Ode to Nemo

It had been a rough trip. I probably shouldn’t have gone so soon after getting over Covid. Mom needed more from me this time than she did last time. It was late afternoon when I got home, grateful to be back.

That night, I got a text from my friend Debbi.

Nemo had died.

Debbi is the friend who found a new home for Nemo after Trent died. She knew Trent’s demand, when he must have felt his impending departure. “When we don’t live here anymore, you can’t take Nemo back to Chicago with you. He can’t live his life on his leash.”

I agreed, in a snotty voice, because I thought Trent was being ridiculous.

Nemo went to live with Debbi’s niece and husband, in a house with a great fenced yard and two kids who used him like a pillow. At the end of each school day, Nemo sat by the front door, waiting for the kids to come home. He held their hands.

I’m not speaking figuratively.

If you sat on the floor and turned your palm up, Nemo would place his paw in your palm and keep it there. I taught him that.

After Trent died, I rarely sat on the couch. The floor felt more solid and holding hands with Nemo felt even better. I wanted the comfort of his warm, leathery paw pads, his soft fur.

Once, when Nemo was at Debbi’s house, the father of a friend of her husband Kevin passed away unexpectedly. The friend came over to their house. They told him to go lie on the couch while they finished making dinner. He did, and Nemo got up on the couch and lay on top of him. Nemo could tell when a person needed comfort.

Nemo was eight weeks old when we brought him home from the breeder.

White puppy looking out between two arms, on the console of a car

The first thing he did when we got him out of the car was piddle on the grass. The next thing he did was go to sleep.

Little white puppy curled up on his back, sleeping

Nemo grew fast, hurdling his way to ninety pounds. During his growing phase, he never chewed the furniture. Instead, Nemo pulled firewood from the stack and chewed it to shreds. Trent nicknamed him “Neminator” and “Shredrick.”

One of my favorite things to do with Nemo was to take long walks in the woods that surrounded our house. He would trot beside me, then tear off to investigate something. He could be gone for ten or fifteen minutes, but he always came running back.

Nemo was fifteen and a half when he died, his body riddled with cancer. It was time for him to go.

Nemo being walked on a leash by a young girl, only slightly taller than he is

Thank you, dear Nemo, for your companionship and comfort. I’m glad your body doesn’t hurt anymore. I’m glad you can run free.

Mid-sized white puppy sleeping between Trent's boots

Writing update: Sweet Baby Lover

Finally, finally, the cover designer finished the outside and I finished the inside of the refreshed version of Sweet Baby Lover. The ebook, paperback, and large print were all uploaded to Amazon this past Thursday. Now we wait for the big wheels of Amazon to turn and flip the switch.

Here’s a mock-up I made to figure out if I liked the labeling for the large print version:

The cover design for Sweet Baby Lover printed in black and white on regular paper and folded as it would be for the book.

I’m especially proud of the large print version because so many large print books are formatted badly, with a larger font but smaller line spacing, and lacking other readability criteria (e.g., ragged right edge). This one looks good and will be easier to read.

The audiobook is in a second round of edits. It’s taking longer because of the Quality-Resources-Time triangle model.

Isosceles triangle with the sides labeled Time, Quality, and Resources

In a nutshell: If you want to shorten any side of the triangle, you’ll need to lengthen one or both of the other sides.

Triangle with the longest side labeled "Time", Quality and Resources are the same length they were in the isosceles triangle.

I opted to spend fewer resources but more time to get excellent quality. The audio engineer is a high school senior who has been editing audio since he was thirteen. We’re going with the flow of time as measured by a teenager.

Next week: an update on Prince Tarkten.

Chewing the Cud of Good

White cloud reaching up on a blue sky
Thankful for dreams, and for taking action toward making them come true.


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