Thursday, September 3, 2009

Drywalling a Doghouse

Dear Ella,
Earlier this morning blogger was so slow I bolted and decided to e-mail you instead of adding a new post. My e-mail included the subject material, some basic info. and an attachment with the ff. story which I hope will transpose from Microsoft Word. My e-mail to you was rejected. When I looked up the reason and went to your PPS, it told me that for security reasons I was blocked. There were quite a few other e-mails similarly blocked. As I told Del in my follow-up phone call, your spam protection is probably keeping me from e-mailing you. Recent e-mails, if you recall, have been to me with a reply to you. Talk to Del tonight. Here goes nuthin'.

If you work backwards, it was a perfectly good idea. Mid-afternoon. I’d driven Mandy around the area. The purpose was two-fold. One, I need to drive the truck frequently to pinpoint the problem with the ignition. Second, I’d like to get Mandy comfortable with driving, possibly long distances. This is a systematic process since she also needs to be leash trained. Many domestic pets are lost while traveling.

In my mind, the garden doesn’t exist. At least, not for now. I look at the slant-roofed doghouse and notice there’s a gap at the inside back between the roof and back wall. Cold icy winter winds will make the house a refrigerator. I’ve several pieces of two-inch Styrofoam insulation. I put a folded up sheet on the ground for my tender knees and crawl inside to measure. The doghouse is large enough to accommodate the dog and myself. Mandy does her part by slobbering on my ears, nose printing my glasses. Lately she’s become very attached to me, sleeping on my lap when we’re traveling.

I saw the two pieces of insulation to fit exactly. Bi-focals never seem to measure things correctly. The Styrofoam fits tightly. So tight, that I have to push on it to stay against the back wall. I remeasure for sheetrock. The sheet rock will hold the insulation in place. I’m screwing the sheetrock in place as Dawn drives up. The cat is sitting on the truck gate. This is unusual because of his distaste for machinery of any kind. It’s a safe haven from Mandy.

Mandy greets Dawn, wagging her tail furiously. Dawn admonishes the dog for jumping up. I count sixteen marks on my arms from Mandy’s claws and teeth. The combination of puppy claws and teeth and the blood pressure medication that makes my skin paper-thin remind me that approaching cold weather-long sleeve shirts will literally save my hide.

All the material for Mandy’s abode has been recycled. Most of the house is 3/4ths inch plywood. With shingles and two 4X4’s for a foundation the thing is getting so heavy, I can barely move it back to the evening position in front of the garage door. I’m aware that it may be an anachronism if softhearted Bob keeps Mandy inside in cold weather. Right now, she’s a pee-bomb. She can go off at any time, anywhere.

On our travels yesterday, we visited my webmaster who lives in a 100+ year old house on a road named for the original owners. He’s remolded it nicely, I see driving up. There’s a new front porch and the siding over the old log walls was removed. The technique of plastering would date this house. In visiting Old World Wisconsin with my classes, I learned that Norwegians of different periods had their own techniques for filling in the gaps between logs. A log cabin building workshop I attend in the 80’s for example, taught me that some pioneers used a scribe to mark the lower and upper log so that the contours of both fit like spoons in a drawer. Alan comes out when we’re greeted by three loud dogs in the yard. I get out, holding Mandy back. “Stay there girl,” I tell her. She’s a mouthful for the golden lab nosing inside the cab of my truck.

I can hear Mandy barking from the truck as Al and I chat. The visit ends abruptly when a car pulls up. I find Mandy cowering on the floor below my steering wheel. I do the “I could have had a V-8, slap to the forehead. Mandy’s never seen another dog outside of Buddy her pal and Mandy Sr. her Mom. To give Mandy credit, she doesn’t mess my seats. I notice marks on the carpet on the floor where she peed out of fear.

As we pull off, in a wide circle around the front yard it appears the car is full of Jehovah’s Witnesses. Poor Al.

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