Archive for December, 2007

Christmas Countdown: 4 days
December 21, 2007

 (with apologies to Clement C. Moore) 

‘Twas the weekend before Christmas and all through the town,

the cars were a-going both uptown and down.

Frowny faces were evident all over the place,

as folks idled in traffic, and looked for a space.   

Gamely I set out to go to the store

to buy basic foodstuffs and some goodies galore.

When what to my wondering eyes should appear

but a break in the traffic that put me in the clear! 

On Donnie Ray! To the big parking lot!

Oh wow, I managed to get a good spot!

Right by the front door; how did I do it?

Perhaps Christmas magic had somehow just hit? 

I pulled out my list that had been checked twice

to insure that I didn’t overlook even one spice.

Thank goodness for cell phones, to ask when in doubt;

I hope that I don’t have to run right back out!  

More rapid than eagles, I drove back to our place

with a car full of stuff and a big smile on my face!

My eyes, how they twinkled! My dimples, how merry!

(Do I even have dimples? I am thinking… not very)  

I spoke not a word, but went straight to my work

And filled all the cupboards; then turned with a jerk.

After laying a finger aside of my nose,

I jumped into bed for a little repose.  

A short winter’s nap was just the right touch

on this day of driving around way too much. 

I sprang from my bed to finish up my list

So I could make sure there was nothing I missed.  

Here is a Christmas wish from me to you:

May all of your chores be magically through!

And (before 2007 goes out of sight…)

Happy Christmas to all, and to all a good night! 

(pewperson will return January 5, 2008)

Innocent Until Proven Guilty
December 13, 2007

Let dogs delight to bark and bite,

For God hath made them so.

-Isaac Watts (Songs for Children, 1715) 

Those who know my dogs have often heard me refer to them as Shadow the “best” dog, and Bailey the “pest” dog. Shadow has always been so perfect, obedient, serene and calm, while Bailey has not exactly demonstrated these fine traits. It’s not that he’s a bad dog; he’s just high spirited and needy of something to do. He’s smart as a whip, exuberant and SO busy. 

When I come home and find him skulking about guiltily, it makes me suspicious. Perhaps he’s gone into the pantry and helped himself to something he shouldn’t have eaten? Or climbed up on the chair and eaten a bowl of m&m’s? If I find a trashcan tumped over, I fuss at Bailey. Or if (as unpleasant as it sounds) “morsels” from the cat litter box are scattered on the floor… “BAILEY!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!” Poor dog. He gets this wounded look on his face, and I say to Joel, “He KNOWS he’s being a bad dog; why does he keep on doing it???”  

 (Note: the kitty box is usually blocked off, but there are occasions when it isn’t, and somedog knows it)

Well. Not long ago, we had gone out of town, and upon our return, I discovered the trashcan in the bathroom tumped over with all the used tissues scattered. I knew it wasn’t Bailey, because he was still at the kennel. Hmmm! It appears that friend Mimi, the cat who likes to eat Kleenex, was the culprit. Her job every day is to go around to all the Kleenex boxes in the house and take a bite out of the tissue that is peeking out. I didn’t know she was looking in the trashcans, too.  

So now, although I can’t really be sure of who does it, I never automatically blame Bailey when I find a trashcan tumped over. I don’t react at all… I just pick it up.  

This week, I took Bailey on our usual “power walk” prior to our “stroll” with Shadow. When Bailey and I returned to get Shadow, guess what? There was a “kitty morsel” on the kitchen floor! Could it be that Shadow the perfect dog had done it? Even though I couldn’t believe it, I couldn’t think of any other scenario.  

I began to think about all the times I’d really yelled at Bailey about this particularly gross habit, and he’d cower in shame. It made me think about the story I’d heard about the two dogs that belong to Shannon’s boyfriend. They caught one dog putting people’s shoes into the OTHER one’s crate, so the other one would get yelled at. Could they actually be that smart? Was Shadow secretly loving it when I’d yell at Bailey for something that Shadow had done? 

Today, I caught Shadow in the act! He had his head stuck in the cat box, and boy did he get it! I don’t hit my dogs, but I gave Shadow a real tongue-lashing. He just looked at me, not exactly defiantly, but he was definitely not cowering. Perhaps in his old age, he has just decided to do as he pleases, kind of like when some older folks say things out loud that are best left unspoken. The stinker!  Maybe he’ll get a lump of coal in his stocking this Christmas!  

I will never yell at Bailey again unless I actually catch him with his nose somewhere it doesn’t belong. And I think I’ll give him a little extra loving today to make up for all the past fussing that wasn’t warranted. That and maybe an extra treat in his stocking come Christmas!

The Most Wonderful Time of the Year
December 8, 2007

It’s beginning to look a lot like Christmas!

-Bing Crosby 

Oh, the weather outside isn’t frightful; in fact, it’s downright delightful! Of course, being Houston, it IS a tad humid, however. (I tried to make a rhyme out of the word humid, but it just can’t be done. Which reminds me of the time when Shannon was a little girl, and we were watching the weather on the TV. She looked at the word “humidity” and asked me, “What’s HUM-iditty?”) 

I don’t really mind the warmer temps, although it certainly doesn’t do much for the festive atmosphere of Christmas. I mean, what does one wear when invited to a function and the temperature is in the 80’s? And it’s hard to get excited about decorating outside when one is all sweaty. But I’ll take this weather any day over my sister’s report of an ice storm that hit her city up in Michigan this past week. Brrrr!  

