Thursday, August 24, 2006

A few recent doin's a-transpirin'

In the last couple days, a few things of potential curiosity have occured across the street.

• a couple days ago, a woman wearing what appeared to be a mumu came up Double Wide's walk, waving a piece of paper, and yelling at him to come to the (open) door. The Lab was barking and jumping around her. She didn't seem pleased.
• some new decorations for the front lawn! Joining the big ugly brown pillow mat on the front step shared by Double Wide and the Lab, there is now what appears to be a stereo ot tv stand, which is being used as a chair. A couple nights ago, there was also a lamp on the front step. Plugged in. Turned on. Outside. And there's a director's chair covered in the Canadian flag sitting in the weed bed. I'm telling ya, we're reaching a critical mass where the only result is an old couch on the lawn and beer cans lined up in the window.
• yesterday, Double Wide walked across the street to speak to someone—possibly the new owner of a house on the corner—and returned with a plastic bag. He also proceeded to tie up the Lab at that point. My guess: the Lab went across the street and took a dump on someone's lawn, and Double Wide was called on it. Ah, poor deluded new neighbour, thinking that this will result in Double Wide becoming more responsible.
• a cop car slowly went by Maison de Double Wide yesterday, checking things out. A couple summers ago, this used to be a regular occurence. A return engagement?

Saturday, August 19, 2006

Kitty!, the Dirty Girl, and the Dogs With No Names

Let's talk about the other four-legged residents of Chez Double Wide …

Apart from the black lab, for the past couple years, there has been a black cat named … prepare yourself for a dose of insight and wit … Kitty! And I believe it is spelled with an exclamation mark. I say this because pretty much every morning, Double Wide will open his door and yell out in that hoarse, tobacco-coated duck call that is his voice, "Kitty! Kitt-ay!" Now, let's pause for a second and think about that name. Kitty. Kitty the cat. That's the kind of name that a five-year-old gives to a cat because five-year-olds generally lack the vocabulary to come up with something less obvious and perhaps more reflective of the cat's qualities. Birdie the bird. Doggy the dog. Piggy the pig. Kitty the cat. But this isn't a five-year-old. This is a grown adult who is going to a post-secondary institution and when it came time to naming his cat, the best his brain could muster was … Kitty. Sorry, Kitty! Well done. Well done, indeed. "Kitty!"

So, earlier this summer, we had a problem with a cat coming into our yard to hunt birds (we've got a lot of trees and, hence, a lot of birds). Actually we have a lot of cats in our neighbourhood who come to hang out (and occasionally tease our own indoor cats), but this one was rather persistent and fairly resistant to being shooed away. So eventually we called Animal Control because it had elevated itself, in our eyes, to nuisance. They came and caged it up.

Now, at the time, I really didn't know that this cat was, you guessed it, Kitty! From across the street, Kitty! looked rather small, whereas this one was quite a bit bigger. However, for the next several days, Double Wide would open the door every hour or so and yell, "Kitty! Kitt-ay!" a couple times, then wander back inside. My wife and I quickly figured that, in fact, our nuisance cat was his Kitty! What I found interesting is that, for a guy well acquainted with the good folks at Animal Control, it didn't dawn on him to contact them to see if a cat matching his own had been picked up. Nope. Just keep yelling, "Kitty!" and maybe Jesus will return the cat. However, a neighbour went over there, I believe, and told him to call Animal Control (I say this because after talking with her, he drove off and returned with his cat).

Like with the various times he was cited for letting his dog run loose, he made a few half-assed efforts to tie up the cat. However, as with the dog, he returned to his stupid and lazy ways and Kitty! runs loose. Tho it does avoid our yard now. Fair enough.


There have also been three guest dogs over the years. One was a rottweiler owned by some friend who stayed for a month or two a few summers ago. What's better than one dog allowed to run loose? Two dogs allowed to run loose! And, to no one's surprise, the dogs went after people who came to close to the yard. One incident occurred when the friend of one of my neighbour's boys was charged. Double Wide assured them not to worry about the rottweiler but added—so comfortingly—"She's not the dog you have to worry about." Yeah! Thanks for contributing to the neighbourhood.

