In which we have to replace the screen on the screen door. Again.

by Lorin Michel Monday, October 19, 2015 7:50 PM

My mother is coming in two weeks. Because this is the first time that she’ll see the house, we have certain things we want to make sure are done. Little things like finally attaching the house numbers sign we had made to the rocks at the entrance to the drive. We’ve been having some issues with the shower curtain in the west bath so we took care of that this weekend. I’d love to get my wind chimes hung but I’m not sure that’s going to happen. Like I said, small, almost inconsequential things. But small things can sometimes add a nice touch.

Small things. Like the screen door leading out to the main deck which Riley decided to help with this morning. He failed. Miserably. 

Allow me to set the stage. It was about 6:45. The morning was nice and cool. We actually turned the air conditioning off yesterday (again) and opened all of the windows. While we slept, we kept the windows in the bedroom open, but closed the two French sliders in the great room. Naturally, since it was morning, and we love the fresh air, those had to be reopened. We had made coffee and each poured a cup. I had turned on my computer and got the backup running, something I do every Monday morning. Kevin had settled in at the pub table in the breakfast nook. He had started there yesterday and since he didn’t finish, he just left it for today. 

Justin and Kelsey were still here; still in their room. We knew they’d be emerging soon to fill up their coffee mugs and take off for the airport. We were preparing for the day. I was in my office. The ceiling fan whirring softly. I sipped my coffee and watched the clouds drifting in the west. Backup done, I methodically opened the programs I’d need to get started. iChat, Chrome, Word. I started checking my various email accounts. I started this blog. From the great room I heard the telling click of the slider as Kevin unlocked it and then slid it open. Seconds later I heard a crash and then my husband began swearing. 

I immediately went to investigate and found Kevin glaring and Riley staring, his tail wagging, wondering who put that screen there. The screen that was now flapping gently in a nearly imperceptible breeze. 

“Again?” I asked, already knowing the obvious answer. It was rhetorical.

When my sister was here in July, Riley celebrated her arrival by running headlong into the screen door leading out to the deck, blasting through and leaving it flapping in the night breeze. A month or so ago, Kevin and I bought new screen, set up the saw horses in the great room and proceeded to re-screen the door. The screen was taut and perfect. Key word in that last sentence: was.

Riley blasted through the door again and so now we have another item for the mom list. Luckily we have some screen left over from the last time. Until the next time. And there will be a next time because our Riley boo is the definition of a bull in a china shop. Cute as hell but uncultured in the ways of closed screen doors. And other things.


Riley’s work on the screen door. Screen held in place by blue painter’s tape.

He’s our Riley, the third of our dogs to not completely understand the concept of a closed screen door. Riley, however, has surpassed the other two in that he has now blasted through the same screen door twice. In only three months. He’s a smart boy, too. We thought he would learn. Alas, he didn’t. Perhaps neither did we since all we have to do when we click the lock and slide open the door is watch for the freight train disguised as blonde fur, stand in the way and issue a commanding “stop!”  

Sometimes it actually works. Other times, we’re relegated to re-fixing the screen door so that Riley can keep blasting it out loud.

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live out loud

Hopped up on goofballs

by Lorin Michel Thursday, October 8, 2015 8:33 PM

Golden retrievers are goofy dogs. They’re big, doofy, goofy, happy-go-lucky dogs that look like big blonde bears. Tails are always wagging, tongues are hanging out to the side, eyes are loving. The whole body wriggles with anticipation of everything. They get excited easily. They bark, they whine, they want to explore and be with you all at once. They live in a state of crazed delirium most of their lives. This is what our dog trainer refers to as being hopped up on goofballs.

Riley is our third golden retriever mix. Maguire was our first, though he was more Australian shepherd than retriever. He was dark and big, and had a more mellow, hang loose, hey dude kind of attitude. When he barked, he barked in threes. Ruff, ruff, ruuuuffffff. Then he was done. He wagged his tail incessantly, until he got too old and he didn’t wag at all anymore. I suppose, much like people, that dogs get to the point where they say: “you know I love you; I know you love me. What’s the point of the tail wag thing?” It still saddened me.

