Another Test of True Love

It must be true love.  We are still married.  Some days I’m not so sure why though.  After the Great Bathroom Remodel was finally finished, just two days short of nine months, I waited for a couple of weeks to spring the next remodel project on Mitch.  You know, give him time to recover.  The latest project we’re (Mitch) starting is the dining room.  What can you possibly remodel in a dining room?  Well in most homes, not too much, change the paint color or wallpaper, maybe new carpeting, but in our house it’s a major undertaking.  Our house is one of those homes that was added on to multiple times, with or without any regard to the local building codes, depending on the decade the addition took place in.  The original structure, the kitchen and front room, now our dining room was built in 1928.  No building codes then.  Two bedrooms were added on in 1932 or 1934, still no building codes.  The final addition, the living room, master bedroom and bath were added in 1985.  This time built to code. I think.

Back in the early twentieth century one of the more popular indoor wall types for cottages was knotty pine planks.  Our house was originally built as a weekend fishing cottage, very rustic.  Hard wood floors, knotty pine planks for the walls and ceilings.  All stained dark brown.  You get the picture, a big brown cave with rooms.  When the final addition was built in 1985, sheetrock was used for the walls and ceiling, and for the floor, the ugliest gold carpet, yuck, and now gone, yay!

When we started the Great Bathroom Remodel, one of the first things that had to be done was to widen the front door, in order to get the new bathtub in the house.  That meant removing some of the knotty pine planks for the wider door.  When Mitch began finishing the front door project and replacing the outdoor light fixture, I started thinking about just removing all of the knotty pine and sheet rocking the walls.  We could cover the wood ceiling with sheetrock.  This would lighten up the room and make it look much larger.  As I’ve said before, I’m the idea person, Mitch is the implementer. 

I sort of tossed out my idea at a weak moment for Mitch, after a steak dinner and three glasses of wine.  I am also an opportunistic woman, I carefully plan my moments of surprise.  In his weakened state of mind, I laid out my ideas, glossed over the rough spots and finished on a high note. 

“It shouldn’t take more than a couple of weeks, don’t you think?  Nothing like the bathroom.” I was determined to put a positive spin on it.  Of course nothing done in this house takes a couple of weeks.

“God I hope not.”  Then he even got in the spirit of the remodel and offered a suggestion.  “We could even put down the bamboo flooring that we did in the living room and bedroom.” Yes, wine and steak, works every time.

Four weeks ago Mitch started the demolish of the dining room.  As always, he is very methodical, careful to salvage as much of the lumber he takes down, in case he has to reuse it again.  Me, I’m more of a bulldozer when it comes to demo work.  Isn’t that the point – demolish?  He was able to salvage a major part of the planks he removed, which will be used to patch a hole in one of the spare bedrooms and build a closet in the other.  We discovered there was no insulation on the exterior wall, no wonder that room is always hot in the summer and cold in the winter.  The very dated (ugly – definitely ’80’s) ceiling fan went away, which means I get to go SHOPPING!

 I spent hours in the paint department and grabbed armfuls of paint chips in all colors and hues.  The clerk kept asking if I needed any help.  I told him no I just wanted a variety of colors to compare.  He thought I was nuts and carefully backed away.  I found a ceiling fan and wall sconces that we could both agree on.  That’s always a challenge.  Our tastes and styles are complete opposites.

Demolition took about a week and a half.  Mitch only took down the knotty pine planks and left the wood ceiling unmolested, leaving it as a base for the sheetrock to be screwed into.  Hanging the sheetrock on the ceiling was a challenge.  The ceiling is vaulted with a four foot wide flat space in the middle of the ceiling where Mitch built a rafter for air conditioning duct work six years ago.  So he had to hang sheetrock at an angle up to the area for the rafter on both sides.  Of course this would have been easier if the room was level, but nothing and I mean nothing in this house is square or plumb.  After he finally got the ceiling hung, he found out the floor has a slight bow in it when he tried to hang the first piece on the wall.  I thought a Mitch Fit Warning was going to go out over the National Weather Service.  It wasn’t pretty.  Time to take the dogs for a walk.

He finished hanging all the sheetrock on Thursday except for the four inch high area above the front door.  That was proving to be a challenge.  The ceiling comes down to just above the door leaving little space to hang the door trim above the door.  For five days he has experimented with different ways to brace up the offending section and for five days Mitch has been just a bit testy.  He finally came up with an idea to brace up the sheetrock but the trim for the door will have to be different from the rest of the trim in the room.  I don’t think it will be that big of a deal and it solves the problem so no more Mitch Fit Warning. (At least for now).

