Friday, September 26, 2014

Walter update

Surprise - I'm totally in love with Walter.  He's very sweet and affectionate, and the fact that he's tiny and adorable probably helps his case, too.
My biggest reservation about adopting a puppy was house training.  I've never had a puppy and never house trained a dog, since Jordan and Marvin were both house trained when we adopted them.  I feared that he would pee and poop all over the place and our house would stink in no time flat.  But my worries now seem highly exaggerated.  We been taking Walter & Marvin outside about every 2 hours (give or take) and Walter has really gotten the hang of it.  He's had very few 'accidents' and one of them was my fault.  He has the benefit of seeing Marvin 'go' outside, and we've been using verbal praise and petting to reward his success.

Since my office is only a couple miles from home, I have come home at lunchtime each day and taken the dogs outside, eaten my lunch, fed Walter, and taken both guys for a short walk around the house/yard.  Once Walter is older and able to 'hold it' longer, I won't need to come home in the middle of the day anymore.

Walter is a good eater.  He eats about 3-4 times a day.  We can't leave food out for him to eat at will because Marvin will eat it, and its too high in calories for him.

Walter is dying to play with Marvin, and often tries to engage him in some sort of play.  Marvin on the other had is just tolerating Walter at this point, and is probably wondering when this "house guest" will go home.  Occasionally he will growl at Walter who gets the message and leaves him alone.  We've been careful to spend equal time petting and tending to both dogs so Marvin doesn't feel replaced, and we try to encourage them to be together and not just sit on the other Daddy's lap. 
 We're sure that with more time Marvin will recognize and accept Walter into the family.  

Sometimes when we're watching TV at night Walter and I will play with a toy on my lap until he gets tired.  Then he will fall asleep on my arm, or he'll climb up my chest and get comfy on my shoulder.  I'm fine that.

Yesterday I took Walter to the vet for his new puppy check-up.  He did really well, riding in his carrier in the car, as well as being handled and examined by the vet and techs.  While they may say it to all puppy daddies, they couldn't stop talking about how cute Walter is.  Of course I didn't fight them over it.

Wednesday, September 24, 2014

Monday, September 22, 2014

What a weekend!!

OMG - what a weekend!!

Fri night Bugsy & Roger arrived and we caught up.  It had been about 2 years since we'd seen them.

While I had scheduled myself to be off work all weekend, I ended up needing to meet my clients, a home inspector, and a contractor at a home I have under contract, then meet another couple from out of state to show them a couple homes.  While I was working, Bugs & Rog and Spouse walked over to the farmers market.  When I got home at noon the 4 of us went to lunch, and then picked up a few extra items at the grocery store.

All 4 of us pitched in as we prepared for Steven's birthday dinner at our home.  Spouse and Roger made Mexican lasagna and fajitas while Bugsy and I got things set up.  There were 9 of us for dinner, and we ate on the screened porch since the weather was nice.  We had a fun time, and I can't believe I didn't take any photos of the birthday dinner.

Sun morning the 4 of us had coffee and hung out on the porch until it was time to meet Steven & Thad and Joe P for brunch.  Our 2 favorite servers were there and they made the entire restaurant sing 'Happy birthday' to Steven, which had the intended level of embarrassment.

After brunch we picked up Walter!  Spouse & Roger stayed home while Bugsy & I picked him up in a mesh carrier.  When we got home, I sat in the yard with Walter still in his carrier.  Spouse brought Marvin outside on his leash and over to where I was sitting.  Marvin wasn't exactly 'welcoming', but I'm convinced the introduction went much better than if I had brought Walter inside the house right away.  Bugsy took a couple of videos of the interaction, then edited them together to form an 8 minute video.  Since its too large to send via email, he AirDropped it onto my phone, but I don't know how to get it onto my laptop to upload.  The rest of the afternoon was spent bonding with Walter, making sure Marvin was paid attention to, and visiting with Bugsy & Roger.  
They left at 5pm and we began working on the potty training with Walter.  When both dogs were ready for an evening nap, we crated them and stopped by yet another client's home to drop off a gift, then ran to the store for puppy supplies.  When we got home, both dogs peed outside in the yard, making both daddies ecstactic!

