Frostbite

Some of you may have noticed the weather has turned colder.  It tends to occur about this time every year.  Outside, the dawg’s water dish has an iceberg in it.  The dawgs will lick it if they’re thirsty, but I wouldn’t recommend that you do it: besides icebergs, it also has chunks of “yard” in it.

Dawgs can live outdoors year ’round and have been doing so since they were invented by one of my ancestors back before some of you were born.  But Brenda thinks it is reasonable to let them in at night, so we do.  It would be foolish to challenge much of what Brenda thinks reasonable.

So, we let them in at night.   But it would not reasonable to let them have free run of the house all day while we are away at work, however.  For one thing, we own furniture made of wood.   They would eat it.  The upholstered parts would be shredded and scattered about.  For the life of me, I cannot connect with the reasoning behind such behavior, but you could safely bet your paycheck that it would happen.

For another, they’d set off the burglar alarm.  While they are thieves and scalawags, They are not burglars.  They are not yet old enough to be that sneaky, but it will come to them with some education and experience.  With a congressman, we usually see it occurring after re-election: their freshman term being almost entirely used to find out if they’ll be allowed to remain members of the club.   I use this comparison with caution because I don’t want you to think I’m slandering dawgs in general.

It was time for me to leave the house the other morning, so I went to put out the dawgs.  The thermometer was…well, it was blaspheming.  It had dropped down below sanity and was challenging any potential benefit of clothing less than three or four layers thick.   If you let your toes get cold, they will stay cold all day and cause any part of your body that might be warm to go unnoticed.  Dawgs differ from man in that they have the same footwear winter and summer–none.  This is fine for most proper dawgs, and is their lawful right to be so attired.

People often describe winter as “bleak”, and when in that frame of mind a person can think negatively.  One can conjure up demons of regret should thoughts of sins of omission related to lack of preparation for the season pop into one’s head.  I usually have no regrets although most folk who know me think I should have many, and have stories to back up their opinions.

Standing in the cold doorway, I thought of a regret.  I’d recently thrown away some old socks–several pairs in fact, and wished them back and to have all of them on my feet at that moment.  My wife praised me when I’d discarded them considering it a sensible act– something I’m seldom accused of.

She thinks me to be a bit of a pack rat, but you never know when some old rusty paper clip with a piece of dental floss tied around it will come in handy.  I have an old coffee can out in the garage with a cracked plastic lid.  One of these days I’m going to epoxy that lid.  You can use such a device for storing paper clips, bottle caps and other fine collectibles.

Maybe I should give my wife some credit.  After all, the last three pairs of socks I’d thrown away were probably somewhat beyond utility.  You could see through them…you could have read the newspaper through them for that matter.  Those who know me will be satisfied that those socks were beyond mending or darning:  darn being too mild an expression.

When I opened the door, the cold winter air solidified the moisture in my mustache and  nose hairs.  I didn’t dare touch my face fearing it would break off and fall on the floor.  If that had happened I’m sure the puppies would’ve eaten it before I could pick it up and put it back on.

I think it was cold enough to solidify nitrogen out there, and I tried not to breathe because my lungs prefer the air to be in a gaseous state.  Even cigars have to be reduced to smoke before they reach their marginal utility, much less their full potential.

While a heavy frost was forming on the toes of my work shoes, I motioned for the puppies to make their exit.  Lila Bea went obediently out.  She is a mutt Yellow Labrador Retriever and has hair like the Good Lord intended.

Sir Benson Zipper De Doo Dah is a Boston Terrier.   All the attributes that help wolves survive have been bred out of them.  He has about as much hair as a private in the Marine Corps has at Paris Island.  He doesn’t resemble a wolf.  He looks more like a small pig in a tuxedo dressed for dinner at a fine Caribbean night club on a summer’s eve.  Suffice it to say that Boston Terriers were not bred to hunt polar bears.  If anything, they were bred to hunt dawg biscuits that might be hiding in an apron pocket, or behind a recliner in a well heated living room.

