Don’t Fool Around with the Census!

Ah…time to count noses for the 2010 Census.  I wonder how much the postage cost (us, the taxpayer) to send out not one form, but a heads-up letter to watch for the form in your mailbox and a postcard to double-check that you actually received the Census form packet.  That’s three mailings by my count.

Like most dutiful Americans we’ve filed our 2010 census questionnaire and are you as baffled by it as I am?  I understand why the government needs to know who you are and where you are.  Besides federal funding allocations and representation in Washington, D.C., census records will be useful 100+ years from now for those conducting geneology research.  But based on the questions, the government is eager to know if you’re offering safe harbor to people in your house who have nowhere to sleep and are, therefore, in your house on April 1, 2010.

The form is not difficult:  The Census Bureau wants to count every person living in the U.S. on April 1.  So, to respond to Question 1, first count everyone present on April Fools’ Day who sleep in your house.  This includes babies.  However, out here in Utah where the families are big and there may be many toddlers under, let’s say, 3 years old underfoot, moms don’t get to sleep. Do we count them?  

If someone with no permanent place to stay happens to appear in your house on April 1, count that person.  It kind of makes one wonder just how often that situation happens–a straggler in your house on April Fools’ Day.  Apparently, it’s often enough for the government to justify the question on the form.

With predictable governmental redundancy, Question 2 asks if there were additional people without a home staying in your house.  This must be really important and a constant issue.

Oddly enough, LDS families are not allowed to include children who are away on their overseas missions.  Being quite patriotic, this doesn’t sit well with them.  I’m not sure how the military count works.

Next they want a phone number, commenting, “We may call if we don’t understand an answer.”  However, you just try and find a phone number on the form if you don’t understand a question.  

The next question expands the information gathering re: your household and each person living at that address: family, friends, or strangers who are there because they’re part of the April 1 house-swapping phenomenon.  The government wants to know gender, age, date of birth, and ethnic origin.  Assuming the government pretty much knows all this already about you, answer carefully; it may be a test.

The final last question on page one wants to know if Person 1 lives or stays somewhere else, like in college housing, child custody or prison, or some other home where he’s a total stranger swapping houses on April Fools’ Day for the fun of it.

Whew, done with page one, so turn the page and there’s the same questionnaire for Person 2, except this asks how Person 2 is related to Person 1.  The choices include: spouse, adopted child, grandchild, boarder, roommate, unmarried partner, plumber who happens to fall asleep under your sink on April 1, or some random person just passing through as part of that address swapping experience.

Beyond Person 6, the form is streamlined to ask just basic information.  If you have more than that many folks under your roof, you probably don’t have time to be answering extensive forms anyway.

It’s a bit weird to fill out this form and send it into a nameless, faceless bureaucracy, even though we’re told it’s for our own good.  Still, someone should tell the people in charge that the average citizen might feel better about the process if the census count fell on some other day than April Fools’ Day.  The irony is just too obvious.

Published in: on March 29, 2010 at 9:05 pm  Comments (4)  

More Obits

Since the first Obits posting (see Nov. 11, 2009 to read background inspiration for this topic)  was so popular and generated nice feedback via comments and e-mails, I decided to glean more excerpts from the paper as there’s just so much material .  Read on…

W.B…. “Enjoyed golfing, four-wheeling, bowling, paintballing, and watching the Utah Jazz [pro-basketball team] (even when they lost)…W. left some pretty big shoes to fill and we will strive righteously to do just that.”

S.B…. “Was a fabulous seamstress and made costumes for a dance studio in Tucson, Arizona in the 1960s…loved animals, and the house was always occupied by at least a dog and a cat, and occasionally a snake or two.”

K.K…. “Cruella” [Followed by a bare-bones-just-the-facts write-up of necessary information and accompanied by a photo which speaks volumes!]

L.B…. “In 1943 she walked across an Oregon train trestle, carrying her wedding dress in a suitcase during a flood, to reach the chapel where she married B.B., her husband of 66 years.”

