Friday Five


1. Giving Reggie a bath is not my idea of a good time (nor, I would venture to say, his either). I’d rather be at the dentist or at work or, as they say, in Philadelphia. At first he’s a fairly willing participant, but his patience  quickly wears thin and he starts figeting, shaking onto the bathroom walls enough water to supply a small town. So like any good general, I try to approach it with an action plan. First clippers for a basic trim, then scissors for detailed work, then wet the fur, then shampoo, then (and here’s the most delicate part) while he’s distracted trying to lick the shampoo off, clip his nails, then rinse.

This time, plans went terribly off track when I clipped the quick on one of his nails. The quick is deep within the nail and supplies blood. Obvious lesson # 1: You do not want to cut this.

He gave a bit of a yelp and then bright red blood began streaming from his paw into the tub toward the drain. It looked a bit like the scene from Psycho. Obvious lesson # 2: Remain calm. I would like to say that I remained calm, but I sort of ran around my tiny bathroom wondering what to do. If I had cut my own finger (which I bet you’re not surprised to learn that I have indeed done with a piece of glass) I’d be able to fix it up in a hurry. See, I’m a lot more cooperative with myself. I aimed his paw under running water and he kept trying to jerk it away. So I tried to use some styptic powder, a teeny packet of which came with the clippers. He did not want this powder and turned in circles in the tub so that the powder got wet, congealing into a useless sticky ball. Then he decided he’d had enough of my amateur hour, jumped out of the tub and tracked water and spots of blood through the apartment to the living room. Obvious lesson # 3: When all else fails, bribe, bribe, bribe. In the end I gave him a rawhide and, while his attention was elsewhere, I put a piece of gauze and gauze tape around his paw. I put enough pressure on it to slow the bleeding while I ran out to get more styptic powder. Obvious lesson # 4: Be prepared. I now have a jug of the stupid powder on hand for future calamities.

Obvious question # 1: Why don’t I just take him to a groomer and be done with it, you ask? Oh, my friend, that would be much, much worse.

2. Can you hear me now? WiFi is coming to six subway stations in the next few months. Those of you who take subways in other cities are thinking, Big deal. But this is a first for us here in NYC. Currently here is no cell service at all underground, unless you’re in a station that happens to be close to street level and you’re standing under one of the steam grate thingies (I wouldn’t advise that). (Interesting aside: a few years ago a writer submitted an essay for The Subway Chronicles site. In it, he’d gone on at length about getting angry at another rider for talking too loudly on a cell phone. Busted!) So while you’re getting old and gray waiting for the train, now you’ll be able to text, surf and talk at all 277 stations.  WiFi will only be available on the platforms though. Because in every ridership poll, the vast majority of commuters do not want phone service on the train. In more civilized places, I imagine this isn’t an issue, but here… “And then like I said…and then like she said…Oh no she din’t…Guurrrl, you know whut I’m sayin’.”

So this is all very exciting but guess who’s paying for it? Go ahead. Guess. The MTA just approved another  rate hike of 16% to go into effect December 30.

3. A quick word on a little book. Hector and the Search for Happiness by Francois Lelord is a fun, but meaningful parable about Hector, a psychiatrist, who (no surprise) goes in search of happiness. He travels around the world to find out what makes people happy. From the people he meets, he develops rules for what it means to be happy. The charming story is written in the simple prose of a children’s book, which didn’t bother me, but I understand how someone might find this annoying after a while. It’s a fast read and has some thought provoking points, but doesn’t really reach the moving depths of The Alchemist by Paulo Coelho.

4. Dog  thefts are on the rise nationwide. There was a 56% increase in theft between 2008 and 2009 and another 24% increase from 2009 to this year to date and we’ve got 2 months left. It’s not an “epidemic” by any means, but if it’s your dog…well I can’t even imagine how heartbreaking it would be. New York ranks among the top 10 cities for dog theft. Most mornings when I’m walking to the train I see some cute pup staring mournfully at the door of the coffee shop while tied to a parking meter or a tree. I can understand why someone would do it (especially when you NEED that cup ‘o joe), but it quite literally takes 10 seconds for an unscrupulous person to unleash your dog and then post “Found Dog” flyers around the neighborhood hoping to get a reward, or sell him to a “buncher,” even more despicable people who resell groups of dogs to animal testing laboratories. Of course the most common breeds stolen are the little guys – pomeranians, yorkies, beagles. But no matter the size, it’s just not worth it.

5. Need to give a gift to someone you don’t know that well: co-worker, in-law, significant other? Try a gift card from TisBest. A friend sent me the info for this site which I’d not heard of before. You, the giver, load a gift card at TisBest. It’s sent electronically or in hard copy to the recipient and that person can then choose from a long list of charitable organizations. They can even split the amount on the card among several different charities, if you were generous enough (know what I’m sayin’?). Several charities I already support are listed, but there are some I’d not heard of – a great opportunity to learn more. Check it out, won’t you?


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