Sascha continues to learn about life outside the kennel

Tomorrow is my traditional day to put up the Christmas tree.  However, we are going downtown Chicago to Piece Brewery and Pizza for my birthday.  That meant I had to get the guys in gear to pull down the Christmas tree and all the boxes to decorate today.

I have made it Rick’s job to put up the tree and get it decorated.  Since my left arm is still in a brace, it was definitely his job.  I helped pass the lights and gold strings behind the tree, but he did most of the work.  Such a good son.  I know Santa will be extra good to him this year. 

So on to the Sascha connection.  It didn’t strike me at first that this was Sascha first Christmas in a house with decorations.  She was overly curious about the tree and the ornaments.  Rick tried out one of the musical ornaments I had made with my cousin almost 20 years ago.  It played!  Sascha cocked her head and listened very hard.  She attempted to help Rick put the skirt under the tree.  I finally had to rescue him. 

Two Santas

After it was all decorated, Rich and Sascha donned their Santa hats for a little informal photo session.  Sascha actually left the hat on for a while!  Such a good dog.  Then I tried the reindeer antlers on her.  I think the antlers are more fitting.  She would make a cute reindeer for Santa.  She could definitely pull that sleigh!

Reindeer Sascha


Erica with her artful fishing lure screen

I forgot to say thanks to Erica for helping me with one of my decorating projects.  I painted the living room and had started my decorating ideas.   The theme is a fishing lodge, of sorts.  I’m using fishing poles through the room along with pine cones and evergreen accents.  Rich made me a screen that I had planned to decorate with a sign and lots of lures.  With my broken wrist, I hadn’t gotten the finger dexterity back to tie the lures on.  Over the Thanksgiving holiday, Erica agreed to help and tied on the lures.  The design is hers and I think it turned out great.  Thanks again for the great piece of art!

Sascha has a new job

So the other day, I left Sascha outside to keep watch on those pesky squirrels.  After a while, I figured she should have had enough.  What did I see?  A hole about a foot deep right where I had dug up my dahlias this fall!  It looked like a bomb crater with dirt thrown out in all directions. 

Sascha seemed very unconcerned when I started hopping around and screaming.  Sorry, there is no picture to go with this story.  And she has repeated this feat a couple of times now.  The joke in our house now is not to have Sascha see you do something that she will think she can do better.  I did wonder if she could plant my bulbs for me though.

So Alex and Kelli and the kids came out for Thanksgiving.  It was a very small gathering this year.  Rich decided to smoke the turkey on his new smoker.  And while he was smoking one thing, he decided to put on a pork shoulder as well.  That should give us plenty of leftovers for a few days.  Next year, Rich claims he should just smoke something pork.  Since it’s an even year, we should have a lot of family here.  I don’t think he can get away without a turkey. 

On Friday, Alex and Kelli and the kids headed back to Michigan.  They left early so they could swing by the Willis (Sears) Tower.  We headed over to Dave’s house for another Thanksgiving with Chris and their families.  It was turkey and ham there.  Dave can cook a mean ham.  It was nice out and we sat around the fire outside talking and enjoying some libations.  Pretty good day again.  Thanks, Dave and Chris, for sharing with us. 

So that really big day of the year is coming soon.  I’m not doing the two week celebration, but it will take a few days to get through.  We are going to Piece in Bucktown (Chicago neighborhood) for my first birthday celebrations!

Because Rich is a nice guy

Today is the Thanksgiving fest at work.  This is the annual pitch-in lunch with the office staff.  My boss, Cathy, drives everyone to participate with great results.  We usually have a ton of very interesting choices for the meal. 

First turkey takes a bath
First turkey takes a bath

So Rich deep fried turkeys for last year’s meal.  It went over really well.  Everyone who could get to it said it was great.  So this year, I talked Rich into deep frying turkeys again this year.  Some people in the office even went together to help pay for the cost.  That was much appreciated. 

So the day is here and it turns out to be cold and very, very windy.  Not a good day for deep frying at all.  So Rich gets the first in the oil and cooked without too much trouble.  By the time the second turkey needs to go in, the wind keeps blowing out the flame!  So poor Rich ends up babysitting the burner to be sure it stays lit! 

So it’s 30 minutes after the time we need to leave the house and Rich is just bringing up the second turkey.  So I call the office to let them know we will be a little late for lunch.  Hopefully we can get there before 12 Noon with the turkeys!

