Godspeed little man

I look at this picture and I know something was up with Ike.  His eyes in this picture are not the eyes I’ve been looking at.

This morning I had Norman and Rita out, Bubba in his crate and Ike in the family room.  Rita hit the French Doors and they came open.  I jumped up in time to see Ike in a very aggressive stance heading out to Norman.  By the time I ran through the house Norman had him down.  Ike was still trying to fight but his ass was kicked.  I sat in the vet’s office crying.  As recently as yesterday I’d had discussions with Doberman guru friends of mine.  I felt something was going on with him and it might be time.  After last week’s acupuncture appointment he’d lost another two pounds.  His eyes were dull.  And it was going to be a small fortune to fix his torn up head.  The vet examined him thoroughly.  She agreed that his behavior was cause to look for something physical.  She noted the wasting that could be Wobbler’s or cancer.  She suggested his flip flop behavior might be the result of a brain tumor, since he was being such a love with us.  I’d thought of brain cancer too.  He’d become unpredictable.  Or predictable in his unpredictability.

It’s always surreal when this happens early in the morning.  I’m sitting here thinking “Did that just happen?”  But my family room is spattered with blood and pretty much looks like a crime scene, so it must have.

I’ll miss him.  He was the only dog I’ve ever owned that could come out in the front yard and not step off the curb.  He’d sit and watch other dogs walk by and not do anything.  He loved going out to get the mail with me.  And he loved me.  I did the best I could for him.  I think his poor breeding finally caught up to him.  So I held him, and I told him he’d been a good dog and that he wouldn’t hurt any more.  And I let him go.





There’s a fashion, there’s a fad, some is good, some is bad


It’s probably been over a year since I’ve done Google Keywords of the Weak Week.  Arguably one of the reasons would be I’ve not been logging on and checking my numbers.  They’re down from the hey day of the Alliance Title debacle and Bill and Ted’s Excellent Title Adventure.    But we can still have fun with keywords.

PBE is the #1 google ranking for the search “patty hauptman santa barbara”.  Woof.  Strangely we are also #1 for the term “swordfish porn”.  Which I’m I little surprised that it comes up at all, although I am secretly proud of that one.  We’re #3 for “mood changing bunny ears”, which is interesting because I don’t believe in bad moods.  I think you choose your mood.  Choose better.    “Flying mosquitoes” is huge.   And then there’s “boylove” which is the name of an image of Beauregard.  You sick bastards that keep googling that should have your junk rot off.

Norman is a big ol’ slice of awesome pie.  Although those towels he’s laying on?  They were originally put down because he took his big 105lb nose and did the nose flip to my elbow.  Unfortunately I had a cup of coffee in my hand and he knocked it out of my hand and all over the papers on my desk, which included four months of receipts.  Dear IRS, I’m sorry I can’t back up my Schedules with actual documentation.  My dog spilled coffee on everything.  So I laid everything out on towels and dried it out.

Ike might be on his end game.  He’s had a couple of incidents where he’s snarled and snapped at me recently.  They seem to be escalating.  I think he’s in pain.  I took him to Dr. Rettig and she said his eyes were different than when she first met him.  I agree.  There’s something going on.  He’s also lost some weight.  The plan is to watch him for now, and hope I don’t get bit.  I think I’m going to have a blood test taken looking for cancer.  And then just make him comfortable as long as I can.  I did tell him that if he snapped at me again, that was his end game.  Choose wisely.

Finally, a little something that bothered me more than I thought it would.  On the AIDS/Lifecycle they provide massages to the cyclist.  You get one on the ride.  They mark your bracelet.  It’s only like a 20 minute massage but honestly, it’s 20 minutes of heaven.  I originally went down on Day 4.  My line of thinking was that it was half way.  About a gazillion other riders thought the same thing and I didn’t get in that day.  Day 4 was torture dungeon day at the massage tent.  Out front was the dungeon master.  He was a hulking man, shaved head, beard, built like a brick shithouse.  He was sweet and kind and explained that they were booked for the day, he was really sorry, could I come back earlier tomorrow.  Not a problem big hulking dungeon master dude.  The next day was Red Dress Day.  Upon my return the hulking dungeon master was rocking a red frock.  Frock is the proper word for what he had on.  It was of a certain style, craft and air of dignity that earns that term.  Red, full length, worsted wool probably.  Same shaved head and beard.  He explained the process for getting signed up that day.  I followed it to a T.  Before we went into the tent, at the changing of the guard as it were, he had us all bunch together and applaud the massage therapists who had been working non-stop, 2.5 patients per hour for five hours so far.  He was sweet and kind and had Doc Martens on under his red frock.

