Dear Diary: Things in my Yard

Dear Diary,

This is not starting off to be a very good morning. Daddy is always talking about how I have such an easy life, but he doesn’t understand the half of it. I went to bed when I was supposed to last night, but Mommy and Daddy stayed up talking for a while. Then this morning, when I woke up at five and tried to let them know it was morning-time, they got mad at me! It’s not MY fault you didn’t go to bed when you were supposed to so now you’re tired in the morning-time. Morning-time is morning-time and, yes, it was still dark, but I can tell the sun is on its way so that means it’s time to get up.

Plus, I had to poop. And that was important too.

Then, after Daddy left to go wherever it is he goes all the time, Mommy took me outside to play. I found a big piece of tree and I was very happy. I carried it around the yard for a long time to make sure nobody would steal it. Then I peed on it too, just in case. But then there was this terrible screeching noise right behind me that scared me so bad I dropped my tree! It was that mean old gardener man who comes in my yard when I don’t want him to and he doesn’t run away like the others. He was calling to ANOTHER gardener man, who then came into my yard too and there were TWO OF THEM! In MY yard! And I don’t like that.

Mommy made me come inside. She said the gardener doesn’t need me to chase him and bark at him, but I think he does. Otherwise, how is he going to learn to stay out of other people’s yards where he doesn’t belong? So I came inside like Mommy said and then barked at him from on top of the big bed, where I can see him out the window. He can’t get me up here.

I should see if he knows anything about the big black dog that comes into my yard at night, though. Maybe he can make his screechy noise and scare it away. I see it every night when I go to my special pooping spot by the tall grass, and he is always there, watching me. I bark at him but he follows me everywhere, and when I get closer he gets bigger! And he has a human too! A big black human that looks a little like Mommy but scarier. Mommy will point her light-stick at the dog and his human and they go away, but when she moves her light-stick they come back! I don’t want him in my special pooping spot! But Mommy laughs when I bark at him and try to chase him away. His human doesn’t want him to bark at me either, though, because when Mommy grabs my collar to bring me inside, the black dog’s human grabs his collar too and they go back to their house in the tall grass. I am very confused by the big black dog and I spend most of my days lying on the big bed plotting how to get rid of him.

I have another attack planned for this evening. I will let you know if I am ever successful.

Sloppy kisses,


(Side note: The gophers are in my yard too, but I’ve been watching them for weeks and they never come close to my house, so I am getting used to them. Mommy says they are not in my yard, but they are standing in grass that I can see from my window, so that means it’s my yard.)

The Island of Missing Items

There are a great many things I never expected to say in my life. “Honey, there’s a problem with one of our back windows, but don’t worry, I think it’s still there,” is one of them. (Because the idea that it might NOT be there – that it might have suddenly decided to detach itself and plunge to an untimely death in the middle of the bypass – is a real possibility.)

One of the rear windows on our car is spontaneously missing. No big deal. It’s just another random thing that we suddenly can’t find anymore. Happens all the time.

Although, in the case of this window, I do believe it’s still there. It seems to have somehow been rolled down all the way (sometime in the last two hours) and now refuses to roll back up; although I have no idea when it would have been rolled down since the Mister and I never use those windows and the dog spent her entire car ride to the clinic standing on the center console – so she wasn’t anywhere near the windows to have accidentally rolled one down. Who knows. I have no idea how to fix it or replace it, so it’s being added to the growing list of things that are wrong with our vehicle. Welcome to island life.

But I mentioned other things that are suddenly gone from our lives, didn’t I? A pair of purple water shoes I brought from the States and remember having in our dorm room… gone. A handful of puzzle pieces that were put together on the coffee table… gone. Various other items that I remember packing into boxes when we left our last house… gone. I remember unpacking them at one place and then don’t remember packing them and getting them to the next place (yet there was nothing left at the old house or in our dorm room). No idea what happens to them in the interim.

The puzzle pieces are a special mystery, since I had the outside border and two inches on the bottom assembled, yet the only pieces disturbed were a dozen or so on one corner. The rest were untouched. The only viable conclusions seem to be A) The dog ate them [unsure, since more of the puzzle would have been destroyed in the process and there was never any evidence of the San Francisco skyline in her poop.]; B) Something, maybe a bird, flew in through the open porch doors and stole a dozen pieces; or C) This house is haunted.

