Summer Dog

Standard

Our dog is far more of a cold weather dog than a warm weather one. It’s mostly his thick black coat. In cold weather, when there is snow on the ground, he enjoys bouncing through the snow, sniffing footprints and sneezing, and running crazily around us when we try to walk him.

In summer weather, like we’ve been having, he’s much more likely to sneak down to our basement garage, and lie on the cold hard concrete floor and go to sleep. He still enjoys his walks, but they take a lot more out of him. The part he likes back is either finding a puddle (there are a lot of them at the moment, we’ve had a lot of rain), or being taken down to the creek, where he can climb into the water, and lie down and get cool.

Usually, when I take him down to the creek, I get annoyed by the mosquitos, but they don’t seem to bother him. That coat of his is probably good for something besides keeping warm.

When the dog does stay up with us to sleep, he is far more likely to be sleeping on his back, to cool off his belly, than curled up in a little ball, like he does when it’s cold out. This, of course, invites belly rubbing, which he also loves. Usually. Sometimes he just gets up and wanders away when we try. Most of the time, though, he just lies there with an idyllic expression on his face (similar, but not identical to an idiotic expression on his face), and lets us rub until we get tired and walk away. Then he looks at us reproachfully. Sometimes that brings us back, sometimes not.

Over the Rocks

Standard

Over the rocks, over the stones,
Flows the rushing stream.
Here it runs, there it pools,
Reflecting the sun with a gleam.

Down its banks the dog and boy
Search for treasures in the sand.
Sight and sound, and touch and smell
Help them to find what’s at hand.

Here they dig, there they roam,
Over mud and sand and stone.
Soaked and filthy from their fun,
At last they run toward home.

Walking the Dog in the Snow

Standard

Our dog’s always been a cold weather dog. I think part of it is the thick black fur coat he wears all year long. In the summer, he suffers, and sneaks down to the basement to sleep on the cold, hard, concrete floor. He still does that in this weather, but not nearly as much. And he’s never quite figured out that he doesn’t need to sneak, we don’t care if he goes downstairs or not.

So, he’s really been enjoying the weather we’ve been having the past couple of weeks. I’ve been taking him out for long walks (2-3 miles) every morning. For the most part, he prefers to stay on the plowed road, but when I take him through the park, he’ll sniff at all the footprints he can find (even if they’re his from the day before), sneeze, then bounce all over the place.

Since we’ve had that broken water main on our street, they’ve been putting a lot of salt down on it. I don’t know what they put in the salt, or even if it’s really salt at all, but it hurts Rocky’s feet to walk in the melted salt water. He would look up at me piteously when we walked that stretch. Once we got up to the road that was just plowed, not salted, he was fine, and would return to his happy bouncy self. Even he eventually figured out what was causing his feet to hurt (whether or not he knew why), and started walking on the snow in that section, which was much easier on his feet.

It’s funny, you’d think that a 2-3 mile walk through the snow in temperatures twenty degrees below freezing would be as tiring for him as it is for me, but after the walk, he’d be all bouncy, and I’d have to “Grrr” at him to get him to calm down. This involves me standing in one spot, and saying “Grrr” to him, while he runs from one end of the house to the other, crazily. Then he comes back, and I say “Grrr” again. Apparently this is a really fun game. After a few minutes of this, he eventually gets himself a big drink, then goes and lays down, and can sleep the rest of the day comfortably.

Sometimes I wish I could do the same.

Fun walking the dog

Standard

Friday was Jonathan’s work from home day, but our internet connection, when it worked at all, was as slow as molasses in January. I believe I reposted Jonathan’s blog about that.

At least we had a better response from our internet provider from that than we did back in July, when they kept trying to convince us that it was our modem at fault, rather than their tower. (Though, to be fair, then we had an excellent signal, it just wasn’t connecting to anything.)

So, we had planned to go out to Panera that morning, so Jonathan could get more of his work done. But first, I took the dog for his good long walk, and Jonathan was planning on going down to the church to practice the organ, and then we’d go out afterwards.

