Thursday, October 29, 2009

Gunner's Got a Mom

Navy Son has loved animals since he was small. Well, with the exception of the kitten I brought home when he and Married Son were 1 and 2 1/2 (respectively). I remember bringing home a fine young calico. Both boys screamed in terror, climbed up my legs, and wept until the little ball of fur convinced them he wasn’t going to claw them to death. They eventually named him Bango.

When he was two years old and suffering from double-pneumonia, we bought Navy Son a Pound Purry for $2. He named her Missy and she went everywhere with him. She became part of the family.

Fast forward; a few dogs, a wild cat, and one Buddy later, Navy Son wants a hunting dog – enter Gunner. Male, tri-color beagle, roughly ten months old. Still a puppy really – full of piss and vinegar, killer of bunnies. But Navy Son is getting deployed soon and they don’t let dogs on subs. I drove down to get Gunner.

We became fast friends, Gunner and I – until we loaded him into the U-Haul. Gunner was shaking and unsure. I tried to engage him on our nine hour drive home, but he wasn’t having any. I bought him some treats that he carefully sniffed and declined. He just sat in the passenger seat and looked out the window. My heart broke.

He warmed up quickly once I got him home – jumped out of the truck, ran into the Daughter’s bedroom, announcing himself by pooping on the floor. Nice.

It had been years since Buddy had that much energy, and it was a delight. We bought Puppy Chow, chew bone things, treats, a squeaky quacky duck thing , and several balls with which to play. When unobserved, he rips up tissues and papers and I need to put things out of reach so he doesn’t gnaw on them.

He sleeps in my bed every night, usually at the top of my head, though sometimes he burrows into the blankets and keeps me warm. He bounds outside, loves to snuffle things up with that monster nose of his, and would eat the whole bag of food in one sitting if I left it where he could get at it. Of late, he has started staring creepily into a corner of the Daughter’s room growling and barking.

I imagine our apartment is haunted. Haunted with either the ghosts of Chick’s Dead Brides, or the young woman across the parking lot who was killed by her boyfriend back in April.

So, I find myself the Mom of a young gun once again. Jumping all over me when I get home, flying around the house, leaping on tennis balls, and wagging his tail like a windshield wiper in a downpour.

We still miss Buddy and think of him often. There’s no replacing a beloved member of the family. But we are distracted and enchanted by our new friend.

Friday, October 23, 2009

Mommy’s Got a Gun

Drove down to my son’s place in South Carolina last weekend.  You have to really love someone to drive 9 hours down I-95 South, in the rain on a Friday afternoon to help them pack their stuff into a Uhaul from a third floor apartment with no help from any burly young Naval officers.  Do it again if it meant spending 12 hours with any of my kids.  Parenthood – a synonym for insanity.

I re-learned a few other principle’s as well -

  • long trips are made to feel twice as long when you don’t have a Sirius Satellite radio in your vehicle
  • no cruise control sucks
  • AM radio reception has the same clarity today as it did in 1973
  • NPR is not a good substitute for anything
  • and the further south you travel, the more country-western channels populate FM waves

Brutal.  Made worse a few hours later by driving home at 2am (I had to get the truck back to Uhaul by 12:30 pm).  I was hoping Coast to Coast AM, the delightful paranormal AM program hosted by George Noory, would have a memorable guest on.  It wasn’t George, it was Ian someone and the show was not a memorable one.  Some noteworthy Coast to Coast AM programs (at least memorable to me):

  • A woman had a feral child in her basement.  She wanted to know how she could get near it and keep it.  Like a pet I presume.
  • Nancy Leider and her May 2003 apocalyptic warning that Planet X was about to crash into the earth.
  • Sylvia Browne’s prediction that the victims of the Sago Mine Disaster would be found alive.
  • Any show where a psychic predicts what will happen in the coming year.

Sigh*  Good show.  Wish they had it on Sirius.

So, I drove to South Carolina to help Navy Son pack stuff up.  He promised to make chicken curry for dinner (it was fabulous – I need to learn how to make that stuff) and we decided to go to a local shooting range to lob a few bullets around. 

I’ve never been to a shooting range before, nor have I ever shot a gun.  The experience was entirely new.  A shooting range smells and sounds like a bowling alley -- without the balls.  Bowling balls, I mean.  The walls are plenty drenched with testosterone – I could actually feel the hormone being leeched out of me.  Handguns, pistols, bows, scopes, AK27s, even cotton candy pink rifles with knives on the end were bought and sold as a matter of course.  Word on the street was that some yahoo walked in to a shooting range one day and tried to rob the place.  He was shot 48 times.  Idiot.  Walking into a facility where milling about were men who had been waiting 35 years for just such an opportunity. 

