A woman's view of hunting…with men

guns, dogs and birds

The Mind is Going

I’m not sure if age is to blame, work stress or the holiday season, but I think I’m definitely losing my mind. Each week I set out a work week’s daily wardrobe selection. The idea is to be able to go in to my closet pick out what I’m going to wear that day and not stand there looking at everything I own with slack jaw and say “I don’t have anything to wear”. Which is certainly not the case, I have plenty to choose from, it’s just that if I don’t plan ahead then I end up wearing the same things over and over. Granted just because I’ve set something out for that particular day, doesn’t mean that I won’t change my mind or maybe weather causes a wardrobe change, it is just helpful for me to at least have made an attempt at pre-planning.

This week I’ve changed my mind on about three of the four days so far this week. I thought I was doing pretty well this morning; I only changed my mind on the sweater I was going to wear with my black slacks. I wanted to wear a scarf and the original sweater choice didn’t look as good with a scarf. I know in the great grand scheme of things, accessorizing my attire is so unimportant, nobody cares what I look like at work, but it makes me happy and that is all that is important to me. Anyway I digress; (see what I mean about the mind going) I put on my new sweater choice and set about choosing a scarf to complement the outfit. Scarf in place then on to decide which earrings to wear, I’m beginning to think I should work from home; the dogs don’t care what I wear. After getting the earrings on I went back into the closet to grab my black pant boots to wear.

I walked to the back corner of the closet and grabbed the left boot put it on then grabbed the right boot and put it on. I turned around and walked out of the closet and closed the door. I picked up my purse and turned off the light and headed toward the kitchen to fill my coffee thermos and pack my lunch. As soon as I stepped off of the rug and hit the bare bamboo floor I noticed that when I stepped with my left foot my heel made a clicking sound with each step but not the right heel. The right heel made no noise with each step. I walked into the kitchen turned on the light and looked down at my boots. The right boot had a rounded toe and rubber soles. The left boot had a squared off toe and a seam up the middle of the shoe with hard soles, it was also brown not black. I was standing there in the kitchen wearing one brown boot and one black boot. Had the left boot not made that clicking sound I would have gone to work wearing one brown boot and one black boot. That would be a bit awkward.

Mind you, Mitch recently took out the lone single bulb light fixture and installed three recessed light fixtures to really brighten up the closet and give it three times more light, so there was no excuse for picking out the wrong boot. I’m either going blind or losing my mind. I think I’d rather lose my mind, at least I could see it coming.

December 11, 2014 Posted by | Creative Writing, dog ownership, Dogs, short story | , , , | 1 Comment

My Inspiration

I get most of my creative inspiration from Mitch and the dogs. Granted all three have been very entertaining over the years giving me lots of good stories to write about. But now the dogs are much older, Charlie is ten and Orso is eight, and for the most part are calm and sedate spending more time sacked out either on our bed or the couch than up doing cute dog tricks. They still drag me around as a boat anchor when they spot something in the dark and want to give chase, just not as much as in the past. Orso will lunge forward give a big woof then sit because he knows I’m going to correct him and part of the correction is to make them sit then lay down, something I’ve been working on with both dogs. Making them sit then down to make them focus on me and break the focus on whatever it was that got them worked up in an agitated state. It works most of the time, but sometimes I still get yanked around getting body parts dislocated.

Mitch occasionally provides me with inspiration, usually because I come up with some off the wall idea or a remodeling project that always goes horribly wrong. With every project I always hear, “Just once I would like something to go right, just once!” Guess what, it never goes well. Everything always takes longer than expected and costs much more than it would if any other person was doing it. Part of the reason for that is because Mitch is so fastidious about his work and because the house we live in was built in three separate sections starting in 1928 and ending in 1986. But now the remodel of the house is almost done after eight long years, so there are less catastrophic remodeling projects to be had.

