Friday, November 23, 2007

Oh Lord, I think I'm getting old!

It's been 22 degrees outside all day. It was about 30 at the high yesterday. And maybe 35 the day before.

I'm sick of the cold. I want it to stop. I don't want to spend the next 3-4 months removing two layers every time I take my fleece jacket off (I think fleece was invented by the people who brought us Velcro). I hate socks and I don't want to wear them. I hate alligator skin on my shins. Wool sweaters (and that includes cashmere) itch.

You probably can't tell, but I grew up here - I used to love this time of year. Ski season, football season, school in session, the full monty. And now, I want it to be 70 again; I don't care what the calendar says.

Blecch. Old age stinks.

Friday, October 26, 2007

In which Roscoe meets Pepe-le-Pew

So we were fairly sound asleep on Sunday, around 4 am, when Anneke decided (as it turned out later) that she was cold. Anneke is a Fox Terrier mix with a very decided opinion about things that she understands, and a vocabulary of noises (not barks; she can sound like anything from a pod of whales to Chewbacca) that she uses to ensure that we pay attention to her opinions. She began to groan, or possibly whistle, and we both woke up. My husband took the expedient interpretation: she's cold, we should let her out of her kennel and into bed with us. I was sleepier - did I mention that we'd only been truly asleep since 1? - and wanted to try something that kept the bed population down to the 2 humans level.

"Let her out," I said - grunted, really. "She needs to go to the bathroom."

I was persuasive. My husband let her - and more to the point, Roscoe, our Lab-Whippet mix - outside.

And it seemed like no time had passed before he let them in - probably because none had. She really was only cold.

As they came back in the house, I thought to myself that it was the first time I had ever been able to put my finger on the exact moment a skunk attacked something outside. We get skunks in our neighborhood about every couple of weeks, and notice their presence when we wake up - but I'd never been awake at the exact moment they let loose with the scent glands before.

Right on the heels of that thought came another - this one without words. Because it appeared that someone had started burning tires in our bedroom. That woke me up fully.

And then, Roscoe jumped on the bed. And we realized what had happened.

My husband and I can now be admitted as full citizens of the 21st century. Because we both got up immediately, and we didn't grab the dog and put him back outside, or head him into the shower, or anything even remotely practical. We headed for the laptop in the kitchen, to google the best skunk scent removal method that the internet could find.

In the meantime, Roscoe was madly wiping his muzzle on the sheets, the electric blanket, the pillows, the duvet, and the carpet in our bedroom. Letting this happen was, in retrospect, a fairly serious mistake.

As 4:30 rolls past at our house, we're washing the dog (okay, it was my husband doing the actual washing - I was more like the cheerleader and concoctor of cleaning solutions) - first with dog shampoo, then with the contents of four small cans of V-8 (which had been found in the refrigerator, so Roscoe really didn't appreciate them at all), and finally with the internet's best skunk remover - a mixture of Peroxide, baking soda, and liquid soap.

The internet knows best. By 6 am, Roscoe was the best-smelling thing in the house.

Suffice it to say that you can't pour peroxide on a lot of things, including human hair, so we didn't even try. We washed all of the removable bedding, except the down comforter (and we really should have sent that out for cleaning - but it's Fall and we need it!), sprinkled ground coffee in the carpets, lit a bunch of candles, and set bowls of apple-cider vinegar around the worst-smelling bits of the house (more handy household hints from the internet).

And it did get better.


Five days later, an observant visitor can sense that something funky has happened at our house, but maybe not exactly what. The bed has a decided odor of skunk when you pull the covers over your head - but it's better than the decided odor of burning tires that it had Sunday night.

Give us 6 months - and pray that Roscoe doesn't become overly curious about the strange smelly animal that attacked him. And that we remember to turn on the outside lights at night before letting either of them out.

Next time Anneke starts groaning at 4 am, she can get on the bed with us. She can have the bed.

Tuesday, January 30, 2007

through the air with the greatest of ease

My parents are possibly the coolest people on the planet at the moment.  It may not last, but I think my entire extended family believes this after Sunday afternoon.
It all started with a conversation between my sister, my sister-in-law, and me at somebody's family birthday party during the fall.  My sister has a desire (I won't comment on its sanity - well, I guess I just did, didn't I?) to jump out of an airplane someday.  And my sister-in-law has actually done so.  Anyway, we were talking about the whole subject of skydiving, and my Mom overheard us.
Flash forward a month or so.  My sister-in-law tells all of us that she has too much stuff and would prefer that we make charitable donations in her name for Christmas, instead of buying her something else to find room for in her house.
Sometime later, one of my parents' friends tells them about taking his entire family to the indoor skydiving place south of town.  And the whole thing gels all at once.
So, on Christmas Day, my parents sit the entire extended family down in front of a TV, and play us a DVD - their friend's family, indoor skydiving.  And present us all with gift certificates to do the same thing ourselves.
We went on Sunday, as a mob.  Eleven of us (out of thirteen) viewed the training video, suited up, and spent two one-minute sessions in a vertical wind tunnel, hovering various distances above the ground.  And drooling - a tolerable side-effect, but we all did it.
What's it like?  I wish I could describe it.  For starters, it's a lot easier than I'd have thought - once they turn the fans on, it's hard not to float.  The first task is to fall into the wind tunnel, fists beneath your chin.  Not something I'd try in just any room, but it actually felt like the right thing to do at the time.  Just lean forward and relax, and your arms open up and you're nearly in the right position without even thinking about it.
That's about the time you notice that your sinus cavities are filling with rushing air - it feels like you've just jumped feet-first off a high dive, actually.  But that's only a minor distraction, and on my second try, I didn't even notice it.
What I did notice is that I was grinning.  A lot.  I think I was even giggling on my second go - especially when the instructor did some tandem stuff that caused us to levitate into the top portion of the tunnel a couple of times.
I'm ready to go again - I want to learn how to float while standing and run around the walls of the tunnel like Spiderman, and dive headfirst only to pull up just in time.  Our instructor did all of these things after we were through, just to show us the possibilities.
Excellent Christmas gift - a George Foreman grill isn't even in the same league.