Navy Son had an M-16 and his friend had 2 pistols – one was a 9mm Sig Sauer.  We got 2 targets – one was the typical round target and the other was a white man holding a white woman hostage while he pointed a gun at you.  I presumed she was his emotionally abused whore jacked up on meth and he was using her as a shield to escape the police.  He never would have shot her, but he knew Johnny Law would do everything he could to save her worthless life.  I shot her in the neck.

I also shot him in the neck and head, but had less luck with the testicles than I had hoped.  He wasn’t de-manned, but he sure was gonna limp out of there.  Navy son disarmed him by shooting him several times in the hand. 

I was so delighted with the 9mm that I swung it around pointing it in my face to get a closer look and I think I scared the boys a bit.  They reached for me urging me to be careful.  It was still loaded and the safety was off, my hand was on the trigger.

I did that twice. 

Still, it was a thrill that I enjoyed immensely.  Worth the 18 hour drive alone really; but then so was the chicken curry and spending altogether too brief a time with the boy. 

And then I brought home Gunner; Navy Son’s beagle.

That’s a whole other story.

Thursday, October 22, 2009


Indulge me a little bit. I found this in my drafts folder. I wrote it after we put Buddy down.

I don't write poetry. Ever. So it's bad. But it wasn't about being good, it was about expressing sadness after loss.

The house is quiet
The tears are shed
He's gone

As far as he was concerned
he was one of us
he was a person, not a dog

he liked our food
he ate chocolate
and chicken wings

Dogs aren't supposed to eat those things, they'll get sick

He loved his girl
would play games with her
would watch over her
protect her when her brothers would rough house

I'm not leaving the toilet seat up
it feels strange
We don't have to close the door quickly so he doesn't streak out
it feels strange
He's not here anymore
it feels strange

Wednesday, October 21, 2009

Just Don't Touch Me

Had another Chick sighting.

Wonder what Chick looks like? He looks like Russel Dalrymple – Seinfeld character – NBC executive who fell in love with Elaine Benes? Yeah him. Imagine Russel a bit scrawnier with a little more hair – uncombed and a bit oily, with a crazed look in his eye.

That’s Chick.

Went to the gym one Saturday morning a few weeks ago and noted as I walked in, that I was not to be alone for my workout. Chick was on the treadmill and the lovely little hispanic woman who works in our complex was lifting some weights. I do not know her name, but we will call her Maria.

I got on the other treadmill and hoped to get my time in and go – I had to drive up to NY that day. Chick got off the treadmill and began coaching Maria on her reps.

“Keep going! Unos..dos..tres…..diez y siete, diez y ocho, diez y nueve, viente!” Now, I am pretty sure that after working in this country for several years (I can corroborate four), Maria would have had an opportunity to grasp our numeral system.

But Chick wasn’t conversing in her native tongue. He was speaking some odd mixture of Spanglish to his hapless little captive. I was not convinced she had requested his personal trainer services.

“Michael doesn’t come over anymore,” lamented Chick. This must be a reference to the young man I had seen walking with Chick a few times over the summer. A nice looking hispanic young man with a happy smile. Maybe Michael was giving him Spanish lessons.

“He doesn’t come over any more. No MAS! No MAS!”

I was not sure how she knew Michael, but she explained that he came home nights and it was difficult for him to get out.

He raised the poundage on the weights. Maria made an attempt to lift them.

“I can’t do it.”

“You can! Try!”

To her credit, she tried. The bar wasn’t even moving. “No. I can’t.”

“You can! You aren’t trying! TRY!” This continued for three failed attempts. I made a concerted effort to pay no attention. He then moved her to another machine. I don’t know what its called, but where the bars are over your head? A few reps and she was moving her neck and shoulders around as though sore.

“You got a boyfriend?”

I hope that my neck didn’t snap up at that, though I’m afraid it did. I hoped I heard wrong. But no. “You got a boyfriend? Have him do this.” and Chick started to massage Maria’s neck.


Again, I hope that the horror didn’t show on my face, though I’m sure it did. Maria’s eyes met mine in the mirror. She smiled a smile that didn’t quite reach her eyes. I smiled back as best I could.

I put my head down.

Not long after, my time on the treadmill was up, I had done the requisite number of minutes and I had to get on the road. I started out the door when I was stopped by an enthusiastic Chick.

“I have a guaranteed method for you to lose six pounds.”

Well now, that’s a way to start a conversation. I guess its better than telling me Eddie Haskell of Leave it to Beaver was in porn movies.


I was then given strict instructions on where to walk the bike trail nearby. You can appreciate that as long as I live, I will now never walk the bike trail, since I am convinced he will be laying in wait.

