Mr. Sensitive

August 18, 2010

Pet Nasty War – Blockade Running

Filed under: Pet Nasty War — lbej @ 16:12
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I had not been inspecting the hall over the past few days because it has been blockaded during that time and I saw no need.  Then today I noticed that the wood floor was discolored in a notorious spot near the bathroom door, and investigation revealed that the dog has peed in that spot several times since the hall was mopped and barricaded.  Not only that, but I then discovered still more places where he has gotten past the blockade.  I estimate that he has peed in the hall at least five times since I put in place the measures that I hoped would stop him.  I scrubbed and mopped yet again this afternoon, but I am very disheartened about the prospect of ever breaking him.  Nevertheless, my floors will not be destroyed by an animal.  What he is doing is unacceptable and I simply will not allow it to continue.  He will stay outside for the foreseeable future, because it seems the only way I can be certain he won’t pee in the house is if he’s not in the house at all.  I don’t like this dog and I don’t care if he spends the rest of his life outside–although I won’t let any harm come to him–but the girls won’t be happy about it.  I considered letting him into the hall to see if he would pee in front of me–I suspect he would–so I could then punish him to establish the negative association I need.  But I can’t do it now.  I’m too angry to risk the confrontation.  I’m going to end up tying myself to this stupid dog so that he does nothing without my knowledge.  I could resent my mother for this, but really I’m just relieved that Law & Order didn’t start until I was older because otherwise I’d probably still be wearing a diaper myself.

August 16, 2010

Pet Nasty War – Assessment

Filed under: Pet Nasty War — lbej @ 15:15
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One goes to war because the national will requires it.  The nation’s will must be realized in fact or that nation will be destroyed and debased down to the last generation.   External resistance and internal imperfection, our enemies and ourselves, present obstacles to the realization of our national will.  War is the means whereby our most implacable enemies are destroyed, and history has shown us too that it is in this crucible of war that we find our national character perfected.  Thus it is through war that our obstacles are overcome and our will takes shape.  I have seen this and I know it, for it is true for all people and for all time.  That is why I am all the time declaring war on everything: animals and plants, inanimate objects, ideas and memories.  Everything, everywhere, forever, war.  The imposition by force of my will against any and all resistance.

I declared war on the pets and their flagrant nastiness back in April, and I want to take a moment to review the progress of the war while my head hurts too much to do anything else.  My war aims seem to have been as follows:

1.  Stop Wilson the dog from peeing on the carpets in the upstairs hall, Jenny’s room, and Reagan’s room every night.

2.  Stop Wilson from pooping in Reagan’s room.

3.  Stop Lulu the cat from shredding the front door.

4.  Improve the condition of the office, ruined by the cats and the dog.

5.  Stop the hamsters from kicking bedding all over the floor and into the dresser in Jenny’s room.

Overall, progress has been decent, even good.  The hamsters are dead, so that takes care of #5 (R.I.P. though, seriously).  My triumph in regards to #4 was more resounding and resplendent than I had dared to conceive beforehand.  The litter boxes were relocated to the master bedroom closet upstairs absolutely without incident; the carpet is gone, replaced with a new floor, and at minimal expense; the room is clean and reorganized for use as my headquarters.  This success alone redeems the entire war as waged up to this point.  #2 has also been accomplished, but only because Reagan’s room has been closed off altogether.  #1 has largely been achieved as well, owing to the removal of the carpets in the hall and Jenny’s room.  Which leaves #3.  Can’t win ’em all, I guess.

The Pet Nasty War would, I believe, now be over, except for the major development I did not foresee: the entrance of my mother’s dog on the side of Wilson and the cats.  Now we have a young, energetic dog that my mother owned just long enough that she was able to teach him to pee and poop in the house.  And so the war evolves and continues.  There remains one major initiative that falls under the aegis of the Pet Nasty War, at least in part: reclamation of Reagan’s room and its conversion into a playroom/nursery.  I am scouting out the terrain for the coming campaign this week; it will be called Operation Dollhouse.  Once that is finished, the original aims of the Pet Nasty War will have been achieved.  Except #3.