I don’t remember there ever being a time where I thought Maguire was hopped up. He was too laid back, too easy going. He was the best dog that ever lived, in our opinion. I don’t think that will ever change. We’ve loved others; we love one now. We’ll never love a dog like we loved Maguire Michel.

Cooper looked more golden. He had red fur and it was longer, more unruly. Very golden retriever like. We don’t know what else his heritage included and we didn’t much care. He was our Coop de ville, the Cadillac of Rescue Puppies. He didn’t get too nuts either, mostly because he’d seen so much in his little life, he just didn’t seem to care. He loved me to the point of obsession; tolerated Kevin. But he had lived a hard life by the time we got him, and he didn’t have nearly enough time in his better life. Kevin said at the time and continues to say that Cooper got a really bad deal; that he got robbed. He did. He was just becoming a good boy, just getting used to being loved, and then he got sick. A bad deal indeed.

And then there’s Riley. Before we got him, the rescue group told us he was a golden-doodle, or golden retriever-poodle. There is absolutely no poodle in this dog. He definitely has golden retriever and something else mixed in for goofy measure. And make no mistake – he’s a total goof. He’s also anxious. A lot. He’s good in the house, except for when the trash truck rolls through the ‘hood. Or when neighbor Ed comes home. Or when a car comes up the drive. Or when the tortoise comes down the hill. Or when there’s a lizard. Or a toad.

Whine. Squeal. Pant. Tail. 

Oy. 

Last night, we had our second school session. Carey, the teacher/trainer/behaviorist diagnosed him almost immediately as suffering from anxiety. He’s nervous. He’s whines. He’s afraid. His tail is up higher than it should be. He’s hopped up on goofballs to the point of overdose. 

We’re working to get him detoxed. We’re in a program now. He’s learning to live his life in a normal state of nutty. But it will take time. It will take behavior modification. It will take patience. It will take cookies and treats and lots of “good boy!”s. We can handle it. We’re in it for the long run. Our newest little damaged boy will learn that he’s safe and loved. And that goofy is good, but goofballs aren’t necessary to live it out loud.

Just saying

by Lorin Michel Tuesday, September 15, 2015 8:30 PM

When Justin was little, we had several rituals we developed in order to avoid what we called “the meltdown.” During the summer months especially he would run himself ragged, literally, playing outside with his friends. They’d start early and race around the yard, or go to the park and race around there. They’d ride their bikes, build forts, go to the moon, and that was just before lunch.

We’d have him come in around six, for dinner. Sometimes a buddy would come with him, but usually it was just him. To take a bath, to relax a little, maybe just veg in front of a Disney movie, eat his mac n’ cheese or cheese burger or cheese pizza; chicken fingers or corn dogs and fries, washed down with milk. Or Justin’s wine. We never wanted him to feel like he was less than we were, just because he was little. He always sat at the table with us when we entertained. He was always part of the conversation. All of our friends always included him, talked to him. Most importantly, listened to him. Kevin and I always have wine with dinner. Naturally, he couldn’t have wine, so we bought him sparkling cider. Justin’s wine. There were always several bottles in the wine rack. When he had a friend sleep over, they always had Justin’s wine with dinner.

After a hard day of playing, he would need a bath or a shower. We could never just spring the concept of bedtime on him because that would lead to shrieks and wailing. After he got himself clean and into his pajamas, he always came back downstairs to watch a little more TV. He’d bring his pillows and his Simba blanket and curl up on the floor next to Maguire. Sometimes Maguire was the pillow. About 30 minutes before bedtime, we’d start a countdown. If we eased into when it was time for him to go to bed, it was easier. We avoided meltdown.

“Thirty minutes, buddy,” was the first announcement.

“Next commercial, brush and flush,” was the next announcement.

Brush and flush became the mantra for years. It’s all we’d have to say to make sure that he brushed his teeth and went to the bathroom before bed. Then he could come back downstairs after brush and flush and watch a little more TV. We had it down to a science. We also used it before he went off to school or whenever we were going on a trip so that we knew he had clean teeth and an empty bladder. It worked for years. Occasionally when he’s home now, we’ll joke and say the same thing. It always gets a big laugh.

We have a new mantra now for our new ginger boy, Riley.