S.P…. [Photo looks like a grim Willie Nelson in oversized aviator glasses] Was married to B. for “34 wonderful years until [she died in 2000].  After B.’s passing, with heavy heart S. sought out and found his high school sweetheart B. [yes, another B.] and they had 10 wonderful years together.”

S.P…. “In 1920, when she was 2 years old, she lost her mother in a horse and wagon accident in Idaho.  Her father, who was lame from a broken hip, had to put the 7 children up for adoption. [How tragic!]   She was the last surviving sibling of her 6 brothers and sisters.”

A.F…. “Mother of 8, was preceded in death to Heavenly Father by a 2 year old daughter who died in her arms from measles in 1938. She was always comforted by the knowledge that she would hold her daughter once more in the spirit world.

M.F…. “He wasn’t afraid to burp a baby or change a diaper…M. was an incredible carpenter who could fix or build anything with his hands [is there another option?]…he built wild bird feeders and helped raise orphan birds that ended up in his backyard…and had stunning dimples.”

E.O…. “I was born in 1915, but it’s time to go home now and be with my family…After I retired, I worked at the Browning Gun Museum.  Now, I didn’t know beans about guns, but soon I was able to explain all about them to visitors…I also had a cleaning business of 4 houses each week until I was 90.”

C.R.S…. “…feared nothing and proved that by parasailing, scuba diving, snorkeling, hunting, and archery, capturing the State Archery Title several times.   Mom outfished every man that dared to go fishing with her.  She felt very fortunate in 1968 to draw out on a once-in-a-lifetime permit to hunt and shoot a buffalo in the Henry’s Mountain Range…the trophy bison head adorned a spot of honor on the living roon wall.  She enjoyed traveling around the world to visit family and friends, had the gift of gab and maintained her initials ‘CRS’ stood for ‘Can’t Remember $hit’ [transcribed exactly as it appears].  Alzheimer’s disease may have robbed her of her memory, but it could not strip away the love of her family.”

F.R…. “Loved by all…was best known for organizing spitting contests and heavy-duty tickling sessions.”

G.O…. “She was an active member of the Benevolent Patriotic Order of Does [The website reveals it’s the ladies part of the Order of Elks.] and was president in 1955.”

G.C…. “G. left to find a new ski run.”

C.T…. “C. will be remembered as an amazing storyteller, artist, singer and, of course, for her “The Chocolate Cake Song.”

C.E…. “In the Arms of the Angels”… “Granddad, Chuck, Old Fart [I’m not making this up!] or the Big Guy or whatever you called him will be fondly remembered.”

M.D…. “Died at age 88…but in her youth she was a roller skater and danced with a skating club called ‘The Scatter Brains’.”

F. “Fudge” I…. [Fill in Japanese names for initials] “Fudge had few interests outside of [his] restaurant business [of 60 years]; however, he did enjoy a cold Coors Light and cigarettes.”

A.W…. “Enjoyed eating out and one of his favorite restaurants was McDonalds.”

A.K…. “Art was her passion…from designing unique cabinetry and fireplaces to award-winning landscaping to oil paintings and pencil drawings.  Even in her last faltering days she could still draw well.”

J.N…. “Received her GED in her 50s and had 20 grandchildren and more great grandchildren than you could shake a stick at, along with one great great grandchild.”

M.P…. To get a sense of LDS mission callings (usually undertaken at around age 20, but sometimes older couples are called–actually assigned, there’s no choice or refusal here–by the ward bishop), read on: “She and her husband, parents of 12 children, retired in June 1991 when they were 63 and three months later left for Perth, Australia where they served an 18 month mission. After returning from that mission they were called to serve as ordinance workers [baptism by proxy of the dead] at the Ogden Temple.  Then they were called to serve a temple mission in Orlando, FL for another 18 months.  After returning home they were again called to serve in the Ogden Temple.  In 2000 they were again called on a third mission to the New York City–North Mission.  Upon their return they served one more time in the Ogden Temple for about 9 years.  [Whew!  And somehow they found time to travel.]  They enjoyed going on 7 cruises and did tours of the Holy Land, British Isles, and China.”  I have two questions, when did they enjoy grandchildren (with 12 kids in this devout Mormon family there must be more than a few) and how did they finance all those trips (LDS mission costs are on the missionaries and their families).

