29 September 2011

Mind your step

Long-time readers will remember that when we moved to our new house two and a half years ago, I was heavily pregnant with Woody.  At that stage, I knew that if I put in some effort to teach Bullseye where to 'do her business', it would pay off and we'd be happy in the long run.  But I was too large and uncomfortable to put the effort in, so first one then another 'number 2' went on the back lawn.

Before we knew it, Bullseye had designated pretty much the whole lawn as a Dog Toilet and we've been picking up or avoiding the area ever since.  Her two favourite places are under the swing set (very bad) and the spot where I stand when I do my gardening (also very bad.)


Six months ago I formulated a plan to re-designate the Dog Toilet through an elaborate routine of:

  • giving Bullseye to my Mum and Dad for the September week we were going to be away
  • watering the lawn to minimise Dog Toilet smell
  • spraying the lawn with that smelly stuff that's supposed to deter dogs from doing their business in that spot, and finally
  • when the little hound came home, keeping her at the side of the house for a few days to re-designate that as Dog Toilet.  It's the best spot in the yard, I figure.

Crazy?  Yeah, but it was my best shot.  I don't care if you don't believe it would work, or if you tried the smelly stuff without success, I HAD to give the plan a go.  You understand?  It was either try it or don't.  Pull out all the stops, using a week where Bullseye was scheduled for a holiday away anyway, or just give up and keep stepping in the Dog Toilet. Okay?

I was prepared for it to fail because of a number of factors.  The dog going lame wasn't one of them.

Her stay in hospital was a diversion I wasn't expecting but I took it in my stride, sighing a deep sigh for the outcome of my Grand Dog Toilet Re-Designation as I did so.  Still, I was hopeful that I could continue with the plan once she was home.

And now - oh joy of joys! - the dear thing is home, much less fluffy and certainly less steady on her feet, but she's home!

And what did she do once she got back on her turf?

She went out to the spot under the swings, and did a celebratory dump.

It seems that the universe is laughing at me.

28 September 2011

The Hound is Home

Three days and MANY dollars later, Bullseye is back home.  She's still a bit slow on her feet and it will be a few weeks before we can take her for walks again but she's alive and we're all thankful for that.

She's looking quite funky her hew new summer do.  She's short from the neck down, showing off her Dalmatian spots in her white bits while her black is pure black.  I love her short coat, which is the sweetener for the fact that we'll probably have to clip her every August and keep her hair short until Autumn each year.  This way, we'll be able to feel ticks on her skin before they cause her too much trouble.

The paralysis tick that caused all the heartache (and cost) is languishing in prison.  There is no hope of rehabilitation and therefore there is no recommended parole period.  If she lays a trillion eggs now, they can perish in prison with her.

26 September 2011

Lame is the new black

Bullseye was sequestered from the family last night.  We had a makeshift gate blocking off part of the yard because we wanted her to stay there for a few days for long involved reasons that don't matter here.  She didn't like being further from her people, but I planned to take her for a walk (her favourite thing) every morning of her isolation, and we played with her all yesterday, throwing the ball for her to fetch (her second favourite thing) and slipping her treats whenever we passed (her third favourite thing.)

Last night, a few hours into her incarceration, I saw her at the back door.  She had escaped from her fence and come to join us and this made me feel sorry for her, but not enough to give up and let her back with us just yet.  I put her back in her fenced area where I'd put her kennel, sleeping mat, and food and water bowls and told her I would be back to walk her early in the morning.

Poor Bullseye.  As I lay in bed later, I heard it begin to rain.  I worried that she might find that particularly depressing, but assumed she would recover from that as soon as she heard me coming with her lead to walk her in the morning.  I went to sleep and didn't think much more about her.

I woke up early in the morning and went out to her, thinking she might be at the gate already, but she wasn't.  She is a deep sleeper and she's not really a Morning Dog, so sometimes the waking and stretching takes a little time.  When I rattled her lead, she woke up and poked her head out of the kennel.

