Bernie and Bernadette Doodle, the ambassadors

Sal’s mom is moving into an assisted care home. I think the name is SIxfloorsofhell…..(but it’s spelled differently, of course). Think: incarceration that you pay dearly for.

Still, it is well run and pleasant as prisons go. The matron-at-arms is quite formidable (in an Ernest Borgnine/Brian Dennehy kinda way) and her militant minions are her all-too willing gestapo. No one gets into the building without first registering at a separate and secured vestibule, being interrogated as to their intentions, being ID’d with the obligatory photo ID and……… it also has to match your valid Covid proof-card. Then they buzz you in. I half expected the matron to scream, “Get on the ground! Get on the ground NOW!!!

I have been there five times over the move this week and each time is like visiting a serial killer at Rikers.

I read the rule book (almost as lengthy as War and Peace) and noted that pets were allowed to visit. I was gonna test that……

Today, I brought Gus and Daisy (all 200 pounds of big, black curly dog) in. The moment they arrived, the staff melted. Shrieks, laughter and aaahs and ooohs filled the air. Gus and Daisy licked everyone and jammed their noses into places unjammed for decades. More shrieks. Old people gathered all presumably wanting to be sniffed and jammed, too. The entry foyer must have had twelve people all ‘loving the dogs’. It was semi-erotic, canine bedlam for a bit.

Ironically, the residents are allowed to have dogs live in and several do. I’ve seen them. Barely. They are all tiny (rules require 5kgs or less) and could fit almost entirely in Gus’s mouth. Gus and Daisy were dogs of a bygone era for these folks. The little dogs coming and going are either ignored or just not seen (no one has great eyesight or hearing). But it is impossible not to see Gus and Daisy.

Then I introduced G&D to the elevator. That went well but only because I am stronger. Ten more pounds on each of them and/or ten more years on me and that will no longer be true. A brief wrestling match later, we were going up to the fifth floor and they had adjusted to the physical sensations of being trapped in a box but moving upwards. And then they were ushered into the 350 sft ‘residence’ of which they and their tails occupied at least 25% of the walkable area. Gus and Daisy are adjusting pretty well to the pastel prison.

I am not. I feel claustrophobic. I feel trapped, regulated, supervised and managed, tolerated and endured. And I am just talking about being here in Victoria with Sally!!

Sal has a lot on her plate helping her mom, managing the move, being a good daughter and dog owner all in a place that is NOT her own castle and, when that happens, Tinkerbelle morphs into Atilla-the-honey. Still sweet, freakishly focused.

That’s OK. The dogs get handled. Mom gets handled and all the details of a life move get handled. Being tolerated and endured speaks volumes to the bond of our marriage. And the supervision and management part really only shows up as me lifting and carrying and doing dishes – just like home!

This modern facility makes it much, much worse for me, tho. I could do it. I could live here. I could even rent a 5kg dog by the week. But I would check in on a Monday and it would be the last Monday I would ever see. Either the matron tasers me, the cops shoot me or I do a swan dive off the fifth floor. This no way to live.

A Request from a reader

“Tell us more about living OTG!”

Well, OK. But I kinda ‘did’ that already….first with the pre-Russian website-theft blog series, then with book #1 and then, in case you missed it, with book #2. And I even do OTG in the post-Russian-theft blog era now and again.

Still, OTG seems to have a bit more cachet than does my political blogs or my Doomsday series. Sal (as a topic) is always a big hit. Dogs are good but too easily overdone…..and my time-life on the wrong side of the tracks also piques a bit of interest sometimes amongst a few…..but the request was for more OTG.

So, I’ll get there but maybe in a roundabout way….

We are currently in Victoria helping Sal’s mom move into an assisted living facility. She was dead-set against it until a few months ago and now impatiently wants the move. “Fed up cookin’ for myself!” And so into the facility she goes. And, of course, her moving there prompts me to think about us and whether we will ever follow in her footsteps.

Sal and I have been talking. NOT doing very well, so far…….she’s a bit resistant….

“Not in a million years. I hate it here (Victoria) and I hate everything about it – shopping, traffic, incarcerating my mother, trying to keep two dogs restrained and not frustrated. I just hate it! Never coming back! Not to any town. Not ever! Right?………Right?…..RIGHT!!???”

“Sal! Calm down. I am on your side. But ya gotta think about it…ya gotta at least have a plan B. Right? Right?”

“Fine! What’s our plan B?”

“I dunno. We start with the talking and thinking part…then we get to the planning part….”

“I’ve thought about it. I do NOT want a plan B! I wanna drop dead on the beach at our place!”

“OK. Good. That’s our plan B. I get that (presumably I am dead-on-the-beach first so that is her Plan A). But, just for the fun of it, let’s think about what happens if you drop on the beach like you planned but don’t die? But your hips and a leg are smashed up. Should I just leave ya there to float in and out with the tide til yer good-and-dead and really, really wet? Or, if I abandon plan B and take you in and you get patched up but then you need a wheelchair……should I just roll ya back to the beach so ya can try again?”

“OK, fine! What’s a better plan B?”

“Well, we could move to Thailand and have beautiful Thai women take care of us? You know….massages, salad rolls, curry and Pad Thai?”


“OK, we could move to the Philippines and have beautiful Filipinas take care of us? You know……..massages, adobo, crispy pata….maybe a little karaoke?”

“I do not like where this going….?

“Well, we could just stay here, fix up the boathouse, extend another room, add some amenities and find a beautiful woman who needs a place to live in exchange for some cleaning, housekeeping and maybe a few massages…?”

“OK! Now you’re talkin’!”

Planning our departure (in whatever way it comes) is clearly a work in progress, the first step of which was taken today. Kinda. I could probably pull that joke-plan off if I found a woman who also liked quilting but I fear that then I would be the one in the boathouse….or left rolling in the tide….

…….we have more talkin’ to do…