Category Archives: Work

Chloë Marks Her Spot

Last week’s news was not all good. First Mike took me to the vet to get toothpaste (seafood flavor, my favorite!) and have a weigh-in. The scales didn’t go in my favor, I’m afraid. I weighed in  at 18.8 pounds, up from 16.7 pounds last April, when my doctor told Mike that I was too skinny, and to get me up to 18 pounds. So my rations increased, and I gained some weight, and I enjoyed it thoroughly. But at 18.8, apparently we’ve gone too far. Anyway you slice it, my culinary honeymoon is over. From now on, all teaspoons, tablespoons and 1/3 cups will be level and my treats will be smaller, at least until my UPS guy shows up with two large biscuits.

In better times at the office

Guarding  Heather’s office in better times

Even worse news came from  Heather’s office. Her company got a “cease-and-desist” order from its new landlord and immediately ended its dog-friendly policy, at least for the time being. A couple of dogs came there almost every day, and I feel badly for them and their owners, whose lives will be disrupted. As for me, who showed up for visits only when Mike was away from home, the effect remains to be seen. Mike’s next trip won’t be until October sometime, so I’m not too worried about it. I doubt I’ll be neglected.

Other than that, I had plenty of good news. My Uncle Bill sent me a gift, a really soft mitt that dries me off and gives me a gentle belly rub at the same time. (Unfortunately it was NOT delivered by UPS, which would have been what I call “hitting the daily double,” as I would have gotten two biscuits along with Bill’s gift. But no such luck this time.)

Messy Mutt mitt

Messy Mutt mitt

Since I felt the weather turning fall-like the past few days, now I’m looking forward to some drenching rain so I can fully test my new merchandise. In the meantime, I just like the way it feels. Thanks, Uncle Bill, one of my most frequent commenters and biggest fans.  I’m so glad his pickling business is booming.

And that wasn’t all. Apparently learning of my summer-long attraction to the grassy knoll at the end of our street, across from the park entrance, the City of Seattle made it official. The area was already posted as a no-parking zone, but I have now been granted special dispensation for parking my tiny brown butt on the grass there any time I damn well want to.

Staking out her territory

Staking out her territory

 

 

Chloë Tours Her New Office

Outside the new digs

Outside the new digs

Heather’s office changed locations a few weeks ago. Now it takes her a bit longer to drive there, which translates into less time with Heather for me. Every morning before she goes to work, we get to cuddle in her bed, and when she comes home, I get to cuddle with her in my camp chair while Mike makes dinner. Now there’s 15 minutes less cuddling every day of the week. Neither one of us is pleased, but as we’ve learned many times, it is what it is.

Obeying the rules

Obeying the rules

On the other hand, the new office itself  turned out to be much better than the last one, in my opinion. A couple of  weeks ago Heather had to get something from her office on a Saturday, so Mike and I took the opportunity to scope out the new place, located in an office park that seemed to be far outside the city on our drive thee. Once we arrived, however, I liked it immediately. It had grassy fields, forested areas, a creek  running through it and a system of walking trails with bridges and benches. The fields and parking lots surrounding the buildings look like great spots for fetch. Whenever I  have to come to work with Heather, there will be plenty of ways to get exercise without leaving the premises. Even though we won’t have that huge, unused conference room for ball-chasing anymore, I liked the lay of the land here.

6-Heather's New Office

Moving in

The interior was nice, too. Heather and I work on the second floor, so we have to either take the elevator or climb a flight of stairs. Heather’s office is at the back, far away from the company bigwigs and not far from the kitchen, both of which seemed good to me. Heather has her own space with a door (no name on it yet!), a corner office with windows on two sides. I understand this to be considered prime real estate in the corporate world, but the sense I get from Heather is she might as well be in the windowless inner office she had before for all the looking out the window she’ll do during the day. She gets in a trance sometimes, I swear.

Guard station

Guard dog station

Anyway, I staked it out, plotted where I wanted to position my chair, made sure Heather remembered to unpack her box of office Milk Bones and found out where some of my regular office friends would be in the new layout.  I  need to track down every one of my co-workers who keeps biscuits in their desks.

Surprisingly, our weekend dry run has not yet translated into a real going-to-work experience since the move happened.  I usually go to Heather’s office when Mike goes away to visit his mom . Maybe another one of those trips will happen soon. I know other dogs have already been staking claims to the new office, and I need to assert my innate superiority as quickly as possible.

Milk Bones arrive safely

Milk Bones arrive safely

Chloë Talks Turkey…and Ziti

On Thanksgiving morning, Mike sneaked out for the airport well before dawn. I got out of my crate to say goodbye to Mike, then hopped into bed with Heather for a few hours. Good deal! And Mike’s absence only got better from there.

