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It is just amazing how much Ruby the Dog enjoys having Uncle Jeff come to visit. She is one very tired dog tonight. :)
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Of course, I'm talking about Ruby the Dog here.

You may remember the invasion of the chipmunk from several weeks ago. The chipmunk decided to come back into the house a few days ago, earning him his new name, assigned by Gretchen who watched him pop in through the open back door, right onto the must-smell-exactly-like-dog rug that Ruby likes to lie on in front of the door.

That would, unsurprisingly, be Dumbass. Because you just have to be exceptionally stupid for a chipmunk to come back to play with the dog again. Happily, Dumbass was easily chased back out the door this time, without ending up underneath various bits of furniture. I missed all of this excitement, not having gotten downstairs yet.

But I did not miss last night's excitement.

See, I had promised to take Katie (and by extension the rest of the family) out for frozen custard last night in repayment of some minor slight that she felt that she was suffering through. It was getting late enough that it was definitely time to be going, so we just needed to let Ruby in from the back yard, get her in her kennel, and proceed on our way.

Ruby was on the back porch, so it was a simple matter of getting Julie to let her in.

"Aaaugh! Ruby's got an animal in her mouth."

And Gretchen said, "I don't do dead animals".

Julie: "She dropped it. It's breathing!"

Me: "Ok, not a dead animal."

Gretchen: "Oh, no. You don't try that, mister!"

Me: "Everybody out to the car. I will deal with Ruby."

Julie: "But it's alive! She's licking it!"

Me: "Go to the car."

Julie: "I can hold the flashlight for you."

Me: "Everybody go to the car. Now!"

Finally, everyone else was kicked out the door. Let me grab a Pupperoni to lure Ruby into her kennel. Hand into bag of treats.

Bag of treats is filled with dust.

Ok, I can grab the Beggin' Strips that I bought at Sam's Club. They're right here. Let me cut the two bags apart. Now I will tear off the easy-open strip and--

The bag won't open.

What you don't know is that the bruising on my injured left foot has progressed to the point where standing in one place hurts like hell. Moving is fine. What can I say?

I am now standing in one place and becoming progressively more furious because I had had to stand around (ouch!) waiting for everyone to get out the door, then stand around to open this lousy bag, then find some scissors to work around the not-so-well-designed easy-open strip. Yes, there is nothing like pain to improve one's mood.

Eventually, I got some fakin' bacon out of the bag and opened the back door cautiously to let Ruby in. I did not see an animal either in her mouth or on the porch. Hmm.

I got Ruby in her kennel and eventually figured out where Julie had put the flashlight so I could shine it out on the stoop. Nothing there.

On the other hand, the brightly glowing blue and orange running shoe belonging to Katie was obvious at the edge of the grass where Ruby had stolen it in an effort to get someone to chase her outside and play with her. I suppose I had better get the shoe back.

And at the edge of the patio, curled up in a little ball, was a very bedraggled and damp looking baby possum, about the size of a saucer. It wasn't moving.

I recovered the shoe and went inside. I considered the chances were fair that the possum was, as possums do, playing possum. I went to the car and reported this to the family.

When we got home, I checked the patio. There was no possum to be found.

We will now see if the possum is smarter than Dumbass...
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(Which is a lot like "Squirrel!!!!", but with a stripey back and smaller tail.)

This morning's entertainment: Katie went down and let Ruby out this morning, then settled in to watch a video. Because the weather is good, she left the back door open so Ruby could come and go as she pleases, which pleases Ruby a great deal.

Shortly thereafter, there was a chirping sound in the house which was eventually localized under the bench and bag of charcoal next to the back door. Ruby was greatly interested in this. There was chirping. And barking. And chaos as yelling up and down the stairs occurred.

Me? I was in the shower for all this.

Katie reported that there had been a little brown kitten there that Ruby had chased, apparently under the curio cabinet. Gretchen looked under the curio cabinet and came up empty, but there are little nooks under there where it is dark and hard to get an angle to see, so this was by no means dispositive. Julie started Googling for "animals that chirp".

No, dear. Not a cricket. Yes, maybe a chipmunk.

Fine. Ruby to kennel, girls to school, Gretchen and I off to breakfast.

When we got home, we let Ruby out of her kennel and she returned to the curio cabinet. I cleaned off the many items on top of the cabinet and moved it away from the wall.

