Monday, January 17, 2000

Bye Bye Ms. Otislipps

Hi Everyone,

Just sittin here thinking I should be adding to the journal.  As some of you already know, we've had reduction in numbers on the farm and I thought that I should get out the pen and dust off the paper and do a little writing.  Only trouble that I'm having is where to begin, as there are so many things to say and some of ya'll have to go to work this week.

I guess I should just write what comes out, so "make it click", lock the doors, and let's go....

This past Thursday was a sad day here at home.  I woke up at the usual 4:45 to get ready for work, ok ok, 3 snoozes later, I got up at 5:12 in a mad rush to shower & shave and be on the way by 5:45 for the 1/2 hour journey to work.  I worked out a system where I can go from a deep sleep, to a showered and shaved half asleep computer consultant on the road in 22 minutes - with coffee in hand.  The book will be out this summer.  That's not the sad part...

I did the usual, wind sprinted to the shower with toothbrush in one hand and razor in the other.  I figure I'll slow it down a bit when I start shaving off my eye brows and using Mary's conditioner for toothpaste.  So far though, only a few rolls of tissue have left the house as bandages on my razor cut grape. I jumped out of the shower into my slacks (part of the secret of the 22 minute stop-to-start preparation) with the hair dryer blowing at an approximate 317 mph's. If I point it just right, I can cause my lips to open far enough to swallow the front on my face.  It's a really cool party trick, but at times, can be quite painful trying to remove my head from my mouth.  I hurriedly finished getting ready and left the bathroom enroute to the kitchen to grab the java and hit the road.  Here's where our sad day began....

Otis has her own bed, one in which none of the others dogs will even look at.  They are terrified of her as I have mentioned in the past.  Otis doesn't sleep but one other place, and thats on top of the laundry that she bowls over to make a throne. This morning was different.  As I left the bathroom and turned towards the door, there she lay in the archway leading into the hallway.  I honestly stopped right there, 10 feet away, and knew what I would soon verify. I called to Mary and said something is wrong.  I was actually afraid to go up to Otis because I knew already what I would find.  Mary got up and knew as well without me saying a word. We walked up to her and sat down beside her.  Neither of us could speak, nor do I think there was much we could say anyway.  Really there are good things about this, like the fact that she is no longer in pain, she no longer itches, she no longer hurts from her tummy disagreeing with anything that is put into it.  Right now, still, though I want her back, as does Mary.  We only asked that when it did happen, that she was not scared.

I picked her up and lay her back into her bed as I thought this would make her feel better.  Irrational yes, but I didn't really know what to do.  Mary put a blanket on her to keep her warm.  It was even sadder when we saw that Mo had realized what had taken place.  Mo, who is one that never comes to Otis, walked up with a toy as if to offer it, "Otis, come play with me".  It's the innocence that only a situation like this can present.  Boomer on the other had was calculating the increased portion size of his meal as now a large can would be shared between only himself and Mo.  I guess the numerous bites that Otis had delivered to him had hardened him.

The sun doesn't rise for an hour and Mary and I have decided that she will rest in the garden at the edge of our property.   I want to stay home, but Mary insists that she'll be alright.  I have a weeks worth of work to do, as one of the folks in my office is out on vacation and the increased workload has steadily built into the In Basket.  I shall come home early and together Mary and I will say bye to Otis together.  Mary is dressed now and in the kitchen, Boomer is waiting for dinner time to see if his calculations are correct and Mo still sits in the hallway at the bedroom door that we have closed where Otis lay.  Helga has spent the night outside stirring up trouble somewhere.

