Al's black cocker spaniel, died 31 December 2012

Coffee Break | Sunday, 28 February

The photo is of Al’s dog Rascal, who died on 31 December 2012, one week before his fourteenth birthday.

The past week, since Samantha’s death, has been terribly disorienting. We took the car in for an estimate on fixing an oil leak, and thanks to a thorough review by the technicians, we learned that other crucial repairs were needed. Middle of the week, there was a brief indication that there might also be a problem with the electrical system (or moisture where it shouldn’t have been). Which, with our having bought the car in early fall 2004 and driven it into the ground, was not unreasonable. Still…no trip to the parents’ place, this weekend.

We do have a family gathering (Al’s siblings) for a meal scheduled for later this week, because Al mentioned to one of his sisters, who’d called with condolences on the death of our dog, last week, that we do not get together often enough, anymore. Even though it’s the birthday of one of his sisters, it is not to be considered a “birthday” celebration, because they do not want to fall into the pattern again of gathering for everyone’s birthdays. Which leaves us with Thanksgiving, Christmas and Easter gatherings.

We also found out that one of the nephews, having finally set the date, is getting married in October. Al had planned to have a new car by fall and drive to the West Coast for the wedding. It turns out that we are not invited; it is to be a small event limited to immediate family and, I imagine, to friends local to them. That’s a disappointment, since Al was stationed there while he was in the Air Force and was looking forward to the trip.

We’ve started looking into locating breeders with long-haired Cocker Spaniels, and the prospects are not good. In North Dakota, it’s field cockers for hunters, to which I’m deathly allergic. Spaniels, dogs of all sorts with short hair, including Brittany and Springer spaniels. It is most expedient for us to visit the breeder’s home to meet the adult dogs and determine whether I am allergic to those before buying puppies. And also to get a better idea of the temperaments, especially since we are looking for “his and hers” puppies.

With the growing trend toward producing and selling mutts, except for professionals who are breeding show-quality dogs—which is what the online advertisements look like—the odds of our finding dogs that I am not allergic to seem dismal. None of the breeders from whom we obtained previous puppies are raising Cockers, anymore. One, at least, is no longer breeding dogs at all, and the rest are advertising only mixed-breed dogs for sale.

I think the re-puppying process is going to take a while. Which will give me time to readjust.

Also, I need to complete the process of discarding eighty percent (my goal) of my clothes, papers and books. There is no room in here, since we moved the basement stuff upstairs during now long-ago spring seepage. I have already tossed out all of the old blank papers and envelopes, freeing up one shelf in one desk cabinet. I could barely lift the bag into the garbage bin to be rolled out to the boulevard.

I would like to get rid of the upright piano, since I do not play it anymore. I would like to replace it with an electronic keyboard with headphone output, so that I can play late at night without disturbing Al or the neighbors.

Seeing what my parents are going through with downsizing in their nineties lends urgency to the process here at home. And I cannot make things easier on my mother by accepting anymore items from their home. No place to put!

I have, this week, enjoyed rereading more of the Valdemar novels by Mercedes Lackey. This week, it’s the “Wind” and “Storm” trilogies: echoes off the Mage War destruction and the re-encounter with the Empire.

I feel like I should feel guilty, but I am not rehoming clothing or books, but calling the city to arrange for them to haul the boxes out to the dump for us. If I am faced with anything more active, the tossing part of tossing and cleaning will never get done, which will make the cleaning impossible.

I’m continuing to meet my exercise plan and have now increased the three-times-a-week distance from 3.0 to 3.5 miles a day. Happiness!

 

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