August 13, 2010

Pet Nasty War – Tightening The Blockade

Filed under: Imperial Army,Pet Nasty War — lbej @ 11:18
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Zondro has been peeing in the front hall.  I was aware of several incidents and I was beginning to fear myself at risk of losing the hall, but I needn’t have worried: it was already lost.  I’ve been forced to scuttle both rugs.  They are damaged beyond repair and it is clear to me now that they were never anything but cannon fodder.

This is my mother’s fault.  Despite the fact that she had nothing to do but walk her dog, she decided to teach him to use ‘Pee Pads’ so that he could just pee in the house and she could finish watching Law & Order.   These pads are like little rugs.  So what happened is my mother taught the dog to pee on rugs.

Since we inherited the dog we have taught it successfully that it is supposed to pee when we take it outside.  We used positive reinforcement for this, praise and the occasional dog treat.  The problem is that it doesn’t know that it IS NOT supposed to pee in the house.  A regimen of purely positive reinforcement can work when the decisions the dog has before it are mutually exclusive.  For example, when he sees one of the cats, he can either act aggressively towards it or not act aggressively.  When he makes one choice, he necessary forgoes the other.  He’s gotten better about not attacking them, and when one goes by and he just disregards it, we pat him and praise him for leaving it alone.  This is because he’s only got two choices, attack or don’t, and we can reward him for making the choice we want him to make, knowing that it necessarily prevents him from also making the one we don’t.  This problem is different.  He can pee outside and pee in the house, and in fact is doing precisely that, evidently all the time.  He understands that it is good to pee outside, but he doesn’t understand that he must pee outside, that it is bad to do otherwise.  Thus a program of regular surveilance and reprisal must be imposed immediately.  The problem is not the dog.  If I yell at him and threaten him, and he can make the connection between the yelling and something he’s doing (attacking the cats, for example), he generally seems to stop, if for no other reason that to assess the threat.  He seems to have a sense of self-preservation, along with the equally important sense that he will be unable to preserve himself unless I give him leave to do so, and I can use those things.  Again, he is not the problem.  The softies I live with are the problem.  The other day they just watched him pee on one of the rugs in the hall.  Just watched him, gutless and useless.  So here’s what’s happening.

Directive #1: The current state of urinary anarchy is an imminent threat to the safety and and integrity of the Empire.  During the period of the emergency the execution of all such plans I shall devise and related decisions I shall take will not be contingent upon political approval and it is anticipated that such approval will seldom be sought.  The Empress can rebuke me once the crisis has passed if she sees fit to do so.

Directive #2: The dog will be punished for peeing in the house.  Individuals known to have failed in this duty will be admonished loudly and meanly.  And I’m still going to get the dog, so you’re not doing him any favors by going easy on him.

Directive #3: The dog blockade which has been imposed around the office will be extended to the hallway.  I have spent the morning scrubbing it so as to eradicate definitively every last pee molecule.  However, the crux of the problem is detection.  The color of the wood floor in the hall is evidently the exact color of the offense itself, and it is virtually undetectable when dry.  The only way I can be sure the dog doesn’t pee in the hall is if he’s never in the hall alone.  The dog, therefore, is not longer permitted to enter the hallway except under guard.

I will leave it to my field officers to implement these directives.  If, owing to incompetence or inattention, I am forced to direct day-to-day operations myself you had better believe the courts-martial will be coming.

August 7, 2010

Pet Nasty War – Greek Fire

Filed under: Pet Nasty War — lbej @ 17:37
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Greek Fire is the name commonly used for an incendiary fluid that the Byzantines launched at warships during naval battles.  The exact composition of Greek Fire was an Imperial secret and has been lost to history, but it appears to have functioned much like napalm.  Whatever it was, it was ejected onto enemy vessels from pressurized Byzantine cannons, and once it was set alight, the Empire’s enemies of the day had no idea how to extinguish it.  The Greek Fire would consume the ships of the enemy fleet, and even after they were sunk, the blaze would continue on the surface of the water until the mixture was dissipated by the weather.  Constantinople is strategically vulnerable from the sea, and Greek Fire was the secret weapon that saved the Roman Empire of the East from extinction at the hands of Muslim conquerors on more than one occasion.  The secret of the Fire was seemingly lost even to its creators and it was not used by the Empire after the 12th century.  Constantinople fell in 1453 owing more to the Black Death than anything else; still, it might have helped if the Byzantine Greeks could magically set anything on fire.  If nothing else, they could’ve burned the diseased bodies of plague victims faster.

