A cacophony of green.

I suppose I should start with the Hodag. But then, that might be too predictable. Given some of my particular proclivities, I guess I could discuss the subject of Shorty. But then, that would take a lot of off topic background. There is always the obvious hilarity of living in the wake of having just moved across country, partly on a whim, with a toddler and two dogs in tow, but that might end up being somewhere between mundane and overly introspective.

We saw an eagle today. And a frog and a toad (personally, I had to suppose the difference). We went to a community event downtown which featured not only an arts and crafts fair, but also a car show. There was a mint condition Yugo. I am still sort of reeling from that. There are monarchs and lilacs and ferns tall enough to hide the dogs. A few days ago I saw a pileated woodpecker for the first time. There are oaks and maples and tamaracks and pines of various sorts, and who knows what else is out there. This time of year the turtles are on the move, and to a considerable degree, the local populace, makes accommodation for them when crossing roads.

Currently, I am sitting in the basement, and when stumped for what to write next I look out the window. The sky is a faint greyish blue, the trees, shadows. The wind rustles the maple leaves, which remarkably, even in the deep, fading light, still present with a greenish hue.

The green, for now, is ubiquitous. It is pervasive. If one looks too deeply it is almost alarming. There are so many shades of green it makes me think of the fabled endless names for types of snow attributed to arctic peoples. I do not think I have ever seen so much green. It is everywhere. Comes a time though, when there will be snow.

To be called green, is to be new; unskilled and unaware. One can be green with envy, or one can look a bit green around the gills. All might apply.


They call this place the Northwoods. I like that, though from a tree perspective, it has a troubled past. The loggers first came for the pines, which they floated down river. The hardwoods sink though, so they had to build railroads. According to one source, Wisconsin is called the Badger state not because of an association with the large surly weasel, but rather via association with early mining… where men dug into the hills like badgers. I remain dubious.

Cheese curds and smoked fish. The Boy has taken swiftly to both, so I guess we made a decent choice in where to relocate.

The lake that laps at the south edge of our property is called Wildwood. I thought to rename this blog-thing the Wildwood Chronicles. I really liked the name… but it seemed oddly familiar. Turns out Colin Meloy has written a series of books under that name. I was unaware, but now intrigued. And despite my disappointment that the name is already taken, happy that it is employed thus.

So, I am still somewhat at a loss of what happens next. Suggestions are welcome…



A walk in the rain.

Part 1: The chair.

I cannot say how much I slept Friday night. Relatively, my guess would be somewhere between more than the Wife and less than the Boy. As noted, he was teething and she discovered a pain in her abdomen. Saturday was difficult and laden with uncertainty. During nap time, I did chores. Partly as an excuse to get out of the cottage, but partly, I would like to think, in response to some prescient sense of responsibility which resulted in giving a decent buffer for what happened next.

We were all tired and edgy, especially following the previous night, but also on the heels of the 1,700plus mile roadtrip we had just undertaken. I tried to keep my cool, and thought it best most of the day to stay tight lipped, fearing I would lose my cool any moment… probably lost it a bit more than once.

Anyway, once the Boy was down for the night, I went for a walk… pretty much straight to the bar. Which I guess is a bit sad, but there you have it. I was strung out. The Boy and the Wife were both in a state of disrepair; the former identified and manageable, the latter yet to fully rear its head. I was stable, but frayed. I sat down at the bar itself, ordered a scotch and stared down a chair across the room that was misbehaving.

I kept to myself, sipped the booze, stirred the rocks, and pondered that chair, part of me screaming to go over and set it straight. But in the end, I let it alone and sought to glean some wisdom from it; some sense of release, of surrendering to the flow. Little did I know how that time, however brief, would benefit me. I hope that this will be a lesson that sticks with me.

Part 2: Two dogs and a toddler.

It is difficult to keep up with a toddler on the move, especially one already used to the somewhat free form style of parenting I have “chosen” to enlist. Sure, I set boundaries and limits and try to keep some sense of order, but in general, I try to let the Boy explore and experience. The foundation is based on a saying that I learned from a very wise man in Fairbanks whom I have quoted here before; “Children only want to know that they are safe and that they are loved.” Or something along those lines.

