Welcoming the city-withered...
Notes on the natural.
| There's a pretty rose in one of my rock gardens. During the spring, I dutifully trimmed off the dead wood, so we got between 20 and 30 blooms, instead of the 5-10 we had last year. Mind you, I'm not sure whether the plant is just happy to have received attention!
Driving through town last week, I noticed many roses of the same shade scattered throughout the town, scarlet drops of color peeping from yards on main streets and back roads. I've decided they must be Middleborough roses.
Saw a fat little honeybee this morning, leg sacs bursting with pollen. A happy event, given the disturbing trends exhibited by honeybees worldwide recently. The fireflies have been flashing their neon green Vacancy signs amongst the stars, too, and all the usual small denizenry have made their appearance-a baby black racer snake (yay!), a garden-or-garter snake, interesting little toady guys hopping across the driveway, the fantastically colored dragonflies who land and seem to power down, as their great wings jerk evenly groundward...
| I should be peering myopically at the screen, listing things on eBay right now, Sunday evening being prime shopping time...
Despite my mildly extensive experience with eBay, I have to admit, my feelings regarding it are ambivalent at best. Granted, there is the odd bit of happy surprise when an item sells for, not only far more than what I paid (nothing is not hard to surpass ;P ) but for far more than I anticipated. And, as anywhere else on the Net, there are many folks on eBay who are a joy to interact with, cheerful souls happy to share their experience and expertise.
But, as elsewhere, there are many folks who are surly, grumpy, supercilious, and a number of less positive adjectives. I can't get over folks anticipating an item's arrival in record time-they order from corporations, pay sometimes exhorbitant handling fees, and then must wait 4-6 weeks for delivery unless they pay extra, but for some perverse reason they expect the small time, personal seller who is responsible for every aspect of the entire sales process to hand deliver their .95 item on a silver salver within 24 hours. For free, mind you. Ok, I exaggerate, but seriously, these cats can get a little hinky about delivery times. Especially those who opt to pay with money orders-I can wait for my money, but boy-gee, I'd better get their goods to them in double-time or it's neutral feedback for me! Seriously. I had a woman receive her vintage fruit juice set within seven actual (not business) days of my receiving her money order, and she leaves me a neutral, stating my ship time was too slow! Really?!? I mean, REALLY?!?
Writing of money orders, here's a fun fact for you crazy cats to ponder-if you receive a Western Union money order, you can't just go cash it at any old Western Union. Nope, you have to go to the same chain store that sold it (say, Joe Schmoe's Gas n Go) or the exact store it was purchased from. Really! So if you get a Western Union money order from East Cuddy Overshoe's Stop n Slop, you can a. deposit it in your bank account (standard practice, I know) b. locate a Stop n Slop near you, or c. hop a plane, train, or donkey to East Cuddy Overshoe. I've stopped accepting any but postal money orders (cashable at any P.U. P.O-just make sure you bring your license) because the Western Union thing irked me so.
Oh, and the Post Office-don't let me get started on them. For some mysterious reason, eBay renders a shipping quote miles away from the actual cost of the item (my local Post Mister said it's because they're involved with a separate union, or some such bureaucratic bullsh*t). Especially for international shipping. So, as a result, extra work is generated no matter how you slice it-you either run back and forth to the post office or spend lots of quality time on hold with the toll-free post office number for the exact price for your invoice, or, as I do, shrug your shoulders, make note of the difference, and issue a small shipping refund. Extra work, and every second of work detracts from your profits. I'm not even sure I make minimum wage, but I guess I shouldn't bitch too much-it is quite all right to stay home, in my living room, puttering and pottering.
Now, for added fun, eBay in its infinite wisdom has evidently concluded that the medieval serfs had it pretty damn good, and eBay sellers should enjoy some of the same benefits. For those of you unfamiliar with eBay (keep it that way, is my advice), it features a nifty institution called feedback. You buy my fabulous vintage manure, and then, when the transaction is concluded, you leave me feedback (positive, neutral, or negative) to let other potential buyers know how your experience was. As a seller, I, too, could leave you feedback. Really, a wonderful idea, no? Lends a nice personal touch, keeps things friendly. Ideally.
