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Rated: 13+ · Book · Personal · #1921220
My thoughts released; a mind set free
These pages contain my thoughts, from meandering ideas and persuasions to deep cerebrations and serious mentations.

Why, for what purpose? To release my mind and set creativity free. Somewhere inside the constraints of my mind dwells a writer, a poet, an artist who paints with words. In here I release those constraints and set the artist free.

Perhaps, lost somewhere in the depths of thought, is a story or a poem, waiting to be written.

I'm docked at Talent Pond's Blog Harbor, a safe port for bloggers to connect.
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March 9, 2023 at 9:35am
March 9, 2023 at 9:35am
It's been a while since I've done much in WdC or in here, so this seems like a good place to start, then off to the Newsfeed, and then off to get some work done.

So, what's been happening with me? It's been crazy; let me tell you...

We reside in a duplex, one apartment up front, and we live in the back. Well, we did until just recently. Our neighbor in front decided to move at the start of the year, so we talked to our landlord about opening a doorway between the two apartments and renting the entire house. He said yes, and that he would work on it as soon as Lisa moved out on February first.

She started moving in January and it was looking good for us to be in shortly after the first, but she didn't move much at a time and only one or two days per week, so it was pushed back to March first for us to officially move in, and the landlord would have things ready about mid-month so we could start moving some things around.

There are four of us, two teens and two adults, ad our apartment is only two bedrooms and is rather small. Our bedroom is pretty big, so we divided it into two rooms, so each teen has a room, there is a kitchen-dining area and a decent-sized living room. The front apartment is about the same size but has a bigger and new kitchen, so we wanted to move our stove and fridge over here, put one teen in the larger bedroom river here, and get our entire bedroom back. The extra bedroom in the front is a bit small, so it became my office/writing haven.

The front finally opened up the last week in February and the doorway was installed the last day of the month, so we finally could start moving (I despise moving) our stuff over, after a good cleaning. The woman who rented the front didn't clean anything, and it turns out, she was not a very clean person, so it took a week to deep clean everything. Finally, after a thorough cleaning, we could move. On'y, my wife works and the teens have school, so a lot of the heavy moving was done on the weekends and I did the lighter work on weekdays. We finally have things pretty well moved and set up, but still a lot of little things to do, My office is a mess, with stuff stacked and piled since it was the last room to set up.

I thought it would go faster since we were moving within the same house, but moving is moving and it sucks, takes a crap-load of time, and with trying to keep up with cooking and getting kids off to school, I just have not had time for much of anything else. We also had our youngest teen in a school play this last weekend, so there was driving her back and forth for practice. Our older teen is in robotics right after school, so she also needed a ride home, and of course, these extra activities could not coincide at the same time.

Our heating system has been acting up a lot this year and it's been a weekly, sometimes bi-weekly, call to get someone out to fix it. No matter what they do or replace, something else messes up (I reset the damned thing at least twice a day, sometimes more) so we don't freeze up. On top of this, the weather hasn't cooperated in the least, it's been cold (sub-zero) until a week ago, and now that it's getting up to thawing during the day, we are getting snow every other day (like I really have had time for shoveling and chipping at ice). Oh, and I know most of you already know we got a Huskie puppy in December, so I have a great deal of time taken up with training and spending with him.

As you can imagine, I have had little time for anything, including sleep, since the end of February when this all started. But, now that we have the biggest chunk of the work complete, I can finally get a full night's sleep and have some time during the day to spend here and with my writing; well, once I get my office set up (I'm currently on my laptop at the dining room table).

But wait, I still have my training to do with Max and taking care of Bella. Who's Bella? My wife thought and convinced me, that having a companion for Max would free up more time for me. I mean, he needs a lot of interactions, playtime, and training, so it makes sense. She saw an ad for Australian Shepards and went to look at them on Tuesday. She returned home with Bella, who just turned seven. I'm talking weeks, not years.

So, Max weighs about 45 pounds now and will be five months old on Saturday. Bella weighs 4.5 pounds and will be two months old in another week; she's about as big as his head. I don't know how long it will take for Max and her to get used to each other, but hopefully will just be a few days. He does pretty well with her, but he's so big and she's so small that it takes constant supervision whenever they are together. So much for my extra time!

On the bright side, they are both napping right now...
February 23, 2023 at 11:05am
February 23, 2023 at 11:05am
Didn't I just write about this in "Question of the Day!? I did, just yesterday. The question was, "What’s an essential part of your daily routine?"

My mornings! Actually, it's having some peace and quiet in the morning to gather my thoughts as I sip a couple of cups of coffee. A typical morning would go like this. I get up and visit with my wife for a half hour while she gets ready for work, and I enjoy my first cup of coffee. Then, she is gone, I take Max out for a few minutes, then we wake the girls for school. Max and I pack their lunches while they get ready. Shortly after seven, they emerge from their lairs and all hell breaks loose as they try and find stuff, get shoes on, and I get them out the door without (most days) forgetting something. Some days that's it, they are on the bus and off to school, other days I'm running something out or they are running back in, but by seven-thirty, the bus is hauling them off to school and my day begins.

I take Max out to do his thing, then we go in and he gets his breakfast. After, he does a few tricks and gets a treat, and takes his morning nap. I do my devotions and log into WdC.

But, that routine is anything but routine. Once again, we are getting dumped on with a lot of snow, it's colder than petrified penguin poop, and school is closed. Because of blizzard conditions, my wife didn't leave for work until shortly after nine, and I'm trying to squeeze a few minutes in here before the kids wake up.

I did try and have my normal routine this morning; I really did. But, try as I might, it just won't happen if anyone is home. I don't understand it, I really don't.

Maybe instead of joining the two units of our duplex together into one dwelling, I should move into the other apartment. Yep, just me and Max; no one to disrupt our daily routines.

No, that won't work, they will be over knocking on the door, banging on the walls, calling my phone, or finding some way to disrupt the peace and quiet.

