Friday, June 13, 2014

Wimsey's Blog: Diary of a Manhattan Bloodhound #351

Entry #351
June 13, 2014

Hello Everyone, it’s me, Wimsey coming to you from Manhattan’s Upper West Side where the weather gods are wreaking havoc with what used to be known as spring. It’s been mostly chilly and humid which means that I have to listen to my human Maria and her friend Elizabeth complain about being both cold AND being sweaty. Then every now and then it just gets hot. Or very rainy. One never knows what to expect next.  Rather like life with a Hound.

As many of you know, I am being abandoned for nine days. Elizabeth is going to Europe which means that my primary human, Maria, will have to take full care of me. There is some compensation in that she is taking a few days off next week to devote herself to the effort full time and I am also to have a visit from one of my favorite humans, Ilonka who is married to Paul who is the founder of my brewery, Baying Hound Ale Works. She will be bringing along a friend to add to my entourage hoping to distract me from the fact that one of my humans had the temerity to leave me.  And better yet, we will all be crammed into my tiny apartment which means that not only can’t you run, you can’t hide either. Not from the drool, the hair, the stink and my tush on your lap. I only hope that Ilonka is still friends with her friend after a couple of days with me (and nights, during which I excel at running, farting and snoring all at the same time).
So all this because Elizabeth has been asked to temporarily join the 1% in Tuscany for a few days. I still can’t believe that she would rather do this than be part of the 0% who have the privilege of not being listened to by me.  This has also induced her to leave me alone during the day and engage in a flurry of shopping so she can wear clothes that don’t smell and aren’t covered In drool stains or worse (I managed to smear my butt along her pink t- shirt this week in the process of settling myself in her lap. But pink and brown go, right?).  I am sure that she will have many fun stories when she returns, as everyone is supposed to drink these medicinal waters whose main effect is apparently to make you run to the bathroom. So next time I grab something revolting on the street that has similar properties I will claim that it was for medicinal purposes! 

Anyway, in spite of the crazy weather I did manage to take my humans out for a 3-hour frolic in the park on Sunday. Although mainly this consisted of me resting in shady bowers while my humans stood around and gave their sunscreen a workout while watching me.  But since the weather has been largely cool and cloudy I have been out and about and my humans have been spared my annual metamorphosis into Wimsey the Vampire Hound in which I run from shady spot to shady spot to avoid the direct sunlight. Summer would be great if it were not for the weather.

Good Things About Summer

People carry plastic water bottles which I am very good at  “obtaining”

People eat outside which means that there is much clean up work for a tidy Hound like myself

People eat outside which means there is much cadging opportunity for a charming Hound like myself

Outdoor cafes

Gelato stands 

Tourists in town to admire me

The exciting absence of a lot of scent-and-cold-nose impeding clothing
But another good thing about summer is finally getting to go out in my yard. Last Saturday I spend the afternoon watching Maria try to dismantle and remove at least some of the junk left by the previous tenant of the adjacent apartment.  Then Elizabeth tried to use a pair of pruning shears which was only marginally more useful than me trying to use a pair of pruning shears (New Yorker not being especially well known for their gardening skills).  When she started cutting things this led to the Great Debate about which pieces of vegetation were actually plants and which were weeds-- but really, if you can’t tell the difference, does it really matter? As long as they don’t remove the ones that I like to eat.

When all of this proved too taxing to supervise I took a nap not on my kuranda bed.  Maria keeps hopefully repositioning it around the yard under the theory that if only she found the right spot I would use it.  This is kind of like thinking that if only she told me to sit often enough I would do it. But as a reward for all of our labors we rewarded ourselves with the first Saturday wine and pizza night of the year. I ate quite a bit—cut up and hand fed to me the way I like it naturally. Apparently when you drool on a piece, it’s yours.  And as happens every year, plans are being made to try to barbecue—Maria bought all the gear several years ago but has yet to get up the courage to use it. Barbecuing is right up there with gardening, driving and pumping gas in my humans’ arsenal of skills.  They can take comfort in the fact that I will be on hand to deal with any unsuccessful experiments.

Sorry for the short post this week but before I go I want to observe that New York is full of odd things (like giant, baying bloodhounds) and here is a statue of a giant, non-baying raven. Why? Because the building behind me used to be a farmhouse owned by Edgar Alan Poe’s parents and he wrote “The Raven” there. Things have changed a bit. Sadly, I am not allowed to pee on this raven which is disappointing since I’ve never peed on a raven before and I believe that expanding one’s horizons is important for personal growth.  

And speaking of new experiences, Elizabeth showed Maria the clothing that she bought and Maria looked on in horror as a pair of white trousers appeared. One person’s white trousers are another person’s canvas. Will Elizabeth ever be able to wear these trousers?

