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Crofton, MD, 21114

A long-running personal blog shared by two authors with completely different approaches to life. And a lot of large, beautiful photographs of dogs and nature and places we've traveled to. Rich in commentary and irreverant in style. 


We started blogging a long time ago. Our work hours never aligned with recommended psychotherapists and we needed to get our thoughts out. We are great friends, total opposites and long-time housemates. This was a way to communicate. With each other. With strangers. With consumer marketers. With sub-par meteorologists. With distant friends who wanted to see pictures of stuff we were up to.

This is the place. Our bucket of thoughts to share. You are welcome. 
(We realize that most of you are here for the dog pictures.)

Bubonic Playtime


So we are just wrapping up “Plague Week” here at Crofton Manor.

Last Saturday night I was awoken - straight out of a dead sleep – by a smell that should actually affect your skin health. It was unfortunate that I chose to run panicked through the dark to find the root of the putrescence.

Any dog owner worth their salt knows the rule “TURN ON THE LIGHT. Look. Triangulate the area visually. And THEN move.” Well my only excuse was that the smell had invaded my dreams and I had been working a story around the napalm odor for easily 10 minutes before I cracked an eye. And 10 minutes in dream-time is like 3 episodes of Lost in real time. So I had already built up some adrenaline about the event.

And I ran to the top of the stairs.

What was it they said in the Madeline children’s books?

“In the middle of the night Miss Clavel turned on her light and said, "Something is not right!”

Miss Clavel ran fast and faster, to the scene of the disaster."

There was a sound that accompanied my arrival at the scene. Imagine the sound of someone throwing a hundred pound jellyfish atop a pile of others in a very still air. I stepped away from my mistake. Directly into another mistake. Resigned I flicked the hall light on and saw the predicament that both I - and my new carpet - were involved in.

Things were not good. My mouth closed instinctively (and did not re-open for about 48 hours, as I recall). 

A shit cannon had gone off in my home.

Bryant and I did our best to return the upstairs to an area that was passable. Thor was banished from our home until the wee hours and then crated like a felon in the dining room overnight, to manage the risk area. I went back to bed sickened and wanting to burn the skin off my hands for the hazmat cleanup I had recently been involved in. Tomorrow would be better.

I was wrong there. I awoke Father’s Day morning to a suspicion that the smell that I was smelling was too potent to be from the previous night. I turned on the light and gingerly tiptoed downstairs pretending to be the human bloodhound. I don’t know why I rushed. The scene I found wasn’t going anywhere. Disturbingly – Jake had fallen asleep on the couch after too much Xbox, not 8 feet from the open dining room, and was somehow sleeping through whatever had transpired in the dining room and the resulting carnage that lay before me.

I contemplated just setting the house on fire and starting fresh. I’d call people’s cell phones to make sure they got out alive. When they wake up they will understand and run from the house instinctively. Without even noticing the fire.

So what I learned is that crating a dog does not keep it from shitting.

It seems a simple statement. But there is so much there. Depth.

My dogs - when I loved them - outdoorsI resigned myself to the fact that it was Father’s Day and this was a scene that you should keep from people you love. This was potentially MORE of a gift to him than the iPad 2 I had already gotten him. (In hindsight I should have woken his ass up). I released the offending dog from his caged madness and just let him run free outside in the neighborhood. Not that he did. He ran into the front yard and then came back and guiltily stared inside through the storm door to see if I was going to get my shotgun.

I spent the next hour and a half scrubbing floors and walls and when I went downstairs to the laundry room. There I was met with life’s cruel sense of humor. Lucifer’s dog had visited this place the night before it seemed. NOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO.

Imagine the zombies are turds. That's me in the yellow.I cleaned that too. I had nothing left in me to react with. I could have found a dead body in the hall and I would have just stepped over it and put it on the list.

The next day Hambone came down with the pestilence. I bought the entire aisle of paper towels at Shopper’s. I started assigning blame to things I thought had caused this canine endemic. It was surely the stupid plastic pool at the dog park! It had to be the bird bath that those idiots drink out of in the back yard! Maybe it was the dog food? Had I bought old poisoned Chinese dog food? Maybe it was Yenny. Everyone and everything was suspect.

We stopped feeding the dogs. People still returned from dog walks with horrified looks on their faces. Tales of poo that shot out at unnerving speeds. Globular masses that defied description. Parts of the neighborhood that should never be visited again for fear of being remembered.

I dunno... but it reminds me of how I felt.Monday I started feeling ill. I was indisposed when there was a panicked moment where I thought Hambone might explode on me as I was getting ill. This would of course start a sympathetic vomit war and – though I now had enough paper towels - I may just have to shoot myself out of civic duty. The damn dog sounded like a cement mixer and his expressions led me to believe that – he too - was very scared about what might transpire. My Bubonic assistant was hailed excitedly.

I went to work ill because I believe that one cannot effectively rid themselves of something without the act of ‘giving it’ to someone else. I was fine getting someone else sick.  At 2 pm I received a txt message that Bryant was now ill.

This had to end.

I powered through the rest of my day and went straight to the store after work to rent a steam cleaning machine and buy a truck load Clorox wipes. We were into Red Cross mode.

Yenny actually took it upon herself to wipe down the whole house before she was hit. Disinfecting even the stairway banister rungs in her paranoia. She seemed proud of herself when she told me that part. I kind of blinked and asked her “do you think I lick the stairway dowels, really? Wtf?” She ignored me and went to the office to print out some sort of “First place home defender” certificate that she would put into the scrapbook of her achievements.

Well, as it happens. The week got better. Constitutions were recaptured.

But as I was sitting here writing this in bed… not 5 minutes ago… Thor came upstairs… looked at me oddly and barfed up his entire dinner. HA!!!!!

I am in that giddy maniacal state where nothing can surprise me. I need more wine.