The Life in My Years

An anthology of life

“There ain’t no such thing as a free lunch.” Everything has a price.
I’m not giving away anything really tangible here.
Everything has a cost. In this case the cost is your time. I hope that it’s time well spent.”

I have a corrupt canine free to the first bidder. A felonious, evildoer who’s been scoffing our law against digging.

There! That one, the white one, wearing the partial mask as if to hide her identity.

Jasmine the tomato digger

She wears the look of innocence but don’t be fooled.

First she tried to dig up one of the tomato plants and then, once caught, she tried to piss on it (thankfully the tomato cage prevented a direct hit).

She’s also been caught trying to burrow under the fence.

Okay, so we’re not giving her away. Our son would kick up a bit of a row if he found we’d given his dog away. The squat little criminal is Jasmine and her partner in crime is Abby.

Jasmine and Abby.

Abby’s not a criminal so much as a pretender. She thought she was a hunter when she saw a bird flitting over the swimming pool. Was she expecting a dry landing when she lunged?

Abby doing the one flap down trick with her ears.

Well, now we know that Abby knows how to swim.

The wife and I are dogging sitting while our son and daughter and their families are vacationing in Arizona

Along with our son’s two dogs we have our two regulars.

My dog Lexi thinks she’s the house princess except that she’s anything but regal. In fact she’s nuttier than my Aunt Bonnie’s fruit cake.

Lexi the lunatic

Chloe, our daughter’s Black Lab is the wizened old lady with the flecks of grey. She quietly goes about her business and usually manages to ignore the doggy shenanigans around her.

Stately old Chloe

Chloe pines for her family; she’s either curled up at the front door or in the privacy of the bedroom. Meanwhile Jasmine and Abby don’t seem to miss their family. I’d say that they don’t give a shit but they’re dogs, and they’re giving a lot of it and all four of them are keeping me busy with the shovel.

It was with more than a little trepidation that we consented to watching Abby and Jasmine, but after a couple of days it’s been a real joy. Apart from the poop and the digging, the dogs have provided the house with some whacky energy.

It’s bedlam when the UPS guy makes a delivery and rings the doorbell. A chorus of barks and sixteen paws sliding on the hardwood as the four barrel towards the front door, careening off of each other and the walls, looking like hairy hockey players scrambling for the puck.

Oh and there’s that little matter about the door game. Anyone who owns a dog knows the door game.

It starts with the dog standing in front of the door asking to be let out.
Fine, out you go.
A minute or two later there’s a scratch at the door. Dog is sitting in front of the door wanting to be let in.
A few minutes later the dog is back at the door asking to be let out.
The most audacious version of the game is when you let the dog out and she does an immediate about face to come back in. Often met with, “Are you out of your mind? Stay outside!”
Well, we have four of them playing the door game (Okay, three and a half. Chloe isn’t so much into it these days).
Certainly there must be collaboration.  “Hey, let’s just fuck with him for a while. Let’s go to the door.”

It’s actually pretty fabulous to have four dogs in the house.

The old fence
Anybody want some free rotting wood and rusting hardware?

That fence that Jasmine is trying to burrow under is on its last legs.

Sometime this summer the solid wood side fence and the wire view fence in the back are coming down and getting hauled to the landfill to spend eternity with old refrigerators, rusted bicycles and the remains of the guy who snitched on a mob boss.

That fence has served us well for twenty years. These days it seems that it’s harder and harder to find anything that lasts twenty years.

A few days ago I did a quick inspection of the old fence and found that there’s something captivating about that rickety old thing. An old wooden actor may suffer from an acute lack of character but an old wooden fence brims with character.

And so before demolishing it, I took out my camera and bestowed the old fence a last bit of well deserved dignity.

Twenty years of thrashing by the elements have worn down the wood and at the same time blessed it with an aged nobility.

Care for a rusty nail?
There’s plenty of rusting, exposed hardware. This rusty nail is an invitation to a tetanus shot.

This Rusty Nail is an old classic.
2 oz. of Scotch Whiskey
½ oz. of Drambuie
Combine the ingredients in a mixing glass with ice, stir, pour through a strainer into a rocks glass over a cube of ice and garnish with a cherry or a lemon twist.

It’s a commonly accepted belief that liquor is an acquired taste.

I’ve wanted to acquire Scotch. I’ve wanted to be sophisticated; seated in a chair of creaking leather, in front of a cozy fire, surrounded by books and wood paneling. I’d sniff the amber liquid, appreciate it’s fine crafting and age; hold it up to the light to admire it’s tawny color and then take a measured sip. No gulping here. This is a drink of dignity.

I’d rather lick rust.

Try as I might, I can’t get around the memory of the nasty liquid my doctor used to prescribe to calm a nasty cough. Sadly I’m doomed to be a vulgarian.

But I can appreciate a sort of dignity in the rusting hardware of the old fence.

Cobwebs anchored to old wood and and an old nail.