Instead of her usual leg-extending morning stretch, she staggered out of her kennel and fumbled towards me.  Thinking she must have been wrenched from a deep dream, I told her to take it easy until she'd properly woken up.  But the next few metres of staggering told me she wasn't okay.  She was lame.

Now at this point, the fact that she'd never been sequestered from her people before matched up pretty neatly in my mind with the fact that she'd never been lame before.  I remembered how she'd been so desperate to rejoin us that she's escaped the night before, and I remembered my concern about her mental health once it started raining.

A big psychosomatic sook causing her legs to cease working, I thought.

We gave her a nice place to rest, plenty of water to drink, and lots of love for the next few hours.  But instead of getting better, she started getting worse.

It was then that we suspected that she may have a paralysis tick, and the rest of the day proved that she did.  Adding humiliation to insult, the vet shaved her from head to tail in order to find the tick that had attached to her neck under her collar region.  Tonight she is recovering in hospital and we are all feeling a little easier about the poor little hound.

But is it any surprise to you that Little Miss Jessie, she of the never-ending drama, awoke from her nap this afternoon moaning and complaining and grumbling, "Oh no!  I'm lame!  My legs don't work!"

She has been clambering about on her knees, grabbing furniture and walls for support and asking to be lifted up onto chairs because of her lameness (when she remembers she is supposed to be lame, that is.)

It seems that Lame is the New Black.

It started off quite cute, but now it's getting on our nerves.  What are the chances that next season, Mute is the New Black?

24 September 2011

Crustacean: 1 - Jessie: nil.

On the final morning of our time at the Sunshine Coast, Jessie begged me to have one more swim at the beach.  We had bought a Skim Disk the day before and she didn't want to leave without testing it out.  Although the final morning of a beach holiday is a tricky time to get wet and sandy, I decided to take her and Woody for one last visit to the beach before we packed and went home.

Things went wrong before we'd even decided where to set our towels and bags.  We were walking over the sand towards the flagged area when Jessie saw an interesting shell.  She had been collecting shells all week and carrying them around, worrying when she couldn't find her collections and getting cross when her brothers touched them.  So when she saw that she had stepped on a very large smooth shell half-buried in the sand, she bent to pick it up.

It bit her.

On the thumb.

Reportedly quite hard.

The 4-inch-wide crab, for that is what it was, grabbed her tiny thumb in its pincers, gave her a cautionary nip, and scuttled off across the sand trying to find somewhere to hide.

Jessie lost her mind.


Her eyes were dilated wide with fear and her little heart was pounding beneath her swimming shirt as she let out a series of panicked screams and started an odd skipping dance across the sand, trying to make the least contact with what she believed must have been the wildly crab-infested sand.

Woody, who shares a special bond with Jessie, saw the panicked crab racing away and heard his sister's screams of panic.  Believing that this was The Done Thing in such situations, he followed suit.

So together, they lost their collective minds.

"IT BIT ME!  IT BIT ME!  IT BIT ME!" they both screamed, skipping around me in random circles.  First Jessie and then Woody decided that they needed to get their feet as far away from the sand as possible, so they started climbing my body like a ladder, begging and pleading to be taken home and never forced to return to such a dangerous place.

Poor Jessie was absolutely terrified so I had been placating her since the ordeal started, telling her that the crab had just given her a pinch and there was no blood and no actual injury, and that the crab had got a terrible fright because he got stepped on ... but it was no use.  My soothing words were falling on deaf ears and Jessie as Woody kept up their screaming protests.

Now I am sorry about this, but at this point, I started to laugh. Perhaps the funniest part of all this was that Woody was copying everything Jessie did and repeating everything she screamed although he hadn't had any contact with the crab himself.

Perhaps it was the fact that if Jessie could stop going crazy for a moment, she would hear what I was saying and realise she didn't have to continue going crazy.  Perhaps it was that two children were climbing my body like a ladder, or maybe I was slightly hysterical myself.

Perhaps it was just that after a whole week of us pleading with her not to collect shells, it appeared that a random crustacean was going to have more luck getting through to her than two grown adults.