I go to work and Mary and I spend much of the morning on the phone or Instant Messenger.  Neither of us have actually accepted that our Otis has gone.  It just doesn't seem real.  I still remember like it was yesterday when I came in to work (Mary was working air traffic control) and interrupted Mary's traffic flow to show her the Pot Bellied Pig look-a-like that we would call Otis-Lipps Watts.  From day one we knew this would be a little different.  She lay behind the couch and growled for hours.  Soon, she learned that she could lie on 7th stair leading to upstairs and successfully block Major (our German Shepherd we had) from either going up or down, depending on where he was when she made the climb.  I can't prove it, but I'd be willing to bet that, that was a grin I saw on her face as Major looked at us wondering how in hootin' holler he was gonna "do this".  He (Major) didn't like stairs to begin with so jumping over her was completely out of the question.  Besides, if she raised her head to bite him while airborne, she may actually bite parts that would end his singing career as a Bass. No, this was definitely out of the question.   Thinking about it, Major was quite smart; anyone who has been around Otis for more than a week  is very lucky if they didn't get bit too.  Otis's hearing went first, but the worst part is when she started having trouble with her seeing.  Because of her many health problems that she'd had since birth, we were constantly feeding her treats that contained medicine's, steroids, or antibiotics.  Yes (in case you're wondering) we paid for the East Wing and the Yacht that our Vets now have.  Anyway, in feeding these meds to Otis, she has successfully bitten each one of us approximately 1635 times each.  Her little toothlets were extremely sharp.  I do think they could have had Otis straddle a jack hammer and she could have gnawed her way into and through anything.  Those that have been bitten will agree.

I got home just after lunch and Mary had found a place in the garden where the sun seems to rise; this is where Otis would rest.  We wrap her in a blanket, placed her in a little box and Mary placed a Teddy Bear between her arms and we wrote a card to her saying good-bye.  We'll be planting something there as well and I have a feeling that whatever it is, will grow to be a beautiful addition to this place we call home.

Boomer is still inside trying to stare through the cabinet doors as he knows that soon he will get to test his mathematical skills.   Mo is with us, he sits just 10 feet away watching.  Helga has slept most of the day and is cleaning her face as she has a hot date tonight with some Tomcat up the road.

It's Sunday now,  and here I sit typing away.  Looking around here still seems different. Please don't misunderstand, we still have the zoo. Lemme' explain... When Samantha, Janie, and Alyssa were here, I built two tree swings in the back yard.  They are long ropes with round seats on them. Simple enough...but I thought I had to use them to prove my carpentry skills.  I spent a thousand dollars to build a $40.00 workbench and two $5.00 swings so I must be pacing myself.  Honest Mary, I'm gonna build that wrap-around porch real soon; I'll start tomorrow.  Anyway, Mo loves to try and bite the swings so I've had to slide the seat up higher on the rope and just leave the knot hanging below by itself.  Right now Mo is suspended in air holding on the the rope with his teeth. There he is just swingin', I think he's lost it.  Boomer is telling Mary some sob story about not getting any treats cause he donated his share to the dogs next door.   First of all, Bob & Sue (our good neighbors) only have one small dog and Boomer wouldn't donate any food for any reason.  Secondly, Boomer didn't give it to Mo cause Mo is still outside, uh, swingin'.  Helga don't do dog treats, and Mary and I have cut back. 

She'll (Mary) give in though, remember this is the one that cooks them breakfast, lunch, and sometimes dinner.  Remember family hour, oh yeah, that continues.  I'm off tomorrow for the holiday so I'll get to take part in the sit-n-chat session that I've heard so much about. That's about it really.  I do have another journal entry that is written about our New Years celebration.  I know this is kinda out of sync, but I wanted to send this one tonight as it is important to us.   I will tell you that that if you ever take your loved one to a party and at that party you meet an airline pilot. Don't let your wife or husband try to make you look good by telling this airline pilot that you, too, fly for the airlines....only later to say that it is on the computer!!!!!  

Ok Ok, I'm outa here.
Take care and we hope to hear from you too, I have to go get Mo out of the tree.

Ciao for now...

This work is licensed under a Creative Commons license.

Saturday, January 1, 2000

Happy Millennium!

Hi Again,  We went to a New Years Party last night and guess what!!! The journal has found it's way to my desk.

Today, the first day of the new millennium (some say Jan 01, 2001 but for the sake of arguing, humor me and let's go) and brought back some memories, not only of last night but of the last decade in the lives of the Watts, Mary & Shane, and the farm we have.

