When he wasn’t out on patrol, the dog loved to lay in the backseat of my Renault R5 sedan. The overstuffed upholstery was a comfort to him that he preferred over his doggie bed in the house. It was a little after 2 am in the morning and the dog was catching a nap before it was time to do his wee hours wee. He was awakened by a slight movement in the car and was fully awake when the thief pulled open the drivers door and hopped into the car. The dog watched the man rip the wires from the steering column as he readied to hot wire the car.

In my little one room house I was nestled in my bed and listening to Led Zepplin as I was falling asleep. The room was littered with the remnants of an evening with the guys. Pizza boxes, beer and soda bottles and a collection of bongs and a herd of overflowing ash trays were dispersed throughout. I heard a noise that came from outside my little earphone environment and I pulled off the phones to tune in. Then I heard the sound of my own car, the starter turning the motor over. I threw myself out of bed and jumped across the room to where I kept a shotgun on the wall. As I picked it off the hooks and looked towards the drawer that held the shells, I heard screaming from outside, the sound of a scuffle and a low gutteral growling. I stopped mid-movement to listen, and heard the screaming accompany footfalls of someone running. Running away. I hung the gun back up and stepped to the door.

Outside it was silent. I could hear cars traveling the roads in the distance, but other than that and a few crickets, there wasn’t anything to be seen or heard. My car sat in the driveway with the driver’s door open. I reached inside and flipped on the driveway floodlight. It was immediately apparent that there was blood on the seat of the car up by the headrest, and smears of it on the car door. Droplets of blood left a trail leading north on the packed dirt of the driveway. No one was around now, though, including the dog. But then I heard, off in the distance, someone scream “shit” and then barking. After that, it was silent again. I went out and surveyed things. Other than the blood in the car, nothing else was amiss, so I fetched some Windex and paper towels and cleaned off the car while I waited for my dog to come home.

It was a little after four in the morning that I heard the scratch on the door and opened it and let the dog in. He wagged his tail heavily so that his body wiggled along with the tail. He had his usual doggy smile on his face, but there was dark matting on his muzzle. When I wiped it with a rag, it came away red. It took another half hour to clean up the dog and check him over for any injuries. He had none. Wanting back out, I opened the door for the dog and he reclaimed his spot in the backseat of the car. I closed the door, leaving the window rolled down so he could come and go and went back to bed. I had visions of police cars rolling into the driveway, red and blue lights washing the trees with colorful brilliance. But no emergency vehicles came.

Not for three days, and then it was the fire department. I’d called them when my dog climbed a 60 foot pine tree in pursuit of a neighborhood cat. The cat eluded him and left him at the very peak of the tree, whining pitifully at his predicament. The firemen retrieved him with a bucket lift, earning him the nickname Sky Pilot and putting his photograph into the local papers. This exercise would be repeated twice more in the coming weeks. It would have likely gone on longer, but the owners of the cat moved away, taking their wily feline with them. This broke my dog’s heart. After all, he simply admired the cat and wanted to talk to it, maybe have a coffee.  You know, get to know one another.

I never did find out who tried to steal my car that night, but I’m pretty sure the event left the would-be car thief permanently emotionally marked. A match to the scars he got on his head and neck that night.

Easter Bouquet

Gracie’s peeps took the girls to a Three Dog Bakery “Easter Begg Hunt” yesterday. Molly (left) and Gracie were dressed as spring flowers, in outfits that were a big hit at a neighborhood gala the week before.

They behaved themselves nicely and were the belles o’ the ball. (At a previous TDB event, Molly stole Frosty Paws from any dog foolish enough to lift his head for a nanosecond.) There were bunnies galore, but our girls were the only spring daisies!

Indian Spring?

Friday night I had dinner with Gracie’s humans, a lovely dinner highlighted by fresh Gulf shrimp from their recent trip. My appetite is still pretty small, but I will always make room for fresh shrimp. It is the one food I think I could eat til I burst, and showing any restraint or courtesy is a huge challenge. (I came home to find the Bims in mid par-tay, and had to park at the end of the block. Thanks, girls. Looking forward to Karma returning the favor.) Saturday night, we gathered at a cable-enhanced Hoodie house to watch the Butler Bulldogs. They had a rough first quarter. As I expected, they rallied almost as soon as I called it a night and headed home. I believe that made Consecutive Win #19!

