April 29, from Louie, early Day 30

Dear Pops,
 
Mom says you’re so close to comin’ home, you might not get any o’ my letters no more, but just in case you do, I wanna give you a heads-up so’s you’re not shocked to your very bones when you arrive.
 
Corporate America ‘n’ the government has responded to our terrible orc attacks with typical wrong-headedness. Instead of sendin’ their helipcopter gunships after the orcs ‘n’ wipin’ ’em out once ‘n’ for all, they’re wipin’ out the trees!
 
CAN YOU BELIEVE IT????? 
 
Despite the dismal drizzle this mornin’, Mom faithfully loaded me up in Mr. Rav so’s we could get a muddy hike on the Towpath, but gosh, Pops, we almost didn’t make it over the bridge. As we was chuggin’ up the hill, suddenly there was dozens of smoke-belchin’ cherry-pickin’ anti-tree trucks to the left o’ us, ‘n’ even more dozens to the right, ‘n’ they was all convergin’ on Lafayette Drive, where all the ‘lectric transformers is nestled in a lovely line of oak trees. Mom was so thunderstruck by this unexpected display of evil machinery that she could barely squeeze Mr. Rav over the bridge, ‘n’ we collected many many vile comments about women drivers from the hulkin’ men leanin’ against their Davey ‘n’ FirstEnergy ‘n’ Asplundh trucks.
 
Mom grit her teeth ‘n’ hit the gas, ‘n’ we finally squirted free, but she was shakin’ her head most sorrowfully as we swung out on Merriman. “Oh, Louie,” she said. “This don’t look good.”
 
‘N’ she was right, ‘cuz an hour later when we made the turn back onto Palisades, there was even MORE regiments o’ trucks idlin’ on nearly every street o’ our allotment, ‘n’ platoons of grimy-faced men armed with chain-saws was marchin’ over the bridge to Lafayette.
 
Pops, they’re gonna commit mass treeicide, as sure as I’m sittin’ here typin’ on the computer, ‘n’ me ‘n’ Mom is quiverin’ with indignation. So, OK, maybe a coupla branches should be removed so’s the orcs don’t cut off our power no more, but this is waaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaay overkill. We have no idea how many trees is gonna die, but we never SEEN so many trucks before, not even at a Truck Stop of America.
 
They’re all deployed around the bridge right now, but we can hear their saws grindin’ ‘n’ their smoke is rollin’ down Tamiami right to our very noses. Mom’s afraid that by the time she leaves for that EWP, there won’t be no trees left on all of Lafayette (not to mention our own Canyon Trail). We are both most sad, Pops, ‘n’ we wish you was home to go give them tree killers a big piece of your mind!
 
Your outraged,
 
Louie 
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Published in: on April 29, 2011 at 11:59 am  Leave a Comment  

April 28, from Louie, Day 29

Well, Pops, them body-snatchin’ orcs is so dumb, they didn’t learn nothin’ the other day when they tried to suck away all our electric juices ‘n’ me ‘n’ Reggie ‘n’ Rocky WHUPPED their butts instead.
 
They snuck in before dawn today ‘n’ tried to do it again!!!!!!
 
Me ‘n’ Mom was sleepin’ cozily in the  big bed, finally catchin’ some ZZZZZ’s after the riotous thunder boomers at midnight, when suddenly I was jolted awake by —
 
SILENCE!!!!!
 
No furnace rumblin’, no ice box grumblin’, no clocks tick-tockin’, no night lights hummin’ — just SILENCE!!!!!
 
Well, I knew immediately what was up, ‘n’ I tried to nudge Mom outta bed so’s we could launch a counterattack, but she just mumbled, “Oh, pffffft, Louie,” ‘n’ rolled over back to sleep. So it was HOURS before I could get out ‘n’ reconnoiter our situation.
 
When Mom finally debedded ‘n’ hauled her heavy coat outta winter storage for our mornin’ walk, she admitted that our circumstances was most dire — especially since once again she couldn’t cook no coffee. ‘N’ once again, Mr. Rav was trapped in the garage. But she was most hopeful that somehow Chris Eck would swoop in ‘n’ save us before she had to go to that EWP.
 
But I had no such hopes, ‘cuz I could see them electricity-thievin’ orcs lurkin’ behind every bush. We was most seriously outnumbered — ‘n’ the neighbors was so flummoxed by this second surprise attack that they was all hidin’, too. I couldn’t make contact with no one to plan our gorilla warfare!
 
I must admit, Pops, as hours stretched into days ‘n’ days stretched into weeks ‘n’ there wasn’t one single light bulb twinklin’ in any windows, I almost gave in to despair. The orcs had the psychological upper hand! They had caught us with our garage doors down ‘n’ our flashlights unbatteried. ‘N’ poor Mom once again was forced to call for an outlaw taxi to take her to that EWP.
 
She tearfully hugged me goodbye, ‘n’ urged me to be brave in her absence, ‘cuz even though it was dark ‘n’ cold out, someday you’d come home with all the sunshine of California in your pocket. All we had to do was hang on!
 
Well, hangin’ on is fine, but it’s also kinda wimpy. So as soon as Mom was safely outta the picture, I broke into the cupboard ‘n’ hauled out my secret weapon.
 
MILKBONES!!!!!!
 
Of the LARGE variety!
 
Mom thinks I don’t know how to get outta the house when she’s away, but she’s terribly wrong. So grippin’ the Milkbone box in my mighty jaws, I slipped out the back door, leapt over the fence, ‘n’ slithered to this doghouse ‘n’ that, recruitin’ a mighty K-9 corps, some Rockies, two eagles scoutin’ the Little Cuyahoga ‘n’ even a deranged turkey. We deployed to the park next door, laid a temptin’ trap of Milkbones around the swing set, ‘n’ buried ourselves in the dead leaves ‘n’ acorns so’s no one could see us.
 
