End of a perfect day

End of a perfect day

Thursday, July 15, 2010

Lesson learned from Lou

I lost a faithful friend yesterday. Louie. Affectionally known as Moody Lou.

His last few days were tough on him and on me, yet he remained a good old buddy. Apparently he had a giant mass on his kidney and sometime last week it burst and caused him to bleed internally. It's these kind of days that you wish you could talk to the animals and find out what's bothering them. I knew something was wrong when he hesitated to join me and the boys
on our daily walk. He came along but slowed his pace a few minutes into the walk.

So I've been thinking about him, and yes, crying for our loss, and realized that in his "Louie- way," he taught me a few things.

Louie was the runt of the liter. His mama, Tilly was a stray dog that made our home her home, just long enough to deliver her 7 puppies. The firstborn was Fern, ( Named after the Fern bushes where they were all born.) We were all excited about the puppies and allowed this experience to change our life. At the time we had 3 other dogs, so adding 8 more was total chaos. I still remember wearing clothes stained with puppy paw prints and not thinking anything of it. It was an unusual day for me to get out of the house without a print or two.
Tilly wasn't too interested in her puppies so we had to encourage her to feed and care for them. Our dog Cody served as a nanny for the puppies and was often found sleeping with the pups laying in the bends of his legs and neck. Louie, being the runt, was usually by Cody's foot, farthest from the warmth and companionship of his siblings. This was Louie's bend of independence. Stay close to the pack, yet define your space.

Over the years Louie taught himself many tricks. Not the usual dog tricks that every dog-owner likes to show off at the park, but tricks that got him what he wanted. He had a natural ability to hear the sound of ice cream. I never knew there was a particular sound to dishing up ice cream, yet Louie could be out in the field or sound asleep upstair and he heard "ice cream." His timing was perfect too. He waited until the ice cream was scooped and about half eaten before he made his appearance. Louie would place his paw on my leg to let me know he was there waiting for his dessert. Patience pays off.

Moody Lou was also know as Garbage Lou. He could open almost any garbage
and trash can in the time it took him to walk past it. This was probably his most famous trick and brought much delight to the other dogs. Sharing is always a good idea, especially if the blame gets shared too.

Our dogs learned how to come and go on their own by re-constructing the back door. Jim hand-made our screen door to match the 8 paned glass door. When the puppies were little they learned to jump through one of the screen panes. After several attempts to repair the door, we eventually gave in and let the screen flap for the dogs. As the dog grew the one pane wasn't big enough for them, so they enlarged it to two panes. All of the dogs learned to sail through the screen, coming and going as they pleased, except for Louie. He opened the door. If he wanted to go out, he nudged the door enough to open it and pushed his way out. When he wanted to come in, he used his left paw to reach inside the screen and pull the door open. Of course this drew much attention from visitors. Always make an entrance.

One of my favorite times with Louie was singing with him. He definitely had to be in the mood, but we could usually convince him to give a deep throated howl. When Louie sang base, Beuford sang tenor. And everyone else howled. Make a joyful noise.

Louie's last days were not so different than most days. He ate ice cream, he sang, he barked at the neighbors, he slept under my desk and at the feet of my bed. Be consistent.

Louie was good friend. His departure came too soon and fast. Leave them wishing for more.

I miss you old Louie, but thanks for the memories!

Monday, July 12, 2010

The Secrets Men Keep

It's not too unusual.... he's over there... I'm here, and something breaks, wears out, disappears, or flies away. Most of the time I handle it. I'm a fixer. My father's daughter. Perhaps it's not the the exact way something should be done... but I don't like being told "to wait until I get back."

Poor Jim. He's had to live with my sense of adventure, and most often, had to repair my sense of adventure. But sometimes it's not so bad.

This particular spell has been par for the course.

The tires on my 4-runner were near bald. Where did we travel in that 114,000 miles? Really. I've bought big purchases without Jim before; bought cars, cameras, dogs, so tires are easy. True to myself, I visited the local Costco to inquire about the best deal, smoothest ride, and longest tread wear. "Ricky" was a bit taken back by my questions, but soon was showing his computer screen to me, comparing tires. We settled on "touring tires," instead of the "all-terrain, hit as many bumps as possible" tire that I previously had. And oh what joy I have found in driving without feeling my teeth clatter. Jodi 1 point.

