28 March 2011

iPad Wishes and Hassenpfeffer Dreams

Earlier this month, I posted in honor of my father's birthday. Since then, both my father-in-law's birthday and my own have passed. My father-in-law would have been 78 last Thursday, but sadly he left us two years ago after a very long battle with prostate cancer. His presence in my life was both a joy and a blessing because he was far more father to me than "in-law," and I miss him easily as much as I miss my own father. Louis was a very generous and giving man, always looking out for his kids and pretty much everyone else as well. He was the kind of man who would give you the shirt off of his own back and then ask if you were warm enough while he stood beside you shivering. Near the end of my own father's life, Louis was there to help assuage his fears of dying and point him on the path of peace, for which I will be eternally grateful.

Christmas, 2003

Louis left us quite an example to which we should aspire, as well as sufficient funds to pay for my daughter's college tuition--though I'd have rather have him here to see her graduate. I also inherited his beloved dog Lady, who appears to be an strange mix of Rottweiler and possibly bassett hound. She is an odd little creature, but I adore her. After his wife passed away in 2005, Louis got the 0ne-year-old Lady as a rescue dog. I don't know what had happened to the poor thing in her previous life, but I sometimes wonder if she had been abused a little because she twitches and shrinks away from almost every unexpected sound, no matter how small. She is the jumpiest dog I have ever known, though she has settled somewhat in the two years we've had her. In spite of this, she is also easily the sweetest and cuddliest dog I have ever known, wanting nothing more than to snuggle up next to her people, preferably on the couch or bed (she thinks she deserves diva comforts). Because Louis was lonely after his wife died, he spoiled Lady rotten. She became literally a lap dog, often sprawling across him in his recliner, as though a 40-50 lb dog could really be called a "lap" dog. Fortunately, through a doggy diet, she is now a much trimmer 35 lbs, which puts far less strain on her hip dysplasia. Lady also slept with Louis. It's been difficult trying to untrain all her bad habits while teaching her new ones, but I am slowly making progress. At first, I thought she wasn't very bright because she seemed oblivious to everything I tried to teach her. And while I doubt she'll ever be the brightest crayon in the box, she is definitely smarter than I originally thought, or at the very least much sneakier, like when she waits till we fall asleep and then climbs off the bed to curl up on the couch, where she's not allowed. Devious dog, Lady.

Lady suns her buns on the deck.

I tell you this because Lady gave me a very unexpected present on my own birthday, which was on March 17th. I always loved having a St. Patrick's Day birthday, because it was on a "special" day rather than some other boring, run-of-the-mill day. I got to dress up in green (which goes great with red hair, btw) and parade about like the Irish princess I pretended to be. The only downside to having a St. Patty's birthday was that in school my sadistic classmates wouldn't settle for spanking me the number of years old I was at the time, but would instead both spank and pinch me the correct number of years in spite of the fact that I annually wore green from the skin out in an attempt to stave off their onslaughts. It never worked, though, and I have vivid memories of backing into corners all day long so that my posterior could neither be pinched nor spanked, during which my classmates enthusiastically tried to yank me out of said corners.

St. Patrick's Day is better with a springy shamrock headband.

But I digress. Anyway, very early on the morning of the 17th I was preparing for bed and so let out Lady for one last pit stop as is our custom. Normally Lady is so ready to jump into bed with me (having already given me the hairy eyeball for two hours for delaying her bedtime) that I'm convinced her feet barely touch the ground before she has done her business and vaulted back up the deck stairs, ready for her treat and her cushy position curled up between my legs in the bed. On my birthday, however, she did not come back in as quickly as normal, so I just figured she had more "business" to do and proceeded to put a load of laundry into the dryer while I waited. Why I can't be that productive in daylight hours, I'll never know. Anyway, I finished that, looked on the deck, and still didn't see the dog. Weird. I didn't think much of it, and so went on to empty the dishwasher while I waited, after which Lady still wasn't waiting impatiently by the door. Odd. I opened the door and called her name, which usually brings her running whether she's finished going or not, even if there are other dogs around outside the fence (though that usually makes her have to think twice about whether or not she wants to obey me). But she didn't come running, nor did I hear the tell-tale jingle of her dog tags as I usually do. So I called again. Still nothing but silence. I went out on the deck in my PJs, barefoot, and called her again. Still nothing. Maybe she was sick. I walked across the deck and finally saw her near the steps, all hunched over like she was indeed ill. I called her again, and she looked up, but kept slinking around like she was in trouble or still ill. She was acting very strangely. She kept hunched over, and refused to come to me. I finally grabbed a pair of shoes and went out into the yard where I found her lying next to what appeared to be a dead rabbit. Well, okay, that was unexpected. So I called her again, and it rapidly became clear that she did not want to go. Eventually I got her to head to the stairs, though she kept looking back to the bunny and trying to sneak around behind me. I pretty much had to block the stairs so she couldn't go back down and eventually managed to get her back in the house without actually dragging her by the collar.

