Tuesday, September 19, 2006

27 Some observations

We have just had our first electricity bill of US$900 for 4 weeks. So I am writing this inside a fairly dark house at night, and without air con!

Koreans love spam, that gross fatty mashed up ham that comes in a tin. Spam hampers are on massive displays in CostCo food stores and for the Chusok festival, Spam hampers are big presents. The last time I came across Spam was when I wrote my first promotion for Glasgow's Evening Times' marketing department. It was my lofty duty to write the copy for a reader competition to win one of two Spam hampers donated by a local supermarket, and also the first time I ever saw my own words published in print. I worked really hard and the competition was one of the most successful of the year - I am still not sure to this day if this was because of my terrific and enticing copy that had readers buying multiple copies of the paper just to enter the competition. Or whether it was simply a reflection of the disgusting eating habits of some elements of the population in the West coast of Scotland at that time.

Some friends of ours have just announced that they are pregnant with a baby due in March next year. Our daughters were delighted with this news.

"Guess what, remember Peta and Steve?" I asked them, "Well, Peta has a baby in her tummy so they are going to be a Mummy and Daddy next year."
"Cool, so they will be a Mummy and Daddy instead of just being visitors," observed our eldest daughter.

Last weekend we had a trial run looking after our next door neighbour's elderly dog in preparation for possibly looking after him for two weeks while they go on holiday.

Dougie Dog is a 14 year old, westhighland terrier/jack russell cross who had a stroke a few years back and so when he is tired and one side of his brain shuts down, he walks around in circles. He is also blind. He was born with no tear ducts and so his eye lids basically rubbed out his vision. To correct this problem, he had an operation to transfer some of his saliva glands to his eyes with the result that when he eats, he now also cries.

Dougie moved in on Saturday afternoon and seemed to settle down. At tea time, we fed him according to instructions, and he wolfed his food down. He then became quite agitated, walking around the house (occasionally bumping into things) and began to make a strange sound. He was howling. His owner had sent a list of his habits and the howling rang a bell in my memory.

"What do we do?" asked husband
"It said something about howling in the 'looking after Dougue guidelines' that our neighbour sent," I said, "I'll check it on the computer."
"Check it quickly," said husband as the howling levels rose to 'loud' on the Howl-o-meter.
Rushing over to the lap top I opened the Dougie doc and scanned down.
"If he howls(yes, like a wolf)," it said, "then he needs to vomit. Take him outside and he will dig a hole and vomit into it then cover it over," I read.

Husband grabbed the howling hound and raced around to the garden where Dougie dug several holes (narrowly missing the onion and lettuce patches) before finally depositing his entire supper in one and then frantically covering it up with his nose.

We stood back and watched. "What a f**++ed up animal," observed husband.

Meanwhile the kids were in a state of high excitement throughout this episode. Being a 14-year-old, stroke-victim dog, Dougie is not up for much in the way of games or activities. The howl - dig - vomit routine had them rivetted every second.

Telling the grandparents on Skype later that weekend about our latest exploits, Dougie Dogs displays were a major feature of the childrens' news home.