The healing prowess of the Basset hound

I am dying. In the great inevitability sense of the word AND in the more localised, microeconomic sense. At the moment I’m mostly referring to the latter. The progeny, in the guise of the Outbreak monkey, carried on her person a deadly pestilence the likes of which can only ever be propagated in a kindergarten sandpit through the communion of sand, tiny plastic shovels and multiple strains of snot (with mutable viscosity). After briefly battling with the symptoms herself she then bestowed this virulent blight on her poor, hapless sperm-ovum contributors.

It has both her mom and dad down and out for the count. The girl tempest is however healthy again and operating at her usual 105% capacity (which is adding to the general sense of misery) At the moment I’m tagged in to achieve some mattress time while the wife grinds out suicide hour and the parent of the year achievement award. (Because I’m the male of the species my symptoms are deemed more severe and incapacitating, also my mewling is louder and more frequent which almost guarantees me quarantine)

Unfortunately it’s not all camomile tea, Netflix and sleepy time. The basset hound thinks he has healing prowess. Whenever anyone in our household is sick, Dr D. will dutifully come and… well, cry at your beside until you lift him up onto the bed. (Our household is not a believer in equal-heights) He will then attempt to ‘heal’ you (with his body weight). Theres nothing quite like a canine mandated recovery that comes with a 25kg cement bag digging into your spleen and obstructing the peristalsis of your small intestine…. I wouldn’t recommend it personally.

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The German Shepherd, although not an innate healer, feels left out and soon adds her massive girth to the equation. Eventually everyone is snoring loudly… except for the intended recipient of said healing, who as well as being sick, is now also, extremely uncomfortable.

I vaguely wonder where it all started to go wrong for me? Lying there, crushed by the symptoms of the common cold, this has turned into a time for meaningful reflection. Especially now that the trajectory of my entire weekend has now been called into doubt. I have a sneaky suspicion it’s not going to be very exciting. And may, potentially end with my demise. If you don’t hear from me again, know that I went out swinging. Okay, thats probably not true. While I endeavoured to fight them on beaches (and on the landing grounds)… I probably slipped on some toddler type detritus in the middle of the night, fell and smacked my head on the edge of the toilet… an ignominious end for one so mighty.

If at all possible I’d like a lone piper, preferably bespoke in Campbell tartan playing amazing grace while my body is stuffed into one of Elon Musks rockets, and fired off into space. When the universe contracts again I wish to arrive before my peers. I am weirdly competitive that way…

Inspection…

Yeah I think I’ve found your problem right here… It’s a basshole.

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Two year olds are awesome. I’d love to be that inquisitive again.

If the feeling takes you that you should like to inspect the basset hounds… eh… rusty sheriffs badge, you should likely do so.

My first reaction, sitting nearby on the lip of the sandpit, was ‘no, that’s gross’. But I caught myself just in time. I don’t really want to stifle that natural curiosity and interest. Besides it’s not really gross, she’s just having a gander… and he keeps his chocolate starfish pretty damn sparkly*

*annoyingly, that… eh… maintenance, is done with loud slurping noises every night just before bed time. Nothing like that melodic sound to lull you to sleep.

Josh Waitzkin (chess guy – ju-jitsu guy I like) has a great parenting theory. He’s particularly careful about his use of adjectives when he’s talking to his progeny.

He uses the example of the weather. If his kid wants to play outside and it’s stormy out, he doesn’t say the weather is ‘bad’. It’s just weather. In any event I’m trying to live that philosophy. It’s not a disgusting spider that you need to be scared of… It’s just a spider. Let’s have a look at it. And then put it outside. (Admittedly this was a little more challenging with a black widow the other day)

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This sort of language is harder than it sounds. We are very conditioned in our responses, describing things on autopilot, ascribing adverbs and adjectives with almost no consideration. I only realised how broadly negative my language was until I paused to take cognisance of what I was saying.

I still mess it up quite regularly. But I am trying to get better at this.

Keen insight

‘That’s not a dog, that’s a basset’

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My two year old daughter already knows that a Basset Hound is… something else… definitely NOT a dog though.

Took me much, much longer to realize this. (By that time they’ve already integrated themselves at the pinnacle of the household hierarchy and are impossible to usurp)

Don’t let that laughable exterior and amusing gait fool you, inside lurks exceptional cunning and will.

