Wow, it seems like a lifetime has passed since my last entry, and in a way, one has. On May 12th our dog Buddy, a constant companion for almost 13 years, passed away suddenly. It’s been pretty emotional for us all. Buddy had gotten “old” quickly during the last few years or so, with arthritis and hip dysplasia. Stairs had become a chore for him, especially going upwards, but he bravely endured and just took his time a step at a time. Walks were painful after-the-fact, though he still enjoyed them while we were walking. Even his all-time favorite outdoor activity – riding in the car – was a chore, as it was difficult for him to hop up into the van and almost impossible for him to jump up on the seat to look out the window. In a very short time he had morphed before our eyes from our big energetic puppy to our stiff and creaky “old man.” He passed away after a two-week bout with a respiratory infection. He always had allergies in the spring, just like a human, but his sneezing was more extreme and violent this year. He had apparently developed pneumonia as a result of the respiratory infection, even though he was on antibiotics, and his heart just gave out. I had gone off to work that morning, and the morning routine (coax him up off his bed in the living room to go downstairs and outside to do his morning duty, then back up the stairs – slowly – to get his beloved morning milk-bone biscuit) had gone just like every other morning previously. He seemed perfectly normal to Lynn as well, eating his breakfast of rice and chicken broth with relative vigor. He then had a particularly hard sneezing fit where he started bleeding from the nose, and it didn’t seem to want to stop oozing blood. Lynn got ready to take him to the vet because of the bleeding, but after a while he got up and moved to his favorite spot under the dining room table, where he had a couple of seizure-like episodes (arching his back unusually, yipping as if in pain), and he just stopped breathing. Lynn called Audrey (who was home, luckily) up from the apartment and she tried to keep him alive to get him to the vet, but he just couldn’t hold on and he passed away quietly in Audrey’s arms. Lynn called me at work to give me the terrible news, and I came home and we all took him for one last ride in the car to the Vet’s, and made arrangements for him to be cremated. That was one tough car trip.
The past few weeks since he has been gone has been a frequent adjustment to not having him around. Cleaning the dinner dishes was and sometimes still is a poignant time, as he loved being our pre-wash cycle, especially when there were meat scraps and meat juices on the plates – chicken was his all-time favorite, but steak wasn’t too far behind in the preference list. We all still find ourselves looking for him at the top of the stairs (we live in a split-entry) when we leave or come home – he always greeted us as if we had been away for months when we came in the house, and looked so forlorn when we went out the door. On occasion, Lynn has found herself reaching out to pat him as she woke up from a nap. She would nap in the sunlight in the living room on the couch by the picture window, and whenever she did Buddy would park himself up against the couch as if to keep her from rolling over and falling off. Once she fell asleep he would lie down right there and “guard” her for the duration of the nap. As she woke up, he would sit back up and she would rub his head. So many little things we still miss.
Buddy lived a long and good life (he would have been 13 years old in June), and was a happy and well-loved member of the family. He will be missed dearly. If you are so inclined, send a few dollars to your local animal shelter in his name. He was a shelter-dog, and a finer shelter-dog there never was.
Lots of other happenings since I last posted – but not as emotional. I had a marathon business trip in that time frame. I spent 15 February through 1 April in Stuttgart Germany – 45 days – with one overnight to England. That’s a long time to be living out of a suitcase. I played the role of a “hired gun” at my company’s Stuttgart office, as they had work to be done and not enough people to do it. I worked hard during the week and on weekends, but I also got to travel around a bit and explore. I ate quite a few meals at a great Gaststätte around the corner from my hotel – the Goldbachsee. I visited the Mercedes and Porsche museums, and spent a day in Lich, ancestral home of my VOGT genealogical line. Lots of pictures on Flickr.
Lynn and I spent almost a week in Salt Lake City in May. Lynn attended a machine quilting conference, and I tagged along for the vacation and to explore the Mecca for all genealogists, the Mormon Family History Library. We both had a great time! I also did a genealogy presentation at the local public library in May, a combined “case study” of my research on the VOGT and McGRATH lines, and a “how-to” introductory tutorial on getting started in genealogy. It was a big hit! I got to a genealogy conference myself in April, soon after my mongo business trip.
Just last weekend Lynn and I hosted a giant cookout so Megan’s future in-laws and the wedding party could meet my side and Lynn’s side of the family. We had a ton of prep-work jobs to do (or at least we felt we had to do) to get ready for the party, including planting our traditional double-row of yellow marigolds on either side of the front walk (450 of them), finishing the second raised flowerbed in the back yard (which involved moving 6 cubic yards of mulched loam from the pile in the driveway to the raised bed in the back yard), rebuilding the deck stairs which missed out on being rebuilt 6 years ago when the deck got done, and had become treacherous, and having the kitchen linoleum replaced as it had worn through to the subfloor in one spot (thanks mostly to years of Buddy skidding to a halt at the back door). Unfortunately Lynn came down with a stress-induced migraine the day of the party, so she missed the festivities! But lots of people pitched in and the party was a success even without the hostess with the mostest.
We’re looking forward to a summer of nights on the deck with the music playing on the indoor/outdoor speakers and a scotch or bourbon or red wine on the table and a warm breeze to keep the bugs away. We’re looking forward to a week or two on the coast of Maine in August, with lots of lobster that needs consuming. We’re looking forward to the James Taylor & Cheryl Crow & Yo-Yo Ma concert at Tanglewood the end of August. But mostly we’re looking forward to the wedding of our oldest daughter Megan and Dan in mid-October! It’s been a busy year, and it ain’t even close to being over yet!!