Snowballs, says Euka. Are kinda weird to catch.
I mean, she continues, you think you’ve got the thing. Then afterwards, you’re all … was that it? Is that all there is?
Category Archives: snow
|I got the moves like Jager. The dog, people. Jager’s a dog.|
“This isn’t a football [image of a football]. This is a football [image of a soccer ball]” -bumper sticker on a minivan.
I noted this particular bumper sticker on a family member’s vehicle some time ago. Way back when our kids were, well, … kids. And my brother-in-law was a soccer coach for a small town team.
I wondered then about the ballsiness of it all. Is it ok, I thought, to start a semantics war against something so all-American as the sport of oblong balls? Sure, I can see that a soccer is a foot ball of sorts; I give him that one. But isn’t it also a head ball sometimes? And what else could one possibly call Football, other than Tuck the Pig in the Armpit and Run Like the Devil is on Your Tail Ball? You’d have to go all acronym and even that doesn’t make sense and there’s probably already a Hawaiian volcano or something called TTPITAARLTDIOYTB.
And speaking of kids, while rearing my favorite kid during all his tender years, I only permitted one television in our home. My philosophy at the time was that watching the Stupid Box was already a passive event where you didn’t have to think for yourself, but it was also a distraction from being a healthy family unit.
If we’re going to neutralize our gray matter, we’ll do it together as a family, gosh darn it. And in the same room, too. A family that zombifies together, stays together, right?
And I gotta say, it generally worked out reasonably well. We all picked up some mad skills over these years. Things like negotiation, problem-solving, bribery tactics and who can actually shout the loudest until the neighbors come by to check on us. A billion two channels available on cable. Three people.
And one television.
|Ok y’all, this is a touchdown. This spot. Because the ball touched it.|
Anyway, I’m told there’s some big game going on today. Yeah, I know it’s the Superbowl and all, but this doesn’t bode well for my Downton Abbey obsession. But no matter. I can watch this week’s episode from my Kindle Fire. I think. I hope. Hold just a sec, will you? I’m gonna check.
[on hold music] instrumental to Stairway to Heaven*
Ok, yeah, we’re good.
Besides, the dogs had a ballgame of their own to entertain the masses. By masses, I mean me. I watched the goings on for awhile and have to admit — I have no idea what the rules of play were. It’s like they were making the whole thing up. You know, like how you play Monopoly when you can’t be bothered to count out the money because it involves math.
The only thing I could figure was that Euka had to have the ball. Or else.
Or else not have the ball. That works too.
Our polar bear princess is not only faster than the freight train that is Micron, but she also has some mean agility. Mike will be right on her tail, rather literally, when Euka will throw in a right turn, leaving the big guy to eat snow.
This is Euka’s specialty of Spin Past the Fire Ring.
And here we have the Holy Crap Maneuver.
So this is obviously not a football game. But what? Oh, don’t be silly, calling it Pawball won’t work because the dogs carry the thing in their maws.
Snooterball, then? Hmmm.
|I call this …. Snowball.|
*For real, I heard this as elevator music somewhere. How did we allow this to happen? This is exactly how societies crumble, people.
This puts me in mind of the song lyric of Jack Frost nipping at your nose. Then I move on to Jager Frost nipping at your … well, there’s no good way to end that sentence.
Or how ’bout this one?
How do you prefer your Jagermeister? What’s that you say? With a frosted mug?
One ice cold Jager comin’ up.
|And they all smelled really bad, too.|
Jager! Darn it, doggie, I say. Will you please move your butt?
The usual morning rush. I’m just trying to walk to my car and Jager keeps stopping in front of me to lick his front leg.
And it’s after berating the spotted dog that my neurons refocus from the lamentations of why can’t I just get up earlier over to … hey, what’s the matter with your leg, Jager?
And that’s when my brain clicks over to Holy Shit mode.
Is that blood?
Alrighty then. I abandon my office-on-wheels bag to rest in the snow and usher Jager back into the house.
He’s got the adrenaline shakes and there’s fresh blood on his front legs. Jager is so tense, it’s difficult to do anything but a cursory exam. But I don’t see any wounds or even where the blood might be coming from.
Criminy, what did this dog get into now?
It’s times like this* that we’re reminded of the enigma of Jager’s breed heritage. We really can’t prove he’s one thing or another. Whether it’s terrier DNA in this dog’s genetics or Shetland sheepdog, Rottweiler or whatever, we do claim a level of confidence that the predominate breed is All American Critter Hunter.