Zipper took a step back away from the door.  He wanted no part of the out-of-doors.  Dawgs have fairly good vision, and he could see snow on the ground.  Dawgs also have a fantastic sense of smell, and Zipper sensed that Jack Frost had already marked the territory.

I gave Zipper a nudge towards the door, but he protested.  I nudged him again, but he had taken an attitude that would best be described as, well…as dogmatic.  The winter conditions outside seemed irreverent to him thus motivating him to remain prayerfully inside the sanctuary of my den.  That’s when he put his mouth on my ankle.  Frostbite!  Surprisingly, it didn’t break his teeth.

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8 responses to this post.

  1. Posted by Betty on January 9, 2010 at 6:40 pm

    Did you let him stay in? who won?
    Smokie always wins!

    Reply

  2. Posted by M. Amick on January 10, 2010 at 2:09 pm

    It is obvious that you, too, need only to come in at night; and then sparingly.

    Reply

  3. Posted by Mason on January 10, 2010 at 2:43 pm

    Zipper bit you! I think it’s time to lay him down for the big sleep. See Old Yeller..

    Reply

  4. Posted by TKelly on January 11, 2010 at 1:41 am

    11 degrees here this past week.
    I, however, chose to take a 4-nite cruise to Nassau….we looked like we were on an Alaskan cruise…temp averaged 64 degrees + wind from Hell.
    Frostbite – yes, but who woulod have guessed from the Bahamas????
    Home on Friday to a 12 degree greeting….dogs still have ice between their toes…..the cat wAS THE FUNNIEST – trying to shake off snow…..wooohooooo!!!

    Reply

  5. Posted by RCL on January 11, 2010 at 1:35 pm

    Our cat Cooper, being an indoor-outdoor cat, has conflicted emotions in the winter. Indoors is for eating and sleeping and stealing my yarn; outdoors is for hunting mice, voles, the occasional slow bird, participating in Fight Club, and doing his excretory business. He has a litter box, which he is very good about using when necessary, but prefers the great outdoors. He does not use his box when Joe’s cat (Jack ) is visiting, because he does not approve of Jack’s “leavings.” He will ask to go out, and if it’s 19 degrees, as it is today, will dither at the door for a moment and then turn around and come in. If there is snow on the porch, he will dither a little longer, and then come in. If there is a clean spot on the porch, he will sit out there for maybe 5 or 6 minutes–we assume he’s calculating the physics along with the Bayesian probability that he can make the leap of 15 feet to the driveway from a standing start. Apparently, the numbers never suggest success, so he comes back in. Fifteen minutes later, he asks to go out again. I open the door. The weather is famous for being changeable, but 15 minutes in January in Pennsylvania does not generally usher in a new season. Cooper looks back over his shoulder at me, with a “I was sure it was spring by now” look and then comes back in. I stoke the coal stove, he uses his box, and then falls asleep on the rug in front of the stove.

    Reply

  6. Posted by Mickey Foster on January 11, 2010 at 3:46 pm

    at least my girls didn’t ask to let the horses spend the night in the house….

    Reply

  7. Watch out where the Huskies go,
    and don’t you eat that yellow snow.

    Frank Zappa

    Reply

  8. Posted by Marlene Humberd on January 27, 2012 at 4:10 pm

    For Zipper’s sake, I hope you had your shots! At least you had the new socks on …a little more padding to cushion the bite for him . What’s with the sock thing? David is the same way… though the last year or so, he will throw away a sock, if the heel is gone . That leaves us with assorted single socks that come close( after looking at the color under an electron microscope) to matching something in his sock drawer . This Christmas I gave him 6 pairs of Navy and 6 pairs of brown and threw out all the old socks . Now , he can match them up without supervision.; ) Sorting and organizing the coffee cans in the garage full of left-over screws and nails ….maybe a gift… for next Christmas ! Sending Brenda info on Pack Rats Anonymous Support Group….later.

    Reply

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