Monday, December 26, 2011

New Year's Greetings from a Forlorn Bulldog

I am Lord Stafford Hall Grant, and this is my annual synopsis of the year past.  It is with great sorrow that I bring you this recapitulation.  The last 365 days have been ridden with woe, thanks to the Bastard Hound who was thrust upon me late 2010.  Said creature has taken great pleasure in repeatedly stealing my 2011 spotlight.  In stark contrast, this year has been wonderful for my minion humans--a marriage for Tom and Angie with a honeymoon in the Bahamas, a new domicile for all of us with room to cavort and make merry mayhem, AB Honor Roll for Master Wesley Boles, Dean’s List for Lady Jessica, and an acceptance to the prestigious Citadel for Lord Paul.  Yet, I weep…in addition to my reign as Alpha male continually being challenged, I have suffered multiple health issues and have been confined nightly in my crate.  Topping it all off, I have been hidden away during family functions, thus depriving the general public of my many charming attributes.

The dog called Moe Moe should have been dead months ago; alas his passing remains mysteriously at bay.  Daily, he eats out of my royal dish and hogs my toys. His favorite pastime is blocking my path from the den to the great room by positioning his freakishly elongated body sideways. He growls each time I make an approach. 

As I am prone to excessive ear wax production, The Creature oft corners me to lick said wax out of my ears in an act of blatant irreverence.  I must admit that on many levels I enjoy this, a forbidden act in the Grant household.  However, I tend to feel cheap and dirty following these audiologic escapades…another way Bastard Hound attempts to thwart my power.

Besides the annoyance of Dead Dog Walking, I have been struck with odd ailments that have made 2011 difficult.  Yeast infection in my facial folds, severe conjunctivitis that required optical steroid use, and an embarrassing scrotum malady plagued me.  I will take this opportunity to aver that I have overcome the awkward nature of this last illness in an effort to raise awareness to the affliction commonly known as “Raw Balls.”  As an English Bulldog, I possess a genetic predisposition for many conditions, including Raw Balls.  Through education, therapy, and an Elizabethan dog collar, I have recovered and found the courage to disclose my painful journey so that no others must suffer.  Besides an interesting discolored area, my scrotum is back to normal.  I would be remiss if I did not add that the high stress of living with Bastard Hound has weakened my delicate immune system and most certainly caused the aforementioned afflictions.

My crate reappeared after I urinated on my new dog bed for the second time.  In an effort to “stick it to” the Bastard Hound, I peed on my own bed.  Yes, oh dear readers, I know this speaks to my pure disdain toward him, for me to sink to this level, but it worked beautifully the first time.  My human underlings assumed that I would NEVER soil my OWN bed.  And given my nemesis’ failing excretory system, plus his bend toward bullying, he was the obvious culprit.  Thus, ‘twas Moe Moe who faced nocturnal confinement in the master suite for a wonderful 4 weeks…until I again peed on my bed, then completed my restful slumber that evening on the forbidden recliner…where I was found in the morn…by Lord Tom.  Why, you might ask, would I again wet my bed?  I do not have an explanation…only the English Bulldog is the third stupidest breed of dog, according to Wikipedia. Truth bites. 

And, because of a feverish pursuit of the pipe dream to remain Alpha male, I am no longer allowed to enjoy parties and family functions.  Pre-Bastard Hound days, when guests visited the Grant Clan manor, I was the center of attention with my adorable wrinkles and flat face.  Guests would flock to love on me despite my flatulent nature.  With his bizarrely long ears and malformed stubby legs, it is around he that guests congregate.  I had no choice but to perform some attention-seeking activity.  Activity du jour…leg humping.  Alas, no more appearances at social functions.

So, there you have it…the grief that was 2011.  Moe Moe will be 12 years old in January, even though the life span of the God-forsaken breed is 8 to 10 years.  He is showing no sign of decline.  Apparently it is true that having a sense of purpose in life will increase longevity.  Unfortunately for me, Canine Methuselah’s sole aspiration is making me miserable, 24/7.  Wishing all of you well in 2012, and may it be Basset-free!

With warmest regards, I am

Lord Stafford Hall Grant

Saturday, December 3, 2011

Boo, Gobble, Ho: The Tao of the Walmart Holiday Kiosk

My husband Tom and I decided to host this year’s family Thanksgiving celebration, which was a fantastic idea in July when discussed over mojitos.  Not so much so the third week of November, as we made mega to do lists in a filthy house with Halloween decorations still up.  None the less, I “manned up,” as my ten-year-old son says, and set to making Thanksgiving a holiday to remember.  I took Monday, Tuesday, and Wednesday off work to prepare the domicile for Thursday festivities.  I figured in three days I would have plenty of time to clean, shop, and even squeeze in a little time for me…yeah right. Wednesday night at I found myself heading back to the God forsaken land that is Walmart for the eighth time in two days.  Yes, I needed tea, turkey gravy mix, and picture frames.

