It’s Official:

I now officially have an old house.  I went up to check and see if there were a dead animal on the chimney because there’s an odor by the fireplace, and I saw a handful of shingles were blown off the roof.  So now that I’ve patched my roof with some new, almost-matching-color shingles, my house is officially old.  It’s not as old as I am, but hey we’re not talking about me.

P.S. it would have been good to know in advance that I should wear gloves carrying the old shingle to BigBoxStore to compare to the new shingles…turns out, fiberglass-reinforced shingles leave glass fibers in your skin just like fiberglass attic insulation.  Oh well.

Conversations With Myself

Today after I got home from work, I had some pork chops, ‘taters and rice. Then a big homemade buñuelo*.  Fast forward to nearly-bedtime and I’m hungry. The following amusing-to-me conversation came out of my mouth between the living room and the kitchen:

VFD: My stomach informs me that buñuelos are not enough for a whole supper.
VFD:  (goes into kitchen, sees pan from cooking supper)
VFD: Oh wait, I had supper already!
VFD: Awwwwww yeah, that means it’s time for DESSERT!

*on a related note, the buñuelos took longer to make than usual. One of DW’s friends got a phone call telling her that the friend’s husband up and DIED while they were doing the prep work. So…yeah, the friend stopped making dessert treats and left.

That’s My Little Girl

We are out of beans, chez VFD. I was digging through the pantry in astonishment, trying to find another can of beans. To date, I have never seen our pantry without a can of beans in it, waiting to be heated and eated.

VFD: (from inside the pantry) We’re out of beans?! That’s impossible!
#1: (on the couch, in the living room) That’s impossible!
VFD: You’re impossible!
#1: Your face is impossible!
VFD:  . . .

For the record, neither she, nor I, nor my face are impossible. But what may be impossible, is for her to have a long term relationship with a guy who isn’t VERY quick on his toes, in a verbal sparring contest. I think it can be stated with some authority, the love of sarcastic humor is well established in the latest generation of my bloodline.

Good Boy. Good Thing You Can’t Talk.

VFDDawg #3 got lucky twice today.  He got to eat spaghetti.  Twice.  Not two separate servings.  The same serving, twice.  Dumb dog, he ate a bellyful and a half, yakked it up on the kitchen floor, and left it long enough for DW to see the mess.  She declined to clean it up long enough for the dog to begin to have another go at his meal.  She started being grossed out, but I told her to remember it was just that someone had spilled a bowl of s’getti on the floor.  That worked.   She chilled out again.

Nevermind the dog had spilled it out of his gullet.  He was cleaning it up, so it was okay with me.  But it was a big helping and he had a light stomach.  He couldn’t eat it all at once (again).  DW asked me to clean it up as she was on the way out the door to take a couple of anklebiters somewhere.  I went back to the kitchen, and more of the mess had cleaned itself up.  I moved the furniture that was blocking access to what was left.  Came back a few minutes later and the rest of the spaghetti was gone, along with some old kibble that had snuck under the furniture.

Good boy.

I’d give him a treat but… I think he’s full.

If You Drive Like This, You STINK!

Driving protip: If you can’t see ANY oncoming traffic when trying to cross a 50MPH street, don’t zip out into the lanes at 30MPH.  Slowly ease the nose of your car forward until you can see what’s coming at you, or wait.  Don’t do with this jerk did to me this morning.

My little hot rod will usually come down from the top/right of this scene, then turn right onto the street heading to the top/left of the image.  Usually there is zero traffic here.  Today there was a concrete mixing truck and a concrete pumping truck trying to make my right turn, with a couple of cars behind them.  Decision: I’ll go straight and head on to the next place I can get around this block.  It’s going to be too slow to follow all these trucks and cars down the side street.  There was also a concrete mixing truck in the left-turning lane, also trying to go down this side street.

What I couldn’t see was there was a typical Central Texas driver sitting in the side street, wanting to make a left turn and go up and off the top/right of this picture.  Significantly, the driver of that car could not see ANY oncoming traffic in either direction.  Their view was entirely blocked by huge trucks and piles of stuff on the ground nearby.