I did finally get the outside lights done, squeaking by with just enough good strands to even things up. Seems like the trend now is to hire a professional to do it, but I just can’t bring myself to go that route yet. As it was, the folks at my end of the street were caught off guard by the pros who swooped in and gussied up several houses down at the beginning of the block before Thanksgiving (our street is one block long with thirteen houses on it). It made us slackers get busy, and now just about every house, save one, is ready for Santa.  

While I wasn’t the first to get our lights out this year, I did win the Christmas card marathon! We send hundreds of cards to friends, family, office folks, co-workers, church staff, clients, etc. every year. Now that I’m “retired” from my website job, I got a head start and got this chore done in record time. I always feel a little bad that I don’t write personal notes in each one, but my habit is to visualize each family as I stuff and seal their card and send a prayer up for a blessed Christmas and New Year.  

Over the past few years, I’ve chosen the sentiment inside our cards from old hymn lyrics as a change of pace from the usual “Merry Christmas” greeting. This year’s selection is so obscure that I can’t remember the hymn from which I chose it! It could be the fact that I can’t find that old 1963 hymnal to look for it, which is my excuse, and I’m sticking to it.  

Our family tradition is to switch between a photo of Shannon alone and one of our entire family (pets included). This year was Shannon’s turn, and although we thought about it a long time, we decided on a quirky photo of her taken on my cell phone while eating at our favorite diner up in Rhinebeck, NY. It’s not the best quality photo, but it was just so cute of her, and captured her sunny spirit better than the posed shots we tried later. Of course, the cards that go to “the dreaded Susan” (the dog groomer) and “Uncle Guy” (the man from whom we got Shadow and Bailey) have a photo of the fellas both cocking their heads at the same time to the word “COOKIE!” (see last week’s blog entry).  

I am so grateful to the person who invented self-adhesive stamps! It was with great glee that I finished this final step, bundled up the piles and piles of cards, and got them in the mailbox by Dec. 1st 

So now it’s on to the inside decorations… I think I’m going to have to pull a Tom Sawyer trick and make our family supper tomorrow evening a “tree decorating” party. It’s either that or kill myself by trying to make things “just so” before they get here. What do you say? I agree! We’ve got four college kids coming, and they just might enjoy the task of tree decorating, since they may not be able to help with their own family trees.  

However, if my plan doesn’t work, I guess you know what I’ll be doing on Sunday… turning on the air conditioner, standing on the ladder and decorating the tree in my shorts and flip flops!

The Doggy Roller Coaster Ride
December 1, 2007

baileyshadow.jpg 

Make no mistake about it—we dodged a bullet here, perhaps many bullets.

-William Bratton

Last week I wrote about being blessed despite some unexpected expenses this year, primarily the ones that had to do with Bailey the ‘bad boy’. My heart sank this past week after being awakened at 2:40 a.m. by Joel who was exclaiming that Bailey was having a relapse, and that we needed to take him to the emergency vet clinic again. Bailey’s coughing fit in the middle of the night had roused Joel (not me, I had earplugs in!), and he was so certain we were taking another trip to the clinic that he had pulled the car around.

But Mr. B quieted down after he managed to dislodge whatever it was that was causing him distress, and after some spasmodic hiccups, he appeared to be fine. Just to be SURE, though, I put him up on the bed with me, so I could keep my eye on him (Joel went upstairs to get some sleep without being interrupted by any more dog issues). 

Well, my doggy friend must have thought he had died and gone to heaven, sleeping on Dad’s pillow! He settled right in, and after heaving a few sighs, he never uttered a peep the rest of the night. I put my hand on his chest to make sure he was breathing, just to be SURE, you know. I finally dozed off, as well, and the morning found us in fine shape, albeit somewhat sleepy.  

Little did I know that I would soon be having a $3280.69 charge on my credit card for more animal veterinary care! And this time, it was Shadow, the perfect dog’s fault! Maybe he was feeling a little jealous of all the Bailey shenanigans and of our pointing out that he is our $11,000 dog?  

No, thankfully, it was all a mistake. I had just gone to our regular vet’s office to pick up some of Shadow’s arthritis medicine, plus the heartworm/flea prevention tablets for both dogs, as well as some for both cats. The desk clerk rang me up, and I blindly signed the credit card receipt and headed back home.  

It wasn’t until late afternoon that the clerk sheepishly called me to report that she had added an extra zero to my bill, and so instead of $328.69, I got charged the above-mentioned $3280.69. Yikes! I think she was worried I’d be mad, but I laughed it off, saying that I ought to wear my glasses before signing anything! I gave her my credit card information, and she was to credit my account and re-charge the correct amount. You can bet I will be checking my bill carefully next month! 

So all is well once more with the Mohrman pet population. They are all on their best behavior now, knowing that their stockings will soon be hung by the chimney with care**. That is, I hope they will. I’m running a bit behind this year, and sitting here writing my blog entry isn’t helping any! Time to go stuff Christmas card envelopes. Maybe if Shadow and Bailey help me seal them, Santa will give them extra credit to make up for all the excitement this week? 

**Grammar check wants me to phrase this as, “The chimney with care will soon hang their stockings.” Clement C. Moore must be laughing out loud somewhere!