It's kind of like "Sleepless In Seatle", only different. For me, it's "Out Of My Wits in Ottertail".
February 21, 2023 at 6:23pm
February 21, 2023 at 6:23pm
It's been an interesting day. I got a call shortly after eight about them coming out to change a power cable on the boiler. I got everything moved and ready, then at about ten they called back, the part was for someone else, mine wasn't there yet.

Noon, they called again, it was here. One cord, two wires in it, factory sized with connectors on one side, a four-prong plug on the other. How long could it take to change it?

Instead of removing the old one and installing the new one, they cut the end off of the old one and spliced the plug from the new one with wire nuts, and it still took them a half hour.

It's a boiler, you know, high heat, water, steam. Not the best idea for an open wire connection; it's why they sent an entire cable instead of just the plug. It wasn't the regular guy, it was a couple of young guys (kids to me).

After, it would not ignite. They pulled out phones and started looking for reasons, what the error code meant, and so on. I already knew what the code meant, it indicated the connector they put on wasn't working, and the regulator wasn't opening. But would they listen to me?

The new cord had a red wire and a green wire in it, the old one was black and white. they hooked the red to the black and the green to the white, which I knew was wrong, the schematic plainly showed the black wire was ground and the white was power. Again, even after showing them the schematic, they insisted I was wrong. They ended up calling the tech number for the boiler.

I didn't say anything, even though they had the phone on speaker and the tech informed them that they shouldn't have spliced the plug to the wire, as it will corrode, he also explained that the green wire should attach to ground and the red to the white power wire from the old cord.

They switched them around and guess what? Yeah, it works again. It took those clowns all afternoon, but hey, at least we have heat. Just in time, too. It's snowing and it's cold. We are in a severe winter storm watch with possibilities of blizzard conditions until Thursday afternoon, and the temperature will barely get above zero with lows near fifteen below.

As they were leaving, the dopey one tells me to keep the electric heaters until after the storm, just in case we lose power... *Headbang*
February 21, 2023 at 10:55am
February 21, 2023 at 10:55am
I was trying to think of something to write about today, then I stopped over at "Question of the Day! and I knew what I would like to blite about today. Hopefully, I get this done before all Hell breaks loose.

The question was about quiet time. It's simple, really, when everyone is gone, I have quiet time. Except, right now, there is a lot of crap going on. The boiler system in here is junk and has been acting up all winter, so we have repairmen in and out a few times a week it seems trying to get this thing fixed. They replace a part, another goes out. Then the whole thing quit working completely during a very cold spell (below 0 Fahrenheit). They worked on it for two days and we ended up using electric space heaters to keep the place kind of comfortable. In the end, I became frustrated and went after the boiler myself, now it's back to working intermittently, but at least it's comfortable.

We are also combining both sides of the duplex into one unit if the person up front ever gets fully moved out and turns the keys over. So, the landlord is over at least once a week. All this has the neighbor visiting a few times a week, for hours on end, because he wants to know and put his two cents in,

Then there's school. the kids are home as much as at school, between holidays, special days off, and snow days. Then, my wife gets a sinus infection so she was home most of last week. So much for peace and quiet.

Now, for a lot of people, this wouldn't be so bad, but for me, it's disastrous. I'm an introvert, so I need my alone time. I also get very lost in my work, reading, and especially my writing. I can handle a minor interruption or distraction, maybe two, but if there's more, I may as well throw in the towel.

This is the problem. With outside people, I can see it, but with family, they know. I've explained it to them numerous times. But, as soon as I get lost in something, they sense it and poof, there they are. The kids won't say anything seeing as I'm really lost in something, they just stand right in front of me and do whatever it takes to get my attention. My wife will actually say, "I know you're doing something, but if you have a minute or two, I have a question. Most of the time, it's something she already knows the answer to or something that really doesn't need answering at all.

If I'm not lost in something, making myself available for them, the kids vanish "POOF" into their rooms for hours, possibly days. My wife is busy doing this or that, and I sit, pace, or fumble with something as I wait for them. But, if I see that it's quiet, they're all busy, and I have a few minutes to read, write, or get lost in something... "POOF" they are back!
February 16, 2023 at 2:42pm
February 16, 2023 at 2:42pm
I know, I have not been very active here for a few days, mayhaps even about a week, or at least about seven days. I can explain.

The weekend was chaos! Our oldest daughter/granddaughter turned 18 on Sunday. There was a lot of fuss and stuff over the weekend for her, of course. Add to that, her boyfriend was over, and that was even more hubbub for me to deal with. Don't get me wrong, he seems pretty nice and I like him just fine, but with Max, the birthday stuff, and a guest over, it was a bit more to deal with.

Our youngest also had a birthday party to attend on Saturday, with a sleepover. So, it was trying to get her to clean up her room, get her to the party, and more mumble-jumble.

Our landlord also stopped by on Saturday to let us know that we would be getting the front apartment on March first now instead of February first. He refunded what we had paid for the difference and apologized that Dingbat didn't get moved when she was supposed to.

All in all, it made for a hectic weekend, lots of running around, busy, and not much time to get online. Then, Monday arrived.

I was excited, kids back in school, wife at work, and just me and Max to enjoy peace and quiet and get caught up in here. At least, that was the plan. Those plans got flushed right down the crapper as soon as my phone went off.

We've been having trouble with the boiler heat all winter, but with a bit of tinkering and jumping past a sensor, it's running and working fine. However, Monday the people came out to fix it right and replace the defective part. They arrived at about ten and didn't leave until after five. Nothing went right for them, they couldn't get the old sensor to come off without tearing up the pipe it's attached to, the bleeder valve didn't fit, and so on.

A little past noon, they had done as much as possible with it, with the sensor still bypassed, the old bleeder back on, and not much accomplished. They closed it up, turned on the power, pushed the button, and...

You likely guessed it, no heat. The boiler is now defunct completely, and by the time they left, it was determined that the circuit board, much like a motherboard in a computer, had fried up as crispy as over-cooked bacon. They removed it and took it with them, with hopes of having it fixed by Tuesday.

They did bring us some electric heaters. But since we did not get the keys for the front, we had no way to put any on that side. Luckily, the temperature was staying above freezing.