Well, little in this life of ours seems to work out ideally. As a seller, I personally would wait until receiving feedback before leaving feedback, for a couple of reasons-a. I'm not going to waste my time leaving feedback for people who didn't waste their time, and b. I'm not going to leave you feedback to have you, maybe, leave me crappy feedback. Feedback can't be retracted, only mutually withdrawn (the adult version of "Now apologize, and shake hands!"). I think a few two many sellers were wrongfully retorting tit-for-tat, though, so eBay decided to institute a fiefdom. Now, I as a seller can only leave you, the buyer of my fabulous vintage manure, positive feedback, or none at all.
It occurred to me today that this is very medieval. I work hard for those dollars, but because you, the seller, control the money, you control the manor. End of story. Really!
I think a lot of buyers have no real clue as to how much work goes into eBay. It does have its creative aspects that I enjoy; picture taking, writing listings, playing with interesting objects. But it also has some mighty tedious chores associated with it, like shipping. I always pack excessively, especially brittles-I worked for the post office, and one thing I remember is, if it ain't insured, tough titty for the customer. Those folks are after speed foremost, so there's an excellent chance your package will be thrown, spindled, and mutilated. The Post Office can be harsh, so pack accordingly.
(As an aside, you should show your local mail carrier some love-in essence, they need to perform two jobs-the initial sorting of 700 or more addresses, and then the delivery of all 700 + addresses. The routes are rated-so if your postal carrier has a route rated to take six hours, and they take eight, tough titty for them, too. So be pleasant even if they're late. And those little white postal trucks are an unholy nightmare to drive-more than 35 MPH and you're sure you're hurtling towards your demise. Trust me. Love your carrier.)
The shipping end is always like pulling teeth for me-I have to gear up to "ship sh*t", as I inelegantly put it. You get to go stand in line at the P.U. P.O. with a big black plastic sack on your back like some sort of off-season Santy Claus (you can just dump them on the counter and run, but I like to see them go over the counter and into the bins. Anal, I guess. What some call common sense, others label paranoia.), and find out how far off the mark your latest international shipping charges were, oh, and ship First Class International by hand, because while eBay offers a First Class shipping quote, you can't print labels through PayPal like you can all the others. Doubtless another union disunion snafu. Ho, hum. There is an option to schedule a pickup of your multiple packages by the P.U. P.O., but I've shied away from exploring that option because, frankly, I treat the P.U. P.O. with the heavy suspicion of an animal that's been beaten one time too many. Although the Middleboro office is quite pleasant and accomodating.
For my final rant (for this evening, anyhoo-trust me, I've just dipped a toe in this ocean), I can't get over my disappointments with eBay. Too often, I've won an item and looked forward to its arrival with keen anticipation, only to receive it, inspect it, and say, "Oh. Well, it's o.k. I guess.". I had to learn the hard way that, if you can't actually handle the item you're interested in, you should save your money. Then, of course, there are the items I list, having seen the EXACT same items sell well the week prior, and I get cricket turds on a shingle for them.
Or, contemplate the fact that the two people I introduced to eBay both went on spending sprees that they could ill afford, buying crap they didn't need. At least they weren't as consistently disappointed as I've been, but still, I got them addicted to eBay. One has mercifully managed to shake her habit, and has now graduated to selling, but my sweets, unfortunately, still can't quell the urge to click.
Wow, I feel so much better for this rant-it was like draining a spiritual abscess. Off I go, listing the while!