Bedtime was a little difficult.  Marvin slid under the sheet and between my calves as usual, and Walter was placed in his soft/fuzzy bed inside his crate.  The lights went out and the wimpering and squealing began.  Spouse & I had agreed in advance that we would not talk once the lights went out, and that Walter would need to learn that lights out means time to sleep.  After about 10 minutes (which felt like 30 minutes) he fell asleep.  It could have been much worse.

Our lives have changed for sure.  Our morning and nighttime routines are far less routine, but its all worth it.  There are no words to describe the feeling you get from the love of a pet.

Wednesday, September 17, 2014

We're expecting...

For several months Spouse & I have been checking the local SPCA website for a playmate/sibling for Marvin.  We think he'd really enjoy a playmate, and we'd like another Chihuahua, but have had no luck finding another rescue.

One of Spouse's colleagues also has a Chihuahua and volunteered to help us find another.  Yesterday she texted Spouse a photo of 3 available Chihuhua puppies that were available from friends of friends, and he forwarded it to me.

What???  A puppy???

Initially I'm very apprehensive since I've never had a puppy before.  How would we manage until the puppy was old enough to house train?

We talked through some of the details and I agreed to go see the pups this evening after work.  The dark male and the light female were already spoken for, so just the light male was available.  All 3 pups and their mom and dad were playing in the backyard when we arrived, and we were pleased that none of them barked or growled at us.  To the contrary, mom and dad greeted us and welcomed our petting and scratching them.  This is a very good indicator that the pups' personalities will be friendly and laid back, similar to Marvin's.

We each held the light male pup who snuggled right up to my chest.  
I could tell Spouse really, really wanted the light pup so we agreed to claim him.  He's scheduled for shots on Sun, and we have house guests this weekend, so we agreed to pick up the new little guy on Sun afternoon.

Unless something changes, his name will be Walter Nelson.

Monday, September 15, 2014


Spouse & I arrived at the hotel in PA at 5:30 and greeted his mom, sister, and 2 brothers who had arrived a little earlier.  After a brief visit with them, we changed clothes and went to funeral home.  Only this one isn't called a funeral home, its called a Life Celebration Center.  Isn't that sweet?  Its almost cheery enough to make you forget that someone died, only that's the reason you're there.

The viewing was from 6-9pm, and we arrived about 6:15.  There was already a line to view the body (which is always creepy in my opinion) and greet Aunt Antoinette and Uncle Domenic's 2 sons, Anthony and Fiorenzo.  Spouse & I were happy that so many of his cousins came from both near and far.  Several of us visited in the anteroom while those in line paid their respects.  There were several photo collages assembled to showcase Uncle Domenic and those he loved.  A TV in the anteroom ran a slide show of even more photos.

We were impressed with the number of people who came, but I guess we shouldn't have been surprised since Uncle Domenic & Aunt Antoinette went to the same church for many years, had the same neighbors for many years, belonged to the same social groups (including the Sons of Italy) for many years, and were active in their community.  Spouse whispered that some of those who came to the viewing looked as if they could be extras from "The Sopranos".  I whispered back that we were on the set of "My Big Fat Catholic Italian Funeral".  When the line finally subsided at nearly 8:30, we paid our respects and and offered kind words to Aunt Antoinette, Anthony, and Fiory.

Since none of us had eaten dinner, Spouse's mom, sister, and 2 brothers went with us to a Mexican restaurant near our hotel.

The next morning we arrived at the church at 9:45 for the funeral which was supposed to start at 10am.  Spouse's sister sat with us in the back rather than in the front pews reserved for family because Spouse did not want to be 'obvious' about not going up to partake in communion.  We whispered to each other as we saw cousins and their spouses and children arrive, but there was no sign of Aunt Antoinette or Uncle Domenic's coffin.  Spouse asked "What time is it?"  I looked at my silenced phone and responded "10:04."  Without missing a beat Spouse said "Uncle Domenic is going to be late for his own funeral."

This struck me as absolutely hilariously funny and I struggled like Mary Tyler Moore at Chuckles the Clown's funeral to restrain my laughter.  