So this genius decides to ZOOM across to the other side of the street.  A safe driver would inch out until they could see, or better yet make the right turn and go HALF a block down the road, and make a u-turn where there is a clear sight line.  No, they wanted to go by-god-right-now.  50MPH cross traffic be damned.

This is about where our cars were, the first time we saw each other.  And I’m going 50ish miles/hour here.  If I were much less attentive of a driver, this would have been a T-bone collision.  STRAIGHT into the driver’s door at 50MPH and they might well have died right there.  My whole day and car would both have been ruined.  I could give a [deleted] about killing someone when they deserve it, but I like my car.  They saw me and stopped IN the lane where I was going to be in half a moment. The truck waiting to turn left was farther away than the car suddenly blocking my lane, so I slammed on my brakes and cut left.  Physics declared I didn’t have enough room to stop, and the oncoming lanes were empty so I ditched left again.  I was ready to go up on the curb and empty sidewalk area across the street, but the lanes continued to be empty.

Suddenly, a wild car appears!  They were in the #2 lane or there would have been a nasty crash – me sideways with my passenger side, into the cement mixer to avoid the oncoming car.  But they were in the #2 lane.  I steered right and they steered right and nobody hit anyone.  Thank GOD.  The person who had been coming down the road behind me a couple of seconds ago was now stopped, waiting to see the movie-special-effects explosion of car parts.  As I was reversing into the left turning lane, they waved me into the lane where I had been a moment before.  Thanks, buddy!  Somebody with some courtesy around here yay!  Notably, the asshole who would have caused the collision had made their left turn and was gone.  Took off between the car that almost killed them and the one that almost rear-ended that one, and away like nothing happened.  Basterd.

Total elapsed time: probably 3 seconds.  Enough time for the airbags to deflate, if my car had airbags and I were as bad a driver as the other guy.  It seemed like it took a minute and a half, at the time.

I’ll Be In Town All Week!

DW went into the laundry room and turned off the light.  The garage lights shine through.  She opened the door and switched off those as well.  And slammed the door.*  She came into the lighted living room, saw the lit-up dining room, and three bedrooms and a bathroom, all with their lights on.  And our house is adequately lit by the evening sun, which was streaming in through the windows.  She asked the family (all congregated in the living room), “Why are all these lights on?!”

This seemed like a good question which really should have a good response.  I racked my brains.  Earth Day was last week.  Last week for Earth Day, I frustrated her a little with my mode of celebration – which is of course, leaving lights on unnecessarily.  But that was last week.  I couldn’t say it was Earth Day again!

VFD: It’s Earth Day!
DW: I’ts not Earth Day.
VFD: It’s Earth Day every day!
The Zoo: LOL

*The door has a stiff weather seal around it, and you either have to slam or close gently and push with a shoulder.  Everybody slams the door, or else it stays half-open and you’re air conditioning the whole world!

Eulogium Ante Mortem

As I type this, #2 is out in the garden digging a hole.  VFDDawg #2 is on her way tonight.

When #1 was around kindergarten age, old enough to be trusted not to hurt the dog, she would take the little thing to her bedroom for hours.  They would keep each other company while #1 would read or color or play.  #1 would dress her in cute little dresses of her own design, and ridiculously large bows, also of her own design.  This chihuahua never uttered a protest.  She never was one to growl, never one to snap at a child even when being poked at and her tail pulled, etc.  Even when other dogs would come around, she would bark of course (that’s the Chihuahua way) but she would never bite.

Last year she started losing weight.  She started around nine and a half pounds at full size.  Then from about October last year she kept shrinking.  Skinnier and skinner she’d get but she’s always happy to see the family come home, always wagging the tail and turning little circles waiting to be petted.  Sometimes she runs with one of her rear feet up like it’s hurt (“trigger foot”), but they all do that.  Sometimes she would get closed in the door by a toddler and get half a baby aspirin for a while until she was better.  Sometimes she would shit in the house and nearly be killed on the spot by the mistress.  But she was always such a sweet dog.  She would be your favorite thing in the world, if your favorite thing  happened to be a small, black, fuzzy lap warmer that likes to be scratched on the head but please don’t touch her ears.