D.P…. “Gone Fishing”… “His two greatest loves were his family and fishing.  D. Labeled 1997 ‘A Good Year for Fishing.’  That year he caught a 38″ Tiger Muskie, a 29 ½” Channel Catfish, a 27″ Walleye, and the state record 21 ¼” Wiper.”

T.C…. “He loved Wyoming and spent many hours building his cabin from items he found around town (p.s. be at peace dumpster owners).  He traveled to many places, foreign and domestic, which made his wife very happy [Did she get to travel too, or get rid of him for a while?].”

K.P…. “Butch” had a great sense of humor and was a real prankster.  For [his wife’s] 60th birthday he arranged for a surprise mock funeral to mourn the passing of her youth.”  [My comment is unprintable.]

H.V.C…. “Riding into the Sunset”… [Visualize an older man in a 2-toned cowboy-style jacket with wide lapels, 10-gallon hat, aviator glasses, and a handle-bar moustache  than blends into mutton chop sideburns] “V. loved dancing, horses, trains, family, traveling in his motor home, training horses, and horsing around on the trains…yup, V. was a prankster.”

L.L…. “If all cats go to heaven you are now [re]united with your beloved pets.”

M.S…. “M., born in 1911, married her sweetheart E.S. in the Salt Lake City Temple in 1935 and devoted her entire life making E. and their two daughters happy and secure…[All] who knew M. and E. marveled at their ability to work so well together.  They truly created an amazing team that could cook together, shovel the neighbor’s sidewalk together, deliver M.’s homemade candies or crafts together, and especially share their love together with those who were in need.  She worked tirelessly in many church callings like Primary Sunday School and Women’s Relief Society as well as with E. in the church extraction program [I am clueless as to what this entails].”

P.P…. “Was larger than life, a ray of sunshine that saturated everyone she met with friendship and laughter.  She was always on the go and loved finding new places and meeting new people.  She was a gourmet cook, entertaining her guests with wild, hilarious stories from her life. She was honest, caring, and never afraid to be herself.  P. had the unique ability to transcend the mundane and delighted in making people smile.”

Ahhh, what a wonderful world it would be if the final 2 tributes could be said about everyone….

Published in: on March 23, 2010 at 9:13 pm  Comments (1)  

Hot Tub Gate

Who says red state Utah is bland, boring and the home of only upright, and goody-two shoes folks?

The current term of the Utah State Legislature has just ended, but it was bookended in scandals.  The session opened 45 days ago with prominent and powerful GOP state senator and Majority Leader, Sheldon Killpack, being arrested for DUI.  What’s the big deal, you ask?   Well, being LDS, he’s supposed to shun alcohol and even more problematic, he was spear-heading the ethics committee reforms for behavior of elected officials.  He resigned in hypocritical disgrace.

Fast forward to about two weeks ago.  It’s the closing session of the term before a break and the parting shot was a hang-dog confession and apology by House Majority Leader, Kevin Garn (R)–who was on the short list for speaker of the Utah state house–that 25 years ago he was naked in a hot tub with a 15 year-old girl when he was 28.  Not only that, he also admitted that he had paid hush money to the tune of $150,000 to the now all-grown-up woman in 2002 when he made an unsuccessful run for the Davis County (my county) seat.

Cheryl Maher, an unhappy and troubled New Hampshire divorcee, has come forward to get all this out in the open, even after she signed a confidentiality agreement, hence the damage-control confession.  Garn maintains there was no sexual contact underwater in the hot tub, but Maher contends that the massage was pretty darn good.  There may be more to this than breaks the surface; Maher reveals that there were lunches and shopping excursions prior to the hot tub adventure.