Last summer, Double Wide got another temporary roommate, a rather dirty looking girl with a Jack Russell and a hound. I don't say dirty in a sexy and seductive sense. I mean needing a bath. Her clothes often looked like they'd never been washed. She looked like she had stink lines around her. Anyway, these dogs were leashed when she could round them up. However, whenever the door was opened—which, given the Open Door Policy, was whenever "humans" were home—they'd take off down the street, charging thru people's yards. What is of note here is that experience, one would think, would teach that if you open the door, the dogs take off. And yet this happened every time. Neither Dirty Girl nor Double Wide learned to gradually open the door and slide in to keep the dogs inside. Nor did they immediately go after the dogs or call for them to return. They'd just watch for thirty seconds or so, perhaps to let the dogs get a good lead in the eventual chase. Then they'd saunter down the block to relocate the dogs. Not that calling for them would do any good. Another neighbour said that he spoke to DG and DW about her two dogs, asking what their (the dogs) names were, so that he could call for them when they get loose. She replied that they don't have names because they're too stupid to learn. Yes. It's the dogs that are too stupid in this case. And further insight as to why the dogs are seemingly uncontrollable.

Classic Black Lab: Taking a Dump On a Neighbour's Lawn

The Dirty Girl becomes curious as to where the lab has gone

By the end of the summer, Dirty Girl and the Dirty Dogs moved into the house's basement suite. They broke free several more times and eventually Animal Control came around to corral them. After which they were never seen again. I'm guessing that Dirty Girl moved as I haven't seen her or her stink lines since either.

Let loose the hound …

Um … keeping letting loose the hound.

What other zoological adventures will Casa de Double Wide unleash? Maybe he'll get himself a falcon to patrol the neighbourhood. How about a cow to munch on the block's lawns? Whatever he does, we all know that he'll make a minimal effort to be responsible for its behaviour.

Kitty! Kitt-ay!

Saturday, August 12, 2006

Double Wide Fought the Law and Double Wide Probably Won

Greetings Double Wide fans!

Sorry for the lack of updates but, hard to believe, Double Wide hasn’t engaged in any of his usual white trashy entertainment. Of note, however, he appears to have gained another housemate—and one with, oh boy oh boy, big stereo speakers! Double Wide also seems to have gone out and gotten himself one of those wraparound bicep tattoos. I don’t really follow tattoo trends, but I think that’s several years past. But not in the Double Wide universe!

Given the skimpy new adventures to relate, I think I’ll take you back in time to my initial encounter with Double Wide. My wife and I have been in our house for a little over six years now, and in the first two Double Wide’s current house was occupied by around fifteen dozen students. No, really. In the morning, we would see a steady stream of people emerging with backpacks, presumably on their way to class. It was like clowns getting out of a car at the circus. Accordingly, it became known as the Clown House.

However, after two years and at least one citation from the city for the garbage on the lawn and pigeons living in the exposed vents, the circus left town and a new group of future welfare state beneficiaries moved in. My memory is that it was Double Wide and a couple girls. And a puppy. A nice looking black lab cross that was given free run of the neighbourhood. Which meant it regarded all the yards on the block as it’s urine and feces dumping ground. I had my own dog at the time and didn’t need to clean up after two, so I went over there to inform them that they had to tie up their dog for several reasons: (1) it’s disrespectful to their neighbours; (2) it’s the law; (3) it would be a matter of time before the puppy ran away and/or got hit by a car. The girl who answered the door looked like I had caught her between puffs on the crack pipe, and seemed completely oblivious to what I was saying. No, really. No exaggeration here. Rather than continue talking to myself, I went home.

