Today's thoughts

Category: Tally (Page 1 of 25)

Our third schnauzer

Retirement is not without Hassles: B.O.A.C. #1570

British Overseas Airways Corporation (BOAC) was the British state-owned airline created in 1939 by the merger of Imperial Airways and British Airways Ltd. It was time to look that up on Wikipedia after landing in Miami and recalling the lyrics of Back in the U.S.S.R by The Beatles, “flew into Miami Beach BOAC.” Why I never before had that curiosity before, I simply can’t explain? We spent our first night in the city under the protection of Mother Marriott at the airport after renting a Buick Encore SUV. It took me back to years of owning Buicks thanks to my advertising client Lochmandy Motors in my hometown of Elkhart, Indiana. I hadn’t thought of Brian Lochmandy in years or the Skylark and Regals he sold me.  I remember that I always wanted a Riviera, but the job led me to another city and another client relationship. Eventually, I got company cars, a perk of being in management. 

When we moved to Austin ten years ago I didn’t even have a car, using my wife’s Lexus sedan on occasion. We soon settled on a used Solara Convertible as a second vehicle once I found a suitable job, and my wife upgraded to a Lexus convertible. We’ve already transported that car to Florida, housed in my son’s garage, and will make a similar cross-country drive in the Solara in a few months. Once we arrive in Florida with that car and schnauzer Tally, it will mean that we are permanent residents. Tally had to stay home with her pet sitter on this particular trip that will take us to our Venice construction site and back to Miami for a restful week on South Beach. 

It was actually American Airlines not B.O.A.C. that took us from Portland, through Dallas, into Miami. I can’t seem to get that song out of my mind. 

“Flew in from Miami Beach BOAC
Didn’t get to bed last night
On the way the paper bag was on my knee
Man, I had an awful flight”

“I’m back in the U.S.S.R.
You don’t know how lucky you are, boy
Back in the U.S.S.R.”

“Been away so long I hardly knew the place
Gee, it’s good to be back home
Leave it till tomorrow to unpack my case
Honey, disconnect the phone”

“I’m back in the U.S.S.R.
You don’t know how lucky you are, boy
Back in the U.S.
Back in the U.S.
Back in the U.S.S.R.”

We’re still planning to tour of what’s left of the U.S.S.R. in six months via river cruise. That is if Corona doesn’t once again get in the way, as it has with Bali, Egypt, Hawaii, and St. Kitt’s. At least thankfully Florida is still open to tourism.  

Retirement is not without Hassles: Drowned Rat #1566

I came in from my run this morning looking like a drowned rat. The rain was coming down and the wind was blowing in my face. I tried to dodge the puddles but the passing cars sprayed me with muddy water. It was day #4398 of The Streak and I’m glad to now be sitting in warmth. Next week I’ll be complaining about the Florida heat. Our schnauzer Tally was not happy about the rain either and stalled before getting out of bed. She ran away from me as soon as I tried to put on her coat and took the shortest route possible to do her business. The only thing tolerable about wet weather for her is to be thoroughly toweled-off afterwards. 

I got two new tires yesterday as further preparation for our upcoming cross-country drive to our new house. There was a slow leak in the front right that was easily patched, but I decided to look out for our overall safety. The back two tires were previously replaced, so only and an oil change/tune-up remains to be done before March. That’s when we expect Florida construction to be completed. We’re all looking forward to getting out of this rain when we go down to check on it next week. It will be two much anticipated weeks of sun and surf.

We caught up on the latest episodes of Your Honor and Shameless yesterday. and I watched The Tide Roll over the Buckeyes for the National Title. My entire focus will now be on basketball starting with the Indiana vs. Purdue match-up Thursday night. Tomorrow evening we agreed to go to a friend’s house for dinner. It’s the first time we’ve dined out for months and the first time in ten months that we’ve broken bread with anyone other than family.  Once we get to Florida, the restaurants will be open and we’ll not be cooking. It’s my turn to prepare tonight’s meal. Hopefully, I will have dried out by then with only faint memories of the splash I made this morning, running like a drowned rat!