Tuesday they put the repairs board back in first thing in the morning. They turned on the power and pushed the button. Nothing. The ignitor was not igniting. He again removed the board and checked the fuses; one had blown. He changed this and turned the power back on, the fuse blew again. It seems there is something shorting out in the board, so one was ordered with overnight delivery.

The plan was to have it by Wednesday afternoon and put it in right away and get us some heat. But, Tuesday it began with rain, then freezing rain, and by eleven that night, we had blizzard conditions. The temperature also started to drop, but we did get keys to the front and set up heaters over there, as well as the ones we have here.

It has not gotten over ten degrees yesterday or today, and has dropped below zero at night, and will again tonight. The delivery was delayed by the storm, the landlord is in Texas (he drives truck) and we are trying to keep warm with space heaters as we run up a horrible electric bill. Meanwhile, we have a crew of three people trying daily to get this boiler up and running.

It's been a crazy weekend, a crazy week, and some crazy weather. It's almost enough to drive me sane!
February 14, 2023 at 1:29pm
February 14, 2023 at 1:29pm
Written in pink for "Andre The Blog Monkey's Banana Bar

It's Valentine's Day and it's been a while since I made an entry, so if you put them together, it's time to write something. I have been adding a lot of posts about Max, and if you've read through them, you know, he's my (our) new Husky puppy. If you haven't kept up with my blog, Max is my (our) new Husky puppy.

He's a handful at times but doing well. His training is going well, but we still have a long way to go. He's four months old now and weighs in at a whopping 32 pounds; he's growing so fast, but that's normal for his breed. We still need to work a lot with him coming to his name. He does well if he's hungry and the treats are wanted, but if he's not, it's a bit of a challenge. If anyone has any tips for this, please comment. Thank you.

Max and I did a bit of shopping today, since it's Valentine's Day, and he is getting better at riding in the car. He still fights it a little, but then gives up and hops in. When the weather gets a bit nicer, we'll be going to the lake and the park, which should persuade him that car rides are for fun.

Today it was to pick up a Valentine's gift for my wife, he waited in the car, but I'm sure he would have picked something nice; red meat most likely. Anyway, I don't do much for Valentine's, and before meeting her, didn't do anything. Like some, I figured it was just a money-maker for mid-winter sales. But, she enjoys the day and always gets me a little something, so this year I went beyond my normal card and purchased her a very beautiful, live orchid, a box of chocolates, and a nice card.

I figured if I can do the Secret Valentine's in here, I better not get cheap with my favorite Valentine. I know the surprise will likely get her crying. Yes, I'd make my wife cry on Valentine's Day, just like I do on her birthday, our anniversary, Christmas, and just whenever I get the urge to surprise her with something thoughtful.
February 10, 2023 at 6:42pm
February 10, 2023 at 6:42pm
With three more days to go to complete the challenge over at "Andre The Blog Monkey's Banana Bar I better get hustling. I've been keeping up pretty well but I would like to browse through and read more of the other entries in the challenge.

At the same time, I seem to have less time. I'm not sure if it's a result of the Earth spinning faster, the core stopping and possibly reversing, or the chunk of the sun breaking off. Actually, I think it's because Max has stopped taking as many naps, that boy is growing so fast, and maturing quicker than expected. Whatever the reasons, possibly a combination of all of these, more likely just less time to spend in W.C, I'm running a bit behind.

But, this entry will help and hopefully, I can get another done later, or tomorrow. But, the weekend is looking kind of busy, our oldest is having her 18 birthday on Sunday, with friends over tomorrow. The younger one has a birthday party tomorrow and a sleepover after, so yeah, a lot going on this weekend. Weekends are tough for me to write anyway, since I like peace, quiet, and no one bothering me when I write.

If all goes well, I'll get things finished up this weekend, if not, I'll have to finish up on Monday. I've already explained to Max that I may need him to mellow out for me on Monday, but talking to him is like talking to a four-month-old Husky, well he is, so yeah.
February 6, 2023 at 4:51pm
February 6, 2023 at 4:51pm
We are six days into February now and still waiting on the dingbat to get moved out. I know, one should never resort to name-calling. I'm not! She is a friend of our landlord and he avows she is indeed a dingbat, from the bat family Ding-a-lingoptera.

Like Charlie Brown in discussion with Lucy, I tend to get a headache and an upset stomach when I converse with the woman, so my wife, sweet and patient as she is, went over to find out how much longer she would take in moving out. She returned with a headache and an upset stomach but no precise or even guessed date.

She had informed the landlord that she would be out by the first of February. He informed us that we should be getting a new neighbor shortly after since he just purchased the property from his Dad and is taking things over. Since we are a bit cramped for space with just half the house, I asked if we could rent the entire house and connect the two apartments. He agreed, knowing we have been good renters and since it was originally a single-unit home would take very little to open them up again.

So, now we wait, he waits and she contemplates what items to take now and which to take later. I'm serious, she has actually carried out boxes, then carried them back in because she wanted to take something else first. She also has items in her side of the garage, which is now technically ours. Items she moved from her apartment into the garage because she was locked out of her Rush Lake Storage Unit.

Being a member of the Ding-a-lingoptera order of batty, she was not locked out, she was at the wrong storage unit. Her's is St. Lorance Storage on the other side of the road. Seems she got confused and made a wrong turn, despite the fact that she had her unit about half full; yes she had taken multiple loads over a few days before.

Like I said, it's not name-calling, she's a dingbat.
January 30, 2023 at 8:09pm
January 30, 2023 at 8:09pm
I just finished another edition of "Blogging Bliss Newsletter Subscribers and have to say well done to Wordsmitty ✍️ ; the Newsletter is always well-written and enjoyable.

"One of the topics he touched on was changing things up in our blogs. I think that's worth trying, so I'm talking instead of just writing."

"Who ya talking to?" Halo asks.

"Halo, nobody but me knows you."

"So, introduce me, you clown. Are you ashamed of me? Is there some reason you don't want your friends to know about me?"

