Tag Archives: ups driver

Chloë Finds Christmas Secrets

Secret tree

The first time I found the Secret Christmas Tree in Discovery Park, just Heather and I were walking. Mike must have been at some appointment or other. It was in a fairly out-of-the-way location in the South Meadow, not far from the wooded area called Spruce Island. We had to traverse some narrow trails to get there. It was still light out, so at first we saw only its colored ornaments. Upon closer inspection, we saw it also had a string of colored lights powered by two solar collection discs wired to the trunk of the 6-foot tree. It’s actually more visible at night, when its sparkling lights can be seen from paved park road above. A sign at the base of the tree begs for benevolence toward the clearly illegal decoration and solicits comments about it. I did my part for Secret Christmas Tree preservation, leaving as quickly as possible after the photo because the recently clipped blackberry branches were doing a number on my feet.

Ouch! Those thorns !

Other than that, we enjoyed a quiet Christmas at home. My pal Charlie came over for dinner, and I hung out with him in the living room watching LeBron James while Mike and Heather were busy getting the various dishes on the table. Outside in the rain, Mike roasted beef, which usually means good things for me later. However, while I got plenty of dishes to lick after they ate dinner, I was distressed to learn that neither of those delicious rib bones from the roast were coming my way. As a recent visit to my dentist-veterinarian for a six-month, post-surgery checkup again illustrated, last spring’s root canal and the titanium crown protecting it preclude real bones from touching my lips forever. The best I can hope for from Christmas dinner will be some quality trimmings and some tasty bone broth. That and dental chews are my new normal.

Personal delivery for Chloë?

My only Christmas presents came from my old reliables. My  Syracuse aunts and my pal Charlie both came through with  treats and a ball, while Mike and Heather gave me a brand-new orange SU collar, just in time for the big bowl game (which we’re watching at Penny’s house). But the highlight of the gift-giving season was not a present, but rather when Donna, my favorite UPS driver, pulled her big brown truck into our next-door neighbor’s driveway. I figured she had done that because Heather’s car was in our driveway, but no, her delivery was really for the kids next door. I had to settle for Donna’s treats, but it was very exciting while it lasted. My frenzied barking to get out of the house got every dog in the neighborhood going. Sorry about that.

Christmas presence

 

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Chloë Inspects Brown’s Belly

Every time my ultra-sensitive dog ears hear a UPS truck coming up our one-way street, I go nuts. Springing from bed or chair, I sprint to the front door, barking uncontrollably. Mike, who startles easily, jerks to attention. Heather yells at me to keep quiet. I could care less. I have to get outside to greet Donna, my favorite uniformed agent of a large, multinational corporation, who occasionally brings us stuff and gives me biscuits even when she doesn’t.

Waiting for brown

Usually when we meet, Donna is out of her big, brown truck with a package, so we greet each other at street level. But one day when I dragged Heather outside, Donna had parked her truck down our block and paused to eat her lunch, so she was sitting inside. Heather let me hop right up into the cab, and after Donna and I said our hellos, I investigated the back of the truck, where all the packages were stacked on shelves that went all the way to the roof. Frankly, not nearly as exciting as the vast emporium of treats I had imagined. Getting treats from Donna on the sidewalk is definitely more exciting than that. Nevertheless, when I had the opportunity to hop inside for a second look, I seized it gladly. Unfortunately, it wasn’t vastly more interesting the second time through.

Chloë gets a peek inside.

Now, of course, the busy season for package deliveries has arrived. Donna now has an assistant who helps carry packages to houses from the truck. But more often than not, when a brown truck comes up our street, it’s not Donna’s. I hate it when that happens! These extra-shift drivers never try to cultivate relationships with the customers and their canine companions. Come on guys, it’s a relationship business! Throw the dogs a bone or two. It’s that most wonderful time of the year!

Oh, well. The new drivers make me appreciate Donna even more. I’m going to have to get Heather to give her a better holiday gift this year. Just put it on my tab.

 

Chloë Pines for Brown

When UPS is near, the waiting is the hardest part.