So, I was surprised to see our car drive into the church parking lot as Rocky and I were walking by it. I had thought that Jonathan’d walk down, and back, to practice the organ. He waved, and started walking toward me, and I headed toward him.

Rocky was quite confused, as usually we walk around the edge of the parking lot, by the grass, rather than cutting across the asphalt, and he resisted that change a little.

It took him a few moments to realize that someone was coming toward us, and it was funny watching him gradually realizing that the person was my husband, and getting all happily excited. I know that the dog doesn’t see as well as we do (and rather assumes that we only see as well as he does), but I would have thought he’d recognize the scent sooner, especially since the wind was blowing toward us, from behind Jonathan. Still, though, it’s always fun seeing the dog do his happy/fun dance.

Turns out that shortly before (while Jonathan was getting ready to head down to the church, one of the construction guys had knocked on our door, and told him they’d be working on our driveway, and if we didn’t take the car out in the next 15 minutes, we’d be stuck there until after 3. (I think he was exaggerating, but that’s beside the point.) So, Jonathan took the car out.

Rocky was also excited when we walked by the car, which I think he recognized sooner than he had my husband, and jumped up on it, and looked in the window.

He wasn’t too happy when I tried to get him to go home after that. I think the problem was more that we were leaving the car behind us there rather than that we were leaving Jonathan. After all, if the car was there, it must mean we were going somewhere fun, right?

He also wasn’t happy when we got to the house, and had to cross the driveway pretty close to the guy who was using a circular saw on it. He never likes the construction equipment anyway, it makes too much noise.

Then, when we were in the house, they started using a backhoe to break up the driveway a bit more, and he kept looking at me for reassurances for that. Though by the time I left, an hour later, he had gone to sleep, so he could at least get used to the noise.

Water Main Replacement Update

Standard

Since Rocky is currently on “restricted activity”, we aren’t taking as long of walks as we were before, so we’re seeing less of the digging and pipe placement as we were before the Christmas break.

However, everything I do see makes me think it won’t be long before they do switch over the pipes.

Several times I’ve driven by someplace where the old and new hydrants are near to each other, and have seen them connected to each other with a fire hose. I’ve also seen water pouring out of various hydrants as workers stood around and watched. Other times, I saw water pouring out of a small wooden box. Both make me think that they’ve been doing pressure tests or leak tests on the new pipes. The new hydrants no longer have the white plate under the side nozzle, which I assumed was meant for any fire fighters to know it wasn’t a working hydrant. Which makes me hope the hydrants are actually working now.

Also, they’ve been digging up spots on the streets where they’ve previously laid the pipe. I’m guessing that they’re doing the final connections, and getting rid of the PVC pipes that they were using as markers (the ones that were still there, and hadn’t been knocked down or otherwise gotten rid of).

Recently I figured out that the construction equipment and pipes I saw in a fenced vacant lot near us was related to the water main replacement. I should have figured it out earlier, of course, but I hardly looked at it when we drove or walked by. It wasn’t until I realized that the six-foot orange pipes I saw lying horizontally had black caps at one end that I knew I was looking at fire hydrants, and then made sense of the rest of it.

If they are going through and connecting the houses to the pipes, then they probably will reach our street today or tomorrow.

I’ll let you know.

Busy Week

Standard

Well, it’s been an eventful week.

The hot water pipe in the crawlspace broke on Friday (ironically, just before the extreme cold spell hit), leaving us without water for most of the day. Fortunately, it was the same spot that broke a few years ago, which my husband had fixed with a “Sharkbite” connector. Actually, it was the seal on the connector which failed, so all he had to do was replace it with another Sharkbite. Easy enough, once we all figured it out, but we were without water most of the day.

Monday, Jonathan went in to the bone doctor, with his MRI results, and ended up getting his cast taken off one hand (and given a brace instead), and then they replaced the brace on the other hand with a cast.

Then the kids were off school again on Monday, and a couple of hours delayed on Tuesday, because of the “Polar Vortex” extreme cold.

