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.

 

15.04.2018 – Sunday (bloody) Sunday

What’s worse than your Basset Hound drinking his own body weight in water just before bedtime? It’s a trick question. There’s nothing worse.

‘Wake up human, I need to go pee’ 

A quick survey of past experiences means this REM fracturing occurrence will likely begin at two thirty seven AM and end approximately thirty minutes later. It’s rarely a case of go outside and come back in again… afterall a virtual menagerie of night creatures have tramped through the perimeter by this stage… and ALL of these interloper spoors need to be thoroughly investigated via snout, sent for threat assessment and then graded according to suspiciousness and girth of critter.

Color me excited.

‘Are you listening to church music?’
‘It’s John Cougar Mellencamp’
‘Okay… It sounds like church music’

While our Venn diagrams do overlap musically, my wife tends to view anything that isn’t Seattle circa 1990 as straying from alternative orthodoxy and should therefore be (at least initially) regarded with suspicion. (I click next). Kasabian.

‘Better?’
‘Meh.’

In Johannesburg when the mercury dips below 18C (65F) its broadly considered a sign of the end times. In very short order the dress code goes from Billabong beach casual to Northface Antarctic expedition. Also everyone suddenly starts subjectively hypothesizing how this winter is ‘Going to be REALLY* bad’.

*By REALLY bad they mean two days where the temperature will drop briefly below zero. One of those days might also be cloudy.

Since my toe-nails, cuticles and actual toes received a smattering of purple nail polish yesterday I knew I was purple-traitoring (perpetrating) a cultural faux pas by committing to flip flops today.

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But… I felt it was more important to… eh… strut my stuff as it were.

Unfortunately strutting my stuff (and trying to embarrass my wife) meant I clipped my little toe on this… f’ing… bolt

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Which cut my toe open. (I’m not having much luck with my ability to amble along these days)

Soon I was trailing O+ through the mall like it was the invasion of Normandy. (this may be a slight exaggeration)

After about thirty meters my profound and very public display of hemorrhaging  was remedied with a Disney band-aid (featuring a portrait of Princess Elsa) and a suggestion that I should ‘toughen up’. It does not get any less alpha-male than this.

I briefly considered intimating that maybe ‘someone’ should buy me a lollipop for being particularly brave… you know… under the circumstances. But then decided better of it it.

I spent the rest of the day in the kitchen. I made a roast chicken for lunch. Baked liver bread for the dogs. And fried up enough plantains and sweet potato to keep me out of ‘real’ carbohydrates for the week.

I also bought a west African Yam this morning. It’s a serious beast of a tuber (onion used for scale).

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I have no idea how I’m going to attempt cooking it yet. It’s not a very sexy vegetable, I cannot lie.

Apparently it’s good for you.

13.04.2018 – Friday evening

I can’t decide whether it’s Falkor (the Luck Dragon from The NeverEnding Story) or a Basset Hound caught in mid-gallop, heading for the cookie jar.

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“Never give up; and good luck will find you.” – Falkor

I blew the dust off my DSLR earlier. Quite literally. The last pictures on there were from my wife’s baby shower. (My daughter just turned two) I don’t know much about cameras and, rather embarrassingly, I have never even swapped out the lens it came with. There is another lens in the bag… but I don’t know what it does. Wide angle maybe? Is that even a thing? After engaging with the stratocumulus mimicry above my domicile I meandered in a circuitous fashion around my garden.

I took a picture of some daisies….

Adjusting myself for what I thought might be a better ‘shot’, I put too much pressure on my twisted ankle and toppled over, furrowing myself rather unceremoniously into the flower bed.

I lay there for a while (as one does) before deciding that the best course of action would be to make this sad sort of mewling sound. Eventually staring down the double barrels of starvation and hypothermia and with no spouse or canis familiaris in sight I picked myself up and hobbled back towards the house. (ostensibly to make myself a sandwich)

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I don’t know much about light… (Other than it comes in waves and is measured in lumens) but I’ve decided that I really like the color yellow. Who knew.

