November 3, 2012
Hello Everyone, it’s me Wimsey, coming to you safe and sound from Manhattan’s Upper West Side, where apart from my goings on nothing much ever happens-- apparently not even hurricanes. Of course my human Maria and her friend Elizabeth are very grateful that we are all (especially me) fine and that the neighborhood weathered the storm so well but it wasn’t for want of planning for any contingency.
Elizabeth in particular has a very vivid imagination and in the days preceding the storm used it to turn her fourteenth floor apartment into a survivalist’s paradise. When hurricanes hit it is the custom around here for Maria and me to repair from our ground floor apartment where flooding is always theoretically possible to Elizabeth’s fourteenth floor apartment where it is not.
Anyway, in the days preceding the storm Elizabeth spent quite a bit of time at Fairway making sure that her closets, cupboards and refrigerator were filled to overflowing with anything and everything two humans and a very large, demanding dog could possibility need or want. The numerous jugs of water were even supplemented with large amounts of beer and wine just in case I required all the potable water (at least that’s what she told Maria). And of course all the fixings were brought in for the Traditional Hurricane Meal—a Frankenlasagna capable of feeding all of us for a week (my humans being under no illusion that the bags and bins of kibble they had stored would in any way suffice to satisfy me in the face of lasagna eating humans). In addition there were sugar, limes and cachaca to concoct soothing medicinal draughts of caipirinha (a lovely beverage into which to stick one’s large, inquisitive nose, by the way).
But first there was our usual Sunday park perambulation and this needed to be extra long and interesting in case my humans were unable to be exercise me in the manner to which I have become accustomed. There were signs announcing that the park would be closing at 4pm that day but in spite of this it was pretty much Hound business as usual. The air smelled terrific and I spent a good deal of time with my prominent proboscis pointed into the wind inhaling deeply, drooling copiously and flinging widely.
And here I am greeting a group of intrepid park visitors-- you may notice the determination with which I am gazing at this young man—I am sure he is a very interesting young man, but of much greater interest is the water bottle that he is attempting to hide behind his back. I am not named after a great fictional detective for nothing.
Anyway, on Monday morning Maria found out that she had to go into the office for a few hours (the office being an easily walkable mile and a half —a trivial distance in Wimsey World) and so I was deposited at Elizabeth’s lest I find being alone distressing in inclement conditions. Elizabeth had apparently slept very little the night before—I imagine it was owing to her fretting over my care and comfort—so when I arrived she decided to go back to bed.
Now generally I do not like to sleep in the bed if it is occupied by a human (they take up too much space) and it is only under exceptional circumstances that I will do so—like if they don’t want me to. Accordingly I waited until Elizabeth was just drifting off (sensing this being one of my Houndly superpowers) and then I snuffled her face; and when she opened her eyes to glare at me I placed my chin appealingly on the bed causing her to remember her duties as hurricane hostess and to invite me up (not that I would have needed inviting but it makes her feel better).
And as I am a very methodical Hound (especially in matters concerning my own comfort) I have a five-step program on how to settle in comfortably:
1. Survey the topography of the pillows, bedding and human.
2. Adjust the bedding to one’s maximum comfort advantage.
3. Decide which part of the human will make the best pillow for one’s heavy head, ponderous wrinkles and moist flews.
4. Ensure that such head placement affords maximum snoring decibel level in human’s ear.
5. Ensure that feet are in contact with the maximum amount of human necessary to kick them with maximum amount of force during dreams.
In the end I chose to pin Elizabeth’s arm to the adjoining pillow, thus getting the benefit of both arm and pillow and positioning my head adjacent to her ear. And because I was so peaceful and relaxed I immediately fell into a deep slumber and had many exciting and exuberant dreams entailing a good deal of running and tail thumping. It was lovely. At least for me (and I’m sure Elizabeth has the paw shaped bruises to prove it). And just to make sure that Elizabeth would not get lonely when I wasn’t around I made certain that all the bedding reeked of me.
