Trundles in Protest

growing up cullen Odd Trundles is having a bit of a morning.

It’s bad enough that Frau L left, and does not appear despite his yodeling down the stairs. Thankfully, the intervals between said yodels are growing longer, as he grasps that she may not just be down there ignoring his sad self. There was also Spring Break, during which the Prince and Princess were home to distract him from missing the lovely young lady who learned how to rub his ears despite their relationship getting off to a rather rocky start. (It was rom-com worthy, let me tell you.)

But now Spring Break has ended. The children are back in school. And Odd Trundles cannot bear it. The house is empty, he moans. His breakfast was not adequate and the house is empty. Mum is watching the glowing screen and tapping as usual but the house is empty. He did not get nearly enough pets (only a half-hour!) this morning and the house is empty.

He is a dog and the house is empty.

Which means he’s making a bubbling groaning whine at irregular intervals, and I have grown unsympathetic. Occasionally he trots to the stairs, burp-barks, and then cowers and yells because the noise echoes. Which means I have to come out and interrupt his terror at the BIGNOISE OHMUM BIGNOISE SNORTWHISTLE BIGSCARYNOISE by going half down the stairs and reassuring him there’s nothing there.

Dogs. Miss B is much less trouble right now, she’s just nosing me every once in a while because she knows this is a day for RUNNING and she wants to RUN. Her leg seems to be just fine, and today is only a short jaunt, so I may very well take her so one damn dog gets what they want today.

Of course, when the kids come home, Odd will have sort of forgotten they live here, so he will greet them as if they’re NEWFRIENDNEWFRIEND SNORTWHISTLEFART before he foggily realizes they are, after all, familiar unto him. Miss B will watch his excitement and glance at me as if to say, “Really? Seriously? What is wrong with this kid?”

Ah. As I write this, Odd has performed his last barking ritual at the stairs. He has retreated to my bed, where he glares pitifully at me as I pass the door to grab my running togs out of the dryer. Clearly I am not coddling his grief and confusion as much as he thinks I should.

Poor Trundles. To add to the problems of piloting his corkscrewed body through space, there’s separation anxiety and the fact that there is never enough breakfast to suit him. He’ll take his morning nap, certainly.

But he won’t enjoy it. He may even have to take two naps, in protest.

Many Grief



Me: I just went downstairs to get–


Me: We needed a can of–


Me: Look, it was less than two minutes–


Me: What?

Miss B: …HE DID IT.

Apparently, whenever I go downstairs to fetch a can of diced tomatoes, they think I’m never coming back and Odd Trundles decides he’d better get a head start on eating anything even remotely edible to prepare for the lean times ahead.


Old Bones

diningmonster Another day of the big yellow thing in the sky glaring at us all. Yesterday was oddly warm, so the kids and I went out back and did some general garden cleanup, planning, putting some more bulbs in, all that type of springlike stuff. It’s only February but the crocuses are up, the daffodils are already a hand’s-length tall, and the trees cannot be restrained from swelling their buds. I just keep wincing and telling them all, don’t get too comfortable, it’s only February, we could still get some ice, oh, my dears, do be careful.

The Princess trimmed her lavender, and Emphysema Joe thanked her kindly for it. Norbert the gargoyle has come through the winter somewhat physically cracked, but there is a new twinkle in his eye and his smile is much more pleased than it has been in recent years. “I’M GLAD YOU’RE LETTING ME STAY HERE, EVEN IF I’M A BIT OLDER,” he said yesterday, while I basked on one of the large rocks near the garden for a few minutes. “THAT’S THE TROUBLE THESE DAYS, YOU CAN’T FIND A PLACE FOR OLD BONES TO REST.”

“You can stay there until you’re shards and dust, my friend.” That was my promise, and he grinned even more widely. It’s a change to see him so happy, but maybe he’s just drunk on early spring. He’ll be cantankerous again in no time, I’m sure.

