Sunday, April 26, 2015

My life with Oreo


When God closes a door, somewhere he opens a window.                                                          
 The sound of Music

       Sometimes life gives you a kick in the pants. You never really expect it, and it never happens at the right time, but somehow we get through it and somehow, we go on.
Bobby lost his job due to the economy and the fickle nature of the career he had chosen. It wasn’t the first time he had been laid off but he was determined it would be the last. He had to give up his home and move back to his roots. Our mother was widowed when Misti was five. She never remarried, and never stopped raising her children as we were always welcomed back home to be tucked once again under her wings.
      Mom loved Indie but she was so allergic to him that he was going to have to live outside if he was going to live with Bobby. Well cats being cats are just as likely to get into trouble as not. Indie got into trouble. Indie got lost. We posted lost pet ads in the paper, put up fliers, and took up a neighborhood search. We finally went to the animal shelter as a last resort. Of course we didn’t find him, and it hurt, and we grieved.
        As the door on Indie closed, the window opened, and Oreo walked in. Oreo was an inmate at the animal shelter. He had been turned in as a stray and was calling my name. Since Oreo was a Boston terrier, and dogs were housed separately from the cats it was a miracle that I saw him at all. I was already owned by a pair of Boston “Terrors”, Pebbles and Bam Bam. Litter mates that were about two years old at the time and currently residing at Mom’s house with Pepper and Frodeaux. Since I too, had recently gone through a change of residence due to yet another divorce, and knew that although Oreo had called my name, he was not going to be coming home with me.  I talked to him for a few minutes and lost my heart. He looked a little like a prize fighter. Something or someone had taken a bite out of one of his ears and he was missing a few of his front teeth, as well as a few of the bottom ones. He was actually quite pitiful. When I finally turned to go he cried and my heart bled.

       We got back in the car to go home and I called my friend Lance. Lance, who is now my long suffering husband, my best friend, my rock and my sounding board, was in for a surprise. Since he wouldn’t be my husband for another four years and had only been seeing me for about three months I was really going out on a limb asking for such a huge favor. I asked Lance to adopt Oreo. I begged, pleaded and paid the adoption fee.
         Lance, who had two cats, one of whom was Satan in a cat suit, was not convinced he really needed a dog but said he’d go by and introduce himself. One look was all it took for Lance to be enchanted by him.

         Oreo had found a forever home and unconditional love. 


          One of the funniest things I never got to see was Oreo’s first encounter with a hot air balloon. Lance was laughing so hard when he told me about it that it was funny even though I didn’t know what he was saying.

Every year the Optimist club of Abilene puts on a hot air balloon show. It’s always in the fall and the wind is always blowing the leaves off of the trees. It’s always a gamble whether they will actually be able to lift off or not. In all the years I have lived here I’m ashamed to say that I have never been to one. I really don’t have a good reason other than I just never have. I plan on going next year. Really, I do.

Oreo was in the back yard with Lance when a hot air balloon floated over the top of the house. I guess Oreo thought his world was collapsing around him, or this was the strangest bird he had ever seen. He went nuts. Every hair on him was standing right straight up. He was barking at full volume, which for Oreo was not very loud. You could be standing on top of him and couldn’t hear him barking.

He tried to climb the peach tree and actually got half way up before Lance rescued him. I can only imagine what was going through his mind. “What am I going to do with it when I catch it?” “How am I going to get out of this tree?” “What the heck is that thing???????”


Yep this is Texas and not only are we the biggest state we have the biggest roaches too. It seems like they follow water, hence the reason people around here call them water bugs. I just call them ugly. Oreo calls them lunch.

Lance and I went out shopping one day and were gone for a good while. Oreo had been after something earlier and we thought it might be a water bug but with Oreo it was hard to tell it could have been just about anything. Usually he killed them and rolled in them. I guess they taste really nasty. From the expression on his face when he’d kill one and the amount of drool dripping from his mouth, they were not very tasty. Ewww just ewww. Anyway back to Lance and I, we came home and were met at the door by Oreo who promptly spit a giant water bug at Lance’s feet. All I can say is thank goodness he spit it at Lance instead of me or Lance would have been peeling me off the ceiling. The bug was still alive and was running for his life. Lance was doing his own rendition of Riverdance trying to kill the thing. Between Lance, Oreo and his bug hunting prodigy Bam Bam, someone killed the bug and it was disposed of. Thank goodness.