If you like vintage sterling and books, feel free to check me out-ebay member id = ahceela.
|Today I wended my way down narrow, winding roads, beneath luxuriant green trees. There being noone behind me, I took my own sweet time, pressing the accelerator infrequently, coasting most of the way, the road unrolling in a peaceful rush by cranberry bogs and ponds, and through pine forests.
|New England was in the grip of a brutal heat wave for the last few days. Usually I sneer at air conditioning, but this time I welcomed it with open, sweaty arms.
Yesterday, as I stood outside the back door, a small hawk flew in a straight line directly over my head, perhaps 10 feet above me. He may have been a sparrow hawk, as I heard a small bird sound an alarm just before he surfaced.
Last night, I went one town over to my hometown, which is on Buzzard's Bay. We decided to walk to the beach to go for a swim; the tide being less than ideal, I just ended up walking through the water, picking up sea fauna, to the immense amusement of my best friend's little niece ('Elysia! What's that? Pick it up!'). When we arrived at the beach, some other children were gathered around a baby turtle; of what variety, I couldn't be sure, but he had the gentle smile of a sea turtle, and when placed near the water's edge, trundled merrily off to sea. One other time, when I was little, my friend found a baby sea turtle, but I haven't seen one since. Then, as I stalked through the water, I was elated to discover a horseshoe crab. As a child, this was an extremely common occurrence-we had horsehoe crabs of all life stages, including tiny eggs buried at the high tide mark (I'll never forget the time I was digging about in the sand and found a nest full of clear spheres with miniscule crabs in them), vast assortments of navy blue, juvenile crabs whose sharp spikes made a body shriek and leap into the air when inadvertently stepped on, and hordes of adult crabs clinging to one another in pairs at the moon tides, when they mate, and bury their eggs. The wrack was full of molted carapaces, and the moist mud would reveal the unique tracks of the juveniles.
But about ten years ago, fishermen started harvesting the horseshoe crabs to crush and use as bait for eels, and conch. There were no more juveniles, no more molted shells, and dishearteningly few of the adults. I mourned them, and mused surlily over the impact that their loss must surely have on the environment. Horshoe crabs are ancient creatures, like sharks, remaining unchanged since the time of the dinosaurs. More closely related to scorpions than crabs (this may explain my love of them, being a crabby Scorpio myself), researchers at Woods Hole Oceanographic Institute have been studying the properties of their unique blue blood. It takes a horseshoe crab 10 years to reach reproductive maturity, and so, if fisherfolk recklessly harvest them, it is feasible that a severe disruption in the population could negatively impact other wildlife dependent upon them for their nutritious eggs. Sandpipers, endangered plovers, and countless other small creatures have doubtless missed many important meals due to mankind's lust for the dollar. A creature so primeval must be a key foundation stone to the environment. So, I was overjoyed to find my old friend making his sedate way along the bottom, and with a triumphant cry I hoisted him high in the air, shouting 'Oh look, a horseshoe crab!', to which a pack of children came running to see for themselves. My best friend reported that another local who goes swimming in the evening has seen hundreds of them, a testament to Nature's ability to rebound, given the slightest chance. I theorize that the fisherfolk abandoned harvesting after declining numbers made it economically unfeasible.
Horseshoe crabs, unfairly maligned by people (it is not true that their tails are poisonous, or that they stab people in the foot-they can't point their tails straight up) have been overharvested in the past, most notably in the Chesapeake Bay area around the turn of the last century. I have seen photographs of towering piles of horseshoe crabs (imagine the stench!) along the shores of that bay; there, they were ground up for fertilizer. More recently, many states have implemented protective regulations to help preserve this quiet, unassuming creature with his enigmatic stare and fascinating history. I can only pray that our local population continues to rise, and remains unmolested by us. I hope to see again the vast numbers of my childhood, and the great giant females, sometimes over 2 feet across, burrowing patiently into the mud to establish future generations.