Aha! Something brown with stripes down the back flashed out and ran behind the TV cart. As I had suspected, it was indeed a chipmunk that had decided this was an interesting place to investigate before encountering Ruby the Dog. Who is now, to make matters more entertaining, trying to crawl under the plant stand that is holding the Christmas cactus that came from Gretchen's mom and is well over 50 years old now.

I moved the Christmas cactus, the grape ivy on the other side of the TV, and the two plant stands to a safer place. Then I moved the TV stand. Chipmunk!

Ruby chased the chipmunk underneath the craft shelves on the other end of the dining room. I moved the shelf. Chipmunk! Back underneath the curio cabinet.

The back door is, of course, wide open and we are hoping that the chipmunk will get the idea.

Move the curio cabinet. Back under the TV. Move the TV again.

The chipmunk took a left turn at Albuquerque and headed for the back door with Ruby in hot pursuit.

All critters went outside, the chipmunk escaped, and there was peace in our time.

Except Ruby is still wandering around, wondering where the chipmunk has gone. Maybe under the curio cabinet...

No, Ruby.

*whine* *bark*

*sigh*

All Stars

Jul. 8th, 2017 11:46 pm
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Katie's team (which included the girls from Des Plaines, Morton Grove, and Norwood Park) won today's Crosstown All-Star game 6-5. Everyone played well and had a good time.

Then came very late dinner and home to let Ruby out of her kennel. She didn't stay out long, as some damn fool was setting off late night fireworks. Ruby hates big bangs.
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I walked with Katie and the girls from Des Plaines Girls Softball in the Independence Day parade today in Des Plaines. I'd say "marched", because that's what one traditionally does in a parade, but it would be very difficult to describe this as marching. :) Ambling would be more accurate. Everyone had a good time and Uncle Jeff was able to come out and join Gretchen and Julie watching the parade. Much candy was thrown into the crowd.

Later in the day, we went to the local pool where they had planned many child-friendly activities for the holiday.

Ruby the Dog continues to really not like fireworks. The good news is that it should be mostly over soon and taper down to naught in the next few days.
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I had planned to take the family down to the Lisle Eyes to the Skies festival today for the carnival, music, and fireworks. It turned out that this plan was going to result in more unhappiness than happiness.

Having promised Katie a few weeks ago that I would take her to a carnival, we ended up going to the carnival over in Mt. Prospect where the girls had an excellent time using the unlimited ride bracelets that I bought them. They were able to do much more riding than they would have down in Lisle.

Then we headed home, while I stopped at Mariano's on the way to pick up groceries. We have now had a lovely dinner of sandwiches, chips, sweet corn, and salad -- Gretchen was good enough to put together a Reuben for me -- and a very relaxed evening. Well, other than the fireworks that are terrorizing Ruby.

Apparently, someone needs some more exposure to things that go boom before being a hunting dog. Since I wasn't planning on going hunting, we should be just fine...
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Things were done.

I finished working up the tax paperwork for us and for my dad's trust so it can go to the accountant next week.

I took Katie to the small group pitching clinic today where she acquitted herself reasonably well, given that this was the first clinic she'd been to since the big clinic last spring. At the end of the session, she almost hit the target ball (about a foot in diameter) with a pitch from distance on one try on the fly. Only one of the girls did hit it, and she did it on the bounce. Now, I just need to remind Katie to practice. (Practice, practice, practice.)

Gretchen and I managed to get four loads of laundry done today, which has greatly reduced the backlog.

And I grilled meat for dinner, which everyone enjoyed. Even Ruby, who got the scraps.

While I was going in and out the door to turn the meat, Ruby kept running out with me and dropping her squid for me to throw. Normally, she plays keep-away, but she seems to have figured out that dropping the squid where I can pick it up will actually result in the squid being thrown.

(For those of you at the Capricon SpaceTime Theater show, yes, I have a dog who fetches Andorran Ticklers. Life is like that.)

And tomorrow, it is back to work.

And Spring Break for the girls. We'll see how this goes...
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Ruby has just finished the leftover fries from Five Guys that I saved for her. This dog really loves potatoes!
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Being married with kids is usually a good way to avoid leading a wild life at night -- well, other than trying to get the kids to bed, which is still an ongoing project at this moment. This is partly due to a problem with wildlife at night.

