Sunday, December 7, 2014

An internal promotion

By Hobo Hudson

I walked out for an inspection tour of my old jeans production floor, which is now my porch, and found Pogo, my old chief designer, whom I had kept on as a guard after I sold my business several years ago, asleep on a sunny windowsill and the floor covered with MICE. There were brown ones, white ones and even a few red and green ones all over the place.                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                       
When I pawed Pogo and asked why she didn’t have them under control, she meowed that she didn’t have the energy anymore and just wanted to drowse in the sun.

After thinking about it a moment, I realized she was probably just lonesome after her mother and sister departed my employment and Thomas was promoted to Mom’s lap kitty and decided Pogo needed company.

Since my policy has always been to offer promotions to my current employees before hiring an outsider, I immediately thought of Tiger who has been handling my outside pest control problems for about a year and has done an excellent job keeping away the lizards, mice, rats, etc.

He had shown up about a year ago when he was no bigger than Dad’s hand and almost dead from starvation. I immediately gave him some food and a room under my neighbor’s shed. After he had gained a little strength, I assigned him the duty of keeping the lizards and other small critters away from my backyard and, as he grew bigger, I promoted him to neighborhood rat catcher. 

When I approached Tiger, he was a bit hesitant about accepting the job helping Pogo on the porch and asked if he could work part time for a few days to see if he liked it. I agreed, and he went to work immediately but only worked an hour or so before he meowed he wanted to quit for the day, and I had Dad let him out. He showed up bright and early the next day to give it another try and worked a bit longer before wanting to quit. After about a week, he was working most of the day, and I was well satisfied with his work.

About this time, the weather turned awful! It was pouring rain and a cold north wind was blowing when he showed up for work. After getting the mice population under control and curling up with Pogo for a little while, Tiger spent the rest of the day on a window sill watching the cold rain coming down and told me the catnip is definitely tastier on this side of the window and he would be working full time from now on.

I am going to let him work another week to be sure he’s happy with his decision and then have Dad take him to my doctor for a little “house kitty ritual” after which he’ll be a permanent lifetime employee and I may even let him meow a blog now and then.

Mom and Dad are very happy with Tiger’s decision, although Dad was a bit grumpy by being awakened at 1 a.m. one night when Tiger and Pogo were playing a rousing game of jai alai using a ping-pong ball for a pelota and the bedroom sliding glass door as a backstop. I solved this problem by giving Dad permission to hide the ping-pong ball before he goes to bed, so everything is working out well so far.

Friday, October 10, 2014

The first solo cross-country flight

By Hobo Hudson

The aspiring flier fidgeted as she stood in line waiting for her instructor to review her flight plan. This doesn’t look too bad, she thought, watching her instructor cursorily scan the flight plans and make a notation on the bottom before entering permission for the flight in the student’s logbook and sending the student on his way.

When it was her turn, her instructor carefully went over every detail on the flight plan and even asked her to justify her compass heading. Pulling out her “spin wheel” and her notes from her flight service weather briefing, she explained the true course would be 055 but a wind from 190 made her adjust her course slightly and, after adjusting for compass deviation, how she had come up with the course she noted.

Finally, her instructor nodded and wrote LD07 on the bottom and explained that Lima Delta Zero Seven would be her call sign to contact Tampa Approach if she got lost and needed radar assistance.

She smiled in satisfaction as she noted her instructor’s permission for her first cross-country flight while walking to the flight line. This day had been a long time coming but she felt confident and fully prepared.

After watching her lift off, the instructor tuned his radio to the destination airport’s frequency to monitor his other students’ progress since the first of the flights should be about ready to land. To his surprise, he heard nothing but silence. He shook his head and tuned to Tampa Approach’s frequency and heard a babble of voices….LD03 turning to 268, descending to 45 feet. Will dive after passing over roof top for final to 180, etc.

Shaking his head, he called to the other instructors to take off and help Tampa sort out the developing feather ball. After takeoff, he heard a clear confident feminine voice: LD07 is a black bellied whistling duck-student flier. Currently 12 wing flaps west of Cafeteria-level at 100 feet-plan to enter a left cross wind for Cafeteria and make a wide left down wind for landing on runway 18.

LD07-Tampa Approach. Whistle 1207 and whistle if you need radar assistance. Roger that. LD07 whistling 1207.

The grizzled old instructor rushed to take off and hurried to Cafeteria to find out what had gone wrong. As he approached, he saw a slight fog had developed and, although he had excellent vertical and horizontal visibility, he could not see the runway ahead of him. However, he knew the surroundings intimately and upon landing, saw a sole student on the ground.