I continued my harmless hunt through the shallows, and found a few green crabs, too many conch (any overpopulation, just as underpopulation, indicates a disruption in the environment), a couple of spider crabs, two quahogs (pronounced 'ko-hog', a Native American name, and also the source of the purple and white wampum that they used for trade and decoration), countless tiny hermit crabs, the ever present periwinkles, and, almost as interesting as my horseshoe friend, a live moon snail. In Plymouth, where I lived for about 8 years, I found scores of moon snail shells, but never a live one, whereas in Wareham, I never found an empty shell, but about every 10 years I find a solitary live one. There is a curious contrast to the coastal ecosystems of Plymouth and towns on Buzzard's Bay. Plymouth ocean is icy cold and crystal clear. There have been many 90+ degree days when I have gone to the beach in Plymouth for a much needed swim, only to emerge from the water 2 minutes later chattering with cold-and I'm no aquatic sissy. That, incidentally, is surely one of the tortures of Hell-a body of icy ocean next to the brimstone, so that there really is no relief to be had. Wareham water, a mere half hour away, is warm, and muddy. The Plymouth shore is well-nigh devoid of the myriad of little creatures that thrive in Wareham's silty, nutrient rich shallows; there are a few minnows (little fish), primarily the swift glassfish, but no tiny crabs or periwinkles. The Wareham shallows are jumping with tiny creatures, including minnows that I can kick up onto shore. I'm not sure where we picked this skill up from-we did it all the time as children, but I don't see anyone doing it anymore. It strikes me as being distinctly Native American in flavor. I don't remember if my mother taught the trick to me, or if it was just something we all knew how to do. There are spider crabs, smaller cousins of the king crabs, blue crabs, green crabs, rock crabs, hermit crabs of all sizes, fiddler crabs. There are softshell clams for the digging, quahogs, mussels, bay scallops, oysters, razor clams, conch, lobster in the deeps. Wareham boasts flounder, the hideous sea-robin (another of my cherished childhood memories is finding a baby sea-robin one day while snorkeling, looking for all the world like an underwater moth with his two sets of 'wings' and six little legs), dog sharks, skates, blue fish, scup (or 'pogie'), eel. I'm sure I missed mentioning other denizens of that teeming ecosystem, a bountiful natural resource that provides long hours of observing entertainment followed by a delicious repast.
Walking along the shores of Plymouth, by contrast it almost seems a desert. Granted, there are many tasty creatures to be had farther out-great, thick shelled seaclams, massive rock crabs, and the ubiquitous lobster. (Here's a disgusting though sure to put you off your next lobster dinner-they're closely related to cockroaches, the scavengers of the sea. I've always wondered, if cockroaches grew as large as lobsters, would they be a delicacy instead of a disgusting pest?) Empty shells attest to the presence of moonsnails by the score, and a beautiful, thick white small whelk which I've yet to properly identify. Plymouth's tempestuous, rocky shore also creates beautiful, soft seaglass from man's refuse, while Wareham's relatively mild mud merely graces old glass with a mineral rich rainbow, leaving it as sharp as the day it was recklessly thrown.
To wrap up our entertaining hour at the shore, a pair of swans soared overhead, their broad white wings whistling.
I have always counted myself immensely blessed to have constant access to the ocean, and can only hope that mankind will shift soon from our role as destructive parasite to protective stewards of our natural resources.
| I've expounded on my love of 1980's Dodge trucks before, but until last week, I didn't have one to call all my own. But now I do, and I love her, in all her 25 year old, fossil fuel chugging, exhaust spewing, snarling imperfect glory.
My good friend and I discovered Rosie sitting forlornly behind an apartment building, with no plates and flat tires. 'Hey, look, that looks like one of Wayne's trucks!' Amanda exclaimed, as I simultaneously shouted joyously 'A Dodgy Dodge!' (Wayne, the sweets, is synonymous with 1980's Dodges, while every time I see one I exclaim happily.) Noting her dejected air, I determined I would make inquiries into her and claim her for my very own.