‘N’ our plan worked perfectly. Orcs, as you may not know, can’t resist Milkbones. There’s nothin’ nearly so tasty on their planet. So just as they was launchin’ their final assault on Canyon Trail, the scent of Milkbones seeped into their snotty snouts, ‘n’ instead of snatchin’ bodies, they blindly converged on the swing set.
 
“Get ’em, boys!” I hollered. ‘N’ we all sprung outta hidin’ ‘n’ with roarin’ barks ‘n’ gnashin’ teeth ‘n’ laser sharp talons (the eagles, you know), we herded THOUSANDS ‘n’ THOUSANDS of orcs to the back of the park, ‘n’ we drove ’em over the edge, where they splattered themselves quite fatally on the railroad tracks. It’ll be WEEKS before the Scenic Railroad cleans up that mess, let me tell you!
 
Well, I got many high-fives for leadin’ a brilliant counterattack ‘n’ after promisin’ each other to do a neighborhood barbecue in the near future, we all slunk back to our homes before our humans could figure out what we’d been up to. THEY thought FirstEnergy had come to the rescue ‘n’ they cheered Corporate America as the lights come back on. Hmph! Us animals know better.
 
I was pretendin’ to be my usual goofy self when Mom come home, breathlessly happy to see a lamp burnin’ in the kitchen. ‘N’ she give me a sloppy hug, ‘n’ immediately proceeded to the cupboard to pull out my dinner food.
 
“Louie,” she said in sudden perplexity, “didn’t I have a big box o’ Milkbones sittin’ in there?”
 
“Milkbones?” I said innocently. “I don’t think so.”
 
Well, she planted her hands on her hips, ‘n’ she looked at the empty cupboard, ‘n’ she looked at my round tummy, ‘n’ she looked back at the cupboard, ‘n’ just when I expected her to yell at me for stealin’ the Milkbones, she got a big smile on her face ‘n’ she patted my head most handsomely. “Louie, you’re an American hero,” she said solemnly. “You saved the day.”
 
Aw, shucks, Pops, I can’t put anythin’ over on Mom.
 
Your star-spangled,
 
Louie.

Pops replies: 

Oh, Louie, you are such a brave and smart guardian of the home front. I don’t think Mom has any idea about all the many, wonderful things that you do while she’s at the EWP. As a reward, you get one fatty, grisly, drippy t-bone steak bone and all the sunset hikes we can manage in
May.

Pops

Published in: on April 29, 2011 at 12:43 am  Leave a Comment  

April 27, from Louie, Day 28

Pops! You’re never gonna believe this!! Mom took an extra special vacation day, just for ME!!!
 
‘N’ we’ve had some most astoundin’ adventures ‘cuz of it!!!!
 
First off, NO SQUAWK BOX! Me ‘n’ Mom just snored away in the big bed until we both felt like gettin’ up, ‘n’ it was most refreshin’ not to be jarred outta our slumbers by that @^#$B$# squawkin’!
 
Second off, it wasn’t rainin’ — yet. So Mom hustled me into my ever-so-gay rainbow collar, ‘n’ we  dashed off to the dog park before the big black clouds squattin’ on the Carneys’ roof could bust ‘n’ drown us. ‘N’ the park was most happily populated by the old gang — Fat One-Eyed Annie ‘n’ Jake ‘n’ Marley ‘n’ Shadow ‘n’ Rascal ‘n’ Buster ‘n’ Dingo of the Herniated Butt. ‘N’ Dingo’s dad was so glad to see us, he shouted “Louie!!!!!” ‘n’ give me a most vigorous scratchin’ behind the ears.
 
Well, we thought we was gonna have us a rip-snortin’ romp in the mud, but we’d hardly done one lap around the perimeter when some female human with a VERY ill-mannered dog showed up. He was growlin’ ‘n’ barin’ his fangs before he even got in the gate, so all us dogs IMMEDIATELY began roundin’ up our humans, ‘cuz even One-Eyed Annie could see this snarlin’ interloper was gonna be trouble. ‘N’ one by one, we skedaddled outta the gate whilst our humans tossed unkind but thoroughly justified remarks at the bad dog’s human. (‘Cuz, after all, it was ALL HER FAULT. She shouldn’t’ve brought such a maniac into the park!)
 
Our excursion to the dog park was cut so short that I was still pretty clogged up (if you get my drift) ‘n’ as soon as we got home, Mom took me to the park next door ‘n’ just as I was gettin ready to relieve myself, a TURKEY flapped up the hill on the t’other side o’ the fence. Boy, Pops, turkeys is one ugly bird, even if they are mighty tasty. So I temporarily forgot about poopin’ ‘n’ barked ‘n’ lunged ‘n’ dislocated Mom’s osteoporetic shoulders. But it was worth it, ‘cuz that turkey gobbled in terror ‘n’ flew most ungracefully down the hill, ‘n’ he’ll never come round messin’ with Louie again, let me tell you!
 
I wanted to go hunt more turkeys (thinkin’ about maybe a fat drumstick for dinner), but the sky got so dark then, it squished the sun right outta our galaxy, ‘n’ the wind started howlin’ ‘n’ Mother Nature swept in for a furious menopausal hissy fit. Me ‘n’ Mom just made it to the garage before tree limbs begun flyin’ by like the Wizard of Oz ‘n’ raindrops the size o’ bowling balls splattered the driveway. Me ‘n’ Mom huddled on her recliner, our legs ‘n’ arms wrapped around each other, ‘n’ I buried my snout in Mom’s hair as the roof shuddered ‘n’ the windows rattled ‘n’ the breath was sucked right outta our lungs by the ragin’ storm. It was one humdinger, Pops, ‘n’ I was most  grateful Mom was home to share it with me.
 
