Sunday, March 25, 2007

Sunday morning coffee

The big news is that we spent the better part of Saturday afternoon dealing with dog fur.

Photo Sharing and Video Hosting at Photobucket Rio is a wonderful Shepherd/Husky/Rottweiller mix; we adopted her from some of MizBubs' family who couldn't keep her any more. I love having a big dog around again (our standard poodle Dougal MacDuff died a year ago in February) and she gets along great with our two terriers.

Anyway, now that spring is here Rio is in full shed. We've never owned a big shedding dog and I'm amazed at how much the fur flies. The good news is that our house is, oddly enough, cleaner since we've had her, because we have to vacuum and dust more often. The plucky and industrious MizBubs has taken on the majority of the grooming chores and she's got a heck of a way with that metal comb. Here's the output of a half hour of grooming:
Photo Sharing and Video Hosting at Photobucket

Nature and human frailty continue to vex us. Tuesday was a beautiful day in the Chicagoland area, and my day started great. MizBubs and I both had the day off, we got to laze in bed like people on the welfare, and then I ran 3 miles and exorcised a week's worth of tension. Late that afternoon a nagging little cough started, and by early Wednesday morning I was doing my best Doc Holiday impersonation, feverish and hacking. Damned illness used up the rest of my days off. (Side note: I watched Gunfight at the OK Corral on cable while recuperating, which explains the Doc Holiday reference. Kirk Douglas looked damn good as a gunslinger dying of tuberculosis, but what really struck me was the fine quality of his pomade. I've got some good hair, but I would not have looked nearly as good as Kirk Douglas if I'd had to get in a gunfight this week.)

I went back to work Friday, God knows why, and after making it through the day decided to use some comp time and take this weekend off. Now our youngest is sick, sicker than I was, and having one sick kid and a semi-sick grownup alters reality to the point that you can feel like you've really accomplished something, as a household, because you cleaned up the dog fur.

There's always an upside, though--sometimes you're even lucky enough to see it. We got to catch up on some movie watching this weekend, a rare treat for all of us to be in one place for so long. We watched Idiocracy (it had its moments, but was no Office Space), The Prestige, Stranger Than Fiction, and The Devil's Backbone. I thought Stranger Than Fiction was surprisingly good, and really sweet, which was nice. Really enjoyed The Prestige, made extra-interesting by the presence of ultra-cool Michael Caine and an odd David Bowie as Nicola Tesla. Finally, The Devil's Backbone. What a good movie. Best ghost story set during the Spanish civil war I've ever seen.

Another benefit of being relatively house-bound is having the opportunity to catch up on some organizing and household paperwork, and boy did I benefit. The thrifty, thoughtful and selfless MizBubs realized, while going through her stuff, that she's racked up some serious thank you points on her credit card, and she's never redeemed any of them. She also told me I needed some new clothes (it's so sweet how she wants me to look nice). The end result? Yours truly is the lucky recipient of a couple of Macy's gift cards. Woot! Yes, I know I said I'd never patronize that store since those New York bastards killed Marshall Field, but I figure it's poor form to refuse a gift from my bride just because I'm angry at corporate America. And I finally had time to fill out the rebate forms for our cell phones, which, at some hopefully not too distant point in the future, will put $200 in our pockets.

Ah, cell phones. I finally have my own cell phone (not the electronic leash provided me by work) and all the girls got rid of their Virgin Mobile service. It had been years since I'd done any cell phone shopping, and back then I found the process of comparing various service plans to be maddening. That's really how MizBubs and the girls ended up with the Virgin Mobile pay-as-you-go phones: none of them were big talkers, and they just needed phones for emergencies. Now we're all busier, and the girls are older, and it was time to look again.

I found this place on the interwebs. Pay attention, because if you ever want to switch services or get a new phone, this place is GREAT:

You enter your zipcode and up pops a list of all the plans available in your area. You're able to go through and compare them side-by-side, without having to bounce around through all the individual carrier's websites. We ended up with a plan from T-Mobile (whose service has been fantastic) and 4 Motorola Razr phones. The phones were free, and after the rebates I'll make money from the deal, and they threw in two Bluetooth headsets for free. And, if it matters to you, is an American company, and their call center and customer service is all right here in the US of A.


