Hazel is now averaging around 27 lbs. and stands 18″ tall at the shoulder. Contrast this with a 15 lb. puppy at 12″ when we first brought her home. I used to be able to scoop her up in one hand when she was loitering on the front lawn at 11PM, impatient for her to come back inside, and now I’ve got to grab her with both hands and lift with my knees. She eats twice a day but her favorite thing is to see if we’ve forgotten to move the cat food to the counter, because that apparently tastes better than the $70 puppy food she gets. Meanwhile, Nox is in the office horsing down whatever might be left in her bowl.
We’ve settled into a regular daily routine. I get up in the mornings and walk her first thing. Sometimes the ladies come with me and sometimes we sneak out before they wake up. We have a standard route: first we walk over to the church so she can find a good place to poop on their lawn. Then we walk behind the church into the stand of trees where she can chase squirrels and listen to the acorns drop. Then we loop back around on Beechwood Ave. and head to the backyard, where I put her on the long lead to hang out while I get coffee and breakfast together. In the evenings we go for one last walk before closing up the house. She’s accepted that the crate is her nighttime bed; I take the leash and her harness off inside the front door and she trots right inside and lays down for sleep. Jen bought her a couple of fleece jackets to wear when the weather gets cold, and I had her in one for the majority of the day yesterday. She looks fashionable!
The issues with the cats haven’t worked themselves out much. Some days she’s super-chill with the two of them, and other days it’s one big furball of scrabbling claws on the floor as they all try to simultaneously occupy and avoid the same space. We’ve done four pet training classes that have taught us some coping techniques, but everything flies out the window when she sees a squirrel or another dog on our walks.
We’ve found new and interesting ways to try and exhaust her before bedtime; our friends down the street have a puppy roughly her size and practically beg Jen to bring Hazel down to let them run around the backyard and wear each other out. On the days we’ve been able to schedule this, she crashes out as soon as she gets home. On other days, I’ve found a method of wearing her out: I take her over to the playground at the school where there’s an enclosed area about the size of a tennis court with one entrance. I bring a couple of sticks in there, take the leash off, and we play an abbreviated game of Fetch (more like Chase) where she goes after one while I pick up the other. Come to think of it, I suppose I’m playing Fetch. She should be giving me $9 salmon-flavored treats every time I pick up the fucking stick. I guess it’s OK because she is absolutely beautiful when she’s running at full speed. After a half an hour of this, she’s worked her ya-ya’s out and we head for home.
Much of the grass in our backyard is gone, because we had the landscaping guys come and dig a drainage trench Wednesday afternoon. We tied the downspouts from the back of the house into one pipe going out to the middle of the lawn so that the runoff doesn’t keep flowing past (and into) the garage. This should move even more of the water away from the house and hopefully prevent further flooding. They also pulled all of Jen’s plants from the circle garden and leveled it out across the middle of the yard and trimmed back all of our planters in preparation for fall. They are coming back today to level out all of the divots and low spots and humps in the lawn and hopefully make the whole thing flatter (or, at least, sloped all in the same direction).
Along with that work, I approved a contract to have the driveway dug up and replaced with real asphalt. The idea is to widen the whole thing out to two car widths so that we’re not constantly dealing with parallel parking. We’re also putting in a drainage trench toward the back that will move all the water flowing down the driveway from the side of the house out to the other side of the garage.
Up in the bathroom, we’ve got the linen cabinet sitting roughly in place, which is a huge relief. Brian helped me hump it up the stairs last Saturday and we were able to just squeak it into place in the corner. Now I’ve got to figure out how to get the toe kick pedestal underneath it—but that will come a little later. The next big step is to finish off the trim on the front windows. I’ve been holding off because I wanted to see how much free space we’d have with the cabinets in place—there was a chance the countertop would be in the way of the woodwork. I’m going to get that in place and sealed up so that the whole room will be airtight and keep as much heat in as possible. Then I’ll start modifying the piping behind the sink.
Finally, I bought two more windows for the living room on Monday. I’ve got a couple of weeks before they come in to get other stuff done, and then I’ll call my brother in law Glenn to come over and help me get them installed. He’s keen to learn, and now that I’ve done four I feel like I’m clear on the process; having another set of hands will hopefully make the job go faster.