SHOOT! A Dog in Snow.

There is a scene – an opening scene, as I recall – in a book called “Blue Ridge,” by one of my favourite writers, T.R. Pearson, in which a man, frustrated beyond patience by a dog of peculiar habits, must aim a gun at it in order to get it to just pee. The dog will not relieve itself unless a handgun is pointed at it. Every day. Every time.

How anyone could not keep reading after that is a mystery to me. (Go get yourself a T.R. Pearson novel now. I recommend that you start wirh “A Short History of a Small Place” and move on from there.)

So it snowed and is snowing quite a lot in town, and, like everywhere I’ve ever lived, the attitude towards pedestrian traffic, egress, congress, and any kind of mobility outside one’s own domicile without an automobile is, basically, “F*ck you!”. I have a car, but I must walk the dog. Four times a day, for the good of both of us. Yesterday afternoon, and last night, after “snow removal” by the city and property owners, Espresso and I walked around the block, me sliding in the churned depths of what’s left after the “sidewalk””plough” has “cleared” the “walks,” and he eventually trotting along in the over-salted paths that opened up to us near the municipal parking lot.

Note that I have a pair of nearly military-grade, men’s, Timberland(TM) winter boots. Heavy, orthotic, toasty, comfortable, and despite the stupid laces, the best damned boots I’ve ever had. They are a workout without leg or knee or hip strain. Ugly, pants tucked into socks ugly, and excellent.

Here’s Espresso, circa -25C polar snap 2014 in Toronto, with a coat:

Espresso has pads, and fluff between the pads, and nails. He doesn’t cry when the road/rock salt burns his feet. When he limps, I’ve got to get him onto a salt-free patch, and, preferably, home.

It was a quick walk. He peed. He just would not “go”. So this morning, of course, out we go again.

Great pee. No “go”.

It was minus 7 degrees Celsius, and windy. (Twenty degrees for you Americans.)

So around and hither and yon we walk, but not on our usual route, because I don’t want to go down to the river, where the wind is always biting. And we walk. And walk. And he stops. And T.R. Pearson pops into my head, and down to the river we go.

I led him out off the path onto the expanse of deep, untrodden white and begged him to hurry up, to get busy, to go. And my boy, my belatedly clever boy, took the hint and dragged me around and over and beside and to a thigh-deep drift and finally!

We could come home. On the roads. Because, overnight, the road ploughs piled up what the sidewalk ploughs had pushed onto the roads, and there isn’t a dignified or pretty way to slog over curb mounds as high as my hips, just to jump over them again on the other side.

No gun. Never a gun.  Just a yen to read one of my favourie writers again, and a fantasy of inventing a sidewalk plough that does what it’s name implies.

Happy reading!

Lights! Camera! Ding!

My new life is posing some scheduling challenges. I slept a lot yesterday, and so set three alarms on my iPhone this morning to make up for Saturday’s slothing. Which is unfair to the humble sloth, really; as far as it’s concerned, it’s moving like wildfire.

Mornings aren’t a problem for me, anyway.

I have been accustomed to waking at 5:30 or 6:00 a.m. That’s all been shot to hell since the decision to pack up, get out, and sell the house. Then I installed what are virtually blackout curtains over my bedroom blinds here at the apartment, and if the dog could let himself out and then back in, well, when would I get up? And why?

So Captain New Life in Sarnia has set an after-breakfast agenda:

Some kind of outing BY MYSELF. Usually in the car. Then some kind of tiny chore at home. Then blawgg. Then to the leash-free dog field. In the car. Then maybe pick up something I forgot earlier. Then home to a snack instead of lunch, a tiny bit of unpacking or a very tiny chore, some reading, and a pre-supper perambulation with dog. A final walk with dog before shower and bed and a couple of hours reading. Repeat.

The lights were on in the parking garage this morning.

I have lived here just over two weeks, and today I could see quite clearly the entire interior of the parking garage.

I could see all the lines. I could see where many people do not actually use the lines or the pillars as guidelines. I could see how it was that I dinged my beautiful car a week ago trying to park, obstinately, where two separate people made it pretty much inevitable that I would graze a pillar.

I don’t feel so bad about the ding now. Which is the second ding. Much less painful than the first ding, which got the ding trauma over with. With the lights on, with the rotten parkers all around me, I cut myself some slack.

I went to Dollarama for a grabber stick. Now I can put baskets full of spices and such way up on top of my kitchen cabinets and have more room in the cupboards. I went to The Frills of No. I didn’t buy much. I’m at that stage in the house selling process where the money set aside to live on until closing is very, very sparse, and where the bills and debts are monstrous. Some people can’t sleep under that kind of stress. I can sleep all day, apparently.

There’s an unreality – a surreality – to my days since I decided that I could lift the house off me. My calculations offer an extremely modest, thrift-dependent, small-contentments kind of life, with all sorts of options for volunteer or paid activities as yet to be decided. In the meantime, the sums written against me are so uncharacteristically high that my only real response has been hilarity.

When I parked the car to bring in my groceries, the garage lights were out again.

Moving along, doing my best, enlightened on occasion.

Sprinkle of chagrin.