 For the mudding and sanding I hired a neighbor that does it for a living to come in and do the finish work.  For all of his talents, mudding and sanding is not Mitch’s forte.  The mudding and sanding process has taken about a week and a half and should be finished this week. 

That leaves me painting the ceiling and walls.  Mitch will install the new pretty ceiling fan and wall sconces.  After that Mitch can then start installing the bamboo floor, and because the room is not square that will definitely bring on at least one Mitch Fit Warning maybe more.

An Abusive Relationship

“Are you in an abusive relationship?”  the Emergency Room admitting clerk softly asked me looking me straight in the eye, watching my reaction carefully.

Mitch was sitting behind her across from me oblivious to the question.  Did he know how lucky he is I like him?  With just a slight change in my expression or lifted eyebrows not to mention if I had burst into tears, it would have been a long time before Mitch saw the light of day again.  I was sitting in the Emergency Room admitting office with the two bones at the end of the middle finger on my left hand jutting at an odd angle for the second time in a three month period for the same injury. Maybe that was why she asked, or maybe it is standard procedure to ask every woman that comes to the emergency room with an injury.

Absolutely I was in an abusive relationship, but the abuser was me not Mitch.  I am the clumsiest the person I know.  I find new ways to cut, burn or bruise myself every day.  I walk into walls, miss doorways and trip over my own two feet.  Mitch is always amazed at the unique and seemly innocuous items that have the ability to draw blood on me.

This time I had been doing yard work while Mitch was working on one of the cars.  I walked into the garage to get my garden cart and noticed a spider walking across the top of the cart.  I hate bugs, spiders in particular and usually scream loudly and flee the immediate area as quickly as I can, knowing that they will hunt me down and eat me if given the chance.  But on this day, I was wearing gloves making me invincible, or so I thought.  I wanted my cart and here was this gigantic menace keeping me from my cart.  Mitch was under the car so he was no help, I would just have to confront the monster myself.  As the spider walked nonchalantly the top of the cart toward the edge to disappear and prepare for a sneak attack I decided to swat him with my gloved hand.  I swung my hand down with such force to annihilate the beast and caught the top edge of the cart causing the first two bones on my middle finger to dislocate and jut up on top of the third bone and knuckle of the finger. 

As usual I starting crying like a baby, causing Mitch to come up from under the car to see what I had done to myself again.  He offered to pull the bones back into place for me.  Are you kidding me?  I told him I wanted to go to the emergency room and I wanted him to take me.

He looked at me and said, “I am right in the middle of fixing the exhaust on the car, can’t you drive yourself?”

“Fine I’ll just walk then, don’t worry about me.  I’ll be fine, I can take care of myself.”  I wanted some sympathy and wasn’t getting it.

He dropped his tool on the floor and said, “Fine let’s go.”

I wanted to get cleaned up first because I was filthy and sweaty from the yard work but “No!” Mitch said that if he had to go dirty so did I.  No fair.  So here I sat sweaty with dirt and grass stains on my clothes sitting in the emergency room waiting for a shot to numb my hand and have a trained professional jerk my finger back in place.

AJ How Could You?

This day started very early as all Sundays do.  We get up at 2:30 in the morning because Sunday is Mitch’s Monday and has to be at work at 4:30 in the morning.  I get up with him, feed the dogs, fix breakfast and take him to work. We started this routine years ago when we worked different schedules and this was the best way to get to spend as much time together as we could, snippets of time.  It has worked for us mainly because we like each other.  We like to spend our free time together.  Odd I know.  Anyway, I dropped him off at work came home and took the dogs for a nice long walk.  That’s one of the bonuses of Sunday, I don’t have to go to work so the dogs and I get to take a really long walk very early before anyone else is up.  It’s quiet and the only things I run into in the morning is deer and small critters.

After the walk, we curled up on the bed and the dogs napped while I read the newspaper and enjoyed my morning coffee.  The day looked like it would turn out nice, no storms as the weather service predicted.  I decided that we should go to the lawn and garden store and buy some herbs to pot.  I like to grow herbs and dry them.  It has worked out well so I decided to branch out and add more variety to the mix.  I take the dogs with me for company and they wait in the car barking and scaring anyone who walks past the car.  Plus when they are with me then they’re not getting into trouble at home.  Bonus.