Creature Features: Gastro Delight #1550

Our schnauzer Tally isn’t the garbage hound that her sister Tinker used to be. There was never a crumb to be found when Tinker ruled the house. Dropped scraps of food were often gone before they ever hit the floor. Tally is polite around the dinner table and gently accepts any offerings, whereas Tinker might very well have taken your fingers off. With all our dogs through the years, “Ham Time” continues to be a tradition with a bedtime snack of honey glazed ham or healthier turkey slices. (See Post #699). Gastro Delight!

The one drawback with Tally is often her breath. She got into something outside last night that made her repulsive. It’s often hard in the dark to see what she grabs, especially while wearing a mask that makes my glasses fog up. I tried some Crest toothpaste as a desperate resort. Nevertheless, she was not allowed to sit anywhere near us. I even wore my mask indoors this morning to give her a “Tummy Attack,” (See Post #648) while avoiding that furry, foul mouth. 

She can also be adorable, using her eyes to hypnotize us into giving her more attention or food. We call it pet-nosis. (See Post #1440). It makes us give her things against our better judgement. I wrote this poem a few days ago when she was in favor and not so stinky:

Gastro Delight 

She nibbles on kibbles,
And packs in the snacks.
Or rolls on her back,
For tummy attacks.

Her lips make a smack,
At the thought of a treat.
And wants a sample,
Of every bite we eat.

The ears perk up,
Those eyes grow big.
She makes a few grunts,
Like a hungry pig.

But she doesn’t get up,
Just waits to be served.
Whatever you give her,
Is greatly deserved.

Then she will bug you,
To go on her stroll.
With eyes that beg,
As black as coal.

In the afternoon,
She sits on a chair.
Wanting a walk,
Again with a stare.

Once she gets home,
Walks through the door.
Kibble ball nuggets,
Roll over the floor.

They crunch under foot,
With each step we take.
Or hurt our bare toes,
While still not awake.

She’s no Hoover,
Crumbs not her thing.
She’d rather have,
The entire chicken wing.

At the dinner table,
She sits closely by.
And uses pet-nosis,
It’s hard to deny.

Patiently waiting,
For food on our plate.
Then a wag of her tail,
Tells us “It’s Great!”

A chew every morning.
“Ham Time” each night.
Our schnauzer Tally.
Is a gastro delight.

copyright 2020 johnstonwrites.com

Retirement is not without Hassles: Christmas Star #1549

My wife’s Christmas Limoges this year is in honor of our upcoming move to Florida. It’s a miniature picnic basket with plates inside and is topped with a porcelain Starfish. It’s perfect for a romantic lunch on the beach or filled with burgers, fries, and a pup-cup for our schnauzer, Tally, from nearby Freddys. Our new home will be near Casey Key and the grandkids. Here’s wishing everyone a Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year!

Christmas Star

This star is not,
On the Christmas tree.
It comes this year,
From the sea.

Florida or bust,
Our move is soon.
We’ll next be singing,
A Sunny tune.

We’ll have our picnic,
Near Casey Key.
As soon as we,
Are Covid free.

A basket full,
Of tasty eats.
While Tally gets,
Some doggie treats.

We’ll fill our plates,
And raise a toast.
To our new house,
On the Gulf Coast.

Or we’ll stay home,
Enjoy the pool.
While the grandkids,
Are off at school.

White sand beaches,
Bright blue skies.
Where we can feast,
On Freddy’s fries.

We’ll travel again,
Beyond the Keys.
And in retirement,
Do as we please.

I hope you get,
Every Christmas wish.
But our star this year,
Is really a fish.

Copyright 2020 johnstonwrites.com

Retirement is not without Hassles: Puddles #1544

I was out splashing in the puddles this morning, as high water covered the sidewalks and pathways of my run. It was also dark as I started, as we approach the shortest day of the year. I threw everything into the dryer of a neighboring vacant apartment, since we’re still waiting for the repair of ours. I’m glad some people are still busy. Our schnauzer, Tally, hates the rain but loves to be toweled off, so she reluctantly agreed to go outside. For my wife and I, today is Christmas having invested a small fortune in a beef tenderloin that we’re sharing with her daughter and husband before we unwrap presents. The dogs will get their share of beef and gifts, as well. A festive table has been set.

