When Piper arrived a week ago (It seems longer, much longer, both Theodore and I agree, while reminiscing about the wonderful life we used to have), everything has changed, changed utterly, as Yeats would put it. Whether either of us would characterize the new regime having a “terrible beauty” is debatable.
Come to think of it, she IS both beautiful and terrible. Dandelion soft fur, gorgeous eyes like locked lasers, Skye terrier ears beginning to stand up, all good. But terror squeezes my heart when I have to admit that she may be smart. I have made a point of never owning a pet or a machine that is smarter than I am; sure, I had to drop the “smart machine” element almost 37 years ago with our first Apple but I pathetically clung to safe harbour of the pet warning. For example, I know not to fall in love with a border collie. But Skyes almost always anchor the bottom end of the canine IQ list. We count on this, and Theodore has never disappointed us.
Piper’s first night was a busy one, pulling out all the stops in an impressive repertoire of yodels, coyote yips (in which she played all the parts in the opera), and a growly mumble which reminded me of Bijou, our macaw, when she was learning to talk. Luckily, the delightful breeder modelled the appropriate response: “SHUSH!!! MAMA NEEDS HER SLEEP!” I can’t do the Russian accent or the low register or the appropriate volume, but I try. Piper probably laughed herself back to sleep.
We even negotiated the first weekend - Victoria Day — four days of which featured fireworks, some as close as two houses away. for a moment, things looked to be in hand. Had the derecho not zipped between our house and the garage…
In less than one endless minute my favourite tree, a sugar maple I planted 40 years ago, snapped 15 feet up. It then toppled across the patio, where it had delivered welcome shade for many years, and laid itself across half of the roof, where it patiently waited for someone to remove it (think Pick-up Sticks). My little green heart is broken, and about 500 square feet of my woodland native garden have been exposed and are now perishing in full sun. The thirty-year old 12 foot rhodies are only memories.
Bill, our wonderful forester, managed a dangerous removal while sparing the stone walls and the old doors and windows. It took three skilled men and a convoy of equipment five full hours. When the cleared roof was found to have no apparent punctures, we summoned up what energy we had to wave little flags and mumble hooray. We are both a tad ditsy. Jon the Magnificent takes the early morning shift; I have no such excuse except looking and feeling 95. Managing the expectations of two dogs learning to happily co-habitate is tricky but coming along.
A dear friend described retirement as every evening’s being Friday night and every day a Saturday; these days, every day is Monday. That I found a fat tick on Piper was no surprise, of course.
The longest week of our lives was rounded out nicely with an electrical fire in the kitchen microwave . Luckily, I was standing two feet away when two loud clunks were followed by billows of black smoke. Again, no real harm done, aside from the disappointment of losing a great top-of-the-line convention/microwave Panasonic which was probably the youngest thing in the house if you don’t count Piper + paraphernalia.
You have no doubt surmised that neither painting nor gardening are on the near horizon.
Frankly, I don’t know how anybody survives a newborn anything. Shout-out to all of my friends who have raised children. I honestly didn’t know.