Friday, October 30, 2009

Sweet Ride




Thursday, October 29, 2009

Retail Therapy

Nigel here. I heard about another mushy Monday, so I thought I had better do a little damage control. I called America's Most Wanted and told them that my two-legger pulled that armored car heist they were talking about on TV the other night. I also told them that he looks like a dingleberry with a diamond grill and ten pounds of gold chains around his neck. The food bowl may be running a little low, but the couch sure feels a lot bigger!

Now before I get to the good part let me ask you - is it just me or did that windy piece of drivel that started the week off contain one or two of these?

I thought so. Now that we have that cleared up it's time to focus on me. If you were around a couple of weeks ago you may have caught my visit to the office, and subsequent discussion of all things work related. It sucked pretty hard and I was asked to stay away after yelling "Cubes are for pubes!" as I ran past the sales pit on my way out. It only took me a few minutes to figure out that I have a fairly acceptable arrangement at home. I'll leave that earning thing to you foolish humans. Spending is my bag. I derive great pleasure from hitting the stores to test out some plastic and see how my two-legger's credit is holding up. Won't you join me?

Before I blow my fridge opener's retirement fund, check this out! A package arrived the other day from this really cool, sweet lady in Texas. Her name is Holly and I'm pretty sure we're going to be married one day soon. Since a dog can't wear a ring, I think a collar is generally considered the next best thing, and Holly made this one for me all by herself! Note how she lovingly embroidered my name in it. This serves two critical needs: it increases my chances of hearing someone scream my name, and it will also help those closing time cuties figure out what to call me when they wake up in my dog bed on a cold, regrettable weekend morning.

See that church in the background? This is as close as I can get before the dark clouds come and the sky zappers start flying everywhere.

Hey look it's the love handle store!

These nice ladies showed me their pepper spray collections after I offered them the exclusive opportunity to shop at my own, personal banana republic.

Don't bother with this place. They couldn't even tell me the difference between the mac daddy and the daddy mac.

Since when is anything old good?

If you like being chased with rolled up newspapers I highly recommend asking this lady to let you try on the jimmy hats.

I don't know about you, but I get a serious case of the ri ras if I eat too much Taco Bell.

And then I make a run for this place like they tell you in the commercials.

Interesting. I thought a happy trail was that little strip of...oh never mind. Let me just say I couldn't find a single one in the store, and security asked me to leave just when I thought I was getting close.

Speaking of happy trails, this lady almost got a handful of mine after reaching a little low on that last pass.

This is the snob shop. All the sweaters are three hundred bucks, and the ladies keep their noses so high in the air they look like they are always checking for blown light bulbs. They don't let you talk on your cell phone in the store because that would be uncivilized. I left an exotic footwarmer in the doorway, because everyone knows pink and brown is a knockout combination.

I was not allowed to partake because I always get a really creepy look on my face when I ask someone to butter my popcorn.

So I settled for these dumpster flavored snackables.

I picked up a box of the strongest dark chocolate I could find for that mouthy anklebiter who lives down the street.

Then some do-gooder lady ran up and started screaming at me when I peed on this trash can.

So I stepped aside. Does the sign say some-in-one? Nope. Lady, there's your sign.

These people rock. Give them all of your money.

Two-legger said this is an antique. Apparently antiques make mullets really mad, because in like only five minutes three mullets came up and started yelling in to it that they were not gonna send payments to their baby mommas.

I thought I heard someone yell my name, but it was some kid getting yelled at for picking his boogers.

If these cars were offered in men's sizes I might be a little nervous about the driver.

Welcome to my own personal hell.

Now this sounds promising!

Freebie snacks on the way in the door. Nice touch.

They told me this thing keeps the pimples off the booty.

More attention and more freebies. More handouts than Reid and Pelosi.

You'll notice that up until now the pics have been clear and well focused, but when it came time to snap this one my two legger was shaking like a crackhead with a Monster Chaos IV drip.

Subsequently, I suffered from an inexplicable desire to stand next to this display for a few minutes.

The nice lady at the store showed my two-legger what his wallet was going to look like if he didn't drag mommy out of there.

I left my calling card on this sign - on a whim.

What the hell?!?  You know what this means.

See Nigel run. In other words...

...let's roll.


Wednesday, October 28, 2009

Monday, October 26, 2009

Old Friends

An old friend contacted me recently. We had fallen out of touch after our last move many years ago. I recently logged in to Facebook to find a friend request for Nigel from a dog with a very familiar last name. Curiosity piqued, I immediately accepted and jumped to the profile of this dog to verify what I had suspected. I found my way to contact info, and within minutes this old friend and I were chattering away, catching up on all things dog. The time and circumstance that had separated us fell by the wayside as she described the events that led to our reunion.

Some of you will recall an old post, specifically this one. I let that post linger for the entire day before divulging that the dog pictured was not actually Nigel, but was in fact his very similar looking cousin, Ferrin. Ferrin was adopted by this old friend shortly after she met Nigel and fell in love with Greyhounds.

