Category Archives: Chloë’s Excellent Adventures

Chloë Retraces Her Family’s Roots

Could it really be 20 years?

At Redmond apartment complex

At Redmond apartment complex

Yes, long before I plopped down in the Puget Sound and found myself a home in Seattle, Heather took up residence in a second-floor apartment in suburban Redmond on the other side of Lake Washington, not far from the burgeoning campus of the new software giant Microsoft. It was there in February 1997, while Mike was on mid-winter visit from Syracuse, that he and Heather finally tied the knot after a blissful decade of what used to be called “living in sin” and/or “needing somebody to vouch for me so I can hang onto my Green Card.” As their only child (so to speak), I am so glad they finally made things legal, because if they hadn’t, who knows? Mike might have stayed in Syracuse for the rest of his life, and I might not be here in Seattle talking to you today.

From what I’ve been told, their wedding was quite the affair. The mystic ceremony took place at the King Country District Court in Redmond, right next to the public library, but only the judge heard after all the contentious civil cases and the court’s clerk and stenographer took pity on  Mike and Heather and volunteered to be their witnesses. The judge did his thing, Mike and Heather exchanged plastic spider rings, and they retired to the luxurious Redmond condo for leftover burritos and beer.

Down at the court house.

Down at the court house.

So last Saturday, in the rain , the three of us retraced the steps of that fateful day. First we took a side trip to a furniture store (I think they are planning to get me an ottoman so I can be rolled around room to room). Then we hiked along a greenbelt trail where they used to take my esteemed predecessor, Heidi. Parts of this walk were OK, but I wound up feeling sorry for Heidi. I mean, it had no stretches of secluded trail where I could walk off leash, no fields for chasing my orange ball, no trails that weren’t paved or planked like a boardwalk. I’m sure Heidi liked Discovery Park a whole lot better when Mike and Heather moved over to the other side of the pond in 1999.

Still, our walk had plenty of nostalgia value, as did our stops at their apartment, the courthouse and their favorite Redmond Italian restaurant. While they had dinner, I had to wait in the car, of course, although I did score a leftover lamb shank for later. For the next anniversary, I’d prefer they pick German cuisine.

Mike keeps promising Heather there will be another anniversary surprise, but nothing had arrived yet when I told Mike to roll the presses anyway. We’ll have something to look forward to next week.

Chloë Takes in the View

Olympics from Richmond Beach Park

Olympics from Richmond Beach Park

Finally, maybe the winter is over. Sure, it rained a lot this past week, but it was warm rain. Snowdrops and crocus have emerged, and all my salad bars are ripening. It’s not Arizona, but it’s not that bad.

In fact, the previous weekend was sunny both days. Sunday was gorgeous. Mike, Heather and I picked up Charlie and drive to my dog pal Penny’s neighborhood in Richmond Beach, even though we knew Penny wasn’t home, still in Florida for the winter. Why did we go there anyway? It was the just the right place at the right time, I guess, with apologies due to Dr. John. We walked all around the park, from top to bottom to top again, and I liked the place fine until it came to the beach part. Even then, I was OK walking in the dunes as long as I didn’t have to get too close to those monster waves. Even when Charlie threw my ball away from the water, he couldn’t coax me out onto the sand to chase it.

Fetch on the lawn

Fetch on the lawn

I much preferred the upper elevations of this park, which offer 180-degree views of the Olympic Mountains and an expansive lawn area for me to chase my ball, even when there were other dogs and people around. To guard against potential distractions, Heather stationed herself at one end of the lawn, and Charlie stood on the other while I played dachshund in the middle.

Later, after many, many throws. I rested on the grass, something I never get to do at home. Maybe I can convince Mike to put in a lawn in our yard if I promise to graze enough to keep it well-trimmed.

Resting on the lawn between throws.

Resting on the lawn between throws.

 

Chloë Starts the New Year Right

Chloe with new orange bear

Chloe with new orange bear, one of her holiday haul.

Mike, Heather and I ran errands last Saturday, but between Costco and the shoe outlet we had time for an extended walk in Saint Edward State Park on Lake Washington, where we had not been in quite a while. It was great to walk in a place other than Discovery Park for a change. We have been real homebodies of late.

Anyway, Saint Edward is a good place to go because it has both trail walking and, when nobody else is around, expansive lawns for fetch. We did a little of both, walking all the way down to the lake and back up to the lawn, where we did a little throwing until I got distracted by joggers and Heather shut the game down. Mike said the landmark seminary building, badly in need of renovation on the inside, is likely going to become a hotel, which does not bode well for future fetch opportunities on this site.

Playing fetch at Saint Edward State Park

Playing fetch at Saint Edward State Park.

Park sign

Park sign

If the hotel is indeed developed, the park would still surround it, similar to the houses currently being renovated and sold in Discovery Park near our house. Hotel guests and dog walkers alike will share the trail system, and informative interpretive signage like this one on the left will continue to dot the landscape.