With Santa Monkey and Rudolph

As much as I enjoyed this holiday season, I also noticed something different. Rudolph the Reindeer and Santa Monkey didn’t provoke the same enthusiasm I showed for them in the past. Approaching 8 years old, am  I too grown up for Santa and kisses under the mistletoe?

No, something else put the pall on my holiday: Far fewer personal encounters with UPS drivers.  In past years I’ve stalked them through Magnolia, sniffing out their trails. This season, not so much. Needless to say, “No-Presents” Heather wasn’t generating many deliveries, but that’s a given. It’s all the other deliveries to neighbors on our street that I was missing. Once the drivers get to know me, they may give me a biscuit even when the delivery is for someone else. When I  hung out in Mike’s office all day, I could hear the brown trucks two blocks away, and I could make a barking beeline to the front door in time for Mike to get me out in the street and position myself so the driver couldn’t miss seeing me.

But this past December, spending all my time downstairs in front of the fireplace in Heather’s work area, apparently Brown sound waves cannot penetrate. I don’t think UPS deliveries in our neighborhood were fewer; when my driver buddy Donna delivered a package to Heather the other day (I got two bickies!), she said she was still working extra hours well after Christmas. The Brown trucks are still rumbling by, I just can’t hear them like I used to. I can’t hear much of anything down there, especially when the fireplace blower is on. I don’t even bark anymore when Tony the mailman drops stuff through the slot in the front door.

Biscuit Delivery Machine

While I love hanging out with Heather all day, I realized that being sealed off from the outside world  on our lower level resulted in fewer treats and less love from UPS drivers. And this comes at a particularly bad time, because recently UPS drivers and the dogs who follow them have been getting positive national publicity (Huffington Post and Facebook ).  So, with my diminished exposure to the UPS drivers in our neighborhood, I don’t foresee any photo ops in my immediate future. I sense a missed opportunity to boost my brand.

Guarding the stockings.

Overall, being downstairs with Heather all day has been great. Compared to Mike’s office, it’s warmer and more comfortable, two conditions that always top my list. But it was not until the holiday season ended that I recognized the unintended consequence of my womb-like new lair. Yes, as comfortable and warm as I was, less brown made my holiday more blue.

Chloë Makes Strides with Brown

Biscuit Delivery Machine

Biscuit Delivery Machine

My new favorite UPS driver, Donna, visited my house twice last week. Like right to the front door. One time she left a biscuit on top of the package she left outside, thinking no one was home. We must have been downstairs, I guess, for me not to have heard her coming. When she heard me barking inside, and Mike finally got the door open and me outside on a leash, she came back and gave me a big greeting and biscuit No. 2. She even sat down on the steps for a few seconds to talk to me! I’m in love. My former favorite Mr. UPS, Kevin, was great with the biscuits, but he was a taciturn, John Wayne-type. The most endearing thing he ever said to me was, “Here, Killer.” He always called me Killer. Donna actually knows my name.

The brown standard.

The brown standard.

On another day the UPS truck stopped outside our house, and I hustled Mike out the door in plenty of time for the driver to see me, but when we got outside I could see the driver wasn’t Donna. Even my favorite UPS delivery person needs a day off now and then! I yanked Mike out to the street anyway, and when I stared up at the young man in the cab he got the message immediately, fumbling around on the dashboard until he found a piece of biscuit to toss my way. I pounced, Mike yelled a thank you, and I waited expectantly for the second huge biscuit that Kevin would throw my way. None was forthcoming.

Oh, well. Mike seems to be on an Amazon Prime binge, so I expect to be seeing a lot of brown delivery trucks around. Maybe next time.

Chloë Celebrates a Best-Ever Holiday

I needn’t have worried about the tight quarters in front of our fireplace for stocking-filling. Santa came through just fine for me. In fact, I had already enjoyed two special events by the time the big day arrived.

Re-gifted her toys.

Re-gifted her toys.

Mike and I were just walking down our block one day, minding our own business, when Merrie’s mom Jane came running out of her house and calling to Mike. She wanted to re-gift me with two brand-new toys that had been given to her Basset hound Merrie. She was certain Merrie would chew them. Being somewhat of an expert on toy-chewing myself, however, I doubt that scenario, but are you kidding? I wasn’t saying no. Although Mike told Jane that if I wasn’t interested in the toys, he would drop them off at the Seattle Animal Shelter, by the time we got back to our house, I had already knocked them out of Mike’s hands, scooped them up and claimed them as my own. I was so excited.