Friday he died.  He had a clavicle injury and had surgery on it.  It didn’t heal properly.  He was going in for his second surgery and had a reaction to the anti-anxiety medication.  He never went back into surgery.  The nurses found him unconscious.  Four days later his family let him go.  A really good guy is gone.  And that makes me sad.

‘Cause when life looks like easy street, there is danger at your door

Life is never boring here at the Farm.

About a month ago, before the Ride, I had a mouse.  He was in the pantry and wreaking havoc.  He chewed the bottom off of several bags of flour, not funny.  Crapped on everything and generally made a mess.  I set traps.  Numerous traps.  I never caught him.  Auntie stayed here with the Hellhoundz while I was riding and the fact that the mouse wasn’t caught prior to her arrival weighed heavy on me as I left that morning.  I told her I thought he was gone, it was the truth.  He hadn’t gotten into anything in several days including me peanut butter laden traps.  I was right.  He was gone.

I don’t know if he got stuck and couldn’t get out or became a conductor for that 220 line running down there.  He was done.  That is the back of the pantry.  About two years ago I had air conditioning installed here.  The electrical box is in the pantry.  The guys didn’t fix the holes they cut in the walls and I just haven’t gotten to them.  I put on some gloves but only got half of the mouse.  He was either crispy crittered or petrified.  If it’s the former, I need to have an electrician fix the bite marks in the 220.  And half of the mouse is still in that hole.  Maybe he was too fat from eating my flour and rice to get through the hole.  Who knows?

I threatened my last remaining apricot tree.  It bore no fruit last year.  One tree fell, another was riddled with termites and this one has been fighting for it’s life.  I told it that if it didn’t bear fruit this year it was firewood.  It is currently full of fruit.  This picture doesn’t do it justice.  Those apricots are not green, it’s the kitchen light that did that.  It could be a very good year for apricots.  In other news I made a little discovery that I’ll be using in the very near future.

The interesting thing about Bubba is that he doesn’t hold a grudge.  He doesn’t seem to care who he mixed it up with.  He’s fine with Norman again.  Ike on the other hand thought it was a good idea to mix it up with Norman on Saturday too.  Ike’s ear is cut.  Norman is fine.  Ike has this not great thing that he’s developed that involves snarling and occasionally snapping at me.  I was trying to put Norman in his crate and Ike stood in the kitchen snarling and wouldn’t let us through.  I tried to move him to the side and he snapped at me.  I’ve done things to curtail this but he’s had a couple of episodes, this is the only one involving another dog.  I’m taking him in next week for some acupuncture.  My theory is that he’s in pain and grouchy.  If this doesn’t settle it down I’m afraid I’m going to have to let Ike go.  I can’t be afraid of one of my own dogs.  It may be that the pain has gotten too much for him and it’s time to let him go anyway.  I’ll find out next week, but last Saturday was a little unnerving.

This real estate thing is interesting.  If you work hard, you get deals.  The deals might give you a lot of adjida, but I’d rather have adjida and make money than just have adjida.  July could be very decent to me, good Lord willing and the creek don’t rise.

Which gets us to my next subject.  What have we done in this country where it has become acceptable to do a shitty job?  I’ve got a 10 day escrow, I got bank approval on July 5.  The escrow company didn’t ask for the demand from the HOA until July 7.  The HOA’s are in default too and sent out to collections.  The freaking deadbeat collection company refuses to send a demand any faster than 10 days because that’s how many days they have under law.  Escrow should be closing on July 15, could be closing today, but may be delayed until July 22 just because of the collections company.  And I called them and they refused to do any better without an additional $75.  My father used to mock these sort of paper pushing asshats.  I can see him acting that out in my head when I have to deal with incompetence like this.  All I have to say about them is what a bunch of parasites!