My secret conclusion is that this island is not really an island at all, but some sort of giant dormant sea creature which is quietly absorbing random objects and using them to create an evil plan to rid itself of the parasitic humans living on its back.

Or something like that. I could be a bit hazy on the details. But I am certain it will be wearing my purple water shoes when it’s all said and done.

Things that make me say, “hmmm…”

Now, I’m going to preface this post by saying that I would never support the killing of another human being. However, I do sometimes wonder what society would be like if we just removed warning labels from products and let nature take its course.

I mean think about it: most warning labels are probably there because somebody, sometime, somewhere tried to do whatever stupid thing the label warns you about and then sued the company because they “didn’t tell me that was dangerous.”

Survival of the fittest, people. Survival of the fittest.

For example, I was at the grocery store today buying candles and the labels of one particular brand all screamed, “Do not light this candle near things that burn!”

Really? Fire might damage things that burn? Well, you learn something new every day, now don’t you?

But I did notice that the other brands on the shelf did not include that warning, so apparently those flames won’t burn things that burn. Special wicks, I suppose.

Or consider the tags that come on all hairdryers: “Do not use this product in the shower.” Or on curling irons: “Do not insert this product into any orifice.” …Really? Does somebody really need to be told not to stick a burning metal rod inside your body? That’s disturbing. And who tries to dry their hair in the shower? It’s still getting wet at that point, so I don’t know what the advantage would be in the first place.

And don’t even get me started on fan belts that say “be sure to stop your engine before installing this device.”

Anyway, there are a lot of things that just make me stop and think about what the person was thinking when they wrote/said/posted/created whatever it is. Warning labels are at the top of the list, but here are a few of the other contenders:

2. All buses here in St. Kitts have something painted on them, usually a word or phrase of some sort. Often, these phrases are written in “island speak,” substituting “dem” and “dis” for “them” and “this” respectively, among other examples, so sometimes things are spelled differently than you would expect. Today I was leaving the grocery store and saw one that was surely intended to say “Simmer Down,” but instead said “Simmer Dung.” Yes. Simmer. Dung. I refuse to believe that was on purpose; I do at least have some faith in humanity left. #OISK

3. I passed a car a few months back that had a rear tire cover that said, “Learn to drive and stay in your lane!” in flashy letters. The driver was going less than half the speed limit in the middle of the road. #OISK

4.  Women that will wear a sweater and scarf and gloves and winter boots with a mini skirt. What, do you only get cold from the waist up? How did you manage that? (This doesn’t happen in St. Kitts, of course, but it’s winter back home and I always have to resist the urge to ask the woman what she was thinking when she got dressed that morning.)

5. There is a faucet in our yard connected to a hose that hangs over the rock wall and drains into a swampy area between our row of houses and the golf course. I always thought this was one of several hoses used by the gardeners to tend the landscaping. I found out yesterday that this faucet is connected to a waste tank and drains sewer water over the wall. When I asked the gardener why in the world there would be a faucet installed for sewer water, he mumbled something about draining and a refinery that I didn’t understand, but it still seems to me that water should go from the waste tank to a refinery without having to have a faucet in my yard. Does that sound unreasonable to anyone else? #OISK

What are some things that make you say, “hmmmm”?

JUST UPDATED: Read this post from Sarah’s Brand New Chapter. This definitely makes the list!

What was that noise??!!!!!

I’m not a parent yet, so I don’t know off the top of my head when human children start sleeping soundly through the night, but I do know it’s probably before they’re a full year old. And certainly before they’re seven years old – which is supposedly the human equivalent of how old Meera (almost) is now.

Our problem right now, actually, isn’t that she doesn’t sleep through the night (although sometimes she doesn’t). The real problem is that she’s sleeping TOO WELL.

Right before we left her on the island for Christmas break we had started the bad habit of letting her sleep on the big bed with us at night. Thankfully, being made to sleep in her kennel while with the dog sitter broke her of that expectation (mostly), and we’ve finally graduated to sleeping in our own beds.

Which has only one down side: This dog has CRAZY dreams!