And she finally got skinny enough to take to the vet.  Four and a half pounds.  Blood testing showed liver failure.  The smallest steroid pills you ever saw, cut in half, to help with nausea so she would eat.  And she started eating again too – but not putting any weight back on.  You can tell which are her poops in the yard, because they’re almost gray.  Her ears are no-kidding falling apart.  It looks like scabies gone wild on the edges, with chunks missing and the top edge of the ear flap just a raw sore – but it doesn’t itch, stink, or hurt her.  Her liver can’t maintain her skin any more is all.  Her coat lost fur in spots along her spine, then on her hips, and then everywhere in little dry patches.  The skin can’t hold fur any more.  She used to be as strong as any other little rat-dog, and would stand on her hind legs to grab a treat.  But she stopped doing that.  Then sometimes she couldn’t step up six inches to clear the bottom of the door to come back into the house.  You set her down gently and she collapses until she deliberately collects her strength to stand again.  Then she’ll shake herself -not as hard as she used to do- and wag her tail like nothing.

Her spirits remain high through it all.  A happy dog.  Loves attention.  Loves to come around when DW and #1 are on the floor, and get tangled up in their long hair like it was catnip.

And her ribs are showing through her coat.  And her waist is smaller and smaller.  And she has to think about it for a moment before she can come inside from the back yard.  And she doesn’t have any appetite.

This morning she staggers and can’t exit her kennel.  She can’t step up 3″ to get on the patio.  She can barely stay up just to walk straight.

VFD: She’s going.  She’s going Tonight.
#1: Yer gonna kill her?
VFD: Look at her.  Is it a kindness, to let her be like that?
#1: No.

Not So Bad, After All

New readers are encouraged to go read this old post first:

Go ahead.

I’ll wait right here.

It’s worth a few minutes.

All done?

Now we’ve fast-forwarded almost five years. The trees are gone from the culvert behind the house, except near the fences. The grass and weeds have taken root. It’s been raining on-and-off for a few days, and the creek is flowing again. This afternoon, it was muddy but not raining. Perfect for a traipse through the former-woods.


The former trees and a random smattering of the “forest” floor were covered in poison ivy. That’s all gone, replaced by clean grass and wildflowers. A few (already-failing) attempts at erosion control in the stream bed make for interesting play areas. So, today we went on a play walk. It’s less of an “explore” and more of a “play in the crik” but it was good.

Different, but good.

Time To Go Cold Turkey Again?

Mr. Coffee was recycled due to persistent failure to drip, even after cleaning. As an automatic-drip coffee maker, that was a pretty serious offense warranting capitol punishment. Just one problem:

I was used to his shit. He took too long to brew the coffee as his check valve was failing. Mr. NewPot gets it done in a hurry, and there’s no “over extraction” anywhere in sight. This means the same coffee run through this different pot tastes different. And since there’s no over extracting, the flavor is nowhere near as strong as the former Mr. Coffee was giving, with his 10-minutes-of-steaming-fail marathon coffee brewing sessions. So I’ve been experimenting with ever-larger loads of coffee grounds through the percolator and I think I’m noticing that the more coffee I use the less it works to reduce my sleepyness. A couple of years ago I took a month off* of caffeine and it restored my ability to exist without a pint of chest-hair induction potion. Maybe it’s time to do that again. Just one problem:

I have this pesky habit of looking up as I’m [activity]ing and noticing it’s well into the wee hours of the morning. And the wee hours of the morning is when I need to wake up to get ready for work. So I drink a belt of coffee, and make that a strong one . . . Something has to give here, and I suspect it’s going to be me, giving up that last couple hours of the night and the first couple in the morning. Well, giving up wakefulness during those times anyway. These times. Lordy I’ve done it again. Off to bed I go!

*”I’m not addicted. I can quit whenever I want. I don’t have a problem!”