Tag Archives: Wiffle Ball

Chloë Chills for the Holidays

Stopping by the woods on a snowy evening.

I have been so busy the past few weeks that I simply haven’t had the time to sit down and dictate any notes for Mike to type out for me. So let me recall some highlights and catch up.

Pre-holiday festivities were light this season. Mike and Heather saved money and time by merging their annual holiday office parties (one employee per office), and I was the only outside guest. What a celebration! We enjoyed some extra string cheese as hors d’oeuvres and dined on roast pork with stuffing and, of course, sautéed kale, the hip side dish of the year. Although there was no Secret Santa gift swap, I’m happy to report nobody got too drunk and made a fool of him or her self.

Christmas Eve brought two storms to town, the first of the snow variety (very rare in temperate Seattle) and the second a visit from Heather’s sister Sammy, who is a whirlwind all her own. I mean she’s a perpetually high-energy person, at least compared to the slow and dour pace I normally seen from the people around this house, unless Mike gets excited during a Syracuse basketball game or Heather starts ranting at the PBS Newshour.

Winter wonderland on Christmas morning.

The festive Sammy is often whistling or singing around the house, and this time she apparently infected Mike with the musical bug. On Christmas Day she and Mike belted out a duet of “Winter Wonderland” on the telephone to Mike’s Mom Rosalie and my aunts Susie and Debby in Syracuse. Luckily, the You Tube cameras were not rolling at the time, but I got to see it live and in person. I wasn’t sure whether to cry or laugh, so I did a little of both. There were no encores.

We did get quite a bit of snow on Christmas Eve and Day, and I really enjoyed frolicking on the slippery trails and through the meadows in the park. Snow lasted in our back yard and in the park for a few days, but the sidewalks were pretty clear before Heather was able to shovel the whole neighborhood. I could see she was disappointed about that. Several nights of turkey, potatoes, stuffing and gravy alleviated her anxiety. I got to lick plates!

3-Chloe Gets New Ball

Santa brought Chloë a new ball.

As far as gifts go, Susie and Debby sent me excellent treats (some that taste like meat loaf, one of my favorites!), and a mouth-sized, gnaw-able ball that I immediately adopted as an alternative to Wiffie for inside-the-house throwing. I like the size and feel of the new ball in my mouth, but pawing it against the floor doesn’t put any backspin on the ball, like I can do with the Wiffie.  Therefore, within a few days of Christmas, Wiffie reclaimed his Interior Top Ball position, and deservedly so.

It’s a good thing Susie and Debby came through with their gifts, because nobody else did. Not my so-called friends (and you know who you are!) and not even Mike and Heather, my alleged caregivers. Apparently they couldn’t even find a special treat or a Mushabelly in the house to put in my stocking. Maybe this retirement thing brings an austerity budget along with it. They better make it up to me for my birthday in February.

4-Chloe and Yule Log on TV-002

Chloë lounges in front of the Yule Log..

Anyway, I survived this holiday disappointment, and on the first weekend after New Year’s we headed out to my foothills getaway for a few days to recharge the batteries. I always have a good time out there, even if I do have to share Heather’s affections with the resident dog Pumpkin. I cut the Pump some slack because she idolizes me so much.  Therefore, I don’t mind that Pumpkin goes on walks with us and naps on Heather’s other flank on the couch. But I’m not as liberal with my feelings for the cat Mr. Fuzz, who wisely stayed upstairs during this entire visit, or the latest arrival in the affection sweepstakes: Pepe, a donkey. Luckily, Pepe stayed in the barn, where I don’t go unless forced, so I missed meeting him this time, but I feared his presence nonetheless after Heather described him to Mike and me as “cute.” Hey, I’m the cute one around here, and I don’t want Heather or anyone else to forget it for an instant. #MeToo!


Chloë Redecorates

New layout in living room

So far, not much has changed since Heather retired. Except that now I hang out with her all day, usually downstairs with the fireplace on. After Mike gives me my breakfast and my morning treats, I pretty much abandon Mike for the rest of the day. What good is he until dinner time? Heather’s surroundings are much warmer.

Heather has also done a lot of rearranging of furniture in the living room. It’s almost like checkers with heavier pieces. I’m not so sure I like the current arrangement, with the couch in front of the window. Somehow it’s not as easy for me to jump up on the couch, for one thing. Must be the angle. And all those little scatter rugs on the hardwood floor make it slippery. Even worse, for a couple of days, Heather removed my huge round bed, filled with my toys,from the living room. Out! Entirely! Thankfully, Mike and my best pal Charlie intervened on my behalf,  pointing out I need it as a place to rub my back. and they seem to have talked her out of it, at least for now.

Bed remains, for now.

My biggest complaint remains: This layout is not at all conducive to playing Wiffie. With the entry bench he used for tossing now facing away from the kitchen, Mike no longer has a straight shot across the room, and he has not yet found a comfortable spot for a launching pad. Since I want Mike to be remain engaged in playing Wiffie with me, I will be pushing Heather to follow through on her announced plan to get some different rugs and furniture in the living room that will address these shortcomings as well as improving comfort.  If the changes come to pass, I would even be willing to renegotiate this whole bed thing. Let’s see what any new rugs look like first. In the meantime, as long as thoughts of Asian rugs and swivel recliners keep her mind off ramping up my boot camp, I’ll be on board with any plan that keeps Wiffie in play.

Chloë Recaps a Busy Month

February really flew by, no doubt aided by several variations in my routine. Normally, I’m a creature of habit. But after turning 5, heck, it’s time to live a little.

