Out of Commission

I was incommunicado last night.  Not because I wanted time alone or needed to zone out. Not because I didn’t want any distractions while I gathered my thoughts. Nope.

I was incommunicado last night because I left my cell phone at work, and longtime readers will know that I no longer own a landline.

Henry and I go into safety mode, covering ourselves with blankets to protect from possible disasters. "Oh, bother," he says.

Without a phone to use in case of emergency, Henry and I do all we can to stay safe, which includes covering ourselves with blankets to protect from possible disasters. “Oh bother,” Henry sighs.

So, I was out of commission. Had I been a contestant on the show, Who Wants to be a Millionaire? I would not have been able to phone my lifeline.

Which is why I immediately went into action.  I sent an e-blast to all my friends alerting them of my unavailability to talk should they have a hankering to do so.

They never do.

I sent an email to all my credit card companies, should they want to call me to discuss a, ahem, late payment or something, and let them know that I’d be unreachable.

I then sent a desperate email to my children. “In case you need me, as I’m sure you will, I beg of you to please email me as my phone was inadvertently left in the office.”

I was certain they’d respond lickety-split and commiserate with my lack of phone. I even took my iPad with me on my walk with Henry, my Cavalier King Charles Spaniel, as I didn’t want to miss their email while I was out and about.

Of course, they didn’t write. Though, a few hours later I did get a short reply from my son. “Okay,” is all he wrote.

Okay?? Didn’t he grasp the seriousness of the situation, and how, should something terrible happen, there’d be no way of notifying me and no way of asking me to bring the bail money? This was a grave matter, indeed!

On the other hand, what if something happened to me?? How would I get word out? What if I fell down the stairs or tripped in the bathtub? And, as I gasped for breath, dragging myself across the room, and digging my nails into the carpet to help pull me along, there’d be no phone to reach for and no 9-1-1 to call and send help!

I suppose I could send out smoke signals through my gas fireplace, but it hasn’t been working of late. I could attach a can of Diet Coke around Henry’s neck and send him off into the dark of night in the hopes he’d bring back help, but Henry would no doubt get distracted and fall in a heap on the grass to take a nap.

Dash it all! When did I become a slave to my cell phone??

So, what was I to do?  Well, I did what any practical person would do in such a case as this. I battened down the hatches, hook, line and sinker.  I got into bed, with a blanket wrapped tightly around me to make sure I’d get into no accidents. Henry, begrudgingly followed suit and curled up beside me. I left all the lights on to ward off burglars. We didn’t budge all night. At least I didn’t. I stayed awake, keeping my eyes open to ensure no funny business would go on while I slept. Meanwhile, Henry fell asleep within minutes and snored the night away.

I did all I could to make sure we survived the night, without needing to call 9-1-1.

The next morning I drove ever so slowly to work, to avoid getting into an accident. Cars wildly honked at me. Someone even cursed and muttered something about holding up traffic, but I didn’t care. Safety first, after all. Life is challenging enough, and even more so without a phone handy.

Finally, I arrived at work and headed to my office. There was my phone, nonchalantly lying on my desk, and I swear it gave me a wink.

And, that was that. Another catastrophe averted. Oh and by the way, in case you’re wondering, The Fish Who Came to Dinner, is alive and well! And, also, still here. Sigh.

Now tell me, how do you manage when you forget your phone?

Henry’s Holiday Woes

Henry hasn’t been the same since he’s returned from his Thanksgiving week in the country. He slept through his first day back home. Not so much as a grain of his favorite dog food could persuade this Cavalier King Charles Spaniel to get out of his bed. I even pulled out his absolute favorite delicacy, salmon biscuits.

The parlor maid's ward frolics with Henry and Elwood--much to Henry's chagrin.

The parlor maid’s ward frolics with Henry and Elwood–much to Henry’s chagrin.

But, no. For a moment, he raised his head from its resting place. His lip quivered as his nose took in the scent of fish. But alas, he put his head back down, as if to say, “not interested.”