The sweets swiftly (notable for him) looked into acquiring her, and did so for the princely sum of $100. As he avariciously pointed out, she's worth more in pure scrap value-easily $450 or more. I had mixed feelings when I learned at the Registry of Motor Vehicles that Rosie's book value is about $2400 (mixed because our RMV charges sales tax on whichever is higher, the purchase amount or the book value...damn you, Kelley Blue Book! It cost me more on sales tax than it did to purchase the vehicle...?) We inflated the tires, popped a fresh battery in, and Rosie snarled into life for the first time in 2 years, as we were given to understand. Very little fuss and muss with the mighty Dodges.
As one would expect with any 25 year old vehicle, Rosie has a moderate assortment of issues that need tending to. She needs a fresh brake line; her muffler is cracked (don't be surprised if I suddenly stop writing, as I'm morbidly certain that I'm soon to succumb to carbon monoxide poisoning); her power windows ain't got no power; her high beams don't work; her windshield wipers don't work; her radio doesn't work (yes, I know, but for me a car just isn't a car without a radio); she desperately needs a tune-up (when cold, she has an alarming habit of conking out when attempting to move forward from a stop-frightening when crossing highways...); her oil pressure gauge doesn't work; the right turn signal (on the dashboard) doesn't work...well, there are a few more niggling details, mostly aesthetic, that are amiss...but she possesses that immutable charm of the Dodges-she runs, and she rolls. Granted, I'm about to double nickname her 'Mosey Rosie' because I don't like taking her on the highway (60 MPH with juicy steering, due to larger-than-stock tires, and the aerodynamics of a brick wall on wheels is no kind of fun...but 40 on a back road is a blast and 1/2), and I feel guilty because her gas consumption is astronomical due to the tune up and cracked muffler...but Rosie's dripping character that the little modern green mobiles lack. She's a beast. Better still, she's a beast with all the fancy little options, EXCEPT 4WD, that were available (although the power windows I really could skip...power windows are just asking for trouble, in my book, and besides, my arm could use the exercise).
Speaking of 4WD, I've always felt that a pickup truck or SUV without it is an absolute oxymoron. It negates the purpose of having a truck. And how can you be sporty OR utilitarian if you're stuck in the mud or snow?! Anyhoo...
I named her Rosie because a previous owner affixed frosted rose stickers on the vent windows on her doors (I call them smoking windows, and the sweets calls them butterfly windows...the little triangular guys, and, incidentally, the only ones I enjoy currently.) 'Rosie the Ram' is deliciously oxymoronic. (You read 'oxymoronic' here first. Feel free to use it, but remember who coined it.)
So, to get to the adventures and wind this tale up! The first day I put Rosie through her paces, I headed one town over to visit my best friend. On the way there, an ambulance came screaming down the road (I must admit, in the past, due to a fondness for a loud radio, I have failed to notice ambulances until they've been far too close...), which posed a neat problem, since I was in a left lane, at a red light. Light turns green, I smudge over, ambulance goes by, and a miniscule sedan thinks it's going to fight me for rights to the road. Sorry, honey, right is might, and once I switch lanes, I stay there. So passes Incident Number One.
We decide to head out for an ice cream at a local long-standing greasy spoon. (If you're anywhere near a Tourist Central, you probably have one of these traditional spots, where the fare is so-so, but the place has been around so many summers it's in your blood, and a once-a-year nostalgic treat.) Upon leaving, I'm making a right turn when WHUMP!! my door flies open. (Yeah, I didn't shut it properly. Shutcher piehole.) I shriek 'Ai!', shut the door, and my best friend and her niece collapse into gales of laughter that don't subside for a solid ten minutes. They said it wasn't the event so much as my reaction that inspired the hilarity. But I'm used to people laughing at me. ;) So passes Incident Number Two. (unique to my experience, incidentally.)
