Saturday, June 25, 2011

The Best Dog

Today is a sad day in the house of Utter Chaos. Our beloved Timmy has left us to go to his final resting place. There was never a better dog on this earth than my Timmy.

Timmy came to us as a puppy. I still remember the first time we saw him, curled up next to his mom (a Springer Spaniel). He was tiny, very quiet, and sweet. He had been named named him Poochie, but that name didn't stick. I have to admit, I thought naming him Timmy was weird, but we got him for the kids, and Jill named him Timothy -- Timmy for short. He didn't stay tiny for long, and his heart was as big as the rest of him.

Timmy had a penchant for food, and for running. He once chewed the entire lining out of my church coat, just to get to the one Hershey kiss contained therein. It was not unusual for him to help himself to any kind of food lying around, whether it was a steak, a cake, or his favorite -- chocolate. It didn't take me long to figure out the dosage of Pepto Bismol for a dog his age. We used it frequently.

Timmy ran away more times than I could count, but it wasn't to get away. It was to socialize. He would go flying out of the yard and be gone before you could catch him, only to come wandering back 10 or 12 hours later. At that point, he would flop down in front of the fireplace (he was allergic to our carpet) and sleep for several hours. I never knew what he did on those days off, but he sure seemed to enjoy himself.

One time, Timmy took off, and it was several hours before anyone realized he was gone. (This is a busy house and we simply missed it.) That night, he didn't come back, and I was worried sick. Next morning, we got a call from someone who said they had him. We got to their house, only to be told that yes, they had him, but he had taken off that morning. And oh, by the way, "he is the best dog." Yes, he was. The next day, the exact same thing happened -- he had wandered up to someone, they called, and he was gone before we arrived to get him. "And oh, by the way, he is the best dog!" Yes, he was. This went on for four days, till he finally was nabbed and taken, of all things, to our vet. Fortunately they recognized him, called us, and we got him back. After that, he got microchipped.

Twice he escaped and was taken to the Humane Society. The first time, we called to see if by chance he was there, figuring there was no way, because he hadn't been gone much more than an hour, and the Humane Society is 45 minutes away. They told us that they didn't think he was there, but we were welcome to come and look to verify this. We walked into the Found pets area where most people never go, and a caucophony of dog barking hit us like a wave. Somehow, in all that noise, Jill said she heard Timmy. I thought she was crazy, but I should've known better. I followed her as she quickly went through the rooms and straight to Timmy, who stood there wagging his tail like we had just gotten home. How Jill did that, I will never know.

Another time, I took the kids to Michigan while Dan stayed behind, working on a job at our church that required the BIG ladders. I was freaked out when he would call and tell me how high up he was, and what the view was like, so I just left town till he was done. I'm not sure how it happened, but Timmy got loose. I'm not even sure that Dan realized he was loose until he came trotting up to him at the church, wagging his tail like he hadn't seen him in days. I have no idea how Timmy was able to do that, because he had to walk about a mile, crossing two VERY busystreets in the process, but nothing was going to keep him from his family -- even if there was only one of us in town.

Timmy travelled well, so he went to St. Louis, Florida, and on several camping trips with us. He loved to ride with his nose out the window, and he loved being outside. It wasn't uncommon for him to lay in the front yard while I worked in my flower garden, only to stand up and stare whenever anyone walked by. He didn't usually approach them, but he did want them to know he was there.

As the years went on, he slowed down some, but what 14 year old dog doesn't? He could still chase a squirrel with the best of them, though. He was as deaf as a post in recent months, but would still come to the kitchen when the other dogs were getting treats. He was active and happy, hanging with his buddy Boo. Then suddenly last night, he took a turn for the worse, and the only real option was to put him to sleep, or he would linger in pain until the end. None of us wanted that. All four of us sat with him for a long time, stroking his fur while he slept on his blanket. They had sedated him just enough to relax him, and I was concerned that I wouldn't get to say a proper goodbye, but just before the final injection, he lifted his head and looked right at me. He was very drowsy, but he knew, and I know that he was saying goodbye. We all sobbed as he left us, knowing that there will never be another dog like him.

