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Mouf.

Yesterday, for the first time ever in their lives, Cutter and Tug spent the day apart.

For about a year now, Tug’s breath has been peeling the paint. It was awful. It was so bad I’d started calling him ass-breath and when we were at the vets’ for the boys annual check-up, the doctor, gagging, had told us Tug needed his teeth cleaned and, waving a hand in front of her face to clear the air, not to bring him back until we were ready to do it.

Instead, we hemmed and we hawed and we tried other cheaper ways to get his teeth clean and his breath fresh. We tried enzyme chews. Which he hated. We tried brushing his teeth with beef flavored toothpaste. Which he hated. We tried to ignore the problem, hoping it would fix itself and go away. Which it didn’t.

So we finally gave up and made the appointment and yesterday was the day and I was bringing home a druggy Tug. A far different Tug from the Tug who had left in the morning.

Cutter came tearing down the stairs excitedly barking and impatiently wriggling. He ran up to us but stopped short when he saw his litter-mate. Tug kinda stood, swaying gently and drooling, staring kinda blankly at one of the pilings that support our house.

Mouf, Tug said to the piling.

Cutter looked at him for a long minute and then, cocking his head, looked up at me and said, Holy shit, what did you do to him?

I didn’t do anything to him, I said, getting instantly defensive. Tug had to have an orthodontic procedure, I said, he’s had his teeth cleaned and he had to have five rotten molars extracted, I said.

Mouf, Tug said to the piling again.

Cutter returned his gaze to Tug. He stared at him and then said- he’s gross.

Mouf, Tug said again, drooling a bloody drool.

Ew, Cutter said.

He’s not gross, I said, he’s sedated and I want you to be nice to him until he recovers.

Cutter looked from Tug to me and back to Tug again and then walked over to Tug and gently nudged him with his nose. Mouf, Tug said, stumbling sideways and almost falling.

Cutter looked up at me, a grin beginning. Whoa, he said, this could be fun.

Food.

I got home last night and stumbled through the door, exhausted after another 26 hour day and sank to my knees, just glad to finally be home, sweet, home.

Cutter and Tug swarmed all over me, licking my face excitedly, rubbing up against me and making odd mewling sounds of happiness.

I collapsed into them, leaning into their yearning, their furry goodness.

I love you guys, I said, trying to hug both of their happily squirming bodies at the same time.

I’m so glad you guys love me, I said, needing them and their affirmation and affection.

The wiggling and wriggling and happy sounds stopped.

Cutter sat up and Tug lay leaning close into him.

Um, we don’t really even like you that much, Cutter said. Tug groaned.

What?, I whispered.

It’s not that you’re a bad guy or anything, Cutter said, it’s just that we like the food better.

Eating is soooo good, Tug said, nodding and looking at his brother.

The food?, I whimpered.

Sure. Think about it, Cutter said. We’re never sure when or if you’ll get home and we’ve been starving all day and you feed us and then we all clamber up into bed and sleep all night long and then when we get up, we’re hungry again and you feed us again. But then you leave and we’re left wondering what if, so, yeah, of course it’s about the food, Cutter said.

Tug was nodding like a bobble-head, Yup, he said.

The food? I whined.

Cutter sat staring at me and then, if dogs could shrug, he shrugged. He pitter patted his paws.

It’s not like we have fingers and can get our own, he said.

Sorry boss, he said.

Transport.

Ya know how sometimes, just only sometimes, a certain song will take you back to something you’d forgotten or maybe wanted to forget? Or maybe, didn’t want to forget, just maybe not remember? Or, or, just maybe, dredged up a long gone happy moment?

That happened to me tonight.

I was doing the dishes while Miss Carol and Cutter and Tug dozed on the couch pretending to watch TV. I was listening to a random selection on Ms. iPhone when a song blared into my earbuds. It was a song I hadn’t heard in a while, a song that transported me back to something else a while ago and a fairly long ways away.

I stared at my reflection in the darkened kitchen window and listened and  liked the journey backwards so much that I took it five more times, my soapy finger pushing the arrow back button, smearing Ms. iPhone.

Songs and music are strangely interweaving, slowly wrapping themselves around us and our psyches and digging their talons in deep.

And I’m glad they do, ’cause that was fun.