I’m a little worried the mason bees will hatch too early, as well. I have beans and winter peas in the ground and a few favas have decided to come up from last year, but I’m not sure they’ll be flowering in time. I suppose I should just hope for the best, as usual, and trust that they know what they’re doing.

The only fly in the ointment was the people up the street, who started lighting off fireworks during the big American football game. Screaming and booms, and Miss B startled almost out of her skin. I had to dose her with her anxiety meds, she didn’t stop trembling until they kicked in. It was awful. Fireworks are illegal around here except on the Fourth–and that may change soon, being illegal all year ’round. This, in my opinion, cannot happen soon enough. Not only is the noise physically stressful for both me and B, but the mess afterward that doesn’t get cleaned up, the accidents flooding the emergency rooms, the fires, dear God, just make it stop. I have never liked fireworks, ever. Watching them in a crowd just makes me want to hit the ground every time the artillery goes off and each year I am deathly afraid our roof will catch on fire, or one of the trees around our house.

Anyway. Time to head out into the yellow glare for a run. Miss B will be much easier after all the stress is run off, and I daresay I will be too.

Then it’s back to the projects on boil now, and catching up with some of the chores I played hooky on yesterday. As per usual, I probably need a weekend to recover from the weekend.

Over and out.

Odd and B, B and Odd

B and Odd

Ever since he was a frail, sickly puppy, there have been some days when Odd Trundles cannot settle or sleep unless he is as close to Miss B as he can possibly get. We often (half)joke that she reminds him to breathe. When faced with something unfamiliar, Odd’s default is to hide between my ankles, but if for some reason that shelter is unavailable, his first instinct is to glance at Miss B for guidance.

Miss B was used for breeding too early in her life, and still has medical problems resulting from that. Additionally, if she can’t herd something, she’ll attempt to mother it. Really, it was a stroke of luck we came across Odd, because from the instant he showed up, she’s been ready to unceasingly guide, correct, boss, and direct him about. Odd, bless him, needs such constant supervision, and B’s need to supervise is large enough to cause problems if not properly directed.

Really, they were made for each other. It hurts my heart to think of the inevitable, but I know that if Odd ends his sojourn on earth first he’ll wait for her spirit to tell him what to do, and if B goes first, Odd will have someone waiting for him when he goes.

Such is love.

Compost SquirrelTerror

Really Odd Trundles wishes to inform you all that it is RAINING, and he does not like getting his paws wet in order to Do His Business outside. He further wishes to inform you that Mum is very busy and will not throw the bestest toy for him another ten times, and that his breakfast was not satisfactory because it is now gone. He is a dog of discriminating taste and many talents, and the least we could do is give him an eternal, infinite brekkie.

Clearly I am the cruelest puppy-mommy in the whole UNIVERSE, and he told me so in ten solid minutes of groaning and sighing before settling with his face on the heater, basking and snoring.

Poor Trundles. He does not understand that Mum has to stare at the glowing screen and do weird tiptap things with her monkey paws in order to assure his supply of kibble. The monkey paws are, in his humble opinion, for giving him ear-skritches and feeding him lots of treats. CLEARLY I am falling down on my duties, but he will magnanimously allow me to make it up to him with the aforesaid infinite breakfast and many skritches. After, of course, he finishes broiling his face on the heater.

Every so often he actually licks the heater’s surface. (It’s one of those portable heated-oil thingummies.) I am deadly afraid he’ll burn himself, but he hasn’t yet. The little weirdo must, despite all appearances, have some sense of self-preservation. Faint and fading, but there it is.

Moxie the squirrel, however, does not seem to. She was in the compost heap again yesterday, and there was a brief but glorious second where Miss B thought she had finally achieved her life’s dream (again) of catching one of the little rodents. (This time, for once, I believe Miss B had plans for what to do afterwards.) There was an explosion of decaying matter, Moxie went flying (screaming “FWEEDOM!” and something about “HAUNTH THE NIGHTHTHTHTHHHHP!”) and Miss B got half-stuck in the bin. I had to drag her out and try to brush her off, all while she twisted and moaned in my grip, a blackened banana peel caught on her rump, while Moxie sprawled dazed under the lilacs still chittering something about “GET DANGEROUTH!”