I’ve got another deal where I called the HOA three times yesterday and never got a return phone call.  All I want to know is what’s covered by the HOA’s insurance and what kind of policy does my buyer need to purchase.  It ain’t rocket science.  No one bothered to return my phone call.  I return all phone calls within a maximum of 8 hours.  During business hours a maximum of 2 hours.  It’s my personal standard.  Most calls are returned with about 15 minutes, some before a voicemail is left.  The goal is concierge service.  There are people in this business that have yet to return a phone call to me.  There is one big REO guy who I had an entire escrow with and never talked to the arrogant sonofabitch.  His “assistant/mistress” didn’t return phone calls either.  Just for the record, dude, I know your license is restricted.  I don’t remember what you did but eventually I will.  There’s a good chance that information will appear here.  You really need to treat your colleagues with more respect.

And finally, why do dogs fart and then look at their asses as if to say “What’s that noise?”

Looking for a lifeline

I think we’ll keep working on a theme.

Yesterday marked the one year anniversary since I brought home Ike.  He was a trainwreck of a dog and I almost stopped and put him down on the way home.  I’m glad I didn’t.  He was supposed to be getting three hots and a cot and get let go in a week or so.  Ike didn’t get the memo.  He hit the porous slate and carpet floors here and got better.  PBE readers chipped in and helped him get better through SND and  I appreciate that.  And here we are.

June 18th marked the three year anniversary of Beauregard’s death.  I can just now talk about that one.  A lot of you were with me back then.  Can you believe that you’ve been reading this drivel for that long?  Me either.  But thanks.  I really do appreciate PBE readers.

Dolpyngyrl took that one.  And now she has a Doberman of her own.  Bixby.

In unrelated news, I took and passed my broker’s exam yesterday.  No one, and I do mean NO ONE is more surprised than I am.  I really didn’t feel that I put the time in to it that I should have and felt that it was going to be a trial run.  We were sitting in the break room and several guys said “Oh yeah, everybody takes it twice”.  Everybody but me bitches.  Like the Series 7 you get your results right away.  The way the Series 7 is set up with Morgan Stanley is they pay you to learn the information.  You clean out your desk the day before the test.  When you push that button if you fail, you’re fired.  For the record, when I pushed that test, I scored a 92 on one of the toughest tests that’s not the California Bar.  They don’t tell you your score on the brokers but I assure you the right letter begins with the word “CONGRATULATIONS.”   In all caps.  Like that.

When you check in for the test they take all your stuff from you.  The room is under surveillance.  I had a slip of paper that was mailed to me from them that they didn’t need up front.  I set it on the desk.  They came by and picked it up.  The security is that tight.  The clerk said to me “do you have your cell phone?”  No, I left mine back in the car, I knew I couldn’t bring it in.  “That’s good because you can’t call a life line in there.”  I laughed and then said “If I call a life line, I’m calling my Dad who challenged this test in the 60’s and passed it.  I don’t need the cell phone to get ahold of him.”  And I didn’t.

Count your blessings to find what you look for

It’s almost the end of May and somehow I made it.  I don’t really know how.  And I don’t really know what I did this month besides ride my bike.  I know there were three major events I had to deal with but I can only remember the Doberman Specialty in Vallejo.  How cute is Ike with the puppy?

We didn’t raise a ton of money but certainly enough to buy a couple of weeks worth of dog food for the rescue.

I would like to take a moment to complain about the weather.  Mt. Diablo ride -terrible gusts of wind ruin the descent keeping us to 17mph.  Morgan Territory -terrible gusts of wind keep our descent to 11mph.  Riders are blown off the road at that speed.  Pinehurst on Saturday -descent is ruined because it freaking rains!  Uh, it’s May 30th.  Enough!

I rescheduled my broker’s exam.  I just didn’t feel confident that I was going to pass it.  The jackhole DRE charged me $20 to reschedule the test online.  Really?  Like that cost you $20?  I’m really getting tired of getting it up the ass from the state.  Jerry can you hear me?  I know that’s not his fault, it’s the Governators fault.  Just imagine if this state knew about his little indescretion.  Granted we might have been stuck with Gray Davis, but then again we probably wouldn’t have mortgaged the state to the hilt either.  Just keeping it random real.