Sascha watching the fry

So this blog is supposed to be about Sascha, right?  Here is the Sascha connection.  She was very interested in what was going on with the first turkey.  She followed Rich everywhere.  Her nose seemed to enjoy the smells.  By the time we get to the second turkey, she has lost all interest and went back to guarding her yard from that army of squirrels.  Now I can’t get her in the house so we can pack up to leave!

Yes! It’s off! And Sascha went scootering.

Today finally came!  I had a doctor’s appointment to remove my cast at 9:20 this I got there early and was ready to go.  At 9:50, they finally called me back.  I was going crazy.  The doctor turned out to be very busy and his regular assistant was off today.  OMG, I wanted to scream.  I didn’t though.  Kept my cool and waited patiently.  Finally, he came in and asked the big question: “Ready to get that cast off?”  I managed not to scream like the 4 year old I had bottled up inside of me.

Splint in place of a cast
Splint in place of a cast

So he proceed to tell me that my muscles are going to hurt and be very weak.  I figured that, but was surprised at how much that was true after just 4 weeks.  Oh man, my arm was so sore!  I also was not prepared for the alien feeling I had after the cast came off.  Was that my arm?  It did look pretty good after the cast came off though.  X-rays showed marked healing, so I got a removable splint.  Yeah!

So a few hours later, my arm started to slough skin!  The doctor said to let it come off naturally and not scrub it off.  Otherwise, you end up with a sunburn effect.  I have enough pain for that.

Rich decided to take the day off.  Something about too much vacation days left and not enough time to burn them.  He had a dentist appointment so he didn’t go with me to my appointment.  I’m a big girl.  When I got back, Rich was gone and only Sascha was home.  She was tired though and I wondered why.  Found out later that they had gone scootering this morning.  Rich reported that she was happy, if somewhat tired.

Sleeping in Dad's Lap
Sleeping in Dad's Lap

While waiting for dinner to cook this evening, I asked Rich to go through a catalog and pick out some things he might want.  He agreed to do it.  But as soon as he sat down, Sascha jumped into his lap and snuggled in for a quick nap.  I couldn’t resist them and just had to take a picture of Sascha napping.  They are cute, aren’t they?

Finally! Cast OFF!

So I’ve been wearing this short arm cast for 4 weeks on Sunday (1113).  I can’t believe how much this thing bothers me.  I’m extremely claustrophobic and having this plastic touching my skin is unbearable.  The first few days was very hard,  As I come down to the last few days, it’s even worse!

Amazingly, the cast is fairly clean and in good shape.  No one has asked to sign it.  It’s dark blue anyway and I don’t have a light colored marker.  That’s alright.  I’m not planning on keeping it.  My son thought he might want it, but changed his mind. 

Clean and neat cast
Clean and neat cast

So Tuesday is the big day.  The doctor is removing the cast to do x-rays.  If things continued to look good with the crack at my wrist, I’ll just have to wear a removable splint.  I pray it looks alright.

I really only have pain when I overuse the hand.  Even then, the pain is not around the break or where I knocked the little knob off the other side of my wrist!  Seems strange, but I hope it gets better when the cast is off.

So Tuesday is Happy Cast Off Day and some freedom.  Maybe I’ll have to celebrate with a margarita!

Our first spitting snow

So on Thursday, we had our first taste of snow.  It didn’t stick here, but the white stuff was flying from time to time.  It  was probably one of the chillest days so far.  That makes it kind of late around here. 

I usually do all of my fall work in October.  Because of my broken wrist, I haven’t done as much.  On Saturday, I dug up my dahlias from the edge of the patio.  On Sunday, Sascha came in behind me and dug up a couple I missed!  I don’t yet if this a good thing or a bad thing.  Can I harness this power for good?

On the 19th, Sascha will have been with us for 4 months.  It seems like she has been here for a lot longer.  She has definitely added fun to our lives, if you don’t mind being mauled.  Sascha loves to be petted and seeks a lot of attention.  I like it that her favorite targets are Rich and Rick. 

I figured that Sascha was going to enjoy the cooler weather.  We just haven’t had enough to tell how much.  It really hasn’t been cool enough to go dog scootering either.  Remember, the temperature and the humidity have to be less than a combined total of 120 to run comfortably for the dog without a danger of heat stroke.  We haven’t had that many days that have less than 120 so far.  I did catch Sascha in the yard enjoying some snow earlier this week.

Sascha in the snow flurries
Sascha in the snow flurries

Hopefully, the weather will cooperate soon.  Not that I’m looking forward to anything under 40!