I came up with what I thought was a really great idea for future writing inspirations, but Mitch is not so keen on the idea. I suggested that since the dogs are old and not as much fun we should get a puppy. Mitch looked at me the same way a person looks a-would be stick up man who’s pointing a gun in their face. Shock and horror was written all over his face. I know we’ve always said that we would not get another dog until Charlie went to the “farm”, but I had a weak moment. My head knows that we can’t bring another dog into the house while Charlie is still alive, but my creative juices wanted a nudge. Charlie is animal aggressive and we have to work very carefully when introducing him to other dogs. It’s a long laborious process. When we rescued Orso, we had to call in an animal behaviorist to work with us just to keep Orso from ending up in the emergency clinic over and over. Even though Charlie is outweighed by thirty pounds, he can be a mean little dog.

“Are you out of your mind?” was Mitch’s response when he could finally talk. “We are not getting a dog.”

I knew that but I just wanted to see the look on his face when I suggested it. Besides if I start mentioning it occasionally, he’ll get used to the idea of getting another dog, in the future.

December 1, 2014 Posted by | Creative Writing, dog ownership, Dogs, humor, short story | , , , , , , , , , , , | 4 Comments

The Chair

My long suffering husband, Mitch, is no wimp. He’s not afraid of too many things in this world. I’ve seen him stand his ground among men a lot bigger and stronger than he is and come out ahead. In his youth his father taught him to box in order to fight back against school bullies, something he’s carried over into his adulthood. But there is one thing he is terrified of, me. I can instill terror and panic in Mitch in less than two minutes flat. I know that’s bold statement but I can prove it.

Last Saturday I had him take me to Nebraska Furniture Mart to buy a couple of accent chairs for the living room. He didn’t really want to go, you know how exciting furniture shopping is to a man, but nevertheless he went. As we were walking into the building he commented, “So we’re going to get a couple of chairs to match the couch?” (Mitch likes everything to match, coffee table and end tables alike, sofa, loveseat and matching chair, you get the picture)

I shook my head and said, “No, I have something else in mind. The room would be very drab all the same color, no I want some punch in the room. You know, I want something with a bold pattern and some contrasting colors.” He turned and looked at me, eyes a little wider, like someone who’d just been told they had cancer.

“Colors, patterns, what colors and how big a pattern?” This while his left eye started to twitch.

I said, “Oh I don’t know, maybe red or orange, something bold. I’ll know it when I see it.” The twitch got more pronounced. Then I said, “I was thinking of buying two different chairs not a matching set. Something to give the room more punch.” His eyes widen and he sucked in his breath trying to picture the unbalanced room in his mind’s eye. It wasn’t a pretty sight.

As we wandered around looking at the variety of chairs, Mitch kept trying to get me to look at brown or beige chairs and I pointed out all of the chairs with wonderful patterns and colors other than brown or beige. He would sit in the ones I would point to and say how uncomfortable they were, like he would ever sit in it anyway. I found one chair that was a sort of barrel shape and had very large red and brown circles covering the chair. Mitch looked at it and I could swear he sort of clutched his chest and looked skyward as if to say, “Look out Martha this is the big one! I’m coming home!”

He said, “Do you really like this?”

I said, “Not especially, I just want to see you flinch.”

About an hour later I finally found a chair that I really liked. It was a cream colored fabric with red and brown and black writing all over the chair, almost like old envelopes and cancelled postage stamps. It had a low back and sloping arm rests, the perfect size. I could see that Mitch wasn’t sold on it, so I decided that I would look around a bit more and found another chair that was also cream colored with dark brown butterflies stamped all over it and proclaimed this was the one. Given the choice of either butterflies or antique writing, he went with the antique writing. Butterflies was just way over the top for him, I think it would have given him nightmares.

When I suggested that we buy both, Mitch was convinced that the room wasn’t large enough for two chairs. Funny, if I was going to buy matching solid color chairs, there was enough for two, but two different chairs were way too big for the room. In order to not send him to the hospital with a coronary I found a round ottoman that I liked and bought it to go in the room with the chair. This way, I have one chair and the ottoman can be used another place to sit. Genius.

