vacuuming the dog, homemade preserves, and other hobbies

If you have been following my blog posts you will know that the past couple weeks have been fodder for one of those cable Lifetime or Hallmark dramas starring my family. In the present calm ( or dramatic pauses, I presume, in television jargon) between family-life storms, I went back to work today. While dogs likely have no idea where I go during a typical day, they must know that my regular routine results in them getting their routine walks when I walk back through the door.

With everyone trying to maintain some normalcy, between visits in the hospital – twenty-four hours in shifts between the four members not in a hospital bed, we learned some new things. Tidying up the house, doing laundry, and cleaning out the refrigerator – it’s been two weeks since we had a “normal” meal – becomes a mindless activity when stress and worry make everything else seem trivial.

With Comet and Dexter continuously shedding, Sheri one afternoon turned the vacuum cleaner straight at the source of the piles of dog hair, Comet and began to vacuum him! He was nonchalant about the whole experience and lay on the living room rug while being vacuumed. Dexter, for his part wanted nothing to do with the noisy monster and bolted out the doggy-door.

I learned that some homeowners should just accept that landscape management is a skill that some do not possess. Or at least, an agitated homeowner who “has to do something” about shrubs and trees “growing out of control”, should plan more than twice and cut aesthetically. With power trimmers and loppers, and a couple hours of sweated-out stress later, I realize it now is more akin to that time I tried to cut my own hair with a corded hair trimmer. Short on top – in places – and longer in some spots than in others.

Last night I went through a basketful of peaches and nectarines from my trees, intent on starting some preserves or when frozen, fruit smoothies. I still have all my fingers, and most of the fruit made it into the freezer, though some were more mash than sliced. As a good husband, I also cleaned up the kitchen before my spouse came around to “pick up” a little. (I have learned a few things in two decades of marriage.)

At least, when I went to work today, I was not left up to my own to plan what to do. Engineering has a certain rigor. You have test cases. You test and document what you observe. And someone else evaluates the unexpected results. As an added bonus, my supervisor did sit at my elbow today to witness a very highly anticipated test result. It failed. Maybe I should start planning my next entrepreneurial venture sooner? Dog-groomer, dog-walker, fruit vendor and smoothie maker are definite skills; at least, I think so. However, I don’t think my neighbors will recommend me as a gardener anytime soon.



  1. I also did not inherit the landscaping gene. I never try to do anything fancy. I just try to do enough to keep from getting a citation from the city.

    Great post! And I hope things start going better for you and yours.

    Liked by 1 person

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