My Dog and I Save Thanksgiving


 What are the two words capable of turning any Thanksgiving or holiday weekend into a devastating mess. Hint –it’s not Donald Trump; Hillary Clinton; Russia Investigation or even food poisoning.
It’s — plumbing problem.
Last night when my dog Bandit and I we were putting our pots, pans, roasting pans into the sink for a good cleaning, he noticed the pressure for the hot water was low.
He sniffed at the doors under the sink, stood up on his hind legs with his front legs on the left door grabbed the knob for the right door and open the sink.
“Jezz Bandit. Do we have to fix it now?” I asked.
“Now, now, now,” he barked.
Looking under the sink, he showed me where the hot water line running from spigot under the sink to the faucet, had a kink.
I fiddled with it and realized I should undo the at the spigot, unkink it, and retighten.
Bandit took off for the laundry room, grabbed some camouflage duct tape, and dropped it at my feet.
“Not every problem can be solved with duct tape,” I said.
He barked a retort.
I turned the spigot off, but when I did, I realized it probably hadn’t been turned off in 15 years. It made a God awful metal-on-metal screeching sound.
Bandit and I shook our heads.
Anyway. I took the line off the spigot unkinked it and put it back, but when I tightened the line it kinked; Bandit swiped at the duct tape. He was right so, I pulled off about a six-inch piece and anchored the line to the cold water line. Now the kink should be fixed.
“There you go pal,” I said to my dog. “Looks like a Thanksgiving miracle.
He was unimpressed.
When I turned the spigot back on, water gushed and dripped everywhere. My wife who had been looking over my shoulder got a face-full of hot water. Bandit took off like there was a squirrel in the back-yard needing tending too.
There I was with a wet wife, feckless dog, and hot water spraying everywhere.
I ran to the hot water heater, turned the house water off, and went back under sink.
The water had stopped so I took the shut off handle of the spigot and disassembled the whole thing. It turned out the metal spigot had plastic innards and a teeny tiny black washer had fall off the end. Unlike spigots with metal innards, there was no screw to set the rubber washer. It turns out all you can do is find a washer and wiggle it on a stem, which has a bulbous end.
By this time Bandit had come back. Ashamed of his chickenhearted cowardice, I put the black washer on his tongue and told him to find me a new one. He ran to the garage and dragged my red, 50-pound plumbing toolbox into the house.
He knows where I keep my washers.
I found the right washer reassembled everything and voila it all worked — I think. There seems to still be some moisture I can’t account for and my dog keeps staring at it. Who know.
I guess there are two points – always trust you dog and always make duct tape your first solution


My Heroic Dog

P1070152Tuesday night my house was besieged by all manner of goblins, ghosties, and long-leggedy beasties, but I need not have worried because my killer dachshund was on duty.

Sometime around 1830 the undead began staggering up my front steps with their fake politeness and equally false salutations.

“Happy Halloween! Trick or Treat.”

I was on to them; they were after my Kit Kats — all of them (the sentence parallelism was intentional). Each of those despicable monsters wanted to relieve me of my hard-earned confectionary delights. I relented to ensure my safety.

But Bandit, my ever-present sidekick, me Cerberus – he was there watching. Always watching.

He’d stealthily approach the glass storm watching from his ankle high vantage point, the undead pretending to be babies in a supposedly cute Spiderman outfit. He watched, counting as the Kit Kats, in my large green bowl, became fewer and fewer (that’s right I keep all my Kit Kats in a green bowl).  

The cute tiny ghouls must have signaled their larger villainous partners because each ring of our doorbell brought more specters to my door – there were undead pirates, witches, and princesses. Each came shambling up my walkway with their hideous chants “Trick or Treat, trick or treat.”

It was horrible.

When there was a lull in the onslaught. I went to the living room, trying to comfort my distraught wife. She was pretending to calmly watch TV.

“Any cute costumes?” she asked.

I was worried she too had become one of them.

The one creature in this world I can count on – brave, brave Bandit — took up a defensive position in the archway which separates the kitchen form the living room. He was as immovable as Mt. Rushmore. He stared at the evil front door. His stubby little Dachshund legs tensed to waddle into action. I never felt so secure and thankful as my canine Heimdall guarded our rainbow bridge leading to me, my wife, and our Kit Kats.

Oh and he bravely sat there; resolute in the doggy knowledge he was saving us from a fate as bad as death – no Kit Kats.

One or two more phantoms extorted candy from us, but the ambling dead tapered off at about 2030 – word must’ve gotten out that my Argos, my Bandit was on the job.

Exhausted, I flop in my chair. Mighty Bandit jumped in my lap and settled in. My wife, feigning clam, turned to me and asked, “Anymore Kit Kats?”

Recharging the Important

I have a dog.

He is a double dapple longhaired Dachshund.

His name is Spike.

He and I are pals.

barnes1 (1).jpgThat has nothing to do with this blog, but it is always good to start a blog with a dog reference. So there it is – my dog reference.

Sometimes a fellow needs to reset. I did that today by spending the day at the Barnes Foundation If you’ve never been, I strongly recommend it.

My wife and I got there at about 11.

The building is about as artful as the collection. You are immediately struck by the use of water in the landscaping. A small reflecting pool dominates the entryway in front of the gray concrete building. The highly polished doors open to a darkened hallway, which eventually open to a bright atrium.

529_600_bf811_i2rThe atrium – lit by a series of skylights – is about the size of half of a football field and filled with artsy cushioned benches. The entrance to the collection is non-descript, but when you enter the main gallery you are bombarded by several paintings, but Georges Seurat’s Group of Figures dominates the room.

The collections of more than 3,000 works of art incudes 181 Renoirs, 69 Cézannes, 59 Matisses, 46 Picassos, 16 Modiglianis, and 7 Van Goghs.  I was overwhelmed by the colors, themes, and variety of the work.

As I move from room-to-room, I remembered things of which I had lost sight:

  • The importance of art in our world and humanity
  • The five components of the visual arts: Color, Line, Unity, Balance, Shape
  • How art is as fundamental to society as economics and religion,

It’s funny how you remember the important things when you step away from the important day-to-day things. There is a difference even the two, but that is for a different note.

By the way Spike says, :Hey.”

How I Got my Stitches

Me getting stitches
Me getting stitches

It was deathly quiet as the small Cessna with no identifiable markings circled the little blonde girl playing with her doll in the park. I was teaching my Dachshund to change a flat tire on my pickup truck (he was having some difficulty using a lug wrench, but was working through it). The sound of the small plane’s erratic engine caught my attention. I had heard that sound once before in Guatemala when I was there doing a favor for a female secretary of state (it’s classified), but I knew that plane was coming down – on top of that small girl.

I had to act fast; I gave my Dachshund our cell phone and he began texting the local fire company for help. I moved with the speed and stealth of a leopard, bounding toward that small unaware princess. I got to her a second or two before the plane crashed. I leapt, snatched her in my arms, protecting her little body with my own, and rolled both of us out of harm’s way.

An errant piece of shrapnel hit me and I started bleeding in spurts. My Dachshund saw it all, jumped in the truck, and got out first aid kit, ran to me, and with his front paws and mouth, applied a tourniquet. I praised him even though it took five seconds more than his best practice time. Dogs – what are you going to do?

My beautiful wife took me to the local urgent care place, where a doctor from the NSA stitched me up. A total news blackout followed.