I took the dogs for their morning walk a few minutes earlier than usual. The school bus hadn’t come yet and there were children waiting at the corner. Of course Lulu and Fritzi went berserk. It’s part of their charm, but only Donna and I appreciate it (any day now, I expect the neighbors to demand we not walk them before noon). Mister B kept his cool throughout the encounter, and to be fair, Lulu and Fritzi calmed down when the kids approached to give them pets.


The Mexican birds of paradise Donna planted twenty-some years ago are in bloom again. There are a couple of smaller ones, grown from seeds dropped by birds — you can see one in front of the fountain and there’s another, with red blooms, hiding behind its parent. When we bought this house in 1999, the yard was flat and covered in grass. Landscaping was one of our first projects. We trucked in dirt to make mounds, which we covered in gravel, filling in the depressions with river rock. We left three little islands of grass to remind ourselves we haven’t always lived in the desert.

When Polly’s pet conure Skipper died a few years later, we discovered we couldn’t dig down through the caliche layer under the grass, and wound up burying her in the loose dirt under one of the mounds. The lonely oval rock by the tin javelina is her tombstone. The javelina itself stands over a cat’s grave, another of Polly’s pets.

The mounds are a little less moundy after all this time and the landscaping could use a refresh, but overall the job’s held up. First, though, we need new shingles. And double-paned windows. And solar. It never ends. But hey, having a mortgage payment is like having rent control … it’s our one monthly expense that doesn’t keep increasing!

We’re excited about the new federal ruling authorizing over-the-counter hearing aid sales, set to take effect in October, which should drive prices down. If hearing aids do get cheap, I know what we’ll be giving one another this Christmas. We’ve both lost significant parts of our hearing — no wonder, me being 75 and Donna 76 — and if you were to drop by for a visit we’d be embarrassed to turn on the TV because then you’d discover just how deaf we are.

We’re going to board our friend Mary Anne’s dog Anthony for a few days — she’s dropping him off tonight. Our dachshunds know Anthony pretty well, because he and Mary Anne usually drop by for dinner and a movie on Sunday evening. Fortunately, Mary Anne, while not nearly as old and decrepit as we are, has a bit of hearing loss as well, and doesn’t mind that we watch Veronica Mars with the volume cranked up to eleven.

3 thoughts on “Say What?

  • I realized, after posting this, that I had already inflicted a photo of our back yard on you (see my previous post). I’m sorry if it seemed too repetitive. I’m trying to rant less about the fascists trying to take over all aspects of American life and write more about what I hope are relatable personal subjects, things we all have in common. I have, perhaps, written too much about our back yard now, so maybe I’ll work on a righteous rant or two.

  • Come for the antifa rants, stay for the landscaping and dachshund pics! I like both. I especially like those mountains just beyond your back yard. Basin and range country. Tipping giant blocks of rocks, the descending side making the low flat deserts, the high side of the teeter totter block making mountains.
    I have tinnitus in two freqs from the war but DOD turned me down for partial disability, why I don’t know. I’d appeal but playing the victim is emotionally draining. To win you must play the victim even you actually are the victim. I’ll appeal it if CalPers ever fails, my pension fund. My only real beef with the US Army, though it was DOD that refused me. No treatment for tinnitus, it’s for life.
    Tod recently posted…Tomorrow Belongs to Kyle RittenhouseMy Profile

  • Tod, they gave me a 10% disability for hearing loss when I retired. I believe it’s the standard disability given to aircrews, maintainers, and other ramp workers exposed to noise. Several years later I discovered I’d ripped some veins in my lower legs, most likely from pulling Gs. I went to the Tucson VA to see it that qualified for a higher disability rating, but it quickly became obvious the VA doc’s mission was to deny new claims, and to review and revoke previously-granted ones. I was lucky to get out of there with my 10% intact. Later, when I worked for the same VA hospital, one of many post-retirement jobs, I met a lot of career patients, many of whom were faking disabilities. The golden egg, for these types, is a 100% disability rating, and they will endure amputations and worse to achieve it. Of course most of the vets receiving care at the VA are legit, but the cheaters left an awful taste in my mouth, and I decided to live with what I’ve got. The 10% helps, and I’d hate to lose it.

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