Changing thoughts on fall

It’s starting.

I know it’s early and there is more warm weather ahead of us but this morning I felt it.

The change.

Not in me. People who have known me a long time will tell you I haven’t changed since 1973.

No, the change I’m talking about is the change in the seasons.

Wednesday morning when I stepped outside to walk our dog Caicos, I noticed it was cooler. Not just, “I think it’s a little cooler” but more like “Holy (bad word) maybe I should go back inside and get a pair of jeans instead of wearing these shorts,” cooler.

I actually noticed it had gotten a bit cooler Tuesday morning. On that walk my wife was with Caicos and me and we both commented on how it was a bit cooler.

Me and my wife I mean. Caicos doesn’t talk about the weather much. Caicos, I think, figures since she has no control over the weather it doesn’t do much good to talk about it.

I think that’s what Caicos figures.

My wife, on the other paw, talks about the weather nonstop. My wife has two basic weather opinions.

Opinion No. 1: IT’S SO HOT! I’M BURNING UP.

Or .


To my knowledge, my wife has never said, “This weather is perfect.”

The fact that it’s getting cooler means that, before too long, I will switch from shorts and flip flops to jeans and tennis shoes.

And since Wednesday was the first official day of fall it also means that soon the leaves on the maple trees in our neighborhood will start to change colors and eventually fall to the ground.

By the way, the great Jim Gaffigan, wisely points out that when people flock to areas to take in fall foliage, they are actually reveling in the death of the leaves.

I think Jim and I share the same semi-dark Catholic sense of humor.

Anyway, Tuesday morning my wife  said she was “freezing” while we walked Caicos. As we got to the vacant house with the huge yard on our street Caicos began veering over towards it.

Caicos loves the big yard surrounding the vacant house on our street. So did Shilo our German shepherd and Shadow our border collie who both came before Caicos.

The house has been vacant for a more than 20 years. It’s a nice house though. The owners maintain the house and take care of the yard. They just don’t seem to be in a hurry to sell.

Caicos loves walking through the yard and scaring up the occasional rabbit or squirrel.

When Caicos started ambling over to the yard, I mentioned to my wife that I was going to have to walk through the cold, wet grass in my flip flops.

“Just tell her ‘No’,” my wife said.

This is where my wife and I differ when it comes to pets. My wife looks at pets from a human perspective. And from that perspective my wife thinks I would be a moron to let  Caicos drag me through a yard full of cold, wet grass.

I, however, look at pets from their perspective.

Here’s a typical day for Caicos.

My wife and I get up. We go downstairs.  My wife fixes coffee while I give the cats their morning treats. Then I call for Caicos, who is patiently sitting at the top of the stairs. When Caicos comes downstairs and sees me standing by the breezeway door holding a travel mug of coffee she begins jumping up and down as if to say, “A WALK! WE GET TO GO ON A WALK! THIS IS THE BEST DAY OF MY LIFE!”

At the end of our walk I feed Caicos then she walks to the footstool in our family room, climbs on it and starts looking out into the backyard.

That’s it. That’s her day.

So, the way I figure it, if Caicos wants to walk through cold, wet grass the least I can do is let her.

Now, some of you reading this may be asking, “Well, Mike if you say you look at things from the pets’ perspective why do you let Caicos scare rabbits and squirrels? Don’t they have rights?”

To some of you asking that I say you make an interesting point. While the rabbits and squirrels Caicos scares are-technically-not pets they do have rights. But, then again, rabbits tend to be lucky, what with that whole foot thing and squirrels…well…they have their nuts.

Some of you asking the question about rabbits and squirrels are now probably asking, “Mike, you just made up that question so you could do a squirrel/nuts joke, didn’t you?”

To some of you asking that I can neither confirm nor deny what you seem to be implying.

All I can say is I love squirrel/nuts jokes. As far as I’m concerned David Letterman was the master of the squirrel/nuts comedy genre.

When I was writing for a newspaper, I spent years trying to  work squirrel/nuts jokes into my columns only to have them all removed by editors who were tragically humor impaired.

Here is an example of what I’m talking about. When our now 23-year-old daughter Emma was four my wife decided to throw a large party for Emma and many of her friends. Because my wife is not totally crazy she designed the party to be held in our backyard rather than in our house.

Unfortunately we woke up on the day of the party to heavy rainfall which would require my wife to move the party inside. Something she clearly did not want to do.

I later wrote a column about that party and my wife’s reluctance to acknowledge the rain. In that column, by way of trying to convince my wife that it was indeed raining very hard, I wrote the following:

“Look at that squirrel,” I said to my wife. “His nuts are floating.”

Editors hated me.

To sum up: It’s getting cooler. Squirrels are worried about their nuts and soon, according to Jim, thousands and thousands of leaves will fall to their death.

Enjoy your fall.