Chasing the ball on a walk with Charlie

Chasing the ball on a walk with Charlie

My pal Charlie came over to take me for a late-morning walk in the park, which was very nice thing to do for his self-proclaimed “favorite Seattle dog.” We walked at least a couple of miles so we could burn off a few calories before our Turkey Day feast. Well, a turkey feast for Heather and me, anyway; Charlie, a vegetarian, was going back to his lonely apartment to cook himself a casserole of baked ziti with cheese. I hoped he made enough so he can eat leftovers for a week, amortizing his culinary effort. Charlie admits that he used to make a mean eggplant Parmigiano (verified by my Aunt Susie) but switched to ziti because it’s easier to cook. He showed us a picture, though, and Mike had to admit it looks at least 10 cuts above any ziti casserole  served in large aluminum foils trays at wakes, church suppers and political fundraisers throughout the U.S. and Canada. Charlie’s looks like something worth licking right down to the caked-on burned cheese on the perimeter of the casserole dish.

Ziti by Charlie

Ziti by Charlie

But I digress. Heather and I ate Thanksgiving dinner with my pal Penny and her family at their house. I was my usual obnoxious self, playing with all of Penny’s favorite toys and trying to ignore her completely. Although I didn’t get to lick any plates or pans like I would have at home, Penny and I did manage to con a few scraps, and Brian sent me home with a doggie bag of turkey that was doled out to me in ample proportions until Miser Mike returned.

On guard

On guard

On the day after Thanksgiving, I accompanied Heather to her office. I was delighted when we arrived there, expecting to see all my office buddies, but perplexed when none was there. I went dashing from one office door to another, but all were shut or dark and, even worse for me, treat-less. So I was forced to hang out all day in my blue chair guarding Heather’s desk until we went outside for a pee or up to the empty, second-floor conference room for ball-tossing. In between I’m in my chair, but it’s hard for me to relax, even though Heather added a comfortable pillow to my seat.  I just can’t fall asleep, as I would be doing if I were home with Mike. In Heather’s office I must be on guard and ready to pounce at all times, especially when we’re in the building all alone. I take my job seriously. My record remained intact.

We woke up to snow on Saturday morning, so Heather stayed home all day rather than brave the drive up and down and up all the hills between our house and the main drag. This was also great for me, because Heather and I took a long walk through the park in the snow, which we don’t get to do too often. It was AMAZING how great everything smelled; the snow must catch all of those great smells and compress them and hold them down. Or something. Anyway, I enjoyed doing the “Chloë Hop” around the meadow, but I drew the line when Heather took me down to the North Beach. Yikes, those white caps on the Sound were scary; I was afraid I was going to be swept out to sea, only to be rescued by harbor seals and eagles. Come on! Who’s going to buy a story like that?

On the next two days, Heather left me home and went to work, but Lynn came over in the afternoon, which was a lot more fun for me than being in Heather’s office with no buddies to hit for treats. Lynn and I did our usual things:  I jumped all over her, sat with her by the fireplace, ran errands in her car, took walks, had treats, bit her nose. I’m glad I got to spend a little time with Lynn; we had been scheduled to spend the whole weekend together, until Heather had to work and couldn’t go away with Mike. I’m sure Lynn was disappointed that our time together was so limited, but I’ll try to make it up to her.

Chasing a rabbit in the snow

Chasing a rabbit in the snow

Tuesday morning before  I went to work with Heather, I took off in the park during our morning walk , making her late for a meeting. When I finally returned to Heather’s anxious embrace and wrath, I had a couple spots of blood on my designer sweater. At least, that’s what Heather said they were. Mike thought it was just dirt, which is yet another reason why I love Heather more than Mike.

OK, even though I got more to eat and had to endure fewer tooth and hair brushings while Mike was away, I admit I was glad when he was home to greet us when Heather and I returned from our day at her office. Finally, I could relax, close my eyes and get a good night’s sleep. And morning’s sleep. And an afternoon nap. And a couple of short, post-dinner naps for good measure.

Chloë Gets to Work

Chloë in Heather's office

Chloë in Heather’s office

With Mike away visiting his mom, Heather took me with her to work for a whole week. This was a good deal for me, because going to Heather’s office means a lot more treats than on an average day with Mike the Scrooge.  At Heather’s office, even the people who don’t bring their own dogs into the office seem to have treats in their desks, and they all feel obligated to give some to me every day, sometimes more than once. Have I ever turned one down? Not likely.