Whatever the reason, I started to laugh the sort of laugh that keeps going even when your lungs are empty and tears are pouring down your face.  I sat on the sand with two small children clinging to me screaming, "IT BIT ME!  TAKE ME HOME NOW!  I HATE THE BEACH!" and I laughed like a fool.

Then I noticed that although there were only a few families on the beach at this time, they were all looking at us.  Let them look, I thought.

Our new Skim Disk was the perfect thing to take Jessie's and Woody's minds off the abuses rendered by the crab and I spent a blissful hour pulling first one then the other child along, sliding along the sand and then hydroplaning in the shallow water.  The morning grew warmer and the sun started beating down stronger and hotter, so by mid-morning we packed up and headed towards the car.

Then it started again.

"THERE ARE CRABBIES (seriously - 'crabbies'?) IN THE SAND!  CARRY ME!  THEY WILL BITE MY TOES! LIFT ME UP! CRABBIES!" Jessie and Woody screamed as I lugged towels, bags and a Skim Disk towards the carpark.

Our path took us right by the lifeguard's hut.  As we got closer, the noise of the crying and screaming brought the lifeguard to the window.  He may well have assumed that my children had been badly stung all over their bodies by bluebottles or had perhaps lost some limbs to sharks.

"Uh - the little one got nipped on the thumb by a crab.  Thought it was a shell.  No skin broken.  Just ... a bit of drama," I sheepishly admitted as we trudged by.

As I packed children and accessories into the car, I thought about our much-anticipated beach holiday coming up after Christmas.  Will Jessie remember about the crab, and will she agree to try the beach again?  And more interestingly: will she ever collect any more shells?

As I drove off, I predicted that seashells might be safe from Jessie in the future.

21 September 2011

Always room for another phobia

We're at the beach this week, staying in cabins.

I've slept on many a bottom bunk in my life, but never before have I been scared that the top bunk would somehow fail in the middle of the night and crash down onto my sleeping body below.

Funny how things change.

15 September 2011

A bus ride with friends

Here is what the children got up to when Mr N and Miss L came to play today while Buzz was at school.

07 September 2011

joke.doc - File Not Found

Tonight my sister and I were on the Google Talk, discussing how Dad was so awesome to think about putting fertiliser on our roses for us.  Unnecessary for her, because she had already done it; necessary for me, because I'd spent weeks being sick and hadn't got around to it.

I knew that Mum and Dad had visited Crazy Sister yesterday, but when I saw her say that Dad had made the trek out to visit her, I couldn't resist the obvious retort.

Sadly, this joke appeared to "go through to the wicket keeper" and I was left with no recourse but to post it on my blog.

05 September 2011

Thookenspiel - you're doing it right

Today was Thookenspiel Day.  We have worked out that it is probably better used as chimes with each length of pipe suspended with string and struck with a hard mallet.  There is definitely an element of 'ching' there.

In order to suspend the lengths of pipe, I needed to put a hole through one end of each of them.  I only broke one drill bit in the process. Either I needed to use the masonry drill bit, or my bits are a little on the breakable side, given that it's the second drill bit I've broken.  The end of the first still resides deep within my back fence.

I couldn't find anything cooler to suspend them from than an old drumstick, and with than red 8-ply acrylic, but it works well.

Both Buzz' class teacher and music teacher proclaimed it a success, so I need to thank all my readers who voted to call the thing a Thookenspiel and carry on with the original plan!

[Insert photo of finished product here.  Oh that's right, I forgot to take a photo.  Silly me.]

04 September 2011

Google Talk message from my Dad

Dad sent a message via Google Talk to me last week.
"I used all of that awful-smelling rose fertiliser today and treated all of your roses to the east of the driveway, and it ran out after I'd done only the top rose on the western side, the one closest to the prickly bush that looks attractive with lovely sprawling branches that resemble waves washing down a lovely little mountain stream at the onset of spring before the flooding rains come which turn a humble little stream into a savage torrent that carries all before it and digs up the banks and pulls large trees away from the spots where they grew up starting from tiny seeds a long time ago when petrol was only 44c per gallon which is just under 10c per litre. That bush - picture the right one?"
I love my Dad! Happy Fathers Day!