Poor Mitch, what he has to put up with.

November 28, 2014 Posted by | Creative Writing, humor, Marriage, remodeling woes | , , , , , , , | 6 Comments

We Broke Them

Up bright and very early Monday morning, I could only stand it until about 4:30, I had to get up and out of the torturous bed. You would think that after two days of walking over six miles a day across uneven terrain, up and down hills, tripping and yes falling flat on my face that I would be so exhausted I could sleep for at least five or six hours. Not so, that bed was the most miserable experience I have had since my bilateral mastectomy a year ago. That bed may actually have been much worse than my mastectomy, at least when I was in the hospital I was given good drugs. I crawled out of bed and turned on the coffeepot, put in my contact lens and turned to look at the dogs. Both were still sacked out on the bed, neither one jumped up ready for breakfast.

I dragged out the dog food bucket and began filling each dish with dog food. At least the dogs lifted their heads to watch me, so I knew they were still alive. Both dogs just waited patiently for me to finish and bring them their dish. Not excited about food, who were these dogs? I think our dogs love food more than us sometimes. Wow these guys must really be tired. Charlie moved forward and sort of melted off the bed onto the floor to get his breakfast. I turned to Orso who looked at his dish then me then back to the dish, took a deep breath and halfheartedly stepped off the bed for his breakfast.

Each step Orso took reminded me of an old war movie where the Nazi soldiers goose stepped when marching. He would extend his right leg straight out in front of him then gently set his paw on the floor stop, lick the bottom of his paw, then repeat the process with his left leg. His right paw was especially tender and wouldn’t put much weight on it. I grabbed Mitch’s small flashlight and turned it on as I gently spread his pads apart to look for lacerations or any foreign objects stuck in his foot. The pads were fine, with no tears or cracks, but the skin between the pads were raw and inflamed from running around in the dry grasses and corn stubble fields. Orso’s nose and the bottom of his jowls were also red and raw looking. After two steps he laid down and didn’t move. Orso didn’t even look up when I put Charlie’s harness on to go out and pee. That was one pooped pup because Orso never lets me go anywhere without him.

Charlie was just as tired and showed no interest in walking very far. He quickly went about his business and turned around to go back to bed without any encouragement from me. So much for a half day of hunting, the only way Mitch and I were going to get anymore hunting in was to get new dogs. We decided to pack up, leave the hotel from hell and head home. Neither dog lifted his head all the way home.

November 16, 2014 Posted by | Creative Writing, dog ownership, Dogs, humor, hunting humor, Marriage, short story | , , , , , , , , , , , | 4 Comments

Day 2 – The Continuing Saga of the Hotel Room from Hell

Thankfully Mitch brought soap from home so at least I could be clean and not forced to use the used bar of soap, which I threw in the trash. I finished my shower, put on my makeup and fixed my hair. Yes I know, I’m going to walk around in the field carrying a gun, tripping over roots and stepping into badger holes, maybe even get shot by a fellow hunter, but at least I have on makeup and under my hunting hat my hair had been washed. All dressed and ready to go I left Mitch to shower and get ready and walked around to the front desk to check out the free complimentary breakfast.

There were frozen waffles, prepackaged cinnamon rolls cut in half, whole wheat and white slices of bread, a couple of apples, four packets of instant oatmeal and a choice of either raisin bran or frosted flakes cold cereal. Carb city, yummy. I popped two frozen waffles in the toaster and poured a glass of orange juice for Mitch. I buttered the waffles and poured syrup over the lukewarm waffles and carried them back for Mitch. After unloading the waffles and orange juice I headed back with my own oatmeal packet from home. I searched for hot water, but no hot water was not an option. How do you make hot oatmeal without hot water? My option was to add water from the faucet and put the bowl in the microwave to heat it up. Of course the only bowl offered was Styrofoam which meant I was going to get all of those bad nasty Styrofoam chemicals transferred from the bowl to my oatmeal. I don’t know how true that is but I figure why push it.

