Cupertino diary, day 2

28 July, 2018

Sunday, 17 June, 2018. 21:52

My sleep was a bit restless at first, but I eventually nodded off, only to be awoken too early by the sunlight peeping through the Venetian blinds of the hotel room. I got up about 07:20, dressed, and went down to the breakfast room. It was pretty busy, but I managed to find an empty table, sitting down with a bowl of very soggy oatmeal porridge, a plate of fresh fruit (watermelon, rockmelon, and strawberries), a small pot of plain yoghurt, and a sesame seed bagel and cream cheese. There were also eggs, bacon, French toast, fried potatoes made with various colours of potatoes including orange and purple, and some other things, but I avoided all those.

I grabbed an apple and a banana from the fruit bowl to have as snacks during the day, then walked across the road to the nearby 7-11 to get something to carry for lunch. I got a turkey and Monterey jack cheese sandwich plus a small packet of crackers with cheese and turkey slices, and also a 1.5 litre bottle of water. My plan was to catch an Uber out to the Fremont Older trailhead, which leads into walking trails through the Fremont Older Open Space Preserve.

I booked the Uber using the hotel WiFi, but once I got in the car I lost reception so I wouldn’t be able to mark the trip complete and rate the driver until after I got back into a WiFi zone. The driver was friendly and we chatted about various stuff like my travel and what I was planning to do for the day. We drove out of the city and up a narrow road into the hills, passing a road sign indicating deer in the area, as well as increasingly expensive looking houses nestled in the woods, until we reached a small car park and an obvious hiking path leading up the hill away from the road. He dropped me here and I indicated I didn’t have reception so would rate him on Uber later.

Fremont Older trail head
The Fremont Older trailhead

I headed along various trails, up to the peaks of Hunter’s Point, then to Maisie’s Peak, the highest spot in the reserve, and which gave a great view over Silicon Valley towards the southern Bay.

Read more: hiking through the Santa Clara Hills, an afternoon break at a winery, dinner at The Fish Market

The puppy + kitten experiment is over

25 July, 2018

Here’s a photo of our kitten Mulder and puppy Scully.

Mulder and Scully

Unfortunately, looks are deceiving. We thought they were getting along, just with the amusing foible of constantly trying to eat each others’ food. But Mulder seemed to constantly be having trouble with her digestive system, fighting diarrhoea all the time, and also occasionally urinating outside her litter boxes. We thought she was fussy about dirty kitty litter, so cleaned it out multiple times a day. She ate a lot, but seemed rather skinny.

Then my wife and I went on our vacation to Tanzania for two weeks. This trip had been booked ages ago, well before we even considered getting a kitten and a puppy. So we had to find temporary homes for them while we were away. One friend of ours also had a puppy and was willing to take Scully, but not Mulder. So I found another friend who was happy to look after a kitten, and we let Mulder stay with his family. I warned him that Mulder was having trouble with diarrhoea and going outside her litter box.

When we got back from our two week vacation, we picked up Scully and Mulder. As soon as I saw Mulder I noticed she’d put on weight. She was no longer skinny. I asked if she’d had any toilet troubles. My friend said she had a bit of diarrhoea in the first day or two, but it cleared up quickly. And she had no problems urinating outside her box.

We thought Mulder and Scully would be happy to see each other again. But they started fighting. Not play wrestling, but full on claws and hissing. When Mulder was sitting or resting, Scully would chase her. When Scully was resting, Mulder would leap and attack. We were forever separating them, or trying to keep them apart. This was causing us a lot of stress.

Mulder’s diarrhoea returned, and wouldn’t go away. She started urinating around the house again. She lost weight and started to appear skinny again.

A few days ago we made the hard decision that for the sake of her health, Mulder had to find a new home. I would have been happier if Scully had been the one to find a new home, but for my wife keeping Scully was absolutely non-negotiable. So poor Mulder had to go.

We offered her to my friend who’d looked after her while we were on vacation. I hoped he would say yes, so that we’d know the new owner and could visit Mulder sometimes. But although he liked her, he couldn’t take her permanently. I tried several other friends, but none could accept her.