Riley is an odd duck. We love him to pieces, but he’s weird. He loves to go on walks but he never goes to the bathroom during the walk. It’s very un-dog-like. We have an area off the garage that’s fenced in. It’s not very big and it’s not very finished – it’s still dirt and enclosed with chicken-wire fence – but it’s where he has learned to go. In the morning, it’s the first place we visit. Throughout the day, whenever he leaps the steps and sits on the landing by the garage door, we know we need to visit the Cooper Area, so named because it was originally envisioned for Cooper.

Whenever Riley uses his outside time to pee and poop, we are delighted to announce P–squared. We do it with flourish. We’re like proud parents whose kid has learned to use the toilet.

We all develop little sayings that keep us functioning, shorthand sayings that allow us to communicate quickly and succinctly. Brush and flush. P–squared. I do find it interesting that the sayings we’ve developed have to do with our boys’ toilet habits.

But I guess we need to go with the flow.

The art of the bath

by Lorin Michel Saturday, June 13, 2015 8:58 PM

We are currently on our third canine in twenty years. I’m not sure if that’s good or bad, numbers wise. I do know that it’s good for the canines and it’s very good for humanoids. They keep us young, except when we lose them, and then we feel very old. Diane said yesterday that when they get older is when they need us most. I agree. It’s also when everyone starts to feel the effects of mortality.

We do not currently have an old dog. We do not even have an older dog. We have a nut-job puppy who is almost 18 months and a terrific ball of energy. He does not walk; he races. He bounds. He prances. He leaps. He bounces. It’s actually quite amusing for us. He races from one end of the house to the other, ears flying, clearing the steps (just a suggestion) to land half way through the house. Kevin measured it the other day. From the time he leaves the top step until he lands it’s nine feet. And then he’s off to the races.

Each day we try to walk some of the energy out of him. It doesn’t work. We’re the ones who are exhausted. But all of his boundless energy and long walks in the desert do create one stinky boy. So today we had a bath.

Allow me to drift back in time a bit, to Maguire. We have always groomed our dogs ourselves with the exception of getting their nails cut. The only time we’ve had anyone else do the bath is when we’ve had them in a kennel while we were out of town. Anyone who has ever picked a dog up from a kennel knows the stink factor. Most kennels offer a bath service right before pickup. Once they’re bathed and dried, they are segregated from the other still stinky dogs in order to preserve their newly acquired fragrance.

Maguire hated getting a bath. We used to try to bathe him in the backyard but he’d have none of it. He would fight us and, I’m embarrassed to say, win. Hey, he was a very big and strong dog.

We finally started bathing him in by taking him in the shower. We had a shower stall with glass walls and a glass door. Kevin would get in, I’d corral him by first closing the bedroom door and then chasing him around the room. He knew what was about to happen. He was about to be tortured. And he. Would. Not. Let. It. Happen. Not without a fight. But he was a good dog and eventually he’d let me win. He would begrudgingly get into the shower, I would have to hold the glass door closed because he would push himself against it while Kevin lathered him up. His face said it all: How can you do this to me? Haven’t I been a good dog?

Afterward, we’d go outside to dry off, and he would prance around the yard like a king. Look at me. Don’t I look good?

Riley, after his bath and on the deck, looking handsome

Cooper’s first bath happened the day after we got him. He was a stinky little mess when we picked him up. We took him out in the backyard and armed with a slow running hose and a bucket of warm water, we prepared ourselves. He stood there stoically, and loved it. Especially when it was over.

Enter Riley. He has had three baths now, the third one this morning. He and I went for a walk (Kevin wanted to get an early start before the heat of the day. He’s building a rock wall to push water away from the house.) and then  had some breakfast. It was 7:15. Time for a bath.

Tomorrow he and I are doing our first Meet ‘n Greet at a Petsmart here on the east side. It’s with the rescue group. I wanted him to smell as good as he looks for his big debut.

We went out through the garage. He, like Cooper, doesn’t seem to mind having a bath. I turned on the hose, got him nice and wet, suds’d him up, rinsed him off then stepped back while he shook and shook and shook some more. I grabbed a towel and rubbed him down. Then I turned him loose.