Along with a squeaky toy and an adoption certificate, The Jagermeister came to us with his name. We didn’t give him this title of Hunt Master, but it does fit him well. It is his purpose on this green Earth, he says, to keep our backyard free of all things wild and furry.
The ubiquitous gray squirrel population has been his nemesis. They smack talk each other from their respective places with the typical taunts you’d expect to hear from equal foes. I tell Jager they don’t even know his mother, but there’s no calming him down once the tree rats get under his skin. Still, I don’t see any clues that link this morning’s incident to squirrel related activity.
After Jager calms down and I get most of the blood cleaned off, I still don’t see anything overt. I know I’ll feel better having the vet look him over anyway, so against the vigorous protestations of the spotted dog we make a morning appointment.
There’s this look Jager has when he wears the mantle of the Professional Victim. He drops his ears, darkens his eyes into liquid pools and goes about convincing people his most basic needs are completely and consistently neglected.
For instance, this one time at work, I find Jager having a moment with a co-worker in her cubicle. His head is resting on her leg, big eyes blinking up at her. And she’s hand feeding him cereal from her bowl. I give her credit for flinching a little when she sees me. Jager said he only gets fed on Tuesdays, she says. The same day you let him out of the closet for a few hours.
Yeah, so the dog can work it. And work it well, he does. From the vet’s waiting area to the exam room, he is telling everyone how he got hurt and please don’t stick him with those pointy things because he’s already suffering and that would [sniffle] just make it all worse and won’t someone just give him a cookie or something already.
And whilst I roll my eyes, everyone is all oh poor Jager, you’re so sweet Jager, and such. Until the vet comes in and I try to explain, without sounding like we live like hillbillies, that I think he might have tangled with an opossum in the yard.
|R.O.U.S**, otherwise known as
the Ohio Opossum.
The veterinarian then – this is the dog honest truth now – holds Jager’s head in her hands and looks him in the eye to tell him how dangerous opossums are, what with all those sharp teeth and tiny brains.
With this suggestion of bad-assery, the dog perks up.
Not just a possum!, my pointy headed dog declares. It was a whole fam-damily of ’em. Heck, must have been five or maybe six of the funny looking things. I took the nasty lot of ’em on. Told him to pack their bags and get on their smelly way, that’s what I did.
As the veterinarian writes in her chart, he keeps it rolling. No Rodents of Unusual Size** on my watch! Nope, not with The Jagermeister in town.
Somebody give the dog a smoking pistol to blow on, will you?
He strut-walks back out to the reception area. To all the offerings of pity, he now is bellowing things like Heh, you should see the other guy! And yeah, I told the Food Lady she better fire up the kettle cuz I’m bringin’ home dinner. And I had one of the bugger’s striped tail in my grip and then …
Wait, hold up a sec here. What? A striped tail?
Um, Jager, I say. Opossums have hairless tails, kiddo. Raccoons are the critters with striped tails.
Raccoons? asks Jager. Huh, you don’t say. Are they bigger than possums?
I think so, I say. I guess a suburban raccoon would be pretty big. At least I know they’re meaner and smarter than an opossum so it’s not likely you could have …
Didja hear that, people?, hollers Jager. It was a raccoon. No, wait, it was five raccoons. Yeah, that’s it. And a couple of possums. And that one cat came by …
[sigh] The vet tells me it appears the dog bit his tongue and that’s likely where the blood came from. He could have been running, hit an icy patch and tumbled, she says. A full exam revealed no puncture wounds, just a cut on his tongue that is no longer bleeding.
So what’s a girl to believe?
|And that’s the truth, says Jager.|
*So the photo on the right shares an earlier episode of Jager bad-assery. He tried to run through the fence while chasing the neighbor’s cat from our yard.
**The Princess Bride (1987) Rodents of Unusual Size
(And yeah, I know opposums aren’t rodents. But apparently Jager doesn’t. Let’s let him have this one.)
Buttercup: We’ll never succeed. We may as well die here.
Westley: No, no. We have already succeeded. I mean, what are the three terrors of the Fire Swamp? One, the flame spurt – no problem. There’s a popping sound preceding each; we can avoid that. Two, the lightning sand, which you were clever enough to discover what that looks like, so in the future we can avoid that too.
Buttercup: Westley, what about the R.O.U.S.’s?
Westley: Rodents Of Unusual Size? I don’t think they exist.
Right. So, I’m up. But the at ’em part is going to have to simmer on the back burner for a little while longer. Holy cow, but this flu bug has kicked my butt this week. I’m getting too old for this stuff.
