Tag Archives: UPS

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 Has a Red-Letter Day

3-Chloe On Guard

Stealth attack.

The day started off with an unexpected treat. Mike was doing his morning stretches on the living room floor and concentrating intently on counting “one one thousand, two one thousand, three one thousand,” so I was able to sneak up behind his head and lick his nose for several seconds before he figured out what was going on. Call me the real downward dog.

My day got even better in the early afternoon when Heather took me on a field trip to the Village, where we walked around a little and visited the office of Caroline, my personal financial adviser and sometime hotelier. My portfolio may be down these days, but Caroline always keeps lots of treats in her desk, anyway. I picked up my shares.

UPS Truck

Biscuit delivery

Then, just after Heather and I got home from the Village, what came rolling down our street? A big brown truck and my favorite UPS delivery person, Donna. More treats ensued, even though the delivery was not for us. I must remind Heather to give Donna another big box of biscuits before Christmas to keep priming the pump.

My late-afternoon walk with Heather and Mike was shorter than normal because Heather was hustling us home to greet an expected visitor. I figured it would be Charlie, so I was surprised and thrilled to see it was Lynn, my other pal and favorite dog sitter of all time (that is, most generous with the treats and cuddles). I was so happy to see Lynn that she could barely make it into the house because of my jumping. When she finally managed to sit down on the couch, I leaped onto her lap and showered her with kisses. After my initial excitement subsided,  we had a nice, long cuddle while she was talking to Heather and Mike. It was great to see her again, because nobody understands me and speaks my language like Lynn does. Oh, and she always comes with a whole bag of treats, too. High-quality treats.

3-Sheperd's Pie

Heather’s shepherd’s pie.

I suspected that Mike cut my dinner ration that evening because of the many extra treats I scarfed up all day, but I did not complain. My nose told me Heather had prepared her specialty dish, shepherd’s pie, and I would likely be getting several plates, pots and bowls to lick after their dinner. Yes, it was a red-letter day, morn ’til  night.

 

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 Fans Family Flames

Sitting guard at Heather’s office before dogs were banned.

Frankly, I’m confused about how this so-called retirement thing is supposed to work. I expected a lot more napping (with Heather) and mapping (as in Mike planning trips and us hitting the road together). Instead, Heather spent a lot of time downstairs this fall, sitting at a table in front of a couple of computer screens, while I lounged nearby. Sometimes she yelled loudly at herself, and  she talked to herself frequently, but I managed to tune her out and doze in front of the fireplace or in a camp chair near her desk. In fact, the fall routine was a lot like going to Heather’s office, back in the good old days when I was allowed to go there, except we had a fireplace and we don’t have to get in her car to drive there. We just have to go downstairs. And there’s never a stream of people coming through the door, asking Heather questions and saying hi to me. There’s only Mike, heading out to the garage to do whatever it is he does out there.

Tug o’ War

I’m not complaining, though. Compared to the boot camp regimen Heather had threatened, Heather has been fairly easy on me, once we got over a little rough spot. While Mike was away in October, Heather got mad at me for disobeying her by repeatedly scarfing up food scraps from the street and from the Wendy*s Way smorgasbord outside the park, as well as for not peeing when she told me to. I thought she went a bit overboard on that last one. Not peeing just to be stubborn? Please.

Anyway, when Mike returned, Heather began a short Reign of Terror, when she wouldn’t look at or talk to me and had Mike do everything related to me. But that lasted only a day or two. Then we were BFFs again, although for a while she forbade me from visiting the smorgasbord. Even that edict has been relaxed of late, however; I got myself some Swiss cheese over there just yesterday.

Afternoon delight

As the holidays approach, the pace of Heather’s work schedule has slacked off somewhat. We’ve watched a lot more TV in bed, which is always good. We sneaked in a few afternoon naps, too. And the weather has been beautiful, sunny and crystal clear every day. That always puts everyone in a better mood. Last weekend Santa Monkey, Rudolf and my stocking all arrived in the living room, and the real Santa will be showing up soon, preceded, I hope, by plenty of UPS deliveries.

Chloë Resumes Her Routine

Wiffie: Chloë Official Autograph Model

Waiting for Wiffie.

 

 

 

 

 

 

It didn’t take me long to get back into the swing of things at home after my lengthy road trip. As soon as the front door swung open, I pounced right into my toy pile to grab the thing I missed most on the journey: Wiffie!  I’ve been batting that plastic ball around the first floor like crazy, irritating Mike every time I knock it under the couch or someplace else where he has to get down on the floor to free it. It’s fun to drive Mike nuts, and not too hard, either.

Needless to say, it took Mike less than an hour before he unwittingly left the front door open and unguarded, allowing me to escape down the street to renew my futile pursuit of the Bartons’ cats.  A lot of good they are: While we were away, they presumably enjoyed the run of our yard without me to get after them, and they might have done us some good by guarding the premises. Fat chance. Instead, they sat back and let a mouse into my garage, where it devoured a 4.5-pound bag of my Hill’s Science Diet dog food and apparently ate itself to death. Those cats are worthless.

Frozen PBB., fully loaded.

Anyway, being back has many other advantages. Every morning now  I am able to score a full-sized Frozen PBB, not one of the small, travel-size ones that Mike was passing off to me on the trip. That’s good! On the other hand, the leftovers buffet generally laid out on the grass outside the park entrance, a.k.a. Wendy* (not her real name) Way, has been spotty since my return, just a few random bread crusts. Maybe the crows are getting to it first,  since I haven’t been around  all summer to keep them at bay. All I know is that I haven’t seen a good leftover on the smorgasbord since I’ve been back. I just hope Wendy* (not her real name) is eating OK these days. I’m worried about her.

Let’s see, what else is new? I still bark every day when the U.S. mail comes through the slot and do a loud, whiny dance whenever I hear a UPS truck. I was overjoyed to find my favorite driver Donna is back on our route, although she seems to have more days off and dole out smaller biscuits than previous driver Kevin did. Now, I really like Donna, but I’m just saying, Kevin’s biscuits were bigger, much bigger. I’ll have to make my displeasure known without risking alienating Donna. I’ll have to proceed with some of that subtle, Trumpian diplomacy.

Mr. Owl is back

With Heather home every day now, I’ve been doing much more walking and playing a lot of fetch with Heather all week long and with my pal Charlie on Sundays. Lately, we’ve been throwing more on the hill by the park Visitors’ Center, next to the fence outside the Capehart area, or in the military cemetery rather than on my regular course on Chloë’s Lane. Part of the cause is that the lane is pretty well covered with fallen leaves now, making a lost ball more likely. The other reason is that the mean old owl has returned to stalk me again. We all felt his gaze on our necks last week, and there it was above us, perched in a tree above the lane. The way it looked at us creeped us out, so we left. We haven’t seen it since, but we’re always on the lookout. Better safe than sorry!

 

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.