It wasn’t a big deal when she’d mostly sleep on the rug beside the bed because there wasn’t anything for her to bump into during her violent mongoose-chasing spasms. Even when she’d sleep on the end of the bed our legs somehow kept her from moving around too much. But ever since we got back from the holidays and she started sleeping primarily in her kennel, she kicks the walls and rattles the door and wakes me up in a panic at least once a night. And she barks in her sleep, which has always sounded like she’s barking underwater and is incredibly cute during the day, but at night it scares the poo out of me. A few nights ago I bolted up in bed and shook Matthew awake because she was growling – and not just sort of sleep-growling, but really growling, as if she was wide awake and defending us from something.

But she wasn’t, because she was fast asleep and probably cornering a chicken or something.

I’m glad she likes having a big blanket in her kennel. I’m glad she only comes up to the side of the bed to bother me half as much now. I’m glad she apparently has good dreams. But it would really be great if she could somehow learn not to throw her kennel into the bathroom wall four times a night and give her mother small heart attacks. It’s really starting to affect mine and the Mister’s sleep cycles.

On a similar note – do any of you dog owners or trainers out there have suggestions on how to keep a dog awake against their will? Meera likes to take a nap at about 7 p.m. while we’re watching TV after dinner – which of course means she doesn’t want to settle down and go to bed at 10 and leave us alone. Ideas?

Well THAT’S not something you see every day…

This week’s Thursday post isn’t going to be the usual Top Ten list because the Mister and I saw a voodoo man on the street the other day, and that ranks pretty high on my list of things worth mentioning.

This is not the voodoo man we saw, because there was no way I was stopping the car long enough to take his picture, but it gives a basic visual.

This man was pretty tall on his own, but he was also wearing this giant black top-hat-type thing that sloped up in the front and made him look eight feet tall, he had white stripes painted on his face, crazy dredlocks down to his waist and, judging by the way he swayed when he walked toward the street, was either very drunk or under the control of some unearthly spirits.

The Mister says he was also holding a chicken. Creepy.

I really only saw him because I was afraid I was going to hit him with our car as he stepped into the street. I’m not sure what kind of crazy stuff might happen to you if you hit a voodoo man with your car, but I really didn’t want to find out.

Also, whenever I think of the word “voodoo” I instantly think of this (read left column then right):

I’ve never seen the movie/heard the song this comes from, so if the context is inappropriate please forgive me, but for whatever reason I’ve heard this once or twice and it always comes to mind.

So, you seen any chicken-toting, straw-doll-poking, demon-callers lately?

Dear Diary

Dear Diary,

I’m sorry I didn’t get to write yesterday. There was this big, scary noise right before dinner and all the lights went out! Mommy said she wasn’t scared, but I thought I should curl up around her feet and not let her walk anywhere, just in case she might get hurt in the dark. Wouldn’t want her to trip over anything, you know.

Yesterday was a big day, though. First, I defended Mommy from the big rumbly thing in the hallway where she puts the stinky clothes; then, we went swimming in the big water bowl out on the porch!

…and then I got in trouble for swimming in the big water bowl. I like big water bowls. I used to swim in the big water bowl at our other house, but Mommy says no at this house. I don’t know why. Then Mommy made me stay out on the porch and sit in the sunshine until I got dry again. That wasn’t so bad. There was a big group of gophers out on the gopher course (at least, I think that’s what Mommy calls them), and I sat outside and watched them while I dried off.

Then, after I was dry enough to come inside, Mommy asked me to guard the clothes on the rack while she took a shower. I can do that! I am a good guarder!

But then I took a nap.

I didn’t mean to! I promise! I would have woken up if anything had happened. But it was just so comfy up on the big bed and it was so warm in the sunshine and it just… happened. I don’t know how it happened. When I woke up I could hear Mommy upstairs in the kitchen, but I didn’t smell any food, so I knew there wasn’t anything good up there. So I went back to sleep.

Mommy came back down a little while later and she smelled like hamburger! I love when she smells like hamburger! I don’t know how I missed the hamburger!! So I tried to get as close to her face as I could to get all the hamburger smell off of her and see if maybe she might have any on her face still… but she didn’t… and she made me get off the big bed.

Then she let me back up into her lap to watch a movie about this little boy who has this big white bird instead of a dog, and he can do cool tricks with his little fetching stick – like open doors and pick things up. But I think he needed a bath because Mommy kept saying he was Hairy. Poor little boy. I don’t like baths.