For poor Heather, however, having to take care of me while Mike’s away is like doing two jobs —  and Heather’s job is already like doing two jobs. I can see that as soon as we get to her office; those people don’t leave Heather alone! From my perch in the camp chair behind her desk. I must stay vigilant and guard her, or people would never let her alone.  Trust me on this.

Chloë helps Tara on the trail.

Chloë helps Tara on the trail.

Still, there are always highlights when I visit Heather’s office, and this time was no exception. The first day at work was actually spent out at my foothills getaway in Issaquah, where my friend Tara lives with Heather’s boss. There was a big company powwow out there, and because I can be such a good dog when I want to be, I got to sit in and watch the whole thing from my chair. Most of it was pretty boring (I fell asleep a lot), but I perked up when Heather told everybody that she wasn’t going to retire until she hits 70.  They gasped, but I just hoped she was not talking dog years.

Hurby

Hurby

In a whole week, I got to observe several other meetings, scarfed up some leftovers from the Seahawks pizza party before the Super Bowl, found a new walking path in the woods around the office park out back, and even played some doggie frisbee with my office buddy Jaeger. I even let Jaeger slobber over Hurby for a while. But the best moment at work came when Heather took me  to the second floor while she talked to somebody. Another person who works up there was out for the day, leaving his office dark and empty, with unguarded access to a leftover Starbucks pastry in his garbage can! Mmmmmmm! Score another one for this smart and nosy girl!

Guarding the office

Guarding the office

Even though going to work with Heather was more exciting than my average day with Mike, I was really glad when Mike got back from his trip, so I jumped him for about 10 minutes.  Although Heather pampers me with KFC leftovers and sleeping late on weekends, I can’t keep up with her crazy schedule when she’s working. I miss much too much beauty sleep during the day, and God knows I’ll need it when we finally get to those golden retirement years.

Chloë Labors On

Guarding the mail room.

Guarding the mail room.

I’ve been to Heather’s office twice lately, neither time for very long, and it wasn’t too much fun either time. Heather was too busy working to take me around on a tour of the place, which was disappointing since many of her co-workers keep treats in their desks. Usually many of them bring their dogs to the office, too, but I didn’t run into any other dogs either time. Oh well, their loss.

While these office visits weren’t too exciting, just getting away from Mike for a few hours is always nice, and I get to do a lot of work while I’m there.  “A dog is happiest when it has a job to do,” Heather always says. My job in her office is mostly being Heather’s personal bodyguard when people barge into her office because they need her to do something. This happens a lot, but they are distracted when they see me there. I like it better when I get to help Heather run the copying machine and distribute important memos to her staff (see above). Communications is my strong suit, so Heather and I frequently confer about fine-tuning her wording on sensitive personnel and statistical decisions.

Heather makes a point.

My newly developed work ethic has extended to my walks the park. After I noticed Mike’s interest in a cordoned-off area of mulch piles just past our Adopt-an-Area, I stationed myself in front of the yellow tape to make sure no one tries to get in there. I have been highly successful, and not one person has been stung under my watch.

Keep out on Chloë's watch.

Guarding the infested mulch.

 

Chloë Adjusts Her Value

Jury Duty 2013Thanks to everyone who wrote or called to express disappointment over the extended time between my posts.  I blame it on Mike, of course. Mike was called for jury duty, and he wound up being selected for a trial. So he had to take the big bus downtown for five straight days, and I got to go to work with Heather.  Yahoo! Sounded good to me.

Chloë working outside Heather's office.

Chloë working outside Heather’s office.

For me, going to work with Heather is always fun –  a lot more fun than Heather usually has there. In fact,  it’s good that I go to work with Heather once in a while, so Heather is forced to have a little fun at work, too.  We visit other dogs who come to the office, we go outside for walks at nearby parks, and we play fetch every day. Otherwise, Heather is all business. I can tell from the meetings that I attend (while I am being a quiet girl my folding chair) that Heather is very important to everything that goes on at work, and that all the other workers think she is real smart and knows the right way to do things. I didn’t speak up and tell them, but I was very proud of Heather in those meetings.

Mike, on the other hand, well, I really couldn’t figure out exactly what Mike did all week. Whenever someone asked him about it,  he repeated the same thing every time: “I cannot discuss this case, by order of the Superior Court of King County.” This proved to be a guaranteed conversation stopper every time.

Free Stuff at CurbAnyway, I fell behind on my blog writing. I tried to get Mike to transcribe some of my notes last weekend, but he was far too busy outside, gardening in our yard and pulling Scots Broom in the park.  Then he reorganized some cluttered tools in the garage, and he put some of the surplus out by the curb for park visitors to take.

