Stormy Weather

As many of you reading this know, my husband, aka Studly Doright, and I live in the Florida panhandle just west of Tallahassee. On Wednesday a category 4 hurricane named Michael blew right through our neighborhood and caused some excitement. I happened to be visiting my son and his family in Dallas, so I’ve only gotten second hand reports from Studly as to how our home, Doright Manor, fared.

First things first–he and the cats are fine. We have several trees down, but that was to be expected. He didn’t think there was any damage to the house, but the road in front of Doright Manor is blocked with trees. I’m sure he’ll be out there with his chain saw and axe as soon as the weather allows. The power went out fairly quickly, but we’d bought a huge generator after last year’s storms, and he’ll be able to enjoy his creature comforts.

Studly is an area director for a public utility, so he’s working from home during the storm. He sent me a text early this morning:

Scout is an incredibly helpful cat, especially during conference calls. She thinks Studly is talking to her.

I was supposed to have flown into Panama City Beach today (Thursday), but we changed the flight to Friday. Studly wasn’t sure he could get out of our neighborhood to pick me up in PCB which is a two hour drive on a normal day.

So I’m hanging out with granddog Toby. We had a good walk in his Dallas neighborhood this morning. Now he’s taking it easy and I’m going to read my book. I sure am ready to be home, though.

Peace, people.

Newton’s First Law of Motion as Applied to Walking the Dog

Isaac Newton’s first law of motion, also known as the law of inertia, states that an object at rest will stay at rest and an object in motion will stay in motion with the same speed and direction unless acted upon by unbalanced force.

Even though I once taught science to students in fifth and sixth grades I’d never paused to ponder just how Newton’s Laws of Motion applied to dog walking until this morning.

Last night I’d told my son, Jason, and my daughter-in-law that I’d rise early and take Toby, their elderly, furry, coffee table-sized dog, for a walk so they didn’t have to before leaving for their respective jobs. I figured it was the least I could do since they’ve put up with me for nearly a week now.

Toby and I got off to a great start. Jason had already helped him down the steps to the backyard. When I went out Toby was joyfully rolling in the wet grass, so all I had to do was hook the leash onto his collar and coax him through the gate. There was a brief hiccup when Toby saw Jason’s pickup truck pulling out of the driveway. He really wanted to go with his favorite human.

After Jason was safely gone, I allowed Toby to find his path, and he set a slow pace along the sidewalk. When one walks Toby, it’s more of a shuffle than a stride. The goal, of course, was to get him to poop, so when he slowed down even further and began avidly sniffing around a bush I got the poop bag out and was ready to clean up after him. I didn’t realize it wasn’t pooping he had on his mind.

Toby might be old, half deaf, and arthritic, but when a cat shot out from under that apparently delicious smelling bush he quickly went from being an object at rest to being an object in motion. As for me, I became an unbalanced force. By some miracle I kept a firm hold on the leash and applied some energy to keep him from escaping into the yard where I now realized multiple cats were lounging about.

With more nimbleness and agility than I believed I possessed, I managed to insert myself between Toby and the cats, applying an equal and opposite amount of force until he realized resistance was futile. Whew! For a brief moment I knew the whole situation could’ve gone sideways. Lucky for me, Newton’s Laws held true.

We continued our walk, and Toby found a suitable pooping spot. Now we’re safely back in the house where he’s chasing cats in his sleep. I’m pretty sure Newton’s Laws don’t mean a thing in his dreams.

Peace, people.

Poop Duty

Toby, my adorable coffee table sized grand dog, is an elderly Golden Retriever/Something Else mix. He is sweet and handsome, stubborn and manipulative. Taking him for a walk is an adventure played out in slow motion.

I have almost no experience in getting a dog to go poop. I have two cats, neither of whom needs to be taken for a walk in order to do her business. Set up a nice litter pan and the cats are good to go. Number one or number two. Sometimes both.

Dogs are not cats. They have to give one a signal indicating that going potty is on their agenda. People who live with dogs get in sync with their respective canines’ signals, but someone who has only cats (like me, for instance) often err, either on the side of being hyper vigilant about watching for signals or on the side of being too lax. I’m on the hyper vigilant end of the spectrum.

Left alone with Toby for the better part of two days I worried almost constantly that I wasn’t catching his signals, He’d whine, I’d grab his leash. He’d stand up, I’d coax him to the door. He’d lift his leg, I’d panic. Thanks to my vigilance, we didn’t have a single accident; although, I might’ve worn poor Toby out.

I’ll bet he’s careful what signals he sends out tomorrow.

Peace, people!

Hanging with Toby

I forgot to write a post for today.

But just look who I get to hang out with on this beautiful Thursday!

That’s Toby, my grand dog. He’s the size of a coffee table, hard of hearing, a tad forgetful, and a factory for dog hair. He’s also a real sweetheart who loves his Nana.

We’re supposed to go for a walk this morning, just the two of us. The last time I came for a visit and took him for a walk I found myself being hoodwinked by Toby into walking into what I later learned was “cat territory.” Toby hates cats. So, if you don’t hear from me again you might conclude that I didn’t survive the walk. Wish me luck.

Peace, people.

Snapshots #213, #214, #215, and #216, or “Before and After”

Last Saturday I brought home this piece from a garage sale:

The above photo is titled, Studly Doright Will Just See an Ugly Old Chair, while the photo below is, Surprise! It’s an Ugly Old Hamper, Too!

It was a bargain at $5.00, and I figured even I was up to the task of making it pretty again. And contrary to the title, Studly actually thought I’d found a gem!

Just look how beautiful it is all cleaned up!

Besides finding a colorful new cushion for the chair, I also applied a bit of oak tinted furniture repair paint to the white splotches, and then rubbed tung oil into the rattan. I am incredibly pleased with the results. I call these photos, Bare, Beautiful Chair, and Ta Da! respectively.