As I turned to walk back to our room Mr. Happy came up to me to tell me that the dogs couldn’t stay in the room if we weren’t there with them. I asked what he meant and he said, “You in 112?” I said that I was, he said again, “Dogs can’t stay in room if you are gone.” I assured him that the dogs would stay with us. How much fun would we have walking around in the field searching for birds without our chief sniffers? I walked back to the room finished up breakfast, loaded up the dogs and headed out for a day of communing with nature.

I had my fingers crossed for fresh towels, clean sheets and Kleenexes, but I wasn’t holding my breath. We got out in the field about nine a.m. and had really good luck in the morning. Orso turned out to finally get it, that he was a bird dog. We called it a day about 4:30 in the afternoon and headed back to the luxurious suite of our dreams. We walked in and saw that the bed looked the same as we left it, the sheets pulled up and the comforter pulled over the pillows. The sheets hadn’t been changed. I walked into the bathroom and saw towels folded and stacked into the slots for the towels. I don’t know if they were clean or just refolded. I looked on the back of the toilet and saw a new package of soap, that wasn’t opened yet. I could just imagine how busy the housekeeping staff was with seven rooms occupied.

But guess what, still no Kleenexes. There must be a world shortage.

November 14, 2014 Posted by | Creative Writing, dog ownership, Dogs, humor, hunting humor, short story | , , , , , , , , , , , | 8 Comments

Orso – Who Knew?

This was our first hunting trip in two years and the first time I would carry a gun in three years. Last year we didn’t go hunting and two years ago we were hunting quail. Quail are hard for me to shoot, they fly up so fast that by the time my heart stops racing and I realize what flew up the little birds are long gone and way out of range. So I carried a camera two years ago and had much better luck capturing the moments through the lens than with a gun. Two years ago was also the last time we had AJ, our black lab, to help us search out birds. We lost him the week after we came back from that trip. Now we’re down to just two dogs, Charlie, our ten year old german shorthair/lab mix and Orso, our eight year old chocolate lab. Charlie is a good hunting dog, great nose and fast. Orso on the other hand, has preferred to walk behind us letting us beat down the path for him enjoying the outing rather than getting out there looking for birds.

Saturday morning brought clear skies bright and sunny with a fairly strong wind out of the north that felt quite biting. Our group consisted of six hunters, Mitch, me and longtime family friends that spanned four generations. The oldest in our group was eighty-nine and the youngest was fourteen, a wide range indeed. We thought that since Charlie is now ten he might be a little slower and Orso was just along for the ride. Even though Mitch is ever the optimist, saying this might just be the year that Orso gets it, I am the skeptic saying, remember we only have one dog that hunts. We started off working a long strip of tall grasses, Mitch on the outside edge on the left, me just to his right in the grass and the other four spaced out to the right across the expanse to the outside on the right to block any birds from running out and escaping unscathed. The dogs ranged back and forth between us trying to pick up that elusive wonderful scent of the pheasant.

We hadn’t gone fifty feet when Charlie stopped and went on point off to my right in front of the father, grandson combination. A pheasant flew up and caught the wind to fly across my position, the grandson fired off a round and winged the bird, I shot right after and helped bring it down, with Charlie racing hot after the downed bird to make the retrieval. After two years, nothing has changed, it doesn’t matter who shoots the bird the dogs always bring them back to me. A good omen, finding a bird so quickly.

The big surprise came about twenty five yards farther as we walked the field. Orso stopped and stood stock still with his ears cocked up and forward staring at something.

I gave the command, “Get him Orso, okay.” Nothing, Orso just stood there looking at the form in the grass. I gave him the command again, this time with more emphasis, “Okay Orso, get it up!”