"No, Halo, I'm not ashamed of you. Why would I be, your terrific, you're always here to tell me what to write, and you a damn fine-looking muse. Even Max likes you."

"Okay, everyone, Halo here is my muse. She's a great muse and has stuck by my side over the years, offering up suggestions and sometimes even telling me where to go, like when I don't listen to her suggestions."

"Hey, TJ, did you forget that time I left you?"

"No Halo, I didn't forget, it was a terrible time for me. But, if you remember correctly, you didn't actually leave me, you wandered off and got lost. Yeah, now it's coming back to you."

"That's right, you were trying to write something but I forget what. I'd likely remember if you had listened to me, but you had to be stubborn and do it yourself. I got bored and went for a walk. But it's not my fault I got lost, you never told me where I was."

"That's right, Halo. I was writing something that I never finished because you wandered off and I could find you when I needed you to help me out. It was right after we first moved here, and you wanted to go explore."

"Yeah, but I never lived in the woods, and it's kind of scary all by my lit' ole' lonesome. I tried to find my way back, but I went the wrong way on those train tracks and then I found a highway that sounded familiar, so I followed it. The next thing I know, I'm at the house you moved out of. I didn't know what to do, so I stayed there and hoped you'd come back."

"I did come back for you. Well for you and some more of our stuff. I was surprised when I pulled up and you came running out of the house. You'd been missing for months, I thought you left me for another writer. I never realized how much you mean to me, Halo."

"Anyway, I think everyone knows I'm your muse now, so let's get to the writing."

"Yeah, I was going to write in my blog, but after all this, it's getting kind of long. I don't want to bore everyone, so mayhaps we'll do this another time, if that's alright with you, Halo?"

"Sounds good to me, TJ."

Anyway, Halo says it was fun, and enjoyed getting to talk to you. I'm happy 'cuz I got to introduce you to my BMF (Best Muse Friend). Until next time, be kind to your muse.



"Do you think anyone would start a Muse's Day?"

"I don't know. Someone should. Where would we be without you? How 'bouts I post this and you and I can sit and talk about this?"


January 26, 2023 at 2:33pm
January 26, 2023 at 2:33pm
So, I've been making entries in "Andre The Blog Monkey's Banana Bar and the prompts make it a bit difficult to write silly foolishness. So, I thought I would share a short story about a kitten I rescued when I was but a wee lad in school.

I was walking home after school one fine autumn day when this little, fluffy, and scared kitten ran out of a hedge with a rather large dog right on its tail so I rescued the cute, fluffy beast. Well, I didn't actually rescue him, he, in sheer terror and panic, almost ran into me. Needing a hasty escape, he proceeded to climb up my pant leg and shirt, taking refuge on my shoulder as I felt those tiny, but needle-sharp claws piercing my skin from my ankle to my shoulder.

I reached up to remove him since his tiny but needle-sharp claws were still deeply embedded in my shoulder, but the little bastard bit my finger, hard. Being a somewhat intelligent youth, I quickly gave up any thoughts of removing him and popped my injured and bleeding digit into my mouth. After administering first aid I yelled at the dog who was still jumping and trying to get the kitten, which was making it dig those little, needle-sharp claws ever deeper into my now very sore shoulder.

The dog retreated back around the house it had appeared from and I, still fearful of removing the terror-inflicted little beast went up to the house and inquired if it was their kitten. "No." I went to the other houses in the neighborhood and inquired the same, and received the same answer, "No." With no other choice, I proceeded on my way home with a bleeding finger, multiple punctures up my leg and torso, and a cute little kitten attached to my shoulder.

Once home, my mother was able to painfully remove the kitten, which didn't bite her, but instead curled into a tiny little ball and began purring. She told me I had to try and find the owners, so after it had gulped down some leftover meatloaf and drank a small bowl of milk, I took a picture with my dad's polaroid and made a poster with our phone number and address so the little, cute, and now very tired kitten curled in my mother's lap could be returned home.

I posted it on the side of the phone booth, and being a very small town, figured that would be sufficient. After a few days, someone had boldly written "No" under the text asking, "Is this your kitten?" Someone else had posted another sign next to mine stating, "This is a public phone please do not post signs here!" I took my sign down and wrote on theirs, "If we can't post signs here, what the hell is this?"

Anyway, I ended up with a tiger-striped kitten I named Tiger Elroy Killroy Butch and a week of being confined to my room after school for my notations on the sign on the phone booth. It seems the phone company recorded my phone number and address from my sign and notified my parents of my comment on theirs. I said I was somewhat intelligent, not a genius!
January 26, 2023 at 9:56am
January 26, 2023 at 9:56am
Yes, this is my third attempt on the third day of trying to write something here. As I quote myself, but seldom say it these days, life has been a big plate of fuccaroni and cheese (and not the good cheese, that powdered crap that smells like dirty socks.

I don't even remember what I was first going to write, since I didn't save the few sentences I had started before being interrupted, distracted, and yanked back into reality. I know, "Save often!" And, I do if it's serious writing, but when it's not, there isn't any sense in saving because I won't be able to pick up that thread of thought.

With all this reality getting in the way, it was only a matter of time before I had to let the excreta hit the thermantidote and try to get things back into some semblance of order. If you've followed my blog, you already know I have a new puppy; if you haven't followed, I have a new puppy. Anywho, Max is now fourteen weeks old, or three and a half months, and is doing pretty well.

He does pretty well if his routine and schedule aren't fubar, which they have been since last Thursday. I've been trying to get things as close to normal as possible but have not been getting much support from Max's other family members. It seems like there was a bit of a mutiny attempt. I know it's because I've spent so much time working with Max and giving him so much of my time. However, this was all discussed prior to getting a puppy; everyone knew it would be a lot of work and I was elected as the best person to take up the challenge.