Quoth The Wimsey, “Nevermore”

Friday, June 6, 2014

Wimsey's Blog: Diary of a Manhattan Bloodhound #350

Entry #350
June 6, 2014

Hello Everyone, it’s me, Wimsey! I am back again at my post (no pun intended) here on Manhattan’s Upper West Side, where owing to my human Maria and her friend Elizabeth being busy and me being lazy, I have not had a chance to write a single word.  Two whole weeks without there being any news about me. It’s tragic.

Anyway, as those of you who follow my doings know, Elizabeth was busy with meetings in New York and Boston last week, which meant that ONCE AGAIN Maria had to come walk me in the middle of the day and to minister to my many needs. I do not like when this happens. And when a Hound does not like something to happen it generally does not happen. Now when Elizabeth comes to pick me up at midday she puts ointment in my eyes, cleans out my ears, puts drops in them, brushes my teeth and puts antibiotic ointment on my toe.  All this happens whilst I sit enthroned on the Tribute Couch receiving cooing accolades on my good behavior and receiving Elizabeth’s undivided attention, which I find quite pleasing.  And also as many of you know, I am a Hound of Fixed Opinions and one of them is that my humans are like apps—they each have a different function, so when Maria tries to medicate me it’s like calling a taxi with Uber and getting the weather instead. The upshot of all this is, is that Elizabeth was on the receiving end (for once) of irate emails about my lack of cooperation (i.e., fleeing) vis my treatments and how she is likely to find a medical mess when she returns because I would not permit Maria to come near me with any of the necessary stuff.

I mean as The Hound in Charge I do have to enforce division of labor discipline or else there would be chaos (by which I mean chaos that I have not created). I would never know who is doing what and when. If there is any element of surprise to be doled out I need to be the one responsible. As in, “Surprise!  That sandwich you turned your back on for a micro second is gone” or “Surprise! There is no longer any dirty underwear to wash” or “Surprise! I did some gardening,” etc.

Anyway, apparently the lack of recent practice in taking care of me has resulted in some very sloppy caretaking on Elizabeth’s part. She forgot to boil my chicken breasts for my lunch the way she always does on Monday—her apartment is so fragrant on Mondays that my nose practically twitches off my snout—and was forced to substitute hard boiled eggs instead. Fortunately, I enjoy hard boiled eggs, but like everything else that is prepared for me, I demand pieces of a certain size and feel compelled to reject pieces of things that are either too small or too big. So on Monday, I had no sooner put the snout into the trough, so to speak, when I noticed an unacceptably large piece of hard boiled egg.  This I immediately removed from my bowl, dropped on the floor in front of Elizabeth (I like my humans to stand around and admire me while I eat) and glared at her.  After once slicing my duck hearts into pieces that I considered too large, she really should know better.  I’m not even going to complain (again) about the lack of sufficient butter on my baked yams.

So what else is new? I was about to report an unprecedented absence from the vet’s office but this is not strictly speaking true. My humans did not like the look of the growth on my toe (there are plans afoot to freeze it off with cryosurgery at some point) and I had been engaging in a bit of a flap-a-thon so I was in fact taken to the vet. However, in the 24 hours between the symptoms and my appointment I underwent another one of those Wimsey Pre-Vet Appointment Miracle Cures (the ones that have the vets scratching their heads and my humans looking like they have Munchausen Syndrome)—pristine ears and a non-angry looking toe.  The vet felt so sorry for my humans that she didn’t charge anything but I was somewhat compensated for my lack of imposing a financial burden by the fact that Elizabeth was forced to drop her work on a very busy project to take me to the appointment. Although I prefer to cost my humans both time and money, sadly I had to settle for time. For now.

The summer season is also underway in Central Park and this means that I am the focus of much seasonal attention.  There are photo opps and snack feeding opps aplenty at this time of year and since people eat al fresco, so do I. Somehow my summer walks all entail routes that take us along park benches and verdant fields fragrant with picnic remains. But owing to the warmth and sunny nature of the season I do feel impelled to take frequent breaks in the shade while my humans stand around in the sun and watch me relax. If they too try to sit with me and relax I get up and pull them somewhere else. Ditto if they try to take a break from watching me and try to check their emails or something—up I get.  It’s this kind of behavior that wins me the many “Wretched Hound” accolades in which I bask.

But there is Evil afoot. Elizabeth has selfishly accepted an invitation to go to Tuscany in the middle of the month, and is stopping off en route to see friends in the UK.   She is flying across the pond on her favorite airline, Virgin Atlantic, which coincidentally happens to be the only airline whose planes have a bar (although what she finds to drink about when I am not around is a mystery). But I think I could do better than Richard Branson:

Hound Atlantic

Hound fight attendant: Welcome to Hound Atlantic, the Airline that Doesn’t Care About You (actually, none of them do, we are just honest about it). Captain Hubert is in command of our aircraft, and of you today and he has turned on the fasten seat belt sign so we ask that you return to your seats—or what’s left of them—and fasten your seat belt.

Passenger: Mine just has the metal buckles! Where’s the rest of it?

