December 18, 2009
Hello Everyone. It’s me, Wimsey, coming to you from the nicely nippy Upper West Side of Manhattan where the temperature has been in the 20’s the last few days causing my human Maria and her friend Elizabeth to go into Michelin Man mode dress-wise. And I have my own winter wear in the form of my new fleece coat which started out Ruff Wear pea green and is now gradually becoming Wimsey brown. Did you know that shedded hair sticks wonderfully to fleece? Soon I will quite literally have another coat. And speaking of other coats, a new Ruff Wear coat has been ordered for me. It’s called the Cloud Chaser and it’s for wet or snowy winter weather and is supposed to keep me warm and dry. Now if only Ruff Wear could make a coat for my humans called the Hound Chaser.
Well it’s the week before Christmas and all through the house(s) (apartments, really) there are no trees, decorations or presents because there is a giant playful Hound who might enjoy them even more than the spirit of the season might suggest. But there is no shortage of Christmas spirit as another ten ton box of delicious holiday cookies arrived from Maria’s mother—no doubt to keep me from wasting away. And in the spirit of the season Elizabeth is even trying to be nice to me, although this still does not extend as far as allowing me to pee on the rows of Christmas trees for sale. But I did manage to sneak one in with Maria during a 6am- before-she’s-had-her-coffee walk this week. Apparently trying to stay both upright and vigilant was beyond her powers that morning. And last Sunday there would have been Christmas spirit as we all went shopping at the Central Park Christmas Market but it rained throughout our Sunday walk and the ladies are not very Christmassy when soaked to the skin. I enjoyed myself though--we resilient all weather Hounds seldom let a spot of inclement weather bother us even when we are not wearing our poncy rain coats. And being soaking wet made goosing unsuspecting Christmas shopping strangers all the more enjoyable.
But the city is quite festive and New Yorkers and their guests flock to traditional entertainments, like viewing the tree at Rockefeller Center and going to see the Nutcracker at Lincoln Center. Now you would not have thought that a sturdy fellow like me would be much of a balletomane but I am a big fan of the arts, especially ones that involve fragile looking women dancing around in possession of tasty looking costumes. But I think there should be a Hound Nutcracker.
It is a cozy Christmas Eve in a large, enviable pre-war apartment overlooking Central Park in New York City. It is the home of the Stahlbaums a wealthy, still-employed investment banker and his wife who is a partner at a major law firm. They are looking forward to their one day of the year off from work and are throwing a holiday party for their friends who aren’t in St. Bart’s, Aspen or on safari. Children are invited also but the nannies have the night off so the Stahlbaums are worried about the kids’ behavior, particularly their own. Fritz and Marie attend a progressive private school and have evinced an unfortunate prosecutorial tendency to lecture people about their carbon footprints. The Stahlbaums have also made especially sure that their bloodhound (“he was so cute when he was a puppy”) Wimsey is securely exiled in the maid’s room as his behavior at parties is even worse than the children’s (and whose frequent mealtime emissions cause Marie to shrink in horror at the damage to the ozone layer).
Hoping for the best, and having put away both the breakables and the breaker of breakables, the Stahlbaums welcome their guests. Things are going well—the adults are nibbling sushi and discussing how much their apartments cost and the children are nibbling cookies and discussing the disappearance of the blue fin tuna their parents are eating. Then Fritz and Marie’s godfather, Dieter Drosselmeyer shows up. He owns a large Upper East Side toy store and as such is rarely accused of polluting the earth or of eating red meat. He brings the children an assortment of lovely gender neutral toys, including a magnificent stuffed Hound, who looks rather like Wimsey, for Marie. Fritz accuses Dieter of liking his sister better (favoritism being a topic he and his therapist have been exploring lately) and steals the stuffed Hound. After some vigorous play, the Hound rips. Godfather Dieter repairs it with a lovely mother of pearl hair clip to keep the stuffing from falling out and places it under the tree. The party ends with the exhausted adults (ruminating about why they don’t live in the suburbs) corralling their sugar high kids and hailing taxis.
Marie falls asleep with her stuffed Hound clutched in her arms and when she wakes up she wonders if her parents put something in the eggnog again. The Christmas tree is gigantic and an army of cats, let by a Cat King is circling the room in a predatory manner. Marie starts sneezing uncontrollably. Suddenly a Magnificent Hound appears leading a baying pack and the cats are toast. The Magnificent Hound hops onto the bed and it changes into an LL Bean premium dog bed in the shape of a sleigh.
The dog bed cum sleigh takes off and floats overhead until it lands in a snowy forest. The Hound excuses himself to mark a few of his favorite trees and to make some artistic yellow drawings in the snow. Meanwhile a group of ladies appear and try to perform a dance while the Hound, always a social fellow, joins the mix and jumps up on them to say hi, disrupting their elegant formations. He shakes his head and the ladies swiftly, but gracefully, flee the airborne drool.