Eventually, Mother Nature run out of breath, ‘n’ we all settled down for a well-deserved afternoon nap.
 
Later, after me ‘n’ Mom dined on a most healthful salad full of lettuce ‘n’ other green things, we ventured outside to survey the damage, ‘n’ Pops, it was considerable. Many MANY tree branches littered the yard, the rakes ‘n’ brooms had been flung willy-nilly against the fences, the daffodils had been demolished, the tulips had been clipped ‘n’ — sorry, Pops — your fine handiwork on the shed had been ripped from its moorin’s ‘n’ was lyin’ in the mud. A most sorrowful sight.
 
But we was alive, so we done what all good survivors do. We took another walk so I could poop!
 
Oh, Pops, the devastation in the neighborhood was as bad as our back yard. But even though the sidewalks had hardly dried up, Mr. Barbara was bravely holdin’ up under the tragedy, haulin’ a trash can around as he picked up all the foreign sticks ‘n’ leaves that had landed in his yard. 
 
It was garbage day, ‘n’ Mother Nature had blown many many cans into the street, so as we was walkin’, me ‘n’ Mom put on our work gloves ‘n’ dragged them cans back to the devil strip, ‘cuz they was a multi-car traffic pileup just waitin’ to happen. ‘N’ after we finished our good deeds, we come home ‘n’ rewarded ourselves with the last of the shepherd’s pie (burp!) ‘n’ a little splash o’ red juice.
 
Now we’re gonna curl up on the couch ‘n’ wait for Survivor ‘n’ — hey, wait a minute, what was THAT??????  
 
Oh, good gosh almighty — there’s Rocky crawlin’ into the island!!!!!
 
The NERVE o’ that guy!!!!
 
Gotta run, Pops. I GOTTA GO RIP OUT HIS THROAT!!!!!!!!
 
BAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAARRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRKKKKKKKKKKKKKKK!!!!!
 
Louie.  
 

Pops replies:

Oh, Louie, Mother Nature has been unkind to you and Mom this Spring — perhaps you need to have a talk with her and find out what’s botherin’ her so much. Well, Pops can’t write much this morning. We’ll talk later.

Pops

Published in: on April 27, 2011 at 6:57 pm  Leave a Comment  

April 26, from Louie, Day 27

Dear Pops,
 
Me ‘n’ Mom both come down with a most unusual ailment today — MOST unusual — ‘n’ we’re countin’ on you to send us many tips on how to treat it.
 
As Mom already told you, we had a VERY unrestful night. If it wasn’t the thunder boomers keepin’ us awake, it was the sinister shadows dancin’ in the front yard, lookin’ most seriously like deer ‘n’ turkeys ‘n’ BEARS!  It was my sworn duty to bark my fool head off at all of ’em, ‘n’ I just can’t tell you how many times Mom toddled grumpily down the hall ‘n’ grumbled, “Louie, come back to bed. There’s nothin’ out there!” 
 
Of course, she was terribly wrong. There was MANY things out there. I just couldn’t figure out what they were! So I barked madly at anythin’ that moved, ‘n’ neither one o’ us got a decent night’s sleep.
 
When the box beside the bed started squawkin’ at the crack o’ nine-thirty, we was both dog (hee hee hee) tired, but there was no rest for either of us. Mother Nature ‘n’ her best pal Sarah Palin had decided to take a nap about then, so there wasn’t any rain ‘n’ there weren’t no lightnin’ bolts ‘n’ the thunder boomers had got laryngitis, and thus (cool grammatical construction, huh, Pops?) no excuse for Mom to beg off a hike. She sighed ‘n’ hauled on her mudders ‘n’ I sighed ‘n’ slipped into my hip waders, ‘n’ Mr. Rav drove us to Sand Run for a much-needed depoopin’ mission.
 
Sand Run might not’ve been a good choice, ‘cuz even though the rain had gone into remission, the trail was still pretty darned muddy, ‘n’ me ‘n’ Mom was slip-slidin’ every which way into the forest. But we persevered, clawin’ up this hill ‘n’ that ‘n’ poopin’ as the mood struck us. (Well, I pooped. Mom don’t do that kinda thing ‘cuz she’s a lady.) ‘N’ in between poops, I was zigzaggin’ all over the place, ‘cuz the rain had kicked up so many smells, I was just delirious.
 
But it seemed to be takin’ us an AWFUL long time to get to the turnaround point. We’ve done this trail many many times in the past, ‘n’ it’s one o’ the routes that YOU would call quite wimpy, but our progress was in inches, Pops, not in miles. My zigs turned into plods, ‘n’ I huffed ‘n’ puffed up a mediocre hill, draggin’ Mom behind me, ‘n’ suddenly, I started to swoon. Something maladaisical seem to come over me, ‘n’ my many feet felt like many blocks o’ lead, ‘n’ the unusually bright sunshine turned into a blur of fresh spring greeness, ‘n’ I looked over my shoulder back at Mom ‘n’ said, “What the heck??????”
 
‘N’ Mom wasn’t doin’ no better, even though she was in T-shirt ‘n’ shorts. Her face was red with exertion, ‘n’ great drops of sweat was drippin’ off her brow, ‘n’ I thought her wobbly thighs was gonna collapse beneath us.
 
“Louie!” she gasped.
 
“Mom!” I gasped back. “What’s goin’ on?????”
 
Mom looked around frantically at all the April vegetation, ‘n’ the steam risin’ up offa my slick black coat, ‘n’ the sun blazin’ down through the leafless trees, ‘n’ she said, “Good gosh almighty, Louie. I think we’re …. HOT!!!!!”
 