We let Ruby the Dog out to let her clear out her tanks before going to bed. This is normally not a complex process, especially on a cold, dark night. It probably would not have been tonight either.

Except that Ruby the Dog saw the raccoon.

Barking ensued. Barking that could wake the dead. Lots of barking.

I was already upstairs by this time. Gretchen spent some time calling Ruby, trying to get her to come in the house. This might have worked if the raccoon had any sense and had decided to go down the side of the fence where the dog was not.

Instead, the raccoon sat on top of the fence post and hissed at the dog.

Who barked. A lot.

Eventually, Gretchen asked me to try calling her from the office window which did approximately zero good.

What I really needed at this point was old Urse, who would have just eaten the fence. On the other hand, I didn't really want to fix the fence, so probably just as well.

Finally, I went downstairs, put on my coat, grabbed a flashlight, and headed to the bottom of the yard to try to persuade Ruby to come in.

Fat chance.

"Boss! Boss! Look what I found!"

Yes, I know.

I eventually found a piece of debris -- some sort of plastic basket -- and chucked it in the raccoon's direction. I missed high and to the left.

A plastic bucket also missed high and to the left. These will need to be recovered from the schoolyard tomorrow.

I found a big old stick. That missed low.

The raccoon was going nowhere.

However, apparently my presence and intervention with the raccoon was enough to satisfy Ruby who finally followed me up to the door and into the house.

I closed the door. Quickly.

With luck, the raccoon will decide to be somewhere else tomorrow.
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I ran by the Jewel to pick up additional baking supplies for some things that we are making for the New Year's Eve party that we're going to tonight. While on my way to the Osco side to pick up additional Fisherman's Friend for Gretchen, I found a Christmas item that was greatly marked down from its original $21.99 price to $5.49 and decided that I should pick it up.

I am told that Ruby the Dog was greatly interested in interfering with the cupcake baking going on in the kitchen before I returned. The three-foot long rawhide bone has proven to be a perfect distraction for her. :)
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So we've been trying to figure out exactly what Ruby's ancestry is without resorting to things like actual DNA tests. We really think that she's got to be half Labrador retriever, but the rest has been the subject of considerable speculation.

Gretchen caught Ruby pointing, at which point (no pun intended) we started considering various breeds of pointer as part of the mix. And while that's a possibility, it doesn't really explain the very shiny coat or the rather fluffy undercoat that Gretchen has noticed.

And about a week ago, I took a good look at Ruby's tail. This is not the tail of a pointer or a Labrador retriever. This tail is sort of halfway to being feathered, with a curve of hair sticking down from about halfway down the tail and curving back to the tip. I recognize that tail conformation. That's a setter tail.

Well, a setter will point in much the same way that a pointer will, so that's consistent.

I'm strongly suspecting that Ruby is half Lab and half Irish setter. And here, for example, is a dog looking very much like Ruby, save for the fact that the Lab was obviously a chocolate Lab instead of a black Lab.

Could be...
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Before lunch, Katie and I went out in the backyard and cleaned up the ruins of the chair cushion that Ruby had shredded. The yard looks much better as a result.

The first thing to do after lunch was to pop the bad board off of the front gate, replace it with a new one from the garage, and chop it off with the fake Sawzall. Then I cut the piece of PVC pipe to the right length to make Pearl's staff for Katie's Halloween costume, as long as the Sawzall was out. Then I headed upstairs and went to work restoring Katie's computer, which had developed a distinct case of misbehavior, probably due to Katie having forcibly powered it down in the middle of Yet Another Windows 10 Update. This took hours, but the room has a TV, so I got to watch the Nats beat the Dodgers (Yay!), then a couple of archived episodes of New Girl while this was going on.

Later in the evening, Gretchen and I watched an episode of the new MacGyver (episode two, still not growing on us. Gretchen thinks the problem is with the fellow playing MacGyver who is -- in my opinion -- very good looking, but completely without chemistry with the rest of the cast or audience.). Then we watched the latest episode of The Good Place, which Gretchen initially hated until she found out it was a rather more complex series than she'd believed. (I was happy to discover that too.) And -- note for [livejournal.com profile] catalana! -- it's not often you see a discussion of utilitarianism on a sitcom. :)

Finally, I flipped over and caught the final inning of the Blue Jays / Rangers series. The Blue Jays have won now with our support, so we are expecting the same from [livejournal.com profile] hofdave as tomorrow night's Cubs / Giants game and Madison Bumgarner are looming on the other side of a good night's sleep.
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I went along to the third dog training class tonight. Katie did most of the dog handling and did a fine job of it according to the trainers.