Later that evening, I head home. The route that I choose has been undergoing some kind of odd construction (water pipe laying, that tears up about half the road) and I come to a patch where the big orange, silver-striped barrels are in the MIDDLE of the lane. A narrow lane, at that. And Rosie's a big girl. So I'm forced to drive in the middle of the oncoming lane, and towards the end of the barrels, I had a few horrific seconds of playing chicken with oncoming traffic. (No highbeams, remember...). So passes Incident Number
Now, let me take a moment to bring you up to speed on my less than charming living arrangements. I have a soft spot for animals, and, as a result, we have five living with us, two dogs (both Other People's Rejects-Diamond the Dachschund I've nicknamed the Nazi, or Gestapup, because he can be as fresh as the day is long, and Lucy, the Boxer/Mastiff mix, who's just a big snaggle-toothed sweetie...but both are prone to accidents in the house *sigh*) and three cats (my two old-timers, who I've had for easily 12 years, and the kitten, who I may kill, since she's taken to pissing places the dogs can't reach..she's not fixed yet, but I'll tellya, if she doesn't clean up her act when I do get her fixed, it's Outside for her...really, a fine subject for a separate rant...). But the sweets likes to adopt PEOPLE, and down and out people, at that. (Why the hell couldn't he bring home a Rockefeller?! Oh, right, they have homes already.) So, we also have what I call a 'pet vet'. He's a Vietnam veteran (two Purple Hearts, and living on someone else's charity-previously, he lived in his van. That's what service to this country will earn you.) So, our pet vet needs a ride to the Veteran's Hospital. Off we tool in Rosie, down the highway. We come to a construction site (really, good to see the economy is doing so well!), I look for big orange signs telling me what speed is expected, see none, and go the speed of everyone around me. We cruise by a Statie, my pet vet tells me he was making 'slow down' motions at me, it's too bloody late for me to do anything about it, and...you guessed it, up my bum he comes screaming, pulling my poor Rosie over.
Now, I just put Rosie on the road the week before, and I had seven days to get her inspected. Well, now, wouldn'tcha just guess, it was day number 8 when Mr. Statie pulled me over. But, it gets richer than that-Mr. Statie says that my sticker is FAKE. False, faux, not real, not gen-u-ine State of Massachusetts issue. I gaped at him and stuttered 'I just put this on the road last week...' 'That doesn't matter!' he roars. 'It's your vehicle, it's your responsibility!' He stalks off to make trouble, and I subside into stormy tears. As my best friend noted the other day, only I could summon a state cop away from a detail. And the sweets has been tooling around for months in another Dodge with a many years dead rejection sticker...but only I would get pulled over on day #8.
Well, Mr. Statie decided to be kind. He comes back to the truck, fussing and grumping about what a shitbox she is, how dangerous she must be (well, now, hey there, the brakes work so long as you keep the fluid topped off! And her blinkers work...really, don't pick on my Rosie!), how she reeks of fuel (an untruth-she reeks of exhaust, and richly at that, but fuel she chugs, not leaks...), and then gives me a ticket for 'failure to inspect', telling me that if I check off 'I request a hearing' on the back and go get a rejection sticker, I won't have to pay the $50 fine. Also informing me that he could have written a criminal infraction with about $500 worth of fines. Well, thanky kindly, sir, you took more than $500 off of my life due to stress, but thanky anyway, away we go.
