I just spent 8 fabulous days in Peabody, Kansas, population my sis, her husband and son, and a few hundred other people. Took the dogs, who enjoyed one day of running on the green Kansas grass in sunny, 50* temperatures before it snowed, and snowed and, yeah, snowed some more.
Nephew Michael graciously walked Ricky a few times so I could concentrate on the true meaning of the season — playing Scrabble and stuffing my gob. And I did have a few Scrabble high points: I broke 300 points in one game, used all 7 letters another time, and beat big sis “all 7 letters on a triple word score” Linda several times. Of course, her game was a bit off. One evening, I beat her, Michael beat her, husband Leroy beat her, and the dogs were getting ready to challenge her * when she called it quits. She did rally, though, and in our last game used all seven letters to spell “beanery,” putting the “Y” on the end of “snuff.” There may have been a double or triple word score involved, too — my recollection is unclear due to envy and shame. I didn’t even break 100 in that game. It was clearly time to come home.
Presents were exchanged as well. The amount of gifting was perfect — enough to say “it’s a special day and I love you” but considerably less than “I hit the mall with my Mastercard and emerged from a daze driving down the parkway with a crapload of pointless gifts and 6 months of debt.” Linda received enough knitting supplies to keep a normal person happy for a few years and the average knitter satisfied for a couple of months. I received some wonderful knitting stuff too, and music, and organic chocolate, and much lovely miscellaneous. Leroy got hiking boots and hummingbird feeders, which makes him sound a lot more granola-y than he really is.**
Even the dogs got gifted. Well, their first gift was Linda and, especially, Leroy*** allowing them to come and stay for a week or so. They’d even bought Ricky a big doggy pillow, which Violet immediately staked out. Michael, however, did that one better. He bought Violet a bag of rawhide treats, which Ricky may share if Violet, who is a greedy bitch, doesn’t find out. Ricky got a high-tech shower nozzle/bath system, because Michael thinks it’s funny that Ricky rolls in things like deer entrails.***** And for Zeke, being boarded at the vet in Storm Lake, Michael wrapped up a very special chunk of coal with a tag that read, “Hey Zeke — bite this.” Because it was Christmas, he refrained from adding “you little green bastard,” which has been his pet name for Zeke ever since the bloody index finger incident of ’05.
So here I am, home again on New Year’s Eve. I *still* have a few bags to unpack. I’ve done the laundry, though, and restocked and de-smelled the fridge (note: birdie veggie mix with broccoli does not do well left for 8 days), given the kitties some love and picked up Zeke this morning from the vet.****** I’m going to make some navy bean and ham soup later, read a novel, nap with the dogs, walk them, and read some more. Chocolate (organic/free trade) and chips and dip may be involved. I expect to be peacefully asleep long before midnight.
A happy, peaceful 2008 to all.
*Ricky is confident that a spelled-out beagle yodel — awbarowowowooo — would handily (pawsidly?) win the game.
**Actually, he’s not granola-y at all. He’s more oatmeal-y. Instant oatmeal, quick and economical. The man votes Republican, for heaven’s sake.
***Leroy believes dogs should live outside in warm kennels to which they retire after they’ve flushed some pheasants or retrieved some ducks or, at the very least, had the decency to crap on the neighbor’s lawn and not his.****
****He was sighted, however, patting Violet’s head. Unlike Ricky, who is at least of working dog stock, Violet’s only purpose in life is to be cute and to refrain (mostly) from peeing in the house. But it was Christmas, after all.
*****Happened in early December. I was too traumatized to blog about it.
******He tells me he was terribly abused and unloved for 8 days, but I know they gave him fresh apple and the vet himself brought him leftover turkey. They even rigged up a set of vicegrips to keep his little sleep tent attached to the top of the cage, despite Zeke’s efforts to throw it on the floor. All this for $5 a day and all the blood Zeke can extract from their fingers as they feed him and change his water. I love my vet’s office.