Soft green boney

Soft green boney

I immediately adopted both. One is a small orange bear that I have so far been unable to silence from its squeaking, despite my many efforts. The other is a fabric-covered green bone that has “Been there chewed that” stitched on one side. This one was easy to quiet and thus far has become a popular participant in indoor fetch sessions. Sometimes the soft green bone even supplies a good target for some tug-o-war with Mike. Heather doesn’t do tug-o-war. I haven’t named the orange bear or the green bone yet, but I’m working on it.

My good fortune continued. A couple of evenings later, my new UPS delivery person Donna came to my own front door! I heard her truck come down the block and park, and as Mike looked out the window to verify my warning, Donna was actually bounding down our walk, delivering a package for Heather and biscuits right to my doorstep. She gave me two, my first personal double-biscuit delivery since my favorite Mr. Brown Kevin left the route a bit more than a year ago.

Chanukah gelt for Chloë.

Chloë surveys her Chanukah gelt.

Come Christmas morning, my stocking was full. I got Paul Newman’s personal dog treats from Charlie and all-natural chewies from my aunts Susie and Debby. Mike gave me lots of extra treats all day, a rarity for that tightwad. And Heather, who stayed home from work all week (in a sneak preview of what this “retirement” thing might be like), gave me one “Get Out of Jail Free” card for when I get in trouble on her watch and took me on several long walks in the park, just the two of us, followed by some power-napping. With all of this loot coming on top of the comfy new mattress in the bedroom that has now returned to easy dachshund accessibility, my stocking haul was more than I could possibly ask for.

It was nice to have my pack all together and under the same roof all day. Over two days of the Christmas weekend, the three of us (along with my pal Charlie on Christmas Day) hiked to six of my favorite fetch locations in the park, pausing for some spirited throw-and-return at each stop. The six were Chloë’s Lane, the Hill Below the 500 Area, Behind the Visitors Center, the Cemetery, the South Meadow and the Capehart Fence. I just hope Animal Control Officers aren’t faithful readers of my blog. The potential for drone surveillance worries me.

That’s why I’ve decided to lie low ’til 2017. Happy New Year.

 

Chloë Searches for a Brown Christmas

Training my new UPS driver is not going so well. When first I met the new guy, Craig, he seemed friendly enough, but he gave me only one bickie, no matter how many times I chased his truck down the block and stared at him. Plus, since our meeting occurred down the block in front of Merrie’s house, I’m not sure that he knows in which house I live. In fact, since that day, we’ve had at least two UPS deliveries to our front door, both apparently coming when Mike wasn’t home, since he did not personally witnessed any of my trademark obsessive-berserk UPS truck reaction, sometimes referred to as “Chloë’s going brown on us again.” Multiple deliveries with no bickies left on top of the package can’t be totally chalked up to wind gusts. Clearly, this new guy doesn’t get it yet. I resolved to do something about that.

On the Boulevard

On the Boulevard

At least every other day, when Mike and I went out for our afternoon walk, I steered Mike away from the park and southward through the streets of Magnolia, tracking the scent of brown trucks. One day along Magnolia Boulevard I spied one, driven not by my new friend Craig but another driver, one who I’ve met and received treats from. On this day, she had a helper, and she sent him to our side of the street with a package, so I dragged Mike back several houses to the spot where he would cross the sidewalk. He saw me and smiled—and he was still smiling when he climbed back into the brown truck alongside the driver. She checked behind her for oncoming cars, released the brake, merged into the traffic lane and pulled around the corner, never making eye contact with a dumbfounded dachshund on the sidewalk across from her.