Metal and nature become one. A vine grips a section of wire. Rust leaches into the vine.

I hit the nail on the head with this one


13 thoughts on “Fabulous Friday Free Stuff: Dogs, Rotten Wood, & Rusty Nails

  1. Love your doggie story! What a loveable rascally bunch ❤💚

    1. Paulie says:

      Thanks Lisa,
      I could probably write a short book about this week.
      Mealtime is pretty hilarious. All four dogs get dry food and it’s a cacophony of crunching.
      Afterwards they all wander to each other’s bowls looking for leftovers – there are none.
      Thank you for visiting and commenting.

      1. 🤣🤣

  2. Hettie D. says:

    I have this fascination with rusty nails, the black and white in your post is my favourite 🙂

    1. Paulie says:

      Thank you for visiting and commenting Hettie.
      Old, rusted things tend to be among photographer’s favorites. While it might a little bit cliché, like sunsets, that part doesn’t bother me. We do what inspires us.

  3. Love this. As I love most of everything you write. door game – absolutely relatable to this dog-owning and -fostering family. Best line (and most spot-on) – Certainly there must be collaboration. “Hey, let’s just fuck with him for a while. Let’s go to the door.” Thoughts on the old fence feel good, too.

    1. Paulie says:

      Hi Martin.
      Thank you for visiting and for the kinds words.
      Yeah, I’ve been up since 5:30 playing the door game.
      It is pretty hilarious when I open the door and all four try to squeeze through at once. Just like the Three Stooges. Thankfully none of my stooges is a Moe.

  4. eden baylee says:

    I love this Paul.

    Jasmine has the best side eye EVAH! I need to put on eye makeup like her, and that smile, both sly and wry…. I’ll bet she gets away with everything. It’s a pleasure reading about all the dogs in your home, so much for your quiet time, right? 😆
    I’ve read that people eventually end up looking like their pets, or they at least take on their personalities. Do you think that’s true?

    Love the fence and rusty nail pics, reminds me of my youth. Nowadays, with the tendency to replace things once there’s even a hint of them looking old and dated, few things age to the point of rot anymore. I’m glad you chose to capture the fence in pictures before getting rid of it.

    Though I rarely drink liquor anymore, I do like a good scotch every so often. I think you grew up with wine as a kid, well … I grew up with Johnnie Walker, just a spoonful in my soups. Sometimes, my mom even brewed her own concoctions with all the Chinese herbs. We’d either drink it or use it to treat cuts and bruises – dual purpose, haha! Perhaps you might try bourbon. It’s a little less harsh going down. 🥃

    As for the Eagles, it shocked me to realize Glenn Frey has been gone 5 years+ already. FUCK, where did the time go? 2016 was a nasty year, so many great musicians passed away. 😥

    “Hotel California” is definitely one of my favourites from the Eagles, wordy and a great story.

    Hope you’re having a great weekend,

    1. Paulie says:

      Alas Jasmine and Abby go back home tomorrow. I’m half thinking about adopting a dog that’s about Lexi’s age so she’ll have someone to play with. Just don’t tell my wife.

      I’ve heard that thing about owners taking on their dog’s looks. I should be so lucky.
      Personality. If anything, I think the dog would take some of their human’s personality. After all it’s the human that trains the dog. Though it doesn’t always work out that way.

      I have a shit ton more photos of the fence. Stay tuned.

      We’ve been planning to replace it for a few years now.
      We’re down to no choice. Last fall we were having coffee and Cora looked out the kitchen window,
      “Oh my God!!”
      Lexi had found a loose slat, escaped and was in the field behind the house chasing a wild turkey. She was a good 75 yards up the hill when the turkey turned on Lexi and the two were shadow boxing each other.
      It was reassuring that Lexi came running when I called her.
      Other than the 2 hours of so that it took to brush the burs, stickers and other vegetation out of her it was pretty hilarious.

      Bourbon, most definitely. Irish whisky, sure. The family drink for big get togethers was always Black Velvet.

      I did grow up with wine. My grandmother would occasionally make zabaglione (which contains Marsala) for a breakfast treat. She’d put in just a splash of coffee and serve it with biscotti.

      Enjoy your weekend. I hope spring is springing for you in Toronto

  5. eden baylee says:

    Hahah Paul! I think YOU just told your wife you’re getting another dog. 🤣🤣🤣🤣

    I had to look up Black Velvet. That.sounds.awful. I can drink stout, and I can drink champagne, but not in the same drink!

    If you have a good recipe for zabaglione, I would love it. 🥰

    It’s the first day I’ve been in my backyard all year without a hat and scarf. It got as high as 20C (68F), and I wore a sleeveless top and got some sun. Felt amazing and gave me hope we are getting out of this fiasco. 😊☀️

    1. Paulie says:

      Black Velvet Canadian Whiskey. Champagne and stout? 🤢🤮

      1. eden baylee says:

        I’m dying here.🤪

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