What I realized was my head wasn’t into “fee simple absolute” and “ad valorum taxes”.  And if Brown lives in his home and trades it to Smith in exchange for a home that Smith is renting out, can Brown defer the capital gain?  Helefino isn’t an answer.  I was thinking about not getting saddle sores and how long will it take to set up a tent if you haven’t done that ever, and getting the house clean and the right laundry done and how to pack a bag that only weights 40lbs.  We’re allowed 70lbs but I don’t want to haul 70lbs if I don’t have to.

I did set up my return trip.  I waited way too long to do it but it turned out for the better.  The best available hotel the Ride offered us was $99 per night, which is kind of a deal in LA.  For that I got the Westin LAX.  Then I started looking for a car company to rent a car to drive back in.  The best I could do for that was $200.  Add gas to that and I’m probably paying around $275-$300 to get home.  On a whim I looked at Southwest’s site and they had a 9am flight home for $79.  Book it Dano.  The Ride offers bike transport home for $85.  You just have to go to the Cow Palace to pick it up on Monday or Tuesday after the ride.  Done.  Now I did the whole thing for less than the car rental and I don’t have to drive 400 miles.  And I should have my happy ass planted on my own couch by noon on Sunday.    Winning.

Packing is the art form.  They suggest getting these 2.5 gallon ziploc bags from Target and breaking out everything by ride day if possible.  So that’s my plan.  I now have six bags (because on Day one I’ll be wearing that day’s gear) with the day marked on them.  I have been following the weather and I know the climbing, terrain and distance for each day.  I’ve packed Clif Shot Bloks, Sports Beans and Hammergels to coincide with what I should need on each day.  Day 3 is the hottest day of the ride and it features Quadbuster.  I don’t know exactly the route this time, but it looks like we’re going up the Pinnacles?  It’s not a terrible elevation change and I’ve heard it’s a little better than a mile long.  Here’s one of the old routes, they change it slightly every year.  Click that elevation button for some laughs.

Yes, I’m livin’ at a pace that kills

Well shit howdy!  I am safe.  My kidnappers have released me.  I’d like to thank the anonymous donor who paid my ransom.  This new job shit is wearing me out.  These guys work and they work hard.  I’ve got to say the Cult of Red is one of the most positive, collaborative places I have ever been.  Aren’t the famous last words of the girl in the horror movie “Everybody’s so nice here!”  And then somebody does a Ginsu knife commercial on her ass.  Except at the Cult of Red, they really are.  And while it’s a knock on them on the street, they are not cult like at all.  Just extremely professional and focused.  They have a plan and they work it.  And they’re very successful at it.  One of the underlying precepts of Atlas Shrugged in my mind was the idea that if one were successful, we all could be successful.  Granted I’m probably one of the few people who actually understood what I read, God knows the teabaggers didn’t.  That’s how these guys think, if we’re all successful, then we’re ALL successful.  Of course the problem with Atlas Shrugged is the same as the problem with the theories of Marx and Smith.  Add people and it doesn’t work.  The Brother has said in response to people who complain about attorneys that “if people would act right, I’d be out of work.”  Word.  The same could be said for regulation.  If everyone would act right, we wouldn’t need regulation.  And Socialism would work.  And Communism would work.  And Capitalism would work.  Not at the same time, but they’d all work.  But it’s not in the human DNA to act right.  Our brains are always trying to get one over.  So regulation is necessary in a capitalistic society. 

Sometimes it’s like shooting fish in a barrel. 

I’m certainly glad that the folks that come here are used to my tangents.  Because it’s been a wild week here at The Farm.  The NIMBY neighbors have moved out, soon to be replaced by the really nice man and his really annoying Russian wife.  I did what I could to discourage them.  They came up to talk to me about the neighborhood when they were looking at the house.  Of course I mentioned that I had three large dogs and that I wasn’t going anywhere and if they had a problem with three Doberman Pinschers they should probably just move along.  I went on to say that they are good dogs and not yard dogs, but they’re dogs.  Well, she proceeded to ask me “Do they bark?”  Well of course they bark, they’re dogs.  They aren’t yard dogs, they’re house dogs, but they’ll bark at squirrels and noises and shit.  “Do they bark at night?”  When they’re out they might bark at something but they sleep in the house.  “Do they bark in the morning?”  Sometimes if they’re out.  “How early in the morning do they bark?  Do they bark before 7am?”  Lady, I get up at 4:30am.  If there is a raccoon in the yard they’ll bark at it.  I’m not particularly hopeful that I’m not going to want to string this woman up.  You can imagine the joy when NIMBY neighbor husband mentioned that my eucalyptus had split again and was laying on their shed.  I wanted the broken tree out of there before they moved in.  Last night after a day of yoga, door knocking, open house and Costco I fired up the chainsaw and got that half a tree off that shed before that woman saw it. 

