Wednesday, July 28, 2010

Mixed Feelings

On the good side of the ledger: I have finally -- it would seem -- defeated the useless dog and his braindead desire to bark loopily up and down the deck when the children come inside.

See, we have this dog. Kelpie plus a few other things. Smart as hell, but a dedicated working-type dog. Loves the kids. Likes to herd the kids. Gets real freaky if the kids are playing together somewhere, and it can't get at them.

The house has a long, north-facing wall, which makes sense in Tas. Along that wall, there is a long, narrow, low-set deck. It keeps the mud at bay in winter, and provides an excellent spot for outdoor chairs and beers. Unfortunately, when the kids come inside, the dog haunts that stretch of deck. It runs back and forth from the sun room all the way to the laundry, desperately trying to catch a glimpse of them, so it can continue herding them. And when they make noise - as children of ages 5, 7, and 10 often do - the dog loses it's nana and starts to bark.

I fuckin' hate that. Especially at 0715 in the morning, when Natalie has the day-shift and I've been writing until 0100. Jeez, I hate that.

So. We tried a shock collar. No good: unreliable, ate batteries. We tried a citronella collar. No good: expensive and the dog developed a citronella habit. (I swear!)

Desperate, I found a cheap-ass ultrasonic collar. It worked! But it was cheap, and eventually it died. And the dog gradually recovered his stupid habit.

So I have purchased a stand-alone unit that is now hanging up outside. And it's set so that when the dog barks, it emits a nasty ultrasonic warbling.

Lo! The dog no longer barks!

He shows no distress when the unit is triggered. It won't affect his job of looking after the driveway (south side of the house) or the garage (western side.) And when he sees something that disturbs him (the dog that tried to visit the chickens the other day) he can, and does, still bark on the deck. But for his goddam every-day up-and-down-the-deck look-at-me bullshit barking, it does the trick.


Now: the downside.

I'm married to a doctor. Sometimes that gets weird.

She was teaching two medical students to stitch today. To do that, she bought a couple of pork hocks. Pork hocks? What are they good for? Ahh. Apparently, once the stitching was over and done with, the hocks have now become a food item. I am to cook them. And feed my family, plus two medical students. Oops, belay that: phone call just came through, and I have two more doctors to feed on top of that.

Luckily, I also purchased a large pork shoulder roast. I have taters. I have salad greens. I have rosemary and garlic. I have rich dark chocolate and eggs and I have pastry shells. I have decent wine. I have cream cheese and wasabi, more cream cheese and chives. I have smoked salmon, and a variety of biscuits. Coffee is stocked. Port is standing by.

And why?

Because I know my wife. I knew perfectly well that it wouldn't just be two medical students! Ha!

The well-prepared country cook... that's me.

Now, the really irritating news: apparently, the bill for air-conditioning tents in Iraq and Afghanistan (something like US $20 billion) is more than the ENTIRE FUCKING BUDGET for NASA (at about US $18 billion)

I really hope that's just another stupid Internet rumour.

Gotta go now. Time to throw the bits of pig in the oven.