Hound fight attendant: I see that you haven’t flown with us before. If you had, you would not have to ask. You won’t find those safety cards in your seat backs that no one reads either. But don’t worry; one of our flight attendants will be around to sit on your lap during takeoff and landing.

Passenger: But they weigh 130lbs!

Hound fight attendant: Exactly. You won’t be going anywhere. It’s one of our advanced safety features.

Hound fight attendant: I also want to remind our passengers that interfering with or not obeying a member of the flight crew is a Federal offense and that this applies whenever or wherever you encounter one of us. Now please turn off all electronic devices and pass them to a flight attendant. Their use during flight is prohibited. Except by us.

Passenger: Why do we have to give them to a fight attendant?

Hound fight attendant: Because due to cutbacks we no longer have sufficient staff to steal them all ourselves.

Passenger: But why can you use them and we can’t?

Hound fight attendant: Because we use them for a different purpose that does not involve turning them on.

Passenger: Well when will I get mine back?

Hound fight attendant: You really have never flown with us have you?

Passenger: Well what about a drink?

Hound fight attendant: I was just coming to that. Ladies and gentleman after takeoff our flight attendants will be coming through the cabin to offer you a beverage of your choice.

Passenger: What are the choices?

Hound fight attendant: Coke with drool, sprite with drool, orange juice with drool, coffee or tea with drool, fancy bottled water with drool and of course, our specialty drink, Just Drool.

Passenger: Can I have that on the rocks?

Hound fight attendant: Of course. We also have a selection of alcoholic beverages that include wine with drool, beer with drool a selection of cocktails with drool and our special house drink, Shots ‘n Drool.  These are available for purchase with a credit card that we will be taking from you to verify their validity.

Passenger: Really? You verify the card?

Hound fight attendant: No, we eat them. But no one would give us the cards if we said that. Notice that we didn’t promise to give them back. At least in their original form.

Passenger: What about food?

Hound fight attendant: I am just coming through the cabin to deliver a tray with our award winning meals.

Passenger: But this tray is empty!

Hound fight attendant: You snooze, you lose.

Passenger: But I am hungry.

Hound fight attendant: Well I could try to get you a meal from first class.

Passenger: Is that an empty tray also?

Hound fight attendant: Absolutely not! First class passengers are served on elegant china!  The meal is all the stuff that we don’t like and spat out. I think the meal you have is better.

Passenger: And who exactly did these meals win an award from?

Hound fight attendant: The American Kennel Club.

Passenger: Well what about entertainment.

Hound fight attendant: I’m glad you asked. We have an award winning entertainment system also.

Passenger: Let me guess. We throw squeaky toys for you to fetch.

Hound fight attendant: Don’t be ridiculous! Hounds don’t fetch. Why would we bring something back that we went to all that trouble to retrieve? Anyway, each row has its personal entertainment system. A flight attendant will stretch out on all of you and thwack you until you scratch him.

Passenger: Is there audio entertainment?

Hound fight attendant: He snores.

Passenger: That sounds like an entertainment system for the flight attendants.

Hound fight attendant: Well yes. It’s not all about you, you know. And we didn’t say who our entertainment system entertains.  But scratching a Hound will lower your blood pressure-- at least until you get the bill for the flight.

Passenger: Do people really fly this airline?

Hound fight attendant: Absolutely! Haven’t you seen our advertising campaign--
“Hound Atlantic: Something Special In the Air.” We just don’t say what.

Well you get the idea. Of course the flight attendant on Elizabeth’s flight back from Boston was also something special—after yelling at the passengers about various things she started complaining about how none of the glassware had been washed and that the glasses were too small anyway. Then she served wine in the large plastic glasses meant for water. They were full. No one asked for seconds. When Elizabeth finally rolled home she came over to see me immediately because she missed me—but then she sobered up.

But we Hounds are something special on the ground too. It’s why everyone loves us—except of course the humans whom we put on involuntary diets and who have to repair moonscaped yards, replace chewed up fences and buy lots of new underwear. Also new couches. I myself am special in so many ways that it is not possible to enumerate them all.  For instance, I am trilingual—I know how to not listen to my humans in English, Hungarian and French!

So in other news, when I entered Elizabeth’s apartment after our walk yesterday, my toy pile was missing! (There is a very good reason that I inventory it every day).  But a completely missing toy pile can only mean one thing—a visit from Pluto, my French bulldog buddy. Sure enough, Elizabeth disappeared and came back with the little fellow! It was delightful (except for the fact that I had to be walked on the heinous gentle leader because Maria was walking me and owing to the fact that she hadn’t slept the night before, she somehow felt that I might take advantage of her if I were on my harness. Moi?).  I really like Pluto and I am sure the neighbors that I bay awake when he and I meet on early morning walks like him too!

Well, I think I will leave it there for this week.  I have to go help Elizabeth find something to wear in a tony Tuscan resort. Something in black and tan perhaps…

Until next time,

Wimsey, something special (and painful) in your lap