Wednesday, April 30, 2014

The puppy principle, part two

Oh yeah, and I forgot to mention, this happened. (Or rather, is going to happen.)

Her name is Kyra and she is four months old. She's a retriever/hound mix and currently lives in Tennessee and was picked up by a rescue organization called Angels Among Us.

Those of you who have been with me for a while know that Corb and I have been looking for a dog for a while. It's always been a dream of Theo's, and while Corb initially had some concerns, we both realized that it's what we want, too. And we both knew that we wanted a rescue animal, too. That way we can save a life and bring a little love into Green Victoria at the same time.

According to the woman that is taking care of her in Tennessee, she lived around the Memphis area, in an area that's not so good. Her mother was owned by an elderly lady and got out one night, and apparently "connected" with the neighbor's dog. She had a litter of four, and some people being what they are down South, two of the four puppies were killed by a couple of teenagers for fun. The old lady freaked out and hid the other two puppies in her bedroom. When the mother was done nursing, the old lady bottle fed the pups. They were treated well, but eventually the old lady realized she wasn't going to be able to care for them and called for help.

We've gone through all of the interviews and home inspection, and Kyra is now being transported to Massachusetts this week-end. After a few days in quarantine (Massachusetts law), we will get to meet her, probably around next Tuesday. So, more to come, and we are pretty excited!

Looking to save a life and bring some love into your house? There are tons of good animal rescue organizations out there. We know several excellent ones that we checked out during our process, including another local organization called Big Fluffy Dogs, which many of my friends highly recommend. There was only one we checked out that didn't really work for us (the people just seemed kind of indifferent and the place was only open on Monday afternoons...and they weren't flexible about it at all. Plus I read a horrible review after going to visit them one afternoon.) But on the whole, the people working at these places are incredibly dedicated and the work they do is so worthwhile.

So, we're getting a new addition to our house! Now you all get to hear stories about our puppy. I bet you just can't wait... (snicker)

Friday, April 18, 2014

Local Author Holds Book Signing for Debut Novel

As part of an ongoing effort to support area authors and artists, Attleboro resident Ted Mitchell's debut novel, Pictures of You (which he wrote under the pen name T.J. Alexian), has been selected by Ugly Dog Books as May's featured book of the month. To celebrate this, the local bookstore, located at 75 Union Street in Attleboro, will hold two events: an artist/author showcase on Friday, April 25 from 6-7 p.m., as well as an author signing on Saturday, May 10 from 2-3 p.m.

Pictures of You is a young adult thriller combining social media with the macabre. Described as a "ghost story for the dispossessed," it tells the story of Ashes16, a self-professed video geek whose real-world past begins to haunt her when a strange video pops up on her YouTube account. Others soon follow, bringing back vivid memories of her older brother's grisly death and forcing Ashes to relive over and over again a nightmare she'd rather forget. The videos appear to be messages from her dead brother, asking her to uncover dark family secrets some people want to keep hidden--and will do anything to keep buried in the past.  

According to Mitchell, Pictures of You is "a ghost story that gives voice to voices that don't fit the norm, and also, those that hide in the shadows." The book is his debut novel, published through Green Victoria Press. Mitchell is a familiar face to the Attleboro area, having been quite active in the local theater scene, most recently, as stage director for eight Norton Singers productions at Wheaton College. By day he works as a Director of Public Relations for Fidelity Investments, and has over a decade of experience as an award-winning communications specialist. Mitchell is a graduate of Rhode Island College and has three children.

For more information about the author signing, call Ugly Dog Books at (508) 226-0100 or visit their web site at

Thursday, April 10, 2014

Read this post or I'll kill this deer with my bare hands

One of the things I had most been looking forward to when it came to my first spring here at Green Victoria involved the flowers. "You're not going to believe what is going to pop out of the ground!" the previous gays had enthused after they sold us the house. Money? Lawn gnomes? Pool boys? "No, no, no. There are so many beautiful flowers in the yard. You are going to be amazed." Oh, that.

Now that springtime is with us and the snow has finally disappeared, I didn't have long to wait. Last week, we were walking down the path leading to the house and suddenly, right there: a beautiful purple posy! Or tulip, or something like that. I'm not really good at identifying those things. Sprouting up bravely through a clutch of dirt and grass. The first sign of the season. It was glorious! No, really. It made me happy to be alive. 

