Sunday, June 6 2004
In the middle of the night Eleanor suddenly began coughing (as much as a dog can be said to cough) and wretching, and she kept it up all night long, preventing us from having a restful night's sleep. In the morning we all had theories about what was wrong with her. Maybe she had a splinter stuck in her throat from a piece of wood she'd been chewing. Perhaps she'd snuck off to the detritus-strewn grounds of a neighbor's barbecue and eaten some chicken bones (which my mother always told me are very bad for dogs). I researched her symptoms on the internet and kept coming back to a disease called kennel cough, which Gretchen insisted was an impossibility.
But then later, while Gretchen was off in Woodstock with Ray and Nancy, I got a call from Steve, the metal sculpturist boyfriend of the birthday girl from last week's party, the party where there were as many dogs as children. It seems that their dog Misha had started coughing in the middle of last night just like Eleanor had. This morning Steve placed a few calls and figured out that one of the dogs from the city must have brought kennel cough to the party. So now he was making the kind of calls one normally makes after being diagnosed with Chlamydia. It was relief to have a diagnosis for Eleanor's condition. I'm not surprised she got the cough and not Sally; Eleanor is the more outgoing of the two. She's also much more prone to accidents and maladies.
Eleanor's treatment was mostly symptom suppression, first benadryl and then tussin (the kind containing Dextromethorphan; evidently its neurological effects on dogs is the same as its effects on humans).
This morning I went over to Eagle's Nest Road (the next road up onto the plateau from Hurley Mountain Road as it goes north from our road, Dug Hill Road) to look at the crazy electrical wiring in a house just bought by our realtor Larry. Larry wants me to be a cowboy electrician and ride in to save the day. I looked at his house and, considering how much he'd paid for it, I vaguely wondered if he'd lost his mind. The place seemed like a ruin to me, I was so overwhelmed by the work that needed to be done just to make it habitable (let alone acceptable to a fussy gay man).
Later Darren, the guy who'd installed most of our upstairs drywall, showed up and continued with the ongoing demolition of Larry's kitchen. It all had to go. During a pause in the action, Darren told me about how he and his children's mother and his children would all be moving soon to a nice new place in Orlando, Florida. He then told me about all the things he'd do once he got there. The things he was most excited about were his proximity to both Disney World and the beach and the possibility of trying out to be an extra in a movie. I was a little sad to hear such modest ambitions. What had happened to the old Darren of only a year ago, the one who penned rap lyrics and aspired to be Upstate's answer to Eminem?
Nancy headed home but Ray stayed behind to deal with his car and its various ailments (it's been parked at our house for a week). Tonight he wanted to go the Hurley Mountain Inn, but Gretchen didn't want to. So he and I went all by our selves. This allowed us to have more of gentleman's night out. We shared an order of hot wings and two pitchers of LaBatts. We also both had fish and chips as our main course. Hell, if called to testify before the 9/11 Commission, we would have dressed in matching outfits and testified in tandem (the way the big boys do). The HMI was crawling with little kids, but after awhile they thinned out and there was nothing but one dumpy couple sitting next to us. The woman half of this couple didn't look too unusual, but when she stood up she revealed herself to be grotesquely obese. It's rare that someone is so fat and it doesn't manifest in the face. As I commented to Ray at the time, "He could probably do a lot better." "That's exactly what I was just thinking," Ray agreed. Meanwhile on television a collection of the world's strongest men competed with one another as they lifted, pulled, and carried enormously heavy objects.
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