May 1, 2009
Hello Everyone. It’s me, Wimsey, wishing you a Happy May Day from the festive confines of my apartment(s) on New York City’s Upper West Side. My human Maria was feeling under the weather this week so I have been spending a few days at my other apartment—that of her friend Elizabeth, where I am treated like the Great Hound King that I am. Of course coping with me when one is perfectly on top of the weather is tough enough so when my human is feeling the least bit peaky I am packed off to my alternative Palais de Hound whose view over Riverside Park allows me to keep tabs on all the canine comings and goings. And every morning when I am in residence (I think perhaps they should fly a standard over Elizabeth’s building just like they do for the Queen of England) we conduct a proper royal Levee:
The Levee of Wimsey I, The Hound King of Manhattan
4 am: The Pre-Levee: His Majesty conducts vigorous and acoustically robust ear flapping activities. This is to alert the soundly sleeping Court (Elizabeth) that dawn is nigh and that they shouldn’t get too comfortable before the actual levee begins. Lest the sentiment go unnoticed, His Majesty repairs to his blue enameled china Chopard water dish and consumes its contents in an equally acoustically robust manner.
7:30am: The Ceremonial Snuffling of the Face: His Majesty gently awakens the Court in time honored Hound fashion by snuffling her face with his enormous cold and wet nose, while soft drooly wrinkles envelop the face and make a delightful contrast to His Majesty’s stiff facial bristles.
7:32 am: The Ascending of the Bed: Having successfully completed the Ceremonial Snuffling and been rewarded by the appropriate squeals of delight, His Majesty proceeds to step regally onto the bed itself whereupon he sits upon the Court and graciously allows himself to be given his Morning Scratching.
7:32 am (continued): The Morning Scratching: His Majesty is given a thorough scratching whilst sitting facing the park so that the royal nares can suck in the incoming Riverside Park breeze.
7:37 am: The Ejection of the Court and Assumption of The Divine Right of Bed: The Morning Scratching having been completed to the satisfaction of His Majesty, he gently encourages the Court to leave the Royal Bed and prepare for the Royal Morning Park Walk. He subsequently assumes his rightful place among the bed’s fluffy blankets and pillows.
8:00 am: The Leashing (attempt 1): In the interval required for the court to assume raiment appropriate for the Royal Morning Park Walk (LL Bean, Couturier to the Court of Wimsey I) his Majesty falls into a deep and restful sleep amongst the fluffy blankets and pillows of the royal bed and is no longer in the mood for the Royal Morning Park Walk. The Court uses the inducement of a biscuit placed under the royal nose, but to no avail.
8:10 am The Leashing (attempt 2): His Majesty is now full cognizant of the turn things are taking and greets the second approach of the collars and leashes with a roll over on the royal back and a demand for a Royal Belly Rub. The Court, ever hopeful that compliance will ultimately result in preparing His Majesty for The Leashing necessary to the Royal Morning Park Walk, rubs his Majesty’s Belly in the manner most gratifying to His Majesty.
8:20 am The Leashing (attempt 3): The Court, having proffered biscuits and belly rubs is now forced to take stronger measures for the good of His Majesty’s eliminatory systems, which would not be served by a Royal Lie In. The Great Head is laboriously lifted and the Royal Collar fastened about the Royal Neck. The Royal Leash is attached and gentle pressure is applied to encourage His Majesty to descend from the Royal Bed.
825 am: The Royal Elevator Ride: At last the King and Court have exited the Royal Apartments and await the service of the Royal Elevator. Receiving the customary salutation of “Oh no, he’s back!” from the Master of the King’s Elevator the King and his tail are firmly tucked into the Royal Elevator and the King and Court make their way along the Ceremonial Allée (the service entrance) to the street and thence to the Royal Park.
8:30 am The Royal Morning Park Walk: During the King’s two hour Morning Park Walk His Majesty is greeted by His subjects, photographed by various paparazzi and assiduously inspects the condition of his demesne’s abundant plantings and waters them accordingly. The Royal Poop is achieved and its condition carefully inspected and duly noted for later discussion among the courtiers (when both the King’s courtiers are present the size and condition of the Royal Poop is discussed and debated at great length in the context of other Royal Poops produced that day and on previous days and the size and condition of future poops to be achieved are speculated upon).
10:30 am The Royal Breakfast: His Majesty supervises the preparation of his morning meal with great attention. His Majesty frequently calls into question the need for his scrambled eggs to be cooled in the refrigerator but the Court fears the consequence of a burned royal tongue and its attendant recourse to the costly services of the Royal Physician. The King however quite enjoys the services of the Royal Physician and is always in favor of a visit, except when it results in a finger up his bum or liquid down his ears.
10:45 am: The End of the Levee: The King repairs to the piece of furniture of his choice for a much needed nap. The burdens of kingship weigh heavily upon The King’s small number of neurons. And he needs his beauty sleep to appear before his public appropriately wrinkled and bleary eyed.
Well as you can imagine staying with Elizabeth is quite enjoyable-- at least for me. Yesterday she took me to lunch at the Loeb Boathouse Café and we shared a delicious tuna sandwich much to the delight of the tourists. The really amazing thing was that I actually shared like a gentleman and didn’t snatch the sandwich out of her hands in the manner of many of my Houndly brethren. And while I am generally un-Hound like in my attitude towards food—I tend to be somewhat finicky and like to actually engage in mastication—I did find a half of a sandwich lying next to the ball fields and the sight of it awoke my inner Hound—a snatch and a gulp and it was history. My humans were both terribly impressed by the sheer speed and Houndiness of the maneuver and I was all too happy to bolster my Hound credentials in this manner.