So I work first to keep him safe and then to make sure he knows he is loved. I sometimes struggle a bit at always keeping him well fed. I try to keep him reasonably clean. Sometimes, I pretend to keep us within some manner of routine. Aside from that, unless driven by necessity, I kind of let him go his own way and try to follow his lead. Ideally at least. If I learned it at all, I learned that from my old dog when she was teaching me to skijor. Once I finally learned to just let her lead, we had a lot more fun.

That was a different time though. One dog and me, is a very different recipe than two dogs and toddler and me. Any sense that I might have of being in “control” is fleeting at best. Thankfully, the older dog is reasonably steady and stalwart and can kind of serve as an anchor, though, I am not certain that she appreciates the role.

Part 3: Outside the self.

Of course, this whole business is not all about me. It is easy to get tunnel vision, when trying to hold a squirming toddler in one hand, pick up dog crap with the other, and keep one eye on each dog, going in different directions. Tunnel vision, or maybe an aneurism.

No, there is of course the Wife, who I feared, had inadvertently wandered into an old re-run of House; suffering through a mysterious malady, tended to by a kooky, yet seemingly sensible doctor. Of course she was dealing with a whole different level of discomfort… pain in point of fact. Plus, uncertainty, loneliness, likely a bit of fear. All in a strange hospital in a strange town, likely with an underlying, unrelenting sense of guilt for not being at her new job, being here, being whole.

And then there is the Boy. Who knows what the hell he is thinking. Wrenched from the semblance of a routine that he did have, the “school” he had known and the friends he had there, the only home he has known, and forced to spend days on end strapped backwards into a vehicle barreling towards some unknowable destination, waking up in a different place nearly every night. For a few days there, any time he came across a bag, he would pick it up and sling it over his arm, and start saying bye, waving and blowing kisses, to no one in particular.

So I thought to attempt a routine. Reinstate some sense of order in an effort to manage the chaos. But of course that was silly. Nothing is routine in this current life. Nothing is orderly and trying to force it would only present the square peg/round hole problem. So I try to role with it, try to accommodate the dogs, follow the Boys lead, make sure the Wife knows I am always thinking of her, and when I can, breathe. Last night when it was not quite bed time but the cottage was too small to contain all the crazy, the Boy and I went out for a stroller ride in the rain. Sometimes, you need to just play in the rain.


Dora, the young dog, likes to chase things. Particularly ungulates. Bella, the older dog, does as well, but generally knows better at this point. She is more often content with fetch.

As you are likely aware, deer are in fact ungulates. There are lots of deer here. Thick as bunny rats in the wee field outside of our little “temporary quarters” cottage many times of the day.

An unrelated, but undeniably complicating factor; Dora also damn near refuses to go potty on leash.

Perhaps you can see my dilemma.

As chronicled in the previous several posts, we recently undertook two cross country road trips from Arizona to the Northwoods of Wisconsin. This, under the auspices of relocating… again. I do think this move is for the better. For what that is worth.

Anyway. We arrived Thursday afternoon, and as noted in the most recent update, discovered that Dora, (you remember Dora), had some issues. Thankfully one of the recommended veterinarians in town was able to see her the next day. The top recommended was not “accepting any new patients” as they were currently booked nearly a month out. I was quite satisfied with the vet experience though, and mine is a pretty high bar, having been set by an exceptional vet in Fairbanks years ago, but that is another story.

There are also ticks here, and the ruthless and accompanying Lyme disease. So, I was happy to get that attended to as well and both dogs are on the new vet’s recommended treatment, which is good, because the next day I found a tick on Dora. Of course.

So tonight, having just returned from the hospital (I will get to that part in a bit), I dropped the tail gate to let the dogs out of the truck, making sure that the Boy was not in their immediate trajectory. He says “Doda” and so I look around and poof, vanished. Must have been a deer. In fact, three just wandered into view as I write this. Scratch that, four. Thankfully, she returned not long after, but of course wet and slightly muddy from crashing headlong through the woods and nearby marsh. Probably should do another tick check.