Dravus tower

Dravus tower

When I sense brown trucks are in the neighborhood, I usually try to steer Mike up to the water tower on Dravus, where a couple of UPS routes seem to cross. The brown truck fumes linger around there, for some reason, because we’ve had multiple visits lately without actually seeing a brown truck in the vicinity. The last time I plowed right past the water tower without stopping, descending the hill on the other side and hustling pasts the play fields in the valley. Unfortunately, at that point we got caught in a sudden, heavy downpour of rain, freezing rain and sleet. Mike and I were drenched, and a long way from home.

That’s when my instincts kicked in. Before we reached Magnolia Village, I guided us on a serpentine course through the Pop Mounger Pool, Catherine Blaine School, the Magnolia Community Center and the Magnolia Playfields, and then past the Chase bank, the fire station, the automobile repair garage, the bus stop and the dry cleaner, right to the door of my Edward Jones broker Caroline. It made sense: It was a familiar place where it was dry and where I am always treated like a queen (meaning lots of high-quality treats). Only then did I find out the real reason I had been lured so strongly over the mountains (well, over the big hill where the water tower is) and through a fierce storm to this particular place: Caroline told Mike that Kevin, my recently retired UPS Guy, had actually been in her office recently as her client, and that he looked great. Good for him, I thought, but what about me and other Magnolia dogs, the ones he left behind with no bickies?

So close and yet so far...

So close and yet so far…

But as the dark days of December wore on, I began to accept my fate. Brown trucks drove up our street, stopped right outside our door, and I slept right through. On walks, I saw brown trucks turning left and let Mike steer me to the right. Finally, on the day before Christmas Eve, I saw that same brown truck on Magnolia Boulevard. For two blocks, I pulled Mike toward it, and then directly into the paths of both the driver and her assistant as they hurried to make deliveries, neither making any contact with my pleading eyes. They must received a directive from headquarters, I figured, pressure from above to speed deliveries along, with no time for socializing. Amazon and other mega-clients demand it, or they might decide to buy some planes and trucks and deliver the boxes themselves.

But I digress. After I failed to get noticed in two more passes of the brown truck, I sat down on the sidewalk and stared back at it forlornly, waiting helplessly for a driver to provide some hint of recognition, disappointed when nothing came my way. When Mike told me to “leave it” and to follow him away from the truck, I didn’t argue. I realized that my  puppy-hood was really over. I didn’t believe in my own personal Santa Claus anymore, and I worried it would be a blue Christmas without him.

 

 

Chloë Makes New Friends

Alone again naturally.

Alone again naturally.

Quite surprisingly, even to myself, I’ve been getting more social of late with other dogs. While I’m normally apprehensive, content to watch them from afar, recently I’ve been more curious, approaching warily, almost willing to engage. Sometimes I’m even starting to seek out their company, tentatively, then slinking away if my presence draws their interest,  or in a few cases even playing for a bit before retreating to safety behind Mike or Heather. It’s a process.

Meanwhile, I always do better with humans. I finally met the new UPS delivery guy, Craig. Unlike the reports from Merrie’s mom Jane that he gave Merrie five bickies at once, he gave me only one,  so I stalked his truck at every stop on our block. He waved at me when he drove off, but he didn’t throw me a second biscuit from the driver’s seat. I guess M & H will have to order more stuff online so he will see what important customers we are. He will have to be trained, that’s all there is to it!

Wait, don't leave without throwing another biscuit!

Wait, don’t leave without throwing another biscuit!

Of course, if anyone is planning to send any year-end holiday gifts our way, please don’t screw around with long lines at the post office or those white trucks from Federal Express…go BROWN, people!

I also have a new pal in Jill, my new dog walker. Mike and Heather went somewhere…they had been packing for days, so it must be farther than Syracuse. Lynn is staying with me as usual, but now she has to work more, so Jill comes during the day and takes me out for a long walk, but no off-leash time or ball-throwing. Jill is now my third walker this week, after Lynn and of course Charlie, who comes on the weekend. Jill must be some kind of specialist, I figure. Maybe this is part of the boot camp that Heather is always threatening me with. We’ll see. In the meantime, Jill puts my Kong Wobbler on the kitchen floor when she leaves, so it seems no training is necessary for her. If it is, I’ll get Mike to take care of it whenever he comes back from wherever he and Heather went. I’m certain it won’t be that much longer…it never is.