Daddy put a big blanket in my dog box for bedtime, and I decided to sleep in there last night. I never liked my dog box before, but I think I might like it now. I like my blanket. I had a good sleep and didn’t go jump on the big bed even once! I think that made Daddy happy in the morning.

This morning was not so good, though. Mommy sprayed my dog box with water to wash out my dirt. I liked my dirt. I tried to eat the water to keep it from touching my dirt, but then I got wet. And since I got wet, I got a bath. It was a sad morning.

AND, on top of all THAT, Mommy put my blanket in the big rumbly thing AND chased me with the loud sucky thing on a stick. Wherever I went, there it was too – eating up all my dirt and chasing away the fluff balls I pulled out of my toys. Sad morning. Sad, sad morning.

Now I am lying on the porch in the sunshine giving Mommy my evil eye look. Maybe if I am good and quiet, she will let me eat the fluff she keeps putting into that brown teddy bear she’s making. I like fluff. Fluff is my favorite.

Sloppy kisses!



(P.S. – To see the original sad dog diaries or sad cat diaries, follow these links.)

Top Ten Thursday – My dog might be smarter than me

Ok, maybe not all the time, but there are definitely days when I stare in wonder as Meera does something ingenious and I ask myself why I’ve been knocking things over and losing things all day long if my dog can figure out how to do whatever it is she just did.

She’s not solving the problems of the universe or anything, but when you consider the fact that she’s a DOG, it’s pretty intelligent.

For example:

1. We brought her two brand-new tennis balls from the States when we came back. These balls haven’t been used by any other dog and are straight out of the tube, so they don’t smell like dog or anything like that. They were in the bottom of a fully-packed suitcase. I walked into the living room one day and found her with her head half-buried under the contents of that suitcase, like she was bobbing for apples, and when she came up she had a bright yellow tennis ball proudly in her mouth. How did she find it????

2. We also brought her a giant-sized rawhide bone – and I mean like dinosaur-leg-sized – from my mother. She not only stole it from a suitcase and somehow got it down the stairs, but she propped it against the bed, jumped up first and then hauled it up behind her because she couldn’t jump with it in her mouth. Physics?? Really????

3. She knows I don’t let her eat foreign objects she finds in the yard, so instead of carrying them through the yard in front of me (sitting on the back stairs), she has started trying to carry them under the stairs so she goes behind me and I won’t see her. It doesn’t always work, but it’s a good try.

4. She likes to chew on empty plastic bottles, mostly for the noise. The problem, though, is that she doesn’t like them to have the tops on them. So, to solve this problem, she grabs the top-end and chews until the cap expands out and then she pulls it off. (Then she tries to eat pieces of the bottle. Not so smart.)

5. So, to solve this problem, we bought her an elephant plush toy that holds a bottle inside so that she can chew and get the noise but not be able to eat the plastic. It lasted two days before she found the velcro strip, pulled it open and removed the bottle.

BUT, there are also days when I wonder if she’s got a brain in her silly little head at all.

For instance:

6. She runs from everything. Dripping pipes, rustling tree branches, blowing curtains, squeaky doors… really anything that moves or makes noise. And I do mean anything.

7. Sometimes she stands on our back porch and just barks at the world in general, for no reason at all. I think it’s the voices in her head.

8. We use her large kennel to block the stairs to the backyard so we can have the porch doors open but she can’t escape when I’m not looking. Today I pulled the kennel back from the opening and started down the stairs, expecting her to follow me, but she stood on the porch whining at me through the railing. I couldn’t figure out why until she started nosing at the kennel. She thought she was still blocked in! Matthew had to go back up to the porch and physically show her how to walk around it.

But I still love her anyway. Somehow. Despite all the afternoons when she drives me nuts and I can’t figure out what she wants from me. It’s those times when I wish she could talk… and then I’m always immediately glad she can’t. There are two primary reasons why I’m glad we got her when we did, even though she does create some extra stress at times.

9. First of all, she gives me something to look after during the day; she keeps me company and keeps me busy; she loves me more than Matthew and she proves that I can keep something alive for longer than two weeks.

10. Secondly, she reminds me on a daily basis why I’m glad we don’t have children right now.

What funny things does your dog do?