Ignominious rescue

So… my grocery shop trip by bicycle (see previous post) was largely a disaster and I had to be rescued by my wife. But I did learn a couple of things. Mostly I now know why why people don’t transport goods in this manner.

Turns out the heavy crate changes your center of gravity completely. Now that I think about it, of course it would.

I had to cross a busy main road on my way back. Its has two lanes in each direction, seperated in the middle by a raised center island. While I bunny-hopped the island easily on my way there. Trying to do it with a crate filled with groceries on the way back, turned out to be my undoing.

I remember thinking that the one point of failure on my contraption might be the cable tie I had used to secure the crate to my seat and that maybe I should take a spare cable tie along… you know, just in case. I immediately forgot about my concern. (as one does) That cable tie turned out to be kinda vital. With the weight of my groceries combined with my attempt to mount the curb, the load on the cable tie was too much and it snapped. This lowered the already heavy crate onto my back tire.

Mid bunny-hop, suddenly my back tire seized, causing me to… well… I think I did quite well under the circumstances. If I had been cleated in I think I would face planted into the tar. I managed, somehow to recover, jump off and grab the bike before it completely tipped over. Amazingly I only spilled a couple of lemons and one of my plantains into the road and not a single egg broke despite my reactionary acrobatics and scrapping a fair amount of skin off my knee and shin.

My bike was now however, completely immobile. Flip… Was not not the word I used.

About a hundred meters down the road is a gas station with a coffee shop. I dragged my bike there and ordered a coffee. Then sat down and phoned my wife.

‘Please come and rescue me’.

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When she eventually stopped chortling, she came and rescued me.

IMG_8723.jpgWaiting for the recovery vehicle… at least I had coffee.

Once we’d transferred the crate into the car, to the sound of my daughter chiming in from the carseat ‘Rescuing daddy, rescuing daddy’, I was able to ride the bike home.

Mortifying. Turns out I’m really bad at this downsizing, eco-friendly thing…

 

After that we visited my parents. My dad has spent the last couple of days constructing a cart. I think he felt sorry for us because he saw us pulling my daughter around the garden in a cardboard box.

We decided (because we are responsible parents and because of my earlier shenanigans) that we should test it out on the Basset Hound first. To make it sure it was… eh… safe.

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And although he didn’t… exactly volunteer… I think he quite enjoyed himself.

The girl child however, even after seeing the proof of concept and noting that the basset hound had survived unscathed, was not particularly interested in being pulled around by a noisy lawn-mower. Can’t say I blame her.

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Much more content to swing.

Hide and seek

The little person surreptitiously hid away my keys before story time last night. This lead to an increasingly more frantic search this morning as I upended the house searching for them. Eventually she woke up. ‘Do you know where you put daddy’s keys?’

(Almost) Two year old’s are naturally resistant to interrogation I’ve found. ‘Me, funny’ and then running down the passage, doesn’t, as you might imagine, give you very much to work with. Especially when you’ve just gone through the trash (outside, in the pouring rain)

She had at some point during the evening, likely when I was supine on the sofa and preoccupied with my phone, clandestinely concealed them in her puzzle box. You know the one that comes with predetermined cut-outs and you’re supposed to put the correct shape in the correct slot. (I’ve gotten quite good at this)

‘Hey guys, help me look for my keys’

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‘Zzzzzzzzz… zzzzzzzz’

Eventually my wife found them. She has better instincts for what little people might do with objects of desire (keys, iPhone’s and credit cards). In fact without assistance I would still be wandering aimlessly through the house, likely mewling and feeling sorry for myself. (this is kinda my go-to response to frustrating events)

South Africans find moisture very challenging and now delayed, my morning commute became the aquatic version of ‘Fury Road’.

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It also meant that going to gym died stillborn.

On the plus side I did get my 400% badge yesterday. (required another 30 minutes of shadow boxing and push ups in my pajamas)

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I feel like one of the cool kids now. Whether or not this will allow me to sit with the cheerleaders and football jocks remains to be seen.

I am however, hopeful.