Christmas Preparations and Dog Drama

Christmas is coming, and we’ve spent the last few days preparing the house for Deb’s return and the holiday in general. Work has been uncharacteristically slow, so I am strongly considering putting my nose to the grindstone to find a new job, especially since we are very close to renting an apartment of our own, something I’ve been trying to do since I got here.

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Katrina’s still (rightly) nervous about running out of funds, especially since her own tenure at ACS is coming to an end at the end of the year. After that, her union should reassign her, but that can take time, and in the meantime, she’ll have to make do with unemployment. But we have some savings and the lease is short. I just need to come through with a job of my own.

I honestly think an apartment in town would help. Enthusiasm for driving an hour to work diminishes further when you get out there and your car looks like this:

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We’ve finally been getting the snow we were promised, which I suppose is a good thing. The warmer temperatures mean the roads are more slippery, and those mountain corners are dangerous. I’ve slid off the road heading to work only once, but just enough that the car was clearly stuck. I had just enough time to think “I’m stuck, now what?” when our neighbor Steve Thon happened along in his enormous truck, perfect for hauling little cars out of snowbanks.

Part of the Rix holiday tradition is to cut their own Christmas tree. In the past, they have gotten into some trouble for cutting down trees too close to Chugach State Park, so they now raise a few suitable candidates on the property. To be honest, I have grown accustomed to the fake Christmas tree; the kind that has lights built in and you just snap together, and looks eerily perfect. That’s cheating, I suppose, but at least it doesn’t have to be watered or leave pine needles all over the floor.

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Part of that tradition is to have the old malamute Griff haul the tree to the house. He can still do it, but he’s getting up there in years, and this may be his last one. He seems to have some kind of skin condition that’s causing his hair to fall out in clumps (not seriously, but noticeably), so the vet has recommended a bathing routine with a medical shampoo. Griff is a smart dog, but he is no fan of water, especially being submerged or dumped in water. He’s had only one other real bath in his life, at a groomers, where he cried the whole time. To get him through this, Katrina picked up some anti-anxiety pet meds (what they kept calling “doggie downers”) to help him relax. I guess it worked. The bathroom upstairs with the tub is small, so with Griff, Buff, and Katrina, there was no room for me and my camera. My job was to wait just outside the bathroom, in case he made a break for it.

After some thumps, splashes, whining, howling, reassurances that he was a BRAVE and GOOD DOG, Griff was allowed to come tearing out of the bathroom… Where he proceeded to shake himself all over the living room. So it wasn’t perfect, but hopefully, it will get easier.

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