As if all this wasn’t shocking for the good constituents of Davis County and the rest of Utah, after Garn finished his 2-minute statement–with the loyal and long-suffering wife by his side–the members of the House gave him a standing ovation!  My question: Were they applauding his come-clean confession or the fact that he had had the chutzpah to go skinny-dipping with a teen-ager, albeit in 1985?

Maher, having mulled this over all these years, states she “feels betrayed by authority figures on several levels: by a former boss, a local politician, a Sunday School teacher, and a LDS church bishop.  They are all the same man: Kevin Garn.”  She admits that she has left the Mormon church, but is still writing letters to church authorities–even the current LDS President and Prophet, Thomas Monson–to get involved and do something as the incident “‘still haunts her and she is having trouble letting go of it.'” She feels the Mormon Church “‘holds a great deal of responsibility and if proper accountability would have been given, all this could have been avoided.'”   (A bit vague, isn’t it?)

Garn has since stepped down, but many people, including the Feds and his fellow politicians, are curious as to where he came up with all that money. Likewise, the IRS agents are looking into whether or not Maher paid income tax on all that extortion money.  (Note to self: When extorting money, remember to claim on both federal and state taxes.)

Now I know none of us is perfect and we shouldn’t judge, and I’m not taking sides or pointing a finger, but one wonders why this wasn’t reported/resolved years ago?  Maybe it has something to do with the fact that Maher freely admits she is still madly in love with Garn and wants nothing but the best for him.  (Can it get any stranger?)  She asserts that “‘I am not seeking revenge.'”  No? Then why bring it up now?

To his credit, I guess, Garn took full responsibility for the hot tub incident and called it “inappropriate.”  For Maher, who details a complicated and troubled life of drinking and divorce, she cheerfully tosses in her parting shot: “‘I hope some good comes out of this for him….I can now move on to my new adventures and help other women and girls come out with their stories.'” Holy heck!

Published in: on March 18, 2010 at 8:26 pm  Comments (1)  

“The Chicken Chronicles”–Part IV

I can’t believe there’s yet another chapter to add to the saga.  I was sure that the topic was broiled, roasted, bar-be-qued, and grilled thoroughly; but here I am writing about the joys of poultry again!

I happened to catch a segment on the local news earlier this week, highlighting one poultryman’s on-going fight to get greater Salt Lake City council to ease the restrictions about to be imposed on keeping backyard fowl in the city limits–granted , in the unincorporated areas of Salt Lake City–but in city limits none-the-less.

Looking a bit like Grizzly Adams–untrimmed beard and scraggly hair–he claimed to have raised chickens on his city property for years and wasn’t pleased that that may come to an end if the city fathers have their way.  In fact, he asserted that he is so used to eating his own freshly -laid eggs, that breakfast out in a restaurant just doesn’t appeal to him (so much for Denny’s Grand Slam!).  “There’s a huge difference in fresh eggs and ones from the store that are more than an hour old.”   Now, I must come clean and admit that, to my knowledge, I’ve never enjoyed a freshly laid egg, scrambled, fried, or soft-boiled, so I cannot dispute his claim.

Imagine chicken farming in the neighborhoods of Philadelphia or Chester.  The powers to be are concerned about disease being spread by chicken droppings and rodents (think mice and rats, Utah has no squirrels) being attracted by the corn feed.  This never seemed to be an issue in Layton when the topic was hashed out recently, and Layton is closer to the Great Salt Lake, so rodents would have to pass through communities like Layton to reach downtown SLC.  Anyway, apparently, the discussion continues through the end of March and we’ll learn whether or not “Grizzly Adams”  and other gourmands like him will get to keep their hens and roosters and the fresh eggs that come with them.  This will be just in time for Chick Day; the last day of March is when the baby chicks are available in all the farm stores for spring purchase (and I don’t mean the dyed ones for Easter).

I’ll keep my eyes and ears open and try to find out what comes down when the feathers stop flying.