First Mike and Heather went away for a winter vacation. Hawaii perhaps? Mexico? The Caribbean? Here’s a shot from their chosen destination:

1-Snowstorm in Syracuse-002

Snowstorm in Syracuse, N.Y., February 2015

I kid you not. They went there for a whole week! The tales they told people back here about the weather on their “vacation” were enough to make me want to burrow under a quilt and go to sleep until summer. All I could think of is how hard it must be to find a good place to pee when the wind chill is 20 below zero and the snow piles next to the driveway are seven feet high and four feet deep. And I’m a long pee-er, so this matters to me. (I suspect Mike and Heather would feel the same way.)

Wiffie: Chloë Official Autograph Model

Wiffie: Chloë Official Autograph Model

Thankfully, I got to stay here with my best pal Lynn, who always pampers me way too much. Well, maybe not TOO much. Even better this time: I had two play dates with my former roommate Charlie. Usually when Lynn stays here she takes me on several short walks daily, but nothing like I get when Mike or Heather take me to hike and throw in the park.  Instead, each morning Lynn and I bat Wiffie around the house for about a half-hour.  Lynn really enjoys my soccer-style moves and when I get sassy and bark  at Wiffie when it won’t stop where I want it to.  Mike calls that my frustration bark, because I catch up to Wiffie but can’t capture it yet. Wiffie often skims away from me because of the reverse spin I can put on it with my paws.

Anyway, Charlie came over twice, and we went on longer walks in the park both times. He tried ball-throwing the first time, but it didn’t take long for me to put him to the test. When I caught a scent and took off for a few minutes, Charlie got worried, as well he should have, and didn’t let me off my leash again. He didn’t want any unforeseen incidents occurring on his watch.

Another walk with Charlie

An earlier walk with Charlie

Here’s how Charlie summarized our two walks:

“1:15 for time. 3 miles for distance. 3 pees. 2 poops. Lots of dogs ignored.

“1:05 for time. 2.55 miles for distance, 2 pees, 1 poop, lots of dogs ignored, no off leash.”

That Charlie is a man of action, not of words. I really like it when I walk with Charlie. He keeps us moving. And I ignore dogs. It is what it is.

On the other hand, I hope I didn’t make Lynn jealous because I got so excited when I realized Charlie was coming to our door. My biggest dilemma came when both Lynn and Charlie were in the same room at the same time. I maneuvered frantically between them, not knowing which one to jump on and nose-bite first. I almost had a heart attack, I think. Not to worry, though: I’ve got enough love for both of them, as long as it’s not at the same time too often.

Chloë in her temporary office

Chloë in her temporary office

Funny, I don’t have that problem with Mike and Heather. A few days after they returned, Heather’s office changed locations, and so all of my co-workers at the company got to work at home for a week. Heather worked downstairs, where a plastic container of dog biscuits and our gas fireplace are. It was an easy decision: I dumped Mike. Instead of his office, I spent the whole week downstairs with Heather, warm and toasty. I barely saw Mike all week, save for him walking me in the afternoon and serving my breakfast and dinner. Perhaps that week served as a glimpse into our future: What it will be like when Heather retires, or at least works as a consultant from home.

Nah. Ain’t gonna happen. The next week came, Heather moved into her new office, and I barely saw her until the next weekend. Oh, well. It is what it is. I just hope she retires while I’m still young enough to enjoy it.

Chloë Finds Plenty to Do

Pausing In the pasture

Pausing In the pasture

Mike grumbled that it was a “lost weekend” because all of his teams lost every game they played. My view of sports is different: I’m into doing, not watching.

So while Mike lost, I found.  All kinds of great things to do just appeared under my nose. Friday we went to Heather’s office party, which was held at my regular getaway. On the way there, Mike and I stopped for a walk on the “watch out for bears” trail,  which is always fun, even when we don’t see any bears. When we got to the party, Sheila was the only other dog on the premises, and I already knew her from Heather’s office. Jaeger and his young friend Rocco, the two brown Labs, showed up later, but I knew them from the office, too, so everything felt OK. I was by far the smallest one there, but I realized that without my late friend Tara, I was the senior dog on the premises. I did my best to show the other dogs the lay of the land and keep them in line, but mostly I just left them alone and kept my nose out for falling hors d’oeuvres.

Chasing Rocco and Jaeger

Chasing Rocco and Jaeger

The next afternoon we stopped at Carkeek Park on the way home from watching the football game at Penny’s house. Our walk would have been uneventful  were it not for discovering a new variation of our fetch game. Looking for a secluded spot along the trail, we stumbled upon a large erratic, a smooth boulder that sloped upward on a diagonal, providing a great runway for my Visi-Ball and me. Heather’s throws never bounced the same way twice, and digging those errant tosses out of the thick underbrush was no little feat. See for yourself:

Sunday was unseasonably hot, and I’m glad this was the day Mike and Heather decided to meet my pal Charlie for a walk on the trail that goes along Elliott Bay. The park is a bit hazardous because of cyclists whizzing by, but it does afford great views and, on this hot day, a cooling breeze off the bay.

On the bridge

On the bridge

We also got to check out the new pedestrian bridge that crosses the highway and train tracks that divide the shoreline from the office buildings and neighborhood beyond. I wanted us to walk over to the other side of the bridge and back, but Heather told me it would take too long, and it was already getting late. Late? Late for what? Another game? I hope not. I would have rather gone home to chase Wiffie or play tug with Ropey and Mike.  Or rub my back and head on the rug! Anything but watch another game.