We have three topics to discuss today, and here they are in random order.
Oh, wait. That wasn't entirely true. I've already decided the order, based on increasing order of hilarity. However, in case I'm wrong and they don't get funnier as I go along, let's pretend it's random. Work with me, here. It's a victimless crime.
About a month ago, I planted the first garden I've had in years. When we moved here in 1996, I fully planned to only be in this house for five years. Every year after that, I still hoped we'd be somewhere else by the next year. At first, it was supposed to be a place farther up north, preferably on a lake. Then we were talking about Ohio. Then the housing market took up residence in the proverbial septic tank, so despite a forthcoming infusion of cash, we're pretty much stuck till things get better. It never seemed worth it to create a garden with all the tilling and fencing and whatnot, if I'd only use it for one summer. But now... well, we probably have at least a couple of summers ahead of us.
I did the customary tomatoes, yellow onions and green peppers, using already-started plants or sets. Then I used seed for zucchini, yellow squash, carrots, green beans, chives, green onion, lettuce, and beets.
Only the lettuce and beets came up.
Who knows? I might have covered some of them with too much soil, or it could be because right after I planted them, we had another cold snap with nights in the 40s and days struggling to get near 60. In any case, I asked Tom to re-till those areas so I could start over. I got new seeds for the beans, carrots, green onions, and chives, and got plants for the zucchini and yellow squash. Then, just for giggles, I added cucumber and hot peppers.
And now, we wait. At the rate I'm going, the seeds will sprout just in time to be frostbitten. On the up-side, we had salad yesterday with lettuce from our own garden. I did notice, however, that it feels wrong-wrong-wrong to buy onions, tomatoes, and cucumbers at the store when I have some trying to grow in my garden. But unless I want to wait six weeks for a salad, I have no choice.
Topic Number Two concerns Darwin. We had a warm afternoon about two weeks ago, and the pool is finally up and running. So, D-Dog had a swim. After which he had a hyper run around the pool, with his idiot mother chasing him. It seemed like fun at the time. Right up until I tripped over the edging between the patio and the mulch and took a header. I ended up with impressive bruises on my hip, ribs, elbow, upper arm... and shoulder. That last one included a nice, scabby patch of mulch-burn. I'm still trying to figure out how someone falls and lands on the point of their shoulder. Apparently you have to be a clumsy, intoxicated, middle-aged idiot.
Those bruises are gone now, but I have a new batch, also courtesy of Darwin. (Yep, I'm blaming him for everything, because he's cute and I can forgive him. If I blame myself, all I have to look forward to is sitting around reflecting on the depths of my own stupidity. And I do that enough as it is.)
A couple of days after his swim, he went to be groomed. I always have them shave beneath and behind his ears, the insides of his back legs, and the "leg pits" of his front legs, because those are the areas most likely to mat when he swims. The very next day, I noticed a spot of blood on his left cheek, in front of the shaved area under his ear.
Hot spot. Big one. Darwin has never had a hot spot in the 3 1/2 years we've had him. But... his ears have been kind of irritated lately, then he went swimming, and I'm sure he created the hot spots on his cheeks by scratching his ears. The groomer didn't see them because she didn't shave that far up, and they hadn't bled through yet.
Upon further inspection, I discovered he had hot spots on both cheeks. Not good. Not good at all.
The next morning, he seemed pretty depressed, so Tom said to take him to the vet. Once we shaved the fur over the area, it was much, much worse than I thought.
Also, he gained almost twenty pounds over the winter. I suspect I did, too. I do not own a scale, because I am happier without that information. It was that kind of winter.
This means Mr. Puppy Porky Pants is on a diet, and I'm not (because I don't want to be).
By the time we got home, the hot spots were twice as bad, because he scratched himself completely bloody in the car. It looked like someone had sacrificed a chicken in there. So, we got home and put him in the Cone of Shame.
Amazingly, he tolerated it well after the first five minutes. Still, it didn't take him long to realize he could inflict massive damage to the backs of my calves with the thing. I have several very dark, crescent shaped, purple-blue bruises.
