A transplanted Southern Californian living in North Dakota Idaho, with some insights on life with deaf dogs, a gluten free spouse, and the occasional mischievous garden gnome. Thank you for visiting and I hope you enjoy.

Tuesday, January 15, 2008


I am John, son of John. I live in a house with one girlfriend, two very deaf dogs and two garden gnomes. The deaf dogs provide entertainment, solace, and a furry thing to pet. The garden gnomes inhabit the out of doors and not only watch over my humble abode, but scamper around late at night and become involved in some entertaining hijinks.

First the dogs.

Tito the Wonder Puppy. Yes, this is his God given name. Excessive perhaps, but that is what it is, and it is not to be trifled with. In common parlance he is called Tito, Toe, The Toe, and lately Toberto. He tips the scales at 15 or 16 pounds, and though I may delight in calling him a fatty, he is not quite as pudgy as I will lead on. One thing to understand above all else about Tito. He doesn't like you. Never has, probably never will. Sure if you've got a chunk of carne asada burrito in your mitts, he's your buddy, maybe even let you scratch his belly. But understand this, he doesn't like you.

Jedi Master Shaak Ti. She goes by Shaak Ti, but lately I've been calling her Gumby or Doggleton. Doggleton for some reason sounds very regal and stately, like an English country gentleman who'll gladly invite you in for tea and tell you wry jokes about Margaret Thatcher. One of the benefits of having a deaf dog is that you can call them anything you want to. At the dog park I can (and sometimes do) yell "Here Placenta" or "Here Pope Benedict" and as long as I have her eye contact, she comes running right over. Some others do not find this funny. I do.

The best way to describe Shakk Ti is that she is the really pretty, very outgoing, very loving kid on the special bus at school. After we'd had her about a month I remarked to the lady we adopted her from that "she certainly isn't the sharpest tool in the shed". "Yeah, I know" she replied with a slightly guilty look on her face. It seems she knew that the dog was "special" but kind of neglected to mention it. No worries, we love her with all of our hearts and wouldn't change her for world, but Holy Buckets, I've never seen a dog hit their head this much. And not just hit her head, but REALLY hit her head. I know very little of canine concussions, but I'm pretty sure she's had one or two in the six months we've had her.

Now the gnomes.

Frederick arrived first, back in June of 2007. I met him in the produce section of the Vons up the street from my house. He was negotiating with the kid stocking Navel oranges trying to get some overripe avocados for free. It seems that avocado pits are the perfect size for gnomes to use as bowling balls. Fredrick was trying to open a gnome bowling alley, and was attempting to secure a supply of tiny bowling ball shaped avocado pits. After chatting with him for a minute he mentioned that he was still looking for a location for his gnome bowling alley, which he wanted to call Short Pins.

Frederick had a copy of his business plan for the gnome bowling alley, it looked solid, but since he was short on capital he wasn't having much finding a place to open up the business. The discussion eventually led to my offering part of my garage for him to get Short Pins up and running. Since he was short on money, we eventually settled on him retaining majority stake in the place, while ceding 49% ownership stake in the business over to me in exchange for 7 years of free rent. After that there's lease escalation clause, but that's assuming things go well. There's some going concern issues, but considering that I had no other tenants for the tiny space in my garage, it was a low risk investment on my part indeed. Frederick stands about five inches tall, tall for a gnome, he actually played GDII (Gnome Division II) college basketball back in the day, but that's another story.

Franklin has only been here about a month, and aside from being Frederick's uncle, I don't know a whole lot about him. He has his Masters in Alternative Energy from Gnomenclature College in Pennsylvania and from what I've heard from Frederick, he's going to help outfit the bowling alley with solar power, hopefully having a surplus of energy to sell back to the grid and generate a bit of positive cash flow until Short Pins gains a critical mass of tiny little customers. Franklin is more reserved, less gregarious than Frederick, so I haven't gotten to know him very well yet.

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