Monday, December 28, 2009

Bander's Christmas Present

Meet Sandy.

Although we might change her name, because it's too close to Bander and they don't know which one we're calling. She's a half-lab, half-St. Bernard girl, about 2 years old. She's a good 30 pounds smaller than Bander-boo, which puts her at about 60 pounds.

Of course, just because we got him a girlfriend doesn't mean that Bander is entirely on board with the idea.

They're learning, and having the usual jostling for position. Well, actually, Bander is quite clearly the alpha, which doesn't surprise me a bit; but she's young, and has to learn not to be in his face all the time. It's only been 24 hours, and she's here on a one week trial, so we have time to see whether they work it out.

They do well chasing squirrels together. Bander spots them and barks, and Sandy runs over to see what all the fuss is about.

Friday, December 25, 2009

Happy Thanksgiving!

Jackie is prepping the Thanksgiving feast as we speak.

She had a dream that she left the giblets in the plastic bag and in the bird. Whilst I'm s'pos'd to be peeling apples and potatoes I have craftily, shrewdly, deftly, furtively, and almost succinctly, managed to be thrown out of the kitchen.

So, I would love to take a pilgrimage into the past, and discuss Jackie's Calvinist and Hobbes post from last Día de la Gracias.

You see, it's a true story, and it happened like this:

A long time ago, on a continent, far, far, far away (by yesterdays standards, for in those days, they measured distances by having someone run as fast as they can and yelling, "Faaaaaar!" and when you could still barely hear him, that was considered far; which is why mother's always told their children not to run off to far) a ship set sail for the Americas. It was a long and boring journey, and not really important to the rest of the story. But they got there and set up a colony.

There was this guy named John Smith, who met an emo tween named Pocahontas (which was not her real name, by the way). You might say they hit it off right away, he liked her 'cause she was young and exotic, and she liked him for all the bling he wore.

Her family did not approve, and decided to have him whacked.

Miss P. stepped in and saved him, of course. Her father, Wahunsunacawah (which means Capulet), forbade her from ever seeing him again, and that would have been the end of that, if not for John Rolfe.

True story.

Oh yeah. We're having turkey for lupper today because we were packing on the real Thanksgiving.

Thursday, December 24, 2009


Aaaaaand we're BACK!

A big shout out to The Geek Squad and our new router, and once again we join the computer age. Just in time for another rainstorm with dog antics, and just in time to wish everyone a Merry Christmas.

I might have more to say later, but right now I have to go deal with giblets. And probably the rest of the turkey while I'm at it.

(I may live in the South now, but I refuse to deep fry the damn thing. I will, however, serve biscuits. Mmmmmmm.)

Tuesday, December 15, 2009

Pluses and minuses

Plus: The pod arrived, three days early. Excellent!

Minus: Crap, it's raining. Gotta run through the rain with my belongings on my back like a crazed carpenter ant.

Plus: Got about half of it unpacked, and tomorrow will be the major furniture (such as it is).

Minus: Deepest puddle in the panhandle? My front driveway. Have to stand in it to close the gate after I pull the car in.

Plus: Hey! A Starbucks drive-through, with holiday latte flavors in season! Today we'll go with Eggnog. Gingerbread tomorrow.

Monday, December 14, 2009

Dog Heaven

Well, we picked up the keys to the new place this morning. The rooms in the house itself are smaller than we thought, but the floorplan is great and the garage/laundry room is ideal for my soaping needs.

The best part of the whole thing, though, is the yard. The wonderful yard. The front yard has this huge amazing beautiful tree:

Best part?

Dozens of squirrels live in the trees. As far as the Bander-Boo is concerned, this is winning the canine lottery. He was the happiest he's been since we loaded up the car a week ago.

I love the climate here, even rainy and foggy like it's been. We'll see how the summer goes, of course, but so far I'm really feeling good about things. This has been a long roll of the dice, but I think we did well. Change was upon us no matter what we did, so there was nothing to do but embrace it.

We'll see how we feel once hurricane season arrives.....

Saturday, December 12, 2009

Rain, Rain, Go Away

Well, it's raining on everybody right now, except the people who are being snowed on, so I guess it's too much to ask for the rain to stop just for us.

We're in the home stretch of our trip now.

A couple of notes about today's drive: one, the South is all really, really pretty. I've spent my whole life in either Nevada or Southern California, so deserts are what I find normal.

If you see a bucket of water in the desert, two people are about to have a two-year lawsuit over water rights to the bucket, during which the water will evaporate and one will sue the other for emotional distress due to the lost water. Also, trees are all managed carefully with a sprinkler system, and are spaced in a very careful grid, like the fake pores on band-aids.

So my first view of a Louisiana swamp had me gawping like I just saw Bigfoot riding a unicorn. Water and trees and green stuff for miles and miles. Gorgeous to look at, even if they are most likely full of bugs and squishy stuff.

