October unfolds. Leaves fall carpeting the garden in deep rustling colors of umber, gold and dark red. Plate-sized heart-shaped yellow leaves from the Catalpa Bodhi tree remind us simultaneously of the Buddha and Valentines Day—the end of Winter. Autumn begins in earnest. The Big Dipper descends sooner and disappears in the northern sky. I don’t recognize all the other constellations and thankfully the neighbor’s nocturnal peeping drone is still in it’s box.
The familiar routine is established now and is OK by me, because Andie’s needs of that type coincide with my old man pee runs at odd hours of the night. Andie and I go out into the cold misty moonless darkness on our nocturnal visits to attend necessities. Occasionally Truck Mart, two houses down and across the street leaves it’s garage lights on, which are state of the art airport mega lamps that blind all within several blocks of the area. I often wonder if they are there to guide the peeper-drone into a safe landing.
In any case I actually have to wear sunglasses even in the pitch darkness to avoid stumbling. My glaucoma meds make the light a pathway to hell. It’s often hard to disengage dreams from the oddness of neighbors with mechanical fixations. Andie doesn’t even notice the lights and these days seems less interested in snails, cat trails and rodent scampering during this seasonal transition time. It could be because the barn owls are back and quiet ‘hooty’, which she interprets as ‘Get the Dawg.’
Andie wants to come back in, races to the front door and puts her little nose as close to the opening as possible . Then ‘BAM’, she rushes through the door, and runs into the foyer, jumps up the kitchen stairs, through the Great Wall of Andie ( that was constructed in her earlier puppy days to avoid peeing on the living room carpet ). Not that anyone could tell. The carpet was a remnant from a theater installation, is black and has accents of colorful squiggles that look like smashed jujubes.
I suppose all this routine is tradition now, complicated only by differential rifs or accents of diversions to make more interesting the path opening ahead of us. One tradition is solid however, and that is Toast Time. After our sunrise outdoor walk, Andie and I head for the kitchen where I make espresso and engage the toaster to place therein whatever glutenous treasure Trader Joe’s or Safeway has to offer. The basic staple is sourdough, or English muffins ( like Thomas’ which nowadays practically require a mortgage to afford.) That’s a rare treat. Usually I come home when Safeway has the D-List English Muffins with fewer butter pockets for half the price and the second package for a dollar. At seventy I have at last understood the necessity of frugality and the enjoyment of the game, which calls for coupons and ‘strategery’ among the cans, bins, and coolers of our glorious American corporate food spectacles.
Sometimes, an exceptional treat appears as if teleported from the Starship Enterprise—- a rare and delicious scone from a favorite San Francisco bakery gifted by a dear friend, who like me has dedicated a lifetime to finding that perfect taste. Experiencing it has occurred multiple times. Fortunately, because of my considerable short-term memory loss, I experience scone euphoria like some perpetual Ground Hog Day. Andie gets the delicious leftover crumbs. The only Toast Time failure so far has been cinnamon raisin bread. Andie DOES NOT like cinnamon raisin bread. She very politely took a tiny bit of it …. and that look in her eyes!
She tried twice just to make sure. On the last attempt she politely retreated from the room and left the offending blob in the hallway next to the little tomatoes she captured when I pulled up the last of the productive vines.
I understood that Andie likes to hunt fruit, like the fallen plums or apples, but the tomatoes, she did not eat. I was amazed when she brought one in from her hallway arrangement and dropped it at my feet. Ball time! It was just the right size for her small mouth. She loves to chase balls and the ones I got for her were just too large.
A dear friend says the trials of the past few weeks are because Mercury is in something or other—-I always get it mixed up, but know it comes in threes. In spite of a handful of college degrees, I cannot suppress the Gaelic understanding of the true nature of reality—magic. So, Mercury is on my S**t list and I implore the old vanquished gods to re-appear and deal with him. Mercury has got to be a him and reminds me of a certain obnoxious politician running for president of America, which may be an oxymoron of sorts.
Andie has the Cocker ear. In spite of the fact I wash out her ears every ten days she still got a bad infection and so I took her in to the vets for fixing. Our vet hospital is totally run by women, has a wonderful atmosphere and we are glad for the care. It makes Andie tremble though, so while we wait I bundle her under my fleece vest until she calms down. We are in her second medicine cycle.
I have been around long enough to remember when vets charged $25.00 and a few extra bucks for pharma. These days it like entering an elegant boutique medical facility which can cost hundreds of dollars each visit. We make the sacrifice though, because she gets the best care and her providers are lovely dedicated professionals, who make it as easy as possible to find affordable solutions. We are in the middle of the new regime, which calls for three times a day administration of ear meds. If you have ever attempted to put something in a dog’s ear you know what I mean. Andie, though she doesn’t like it one bit, trusts me completely and does not attempt to struggle. She is a doll.
The trifecta was realized when the computer crashed for the fifth time in two years. I’ve always been able to get it up and running again, thanks to Geek Squad, Microsoft, and intuition. This time everything went. I should mention that all the equipment is nine years old. The modem was so old that it kept cutting out internet access. When the Geek guy came to install the new one he though maybe it was found with the Antikythera.
Because the screen was too dated none of the cables would attach to the PC. The printer had to be replaced. The new one looks a bit like the Borg. I needed a new plan, which happened because the new fire wall was missing and within twenty minutes of use, I got a Zeus virus, which pretended to be a Microsoft help page and wanted all my banking information, even though I have a Microsoft plan.
Poor Andie was ignored for hours while I tried to get it all sorted out. It got sorted out and all is well now. Oh, and I got a free wireless mouse and keypad the size of a smart phone, which means my ginormous fingers hit two keys at once. But, what the hey, the set probably cost $5.00 to make in China and was free. Andie loved the Geek guy because he wore Christmas socks with dogs wearing elf hats and smelled like pizza. He scratched her head and gave off good vibs. Later she left a little note on the bed, that, just in case I croaked she wanted to go with him.
Andie says don’t be negative. Mercury is just misunderstood. Trials are the mechanics of happy resolution and life is short and then you cry…..or something.