Tuesday, November 30, 2004

More on hummers

No…nothing to do with Ferris.

It’s a commercial actually... that really ticks me off.

The scene is a mom driving her son to school on the first day…new school kinda thing.
The kid looks like a middle-schooler, and as you know middle school is all about appearances. So she asks him if he wants her to drop him off down the street a bit. We, the unwitting viewer, know its so the other kids don’t see him getting dropped off by his mom…which can be so uncool.
But the kid replies “No, I think it’ll be fine.”

The next scene shows him walking up the school steps and kids parting the way looking past him in awe at his ‘ride’. Mom pulls away in her jagumba shiny, new, black hummer.
Of course the kid is immediately accepted by his new peers.


Great, so if mom has …say a 1993 minivan(sound familiar) then you are basically gonna get the snot beat out of you on the first day of school.

I cannot think of a worse message to send to our kids (specifically our adolescent sons).

I have yet to see the commercial a second time. I can only hope they pulled it.

Monday, November 29, 2004


I am still full - how 'bout you?

The accident ...in brief - so as not to upset our laywer: there was a minor miscalculation in entering a busy road*, which really should have resulted in a fender bender. But timing, positioning, and lay of the land caused a roll. Full roll, right back up onto its wheels. Seatbelts do work...wear them.

I got the call, at my desk at work - sirens in the background. He told me he flipped it, and that he was fine. I then called my perceptive wife, ever so careful not to use the word 'flip'. We both left work and went to the scene.

She said later, when I make these calls - that as soon as I say her name ...she knows...and reaches out to grab onto something. This is, of course, one of many times I have had to 'call' regarding Ferris. At 5 years old, he was dubbed "Rubberman" by his uncle when he was hit by a car in front of our house, nary a scratch on him. He lives up to this name all too often.
His thoughtful (and careful) sister said she that she was 'thankful for Ferris' at our Thanksgiving table.
Oh...and we are in the market for a good used car if you know of any....

* this was 'our' busy road, must blog about our plans to move soon...

Wednesday, November 24, 2004

Happy Thanksgiving

I hope everyone has a lovely holiday.
Stuff yourselves silly.
Drink yourselves merry (at home please).
Be thankful for any little thing.

Tuesday, November 23, 2004


I have been remiss about posting.

I posted a short time ago about being fed up with the consumption in our suburban town. I specifically mentioned Hummers at the High School.

I would like to recant.
I believe my dear, exhausted and motherly wife would love our children to drive Hummers.
I will show you why. But I want to say first and most importantly – Ferris is fine. Absolutely fine. Also, he was not doing anything wrong…not speeding, not goofing around, not showing off.
It was an accident plain and simple.

Wednesday, November 17, 2004


didja notice my daughters comments to the last post.
she mentioned Riggs' sister.

yes, they wanted two of them.
can you JUST imagine.
(and ...actually, I think I would have caved if the other puppies had not already been adopted...whew)

Tuesday, November 16, 2004

Chapter 12 - The Tally

Well here we are now.
Our FREE dog is going to be 3 years old on November 25th.

As I was tallying up - I began to remember more and more. Perhaps I was blocking.

…so many of Ferris’ hats stolen and destroyed, every throw rug and doormat I bought - mangled (after about 10 of them I realized …do not buy little rugs with a ‘looped’ weave). Too many pens and pencils to count (and the inevitable ink stains they caused), oh and the huge hole that she ate in our Pottery Barn living room rug (which I decided not to include since we are actually still using said rug …it has since been turned in such a way as to hide the hole under the sofa... we thought replacing the rug but we knew that was just asking for trouble).

And so here it is. The Tally.

adoption cost $ 25.00
baby gate $ 25.00
new door and hardware $ 150.00
crate $ 30.00
various stuffed animals $ 30.00
many of Ferris’ hats $ 50.00
my Serengetti sunglasses $ 125.00
obedience school $ 125.00
leash and collar $ 25.00
a better collar $ 20.00
a second leash $ 15.00
a stronger collar $ 15.00
chain link fence $ 3,000.00
wooden fence $ 280.00
repairs to chain link $ 300.00
repairs to wooden fence $ 120.00
3 shrubs $ 75.00
2 trees $ 80.00
garden fence $ 160.00
repairs to gates $ 45.00
tomato juice and douches $ 30.00
vet costs to date (included spay) $ 885.00
throw rugs and doormats $ 130.00
(estimated as there were sooo many)
TOTAL $ 5,740.00

but this…

well...ok, not priceless.
but we'll keep her.