Orso moved forward and the bird flew up and to the left trying to catch the wind. Three shots rang out winging the bird but no one got off a clean shot. The bird flew down the hill across the road and into the trees on the other side. Mitch ran toward the spot where the bird went down with Orso following behind him. They crossed the road and worked their way down into the draw where the bird went down. The rest of us stood where we were not moving, waiting for Mitch to resurface. Charlie even came and sat down beside me waiting, taking a rare rest break. About five minutes later I spotted Mitch coming back up out of the draw fifteen feet farther west than they went in and next to him was Orso carrying the bird. Orso had rooted the bird out hiding in the grass next to a tree, went in and grabbed the bird, just like a seasoned hunting dog. Orso trotted back up the hill straight to me bringing his prize, head held high.

After eight years Orso was finally a real live hunting dog. Miracles do happen.

November 13, 2014 Posted by | Creative Writing, dog ownership, Dogs, humor, hunting humor, nature, short story | , , , , , , , , , , , , | 11 Comments

The Hotel Room from Hell

Once a year maybe two if we’re lucky, we head to central Nebraska to go pheasant hunting. For the last five years we’ve stayed in a little town in central Nebraska at a national chain. The rooms have always been clean and the staff very friendly. Last year we didn’t go hunting because I was diagnosed with breast cancer and had my surgery about the time we normally go hunting. When I called to reserve our room a man answered with a very heavy accent that made conversation a struggle with a lot of repeating on both our parts. I was just hopeful that I had actually made a reservation and there would be a room for us when we got there on Friday evening. It turned out that we would have been better off if we haven’t gotten the reservation. The name had changed and was no longer a part of the chain. The man at the front desk was the same one I spoke with on the phone. In person he was not very friendly, I don’t think he ever smiled in his life. He spoke loudly and repeated everything I said. Granted I had a difficult time understanding him. I tried but I am not good at accents. He gave me the room key cards and pointed to the direction of the room.

We drove around the building found the room and started unloading. Evidently the new owners were economizing. The room was tiny with one bed, my mistake, I usually ask for two beds but having missed a year I forgot. There was a piece of cardboard taped to the wall presumably covering a hole. Spackle and paint must be very rare in this part of Nebraska. There was no in-room mini coffeepot, good thing we brought our own. The towel bar over the sink had no bar, just the two mounting brackets supporting the missing bar. The sink stopper was lying on the sink next to the sink, not in the drain for some reason. There were two bath towels, two hand towels and two wash cloths. One roll of toilet paper and no Kleenexes. There was a small refrigerator that sounded like it was on its last leg. Mitch’s favorite thing about the room was the hand written piece of paper with the new name of the hotel taped to the telephone in the room. Vary classy.

The bed was a full size bed, not queen size bed mind you, a full size. At least the television worked. I walked back to the front office and asked Mr. Happy for a roll of toilet paper and a box of Kleenexes. He handed me a roll of toilet paper and said that I had to wait for housekeeping the next day for the Kleenexes. I said that there were no Kleenexes in the room now and I wanted a box today. He said that I had to wait for housekeeping tomorrow. Customer service 101 was a class he evidently skipped. I walked back to our room toilet paper in hand and started to get ready for bed when I realized that I forgot my contact lens solution. Mitch offered up a bottle of water for me to use. Thanks but I don’t that would have worked. I jumped in the car and buzzed across the highway to the Walmart for contact lens solution and squirt cheese for the dogs to hide Charlie’s pill in. I should have bought two pillows and pillowcases, but I hadn’t seen the pillows before I left the room.