He proceeded to get low, tuck his hind legs and take off. Tearing across the driveway, racing in circles, so damned pleased with himself, having the time of his life, celebrating the moment.

And isn’t that what it’s all about?

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Beginning the adoption process

by Lorin Michel Thursday, April 16, 2015 10:13 PM

When we lost Maguire, it was more than 8 months before we adopted another dog. Part of that was sheer heartbreak. Another part was that Kevin had no desire to get another dog. As far as he was concerned, there was only one dog for him, and that dog had died on March 6. I was lonely and found Cooper on Petfinder. He was with a rescue group in Westlake Village, and had been for quite some time. I’d like to say we immediately fell in love. We didn’t. It took some time, during which we learned what it was to rescue a dog.

It is impossible to fully know all that a dog who finds himself in a shelter or at a rescue has been through. On rare occasions, when a dog is surrendered, he comes with a story of why. Mostly, it’s a mystery. It can be obvious that he’s been abused or neglected or abandoned. But some of the scars may be emotional and thus hard to see.

With Cooper we came to know he was terrified of other dogs, though we have no idea why. He was hopelessly attached to me, something that happened almost immediately after we adopted him. We should have known this would happen. He was also attached to his foster mom, though she didn’t take very good care of him. When we got him, both eyes were infected and crusted, something we were able to clear up fairly quickly after a trip to the vet and some eye drops. He was a little underweight. He was also fiercely protective of the house and of us. If anyone dared to ring the bell, knock on the door, or want to come in the house, he was as likely to bite as to kiss. We learned to take him outside to welcome guests. He was fine with them coming in as long as he invited them.

Even with his behavior issues, we grew to love him so much. Inside, he was a good boy and we helped him to find and release that. When we lost him three weeks ago, we were devastated. We’ve been lonely ever since.

This morning, on our walk, we met a golden retriever named Sam. He was out with his dad, walking in front of us, and when we got close enough, and he heard our voices, he turned and galloped toward us as fast as his 11 year old body would let him. He was a big goofball. Kevin was infatuated.

And so we have started truly looking into adopting another dog. We filled out an application to adopt a special needs dog, a deaf lethal white Australian shepherd. I’ve been in contact with a foster mom named Terry. We may go to Phoenix next weekend to attend an adoption event. It will give them enough time to check our references.

After meeting Sam, Kevin also wanted to look into rescuing another golden. I think he misses Cooper more than he thought he would. It took him a long time to warm up to our little nut bag, but warm up he did. We always thought Maguire was also part golden. So both of our boys have been a blend of golden retriever.

We have a type. Lots of fur, floppy ears, smart and cuddly. Australian shepherds, golden retrievers, border collies. The boy we met last weekend was a border collie mix. The boy up in Phoenix is an aussie. This afternoon I also filled out an application with a local golden rescue.

We’re beginning earlier this time. We want to give another unlucky boy a good home and we want to fill our home with the sound of nails clicking on the tile, and fur tumbleweeds blowing in the corners, dog slobber and toys. We’re ready to help another dog live it out loud.

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Who rescues who or is it whom

by Lorin Michel Saturday, April 11, 2015 9:57 PM

We went to a local event today called Adopt Local Adopt Love. It was a mega pet adoption: dogs, cats, reptiles. Though I still can’t fathom a reptile as a pet. We did see one guy there with an enormous snake draped around his neck and shoulders like a scarf. It was bright yellow and while, and looked like a boa constrictor, but like no boa I’ve ever seen before.

We weren’t entirely sure why we were there. We lost our precious Cooper only two weeks ago, and it seems too early to get another. And yet, we are so hopelessly lost without him. The house needs a dog, maybe two. And so we went.

There were mobs of people – which I was glad to see. Not nearly as many animals for adoption as I thought there would be. There was an area for cats, which we didn’t go into. There was an area for dogs, which we did. But the amount of dogs was relatively small. I expected the place to be crawling with paws. There were a lot of small dogs, many pit bulls, and a number of greyhounds. There’s still a dog racing park here in Tucson, much to my disgust. I suspect greyhound rescue is big here for that reason.