Our errands trip also included a brief stop at Heather’s office, at least that’s what I was told, since I was left in the car. Not allowed to go inside on a Saturday? That Heather can sometimes be just so Canadian.

Chloë Investigates a Pipe

I have detected increased raccoon activity in my park of late. I came across a dead one near Chloë’s Lane close to my primary fetch location. I was very interested in spending some quality time with it, but as soon as Heather saw its bloated body she had other ideas. Subsequent emails and phone calls to park maintenance resulted in Rocky being buried in a shallow grave. While I have already sussed out the exact location, I haven’t had the chance to do any serious digging yet. And that’s not all; I have also noted strong raccoon scent around the Visitor Center and along the driveway behind it. All of a sudden, I had a lot more holes and tunnels to check out, sticking my nose into pipes and thickets I hadn’t been at all interested in before.

Preliminary investigation

Preliminary investigation.

A closer look

Taking a closer look

5-chloe-investigates-pipe-001

Getting very interested.

Uh-oh, I can't turn around in here.

Wait a second, I can’t turn around in here.

I didn’t find anything of interest in there, although a headlamp would have helped.  It was getting pretty dark in there when I decided to back out, figuring out that turning around would have been difficult, if not impossible. As it was, a backup camera like the one in Heather’s car would have made my exit a little easier. Maybe I’ll have Mike order me one on Amazon Prime.

Chloë Rides a Perfect Storm of Holiday Cheer

Prowling for tasty morsels.

Prowling for tasty morsels.

I know I’m prone to complaining, but sometimes I am forced to admit I lead a pretty charmed life. Consider these examples. Just days after Mike put me on a special pre-holiday diet, and barely one hour after he had deftly steered me away from the latest feast our  generous neighbor had laid out along Wendy* Way, a stranger approached us on the sidewalk near the park entrance. She was a catering worker looking for an event at the Daybreak Star Cultural Center at the other end of the park, and she asked Mike if he could point her in the right direction. That was all the break I needed.

As Mike launched into a lengthy and no doubt confusing description of her easiest route through the darkening park, his attention was diverted sufficiently that I was able to maneuver him and myself into prime position for grabbing a piece of toast and a good hunk of lemon chiffon cake. My good friend Wendy* (not her real name) really has a good eye for baked goods.

Mike was about to give the young lady one of his park maps when she waved him off and rushed through the park gate perusing her phone. That was OK, since I had pretty much eaten my fill by then, and dinner was less than an hour away.

Besides, another perfect storm was brewing. Just a few days later, Mike was doing a good job of not letting me anywhere near the freshly served smorgasbord along Wendy* Way. That is, until he saw a stranger with two big dogs about to cross the street and into our path. Wanting to avoid the fearsome threesome, Mike reluctantly gave in and let me turn left over to the Wendy Way side of the park gate. The way the scraps were scattered all over the sidewalk and grass, he could not possibly divert me from them all. I nabbed some Italian bread and cheese on the way through.

Chasing down brown.l

Chasing down brown.l

And wait, there’s more. Not wanting to make an about-face and walk down Wendy* Way a second time, Mike marched us right up to the stop sign at the corner, and there, just two houses down Magnolia Boulevard, was my favorite big brown truck. Excited, I pulled Mike toward it like a sled dog, but as we got close my heart sank. The truck was parked for a delivery, but it wasn’t my pal Donna who got out with the package. Still, this new UPS guy smiled at me as he returned to the truck, making me think he might give me something anyway, when I noticed he was not alone. Then Donna emerged from the back of the truck with a wide smile and big hello for me, and two biscuits to boot. I’m hoping to see a lot more of her before the holiday rush subsides.  More deliveries means more treats, so I’m good for business.

Order restored!

Order restored!

Maybe there’s something to this notion of holiday magic after all. A few days ago I came back to the house after a whole day of being out, either on a walk in the park or a trip in the car. As I searched every room to see what may have fallen on the floor while I was gone, I noticed that the new, big, tall bed had miraculously shrunk back to its normal size, making it a lot easier for me to get in and out. I still can’t figure out what happened to shrink it, but it was a great Christmas present for my middle-aged knees and spinal column every time I forget that there’s “NO JUMPING.” Thank you, Macy’s, for putting things back the way they was.

Close quarters for Santa

Close quarters for Santa

In fact, I would be fine if the lowered mattress height turns out to be my only holiday gift this year.  Not that I don’t appreciate gifts, particularly the edible kind. I’m just being realistic. I can see with my very own eyes that my stocking has already been hung by the chimney with care. But I’m not at all sure Old Saint Nick will be able to squeeze his fat, jolly self between the chimney and the couch in order to fill it. The new living room alignment may be good for watching TV, but turning the back of your couch on Santa can’t be a good idea.