While I was gone, Mr. Happy knocked on the door of our room. It took Mitch a minute to answer thinking it was me and that I forgot my key. Anyway when Mitch finally answered the door the dogs bounded out in front of him and out the door before he could stop them. Mitch always thinks that everyone loves dogs. He looks at our dogs as big friendly dogs that love everyone, he forgets that a lot of people are apprehensive around dogs, especially large dogs. Mr. Happy was a few feet away from the door with a plunger in his hand thinking that because I asked for a roll of toilet paper I must have clogged the toilet and we were under water. He took one look at the dogs romping toward him only seeing giant brown monsters with poisonous venom dripping from three foot long fangs coming to eat him. He waved the plunger back and forth in front of him like a light saber warding off the evil creatures of darkness. Of course by waving the plunger at the dogs Charlie saw it as a threatening act causing him to bark and growl at the man. Orso just wanted to be petted by someone new and just kept moving toward the man. Mitch got them under control and shooed back into the room and turned to Mr. Happy. He asked if we needed a plunger to which Mitch politely declined.

I came back contact solution in hand and finished getting ready for bed. That’s when I realized I should have bought pillows. The bed had two pillows on it, one small pillow and one smaller pillow. The bed had a definite tilt to it. The foot of the bed was higher than the head of the bed. Sitting on the bed felt like sitting on quarter inch plywood laid over springs, not comfortable at all. To top it off, Orso was disoriented and clingy, making himself at home across the foot of the bed, shortening the length of the bed by two feet. Mitch on one side, me on the other and here comes Charlie making himself comfortable between us. A full size bed is large enough for the two of us, but add in one hundred eighty pounds of dogs and the bed gets really small very quickly. Charlie wasn’t happy with the hardness of the bed and kept squirming around flopping on my stomach. We laid there for about thirty minutes listening to the refrigerator cycle on and off. I finally couldn’t take it anymore got up and unplugged it. Between Orso at the foot of the bed, Charlie squirming around in the bed and a bed that felt like sleeping on plywood neither one of us got more than a couple of hours sleep. If I hadn’t been afraid of what disgusting things had been ground into to the carpet I would have slept on the floor.

We lasted until about 4:30 in the morning, that was all my lower back could take. I got up and noticed a puddle of water on the credenza next to the refrigerator. I looked down on the floor at the shotgun cases directly below the fridge and saw that two of the four cases were wet. Great. Neither one of us thought about the refrigerator defrosting when I unplugged it.

Mitch took the shotguns out of the cases to see how wet they were, salvaging three. One of mine, my back up shotgun took the brunt of the water. He dismantled it to dry out. I turned on the water in the shower turning the knob all the way over to the hot side in order to get the water warm enough, pulled the flow knob to shower and can only say that the best part about the shower was that the water was wet. I realized I forgot soap and reached for the bar of soap offered by the hotel. I picked up the package to unwrap it and discovered that it was already open and the bar had been used. Super disgusting.

It was going to be a long three nights. This trip was starting off a high note for sure.

November 12, 2014 Posted by | Creative Writing, dog ownership, Dogs, humor, hunting humor, Marriage, short story | , , , , , , , , , , , , | 15 Comments

Down to the Nitty Picky

This is what our remodel has been reduced to. Because of previous battles and total opposite styles in taste and décor, our never-ending long suffering remodel of this money pit called our home, Mitch is now consulting my opinion on even the minutest detail. Believe me when I say that when we first started this arduous journey, I didn’t think our marriage would survive. We argued constantly about everything. The biggest stumbling block to our relationship was the master bath. We totally gutted it down to the studs and started over from there. The only fixture that stayed in its original spot was the toilet. And that was only because of the difficulty in moving the drain. We, meaning Mitch doing the labor and me being the creative genius, have moved from room to room bringing this hodge podge house into some kind of homey updated house.

Now we are down to the last two bedrooms, laying bamboo floors and rebuilding the closets. We fought over the placement of the closets and we removed them because of poor original construction. People back then used whatever material was available and no building code was followed. I finally gave in to Mitch’s idea of dividing the one closet into two with a wall separating them and with doors opening into each room. Mitch had a genius idea of making them cedar closets which for those rooms is very practical as well as a unique idea. Those rooms are on the old side of the house, which was originally built in 1928 and added on to in 1934, which means that side of the house is not as tightly constructed leaving room for mustiness and the possibility of mold. So the cedar closet was a stroke of genius. The only thing left to argue about was what type of door to install for each closet, bi-fold or sliding, solid or louvered. Louvered bi-fold won (my idea). I bought wooden knobs thinking simple easy plain, no fuss, no muss. It wasn’t until Mitch opened the doors up to remove the hardware and prepare to be stained, that he found that each door had its own wooden knobs.