The following morning, I woke up, determined to take a photo for Facebook, to share that purple posy with the world. I grabbed my smart phone, scurried downstairs, opened the door, looked outside...

And realized that some dumb deer had eaten up all of our fledgling flowers.

Dammit! Well, we knew that they were a problem. A lot of our leaves had been consumed during the winter, and one or two times, when we had woken up at a particularly ungodly hour, we were able to catch a glimpse. And I don't mind an occasional leaf or two, I'm perfectly happy to share those with Bambi, but eating our flowers? Well, that was beyond the pale. SOMETHING HAD TO BE DONE.

Quick as a wink, Corb did some research. "It says here that deer do not like certain smells, like the smell of decaying fish heads," he said.

Oh, great! I just can't wait to drive down to the local fish stand and pick up a bucket of fish heads. That should look really attractive on our front lawn. A bunch of smelly dead fish next to the pansies, with their dead unblinking eyes staring up at you as you walk by. Nice.

"My hairdresser said they don't like human hair, and it can be used as a deterrent. People would collect hair from her shop for that use. You should do that," suggested a friend.

Great idea. Next to our floppy fish heads, I can sprinkle a bunch of human hair. Maybe from the top of someone's head, but who knows? Maybe I will mix it up and throw in some pubic hair, every so often.

"Remember Doc Hollywood? Human urine does the trick," suggested another friend.

Even better! Every morning, as I wake up, instead of heading to the bathroom, I can walk downstairs, open the door, and taking my morning wizz on the porch, making sure to urinate over the dead fish heads and human hair that I've collected from a variety of body parts. Those flowers should be in perfect blook with all that!

And then the one I was waiting for: "A shot through the heart works. And you can fill your fridge with lovely venison for stews and kebobs."

"Should I leave the dead deer rotting in the flower beds for a few days, as a warning to the others?" I asked.

"No," replied my deer friend Jackie. "Hanging the deer upside down and slitting its throat so the blood drains into the flower beds would be better, so plant flowers that need blood meal to grow better."

So, bottom line? This spring, if you want to visit my house, come on over! It's pretty easy to find, too: we're the only Victorian in town with flower beds covered in fish heads and human hair, with an upside down dead deer hanging down from a tree. Come by, say hi! You can always find me, and I'll be sure to wave back, promise! I'll be the one outside peeing over the flower beds.

That is...until the cops take me away...  

Tuesday, April 8, 2014

More Tales of the Hopeless Handyman

Now that spring is finally with us, and we've got this home thing, this was the first week-end we really had to start all those outside things that responsible home-loving homeowners do every waking minute of their livings during the week-end. And p.s.: in case I haven't mentioned this before, I am completely inept when it comes to outdoor household duties.

It's definitely something I didn't miss when I left Josie with the homestead. Now, don't get me wrong: I can get the job done. But there is pain involved, and some things I really hated doing. I didn't miss not mowing a lawn for ten years, for example, after I moved out. Swollen

When Corb and I agreed to buy the house, we bought it with him clearly knowing this was a weakness on my part. There was no buyer beware, here. He knew that he liked to landscape and that I liked watching him landscape. Oh, yes, we agreed that I would help out. But there were limitations.

Anyway, we decided to start on the gutters this week-end. The gutters at Green Victoria are in dire need of doing. The previous owners had moved to Maine during the spring, and cleaning out leaves and other debris from the downspouts of their previous monstrosity had not been a priority. So, yesterday, we went to Loewe's, bought ourselves a nice long hose and a big huge ladder, and there I was, climbing up ladders, dredging out crap with my garden gloves, and then, watering the downspouts to make sure they were clear and free of the muddy sludge that had formed at the bottom.

And I was pretty good at it, too, until we reached the back gutters. The ladder had to go up a lot higher to reach them, and I suddenly realized I wasn't the biggest fan of heights. Corb was at the bottom, though, holding the ladder and coaxing me through it.

"I can't stand this...this is too high up..." Some people whistle while they work, I keep up a steady monologue of insecurity and paranoia.

"You can do it. You're doing great!" shouted Corb encouragingly.

"There! I'm done!" And then, with the hose still running, I nervously threw it down and proceeded to step downward, when---


Um? What?