Every once in a while he’d roll over and sigh, and at least once I heard him softly moan, “Woe is me.”

On his second day home, he stirred.

“Henry, get up!” I cried. “There’s a world out there waiting for you to pee on. Whatever happened in the country couldn’t have been that bad. Besides, the parlor maid and the kids think you’re a good egg.”

Henry looked at me sheepishly and said, “Where do I begin to describe my week in the country? With the turkey and the promise of dining on the white meat?”

“So, did you?”

“Not a scrap. The parlor maid’s a vegetarian, of all things, and I would have none of her tofu-turkey. The outrage! I had to resort to fortifying myself with leftover doggie treats.”

“Well, at least you had time to rest, right?”

“I wouldn’t put it that way. There is the matter of he, who shall not be named.”

“He? Do you mean Lord Voldemort?”

“Don’t be absurd! I’m talking about Elwood, the new puppy. Apparently, he’s a Great Pyrenees who hails from France—and you know what we Brits think of the French and their penchant for snails.”

“So, what did he do to you?”

“It’s what he didn’t do. Showed me no respect, he did. Never bowed in my presence. Though, he did drool, slobber and attempted to jump me as if I was nothing more than a rapscallion.”

“How did you deal with it?”

“Let’s just say I held my own. But, frankly, I’ll never be the same again. Takes a lot of grit, sweat and determination to hold such wild beasts at bay. Luckily my royal blood is full of it.”

Full of it?”

“Yes, when we Cavaliers put our minds to it, there’s nothing we can’t overcome, including dogs determined to suck our souls right out of us. Where are my vapors?!”

“Henry, you don’t have any vapors. Anyway, I’m sure that’s not what Elwood was trying to do. He’s a puppy, for goodness sake. He just wanted to be friends with you.”

“Friends? I think not! Don’t be naive, Cook. The likes of Elwood want nothing more than to dethrone my breed, usurp our good standing, and take over the world. In other words, he was prepared to do anything to steal my doggie bed. Luckily he’s way too big for it. And I say, let sleeping dogs lie. And, by sleeping dogs, I mean, me!”

“Well did you at least take nice walks for your daily constitutional?”

“Not really. Have you seen how many hills there are in the country? After walking 50 feet, I’d refuse to budge until the little boy ward had no choice but to carry me home. I even slept in his bed at night, taking up as much room as I could, and he never complained. Good sport, that one.”

“Was there anything else that happened while you were there?”

“As a matter of fact, they had the nerve to allow a visitor, but not just any visitor.  This dog was an Australian cattle dog, with convict bloodlines to be certain.  I stared at her the whole time and it was completely exhausting because I was afraid she was going to steal my imported Alaskan salmon treats.”

“Oh, dear, you have had a go of it, haven’t you. Well, the next time you visit the country, I’m sure—.”

Next time, Cook? Oh no, not if I can help it! From now on you’re staying put. Hmmph! The very idea of a next time. No, ma’am!”

“Henry! What’s that I hear?” I exclaim, in my attempt to distract him. Sounds like a truck coming this way!”

“Good Lord,” Henry cries. “Must run to the window and bark like a banshee! We’ll finish this discussion next time, Cook! Pressing matters await!”

And with that, Henry flew off to ward off a possible attack from the passing truck.

So, how do your pets fare when you leave town?

The Further Misadventures of Henry

Henry, upon realizing the cupboard is bare.

Today, for the first time, I present two stories about Henry, my Cavalier King Charles Spaniel. That’s two for the price of one! Unusual, I know.

I, Cook, wrote Story #2.  Then, just as I was getting ready to post it, one of my readers, Robert, wrote his own story about Henry, on account that I’ve been sick (as everyone knows–thanks to my Sicko in Seattle post), and he decided that a little tale about the little king might be the thing to draw me out of my cold-ridden misery.  And, he was right. So, thank you, Robert!

Herewith, two tales about a dog who descends from royalty.