Not long after that, the dog was once again running loose, in and out of our yard. So I went over again, this time encountering our hero, Double Wide! I went through the same routine and claimed to agree, but said it wasn’t his dog so there was nothing he could do. I said that regardless of whose dog it is, I’d be calling Animal Control after that. He shrugged and closed the door. End Phase One.

Begin Phase Two. After that first year, the two girls moved out but the dog stayed. Which would make the dog the responsibility of Double Wide’s, no? You would think. It was spring and the dog once again took to roaming the neighbourhood, aided by both a lack of chain and a literal open door policy (i.e. when Double Wide was home, the front door was left wide open, letting the dog come and go as it pleased). But lest you think that Double Wide was not an attentive owner, whenever he wanted the dog to come home, he’d wander out on his steps, often just in his underwear, and yell in a hoarse tobacco/gin voice, “Cheeeeeeeee!” Or “Goddammit Cheeeeeee!” (Note: I don’t know if the dog’s name is Chee or Chi or Chief. Or maybe even Gee.) Over the course of the summer, both myself and my neighbours complained to Animal Control about the dog, and a representative came out … and nothing happened. The status quo ruled. Regardless of the numerous complaints, the dog ran free. A lesson to be learned regarding the city’s by-laws, to be sure (in case you’re wonder, the by-law states that a first offence carries a $50 fine, second $100, and subsequent $250; I naively assumed that because we had made complaints, he had been issued those fines. But, as I explain below, that wasn’t the case.)

No we’re up to year three and the dog is fully grown. And more aware of its territory. And going after people who come near the house. As in walk on the sidewalk or bike by on the street. Keep in mind the open door policy, allowing the dog to be in the house and still go after people. Which is what happened one evening to a young boy delivering flyers. The boy wasn’t hurt because he got back on his bike and pedaled away, but he must have quit the job because I never saw him deliver in our area again. So I went back to Double Wide to inform him that enough really was enough. As before, he shrugged his shoulders. Regarding any potential fines, he told me, “It’s just money.” Which I took as a bit of a challenge. So I started issuing complaints over every incident (previously I had been only filing them after I accumulated ten or so) and, on a friend’s advice, started taking pictures of the dog running loose. I also talked to my neighbours, who had their own stories about friends or kids beings chased. (I urged them to complain to Animal Control, but, to my knowledge, none ever did. Thanks, gang!)

Our hero patiently awaiting his loyal pal, after setting him loose on the neighbourhood to have a piss, take a crap.

Begin Phase Three. Submitting photos seemed to have some effect on the folks at Animal Control because now some actual fines were being levied. One of the officers there told me that, despite the photos, Double Wide denied (1) that the dog was on the loose and (2) the dog was his. (It should be noted, however, that whenever Animal Control visited, Double Wide would make an effort to at least monitor his dog for a couple weeks. And then, as is his way, he’d revert to his lazy, irresponsible ways and would just leave the door open.) And, of course, he refused to pay. Which was regarded as pleading not guilty. So, I got to go to court as witness to two events, one of the many running loose charges and the chasing of the delivery boy. To no one’s surprise, Double Wide didn’t bother to show up at court. The judge found him guilty on the two counts ($50 and $100) plus another $100 for contempt (not showing up). Remarkably, the judge was initially inclined to show leniency and give him the benefit of the doubt because he wasn’t there to defend himself(!) but the prosecutor persuaded her that that was Double Wide’s choice and he shouldn’t benefit from his own irresponsibility.

So, yay? I mean, yeah, he was fined $250—and I have no way of knowing if he was ever forced to pay it—but this was after 3+ years of nonsense and fairly regular complaining. As much as it’s on Double Wide to act with some maturity and respect for his neighbours, the lesson to be learned, so it seems, is that only suckers follow the bylaws.

Since the court ruling, however, Double Wide has invested in a chain and leash—and it took just four years!—and the dog is chained him a fair amount of the time, especially since Double Wide has acquired some housemates. However, over the past month, the old ways of the open door policy are re-emerging. More, unfortunately, as it develops …

Next entry: The other animals in Double Wide’s life!