Annie and the Antenna Muffins

I’m going to let you in on a little secret about me. Actually, I’m going to reveal two, but only because both secrets are germane to the tale. The first secret isn’t very scandalous, and it’s probably not much of a secret either, but I’ve been bearing the burden of this boring secret for too long, and so the truth must be revealed. You see, I like bran muffins.

Shameful, I know.

Being the quirky, pain-in-the-ass, control freak that I am, I will not settle for just any bran muffins. The bran muffins I demand are made by our local supermarket chain, ShopRite. I should also mention that of all the ShopRites I’ve ever visited, only one makes bran muffins the way I like them. Did I mention that I’m a quirky control-freak who is also a pain-in-the-ass? Check with my wife. She will confirm every last bit of that last compound-adjective-laden sentence. (more…)

Annie and the Pizza

As you may know, Fridays evenings are sacrosanct in our house, because that’s when we have Pizza and Movie Night™. If you’ve read my previous tales, then you may already be smirking. For those of you who haven’t committed all my previous tales to memory, I’ll just say that the last time I wrote about Pizza and Movie Night™, the story did not end well. Shocking, I know.

Sure, you may have laughed at my misfortune in the past, and I’m sure many of you have sided with the beast, but this time… oh this time I had her dead to rights. This time I knew that I had her outsmarted, and naturally, that’s why it all went wrong. (more…)

Annie the Protector

My daughter, Colleen, got a tent for Christmas. I have no idea what a 10-year old needs with a tent, but who am I to argue with Santa?

After receiving her tent, Colleen waited patiently for summer. Actually, I may have misused the word “patiently” in that sentence. I’ll let you be the judge. Here’s how I would describe the six months between Christmas and the events in this story: (more…)

Please Don’t Buy a Newfoundland Dog

Every year hundreds of giant breed dogs are put up for adoption or worse, destroyed because someone fell in love with the fluffy little puppy and brought it home, only to be overwhelmed by slobber, food, vet bills, and the sheer size of their full grown dog. If you cannot make a commitment to this (or any) animal to keep it forever, then please don’t get one. Would you give up a son or daughter because they got too big? Certainly not. Anyone who thinks a Newfoundland is any less than a child doesn’t understand the breed. (more…)

Dog Dinner Détente

If Guinness has one fault, it’s that he can be a bit protective of his food. We’ve gone to great lengths to make him understand his place in the pack, so he has no problems with humans. The kids routinely feed him and put things in his bowl while he’s eating. They’ve taken thing from his bowl too, though they both know better. At least I thought they did. Some days I’m amazed my kids can remember to breathe on their own, but this is a story about dogs, so I’ll spare them further reflection on their continued absent-mindedness. (more…)

Fannie and the Macbook Pro

Cozy Bear
We have a rule in our house that states, “Happy tails never get punished.” This rule harkens back to the halcyon days when Cozy was a puppy, circa 1997. Lauren and I were newlyweds, we had a beautiful, clean house, and our precocious little pup had grown enough that her tail could sweep the coffee table clean with one wag. We were young, eager to please parents of our first puppy, so our rules were designed to foster the long-term happiness of our fuzzy little bundle of joy.

Fast-forward thirteen years. Our house now has two pre-teen children. The pretty green carpet in the picture has been ruined (by dogs) and removed. Cozy and Daisy have long since passed over the Rainbow Bridge. Now Annie and Guinness rule the roost, but still the rule remains, “Happy tails never get punished.” (more…)

Annie and the Tissues

Somehow, a box of tissues wound up on the floor. In a normal house, this would be a virtual non-event. Someone would walk by, see them, pick them up, and put them away. Luckily for you, we live in a house where people don’t seem bothered by boxes of tissues in odd places. I’d be wiling to bet that I could glue an inverted box of tissues to the living room ceiling and not hear a word about it for months. Unless someone sneezed, in which case I’d be asked where the tissues were. In such a situation I might reply with a single finger pointed up, resulting in wonder and excitement from my children who would have completely missed the point of the exercise.

This time though, the tissues were left on the floor where we all stepped over them for days. One day something changed, at which point I stopped and stared, trying to figure out what had caught my eye. Then it struck me; the tissues were suddenly outside the box. (more…)

Annie and the Mousetrap

Here in the woods of New Jersey, when the leaves start to fall and the temperature drops, we all tend to spend more time indoors. And by “we”, I mean family, dogs, and the filthy vermin commonly known as mice.

Our rodent problem is not a unique one. Go to any hardware store around here in October, and you’ll see the mousetrap section picked over like the dairy aisle in a supermarket before a hurricane.

I tend to be a “live and let live” kind of guy. In the past I’ve used live traps so that I could release the gentle creatures into the wild where they might frolic and play. Those days are gone I’m afraid—now I kill ’em dead. I felt bad while disposing of the first thirty or so. After fifteen years of battle, I now have the blackened soul of a cold-hearted executioner. My wife though, she’s the scary one. (more…)

Vacation with Two Newfs – The End

On our last day of vacation, something miraculous happened. OK, perhaps it wasn’t the stuff of miracles, but given the week I’d had, it sure seemed that way.

You may remember from day one of our most restful and enjoyable of vacations, that Guinness has an extreme prejudice against two-wheeled vehicles of all kinds. As we drove along the New Hampshire highways, the first group of biker’s passed us. Like beaten prisoners we all flinched in preparation for the onslaught of barking and general carrying-on that always accompanied the drone of oncoming motorcycles. Only this time, nothing happened. (more…)

Vacation with two Newfs – Day Seven

Saturday, our last full day in New Hampshire was the perfect day for a drive to the top of Mount Washington. The sky was perfectly clear, the temperature was in the 80s, and there was no wind at all. That translated to a 45 degrees, and 35 MPH winds on top of the mountain, and that’s a balmy summer day up there. In my almost 40 years of coming to New Hampshire, I had never been to the top of Mt. Washington. We had bought “next day free” tickets for the water park though, and the kids wanted to go. Worse, it was two hours to get to the auto road, plus at least an hour up and back, 30-60 minutes there, and the water park closed at six. Knowing I couldn’t disappoint my kids, I had to take the disappointment myself. I was a very grumpy bug. (more…)