1.  Henry Fends for Himself, as told by Robert

Henry sat in his royal basket looking and feeling quite dejected. What am I to do, he thought to himself. Cook is ill and cook is not cooking. What will I do for lunch? The cupboard is bare, not a bone or a royal treat to be found.

Just then, a loud sneeze and a series of sniffles could be heard from Cook’s bed chamber.

There is nothing for it, thought Henry. I will have to mix with the working classes and do this thing they call shopping.

Getting out of the basket, he put his crown on its stand by his basket and made for the door. He opened his special doggie flap in the door and climbed through, muttering to himself. Humph!! Still no crown above the flap. Any cat or dog could use it, not realising it’s just for royalty.

Outside, he debated whether to head left or right, and decided right, as the sun would then shine on his good side. Trotting down the sidewalk, he came to a grocery store. He walked through the door and was promptly picked up and put outside again. After this happened three times, he sat and barked. How dare they not let him in! He was royalty, after all. Then, he spotted the notice on the door that said,

“NO DOGS EXCEPT BLIND GUIDE DOGS ALLOWED.”

Stupid sign, Henry muttered to himself, wondering, how can blind dogs read?

Dejected, he made his way home, and climbing through the dog flap, he smelt something nice. He smelt cooking!!!

Cook looked down at Henry, lying in his basket. “Henry, lunch is ready.”

Henry barked in joy and made his way to his bowl. He must have been imagining it. He must be cracking up!!!


2. Henry’s Thanksgiving in the Country, as told by me, Cook

This morning, I told Henry that it’s time to pack up his bags. For, I’m heading to Chicago to visit my daughter, my brother and his family.  It’s Thanksgiving soon and, while I’m away, Henry’s going to spend the holiday in the country. And, by country I mean he’s going to my friend, Trisha’s house, which isn’t in the country at all.

But, Henry thinks it is, as Trisha–or the scullery maid, as he calls her–has an ample backyard, with lots of room to roam and wonder. She also has a horse in a stable somewhere, which Henry has visited before. So, as I tell him about his impending trip, it’s clear he’s mulling it over in his head.

“Cook, will I be going to the horse stable?” he asks quizzically. Henry calls me Cook, because I’m the one who serves him his meals.

“No doubt about it, Henry. Will that be a problem?”

“I don’t fancy stables. Horses can neigh rather loudly, you know. Practically burst my eardrums last time. Got my paws all muddied while there, too. Bloody mess! Took forever to get them properly cleaned.”

“The scullery maid told me she drew you a bath after that visit, and you were just fine.”

“True, but how I suffered for it.”

“The point is, Henry, you got over it.”

“Did I?” He pauses, then inquires, “What about the Thanksgiving feast? Does the scullery maid know I only eat the white meat?”

“Yes, she knows, and she already said no.”

“Are you sure, Cook? Exactly what did she say?”

“Something about, over her dead—.”

“Never mind,” Henry replies, sulkily. “Noblesse oblige, I suppose. ‘Tis my duty to let her little wards have the good bits. “

“Oh, you mean her kids? So, you’re okay with going?”

“I don’t seem to have a choice, do I? Though, tell me, will the ranch hand be there?”

“Ranch hand? Oh, you mean Cowboy, the scullery maid’s cat. Yes, I suppose he will, seeing as that’s his home.”

“Dash it all! It wouldn’t be so horrid if the ranch hand remembered to bow in my presence. Oh well, what can you expect from the feline purr-suasion?”

“And Henry, word has it there’s a new member in the family. Seems as though the scullery maid has taken in a dog, too.”

“A horse, a cat and now a dog?? Should make for a rather chaotic visit, if you ask me,” muses Henry, adding, “So, when exactly are you returning?”

Sigh. Summing up every ounce of patience, I glibly reply,

“Henry, I’ll be returning soon enough and that’s all you need to know.”

“Fine,” he snorts. “Abandon me to the country if you need to, but please, whatever you do, don’t put this in your blog. I have a reputation to maintain. No one need know that you’ve put me in a mood or that I’m pulling a face. Especially not the scullery maid. Don’t want to start off on the wrong paw, you know.”