Innocence incarnate.

Once inside, I noticed that she had a disturbing smear on her forehead. I got a wet paper towel and proceeded to clean it off. The paper towel came away red. Ewwwwww! I was so hoping that she was merely keeping the bunny company. Sigh. I cleaned off the rest of her face, as well as her paws--just in case. I think most of what was on her paws was just mud, but as the clay here is also red, there's just no telling and I much prefer it that way. Lady continued to slink around the kitchen, knowing I was displeased with the morning's turn of events while trying to evade having her feet washed. After Lady was cleaned up, I decided to go outside with a flashlight to make sure the bunny was really dead and not just injured. BIG mistake. The bunny was indeed dead, or so I assume given the gaping hole in its side from which poured disgusting squiggly gut-like things. Needless to say, I beat a hasty retreat back inside. Good morning and Happy Birthday to me.

The Killer Bunny of Caerbannog

I will probably never know what actually happened outside. It seems unlikely that some random bunny would be crossing our yard and then drop dead of a stroke or heart attack or something and be found by Lady, the world's most passive dog. But if she'd actually chased it down and savaged it, wouldn't I have heard her running around or barking or scuffling? Even with the water running in the sink and starting the dryer? It's a mystery. All I know is that my sweet, passive, cowardly rescue dog has now turned out to be the Backyard Bunny Ninja. I guess I need to make her a cape and build her a phone booth for these instant transformations. I finally got to bed around 3-3:30 am after all the excitement (though it took over an hour to dispel the image of bunny guts and get to sleep), but not before leaving my hubs a lengthy note exhorting him NOT to let the dog out until after he had performed disposal service on the bunny's remains. I don't do corpses. Especially not on my freakin' birthday. And, sure enough, the second he let her out Lady rocketed directly to the sight of Bunnygeddon to look for her lost plunder. Too bad, so sad, Lady!

Lady should be glad the bunny didn't bite back.

By comparison, the rest of my birthday was relatively sedate. I assiduously avoided doing chores or anything else productive for the day, instead choosing to relax and enjoy the day. I already had one present, given to me by my daughter when she was home for break. Ironically, she bought me the book on which the movie "King's Speech" was based, only to discover that I'd purchased a copy for myself a week earlier. She was only slightly bummed, though, because she wanted a copy for herself anyway and now has one. Not that we ever think alike, or anything. By contrast, my husband informed me earlier in the week that he was going to be "spending a lot more money on my present than he'd expected." Okaaaaay. What does one do with that, really? Is that meant to get me all excited because he's spent so much on me, or insult me because "OMG, I've spent SO MUCH on you!!" as though somehow I'm not worth it? Either way, it's an awkward way of doing things. You've gotta love Aspie boys; they try so hard but just never quite get there, do they? The funny part is that he does stuff like that all. the. time. and then is terribly disappointed when I always know what I'm getting, in spite of the fact that he's basically told me in giant, neon letters. Well, I guess he thinks he's being cagey. LOL. Anyway, after this blurted pronouncement, my first and immediate thought was iPAD!!!!!!!!!!!!! because my daughter and I had just been discussing them the week before after seeing the big, long line full of people waiting for the iPad 2 wrapping around the Mall of Georgia's Apple store when we went to get her phone fixed. To be fair, I have been interested in getting an iPad. Initially I thought they were little more than glorified iTouches, and wasn't particularly impressed. After becoming addicted to my iPhone, however, and after playing with my brother-in-law's iPad, I started to think they would be really handy when traveling, since most of what I do on the road is check email, play on Facebook, and surf the 'net. I even considered saving up for a first generation iPad since they went on sale for $100 off the second the new ones came out, but eventually decided I'd rather wait and get the newer one, which had a processor that was 8 times faster and had dual cameras built in like the iPhone 4, so I could actually Skype the girl child on it.

Nerd toys rock.