I potted the herbs I bought and decided to plant the five pepper plants I bought too.  I thought that I would wait another week on the tomato plants but saw a Poblano pepper plant and haven’t tried that variety before so I snagged it.  Plus four more red pepper plants, I couldn’t help myself. 

The dogs were just hanging out sniffing stuff while I planted the pepper plants, I looked up and noticed no AJ.  He had wandered off.  I looked around to make sure he hadn’t gone over to the neighbors to poop in their yard, no sign of him there.  I looked up the hill and spotted him up under the Cedar tree. I called him to come down to me and as he got close I was sorry I had called him.  He stunk to high heaven.  He had dropped his head into something and mashed it all over his neck and side of his face.  Now I had to stop what I was doing, take AJ to the basement garage and bathe him.  And of course I had just put Frontline on the dogs this morning.  AJ how could you?  You’re supposed to be the good dog.

One Week and No Shopping

It’s been a week now and no more shopping in the kitchen while we’re not home.  Fresh batteries make all the difference in the world.  That and moving the transmitter closer to the entryway hall.  Evidently  someone or some ones got shocked and got the hint.  Stay out!   Now Orso and AJ wait to be invited into the kitchen.  Maybe I should feel guilty, but I don’t.  It’s not that I enjoy their pain, in fact I can’t stand see any of them get shocked, but lord I am so tired of cleaning up after the mayhem and destruction or re-purchasing things that have been broken when they get bored. 

Does that make me a bad pet owner?  Maybe, but I like to think that this was the best decision we could make under the circumstances.  We can’t afford to take them to doggie daycare four to five days a week.  Crating didn’t work for AJ, he just destroyed crates, both the metal and the plastic airline crates.  A dog isn’t much of a watch dog in a crate anyway.  He can bark, but little else.  I don’t think Cesar Milan would come to our home.  Our problem isn’t television viewing worthy.  How would he even correct the problem?  We could set up webcams to see who the culprit(s) might be.  Then what, hide in the bathroom off the kitchen to wait for the culprit to come shopping, then jump out and issue a correction?  My luck Cesar would jump out to catch the dog or dogs in the act, startle them so badly they attack him and we get sued.  Now that would be television viewing worthy, us in court.

It is really maddening  because when we’re home everything is wonderful.  It’s like having three large rugs that occasionally change location on the floor.  I keep the television on when I leave so they hear human voices and don’t feel alone.  Maybe that’s the problem, I have the wrong channel on.  We just don’t know what gets them going and when.  Is it right after I leave, sometime in the middle or right before I get home?  I guess we really should set up a webcam, if for nothing else than the entertainment value.  I could upload the antics on You Tube then everyone could feel my pain.

Rule Number One – Change the Batteries

Rule number one – when you buy batteries to replace the dead ones in the indoor shock collars for the dogs, it’s always a good idea to actually change them.  I bought the batteries for the collars the very next morning and as is always the case, I got busy multitasking and totally forgot to change out the dead for the freshly charged batteries.  We had dinner plans that night with my best friend and her significant other, who were in town only for the weekend, so I was busy trying to get everything done for the day and prod Mitch along. 

Mitch is busy working on our latest renovation project since the bathroom finally was finished.  The latest project is totally gutting the dining room and sheet rocking the room ceiling and walls and covering the hard wood floors with bamboo.  Mitch is not a social butterfly, hermit fits the description better, so getting him to stop the rehab and get cleaned up in a timely fashion, is like prodding a giant tortoise to walk faster.  Not going to happen.  So while I’m prodding, nagging and giving him the Look, I completely forgot to change out the batteries.  We go to dinner and have a great time, because once I finally get Mitch out of the cave and into the light, he opens up and enjoys himself.  He’ll even grudgingly admit it later, maybe.   

We get home to barking dogs waiting for me to open the door and once inside, I’m overwhelmed with the wave of destruction the dogs have waged on the kitchen.  In the living room an empty butter container that had housed an unopened pound of whipped butter that one or more dogs had taken from the kitchen table and consumed.  Yummy, eating a pound of butter.  I can’t wait to see which dog ate that.  Farther in the living was a plastic jar of honey or what was left of it.  The lid had been chewed off and the top of the jar had been chewed with about one quarter of the honey eaten.  I picked up the empty butter container, lid and the honey jar and walked into the kitchen to survey the damage waiting for me.  The recycle bin had been opened and contents strewn about.  Why, it’s not like anything in there was edible.

