Camping at Lake Simtustus

The family met up with Mimi & Papa (Grandpa Doug and Grandma Debbie) at Lake Simtustus this past weekend for a longer getaway. Mimi and Papa drove down with their camper and us over from Portland with ours on Thursday. Lake Simtustus RV Park was relatively quiet the whole weekend, but especially on Thursday night, where one of the most poignant sounds during the night was the sucking made by the sucker fish cleaning muck off the dock.
MG is a happy boater

We’re just getting our camp setup routine down and were able to help Doug & Debbie with theirs as well. Two very different experiences – and while their camper was far more comfortable – I’m glad I’m not the one who had to drive it down the narrow roads to the camp site. Once we got all set up however, the camp site was very cozy and offered a wonderful view of the lake and basal-column layered hills.

We rented a pontoon boat on both Friday and Saturday and combined some fishing, sailing, and splashing. Barley even got to swim a few laps around the boat before getting too tired. Doug and Michelle both caught some pike minnows on Friday, but only Ella came away with some delicious trout. Luck changed Saturday and I was the one who pulled in two fish. No one seemed too disappointed by not limiting out, partly because half the group got their fix by swimming in the somewhat chilly reservoir.

As usual, the food was excellent. Every meal provided for fun family time and no one finished the evening hungry. Especially after s’mores.

It’s hard to explain the beauty of central Oregon to folks who don’t get the desert. The plethora of birds, fish, deer, and the mingling of sage & pines nestled between the buttes of basalt might just be appealing to people who know the desert. Regardless, it was a wonderful weekend with family followed by a lethargic start to another work week. No one could agree on who wanted to stay camping the most.

Mysteries solved

Barley was barking at the window as usual, chipping pieces of paint off the trim in his insane desire to keep everything safe. This time however, he was at a different window. After calling him off a few times, I got up to investigate and noticed the cause for both the ruckus, and why the bird seed keeps disappearing.

[qt:/movies/ 853 480]

I shooed him off but he came right back as soon as I sat down.

A nice swim

Yesterday we took Barley for an early swim at Cathedral Park. He was delighted and could sense what was going to happen even before we got to the water. Thrilled, he lunged in over and over after his tennis ball toy. There was a brief threat from another dog, but Barley decided an aging, three-legged Weimaraner wasn’t going to take his ball, and he returned to frolicking in the river. The rest of us enjoyed the trip too, though the river is colder than we all expected, likely due to the high volume of water and source.

Playing under the St. John’s bridge was pretty fun too. It’s such a lovely fixture on the river.

Playing in the river at Cathedral Park

Almost Famous

This saturday, Michelle, Barley, Ella and I walked down to Healthy Pets Northwest to get the old man some more food. When we arrived, we had learned that the brand of food he had (but not the same type) had been recalled, so the owner wasn’t going to carry it anymore. She gave us a few different samples to try with Barley, many of which were made in the area and cost about the same. We also learned that a local news station was on their way to interview her and wanted to know if a pet owner would also mind being interviewed. Michelle volunteered me somehow.

The reporter and cameraman from Koin arrived and did a small interview with me (if I remember correctly) and shot a fair amount of footage of Barley. We’ve always felt he was a handsome dog, so we were certain he’d make it past the editors. We weren’t so sure about me, in my worn out long underwear and t-shirt.

That night at 11, Barley made his debut. For 2.5 seconds. That’s all. I was pleased to have been cut since it felt weird to talk about something you don’t know much or care too much about. But then a friend up in Bellingham said that she saw me on the news there. It’s kind of weird to think about local coverage being offered up to other affiliates, though then you get personal interviews and don’t have to worry about is communicated through the editing process.

Big day at the vet

Barley rests upYesterday Barley had a mast cell tumor removed from his right ear. The procedure required that he be anesthetized, so he also got his teeth clean and nails trimmed. He’s still a bit groggy this morning, but last night he was a big, helpless dope. The vet did a nice job of removing the tumor without leaving a permanent hole in his ear (on of his cutest and softest parts), but we’ll have to wait to see how it heals.

Tigger also received some news. He’s in renal failure and has hyperthyroid. I made some comment about testing positive for evil, but it turns out they don’t screen for that unless you request it. Bets are now on as to how long he’ll last, but we’re pretty sure he’s been in this state of shutdown for roughly 2 years, so in maybe another 2 he’ll be hittin’ the ol’ dusty trail.

Barley’s Mental Map

Every morning Barley runs down the front steps and takes a right. He’s gotten so predictable that I decided to let him lead the entire walk and see what kind of map formed. What made Barley’s mental map of the neighborhood? Was it the markings of other dogs? People?