This will be the first time that my wife has strayed from her meatless diet for months. After all, it is a special occasion. She claims to feel better by abstaining, so I wonder how she’ll find the taste? The rest of us will undoubtedly find it to be wonderful! Only 11 days left until the end of a troublesome 2020. We’ve yet to determine what we’ll do to celebrate. I’ll be glad to get into a new tax year, so we can cash in some more of our retirement savings to pay off mounting credit card bills and finalize funding of our new Florida home. There’s been no indication of whether or not they’re on schedule for completion. I’m still working out closing details. 

I sent a first copy of my latest novel attempt, Tribulations and Trial, to a friend for some feedback. In the meantime, I’ll continue to add details to the story. If nothing else, it’s been a constructive way to spend all this alone time. Writing anything for me is always therapeutic and rewarding, regardless of any readership appeal. I sit here in the warmth of my home office, watching the puddles form on the rooftops next door, while putting words on pages. Other friends around the country are seeing snowfall at this time of year, but I would rather deal with puddles.   

Retirement is not without Hassles: Bond Revisted #1531

I could have been waking up to the sounds of waves crashing against the beach, but instead it’s the roar of leaf blowers as they clean the downtown streets of Portland. The good news is that it’s a Monday and I’m not working and haven’t for nearly four years. Retirement has definitely made these viral times easier to tolerate, but the inability to travel has taken away one of its greatest joys. I could have crossed off Bali, Egypt, and Kauai on my bucket list. Will this continue through 2021? At least, we will be able to get to the Florida beaches once we’re settled there permanently in the Spring. 

We hope to get all the paperwork finalized this week to secure financing approval. It’s been a long process selecting the site, picking the options we want, and working with the mortgage company. We anticipate closing in less than two months and moving there in three. There should be some more pictures from our project manager coming soon, with maybe a few more walls and the start of a roof. It certainly gives us something to look forward to, when there’s little to do around our apartment these days. 

We visited my wife’s daughter yesterday, delivered a birthday gift to her husband, and took their dog Falco for a walk. They were supposed to join us in Kauai this week along with her other daughter and husband. Going for a short drive like this is about as exciting as it gets. Our schnauzer Tally also needs a break from her routine and it gives the two pups a chance to romp together. Tally loves to ride in the car, or just get out the door for that matter. We’re all suffering from cabin fever after about 90 days of going nowhere but on a run, walk, or to the grocery store. I did get Christmas presents ordered for the grandkids last night and the cards are ready to go out.  

The eleventh and final season of Shameless starts streaming today. I also found free access to many of the James Bond movies that I want to watch. Apparently, with Sean Connery’s recent death they are now available. Last week, I sat through License to Kill (#17 1989), Doctor No (#1 1962), From Russia with Love (#2 1963), and Goldfinger (#3 1964). I want to revisit all 24 of them on my list that started with A View to Kill (#15 1985), Goldeneye (#18 1995), Tomorrow Never Dies (#19 1987), and Die Another Day (#21 2002). (See Post #888) It will be a busy week getting through all of these 007 classics. Bond…James Bond, not to mention Honey Rider portrayed by Ursula Andress. 

 

Creature Features: Dog and Frog #1511

This is a children’s poem based on our schnauzer, Tally, and a recent encounter with a tiny, harmless thumbnail frog. She actually bit it in half, but this would not have been an appropriate story to tell to an impressionable kid. As a result, I made up a less controversial ending. The dog and the frog are having a conversation in rhyme with the dog speaking in red

Leap of Friendship

This is the story,
Of the dawdling dog,
Who came nose-to-nose,
With a flirtatious frog.

“I like to pause,”
And smell the roses,
And tell me this:
Do frogs have noses?”

“I got a whiff,
Of you, my friend.”
“And with that breath,
You might offend.”