I usually don't have much in common with Catholic theology but I must say that the Priest's funeral sermon was probably one of the most practical, uplifting, yet sensitive I've ever heard.  He spoke of having talked with Domenic days prior to his death and shared that Domenic was not sad or scared of his imminent death.  According to the Priest Domenic said he'd lived a long and good life, had a wonderful family, and knew that what was waiting for him on the other side was even better.  He was ready to go.  I thought this was likely comforting to those who share his belief in Heaven, and was certainly more personal than just reading archaic Bible verses.  There were likely 150 people there.

After the funeral mass the family and some others went to the cemetery (next to a freeway) for a short reading.  Everyone was handed flowers to place on the coffin.  Fortunately they did not lower the coffin into the grave until everyone had left.  (I remember that horrible detail when my grandmother died many years ago, which I find to be unnecessarily brutal.)  Then we all went to a local restaurant for a luncheon.

A woman named Nancy and her husband were seated at the table with Spouse's mom, sister, cousin, brother, and the 2 of us.  Nancy had met Spouse's mom before, but asked how each of us was related to her.  When it came to me, I said I was her son-in-law.  However, later in the conversation Spouse's sister mentioned that her husband was not here.  Nancy looked back at me and asked "How are you related again?"  My blue eyes and pale complexion made it obvious that I wasn't a blood relative.  I repeated "I'm Evelyn's son-in-law."  Nancy said pointing at Spouse's sister "But her husband isn't here and she's the only daughter, right?"  There was a brief pause and then I said calmly "That's right.  I'm married to him" and pointed to Spouse.  Nancy looked confused.  "You're married?" she asked, to which I responded "Yes..." and smiled.  "Where did you get married?" she asked.  "In our living room" I answered.  "Did you have a Justice of the Peace?" she inquired.  "No, our very good friend was a pastor so he married us." I answered.  Additional questions followed and I began to wonder if the others at the table were getting uncomfortable with this extended inquisition, but I decided to capitalize on the opportunity to share with this 70-something year old Catholic woman how 2 gay men live, love, and marry.

While I'd prefer to never attend another funeral, I can see why many cultures still perpetuate the practice.  To some it provides closure.  It offers family, friends, and neighbors an opportunity to provide comfort.  In our case, it created a non-negotiable date for far-flung family member to return home and share remembrances, commune, laugh, cry.  As I age, I suppose I will have to attend funerals with greater frequency than I have in the past.  Hopefully I'll be seated with more Nancys.

Friday, September 12, 2014

Road trip

Today I am working a 1/2 day (I have a final walk-thru followed by a settlement) and am then coming home to prepare for our road trip.  Spouse has taken the full day off.

We are leaving this afternoon for PA to attend the viewing and funeral of Spouse's uncle Domenic.  He had been in poor health for many years.  The viewing is tonight from 6-9pm and the funeral is tomorrow at 9am.  Uncle Domenic was Spouse's father's brother.  Since he and his wife, Aunt Antoinette, lived in PA we did not see them very often.  Neither of them should be making interstate car trips, and we only made it up to PA a couple times to see them in the last several years.  Fortunately we did attend their big 50th anniversary party a few years back.

Uncle Domenic made a wonderful impression on me the very 1st time I met him and Aunt Antoinette when they were visiting Spouse's parents.  The house was full of relatives and when I referred to him as Domenic he stopped me mid-sentence.  Pointing to the family members in the room he said to me "Hey, all these people call me Uncle Domenic.  In my eyes you are just as much family as they are, so you call me Uncle Domenic too."

Obviously with my family situation (Jehovah's Witnesses who shunned me when I came out), this warm acknowledgement of my place in his family was certainly appreciated.

Spouses's mother, sister, and 2 of his brothers will also be arriving this afternoon for the viewing and tomorrow's funeral.  According to facebook, several of Spouse's cousins have flown in.  Hopefully it will be an occasion to pay our respects but also reconnect and share some happy, upbeat moments too.