I recall somewhere in my youthful past showing up at work, but found I was having trouble concentrating and really not feeling all that great. Just to discover later that I was running a 102 fever the whole time.
Awesome, yeah? Tossing my cootie bugs around like field blossoms from a basket with all the naivety of a skipping maiden. I wasn’t just walking and talking while suffering from the flu, I drove to work. After I stopped to put gas in the car.
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But that’s all sailed away on the USS Glory of Youth. Yesterday morning I pad into the kitchen, snuffling and concentrating that last shred of energy into not hacking up the three quarters remaining of my bronchi. Thinking I might need most of those later when I can start breathing normal again.
I know I look pretty awful and I don’t care. No, that’s not really true. I can’t care. I need that feat of strength for more important things, like filling the tea kettle.
I took the dogs out, says The Husband, sitting at the breakfast table. Jager’s still outside though. I think he’s finishing off that bread you put out for the birds.
Ok, I manage to squeak out. Awesome. Thanks. I want to believe I sound all sultry and sexy like Jessica Rabbit* (I’m not bad. I’m just drawn that way), but know it’s coming out more like Frank, Robin William’s brother on Mrs. Doubtfire.
I have something else for you, says The Husband.
Aw, he’s going to blow me a kiss. That’s what he always says right before …
The hot water heater’s busted, he says.
I just look at him. [blink]
It’s leaking, he says. So I think it’s totally effed. Call Schmitt today to come out and see what they think. They’ll prolly have to replace it, so you need to get all that crap in front of it moved out of the way.
Ok, I squeak/bleat. I’m on it.
Ah, my old friend Adversity stops by for another home visit. What’s our coping mechanism for such things? Oh, it could always be worse, we all say. And it could, of course it could be much, much worse. We offer such thoughts to the Fates as positive waves and hope it’s not taken as a challenge to bump things up another notch.
This was Saturday. The man has to work, so I deal with the plumber who delivers the just-a-little-bit-worse news that he can’t replace the water heater until Monday. ‘Salright, no prob. This is just a temporary thing and is totally fixable.
This morning, as a distraction while I chip away the ice crystals clogging the Shower of Doom, I force myself to focus on positive thinking.
At this temp, folk are gonna need shades around me today.
Well, that’s enough of that.
The arctic shower experience, that is. But let’s keep up with the positive thinking for a little bit longer. After all, the dogs are going on about their day giving nary a thought to this lack of hot water. Well then, I can do it too.
So inspired by the dogs, I give you my top four reasons why not having hot water in the middle of an Ohio winter doesn’t have to suck.
I was planning on giving you five reasons, but I’m stretching here as it is.
1. Well, the dishwasher heats its own water, so there’s that.
|This is actually the little lord Yaxley as his younger self.
This is not a posed shot, the stinker.
And even if it didn’t, I have three dogs in the house so hand washing is still not a problem for me.
Oh alright, alright. I can hear you, you know. You may not want to question this value system until you don’t have hot water for three days.
You know how your dad always said that a dog’s mouth is cleaner than a human’s? Not to dis your family’s knowledge base, but that’s just not true. Dogs just have a different kind of bacteria than we do.
I offer you that as a comfort.
2. We have our own natural sauna, of sorts, in the backyard.
Likely just a fissure in the earth’s crust foreboding an oncoming earthquake, water bubbles up from the depths of Hades to keep one spot of the yard so nice and wet.
All year round.
It’s been a favorite spa experience for the mighty Micron.
3. Snow is insulating
Scientifically speaking then, making snow angels would be less, um … refreshing than this morning’s shower, right?
But Micron here is our sample of proof. The dog is just covered in a goodly layer of snow from his romping about, but it’s not melting, is it?
Heh. Now that I think about it, maybe its dog hair that’s the insulator.
Well, one or the other.
What’s that you ask? What’s Micron eating? It’s not a squirrel or something is it?
Oh, no that would be the dead bird they found. Hahahaha, just kidding. The dead bird was last week. This is just tree bark.
A special delivery by Euka.
|Her bark is worse than her … oh, I’m not even gonna
finish that sentence.
And yeah, I took it away from them. I’m mean like that. There’s better ways to get fiber in your diet, my furry friends.
At least the bird offered up some protein.
4. I’ve seen worse.
|Sure, it wasn’t this bad. And yet, twinges of nostalgia.|
Heck, growing up on the farm there were long winter weeks when we didn’t even have running water due to frozen pipes. It was cold in the farmhouse, cold doing our chores, cold walking the quarter mile to the bus, cold on the bus and cold in the school.
Time stretched out where I thought I might never be warm again.