I will miss him terribly. There is a hole in my heart the size of a German Shepherd-Springer Spaniel, and nothing will ever fill it. But I do know that Timmy was the best dog, that he had a happy life, and that he was loved. And isn't that what it's all about?

RIP Timmy Utter. I love you.

Wednesday, June 08, 2011

Hi Ho, Hi Ho

So, since the man has departed the abode, I am left to do the fixer-uppin. I'm rather enjoying it, quite frankly. I've been working at painting every surface I can, because when I really looked around here, it was pretty wonky.

The living room is blue, but the entryway was never painted to match, s it's tan, with remainders of the old border still in there. The dining room was cranberry, but was painted tan a couple of years ago -- but the hallway still had one wall that is cranberry. The kitchen was painted green around the same time the dining room was, but the back hallway was still the original yellow the kitchen had been.

In short, my eyes were burning.

The outside of the house was painted blue a couple of years ago. It's always been blue, and I've never been enthralled with it. I decided to paint it as well, but when I did a walkaround, figuring that there would be minimal prep (since it was just painted by the man, and he's a painter), I found that there was exposed wood on the back porch that was peeling the paint, because it was never primed underneath, and worse yet, there is all kind of rotting siding on the sunroom.

I may've said a bad word or three.

So a couple of weekends ago, we ripped out the rotten stuff, which left exposed insulation which, oddly, had been installed backward. ::sigh:: Did I mention that this whole thing has been a learning experience? So a friend of a friend told me what I needed to do to make it right, and I went to Lowe's to get the stuff. Side note: the people at Lowe's are VERY helpful to the clueless.
So I bought this styrofoam-y sheathing that was maybe 8 feet long and 3/4" thick, without thinking about the fact that OH! I have a Toyota Camry. Not a van. This was gonna be an interesting trip home.

Luckily, I had bought some rope for a clothesline at the same time, so I thought I had it in the bag. I found out I was wrong, when I went out the doors of Lowe's and the wind gusted. I was pushing a cart, while carrying the sheathing in my left hand. The wind caught underneath it, it flew up like a sail, and almost took off to parts unknown. I couldn't grab it quickly enough because of the cart, so I struggled to get the whole thing under control without losing my cart into traffic. A couple of Latino men were crossing the parking lot, and one headed toward me, presumably to help. It was at that point that the styrofoam snapped. The Latino man looked rather crestfallen, as if to say "oh man, you just broke it BAD," but I just laughed and said "oh well, I can still use it and maybe it will fit into my car." He just looked at me like I was nuts.

So I got to the car and tied the sheathing on the top. This was no easy feat either, since I was alone and the wind was gusting like mad. It threatened to fly off a couple of times, and I think more than one Lowe's customer was amused, watching my antics. I finally got it tied down and headed home. Slowly. Not on the interstate. I realized a couple of blocks down the road that the car behind me was WAY behind me, as in, maybe trying to avoid me distance, so I stopped at the gas station on the next corner. Said car ended up following me in and drove by me very slowly, looking at me once again like I was crazy.

Sure enough, it was loose and threatening to fly off, so I tied it down, this time more securely, and headed off again. The same thing happened: the too distant car behind me, and a stop a couple of blocks away. This time I found that the sheathing was tied down better but was still loose, and the rope was now digging into it, causing long grooves to be cut into the side.

I wasn't going to be able to tie it down any better by myself, and I had nothing to lose, so I took it down -- it almost flew away again -- folded it into thirds, and shoved it into the back seat of my Camry.

When I got home, the wind had died down. I never saw another gust like the ones working against me, but it didn't matter. I won. And you know what? That busted up, groove filled sheathing is firmly ensconced in the side of my house, and it looks just fine.

Wind=0. Lisa=1. I win.