Note: Not to mention that it finally, finally, got me to write something, anything, to break me out of the non-writing fuck, I mean funk, I’ve been in. 

Thank you transport song.

Carol’s got a gun.

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Yup.

So this is how it happens. Redneckedness mooshed with several cocktails and a wedding anniversary inexplicably somehow led to a loaded firearm as a present. Nothing screams I Love You like a .380 Ruger, right?

Oh boy.

You have to realize. Miss Carol didn’t even like touching guns until we moved out to the end-of-nowhere- but we’ve had friends over for alcohol and ammo weekends and she’s slowly gotten (I hate that word, but it’s a real word- I checked) into it. 

I figured what the hell. She’d had the chance to test fire several weapons and she liked the little Ruger the best, so I bought her one. Redneckery run rampant, you know?

But now she’s one scary little bitch. What the hell happens to chicks when they get their hands on guns?

So yeah.

Carol’s got a gun. (You can sing it to Aerosmith’s Janies got a gun- it works)

And maybe I’m wishing I hadn’t bought her bullets. 

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Idol.

Miss Carol and me were eating dinner the other night when American Idol somehow slipped through my media filters and came on the TV.

Oooh, Miss Carol said, twisting around in her seat. American Idol, she said, still chewing.

Hmmm, I groused.

I don’t know why, but I just fucking hate American Idol. Maybe it’s Ryan Seacrest. Maybe it was the Nikki Minaj years. Maybe it’s just that Steven Tyler is no longer a judge. Whatever it is, it’s causal enough to make me continually hate it.

The new judges are great, Miss Carol said. They have a chemistry, she said, bubbly with excitement.

Hmmm, I said, no longer hungry.

We watched for a little while, and, yeah, ok, Harry and J-Lo and Keith do have a little something going on. But it’s the same old, same old. It’s mostly bad karaoke broadcast big and largely a cappella and mostly awful. Finally I’d had enough and started injecting my own witticisms into the dialog between karaoke star and judge.

You’ll have to smoke the man-meat to win, I said, over-top of Keith politely dashing the hopes of a little blonde girl who’d dreamed of becoming another Carrie Underwood.

Wow, can I get your room key, I said, interjecting my own dialog when J-Lo called one kid cute.

Mommy do I have to blow Harry?, I said, watching a fairly dismal contestant, clutching her gold ticket, re-unite with her family. Why, yes, honey, I continued in-dialog, it’s show-biz and you want to win don’t you? Yes mommy, I said. (I can have whole conversations for people)

Miss Carol was glaring at me. She’d thought me funny for the first five or ten minutes or so, but was tiring of my shit quickly.

I, however, find myself irresistible. So I kept on.

Do you sing that shit while you drive your trash truck, I said for a grinning Keith, as an obese black man pranced up to get his gold ticket to hopelessville.

Thank god, we’re talented and extraordinarily good-looking, I said for J-Lo when the three judges were yukking it up before a commercial break, Yeah, Keith-me said, can you imagine not being us??? No I can’t, the Harry-me chuckled, but if much more of this shit rapes my ears, I may never be able to write music again. Ho-ho, Keith-me said. Hee-Hee, J-Lo-me said, I said.

Miss Carol slammed her cocktail down. For goddamn chrissakes, she said, I can’t even watch TV with you anymore. She got up and stormed over to the sofa and slammed herself down. The dogs followed.

Peckerhead, Cutter said, as he climbed up on the couch.

Yeah, Tug said.

O Tannenbaum. Sweet Tannenbaum.

O Tannenbaum, Sweet Tannenbaum.

Long after you’ve been chosen and chopped down and hauled far, far away from the only home you’ve ever known-

And long after you’ve been propped up, leaning against others of your ilk, awaiting who knows what in the harsh light of the sales lot-

And long after you’ve been chosen once again and strapped to the top of a car-

And long after you’ve been dragged inside a sweltering home, a tree stand screwed to your trunk and stood in a corner-

And long after you’ve been draped with bright lights and heavy ornaments and glittering tinsel by giggling little kids and expansive adults-

And long after you’ve stood sentinel over gaily wrapped packages-

And long after you’ve watched the feigned surprise and happiness over seemingly thoughtful gifts both unneeded and largely unwanted-

