Now that I only have two Border Collies it has been interesting to watch the pack dynamics change. Levi has of course, become the new guard dog, the enforcer, and takes his job seriously. In the past he always let River do the barking and rush-to-the-door duties. Now Levi leaps off the bed and runs to the door or at least he stands under the doorbell box on the wall. I’m not sure his wagging tail quite gives the look of fierceness that River could pull off. River had “the look” that made people wonder if he would bite or not. Levi looks at everyone as an opportunity for a new adventure. He’s not quite as cordial as a Golden Retriever but he’s not a Schutzhund candidate either. Catcher barks because Levi barks. He follows Levi around because for him also there might be an opportunity to have fun. Catcher is all about games and fun. He doesn’t have a mean bone in his furry little body, that is, until you try to groom one spot on his abdomen that elicits a warning growl. “Watch the jewels, mom.”
One parent is in an assisted living home and one is in a rehab facility. Unless I am very pushy information is not disseminated to me on a daily or weekly basis. Family cannot assume that no news is good news. Simply, if you don’t ask about mom and dad the facilities assume you aren’t interested. As long as the money is coming in the facilities are happy. I’m not happy with that set up and continue to be a pain in their backside. Why use up all insurance funds on one incident when there is a possibility of future visits? At $200/day, $6000/month-long term care is NOT cheap. I vow to die before any of my relatives have to pay that kind of money to keep me living. If you have watched your relatives waste away in these facilities you know it is a one way trip. When I reach 85 just pull the plug, cremate me, mix my ashes with those of my cremated dogs, throw me into the ocean and enjoy any pennies left over in my bank account. Now ya’all know my plans for the future!
One cold evening I decided it was time to turn on the aging Air Handler/heat pump. The house warmed up quickly and I enjoyed having warm feet again. Suddenly I realized the house was filled with smoke! Turning off the heat, I grabbed my cell phone and quickly called 911. Send the fire department. It just happened to be a training night for the local fire department so Pensacola sent all of its finest men. There are side benefits to emergencies. I might as well enjoy the view. It was determined the AH either had a Freon leak or there was an electrical problem. The heat pump is very old and has to be replaced. The water heater is also very old so it’s next out the door.
In the back yard there are two majestic old trees. Their limbs would hit me in the face when mowing or walking the dogs, the branches dipping even lower after a rainstorm. Something needed to be done so I asked for three bids from local tree companies. I lucked out since one company is owned by a neighbor. He gave me a fantastic rate. Several hours later and the trees are thinned out, old limbs removed, with the result that the yard looks bigger. The tree closest to the house, the one that could incur damage during a hurricane, is called a Living Oak. The tree next to it is called a Water Oak and is considered a “trash” tree. But it is healthy and gives off a good amount of shade so I’ll keep it. This event led to a discussion of future landscaping work, new trees, bushes removed and possibly a sprinkler system installed. For the record, I hate trimming bushes and will enjoy pulling out all (probably) fifty of them. I want dwarf plants, trees and bushes on the property in front and more oaks and Lodgepole Pines in back.
But life has a way of throwing curve balls in my plans. Strangely, every five years my life makes a drastic change. Next November, 2013, I will have been here for exactly five years. I can’t imagine what bizarre change is coming my way. It isn’t always a negative change but I can usually look back and say my life took another direction. Maybe that lottery ticket I buy a few times a year will have matching numbers. Or maybe one of my dogs will earn a hard title or perfect score. I’ll take either one of those changes. For right now I need to survive December 21, 2012. I’m not saying I believe that is the end of the world, but what if that’s the equivalent of my five-year change, just on a thousand-year span. Just thinking!
- In Memory of River 2000-2012 (bordercollies3.wordpress.com)