Tuesday, I took Rocky out for his long walk, the first time I’d taken him out since the kids got off of school. Being a dog, he found the half hour walk in the cold and snow invigorating rather than tiring, so once we got home,  I was encouraging him to run around the house a bit to tire himself out. He got so excited he jumped up on the couch (a big no-no), and suddenly yelped, and went to hide in the basement for a while.

I kept an eye on him all day. He was mostly acting fine, but that evening, while my son was using Rocky as a pillow, and playing with his feet, he yelped and got away. Wednesday morning he mostly enjoyed the walk, though twice he laid down in the snow and licked his feet. I was assuming he got snow packed between his toes (always uncomfortable), but when we got home, I noticed he didn’t need to be chased around the house like usual, just went to sleep on his own. So, I took him to the vet, and left him there until he could be looked at.

The vet thought that maybe he broke his wrist (just like my husband!), so she wanted to X-ray him (ever notice how expensive things seem to show up and be necessary just when you’re trying to save money?). They didn’t see any breaks on the X-ray, so we’re treating him with restricted activity, and pain pills.

He doesn’t do well with restricted activities. He’s got too much bounce in him. Hopefully, he’ll be better in a couple of weeks, though. Not like the time shortly after we got him when he got a bad cut in his toe-pad that took months to heal.

Hopefully, next week will be closer to normal, and I can get back into my normal blogging routine.

Wintry Weather (Again)

Standard

 

We have a winter weather advisory today, and partway through tomorrow. So far, we’ve just had rain, though. Cold, icy, wet rain.

It started this morning, while I was walking the dog. I was going to be cutting the walk short before the rain started, I was hoping to get back inside before it got too bad.

It wasn’t really that cold out, but cold enough that it started freezing on various surfaces, and I started slipping. I didn’t fall, fortunately, but I was trying to go slow and be careful. The dog didn’t help any, he just wanted to pull me on. (If I were trying to go fast, he would have wanted to stop at every blade of grass and mailbox for a smelling session. Go figure.) This was on the north slope of a hill, going down, of course. I hate going downhill if there is any sort of slickness at all. A lady on the other side of the street came out with her trash, and put it by the side of the road, and then slipped and fell. If I hadn’t had Rocky, I would have gone to help, rather than just asking if she was all right (she was). But I’ve seen how Rocky tries to ‘help’ someone who’s fallen. He tries to encourage them to get up by first jumping on them, then grabbing an arm and pulling on it. At least he did a couple of years ago. Haven’t had much opportunity to see if he’s figured out any better method since then. I did keep an eye on the lady until she was up, and got into her car.

The water construction guys were working even in this weather.

Some places were slicker than others. I noticed that the slickest spots seemed to be within a couple of feet of places where the previous snow hadn’t been completely cleared off. I think that must have been connected somehow. The church parking lot was just glazed ice. As was our driveway, and front steps. But we got home all right.

Rocky looked completely bedraggled when we got in. Until he shook himself off, of course. Then he just looked fluffier than usual. There were ice-crystals in his tail fur before we came in. His tail is so fluffy, though, I don’t think the ice came anywhere close to his skin.

Oddly enough, he didn’t need me to “Grrr” at him this morning. After he got his customary cookie, he just found a comfortable spot to lie down, and went to sleep. I think it’s because he knows there’s a storm coming.

Ramblin’ Thoughts

Standard

It’s much warmer today than it has been these past few days. Why, the temperature might even make it above freezing!

That, and the fact that the sun is shining means that the little bit of snow that was sticking to the roadways will do a great deal of melting today, which always helps.

It’s good to see a clear blue sky again, after several days of grey clouds. It probably won’t last long, it being Missouri and all. It might snow again this weekend.

I’ve always liked looking at a clear blue sky through tree branches, whether they are covered with leaves or bare. It’s always been a soothing sight, especially when the sky is really blue (which usually means looking straight up at it, rather than along the horizon). I haven’t done that much looking up lately.

When I’m out walking the dog, I’m usually looking down and out, keeping an eye on him, the footing (especially if there is snow, ice, or puddles on the ground), and traffic.