And about Ike.  Bubba lost his mind and attacked Ike a week ago Saturday.  I heard the ruckus, I was shoveling dog shit at the time and had a shovel in my hand.  I was also in the back forty.  I thought it was Rita until I heard the screaming.  Then I realized that Bubba was on Ike and Ike was down and screaming.  I ran across the yard yelling but Bubba wasn’t letting up.  He had Ike by the back of the neck.  Now my family has a history with shovels.  My paternal grandfather, who I never met because he died when my Dad was seven years old knocked a horse down with a shovel for kicking him.  And one of the running jokes between The Brother and I is the cause of Parkinson’s which has affected at least four and probably five of our father’s siblings.  I maintain it’s caused by frying everything in bacon grease and The Brother maintains it’s caused by hitting each other in the head with a shovel during their youth.  Knowing that, when I arrived at the dog fightattack with a shovel in my hand I knew I’d met my roots.  I also knew that if I reached in I ran the chance of getting severely bit.  Naturally hitting them with a shovel was the next move.  I’ve been around enough dog fights to know that if you break their concentration you can safely break it up.  I knew hitting Bubba with a shovel would do that.  I also knew that if I messed up I could kill him.  Hitting him in the head was out.  That left his butt.  I knew if I hit him too hard I could break his leg or his pelvis.  I turned the shovel so that the rounded part hit his ass and smacked him on the ass with it.  It made a loud metallic sound and got him out of his zone.  He wouldn’t let go but he wasn’t on attack any more.  I pulled him off of Ike and shoved him in his crate.  Ike was hurt.  Worse, he hadn’t even attempted to defend himself, he was just down and screaming.  It wasn’t just a scrape, it was a deep puncture/tear.  I poured peroxide over it and irrigated it with my saline solution.  In the end he had to go to the vet but they didn’t stitch him, they just cleaned it up, gave him antibiotics and put a drain in.  The drain came out yesterday and he’s healing pretty well.  And he loves his warm compresses.  And now I spend my days shuffling male dogs so Bubba doesn’t try to kill Ike again.  He’s acting as if he didn’t do anything and they’re buddies but Ike looks at him as if he’s Satan.  And I’m not positive he isn’t.


He’s still high, they didn’t put him under, just doped him up a little.

Life is what happens to you while you’re busy making other plans

Something truly amazing is happening here at the farm.  Ike is getting better.  Seriously better.  This dog should not be getting better but he is.  He’s had two appointments so far with Dr. Karen Rettig at Alternatives for Animals.  That’s it.  Two.  He came home from the second appointment and ran around the back yard.  Granted it was a stiff run, but he’s never run before.  And it was better than his trot used to be.  His trot looked like a child playing with a plastic toy dog.  He now has some lateral movement in his spine and more stability in his legs.  He wasn’t running around the back yard actually, he was chasing Bubba during one of Bubba’s fence running episodes.  He was going back and forth around the tree and the deck and actually giving Bubba a good nudge in the butt.  I’m watching this very carefully because my biggest fear is that Ike gets better and no longer gets along with Bubba and I have to find him a good home.  Ike, not Bubba.  I don’t think that would be that hard, I almost gave him to the office manager at Dr. Rettig’s.  If her home had been a better fit for Ike I would have let him go there.  She’s been caught in Ike’s web.  There is something about this dog.  Something that made the folks at OAS take him on even though he should have been a PTS case.  Something that’s made him come back from the brink here even though he should have been a hospice case.  Everyone that meets him loves him.  She really loves him but wasn’t able to take Ike him due to her hardwood floors, stairs and cats.  It killed me to even offer him, but it was the right thing to do for him.  This woman came into his room and sat and stroked him while he was getting his acupuncture.  She called me to see when he was coming back in.  Not because it was part of her job but because she loves Ike.  He’s great here, but if there’s another great house where he can be an only child, get flooring he can survive on, not have to negotiate steps, and they have to means for his treatments, I have to consider it.  Ike can’t survive in a house with stairs or slick flooring such as hardwood, tile, pergo, linoleum.  That’s why I took him.  I have slate, carpet and just one step to get outside.  I knew he would do as well as possible here.  And he’s reaping the rewards of that forward thinking right now.  And for now, it’s amazing to watch.

