And 2) it means that I watch the neighbor's menagerie while they escape the constraints of living where there are four seasons, one of them Evil, and head out for the subtropics just in time for Ol' Sol to gently warm the blighted prairie, which responds by breaking out in spring bulbs and singing birds. This means the pets themselves receive about the only attention they get all year, this being the sort of suburban Republican household where pets are regarded as a small sop to the nostalgia for sleep-in domestic help.
The dog gets to go for a daily, if not twice-daily, walk, which means his total for Spring Break, Dude! tops the rest of the year. I'm a cat person, in no small part, I think, because I watched my mother and step-father drive a series of yapping suburban Republican household fur decorations stark raving nuts; like my neighbors they inevitably bought pedigreed inbreds and cooped them up in the house in contradistinction to whatever the single-purpose of the original inbreeding had been. The acquisition of Neighbor Dog a decade ago included the added family-politics carnival that the Husband, avidly camouflaged outsmarter of waterfowl, managed to convince the Daughter, then a first-grader, that the thing she wanted most in all the world was a retriever, thus outvoting the Wife 2-1. This was followed by the standard suburban Republican household decision not to neuter, on the grounds that early retirement was just a couple of stud fees away; this misconception, or mental illness, is so common I suspect the commercial breeders of such things encourage it, where it is not due to some deep-seated fear, or experience, of male inadequacy. At any rate, the hound proved a bust at his chosen profession, was more-or-less an afterthought by the age of one, and has spent much of the past ten years in sexual frustration and on his doggie bed.
The cats are allowed to roam free, but not on my watch, which means I have to catch every friend, relative, hanger-on, and militia member who drops by--each with his own key--and ask them--every year--to help keep the cats indoors, which results in my being stared at in mock incomprehension. "They like to go out," is the usual reply, as though the other 51 months of the year they spend in my back yard escape my attention. "Yes, and this is why they ask me to watch the beasts, and not you, and why they will not be returned in a shoebox," is the intended reply, but I generally just let it go. It's already enough that I'm regarded as some sort of environmental animal rights nut just for bringing it up.
Meanwhile, I'd be keeping up with the local news, except the only local news is that Butler--the Indianapolis-based, private, liberal-arts college where East Coast Titans of
So you wanna hear how the Mitch Daniels 2012 campaign, oh, I mean the State's Attorney General's office, has joined a dozen other teabag-crazed states in filing suit over the egregious Federal act of providing a few indigents with some medical insurance (something which began with a formal request from Dick "Moderate" Lugar, by the way) you'll probably wanna ask someone from out of state.