On that pleasant note, I have to report that I am now facing a noxious, seemingly mystical weapon in my own struggles for conquest.  The inherited dog is doing something to the couches in the family room.  The dog farts constantly, silently, and invasively.  When he’s in the room, the smell is especially pungent.  But the devilish part is that it never leaves.  If the dog has been upstairs in Jenny’s room for the night, the family room stinks.  If he’s been outside all day, the family room stinks.  The stench is irrepressible and invariable.  I thought it could be me, but I don’t smell it any other time, and I doubt somehow that I am reacting chemically with some element present only in the family room.  Also my principle elemental hanger-on is chlorine.   Nothing works on the Dog Fire, not Lysol, not bleach, not Febreze, not actual fire (just candles—so far).  I spray something, lots of it.  I soak the couch with purity, then I wait.  And back it comes.  Zondro has somehow changed the chemical composition of the couch fibers with his atom-splitting farts.  Needless to say, and thus said needlessly, my existing antipathy toward these couches has not lessened.  The next step is torches.  It could help, it probably won’t, but does that even matter?  Torches justify themselves.

July 28, 2010

Pet Nasty War – VO Day Declared

Filed under: Pet Nasty War — lbej @ 14:34
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I am declaring today Victory in the Office Day.  From the doorway it looks like this:

And from behind the desk it looks like this:

(The display case on the left holds my collection of figures representing historical American military units, and that’s my replica U.S. Constitution by the door.)

The Pet Nasty War is ended in this theater.  Any animal elimination in the office will henceforth be considered a Crime Against Peace as defined by Principle VI of the Nuremburg Principles, and will be punished accordingly.

July 8, 2010

Pet Nasty War – Rattenkrieg In Blue

Filed under: Pet Nasty War,Pets — lbej @ 08:54
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Fighting is close and chaotic this week.  The office blockade remains in place and the defiance defecation strategy I feared for the hallway outside the office has not yet been embraced by the animals.  The cats have adopted quite divergent approaches in response to the loss of the office.  Marisa is marshalling all her forces outside the house in an apparent attempt to kill every bird and rodent in the vicinity for subsequent intimidating arrangement on the front walkway, or possibly to trip me.  Lulu has gone in the other direction entirely, decamping in the master bedroom.  She is pursuing an allergy sabotage strategy, waiting until the Empress and I are asleep before furrifying our bed using hit-and-run dander application tactics.  Perhaps in concert they hope to see me trip over a dead bird while sneezing, in effect an all-arms battleplan on the scale of Amiens in 1918.  I would be more concerned if I didn’t know that they hate each other and would sooner die than work together.  The dogs are a different matter.  Zondro and Wilson have been reinforced by Icarus this week, the latter animal being much larger than I remember.  The net effect has been much skidding and crashing into furniture.  What this temporary alliance will do to alter the long term complexion of the canine resistance, if anything, is unknown.  This week is simply one to be borne as steadily and evenly as possible, as there is simply more dog mass present than can be restrained and it’s too hot for said dog mass to stay outside for any length of time.

My youngest brother’s loyalties in regards to the Pet Nasty War are dubious.  If I am to have his support this week my approach must be a moderate one.  No scorched earth, but rattenkrieg, engaging the animals as closely as possible, has a definite appeal from the standpoint of military progress in the context of coalition maintenance.  Justin has seemed slightly aghast at my tendency to place my troops in Thermopylae- or 1st Marne-like situations where we must either fight desperately or be annihilated, and to do so for no apparent strategic reason.  My rejoinder?  Mustn’t ask us, not its business.  Justin and I were conducting a joint carpet-removal operation and he became increasingly insistent that I have a plan other than victory.  Victory, one might observe, is not a plan so much as it is a condition.  That is true but irrelevant.  Anyone who assumes that not knowing what I’m doing will stop me from doing it simply hasn’t had the experience of domestic campaigning along the maréchal.  Justin has now had that experience.

Painting in Jenny’s room today.  I bequeath it to history as Operation Turquoise Blast.

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