Of course, after telling me that he was spending "so much money" on me and making me suspect an iPad, I did ultimately wonder what would happen when my birthday actually rolled around. As a result, when the doorbell rang that afternoon, I was rather surprised to receive a small arrangement of flowers. My first thought was that my hubby had sent them, which I instantly disregarded considering that in nearly 25 years of marriage, plus a year or so of dating before that, I can count on less than one hand the number of times he has actually sent me flowers from a real florist instead of just picking up whatever flowers were leftover at Kroger's or wherever 15 minutes before he arrived home from work on holidays such as Mother's Day or Valentine's Day. My next guess was that one of my sisters-in-law had sent them, since she did something similar for Thanksgiving last year. I got the vase into the kitchen and set it down so I could remove the card and solve the mystery. Unexpectedly, it was indeed from my husband, so score one for the hubs--he actually surprised me and that's very difficult to do, especially for him.

Birthday flowers.

The rest of the day passed quietly and peacefully with a merciful lack of bunny bits. Later in the afternoon the hubs asked if I wanted to go out to dinner. Well, duh--how long have you known me, Dude?? Since he works downtown, rather than have him come home and then go right back downtown, I drove over to meet him there. I wanted to go to my favorite restaurant in town, called (amusingly enough) The Last Resort. Normally the place is pretty packed, especially after 6 pm or so; however, not only was I able to find a decent parking spot (free!), we were seated immediately on the patio where we could enjoy the lovely temperate weather. Turns out the local university was on Spring Break, so the pace of downtown that week was decidedly more leisurely than normal. I had a lovely steak with mashed potatoes, grilled corn and a burgundy (?) reduction, topped off by a slice of the famous Cecilia's (a local baking goddess) raspberry cake. Yum!

Painting by our table. It's okay as far as art goes, but I don't think I would want
a unicorn's horn standing ready to pierce my goodies...

While at dinner, the hubby informed me that my gift had not yet arrived, because he'd only ordered it a day or two before (also par for the course, lol), so I probably wouldn't get it until Friday or Saturday. Friday passed with no special mail for me. The next day I was upstairs in my office when he came up with my gift (unwrapped) in hand, freshly retrieved from the mailbox. It was (drumroll, please) an iPad! Why, thanks, dear, however did you know? I must admit I was slightly disappointed that it wasn't one of the newer iPads, but mostly because I'd gotten myself all excited by the possibility of Skyping on it. Plus, with Apple being Apple, no doubt they'll be up to the iPad 6 in a couple of weeks. Besides, the lack of magic cameras (which I still have on my phone) didn't stop me from messing about with the thing all day Saturday instead of spending the day painting like I'd intended (not that I'm not always finding some new excuse or other to avoid painting the interminable shelves, mind you--like writing blog posts, for example). So I have now downloaded a few apps and have a nice long list of others to explore. I even bought a case for it this week so it wouldn't get so abused when I go visit the girl in NY next month. Best of all, the saleslady at the Mac store told me that my iMac's wireless keyboard could also be used with the iPad. Score!

Moshi, Moshi.

So, all in all, it was a good and very relaxing birthday for me this year, disturbing bunny ninjas notwithstanding. (And for those of you who are wondering, I celebrated the very appropriate 17th anniversary of my 29th birthday on March 17.) Now excuse me while I go put my new old iPad in its new case...

See? I used to be cute...

I haven't had anyone make me or buy me a birthday cake in 3 years now
(other than the slice I had with dinner at the restaurant), so I took
matters into my own hands this year and made my own "cake" out of a
slab of Kilwin's fudge. Hey--a girl's gotta do what a girl's gotta do.


  1. Always love reading about your funny escapades!! It sounds like it was a memorable "special" birthday! Keep up the good work "Ginger Doodles."

  2. I loved the piece on Louis - not so much the dog/bunny incident (I have seen the results of WAY too many of these kinds of things . . . )! I'm glad that you had a happy birthday though - extended birthdays aren't always bad!
    I'll catch up with you later on other matters; I enjoy all of the memories that you share with us! Lisanne

  3. Thanks, Debbie and Lisa! Don't forget to inbox me your addresses so I know where to send the cookies! :)

    Lisa--glad you liked it. Wish I could have found a better picture of him; I had to crop that out of a family shot because all my good pics are still boxed up. Sigh. Maybe I'll do a post just on Louis one of these days. I do miss him...he was a wonderful man. And I look forward to catching up with you sometime soon! Remember, too, I have a real guest room now, if you ever wanna take a road trip...

  4. So, so tempting to leave my name for cookies... Sigh. I'll stick with the Weight Watchers, though. And dream of Snickerdoodles by Mary.

  5. Just love the read....you always know how to tell a story. ~~Sandi

  6. There you go, Sandi--now you are an official winner, complete with comment and submitted address.

    @Whedongeek: I totally understand and I truly admire your resolve and dedication. At least you got to taste them before succumbing to WW!