I did not let go of Miss B’s ruff until Moxie had gathered afresh some of her, well, moxie. Once Moxie was staggering for the fence I let B go, and she bolted straight for the punch-drunk arboreal rodent.

Who gathered herself enough to scream “FWEEDOM!” again, and by that point Odd Trundles had noticed something was going on. As I struggled to get banana peels and other crap off a wriggling Miss B, he had begun scuttling across the yard. Though he is only capable of short bursts at top speed, once he has achieved it, momentum provides him with a great deal of force. He was not barking, for once, he was too excited at the prospect of NEWFRIEND*snortwhistle*NEWFRIENDNEWFRIEND!!! to utter a single sound. (Plus, he was probably out of breath in a big way by the time he had achieved full steam.)

So, I let go of Miss B just as Odd appeared in my peripheral vision as a cream-and-brown blur.

Of course I yelled “OH FUCK NO–” It wouldn’t be a squirrel story if I didn’t.

Anyway, Moxie made it to the noble laurel at the corner of the fence and began climbing for her life. Miss B probably planned to levitate after her, and was gaining speed. Odd Trundles, having veered just slightly to account for Moxie’s flight path…

…crashed headlong into that corner of the fence, bounced off, picked himself up, and tried to throw himself at it again. I believe he thought some insidious monster mimicking a fence-pole overgrown with laurel branches had eaten his new friend, whom he was now desperate to save. Miss B leapt, I screamed another cavalcade of obscenities, and Odd staggered backward in a semicircle. His high-pointed ass struck the fence near the apple tree and he jumped, thinking it was an attack, and in his dazed condition he reverted to default: Bark, and hightail it toward the safest place in the world.

I.e., right between my ankles. At least B didn’t land on him (again). She hit the ground, levitated again, Moxie began screaming words I hesitate to repeat (though I believe “nutfucker” is not purely a squirrel term) and B, balked twice and full of compost, decided the only thing she could do was take off on a running tour of the yard. (I should mention: I WAS WEARING ACTUAL SHOES. HALLELUJAH.)

Miss B, bless her tiny doggie brain, is capable of amazing speed, but that didn’t worry me. What did worry me was the imminent arrival of sixty pounds of terrified bulldog at my ankles. I barely had time to throw a foot out and drop into the most beautiful demi-plie in second I’ve done in years.

So it was that Odd Trundles sped right between my ankles, dig his nails in, and created a furrow all the way to the compost bin, which he crashed into the front of and consequently almost broke the plank holding the pile back. (There is a definite dent there.)

I took advantage of Odd’s being stunned to coax him toward the stairs, while Miss B ran in circles yapping. Finally, to finish everything off, she zoomed to her favorite denning site behind a rhododendron and began digging frantically. I believe at that point she had forgotten about Moxie, who I am sure had reached the safety of her Sooper-Sekrit Arboreal Rat Lair and was nursing her shattered nerves.

So it was that I had to give Odd a muscle relaxer (head trauma is bad for his spine) and pet and make much of him. I did not let Miss B in until I brushed all the gunk (and fresh dirt from her denning) away. Thank every god there is that an Aussie’s coat is wash-and-wear; all sorts of things just dry up and flake off. I am sure there are bits of compost all over the house by now, though. And the two of them are relatively quiet this morning. I believe yesterday’s fun and games, when added to a five kilometer run for Miss B and the intense excitement of houseguests screaming the names of landmark court cases (teenagers studying for an AP Gov final), require much napping to speed recovery.

And that, my darling chickadees, is how a bulldog and an Australian shepherd team up with a squirrel to turn my compost pile so I don’t have to.