Published in: on March 14, 2010 at 12:37 am  Comments (1)  

Cub Reporter Out of Probation–Third Effort

Well, after three months and three art articles, I’m taking myself out of self-imposed “probation” and rewarding myself with a new title: Ogden Art Beat Reporter.  I finally caught up with a copy of the mid-February Ogden Valley News and saw my interview with artists Glen Hawkins and Stephen Teuscher in print (See blog of 2/12/10 for full article).  I must say, it was quite fulfilling–to see the text in some other format than on a computer screen!  In the meantime, the third art article, based on an interview with two artists who work in glass casting, Stacy Levinson and Kerry Transtrum, has been written and will appear in the mid-March Ogden Valley News, as March 5th was another gallery stroll with them as featured artists at the gallery I’m attached to.  The full text of the article appears below.  Enjoy.

   “Spirit Embodied” Group Show Continues at Crowley-Wilkerson Fine Art Gallery

by Susan H. Warren

“Spirit, embodied in the complexity of the natural world, is captured in a single extra-ordinary detail.  Art amplifies this essence.” 

 ~ Crowley-Wilkerson Gallery Card

 

           The ephemeral “spirit” of art allows itself to be captured once again for the month of March, beginning with the First Friday Gallery Stroll in Ogden on March 5, 6:00-9:00pm.  This month the spotlight will be on two local artists, Stacy Levinson and Kerry Transtrum, who both work in the medium of glass.  In an effort to introduce the artistry of the two, I had the marvelous invitation to meet with them in their nearby studio to have a chat and try to understand how they can transform molten glass into masterful and spiritual statements.

            Originally from San Antonio, Texas, Stacy Levinson met Kerry Transtrum, who was raised in Idaho, in a glass class and this resulted in a partnership on several levels, which has also served to encourage each other’s art.  In a world where most people think of glass as functional and only moderately decorative—think windows, drinking glasses, and stained glass—both artists work what can only be termed alchemy to transform glass in all its forms: powdered, crushed, pellets, sheets, stringers (thin and uniform strands), and billets (thin, brick-like rectangles) into a myriad of objects such as jewelry, bowls, tables, custom lighting, sinks (yes, sinks!), life castings, and sculptural works to stand alone or as wall hangings.  Their work is in a totally different direction from glass blowing and knitting, forms one usually pictures when glass art is discussed.

            To create substantial objects from the fragility of glass, Levinson and Transtrum rely on powerful, heavy-duty equipment.  Massive computer programmed kilns to heat the glass to upwards of 1700 degrees Fahrenheit and water-lubricated grinding, sanding, and polishing belts and wheels, the same type used by lapidarists to cut semi-precious stones and gems, are employed in their bi-level home studio.  A larger studio shared by several glass artists in downtown Salt Lake City is used for bigger projects, industrial and architectural commissions.  In what can be up to a month-long molding, cooling and polishing process—glass casting requires patience—the finished product certainly has changed from the rudimentary of raw glass into a work of art imbued with the artist’s spirit.

            For Transtrum, the journey began about two decades ago working with stained glass until he had the opportunity to work with kiln-formed glass in a class; he was hooked.  Many master-classes over the years as well as putting in hands-on time have made his Glass Fire Studio what it is today.  Inspired by nature and the human form with all its beauty and imperfections, Transtrum’s work often focuses on human-form castings: hands, faces, torsos.  By making a cast first, anatomy and even skin wrinkles will be captured in the final glass cast.  Willing to share his enthusiasm and techniques, Transtrum is also highly in demand as an educator in glass workshops around the country and will be teaching this fall at the prestigious Arrowmont School of Arts and Crafts in Gatlinburg, Tennessee.

            Multiple awards, exhibitions and public art installations, both nationally and internationally appear on Transtrum’s résumé, as well as having his work appear in national publications.

            Both Levinson and Transtrum have twice studied at the world-famous Pilchuck Glass School just north of Seattle, Washington.  Founded in 1971 by internationally recognized glass artist Dale Chihuly and patrons Anne and John Hauberg, it has “been a primary force in the evolution of glass as a means of artistic expression.”  Levinson is proud of the fact that her work has twice been selected to be in the Pilchuck Auction.