The trash can was knocked over again with trash all over the floor.  Orso also left a wonderful gift in the guest bathroom off the kitchen, he peed on the tile floor.  Lovely.  Surprisingly no one looked at all remorseful.  Imagine that.

The trashcan will now be removed and a smaller one will go under the sink.  God help me if they figure out how to open cabinet doors.  The butter and honey get put up higher, just like living with toddlers and the recycle container will be emptied more often and left outside when I’m gone. 

Oh yes and I am going to change the batteries in the collars right now.

Dead Batteries

The batteries died in the indoor shock collars the dogs wear when left alone in the house.  Why do the dogs wear shock collars in the house and how did we find out that the batteries were dead you ask?  Well let me tell you.  First off we discovered the indoor shock collars when AJ and Charlie discovered the pantry while being left to their own devices during the work week.  After eating their way through the well stocked pantry, we had to find something to keep them out of the kitchen.  Kennels didn’t work, AJ would either destroy the metal ones or chew through the plastic airline crates.  Quite by accident I found these really nifty indoor collars that emit a high pitched squeal then a mild shock if the dog gets too close to the transmitter you place wherever you don’t want the dog(s) to be.  Works like a champ with good batteries, not so much with dead batteries, as we discovered today.

Today we came home from work for lunch as usual, but there was no barking dogs waiting for me to open the door.  That should have been my first clue.  I opened the door and two of the dogs, AJ and Orso came running.  Charlie was a little bit further behind.  That should have been my second clue.  After the dogs rushed out the door toward Mitch to go pee, I walked inside.  As I rounded the corner from the entry hall to the living room two things caught my eye.  A can of whole cashews standing upright with the lid pulled off  and the empty meat tray I had washed this morning and had placed in the recycle bin.  The lid to the can of cashews sporting chew marks was lying on the rug next to the can of cashews sans cashews.  Somehow one or more dogs had stuck his muzzle into the can and scooped out all of the cashews.  They didn’t knock the can over just sucked out all of the cashews.  My dogs have true talent.  The can had been on the counter in the kitchen and was almost full.  The plastic meat tray had housed the boneless beef ribs that I was cooking in the crockpot.  I had washed the tray to remove all meaty traces before putting it in the recycle bin.  Obviously someone was paying attention this morning and watched me put it in the bin. 

I almost picked up the evidence but decided to leave the crime scene intact so Mitch could experience the scene as I had.  I walked into the kitchen expecting the worst.  Luckily the crockpot was still cooking away on the counter unmolested.  I couldn’t say the same for the recycle bin.  It had been pulled out to the middle of the kitchen with the lid pulled off.  For dogs without thumbs, these three are extremely adept at getting container lids off.

Thinking this wasn’t as bad as I imagined it could be, I turned around and saw the trash can lying on its side with the contents strewn all around.  Oh joy, what a way to spend my lunch hour, cleaning up after heathens had gone shopping.  I see a trip to the store for more batteries in my future.

A New Day Walking the Dogs

In our efforts to get the dogs under some semblance of control when out walking and meeting others on our walks, making them sit and wait to be greeted instead of rushing up to be the greeters is one of our training routines.  Not that we have that many.  I’ve also been working with them to not charge at something that goes bump in the night on our predawn walks.  It hasn’t worked as quickly as I would like, but we’re getting there. 

We found the best walking harness for dogs that pull and tug on the leash.  Charlie has been a tugger since day one.  All of our efforts to get him to heel or at least not strain on the leash have been a waste up to now.  Mitch and I both thought we were going to have to have shoulder surgery just from walking him.  But not now, thanks to the find of the century or at least the find of the month, we tried the Easy Walk Harness, another harness of last resorts so to speak, and it’s awesome.  No more pulling and tugging, walking Charlie is almost a pleasure.  Almost, he still has to stop, sniff and pee on everything.  No getting your heart rate up with my dogs.  Another problem walking with hunting dogs.  They’re always hunting.

The other morning while Orso was stopped doing his thing, Charlie spotted some creature running up ahead in the dark.  I was paying attention to Orso and not Charlie so imagine my surprise when I felt this slight tug on my right arm.  I turned just in time to see Charlie flip head over heels and land on his side in the road.  He looked up at me with a look of total shock.  Evidently when he decided to chase the unseen animal, the harness literally pulled him off of his feet with just a mere tug on the leash.  I looked down at him laying there and laughed out loud, thinking this was the best twenty five dollars I ever spent. 

I decided right then that I was going to get Orso one too.  Now the morning walks will definitely be more sedate and safer for me.