 

The grim reality of Basset Hound ownership

I swallowed a bug.

That is a bit of a misnomer. It’s more like I inhaled a bug. I can feel it crawling around in my alveoli. Well more likely flailing around in the sticky gumbo, like some world war one trench fighter, slowly succumbing to the undertow of muck that coats the inside of my lung. I can feel its death rattle though… and its upsetting me. Die already.

This caps off my crowning achievement for the day. Which was wrestling a half decomposed rat away from the Basset Hound before he could eat it. It came apart while we grappled for ownership of said rodent. I then had to pry his jaws open with my fingers to extract the other half before he gulp-gulp-swallowed.

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This is still better than the dead bloated toad he tried eat once. But not worse than the time he found human feces in the park… and rolled in it. That was truly a vomit inducing affair.

I felt I needed to share my pain.

Just another manic Monday…

Like the Bangles song. (Although I always preferred Walk like an Egyptian)

Day three without caffeine. I’ve gone cold turkey since Saturday. So you can imagine how my day is going? In a nutshell, its not going well. Ha ha. Usually by this time I have metabolized about six cups of coffee. To say that I am presently ensconced in serious grouch would be a seriously dangerous understatement.  I also have a headache.

I’m compounding my woes by swearing off bread, dairy (which I initially write as fairy because of my blurry vision) and refined sugar.

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I’ve (recently) decided that I have adrenal fatigue syndrome. And folate and B12 deficiency. (This is what happens when you read too many (fringe) Paleo books). I even went and had my first B12 shot over the weekend. And… in all honesty, I felt a lot better afterwards (despite walking a bit funny afterwards). That might just be placebo. Today however, is more or less a suicide day… I feel manic and discombobulated and I might bludgeon you into a coma with a oversize stapler if you were to walk into my office brandishing a Grande Cap and a Mars bar.

Speaking of which…

My eleven year old basset hound is either suicidal or suffering from cross species dementia (where he enacts the strange tendencies of the Alpine Ibex). No more staying up late to watch Animal planet.

I  had just come back from a friends fortieth birthday where two pints of Paulaner Weissbier had me feeling somewhat sluggish. (more than usual some might say) The wife and kid were at my parents house along with the dogs and my daughter was playing upstairs in my old bedroom. I took the opportunity to lie down on the sofa in the landing and rest my eyes for a bit. I was just about to doze off when I heard a noise that sounded like nails frantically scrabbling on roof tiles. Amazingly my alcohol addled brain somehow managed to piece together in a split second that the sound was that of a basset hound scrambling for grip on the roof tiles above my head. He’d wandered out onto the balcony, circumnavigated the railing and climbed onto the roof. Now he was coming down and was losing his grip on the steep pitch.

‘Jesus’, I bolted up, sprinted out onto the balcony and vaulted the railing with one hand coming down hard on the roof, my right foot going through one of the roof tiles as I landed. I managed interject myself between the edge and the basset hound and grabbed him before he plummeted to his doom. Post event I marveled how I’d managed this feat, not only in my slightly inebriated condition, but also wearing flip flops.

As usual he was dismissive of my efforts and decided the whole thing was a complete overreaction on my part.

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My Saturday had already started poorly with a reoccurring nightmare*. Only this time I wasn’t dreaming. The girl child had hauled an assortment of pots and… a colander from the kitchen into her playroom, upended them and was vigorously assaulting them with a signed Chad Gracey drumstick.

*the one where I only sire girls and they all the women in the house are drummers.

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On a scale of one to ten. Ten being woken up with a blowjob and one being woken up because your house is on fire, being roused by this cacophony at 5am is probably a four.

So much for my hopes for a young Kim Deal. It seems she is destined to follow in her mother’s footsteps and take up the drums. Although I have tried (repeatedly) it seems one can’t mess with destiny.

In other news I started listening to this.

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I’m embarrassed to say I didn’t even know about this book until recently. AND perhaps more embarrassingly that I only found out today that it has been made into a Steven Spielberg movie. (seriously, what rock do I live under?!?!)

Because I listened to Masters of Doom this entered my recommended list. Read by Wil Wheaton. Whom I now love. I looked at the reviews. Its weird when a book gets this many positive (almost to the point of rabid fanaticism) reviews. My skepticism bit flipped*.  ‘Yeah, nothing can be this good…’

*a John Romero-ism I will now use

I’m only about two… and a half hours in. But I may have to eat my words (again). So far I am thoroughly entranced. Can’t wait for my commute home.