Promoting glass as a serious art form and helping educate the public are two missions important to both Levinson and Transtrum.  Transtrum helped found the Glass Art Guild of Utah that proudly boasts a membership of over 60 of their art glass peers; both are active members, and Levinson is the current Education Chairman.  Transtrum points out, “Glass casting was a known process in ancient Egypt, and now is making a come back after glass blowing became so popular.”

Levinson has only recently moved into the world of glass jewelry-making after making a name for herself with larger objects.  In our conversation, she stressed how important her house series is to her.  These are small shelf or table two-dimensional curved houses with pitched roofs in strongly colored monotone glass with appropriate words or phrases across the mid-section.  Her inspiration for this series came from the “spirit of home, to look within” for the “spirit of self through metaphor.”  Her bowls where secondary layer colors are revealed by deep lathe-working and carving are fascinating and beautiful works of art.  Levinson has also moved into human-form casting and would love to eventually create an exhibit of multi-colored leg castings of many different people.  She feels life castings can capture memories and celebrate life in a unique way.

They both feel they have a unique audience; art collectors who truly appreciate the medium.  As for the jewelry, pod shapes that have the feeling of “emergence, of new beginnings,” Levinson commented that men will buy a necklace for someone special and women “who know who they are” will purchase a piece for themselves.  It’s no wonder their work fits in so well with the gallery’s “Spirit Embodied” group show theme, as Transtrum is drawn to art as a satisfying vocation and Levinson feels art “fills my soul.”

During the gallery stroll on First Friday, March 5, 2010 both featured artists, Stacy Levinson and Kerry Transtrum, as well as other represented artists will be on hand to discuss their art.

The exhibit continues through late March when the next First Friday Gallery Stroll occurs on April 2, 2010.  Partners Tami Crowley and Kris Wilkerson invite you to stop by and get excited about the many facets of art right here in Ogden.  The Crowley-Wilkerson Fine Art Gallery is located at 115 Historic 25th St., Ogden, UT and winter hours are Tuesday-Saturday from 11:00am-6:00pm or by appointment.  Please call 801/339-0606 for additional information or visit them at www.UtahFineArt.com.

(Susan H. Warren holds a M.A. degree in English from Villanova University.  Prior to retiring to Utah in 2009 from the Philadelphia area, she was on the English faculty of Widener University, Chester, PA.  She is an avid collector of art.)

Published in: on March 8, 2010 at 9:38 pm  Comments (1)  

The Real Housewives of Syracuse, Utah

Do you want reality, but not on TV?  I have to agree with Lara that  the real housewives of New York City or Orange County may have better fashions, or hairstylists, or make-up artists, but they have nothing on us out here for sheer daily drama.  Wardrobe mishaps, bring ’em on. Ugly divorce fights, bah!  A broken stiletto heel?  That’s nothing when compared to the havoc a week of dog sitting can create!  

Tuesday evening: Chipotle, the whirlwind of the universe, arrives. Air Force friends attending a wedding back east obviously can’t take their 8-month corgi with them, so since a post Christmas doggie play-date with our corgi, Charlie, was fun and successful, arrangements have been made for a week-long sleep-over. Charlie is thrilled to have a playmate that is a mini-me version of him, but with a tail (Charlie’s was docked when a wee pup), and Chip still has puppy enthusiasm, spunk, and energy to spare. They race in circles, chase each other, wrestle, pin each other, race again, collapse, race again.  All 5 adults are caught in gales of laughter; it is pretty amusing.  The couple pets Chip good-bye and departs. Both corgis joyfully chase each other some more and finally settle down in their respective crates.