And long after you’ve presided quietly over the gluttony and drunkenness that is a long-awaited Christmas dinner-

And long after you’ve it’s all over and the family has all gone home and the only thing remaining is the smell of over-cooked turkey and Uncle Bob’s overly masculine and horrendously inexpensive cologne-

After all of this, O Tannenbaum, Sweet Tannenbaum, you’ll still be standing; resplendent and twinkling glitteringly, beautifully regal in your Christmastime cloak of lights and splendor-

Until-

O Tannenbaum, Sweet Tannenbaum, the holiday is over and you’re stripped of your lights and your ornaments, your tinsel and your garland and you’re yanked from your stand of water, dragged outside and dumped at the curb, and left lying in the gritty grey gutter water, where you quietly shed needles and await trash pick-up.

O Tannenbaum, Sweet Tannenbaum.

Dinnerdread.

I had just gotten home and gotten Cutter and Tug ready for their evening walk which is preceded by, and dreaded by me, their evening meal.

Every night is a new and interesting tug-of-war to get our two turds to eat in something resembling a reasonable fashion.

Tonight was no exception. After I’d managed to quell the spilling excitement and running around and wrestling that reaching for their leashes had caused, I gave them both a dog biscuit and filled their bowls with food.

And thats when the fun always begins.

Numm, ummm, chomp, ummm, nummm, Tug says, burying his face in first one bowl and then the other.

Cutter stands, looking expectantly and hopefully up at me.

Boss, c’mon boss, can I get another biscuit?, just one more biscuit?, he says, glancing back and forth between me and the pantry. C’mon, c’mon boss, pretty please? he pleads, twitching like an addict.

Nummm, nummm, chomp, glump, Tug says, and swallows.

I hesitate briefly and then gave in. Cutter just looks so needy. All right, I say, moving towards the pantry and giving them both a biscuit. Tug pauses eating his dog dinner just long enough to trot over and take the proffered biscuit.

Hmmm, nemmm, he says, chewing thoughtfully, this actually attenuates my meal, he says.

I think you mean accents, I say, that it accents your meal.

Whatfuckingever, Tug mumbles, moving back to their food dishes.

I put my coat and gloves on and turn to see Cutter once again beckoning towards the pantry. C’mon boss, he pleads, I just LOVE those things. I can’t get enough of ’em, I’d get ’em myself if I had thumbs, he whines, looking like he’ll pee the floor.

Jesus Christ, I think, pulling my gloves off, and repeating the nightly cycle.

And then again.

And then a fourth time, and finally, I lose my temper. ENOUGH, I shout, angrily giving them each one more biscuit. Cutter and Tug stare at me, maybe feeling sorry for me, and then Tug goes and stares out the door, ready for his walk. Yesssss, I think, moving towards Tug and the door.

But Cutter goes to the bowls, sniffs experimentally and then stops and stares up at me.

I don’t have any chicken, he says.

I try to count to 10 and make it to 3.

OF COURSE YOU DON’T HAVE ANY FUCKING MOTHERFUCKING CHICKEN CUTTER. TUG ATE ALL OF THE CHICKEN OUT OF YOUR CHICKEN AND RICE DOGFOOD WHILE YOU WERE FUCKING AROUND WITH BISCUITS!, I yell, my blood pressure spurting off the scale. WHY CAN’T YOU GUYS BE LIKE REGULAR DOGS AND JUST FUCKING EAT!!!!!, I shout, gesticulating about like a crazy person.

Cutter and Tug stare at me. And then Cutter drops his eyes to his litter mate and they exchange a look. And the look says, jesus what a dickhead.

Tug shrugs and turns back to the door, staring out expectantly, patiently waiting.

Cutter returns to their dinner bowls. He sniffs. He tastes experimentally. And then he sits and looks back at me. He settles himself.

I don’t have any chicken, he says.

Reborn. Redux.

Hola all over again.

Holy shit it’s been a long time. A long time since I posted or wrote or even thought about posting or even writing. 

I’d about given it up. Figured my creative juices had jelled, had set.

I was tired. A lot has been going on.

But, then, all of a sudden, like a bolt out of the blue I felt I needed to update something, anything, and the first and easiest thing that came to mind was my blog header. 

Woohoo- welcome to the party in my brain!

