This weekend, I puppy-sat for Murray, Brooke and Paul's (my sister and her husband's) yellow lab. They're moving from Chicago to Memphis for what is planned to be a short term job change for Paul. Brooke is "working from home," and it doesn't really matter where home is since she flies to most of her client meetings anyway. Paul was playing golf in some tournament in Springfield yesterday, so they needed a place to drop off their puppy that was en-route. I was fairly close.
Friday night was spent puppy-proofing my living room. I moved everything that would fit in a lab's mouth into my spare room and closed the door. That took a lot longer than I had expected.
They stopped by Saturday morning. After they left, Murray paced around neurotically for about a half hour trying to find them. I decided that some exercise would be good for him, so I took him for a lap around Centennial Park. That's over two miles. I jogged off and on. It's more difficult to jog when you have a dog pulling on a leash and breaking your rhythm. When we got back, he was pretty worn out. I ate some lunch and watched a little PBS, including America's Test Kitchen which featured Pad Thai. The key flavor is tamirand, a fruit native to Africa.
Then I took Murray over to Tim and Holly's place. Tim helped me change the oil in my car and rotate my tires. Murray hung out in their fenced back yard. I had never changed any oil before, so I needed a guiding hand. It wasn't too bad, really. The worst part was reaching the filter, which was in a very awkward spot. There was oil dripping on my mouth, so I kept it shut tight. I was determined to finish unscrewing the damn filter before I crawled out from under the car again. There was oil everywhere. Rotating the tires was cake. It just took a little muscle. Having two sets of jack stands helped, too, since we could prop the car up off the ground to rotate the tires.
After the car work, I came home and showered. Then Murray started getting some energy again, so I took him out for another walk. This time we went around Kaufmann Lake. That's around 1.25 miles, round trip. I think he wanted to go in the water. I had to really lean away from him pulling on the leash just to walk straight.
After our walk, I did a little work on my Africa web site (yes, it's still being worked on). Then I tried to scavenge up some dinner from what I had on hand. Here is what I learned: balsamic vinegar and coconut milk are disgusting together. I threw out my concoction. Instead I had egg noodles with diced, canned tomatoes on top. Simple, boring and satisfying.
After a little more time on the web site, it was time for bed. After a bit of puppy-proofing, I pulled Murray's bed into my room at the foot of my bed. While I was brushing my teeth, I heard a clunk in the kitchen. He had his front paws on the kitchen counter. When I told him to get down, he had a towel in his mouth. We had a standoff for a good five minutes. He managed to get a table in between us so that I couldn't get to him. If I went to one side, he'd go to the other. Eventually, I just sat down so that he was stuck in the kitchen. I waited him out. Eventually he just stopped having fun and I was able to just snag the towel from his mouth.
He was restless at night and kept me up a little bit. He kept peeking his nose up through the blinds to try and see outside.
I was awoken by a whimpering dog licking my face. He needed to go potty. I tried to ignore him, but he persisted. It was pretty sweet and it made me smile. A puppy licking your face is a much better way to wake up than an alarm clock.
After trying to go back to sleep again, I took him for another Centennial Park walk. I knew that he had a six hour car ride ahead of him, so I thought Brooke and Paul would appreciate it. Back in my apartment, he and I played a little catch with his oversized tennis ball. That is, until he realized that he could pull the covering off of it. Which then exposed the rubber which he could then chew into little bits. He worked on that tirelessly for a good hour....
When they showed up, Murray flipped out. He was so excited to see his mom and dad again. I was a little sad to see them go. It's always comforting to have family come visit.
The rest of my day was spent mostly working on the web site. I went to a few grocery stores (including Am-Ko, the Asian import store on campus) to buy the things I needed to make Pad Thai. I've got to say, I did a damn good job. I used chicken instead of shrimp, and I used the tamirand concentrate option (not the pulp). The girl at the store said that the concentrate is a ton easier to work with. I also used a fresh, grated radish instead of the preserved option. Pad Thai isn't that hard to make. It's just that when you start cooking, you have to add everything very quickly. So you have to have everything ready and you can't really split your time cooking and rereading the recipe. But it turned out great. I can't wait to show off my leftovers at lunch tomorrow at the office. As a bonus, I'll get to make a TV joke since I got the recipe from over-the-air PBS.
And that, my friends, is all.
P.S. What does it say about my life if I was worried that I was boring the dog?