Saturday, June 24, 2006

Oy with this fence...

Putting up this fence will surely kill me. Oh, my aching body. I can just imagine what I'm going to feel like tomorrow... Very not good.

Laurel selflessly volunteered to take the girls to girl scouts' camp this weekend so that I can get a jump on my secondary obsession--building just a little bit of fence so that we will be able to contain a dog in our back yard. This obsession is secondary to my Newfoundland obsession, of course. I'd have no use for a fence otherwise.

This morning I woke up bright & early--all alone mind you, and put on the Eukanuba Champions dog show on animal planet. I've been wanting to see a dog show, just to see the different breeds out there. (I was amazed to discover that people really do give poodles those ridiculous looking haircuts you see in movies/television. I wonder if there's such a thing as a flow-bee for dogs?)

That done, I rousted myself, borrowed my friend's pickup and headed to home depot to buy 5 10-foot 4x4s, a premade gate, and 9 60 lb bags of quick-setting concrete.

Now my goal was to get all 5 posts set in concrete this weekend--preferably today. Hoo boy, did I underestimate the degree to which digging post holes is a soul-sucking nightmare that renders you so weak that you're just barely able to type blog posts. I got 2 holes dug & posts set.

Next time we rent the power auger. I don't give a crap that it's just 5 holes. Yes I'm a big sissy-girl. Yes, I'm a weak little girly-man. Whatever. I can barely stand to raise my arms sufficiently to wash my hair in the shower. Thanks to the miracle of modern beer I'm beginning to achieve a certain detente with my body at the moment, but man am I gonna hurt tomorrow. This dog better be my best friend for life, I'll tell you that.

In the course of digging these 2 holes, I have invented the "praise the lord" rock. You will be asking yourself at this point "what the heck is a praise the lord rock? What could he mean? And why is he wasting my time with this phony rhetorical questioning crap?"

A praise the lord rock, is a large rock you encounter while trying to dig a post hole, which impedes your digging and makes a morale-destroying sound of metal hitting rock when you jab the accursed post hole digger into your still-too-shallow hole yet again. The sound is not unlike the cry of the N√Ęzgul. It is a rock that forces you to widcn your post hole more and more, in an attempt to loosen the rock sufficiently to get it the !@$@@%^ out of your !#%@@%$ post-hole, so you can start to make progress again.

When this happens, the hole-digger spontaneously exclaims PRAISE THE LORD!!! I don't care if the digger is religeous or not--it is not a voluntary reaction. It's like those reflexes that are handled right at the spinal cord level, w/out any nerve impulses reaching the brain.

Today I found 3, yes three praise the lord rocks. I almost feel like I've been to church...

Monday, June 05, 2006

Newf Newf Newf!

I have become obsessed with Newfoundlands, those wonderful, enormous, water-loving dogs. The more I read about them, the more convinced I am that one would be a great addition to our family. The only dicey parts are that we'd have to fence in a fair chunk of our back yard, which may be difficult, and our current vehicle (a honda accord) is probably not going to cut it for brining our extended family around. There's nothing wrong with the accord, but it's served us well for seven years now, and so moving it into second place (behind maybe a honda element?) would not offend my sense of frugality...

The fence is another matter however. The grading on our property is such that getting a functional portion of it fenced off is going to be awkward. I'm going to have to do some serious thinking about that.

We went to visit some newfs at the Almost Home boarding kennel yesterday, where Sandy MacFarlane has some beautiful beasts. I brought the camera, but didn't take any pictures unfortunately. What fun! The girls loved the dogs, and vice versa. Simone was a bit squeamish about the "dog boogers" that were admittedly flying around a bit. I guess one got on the underside of her skirt, which was uncomfortable. But she and Annelise both had a great time.

Sandy recommended a good-sized covered kennel to solve the 'not enough fence' problem. Apparently the cover is a necessity, since, such is the breed's love of water, that given the choice between laying out in the rain, and laying under something covered, they tend to choose the rain.

I'm not sure I want to do that. I'd much rather be able to open the back door & let Chewbacca (I've already got a name in mind!) out to enjoy the air, and do his business etc. So I'm thinking about the fencing situation.

Laurel is, sadly, not as convinced as I am. "It's as big as our couch!" she says. "I don't want a dog that's going to make me feel like I need a bigger house" she says. Valid points. But I think we could make it work. Our house is not so small--and it's got a fair amount of wasted space (in the form of a 'play room' (read: big ol' pile of toys) that I think we could reclaim for newfdom.

The other breeds that I like are much smaller (corgis, dachshunds) but they are not nearly as good with children, and Laurel does not like dogs with short legs, so they're out. She nominated the malamute, which I like, but they have been known to kill the cats in the house (this is according to the one breeder Laurel spoke with) and that's a deal-breaker.

This week we watched Transamerica. A-ma-zing performance by Felicity Huffman. I'd heard that it was actually a woman playing the main character--a 'gender dysphoric' man on his way to getting a sex change operation. But midway through the movie I decided I'd remembered wrong--that couldn't be a man. Imagine my suprise on watching one of the special features, when I realized that not only was the character played by a woman--but it was an actress I recognized from other things! Excellent performance, and quite a decent flick as well.