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Three Dogs Night

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Against our better judgement, three months ago, we decided to get a third dog.
Viggo is a chocolate lab. We purchased him over the Internet, and we picked him up at a chicken auction in Winchester. A farmer had advertised two chocolate puppies, Viggo and his fat brother.
Scott picked Viggo; I wanted the fat brother. But Viggo was a present for Scott, so he got his way.
The kids thought us insane. Once again.
For the most part, they dislike the dogs. Sophie the pug is the exception, but then pugs are more like cats, and the kids like cats better than dogs. Except for Stef, who has the moribund Belle, who is a Bassett Hound, and 80 pound paper weight.
We got Viggo to stop Scott from crying. He was still pining for Finnigan, our Black Lab, who died two years ago at the tender age of six after suffering from a series of strokes.
Scott adored Finnigan, and I tolerated him. He was genuinely insane. He used to sit in the living room and bark at me, for no apparent reason, for hours. The onl…

My First Dentist

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You never forget your first, right?
Mine was a man who resembled a toad who forced me as a six-year-old to sit in his chair with a slobbering bulldog atop me while he chiseled and pulled my beloved baby teeth. I seemed to have a lot of cavities that needed to be filled, even though most of my later life was spent cavity-free. He was a welfare dentist so I assume he took advantage of a golden mouth.  He also scheduled me for two operations, one to remove my tonsils, and another to have my wisdom teeth removed, in the hospital, at the tender age of 15. That wasn't the worst of it. Even as a tiny tot, I recoiled as he pulled back his liver-like lips into a slimy smile and insisted that I hug him. Then he gave me a toy, as if to reward me for having to put my arms around his girth. Uh, just thinking about this eel today makes my skin crawl. My worst experience came after I broke my front teeth playing dodgeball in Grade Eight. I was literally in shock when I went to see him, mortifie…

Benched Again

I went to Employment Ontario last week in hopes of getting some help getting a job.
It's been several months since I was laid off from my very good government job, and things aren't looking any better for me, in spite of finally getting my degree after 40 plus years.
The Ontario government offers help for those of us on the D list by offering retraining and the assistance of somebody they call a "job coach". The way I figured it, any assistance would help.
One of the things the government offers is up to two years of assistance for people to go back to school to upgrade their skills or find a completely new "second career". I was assured that the fact I was 63 would not deter me from getting into retraining.
So I was pumped, and eagerly sat in on a seminar.
The first order of the day was to fill in a matrix to determine whether an applicant can qualify for assistance. The person has to get 16 points to qualify. I scored only 14.
My deficits included: havin…

Rose Simpson for Prime Minister!

Two weeks ago, I was thrilled to be invited to a job interview that was completely in my wheelhouse. Usually, job postings today ask that a person who calls herself primarily a "writer/editor" is also expected to have experience in social media and nuclear medicine, in addition to being able to speak four languages. But this job posting, more or less, matched my personal qualifications.
So I got up, showered, coiffed my hair and put on my best outfit, and arrived at the job site which is so close to my house, I could smack the roof with a tennis ball.
I was completely stoked, not nervous in the least, and settled down with the two interviewers, one in khakis and another, the HR lady, in a sensible suit and pumps.
The job interview lasted for an hour, and I felt that it went well. Then I was given a writing test which I believe was developed by a dentist.
I left the interview feeling pretty terrific, and told Scott I had a 50-50 chance of getting it. I'm a pessimist, so …

My Niagara: Sitting with my Ghosts

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I approached the white clapboard house and rang the doorbell, hoping to speak with the people who now live in the house where I grew up in the middle of a peach orchard.
There was nobody home, so I didn't wander far. The place was smaller than I remembered, the house didn't look much different except the new owners had replaced the sparkly tarpaper my Grandfather had used to cover the exterior.  Next door, my uncle's tiny bungalow had been raised and in its place was a bigger house where someone else was building a family. Our football stadium-sized backyard, where my brothers played their sports, was now littered with toys and swings and a garish trampoline. In spite of these changes, much of small family farm was still intact, the outbuildings, the barn and the garage still looked exactly the same. The cherry trees were still there, the ones I scraped my knees  on trying to climb to the top. My scent was everywhere on this place, and the memories came flooding back. I&#…

Ashley Simpson: Rose meets John

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My meeting with my cousin, John Simpson, got off to a rough start.
I knocked at the door, then opened it, and the biggest German Shepherd I'd ever seen bounded out and jumped on top of our puppy Viggo, pinning him down amidst barking and gnashing teeth. Pearl, the Mini Aussie, tried to come to the rescue, in a valiant effort to save her playmate. In the middle of it all, Scott and John managed to get Viggo out from under Gypsy, and he ran for cover.  It was a short, heart-stopping moment but it didn't take long for John to wrangle Gypsy and get her in her cage. I think she spotted a handsome young devil and was hoping to have her way with him. All good. I looked at the face of my cousin, a mug I had seen a hundred times in videos, in newspapers and on the Internet. It was a face that I had never seen in person. Up until three years ago, I didn't even know he existed. We met on Facebook after his daughter Ashley Simpson disappeared without a trace from her home in Salmon A…

My Niagara: Farm Days

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The country gentleman took to the orchard, clasping his pruning shears, as he had nearly every day of his life. Lately, he had missed a few days of work. There was a lot of catching up to do. Really he just missed this, the feel of cold steel in his hands, the sound of the snapping of branches.
He'd spent weeks in the hospital recovering from a bout of pneumonia he caught during the cold and damp days of early spring. Then he had to have his throat stretched, a ritual he knew well, repeated often since he swallowed lye as a six-year-old. That procedure went sideways, and Dorothy found him laying on the floor, half alive, at least that's what she told folks. Bill knew better. He told the paramedics just to put him back in bed.
The paramedics begged to differ.
It's always something when you're 86, and you are the Lord of the Manor, so much to do, so little time. He was gentle with the trees, quietly snapping of branches, listening to the birds chirping in between sharp …