Lately, of course, I’ve also been watching the water construction workers, on whatever stretch of the long walk they’re working that day. Even in the cold, blowy, days that we’ve had, they’ve kept working. Got to admit, that’s a hard job to do, even in warm weather. It’s got to be a real pain in cold, wet weather. And, I’m sure, when they finally finish in our area, and finally get the water switched over to the new pipes, they’ll just have to move on to the next area, and start over again, new.

The dog and I usually walk two, maybe two and a half miles every morning, depending. It takes us about an hour, if I rush the dog. He tends to have two paces, run as fast as he can, or stop and smell everything. I want him to go somewhat in between. I don’t think he understands that. What’s the point going for a walk if you’re neither going to run nor smell everything out there?

So, we get back from our walk, and I’m tired, but he’s energized. I’ve figured out that I’ve got to chase him around a bit (which mostly involves me standing in one spot saying “Grrrr”, while he runs around crazily) for him to work off that energy, and be able to settle. Once we’ve done that, though, he’ll sleep for hours. It must be nice being a dog.

Cold Weather

Standard

It’s gotten cold and snowy here the last few days. Not as bad as some other places, we probably got half an inch, at most, unlike the foot or more that I’ve seen people posting on their Facebook pages. Also, not ice, and not negative degrees, like I’ve seen other people posting about.

Still, trying to take the dog out for his long walks when the temperatures is in the teens isn’t much fun. It’s better when the wind isn’t blowing, but still.

Now, he’s a cold-weather dog. He just loves the snow (as long as it doesn’t pack between his toes when he’s walking, that’s no fun at all), and his furry coat means he doesn’t care much about the cold. He tends to suffer in the summer when it’s hot, though.

While we were out walking the other day, we went by one house where instead of the snow, one tree, two bushes, and a whole bunch of grass, were covered in ice. I had to look twice to make sure, then I saw where there was a steady stream of water coming up from the road. Suddenly, it was clear to me. Sometime during the night, a water pipe had burst, and geysered for a while, before making the break in the water pipe big enough to let the water stream out without spraying.

The water leak was already marked with orange cones before I got there, as well as being not too far from where they’ve been working laying the new water pipes (but far enough away that I was pretty sure they didn’t cause it), so I didn’t bother reporting it. And it was fixed a couple of days later.

With the snow on the ground (little as it is), the white PVC pipe that the water-construction people have left sticking up from the ground at various points are a lot harder to see. And I expect that once we get snows that really require plowing will run into and break most of those. I don’t know what those pipes are supposed to be marking, but I’m assuming that they’ve been marked on a map somewhere, and there will be enough left in the ground to figure out where they were when they need to take care of it.

Taking the dog biking

Standard

On the weekends, my husband tends to go bike riding with the dog. That’s what we call it. He rides his bicycle, and Rocky runs along beside him.

The dog really likes this. He doesn’t get much opportunity to run during the rest of the week. I take him on long walks, from which I come back tired, and he comes back energized, but I don’t run for him. But every time we come across a bicycle while we’re walking (which isn’t really that often), Rocky gets excited.

Jonathan and the dog had a few tumbles on the bike when they started, but once Rocky figured out some basic rules for biking, those incidents went way down.

But these past couple of weeks, they’ve been getting them again.

First, a couple of weeks ago, something decided to cross the road right behind them. Jonathan has no idea what it was, he just heard the leaves rustle. Why it didn’t just continue to hide until they were both further away, we have no idea. But whatever it was, Rocky decided it had to be chased, and went back after it, while Jonathan and the bike kept going forward. Rocky was fine, but Jonathan got some scrapes and bruises, and pulled his wrist.

By the next weekend, Jonathan had basically recovered, so he tried going out with the dog again. This time, Rocky took off running after something while Jonathan had the leash looped between his fingers on the other hand (not the one he had hurt the week before), and it pulled his fingers apart painfully.

Now the back of Jonathan’s hand is swollen, while the palm is bruised purple. He’s wearing a support on that hand, and the other wrist, until the bruising goes down.

I’ve suggested that they don’t do the bicycle thing again until spring.