I'll jot a few notes down on last night first, and then kinda go backwards.  This is not a bad idea actually as most of you know my memory is, uhm, I forgot where I was going with this, oh Mary's Emory board is in her purse. What? Uhm, ok, let me reread this and we'll start again from page one.

Last night we arrived at Carole & Geza's about half past Seven.  Geza was sick and contemplated even going.  I would have none of this though, could you imagine me, on my own, to baby-sit Carole and Mary.  Most of you haven't seen these two in action.  It'll take your breath away actually, ok ok, that's probably from getting trampled as people run in all directions, but still the same, it's a site that happens only once in a long while.

The girls look great, naturally, and Geza and I have been told already that there will be no Bermuda shorts and flip flops as we had planned the day before.  Instead, I'm dressed like the dude on page 32 of the recent Penny's catalog and Geza is sporting a turtleneck underneath a Cardigan sweater that would make Sean Connery envious.  Mark (Carole & Geza's Youngen, aged 10) has plans that he wouldn't tell us about, but says he needs to be able to get dirty.  In fear of the worst, Carole has allowed him to wear jeans & a sweatshirt.

We arrive at the large house on Maple. WOW, this house is only the size of the Georgia Dome, and sat there in the back, on top of the tennis courts, stands a tent that is equal in size to one of the German Oktoberfest Beer Tents.  This may be good or bad thing, more people to hide behind in case my babysitting skills fail, but also more running people should they fail really bad.  Oh lookie there, a karaoke setup, how fun.  We walked in to the tent, and immediately started shaking hands and meeting people that none of us knew, but we thought we did by the warm reception that we got. For simplicity, and because I haven't a clue, everyone in the tent besides the 5 of us  were named, Anna or Rodney.  The music was loud enough that we could smile and say " Hi Sgheewlis, Nice to see you again", and no one would know the difference.  This numbers thing may just work out.

Did someone say "Open Bar", I ran, oops, meandered leisurely over to see what may be in "that" locale of the tent. After all, I wanted to get the girls a wine and Geza and I had to take a peep at the large bottles labled Scotch, Bourbon, Tequilia, & Boonesfarm. By the way, did you know if you pack it right, you can squeeze a half  quart of crab dip into the cup of an upside down mushroom. Honest you can.  Anyway, I, I mean, we, as in Geza and Geza, didn't want to look under the cupboard for glasses, so we had to settle for 20 ounce huggers to mix our small drinks in.  "Hey Geza, wanna sip of scotch, how bout a liter".  Geza remains glassy-eyed one week later.  I settle for a small jug of Bourbon & Coke, and the girls are given  red wines, four of them.  Disregard, there are still only two, I think the crab dip has been spiked.  We continue to meet people there, some I think we have met a few times already, but still everyone is very nice and Anna and Rodney say hello.

People are yelling!!!!! Oh my gawd, what's goin on? Geza have you seen the girls? Should we hide now or check it out?  Gimme one of those crab legs and lets run.....  Oh Oh, I see now,  Fireworks are lighting up the nights sky in London and folks are gathered on the west wing of the tent watching the telly and all the celebrations of the UK, as it is launched into a new day.  Oh no, now what have I done and here comes Rodney.

"Hi, uh, I can't shake hands right now Sgheewlis, my pinky finger is stuck inside of this crabs leg.  How did it happen?  It's kinda funny really, uhm, ok you're right, never mind".  Geza, was that Rodney the mayor, and can you hand me the bottle opener there at the bar."

One of the fun things about going to a party where you know no one, is trying to figure out what these people do for a living. For example, take that lady there, yeah the one with no teeth.  I figured she would end up being a professional fisherman, but in fact, she has a seat in the local government.  I think I've seen her on tv before now that I think about, something about hygeine in schools.  Apparently her teeth came out while eating pate' and I'm not sure she knows it yet; Geza had made her a small drink.  And this fella, the short, uh, jovial one. Certainly, he's a bread maker.  Darn, wrong again.  He's the swimming coach in town.  And who's this guy over there holding two hands up in tandem, appearing to tell one of the "There I Was" flying stories. This could be cool. I've successfully removed the crabs limb from my finger and the bleeding is sure to stop soon.  Sure enough, he drives planes for a living.   I kinda mosey up to his general location and act as if I'm studying the naval knot that is holding approximately 1000 balloons just 10 short feet above.  I contemplate giving it a little tug, but we both know what would happen and I ain't going there.

