Friday, August 21, 2015

That Damn Kong

We had another over-the-wall Kong incident yesterday evening. I'd just gotten home from work, and Olga was dancing all over the house, eager to play outside. So we took the Kong into the back garden, where I threw a perfect underhand grounder that shouldn't have caused any problem -- except that it hit a piece of tile that surrounds an area where we pile leaves and brush near the back wall. That tile flipped the Kong into a huge, arcing bounce that just cleared the top of the ivy-covered barrier.

I was so annoyed.

Fortunately we had another Kong at the ready, so I just gave it to Olga, and stomped around muttering that I was not under any circumstances going to go through all the trouble of walking around the corner, ringing the neighbors' door bells, fishing around in their shrubbery, etc.

After Dave came home and we'd watched some TV and had dinner, I felt a little more energized. (A glass of wine helped.) So I walked next door, rang some bells and got the exact same kind woman who helped me the last time this happened. (How many times can I ring her bell before she becomes not-so-kind?)

So, the Kong is back in our possession. An £18 loss has been averted. It would be nice to figure out a way to keep this from happening, but short of adding another two feet of barrier to our back and side walls -- or not throwing the Kong in the back garden at all, which really isn't a practical solution because the dog would explode -- I'm not sure we can.

In other news, did I ever update you on our appliance travails? The saga ends well. We got a brand-new dishwasher, which after some delay was installed while I was in Florida. And the washing machine, which had been acting up for a while and stopped running entirely while I was away, was repaired just after I got back to London. The repairman immediately knew the nature of the problem and, as precisely as a surgeon, extracted a tattered t-shirt tag that had wrapped itself around the water pump. Now the machine works fine! Go figure.

My solar keratosis -- that little pre-cancerous spot on my forehead, a very common problem for pale people who have spent time in the sun -- seems to have vanished entirely. I'm supposed to apply the medicine for two months, and it hasn't quite been that long since I went to the doctor. But I can't even find the spot now! I dab on the lotion in roughly the same location each day, but at this point it's really just a guess. I'll be glad when I can stop.

I read a fascinating article in The New Yorker about a couple who adopted 20 children, many of them already older, many of them special-needs kids. The results were clearly mixed, with some winding up in prison and many getting pregnant. It made me think about people who hoard animals -- not that children are animals, but I think the parents' impulse to rescue is similar -- and about the fact that at some point, helping so many actually reduces their ability to care for those they already have. There's a law of diminishing returns. You know what I mean?

(Top photo: A boat on the Thames, in early July. Bottom photo: Upside-down Olga.)


  1. I agree about the adoptive couple.

  2. May and I were talking about that couple and their family yesterday and we used that same word- hoarding.
    It was an interesting article. The fact that the woman of the family had no real desire to stay home and care for the children and how odd it was that all of the girls got pregnant. And yet- at the end of the story, we learn that they all mostly live in the same area and are all still close.
    I don't know.
    But as I told May, I know how spread thin I felt sometimes just raising four. How I felt that I was constantly not able to do what I wanted and needed to do for each of them.
    I swear to you, I think I dreamed of Olga last night.

  3. I was thinking about getting a kong for the neighbor's dog who gets staked in their back yard in the evenings & barks continuously until they let him back inside. But I'm not sure it would be much fun for him to just sit & play with. Plus, there's the expense... But for some peace & quiet I think it might be worth it!

    Glad your spot has disappeared!

  4. For a second there I thought the kong had gone into the Thames. I think that would end up being a loss.
    The place I work does a huge variety of early childhood development, mental health and child protective work funded by grants and state contracts. The things I've heard about since I've worked there makes be believe that people should have a license to give birth. I'm glad my work is on the IT side. I don't think I could do the social work side.

  5. Hah! about the kong ... the kind of thing that couldn't be duplicated if you TRIED? or maybe not.

    Don't let your guard down yet - the appliances knew you were gone, and they're just figuring out their next step :)

    Oh god I hope I haven't just jinxed you. I so, so dislike malfunctioning appliances. Hope they're fine from here on out.

  6. I'm sure your neighbor doesn't mind or you could always erect one of those nets they use to stop balls at the pitching machines.

  7. Hurrah! The appliance problems have been solved - one way or another. Sometimes it means a new purchase, other times it simply means finding a repair man who knows his job.

    Ms Soup