Don’t Try This at Home

Many years ago, Mitch gave me a hand-me-down parka that someone at his work had out grown. It is a long knee length winter parka with a zip in liner, and is quite warm. It is water proof with a hood and lots of pockets, and reflector strips to be seen in the dark, making it perfect for walking Orso in the dark and hiking when it’s cold. I’m not sure how old it is, but I can say that I have gotten at least ten or more years of wear out of it.

The down side to the parka is that it has one of those double zippers on it, you know the ones I’m talking about. The ones that you can zip up closed and at the bottom of the hem, you can zip up toward the collar to unzip to an open jacket. I have always hated that part of the parka, because the double zipper is always harder to catch at the bottom, making it more difficult to zip up. Oh, I know the theory behind it, to be able to unzip the coat to get to a pocket or to go pee without removing the coat, but I would just wait until I was somewhere warm to heed the call of nature.

Over the years, the zipper has gotten weaker, making it harder to get shoved down into the second zipper sometimes. Usually that happens when I’m in a hurry or Orso is impatient, making it take longer to get outfitted and out the door. This morning everything was going just fine, I put on my sweatshirt and hat, then put on the parka and zipped it up, donned my gloves and hooked up Orso to his harness and off we went on our pre-dawn walk.

The walk was going along smoothly when I started feeling a chill on my thighs and stomach. I looked down and saw that my parka was wide open flapping in the breeze. Upon closer inspection, I saw that the zipper on the bottom had let go and my parka was unzipping itself from the bottom up. I tried to reconnect the zipper and zip it up to meet the top zipper but that didn’t work. Then I tried to unzip the top zipper to meet the bottom of the zipper where it had stopped at open, but that didn’t work either. So, in an act of desperation, I zipped the top zipper back up all the way and pulled the two sides of my parka together in one hand to try and keep it closed until I could get back home.

When I got back home, I struggled with the zipper trying to get the upper zipper unzipped far enough to force the lower zipper down. That didn’t work either, I had only gotten the upper zipper unzipped down about three inches from the top and the lower zipper had unzipped itself up the rest of the way to meet the upper zipper.

I stood there thinking about how I was going to the parka off. Panic was starting to set in. I had to get it off and get in the shower to get ready for work. I couldn’t just stand there all day in a parka that was more unzipped than zipped but wouldn’t come off. Have you ever tried to pull a knee length parka off over your head with an opening of about five inches and not rip off your nose? It’s not easy let me tell you.

Christmas Rush

I like to pride myself on getting my holiday shopping done before the last minute. Normally I’m done and ready for the holidays at least a week before Christmas, letting me sit back and relax a bit before Christmas morning. Well not this year, this year I just didn’t have any inspiration for Mitch. I didn’t have any creative juices flowing. Everyone else was done and shipped off, which made me feel even worse, like a real slug.

I finally came up with a couple of ideas, one was a table saw since last year when I went through the “Great Purge” and either gave away, donated or trashed a lot of our belongings so I could sell the house and move nineteen hundred miles to the Pacific Northwest. Mitch’s table saw was one of the things that didn’t make the move. Yeah I know, it’s so much fun rebuying some of the tools and other belongings. Not. But space was tight and I made sure it went to a good home.

So yesterday morning I got up early and headed out to deal with western Washington traffic, (no fun at any time of the day) in search of a table saw and a work space light because for some reason our desk lamps didn’t make the move either. I don’t remember getting rid of our lamps, but then there is a least one or more boxes that didn’t make the move either.

First stop was Home Depot and a search of the tool section showed me that the affordable table saws were a popular item, because they were out of stock. So I jumped back in the car and headed off to Lowes. Lowes had three left that looked well-made and under a million dollars. The only problem was that I couldn’t lift it. I had to have help getting into the car, which meant I would have to have help getting it out of the car. And since we have no friends here that are a quick call away, I was going to have to get Mitch to carry in his own gift. That left me with another dilemma, how to get him to carry it in the house and not see what it was. Compound that with a barking Orso the minute he sees the car which always wakes Mitch up. I definitely had a challenge ahead. Too bad Lowes doesn’t have a gift wrap station, I would have been set.