At precisely this same moment, I hear what really made me nervous.  An English voice it was, "Oh how nice, my husband too flies for the airlines, he's off this weekend as it is the millennium celebration". Oh My Gawd,  I seriously think about faking a illness, but Mary has one hand wrapped tightly round my wrist and the other pointing directly at me.  "Uh hello, my name is Jose Hemanez".  He introduces himself and we talk about his current bid flying DC9's and the fact that this a great plane.  A plane that has managed to avoid all the fancy smanshy computers and requires true stick and rudder skills. "What do you drive", he asks.  Just as I am preparing an answer that will allow many loopholes to squeeze through, Mary blurts out, "747's for Noble Air".  I nearly pass out.  Things are getting fuzzy and I feel the warmth emit from my head as my face turns to the shade of Webster's College Dictionary. You remember that one too huh, the big red book.  "WOW, what an assignment".  I try to explain but nothing will come out of my mouth, I have no air in my body; I've forgotten how to breathe.  A small crowd has gathered around us to hear some of the tales of a job that both mystifies and scares over 90 % of the worlds populations.  "Well, er,  uhm, hehe, I recently returned from a trip to Australia."..

I must tell you now that this statement was partially true, kinda.  Noble Air is an airline that is known only a few people that happen to live.....worldwide.  In order to practice my instrument flying procedures, I have joined a (very small letters) computer virtual airline (normal letters) (I'm there in the roster, hehe) .  I had in fact just flew a hop from LAX to Sydney Australia without ever leaving the comfort of my desk chair and filed a report to prove it.  Mary had forgotten to mention this one small fact and now I was left to work my way out of becoming the village idiot. Be Nice, hehehe.  I start by saying that I learned to fly in Vegas and now do most of my private flying around the Philly - New York City area.  This is kind of a small region to fire up a big 747 so I kind of mumble that the airline flying I do is only a simulation for instrument proficiency.  Either everyone around has missed that small confession or they are in awe of brushing shoulders with a Noble Air 747 Captain.  I notice Carole over in the corner picking herself up off the floor from laughing so hard.  Again, good thing there are large numbers of people as none of them have heard her uncontrollable cackling. "Excuse my, I must find the loo" as I step away I hear a voice from behind "Step aside, a 747 Captain has to P".  It's only a few minutes after 7:00 pm and I have still, at least, 5 hours to deal with.......hehehe

Dinner is served....Geza and I have worked our way through the MadDog 20/20 and have opened a freshly fermented bottle of  tangerine flavored ripple.  Just then a small army of men come marching in with tall white hats in the shape of a South Georgia dinner roll.  The serving tables quickly fill with roasts, fish, numerous vegetables, salads, and some things that I've not seen before.  We shuffle over to the girls and patiently wait our turn.  Dinner is outstanding and although I mistakenly ate the plate furniture (parsley), all went over without a hitch.  Every hour, on the hour, we celebrate the new millennium with the peoples of lands East of our own.  The numbers of "Toasts & Cheers" coupled with 20 ounce huggers has allowed most people to forget that 2 airline drivers are among the attending public; one of which commands 747's.

Its freezing outside!  Some lady on tv has just proudly told a local reporter that it's so cold every time she opens her mouth her teeth freeze.  This brings two things immediately to mind. First off, I feel sad for the toothless woman that I met earlier this evening because she doesn't know what she's missing, and second, why is it that the person always selected to speak on camera happens to be the worst possible candidate as ambassador for your community. Its quite comical really.

