Cozy Tales: 53. Cozy Lets me Know

In the midst of Cozy’s ordeal, Colleen had her fifth birthday party. She had a good party, and I don’t think the recent events at home impacted her enjoyment much, if at all. What five year old doesn’t like to be the center of attention? Certainly not our Colleen.

The party was held at a local business built solely for the purpose of hosting children’s birthday parties, and Colleen enjoyed her party. As usual, Lauren was busy running the show while I took pictures. The break from the drama in our lives was welcome, but Lauren and I both wanted to get back to Cozy. We felt guilty for leaving her, but Colleen deserved to have her special day. (more…)

Cozy Tales: 52. Week Two

On Sunday March 5th, we once again loaded up the two cameras and went outside with the dogs. Cozy was feeling pretty well, and she played with the Kong while we took pictures. I felt very fortunate to have the opportunity to take some great pictures given Cozy’s prognosis. I had agreed to shoot a wedding a month prior, and had purchased some wonderful lenses for the occasion. Those lenses added a certain magic to the images that made Cozy look almost ethereal. She was beautiful, even so close to death.

We took the dogs out into the woods near the stream where I had taken pictures of Cozy in the snow. Cozy threw her Kong into the water and stirred up the mud looking for it, determined to cause trouble even when she was so sick. I could see the glint in her eye as I managed to find the Kong with a stick. I had managed to protect the Kong from the mower for all these years and there was no way I was letting it get lost in the mud now! (more…)

Cozy Tales: 51. Week One

Sunday morning found us with a suddenly perky Cozy. Before I woke up that morning, Cozy lay outside while Lauren went about her morning rituals. When Lauren called to Cozy to come in and she didn’t respond, Lauren feared the worst and went to check on her. As Lauren approached, Cozy’s tail started thumping the ground.

Cozy could be a stubborn pain in the ass when she felt like it, and Lauren probably thought this was one of those times, though the events of the night before added a bit of confusion to everything. We had seen Cozy refuse to listen to anyone but me, but usually when this happened there was no wagging involved. Content that Cozy was just enjoying the yard, Lauren turned back to go inside. As she turned, Cozy got up and ran past her to get to the door first, wagging all the way. Lauren stood and stared, wondering if the previous day had been nothing more than a dream. (more…)

Cozy Tales: 50. The Crab

As I pulled into the driveway from my long commute, I saw my Cozy sitting in the yard waiting for me like she always did. I parked the car and got out ready for my greeting, but there was no boisterous dog at the fence. My Cozy always ran up to the fence with a joyous bark when I came home. Always.

Something was wrong.

I went out and sat with her in the yard, and she thumped her tail a couple of times as I approached. She was lethargic, and had that same I’m sick Daddy, please help me look on her face that she did when I rushed her to the vet. She didn’t seemed distressed this time; she just didn’t seem to have any energy. When I went inside she followed me in with her head and tail hung low. It was an obvious effort for her to move. (more…)

Cozy Tales: 49. Pizza and Movie Night

After completing the new high definition home theater in our family room, I proclaimed that every Friday night hence was to be pizza and movie night™. I always made sure I was home on Friday evenings so we would be together to enjoy a movie, some local pizza, and some good old-fashioned togetherness. Without fail Cozy would curl up by my feet, though only after she was sure that there was no more pizza crust to be had.

Pizza crust may very well have been Cozy’s favorite food. When we ate at the dinner table, Cozy and Daisy knew that they were not allowed to bother us, so they would stay in the living room until we were done. On movie nights we ate in the family room which meant that we were sitting in reclining chairs and on couches and thus, as Newfie logic dictated, the rules of dinner-time behavior were waived and outright harassment became the order of the day. (more…)

Cozy Tales: 48. Home Theater

In December of 2005 I was making excellent money designing and installing networks for large companies, so I decided to take some of that money and make a home theater for the family. As much as I would have loved to be able to make something as wonderful as the magnificent rooms I’d seen in magazines, our house was pretty small, so I added home theater functionality to our existing family room.

Being an obsessive nerd, I spent weeks researching every aspect of the new project, from large screen HDTVs to receivers to speakers to the wire that connects it all. I was in my element, and since Lauren had agreed to a complete makeover for the room, I had all sorts of leeway with the design. (more…)

Cozy Tales: 47. Pollen

Horror, thy name is pollen.

Ragweed is very common in NJ, as are Goldenrod and Hemlock. Since I don’t need to kill any philosophers, and the goldenrod doesn’t offend me, I’ll focus on the ragweed.  All three plants line our highways and in the rural areas where we lived, a drive down the back roads would reveal miles of farms and fields filled with goldenrod. Next to the pretty goldenrod, filthy ragweed grows.

From the moment the ugly little plants would bloom, the horror would begin. Suddenly my airway would constrict, my nose would run, my throat, ears, and eyes would swell and itch, and the sneezing would continue unabated until early October when the pollen was finally consumed by magic tree frogs or whatever actually happened to all the vile stuff in the air. Unfortunately, after the pollen was gone, my body would still suffer. Since my overwhelmed sinuses had been pouring noxious snot into my lungs 24 hours a day for two weeks, my lungs would invariably resort to some sort of respiratory infection that would torment me for another couple of weeks. I love pollen.  (more…)

Cozy Tales: 46. Slow Cozy

Early in 2005, we had a snowstorm that made everything look like it was covered with vanilla frosting. I grabbed my camera and took a walk in the woods behind my house in order to take pretty pictures. Cozy followed me into the yard, but I shut the gate and left her in the yard since the de-facto rule had always been dogs stay in the yard.

As I walked around in the woods behind my house snapping pictures of the frosted landscape, Cozy barked constantly. There was a small stream behind our house that looked especially picturesque, and as I started shooting, I reveled in the quiet which caused me to realize that the barking had stopped. I looked towards the house and saw Cozy lumbering through the snow after forcing herself through the gate nose-first so she could be with me. That was all she was barking about; she wanted to be with me. That’s all she ever wanted. (more…)

Cozy Tales: 45. One Scary Night

I am a night owl. I rarely go to bed before midnight, and this night found me going to bed at close to 3:00 A.M. When I finally did go to bed, My Cozy wasn’t right. Cozy was staring at me and clearly had something to tell me. When I went through my normal litany of questions, none of them elicited the Yes! response. When I got into bed, she came over and x her head on the bed and stared at me some more. I patted her head and told her that I didn’t know what she wanted. Finally she gave up and went to lie down, though without her traditional snort of frustration. Once down on the floor she would sit there and pant, then seemingly unable to get comfortable, get up and sit somewhere else. She would lie down and whimper, then get up and repeat the process. After several repetitions she’d come over and stare at me with her please help me – you’re the only one who can look. My Cozy wasn’t right, and she was trying to tell me what was wrong. I was feeling tired and frustrated that I couldn’t figure out her message. Then I had a terrifying thought.

Bloat. (more…)

Cozy Tales: 44. Not so Bright

As you might have guessed by now, I’m a bit of a nerd. I like gadgets and have way too many hobbies. I play the guitar, have a ham radio license, build my own computers, fix old tube amplifiers for fun and generally baffle my wife with an endless desire to acquire some new toy or learn some arcane skill. My interests have led me to amass a wide ranging collection which includes guitars, tube amplifiers, fountain pens, headphones, cameras, telescopes and a wide variety of other things. Of course, some of those hobbies get me into trouble. (more…)