Cozy Tales: 42. Down the Shore

Lauren grew up spending her summers at the Jersey Shore, loving everything about it from the sand between her toes to the nasty jellyfish in the surf. For her birthday in 2002 she wanted to go back since it had been far too long since her bare feet had felt the sand.

We decided that it was far past time to take our water-loving dogs to see the ocean. We had talked about it forever, but somehow life had gotten in the way and it had never happened. While taking two huge dogs to the beach was difficult enough, we were now faced with the prospect of bringing two huge dogs and two small children to the beach. We figured it was never going to get any easier, so we loaded everyone into the Outback and trucked on down the shore. (more…)

Cozy Tales: 40. Daisy’s Bloody Nose

With my life as an international drug smuggler behind me, I spent most of my nights studying for my next try at the CCIE exam. On one such night the kids had been put to bed and the dogs were eating their dinner upstairs. I could always tell when they were eating because the hardwood floor was directly above my office, and since Cozy’s eating had never been a gentle affair, the large stainless steel bowl would rattle and scrape against the floor while she devoured her food. Daisy was more demure when she ate, having no doubt been schooled in the art of fine dining. While dinner was loud, it was brief, so the distraction never lasted long. This time though, the sounds of Cozy eating were interrupted when Lauren called me with that it’s an emergency tone. (more…)

Cozy Tales: 36. Colleen

March 16, 2001 was a beautiful clear March morning in northern New Jersey, or at least it was once the sun came up. March 16th was a special day, and this is how the events of that special day unfolded to the best of my recollection.

3:00 a.m. Lauren woke up to go to the bathroom. Being very pregnant, this was not unusual, but this time she told me that she thought her water had broken, but she wasn’t really sure. When Meghan was born there was no question when the water broke as it was an event unto itself. Being tired and unsure Lauren went back to bed while thinking that she was having mild contractions. I went back to sleep thankful that nothing was expected of me except more sleep.

5:00 a.m. I got a nudge from Lauren asking, “Where is the stopwatch? (more…)

Cozy Tales: 34. The Canoe

My wife’s brother’s wife’s parents (my brother in-law’s in-laws) owned a nice chunk of property about 10 miles from ours. Though we enjoy our two acres, they had over 30, including their very own sizable lake. We had a standing invitation to bring the dogs to enjoy the lake, which we did from time to time.

Cozy’s favorite pasttime was saving sticks thrown into the water. The ones that were lost were quickly forgotten like last year’s iPhone, causing me to wonder at the veracity of all those stories of Newfs saving people. (more…)

Cozy Tales: 32. Graviditas Redux

I remember Lauren calling me at work and inviting me home for some fine lunchtime lovin’. I can vividly remember sitting at my desk at the ISP and getting the call, and I can vividly remember the surprise and wonderment at finally getting said call. You see, Lauren was fond of telling people that pregnancy was a nine month up and nine month down affair, meaning that while it took nine months to grow and deliver a baby, it also took nine months for a woman’s body to return to normal. Here it was eight months post-partum and I felt like I had won the lottery.

I also remember sitting on the couch with Lauren some time later reading an alphabet book to Meghan. We were the picture of family togetherness. Meghan would stare lovingly as I’d turn the page and read the words with happy Daddy abandon. (more…)

Cozy Tales: 31. The Trash

One fine Thursday not long after the spoon incident, Lauren put Meghan to bed as she did every night. From the time we brought Meghan home, putting her in her crib was a pretty simple affair because she was a good baby who would sleep soundly soon after bedtime. Though there was plenty of pre-bedtime reading and changing and such, bedtime proper was perhaps a ten minute task. Upon her return to the dining room, Lauren found the trash can tipped over and the elegant miss Daisy sitting on the floor chewing on the carcass that had previously been our chicken dinner.

Thanks to our obsessive research regarding all things dog, we knew that cooked chicken is dangerous for dogs if it contains bones. While a raw chicken wouldn’t bother them, the bones get brittle when cooked and cooked chicken bones, when chewed by a dog, can splinter making shards that can cut them up internally. This was a situation that we calmly categorized as not good. (more…)

Cozy Tales: 30. The Spoon

Lauren was sitting outside on the deck enjoying the summer breeze while Meghan played with the latest high-tech toy: a pot and some wooden spoons. As Meghan happily sat on the deck banging the pot with her spoons, the dogs lay lazily about, content to be with their family on such a fine day. Meghan didn’t seem to care that her drum set wasn’t being advertised non-stop on the TV, nor did she mind that these were last year’s spoons. She was as happy as a kid could be, making noise and having fun.

Young children are naturally very good at some things. Banging pots with a wooden spoon is one of them. Making poopy diapers is another, and let me tell you, when it came to this particular skill, the kid was a pro. Noticing that the pro had scored again, Lauren scooped Meghan up and headed inside to clean her up. The dogs evidently decided that they’d sniffed enough diapers for one day and remained contentedly in the sun. If a loaded diaper wasn’t reason enough to disrupt a snooze of this caliber, nothing was. Or so we thought. (more…)

Cozy Tales: 29. Newf Net

When we first decided to get a Newfoundland dog, we scoured the bookstores and quickly discovered that there were precious few quality books on the breed. The Internet was just starting to take off and the dot com boom was in full swing so we focused our energies trying to find quality information on-line.  Our Internet searches uncovered an email list called Newf-L which was short for the Newfoundland Mailing List.

An Internet mailing list allowed one person to send email to “the list” by sending to a single email address. The email address was a server which then resent the email to everyone that had subscribed to the list. Forums were still in their infancy, and blogs did not yet exist because this was the still the dark ages of the late 90’s when people used dial-up modems.  Back then, email lists were still a pretty common means of information sharing for on-line communities. (more…)

Cozy Tales: 28. Meghan

As the pregnancy developed, Lauren took the idea of eating for two to heart, all the while telling everyone that the idea was a myth. Lauren had naturally researched pregnancy to the extreme, so she knew what she was doing, and we just figured that nature would take its course as it had for millions of years before we got involved.

In Lauren’s ninth month of pregnancy we went in for one of the many ultrasounds to check the baby’s health. Lauren’s OBGyn was very smart, very type-A, and very young. We had long ago nick-named him Doogie after Doogie Howser from the TV show of the same name. Doogie took one look at Lauren and told her that he wanted to induce her. Lauren flat-out refused, insisting that nature should take its course and that nothing should impede the beauty of the process or some damn thing. (more…)

Cozy Tales: 27. The Table Incident

We used to have a coffee table in the family room that was a two tier affair. The bottom was just a shelf while the top was comprised of three square panes of glass separated by wood with four pillars in the corners. We’d had the table for years and it had become the centerpiece of our family room, around which our lives continued to unfold.

One night while watching television, Lauren was lying on the long couch perpendicular to the  TV while I sat on the love seat. Cozy sat on the floor near me and Daisy had mashed herself in the space between Lauren’s couch and the coffee table. The dogs loved to be in this space that seemed too small for them which we figured had something to do with their den instinct. Regardless of why they liked those spots, they were always there making it difficult for people to get off and on the couch. Lauren, eight months pregnant with Meghan, had an even tougher time when the dogs chose to lie there, which was all the damn time.

For reasons that escape me now, I decided to sit on the coffee table so I could get closer to Lauren. Maybe we were talking, or maybe I felt the need to give her some smooches. Whatever the reason, it was overshadowed by the events that were about to unfold. (more…)