This is the summer of our discontent. A time to try the souls of a dogs and men.
Five months ago I returned to California. It is hard to believe it has been five months already, but that is what the calendar says, and calendars don't lie apparently. When I returned, I thought I was the luckiest dog ever. I escaped from Italy before the country went into lock down. I arrived in the USA before anyone talked about quarantine or restricting access. I was safe and so were my folks. We were far away from the virus. Well, it didn't take long for the virus to catch up to us, and now some days we all wonder why we ever left Italy in the first place. Friends in Italy tell me things are pretty much back to normal there while here the virus runs rampant and unchecked.
Oh, just to be clear, we aren't really depressed about the move. But we will always love Italy and our friends there. We do miss friends and the beauty of the landscape, fine foods and wines, small hill towns so rich in culture and tradition. But we are back in the USA now for good - even if it's not so good here right now.
I don't want to dwell on the pandemic. It surrounds us, consumes our every thought, devours our happiness like some giant blob out of a science fiction movie, but if we are lucky, we won't fall victim to its ever spreading tentacles. While it now seems nearly inescapable, I keep alive the hope that one day soon it shall perish. But experts predict it will rise up again like a Phoenix and strike just when we want to celebrate the holidays. The biggest regret for me and my folks is that we have not seen Brian and his family in the five months we have been here. It is so difficult and gets more difficult every week to be so close and yet essentially as far away as when we were in Italy. And the thought that we might not even see them for the holidays this year is just unbearable.
But, alas, all is not worry and strife on the home front. The lock down has had its advantages of sorts. It gave Maree and Jim lots of time to get the house they bought in Paradise Valley in order. And Maree has taken up some new hobbies. She bakes all of our bread and snack food. She refinished the old teak dining room furniture that had lived in the garage and storage for years. Now we have this very artsy looking blue and black dining room set. She refinished a 40 year old dresser and nightstand for the guest room. Now she is working on redoing the bathroom cabinetry in the downstairs bathroom. She is learning to do stenciling on some of the furniture and has some lofty thoughts about learning to draw. Her first attempts, however, have put her off of that pursuit for a while. She keeps saying that once the painting is done (now that the house is pretty much in order and she can't use that as an excuse anymore) she will get back to rewriting her book about Italy. I hope she doesn't find any more excuses to procrastinate.
Jim passes his days mowing the lawn, putting furniture together, cooking and cleaning, taking naps, reading the news and cursing about the guy in the White House who my Irish friends call pumpkin face. While Maree never leaves the house except to walk me, Jim does go to a couple of stores for curbside pick up. What an interesting development this has become. Rather like drive through take out I understand. Jim seems to think that it is working quite well. Instacart is ours go to for most of the grocery shopping however. But the ordeal of cleaning the groceries once they arrive is something Jim would gladly live without.
Me, I've adjusted to my new home quite well. So well in fact, that I don't want any strangers to even walk by on my sidewalk. Mom kindly put one of the couches under the living room window, so I spend my days laying on the top of the couch, looking out, and waiting for my next opportunity to shout out to the world, "Stay off of my yard." Through hours of practice sitting here on top of the couch, I have honed my barking skills to a fine level of perfection. The street here is much busier than in Italy, so I get a lot of barking action. Jim and Maree live in constant fear that the whole neighborhood can hear me. My bark even turns on the light in our smart refrigerator. Still can't figure out that one.
While I am content here, I must admit that I am somewhat confused by one thing. I was told that when I returned to California, I could return to my dog park. I was so looking forward to playing with some other doggies. What happened to the dog park I keep asking? Has it vanished? Why can't I play with other dogs or say hello to them if I see them when I take a walk? I don't think I really understand everything that is going on here. But I must admit that I like not having to go out in the car all the time. I do hate cars, and that is never going to change. So from that perspective, staying home and not having to board a plane, train, boat or other similar conveyance is quite a blessing from my perspective.
When I am not barking, I am on the campaign trail with my Presidential campaign. I currently have over 5,420 followers on twitter and lots of folks committed to voting for me. Well, lots of folks think I am better than the current occupant of the White House, and I would have to agree with them. I have many fine qualities typical of my species like honesty, loyalty, compassion, some things greatly missing in the current guy. I have been giving speeches on wearing masks and have advocated a doggy March for Masks. I have spoken about the need for leadership during this pandemic. And I have recognized the truth in Black Lives Matter. We are a nation torn apart by a leader who is stoking the flames of division. Even I know he is leading us down the path toward disaster. So my campaign is striking a cord with folks. You can see my speeches and my campaign tours at my twitter site @dogdaysinItaly or at #DinosCampaignParty.
2020. I think we all had great expectations for this year. I know I did. No one could have ever predicted that it would turn into such a world wide fiasco. One persistent question haunts my family and I am sure your families as well, " When will things ever return to normal - or whatever the new normal will become". It's times like this that I am very glad to be a dog and to not read the news and watch the rising statistics on the virus. I think I'll just go back to chewing on my bone, barking at the neighbors, and zooming around the yard. Oh, I know, you are all jealous of a dog's life about now. So I'll just send some puppy love your way and hope that it brightens your day.
Dino the candidate, going back to my couch until my campaign tour in New York on August 24. Hope to see you all on the campaign trail, fully masked and six feet apart of course.
Stay well friends.
Your friend through thick and thin,
Dino, Four Feet Forward for a Better 2021
I am Maree, the voice of Dino - or at least I am the one who does the typing. For more information about me and my life in Italy, you can follow me at theproseccoproject.com.