Of course, it's not just family, there's a big change coming on the first of February and that's also created more demands on my time and more interruptions. I also made a devastating mistake by telling my neighbor that all the interruptions and distractions are driving me sane. (Yes I did say that right, being off my rocker, it makes sense)

Anyway, our neighbor is a pretty nice guy, but he's got this critical fault; when he hears something is upsetting someone, he can't help but also do something upsetting. So, while visiting last Sunday, it slipped out that all the crap going on was driving me stark raving sane. Now, he is adding his bit to the problem.

I'd throw in the towel, but Max would likely grab it and tear it up. Besides, I have a s***-ton of things to get done over the next week or two, if the front apartment opens on the first as planned. So, the only option available is to keep on keeping on, give it back as much as they give it, and keep my focus on what's important, my vegetable can list. I don't have time for a bucket list so I had to use an empty vegetable can...

January 19, 2023 at 11:16pm
January 19, 2023 at 11:16pm
Today has been another scrambled day, which is only fitting since it's been an out-of-whack week. I know life is topsy turvy and we never know what each new day will bring. Weeks and days like today really do mess with Max, however, and it makes training a bit difficult. He does well, surprisingly well, in fact, but disorganized days do affect him.

Monday school was out, so we had two teens distracting him. They do pretty well, but they can only resist a cute, new puppy for so long. It's not that they should, Max is a family member and it does him and them good to interact. Unfortunately, it seems they show up just as our training is getting going, or right when he gets relaxed and ready to nap.

My wife's aunt passed away earlier this week, so she left for the funeral this afternoon, which has him messed up. He looks forward to her return from work and spending some play time with him, which he didn't get today. Our daughters are adopted and did not know Dorothy and I only met her a couple of times, so I'm staying home with them and Max, who wouldn't do well with a puppy-sitter and wouldn't handle that long of a drive. It only makes sense, but I still feel bad not being there to give support and comfort to the rest of the family. Max seems to pick up on this as well; he doesn't understand it, but he picks up on it.

I'm a bit disappointed that we weren't able to go out walking for his leash training, it's been tough with the weather, and he needs a lot more time walking on a leash. I'm hoping tomorrow we can spend at least fifteen to twenty minutes walking, and maybe even get out twice.

On the bright side, since the day was messed up and his training schedule was altered, I decided to spend our school time (training session) teaching him a new trick, shaking hands. He struggled with it, but received a lot of love and praise, along with treats, even though I had to show him each time. After ten minutes of working with him, he was tired and getting bored, so we went outside and played a bit, then when he came in, he took a nap.

After he woke and we went out for him to go to the bathroom. It's our routine, when we come back in, for him to come over to my chair with me and do the tricks he's learned. First, he sits and gets a treat, then talks and gets another treat, and just a few days ago, learned to gently press his muzzle to my lips (kisses) for another treat. I thought I'd try and see if he would work a bit on shaking hands, so I told him, "Shake." He lifted his right paw and set it in my hand. Yes, he figured it out and does quite well for it being the first day with this new trick.

Tonight we had supper and then I took him out. He usually plays a bit before falling asleep around nine, but tonight he really fought going to sleep. He does this some every night, like a little child he just doesn't want to go to sleep and will try and do anything to stay awake. But, tonight was worse and I spent almost an hour trying to get him to lie still and relax. I'm sure it's because his "mom" isn't here.

Tomorrow should prove interesting since he gets up when she does, and she won't be here until later tomorrow afternoon. I'm going to stay positive and hopeful that we will still have a productive day. Fingers crossed and all that mumble-jumble.

January 18, 2023 at 3:05pm
January 18, 2023 at 3:05pm
Max just turned three months old last Saturday, and he's growing way too fast. Not in the meaning of faster than normal, he is right in his size and weight range for his age, but he is so much bigger than he was when we first brought him home. We put him on the scale the day after we adopted him and he weighed seven pounds. Saturday he tipped the scales at twenty-two pounds.

Training is going well, but it's a lot different training a Husky than it was with some of our other canines. He's very smart (maybe a bit too smart) and learns fast, but with his intelligence comes very strong stubbornness. He knows his name and comes all the time in the house, but when he's outside, he finds all sorts of distractions and will completely ignore me. I'm still trying to figure out a way to overcome this, and I'm hoping I can find some solutions online.

As far as tricks, he learned to sit first. It took all of one ten-minute training session. The problem is, once he learned to sit for a treat, he will sit before I tell him. Next, I taught him to talk, so if he sits before I tell him, I have a backup for him to do to get a treat. Again, one training session. His most recently learned trick is to give kisses. Not the licking, slobbery kind, but by pressing his muzzle to my lips. One session and he has it down.

The other task I'm working on is leash training. Because of the weather, as well as all the distractions, I started him in the house. He does pretty well for a short period but then get's bored with walking around two rooms. Today we took it a step further and walked outside to increase his time on the leash and to get him more accustomed to riding in the car.

He isn't very fond of car rides since it doesn't provide him with anything to do. Mostly, he rides along if I have to pick up or drop off someone or run to the store for an item or two. He rides nicely and is pretty well-behaved in the car, but he's bored. So, I thought if he went for a short ride to a place he could get out and investigate, he would start looking forward to riding. It also provided me with a small parking area to walk him.

There is a boat landing about a half mile from us, and since it's winter, it's not very busy. We walked the yard for a few minutes, then went to the car. He didn't like getting loaded into it, but did alright. He just stretched out on the seat as I drove over to the landing; I suppose he thought of it as just another car ride. When I parked he didn't get up, again figuring he was going to wait in the car. But, when I opened the door for him, he perked right up.

I put the leash on his harness and told him to unload, which he did even as I was telling him. He sniffed around and I let him pick where he wanted to go. He, of course, became distracted numerous times with all the new sites and smells, but he did respond to "Let's go" after a bit of coaxing. We walked the perimeter of the lot twice, and he was showing signs of getting tired, so we loaded up and I brought him home.

I'm thinking a few more times of his getting to explore on the leash and he will do fine, maybe he will even get excited and eager when I bring his leash out. Once we have this part down, I can start bringing him more places and start letting him get used to new people and hopefully some other dogs.

We still have two more phases of leash training to work on; getting him to pay more attention to me and him not pulling in every direction, but walking beside me.