“Yeah. I guarantee you walk that, and you will lose six pounds. Guaranteed!” He was really quite enthusiastic and I thought it touching that he seemed to want to impart his wisdom.

“Really? So if I walk it today, I’ll lose six pounds? And if I walk it tomorrow? I’ll lose another six pounds?”

“Yes!” A pause. “Well, I walked it and lost six pounds. But then I got really thirsty and I drank it all back again.”

“Ah! Well, that can happen! But thanks! I’ll check that out some time!” justdon’ttouchmejustdon’ttouchmejustdon’ttouchme.

Friday, October 2, 2009

A Bit of A Catchup

It’s been a while since I’ve felt like writing.  August – September were stressful months and shame on my muse for abandoning me the way she has.  Started before then, I know – I only wrote twice in August and only once in July. 

So Buddy, the Dog Immortal, passed on; though Meghann and I refuse to believe he has really passed.  We are convinced that once we left the vet’s office, Buddy confronted the Animal Hospital staff, exited the premises and had a little vacation in the wild.  This is evidenced by the road kill on upstate New York highways and byways that we spied on our last trip up.  We are now certain that he has moved on to the next family that needs him since his work with us is finished. 

My friend Bess also moved on to better things; as I mentioned before, she’s hanging out with her adored Reuben in heaven.  I miss my little pen pal.  Her daughters have taken up her standard and are writing to me on occasion, something that makes me smile to no end.  Bess would be tickled with that.

I don’t have arthritis as it happens.  You may remember I had been self-medicating with Glucosamine Chondroitin with mild success.  I had a check up with my doctor two weeks ago, and he explained that it was more likely to be tendonitis, or tennis elbow.  Suggested aspirin for ten days and to use the arm more gently. 

It’s working.  Who knew?

I made two trips to New York in September, will be driving up this month for my niece’s confirmation and then driving down to South Carolina to see my Navy Son in the middle of October.  My poor Honda.  The exciting news there is I will be bringing back Gunner, my son’s beagle to stay with us while Navy Man goes on a sub.  I’m looking forward to that. 

Meg is adjusting to college, has applied for a second job, is researching Improv Schools in New York, DC, California and Chicago and is going out with her friends often.  We are riveted watching past seasons of “America’s Next Top Model”.

I read Snow Flower and the Secret Fan by Lisa See.  Fascinating information on foot binding in Chinese culture with an overall message, I thought, on what we as women do to ourselves physically and emotionally to be loved and accepted. 

I also read A Walk in the Woods by Bill Bryson.  Really enjoyed that as well – took me a day to read.  Funny!  The ending disappointed a little, but it was real and it was entertaining.  I read two more of the JD Robb …in Death series and I started on the Harry Potter series of books and am on #4 – Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire.  They certainly are page turners, though they have not inspired in me the same affection for the characters or the story that The Lord of the Rings series had.  The last movie I saw was the sixth Harry Potter movie.  I think it will all make a little more sense once I have read all the books. 

As a comparison, the Harry Potter books, similarly marketed toward a young audience, are much more interesting, far and away more well written than any of the Twilight series of books.  Blech and shudder.

I am still without an active source of Korean drama – the sound drivers on my computer don’t work anymore and Comcast continues to refuse my request to include Korean programming in their line up.  I can watch all the Al Jazeera, Chinese, Indian, and Russian television I can stomach, but I can’t watch any Korean stuff.  I’ll get back to it soon.  Promise.  I’m planning on watching the first season of “Dexter”.  I may start that this week.  Anything with serial killers and I’m in.

So there you have it.  It’s like I never went away, isn’t it? 

Thursday, October 1, 2009

The Immortal

budman We had to put Buddy down last month.  Like a phantom limb, it feels like he’s still here. 




August 18, 1991 – September 11, 2009

So long Budman. 

Even now, it’s difficult to write about it.

I’ve never had to put an animal down before so I had no idea how it worked.  Got some wonderful advice and support from my sister-in-law Char, then I called a few vet offices so I could get a sense – glad I did, since some places put animals down differently. 

We chose to take him in and the nurse anesthetized him.  He fell asleep while we pet him so he wasn’t too scared.  Meg and I were allowed to stay as long as we liked – which was about 10 minutes after he fell asleep.  We left and the doctor’s office took care of the rest.  We chose not to keep his ashes, though we could have.

The vet sent us an impression of his paw.  Meg and I cried.  The last little dirt that was on his little paw is in that impression.  We cried over that too. 

I’m still afraid to leave the door outside open, for fear that he will run out.  When I wake up in the morning, I can still feel him by my bedside.  I still look for him to be under my feet in the kitchen. 

So much for not being a dog person.

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