And for dinner, let’s have canine Italian

The dream was bizarre; having pizza with my 5th grade teacher, Hazel Markwalder, in Las Vegas during a convention for old tool collectors.  By the pool, between bites we talked about Craftsman vs. Snap-On and why she always wore those nylon stockings that came just below the knee. I was 12, she was 57, and the red and blue varicosities on her legs resembled the Interstate Highway System map on page 3 of the 1961 Rand McNally Road Atlas.  She looked and talked and smelled like a chocolate labrador in heat.  

1:30 AM

The dream came to an abrupt end, thankfully, awakened by the insistent barking of my little dog, Jack.  He wants me to believe his urgency to urinate is more immediate than curbing global warming.  Like he’s a TV star in a Flomax commercial.  

 I let him out the side door: within 30 seconds I hear his blood-curdling scream of agony.  He wails at the front door frothing at the mouth, scratching both eyes furiously with his dew claws, having just gone toe-to-toe with a skunk.  He took the full monty and was down for the count ten seconds into the first round.striped_skunk.jpg

I quickly head for the garage, donned in old coveralls, latex gloves, goggles on for eye protection and instruct Lynn to get out tomato juice, the old wives remedy to neutralize the intense aroma.  In her pantry she only stocks Prego Traditional, no mushrooms, no garlic. Mixed 50:50 with water I soak Jack with Italian sauce.   A thirty minute massage and he now smells like an Olive Garden sewage treatment facility.  dscn1693.JPG

 2:15 AM

While I’m gagging, practicing Reiki in the garage, the old wife has searched the internet to discover the new wife modern treatment; equal parts Dawn dishwashing detergent, baking soda, and hydrogen peroxide.  We have all three, how lucky is that ?  After rinsing out the Prego, I realize I won’t be having pasta for a long, long time.  I’m now soaking him in our homemade chemical spill which, to my astonishment, actually seems to be effective.  dscn1697.JPG

 3:30 AM

The final rinse and I’m now shampooing skunk-doggie with Pert Plus Shampoo, + aloe, + conditioner, in the popular ocean breeze fragrance. Mapquest, however, reminds me that we are on the north shore of Lake Huron, a 1000 miles from the Atlantic shore.

Towel dried he at last begins to act and smell normal.  I prepare a temporary bed for him in the garage, he curls up and drifts into the arms of Morpheus.

5:00 AM

Neither Lynn nor I can sleep, the stench penetrating into our bedroom through a wall of 12″ thick logs. The scene of the TKO was under our front porch so we retreat to the old beachhouse for early morning coffee.  The smell lingers on, a combination of a skunky Heineken, butyric acid (the most foul smelling of all the organic acids), and Miss Markwalder’s breath.    dscn1629.JPG  

On a rare day, a bad dream is better than the good life.    

Earning an online Purple Heart

…& returning home a military hero ?  

Not exactly.  

Far less patriotic, shallower than a supermarket tabloid diet, and more valuable than a completed correspondence course on celery management, be prepared for instant fame and admiration :Your Star's Turned Purple!

Imagine the elation when I opened my eBay message box to see :

 Take a deep breath and read on :  You’re awesome! You’ve achieved a feedback rating of  500–earning you a Purple Star!  We want you to know how much we appreciate your valuable contribution as an eBay community member. It’s people like you who have helped make eBay, The World’s Online Marketplaceâ„¢, a safe and vibrant place to buy and sell.      

Pardon me while I revel in undeserved glory for having made the WORLD a safe and vibrant place.   In the first year I bought a few items on eBay, but since that time became primarily a seller of the useless clutter that accumulates like dust bunnies between an old bed and the hardwood floor.

If you read Roger Johnson’s excellent column in the magazine, you’re miles ahead of the eBay universe.  Learning to cull through hyperbole, inadequate and deceptive photos, and often illiterate descriptions can be a challenge, but rewarding if you can be patient and inquisitive.  

On three occasions, I was offered power seller status because we had sold cars. This elevation into eBay stardom is a clever ploy to place you, the seller, on every known spam list.  Instant fame if you enjoy insurance come-ons, cheap prescription drugs, fractional ownership opportunity ( didn’t that used to be called ‘timeshare’ ?), and seminars on how to make millions, at home, no risk involved, by buying foreclosed and tax seized properties and flipping them at huge profits without ever leaving your couch.

Say goodbye to the lottery, Ponzi schemes, counterfeiting, chain letters, tax fraud, and bank robbery; make easy money at home, relaxing by the swimming pool, with the family dog on your lap, your wife in her lemon chiffon gown gracefully serving you a favorite beverage.

Gazing from your oceanfront estate you hear only the cascading surf crashing onto the shore while pelicans taunt the resting sea otters.

I passed, in spite of personal letters from CEO Meg Whitman complete with her authentic, simulated, replica signature, reproduced to welcome me to the exclusive power seller club.

As a recovering cynic, you need to master the separation of the pipe from the dream.