Wednesday: The day starts with a chase down the hall, across the stone tile kitchen floor–doggie toenails clacking furiously on the hard surface–once the crate doors are open and Chip and Charlie are sprung free.  Charlie gets his breakfast and Chip doesn’t consume his fast enough, so Charlie helps himself to a second breakfast–Chip’s.  The steeplechase continues intermittently all day over furniture and across rugs and floors, the dogs getting trashed after all the play and taking cat naps.  And the cat, Scootie, this is her worst nightmare come to life.  If her days aren’t plagued enough with Charlie herding her when she appears (Corgis are working sheep herding dogs in their native Wales; it’s in their DNA), she now has corgs coming at her from two directions, herding each other and her.  Since it’s daytime, Lara’s at work and so is Bob, so I’m at home to referee the tussling matches.  Charlie has reached his tolerance limit and the novelty of a prolonged doggie play-date is wearing thin.  You can just look at him and read his thoughts: Okay, Chip can go home now. Little does he know, and there’s no way to tell him, that his world will be upside down for 7 whole days.  Luckily, the back and side yards are fenced in, so they can safely be let outside for a change of venue.  It snowed about 2 inches (melted within 3 hours) this afternoon and the two raced after each other in the snow (thank heavens Corgis love snow!).  At night, they get their supper in two different rooms in solitary confinement so we know each dog has eaten.  Charlie is more than pleased when Chip goes in his crate first.

Thursday: More racing through the house before dawn.  Charlie, aka Chuck, is now in full-blown jealousy mode and will growl if you even say Chip’s name, and heaven forbid you pet him without showering equal time on Chuck.  It’s an unusual half day for Lara, so she gets home in time to be in on the next crisis: Chip not only has rolled in dog poop from the backyard that she somehow missed when doing a yard poop sweep, but he has somehow found a dead bird in the garden that we’ve all missed.  She has to wrestle, bare-handed, the head and beak from Chip’s mouth or she fears an evening emergency trip to the vet.  Once inside, Chip is unceremoniously “placed” in the bathtub and gets a bath. Charlie is in the bathroom, too, fascinated, gloating, and trying to get a drink from the tub faucet at the same time the bath is occurring. I’m given the task of cleaning Chip’s cloth collar and metal ID tags which are encrusted with the offending material. Not an hour after the grooming, Chip is downstairs and has discovered Scootie’s litter box and is sampling her poop (sometimes called lawn sausages…).  The incriminating evidence? Cat litter bits stuck to his nose.  Quick discipline is called for as if you shut the door to the laundry room, Scootie can’t access her box and bed.  As a side-bar to the doggie Olympic track and field events, we’re having grilled tuna and salmon for dinner.  We’ve eaten and Bob arrives home late from work; Lara heads outside to reheat the gas grill, lifts the lid and there’s a mouse now in the bar-be-que.  She screams and Bob jokingly tells her if his tuna steak has a tail, he’s not eating it. The mouse refuses to vacate where it’s warm, so she turns on the grill and hopes for the best. No ears or whiskers are embedded in the tuna, so the mouse must have exited when the “kitchen” got hot. Chip makes the fatal decision to join Bob and Lara on the couch and Charlie reveals just how infected he is by the green-eyed monster of jealousy, and more chasing and questionably “friendly” ear biting and growling end the evening. He is so done with Chip’s visit.

Friday: Lara’s day off and so I luck out again in not facing the 2 corgis alone.   Ethan has a late start to school on Fridays, so that is the one bright spot in the ensuing madness.  You want reality? Chuck is now so stressed out from his routine being knocked on its ear that he has diarrhea, but at least he was outside when it hit. However, he managed to sit in it, so he had to be taken to the bathtub to get a quick spot-bath.  This was after Lara discovered Bob had left his cell phone home and it is crucial that he have it.  I had volunteered to drive it several miles down the interstate to deliver it.  Normally, that would be of little consequence, but don’t you know, this was the day Lara had arranged to go to Ethan’s school and visit with 2 kindergarten classes and do a 20 minute demonstration on dental hygiene?  I had to be back in less than an hour to be with Ethan so she could leave for school earlier than he does.  It was when I arrived home, that Charlie’s bowel malfunction struck.  The rest of the day and evening was the usual chase scenes, meals in separate spaces, ball and chew-toy romps, wrestling, and two very tired pups ready to enter their respective crates.

