Wednesday, October 31, 2012


I may have mentioned that the house we're renting was built in the mid-1800s.

Although I try not to think about it, I'm sure many people were born and died here since that is what you did back then.

Hubby and I were standing in the upstairs hallway as he got ready for work.

The door to the spare room was mostly closed. This is usual since I'm trying to keep the unused areas shut off to save on our heating bills.

But then the door rattled and closed the rest of the way.

We both stopped and looked at it.

In my head I told myself it was the wind, even though there aren't any open windows and the door at the other end of the room leading to the back steps is closed as well.

Hubby said, a little too causally, "Weell, I'm going to go ahead to work now. Try not to think about today being Halloween."

Rising to the challenge, I decided to open the door so we could battle whatever monster was lurking within together.

I almost pissed myself when I saw movement in the room as the door swung open.

Why the heck was something moving in an empty room?!

As the door swung fully open Samson came bursting out.

Much to our relief and laughter.

I had actually been wondering where he was for at least an hour, but had assumed he was napping under our bed.

He likes to lay on the floor in the spare room as it gives him a good view of the hallway and down the staircase.

Our theory is the door was only half open when he went in and he knocked it shut the rest of the way.

What we don't understand is why he didn't bark when he wanted to come out.

Saturday, October 13, 2012

A Bad Sign

I've been working from home for over two years now.

During that time I've occasionally thought about that cartoon on The Oatmeal blog about the pros and cons of working from home.

When we were in New Hampshire I think my social skills weren't able to slide much because I saw Hubby regularly during the day and I'd have to get dressed to meet him for lunch in the cafeteria.

Basically, I was interacting with people on a regular basis.

Not so here in New York.

No, here I've been able to rapidly become feral and jump straight to the one year mark on the degradation of social skills panel.

To make myself feel better I like to blame hubby's weird schedule. I wake up before him but don't want to make noise showering. Then when he leaves I have to get to work, with the end result being I either shower at 4 o'clock in the afternoon or I don't shower at all.

This is wrong and I know it.

I've been thinking for a while now that I have to be more diligent about showering and dressing as soon as I wake up.

The urgent need to enact this new routine was driven home this morning.

The house is a pig stye and needs to be cleaned. When I announced that this morning Hubby responded, "We've been saying that for months." And I had to point out that it's really true now (as opposed to before when it was just slightly messy).

I decided that since I had a lot of housework ahead of me it would be easier to tackle if I was ready for action, which means wearing shoes.

So I got dressed.

Then I went downstairs and put on my sneakers.

And Samson lost his mind.

He started dancing around me.

He ran to the front door and rang his bell.

He ran back to me, danced some more, and woofed.

It was very obvious that he thought something exciting was going to happen--most likely a walk--because mommy was putting clothes on.

Wow. I've got to make an effort to get dressed every day.

Friday, October 5, 2012

Walked by a Pup

When we lived in New Hampshire I would walk a two mile loop with my friend Judy every morning.

This was good exercise for us and a chance to get some fresh air.

When the pups were on their morning out I would call her, which was the prompt to put on her shoes and come down to meet me.

We were very consistent. Since the pups always had to go out every morning, which meant I had to be out in all kinds of weather, there were few excuses not to. I mean, once you're dressed and standing in the rain why not walk?

It hasn't been that simple here in New York.

First off, we have a yard again so I can stand on the porch in my pajamas watching the pups romp.

Second off, walking by myself isn't as fun.

So I decided to take Samson with me as company and in a vain attempt to wear him out.
It was actually a bit worrisome.

Or should I say eye opening?

Now, Samson has run off a few times. When we first moved here he mainly ran off to the landlord's house across the property to harass their dog.

Luckily he is beautiful and charming and they like dogs so they don't seem to mind much. The landlord also realized he could just order Samson to "go home!" and he would.

But then he started expanding his territory.

I realized just how much on our first walk.

I let him be off the leash because he pulls too much (still) and he walked with purpose and determination. He stuck to the right hand side of the street, but then occasionally crossed to the left hand side to sniff and pee on a particular tree or fence.

