Posts Tagged ‘shovels’


The street that leads to the five-home community in Ramona, California is dissected by an iron gate that, most of the time, opens when you push the remote control. It is a beautiful gate, and right next to it, is a walking trail that says to the would be cruiser of our neighborhood, “We trust you if you are on foot, but we dare you to try and drive into this area uninvited.” After living here for just two weeks, I know that the gate is here for protection. It protects the hood from teenagers. This country road is the perfect little place for lasciviously intentioned boys to park with equally minded, but coy hipster girls.

My house sits about halfway up a steep hill that, at its pinnacle houses the remaining four homes. I drink. I drink while sitting on my back patio overlooking small family orchards, horses, and llamas (Whitney has decided that llamas are nosy animals). I drink while I listen to the barking and howling from coyotes, the relentless caw of the ravens and crows, and of course I drink while I watch my dogs salivate over rabbits that tease them in a similar manner as the hipster girls in the cars down the way do their skinny-jean wearing boyfriends. Rabbits move in stop animation. They find a spot and they freeze. Rabbits stare at you with their side-of-head eyeballs and taunt you while they poop with reckless abandon wherever they please.

My shepherd dog has had enough of this. Lobo, the big, burly and loving shepherd, has declared jihad on rabbits. They are infidels who have the tenacity to waltz into your yard, where you have staked your claim, where you drink and enjoy the country life, and where your dogs should be the only thing pooping with reckless abandon. Rabbits, to my boy Lobo, are a lost cause and should be eradicated. A battle was eminent and loomed ominous over our household.

Enter my poor, poor, good natured, sweet wife, Whitney. Friday night brought frivolity and movie watching to my family. We have made it a point over the years to use our Fridays as a night to relax at home and reconnect. The movie we watched came to an end, and it was time to let the three dogs out for their last shot at reckless defecation. What ensued was murder. It was the circle of life without Elton singing. What ensued was ravenous animality. Even the three-legged chihuahua was overly emotional as she sporadically ran in zig-zagging motions.

One single, solitary rabbit had found his or her way into the yard. Unfortunately for the rabbit, he or she did not take the tenth of a second necessary to dedicate to memory how it came to be in the yard. This is a life lesson to you, people. Always have a way out. When you walk into any place, a restaurant, a club, a store, or even a church, you have to know where the exits are located. You have to know where you can hide. You have to be engaged in your surroundings, because in the moment of confusion and chaos, you will run around moronically wishing you had been. A prepared rabbit lives to see another day. There are those out there that wish to do harm to unsuspecting and under prepared individuals, and Lobo, the alarmingly agile shepherd, is just such an entity.

Maybe five seconds passed. Lobo had cornered and overwhelmed the rabbit. Surprisingly, Baby, the old, but ferocious heeler was an accomplice in the cornering. Like dogs do, Lobo grabbed the unprepared rabbit and shook his head back and forth with such violence no rabbit spine could have survived. That was the end. That is as far as Lobo, the hunter, the manliest of all my dogs, had planned. He had no exit strategy, so he just pranced around the yard with his spoil of war. Dropping it in the middle of the yard, Lobo circled it and said, “This rabbit, is my rabbit. This rabbit is the first of many rabbits I will kill. This rabbit is…” Lobo stopped talking abruptly when I chased him off with a shovel. I stood over the rabbit.

Okay, for reals now, enter my poor, poor, good natured and sweet wife, Whitney.

“MURDERER!!!!” Whitney yelled compassionately. There Whitney stood emotionally moved to tears. “What did you do. Our dogs have tasted blood! What do we do!” Whitney continued, all the while Lobo is circling the area fist pumping as if he just created fire, but alertly scoping the scene for follow-on insurgent rabbit attacks.

“Whitney!” I yell. “They are dogs, and these are rabbits, this is what dogs do, now, you need to go inside.” I tell her to go inside because I know the rabbit is still alive and suffering. I am going to have to finish the job. Of course, and as I should have expected, Whitney needs background information and she needs it immediately.

“Why do I need to go inside?” “Why are you holding that shovel?” “How did Lobo kill it?” “Lobo will now want to kill everything and so will Baby.” “Our dogs are murderers and YOU are not even registering the gravity of this situation.”

I have to tell her the details, because I think the reality of the situation will be enough to make her head back to the safety of the house. “Whitney, I have to kill this rabbit, because it is suffering.” She responds in the only way Whitney could, “Heath, you need my moral support through this…”

At this point, all I can think of to do is the same thing I did to Lobo when he was rambling on about his kill. I run at Whitney with a shovel and yell, “Go inside, already!!”

Gentlemen. I commend to you today that running at your wife with a shovel was the wrong action. I am not sure why I thought that a shovel run would somehow fix the situation. In the end, I have not lived down this portion of my decision making that night. But, I, like Lobo, didn’t plan beyond the actual moment of action. I thought that Whitney would react like Lobo and just sprint away from me. Something in my mind said, “If you run at her with a shovel, she will retreat indoors, calm down, and respect you all the more after this fades away.” That was all I needed. Again, after a day of retrospection, running at your wife with a shovel is never a good idea.

Whitney will not be run at with a shovel and in the midst of all of the back breaking and war, Whitney’s voice echoed out into the darkness. “CAN’T YOU SEE I JUST NEED TO BE HELD RIGHT NOW?” There I was, shovel above my head trying to get her to flee into the house, stopped cold. “I just need to be held, and you are chasing me with a shovel.” While I did not believe that this was the moment for holding–a suffering rabbit needed to die and all, there was somehow something else in her voice. It was like she really was saying, “You. Ran. At. Me. With. A. Shovel.”