NOT a murder mystery

I forgot to lock my front door last night.

Terry Pratchett has this great paragraph about how, in Ankh-Morpork, there are actually very few murders. Mostly dead bodies are considered suicide. Walking in the Shades after dark for example, is suicide.

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While Johannesburg likely wasn’t used as a template for this Discworld metropolis (as far as I know) I feel it definitely ranks in the top five most Ankh-Morporkian cities on this plane of existence (up there with Lagos). The most glaring difference (which precludes Jo’burg from the top spot) is that instead of a brass bridge lined with hippos over the river Ankh (primarily used to dispose of dead bodies) we have a bridge over a train yard. (which broadly serves the same function). Also a bridge made of brass would have been stolen ages ago.

In any event, not locking your front door in South Africa is broadly considered suicide. (glad we made it!)

In all fairness in order to get into the master bedroom to murder us they’d still have to make it past the booby traps (the playroom strewn with Lego caltrops), the vicious guard basset (oh who am I kidding) and there’s always the chance they might trip over the German Shepherd in the passage (who would likely then roll over for tummy tickles). I sleep like the dead, but all the commotion might wake the missus (who will then punch me, ‘Your turn’.)

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Back when I was an (irresponsible) bachelor I slept with a Glock (.40S&W) underneath my pillow, 1UP and ready to rumble. It caused me endless frustration when girlfriends wanted to sleep over. (where is the Glock going to sleep?) Although savvy enough NOT to suggest they go sleep in the other room due to their presence deteriorating the defensive integrity of fort Joey, it generally elevated my already simmering levels of anxiety. (Clearly I had other qualities which glossed over some of the other more serious psychological… eh…  deficiencies)

Marriage has mellowed me somewhat (or turned the liquid cloudy, depending on how you look at it). These days instead of rolling out of bed and into my body armor I first have to go the cupboard and take it off a coat hanger. I also have to waste precious time taking my Glock out of the safe and cycling a round into the chamber. All this while under the added pressure of being murdered. (very inconvenient)

In other news I went for blood tests yesterday. The excitingly named D-Dimer protein test. Which looks for a protein in your blood which appears when you’re busy having a thrombosis that’s disintegrating. I’ve… torn a calf muscle (I think, although it could also be a DVT). My ability to tolerate pain after twenty five years of near constant boxing and ju-jitsu makes me weary of gritting through something that may not be what it appears. Especially since I’ve had a pulmonary embolism before. Which… as you might imagine really sucked.

Anyways, the doc phoned me with the results of my test this morning. Negative (but with provisos). He thinks maybe I should go onto the rat poison for a month… just to be sure… which I’m not particularly keen on. Since I was going for blood tests anyway, I did a non-fasting lipid test. Which was was higher than it should be. I’m more annoyed about my cholesterol than the rat poison. I generally pride myself in eating healthy.

The indestructibility of youth is ebbing away to its inevitable conclusion. So annoying.

An eclectic mix of tags

My day has gone distinctly sideways on me. I can tell because I’m listening to Nine Inch Nails at volume on my Bose. The self destructive, depressed, banging Courtney Love, drugged up Trent Reznor. Not the much more together and totally less angry individual of today. Further down the spiral. Which is how I feel about life right now.

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Motherfucker looks good for 52. Wait what? When did that happen? If you’re as confused as I am there could be several reasons for this.

My excuse (currently) is that the coffee machine was empty, so I’m drinking instant. Which is only slightly better than drinking toilet water. Well, my dogs would probably prefer toilet water (now that I think about it).

I need to take break from the one hundred and sixty four unread emails and the dangerously piled stacks of paper on my desk that are beginning to lean precariously to one side. One ill considered move could spell disaster. Although I suppose it could also spell something else, depending on how they fall.

I’ve been awake since about 2am this morning, wrenched from REM sleep by a Basset Hound who wanted to go pee (in the rain). A quick resolution to the bladder crisis didn’t seem to be on the cards and by the time he did feel the need to lackadaisically wander back, he was of course soaked (much to his surprise I imagine). By this stage I’d irradiated my shadow into the bedroom wall with blue light* waiting for him to complete whatever predawn shenanigans basset hounds get up to snuffling around in the undergrowth. Of course then he wouldn’t settle until I’d dried him and re-furled him into his blanket.