Now I just need to find a place for this beauty. None of my bathrooms has a vanity table or counter, but the chair might find a spot in my bedroom. I can picture the cats making themselves comfy on the cushion. Studly suggested selling it. Maybe he was just pretending to like the chair. Harrumph.

Peace, people!

Suffering from a Severe Lack of Oomph

I surrender! I have all these photos of the grandkids’ visit, but not the oomph needed to write about them. My oomph evaporated on Monday afternoon when I left the kids at the airport in Panama City Beach, and I’m not sure when it’s coming back.

Life continues, though, as does this blog, so I’m going to take the easy, less oomph reliant path and just post photos. If the spirit moves me, I might even comment on them. If not, well, make up your own captions. Oh, I started at the end of their visit and went backwards for some reason.

Here are a few from our morning in Panama City Beach before we headed to the airport:

Dominique and friend, Sophia, pose outside Dick’s Last Resort.

Enjoying a pineapple drink on the promenade.

Dominique pushing Jackson in a beach wheelchair so he wouldn’t get sand in his cast. I pushed him out to the beach and she pushed him back to the pavement. Hey, I think I know the moment my oomph disappeared!

Ahhh! The sun and the sand and the water.

Dining at Dick’s Last Resort, where the waiters are rude on purpose and the giggles are non-stop.

From our trip to Wild Adventures in Valdosta, Georgia on Sunday:

Poppa (aka Studly Doright) and Jackson built a motorcycle during the kids’ visit. For some reason I didn’t take any “before” photos, but this bike was in pieces at the beginning of last week:

Tallahassee Museum and Zoo is one of the grandkids’ (and grandparents’) favorite places to visit.

While the two 15-year-olds embarked on the tree-to-tree adventure,

Jackson, Studly, and I explored the zoo area:

At Jackson’s request we went “thrifting.”

And I took the girls sightseeing and swimming at Wakulla Springs:

And that’s about it. The kids and I stayed up late to watch a scary movie one night, but I didn’t document that. I had crafts for us to do, but those ideas were met with little enthusiasm. That’s just fine. I’m not sure my limited supply of oomph would’ve allowed for much creativity.

It’s awfully quiet around Doright Manor since they’ve been gone. The only one happy with the kids’ absence is our cat, Patches. Maybe she’ll help with the oomph issue.

Or not.

Lunch with my Cousin and a Night in LaGrange

Drive, drive, drive! That’s about all I did on Friday the 13th. I left my friend Nicky’s home in Kingsport, Tennessee, around 9:45 yesterday morning and drove to Knoxville to meet my cousin, Peggy, for lunch. Peggy is my second cousin. Her father and my grandfather were brothers. Both were handsome men married to attractive women.

Peggy and her two older sisters were the young women I looked up to as a child. All three were beautiful and well-mannered; whereas, I was a plain little girl with a tendency to rebel. Nevertheless, Peggy, who is three years my senior, was a sometimes playmate, and I have great memories of times we spent together in our younger days.

I’d lost track of Peggy for at least a couple of decades, maybe more, until a few months ago when she friended me on Facebook. After I’d accepted my friend Nicky’s invitation to visit Kingsport I began making plans to have lunch with Peggy in Knoxville on the way home.

Now I’m kicking myself because I forgot to get a picture of the two of us together. Damn. You’ll have to take my word for it, but Peggy is still beautiful and well-mannered. We did our best to catch up in the limited time we had to visit, but I need at least another week with her.

Once we parted ways I set my GPS to avoid major highways and the city of Atlanta on my trip home to Doright Manor. The resulting route took me on a scenic, yet curvy, roller coaster ride through Tennessee and into Georgia. I figured that once I’d gotten far enough south of the aforementioned Atlanta I’d reconfigure my settings to find the fastest route.

Back roads are fun, yet exhausting, and around 7:00 p.m. I decided to stop for the night in the town of LaGrange, Georgia. Now, I might’ve found the most perfect town in the world quite by accident. After checking into the brand new Courtyard by Marriott, I had a nice dinner in their bistro before setting out to explore the downtown area.

Directly across the street from my hotel was a park with a statue in the midst of a fountain.

Curious as to the identity of the statue, I crossed the street for a better look. I’d expected to see some Confederate war era general, but to my surprise and delight I discovered it to be a statue of General Lafayette.

According to GeorgiaInfo, an online Georgia almanac,

“Born at the Chateau de Chavaniac, Auvergne, France, on September 6, 1757, Gilbert Motier de Lafayette became at age 19 a major general on George Washington’s staff. He played a vital role in the defeat of General Charles Cornwallis at Yorktown, October 19, 1781, ending the American Revolution.

Later in France Lafayette was commanding general of the National Guard. Leader in the movement that gave France a republican form of government, author of the Declaration of the Rights of Man, and designer of the “Cocarde of Liberty” which he holds in his hand.

LaGrange, Georgia, was named for Lafayette’s home, the Chateau de LaGrange, on motion of Julius C. Alford, when this city was chartered on December 16, 1828…”

The statue and the surrounding park are a fitting centerpiece for this lovely town.

The First Baptist Church on the Square:

This is a museum of some kind. I’d have visited it if it had been open. Maybe on my next trip through the area I’ll have better timing.

Lots of interesting shops called to me, but again, I arrived too late:

I don’t think I’d ever seen a “Keep Off the Trees” sign before. It kind of made me want to climb them, rebel that I am.

I MUST visit this shop:

What a day, am I right? Lunch with a long lost cousin followed by a trip on scenic back roads, culminating in a stopover in LaGrange. I’m ready to be back home with Studly Doright and the cats, though.

Peace, people!