Oreo was a champion swimmer. He would swim down the hall using the rugs as a handy place to use not only to wipe your underside with but to have something to hold onto while doing so. He would also swim in the yard. When the dew was on the grass we could look out and see where he’d been by the trails he left in the yard. Plus it never failed that when he had a wet belly the first thing he wanted to do was get into my lap to share the wealth, or in this case the wet, with me. It was always me. It was almost like he was saying, “since you weren’t out there to enjoy the freshness with me I thought I’d bring some in.” Thanks Oreo.

He never met a dirt pile he didn’t like. He could swim in those too, but he seemed more inclined to roll in them, and then bring what dirt managed to cling to him back inside the house to me. Oreo was a black, white and brindle Boston Terrier. He had equal amounts of each but after a session with a dirt pile you really couldn’t tell what color he was except dirty so he earned the nickname Joe Dirt. Lance just called him dirt but he was still my cookie.


            Lance and I decided that we were tired of getting up and letting the dogs in and out multiple times during the course of one movie. Three dogs on different scheduled barking,
pee-mail checking, and just because they want outside, pretty much meant we were always going to the door to let one in while another one went out. Rather than installing a revolving door, which was an option that we considered, we decided to go with a doggie door. Since he had to put it in the wall instead of the door, it required a bit more engineering and a special part that had to be ordered.

 We purchased the dog door that indicated it was designed for in the wall usage. In other words it had a front door, and a back door with about six inches of flat space between. The spacer that went in between the two doors was what we needed. This was the reason we bought the door we did. So much for the happy dance we did when we found the door. Another week went by and the spacer arrived and Lance was finally able to install the door. The dogs loved it. Pebbles and Bam Bam had been used to a door like this as I had one at my old house. Oreo not to be outdone by either of them barreled his way through it with a small bit of coaxing and a piece of cheese.

I was at the kitchen sink one day and just so happened to see Oreo “stuck” in the dog door. Oreo wasn’t as big as Bam Bam who is a mutant at thirty-eight pounds and Bam Bam goes through the door just fine so my next thought was that he couldn’t possibly be stuck. I went up behind him to see what the problem was and about then he shot out of that door as if what little tail he had was on fire. I looked out the window and realized he had been using the door as a blind. He was watching the birds in the birdbath and waiting until the just the right moment to spring out at them. To my knowledge he didn’t catch one that day but it certainly wasn’t for lack of ingenuity on his part.


            Oreo was very protective of his toys. Bam Bam has always been a cuddler. He cuddles his toys like a security blanket. Sometimes he takes them outside with him even though he isn’t supposed to. This is where Oreo comes in. He is like the toy police. He picks up discarded toys and brings them in with him.

            Lance’s granddaughter, who was three or four at the time, came to visit. In his eyes, she made the mistake of picking up one of the toys to play with him. He wasn’t going to stand for that so Oreo spent the entire time hiding his toys from her. He even took Bam Bam’s away from him and hid it.

Lance had bought him a huge ball, you know the ones, they are in the bungie cord bins that kids just have to reach in and get one out so you have this random ball bouncing down the aisle toward you like a mutant melon on the loose. Anyway, the ball was almost bigger than he was, but it still wasn’t big enough to share with someone else. Especially Pebbles. She was the thorn in his side. Or vice versa depending on which point of view you were looking at.

Oreo would put his front paws on top of the ball and roll it backwards around the yard. If one of us was out there with him we could roll it for him and he would chase it. If it was me playing with him it was even better because Pebbles had to get in on it too. The way Pebbles looked at it if her mommy wants that ball then he’d better let me have it.  Oreo had other ideas. Let’s play keep away. Oreo would be on one side and Pebbles on the other each trying to roll the ball away from the other. Snarling and snapping sounded throughout the yard while they tried to shove each other off the ball. They were pretty evenly matched in weight so it was anyone’s guess as to who the victor would be. Generally one of them just got tired and gave up. This was the only toy he never brought inside but he would still hide it from others if necessary.

One time we were out in the yard enjoying a bar-b-que when Oreo came out with a rawhide bone. He carefully dug a hole placed the bone inside and covered it back up using his nose as a shovel. Pebbles watched every move he made and as soon as he walked away she was over there digging up his bone. The thing is, Pebbles doesn’t even like rawhide bones. She, spiteful girl that she is, just wanted to carry the thing around with her and growl about it when he got close to her. Such is life with dogs. There is nothing like it. 