So, later that day, I decide it behooves me to go fetch a rejection sticker. I go to the nearest inspection station, pay ahead for my rejection sticker ('How'd it feel?' the clerk asks me. 'Oh, I didn't get it yet!' I reply, 'I just know I will.') and go wait by the bay. Inspection boy comes out, I say to him "Hey, for the sake of expediency, if I show you a visual problem, can we just print the rejection sticker and get this done with?" I was remembering another time when the poor little car I had was driven much harder than was my wont by a diligent serviceperson. Seriously, I thought the engine was going to leap out of the hood and run, screaming, for the woods. But not this time. I tell my friendly inspection dude "The muffler's cracked." "Oh, is it a safety issue?" he queries. "Hanging off?" "No!" I laughed, "it's just cracked and useless." "Oh," he says "as long as it's not a safety problem, because then I'd have to issue you a safety rejection and you couldn't drive the vehicle." Your correspondent listens to the dull thump of her heart landing in her boots and sighs. "Just my luck." I thought. "Just my bloody luck. Sure I'd get a safety rejection, and how, prithee, is one to come up with the $500 or so needed to repair the vehicle if one can't drive it to work?!" But I despaired too soon! Rosie, being an '83, needn't pass emissions (yay! cuz she wouldn't! probably not even with a new muffler!), just safety...and our friendly inspection guy was so kind to my truck! He grabbed the front tires and shook them ('what's that to check for? To make sure the wheels aren't falling off?' I quipped.), tested the brakes, checked the headlights, decided to ignore the broken windshield wiper motors...and gave my girl a fresh new valid sticker!! YAY for small miracles! YAY for Rosie the Ram!
My pet vet needed to go to the VA again the next day...so we chose an alternate route. Mr. Statie wouldn't have been as pleased with Rosie's new sticker as I was. And he probably would have thrown me in the clink, and most important...well, kinda...the kind inspection station would have been in deep doodoo. Can't have that, now. We Dodge drivers have honor, after all.
|I have likened writing to other crafts, such as carpentry, or sculpting. A thought just occurred to me-if you consider writing as compared to sculpture, the sculptor starts with a block from which they remove material until their vision is revealed. Writing can be similar-seized by inspiration, we throw blocks of words down, which we then edit until the vision is perfected.
| Yesterday was a day of dramatic weather patterns. One minute, thunder roared in the distance while the sun blazed brightly, the next great steel bellied clouds loomed overhead, casting a distinct chill in their shadows, the following 60 seconds would bring the humid sunshine again, white clouds billowing as they drifted through the blue crystal sky. We were going to go down to the Point to watch the thunderstorm over the ocean, but it never broke...just threatened to, then said 'Nah, I'm just kiddin...'...a mischievous giant in the sky.
| Once upon a time there was an old dog. He was a particularly irascible old dog, full of tiny Teutonic rages over the slights visited upon his imperial person. One rainy day, the immensely tall creature put him outside to perform his ablutions. The old dog gazed into the stainless steel sky, looked at the drab mud ground, and thought 'This simply will not do. The immensely tall creatures should know better than to subject my personage to the cold and wet. I shall have to levy a fine." So the old dog gave his peremptory bark to summon the immensely tall creature, walked into the house, and levied a fine on the floor.
| Once upon a time there were an old dog and an old cat. There were other dogs, and other cats, but the old dog and the old cat had a unique relationship. The old dog would chase the old cat, but the old cat would just turn around and look at the old dog, who would then realize he was, in fact, on a peaceful mission of exploration. The old cat would then proceed upon his way of living harmoniously with his fellow creatures, ever seeking to make new friends.
Sometimes the old cat forgot himself, and would stand with the old dog at the bottom of the immensely tall creatures with wide, begging eyes, and mournful noises, expressing the most exquisite agony. The old cat had the immensely tall creatures trained, so that whenever they opened the cold box of delicious mysteries, they poured a sip of white, tasty liquid into a tiny bowl. The old cat knew the immensely tall creatures didn't understand the true nature of the universe, but he forgave them, as was his beneficent fashion.
| Once upon a time there were an old cat, and an old dog. There were other dogs, and other cats, but the old cat and the old dog had a special relationship. The old cat would sit on a table in a windowsill, and the old dog loved especially to creep up underneath the old cat and let out a startling noise. The old cat would obligingly scamper away, and so would commence a mighty little racket of determined claws on linoleum, and frantically jingling collars. The old dog had a beady eyed fascination with the old cat, a profound interest in her health and whereabouts. The old cat had nothing but haughty disdain to offer the old dog.