Saturday, May 27, 2023

Grayden, German Shepherd, and Garden

 On May long weekend (19-21) Graeme took his family in a road trip to Saskatoon. First long trip for Grayden. Tanya had to work so I stuck Lucky in VIP Kennel from Fri afternoon to Sunday morning and took the Friday bus to Saskatoon. Had a great visit Friday evening and all day Saturday. 

Grayden got to meet Abigail, who is about a week older than he is. Cutest tiniest little girl ever. Her mom Gina is a good friend of my daughter's. This was Grayden's first encounter with another baby, I think. They hit it off and when Abigail got close enough he managed to get in a few kisses. 

My eyes are up here!

Let me help you with that

Well, hello there, Handsome.

Grayden didn't walk while I was there but figured out how to go downstairs backwards instead of head first. He cut two top teeth. And met four dogs. 

Sticking out his tongue is a new trick

Grayden loves to watch soap operas with his mom. Apparently Y&R is his favourite.

On Sunday, Graeme, Mishel and Grayden drove me back to Regina. I picked up Lucky from the kennel. He had a wonderful time. He is an intact male (still) so they put in in with a bunch of spayed females. He had his own harem. 

Graeme took Mishel and Grayden to visit friends and see his old stomping grounds. He put Grayden on the swing that his sisters used to ride on the playground near our home. He said there would often be 100 kids there and no adults.

They came over to our place later in the afternoon. Lucky, who loves cats and small dogs was absolutely smitten with Grayden. He wanted to sniff him and be close to him. And he so badly wanted to play with him. He brought his toys to show him and danced around in play mode. Grayden was curious but a little afraid. 
Grayden reached out for one pat. Lucky was overjoyed

The garden is coming slowly as it takes time to tear apart pallets and make raised beds, The front flowers are lovely but everything else is slow. Waiting for warmer weather I guess. I will finish another bed today for her tomatoes. 

View from the street

Front flower bed

Slow progress with cool weather

Thursday, May 18, 2023

McGinty is growing up quickly

 The past couple weeks have been insanely busy with building garden beds for Tanya. Poor Lucky gets the run of the yard while I am working but hasn't been on a real walk for about three weeks. He has given up asking. I'm a bad doggy day, I know. 

My son and his family are making their first road trip with Grayden, going to Saskatoon for the long weekend possibly making a few stops along the way. I am going up to Saskatoon on the bus and Tanya is working as it is the busiest time of year for garden centres. So we are putting Lucky in a kennel for the first time. He will have the time of his life and Tanya will need tranquilizers so she wont worry about her baby. My daughter took her dogs to this kennel/doggy day care so they know her and she recommended them. 

Katya is doing a wonderful job of looking after our house and Tanya's garden. Here are pictures she sent today and a couple days ago.

Planted four years ago, bloomed this year

Grayden got his first professional haircut and was quite interested in the whole process.

He is crawling and climbing stairs. He goes downstairs head first so needs to work on that a bit.

He is walking behind his push toy and maybe I'll get to see him take his first steps when he is in Saskatoon. 

And he is terminally cute, of course. Sorry for bragging but I never had one of these before with my name on it. It feels so good.

Tuesday, May 9, 2023

An Un-Pallet-able Undertaking


People with money have no time; people with time have no money. I fall into the latter category. Tanya is desperate to have a garden, so I am making raised garden beds by recycling pallets. Tearing them apart is a fool’s errand. My son said for $50 per hour, he would not tear apart pallets. If I had that kind of money, I would buy raised garden beds from Marketplace on Facebook.

Some 40+ years ago, I was part of a crew that helped my uncle tear apart an old grain annex for fir studs to build a house. The annex was built over 50 years prior with fir 2x6 spiked together on the flat. But we had tools. A 24” nail puller and 4’ clawbar didn’t make it easy but made it possible.

I have some tools here and am slowly accumulating more. The frustrating part is that every time I think I have that tool, I remember it is in my workshop at home in Ukraine. I managed to build one last week. It took all week. I also built a sand box for Lucky. I have learned a few things about tearing them apart. One is that the stringers (??) are often made of oak. How they got nails into them I have no idea but removing them without wrecking the thin boards that form the top of the pallet is almost impossible.

I built the first one 2’ high to keep Lucky out of it. Tanya said it was too high, so I cut one side down to 18 inches. It took 15 wheelbarrows of dirt to fill to the depth Tanya wanted. Lucky jumped in while she was planting it. The next ones are going to be 12” to 15” high.