I looked down, and there was Corb, gripping his right eye and screaming in pain. "I hate you! I hate you! I f***ing hate you!"

Oh no...had I...oh, dear. I had. As quick as I could, I climbed down the ladder to see if I could help. Corb was now kneeling on the ground, writhing in pain. "I'm blind...I'm blind...I can't see..."

"Oh my God, you're blind! You can't see!" I screamed out, bordering on the hysterical. "Waitaminute..." I looked over. "You don't have your glasses on..."

"Where are my glasses?" He looked at his hands. "Oh my God, I'm covered in blood!"

"Can I help you?" I looked over. Like an angel of mercy, an elderly gentleman had suddenly appeared near Corb. Oh great, of all times to meet the neighbors. He extended his hand. "My name is Dick Whitehead." 

Dick Whitehead? Let's pause for a minute to reflect on how awesome that name is. Suddenly my life was bordering on the surreal. "I'm a retired police officer. Is everything okay?"

"Oh. Hi!" I looked around nervously and shook his hand. "Yeah, we had a little accident with the--"

"Oh God, oh God! Ted, I f***ing hate you. I F***CKING hate you! Oh my God, it hurts so much!!!!"

The elderly gentleman turned a white shade of pale. "He doesn't usually swear like that, I swear."


For some reason, Dick Whitehead left quite quickly. And an hour later, we were driving to pick Theo up from work, without the need for an emergency room, but with the need of a bandage, which was now covered in blood. Corb had a terrible bruise under his eye...and a presentation to deliver in the morning.

"Oh God," I moaned as I was driving, reliving the incident in my head. "It was awful. I was so stupid and careless. How could I have thrown that hose down without looking? Without turning off the water? It was just stupid stupid stupid..." Then, another thought struck me. "Gah, I am so irresponsible! What would have happened if I had been up there with a CHAINSAW and done that? Your poor head would have been sliced off!"

Well, that got his attention. Corb stopped his groaning and looked over at me, eyes full of amazement (well, one eye, at least). "Ted, why in the hell would you be cleaning the gutters with a chainsaw?"

"That's not the point!" I said, wallowing in sadness. And then, another thought. "Oh my God! What if Kaeden had been down below?"

"Ted, why in the hell would your two year old grandson be holding the ladder while you cleaned the gutters with a chainsaw?" Then he held his eye and shook his head. "Please don't make me laugh. When I smile, my eye hurts..."

Wednesday, April 2, 2014

Run! Hide! Bay windows!

sun room
It may look pretty, but it's zombie Point of Entry #1

Aha! I've FINALLY found something to dislike about Green Victoria, the sleepy old house that Corb and I purchased a few months ago.

No, it's not Lake Tittypeepee, the small body of water that has formed in our front yard as a result of all the rains we've been having lately. We kind of like that (as well as the River Ragina that flows around the house...and yes, you can tell that we both have the mentality of ten-year-old boys, right?) No, this is something far, far more serious than that.

Deadly serious.

This past Saturday, as Corb finished watching Dawn of the Dead in the den, he looked over at me and said, "Our house would be the worst place in the world to hide during a zombie apocalypse."

And it's true! What were we thinking? This house is all open and windowy, containing plenty of glass that zombies who don't care about those things could crash and break, and then climb through. We'd have nowhere to run to, nowhere to hide. We'd be reduced to zombie food, faster than you can sing the first lyric of that old Motown song!

Oh, there's the basement, I suppose. But that has windows, too, and besides, it's all cold and cementy, and who would really want to hide down there? It would not be a comfortable way to survive. Besides, I can't imagine that the zombies wouldn't find us down there in fairly short order and start gnawing away.

That does it. Come this week-end, I am heading straight to the nearest Home Depot and buying up as much plywood and nails as I can find, so I can better protect the homestead. Oh, this may seem a little extreme, but as every zombie movie created demonstrates, when the zombie apocalypse comes, it will be sudden and it will be swift, and there will be little time to prepare. So what if I have to wait decades, and maybe...even worse...NEVER. As every good Boy Scout will tell you (especially, as Tom Lehrer will tell you, if they come upon a Girl Scout who is similarly inclined), "Be prepared."

Or, maybe I'll just do nothing about it. I don't know. We'll see what the week-end brings.