*while I read the Wikipedia article on Steve Jackson. (he likes lego and model trains, I knew we are kindred spirits!!)

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Happy now? Actually… since you’re up… could you bring me a cookie?

After that sleep was largely a parody. I should have started working or gone for a run or something. Instead I idled away my time watching people play Starcraft on YouTube. I still count not being able to rescue Sarah Kerrigan from the Zerg as one of the biggest failures in my life. A burden I have carried around with me now for more than 20 years.

Is it just me or were the Superbowl commercials this year less good than in previous years? (the other thing I did) Only one really made me laugh, part 1 of the Bud Light commercial. Maybe I’m just getting harder to please in my old age.

‘They have arrows with fire… which… probably don’t hurt more than the regular ones’. 

Ha ha.

That is an eclectic mix of tags you have on your blog post there Joey.

In other news I’m going fishing this weekend. I say fishing… but really that means fishing will be happening around me, while I… drown out my inner monologue with Five Finger Death Punch and read comics.

To me, this is fishing…

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I don’t really understand the allure of fly fishing (although the gear-queer in me gets all exited by those vests with all the little pockets) and then letting what you catch, go? Huh? That seems counter-evolutionary. I think it might be meditative for some people, you know get out into nature and pull an aquatic creature out of its environment by its mouth. You guys are weird.

#justsaying

 

That strange intersection of Locomotives and Attack-bassets

I’ve decided I have lower leg compartment syndrome in my left calf. Self diagnosed after ten minutes on Google. Who needs doctors anymore?

Before you knock self diagnosis my nephew and godchild had this really strange malady that was mystifying his pediatrician.  I googled his symptoms and casually remarked ‘have you tested for Kawasaki’s disease?’. No one listened to me, at least not initially, (Probably for good reason) but it turns out it WAS Kawasaki’s disease. I felt quite smug afterwards (as one does)

I don’t really think I have lower leg compartment syndrome (its in my top five possibilities though) but my calf is hobbling me. Not as badly as yesterday, but I have decided to skip my run this morning in favor of some downtime. Interestingly the most suggested treatment for lower leg compartment syndrome is, ‘Stop running’.

My fascia in my legs and feet have always given me trouble. For a long time I suffered from plantar fasciitis, which crippled me for the first five minutes of every morning. Recently I have decided to stop running hills in an effort to be slightly kinder to my body and just run round the indoor track. I am not naturally a runner. In an evolutionary sense I was not the guy who chased the elk to the point exhaustion and then stabbed it with a pointy stick. I was the guy who thought it would be a good idea to jump onto the back of the Woolly Mammoth from an elevated position with a flint tipped shiv, whose survival was only ensured by dense bones, an above average covering of meat and thick cranium, DEFITINELY not mental acuity . In the first person shooter sense, I am the tank*

*Which I always thought was the least glamorous of the FPS roles. Big and dumb.

In other exciting news. My parents rent out their cottage. They’ve had a slew of weird people over the years. Including a gay couple, who after an altercation led to an amusing (but dangerous) scene where one spurned, coked up lover chased the other round the garden with a kitchen knife in the predawn gloom.

Their most recent tenant (this weird shut in) absconded during the night and left the key and a note under the mat. The new people moved in over the weekend. An elderly couple. He’s had a stroke, which has rendered him mute, but otherwise fine (as far as I can tell). He has a model train set! You know the one of those installation pieces that comes with trees, hills, rolling pastures, a village and most importantly, locomotives. I have decided this could be the ultimate ‘friend’. He can’t speak, so we don’t have to engage in unnecessary banter AND (more importantly) he has an awesome train set that we can play with. Also he can’t tell me to go home.

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‘Doooot, dooooot’…. ‘schakka schakka schakka!’

Unfortunately the basset hound tried to murder him him over the weekend. He has general ownership issues which extends to my parents house and beyond.  An attack basset is initially quite an amusing thing… until you realize he’s being serious. At that point he’s already closed the distance and is trying to tear your throat out. He has a special hatred for my parents gardener, who often has to keep him at bay with a rake.

