Last night when we came home I noticed that Corona, my parents’ huge and very sweet black and white mutt had something with four legs in her mouth, and she seemed pretty happy about it. This morning we discovered that it was a baby rabbit. She didn’t eat it or anything- it seems she was just playing with it. When we found it it just looked like it was sleeping. Dad picked it up with a rake and was going to throw it on a (literal) pile of crap out of the way. Amanda said we should tell her brother, Michael, and that he’d probably cry.

After getting up this morning I went outside to pet the new dog, which is really Andra’s new dog, and will be returned to her soon. The dog’s name is Elmo and she’s really sweet, a boxer-something mix. Originally she had a sister too, but my parents gave her away. Andra had named Elmo Elle, but Mom and Dad called the sister Curly and Elle Mo, so Elle become Elmo. It’s also a nudge at what Andra used to call Adam when she was little. Before she learned to talk very well she pronounced “Adam” “Elmo”.

Anyway, I was petting Elmo and she was rubbing against me and squirming around as only puppies do when I noticed something thin and neon yellow hanging out of her junk. I guess it was a worm so I went out to the barn to tell my mom, who told me she as taking Elmo to the vet on Monday anyway and to stick her in the kennel for now. I felt bad doing that because she’s a very rambunctious and playful puppy, and she looked at me with that cute little boxer face as if to say, “Aww c’mon, I just wanna play!”

Mom was taking care of two miniature ponies that belong to Mr. Carden. He’d bought them but didn’t want to put them with his other miniature pony and mule, so instead of putting them away in a dark barn, Mom said she’d look after them. So while she only owns five (or is it six?) horses now, she’s looking after seven (or eight?). We pet the horses a bit. Mom let me and Amanda in on the psychology of them. I always feel bad that I never really got into horses, but I do like being around them. They’re so big and interesting. Mom was talking about the personalities of the ones there.

Amanda and I got everything ready to go. Dad was ready before long, but just like any given time when I was living at home, Mom took a little longer. he time allowed me to take in changes in the house though. The most noticeable things were the giant TV Mom and Dad have now and the dining room furniture from Mum Mum and Pup Pup’s house.

The TV was bought from Adam’s boss when they were down here in Wilmington to celebrate my and my dad’s birthday (and Adam’s). They have an HD DVR too. Mom had set the DVR to record Law and Order every time it comes on, as well as America’s Funniest Home Videos I think. They just watch them if they feel like it and let others get erased. We set it to record Planet Earth on Discovery HD.

I also noticed that several of the trees in the yard seemed a lot larger than I’d remembered them being. Of course, it’s been almost half a year since I was in Rougemont last.

We went out to eat at IHOP after that. Mom and Dad had to pick up a cake or something as they were on their way to a retirement party for someone in Apex after breakfast so Amanda and I got there first. I drove the back way from Duke Street to Broad Street down past where there used to be nothing but old patina-colored warehouses behind barb-wire fencing. All of that has now become upscale apartments and a shopping center with a Home Depot, PetSmart and a bunch of other places. It’s so odd to me to see something so nice and new in that part of Durham. Not that it was a particularly bad area, but I do remember driving through the apartment complex across the street from the new upscale apartments and not feeling too comfortable before.

I think the whole area was bought by Christian Laettner and Brian Davis, both of whom were on the back-to-back Duke Blue Devils NCAA championship team. Their development company, if I correctly recall, is actually called Blue Devil Ventures.

Since we had Bruce in the car and expected to have to wait, I dropped Amanda off at the IHOP and went across the street to PetSmart to grab Bruce a little something to much on. I picked up a two-pack of small rawhide bones and ended up getting in line behind a lady who had to be buying at least 20 double packs of canned cat food. She had two golden retrievers with her- one a puppy, the other the largest retriever I’ve ever seen. It was a little husky, but that’s not what I’m talking about- he was just large.

By the time I got back to IHOP everyone was already seated. We ordered, ate, chatted a bit. We talked about family, religion and a little about politics. It was kind of cool having such a discussion with my parents.

We said our goodbyes and headed on back to Wilmington. Nothing to eventful in that except that I was pretty tired at one point and decided to get off on an exit to go to a gas station and stretch my legs. The gas station, we found out upon going up the exit, was over a mile away so I thought I’d just get back on the highway, but we couldn’t find a sign for 40 East. Turns out the way up was the way back down, and it took us a minute to discover that. So about twenty miles later I finally got to get out and stretch my legs. I pumped some gas and Amanda got me a Mountain Dew Code Red and some Sweetarts. That all seemed to do the trick.

My car was back in the driveway when we go home, but I haven’t talked to Dave Narron, who worked on it yesterday, about it yet. Hell, I don’t even know where the keys are. I assume he still has them. Amanda and I unloaded the car and were thinking of going to the beach, but there was a lot of yard work and cleaning we wanted to get done before tomorrow, so we did that instead.

I mowed, Amanda pulled weeds. There were some stones that were left here that Amanda had spread in one flower bed and we both thought it’d look nice to do more of that, so she went to Lowe’s and picked up a few bags of stones. We spread them in the little flower bed right next to the patio and around the pine tree in the middle of the backyard. We liked them so much we went back out and got ten more bags and finished the area around the tree plus the areas back by the hammock. We’d like to put some up front but we have different views about whether we should do both sides of the front or not. I think so (I’m anal about balance) and Amanda’s not too sure. We think it’d look nice to do it all along the back of the yard too at some point, but that’ll be getting expensive at that point. Anyway, it looks good.

Amanda baked a pizza then we watched Studio 60 on the Sunset Strip. The past three shows now have all been centered around one evening, but I think it’s very well done. I like the show now more than I did before they decided to cancel it. Maybe it’ll get enough support and they’ll bring it back. I doubt it, but I’m really enjoying the show right about now.

After that the rest of the night was devoted to cleaning. Bathrooms, kitchen, vacuuming, all that fun stuff. The reason for all this, by the way, is that Amanda’s Aunt Mary Francis and her husband, Uncle Dave, from Phoenix I think, are coming by the house tomorrow. It’s been a while since we gave as extensive a cleaning as this though, so we needed to anyway.

We did have, for whatever reason, America’s Got Talent playing on the TV in the background. I was upstairs when I heard Jerry Springer (who is the announcer for the show) talk about how far people had come to be on the show. I knew that a client of ours was going to be on the show, and I don’t discuss specifics on my website, but I got an inkling that this was going to be him, and sure enough as I was coming down the steps I heard his name and his familiar voice. It was really cool to see him on the show, but unfortunately the judges, except for Sharon Osborne, weren’t too big on him. I think he’s exceptionally talented, but I guess it’s not the type of thing that would really captivate America. I felt bad for him, because he’s a really decent guy, from what I know of him. Oh well- he’s pretty successful doing what he does anyway.

Zach Dotsey