

Pansy has declined what remains in her bowl and instead goes outside with the newspaper and a cup of coffee to survey her domain and perhaps leave a sizable fecal contribution to the growing waste in the yard. Taylor and Roxy quickly forage for tidbits in each other’s bowls. Each firmly believes that they get inferior food while the other dogs get tastier delights. It looks like lunch is over.

Nap time is looming. At least until dinner time when the entire play is re-enacted.

Cat Blog #1



Translation: My water is no longer fresh and needs immediate attention.

I sometimes forget about George. He lives in the 1000 square feet downstairs in the newly remodeled family room with the nail sharpening thing we used to call a recliner.

Because he refuses to come upstairs and interact with the big dogs, we are required to visit him twice a day to supply fresh water and top off his mountain of dry food. During one of these visits we must sit down and pet him for no less than 60 minutes or he will berate us with caterwauling on the staircase.

George is a rescue who was saved from euthanasia by the organization we got him from. He only comes out for me and Chris, and he will sit on our laps but does not allow himself to be picked up. To us, he is a real sweetie but we hope he comes upstairs someday. I think he’s waiting for the dogs to die. He is one of only a few people who like the puppy.

Dog Blog #3


(picture is of Pansy)

There are some things you cannot do. You cannot make a child eat (reference a study by Brooke Jones titled “Zachary Jones Doesn’t Eat, Years 2006 through 2015.”) You also cannot make a dog urinate. You can drag that 100 lb dog through the house and out the back door, but you cannot make that dog urinate. You can bribe that dog with prime rib, but that dog will not urinate. You can dance in your pajamas on the deck while pointing to an invisible squirrel on the lawn, and that dog will still not urinate. Accept it and move on.

Chris first saw a picture of Taylor online; great dane and greyhound mix. I wanted a great dane and Chris wanted a greyhound so we thought Taylor would be a great compromise. We called and the rescue organization dropped her off. When you’ve got a “live one” you need to act fast I guess.

Taylor was 3 or 4 years old and she had been re-homed a number of times. Her latest home had a new great dane puppy, other dogs, lots of children, and they were anxious to dump Taylor. She arrived trembling and underweight. Her owner said that she apparently didn’t like to eat. The other dogs slept on the bed so Taylor was relegated to the laundry where she barked and cried all night and peed on the floor. During the day she hid in a corner. She was a big problem to them.

We introduced her to Pansy, our adult giant schnauzer, and Taylor promptly went under the kitchen table where she would remain for the next three days. We tried everything to get her to go outside. Finally on the third day when I was sure she would die of uremic poisoning, I left the back door open and sat in a chair on the deck. I ignored her. Eventually she crept out of the house, peed in the yard, disappeared behind the garage and jumped the 5 ft fence. She came back a little later.

Some other things I know for sure about Taylor is she will not go outside after dark or in the morning until the sun comes up. And she only goes outside for me which limits my social life, if I had one. She will go for a walk but usually aborts after about a house or two and wants to go back home. She is terrified of thunder storms so I cover her with a blanket and lie next to her until it passes. She loves to sleep on the bed with her head on Chris’s pillow, or under the covers where it’s warm. She has the appetite of a bird that eats 3 times its weight every day and generously helps the other dogs by cleaning their bowls.

Taylor doesn’t like the puppy but she placates her as necessary. She looks longingly at me as the puppy chews on her face and legs but wouldn’t think of growling at her. She loves to be stroked and if you tell her how pretty she is, she’ll dance. I do love this dog.

Dog Blog #2


(picture is of Roxy, a/k/a the puppy)

The morning meal this morning is a combination of very expensive dry food with canned chunky beef topped with fresh shredded rotisserie chicken. Taylor has decided to take time off from her very busy schedule to join us in the kitchen, which we all appreciate. She hasn’t gone outside to urinate yet because it is a dreary day and rainy. Perhaps a little later. She has the bladder of a camel.

Post-lunch entertainment features a rousing chorus of “I think I see something” by the trio barked acapella through the living room window. Occasionally they follow it up with their hit, “I think I hear something,” but not today. The mailman is not impressed.

And that’s it. They are down for the count and napping. Except for Taylor who is looking around like she thinks she forgot something. She can’t imagine what it is so she makes a nest in the puppy’s toy bed. This is a direct affront to the puppy which will be remembered and revenged later when Roxy tries to ride Taylor like a horse.

Pansy has moved from one end of the couch to the other. Her final act will be rolling over with her feet in the air. The puppy is asleep under my chair.

Dog Blog #1

(picture is of Taylor)

Taylor chose to take her morning meal in her office, or in everyday parlance, the laundry room. As always, I had to rouse her from her evening sleep spent under the covers in my bed, never an easy task as she likes to sleep in most mornings. She never goes outside right away because the synergy has to be just right.

She sticks her nose out the patio door and sniffs the air; she isn’t fond of cold weather. She views the deck and its surrounding fenced area with trepidation.  Perhaps someone or something has moved in during the night upsetting the balance of her yard.  Are the birds too noisy, or not noisy enough? Where is the puppy? She won’t go outside unless the puppy is in her crate.

No one likes to get jumped from behind when they are in the middle of their morning crap. Roxy, a/k/a the puppy, finds the prospect of tackling an immobile Taylor alluring and downright fun. Hence, the crate.

Taylor is standing on the deck now, listening, and moving stealthily toward the ramp we had built for the dogs. I’m standing with her doing my morning soliloquy of “Look Taylor! Santa’s in the yard. No, it’s a squirrel! Get it, Taylor!!! She’s close now. The whine of a lawnmower fills the air and she aborts and runs back into the house.

Better luck next time.