We happened by a booth for Border Collie rescues, and there was an older dog there named Jackson. He was about 10, or so they estimated. He was gentle and mellow. Just a lovely dog. We were infatuated. We visited with him in the booth as he lay on the floor. We gave him treats. Eventually we moved on. We looked at smaller dogs; we tried to like them. They were cute. But we’re not small dog people.

Like having a type with people, we have a type with dogs. Medium to large, about 50 to 70 pounds, with lots of long fur, nice “pants” and floppy ears. Golden retrievers, Australian shepherds, border collies. We like herders.


Jackson

We found ourselves back looking for Jackson. He was outside taking a potty break so we went out to see him in a different environment. He was with other dogs, and fine. His foster mom, Jennifer, stopped again to talk to us. Kevin took the leash and they went for a short walk. He was perfect on a leash, trotting easily alongside, never pulling.

But he’s 10. Do we want to rescue a dog who’s that old? Why not? We rescued Cooper at 6 and we only had him 2 plus years. Who’s to say that an old guy like Jackson wouldn’t live another five years, like Maguire?

The fact is, you never know how long someone – human or animal – is going to be with you. You just make the most of the time you have, and always hope for the most.

Rescues break your heart in a thousand ways. Like not knowing what their past was. They think Jackson had been with a family at some point. He is house trained, he has manners. Did they abandon him? With Cooper, we knew his original family gave him up when they decided to have a baby. But we don’t know anything else. With Maguire, he was a puppy. They told us he’d been found in Oak Park. We couldn’t imagine anyone finding him and not keeping him. But people are weird; people suck.

Rescues break your heart while asking you to love them. And we do. We fall in love every time. And when they leave, we are devastated. It’s the price you pay for loving. But for the time we have them, we always wonder: who rescued who or whom?

We haven’t decided what to do about Jackson. We have time. Not too many people rescue older animals. But he has already re-broken our already broken hearts. So who would be rescuing whom?

Listening to my husband

by Lorin Michel Friday, April 3, 2015 8:39 PM

I’m sitting in my office on this hazy Friday, not wanting to work but trying to get a few things done anyway, thinking about all that I actually sort of do want to do like arrange my office and finish unpacking the master bedroom and bath, and listening to my husband be cranky in the other room.

Allow me to set the stage: We moved into the house a week ago this past Tuesday. While most of it was done, there remain certain areas that are technically under construction. The tile is still being placed in the portico, for instance. The top of the barbecue also needs to be tiled and grouted; ditto the wine room. We’re having issues with the internet. The signal isn’t bad, but it’s temporary. The hub or pedestal or whatever it’s supposed to be that was supposed to be here, wasn’t and isn’t. They’ve been back at least five times this week trying to figure out how to get it installed since there is evidently some sort of tube that they think might be blocked by dirt or stone or some creature seeking refuge.

But as long as we have internet, at least as a temporary line, we’re good.

However, the audio system hasn’t yet been hooked up and this, it seems, is the main source of the husband unit’s growing irritation. To wit, here’s the last thing I heard:

“Well, I’m not going to tear out the f$%^ing wall.”

Followed by general bitching and moaning, and then: “It just gripes my ass that nobody listened to me.”

I smile, because I completely understand, but I’m not going out there. Instead, I’ll listen to Kevin rant at Sean the audio guy and Mike the architect, who happened to show up at a very inopportune time. He’ll get it fixed; he always does. All I want is for my 55” smart TV to be hooked up so I can veg on the couch and watch something mindless like repeats of SVU or NCIS when Ziva was still part of the cast. I want music to drift through the house. I want to bring back some form of normalcy.

For weeks now, we’ve been living a surreal existence, between houses, then in the new house. Surrounded by boxes, unable to find anything, sometimes and specifically in regards to the kitchen, which has been unpacked. Without our Cooper. Still trying to work but dealing with constant interruptions from workers and just generally getting used to new house sounds. We still feel like we’re visiting. Hence my strong desire to simply watch television, have a glass of wine, pretend that for just a few minutes, life is normal, ordinary. Dare I say boring.