Thursday, September 11, 2014


Today is the 13th anniversary of 9-11-01, the day that changed America.  I still get chills when I recall the events of that day and my personal experience.
  Many innocent people were killed in the World Trade Center attack, the Pentagon attack, and the hijacked airplane that crashed in PA.  Many more were killed trying to help them.  

On that day and the week following it, there were no Democrats or Republicans, no upper-middle class or lower class, no haves or have-nots.  There were just Americans.

Today we pause to remember those people: mothers, fathers, children, husbands, wives, partners, aunts, uncles, cousins, friends, and neighbors.  


Tuesday, September 09, 2014


The Blue Moon began hosting a weekly show this summer called Showcase, which gives an opportunity for local talent (singers, dancers, magicians, etc) to be showcased and talk about their musical inspirations, appearance venues, etc.

Knowing that I won the 2011 Rehoboth Idol contest and that I've been a performer in the LEGENDS shows for the last 4 summers, the emcee invited me to be a part of the Showcase.  I asked if there was a theme I should keep in mind when selecting songs, but I was told no.  This was my opportunity to sing what I wanted.  While this may not sound like a big deal, keep in mind that the LEGENDS show is a celebrity tribute show, so I am not performing as myself; I'm impersonating iconic musical legends.  

In costumes.  And sometimes in wigs, hats, and wacky rhinestone glasses.

So I was really excited for this opportunity to pick 3 songs that I love, that mean something to me, and that a part of my musical development over the years.  And sing in my own clothes.  So this is what I sang:
Why do these songs mean something to me?

I've always loved Linda Ronstadt's music, and I have a childhood memory of writing her a letter when I was like 10 or 11, informing her that I had learned all the harmony parts to all the songs on her recent album, and that if 1 of her background singers were to get sick or leave, I would be fully prepared to step in.  Yeah, I was a confident kid.  Linda's technical talent, song choices, and abundant harmonies have always been favorites of mine.

Again, the harmonies sung by the Fifth Dimension attracted me.  I have a childhood memory of playing with Matchbox cars while my mom ironed clothes in the laundry room with the Fifth Dimension playing in the background.  I'm a sucker for torch songs and One Less Bell is about as torchy as they get.  When Spouse & I were removing the wallpaper from the dining room in our 1st house together in 1996 I remember the Fifth Dimension CD playing over and over again while we worked.

I was 14 when I Love the Nightlife hit the disco charts and I especially liked the stylized way Alicia emphasized the word 'action' which sounded like 'ack-Shawn'.  It was a part of the film and soundtrack for "Priscilla: Queen of the Dessert" in 1994.  I picked it because its fun and upbeat, and everyone knows it so they will often sing along. 

It was a great night!

Friday, September 05, 2014


I've written many times about how I sing in the LEGENDS show, sing karaoke, and see national talent like Coco Peru, Miss Richfield 1981, Kimberley Locke, and others at the Blue Moon.  Over the last 4+ years I have become friends with the owners and have enjoyed their generosity on several occasions.

The latest occasion for enjoying their generosity was yesterday.  It was the Blue Moon employee appreciation day at Jungle Jims, our local waterpark.  While the entertainers like me are not technically employees, we were all invited.  The Blue Moon owners rented out the water park for the day and had food and beverages brought in for us.  It was very, very nice!

Despite my living here for over 7 years and having visited here for more than 20 years, I'd never been to Jungle Jims before.  I guess I'd assumed that water parks were for kids.  Well I was wrong.  It was a lot of fun to zip down the multiple water slides and drift down the lazy river in a tube.

It is a pleasure to work with people who appreciate those who work for/with them!  If you are ever in the Rehoboth Beach area, be sure to patronize the Blue Moon restaurant and bar.

Monday, September 01, 2014

Long weekend recap

Spouse & I had a nice holiday weekend - 3 days off together, which is unusual for us.

We did some yard work, we watched some TV, we had a few meals with friends, did some laundry,  visited with some friends from a nearby town, and we went to the beach.

The weather was beautiful on Sat: about 75 degrees and very low humidity.  I'm sure glad we did our yard work that day!  Sun & Mon were very hot (90+ degrees) and very humid.  All in all we had a low-key and enjoyable holiday weekend.  How about you?