I tried to barked at everybody who walked by to warn them about these exquisite pieces there for the taking. But Mike and Heather don’t like it when I bark at strangers who walk past or park on our street. The next thing I knew, Mike put a leash on me and yanked me out to the sidewalk. First I couldn’t figure out what was going on.

Chloe and Free Stuff at Curb

But finally I realized what was going on… and that a little editing was in order.

Chloe Priceless

 

Chloë Patrols Her Block

Every dog needs a purpose; profound, I know, but I cannot take credit for it. My primary purpose, of course, is to make Mike and Heather happy. Frankly,  I seem to be doing pretty well at this (not to say there hasn’t been a rough patch or two).  Right now I’m thinking of “purpose” in more of an everyday way. More like a part-time job,  something to do when I’m not eating, sleeping, playing or misbehaving in some way.

Beau

Beau

I have therefore decided that my job will be to keep elephants and cats off our block, a canine Neighborhood Watch without guns. So far, keeping elephants away has not been a problem. It’s  those darn cats that pose a bigger challenge. Like English ivy and Scotch broom, there’s no way to  get rid of them.  We can only hope to contain them. Like those invasive weeds, cats have no purpose. As far as I can tell, anyway.

I am particularly concerned with three cats that live on my block.  Beau, the Bartons’ cat, lives on our side of the street, two doors down. With the house on either side of his usually vacant, Beau has been trying to expand his territory. Not so fast, my furry friend.

The Coon Cat

The Coon Cat

The other two cats, Mittens and the Coon Cat, live across the street and down the hill a little. Mittens belongs to Sandy, who is active in Seattle’s cat rescue community.  Sandy’s nice enough to me when she sees me, but I still eye her suspiciously–perhaps with good reason. And the Coon Cat, if you can believe it, lives in the same house as April, a mixed-breed dog who I see often outside our house or in the park. April’s OK, but she’s a loner, too aloof to pay me much attention. (Maybe living with a cat AND a kid have made her that way.)

So here are my duties: Early every morning (usually in the dark), then again at mid-day and once more at night,  I  conduct on-site  surveillance of every inch of sidewalk and parking strip on both sides of our block, making sure no cats have been treading illegally on our pedestrian thoroughfares. Every once in a while I actually spy one of these cats, and if I’m lucky enough to be off leash, I’ll go tearing after it, sometimes crossing the street without looking for cars, sometimes roaring into the tree-filled backyards on our side of the block. Often I bark and yelp loudly as I run, making quite a prolonged racket.  I once chased Mittens down the sidewalk from in front of Claire’s house to in front of her own, and she wound up scaring the Coon Cat, who had been lying on the sidewalk  minding his own business until Mittens ran him over. This propelled the two of them into a screeching cat ruckus that in turn startled their neighbor Trudi, who had been gardening nearby with her head down until the two shrieking cats got her attention.

Whenever something like this happens, Heather (in particular) is not pleased, and I get all the blame. Not the cats, me! She gives me one of those “Chloë Tully!!!!” yells, followed by an icy cold stare or two.  Funny, I’m always a Tully when I’m in Heather’s dog house.

Grace

Grace

Anyway, cat control is a time-consuming job. I used to be able to rely on my friends the Macs (Bichons MacKenzie and MacDuff) to help me out  in keeping the three cats at bay. But they moved to Florida last fall, and who’s going to help me now? Gracie, the elderly Basset hound? Give me a break. Grace is my special sweetheart, but she’s  not cut out for this line of work. Her purpose obviously lies elsewhere; tracking, perhaps, or just resting.

No, this responsibility is all mine, and I take it seriously. Morning and night, I require whoever is walking with me to take me all the way down to the dark five corners intersection at the far end of our block  (unless it’s raining hard, of course, when it’s OK to take care of business as quickly as possible and rush back inside). I must make absolutely sure no cats are out or even imminent.

Chloë chills.

Chloë chills.

In fact, I’m taking my cat control job SO seriously that several times recently, after Mike and I returned from an afternoon walk, I took off after cats while Mike was  spreading out my drying towel on the floor inside the door to the house. After the first couple of times,  you would really think Mike would have caught on to my plan. Sadly for Mike,  you’d be wrong.

As it is,  in my own humble opinion, my multiple daily patrols and occasional quick-strike offensives are having the desired effect. While raccoons still hang around our block in the early morning (I saw one today, in fact),  I haven’t spied one of those three cats around for days. And no elephants, either, come to think of it. As far as I’m concerned, the system is working.