I was a good mom, though. After years and years of yelling at people for taking their dogs' cones off too soon, or explaining why they needed to wear one in the first place, or happily charging the owner for re-stitching or re-treating the wound or injury after Fluffyhead got his or her mouth on it, I knew I had to leave that thing on. No matter how annoying or inconvenient.
It was a struggle. I gave him his meds, and I'd wipe down the area daily with peroxide, dry it, medicate his ears, and apply an anti-fungal powder to the wounds. And keep the inside of the cone clean. And try to keep my legs out of the way of a tailgating golden retriever.
For seven entire days.
Then, today, oh happy day! I took him back to the vet, because no way in hell was I going to take the cone off until I had her okay. His cheeks are totally healed, and the fur is growing back. One ear is still a little inflamed, so we'll keep working on that. He also lost a whole pound in one week! But best of all... no more cone!
I don't know which of us is more relieved.
Now we arrive at Topic Number Three. Crazy writer-type people.
This is all Adam Levine's fault.
My friend Annetta Ribken (who also happens to be my editor now) and I have been "watching" The Voice together. We get on Facebook and message back and forth throughout the broadcast. She loves, loves, loves Adam. I'd never even heard of him before, but she informed me he's with Maroon 5. And, as it turns out, they are playing a free concert under the St. Louis Arch on July 3. She lives nearby.
This definitely calls for a road trip. We began making plans. The earth began to tremble. People began planning escape routes and estimating how far out the blast zone was likely to be. Because getting the two of us in one place is going to have that kind of effect. Yes, indeedy.
So, what's the logical thing to do? Invite more writers, of course! The more the merrier! The more potential alibis! Vastly improved odds that one of them will be able to remember the location of my hotel room! (Or at least the hotel itself.) More accomplices! More people with minds as twisted as our own who are sure to have creative ways to hide any and all resulting bodies!
Now we have three others coming. And if you have five authors together in one place, what do you have? A conference, of course!
There wasn't a real one happening in St. Louis that weekend, so we made one up. We have announced Intergalactic Pretendacon SporkFest 1, (A Very Serious Writing Conference), St. Louis, MO, July 1-4, 2011.
And look! We haz shirts! That's how you know it's a for-real-and-for-true conference. I think.
And since this is a Very Serious Writing Conference, it should (theoretically) be tax-deductible. Maybe. Let's go with that for now, shall we? I'm intrigued by the idea of getting a tax deduction for my bar tab. Which, as we all know, will be substantial.
It's an intergalactic conference because one of the attendees is coming from Canada. I'm pretty sure that's what intergalactic means. I determined this because I've never been to Canada, in exactly the same way as I've never been to Saturn or Alpha Centauri or Discworld... so "intergalactic" it is.
I'm going to need an entire suitcase just for alcohol, snacks, and props. What props, you might ask? Well, when sitting around having extremely serious and in-depth discussions of the craft of writing and the state of the publishing industry, you never know when you might need devil horns. Or a tiara. Or a wig. Or Groucho glasses. And writers are always, always prepared for these things.
We'll be dividing our time between the conference hotel (chosen because it has an attached TGI Friday's), 'Netta's house, a concert or two, the riverboat casino, maybe Pleasure Palace (Oh, like you wouldn't go there?), an additional bar or restaurant or two, and perhaps even a friend's pool.
My strategy is to make sure we all have an ample number of equally-embarrassing photos of each other, which will cancel out the possibility of blackmail. I'd say I planned to be the only one not photographed doing something embarrassing, but let's be realistic here. That's never gonna happen.
We've decided not to notify FEMA in advance. We'll let it be a "surprise." Hopefully, we'll have made our escape by the time they arrive on the scene.
If you're anywhere near the Greater St. Louis area over the July 4 weekend, I advise you stay indoors with the windows and doors covered. If you're downwind, stay tuned to your local emergency channel for updates on the fallout pattern. You have been warned.
Now, where did I leave my spork...?