When it came down to the stain, that was another dilemma, the knotty pine planks are all eighty years old and I’m pretty sure that the stain used back then is long gone, even if we knew what the color was. Mitch went on the hunt buying about a dozen small cans of stain to try and come as close as possible to the original color. A friend suggested that we go to Sherwin Williams with a piece of one of the existing boards and have them create a matching color. Mitch stained the doors, the knobs (all four of them) and the trim. When it came down to putting the knobs on the closet doors, he called me in the make a decision, which knob did I want on the doors. I looked at the knobs and laughed out loud, they were so similar. The only difference was a slight rounded top on one and a flat top on the other. I asked if he was serious and said that he could pick, to which he said no way, I had to pick.

Which one do you think I should pick, you know they are so very different.

knob picture

November 2, 2014 Posted by | Creative Writing, humor, remodeling woes, short story | , , , , , , , | 22 Comments

One of Those Days

You hear stories all the time about the strange behavior of people and animals during a full moon. I’ve always laughed at the stories and made jokes about it. Wednesday morning it was even better, we had a full moon and a total lunar eclipse of the full moon. It’s called a Blood Moon, because of the reddish glow the moon has at the peak of the eclipse. I think the eclipse caused the lunar waves to scatter and pull the earth into mass chaos.

As usual the craziness started on the morning walk. I took my camera along with the dogs to try and capture a few shots of the start of the eclipse. Both dogs were behaving well until we topped the hill and started down. At the bottom of the hill there was a truck parked on the side of the road with a man standing in the middle of the road holding a flashlight. He had attached a large hose to the fire hydrant and had opened the water valve to the hydrant causing water to gush across the street forming a large pool of water. He had the flashlight pointed down at the water looking for something. Now I don’t know about you but trying to see things floating around in rushing water is something I’ve not mastered. Maybe he just liked looking at rushing water in the dark, or maybe he was a victim of the lunar eclipse. Anyway seeing a man in the road that time of the morning is something the dogs don’t usually see, so consequently they took exception to his presence and let him know by barking and growling letting the man know whose road it was at 4:30 in the morning.

In a rush to get back home, get showered and dressed so I could get back out and take more pictures of the eclipse as it progressed across the sky, I pretty much dragged the dogs along, leaving little time for them to pee along the way. I rushed through putting on my makeup, luckily I applied mascara to both eyes, threw some clothes on and went looking for my tripod. Of course that morning I couldn’t find it and knowing I was running out of time I grabbed my camera and went outside looking for a better vantage spot to catch more of the eclipse. By then the moon had moved across the sky and the best spot meant a trek up a gravel road in the dark, the perfect location to twist an ankle. The eclipse was almost at its peak and the moon was well on its way to a full dark reddish color. I tried but couldn’t get any good shots without the tripod to hold the camera still long enough for the shutter to fully open and close and being on a gravel road probably wouldn’t been much better even if I had the tripod. Oh well, I tromped back down the road went back in the house and realized that the clothes I put on did not look good which necessitated a wardrobe change.

I changed my clothes and went to fill my coffee thermos, pack my lunch and head out the door. Orso turned and walked into the dining room and proceeded to vomit his breakfast all over the rug, not just in one spot but two. Why couldn’t he have done that on the tile floor in the kitchen? I couldn’t get to him fast enough. I went through almost a full roll of paper towels cleaning it up, which I put in a plastic trash bag. Wednesday was trash day so I thought perfect, I’d just walk this bag down to the trash can and it won’t have to sit in the trash can for a week. I walked back in the house and washed my hands for about five minutes loaded my lunch container and walked it and my thermos to the living room with my purse so I wouldn’t forget anything when I left for work. I called Charlie and nothing, he wasn’t there. I waked from room to room with Orso in tow but no Charlie anywhere in the house. It dawned on me that he must have followed me out the front door when I took the bag of vomit and paper towels to the trash can.