 

Chloë Scales New Heights

New mattress, new problem

New mattress, new problem

After talking about it for months, Mike and Heather finally got a new mattress. Good for them, but did they think about me? They may be more comfortable, but do I get to sleep in it any more often? No, I don’t. And that’s not the worst part.

This mattress is thicker than the last one. That means it’s higher off the floor. And that means I need to be an Olympic high jumper to get up there, whereas I could vault from floor to bed top from a sitting position, no problem, on the old one. Since the new mattress arrived before Thanksgiving, I have gone splat against the side of the damn thing on several occasions. Even eating several cases of Wheaties (which wouldn’t be so bad as long as it they were covered with milk and bananas) won’t get me enough boost to make it over the top. I doubt even performance-enhancing drugs would do the trick.

Solution: Proper positioning.

Solution: Proper positioning.

Even using my personal Stairway to Heaven is not as easy as it used to be. The top step of my unit now leaves me several inches short of the goal. Luckily, Heather figured out how to re-position the steps (two inches from the side of the bed and even with the foot) to give me the maximum efficiency for speed and angle. I can make it to the top of the bed with ease, but I still need to get a running start. Getting down from the new mattress via the steps is a breeze, as long as I can stay clear of Heather’s dresser when I hit the floor.

But getting down is still the tricky part. I am not supposed to jump off the new bed directly to the floor, ever, because landing hard like that is going to eventually be bad for my delicate dachshund back. Why didn’t Mike think about this inherent danger to me before he brought this new mattress into MY bedroom?

Victory achieved.

Victory achieved.

So far, I’m coping. I’ve heard NO JUMPING more times in the past couple of weeks than I have in the rest of my time on earth combined. Heather, especially, and even my good friend Lynn when she came over to stay with me last week, have kept harping on it, trying to make me learn. We’ll see if this loud, Trumpian campaign works, or if somebody comes up with a better solution. In the meantime, I know I can get away with bed-jumping on Mike’s watch, since he never pays attention to anything. Yahoo, I’m flying, just like Peter Pan!

 

 

Chloë Marks Her Spot

The Spot Revealed

The spot revealed.

It was about time to address the elephant in the room. Mike first noticed the tiny bump on my head way back in the spring, shortly after my annual physical exam. Since my personal physician (Dr. Aimee Kimmel) has just examined and drained two less visible lumps on my side, Mike decided to just keep an eye on this new one, about the size of a pimple. I Mike didn’t feel around for it, he wouldn’t even have known it was there.

Months passed. The tiny lump on my head got bigger, but not much. Then Mike read a book (try not to laugh) called Lily and the Octopus by Steven Rowley. It’s a novel about a dachshund named Lily. The “octopus” is a tumor that grows on her head. It’s a metaphor, but  Mike took it literally. He checked my lump every day. When he got back from his trip to see his mom, he decided it was big enough to take me to the vet, especially after the lump broke one day during grooming and some gook came out. Nurse Heather made it stop, but off to the vet I went.

In the tub.

In the tub.

Mike looked nervous, so I had to sit on his lap in the waiting room to calm him down. Dr. Kimmel was on maternity leave (what nerve!), so Dr. Crow examined me and set Mike’s mind at rest. It was only another  subcutaneous cyst, like the other ones. The doctor drained it, but warned that it might come back. That means, of course, that my otherwise perfect countenance may forever be marred by a small bald spot on my head. My choices appear to be either a comb-over (too vain) or to just tell anyone who asks (and few would be so forward as to bring it up) that it’s just a visual balance to my naturally bald ears. Perhaps the hair will grow back and cover the spot, but that will probably  be too much to ask for. As long as the lump doesn’t devour me or the spot get much bigger, I can live with it. I’m still cute enough, believe me. I’ve been practicing, just in case.

Unfortunately, Dr. Crow didn’t stop her examination at my head. By the time I got out of there, I got some gook pressed into my ear to stop a yeast infection and a shampoo for my belly to get rid of a rash and dry, flaky skin. Who knew I was such a physical wreck when I went in there? On the other hand, it’s always good to know you don’t have brain cancer. And my weight at 18.6 pounds is still within my normal range, so I won’t have to suffer through another diet. I hate those.

Mr. Monkey

Mr. Monkey awaits his roommate’s arrival.

All the consternation was worth it, however, since I got extra treats from Mike for being good at the vet and lots of cheese from Heather for being a good girl at home in the bathtub to get shampooed. She also laundered all of the sheets and blankets in my crate to remove any pesky germs or foreign bodies that might remain and bring back the rash, which Dr. Crow thought might be related to the yeast infection. Mr. Monkey was happy to have his living space renovated at no cost, and Mike was so happy to have one less thing to worry about. A win-win for all, even if I did have to endure a visit with a new vet. With any luck, Dr. Aimee will return to her post before I do.