‘N’ she was ABSOLUTELY RIGHT!!!! What with that terrible long winter (you remember it, Pops, when the snot froze in our snouts durin’ our Sunset Walks?) ‘n’ the cold, rainy spring, the feelin’ of HOTNESS had just been chased outta our brains. We was like innocent babes in the forest, clueless about the dangers of heat  ‘n’ overexertin’ ourselves, ‘n’ all we could do was pant ‘n’ pant ‘n’ pant ‘n’ tear off our extraneous clothing. (Well, Mom tore off her clothin’; I didn’t have none to dispose of, ‘cuz as you know, my lovely black hairs aren’t easily removed.)
 
“Mom,” I gulped as I fought off the insidious effects of sunstroke, “what shall we DO?”
 
“We shall turn back IMMEDIATELY ‘n’ hide in Mr. Rav,” Mom decided, ” ‘cuz he has air conditionin’. I think,” she added tremulously, ‘cuz we’ve never turned on Mr. Rav’s air conditionin’ before, so we weren’t absolutely convinced it existed.
 
But we did an about-face nevertheless, ‘n’ retraced our sweaty steps, ‘n’ it was a most arduous journey, ‘cuz our life juices was just leakin’ outta us ‘n’ I got a painful reminder of why it’s a bad thing to be black in Northeast Ohio.
 
But just as I was about to curl up ‘n’ die ‘cuz of the heat, we come around a bend, ‘n’ THERE WAS MR. RAV!!!!! ‘N’  Mom whispered in my ear that she had cleverly tucked a water bowl under his back seat, so I called up the last o’ my energy reserves, ‘n’ we bolted for the car, where I spent many, many minutes guzzlin’ up water whilst Mom fanned herself with my leash.
 
‘N’ as we drove home, Mr. Rav blasted us with so much cold air, icicles was hangin’ from my jowls as we turned into the driveway.
 
Now don’t get me wrong, Pops, I’m not complainin’ about the lack of blizzards ‘n’ ice storms, but neither me nor Mom was prepared for this meteorological change in our circumstances. So we’re countin’ on you to come home ‘n’ train us for the rigors of summer.
 
Otherwise, we just might melt into black ‘n’ white puddles o’ goo on the Towpath, ‘n’ won’t that be an ignominious end to our existence?
 
Your very hot,
 
Louie.

Pops replies:

Oh, Louie, you might have to head back to Mom’s shower and lay on the tile floor for a while. Oh, woe is you. Don’tcha miss all the lovely icicles now? How ignominious. How maladaisical. How meteorological? How many multisyllable words does Louie know?

Fortunately, there was Mr. Rav to the rescue.

Pops.

 
Published in: on April 27, 2011 at 1:04 am  Leave a Comment  

April 25, from Louie, Day 26

Well, Pops, the Denizens of Canyon Trail is nothin’ if not resilient.
 
You mighta missed the news bulletin out there in the forests of the Stanislaus, but the Weather Underground has declared that the thunder boomers won’t stop until Mother Nature resigns her membership in the Tea Party, ‘n’ since Mother ‘n’ that soccer mom Sarah Palin is bosom buddies, THAT won’t never happen.
 
So me ‘n’ Mom ‘n’ the neighbors just threw up our hands ‘n’ paws ‘n’ decided to get on with our ever-so-curious lives in spite of the rain.
 
‘N’ that meant even though it was pourin’ mutton chops ‘n’ mallards this mornin’, Mom took me on a TRIPLE DOUBLE neighborhood hike (through the neighborhood ‘cuz Mom prefers wadin’ down the sidewalks to wadin’ down the trails). We saw many peculiar examples of humans perseverin’ despite encroachin’ floodwaters.
 
Like the landscapers who was diligently sprayin’ chemicals on the grasses across the street, even though the storm was washin’ their lethal concoction into the sewers faster’n they could spray it.
 
‘N’ the neighbor who was whistlin’ happily in the rain as he hosed the mud offa his picket fence.
 
‘N’ the bumblebees that was dive-bombin’ the bloomin’ crabapples, even though the raindrops was so fat, they was blastin’ the bees right outta the sky (‘n’ onto Mom’s denim bonnet).
 
‘N’ the yard fanatic who was mowin’ his grasses in between lightnin’ bolts.
 
‘N’ the mailman who was dashin’ through the downpour in his summer shorts (‘n’ never once pryin’ his cellphone offa his ear).
 
‘N’ the worms that was tryin’ to sun themselves on the sidewalks. (I musta gobbled up a TON of ’em!)
 
‘N’ the jogger who was SO wet, Mom said she oughta be arrested for indecent exposure. (I don’t unnerstand that one, Pops. Maybe you can ‘xplain.)
 
‘N’ the biker in midlife crisis, who just HAD to get his hog out on the road.
 
‘N’ the ice cream man, who come chuggin’ down Tamiami Trail, playin’ his cheerful tunes even tho’ all the juvenile delinquents was back in school this mornin’.
 
Oh, we saw MANY amazin’ sights as we slogged through our triple double city blocks, ‘n’ me ‘n’ Mom both agreed as we finally ducked into the foyer ‘n’ shook off many many drops o’ rain that human nature (‘n’ dog nature) is quite indestructible. Hand us a cabbage, ‘n’ we’ll make coleslaw.
 
Whatever the heck that is.
 
Your most soggy but perseverant,
 
Louie.

Pops replies:

Oh, Louie, for a dog that appears to be interested only in poopin’ and peein’, you sure do notice things in the neighborhood. I’m very happy that you are hangin’ in there, my boy. Soon, this cloud will pass, the sun will be shinin’ and all will be well with the world.