“You stink good, too,
A lot like a fish.
Finding a pal,
Fulfills my wish.”

“A dog and frog,
It makes some sense.
Companionship,
Based on scents.”

“You fear my bark,
Stay out of reach.
I can’t get much closer,
I’m on a leash.”

“You’ve got no Master,
To pull your chain.”
But your croak is a joke,
And my teeth cause pain.”

“You’ve always been,
A puppy dog,
But I was once,
A polliwog.”

“And once had a tail,
Just like you.
Then out of nowhere,
These legs grew.”

“I couldn’t hop,
Once had to swim.
I’m a she,
Are you a him?”

“Well, I can shake,
And even fetch.
I also learned,
To play some catch.”

“But there’s something,
Tickling my nose.
It’s a nuisance,
I suppose.

“I can quickly,
Snatch that fly.
My tongue is quick,
So Say goodbye.”

“You can run fast,
Since you’re a dog.
But you can’t out-swim,
Or out-leap a frog.”

“I’m amphibious,
While you’re grounded.
Why you’re attracted,
Leaves me astounded.”

“Frogs are cool,
Despite no hair.
Your eyes bug out,
When you stare.”

Do you have lips?
Or should we just shake?
Then you can leap,
Back in the lake.

“Though we’re different,
We’ll still be friends.
Happily-ever-after,
This story Ends.

copyright 2020 johnstonwrites.com

 

 

Creature Features: Oscar #1507

Our schnauzer, Tally, had a brief bark-off with the neighbor’s dog, Oscar, this morning, creating a disturbance in our apartment building. The sounds tend to echo off the hallway walls to make the noise much worse. Oscar is a big black Labrador puppy that is harmless – as is Tally for that matter, so these encounters are nothing but harmless territorial squabbles. However, timing is everything and it’s amazing how we typically come out of our doorways at exactly the same time. Otherwise, I rarely see any of my neighbors – only hear them, as I’m sure they also hear Tally’s barking.

We know when our upstairs neighbor does their vacuuming, goes to the toilet, and walks to the kitchen. I’m sure those below us know our habits, as well. The floors are thinner than the walls because we rarely hear anything next door. We’re at least on the end of the hallway, but should have also selected an apartment on the top floor. These are key considerations when living in a residential building. Only three to four months before our Florida home is completed, depending on delays. Hopefully, hurricane Eta has not disrupted construction. We’re counting the days.

I feel sorry for big dogs in small apartments. Lack of space is not so bad for little Tally, but both dogs are not used to regular companionship. They get excited when they see each other, but I will have to watch our timing. It’s out every morning at 7:30 a.m., with last call at 10 p.m, plus 11, 3, and 6 in-between. Our neighbor must need to be at work by 8 a.m., and I certainly don’t want any doggy disturbance complaints. Tally may not get free-reign in the mornings to romp down the hallway, although she does often dawdles, particularly in front of Oscar’s door. Occasionally, I can hear some growls on the other side.

Oscar is not as bad as Moose, the Saint Bernard that recently moved out. Tally is about the size of Moose’s head but still refused to be intimidated. Moose and Tally were on the exact same schedule every day for the first year that we lived here. If we took the stairs, there was Moose. If we chose to ride in the elevator, out would pop Moose’s gigantic head and Tally would go crazy. If we were in the nearby park, there was Moose. Fortunately, they found a house, so Moose now has a backyard to explore, while our apartment lobby is now much quieter. 

Tally is off to the beauty parlor this morning, while poor Oscar is stuck inside. I don’t think he gets out of jail until after work. I’ve yet to run into them in the evening, but need to show caution around every corner. There are several other dogs in the building, including Mary Sue, a pit bull mutt, that draws a growl or two from Tally when they come nose-to-nose. The neighbor downstairs has a playful Golden puppy that Tally seems to like. Grace, as she’s called, is a little aggressive with her impressive vertical leaps and big paws. There’s also a few new-to-the-building pups that we’ve yet to meet, but right now Oscar is Tally’s biggest nemesis. 