Gilly our bird of 16 years flew away. It was sad, yet I was dealing with it.... except she stayed in the neighborhood calling out to me every time I walked outside. "Here I am.. Save me." I listened for her location, ran through the field and found her settled in a Pepper Tree.... 3 fields away. After trying to coax her down from afar, I drove around the block to the nearest driveway, knocked on the door of the house and explained that my bird was in their backyard. The lady said, "Whatever. Do what you need to do." I smiled and ran to the backyard, calling out "Gilly, Gilly." She responded with delight and a few chirping sounds. She even puffed up her feathers like she was ready to fly to me. Then stopped. I got back in my car, drove home, found a bunch of extension poles and drove back to encourage her down. She squawked at me andstarted her decent toward me. I dropped the pole and was ready to run to her, when a dog barked and she swooped up to a 60 foot Eucalyptus tree. Aughhhh! If she is going to fly away....why doesn't she just go without all the noise? For the next 3 days she notified me of her locations. Each time I introduced myself to the homeowner and strained my neck for a few hours trying to persuade her to come down. Austin even climbed a tree in attempt to catch her. He lost his shoe and hesitated to come down after he realized how high he had climbed. I finally had to say "bye bye birdie" and make a lot of noise everytime I walked out the door to muffle her sounds . Jodi Minus 1 point.

Our dog Louie has been sick. I'm not sure what to do for him... even ice cream isn't drawing him out. Poor Lou. Jodi Minus 2 points

I noticed that a headlight was out on my 4runner. Of course, I have the "super bright, see everywhere in the dark" kind of lights - so I asked Jim and JT exactly what I need to replace the bulb. They both said just go to Autozone and tell them you have the super, ultra bright lights and they will help you out. I scouted Autozone out, waiting to stop when there were just a fewcars in the parking lot, hoping I would get a guy that would see a damsel in distress and offer to change the bulb. No such luck. The inventor of the automobile must have been my sales associate. He was very helpful and found the bulbs I needed, stating "that these are great, but they don't last long because they are so bright... but if you can afford them, they are great."
I forked over $53.00 and decided it couldn't be too difficult to do. I found the owners manual and the page where it clearly states how to change the bulbs. Step 1. Remove the rubber boot, pulling on the top tab. Step 2. Relase the hold-down spring. Step 3. Pull out old bulb. Step 4. Insert new bulb. Step 5. Carefully reinstall rubber boot, being sure Top tab is on the top.

mmmm. Step 1. The top tab was off to the side. I guess JT/Jim didn't realize that was important when pulling it off. After a little struggle the boot came off. Step 2. Spring was tight as a tick. About 13 minutes later and a bloody finger, the spring loosened, and I was able to grasp the old bulb... for a second. It then jetted into the headlight.... just millimeters from the reach of my fingers. Aughhhhhhh! I found a piece of wire and was able to lasso the bulb, but could not get my finger into the tiny opening and pull it out. Darkness came. A few more tools were tired, but nothing seemed to give me the clearance, movement, or ability to reach, grab and pull at the same time.

Then I remembered Jim and JT's car musuem.... where they gather tools that are absolutleynecessary, but are often used for one particular purpose. I braved the dark, eventually found the master switch to turn on the lights and spotted "The Tool. " It was laying on the counter, guarded by a masage spider web with a black widow nearby. I attacked with a broom and battled the web and spider, grabbed The Tool and ran out. I had no idea what I held in my hands, but it was flexiable, long, slender and had a little grabber on the end. As I practiced the technique, I discovered a bright light on the end of the grabber! What an amazing tool. It took only seconds to retrive the bulb, pull it through the impossibly smallopening and install the new one. Even the rubber boot slid on without incident. Turned on the car. Lights! Bright lights! - Jodi 3 points! ( Extra points for discovering the secrets men keep!)