If you have been wondering how the dogs are doing (which, I assume, you always are), the answer is that they are More Awful Than Ever. It's been warming up a bit, and the frozen water stuck in the earth is thawing, bubbling to the surface, refreezing at night, melting again during the day, etc. This means that we are living in some sort of squishy-mucky-horrible-sinking-ground world, and my shoes, by noon, make squelching noises with each step.
This also means that Monk can not bear to put his delicate, dainty paws to the ground. EVEN TO POOP. Even when we threaten to skin him and maybe even feed it to him, he will stand miserably with one paw in the air, waiting in some sort of Slightly Damp Paw Agony until we take him back in. He is always apologetic, and always looking back at us in the garage with his quivering pathetic apology-tail-wag (not because we are mean to him, but because he knows he needs to poop but just can't bring himself to do it in such puddly conditions). This means dog gas. The only relief is when the ground is frozen again in the morning, which is more acceptable to his tastes than wet.
Also, Cab has always had a habit of flinching uncontrollably every time we touch him. When we adopted him he was malnourished and had cuts and things, and we'll never know if he's just hand shy or if someone used to hit him, or if his mother was a shy dog and he picked it up from her. But nothing makes you feel more monstrous than reaching out to scratch behind your dog's ears and the dog responds by wincing before you even touch him.
I did some googling the other day, and read some tips, all of which were things we already do. Except for one, which was so obvious I was kicking myself mentally, because: DUH, DOG OWNER. And that tip suggested instead of reaching a hand out and over to pat a dog's head, bring your hand up, from a low place, and scratch their chest or neck or under the chin. No hand over the head action until the dog is ready. So all week I'll been doing this, and it is MAGICAL. No more flinching, no more ducking, no more reflexive squinting when I pet him. He's very calm when I pet him that way, and he's been coming up and asking for pets, even.
I feel like such a jerk, for not thinking of that sooner.
The last thing about the dogs is this:
Just now, Cab was resting on the dog bed peacefully. Monk came over, checked out the bed situation, then deliberately laid down directly on top of Cab, pinning him down by putting his foreleg over Cab. Monk placed his head on Cab's chest sleepily. Of course, because eighty pounds of pointy elbows were now ON him, Cab starting kicking at Monk. Kick, kick, kick. Monk sighed, and struggled to remain on top, but soon they were flopped over and making out, dog fashion, by clicking teeth and licking each other's tongues. Now they are cuddled up against each other, each asleep, spooning.
So I announce, I officially throw out J's theory that their relationship is one of brothers.
What's the last magazine you read? HONESTLY. If you got a spring break, and could go anywhere in the US, where would you go? Do you have any houseplants? What time will you get up tomorrow morning?
My turn: yesterday at work I flipped through a Van Dyke restoration magazine looking for something specific, but the LAST thing I went through was a JC Penney catalogue that came in the mail. I looked at it right after work, while I was still wearing work clothes and unwilling to face the three or four more hours until bedtime, and the dogs were wrestling and J and I were chatting. Because I? I know how to start a Thursday evening. With a free catalogue.
I feel as if I'd like to go back to Arizona, for Royals spring training games. We went a few years ago, and it was AWESOME. Especially the hiking. And the drinking of beer at springy small baseball games.
I have several dying plants, that have been half alive for a few years. It's pathetic.
Tomorrow I will get up at seven, for it is County Caucus Delegate Time! WHOOOOOO.