For a dumb dog, Declan is pretty smart although is most times wrong. When I have shoes on, his little brain thinks I'm going to take him outside where there are all sorts of things to smell and pee on and where there are so many evil things going on -- such as birds that dare to sing and squirrels who dare to exist. He has not gotten the memo that the relationship to my wearing shoes and his going outside is not always balanced in his favor. He also believes that my going outside equates with his going outside, no matter how I might feel about that. He moves much faster than I do (heck, a doorknob moves much faster than I do) and can often get out the door before I do, whereupon he frolics and sniffs and pees all over the neighborhood. I can't catch him but I can stop him. This is accomplished merely by opening the car door. When I do this, Declan immediately stops mid-sniff or mid-pee or mid-whatever and thinks, "Hoo boy! I'm going for a car ride! I get to ride in the car! The car! I must be a really good dog! A car ride! For me! Whoot!" And Declan jumps into the car and I immediately put a leash on him and drag him back to the house. This happens every time. Declan does not give up hope, however, because he knows that one day...
So we have now developed a routine. Kitty holds the dog while I go out the front door. I then tap on the front window to get Declan's attention while Kitty sneaks out the back door. Declan is smart enough to figure out what we are doing but he's dumb enough to come to the front window every time I tap. Because he knows the one day...
Yesterday we did it again. Jack Patrick Kangaroo and I went out the front door, Declan the followed Kitty to the back door, knowing she (and more importantly, he) would be going out the back. I tapped on the front window and Declan came running, allowing Kitty (and, moe importantly, not he) to go out the back. Then we took the hour-long drive to Annapolis, where Kitty had an appointment to see an orthopedic surgeon. He looked at x-rays, then took x-rays, then looked at those x-rays, and jiggled and moved Kitty's legs every whichway, and then told us that he never tells anyone that they need a knee replacement, but...
If Kitty wanted to have any sort of quality of life (evidently the doctor felt she didn't get that just by living with me -- hrumph!) and if Kitty didn't want to end up in a wheelchair forever, she might just want to consider having the replacement done. The cartilage is gone and bone is rubbing on bone and it will only get worse and eventually cause the deterioration of her leg bone.
She had had her other knee replaced a few years ago and it was not a good experience. The anethesiologist was a bumbler and it took four painful tries to get it working and even then Kitty woke up early. The hospital staff was poor, Kitty turned out allergic to the pain medication, and a number of not-good things happened. Although the knee replacement was mechanically perfect, she had remained in a lot of pain ever since -- she has great mobility in the knee but a lot of pain. Sooner or later, she will have to have another operation to remove the neuroma from the first operation. Oh, and her new knee thunks -- a loud clicking thunk whenever she moves it a certain way.
And now she has to have the other knee replaced. Kitty is not a happy camper. Sometime soon -- probably in January -- they will operate. Because of insurance requirements, she need to undergo twelve weeks of physical therapy before the operation. Why the insurance company thinks the physical therapy will help anyone with knee in the condition of hers is something the doctor cannot explain, but it is what it is.
After the first of the year, it's going top be even harder to sneak past Declan.
After that, and after many nurses oohed an aahed over the Kangaroo, we headed back home, getting there just in time to take Erin to her soccer practice, where many nine- and ten-year-old girls oohed and aahed over the Kangaroo.
This morning, we headed over to Christina's house to pick up Mark while Christina took Erin to her soccer game tweny-five miles away, and we drove to our local small (very small) airport which was having their annual open house with free plane rides for kids nine- to seventeen-years-old. Neither Mark nor Erin have been up in a single-engine prop plane before so there was a small smidgen of nervousness. Mark went up in a Cessna with a very friendly pilot named Chris. It was a twenty-minute ride over the area, including Mark's school. Mark had a blast.
After Erin's soccer game (her team lost), we switched kids and Mark went to his soccer game and we took Erin to the airport. Erin's pilot was named Mr. Harvey and he had a small Piper cub built the same year I was born. The pilot allowed Erin to take over the controls and she flew over Broome's Island, turned, and flew down the Patuxent River. Very cool for a ten-year-old. Everyone at the open house was fantastic, every kid got their own log book, tee-shirt, and certificate (signed by, among others Chesley "Sully" Sullenberger), and hotdogs, soda and chips were served. A fantastic morning with fantastic weather. Pictures were taken of each child and are to be posted on the airport's website http://www.poacre.org/facility_detail.asp?id=1&name=Airport.
We caught up with Christina at Mark's game (they won, 3-0) and switched cars, Christina heading off to school in Baltimore and Erin, Mark, and the Kangaroo came with us. We dropped Erin and Mark at their house (Walt had just come home after being called into work earlier for an emergency) and I am now entertaining the Kangaroo while Kitty naps. We were just too tired to take in the Patuxent River Appreciation Days celebration that we normally would go to this afternoon. (A shame, because the food, crafts, exhibits, and entertainment there is always superb.)
Tomorrow, Christina is taking the kids to St. Clement's Island for the annual Blessing of the Fleet ceremonies, another always-fun, always worth-while time. We decided not to go this year. I'm going to stretch out, watch television, and do the Washington Post Sunday crosswords.