Henry prepares for his journey to “the country.”

“Yikes. Too late,” I say. “Already posted.”

“Is that so? Then, make sure they also know how utterly delighted I am, too. In fact, I’m going to don my purple fascinator to show my joy.  I’m going to the country! Maybe I’ll blog about it, too!”

“Sarcasm doesn’t become you, Henry.”

And just like that, Henry leaves the room to fetch his petite chapeau.

Happy Thanksgiving from Henry and me!

Now tell me. Whether or not you celebrate, what are your plans this coming week?

Puppy Fever!

Ash and Josie

Puppy Fever has arrived at the office. Much like Spring Fever or the ticking biological clock—the one that makes you want babies—but instead of wanting babies–we want puppies!

It all started with Ash. She got a bee in her bonnet that she wanted a puppy and soon she took to regaling us with stories of puppies. Puppy this and puppy that and at first we paid her no mind, but soon she was showing us oodles and oodles of pictures of puppies, and you’ve got to admit, presented with a cute puppy, it’s hard not to fawn and sigh with joy—even if it is only a photo.

So, before you knew it, Ash had us all talking about puppies. And by all of us, I mean, us women in the office, and even Jack, our sole male, who’s been known to tweet using the following hashtag:

#TheStrugglesofBeingtheOnlyManintheOutreachDepartment

Whew!

Anyway, I swear I’ve seen Jack get all gooey-eyed when shown a video of a sweet little dog frolicking in the grass. And, I don’t believe him for a moment when he says, it’s just allergies.

So, one day, I said to Ash, after hearing her go on and on about a certain Morkie puppy that she really, really wanted (and for those not in the know, that’s one of those hybrid dogs or designer mutts, as I call them), half Maltese and half Yorkie,

“Okay, Ash, let’s go look at your puppy.”

Ash did one of those double takes that you see happen in cartoons, where they look away and then, they look right back at you with their eyes as wide as saucers, wondering if you really meant it and getting excited in case you do.

“WHAT??!” she asked exuberantly. I could hear her heart pounding from across the room.

Clare wants a puppy, too!

“Let’s go! Today at lunch, we’ll go see your puppy, the one you want.”

So, Ash, Clare and I piled into her car. (Trisha was out sick that day and Jack was nowhere in sight, while Laura had already gone to lunch). And, off we went.

Well, we were there in five minutes flat, and it took less than 30 seconds for all of us to fall head over heels in love with Ash’s Morkie.  And, while she went back and forth, trying to figure out whether or not to adopt the little thing, I said,

“Ash, if you don’t walk out with that puppy today, I’m taking her.”

Because suddenly, just like that, even though I didn’t mean to, I’d become another victim of puppy fever!  After all, doesn’t my Cavalier King Charles Spaniel deserve a little companion–a sidekick? Someone who’ll play Dr. Watson to his Sherlock? Rather, a mini-me, puppy-in-waiting?

Well, Ash didn’t get the Morkie that day, but she went back two more times to have a look-see (four times, in all–but who’s counting?). And, she took her boyfriend so he could give his input, and before you knew it the little Morkie was finally hers!

I just love puppies!

So, now Ash has her puppy, named Josefina Calisi. (Yes, Ash and her guy are big fans of HBO’s Game of Thrones.) Or, Josie for short.

And, I still have puppy fever! Clare does, too, by the way, but her roommate, who happens to be her sister, Hannah, refuses to cave to puppy madness.

As for Trisha, who was out sick the day we went to see the puppy, she swore never to leave us alone in the office again, because, as she puts it, she’s the only practical one among us (puppy insanity hasn’t hit her yet, but I figure it’s a matter of time).

Sure, Trisha’s laughing now, but she’s tired of all this puppy-love talk in the office. (This, coming from a cat owner, which is why I take everything she says with a grain of salt.)

Trisha says, had she been in the office that day, she would have told us not to be so impulsive. In other words, someone’s got to be the wet blanket, ahem, reality check.  😉

Jack: The struggles of being the only man in our department. Must be very trying, indeed.