“How did you manage to find the airport when none of the other students could find it?” he asked.

“Hobo told me his dad used to fly and I’ve been picking up tips from him,” she replied. “He told me that sometimes a slight fog will develop and you can see ahead and down but can’t see at an angle. He called it ‘slant visibility.’ He also told me that if it happened to me to try to find a very visible landmark a little to one side or the other of the airport and aim for it while looking straight down so I flew a little left of my true heading until I could look down and see the east/west highway and flew on top of it until I crossed 14th Street. From that point, it was a piece of cake.”

The old instructor was silent for a few moments as he digested her explanation. It was an approach he had never heard about. He then asked for her log book and, after scanning it, he pronounced that she was nine minutes short on blinder time and short two cross-country flights. 

Making a snap decision, he told her to eat breakfast and then put on her blinders and he’d fly with her a few minutes east, do a few maneuvers and then fly towards home until the nine minutes were up. If that worked out all right, he would send her on a cross-country flight the following morning to Wimauma and then a cross-country flight to Manatee the next morning, and if she felt up to it on her return, he would give her flight test upon her return and she could be a fully licensed private flier in two days.

He then congratulated her and told her that she would be the fastest student he had ever had to earn her wings.

The little duck smiled and thanked him before walking away to eat and didn’t tell him that Hobo’s dad had rented an ultra-light plane and flown along-side her several times to help her practice her maneuvers but couldn’t log them because he didn’t have an instructor’s license. She’d just let him think that females are naturally better fliers than males.

Thursday, August 28, 2014

What the job description left out

Edited by Hobo Hudson
Written by Wylie Hudson

When Hobo interviewed me for the job at his home, he conveniently forgot to mention that I would have to share the living quarters with cats. I was more than surprised at finding those critters in my new home, but they turned out to be OK, and I knew right away I could live with them, especially since they were enamored with me or at least with my tail.

However, taking on the job of a cat sitter is a completely different ball game. In fact, the cat I have to babysit does play ball, and from all the balls available, he has found a liking to tennis balls. I was always under the impression that tennis balls were the exclusive toys reserved for me and my fellow dogs. Anyway, despite my misgivings, the cat is a pretty good catcher, and we’ve already had some good games going. He’s a little slow in tossing the ball toward me and instead rolls around with it, but that’s just a minor snag.

Now back to the cat sitting job. Several weeks after I accepted Hobo’s offer and moved into his home, he told me I needed to help our mom with a difficult task. Hobo explained that for months, Mom had tried to move our kitty brother, Thomas, from the porch into the house but wasn’t successful in any way. Hunkering down at the door to the porch without moving away from it, Thomas cried and whined, forcing Mom to let him back out, and Mom finally gave up trying to keep him inside.

Hobo said he really didn’t understand why Mom wanted Thomas to move into the house because the cats had everything they needed and more on the porch where they were safe, happy and content. But he hated to see Mom being unhappy, and he always did his best to accommodate her.

So, Hobo gave me my new assignment to change Thomas into a full-time house kitty and take care of him. When I pointed out that babysitting had not been a part of the job he’d offered me, he said I shouldn’t consider it a job but an act of love or a hobby. He said he couldn’t do it because he had too many things going on and just didn’t have the patience for it. Even though I knew that if babysitting the cat wasn’t a job, I wouldn’t get paid extra kibbles doing it, I agreed to it—as if I even had a choice.

The first day I became a cat sitter, I found out it wasn’t work at all. I didn’t have to do anything. When Mom carried Thomas into the living room where I was waiting for him, he came running toward me, snuggled up against me and then followed me wherever I went. He barely left my side. I finally showed him a hidey-hole in the corner of the dining room where he now likes to curl up, and I’m able to take a snooze alone again. 

This has been going on for a week or two, and Thomas has no urge to go back out onto the porch. And I’m receiving payments after all, even for doing nothing. Every time Mom sees me walking around with Thomas on my heels, she pats my head and tells me what a good boy I am. 

Monday, August 18, 2014

Getting started in a new job

Edited by Hobo Hudson
Written by Wylie Hudson

When I walked into Hobo’s office, I was overwhelmed by the most awful odor I had ever smelled. I put a paw over my nose to keep from gagging and gasped to Hobo, “What’s that horrible odor?” Hobo grinned and said, “Did I forget to mention Blondie? That’s a cat you smell, and I would advise that you be real careful around her. She’s getting old and cranky and just might whack your nose if you bother her.”