Pops

Published in: on April 26, 2011 at 12:47 am  Leave a Comment  

April 24, from Louie, Day 25

Well, Pops, as Mom told you, we’re standin’ at the back door, watchin’ the rain — again.
 
It’s so darned wet……
 
(This is where you say, “How wet is it, Louie?”)
 
That Mom’s thinkin’ of nailin’ a divin’ board onto the shed.
 
Mr. Rav’s naggin’ Mom to trade in his tires for some nifty water skis. (Can I take lessons, Pops? Can I? Can I?)
 
The Little Cuyahoga is petitionin’ the Department of Natural Resources to be renamed the Big Cuyahoga (me ‘n’ Mom don’t know where that leaves the Big Cuyahoga…..).
 
The city is replacin’ all the “No Parkin’ ”  signs with “No Swimmin’ ” signs.
 
Miss Sandra ‘n’ Reggie is comin’ outta retirement to pursue a second career in life guardin’.
 
The Neighborhood Watch group has been replaced by the Tsunami Watch.
 
There’s flamingos nestin’ in the back yard, ‘n’ walruses swimmin’ in the bird bath.
 
Me ‘n’ Mom has become just like the Feltners, livin’ in a houseboat.
 
My lovely paws is turnin’ into webbed feet.
 
‘N’ the Easter Bunny left us a rain check!!!!!
 
Seriously, Pops, it’s so bad, when Mom come home from that EWP, I BEGGED her to skip the Midnight Stroll. But, ohhhhhh noooooo, Mom said I’d been locked up all day with a big helpin’ of Easter dinner compostin’ in my tummy, ‘n’ we HAD to go walk before everythin’ come rumblin’ out onto the floor. ‘N’ as it turned out, she was right, ‘cuz we barely made it to the Barbaras before — whoops!
 
The worst part is, the Weather Underground says it’s gonna stay like this for DAYS — WEEKS even — ‘n’ it looks like me ‘n’ Mom is gonna have to hire a cruise ship to fetch you from the airport. But don’t you go worryin’, Pops, ‘cuz come heck or high water, we’ll be there. ‘Cuz Mom says it’s WAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAY past your turn to depoop Louie.
 
I think that’s an insult. I need to crawl up onto the big bed ‘n’ ruminate about that (‘n’ my Kibbles) while Mom reads me a bedtime story, OK? ‘N’ maybe by Saturday, I’ll dry out.
 
Your molderin’,
 
Louie.

Pops replies:

Oh Louie, Mom just means that when I get home, she gets the opportunity to dry out while I take you on your turns around the neighborhood — which is something I will happily do, even in the rain. This storm too, will pass.

Pops

Addendum from Mom, Day 25:

Dear Dad,
 
Louie just stormed out into the rain and pooped in the island.
 
That is MOST unusual behavior.
 
I need to go crawl into the big bed ‘n’ ruminate on this (‘n’ my shepherd’s pie) while Louie reads me a bedtime story.
 
Your perplexed,
 
Mom.
 
 
Published in: on April 25, 2011 at 12:49 am  Leave a Comment  

April 23, from Louie, Day 24

Ah, Pops, it was the perfect storm.
 
The perfect MUD storm!
 
(Hee hee hee.)
 
It rained all night, but the drips ‘n’ drops had nearly stopped by the time me ‘n’ Mom rolled outta bed. The Little Cuyahoga was still lappin’ at the back door, but Mom figured there was enough dry land SOMEWHERE that we could go out on a depoopin’ mission. The dog park was definitely out, ‘cuz it was under many many feet of water, ‘n’ the trails through the woods was most slippery ‘n’ treacherous, so we settled for a sloppy hike up the Towpath behind Brueger’s instead. It was a most adequate compromise, ‘cuz it was on the way to our many chores, ‘n’ the storm had chased in such muggy temperatures that both Mom ‘n’ me could shed our many layers of flannel ‘n’ hike almost naked. (Mom was dearly regrettin’ not haulin’ out her shorts, but I was secretly relieved for yet another day without the blindin’ glare o’ her Sta-Puf Marshmallow thighs).  
 
When we got home, the tidal waves o’ the Little Cuyahoga had receded to the point that there was only a half a gazillion lakes in the back yard, ‘n’ it was gettin’ so darned HOT that Mom propped open the back door so’s I could wander in ‘n’ out unimpeded whilst she scrubbed the house down for tomorrow’s big dinner with the Easter Bunny.
 
‘N’ that’s where she made her most egregious error.
 
Oh, I was most crafty. I patiently waited until all the dishes was done ‘n’ the kitchen floor was mopped of its most glarin’ mud spots ‘n’ the livin’ room rug was vacuumed free of all my extraneous hairs, ‘n’ just as Mom was declarin’ the house fit for human visitation — hee hee hee — I struck.
 
Mom disappeared into the laundry room, ‘n’ in the 97.3 seconds it took her to load up the washin’ machine  — 
 
I furiously dug three holes in the absolutely muddiest parts of the back yard, sendin’ tulips ‘n’ daffodils ‘n’ heapin’ helpin’s o’ dirt flyin’ across Mom’s nicely swept patio.

I dashed into the kitchen ‘n’ executed a perfect mudslide across the newly mopped floor. (I give myself a 9.7.)
 
I pounced onto the rug with all four o’ my slime-caked paws ‘n’ galloped up ‘n’ down the freshly vacuumed hall.
 
I shook myself madly ‘n’ deposited a muddy abstract on the walls worthy o’ that Bryan Guy.
 
‘N’ for my finale, I LEAPED onto the clean linens of the big bed ‘n’ rolled around in filthy splendor.
 