The Hound rejoins Marie on the sleigh, sitting painfully in her lap even though there is plenty of room next to her. Then finally they arrive in the Land of the Sweets. The Hound was navigating towards the Land of the Rawhides and took a wrong turn but is grateful that at least they didn’t end up in the Land of the Kibble. The sleigh is greeted by the Sugar Plum Fairy* (*as no one in this century or the last actually knows what a sugar plum is, there has been talk of renaming her but the Snickers Fairy doesn’t have the same ring to it) who is so taken with the beauty of the Hound and his bravery in subduing the cats and saving Marie from a date with an Epi-pen that she invites him (and Marie) into the her castle. Here the Hound (and Marie) is feted and fed roast beef sandwiches and poached salmon. With visions of methane gases from animal husbandry and mercury levels dancing in her head Marie is tempted to leave, but the Hound sits on her so she can’t. Immobilizing her is a good thing because Marie becomes further troubled by the entertainment provided: The Hot Cocoa dance is a fandango to Spanish castanets (ethnic stereotyping), the Hot Coffee dance is a middle eastern belly dance (oppression of women), the Tea dance involves supposedly eastern ladies with parasols while the Russian dance features hearty leaping dancers, both of which Marie finds culturally insensitive. Then Mother Ginger arrives with all these children tucked under her skirts (irresponsible child bearing) and Marie has about had it. However, whenever she gazes in the direction of the contentedly masticating Hound she basks in his beauty and sits quietly.
Then a bunch of ladies pretending to be flowers come out led by Dew Drop (who secretly wants to be the Sugar Plum Fairy), and they waltz around which excites the Hound greatly as he has an especial fondness for flowers and has to be restrained from doing what he usually does to them. (He thinks “The Waltz of the Hound Peeing on Flowers” would be a big hit). Fortunately the dancers are able to exit unwatered because the Sugar Plum Fairy has arrived with her main squeeze, The Cavalier. Why he is a cavalier is never exactly explained as historically horses were involved in this function but nevertheless Marie feels his attitude towards the Sugar Plum Fairy is condescending and paternalistic. Fortunately the Cavalier, who ordinarily dances with the Sugar Plum Fairy is so carried away by the beauty of the Hound that he dances with him instead. This development pleases Dew Drop immensely as she has been waiting out the SPF-Cavalier relationship for years. Marie is now finally charmed. She decides that Cavaliers are fickle and it is much better to have a Magnificent Hound, who although equally fickle is at least honest about it.
The Sugar Plum Fairy decides she has an urgent need to wash her hair and kicks everyone out of the Land of the Sweets. The Hound considers a trip to the after hours Land of the Squeaky Toys but decides that after all that food and admiration he’d prefer a nap instead.
Marie wakes up the next morning with her heretofore reviled Hound, Wimsey, snoring in her ear. She decides that he’s the best Christmas present of all and gets up to fix him some scrambled eggs for his Christmas morning breakfast (and also to have a word with her parents about that egg nog).
And speaking of snoring, my ladies have concocted a new reason why they get nothing done when I am around. Apparently when I make myself comfortable, after a long walk say, I emit a very pleasant warm and relaxed Hound scent, often followed by gentle snoring. And the ladies compared notes and they realized that when this happens somehow their lids grow heavy and they have to fight the urge, often unsuccessfully, to nap. The prevailing thought is that there is some nap-inducing pheromone in the relaxed Hound scent that is causing this phenomenon. Elizabeth is wondering if it can be turned into a new aroma therapy product (“Why does your bedroom smell like dog?”) or perhaps chemically isolated to create a kind of inhaled Ambien. (That’s Stillnox for those of you across the pond). And for the opposite effect I think my poop scent could make people move a whole lot faster. And of course the anorexic effect of my superb flatulence is well known. I am a complete pharmacopoeia.
Well other than the project to turn my assorted odors into the next line of blockbuster pharmaceuticals, it’s been a pretty quiet week here. Owing to some late breaking cold weather there haven’t been quite as many tourists out and about admiring me as usual although I have met some lovely people from Italy (who actually understood Elizabeth’s accent when she said I was a Cane di Santo Huberto) and some very nice people from the UK. And of course the smiling jogger who commented “Beautiful Hound, lady” as he cruised past. But right now I am temporarily domiciled with Elizabeth as Maria pulled both her hamstrings and a glute (I can’t imagine how these things happen to her) and am basking in Elizabethan leftovers. Anyone who ever said having eyes bigger than your stomach is a bad thing never had a Hound!
Anyway, hope you all have an entertaining Christmas week. There is talk of snow here tomorrow. Wonder if I can injure my second human.
Until next time,
Wimsey, a cavalier of a different species
Thursday, December 17, 2009
Posted by Wimsey at 3:47 PM