Until then though, I’m sitting here, listening to my husband and smiling as he tries to get our audio system up and running, tries to get our TV on the wall and in the hole, tries to get Sean and Mike to come up with a solution to why his powered subwoofers were not included in the plan when he specifically, specifically told Sean’s boss at least twice and also emailed photos and drawings, showing what we had and what we wanted.  

“I’m not happy.”

It’s a husband thing.

There’s an echo in my house

by Lorin Michel Tuesday, March 31, 2015 10:16 PM

Our new house has no carpet. We have wall-to-wall tile that stretches from one end of the cavern to the other, radiating out from the middle to follow the basic line and curvature of the radius. The tile is Italian, from a manufacturer called Mediterrania. The collection is called Juliet’s Courtyard and there are two colors: Romeo’s Blend and Juliet’s Blend. They’re very similar, a stone look that is highly varied in terms of colors per tile. Romeo is charcoals and rusts, grays and earthy tans. Juliet’s is lighter version. Both are very old Tuscan, with an Elizabethan flair. Lots of drama. We went for the more dramatic of the two and put Romeo on the floor. We used Juliet for the bathroom vanity countertops. It’s quite a blend.

The kitchen is granite countertops and tile backsplash. The house has mostly glass walls. The ceilings, at their highest, which is in the great room, are 17.6’. There is stone on the interior columns and more stone on the fireplace. There are no rugs anywhere save the bathrooms just outside the showers. The house is acoustically challenged.

I walked through today calling out for Kevin. It takes longer than it used to to get from one side of the house to the other, and our offices are split between the east side and the west side. It was the middle of the day. The sun was shining. The birds were chirping. Tony the tile guy was out in the portico laying yet more tile, though not Romeo. Outside tile is called Napa Noce. There isn’t an echo outside because of course there isn’t, but inside the sound reverberates and bounces. Voices sound lost and tinny.

There’s an echo in my house that makes it sound empty. And even though there is a great deal of furniture already in place, it is empty. Because we’re missing our boy, the little furry one who should be racing through the house with a toy in his mouth – probably Wubba – tail held high, head equally so, having the time of his life.

Tonight we were out on the deck eating dinner. The moon is edging ever closer to full making the sky bright and setting the desert aglow. As we relaxed on the new deck furniture, I happened to look up. There was a cloud formation that looked eerily like our Cooper. The cloud was in the shape of a dog, with two open areas indicating eyes, a small opening for the door, and the mouth slightly gapped. Cooper from the side.

I’m a believer in signs. When we were making the decision to let Maguire go, I remember sitting in the room with him and asking him to give us a sign that it was time. He had another seizure. Cooper died without us, but tonight staring at the clouds as we were talking about our boy, I wondered. What was the sign he was sending? Maybe that he was OK once again, that he was racing through the sky with Wubba, giving him what for, as Kevin always said.

There’s an echo in my house because it’s empty. While it’s not necessarily something to celebrate it does mean that we’re alive. And hopefully it means that our Cooper is somewhere, healthy once again, and living it out loud.

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live out loud

The weekend in the mirror

by Lorin Michel Monday, March 30, 2015 10:22 PM

What a wild few days. The move on Tuesday, the arrival of Roy and Bobbi on Tuesday night, the arrangement of paintings in the house, Tony the tile guy finishing the inside grout on Thursday, Cooper getting very sick, the arrival of Diane and Gene, the install on Friday, Roy's trip to Phoenix on Friday night for an artist's reception, the gallery opening on Saturday, the party at the house on Saturday night, Cooper leaving us forever on Sunday, and all of our friends leaving us today, hopefully just for a short while.

We are exhausted physically and emotionally we’re drained. I’d like to say it’s a good exhaustion and a good batch of emotions but it’s decidedly mixed. Roy had a post on Facebook the other day that referred to it all as a smoothie, a blend of just about everything. Good, bad, and in between. That’s an apt description.


Our friends, celebrating on Sunday with new friend Gracie

I’ve been fighting this feeling of dread. I suspect it’s the exhaustion. Perhaps it was related to Cooper. I think it’s just everything closing down around us. For so long, the house has been under construction. We would visit on Saturdays to see what had happened during the week. We would shop for things we needed, and then we would go back to our rental. We would relax. We would walk Cooper. We’d cook and eat. It was comfortable. We were settled. Now we’re unsettled again. Bobbi suggested this morning that maybe the reason I was feeling this way was because this is the last place, the final resting place. It made sense; it made me both thrilled and sad.

