Hodgepodge Time

Katie Young
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Wednesday - March 23, 2005
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It’s hodgepodge time: This month is dedicated to all the funny things people (and pets) do.

• An unhealthy love of chocolate. He knows he shouldn’t, but sometimes Mr. Pono, the wiener dog, just can’t help himself.

Pretty much everything smells good to him, even if it wouldn’t smell quite right to us humans. This time, however, he had quality taste.

My friend Kim was staying with us for the weekend. Her suitcases were left on the floor of the living room. For some reason, I didn’t think to ask her if any food was inside her luggage — the zipper was closed anyway.

But a measly zipper was not an issue for Mr. Pono. With his talented snout, he managed to push it open and rummage through the contents of Kim’s bag.

That day I arrived home from work an hour after Kim and Sebastian went out on an errand. Like usual, Pono bounced around at my feet and hopped backwards down the hallway as I made my way to the bedroom.

He jumped up on the bed and waited for his kiss hello. When I bent down to plant one on his face, I noticed he smelled unusually minty-fresh. There was also another smell …

“Is that chocolate?!” I scolded him.

Immediately Pono’s ears went flat to his head. He sheepishly followed me out into the living room while I looked for proof. His choice of afternoon snack?

Mint-flavored Hershey Kisses, special limited edition. I found two aluminum foil wrappers next to Kim’s suitcase and a few feet later, the bag with teeth marks at the top.

Since chocolate is very bad for dogs, I started to freak out. I called Sebastian and told him to ask Kim if the bag was full.

At this point, there were fewer than 10 kisses left. I figured Pono had only managed a few before I got home.

“It was full,” Sebastian reported.

“Oh no,” I said, needing to sit down. “That’s … nine per serving … how many servings per bag … oh, good grief, he ate 46 of them! Forty-six! I gotta go call the vet!”

By this time, his sugar rush had worn off and Mr. Pono was looking peaked. All that bouncing around had stirred things up and his tummy was swollen to twice its normal size.

The vet informed me that I’d have to induce vomiting by feeding Pono hydrogen peroxide.

This was no easy task. I had to hold Pono between my legs as I knelt on the ground, pry open his mouth and deliver the hideous liquid via dropper. At this point, I became Pono’s least favorite person.

Sebastian and Kim came home and we smartly kept Pono outside waiting for the big whoops.

About 20 minutes later, Kim had back her travel snacks, though not in edible form. Some, however, were still completely intact in their decorative foil wrapper.

I can’t say Pono’s experience has left him with an aversion to anything minty or chocolate — or foil, for that matter.

I definitely don’t think he’ll be going near the hydrogen peroxide anytime soon, and now I know to keep all guests’ luggage out of reach on the dining room table.

• Whose buns are these? A few people in the MidWeek office have started the no-carb diet. My co-worker (we’ll call her “Laura”), on days when home lunch is not an option, has found her diet food of choice: Burger King whoppers — sans the buns.

Not one to waste a good thing, Laura leaves her carbohydrates, including the fries, on the top of her cubicle for the non carb-afflicted bunch to munch.

If you don’t know what’s going on, it’s quite a kick to hear people walk by, peek in the wrappers and exclaim, “Are those buns?”

“Whose buns are these?”

“Are these buns free to eat?” You’d think buns without their meaty insides wouldn’t be terribly appealing, but you’d be wrong.

On Laura’s Burger King day, her cubicle ledge has become MidWeek employees who hover patiently, waiting for feeding time.

• Listening in his own way. Sebastian likes to try out new theories. He claims he often does things just so I’ll have fodder for my column, so I’m assuming this is one of these. I just can’t bring myself to acknowledge the fact that he might actually think this is a good idea.

The newest thing: Sebastian thinks he has found yet another way of listening, without really having to listen. Let’s say we’re on the phone and he’s also in the middle of doing something else, mainly playing video games or working on the computer. Me, “the talker,” will ramble on, oblivious to the fact that Sebastian is listening to only the last few words of my stories.

“So first, at work, we had this meeting where we talked about the new weekend paper,” I start. “Then, I had to go do an interview, and oh yeah, my mom called and wants to know if we can have Easter dinner together. Lena called, too, and looks like she’s going to have to go to Texas for work again. Anyway, then I went to lunch and ordered the special so I had pasta and a cherry Coke.”

I pause, and this is when Sebastian’s plan goes into action.

“Mmmm … cherry Coke,” he reiterates.

He has acutely tuned his ear to pay attention to only the last few words I say before I pause. It’s a marvelous talent, really. All in the name of efficiency, Sebastian thinks this word regurgitation is just as good as listening and having a response to the whole story.

By repeating the ends of my sentences, he thinks I’m fooled into thinking he’s heard the whole thing.

I’m not buying. You’re wiley, Mr. Sebastian, but I’m on to you.

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