Thursday, February 09, 2012

Sandals, Shovels and Hovels

"I bought Harley a shovel today and..." 

My over-caffeinated friend on the other end of the phone gasped. 

"What?  You buried your dog? Oh my God that is so sad!  What happened? Are you going to be OK?  I am surprised you aren't crying!  I think I am going to cry, I know how much you loved him and heck, I loved him too, he was so cute and funny and..."

At this point I quickly managed to over-talk my friend whose voice was about to break into tears.  I had to interrupt the imminent water squirts. 

"Harley is ALIVE! I bought him a shovel because he digs so many holes and his weary pet parent has to refill the ankle-breakers.  Matter of fact, I think that is why my favorite pair of walking sandals fell apart. I was using them to fill in the holes again."

"You were using your sandals as a shovel?"

Oh my, some conversations just go to the dogs..

shovel by copyright by Dear Miss Mermaid
Harley's  shovel with a telescoping handle. 

Recently I studied nearly every shovel on Amazon. I thought I didn't  have room for a shovel in my wheel estate, but they make small shovels, folding shovels, telescoping shovels, camping shovels, hand shovels, snow shovels, gardening shovels, spade shovels, spoon shovels, square shovels, trenching shovels, fire shovels, toy shovels, trenching shovels,  entrenching shovels and sh*t shovels. Besides shovel, they might be called a spade, scoop or tool. Cave men used the scapula or shoulder blade of a deceased beast as a crude shovel. 

One thing about being on a tiny budget but having access to the internet, is the ability to do extensive window shopping for parts and gear without setting foot in a store. Any store that isn't on the internet (and tons are not) is just losing the battle of the bottom line big time. 

One can do literally mountains of research on something they want or need, before ever spending a penny for gas to go shop or waste time gong in person to a store that might only have a small selection of the item in question. In this case I learned enough about shovels to open up  my own Shovel Hovel.  I also learned what shovel prices were going for, so I could spot a good deal if I bumped into one. Deals and bargains can be had, but only if very patient. 

By the way, I don't let little Harley dog plough up gardens and lawns, but we are out here in the remote countryside where tiny plots of grass try to crowd out the weeds. (The weeds are winning.) I look at his hole digging as aerating the soil. But I like to refill the holes so that two legged creatures don't twist, mangle and break their ankles. 

Harley will recover his holes when he is burying a bone or treat. It's a dog's natural habit to bury surplus food to protect it from scavangers. Sometimes he buries a toy. But something fascinates him with this hole digging. He has dug up moles before too. Boy were they ever mad. 

So when we went to St Cloud, Florida recently, Harley waited patiently in the wheel estate while I perused Big Lots. I wasn't even looking for a shovel, but I can't resist cruising the tool aisle. 

A girl who likes tools. 

I have a serious problem with that habit. But my wheel estate is old, I'm always trying to fix something to keep it held together. Lo and behold, there was a telescoping spade type shovel for cheap. Dirt cheap. Big Lots does have some fabulous bargains mixed in with their high-profit seasonal items. 

I played with the shovel, telescoping it in and out. I even tested it, shoveling some piles of wash cloths. I figured they might get upset if I tore into the Miracle Grow potting soil to test out the shovel so I had fun in bath linens instead. Their wash cloth shelf looked like someone had used a snow shovel to arrange them anyhow, so it wasn't like I messed up their neat order. I debated mightily about this purchase. A small budget and deep considerations. Since I had thoroughly studied shovels online already, I knew the price was terrific, maybe even a boo-boo. 

A few months back when I got stuck in Leesburg, I seriously needed a shovel then. Luckily, a man with a shovel came to my rescue. But what if a man with a shovel isn't hanging about next time?  

Recently I found myself using a rusty old axe I picked up at a campground yard sale, to dig a hole around the gazebo post that refused to budge. I had nailed it into the ground with a big spike to ward off the 40 knot winds. The lengthy spike had entered clay or something that was determined to hold onto it for dear life. And of course I've been using my sandals to refill the Harley holes to the point my sandals are looking pretty rough, actually they are falling apart. I don't dare wear them beyond the prairie, they look so unsightly. 

So instead of buying sandals, I bought Harley a shovel. The things we do for the tiny fur creatures in our life. Hopefully, since I camp out often, the shovel will come in handy. It also probably means I will never ever get stuck again. 

I wanted a toy not a shovel says Harley by copyright by Dear Miss Mermaid


  1. A shovel is always a handy thing to have. I like to browse Big Lots, and find that sometimes they are way overpriced on most of their stock, and a month or two later they will have extremely good, cheap prices.

  2. I love this post...too, funny! I want to shovel linens!

  3. A friend bought me a folding shovel last year. I mentioned I wanted to find an army surplus store, so he stopped on his way home & bought me one :-)
    I used to have a telescoping garden tool & loved it too when I had my house & flower beds. That came from the General Dollar store. I love Big Lots though!


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