I pulled in the driveway and rushed to open the front door to shush Orso before he woke up Mitch. Mitch was already awake but was in the shower so I had a few minutes. I ran inside and grabbed a roll of wrapping paper, tape and scissors, went back outside and climbed in the back of the station wagon to wrap the table saw. There I was draping wrapping paper over the box, cutting the paper and trying to tape the paper together in a reasonably nice looking way. The challenge came when I tried to lift the box high enough to slide the paper under the box, not so easy when you are in a cramped space and the box was bulky and heavy to match. The wrapping paper wasn’t long and wide enough to completely cover three sides and two ends, so I had to cut another piece about a foot wide to cover the ends. But the paper wasn’t long enough to drape over the top and cover both ends, so I had to cut that section in two pieces and tape each section to the top of the box and over the end.

This had to be the worst wrapping job I’ve ever done. There were pieces of wrapping paper taped over the top of the box to cover the ends of the box and wrapping paper edges hanging loose on the sides of the box because I couldn’t lift the box high enough to slide the paper under the box. An unwrapped bottom meant leaving the bottom of the box exposed and I could only hope the bottom of the box was blank without any description.

I got done with the pathetic wrapping job and went inside to fetch Mitch and make him carry his own gift inside. The poor sad gift looks almost as pathetic as Charlie Brown’s Christmas Tree. I am so glad shopping is done and all I have to do now is open a bottle or two of wine sit back and enjoy the rest of the day. Good thing tomorrow is Christmas.

Merry Christmas to you all.

Way to go Orso!

Once again Orso strikes. Thanks to Orso, we can cross another couple off the list of potential friends here. You ask how could that be? How could Orso keep us from making friends? He’s such a sweet dog, super friendly and loves everyone, man and dog alike. Well that’s part of the problem. He wants to be friends with every dog out there, small or large, he doesn’t discriminate. But not all dogs want to be his friend. His size is very intimidating to a lot of dogs he meets.

Today I took him on our afternoon walk and about halfway through our route, three of our neighbors caught up with us walking their dogs. One of the dogs is an older dog that is nice enough, but has no interest in being playmates. She is just happy to plod along for a while then turn back. As long as I stay between Orso and her owner with her on the outside, we are good, no snaps or snarls. Orso has learned to give her a wide berth.

The problem was the other couple and their dog. They are a nice couple with a smaller female black lab, probably weighing in around sixty pounds or so, making her about forty-five pounds lighter than Orso and much lower to the ground. The husband was super friendly, talkative and kept loving on Orso marveling at size of his head. I thought Orso’s head size matched his body size, all were big. I just shrugged and shook my head.

The man let his dog off the leash and let her run, causing Orso to feel short changed, so against the inner voice in my head telling me that this was going to end badly, I let him off the leash too. The man started encouraging his dog to play with Orso, revving Orso in the process. So Orso obliged running at the smaller dog knocking her down and rolling her across the road on her back. She growled and cried at the same time. I rushed forward to grab Orso and hook him back up on the leash, so the man could get to his dog. She stood up and limped around lifting her right front leg and not putting any weight on it.

I thought, great, Orso has maimed their dog. I can only imagine what the vet bill will be. May I can turn around and run away, quickly. Maybe they don’t know where we live. That thought only lasted a moment, because everybody knows where we live. I apologized profusely over and over. The man assured me she was fine and that it was his fault encouraging them to play, but I still felt terrible. And I knew deep down, they would blame us, having a dog that was such a brute. So, as soon as I could gracefully turn around, I said good-bye and walked home as quickly as possible. Trying to put as much space between us as possible.

Poor Orso, he just doesn’t realize how big he is and even at ten and a half years old, he has the energy level of a much younger dog. I have to find him a dog that is bigger than he is to play with, because I don’t make enough money to pay for emergency vet bills. And at this rate, word will spread about the big brown hulk and we’ll have to move again.