And then I remembered

So the Mister and I are officially back on-island and he’s off to campus for his first day of third semester. We got back late Saturday night, and there were a few striking things about our arrival that smacked me over the head and literally screamed, “Welcome back to de island, man!”

But more on that in a minute. First, I want to offer a few observations about airports and airplanes. We’ve been in several of them lately so I feel qualified to comment on their eccentricities. Especially in Miami, my goodness!

First of all, why are airplanes basically the only “places” (if you can consider the inside of an airplane as a separate place) where bathrooms are exclusively referred to as “lavatories?” That’s always confused me. “It is illegal to tamper with the smoke detectors in the airplane lavatories….” It’s a bathroom. Call it a bathroom. Nobody knows what a lavatory is anymore.

Secondly, if I’ve already been through security, why must you feel it necessary to drag me aside as I try to board the aircraft and search my carry-on bags again? Do you really think I bought bomb ingredients in the duty-free store and assembled them during my layover? Come on now; you’re giving me way too much credit. Also, “checking a bag” is its own concept at airports, so when you scream at me that my tiny bag needs to be “checked,” don’t be surprised when I stare at you blankly while I try to figure out why and how my laptop is going to be put underneath the plane. And then when I figure out you mean you need to search my bag, don’t snatch it away from me and basically dump it all over the floor. I’m sure that’s not efficient bag-searching procedure.

Somehow, by happy accident, our second set of tickets ended up being the bulkhead seats in business class, so the Mister and I were pleased to find out we had more leg room and exclusive meal service. However, the nazi flight attendant immediately shattered our visions of complimentary blanket-covered bliss. This plane was large enough that passengers were not required to check their carry-ons in the jetway, like on tiny airplanes, but we’ve never flown in the bulkhead seats, so we didn’t know the luggage rules would be different for us.

The Mister and I each had a carry-on bag and a personal item (backpacks), like we’ve always been allowed to have. We tried to put our carry-ons in the overhead compartments, like usual, but the bulkhead compartment is half as big as the others and was already full of something the attendant told me I “could not move because it had to stay there.” So she jerked both our bags away from me and started complaining loudly that they were past the weight limit anyway, she didn’t know why we even had them on the plane, and that we obviously hadn’t been paying attention and didn”t know anything about flying. First of all, I had all our bags weighed at check-in and they were well under the limit. Secondly, they would have fit fine if we’d had a normal amount of room.

Then, after I had to check those bags back on the jetway (thankfully for no charge), she was super nasty about making us cram our backpacks into the tiny overhead space, rather than keeping them out with us. I understand that is a safety procedure, but she could have been 100% nicer about it and not muttered about me in Spanish under her breath — part of which I understood thanks to two years of foreign language in college. It wasn’t nice, and if I’d had enough confidence in my memory I would have said something back to her in Spanish to let her know I could understand her ranting.

Then the Mister got a migraine headache and nausea almost immediately after takeoff – not a good idea to have a big last-American-meal during your layover. So that was fun.

The island welcomed us back with air more humid than I remember and a single immigration desk serving 100+ people with an attendant who obviously assumed we were idiots and treated us accordingly. I wondered what we’d done to offend her. Then I remembered.

We got out to a friend’s car in the parking lot and couldn’t get her trunk open. She doesn’t have a trunk handle and the latch doesn’t work from the inside. I almost asked if she could just push the button. Then I remembered.

On the way home I kept thinking, “What is wrong with these roads??!” every time she would hit a vehicle-sized pothole and send me and our suitcases bouncing in the back. Then I remembered.

Sunday afternoon we had to eat at a cafe because there was no food in our house, and the sandwich I looked at in the deli case was $14usd. I thought “Whoah! It’s just a sandwich!” Then I remembered.

The Mister and I sat at a table waiting for our food and watched a tourist family approach the counter to place an order. They were confused when the cashier standing at the register ignored them completely for five full minutes. The waitress brought me a panini and root beer instead of a regular sandwich and a Dr. Pepper. I thought, “Welcome home to the island of misfit toys, where the service is a joke and your order doesn’t matter.”

But we escaped the single-digit snowstorm temperatures back home and our flights weren’t cancelled for bad weather, so it’s all good, man. It’s all good. Carry on.