Friday, November 12, 2004

Chapter 11 – Life on the Inside

Riggs is pretty well contained these days. Now when she gets out it usually out a door as someone comes in, or a gate left open by a child.
So for the most part life is good inside the fence.
However, even being contained she managed to get herself sprayed by a skunk. Full on in the face.

As soon as we realized what had happened, we had to think quickly. If Riggs just got sprayed by a skunk, then the skunk was inside the fence. If Riggs is inside the fence and a skunk is inside the fence and WE are inside the fence this greatly increased the probability of more spraying.
So …nitwit that I am – I immediately took her into the mudroom. Where we both immediately teared up and coughed until we choked… it didn't really dawn on me that being closed up in a really small room was NOT a good idea. Luckily my clear headed wife yelled to us to go BACK outside. (there was a lot of YELLING…not angry YELLING…but the kind of YELLING that happens when you are in an emergent situation…as if you need to speak loudly and clearly over the din of the event).

Of course we had to throw everything away that had been in the mudroom with us.

Ok so now…we need to wash.
The little wrinkle with that is …Riggs is petrified of the bath.
So we started by giving her a sponge bath out on the patio with LOTS of tomato juice. And then did it again. Then we heard we should be using vinegar and water douches. So we went to CVS and bought out their supply of Massengills. You can imagine the looks we got…(just what are those lesbians up to?).
We found that the douche works quite well actually. The vinegar seems to really get out alot of the odor and the applicator is shaped perfectly for a dog whose been sprayed right in the face.

After two tomato juice bathes and more than a few douches -- she was still not quite ready for re-entry into the general living area, so we coerced her into the tub.
Of course I had to get in with her, while my steadfast wife stood right behind me to thwart any escapes. After some initial thrashing about, she settled down enough so that the bath went fairly well. And really we only sustained very minor injuries.

So for a couple of bucks in feminine supplies and cans of juice it wasn’t so bad, well unless you factor in all the stuff we had to throw away…various lunch bags, a pair of flip flops, the throw rug, a hat…

And now of course we had to figure out how to keep skunks OUT. There’s always something to be done when you have a fence.

Next week we’ll tally up the results. I also have some pics from around the house of stuff yet-to-be-repaired. I suppose I will include those as a future expense.

Wednesday, November 10, 2004

Chapter 10 – Looking for Clues

As security tightened around the encampment, it became increasing difficult to figure out how Riggs kept getting to the other side of the fence.
There were a couple spots in the wooden part of the fence where she got under. I added pressure treated boards in these areas and that seemed to stop the problem.
She started to nose at the latches on the chain link gates. You’ve seen them – the ‘U’ shaped latch that simply folds over the gatepost.

We installed clips on all of them to keep them down.

One afternoon I was in the garage, leaning into my car organizing and gathering things to bring into the house. Riggs walked up and poked me with her nose… a friendly greeting. She seemed winded, as if she had been running. She runs a lot – really fast -- in great circles. It’s rather comical. I am hoping to get a clip of it sometime.
I pat her head and leaned back into the car to get a couple more things.
Then…. I stopped – froze, my head tilting to one side my eyes gaze quizzically up to the left, one eyebrow raises. If I were a cartoon you would see the light bulb glow over my head.
I turn, ever so slowly, and nonchalantly – patted Riggs on the head again… and GRABBED her collar.
The garage is not inside the fence.

Once again, we walked the fence line. Looking for breaks, or a ditch, or a hole of some kind. It wasn’t until I came back twice and noticed the big back gate was off its post hinges and just resting in an upright position.

From what we could gather – she squeezed under the gate lifting it off its hinges.
Then the gate …just out of shear luck landed in such a way that from a distance you couldn’t tell it was off the hinges.
After some pondering, I installed an extra post hinge upside down on each gate, restricting the gates from any upward movement.

The subsequent breakout stunned us. After fixing the big back gate, there was about 5 inches of space between the ground and the bottom rail. Now remember, the gate no longer has any give upward at all.
But there was a cat. A cat on the other side of the gate. And Riggs still had the memory of getting under this gate. And – there was a cat on the other side of the gate. I saw her run full out towards the gate and chuckled to myself, knowing she would be foiled.
But that 75-pound dog squished herself down to an unthinkable size and squeeeeeezed herself out. Did I mention there was a cat on the other side?
I would not have believed it if I didn’t watch it happen with my own eyes.

