Sunday, December 4, 2011

The Big Pink Thing ...

We live in a charming old neighborhood of Victorian-ish homes, most of which were built in the end of the 1800s. Some - a couple - are pre-civil war. We moved here because of the Artist Relocation Program. (It didn't have those incentives in place when we came, darn it.) Now the neighborhood is an Arts District, peppered with studios and galleries. You can read about Paducah HERE. This was our house when we bought it. (Complete with the lively pink Intent to Demolish notice on the front plywood.) And then the after photo, which is telling me I better get some decorations up.

(Stick with me, people, I promise it's worth it.)

See the porch roof and the columns way in the back on the right of the "after" photo? That is the entrance to Bill's gallery. There is no dog fence around that part.

Occasionally someone looking for the gallery will knock on our front door. This is no meager feat, as the gate is nearly impossible to open, because Delia could open anything that a reasonably intelligent human could. The gates are closed with horse stall hardware. On the inside. And there is a sign on the gate which announces "Dogs In Yard" and another sign stating "Gallery Around Corner".

Last Valentine's day my dear Bill proved beyond proof just how much he loves me. I am always freezing. I am the only one I know who thoroughly enjoyed her (all too brief) period of hot flashes because for the first and last time in my life I was warm. At three-thirty each day I felt like I was on a tropical vacation with hot sunny breezes enveloping my body. Heaven.

Back to Valentine's Day, 2011. Bill bought me a Hoodie Footie from Pajamagram.  We call it the Big Pink Thing. Here it is on a cachectic model:

(Can you guess where this is going? Not yet? Hang in there.)

In real life, it's not so pink. More chewed bubble gum flesh toned. 

So (here we go) yesterday I was sitting in the kitchen in my Big Pink Thing. See how on the model the ankles kind of sag? On me they sag much worse, along with the knees and elbows. With the hoodie hanging down in back it gives the idea of a Hunch Back thing going on. And the butt has to accommodate - amply - my fifty-seven year old derriere in all sorts of whippet-comfort-couch-positions, so it's stretched just a bit and hangs alarmingly. It is so warm and toasty and I become a large chenille comfy whippet bed and I did mention how I put it on in November and take it off somewhere around March or April depending on the temperature, didn't I? 

Sitting in my kitchen in my Big Pink Thing, eating my lunch, surrounded by somnolent whippets, I heard our front door open. "Huh," I pondered. "I thought Bill was in the studio. He must have stepped outside for a moment."

The dogs, who go ballistic whenever there is a knock on the door, raised their heads, experiencing the same puzzlement as I. But dogs have noses. They said, "That's not Bill!" and trotted over to the foyer gate to say hi to our visitor. 

I stood to see what on earth was going on.

In my Big Pink hoodie footie Thing. Without a bra.

The young man standing in my foyer and I did a silent Drew Barrymore/ E.T. scream. We stared at each other, not being able to process what our eyes were telling our brains.

My eyes to my brain: A nicely dressed, handsome young man has just entered my home without knocking. I have no clue who he is. I am wearing my Big Pink Thing. The dogs think he's a friend because he didn't knock. Thank God Luciano wasn't in the yard or he'd have eaten him.

Young Man's eyes to his brain: Oh My GOD IN HEAVEN what IS that? It's a horrible lumpy saggy naked woman with a hunch back and a million skinny woozle dogs. Run! Run for your life!!!

My mouth said, "Did you just walk into my home without knocking?" Obviously my brain wasn't yet fully engaged, because that was in fact indisputably what had just happened. And I was wearing my Big Pink Thing. 

The Young Man's mouth said, "Oh. Er. Uh." Which was all his mouth was able to produce while his brain continued to scream, "Avert your eyes before you turn to stone! Medusa! Get behind me Satan! Look at that .. no! Don't look. I can't help but look it's so horrid! Turn your eyes from it before it gets you! I thought the Zombie Walk was Halloween weekend!"

Young Man's mouth: "I. Uh. Oh God. I.  Uh. I've made a T.E.R.R.I.B.L.E. mistake. I. Uh." And then he was able to sputter in a last gasp sort of voice, "Art Gallery."

Normally when an embarrassed art patron comes to the front door by mistake, I invite them in, show them some paintings in the house and walk them across the breezeway and into the gallery through its back door. But I was wearing my Big Pink Thing and no bra and here came Luciano down the stairs realizing that something terrible was happening and perhaps the intruder needed to be bitten in the butt, thank goodness the gate into the foyer was closed. 

I tried to look normal in my Big Pink Thing with my mascara down my face and my boobs hanging somewhere in the vicinity of Northern Tennessee and my scary stick up hair. You know, casual chic.  "The gallery is around the corner. Go back out of the house and out of the gate and turn left." 

The Young Man's face still reflected the depths of the horror he felt, but he tried so hard to be polite. "Uh, I'm so very sorry. Art gallery. I. Uh. I. Uh. I. Oh. I. Art Gallery." He clutched his notebook or sketchpad to his breast, like a shield, as he backed away from the Apparition of Grotesque Pinkness. "I'm sorry. I'll just. Go. I'm uh. I'm uh. Uh. Have uh. Have a day. A nice. Uh. Oh."

And with that he got himself out the door. 

I watched him trot to our front gate, shaking his head, clutching his sketchpad shield to his heart.