Another smoothie.

Because there was so much going on this weekend, with the move, with trying to get the house into some sort of order for the party on Saturday night, with Cooper being sick, I don’t think either Kevin or I were are usual selves. Understandable. These weren’t usual circumstances. And I knew it. I knew I was off my game. I’m reserved by nature, but when I’m with my friends, I like to think that I’m more engaged, personable, maybe even funny.


Bobbi, cataloging paintings

I wasn’t this past week and I feel very badly about that. I wanted this week to be fun and relaxed and it was, but in some ways, it was anything but. We were stressed with the move and with Cooper. We wanted it to be a celebration. It was and it wasn’t.

To my friends who I know understand, I still apologize for it not being what I imagined it would be. In my mind, the house would be perfectly put together, before everyone else arrived. The days would be spent site seeing, the nights engaging in conversation, food, wine and especially laughter. The mood would be light, frivolous. And Cooper would be right there in the middle of it all, begging, cajoling, putting on the cute face that said “look at me. Don’t I deserve some of that cheese?”

I wanted us all to simply be together, for it to be easy. It wasn’t what I wanted, and for that, I apologize. But I also applaud these wonderful friends of mine who made the long journey across the desert to be with us, but more importantly to celebrate Roy. And what a celebration it was. Deservedly so.


Roy, the artist in residence, and his door 

I love these people, some of the best people I know. As I look at the weekend in the rear view mirror, I see how lucky I am, even in my sadness and our loneliness. And it brings me much content.  

 

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Get a move on

by Lorin Michel Friday, March 20, 2015 8:56 PM

Because there's not enough happening in the world of Kevin and Lorin and Cooper, today comes word that the move is off. Well, maybe not off but postponed. We had been schedule for Saturday. Mover Mike, not to be confused with Architect/Builder Mike, had a truck ready, had all his guys lined up. We had a Uhaul rented and ready to fill with the stuff that Mover Mike isn't taking, like most of the packed boxes and artwork, other breakables.


The phone rang. I was at my desk and I glanced over to see if it was someone I wanted to talk to. Kevin. I answered it, hopeful that there was good news about what was happening at the house. "Tell me something good," I said.

"Can't."

Well that's no way to play the game. Instead of something good he proceeded to tell me something the opposite of good. Namely that the tile wasn't done, the water pressure was still screwed up, the water tank was leaking and the wiring for the audio system was all wrong. Of all of those the only one that we can live with, at least temporarily, is the audio system. But we have to have the tile finished in order to put furniture on the floor.

Also, the house is still a bit of a mess though getting better. Cleaning people were there, vacuuming out the cabinets, scrubbing the dust off the stone, cleaning the bathrooms on the west side of the house. The east side is the side that is still meandering along.

After I recovered from my meltdown, I asked, as calmly as I could, just when the f$@& the f$@&ing house was going to be done because if it wasn't done soon, someone was going to die. Violence was the only answer.

Violence or wine.

As it was still early, and I still had work to do, I decided that wine was probably not in my best interest. Instead I poured a cup of coffee and didn't use any cream.

Tell Architect/Builder Mike to finish my f$@&ing house, I said calmly. Or else. An empty threat but it made me feel good.


Sick Cooper. Sad Cooper.

I called Mover Mike and in my best apology voice asked if there was any way we could reschedule for Monday or Tuesday. I'm really, really, really sorry (even though it's not my fault) but if you could pretty please?

Can't do Monday. Can do Tuesday morning.

So now we're renting a Uhaul on Monday and taking stuff. Furniture on Tuesday. Life on Wednesday.

If not, well, I don't care what time it is, wine will flow.

Is there anything good about this? Under the banner of everything happens for a reason, both Kevin and I think maybe it's because this will give Cooper more time to start getting better. We're hoping, though today he's worse than he was yesterday. Still, we're clinging to the hope. Hope is good, hope is necessary. Hope leads to good things. Hope knows that soon we'll be in, all of us, living it out loud.

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live out loud

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