Click here to support Ike.  Click on General Fund, once an amount is entered there will be a link that says “Add special instructions to merchant”.  Click that link and type in “I Like Ike”.  Ike thanks you for your support.

You want your job you better free that brown eyed man

I have always sang songs to my animals.  If you’ve heard my singing voice you’ll know why they are the only ones who will live with me.  It started with the cats.  I had two great cats.  Broderick Catford and Rayette DiPesto.  Rayette DiPesto was the Karen Black character in Five Easy Pieces.  I lived on Broderick Street and thought if he ever got out I wanted to be able to stand on my porch and yell the name of my street over and over again and have the cat come home.  Neither ever got out.

And of course the song I sang to them was:

Then came Xica da Silva.  She was named after a character in a Brazilian film of the same name.  Back then Bravo was a station that played foreign and indie films.  They would have never considered, actually, I can’t imagine their disgust at the idea of airing a show such as The Real Housewives of Orange County.  Xica da Silva was on heavy rotation.  I can remember laying on the couch at the apartment on Broderick Street watching it for about the 10th time just because.  And when that little black puppy came into my life, I named her Xica da Silva

Did I mention that Miriam Makeba sang the song?  I’m sure the dogs wouldn’t like her version as much and Xica loved mine.

Toby didn’t have a song, but Beauregard has his own song that I sang to him since the day he arrived.

And it was the most fitting song for him.

OK, that was a great version of that song.  Perhaps better than mine.

Rita is a no brainer.  It’s not my first choice but it’s the only one the really works.

Sometimes she gets this one.

Especially when I think of this picture.

And poor Bubba doesn’t have a song.  I can’t believe there isn’t a country song out right now that has a good Bubba reference, but for now the poor dog doesn’t have to listen to my singing.  And he thinks that’s a good thing.

But Ike is another story.  That poor dog has heard nothing but the Eisenhower jingle for days.  And I think he likes it.

Or maybe he’s just bored.

I think right now his answer to Eisenhower or Turner would be Turner.

But we don’t like that Ike.

May you always be courageous

Now that’s how you make a political ad.  No sniping, no crap, just a great little jingle.  And an elephant.

We all like Ike.  He’s wormed his way into everyone’s heart.  He speaks for his dinner, he sits pretty and he flops his big head on my lap.  What’s not to like?

I’ve been working trying to get some help for Ike.  I originally thought he’d be here two weeks and then I’d send him to the Rainbow Bridge.  Well, Ike didn’t get that memo.  It’s two weeks today.  Last week a gentle reader graciously stepped in and offered Ike her kitty’s left over prednisone.  That’s made a big difference for him and I am very grateful for PBE readers.  Ike’s getting better.  And he has the opportunity to get even mo’ betta.

Ike has been approved as a Special Needs Doberman.  Click here and scroll down to the “General Fund” and click on the General Fund.  It will take you to Paypal.  Under “Add Special instructions to merchant” specify I Like Ike.  That’s the important part, you have to specify “I Like Ike”.  Then all proceeds will go directly towards his treatment and together we can get this boy on the road to recovery.  Special Needs Dobermans is a 501(c)(3) non-profit so every penny is a charitable donation.  Our goal is $600 which will get him 4-5 treatments at Alternatives for Animals.  That should provide him the relief that he needs to start living the life he was supposed to live before Wobbler’s Syndrome almost cost him his life.  Dr. Rettig has done work on other rescued Doberman that have Wobbler’s and has had amazing progress.  Every little bit helps this big boy.

Ike would like to thank all of the folks who are making this possible for him.  And I’m feeling a little verklempt.