In 97.3 seconds flat. 
 
I was grinnin’ in all my ecstatic toothiness when Mom staggered into the bedroom in shock.
 
“LOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEE!” she howled. “HOW COULD YOU??????”
 
Well, it wasn’t easy, Pops, but (I must admit modestly) I proved myself worthy of the challenge. I wrecked EVERYTHING Mom had cleaned up for the holidays.
 
Isn’t that just SWELL??????
 
At the very least, I expected a pat on the head for my inventiveness.
 
Instead, Mom plopped down amidst the muddy sheets on the bed ‘n’ sobbed.
 
I don’t get it, Pops. I had a fantastically great time!!!!! Isn’t mud what April showers is all about?
 
So how come Mom is so bent outta shape ‘n’ threatenin’ to lock me up in the shed?
 
You know, Mom’s lost her sense o’ humor since you went away (‘n’ you gotta admit, it wasn’t very big to start with). Who CARES if the house is streaked with mud when the Boys come to visit tomorrow? Is it gonna detract from our shepherd’s pie? I think not! ‘N’ I had a GRAND mornin’ smearin’ mud from one end o’ the house to the other. You woulda had fun, too, if you’d been here.
 
So you gotta write to Mom ‘n’ tell her to lighten up ‘n’ appreciate my ornery dogginess.
 
Otherwise, she might not let the Easter Bunny leave me no liver-laced colored eggs ‘n’ pork rind jelly beans.
 
OK?
 
Your dirty,
 
Louie

Pops replies:

Oh Louie, Louie. Poor Mom.

If I were you, I’d start thinkin’ about how it’s gonna be when you’re back to livin’ with Paulina.

Pops

Published in: on April 24, 2011 at 1:10 am  Leave a Comment  

April 22, from Louie, Day 23

Louie gnawin' on bear bones.

Well, Pops, it’s funny you should ask about Bear Patrol, ‘cuz me ‘n’ Mom was just remarkin’ the other mornin’ that it’s been AWFUL quiet in the bear department since you left.
 
Either Mother Nature has thoroughly befuddled ’em with her refusal to let go o’ winter ‘n’ they’re still hibernatin’ or (gosh, could it be?) me ‘n’ the MIB has done such a good job o’ patrollin’ the homefront that they’ve packed up ‘n’ moved to the Yukon where they belong.
 
Take today, for instance. Mom took me down to the dog park 10 steps ahead of another downpour, ‘n’ the closest thing we saw to a bear was big ol’ Shadow of the hip disPLAYsha difficulties. (There was two terriers yappin’ around, too, but they hardly count as dogs, let alone BEARS). Once it REALLY commenced to rainin’, Mom ‘n’ me went off on some errands, ‘n’ though the price o’ gas certainly is worthy of federal investigation, there weren’t no bears hangin’ around the BP station either, only surly drivers gripin’ about the cost o’ feedin’ their cars. (Mr. Rav oughta be ashamed o’ hisself, the way he gobbles up seconds ‘n’ thirds at the table. I’d NEVER do that — well, unless it was wieners.)
 
I most diligently paced around the back windows when we got home, lookin’ for invaders whilst Mom did the dishes ‘n’ such, but there wasn’t even a Rocky to get me interested. (Well, really, Pops, it was so cold ‘n’ wet, even Rocky isn’t dumb enough to come out ‘n’ climb trees, so o’ course, there wasn’t no bears scratchin’ their backs on the lilacs, either. Although somethin’ mighty big must’ve been scratchin’ its back on the shed, ‘cuz it looks like them boards is about to fall again.) 
 
I got pretty excited once when Mom was in the shower ‘n’ it sounded like a real commotion brewin’ in the driveway, ‘n’ I barked so fearsomely, Mom come drippin’ down the hall with towels flappin’ all around her, demandin’ to know what was goin’ on. But it was only the mailman stuffin’ junk in the mailbox. (If the front window wasn’t so slobbered, he’d’ve got a big eyeful of Mom, but thank goodness, I made sure he couldn’t see nothin’.)
 
After Mom went to that EWP, I forced myself to circle the windows every hour, just to make sure there was no orcs sneakin’ up from the railroad tracks, but gosh, Pops, it was so wet outside, even the blue jays ‘n’ cardinals stayed indoors, so I saw nothin’ of a remotely nefarious nature.
 
The rain stopped just before Mom got home, so she couldn’t use THAT excuse for avoidin’ a Midnight Stroll. But there was no joy there, neither. We didn’t even run into the Chivalrous Neighbor. We don’t see him so much now that me ‘n’ Mom go to the Hiney end of the street, where the lightin’ is REALLY much better. O’ course, lightin’ really wasn’t an issue tonight, ‘cuz Mother Nature was givin’ us a light show of her own as she blew another storm our way, ‘n’ even while Mom was talkin’ to you on the phone, the thunder boomers arrived.
 
They’re poundin’ the house now even as I write, ‘n’ it’s rainin’ pelicans ‘n’ pollywogs, let me tell you. But bears?
 
Nope, Pops, we haven’t seen ANY bears.
 
‘N’ that’s most disappointin’, Pops, ‘cuz I was hopin’ to earn my badge in bearontology this summer.
 
Say, maybe I could go out to California with you in June ‘n’ major in WESTERN bears! ‘N’ by the time you ‘n’ me got home in September, Mom would’ve forgot all about that red quilt.
 
Whaddya say, Pops? Huh? Huh? Huh? Can I come live with you?
 
Your hopeful,
 
Louie      
 

Published in: on April 23, 2011 at 12:46 am  Leave a Comment  

April 21, from Louie, Day 22

OK, Pops, OK, I ‘preciate a good bargain nearly as much as you, especially when it involves wieners. But this Golden Buckeye thing is no laughin’ matter.
 