We are having what I might call Indian Spring…some gloriously warm and sunny weather, but don’t expect it to last. I’ve tried telling my daffodils and tulips that it’s a ruse, but they insist on reaching for the sun. Molly and her friends have been enjoying much longer walks. I can hardly believe it, but Molly turned 9 years old last week.

A friend told me that her elderly mother, when asked what was new, would always answer, “Nothing, thank god!” I have a new appreciation for that reply. Other than pain, fatigue and sleeping issues, which have been with me all along, I’m still managing fairly well. I know that may change at any time, and I have a new appreciation for each day that I’m able to manage on my own.

Here’s a funny from Bro 1. It always cracks me up to imagine how our pets view us:
P.S. Still no sign of the noctural mammal.

Things That Go Bimp In the Night

Mom & Dad were here for a wonderful visit, but left just a day before some excitement at the Villa! First, I need to back up and tell you about when I first went to look at Miss Molly, almost nine years ago. Her “foster father” came to the door and before he even let me in the house, asked, “You don’t want a dog for protection, do you?” No, I assured him, just companionship. He let me in, and I fell in love with this little mutt, who we now know is actually half dog/half chicken.

I was awoken by something last night. I’d taken a sleeping pill, so my brain had to work hard to rouse me. I was vaguely aware that there was Something in the bedroom with us. Molly didn’t even bark. She just looked at me as if to say, “Hey, you better check that out.” As I forced my fuzzy brain toward consciousness, I realized…there was a bat in my bedroom. (I didn’t get hysterical because this was
actually the Villa’s third bat, but the other two were 20+ years ago. Please read about them here; it’s relevant.)

The bedroom door was open and I saw it fly into the living room. I closed the bedroom door, and went into the kitchen to prop open the back door. Supposedly, bats don’t want to be indoors, and if you open a door or window, they will find the fresh air and get out. I sat in the living room for half an hour, watching this stupid bat fly back and forth, back and forth. I knew I was destined to fall back asleep soon, so I closed the door, opened a living room window about 6″ (it was about 15º outside!) and went back to bed, closing the door tightly behind me.

I haven’t seen the bat since, and I hope he found his way outside. I’ll find out soon enough if he didn’t.

Bats One and Two

I embarked on some painting and remodeling shortly after moving into the Villa. I had a guy helping me, and one evening I noticed he’d left a dirty little rag on one of the cupboards. That wasn’t like him — he cleaned up every day before leaving — and right before I touched it, I noticed this dark little rag had a face!

I called a friend who lived nearby. “Save me from a little critter!” I said, clearly implying that a Real Man wouldn’t leave a damsel in distress. He came over, we made a net out of a pillow case and a hanger, and sure enough, he was able to gently scoop the bat in, and take it outside to release it. The friend moved away shortly thereafter; I’m sure there was no connection. Yah.

Three years go by. I was in the living room watching tv with a guy I was dating; we’ll call him Milton. Suddenly a little bat swooped across the room in front of us! My dog and I ran for the bedroom with Milton at our heels. “Wow,” he said, “What are you gonna do?” he asked. Is he kidding? As I shoved him through the door, I said, “I’m going to wait here while you get rid of it!” (What is it with guys nowadays? They have to be goaded into chivalry.) Many minutes of grunting, running, panting, and cursing went by. He finally knocked on the door, and I opened it to find him puffed with testosterone.

“It’s safe to come out now,” he said. “I think it flew out the window.” “You think it flew out the window? Or you know it did?” “I’m sure, come and look. He’s gone.”

It was gone. That should have been the end of The Tale of Bat Two. But it’s not. Fast forward about five years. My parents are again visiting, and we’re watching Antiques Roadshow. My dad commented that he’d always wanted to learn more about Grandma’s Big Vase, which has sat on top of my corner cabinet since I moved to the Villa. He thought it was worth a lot of money.

“No, Dad,” I protested, “I’m almost sure that it’s post-war Japanese. I don’t think it’s that old.” “Let’s see if there’s a mark on it,” he said, and pulled a chair over to reach the vase. As he tipped it upside-down to check for a manufacturer’s mark, out tumbled… a skeletonized little bat.

With gloves, plastic bags, and manly bravery, Daddy made the little skeleton go away. I had to endure just a tiny bit of teasing about my housekeeping skills. But I haven’t looked in the Big Vase since then, and I’m sure not going to now.