I assumed my step father Bill had gotten the tea, because it is a major item on his finicky list.  He finds tea manufactured in bulk much more to his liking than homemade.  He is a connoisseur of generic, artificially-sweetened tea products, and when he finds a brand he likes, no other will suffice.  He took to bed when his all-time favorite tea supplier, the Winn Dixie Grocery Store chain, downsized and closed all local outlets.  Winn Dixie apparently produced a tea that was brewed by angels with water from paradise.  After an inappropriate amount of mourning, he painstakingly and begrudgingly searched for the next best mass produced tea. A year later, he found it under the Great Value label with an orange top at Walmart…thus one of my reasons for a Thanksgiving Eve visit to Sam Walton’s Shopping Mecca.  I thought Shiraz and tap water was a good enough selection for our meal, but what did I know?   

The turkey gravy mix request came via text from my Mom while I was en route to Wally World, in case Tom couldn’t master giblet gravy from scratch…a safe bet.  “It will probably be in a holiday kiosk on the grocery side,” her text said.  Holiday kiosk…yes, Walmart’s one-stop shopping creation to make you buy more shit than you need for any given celebration.  Example:  “Hey Rita, where did you get those mammoth, albeit interesting, football earrings?”  “Well, at the Walmart super bowl kiosk, of course.  I was buying goalpost plates and napkins for this party, and there they were.  And, look at the little doggie jerseys and matching jock straps I got for the Bichons….”

The picture frames were my last minute frantic requirements.  You see, as I visualized my home full of relatives, I realized that I had no pictures displayed that included ANY of Tom’s family members!  And what would they think?  That I didn’t think them significant enough in our lives?  That I cared more about having a wall full of my pets, even dead ones, than their smiling faces?  Or that I had every intention of hanging their photos, but had only been in the new house for eight months, and just hadn’t had time?  The last one was true, but I just couldn’t risk them opting for either of the first two…so I had to get some pictures on the wall of the Grant clan posthaste before they arrived.

When I walked into Walmart, I found it eerily spacious.  There were NO holiday kiosks, none.  Apparently, in preparation for Black Friday, Walmarteers had removed all riot- hindering obstacles.  But it was Wednesday!  What about all the Turkey Day procrastinators?  Where were they going to find their mammoth turkey earrings?!  Where was I going to find the turkey gravy mix?  Just as panic was about to set in, I had a brief moment of sanity which I had not experienced in three days… the sauce isle!  That’s where it will be!  I found a crowd of people huddled in front of the gravy mix section, eyes glazed over, staring at the selection.  I elbowed my way to the shelves, and surveyed the wares…brown gravy mix, chicken gravy mix, poultry gravy mix, beef gravy mix, red eye gravy mix.  Not one turkey gravy mix.  WTH?  Really?  So, I texted mom, “isn’t turkey a type of poultry?”  No response.  People were now rudely pushing forward, so I grabbed two poultrys, two browns, and one red eye (just for shits and grins.)  I then headed to the refrigerated section for the orange top tea.  Okay first unit…milk, eggnog, no tea.  Next one…orange juice, grapefruit juice, eggnog, no tea.  Next, grape juice, fruit punch, Sunny D, eggnog, no tea.  No tea could be found in any of the 15 refrigerated units.  I started to sweat.  No mass produced, generic gallons of tea?  My mind raced to the worst case scenario…E. coli recall.  Thanksgiving spent in the hospital with Bill.  “No!” I said to myself, “Focus, Angie. It must be somewhere else.  Maybe with the other name brand teas? Where were they?”  So I texted mom again, “Where is Bill’s tea?”  No response.  I had circled the store two times and went in and out of all isles and found no pre-made tea, of any kind.  The panic was truly closing in now.

Mom really needed to respond before a police officer showed up at her doorstep, explaining that I was found rocking back and forth in a video gaming chair midway down the wine isle, smoking my e-cigarette, hugging a carton of eggnog, muttering incoherently about E. coli, poultry gravy, and turkey earrings.

On my third round, I happened to glance into a refrigerated unit in the middle of the grocery section, full of spiral hams…and eggnog.  Underneath a ham butt, I saw the faint image of an orange top.  I began to dig feverishly through the porky heap, and there they were…an orange sea of Bill’s tea.  My phone vibrated.  Mom had responded.  “Yes, dear, turkey is poultry.  The tea is with the spiral ham.”  Well, what was I thinking, of course tea would be housed with ham butts, it makes perfect Walli-sense…I grabbed two gallons, then set out for the frames….now where might they be?  With the feminine hygiene products or in Electronics?       

After locating the frames (which were in Housewares, go figure) and checking out, I stood in the Walmart parking lot feeling violated and confused.  Do the store layout planners and marketing strategists smoke crack at their meetings?  Is Walmart secretly owned by the US government? Did I fall down a rabbit hole?  Whatever the case, reality and Walmart mentality are two totally different beasts, and I currently didn’t have time to ponder the conundrum.  I headed home to frame and hang pictures until dawn. 

A. Ballerina