Affording Doughnut

Doughnut 1st Day

(This piece was originally posted on my old blog.  I am running it again in honor of Doughnut, who passed away on Monday.  Sleep well, my little clown.)

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Are you financially secure? Is your retirement plan fully funded? Are your children’s orthodontia needs, wedding plans, and college tuitions all paid? Do you have piles of cash just lying around your house, collecting dust? Well my friend, you are exactly the type of person who should adopt an English bulldog.

I am convinced that the English bulldog is the only animal on the planet that makes the platypus seem smartly designed. The bulldog’s whole head is so convoluted and badly put together that the eyes, the teeth, the ear canals, and respiration can only be described as totally jacked up. “Jacked up” is the official medical term used by my veterinarian, who bred English bulldogs until he came to his senses.

Why would breeders make something with so many inherent weaknesses? In a word, adorability. Humans are hardwired to go all squishy when they see something with an oversized, rounded head, big eyes, and a snub nose. I believe this coding was to bond us with human babies even when they were screaming loud enough to rupture your eardrum, but the response is indiscriminate. Show a human something that has a wobbly, balloon-like head with large blinking eyes and we become goo. How else could Hello Kitty, a rudimentary sketch of a cat’s head, have become a mega-bazillion dollar industry?  Adorable sells.  Big time.

English bulldogs have adorability to spare. Even when they’ve matured past puppyhood, they still reduce humans to blubbering baby talk. “He’s mama’s squishy-wishy cutie-patootie, yes he is. Aren’t you, baby? Aren’t you my darling little pudding pop?”

God help me, I am a new bulldog mother and I am completely smitten. Before I adopted Doughnut, I read all the papers on bulldog health problems. I told experienced bulldog owners that I had found an article calling bulldogs a $5,000 check waiting to be written. I thought it was a joke. I laughed. Their response was different. They said, “Really? That figure seems low.” Uh-oh.

I did it anyway. I found a photo on http://www.petfinder.com and fell in love. I saw swinging jowls, mismatched ears, nubbins of teeth pointing in all directions, and a face only a drunk mother could love.* That’s the one for me! Thank God I’m married and not actively dating anymore. If this bulldog thing is any indication, I just can’t be trusted to choose wisely.

I have had Doughnut just two weeks now. His first surgery is booked for this Tuesday, when he’ll have his ear fixed and a massive amount of dental work done. Did you know that teeth can point straight back and up towards one’s ears? Apparently they can, though it doesn’t help one chew.

I am optimistic that Doughnut is hale and hearty in all other areas. He does appear healthy. My vet has thoroughly examined him and uttered the classic, qualifying line, “He seems quite sturdy. . . for a bulldog.”

Take pity on me if you see me on the street corner behind a card table, selling baked goods to raise money for vet bills. It means that I have adopted the canine equivalent of a money pit. But I should have known that. After all, I adopted a bulldog.

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* “. . .a face only a drunk mother could love” was the reaction of my friend, Al P., to Doughnut’s photo. It was a phrase I fell in love with and had to use. Thank you, Al.

New Column at Blue Ridge Country Magazine

My latest column is on the streets now in the May/June 2015 issue of Blue Ridge Country magazine.  It is also online in the digital version.  This column is entitled “It Takes A Village” and once again, I was lucky enough to get Joseph Mackereth to provide a lovely illustration to support the piece.  The link to the column is:

http://blueridgecountry.com/newsstand/mill-creek-stories/it-takes-a-village/

The Mailbox

mailbox

Those of you that have read me for any length of time must surely remember me talking about the “Motive Mailbox.”  If I ever kill my husband, this damn mailbox will be the motive.  If not, here’s the short version of the story.

I bought a brand new, beautiful, sturdy mailbox in 2003 and the installation thereof went onto Gruff’s To Do list.  The mailbox has resided on the floor of the living room, next to the television, taunting me ever since.  No longer.

My mailbox has been properly installed (in March 2015) and is the most gorgeous mailbox the post office has ever approved or seen.  I am absolutely giddy about it and have already been outside to clean it with Windex and soft cloths.

So take heart, those of you waiting on Honey-Do list items to be accomplished.  It can happen. Even after a dozen years, it can happen.  Well, it happened because we had a house fire and contractors were here anyway fixing stuff and they tackled the mailbox, but let’s not quibble.  My mailbox is up and I love, love, love it.  Now I have no motive.  Life is good.