But Elizabeth did decide to do one ridiculous thing during my stay—she bathed me by herself. Wimsey Bath Night was apparently long overdue and I apparently no longer smelled like a Hound; I just stank.
Bob Costas: OK, here we are with one of the most dangerous sports known to man—Solo Wimsey Bathing.
Dick Engberg: And we’re off to a rousing start—Wimsey has apparently smelled the shampoo as it was being prepared and is running around looking very uncooperative indeed.
Bob Costas: That’s right Dick and without a team member to bribe him with turkey and subdue him we’re in for a wild ride.
Dick: Well I see Elizabeth’s lassoed him with a chain and leash and is dragging him into the bathroom.
Bob: Getting him into the bathroom is one thing. Getting him into the tub is another.
Dick: That’s right. But she seems to have forced him into the tub and is employing a body block.
Bob: Oh no. She’s turned on the water and he’s out of the tub!
Dick: Now she’s forced him back in. But can she wet him down?
Bob: She’s got one hand on his leash, one hand on the shower attachment and is using quick body moves to block his egress. It’s kind of like watching a wide receiver trying to get to the goal post while being checked by a defensive linebacker.
Dick: Have you noticed that in the process of wetting Wimsey down Elizabeth has wet herself down as well.
Bob: A sacrifice play Dick. There was no other way.
Dick: Oh no! Wimsey’s made a break for it! He’s out! And he’s flooding the bathroom floor! And he’s just shaken wet hair on the walls and ceiling. Oh my!
Bob: Well, she’s taken hold again and has forced him back in. But she turned on the water and he’s out again!
Dick: How long can this go on! Two superb athletes in a classic battle of wills. Normally my money would be on the Hound, but I understand the stench has gotten Elizabeth pretty fired up. Especially as Wimsey’s made her bed smell like a swamp.
Bob: OK, she’s shut off the water and is pouring on the soap. She seems to have overlooked the difficulty that hanging onto a soapy leash would entail!
Dick: Your right! The leash has slipped right though her fingers and he’s out again! Now the bathroom is flooded with slippery soapy water and there’s another colossal shake! What an event this is turning out to be. An uncooperative 126lb Hound is one thing but a soapy uncooperative 126lb Hound is the pinnacle of sport. To see these two exhausted wet and soapy competitors going at it head to head brings tears to my eyes.
Bob: I think that’s just the soap Wimsey flung in them. But Elizabeth is facing a problem here Dick. Having gotten Wimsey wet and soaped up she seems unable to get him back into the tub. He’s just too slick for her.
Dick: She’s gotten into the tub herself and is trying to haul him in after her. But he’s not budging so I see she is using the push the tush maneuver.
Bob: He’s in! But will he stay in? And can Elizabeth keep from slipping and incurring yet another Hound related injury? But first, a word from our sponsor, The Hospital For Special Surgery.
Well it was all pretty humiliating and to add to the indignity Elizabeth tied my leash to the front door while she cooked my dinner to prevent me from running around and soaking the furniture. My view was that I was wet. I was cheesed off. And I definitely was going to climb up on something. In the end I had to settle for climbing up on Elizabeth. But she was already wet. The only good thing is that the experience is unlikely to be repeated.
Anyway, as I mentioned last week we had three days of hot summer weather so this Sunday we took a very leisurely Central Park walk where mostly I flopped down and looked pathetically hot in spite of the fact that water was continually being brought to me to drink and being dumped on me which was really pretty annoying (although the ladies maintain that it is to help cool me down. Personally I think they just like annoying me for a change). But there was a method to my madness—all the flopping and refusing to move, ostensibly because of the heat, meant that a walk that should have taken 1.5 hours took 3 hours instead. My humans always maintain that I am not all that bright, but really I am purposefully unintelligent. Also, since there wasn’t a lot of shade guess who sat in the shady spots and guess who sat in the sun?
Now my ladies are both very fair and fry like shrimp so both were slathered in sun screen. Elizabeth also has sensitive skin so is always on the look out for special sun block—last year’s version had zinc oxide and made her look like she was auditioning for a kabuki play. This year she has new stuff that is fine as long as she doesn’t perspire—then the white cream magically reappears and streaks down her face. Such an attractive look. I’m sure the men will be flocking this summer. But the ladies felt strangely bereft in the weather without any special seasonal hounding clothes or gear to carry so they are thinking about purchasing some hi tech mesh shirts that will help to keep them cool during our adventures and I also might come in for a new lighter weight cooling vest this summer. We should be quite a tableau.
Well this is a long post so I think we will skip our visit to the Wimsey Institute of Houndish Art. In addition to all the other goings on this week I met a raccoon (wasn’t allowed to say hi) and met my very first Bracco Italiano—we didn’t have the camera but check out this picture—they kind of look like me! New York is a cosmopolitan city even for canines! And this weekend people will be celebrating Cinco de Mayo and all things Mexican (except the flu).
Until next time,
Friday, May 1, 2009