As Maureen McGovern famously sang (please click here) after the ship went down, a morning-after is inevitable. Today’s morning-after had nothing to do with sinking ships, Shelly Winters or hot pants, thankfully, but it did begin in Long Beach Saturday night. Garden designer/blogger, Dustin Gimbal (of non-secateur), hosted another garden blogger feast, this time al fresco. Present were fellow bloggers Denise of A Growing Obsession and Annette of Potted store’s blog (and the contest we’re still not bitter about losing), photographer/videographer, Mitchell Maher, and our spouses and others. Dustin’s menu included a deconstructed salade Niçoise, couscous and a chocolate-almond tart, all amazingly fresh and super delicious. And, yes, there was wine … lots and lots of wine, including champagne. Dining outdoors in Dustin’s cool Long Beach garden, with so many fascinating personalities, was just the refreshing end I needed to a hot, trying day (photos of the party at Denise’s blog here) … What does this have to do with the Rancho’s doing-their-best-to-look-contrite chihuahuas, Frito and Inky? Well, let’s just say I had a headache today upon rising at 6:30 a.m. … and, although I did get up and water most of the plants this morning and walk from downtown after getting coffee in the blazing heat, I was really hoping not to do anything too taxing or stressful. Paul had the final day of a conference to attend, so in his absence I figured I’d read some mags, maybe watch a Bridezillas episdoe or four, and nap. Didn’t happen. ;(
Arriving home, headachy, with coffee in hand, I was met with eerie silence: no poochies inside the house. Checked the backyard where they can often be seen tag-teaming hapless lizard young … nothing. Looked into garage and laundry room: nada! Walking onto the deck I see the gate was left open … they’re out … in the heat, somewhere. My first instinct is to go in and have a lie-down, to wait for the knock from the good samaritan who’s carried them home. But, I can’t. My head, which has now begun to pound, tells me I’ve got to search for them. Back into the dizzying heat, and I’m calling them by their most-current, most-embarrassing nicknames (Freedy–Freedy! Schminkus!) … finally, somewhere in the distance, I can faintly hear their insane-making call-and-response tandem barking … but where are they, exactly? I keep calling and they keep barking … almost an hour passes and I think I’ve pinpointed their location: they’re inside the UCR water conservation facility next door … suddenly the barking stops. I stop. I’m wondering how I can get into the facility, which is chain-locked at every gate. Could I actually climb the 8-foot tall chain link in my current party-depleted state? Would the facility’s weekend staff accept my presence as a concerned chihuahua parent? Has the barking stopped because of the lanky coyotes I’ve seen slinking around the area? Just as I’m about to daydream myself into a heatstroke, there they are. Just inside the gate looking up at me with their tongues lolling. I bend down and they slide breezily through the slats into my grasp and give me a look that says, “We’d like to go home now.” Carrying them down the block I mildly chastise them; I can’t let them know how happy I am to see them just yet. They pant noisily. Inside the house again, they lap up water like it’s perfectly chilled Veuve Clicquot … and I understand their satisfaction. Adventure finished, and thirst slaked, they run outside, one trailing the other. They’ve picked up a fresh lizard trail … and I notice my headache’s gone.