We have two weeks off due to a dog show, so we have been advised to work Ruby regularly during this time.
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I must admit that I view the recent Presidential polls in much the same way that Ruby the Dog views a piece of Pupperoni that has been chucked into her kennel.

"Go on, Republicans. See the nice polls. It's perfectly possible for you to win the election if you nominate Trump."

And then once the convention is over, the door to the kennel is closed and the real polls are released.

I note, by the way, that Ruby has once again followed the Pupperoni into the kennel...
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Progress was made at work. In the process of making that progress, I completely spaced tonight's Windycon meeting. Oops.

The new tablets for Katie and Julie arrived today. These are better than the previous tablets and each girl has been warned to be very careful with them.

Katie lost the first of her bicuspids today. It is now sitting on her nightstand waiting for the Tooth Fairy to arrive.

The softball season is winding down -- just a week to go! -- and each girl has a game tomorrow morning, so Gretchen and I are in divide and conquer mode.

Progress is being made on the housebreaking of Ruby the Dog. Curiously, she seems to run upstairs to look for me when she needs to go outside and I am in my office working. I do not quite understand the thought process, because there is no door to the outside up here.

Annoyed

Jun. 4th, 2016 07:44 pm
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This has been an exceedingly annoying day.

I expect that tomorrow will be better.
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Ruby made the trip to the vet today for basic repairs, which is to say that she is now old enough to be spayed and the deed is now done.

Ruby is resting comfortably.
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Katie and Julie managed to distinguish themselves this morning, to the point where I went in and turned on the parental controls for Windows 10 to limit their screen time. Sadly, the Windows 10 parental controls were designed by idiots, because they don't manage a situation where multiple computers are in play correctly; there are apparently other actual bugs in the implementation. Blort.

The first Capricon meeting was today. Debbie came up for it and stopped on the way home to meet Ruby, who rather likes Debbie. :) And we picked up several tips from Debbie that I hope will reduce the amount of nipping that Ruby does at Gretchen.
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I ended up working unusually late for a Friday night for a variety of reasons, fending off little girls who wanted my attention. The request from Thing 2 was for a new Minecraft mod, so when I finally walked out of the office, I turned and headed to the bedroom where both Thing 1 and Thing 2 were busily playing Minecraft.

And I recoiled in olfactory horror at the smell of poop that permeated the room. The girls suggested that someone had thrown dog poop into the wastebasket in the bathroom, so I handed it to Katie and sent it into exile downstairs to be disposed of.

I walked over to the computer where Julie wanted me to install the new Minecraft mod. The floor protector mat was smeared with material which they told me was mud.

Not so much, as I discovered when I finally got a delivery of paper towels and went to wipe it up.

Apparently, Ruby had escaped upstairs at some point and decided to lay a load right there. Then Julie, setting a new record for oblivious blonde child, proceeded to roll the office chair through it multiple times. This resulted in the casters being clogged with poop, poop smeared all over the mat, bits of poop that had escaped to far distant sections of floor.

I was just a wee bit displeased. "How," I demanded, "can you not notice that you are rolling through dog poop? Have you no sense of smell?"

Katie perkily replied, "I knew I smelled something."

"Then why didn't you do something about it?"

Gretchen came up and we spent about an hour cleaning up the mess with some degree of help from the girls. The casters were set to soak in the sink and were mostly cleaned up, but we have decided to buy a new set of casters anyway, as these are clogged with more fibers than can be removed in any reasonable length of time.

*thud* *thud* *thud*
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Gretchen ran out to the store, leaving Ruby out of her kennel downstairs. She's not yet housebroken, but the first floor is reasonably well puppy-proofed, so nothing too bad could happen.

Turns out Ruby has now figured out how to climb the stairs to the second floor, as I discovered when a very excited puppy showed up in my office. After she investigated the entire second floor, I picked her up, carried her back downstairs, gave her a (declined) chance to potty outside, and put her back in her kennel.

I feel guilty about this, but the second floor is nothing resembling puppy-proofed.

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