Sunday, August 30, 2009

Coming to terms

I'm really excited about the puppy, but I'm having such bittersweet feelings about Tahoe. I still miss him so much. He was such a diva, like he was born with the heart of a broadway star. Like he did a double flip into this world and said, "TA DA!"

And even now when I sit down to write it's just like missing a part of my heart.

I know I will love the new puppy, and he will have his own personality, and today I finally realized something important--that I don't have to make room in my heart for two dogs--Tahoe already did that for me.
So, welcome home, Baby Boy puppy. You don't have a big collar to fill. I wouldn't do that to you. Instead, you'll have a collar of your very own, to fill it as you see fit. And I will love you for the little puppy you are.

Tuesday, August 25, 2009

The Nekkid Time

There’s an old Garth Brookes song that poses the question of what to do with a cowboy when he don’t saddle up and ride away.
If you are unlucky, broke or just plain out of your mind, you get engaged. But before you do that, you have to meet his family. In this particular instance, his family—his grandmother in particular—was his ace in the hole.
It turns out his mother and father died the same year my father died, when we were both four-years-old. I took this as a sign. He took this as a way into my pants. Either way, it worked out for a while.
Miss Jessie was a tart, tough little blue-haired Baptist lady who smelled like Avon’s version of gardenias and the Old Testament, and from the moment I met her, I was smitten.
After our first big fight, Fluf went to his grandmother so that she might intercede on his behalf. Instead of jumping to his side, she said, “Well, boy. Ya shit in your nest and fell back in it. Now you got a mess to clean up.”
We survived that fight, along with many others, due largely to a little old lady with a loving heart and balls as big as icebergs.
So, when she asked us to go fetch some things from her little rent house out in West Bumfuck, who was I to refuse? Besides, this would be Fluf’s and my first roadtrip together, and I’d never been that far west.
Turns out I hadn’t missed much
West Texas is approximately one billion miles away from Austin, and because the trip takes six hours, we decided we’d spend the night there and head back the following afternoon.
Living in Austin tends to spoil you, and you forget that not all places on God’s green earth are green. Rotan, Texas is brown. The grass is brown, the dirt is brown, even the sky is brown because it’s filled with dirt.
Saying so does not hurt a West Texan’s feelings, because they know it is unattractive, flat and dry, and in fact, they take great pride in the sheer endurance it requires to live there. But I don’t believe in endurance for endurance sake, and I’d have to be sittin’ on an oilfield to ever want to live there.
I’m not alone in this musing. Miss Jessie used to say if she owned hell and half of West Texas, she’d live in hell and rent out Texas. And if she did, there’d be three hundred rednecks waiting in line for a lease.
In truth, there is a terrible, desperate beauty about West Texas, like the Chisos Mountains that rip red and orange through the wide, blue sky.
But Rotan, Texas has no mountains, and the entire town has one tree. It may not be the armpit of the world, but I’d put it in the top ten.
About two hours into the trip, the air-conditioner in Fluf’s truck broke (things always broke in Fluf’s truck—in fact the whole thing was held together with duct tape and a prayer), so we spent the next four hours languishing in a heat than the hammered hinges of hell. It also smelled like ass.
In its hay day, Rotan was an oil town, and the stench of long-dried up oil rigs blankets the town like a noxious fog.
Then there’s the dirt. You would not believe the amount of dust and red dirt that can fly into an open pickup window and deposit itself in areas of your body that, until that moment, you were blissfully unaware of.
Getting hotter and tired-er and dirtier by the mile, I informed Fluf that I had enough dirt on my body to re-pot a geranium and I would not be fit for company until I had a shower and brushed at least some of the dirt out of my teeth.
Assured that no one was in Miss Jessie’s rent house, and that I could in fact take a shower so long and hot it’d dry out the town. Calmed by this assurance (and the second or third beer he handed me), I settle back and contemplated brown skyline.
Now if there’s anything a redneck loves more than his truck, it’s a naked woman in said truck.
He popped the top on my third (or sixth) beer, and announced, “It’s nekkid time!”
There’s a big difference between being naked and being nekkid. Naked means you don’t have any clothes on. Nekkid means you don’t have any clothes on and you’re up to somethin’.
Rednecks are often big time sweet talkers, particularly if there may be an opportunity to see some boobies. I’m convinced it’s an evolutionary skill, because based on their housing arrangements (sacking out on a friend’s sofa) and their financial planning (buying lottery tickets), no redneck would ever get laid.
And in the interest of getting laid, Fluf commenced to cajoling me to get nekkid.
I was pleasantly buzzed enough to acqueiesse to this small, slight perversion. It was dark, there was no one in the god-forsaken place for miles—what harm would it do?
It is one of God’s pure truths that if you tempt fate, you’re gonna get it triple fold. The moment the panties came off, flashing red lights appeared from nowhere and we were being pulled over.
I made a mad scramble for the floorboard when Fluf said, “Don’t worry. It’s just Curtis. He can’t see.”
“What do you mean he can’t see?”
“He’s blind.”
“Right. You have a blind cop driving around town pulling people over?”
“He’s not really a cop. They let him use the light and pay for his gas, and he runs around handing out speeding tickets.”
“So if he’s blind, how did he know we were speeding?”
“He can tell by the engine sound.”
“But how does he drive?”
“He knows the road.”
I clutched my shirt while Curtis the blind traffic cop was at the driver’s side window, ripping a ticket off his handy little pad.
He was a small guy, balding and a slight pooch lopping over his belt buckle. And he had on the thickest glasses I’d ever seen.
“Fluf? Is that you?” Curtis said, squinting through his coke bottle lenses.
“Hey, Curtis, how you doin’?”
“Oh I could complain but it wouldn’t do no good.”
“Nice car. Who’d you sue?”
Curtis offered a wide, half-toothed grin. “Some fool up from Fort Worth.”
Fluf nodded, like suing someone and buying a car with the proceeds was the most natural thing in the world.
And, after about five minutes of this witty banter, asking after Curtis’s mom-n-them, the blind traffic cop bade us goodbye and admonished us to slow down.
He said nothing about my near nakedness.
I wasn’t sure if I should be grateful or offended.
“He really can’t see,” I said.
“Yep. Blinder than two-foot up a bulls ass.”
And then he tugged my shirt away from me and grinned. “Welcome to West Texas. Now, get nekkid.”