I had planned on burning the scraps in our fire pit. Maybe not. Some of them contain Methyl Bromide which burning releases it as a gas. I have not seen any with MB burn-stamped on them so I may be safe. I guess the scraps will go into the recycle bin.

Lucky's sand box

He loves to hide toys and then dig them up

My first attempt at building in years, making it up as I went along

15 garden wheelbarrows of topsoil, manure mix and one of sand
 in the top layer. Tanya is planting onions

Starting to tear apart for another garden bed

Tanya finds me more ideas.

Some facts about wood pallets:

  • ·        Approximately 5 billion wooden pallets are manufactured globally each year. Nearly 2 billion wooden pallets are currently in circulation in the US.
  • ·         The food and beverage industry is the largest consumer of pallets.
  • ·         The average lifespan of a reusable wooden pallet is noted to be between 8 and 10 years.
  • ·        The US market size, measured by revenue, of the Wood Pallets & Skids Production industry was $14 billion in 2022.
  • ·         America produces about 500 million pallets a year. This consumes an estimated 50 percent of the country’s annual hardwood harvest and is equivalent to 7.6 billion board feet of lumber, worth about$6 billion in annual sales to the lumber industry.
  • ·         Every year in the US alone 1 million acres of our planet’s trees are destroyed to manufacture and produce the wooden pallets used to operate the distribution industry. To replenish 1 million acres of trees will take approximately 40 years.
  • ·         Pallets are routinely treated with Methyl Bromide to reduce insect infestations and rot. Because of methyl bromide’s harmful effects on the Earth’s Ozone layer, it will soon be banned through the UN’s Montreal protocol.
  • ·         54% of wood pallets are used for only one shipment, and then either stored, burned or thrown away.
  • ·         Wood dust is found in pallets and is a carcinogen associated with nasal and sinus cavity cancer, lung cancer and Hodgkin’s disease (cancer of the lymph system which creates your antibodies).
  • ·         Wooden pallets have become a major factor in the planet’s deforestation. Deforestation is one of the largest contributors to global warming and our earth’s sudden spike in temperatures.
  • ·         IKEA, the world’s largest provider of home furnishings, recently announced plans to phase out wooden pallets and replace them with recyclable paper pallets. Wooden pallets currently account for 50 percent of IKEA’s total global use of pine and spruce.

Friday, May 5, 2023

The Case of the Missing Cliché: Conclusion

 Time to put this caper to bed. So to speak. For those of you just joining us the previous chapters are here:

The Case of the Missing Cliché, and The Case of the Missing Cliché Continued

Rick O’Shea here, having collected my money as a paid voyeur and deliberately targeted punching bag, enjoying an expensive Scotch with the shades drawn and the door locked. Contemplating giving up my sinful life and becoming a TV evangelist. I’d wear my collar backwards but certainly not my pants. If I could fit a coat hanger in my mouth, I could even smile like Joel Osteen. A terribly hard life, rich as Croesus, but begging for money at every pause in the sermon.

My revery went on for hours as my Scotch slowly sank in the bottle and the sun sank in the sky. It was pitch black outside when my dreams were shattered by a knock on the door. I froze. At which point the phone rang. Do I hide under my desk and hope the world goes away or take my life in my hands and answer the phone, thus telling the person at the door I was in. I answered the phone. I’ve still got bills to pay: Bill the Bookie, Bill the Landlord, Bill the mechanic, Bill the beat cop. I’m a regular Bill collector.

It was Lori. “I’m coming up to your office.” And she hung up. Normally I would have looked forward to it. Though I hadn’t earned any extra services yet, a guy can always hope. I’m a wild animal in bed. More afraid of them than they are of me. The last time a woman wanted to make love to me though, I had to disappoint her…we made love.

The knock came at the door again. It was a left-handed knock, which told me the right hand was holding a gat. I put my .45 on the table and using my convenient remote unlocked the door without getting up. The man who entered could have been Walter Mitty II. He held the gun like he was afraid it would bite him. I saw at a glance it was a 1911 Colt .45 Army Model Semi-Automatic, serial number 2,806, 666. The safety was still on. He didn’t look like the two headed monster of Lori’s description but I knew it was her Ex. I mentally made an X between and a little above his eyes for future reference. Don’t ask me Y.