Anyway, eventually Maria returned (bringing a battery operated lantern from home and extra, extra turkey for me) and we all went out for an afternoon walk. As you can see the heinous gentle leader made its appearance as apparently I was engaging in some Xtrme walking maneuvers (like trying to get to Central Park). Having weathered Hurricane Irene I was amazed at how benign the weather actually was—showery and a little breezy and many restaurants and business were open and available for me to try to visit.
We no sooner got home than lasagna preparations swung into high gear. I naturally assisted in these preparations and watched with fascination (as did Maria) as a Tower of Lasagna was built. Elizabeth never remembers how much of what to buy and of course doesn’t want to get caught short in case we all have to subsist on this lasagna indefinitely, so it was all “Are you sure lasagna is supposed to look like that?” and ‘I don’t think lasagna is supposed to be a vertical food.”
But before we could eat it was time for another walk. I apologize for the eerie quality of the light, but I insisted that the hurricane walk be documented for posterity.
I felt strongly that some Grom Gelato would make an excellent appetizer but sadly the store was closed. Conditions were again, surprisingly benign—showers, not rain and the sustained winds were not strong although the occasional gusts were—but when Elizabeth opined that the winds didn’t seem especially strong. Maria pointed out that being anchored to 125 lbs. of oppostionally inert Hound might have clouded her perception just a tad.
In any case, we all pretty much watched the storm on TV like the rest of the country—although when we saw the lights going out in New Jersey across the Hudson we were concerned about ending up in a real life episode of the TV show Revolution. And worried calls and texts came in from all over the world as friends, clients and family watched the mess unfold; this made my humans feel guilty as consuming a tower of lasagna, drinking cocktails and (especially) playing with me was very far from anyone’s idea of being in the midst of a natural disaster. What can I say? But we were prepared.
So after much lasagna we all turned in and I had a very restful night, having stolen some sheets and constructed an extremely fine sheet nest. I was only disturbed by my humans periodically getting up to look at the digital clocks and glowing electronics to make sure the power was still on.
The next morning Maria was summoned to the office again—half her firm made it in so we were not the only ones spared major consequences—and Elizabeth and I went down to Riverside Park to inspect some of the damage. I towed as usual to the Boat Basin café but found it eerily devoid of bacon and cookie wielding staff but there were lots of other people (and canines) out and about taking stock.
And hurricanes bring out the public spirit in all of us, even my French bulldog buddy Pluto, who began a serious effort to help clean up the neighborhood by taking branches to his apartment. I myself collected unsightly plastic water bottles that had blown onto park property.
So that was my hurricane. Like last time there was no damage to my apartment but of course my humans are not about to risk anything that would incommode me. Central Park was closed all week but not for want of me trying to break in as I towed Elizabeth thither each afternoon in spite of her pleading with me. I was frequently joined by gangs of similarly minded local canines and their hapless humans (The park ranger said that Irene had caused more damage but that the size of the trees uprooted by Sandy was greater).
Anyway, the park is supposed to open this Saturday. Although the marathon has been cancelled, The Upper West Side is chock a block with marathoners and as is the case every year, many of them are intense Hound lovers. An evening stroll along Columbus Avenues elicits oohs and aahs from the packed outdoor cafes and requests for me to bay—which is diametrically opposed to the usual requests for me to stop. I am petted, fêted and photographed to an amazing degree. I hope they stick around until next year.
The other thing about the hurricane is that is has blanketed the neighborhood in completely new scent. This means that I require my afternoon walk to be at least two hours long which is the bare minimum I need to begin getting olfactorily reacquainted with it. Nose to the ground, tail held high, inhaling for all the world like I am on the trail of the mother of all pizzas and deaf to the wail of “Wimsey it’s been two hours!” But Elizabeth should look on the bright side—getting dragged around the city by Hoover Nose is a lot less painful than taking a nap with Feet of Fury.
Until next time,
Wimsey, Safe, Sound and Loud