I liked the greenery of Mississippi and Alabama, too, and downtown Mobile has a stunning skyline. Plus you get to drive over a finger of the Gulf, which is freaking awesome.

The only downside is that it was grey and rainy. But it didn't rain too hard, the dog once again behaved like a champ (thank god), and we made it safe into Florida.

Tomorrow we get to drive around and look at our new home.


Friday, December 11, 2009

Texas In My Rearview Mirror

Alarm clocks are for people who don't have dogs.

We enjoyed our day off in San Antonio. We looked at the Riverwalk, took a short sight-seeing drive, ate a ton of barbeque, and went to bed at a reasonable hour.*

At about five in the morning, Bander let us know that it was time to get up. Since there's no point in arguing, we got up, packed the cars, and took off. Part of our strategy was to miss any sort of rush hour traveling through Houston.

That turned out to be a good thing, because whoever handles road maintenance in Texas is on a wild tear-ass spending spree. More of the I-10 was chewed up and in the process of revamping in Texas than I could believe. I wanted to explain to the chowderhead in charge that instead of ripping everything out and then starting repairs, you do one freaking section at a time.

The crown jewel in the asphalt crown of freeway fuckery is the center of downtown Houston, where the I-10 - a major cross country artery that carries scads of long-haul trucks and a big chunk of travelers - is squeezed into a single ultra-narrow strip that clearly used to be the bike lane. It took quite some time to get through, and I can't imagine how long it would have taken during normal traffic hours.

We did indeed like San Antonio, but the traffic alone put Houston on the list next to El Paso of places that we don't need to visit again.

What seems endless hours later, and we've finally finished crossing Texas. We're in Lafayette, LA, and we found a restaurant that will deliver deep-fried alligator nuggets for dinner. Louisiana is pretty country, and they have fried gator.

I'm happier already.

Thursday, December 10, 2009


Maybe we can sleep tonight.

The long and winding road

So, you know that we hated our time in El Paso.

Two things you need to know about what happened next:

First, El Paso is barely over the edge of the Texas state line. It’s damn near New Mexico, at least as far as geography goes.

Second, Texas is big.



A complete pain in the ass to drive across.

However, since we had accidentally holed up in El Paso like bats in a cave, we were behind schedule.

We made good time today – 550 miles of it. From El Paso, we’re now in San Antonio, and in a MUCH nicer hotel.

The storm is over, the dog has relaxed, and all is well. Of course, we have thunderstorms waiting for us during the rest of the week, but we’ll cross that horrifying panicked dog bridge when we come to it.

In the meantime, we’re taking an extra day here to rest after the long day’s drive. We went through a part of the state called Hill Country – a much greener and prettier terrain than we’ve seen so far. If you’ve never traveled across the American Southwest, you may not realize how much desert there is – but trust me, there is an endless expanse of cactus and dust storms and sad dried up lizards. It’s nice to finally see the landscape changing.

Jessie and I are driving in separate cars, which is a pain in the ass because there are a lot of things to talk about and we’re too brain damaged to remember what we wanted to say long enough to get to the next rest stop. Among other things, we’ve seen a lot of cars with California plates, loaded up with the family belongings. Apparently we’re not the only rats leaving the ship.

I also saw a pickup truck loaded down with the back end of a pickup truck, towing a trailer made from the back end of a pickup truck which was holding a couple more back ends of pickup trucks. I guess there’s a thriving market for pickup butts out there.

And just in case anybody is wondering about yesterday’s dog panic – he’s better today. And yes, he’s on anti-anxiety meds. He’s seen a trainer (clicker method). We’ve consulted a veterinary behaviorist. I have indeed heard about Bach Remedies, DAP collars, and I’ve tried a vet recommendation of using Benadryl to sedate him.

As far as I can tell, he’s impervious to everything with the possible exception of a big rubber mallet, and I’m going to try that next.

Wednesday, December 9, 2009

We're Still on the Road to Morocco.

Oh dear Zod.
Passover El Paso...
...Passing El Paso...
...Pass the El Paso sauce...
...El Paso de la gone.

Any of these would have been better titles than:
Eleven minutes into yesterday, the Dog, the occasional center of our tiny universe, began to pace. Not surprising, as there was a storm a-brewing outside. We were at four thousand feet above sea level, or so, the winds were fierce and the walls were thin.

Pacing begat huffing, which begat panting, that begat twitching. This in it’s turn began a chain of dog bedroom olympic events:

1. Jump onto the bed. Points for distance, height and accuracy. If you can land on someone’s privates or sore spots, gain additional points.

2. Breathe Fire. Marks for huffing directly into the face and/or drool hitting between the eyes.

3. Sitting, timed event. Cumulative, bonus points for sitting on someone’s head.

4. Freestyle dance. Artistic expression, avoid the Russian judge.

Lather, rinse, repeat.