Despite Hobo’s warning, I just had to walk over and check her out since she was sleeping and didn’t seem to pose a danger. I gave her a tentative tap with my paw, and she opened one eye and gave out the most terrifying hiss I’d ever heard. My legs turned to mush and my tail hit the floor as I rapidly backed away.

Hobo laughed and assured me that she and I would get along as long as I didn’t startle her for a couple of days and then took me out onto the porch to meet a couple more of the critters. Unlike Blondie, these two came running up and asked permission to play with my nice fluffy tail, and I instantly gave permission and knew I’d get along fine with those two.

After that, Hobo took me for a tour of his home and office. First, he showed me a large room which he called a “living room.” It contained two long sofas, two doggy day beds, a futon, an ottoman and a recliner, which Hobo explained was the only place Dad would sit while he read or watched TV. There was also a large coffee table and a big heap of toys under it.

I immediately asked if I could play with the toys, and Hobo told me I could play with all of them except for a large somewhat dilapidated stuffed skunk, which Hobo explained was the only thing he played with. When I saw a deer antler sticking out of the pile, I put my paw on it and asked if he would mind if I chewed on it now and then. Hobo replied that I could have it since it didn’t have any taste, and he had only given it one sniff when Dad brought it home.

Then, Hobo and I went outside, and Hobo gave me a quick tour of a large fenced back yard and showed me how to check for wilted grass and give them a little water. He also showed me a patch of yellowish grass and told me that was where I should deposit my nice organic fertilizer.

When we re-entered the house, Hobo gave me my first job assignment. He told me that all furniture is “first come, first served” and he wanted me to claim Dad’s chair so Dad would be forced to go into Hobo’s office and work on proofreading Hobo’s new book, which he hopes to publish soon.

That evening, New Mom asked me to sleep with her in what she called “The guest room.” I found it had a nice large, new smelling, doggy bed which I concluded Hobo had purchased just for me and enjoyed a good night’s sleep, although New Mom later told me I seemed to have had a nightmare one time during the night.

Sunday, August 10, 2014

The interview process

Edited by Hobo Hudson
Written by Wylie Hudson

I was a bit afraid that Hobo might change his mind overnight and decide not to hire right now due to the unrest in Ukraine and Gaza. I didn’t sleep much worrying about this and the upcoming interview, but I decided to put on a brave front and was up at the crack of dawn requesting an appointment at the fur salon for a brushing and comb out. After that, I told myself to buck up and act as though I already had the job.

After the fur treatment, I returned to my room for breakfast and then packed my toys and seeing that I still had a couple of treats left, I shoved them through the wall into the next room for my neighbor to enjoy, thinking that I might as well go for broke, and then sat down patiently waiting for the gates to open.

Just as the gates opened, a large silver limo pulled into the parking lot and the nice couple got out accompanied by a somewhat pudgy little black terrier. When I saw them, I immediately went into my dance routine, and they walked over to me, and then we all adjourned to an interview room.

After a few preliminary sniffs, Hobo and I sat down, and he explained that he is getting older and would like to slow down a bit and wanted to hire a good dog to take over some of his work so he could concentrate on his writing and bone market trading and maybe take a vacation now and then.

He then asked me a series of questions, and I had to admit I didn’t know anything about computers but had had typing lessons during puppy school and had received all As on my essays.

Hobo seemed satisfied with my answers and then asked if I had any questions. At the same moment, one of those pesky squirrels walked past right behind Hobo, and I had to focus really hard not to chase the critter again and probably blow my chance at obtaining the job. However, just when it entered Hobo’s side vision, Hobo barked, “Let’s get that squirrel!” and we were off.

My long legs enabled me to outdistance Hobo in a flash, and I was sitting at the base of an oak tree staring intently at the squirrel, who was sitting on a limb jibber jabbering away at me when Hobo arrived. I knew it was probably a bad move to outrun my future boss, but I just couldn’t help myself.
Hobo just grinned and said “You’re hired. Let’s go into the office, and I’ll put my paw print on the paperwork.

When we had signed everything, we hopped into Hobo’s limo and I was off to a new future which sounded great to me. Little did I realize the hard work that would be required for me to learn my new duties. 


About Hobo

This was Hobo Hudson, my doggy brother, a little terrier mix with black fur. He became famous after his first attempt at writing stories, which was an article published in the newsletter of our local animal shelter, the same shelter in which I ended up years later before Hobo and his parents adopted me. Hobo’s fame quickly spread as he made a name for himself as a business dog and an adventurer. To keep his memory alive, my doggy sister, my three kitty siblings and I, Wylie Hudson, are continuing his blog. Our mom is the blog’s editor.

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