Monthly Archives: January 2009

‘S’nough snow

According to the Storm Lake Times, our liberal newspaper with unintentionally funny headlines, * Halfway through the snow season, the city’s snowfall is about double what would normally be expected for the entire winter.” Yeah. It sucks.

I had to clean the driveway three days in a row last week. The snow in my yard is over knee deep in the center, chest deep at the edges where the snow plow piles it up. The dogs won’t even venture into the yard, confining themselves (and their eliminations) to the cleared patio area. The garage door (regular doorway-door) was frozen shut the other day and I had to throw myself against it (with the doorknob turned to open–that part worked) a dozen times to open it. Now it won’t shut tight, so I have to keep the big door shut so the dogs won’t get out of the yard and I hope the small door isn’t damaged.

This is all very disheartening. I do find snow to be pretty, but I prefer to admire it on glossy calendar photos or on the tops of distant mountains.

And we won’t even talk about last Thursday, when the windchill was -44.

All this cold does make one want to eat warm, comforting things, such as oatmeal for breakfast, which I’ve had every day for at least two weeks. As you can see from the pics, it’s a popular meal choice in this household.

Don't bother me unless you're giving me more oatmeal!

Don't bother me unless you're giving me more oatmeal!

Let me lick the bowl. No, let ME lick the bowl. Good heavens, woman, give one of us that oatmeal bowl!

Let me lick the bowl. No, let ME lick the bowl. Good heavens, woman, give one of us that oatmeal bowl!

While the snow has been piling up, I’ve been trying a training method on Ricky. Well, I’ve been mostly reading and napping, but the training thing has been happening too. When I was visiting Linda, we watched a show called “Me or the Dog,” featuring a female British dog trainer. I liked her methods, which seemed successful and much less macho than Cesar Milan’s.

The problem in this household is that Ricky chases the cats, incessantly and loudly, and the cats mostly live in the basement (there’s a cat door) until bedtime, when Ricky is confined to the spare room. The woman on the show got dogs who “hated” other dogs or people to tolerate them by getting the dog in proximity with the offending creature and feeding the dog chopped up hotdog, so the dog learns that tolerating the offending creature means yummy treats.

I’ve been doing this, mostly in the kitchen because I can’t really force Astrid out of her comfort zone, and the results have been nothing short of amazing. If Ricky encounters Astrid in the kitchen, he won’t chase her. He sometimes does chase her from the rest of the house, but not as often, and she can be in another room, yowling her head off (she’s bitchy and vocal) and he doesn’t even pay attention. It’s a processed meat miracle, and here’s photographic proof:

Notice Ricky *not* trying to rip Astrid's guts out.

Notice Ricky *not* trying to rip Astrid's guts out.

And that’s what’s been happening here.

*the Pilot-Tribune is our conservative newspaper with unintentionally funny headlines

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Party like it’s 2009 —

— which I did, going to sleep well before midnight and sleeping in this morning. I may* take a celebratory nap later, as well.

I made it home from Peabody, KS without incident, and almost without one of the dogs. See, Kansas is 8 hours south and typically 10-15 degrees warmer. Also, there was very little snow on the ground, compared to 8-9 inches here. One day, it got up to 65 and I didn’t even need a jacket when walking the dogs. The Wetta household is also a meat palace — they (meaning BIL Leroy, mostly) eat meat 3 meals a day, which meant the dogs got lots and lots of fleshy nibbles. I had the dogs convinced that a bite of soy burger was decadent, but now they know better. So after I packed up the car on the final morning, I left the hatchback open and called the dogs. Ricky, who, while not dumb, has no foresight, merrily ran out and leaped in the car. Violet, however, walked slowly to the open door, looked out, and went back into the house. I had to carry her out to her no-meat, 8-hour-car-ride, Inez-wailing-to-Jimmy-Buffet doom.

Poor baby.

And speaking of poor babies, Linda and I reached a milestone that left me, at least, feeling a bit bereft. Due to dateless evenings filled with Bookworm and crossword puzzles,** my Scrabble ability has increased. In 2005, I recorded my Scrabble misery in song lyrics, but something has changed — I’ve gotten better or Linda’s gotten worse. At any rate, we’re pretty much matched now and most of our games were neck and neck. *** This saddens me — humiliting me at Scrabble is practically Linda’s job. I think she felt the end of an era as well — she called me “Grasshopper” a lot. Of course, if she found me a good, funny man**** and reduced my Bookworm/crossword puzzle time, next Christmas might be different. You get to work on that, Linda.

Finally, here’s a roll call of the animal life living in and around Chez Schaechterle (in alpha-order******, no less):

Astrid -- never, ever happy

Astrid -- never, ever happy

Ricky -- being 1/2 husky doesn't mean you don't get chilly

Ricky -- being 1/2 husky doesn't mean you don't get chilly

Squint -- she looks so normal when you can't see her fat tummy (come to think of it, that's my fashion mantra as well)

Squint -- she looks so normal when you can't see her fat tummy (come to think of it, that's my fashion mantra as well)

Violet -- owning the bed, which is why Ricky is on the sofa

Violet -- owning the bed, which is why Ricky is on the sofa

Zeke -- or as my nephew Michael refers to him, That Little Green Bastard

Zeke -- or as my nephew Michael refers to him, That Little Green Bastard

*in this context, “may” means “definitely”

**and how sad is that?

***our wattley, wattley necks….

****politically liberal and a sci-fi/fantasy fan would be good too. Tall, if possible. Not a smoker, must love pets*****

*****and now we see why I’m still single

******alphabetical, that is. We all know I’m the Alpha around here, closely followed by Zeke and Violet.