January 11, 2023 at 4:40pm
January 11, 2023 at 4:40pm
I want to start woking walking my dog; good exercise for both of us. But, before I can take Max for walks, I need to train him to walk on a leash. I know leash training is difficult, I've trained a few dogs in my life, but Max is different. I employed the same techniques that have worked well with other dogs but up until today, Max would have nothing to do with the leash; he pulls back and drops with a look that conveys the message, "Leash me alone!"

Let's see, we brought him home kind of late on a Saturday when he was eight weeks old. I let him adjust to the new home and family for a couple of days, we did no training except some simple name association (his, not mine). From there we increased using his name and of course, introduced "NO!" and began using TPA techniques for his good behavior; Treats, Praise, and Affection are the best means to train anyone canine or otherwise.

I did put the leash on him at nine weeks and let him get the feel of it, but we didn't really walk at that point. He got hold of the leash and shook it like it was his mortal enemy then dropped to the floor and glared at me, leash still clamped firmly in his mouth. I tried every few days to put it on and let him get accustomed to the feel of it, but he would do the same each time. Over and over I tried to get him to adjust to the feel of being on the leash, and over and over he would try to rip it to shreds, drop as flat as he could, and glare at me, "Leash me alone!"

This Saturday, Max turns three months old and should be accustomed to being on a leash in a manner other than tearing at it and lying flat on the floor, so I needed to up my game. He had not been leashed this week until yesterday. I thinly sliced up a nice beef roast and put it in the oven to dry out (homemade beef jerky without any additives). I cut them into small treat-sized pieces and restarted the training again yesterday. We made a few steps by holding the yummy beef in my free hand and letting him follow his nose. Every few steps he was praised, and we worked for about ten minutes. Five of them he did good, five of them he tried to rip up the leash, but he did not drop like a rock.

Today, we again did some leash training. I had cooked up a steak for lunch, and I also cooked up a smaller one for Max. I ate mine, his was chopped up into small pieces and used to reward his walking on the leash. We did ten minutes again today. The first few he wanted to tear the leash up, but enticed with the steak, he walked pretty well. We will work a bit more before his supper after everyone is home so there will be no distractions. If he does well again, perhaps we will do another round a bit before bed.

I'm hoping that by this weekend he will no longer want to kill his leash and start walking well enough that I can take him on a real walk so he learns that it's fun to see the leash come down. No more, "Leash me alone!" But instead, "My leash, l getta go for a walk!"
January 10, 2023 at 7:23pm
January 10, 2023 at 7:23pm
As the title proclaims, this entry is about venting.

There are three types of venting:
1) To give free expression to.
2) Discharge or expel through an outlet.
3) Permit air to enter through an inlet.
These are simplified but describe venting well enough.

Actually, now that I've written this out, there is one type of venting, since number one is inhaling and then discharging some hot air to get something off one's mind: basically, the same thing as numbers two and three, permitting air, gas, liquid, etc... to flow in or out accordingly.

I'm venting in two directions. One is my lack of sleep last night due to the elevated temperature in our apartment, it was up to 80 degrees. In the other direction, I opened windows with an outside temperature of about five degrees to decrease the temperature inside.

Why did it get so damn hot? The answer is easy to explain, one word in fact; dingbat. You know, like Edith Bunker. Well, that's been a while, so maybe you don't know. we live in a duplex, two units side by side, or more accurately one unit in front and one in back. We live in the back, and since this area of Minnesota is wooded, I refer to it as, "We live back in the woods."

The woman who lives in front is the dingbat. Now, I'm not being mean or rude, she truly is a dingbat. She informed me a while back, that her ceiling was slowly getting lower, and wondered if ours was, too. I told her ours seemed to be fine. She then informed me that she had a spider plant suspended over her counters and that when she first put it up, there was a good foot (I wondered what a bad foot measured) between it and the cupboards. Now, just over a year later, there was maybe six inches between the hanging plant and the cupboards. Dingbat. Still not convinced? Last summer she wandered back onto our side and saw Hurricane, our chicken (yes we have a pet chicken we rescued, but that's another story for another day). She asked me what our turkey's name was. Dingbat!

So, anyway, Edith (name changed to protect the ignorant) is gone more than she's home. She turns the heat down when she leaves and then cranks it all the way up to heat the place up quickly when she returns. This is what she did last night.

Now, normally this wouldn't be a problem, but both units operate off one boiler, which is on our side. Yes, a boiler system; hot water heat. So, when she cranks the thermostat up to heat her unit quickly, it doesn't heat quickly, but the boiler runs constantly until her side does warm up. Meanwhile, the boiler is kicking out a lot of heat on our side and it gets hotter than Hades in here.

I tried to explain this to her, but she's a Dingbat and is trying to counter global warming and cut heating costs. For one, doing this with a boiler system does nothing to lower costs or diminish global warming. In fact, it likely increases both. For two, our heat is included so there is no cost accrued to either of us. But, there is no explaining this to her, she just cannot comprehend it. The landlord also tried to explain this to her but walked away shaking his head after she informed him of her ceiling getting lower. (I wanted to tell her it's from constantly adjusting the thermostat, but that she likely would have believed)

All I can say is, at times like last night, it's hot in here, too hot to sleep, so I need to vent. Vent out my despair of how dingy she is, and vent in some cooler air. There is an upside, I can actually relate to Charlie Brown feeling sick when trying to explain anything to Lucy...

January 6, 2023 at 1:15am
January 6, 2023 at 1:15am
It's been a while since I made an entry, so I figured tonight would be a good opportunity to make one. I've been busy training Max, my new Husky friend, and things are progressing well.

We did have a bit of a setback over the holidays, but only because the kids and my wife were home all week. Not that it's a bad thing to have them home, but for training a ten-week-old puppy, anything out of the normal routine is disruptive. Also, with the holidays, there were people over, parties to attend, and just a lot of hustle and bustle, all of which were disruptive to Max's routine.

