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Monday, March 13th, 2006 07:57 am
Savagefuzzball has been learning about the Ebola virus in science, recently. The symptoms and conditions of the virus have stuck with her like the plots and images of horror movies we've allowed her to see. It's frightening but so extreme and alien as to be fascinating (like a train wreck) at the same time.

Friday night, we were lying on my bed just talking and laughing about nothing in particular. She shared some particularly gruesome details about ebola, we moved on to astronomy and then, somehow, we were on the subject of God. As you all know, my memory is sketchy at the best of times. All I remember was that I was considering, aloud, the possible manifestations God might take. Although we refer to Him as "He", we don't subscribe to the belief that God is male or, even, restricted to a form we'd recognize. So, I was considering the "God as a ball of white light/energy" concept when, out of the blue, SFB turns to me and says, "Man, I would not want to bleed from my anus".

Obviously, in the ten minutes we'd meandered from subject to subject, in the back of her mind she was still obsessing over symptoms of the ebola virus! All weekend this was the new "catch phrase", trotted out at the most unlikely times and good for a few chuckles.

On Friday, I gave Buddy the bath (finally!) he desperately needed. Years ago, he'd jump into the car in the winter, I'd drive him to a Dog-O-Mat, give him a relatively inexpensive bath and bring him home. No problem. When it got so he couldn't jump up into the car anymore, MrBug and I would carry him down into the basement (he won't go down our basement steps for some reason), hook up a hose to the laundry tub and give him a bath over the floor drain. These days, we don't want to even risk that due to his "delicate" hips and his tendency to squirm. So, all this winter, he got "sponge baths" and was in desperate need of a good scrubbing. Friday was the first day I felt it was warm enough to give him a bath outside. I know he's a lab and I know they're used to jumping in freezing cold water after birds but when I'm bathing him, I'm going below that oily undercoat to his skin. Cold water against the skin is cold water against the skin. And he's old. And a big baby when it comes to getting a bath.

He whined and howled during the process but came through it unscathed if dripping and miserable looking. I always bring out a couple of towels to give him as thorough a drying as I can before he goes back inside. After his bath, I took off the leash that keeps him from running away while I'm washing him, and encouraged him (verbally and with hand signals) to run around the yard to dry off a bit. He stayed where he was and barked at me. "Go run around!" I said, 'sweeping' my arms at him. He looks at the towels, looks at me and barks for a good three or four minutes. I don't pretend to be a dog whisperer but I know what he was saying: "Screw that. Just dry me off with the towels!"

Every once in a blue moon Buddy will pull a Houdini, push open the side gate and disappear. The gate has hardware that, depending on the weather and how conscientious the person is using it, doesn't latch well. The last person through didn't make sure the latch was down inside the mechanism and Buddy, feeling his oats after having a bath, must have nosed it open. I walked the perimeter of our yard, yelling and whistling for him to no avail so I went inside, got the leash and began walking our street doing the same. No Buddy. Damn!

I cut through the back yards and came out one street over, whistling and calling. By now, my neighbors to the left are aware Buddy's out and have promised to lock him back in the yard should he return. The boy across the street who is outside on his roller blades agrees to yell for me if he sees Buddy. I don't spot him so, now, I'm figuring I'd better get the car and go looking for him that way.

In the car, I saw my rollerblading neighbor waving his arms one street up and headed up to meet him. Sure enough, there was Buddy, trotting along the front yards, sniffing people's flower beds and bushes. I parked the car three houses down from him, got out and called for him. No response. I whistled. Nothing. So, I started walking toward him, calling and whistling. Finally, when we were about thirty feet apart, he raised his head and looked around (in the wrong direction) because he heard his name. Then, after I called him again, he turned toward me and took a few prancing steps backward. It wasn't until I was about 6 - 8 feet away from him that he recognized it was me. I realized he had cataracts and I realized he was going deaf but I hadn't realized how bad it was until just then. :oP

Because I can't lift him into the car and because he can't get in, himself, I had to put him on the leash, walk him home and put him in the house before walking back to the car and driving home. It was a big day for Buddy. After that, he fell into a deep sleep (not his usual "doggy doze") for the rest of the afternoon.

Late Friday afternoon, I went out to have the car washed. Evidently, every one else had the same idea because the car wash had a line out to the street. If I had waited in the line, I'd have never made it in time to pick SFB from play practice. Damn!

All was not lost, though! Next door to the car wash is an Arby's. Recently, MrBug rhapsodized over a roast beef and cheese sandwich he'd gotten, there, to the point that I was hankering for one. My trip was not wasted! I pulled into the Arby's parking lot, parked the car, got out and walked to the restaurant. It wasn't until I had my hand on the door handle that I realized: It's Friday. It's Lent. A roast beef sandwich was not in my immediate future. :( Damn!

My Friday wasn't a complete bust. After dinner, the BugFamily went out for honest-to-god ice cream. I had a scoop of Coconut Pineapple ice cream in a waffle cone from Bruster's and it was delicious. I thought I'd died and gone to heaven. :)


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