Saturday: Daybreak and Charlie wakes up with a full-blown eye infection.  So it’s off to the vet once Lara finds one open on a Saturday morning.  Now, Charlie isusually a docile, friendly dog, but due to a bad experience as a tiny pup at the vet, he becomes Kujo during a vet visit.  I guess the minor medical condition kept things fairly quiet or the corgs had gotten sick, sore, and tired of each other, or perhaps they declared a truce. The rest of the day and evening were relatively sane with only some rough-housing and ball-chasing after dinner.  Charlie’s eye has improved already. The cat hasn’t been spotted in days.

Sunday: While I’m having a solitary breakfast, I suddenly realize Chip is crunching on something far crisper than his usual fare.  I pull a large blue Lego block from his jaws; we don’t need him pooping Lego bits.  A firm warning ensues from both me and Lara when I snitch on him. Before I leave for church, the 2 pups hold an all-out chase through the rec room, down the hall, into my bedroom, under the bed, into my bathroom, including through my bathtub, out again, up the hall around the big ottoman in the rec room and down the hall again–over and over at top corgi speed. Best to stay out of the way when 2 corgis are coming at you.  Chip is smaller and slightly faster and can round corners better, but Charlie has the heft, so when he does a 180, this tactic surprises Chip and Chuck is able to pin Chipotle.  If that isn’t enough, everyday household problems continue to appear and now the garbage disposal in the kitchen sink is jammed.  Thank heavens for the Internet, a quick Goolge search offers a step-by-step remedy, which lo and behold, works!   No repairman is needed.  Later, there are more attempts by Chipotle to add Lego parts to his diet, followed by a sharp reprimand from Lara. Charlie’s eye infection is just about cleared up.

Monday: A snarling, snipping, swirling double ball of brown and white fur with 8 feet and one tail rolls past my bedroom door into the laundry room.  <sigh>  Only two more days to go and Charlie is losing his grip on his host-with-the-most reputation. Ethan is home from swim lessons and school today as he has a bad cold, so with Lara and Bob both off to work, I am in charge of a sick 6-year old and the canine floor show.  Currently, they’re rolling around the living room carpet snapping at each other’s ears, jaws, and shoulder fur.  This will be a long day.  Ethan has appeared and must be perking up as he is now chasing the dogs. They’ve kicked it into high gear again and are now are running after each other again at lightning speed, rounding corners and sliding on the stone tile floor, both panting like old war horses. Oddly, things calmed down as the day wore on to evening.  The only activity of note is that Chip has discovered he can get up on Ethan’s bed, so many of Ethan’s stuffed Webkins animals are now deposited in different rooms–unchewed, thankfully.  It’s too quiet.  What is Chip planning?

Tuesday: The final day!  I thought we were home free.  Not so fast.  In the time it took me to cross the hall and take a shower, the path between the bathroom and my bedroom had become a mine field of litter-encrusted cat turds.  Boy, Chip is quick.  If he weren’t so cute, he’d be in big trouble.  They’re finally getting used to each other’s presence and tonight Chipotle goes home. More chasing and a very happy reunion when Chip’s “parents” arrive to retrieve him.  Lots of tail wagging on his part (as he has one) and Charlie’s little nubbin quivers like crazy.  A final nose rub and off Chip goes into the night.  As a final personal statement regarding the unwanted house guest, Poo (aka Scootie, the cat) appears in the kitchen and promptly throws up.  It just never ends…. We’re betting that Charlie will spend Wednesday looking for Chip and be pretty lonely.  What a week for the humans!

The disgusted Poo (top left), Charlie (left) all tuckered out from a high-speed chase and Chipotle (right) after the same chase, ready to play again.  Aren’t they cute?  And to think Queen Elizabeth has 10 corgis in the palace!!

Published in: on March 3, 2010 at 7:47 pm  Comments (2)