The midnight hour approaches...In preparation for the New Years Toast, Geza and I have been practicing our "Prost-ing" skills.  ok ok, so we've been practicing since 7 but we haven't quite got it right yet.  Mary has kindly placed a party hat upon my head and bless her heart, when she pulled down the elastic band to go under my chin, it, uh, slipped and popped the underside of my nose - just the little bridge between my two frozen nostrils.  I think I've just wet myself and both eyes have shot skyward; the sting slowly but shockingly travels all over my body.  Certainly this has caused brain damage and permanent scarring. Who's that cackling? Where's the loo?

Only 11 minutes remain in the 20th century and Mary and I are both having to "go" in a bad way.  We both duck walk into the house and discover that others too are hopping up and down in queue at the large white door that each one of us want so much to be on the other side of.  The lady at the front has started doing the "Charleston" as it appears that she's on her final leg. Mary thinks its funny that I've started dusting furniture, which is something that I do when its about to "buss loose".  The others in line find nothing amusing about it cause in order to laugh, other muscles must relax and no one wants to relax nothing....7 minutes remain....

Being the considerate husband, I let Mary go first.  This has nothing to do with the fact that I'm straddling the banister and can't move at this particular minute.  Mary, thinking, that I'm just outside the door strikes up a conversation from the other side...Actually the bread maker is now at the door and finds it very welcoming that Mary has said he has a cute behind when he's dusting the furniture!?!  Finally I get my turn and can't help but sing America the Beautiful and freedom rains.

Two minutes to go and we make it back.  As everyone gathers toward the tv end of the tent, champagne bottles are passed around and glasses are filled, spilled, and filled again.  Someone hasn't synchronized their watch as we hear fire crackers in the distance from some overly anxious celebrator.  10...9..8 Geza sneeks in a sip..7..6..I catch up...5..4..3..Geza refills our glasses..2...1..YAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAY HAPPY NEW YEAR. Every one rushes outside to see the night sky light up with mini explosions from all directions.  Whistlers whistle, Roman Candles  launch their glowing comets, and bottle rockets rocket round our heads  like Bagdad only 9 shorts years before...Mark streaks by in only his boxers...sparklers ...WHAT...there he goes, then another, and atleast 10 more youngens are sprinting down Maple avenue in nothing but  boxers.....12 mothers hide their faces, 12 fathers swell with pride, and 12 boys decide that this is kind of cold out here and streak back inside to the warmth of their jeans and sweats and a roaring fire.

We hang around outside for approximately 10 minutes and slowly people start heading back into the warm tent that sports 4 massive heaters, one in each corner.  Their teeth must be frozen or something, all except for one of us...I suppose we stay for one more hour to welcome the mountain time zone into the millennium.  We bid our farewells and go inside to locate our coats, gloves, scarves, ski masks, parka's, shaws', moon boots, etc....  the cackling begins...

Mary and I walk out to locate our ride and Geza and Mark are soon to follow but Carole is all the sudden no where in sight.  We wait for a couple of more minutes and finally Carole is viewed exiting through the front door.  She must have spent a little extra time putting on that big coat.  Anyway, we all jump in and away we go, Meadowlane is our destination just 3 miles away.  the cackling continues.....

We say goodnight to the driver and inside we head, as it is Carole and Geza's house that we have arrived at.  It must have taken us 10 minutes to remove all the winter gear that we had bundled up into as the temperatures felt like they were in the upper negatives.  Carole is still chuckling and it is only now that we realize what is going on.  From her inside coat pocket, a 10 pound  Roast of Beef is pulled and shown off to us as we stand their not believing what we have just witnessed.  Carole has  successfully packed a 10 pound roast into a 2 pound pocket and  we now understand what the laughter has all been about.  One of the chefs at the party knew Carole and Geza and offered the beef to them as he knew that we had enjoyed it.  Carole, not wanting to start a massive rush towards the kitched had cleverly hammered it into her coat in order to exit without being "caught in the act".  The laughing was Carole trying to figure out how she would remove it when we got home.

As you can see, we had a memorable night in the small town of Doylestown Pennsylvania.  I truly hope that your celebration was at least half as enjoyable as was ours.  Take care of yourself's and do something today that will make you smile.

Good Night and Happy New Year

This work is licensed under a Creative Commons license.

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