Rick and Sascha take a spin

Yesterday morning, Sascha was all stretched out in the living room floor.  Rick just had to join her.  It was just a dog and her boy.  Ahh!

Chillaxin with a dog and her boy

So a little scootering today.  Finally.  I convinced Rick that he had to give it a try.  I think he was a little leery after I broke my wrist, but I assured him that was all my own fault and Sascha nor scootering were to blame. 

I bought protective gear for rollerblading.  Scootering isn’t much different.  It’s dog powered instead of self-propelled.  Rick put on the knee and elbow pads.  Then he thought better about the wrist supports.  Rich got Sascha harnessed up.  Sascha met Rick at the door and was all ready to go.

Rick and Sascha getting ready for a run.
Rick and Sascha getting ready for a run.

After they made it around the block, Rick was really excited about dog scootering. Sacsha was able to really get up some speed.  It must have been the lighter load she had this time.

 I still can’t wait until I’m out of the cast and released back to normal activity!

Here’s the YouTube of Rick and Sascha today:

New gutters and soffit for the house

New downspout by bay window

The installers completed the gutters and soffits on the house.  It looks amazing.  It’s a small thing, but these tend to add up on a house.  We had the standard dark brown soffit and gutters.

I just have a different picture in my head of what I want the house to look like.  The siding is bad with lots of holes all over the place.  I’d also like the color to be darker.  I want to trim things out in a nice dark barn red.

I have plans for a craftsman style porch on the front that would be useful and inviting.  Right now, the front is straight up boring with a very strangely angled concrete step.  I want to look at the front of the house and it says welcome home. 

So the first step is done.  We hired someone to pull down the old and put up new soffits and gutters.  It took about 2 full days, but thye are done.  Now the color might semm bland, but it will evetually help to tie the color scheme together. 

We also purchased LeafRelief panels for the gutters.  Our plan is not to have to dig leaves or sticks out of the gutters again.  Right, Rick gets to do that job.  After he’s gone I figured Rich and I would draw straws every year.  The new panels means we don’t to worry about it.  Some of our friends haven’t had much luck with their systems.  We have one more tree that needs to drop leaves.  We should get a test of the new panels over the next few weeks.  I’ve got my fingers crossed.

So pictures of the new gutters and soffits were requested.  Here they are.

New soffit on the eaves
Gutter on the big garage

Yes, Sascha has free reign of her yard again.  She seems happy not to be restricted and is back to guarding against sqirrel attacks.

Trimming up the place

I know, I said the blog was going to be about Sascha and our new sport, dog scootering.  Something else came up though.  One of the storms this summer tore branches from the big Freeman maple tree in the front yard.  One of those branches bent up the gutter over the front door pretty good.  Rich bent it back into shape, sort of.  That bend along with the bend over the bay window meant we really needed to get new gutters.

I called around trying to find someone willing to do the work.  A couple of places didn’t call me back.  I finally got one company to come out and give us an estimate.  But then I talked Rich into changing the color.  The original soffit and gutters were dark brown.  My vision for the house called for a different color.  So I called the company to get an estimate for the additional work.  No takers.  The guy never came by and I never heard from him again.

I went back to trying to find someone to update the soffit and gutters.  On my second try, I got a callback.  I explained to this guy, Pete, what I wanted.  Pete made arrangements to come by the house to provide an estimate.  He arrived a little late, but enough to beat the falling darkness.  After measuring up and writing down the numbers, we had an estimate.  Then the sales pitch and pressure was on to sign up right then and there.  Finally, someone who wanted the job!

Yesterday was Day 1 of the project.  Two guys, whom I assume are Polish from their accents, show up and start ripping things down.  Unfortunately, the compressor they had with them didn’t want to cooperate, so they left after lunch.  Bright and early this morning, they returned.  All day, I heard hammers, saws, and air nailers as they put up soffit all around the house.  It finally got late and they called it quits for the day.  They promised to return in the morning.

The Sascha connection in this story is that the Polish guys set up shop in her part of the yard.  While they are working, I can’t put her out to sit in her yard.  I’m hoping she doesn’t go into withdrawal if she can’t terrorize squirrels for a couple of days.  Maybe they will finish up tomorrow and Sascha’s days will get back to normal.

I’m just hoping my house looks nice and the gutters work better than the old ones!.  Then it’ll be on to step 2 in my devilish plans to improve the house!