Today I returned Mulder to the Pet Rescue worker who we originally got her from, three months ago. She gave me a whole pack of tissues, I was crying so hard in this virtual stranger’s house.

Mulder: I’m sorry we couldn’t give you the comfortable home you deserve. I hope you find one and live a long and happy life.

Mulder

Cupertino diary, day 1

26 June, 2018

Intro: This is another business trip, for ISO Photography Standards meetings. This time the meetings were hosted in Cupertino, California, by Apple.

Saturday, 16 June, 2018. 10:39 San Francisco time

I’m sitting at the Millbrae Caltrain station waiting for my train to take me south to Lawrence station in Sunnyvale, from where I’ll walk to my hotel for the next few days. Unfortunately the next train is almost an hour’s wait, but thankfully I didn’t miss the previous train by just a short time; it was over half an hour earlier.

Caltrain southbound
Caltrain from Millbrae station

My plane touched down at 09:20 after the flight from Sydney, which departed a bit late at just after 13:00 on the same Saturday. I’d got up and left home a bit after 09:00, getting a taxi which took me to the airport in a surprisingly quick time for a Saturday morning. Usually traffic around the airport is crazy on a Saturday, but today it was fine.

When I arrived at the check in counters, a woman approached and asked where I was flying to. When I said San Francisco, she explained that travellers to the US had to answer a bunch of security questions and she proceeded to grill me on why I was flying to the US, where I was staying, what I was planning to do there, and how long I was planning to stay. Satisfied with my answers, she let me check in.

Read more: Arriving at San Francisco Airport, catching the train to the hotel, walking around Sunnyvale to find food

Scully’s pedigree

16 June, 2018

The breeder we got our puppy Scully from has sent us her pedigree papers. We get to see details of her ancestors for three full generations. Turns out our little puppy has Scandinavian ancestry!

Her father’s registered name is Haggai Nordic King, who lives in Queensland, Australia. His father is Erik the Viking at Haggai, from Norway, and Erik’s parents are Super Sonik’s Cool Attitude from Sweden and Chocolate Dreams from Norway.

Nordic King’s mother is Betty Noire, and her parents are Franelle Black Magic and Skylark. All from Australia.

Scully’s mother is Madeleine Lemaire. Her father is Bob Marley, and his parents are Shibo Shiraz and Billie Holiday. Madeleine’s mother is Cheyenne Autumn, and her parents are Oscar Brun and Miss Juniper, again all from Australia.

These are all the registered pedigree names, excluding the breeder names, which are often prepended. Our Scully’s registered name is actually Sweetooth Scully, as the breeder name is Sweetooth.

In other news, Scully is making progress on all of overcoming her separation anxiety at night time, toilet training, and general obedience training, though we still have a way to go with all of them. We haven’t yet had a day without a toilet accident in the house, but we’ve managed several with just one accident, which is fairly pleasing. She’s pretty good at sitting on command, except when she’s distracted by other interesting things to do. She’s definitely learning better behaviour. All in all, decent progress for just on two weeks of ownership.

Oh, and she had a vet appointment last night, together with out kitten Mulder, just for general check up and worming and flea treatment. It was great sitting in the waiting room with a bunch of other people, and the vet came out and called, “Mulder and Scully!” Several people giggled.

First major puppy milestone

11 June, 2018

A major first last night. We went through the entire night without Scully peeing in her pen.

It did involve me getting out of bed four times to take her out into the winter rain to go on the wet grass, but she slowly seems to be getting the point of the activity.

Unfortunately this was followed by an accident in the house after wake-up time, so we’re still working on our first 24 hour period without toilet accidents.

Puppy log: Sunday 10 June 2018

11 June, 2018

Well this is annoying. Lots of people in our apartment complex know we’ve recently got a new puppy.

Today there was an unsigned passive-aggressive note stuck in all the lifts and near the garbage room, complaining about people leaving dog droppings around.