Not too long ago, our old friend was walking Ferrin on the bike path that winds through Burlington and along the shores of Lake Champlain. In all but the most severe weather the bike path is a fairly happening place, with throngs of joggers, skaters, bikers and dog walkers scuttling about. On this particular evening our old friend was accosted by one of the bike path walkers, who took one look at Ferrin and stopped in her tracks immediately. Our old friend looked up just in time to see this stranger approaching, excited and smiling. Before she could even say hello a question was fired at her: "Oh my god is that Nigel Buggers from Facebook??"

She politely explained that Ferrin was not Nigel, and after a brief exchange, old friend and random bike path exerciser went their separate ways. She could not help but wonder why a stranger was so excited to find one Nigel Buggers cavorting about the bike path, so she begrudgingly signed up for a Facebook account and found her way to me. I was thrilled to hear that she had adopted a second Greyhound, and that Ferrin and his new housemate were two very happy campers. We laughed at some of my internet antics, and decided that a play date for the dogs was a must. We remembered old bike rides, dog quirks, forgotten friends. Our old friendship had been rekindled by an unwitting facilitator: Nigel.

Another old friend and I recently had the chance to spend time together. I say old friend, but should say new old friend. In this internet age, many of us foster long term relationships that never involve a face to face meeting - consider your long term blogging pals, Facebook friends, internet group members that you stay in close contact with - despite the fact that you have never met in person. In this case it was an old business relationship that had led to hundreds of calls, a flurry of instant messages lobbed at one another to gripe about work hassles: significant deals closed together under tremendous pressure. Five years of high stress business interactions had drawn us closer, had made friends of strangers, and pointed out to both of us the upside of technology and its ability to make the world smaller.

Last week we had a chance to seal the deal. A big development at work meant that this old friend would have to fly in to town to spend a day in meetings with me. We both grinned like fools when he stepped in to my office. Five years of hard work, late nights, countless e-mail exchanges and contracts were forgotten as we just stood there beaming, our friendship consummated in a timeless act that could never take place online: a handshake.

When the closing bell rang we ran for the doors. I drove far too quickly, whisking him out of Burlington and into the mountains where we reside. As we entered the house I paused to observe the moment I had anxiously awaited. My old friend dropped everything, crouched down in the kitchen, and was swallowed up by our unreasonably happy pack of dogs.

He had spent five years watching them grow from afar. He remembered the first Sola blog post. We had both shared many laughs at work as we watched the dogs on a webcam I had set up to babysit them while I was bringing home the bacon. Every time we spoke, he reminded me to kiss the dogs for him - not once, but four times each. For five years. Now, he was swimming in them.

We spent the evening celebrating. The dogs played to the brink of exhaustion. We grabbed a giant flashlight and took a late night tour of the river in front of the house and the surrounding forest. Half of a bottle of Johnny Walker scotch disappeared in to my old friend, and there was laughter in abundance. We marveled at our ability to fall into this comfortable place considering that we had never actually met before this day.

The night was too quickly spent. At one in the morning we gave up the ghost and put the cap back on the scotch bottle. My old friend had to fly out the next morning at ten, and I had a number of contracts to button up before the weekend. He spent many minutes saying goodbye to each dog before we departed. We wound our way out of the hills, my car screaming in the night, both of us giddy to be propelled through the darkness by an abundance of horsepower. At one thirty in the morning he fell out of my car and spilled in to the hotel lobby as I laughed hysterically. I departed in a cloud of tire smoke, knowing that he would struggle to sober up in time to make his flight. He did.

I drove home in quiet contemplation, sadness and glee washing over me in equal measure. I could not help but marvel at the power of friendship and its ability to invigorate. The ominous forest surrounding me whizzed by as the speedometer reached for the hundred mark, my iPod spinning a random selection from the mellow playlist. The finer details of the commute were lost on me as I considered old friends and all we had shared.

My key turned slowly in the lock at as I returned to the house. It was nearly two in the morning, and I was doing my best not to alarm the dogs. I flipped on the kitchen light and was immediately and enthusiastically greeted by another old friend. It was Nigel.

He is a creature of habit: he lives by routine, and my late night departure had troubled him. He spent the next thirty minutes expressing his relief at my return, his frantic kisses suggesting that it was not acceptable to abandon our family members after the clock strikes midnight. He pressed in to me, shaking, hiding his snout under my armpit and giving me a firm push to remind me that old friends stick together in the darkness. I comforted him, snuck him a late treat, and wrapped him in his blanket once he had time to realize that home order had been restored.

I loved him for worrying. I bid him good evening and flipped the last remaining light switch as I made my way up the stairs, fell into bed and lost consciousness, my dreams awash in new memories. One of my oldest and dearest friends slept a floor below me, a sentinel on the sofa keeping watch over our family in the pure, silent blackness of a moonless autumn night.


Friday, October 23, 2009