Anyways. Both dogs have now been banned.

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Which makes the German very sad.

*Joey takes another sip of coconut-coffee*

You know I used to disparage this notion of coffee and coconut oil. I tried it for a loooong time and felt zero cognitive improvement.  I’ve started intermittently fasting (my eight hour window is between 9am and 6pm). Last week some time I opened the cupboard and saw the half-empty jar of coconut oil. I figured why not, let me put someone in my coffee again.

Interestingly I felt sharper and my alert afterwards. So there might be something to this after all. Maybe I was just doing it wrong before, clearly the intermittent fasting is helping somehow. Anyways, just thought I’d mention it….

 

Canis familiaris foetidus

Apparently the noise humans find most comforting is the crackling of a fire, combined with the snoring of dogs. It’s apparently an ancestral thing. I can get behind that with out much further rationale.

Currently however I am getting an additional sensory input. That of damp German Shepherd.

I took the dogs to the park this morning at 5am before it got blisteringly warm. The basset hound being ostensibly lower to the ground than his counterpart and the fact that he is also a firm adherent of the ‘let no muddy puddle be left unplumbed’ school of dog waking, came home looking a tad worse for wear.

While I can abide a stinky French man, my wife/his mother cannot. After a brief chase around the garden the le petite corporal was captured, harangued and then placed in the tub of torture.

The German adding her input on techniques best suited to water board a baguette eater.

It’s not so bad, here let me put this damp towel on your head.

After the basset hound we thought maybe we should give the German a go. None of us really relished the thought. The basset hound, once in the tub of torture, becomes super compliant. The German fights you the whole time. Alternating with shaking like a leaf. Which means I have to implement some doggie type Ju-Jitsu on her while the wife does stuff with shampoo and the garden hose.

For our sins (and because she is basically a 40kg sponge) we now to sleep to the aroma of moist canine assailing our nostrils.

In other news I finished building my Christmas present!

The residents of Joey… polis have a new carousel. And they are very pleased with their benevolent, omnipotent, sky god, creator type person.

I really enjoyed building this set. In fact I’m super impressed with the engineering that went into its construction. The whole contraption is driven by a single axle which is then ‘geared’ up to create the rotation of the carousel and the up and down motion of the animal figures. I’m not naturally inclined towards this ‘type’ of thinking, so I find it incredibly clever. I’m ridiculously excited for this years ‘creator’ releases. I’ve already racked up some serious YouTube time perusing sets and watching reviews.

Almost free stuff.

I broke my Fitbit.

…sooooo my Fitbit broke. (Like a car accident let me not admit culpability). And then two weeks later I broke my wife’s Apple Watch

my wife’s Apple Watch broke (randomly)

The resulting trauma of these events fueled a foamy and introspective apoplexy where I raged against all fitness trackers and vowed from hereon-out to track my fitness data via journal (with a pencil) instead..

…that little endeavor lasted about a week before rolling over and assuming a position not unlike a dead bug. Clearly I have almost no capacity to self motivate.

I need colored circles and stupid achievements. I’m guessing that is probably psychologically quite telling and likely positions me on the spectrum of someone not to share a foxhole with.

I’ve been counting down the days for my banking rewards program to assign spurious pretend money to my account, which happened this morning. (I have this thing about not spending real money on such frivolity)

Sha-zam! Four hours later I have a new shiny Apple Watch.

I have to laugh at the size of the delivery box though. Although maybe they just didn’t trust their courier, so they Trojan horsed it. Which now that I think about it actually makes sense to me.

In other news our slide got delivered yesterday afternoon.

We’ve been building a fort (raised platform, whatever) in the garden for the girl spawn. Up until this point its been a completely free exercise. We’ve using wood (pallets, boxes, container dunnage, etc) that I’ve scavenged from work and brought home piecemeal. The only thing we’ve paid actually money for was the fiberglass slide.

Basset hound used for scale.

The little ‘house’ structure was also free. My brother in law was using it as dog kennel but it was starting to fall apart (and his dogs never used it anyway) so he offered it to me. Replaced some of the rotting timber, a coat of paint, a home made stable door and Tada! This corner of the domicile is starting to take on the form of a real Branch Davidian compound (from which to wage war)

Jo sticks the landing. But gets smashed by a German Shepherd in full gallop shortly hereafter.

*fade to black*