Coaster Punchman said...

Thanks for the tip on the website. Have fun updating your image at Macy's. Clothes shopping is painful - next time I plan to hire a shopper or consultant or whatever they call those people who pick out your wardrobe for you - I think most of the big stores do it for free.

lulu said...

I hate to say this, but I've really had good luck shopping at Macy's, better than at Fields, at least the Woodfield branch, Old Orchard sucks.

(cp--next time you want to go clothes shopping, call me, I used to be my brother's personal shopper until he got married)

Bubs said...

You're welcome CP! Why do you find clothes shopping painful? I actually enjoy it, as long as I'm buying for other people. I have a difficult time spending money on myself for clothes. I have to bring MizBubs or one of the girls with me to encourage me. They tell me I look like a hitman when I dress up.

Bubs said...

Lulu, that's encouraging--once my gift cards arrive that's where I'm going, the probably to Nordstrom's Rack afterward to get some new shoes.

Barbara Bruederlin said...

You don't happen to own a spinning wheel, do you? Because you could probably keep the whole family comfy in dog hair sweaters now.

Bubs said...

Barbara, MizBubs is an avid knitter and she said the same thing. Actually, she said she was glad we DIDN'T have a spinning wheel, because if we did she'd be too tempted to at least try it with dog hair.

Mob said...

Sounds like a great weekend, and I've added Stranger Than Fiction to the Netflix queue, I've been curious about it for awhile.

Glad you enjoyed The Devil's Backbone, it's a wonderful film. Have you seen Chronos, also by Del Toro? A tale of a grandfather who's made into a vampire my a strange device with a beetle of some sort inside it, and his struggle to keep the device away from an old man trying to steal it. The relationship he has with his grand daughter is quite sweet, and it was a very interesting debut film from the director.

Dale said...

Nature and human frailty continue to vex us. That says a lot Bubs!

Loved The Prestige but haven't seen the other films you mentioned. The pup looks cute and has better hair than all of us no doubt.

Lulu, maybe I'll borrow you sometime for your shopping prowess? I don't have a problem spending the money, I'm just retarded and need Garanimals for everything.

Dino aka Katy said...

yeah with 4 furry family members I feel your pain.

I LOVE t-mobile. I switched from Verizon as soon as they had it here. I love that I can go home and use it there too. Besides their service rocks as much as I travel I never roam even when I am out in the boonies.

Bubs said...

Katy, I'm glad to hear that! It's important to have a phone that works well when we're out of town.

Dale, she may have good hair but (quiet, she's kind of embarrassed about this) she has dandruff. The Prestige was pretty cool; now I've just been told by my eldest that The Illusionist is a better magician rivalry movie. And don't be ashamed of your Garanimals: you could not do worse than the guy I saw at Costco the other day. He had some packages of tee shirts, underwear and socks, and 4 or 5 pairs of Haggar trousers in khaki and black, and about a half dozen button down shirts in blue and white. He was telling the the check out clerk that he had just completed all his business casual shopping for the year.

mob, I remember seeing Chronos years ago and thinking it was pretty cool. Didn't realize that was GDT's debut. I'll have to go find that again. He's one of my youngest daughter's favorite directors.

Johnny Yen said...

Glad you had a weekend to kick it!

The last time I got together with my parents, my father and I were talking about a dog we had when I was a kid, this little black and white mutt named Partly (she was partly black and partly white-- my parents' five year old neighbor boy had named her).

We got her when I was two, and for most of her life, I never understood why she was unnaturally scared of the vacuum cleaner (she finally went deaf, but would still shake and hide when she saw it). When I was an adult, my father finally copped to have bought it specifically to vacuum the dog with because she shed so much. Let me repeat-- he vacuumed the dog. He had actually held her down and vacuumed her. No wonder she was terrified.

He only tried that once. But she was scared to death of the vacuum cleaner (and my father) the rest of her life.

I remember as a kid, vacuuming the house as part of Saturday chores; you would vacuum, and within an hour, hair was visible again. She shed that much.

They had her put down in 1980, when I was 19. But my parents, who've moved probably 8 or 9 times since then, still find her hair in stuff over 25 years later.