My first reaction was: “Wait. Did we fail to clean up after one of the times when little Scully missed the puppy pad we put down??” Then I thought “No, we definitely cleaned up every time. Even at 3am last night when I went down with her and we stood in the cold rain for five minutes, and she went, and I suddenly realised the dog dropping bag dispenser on the leash was empty – I picked up the droppings in my bare hand and took them inside to dispose of.”

Then I saw near the garbage room in the garage was a pile of droppings. BIG droppings, from a much larger dog. Okay, definitely not a slip of the mind with our puppy.

Then I got angry, because everyone knows we just got a new dog, and many people have seen us doing toilet training in the garage area. And now this gutless passive-aggressive note writer has left notes everywhere saying someone’s leaving droppings lying around.

Well. I did two things.

1. Cleaned up the mess. I used the dog enzyme remover we’ve been using to make sure the floor was really clean.
2. Emailed the Owners Corporation secretary to tell him that (a) it definitely wasn’t us, (b) I cleaned up the mess anyway, and (c) I was upset that someone left an unsigned note rather than do the right thing and clean up the mess and then report it to the Owners Corporation.

I was strongly tempted to do:
3. Leave a reply note saying essentially 1 and 2 above. Signed with my name and apartment number. And that leaving unsigned notes rather than cleaning up messes and reporting them through proper channels was un-neighbourly.

In the end I restrained myself and didn’t do 3. But now no doubt there are a bunch of our neighbours thinking “They got a puppy just the other day”, “Now someone’s leaving droppings around”, and joining the dots.

Sigh.

Puppy log: Friday 9 June 2018

11 June, 2018

I just started OneNote pages to record information about our new pets, Mulder the kitten and Scully the puppy. Birth dates, adoption dates, contact details for where we got them from, microchip numbers, dates of vaccinations, worming, vet visits, etc.

I was going to name the section they are filed under simply “Pets”. But my wife had a much better idea.

So now I have a OneNote section labelled “X-Files”.

Puppy log: Monday 4 June 2018

11 June, 2018

So… if you have a new puppy, how do you do anything?

Do I just have to take the next 6 weeks off work and say “screw it” to all my deadlines? By which I mean not just my paid job, but also putting all my webcomics on hiatus, because I ain’t getting any work done on them, even having had the last 3 weekdays off and being at home full time.

Heck, I’m barely managing to eat, drink, and shower.

Puppy log: Sunday 3 June 2018

11 June, 2018

The morning after night 2 with new puppy Scully.

First of all: I’ve never raised a puppy before. I had no idea they howl all night until they get used to not being with their mother. I’ve learnt the hard way. Literally all night. 7+ hours non-stop until we finally called a stop to it by emerging from the bedroom.

Secondly: I’ve absolutely smashed my all-time record for no sleep. I haven’t had any sleep at all for two full nights. So 49, going on 50 hours now.

But let me reassure you, there is no way on Earth I am going to get behind a steering wheel until I manage to get some sleep.

Puppy log

11 June, 2018

I’ve recently acquired a toy poodle puppy, who we’ve called Scully, to accompany the kitten Mulder who we adopted from PetRescue about a month ago. I’m the cat person in the house, and my wife is the dog person, so we decided one of each would be sensible.

However, neither of us had experience raising a puppy, and we had no idea how much work, how much constant supervision, and how exhausting it would be to get her through the first few weeks of house training and feeling confident and safe without her mother. We’re just over a week into this process and definite progress has been made, but there’s still a big way to go yet.

The result of this need for uninterrupted vigilance is that my wife and I are both taking a lot of time off work, and while we’re at home we have no time to do much else other than monitor Scully, unless we’re both home and one is looking after her. The secondary result is no new Game of Thrones episodes until things settle down to let us squeeze in an hour of TV watching again.

In the meantime, I thought I’d start blogging our experiences raising Scully. I’ve posted a few short notes to my Google+ and Facebook accounts, but realised it might be better to put them here for posterity more under my own control, and link across. To start with I’ll copy some of those posts here… (see next few posts)