Yesterday, I learn Mom’s reeeaaaaaaaaaaaaaaallllllllllllllllly old ‘n’ today……
 
Oh, gosh, Pops, today I find out she’s DEMENTED!!!!!
 
She seemed normal enough when we took our mornin’ hike along the Towpath. OK, maybe she was whinin’ ‘n’ groanin’ lots more ‘n necessary ’bout her achin’ bones. (My bones ache some mornin’s, too, ya know, but I don’t go makin’ a big thing outta it. I just do my yoga, ‘n’ everythin’s fine.)  So anyway, we hiked many many minutes, ‘n’ then Mom took me on some o’ her errands, ‘n’ we was both in such a good mood, we was singin’ along with the radio ‘n’ stickin’ our heads out Mr. Rav’s windows. (Well, I was stickin’ my head out the window; Mom couldn’t ‘cuz she was drivin’, ‘tho I suspect Mr. Rav could handle the drivin’ all by hisself if he wanted to.)
 
I digress.
 
We had a lovely mornin’ travelin’ here ‘n’ there ‘n’ if you hadn’t ever met her before, you wouldn’t even know that Mom’s hair is much whiter today ‘n’ her eyes is much more wrinkly ‘n’ her shoulders is much more stoopin’. But I know, ‘n’ I was shiverin’ in concern even as we sung along with Bob Seger in multi-part harmony.
 
Well, after the errands, we did our chores, ‘n’ I kept a most sharp eye on Mom to make sure she didn’t stumble in her newfound feebleness. ‘N’ the only mishap was the nasty wrench to her shoulder sockets when she tried to toss a waaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaay too heavy basket of garden trash over the fence. (That most DEFINITELY was NOT MY FAULT!!!!!)
 
‘N’ then I crawled up on the couch for a nap ‘n’ Mom toddled off to do her Easter shoppin’. ‘N’ that’s when the trouble started.
 
She was gigglin’ like a chipmunk when she got home. “Oh, Louie, you’ll never guess what I just saw!”
 
I danced around her legs in grocery-shoppin’ anticipation. “Oh, what, Mom? A six-legged pickin’ chicken? A pig souffle? A double wiener pie smothered in gravy??????”
 
“Ten times better’n that,” Mom assured me.
 
There’s no such thing 10 times better’n double wiener pie unless — “Oh, Mom, did you get me a slab o’ ribs????”
 
Mom just made a face. ” ‘Course not, silly. I don’t like ribs.”
 
“THEN WHAT DID YOU SEE?” I demanded, nearly peein’ in frustration.
 
“Oh, Lou,” Mom breathed, ‘n’ she clapped her hands together in joy. “I saw a Volkswagen Beetle with Easter bunny ears three feet long!!!!!!”
 
“Oh, yeah, right, Mom, make fun o’ me,” I sniffed, and started to skulk away.
 
But Mom tugged on my tail ‘n’ made me turn back. “No, really, Lou, they was Easter bunny ears all blue ‘n’ fuzzy on the outside ‘n’ white ‘n’ pink ‘n’ fuzzy on the inside, ‘n’ there was one on each side o’ the Volkswagen’s head.  They was quite charmin’.” ‘N’ she smiled like a lunatic.
 
I was most unsettled, Pops, let me tell you, but since she’d brought home a pickin’ chicken ‘n’ busily proceeded to strip it, I stowed my fears in the back o’ my brain ‘n’ used the front to beg for chicken skins.
 
‘N’ things was goin’ quite well again until Mom suddenly looked out the window to the front porch, ‘n’ she stopped her pickin’ in astonishment. “Lou,” she said, “some turtle’s laid eggs right behind our evergreens!”
 
I stared at Mom in befuddlement as chicken skins hung from my jowls down to the floor. “A wqwerert g 6t askgh sfdgt9?”
 
“Don’t talk with your mouth full,” Mom admonished as she wiped the chicken grease from her hands. “Let’s go investigate!”
 
I was pretty sure by then that Mom had overmedicated herself, ‘n’ I couldn’t let her outside alone in such a state, so I let her bling me up ‘n’ dutifully followed her outside ‘n’ behind the evergreens where the birds give themselves dust baths.
 
Mom was cooin’ ‘n’ squattin’ down on her haunches. I rolled my eyes. Her imagination was gettin’ way out of hand. But just to be polite, I stuck my snout around her hip, took a great big sniff ‘n’ saw —

Three white stone nestled in a hole in the ground.
 
“Mooooooooooooooom,” I complained, “them’s stones, not eggs!” ‘N’ I shook my head in disgust.
 
“Well, of course, they’re stones,” Mom said irritably, “but we can pretend, can’t we? Wouldn’t it make a great story to tell Pops if we had turtle eggs?”
 
“We don’t have turtles,” I grouched.
 
“You’re right. They’re crocodile eggs!” Mom gushed. “You oughta call Tommy Lee right now ‘n’ inform him!”
 
“Moooooooooooooooooooooooom,” I protested.
 
“OK,” Mom said. “Not crocodile eggs, ‘cuz this isn’t Florida. They’re — they’re — they’re pterydactyl eggs!”
 
Oh, sheeesh.
 
“You’re the one who saw pterydactyls,” Mom reminded me.
 
Oh, double sheesh.
 
“They’re pterydactyls,” Mom decided happily as she stood ‘n’ brushed the dirt offa her butt, ” ‘n’ that’s exactly what you’re gonna write to Pops tonight. Won’t he be excited?”
 
Oh, AED*(G^&^E^%$#!!!!!
 