I skipped out on a lot to devote my time to keeping things as normal for him as possible and to continue with at least a little of his training. He mustered through with just a bit more of his naughty side showing when things became too chaotic. Mostly, though, he just vocalized his disapproval.

The worst thing that happened was he got used to us staying up late. Like a young child, if we are up, he's not going to sleep. So, most nights he went to bed around midnight instead of his usual 8:30 to 9:00. Soon enough, he had his times all screwed up and it was very difficult to get his schedule back to our normal bedtimes. I found myself staying up waiting for him to finally fall asleep so I could put him to bed for the night (he sleeps in a laundry basket on my side of the bed).

I've been working all week trying to keep him from napping too much so he can go to bed on time at night. It's been a struggle, but last night he fell asleep around 9:00, and tonight, even though it was our regular chaotic Thursday, dozed off finally about 10:00.

He's coming to his name, even outside, and is chewing a lot less on things he shouldn't chew (except for me), he is doing well with his potty training. He does have some issues in the evenings with peeing inside but does good by using the pads we put down. He learned to sit yesterday and has retained the information and usually does well; sometimes I have to repeat myself a couple of times, but then he remembers, sits as he should, and gets his treats.

We have done a little work with him on a leash, but he has a long way to go. He doesn't fight it very often unless he gets tired and doesn't want to walk, then he just sits down and grumbles until I coax him a bit more with the promise of a treat. What's interesting, and I do not know how to change this behavior, is that when I walk with him on the leash, attached to either his color or his harness, he turns his head and grabs the leash in his mouth, and then walks with me.

I'm thinking, if he continues to do this, I may make him a six inch leash and let him walk himself...
January 1, 2023 at 1:05pm
January 1, 2023 at 1:05pm
The title wraps up the final week of 2022 -- Actually, it wraps up all of 2022! There should have been more of the good, like getting out camping, kayaking, hiking, fishing, and the fun stuff, but we did all right. I did some repairs on the camper which turned out great, I purchased an old Lund boat and did some work on that. It's in getting some rivets tightened and I'm looking at replacing or rebuilding the outboard for it, but I did get to use it a few times. (the first time I almost sunk; a story for another day).

There were bad times as well, but not as many or as severe as in other years. In looking back I find most of the bad has dissipated into that kind of gray that doesn't stand out unless a person digs through to find its roots. The worst thing last year was losing my beloved friend and canine companion so unexpectantly. But, she passed quickly and peacefully, so even that bad ain't so bad.

I'm looking forward to the new year, although I know there are no drastic changes with the flip of the calendar page. I'm looking forward to doing more camping, boating, kayaking, hiking, and all that fun stuff. I know these things will be different without Hannah by my side, but now there's Max who will also love (I hope) to do all these things with me. Although, once he's fully grown, it's going to be a bit more difficult to kayak with him than with Hannah who was mid-sized. We'll manage, when I first started kayaking, I had Klarissa, about 80 pounds of Golden and Yellow Lab sitting in a ten-foot Sun Dolphin with me.

I'm sure Max will do fine, but for now, there is a lot of work to do with him. He's now ten weeks old still teething, curious as can be, and just getting started in his training. He knows his name but still is easily distracted. Most days he comes after calling him a few times, some days I have to carry him back in. He is house broke about 80% of the time, but still has his accidents. Yesterday was the first time he pooped in the house in over a week, and he did poop on his puppy pad. (I tried combining his name with the pad things, but my family refused to let me call them Max's pads)

I have a harness fitted for him and have introduced him to walking on a leash. He has only walked with me a couple of times yesterday and I wouldn't need the harness, he holds his end of the leash in his mouth when we walk. Maybe I can teach him to walk himself this way... And then again maybe that's not a good idea.

Yeah, Max is intelligent, imaginative, and of course with those traits, a bit stubborn. He reminds me a great deal of Klarissa, who was just a tad too smart for her own good. It's going to be a lot of work, require a lot of time and patience, and I know I'll be putting my writing on the back burner (more like in the slow-cooker) for a while, but I don't mind. I love dogs and Max is showing signs of being an exceptional canine companion, given the training and work he needs.

What are my expectations for the next year? I'll take what comes, that's all any of us can do, but my mindset and plans are for More Good, Less Bad, and again, no Ugly.

May this next year be kind to all of us...
December 25, 2022 at 12:41am
December 25, 2022 at 12:41am
It's Christmas Eve and everybody is settled in for the evening here. The two teens are in the older girl's room enjoying their gifts and watching something on television, Max (our new Husky pup) is sound asleep as is my wife and I'm spending a little bit of the eve with you.

We started a tradition of opening gifts early on Christmas Eve day since we go to my wife's relatives on Christmas. I won't comment on my thoughts about that, except for the fact that my Mother-in-law is getting up in years and we never know which will be her last Christmas so I do it for her.

Anyway, I was going to blite about something and now have completely forgotten what. It could be something with my advancing years or the fact that Max has disrupted my erratic sleep schedule, but I blame it on the Bulleit.

Actually, I should blame it on my eldest adopted granddaughter who gifted me a nice bourbon glass that reads, "Old Lives Matter." She thought she was ordering a shot glass, but it holds a nice eight ounces or better. I figured I should show her my appreciation by using it, so I shot it with Bulleit and ice. It works nicely.

But, I'm almost out of Bulleits, so I reckon it's time for bed...

December 19, 2022 at 2:37pm
December 19, 2022 at 2:37pm
Saturday we picked up a new puppy; an eight-week-old husky. It was quite late when we got home with him, so he had a short introduction to the rest of the family, a bite to eat, and a drink of water, then it was time for bed. He did pretty well for his first night in a new home, once we figured out how to keep him feeling secure.

We made up a soft bed for him in a laundry basket and I put my t-shirt I had been wearing in with him, then placed it beside my side of the bed. It did the trick and he slept through the night.

Yesterday, being his first day, was kind of an orientation for the little fellow. He played with the kids, explored the house, and got to go outside a couple of times. It was below zero and he has never been outside, so it was very limited. He would sniff around a bit, but as soon as his little feet got cold he would try to sit on my foot and verbally tell me he wanted back in. He slept in his bed again last night, waking whenever I got up to use the bathroom but never making any fuss.