Well, we never found out because we only made it to the end of the block before Barley had satisfied himself with the latest marking before looking to me to decide on directions. Not much of a map. The rest of the walk I tried to let him pick which way to go (except up people’s walkways) and it seemed his default was to go straight or look to me for some small cue about direction. I was a longer walk than normal and he never gave me the sad eyes when he realized we were turning back towards the house. Still, not quite what I was hoping for. No GIS project.

Cat Food Thief

Ever since we moved to the new place, Tigger’s cat food occasionally disappears. The whole bowl miraculously empties. Tigger, being a cat, is a finicky eater at best. He’ll only eat the food at the top of the bowl, no matter the bowl size or depth. Eventually, the bowl has month+ old food on the bottom and fresh food on top. So we figured that the missing food wasn’t from Tigger.

The food sits next to the cat door, so our fear was that one of the neighborhood cats had found their way in. This made us nervous, given our experiences with cats and houses. Michelle and I were going to try and find a web cam to catch the culprit, but Michelle decided to try moving the food before going with such a drastic scheme.

When the food moved, the disappearing food problem got worse. How? Well, you see, when a food bowl is on the ground, it’s very easy to eat out of without disturbing the bowl. When the bowl is moved to, say, eye level for Barley, it becomes more difficult to eat because you have to approach from a different angle and such.

Well, the bowl was emptied twice, both times tipped messily towards the edge of the cabinet and both times spilling water and food on the floor. This last time happened while Michelle and I went out for food. It was clear that Barley was the cat food thief. Busted.

Now we’re just curious as to why he stopped behaving. He had always been so good about not eating Tigger’s food. But he’s been eating less of his lately, and Tigger recently switched from Senior to Sensitive Stomach formula, and maybe it tastes better. Still, it’s not good for the Roo so we’re going to have to place it even higher.

Scared the Crap out of her

One of the funnier (in retrospect) stories from the OBF was the accidental introduction of Barley and Maddie right by Barley’s food dish. As I recently mentioned, Barley is turning in to a bit of a situational asshole. Well, it turns out his buttons are threats to food, threats to toys, and getting hurt. This is the story from my perspective, and there are probably at least 4 decent versions going around.

Andrew and I go into the basement to get some fans to help cool down the house. As we re-entered the house, Barley slipped by us into the sun room where Holly, Michelle and Maddie were doing part of the home tour or something. Barley immediately noticed that Maddie was *in the same room* as his food and transformed into asshole Barley (Barshole). This was a bit spookier than previous tussles because Maddie screamed bloody murder (barked it, anyway) and Barley grabbed at her collar. I pulled them apart but they were still close to each other and Barley simply went back at Maddie, once again grabbing her collar and a fair amount of hair. I grabbed his collar and tried to pull him off Maddie, thus lifting both dogs a little. Eventually I used my leg to wedge them apart and threw Barshole to the rug and pinned him down while Maddie escaped. The whole scene was rather scary, and I ended up with terra cotta tile burns (like rug burns) on my knees. Once we’d all calmed down, someone noticed that there was a single, solitary turd on the tile. It appears that Maddie (though it could have been anyone, I suppose) had the crap scared out of them, literally, by the incident. No one wanted to take the blame, so for the purpose of this story (and history), Maddie had the crap scared out of her.

I venture that Barley’s side of the story went like this:

Do do do do do – I’m so excited there are people here – people to pet me. Let’s go back inside – look more people! Oh crap – there’s a dog trying to eat my food! I’ll kill her. I’ll kill her. I’m totally kicking her ass! What the hell – The hairy human seems upset with me. Oh – they’ve left defenses down and the dog is trying to eat my food again! I’ll kill her! I’m being lifted! I’m being slammed to the ground and yelled at! What did I do? That’s my food! What’s that smell?….

Maddie’s was probably something like this:

(nervous pant noise) We’re in a strange place. Where’s Holly going? I should follow her. Holy cow – there’s a dog attacking me. I’d better scream! Help! Help! Help! oh good – they’re saving me. Oh no – he’s attacking again! What did I do? Save me! Save me! (poop!) Oh – I’m so embarrassed! I’d better go outside.

I’m not really sure what other sides of the story sound like – but I know Andrew was somewhat pleased that Maddie finally got her comeuppance, though I don’t think she deserved being attacked by Barshole. They got along the rest of the weekend, but what a nightmare.

Dumpster Juice

At the end of our walk this morning, Barley made a quick lick at a stain of dumpster juice that was dribbling from the eroded corner of the bin outside a restaurant down the street. I yanked him away quickly because last week there had been maggots in the juice, and after a week of 80F plus weather, god knows what else might be in it. Gross.