So, trying to get the Boy fed, a bit late, and get the Dogs fed, including Dora’s meds. Having to stop the dogs mid-meal to make sure that the Boy got to do his part; he likes to help feed them, which really is great. Mid-meal, he noted that I did not request his help and started screaming “my, my, my”. Sigh.

Anyway, thankfully he went down easy and I was able to get the dogs all leashed up and take them out for nature. Almost immediately the neighbor’s dog started bark/yapping, which distracted the dogs and wholly precluded my intention, and I feared might wake the Boy. Also, when I left for the hospital (I will get to that part in a bit), we had no neighbors. Yap dog or otherwise. Sigh.


Speaking of the Boy, in the past week or so, his vocabulary has boomed (really want to make a list, including his unique pronunciation), as have his physical abilities… such as climbing. Also, though it likely has been building for days, Friday night he cut three teeth, two being molars, and I am pretty sure a second incisor is still trying. So that was fun. Also, that night, the Wife noted some painful cramping in her abdomen. Interwebs research tentatively ruled out appendicitis over the course of Saturday, but this morning, we were not so sure, as the pain seemed worse, and less crampy.

Enter the hospital.

Boy got me up at 5. The Wife emerged not much later with the unfortunate news. Finished making coffee. Tried to get some food in the Boy. Fed the dogs… with the Boy’s help of course. Loaded stuff and things and dogs and people into the truck and rolled on over to the ER. Thankfully it was pretty sleepy at 6:30 on Mother’s Day and one particular mother was admitted swiftly.

Initial diagnosis uncertain. Tests needed to be run. Fluids needed to be ingested. Scans needed to be analyzed. The Boy and I retreated, with dogs, back to the cottage. Breakfast and more coffee for me, try to run the dogs, try to keep the dogs from running (one in particular) while trying to keep the Boy from damaging himself on the aging playset. Wait for word from the ER.

Load Boy in stroller, go for a run. Learn that the patient is being moved to a hospital room to await further diagnosis. Not appendicitis, but something as yet undetermined wrong with right colon. Return to cottage. Throw ball for dogs to give them a run. Make lunch for the Boy. Wait for word from the Hospital. Load Boy in stroller and go for a walk. Return and put Boy down for a nap.

Participate in speaker phone conversation with the Doctor. Learn that there is more to learn, and that it is advised that the Wife spend at least tonight, and likely most of tomorrow in the hospital on antibiotics for monitoring. Wait for Boy to awake. Play with dogs more. Try to eat some lunch.

Post nap, get some food in the Boy. Load up stuff and things and dogs and people into the truck and roll on over to the Hospital. Walk into the main entrance, which is open, but dark and vacated. Walk through the eerie halls, looking for patient rooms. Boy thinks it is great, though is uncertain about the elevator. I sympathize. Finally find the right room. Boy want to pull all the cords and push all the lights and buttons (both of which are “buts”) and then wants to go “otside”. New friends arrive some time later with a sammich (for me) and a stuffed hodag (for the Boy) and a plant and a card (for the patient, who is on a liquid diet, hence no sammich) and a much appreciated willingness to entertain the Boy.

Visit with the Wife while eating, a bit more slowly than usual for today. Nothing left to do now but wait. Oh, and load up stuff and things and people and return with dogs to the cottage, after kissing the Wife goodnight, hating to leave her in the hospital, uncertain.

And then poof, vanished. Thankfully, all are now settled. “Doda” is messing with her skin problems, which I have not been able to medicate yet today. “Beba” (Bella) is zonked. “That Guy” (what the Boy calls himself) is sound asleep. The deer have multiplied into a small herd.

The first three days.

I have not gotten around to pondering the new outfit for this blog-thing. I have really been enjoying the local public radio station though. They have Saturday morning polka… Pardon the non sequitur(s), my brain is a bit scattered lately.