Retirement is not without Hassles: Election Day #1498

It’s Election Day and the contractors are busy putting up extra plywood over windows in downtown Portland. I’ve only been doing this blog for a little over three years, so this is the first Presidential race in my daily ramblings. I do not expect a decision tonight, especially considering all the early voting and the cumbersome tabulation responsibilities, but I do expect Joe Biden to jump out to an early lead. Whether he holds it or not will be the question. Thankfully, I do not have the hassle of voting today, having cast my ballot several weeks ago by mail. I will do nothing more today than sit back and watch the results come in. The Dow Index is reacting favorably, my biggest concern in this whole process. 

I’m slowly adapting to the time change, shifting darkness from morning to evening. Our schnauzer Tally is still confused, expecting walks and dinner an hour earlier. I’ve simply started Happy Hour at 4 p.m. Tonight, we’re “Meals on Wheels,” with my wife preparing dinner for her healing daughter. Tally will also get to romp with her doggy-niece, Falco, so it will not be a typical stay-at-home-and-do-nothing kind of day. We’ll walk the pups, do some light chores, and talk about Kauai – now only 5-weeks away. 

We started watching Queen’s Gambit last night on Netflix, while waiting for another episode of Fargo to air. This is all part of a normal, boring day of television viewing. We did walk over to Kitchen Kaboodle yesterday afternoon to provide some variety, taking advantage of neighborhood convenience. They were closed, but still in business, unlike some of the empty storefronts we saw. Everyone was wearing a mask and traffic was heavy. Walking to the shops and restaurants were why we originally moved to this area, but all has been disrupted by Covid. I’m looking forward to getting this election behind us and moving to Florida. 

 

Retirement is not without Hassles: Paradise #1487

I’m feeling that glow of satisfaction following this morning’s run #4,317. It’s more than just the miles – it’s that Friday feeling! The day itself doesn’t mean much any more, but years of work always made it special. This has yet to go away after four-years of retirement. There’s an energy in the air from those who sense the end of another week and a weekend of job freedom. It’s their brief sense of retirement that sometimes stretches to three-days off or even a two-week vacation. I can recall standing in the shower before the workday began and wishing I just had ten days off. That thought still comes to mind out of habit, then I remind myself that I do have ten-days off – even more! It’s like pinching myself to make sure I’m not dreaming. 

What will I do with today? I’ll watch the end of the Mars series on Netflix, game 3 of the World Series, get dinner to go, walk the dog, drink some wine, and end the day with another episode of Fargo. Certainly nothing eventful or world-changing. Those headed to work would relish a day like this, that’s simply routine for me. There will be little interaction with anyone with the exception of my wife, who will be in the other room experiencing her own little world. She misses travel more than I do and is wrapped up in past year episodes of The Amazing Race. We’ll get together in the kitchen for lunch and dinner, but it’s like the old days where we each went our separate ways to the office. Now, we’re just down the hall from each other. 

Tally gets excited for her long walks with my wife every morning and afternoon. Our 11-year old pup is also known as “Barky von Schnauzer.” She can’t help but snarl at other dogs and disturbing noises. It’s an annoying habit, but she’s only trying to be protective. It’s amazing how fierce small dogs can be, with little fear for anything bigger. Fortunately, it’s all bark and no bite in her noisy attempts to get attention. Once her “enemy” gets nose-to-nose or nose-to-butt, it’s like they’re lifetime pals anxious to play. I know she gets lonely, especially since her sister Tinker passed away a year ago. She often gets together with Falco, our daughter’s terrier-mix, to expend some energy. 

Daily life will be very different for all of us once we get to Florida in the spring. We’ll have access to swimming pools, pickle ball, the beach, exercise classes, and a nearby dog park to keep us all busy. There will be more interaction with our neighbors with more sunshine to absorb. We’ll also have twice the square footage to spread out from each other, and a lanai for Tally to get plenty of fresh air or bark at passers-by. Construction has started, while a phone meeting with our project manager is scheduled for next week. Paradise is now just five-months and 2,500 miles away. It will be here before we know it. 

 

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