After a few moments, I was able to get her into the house. I finished the job and coerced Lobo, the dog who made me kill, who made me foolishly run at a woman, with a shovel back inside as well.

I found Whitney in bed, holding tightly to her chest the three-legged chihuahua saying, “You’re the only dog I love.” She repeated it like Dorothy trying to escape Oz. We both fell asleep.

In the morning, I woke up naturally to the staring eyes of Whitney. She is so beautiful. She was tracing the shape of my face with her eyes. It was almost like she was discovering me for the first time. I expected her to sing my praises for the manliness I exuded only hours before. Our eyes met. Whitney said softly, “Remember how last night you ran at me with a shovel.”

I had no clue what she was talking about.

I just wanted you to know, because I have been holding it in for years.


Things I have written down in my phone notepad that haven’t really got enough legs to make it into a blog as of yet, but are still worth reading.

On Reading in the Military….Or more aptly: My Work Makes Me Read Things I’d Rather Not…..

I have been reading. I read a lot. I read mostly things I am forced to read and little that I’m not. I read a lot of books and such about tanks and bombs and guns; I read a little Shakespeare, but mostly, I read none. I often wonder how reading would be if I could choose the book, but I don’t chase the dream too long, because of where I work.

Things That Are Cooler in Idea than in Practice

This Blog.

Running marathons

Cross Fit

Eating an entire can of frosting

Remaking Karate Kid with Will Smith’s kid and making it based around a twelve year old kid. Subsequently, I went and saw the movie with another gung ho fan of Karate Kid the day it opened and looked like a child molester….Not to mention the awkward romance between two twelve year olds. Ali with an “I” was hot and every man wanted her….and here I am watching some Chinese child and whatever Will Smith’s son’s name is and trying to connect with the characters. When I was twelve, I was scared shitless of girls, and just wanted to play. Whatever.

More than two spoonfuls of fruit cocktail

I bet people who have showers with multiple heads that come at you from all angles and levels mostly use the normal shower setting.

My wife has a car with a camera that displays on the center console when you are going in reverse. It shows you everything, and to a certain extent, even looks around the corner. My truck does not have this feature. My truck has a normal stereo in the center console. I have now backed out of multiple areas while staring at my stereo console and never even looked to see who I was about to kill…..

A Notice of the Things I Want Upon My Death:

When I die I want a band that plays a song like Puff the Magic Dragon or Gloria Estefan’s “Christmas Through Your Eyes” in my honor, and then I hope that song is stuck in all of your heads, perpetually.

Since I will die old, I want all of my children and grandchildren brought into a room and told of a vast inheritance they are due. I want the lawyer to leave the room for fifteen minutes while my kids and grandkids grow giddy with excitement. I then want the lawyer to return and explain that the inheritance is all debt. I am not even sure people can inherit debt, but I would still like this done, because I am dead and I deserve my wishes be granted.

When I die, I hope all those who have angered me or betrayed me get stuck waiting while my vast train of a funeral procession drives by, and I hope those waiting, who deserve their fate, have to pee. (In some states, when a funeral procession goes by all traffic going in either direction must stop out of respect for the dead. I like this the most of all ceremonial traditions, because in this ceremony, the person who died finally gets to do to others what others have done to him or her his entire life—screw them over on his or her way somewhere. It is the one moment where the world stops for the person being transported to their final resting place has complete power—they are like the president for a day. Plus, they get those motorcycle cops, which remind me of CHIPS, and CHIPS was a great television show.)

I actually want Officer Frank “Ponch” Poncherello (Eric Estrada) as an escort for my funeral procession. This may seem impossible due to age differences, but that is not my problem; you people need to make this happen—have some respect. (I do not under any circumstances want his partner involved in any way, shape, or form.)

When I die, I hope that people throw a party, but not because I am gone. I hope the party is like I was still there and we all just partied on.

I want a casket with explicit instructions on 1) who I am, 2) who are my relatives, 3) relevant addresses 4) a list of my enemies. I will use this information to help me determine whose entrails I will eat first, after I turn to a zombie. I will eat my enemy’s entrails first and all others who are not on my “relatives list” second. Of note: I will sell spots on the “relatives list” to people who are not actually my relatives. The money will go to the band that will play at my death party. (No guarantee I will not kill you; there is little research into how much of the brain a zombie utilizes; therefore, I cannot, with any level of certainty, commit to not eating your entrails).

I want a breakaway lid to the casket and I want a shovel with me to help me get to the surface faster after I turn zombie, as well. The shovel should have a short handle, no more than 12 inches as I will not be able to utilize a shovel of regulation size. Picture, in your head, the difficulties involved in negotiating the shovel handle when with only a foot and a half of depth, plus the pressure of six feet of dirt pushing downwards on me and all you have left me is a regulation shovel? I need to preserve my zombie energy.

Additionally, I want a fresh pair of corduroys and Doc Martins in the casket because I want to be a zombie with grunge era fashion sense.

It is important that you all pay attention to my desires, because If I come back as a ghost, I will haunt the living hell out of anyone who denies me what I want.

I just wanted you to know, because I have been writing these little things on my iPhone for weeks, but didn’t know what to do….