Then he'd cross back.

Of course, he didn't look either direction when he crossed, which was heart stopping. We're on a dead end road, so it's relatively quiet but people tend to fly down it.

There is a field and a barn up the road and he detoured into the field and around the barn when we got there.

He continued to lead the way until we reached the big end in the road half a mile away.

There is a large apron on the bend because there is an access road going into the fields.

He trotted into the apron to pee on the fence posts. I continued to the far end of the apron and stopped to wait for him. Shortly after we moved here I mapped out both a two mile and a three mile loop and I was ready to keep going.

Samson had other ideas.

After he left his calling card he trotted over to me. However, instead of blazing the trail as he'd been doing he stopped, looked at me, and then headed for home.

We'd reached the end of his territory.

He'd checked the perimiter and it was time to head back.

Holy smokes, is that where he'd been running off to?

I followed him home and he repeated the behavior of crossing at set points to make his mark.

A routine was definitely in place.

The thing is, however, I'd never noticed that he disappeared long enough to do the entire mile loop and I never noticed him coming home as tired as he did from our walk.
But I can't imagine that his behavior was just a one time thing.

My suspicions were supported a few days later when I let Baru come along. It was immediately apparent that Baru knew the patrol route as well!

Those dogs are a caution.

Thursday, October 4, 2012

Sock Season

I have spent most of the summer running around barefoot.

This is not necessarily an issue since I like being barefoot.

It has been possible for my toes to enjoy their freedom because I work from home and, now that we live in the middle of nowhere, I don't spontaneously go places anymore.

In fact, my slide into being feral recently led me to be concerned about what I'd do in the event of an alien invasion. How prepared would I be to battle aliens barefoot and in my pajamas? Although I don't expect to be going places, shouldn't I get dressed everyday in the off chance that I might have to make a fast escape from an intergalactic threat?

These concerns are being naturally addressed by the advent of cooler weather.

Maybe the threat of an alien invasion can't get me to put on shoes, but cold weather sure will.

And you know what? Sock season is awesome!

Is there anything quite as awesome as wearing handmade socks in comfy shoes? Aside from knitting more socks for future wear?

Really, if you have to give up going barefoot, due to either cold weather or aliens, handknit socks are the way to go.

There is just one problem with it.

The need to eventually wash those handknit socks. With commercial socks you just toss them in the washer and dryer and move on with your life.

Handknit socks should not be subjected to such abuse. They need to be hand washed. That isn't to say that they are delicate flowers, but...they are delicate flowers.

Trust me, I've lost at least one pair of socks to the horrors of the dryer.

Now, I must confess that when I was living in Connecticut and had a brand new washing machine, and even in New Hampshire where the washer was fairly modern, I shamelessly and without hesitation threw my handknit socks in the washer.

I would machine wash cold on the delicate/knit cycle and then hang them to dry on a collapsible wooden drying rack.

My socks and I lived happy lives.

But those days are over.

The house we are renting now has an ancient washing machine.

Don't get me wrong. It's a solid unit and it's doing a great job cleaning our clothes. But I don't trust that it's knit cycle is really as delicate as my handknit socks want it to be.

This presents me with a dilemma since I like hand knitting socks, but not hand washing socks.

Actually, it presents me with a dilemma and a massive pile of dirty socks on the bathroom floor.

 And cold toes that are unprepared to face aliens.

As you can see, I own dozens of pairs of hand knit socks (there are also two sweaters in that pile adding to the bulk). But even my sock drawer has a limit.

A breaking point is being reached.

I'm either going to have to hand wash the buggers or risk ruin and throw them in the washer.

In actuality, I might split the difference by putting them in the bucket to soak and then running them through the spin cycle to get the excess water out.

Honestly, I don't understand how letting the socks stand in water for a bit actually gets them clean. Don't they need the agitation?

Action must be taken soon.

It takes me two weeks to knit a pair of socks. I only have nine clean pairs left in my drawer.

I hope the aliens don't show up anytime soon.