Now I was late and missing one dog. I walked to the front door calling him and no Charlie. I then walked to the kitchen door and called, still no dog. I went back inside and walked to the back door and called, sure enough he came running. My first thought was that I was really glad he came back and my second thought was that we have too many doors. I got the dogs settled gave them each a rawhide chew, hoping that Orso doesn’t vomit again after I leave, grabbed my stuff and headed out the door.

It dawned on me as I drove to work that the blood moon scattered lunar pull was effecting the drivers more so than normal, I watched one driver ahead of me drift from the far left lane to the middle lane then on to the right without using a turn signal and didn’t once turn to look to see if there might be something in his path. He didn’t stop drifting until his right front tire drifted right off the road, then of course he overcorrected and almost smacked the car to his left. I just shook my head and passed him as quickly as possible so I didn’t get caught in the debris field.

After everything that had gone wrong Wednesday morning during the Blood Moon eclipse, I became a firm believer in the hold the moon has on the crazies.

October 11, 2014 Posted by | Creative Writing, dog ownership, Dogs, humor, short story | , , , , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

The End of Summer

The end of summer usually brings a sigh of relief. It means that the oppressive heat and humidity of summer is almost done and cooler brisker days are ahead. The long dry spells that normally stretch through July and August will be gone. Here in the Midwest we’ve had three summers in a row that have been hot and miserable, with a drought that started in 2011 and didn’t really end until this year. But not this year, 2014 started off with a long cold miserable winter that just wouldn’t quit. It dragged on for months, stomping on spring and kept its hold on Mother Nature forcing late blooms and delayed planting.

This year after winter finally withered away, leaving spring a mere shadow of its self, summer came waltzing in lightly warming the days. We had ample rain early on staving off the need for watering the garden vegetables I planted. The days were really quite pleasant with temperatures reaching the high eighties with a few days in the low nineties, not the normal high nineties with days creeping into the hundreds. This summer has been a very nice gift from Mother Nature. Maybe she felt bad about the miserable past winter.

The down side to a cooler summer meant a late start on the vegetables I planted. It was well into July before my cucumbers, zucchini and squash started bearing fruit. I had lots of blooms but no fruit. I was beginning to think nothing was getting pollinated. I wondered where the bees were. I learned that because of the long hard winter and the milder summer it was taking longer for the ground to warm up enough for hot weather vegetables and fruits, like peppers and tomatoes, to get started. My cantaloupe didn’t start making baby cantaloupes until almost September. I will probably have a ripe cantaloupe about the time of the first frost.

Normally I look forward to the changing colors of fall foliage, but not this year. I want more summer. I want more time outside in the garden. This year when I look out the window and see the leaves starting to turn color I feel a sense of loss and a little sad, like something inside me is shutting down and dying. This was a great summer, one that I spent almost every weekend outside working in the yard and I’m not looking forward to the bitter cold and biting winds. I am not ready for fall not this year.

Maybe I feel this way because I’m coming up on my one year anniversary of being diagnosed with breast cancer. Maybe that’s why I’m feeling a sense of loss I don’t know, because I try not to let myself dwell on depressing things. Maybe I feel this sadness because I feel great and am working out, getting back in shape and am afraid of the other shoe dropping. You know the feeling that if you are this happy then something bad is going to happen, just to balance out the happy. Crazy, huh?

Maybe I’m just overthinking it, I don’t know. I just wish that summer wasn’t over yet. I guess I need to move to the Caribbean, it stays pretty nice there all year long.

September 27, 2014 Posted by | breast cancer, Creative Writing, nature, short story | , , , , , , , | 2 Comments


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