Sunday, April 12, 2015

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Thursday, April 9, 2015

Stumbling Through Life Laughing all the Way


I hope I look as good as my Mother does when I reach the age she says she isn’t.        Anonymous

     I was a race car driver in a previous life. I must have been. It’s the only explanation for the way I have lived my life. I was the first born, and I must have been in a hurry even then. I was not going to come out head first like a normal baby, oh no, I had to try to come out butt first. Well after the first 20 hours of labor that my Mother went through, her doctors decided maybe they should use the forceps and turn me around the right way. (It seems that in the year 1959, cesarean births, were very uncommon). After almost putting out my left eye, and causing me to have an eyebrow that turns every which way but the right way, I came into the world. It was four days until Christmas. See what I mean, about being in a hurry. I just didn’t want to miss the excitement of Santa Claus.
     The great thing about being a Christmas baby, you get to open presents on your birthday while your little brother gets to watch.
     The bad thing about being a Christmas baby, you don’t ever get to have a birthday party because it’s too close to Christmas.
     Join me on my journey as I stumble my way through life laughing along the way.



Happiness is the perpetual possession of being well deceived.                                            

His name was Indie. He was the greatest cat that ever used a litter box. He loved people, dogs, other cats, and pink pearl erasers.  He was a chestnut brown tabby with beautiful markings. Instead of stripes or spots he had circles. We should have known that since he belonged to my brother, he was going to be different.

Indie owned  my brother, Bobby. Bobby lived in Round Rock, a suburb of Austin. My sister, Misti, was going to college at TCU, (go Frogs), but she wanted to get as many of her classes done in as short a time as possible so she took a summer class at UT Austin, (hook ‘em horns), and she soon found out what it was like to have Indie as a housemate.

Indie hated closed doors. It didn’t matter what door it was if it was closed he wanted it open. He would put his paw under a door and pull it so that it made a banging sound, over, and over, and over. No door was sacred. If you were sleeping and shut the door he was banging on the other side. If you let him in and closed the door he would bang to get back out. Misti, after a few days of this treatment, decided she’d had enough.  She got a water gun and she proceeded to chase him around the house with it.  When Indie banged, Misti drowned him with the water gun. To Misti’s astonishment, Indie was the only cat ever created who thrived on getting wet by a water gun. To Indie, it was a game. To Misti, it was war. Both combatants vowed to be the victor.

Indie also loved Pepper. Pepper is a five pound toy poodle who arrived at my brother’s doorstep via an F5 tornado. The storms that brought Pepper to Bobby were the same killer storms that took out the town of Jarell.  Through the horrible devastation, a small sweet miracle survived. Since Indie outweighed Pepper by more than double, he would wrap his legs around Pepper and roll with her. They would wrestle like that every day.  I’m sure that Indie was under the impression that Bobby had gotten Pepper just so he would have a younger sibling to play with. Pepper just thought he was crazy.

Indie was a thief. He stole cigarettes, lighters, loose change; whatever he found just laying around was fair game. He even stole some money from my Dad,  money clip and all. To this day I don’t know if he ever got it back. One time he stole a penny and cost my brother a huge vet bill. Not only did he steal the penny, he swallowed it as well. Thankfully he survived to steal again, but after that, my brother was a bit more careful with his loose change.
           He also loved to steal Misti’s pink pearl erasers.  Misti, who was taking an advanced calculus class, had a number of supplies handy when she was doing her homework including pencils, a calculator and pink pearl erasers. Oh yes, Indie loved Misti’s pink pearl erasers. He loved them so much that he would swipe them onto the floor for his new friend Pepper. The problem was that Pepper didn’t want to play pass the eraser, oh no, she wanted to chew the eraser. That’s right, Pepper turned Misti’s erasers into crumbs. Misti would come home from school, start her homework and realize her eraser was gone. She finally decided that Indie was stealing her erasers.  War was declared. Indie was the target and Pepper was determined to be an innocent bystander.

Pepper may have gotten away with turning Misti’s erasers into crumbs if not for the one time that she got caught in the act. Misti had gone to the kitchen for just long enough for Indie to leap on the coffee table and slide the eraser off. She saw Pepper grab the eraser and run with it. Misti followed her and found all of the other erasers in a cute little pile of pink crumbs. Mystery solved.

That year for Christmas, Misti, gave Pepper, her very own pink pearl erasers.