So, what do you think? Should I succumb to my serious bout of puppy fever? Or, listen to Trisha and let sleeping dogs lie?

Luckily, DiDi and Bella from Paws to Talk are going to help me figure this out. Can’t wait!

In the meantime, Happy Fourth to all my American readers! To the rest of you, Happy Wednesday!  May the Fourth be with you!

Laura, seen here at one of our events, is the newest addition to our department, and has admitted a certain fondness for puppies.

The Cavalier King Writes Again

Dear Diary,

I’m on tenterhooks, awaiting news of the Queen’s Jubilee. Each morning, when Cook leaves for the day, I switch the channel on the telly to the BBC, in hopes that I will learn more about preparations for the festivities. I pray I soon secure my passage to Britain, so that I, too, may partake in the most anticipated event of the century!

In the meantime, my birthday milestone is quickly approaching and I have not as yet heard what is planned for me. My own Jubilee, perhaps, replete with fireworks and a basket of tennis balls, procured for my enjoyment? A new cashmere bed? Or, a platter of delicious morsels to indulge my palette? Or maybe, Cook has finally commissioned my portrait to be done, with the expectation that someday it will hang at Buckingham Palace. What a fetching swath I will cut when my likeness adorns the palace walls!

To be certain, I can only assume that, as I am turning five, Cook and Valet have something keen in store. No doubt a surprise, in which the who’s who of London will be on the A List, including the Queen herself! But please, don’t let the Kardashians or the Salahis crash my soiree! Most unbecoming!

In order to prepare for my portrait sitting, I am determined to get into shape. Which means, as of today—no, make that as of tomorrow—I will increase the number of my daily constitutionals by four. Generally, there are three types of constitutionals I enjoy: The ones in which I’m escorted by Cook, the mid-day strolls with Nanny, and the rather frolicking ones in which my valet accompanies me.

Of course, the first line of duty, when I begin my walk, is to allow my fellow canine brethren, to greet me by permitting them to sniff my, ahem, never mind. No need to go into all that. Suffice it to say, it’s an obligation that comes with the royal throne. I am a Cavalier King Charles Spaniel, after all. Noblesse oblige, I say.

Each morning, Cook takes me on my first walk of the day. ‘Tis a brisk one and quite exasperating, actually, because it is my desire to stop and smell the flowers, the trees, the fire hydrants and the lamp poles, but Cook is soon annoyed by my lackadaisical demeanor, as she is often in a rush to leave for the day, continuously mumbling under her breath something about wanting to “beat the traffic.” Whatever that means.

Cook rarely allows me to romp in the grass as the carefree lad that I am. She’s concerned about my knees. A few years ago, I had to have surgery for a luxating patella—a slipped kneecap—and the royal vet recommended I rest my knee. I believe he meant during the recovery phase, but Cook took it to mean, for the rest of my life. As I plan to live forever, that would indeed be a long respite.

The walks with my valet are much more to my liking. He allows me to take the reigns while I pull him full throttle, leading us willy-nilly into the bushes, circling around trees, and changing paths as I see fit. Luckily, I have convinced him that my knees are fine and have told him that if I am to get any exercise at all, he must always bring along a tennis ball. Happily, he is an obedient servant.

I just adore fetch, and the heart wants, what the heart wants. There’s nothing more capital than a good game. Of course, I only run in order to catch the ball. It is beneath me to bring the ball back to my valet. If he wants it that much, he must come to me to retrieve it. Indeed, all dogs should know, that this is far more fair than making us do all the work.  After all, we are not heathens. We are dogs, hear us roar!

Lastly, Nanny takes me on my mid-day stroll, along with my friend and canine companion, Lord Shack. The three of us have a merry time and I make sure to nibble at the berries I encounter in the bushes. It is lunchtime, after all!

Diary, that is all for today. The noble life can be exhausting, filled as it is with so many obligations, including walks, and barking at trucks. Speaking of which–here comes one now!

Cheerio!