I put a 4x4 piece of wood there temporarily. She moved it.
I put a rock against the 4x4. She rolled the rock and moved the wood.
I put a 2x6 against the fence and the 4x4 against the 2x6 and a rock against the 4x4….

Finally, my exasperated wife added to that 2 cinder blocks. So far this is working like a charm.

I will estimate $45.00 on various gate parts, and more pressure treated wood.
But I still need to come up with a more permanent solution for that gate.

Tuesday, November 09, 2004

Welcome to Wacky New England

We are both rather sore from raking all day Sunday.
Raked the yard in shirt sleeves cuz it was almost 70 degrees out.
Tomorrow its going to be below 20.
Last night on my way home from work I noticed someone had their Christmas lights up.
Gotta love this place.

Stay tuned for "Chapter 10 - Looking for Clues".
New boss starts today - and thats a whole nother story.

Friday, November 05, 2004

Chapter 9 - and so it continues...

Well… we plant most things on the other side of the fence.
My wife’s tasty vegetable garden is INside the fence. Riggs likes vegetables.
After she had eaten all of the broccoli we had planted, that left room to play in the dirt.
We sorta gave up on the vegetables that first year, and by the end of the season the garden was well tilled.

Just when you thought you were done building fence…

10 4x4’s and 100’ feet of wire fence – $210.00

Wednesday, November 03, 2004

Chapter 8 – Boredom

Well after some ‘tweaking’, the bars at the bottom of the fence worked. Is anyone keeping a tally yet? Not to worry – I will provide a spreadsheet if I ever get to the end of this story.

So Riggs was confined. She was a caged animal. Can anyone tell me what caged animals do? Anyone? Anyone?
They get bored.
When you get bored you either – become lethargic and depressed…or get creative. Wanna guess which path Riggs took?
Let’s just say 3 shrubs and 2 trees later we realized she had found a way to entertain herself.

-- my wife the gardener and I conversing while walking around the garden

Me: Wasn’t there a shrub here?
Wife: yes
Me: Like a 7 foot shrub?
Wife: yes
Me: Did you move it?
Wife: not exactly
Riggs romps by happily with a 7 foot branch in her mouth.

…short while later
Me: Who put this chewed up stick in the ground over here?
Wife: that’s a pear tree.

Ok, so that’s. 3 shrubs lets give them a replacement value of $25.00 each.
And two trees (given to us by my mother to plant around the new fence) at $40.00 each.

We plant things on the other side of the fence now.

Tuesday, November 02, 2004

Chapter 7 – Escape

During the first weekend with the fence- we walked the entire length and shored up any high spots. I made sure that the fence was no more than 2-4 inches off the ground in any spot.
So we were ready. Yay. No more walking the dog on the leash. Just open the door and let her go. One minor glitch was that Riggs didn’t seem to be able to see screens. We had screen doors off both back doors. Riggs not only repeatedly ran head on into them – she would also paw at them, which would of course rip them to shreds. So back to Home Depot to buy a new screen door for $40.00 bucks which I then modified for our needs. (the screen flaps like a dog door)

Now we were truly free.
Riggs could run in and out as she pleased. And when we wanted her on one side or the other we simply closed the storm door.
Riggs was so happy. So much room to run, time to herself to explore, or sleep in the grass or hunt bugs and play with sticks.
It was a couple of weeks of sheer bliss. Until… Riggs, and we, learned – chain link bends.
Yup. If you push the bottom of it, it will bend. It bends enough to fit a 70 pound dog through in fact. It seems there were a couple spots where the space was just big enough and the chain link just flexible enough where she could get out.
As a temporary measure we piled cinder blocks along the bottom of the fence in these areas.
There’s no way she could move cinder blocks.
Which was true.
However, what she COULD do was to grab the chain link in her teeth and pull and twist and bend it, until she pulled the fence up over the cinder blocks.
And of course escaped… again.

So now – Riggs can get out of the fence…pretty much at will.
With Riggs back on the leash, we called in our fence guy.
He said not to worry, this happens all the time. For only another $300.00 he could install a bottom rail.
So of course we replied, “How soon can you come?”

When he got there to do the installation, I showed him where Riggs had mangled the fence to get out.
He looked at me in amazement and said “A dog did this!?”

Monday, November 01, 2004


sorry for the delay in our story kids.
but its 6p.m. e.s.t. and I have been here at work since 7 this morning.

stayed tuned.