So I pulled up WordPress, wrangled with resetting my long forgotten password, and found my crinkly old blog and mussed with it.

And as I did, a strange thing starting happening- my jellied juices started a tepid stirring, a slowly un-coagulating. It was not unlike an infected cut reopening. 

Not necessarily painful, but maybe refreshing?

Hey, a girl can hope.

Death by degrees.

It wasn’t supposed to be like this.

Two years ago I trained for two months to test for, and receive, my Class A CDL mostly because I’ve always wanted to drive the big rigs and mostly because I thought it’d be fun.

And it was.

In fact it was SO fun that fourteen months ago I bought my first truck, a 2004 Freightliner Classic XL that I named Trixie.

And she was beautiful.

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Because of my other company, I couldn’t drive her full-time so I hired a driver thinking that I could run the truck, spell the driver when he needed time off, and make some additional income.

Beauty, right?

Wrongo.

My first driver, whom we will call Chris to protect the innocent from lawsuit, was a piece of shit truck driver that didn’t really seem to want to drive a truck. Unfortunately I was a newbie and it took me six months to finally realize this and fire his dead ass.

My second driver, whom we’ll call Ian for litigious reasons, was a pretty decent driver for about two weeks until he was involved in a hazmat accident when a texting jackass t-boned Trixie and ruptured her driver side tank, spilling a hundred gallons of diesel fuel.

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Ian quit while Trixie was being repaired.

My third driver, who may have been named Mark, hit a deer on I64 near Emporia, fucking up Trixie’s fender and grill and rupturing her radiator.

My fourth driver, possibly Lamont(?), drove Trixie for a couple of days and disappeared. I never have heard from him.

My fifth driver, whom let’s just call Terrence for lack of a better name, was the best. He drove five and six days a week, his deliveries were always on time, and he seemed to genuinely love Trixie as much as I did. 

Until he took an exit ramp too fast and rolled her and totalled her.

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Fortunately, (or maybe unfortunately, depending on my frame of mind), the driver we’ll call Terrence wasn’t hurt and I carried enough insurance on Trixie that after all the dust has settled I still have enough money left over to buy another truck.

This time I’m driving.

Weatherbaby.

So this is what happened.

The other night, okay, alright, last night, I was doing the dishes after dinner (mostly because I like doing the fucking dishes, and not because I’m an emasculated metro-sexual she-male) and as I was cleaning the counter top (mostly because I like to clean the fucking counter top and not because I’m an emasculated metro-sexual she-male)

I was windexing past Miss Carol’s Ipod sitting on it’s cute little Ipod stand and I saw that it was tuned into(?), logged onto(?) the Weather Channel.

And I didn’t pay it much mind. For about a second.

But then I saw a black bird sweep by on The Weather Channel’s masthead and caught my eye and I paused, still slowly wiping the counter top lest Miss Carol see me not doing my job ( mostly because I like my fucking job and not because I’m and emasculated metro-sexual she-male) 

The black bird swept by again from left to right across the masthead and I was sucked in.

I looked more closely at the screen and saw that The Weather Channel masthead was telling me what the current weather conditions were for our home.

Drizzle. 72 degrees. It said.

I looked outside and, sure enough, it was drizzly looking and then when I looked out at the thermometer on the deck, it was, by god, 72 degrees out there. 

It was eerily uncanny and unsettling. I felt my palms getting sweaty. I stopped wiping the stupid counter top and stood staring at the Ipod. 

The black bird swept by again and again and every time it did I glanced up and out our window to try and catch it sweeping by outside, but it was dark outside so I probably missed it. 

Suddenly, the masthead changed. 

Light rain. 72 degrees. It said.

Nervously, not wanting to, I glanced up from the Ipod and out the window. And shits little sister- the drizzle had changed to light rain. This stuff was getting downright creepy. 

A chill ran up my spine and I wanted to laugh. But I couldn’t. 

I mean, how did it know?

I watched and watched The Weather Channel for hours, nervously waiting for it to change the weather and watching it consistently tell me what the weather was doing outside of our house and wondering worrily how it did it until Miss Carol finally barked, JESUS CHRIST, WOULD YOU STOP IT? TIME FOR BED!

So, yeah. I tore myself away. For tonight.

But I’ll be back tomorrow.