So here I am, Pops, writin’ to you about eggs that is really stones when my pickin’ chicken is gettin’ cold, ‘n’ I don’t know what I’m gonna do, ‘cuz ever since the Department of Aging declared Mom old, she’s been a blitherin’ idjit. I can’t handle the pressure. I can’t handle the responsibility.
 
You GOTTA COME HOME ‘n’ HELP ME!!!!!!
 
Don’t leave me alone with this crazy woman!
 
Please.
 

Louie

Pops replies:

Well, Lou, I think you are right. Mom has lost it. That’s a worry for you, I know. On the other hand, us guys gotta get used to things like this. The female specie is alien to us, I know, but that’s just our burden to bear. (Speakin’ of which, have you been on Federal Bear Patrol, lately?) Oh, I digress. Lou, don’t try to understand Mom. Just help her through this dementia the best you can.

Pops

Published in: on April 21, 2011 at 8:08 pm  Leave a Comment  

April 20, from Louie, Day 21

Dear Pops,
 
We have a serious problem here on the home front.
 
Mom is old.
 
The state says so.
 
I never realized before just how ancient she is. Why, this mornin’, when the box beside the bed started squawkin’, she IMMEDIATELY rolled over ‘n’ give me a most vigorous belly rub to greet the new day — just like always. ‘N’ when she finally crawled outta bed to cook coffee ‘n’ let me out for my first pee o’ the day, I didn’t think her whinin’ ‘n’ creakin’ bones was any worse than usual.  (You know, you humans ALWAYS creak when you get outta bed.) ‘N’ even though the rain was most dismal ‘n’ depressin’, she never ONCE suggested that we skip our mornin’ hike. (We went down to the Towpath behind the house, to see whether the Little Cuyahoga had swollen up to flood proportions. It was lookin’ like a real river, but not so big as to prompt either of us to start buildin’ an ark.)
 
In fact, our hike was quite satisfyin’. I got to poop many times, ‘n’ Mom kept up with me most admirably. OK, we only did a mile, which is practically nothin’ by YOUR standards, but we had a very nice time snifflin’ at the spring wildflowers (they made me sneeze) ‘n’ munchin’ on the fresh green grasses (they made me barf) ‘n’ listenin’ to the birds chirp (they made me hungry).
 
‘N’ when we got home, Mom dived most enthusiastically into the daily chores, scrubbin’ down the shower stall ‘n’ scourin’ out last night’s meaty fryin’ pan ‘n’ tossin’ dirty clothes this way ‘n’ that ‘n’ vacuumin’ all the muddy spots on the rug. I thought she was just a WHIRLWIND, ‘n’ at one point, I even begged her to slow down ‘cuz I couldn’t keep up with all the dust that was flyin’, ‘n’ the smell of all her cleanin’ agents was makin’ me quite light-headed.
 
‘N’ she no sooner got done cleanin’ than she blinged me up for a nice double hike through the neighborhood, even though it was still drizzlin’ ‘n’ we both got quite damp. (I don’t need a dog wash for many, many months, Pops, ‘cuz I’ve been soaked all the way down to my nether regions every day this week. I couldn’t POSSIBLY get cleaner — if you don’t count the mud between my toes.)
 
Mom was so busy busy busy this mornin’  that I was almost relieved when she crawled into the shower for her pre-work ablutions, ‘cuz at  least then I could crawl up on the couch ‘n’ catch a nap without her naggin’ me to do this ‘n’ do that. Gosh, she can be a demandin’ housekeeper!)
 
But then it happened.
 
She was almost ready to leave for that EWP when the mailman come by, so she delayed her departure to thumb through the latest crop o’ bills, ‘n’ there it was.

An official government notice from the Ohio Department of Aging.
 
“Oh, @$^$#%$$#!” Mom said, ‘n’ she collapsed in her chair in a miserable heap.
 
“Mom!” I said in dismay, ‘n’ I tried to crawl up onto her lap. “What’s wrong?????” ‘N’ terrible images of a government moratorium on pickin’ chickens danced through my head.
 
Mom petted my head ‘n’ she tried to be brave, but her voice quavered when she spoke. “Oh, Louie, I’m officially old.”
 
“Whaddya mean?”  I asked in great fear, ‘cuz old isn’t good. Ask anyone who isn’t young.
 
Mom waved the official government envelope in my face. “You know what this is, Louie?” she asked.
 
“A snack?” I responded hopefully.
 
“In your dreams,” Mom said. “This is my — ”
 
‘N’ she gulped.
 
“This is my official GOLDEN BUCKEYE DISCOUNT CARD!!!!!!!!!!” she wailed.
 
I leapt back in horror. “Oh, Mom, NOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO!”
 
“Oh, Louie, yeeeeeeessssssssssssssss!” ‘N’ she wrapped her arms around my broad shoulders ‘n’ she wept.
 
Well, Pops, I did my best to console her. I licked her face up ‘n’ down, ‘n’ by the time she pulled herself together enough to leave for that EWP, she was covered in slobber.
 
But, oh,  Pops, I’m so afraid. If Mom is old enough for a Golden Buckeye Card (whatever the heck that is), what is to become of US? Who will take care of you ‘n’ me ‘n’ Uncle Bob ‘n’ Uncle Tim ‘n’ that Bryan Guy? Who will take care of our boo boos ‘n’ keep our wheelchairs well-oiled ‘n’ change our diapers when we poop in the kitchen? Who will tuck us in at night when we’ve had too many adult beverages? WHO WILL TAKE US TO BOW WOW BEACH???????
 
This is a most dire development, Pops, ‘n’ I eagerly await your advice.
 
Your discombobulated,
 
Louie

Published in: on April 21, 2011 at 1:21 am  Leave a Comment