Monday, August 24, 2009

Rednecks are like dogs because . . .

Rednecks love a good dog. They prefer the sporting dogs because they come when they're called, they're loyal, and some of 'em will even go get you a beer.

Sporting dogs main two appetites are similar to a redneck's--hunting and humping. If they aren't eating, they're looking for something to eat, and if they're not humping, they're looking for something to hump, and man nor beast seem really particular about what gets humped or hunted.

Which is why I prefer my dogs a bit more sophisticated (I'm still working on my taste in men).

Sunday, August 23, 2009

I lost my ever lovin' mind . . .

Well gang, I finally did it. I lost my mind. I was surfing around on the Net when I shoulda been writing, looking at (what else) puppies and puppy rescues, pretty much anything related to all things furry and four-legged, and I was mindin' my own business when I hit a related link, and there he was. My puppy.

And I lost my ever lovin' mind. Started bawlin' like a banshee right there at the keyboard, right in the middle of an ordinary afternoon, just drinkin' iced tea and eatin' Cheetos, and I started crying my eyes out. R came runnin' in, "You okay? You smash a finger or somethin?"

"No," I said, "I found my dog." He just shook his head and went back to fixing things in the big house, and I went back to emailing the lady on the website to tell her she had my dog, and to please hold him for me, I'd be there quick as I could to come pick him up.

To show you how far I've lost my mind, I have to drive all the way to Louisiana to get my mind and my dog back. But that's okay. I'm going to go pick up my mama and take her with me, we'll go make a little Cajun roadtrip out of it, and come back with some po'boys, a puppy and hopefully, a mind that is whole and fully intact, such as it is.

Puppy crisis averted, for now, back to writing that dang book . . .

Friday, August 21, 2009

Looking for Dog in the little things . . .

I've had puppies on the brain all summer long, but I've been on the fence about what to do about it. They're so much responsibility. There's the potty training and the chewing and all the million things you forget when you're in the thralls of being charmed by little puff balls of puppy-ness. And then there's the fifteen years of another life depending on you--no trips without him or without making plans for him, there's just so much to think about.

On the other hand, there's nothing quite like the unconditional love of a dog. Nothing like coming home to someone who is literally head-over-heels happy to see you. Nothing like snuggling up to a furry friend at the end of a hard day. Nothing like a cold nose and a warm heart. No better muse than a dog who thinks you're the most brilliant writer on the planet.

I think I'm a goner. I think I'm getting a puppy. I'll keep you posted.

Thursday, August 20, 2009

Remembering Tahoe

I've been thinking about my boy a lot lately and missing him so much it's like a phantom pain. I sit down to write, and he's not there, his soft ears near my knee where I absently stroked them trying to come up with something poiniant, if not poetic. He's not there to remind me to take a break, to dance in the kitchen, to wander the neighborhood, to smell the evening news. It's tough to write without your muse.

It's been a year and a half now. More and more often I find myself surfing the web instead of writing, popping by pet rescues, looking for the dog who's out there looking for me. Knowing when I see him, I will know him and he will know me. I know there will never be another Tahoe, unthinkable, I know, but perhaps there will be another dog and another day . . .

Thursday, August 13, 2009

Wishing on stars . . .

The Perseid Meteor Showers are one of my very favorite meteorological events, and R and I spent the evening (well, after working on the house) sitting out on the porch watching the shooting stars. I made some good wishes. Here's to a good year for all of us, full of new agents, fat contracts and that all of our good wishes come true . . .

Sunday, August 9, 2009

The Cavalry Arrived

R's sisters Ida and Martha arrived with little Chloe to check out the progress and wound up lending a hand with the lighting.

Of course, we took some time to hang out, play with the dog and ducks and take a spin on the paddle boat (which Chloe steered) before getting back to work.

Martha and Ida helped with the light fixtures and placards, and

Chloe helped sweep, and then we had a fish fry and broke open a big juicy watermelon to thank them!

Here is the turn-of-the Century Chinese chest that will be the bathroom counter, with one of the hand-hammered copper sinks, and the adorable lanterns that will serve as the bathroom lights! Big thanks to my sis-in-laws for swinging by-don't be strangers--and next time we won't put you to work! Maybe next time we'll have the hammock up . . .

Monday, August 3, 2009

Generations of little feet . . .

So we went out to Cherry Springs to get the wood for the floors--this is the wood from Great Opa's old house, so it's probably close to 100 years old. I just love the thought that we'll be walking on wood that bears the lovely scars of generations of little feet that came before us.

We ran the wood through the planer (it's hard work, finding the wood, gathering the wood, dragging it to the trailer . . . ) and now it look just beautiful. We braved snakes, scorpions and one tiny little lizard. The calves are getting big, and the buck's horns are coming in. It was a good but very exhausting weekend! And yes, that's a three foot snake skin on top of the toilet tank at the hunting cabin *ick*

Barnes & Noble Round Rock Signing

Barnes & Noble Round Rock Signing
My friend Pantera with Tahoe & Me

Tahoe and a new friend at the signing