I fear the poor soul will likely have nightmares for the rest of his days.

Hug your hounds and stay warm this winter.

Thursday, December 1, 2011

The Sun is Out ...

Poor little Tindra is going to be the only whippet in the history of whippets that thinks a walk is torture.

It has rained nonstop since her arrival to Western Kentucky. Non. Stop.

Some of it was warmish rain. That was bad enough. But on Tuesday it was bitter cold, windy, with a mix of biting rain/sleet/wet snow.


A brilliant member of the fabulous Whippet World group, (my scissors sister Christel of Cottage Hounds Coats and Jammies) , suggested taking a sleeve of an old coat or sweatshirt and cutting leg holes to make a coat for a young pup. Perfect! I had an old Goretex jacket, which Tindra's great grandfather Jazzbo had chewed a hole in years and years ago. I finally had reluctantly put it in the trash clothes bag (but hadn't actually gotten the bag to the trash - imagine that). I whipped it out, hacked off a sleeve, cut some leg holes and voila!

L to R: Delia, Jabber, and Tindra

Only it was a wee bit snug. I had to work on Wednesday, and I had worked the weekend so I was comatose on Monday, and I just felt like these dogs NEEDED to get out of the house on Tuesday. The grown up dogs (including 11 month old Jabber, whose puppyhood has been assassinated by the arrival of his sister/cousin) rejoiced! We're going for a walk oh happy day! Even Fat Charlie walked to one corner, crossed the street, and walked back. (Mama Pajama didn't budge from her warm, blanketed throne in Bill's study. Clever as ever, that one!)

Normally, the youngest puppy goes on several walks. I just take two adults and a puppy until all the adults have walked. Now, I have two puppies. It's just a lot of walks, but we get it done. (Occasionally in desperation and in deference to my aching nurse's feet, I break my own rule and walk four at a time, instead of my maximum of three. And pray for a minimum of squirrel/feral cat/loos dog encounters.)

Tindra didn't mind wearing her makeshift coat at all. (Whippets are all about warmth.) But when I headed out the gate and expected her to come with me, she balked. "You are not even considering... Oh you are an idiot human! No! You can't make me!" I pulled her through the gate, her four little legs squarely planted, her eyes squinting in determination. "Okay, you apparently can make me. But I don't have to like it. Oh merciful heavens HUMAN did you notice that it is spitting ice and freezing awful stuff on ourselves? And the wind is going to blow me over and I am going to die" (this in a long, pitiful wail).

Her walk-mates, Fat Charlie and Sam the Puppy Slayer, busied themselves with a hearty pee on the wilted day lilies. They celebrated the great good fortune of their walk, if not the weather. (Note re: whippets - try to bathe a whippet in nice warm water with the heat turned up and a cushy towel for drying and wrapping up in and they will tell you in no uncertain terms that whippets will melt and water is acid and someone had better call the animal control officer immediately and report your sorry ass for cruelty. But. Pouring rain, sub zero temps, and puddles on a walk/run/lure coursing/racing/hunt? No problemo!!! Buck up, wimpy human. Come on.)

Tindra hung behind us, contemplating her future adoptive home in Florida or the Bahamas after she called WRAP (Whippet Rescue and Placement) and reported me. This was a short walk, as mentioned already, so that Fat Charlie could feel like he'd been out and about. When we turned for home, Tindra surged to the front. "Well," she huffed. "Thank my Ancestors you came to your senses. Hurry up."

Imagine her dismay when I included her in the next walk, with her great, great aunt Delia and her brother/cousin Jabber. This time she jammed on her parking brakes in the kitchen. "No! No! No! I will NOT! Arrrrrrrgh! This is a travesty of injustice! Call the warden! Mr. Bill help!!! No! Oh NOoooooooooooooooooooooo! Where's my Nana Laurie! Mother!!! Father! Auntie Lindy! Someone make her stop!"

I must say, I am impressed with this puppy's homing instincts. She knew with each turn whether we were heading towards, or away from, home. Zoom to the front as we turned west. Slam on the brakes when we headed eastward.

I didn't take her on the last walk. Bad enough I had made her squeak when I struggled to get the sleeve coat off. It really was too small. Jabber marched happily along with his mother and father, looking at me occasionally to see if I realized that I had forgotten Little Bit. When we got home, the Little Bit was curled in a tiny whippet snail ball in her downstairs crate.

I opened her crate door. She opened one eye, halfway, doing her level best to ignore me. "I don't see any stinking Human. Don't even think of taking me out of this Safe Place." I picked her up. "Moannnnnnnn. Errrrrrrrrr." (Aren't puppy mumbles the cutest thing ever?)

I carried her upstairs to snuggle on our bed pillows while I took a hot shower and changed into dry clothes. (Yes, I did put on my Big Pink Hoodie-Footie, why do you ask?)

In the wonderful Way of Dogs, when she woke up, she had forgiven me. That and it was suppertime.

Today the sun is shining. Tindra and Jabber played in the puppy yard all morning long, though the temps are only in the mid 40's. Who cares? The sun is amazing and glorious and good for a puppy's soul. When she wakes from this nap, we'll go for our walks.

I'll be curious to see if she is mortified at the notion.

Hug your hounds and enjoy the sun whenever you can.