I have a double defense I wish to plead:
a) It was tax day. I remind you I am self-employed. The IRS hates me. The feeling is mutual.
b) Not only was it tax day, but it was college financial aid form day. Which is a futile exercise (the bastards), but one which has to be attempted. Tuition watch: $43,890 next year. Kill me. Kill me now.
I was up 'til the wee hours weeping, then filling out the damn forms. And weeping some more. Then I had to get up at seven freaking o'clock to go to work. Don't laugh. That is a totally uncivilized hour -- I don't care what you say.
So it was a beautiful day. Even in my sleep-deprived state, it was hard to be grumpy. The weather was glorious and my deposition today was in one of the prettiest places in Vermont. I even remembered to bring my camera. Hey, it's a step.
Several times I wanted to take photos of our bumps (Margene has mountains, we have bumps, she says), but when I saw the most picturesque scenes, I was driving and couldn't pull over. I wanted to take a picture of Lee Ann's favorite thing on I-89. But there was a ton of traffic (by Vermont's standards -- come on, give me a break) and the highway crew was cleaning up trash right there, so I couldn't stop.
I wanted to take a picture or two of the sky for The Sky-Watcher.
I was hoping that the Notch Road would be open for the season so I could have a close encounter with a moose or bear. Not that that has ever happened to me, but it's happened to just about everyone else I know, so I keep up the hope.
But then I remembered I had to deliver some transcripts to Burlington, which meant even if the road were open (I never did find out if it was, but it's rather doubtful), it made no sense to go that way since it takes me too far from Burlington. So I drove home with my new moonroof open, listening to Lectures 8-11 and saying "Oh!" and "D'oh!" a lot when I drove past photogenic things but realized they were photogenic too late to act upon them.
Have I mentioned I love my moonroof? Little old, plain old Norma with a moonroof. It's a bit much to bear, really.
I came home and I was so drunk on the sunshine and warmth that I decided to put on my hiking shorts and my hiking boots and grab the camera and Vincent and head up to the little bump behind my house. (That one is TRULY a little bump.) As I climbed up our steep backyard to the street behind the house, I bumped into my neighbor and his little girl, who had also just entered the street. "You going to Hard'ack?" I say. "Yup." "Me too!"
So I handed the leash to six-year-old Alexandra (little girls love little white Bichons...) and we make our way to the opening of the trail together. This was going to be good for photo ops.
We were no more than three feet inside the trail when we saw a woman walking a massive Newfoundland. Did I say "massive Newfoundland"? Wicked redundant.
Poor Vincent (and I) nearly expired. Vincent didn't even engage in the usual small yippy-dog stupidity. He just nearly fainted. I'm not kidding. I've never seen anything like it. I was so afraid that Alexandra was going to let go of his leash and he was going to do the stupid-yippy-dog thing and it would be all over. But he didn't. He melted and turned into a puddle of goo. He saw his life flash before his eyes, I am sure of it. He thought, "My mommy has brought me to the dark woods to sacrifice me to the great dog in the sky."
I managed to pick him up and the Newfie came over. Vincent weighs 11.7 pounds with his leash and collar on. I know this because he was just at his annual checkup appointment where he was weighed. The Newfie? His tongue probably weighs that much. His owner, in a voice with an accent I could not distinguish, hastened to tell me, "He's very good. He is very friendly."
Yeah. I'm a heathen. I'm an atheist. But I believe in the God of Instinct. Give a nice tender juicy white pretty morsel to a giant bear of a dog....and well, the God of Instinct is just gonna take over. And there I was, holding Vincent in my arms, trying not to pee my pants and let the big dog know I was scared shitless.
The Newfie then did what every self-respecting dog would do. He marched right over to us, where he stood as high as my shoulders. I was covering up the most logical place on Vincent for him to sniff (and I think you know where that is), so what did he do instead? He started licking Vincent's privates. Slobbery (but gentle, I will admit) licking of poor little fainted Vincent in my arms. Could there BE anything more humiliating? I wonder if Vincent will ever forgive me.
I wish I got a picture, but I was busy trying not to get eaten. Or licked. Gently. Because he was a very gentle Newfie.