This morning we got up at six, while I got dressed, my wife took Max out and he made some yellow snow. Once back in, he tried to poop on his puppy pad and got most if it on it. We did get larger pads, so he should do better. He played with the kids a bit before school and helped Jasper wrap a present. He figured out quickly that wrapping a gift on the floor with a puppy in the house is rather difficult.

After they left for school, Max and I went back out for a bit. He explored around a bit, played in the snow a bit, then wanted back in. He let me know verbally and by sitting on my foot. After we came back in, he settled down for a nap and I managed to get a little done in here while I waited for him to wake up and start Canine Kindergarten. Yes, his training has begun.

He knows his name and comes to it the first time about 90% of the time. He discovered the joys of bacon and sat on my feet the entire time I was cooking it. Yes, I did give him a few small bites. Then, after breakfast, he enjoyed the bacon but his breakfast was Kibbles and Bits, we went back outside and I showed him how to navigate the three steps down to the patio. (Up till that point, he had been carried up and down.) He did pretty well, but it's good we have a thick mat at the bottom; he fell off the last step twice, but he's got it down now. I also had to show him, twice, how to go up the steps. On his first try he ended up under the steps, the second try his legs didn't quite reach enough, but now he gives a little jump and climbs them like a pro.

He has also gone to the bathroom outside most of the day, so far. The first "accident" was my fault, I took too long in putting my coat on. He almost peed on the pad, but like most guys, his aim isn't the best. The second time he peed inside was while I was cooking liver and again did not get him outside quickly enough.

The rest of today will be more training him to his name and more outside potty practice. My wife will be home about 3:30, the kids shortly after, and Max will be done with his "school" at about the same time. Why? Because then it's playtime and interactions with the rest of the family. Tomorrow we work some more on outside potty training and getting him used to a leash. Oh, and of course, he will have continued practice at learning what "No" means.

December 18, 2022 at 12:14pm
December 18, 2022 at 12:14pm
I posted yesterday afternoon: "We are going to look at a Goldendoodle, eight weeks old. Not certain about getting him, but I figure once I see him and hold him, I won't be leaving without him...". Later I posted about our new family addition, Pludo, -- a Husky. How did this happen? What changed? Why?

Just settle down and hold tight, I'll explain it all in just a few minutes. But first I need to go see what he's up to...

Okay, sorry about that. False alarm, he's sleeping between the chairs.

Here's the scoop. After Hannah unexpectedly became ill and passed, we discussed getting another dog. We have always had dogs in our families, and since we've been together, so it was weird not having a four-legged family member around. For me, it was worse; I became the stay-at-home parent of two adopted and troubled children, and Hannah was by my side almost all the time.

We watched online ads and local postings for the proper puppy, but every time we found some, they were already taken. Yesterday, we received a message that yet another litter we were looking into had all been taken. However, another ad caught my eye, Goldendoodles. They were about three hours away. We called and the lady said she had one male left, eight weeks old, and we could drive over and look at him anytime after seven.

We arrived about seven-thirty, and she had the puppy in the house ready for us to look at; it wasn't a Goldendoodle. She had a litter of Goldendoodles, but they were already gone. What she had was one eight-week-old husky male. I was a bit upset about being deceived, especially after that long of a drive on winter roads. I did learn the Huskies were listed through the same site, but I still think it was a conspiracy.

My wife, of course, had picked up the puppy. It was squirmy but comfortable being held, and he was very cute. He kept looking at me and squirming, so she handed him over and asked, "Do you want to hold him?"

I knew this was another conspiracy, and I wasn't given much of a choice as she placed him in my arms. He instantly worked his head up under my chin and snuggled in for a minute, then proceeded to give me a gaggle of puppy kisses before biting onto my goatee with his front teeth and tugging.

I held him for a few minutes as we discussed wanting a Goldendoodle, not a Husky. I set him down on the floor but he literally tried to climb up my leg again. When that didn't work, he proceeded to latch onto my pant leg and refused to let go until I picked him back up. Was he also in on this conspiracy?

I asked to see the parents; The father was a Husky, but a bit small for his breed. The mother was very thin from having and nursing ten puppies, a bit skitterish, but friendly enough. Only, she was of medium height, her colors were a bit off, and both my wife and I instantly asked if she was a wolf. The woman never did really answer but changed the subject to how quickly the other puppies found homes.

This guy has one ear that droops and one that stands erect, which I find to be very adorable, he is a bit timid and less energetic than his siblings, and just never seemed to "take" to anyone.

The puppies were born in a barn and lived there until they found homes. They did get handled and were around a poodle and some cats, but I learned most of this guy's life was spent in two cattle stalls, one with hay for sleeping and feeding, the other for a potty with wood chips in it. The barn was dimly lit and heated just enough to prevent freezing. It also sounded like he would soon be on his way to the shelter.

Of course, he and I kind of "clicked" so I told my wife I was taking him out to the vehicle and she could take care of the rest. He grumbled a bit as we drove, but did very well for his first ride. We stopped at a Walmart to get a few things; I waited in the vehicle with him. We had a basket with a blanket along for him, but he continuously tried to climb out and sit on me, so I took my coat off and placed it over the blanket. He snuggle into it and was content all the way home.

He enjoyed our two teens and all the attention they doted on him, he explored the house a bit but mostly stayed very close to me. He went out with me this morning and made some yellow snow (it's below zero, so it's difficult to train him to go out when his little feet get cold instantly, so we are also training him to use a puppy pad). He seems to have adjusted very well, but he's had no training and I have my hands full; he seems to learn very quickly, which brings up the next question of his name.

We discussed names last night and whittled the list down to two, Max or Pluto. The kids liked both but picked Pluto, but they were pronouncing it Pludo, so we altered the spelling. My wife and I, however, like Maximilian (we'll just call him Max).

Now, I ask you, "What's his name, Pludo or Max?" I need to know so I can start training him...

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