We tried everything we could think of to get and keep the dog calm. Jackie even tried going to the truck to see if that would convince him. Some time around three, we taped our eyes open and tried to make for better ground.

Which brought us to El Paso.

We were originally planning to have lunch and continue to Fort Stockton, I think it was, but ended up in a Motel, hoping to catch a few hours and press on. Another windy room, and Jackie was way too exhausted to continue.

So we stayed for the day.

It may be a lovely town, but what I saw off the I-10 did the city no justice. Abandoned buildings, the smell of industry, incessant trains, a giant sign pronouncing that Jesus Lives. It reminded me a lot of downtown L.A. or the back side of the San Pedro docks, sans the water.

Then I turned on the t.v. to hear that dry cleaning chemicals, rocket fuel and other crap was found in the local water. Not a pretty snap shot, sadly.

With winds gusting to 100 mph, w decided to stay the night, and let everything subside. We tackled the dog in shifts, alternating walking, and resting and sleeping and whining and bemoaning our lot, for something like 24 hours, without the cool ticking clock thing from that show.

The motel had cable, and HBO, even, so we watched ‘Taken’. A fun once movie, in my opinion, although it was on two or three times. Then we watched something with Brad Pitt that was absolutely fascination and engaging.

The winds died, and all of us passed out. At 5:30 this morning, we showered and escaped El Paso.

Did you know the speed limit during the day is 80 MPH in Texas?

Yeah, not fast enough.

Monday, December 7, 2009

We're on the Road to Morocco, Fer Shur

Captain's log, Stardate, somewhere in Arizona.

The dog is lost. No, he didn't jump out of the truck, he just can't find a proper piece of grass in all the rock gardens. He's apparently gonna hold it until we cross the mighty Mississip for some true personal time. That, and nothing smells right, I'm sure. I could have sworn the whole back end of California smelled like propane and propane accessories.

Thus our dog has this sad expression as we set down for the evening:

Were in the local motel; they advertised it as being in a town, but it really is a glorified truck stop with room service. I always thought that it was an elitist's exaggeration when all the tough guys, the wise guys, the paisans, et al, made fun of the local talent's marinara sauce turns out they were actually right.

Not that I'm an expert, but I ordered fettuccine alfredo and I got spaghetti noodles with (breakfast biscuit) gravy, and a few chicken fingers tossed in. Jackie says chickens don't have fingers, so Gods only know what they're really made out of, but my bet is either chicken butts or that little rubbery flappy thingy on chicken legs.

We're tired, there's some Carrie Underwood thing on the t.v. (the other choices being Telemundo recaps), the dog has claimed the bed and Jackie is soaking in the tub.

Did I ever tell you that wherever we went, we got the special extra tall toilet seats? The kind that make you think you're a little kid again? Yeah, the tradition continues.


Sunday, December 6, 2009

We're on the Road to Morocco, D - 1

24 hours and counting...
There are a few things still left to load. The washer and dryer, the couch and one dresser. If there's room after that, we'll squeeze in the microwave table and the computer desk 'n' chair. If there's still room, maybe we can load some of the spare lumber.

So, is it red sky in the morning, or is it just all the clouds?

Whilst taking the dog for his morning constitutional, I noticed that it's getting a little cloudy outside. A quick check at weather underground tells us that it's not gonna rain until tomorrow, but I better get my butt moving.

As a total side note, it's 50 degrees outside and 71% humidity, here in Oceanside. Right now in Florida, it's 45 & 70%. Just sayin'.

Saturday, December 5, 2009

We're on the Road to Morocco, D - 2

Less then 48 hours.

A third of the pod is loaded; all the non-furniture pre-boxed stuff that was ready when it arrived yesterday. We also got all of the workroom torn down and boxed, the half the bedroom and some of the garage.

We've been testy, argumentative, conciliatory, happy, grumpy, testy and occasionally at odds with each other. Mostly, its the bottleneck of this-or-that bric-a-brac that cries out to be done first, and foremost. You know, chicken or egg arguments in this true life scale Tetris game.

Today we tackle the big furniture, and all the cubby-hole items. I hope that one of us is still alive to pick up the dog tonight.

Yes, we sent him to daycare, because he lost his shit with all the ins and out and 'what? No walks this time?' that happened yesterday.

I mean, he has a nervous breakdown anytime we rearrange the furniture, so can only imagine the horrors that are racing through his mind as everything inside gets crammed into an even smaller house that is the pod.


I'd post pics, but I don't think 'Picture of Disarray' is all that interesting.

Friday, December 4, 2009

We're on the Road to Morocco, Part Zero

Well, soon enough.

But first, last night, we got an Omen:

Jackie had been trying to make as much as possible before we move, and that glop above was supposed to be 'Dead Sea Mud Salt Bars'. We definitely got mud and dead, but no bars. It was time for her to close up shop.

This morning, the buzzards began circling:

But before you get too excited:


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