Until I scored an electric blanket, that is. I wore the thing like a second skin. Course I couldn’t travel more than four feet from an outlet or change my clothes, but still. Warmth. Live in the moment kinda thing.
So when The Husband gallantly offers that we can overnight at the local Holiday Inn for the warm showers, I’m all pshaw, Dude, this ain’t nothin’.
Because I get my hillbilly back when I wax nostalgic.
And because it’s not that bad, you know. Three icy showers, reorganizing the basement, recovering from the flu, plus a huge plumbing bill … all combined this rates a full Six on the Suck Scale. Not gonna lie.
But it could be worse. It could always be much, much worse.
A look at blessings, y’all. Not a challenge. We’re good here. Really.
*Who Framed Roger Rabbit? (1988)
Jessica Rabbit: You don’t know how hard it is being a woman looking the way I do.
|Star Wars Episode 4.1, The Lost Hope|
I don’t get it, says Euka squinting at her Christmas present. Explain to me your hooman logic behind this one.
Micron sniffs the thing, then pokes it with a paw as if testing to see if it might be breathing.
Euka looks up at me, a slight tilt to her noggin. Lookit now, she says. The walking carpet and the Kowakian monkey-lizard* both got tennis balls. And I open … this?
Well, princess, I say. I think it’s perfect for you. And look at it this way, the tennis balls are for all of you. But this… I hold up her gift for a better view .. this is just for you.
And besides, I say. They finally clearance priced the Halloween stuff at the pet store, so there’s that.
I’m a lucky dog, says Euka. Yep, envy me, canines of the world. She walks over to Micron to take the tennis ball from him to start a game of Chase Me You Big Moose.
Don’t go too far, I call after them. We’re going to set up a photo shoot in a few minutes.
I have a bad feeling about this, says Euka.
A long time ago in a galaxy far, far away. Yeah, not really.
Ok, here’s the scene, y’all. We’re on the ice planet Hoth*, right? It has to be Hoth because we’re immersed in snow here and there’s nothing to be done about that on the set. No need to check Wookieepedia to see if or when Princess Leia ever set foot there. It doesn’t matter because this is fan fiction, people.
Sorta. There’s some fact in here, too.
So anyway, Hoth. We messed around for a few minutes trying to scare up a white towel or blanket or something to drape over the princess’s shoulders to give her an Episode 4 Leia wardrobe. Then realized our pale beauty can pull off the look sans the good linens. Sure, like I’d have anything white around here anyway.
Alrighty Euka, let’s get in character here. You are Princess Leia Organa, I say. Damsel in distress by all first appearances, but inside there’s a smart-mouthed tough girl. Be the princess.
Princess Leia just looks at me.
Right then, looks like we’re there already, I say. Let’s practice some lines.
My buns are freezing, says the princess.
Cut! I say. Um, tough girl, remember? Princess Leia would not complain about the harsh conditions on Hoth. This is the kind of chick that can kiss her own brother without shuddering. Let’s go with that, shall we? Channel us some of that sass.
Euka closes here eyes for a moment. She opens them as a princess. Nothing has changed. But she pops out a monologue anyway.
Aren’t you a little short for a storm trooper, says Princess Leia to Luke Skywalker. But still. Hubba.
|Give me that blaster, you idiot, says Princess Leia.
Somebody has to save our skins. Into the garbage,
fly-boy! Oh, and bring your hunky friends.
Ok, ok, I say. That was, um, good or something. But how ’bout we knock down the creepy factor a notch. Let’s try another line.
Gov’na Armpit, growls Princess Leia, I shoulda expected to find you holding Vader’s leash. I recognized your foul stench when y’all brung me on board.
|Someone frying bologna?|
Yeah, ok. One more after that one, I say.
Euka lowers her head to find her inner character this one final time. She then lifts her pretty face to spew this one out.
And I thought they smelled bad, pants Princess Leia. …on the outside. [coff coff graaack spit]
Nice sound effects there, princess, I say. That bit of over-emoting just brings that scene to life. No matter that one was a Han Solo line. Oh, and that poor tauntaun. What a way to go.
Micron wants to be a tauntaun, says Euka. He told me.
Sure he does, I say.
He smells like one, pants Euka. …on the outside.
Well, this looks like a good stopping point. Let’s call it a day, I say. And wrap this piece of art. We’ll get you back inside where it’s warm, my pretty, pretty princess. Here, let me have those head buns … Euka!
Wow, what a surprise. Excuse me while I look for my sarcasm font.
|They put pumpkin spice in everything now.|