“Ok, Bub, I know who you are. I’m not going to hurt you. Sit down, set the gun on the table carefully and explain why you hired those goons to bump me off.”

“Me? I know nothing about them. Did Lori tell you I hired some guys to kill you? She told me she hired you to kill me. I wanted to preempt the move.”

“Not with the safety still on. This thing is going around in circles. You better come clean. One or both of you is stark raving nuts.”

“It’s Lori. She hates me. I am not her Ex, though I would love to be. She gets her kicks by forcing me to watch her perform Flagrante Delicto with any guy she drags home. (Note to self: look that up) I have tried to escape several times but she threatens to kill me. I’m on the run right now. How did you get mixed up in this?”

“She offered me a cool Grand to follow her cheating husband. Instead, I followed a cheating wife and near got beaten to death for the pleasure. She hoped I would kill you in self-defense for sending the mugs after me. There were “extras” promised when you were dead. By the way, she is on her way here right now.”

“You must protect me. She’ll kill me.”

“Maybe, maybe not. The three of us will have a little chat first and sort out the problem.”

Speak of Jezebel and she shall appear. Lori came softly into the room looking all ready to plant some lovin’ on this Private Investigator. Her attitude turned to fury when she saw Walter Mitty.

“OK, Sweetheart, pull up a chair. We are all going to have a little tete a tete. A threesome. Your friend here has been telling me some interesting stories about you.”

“How dare you listen to this…this liar?”

“Honey, I believe him more than I believe you now. You seem to be less than honest yourself. And homicidal to boot.”

“I don’t like your attitude.”

“Neither do I. It’s a bad attitude. I lay awake on long cold winter nights worrying about it. Can I get each of you a drink?”

They nodded affirmative and using Betty Cooker’s Crock Book, I mixed Lori an orange juice and vodka Screwdriver and Walter Mitty a prune juice and vodka Piledriver.

“Now let’s talk. Lori, I have no problem with your kinky habits but why take it out on this poor guy. He just wants out. Let him get out. I’m sure that you can find someone who enjoys watching you in Flagrante Delicto (I had figured out what it meant, bit slow on the uptake, I am not used to long fancy words for ____). Or is sadism part of your personality, too (As the sadist said to the masochist, “NO!”)?”

“It’s revenge. I need a man. Our marriage was fine. He suddenly says he doesn’t love me or want me. Then he was in an accident and is useless as mammary glands on a canary. I’m going to keep torturing him or kill him. Or both. You can’t help him, nor can you stop me.”

The look in her eyes got wilder and wilder as she spoke. She scared me. “Lady, you need serious help. I’m calling the cops and EMT”. Suddenly out of nowhere that snub nose Saturday Night Special appeared. I was slow, she was quick and he was dead. She put a slug in the spot I had mentally marked with X before I got two slugs centre left on her chest.

I hate having dead bodies in my office. Spoils the atmosphere. And ruins my carpets. I called Bill, the beat cop. He came in a few minutes, and I explained the situation. He called the Precinct, and they sent a couple detectives and an ambulance. I gave them my statement, a couple of clients with marital problems I was counselling when it went off the rails. Murder and self-defense.

After they left and the ambulance had collected the stiffs, Bill says to me, “Marriage counselling is not a line of work I would recommend for you, though you certainly solved their problems.”

Now to get the janitor to clean up the mess. I call him “G-spot” because I can never find him. When he showed up in an hour it was without his cleaning supplies and he had to go hunting for them all over the building. He couldn’t organize a drunken brawl at an Irish wake.

By this time I had given up my idea of TV Evangelism. John Oliver talked me out of it. . I think I’ll go into beekeeping. Of course, with my luck, the bees will be allergic to pollen and break out in hives.

The sun is up and I’m starved. And slightly hung over. I’m going to nip over to the café down the street and grab some food. There is a cute waitress there, who likes me. She isn’t too bright, which counts in my favour. She thinks LBJ is Spanish for fellatio. And besides, at Sam n Ella’s Diner, the breakfast is to die for.

Monday, May 1, 2023

Taking a Cue from Yellow Dog Granny

 Yellow Dog Granny has the best humour and political meme blog on the internet. Too many of the political memes make you laugh, cry, rage in anger at the same time. 

A "friend" was cleaning out her computer and sent me a bunch of memes. I'm inflicting them on you to clean out my computer. Some are actually funny, some clever and some stupid. Enjoy.