The weekend before Christmas, I asked everyone to help me scrub a layer of dust and dog hair off of everything in the house. Let me be more specific. My exact words were, “I need everyone to help clean the house this weekend. We have company coming over and there is dog hair and dust everywhere.”
Apparently, what they heard was, ‘Mom wants something done around here.’ Their application of this interpretation was to spend the December weekend putting out grass seed and aerating our very large lot.
The aerating machine completely covered the yard in giant dirt plugs. The short bus dog believed those dirt plugs were snacks from the cat and spent an entire day trying to eat all the dirt plugs. I don’t know if the dog forgot that it tasted like dirt after each and every bite or if she was eternally optimistic that the next one would taste like something other than dirt. I only know that I am a sympathetic puker and the mere thought of the dog barfing up mud puddles made my stomach hurt.
A few days later, it was the evening before Doug’s parents arrived and I repeated my request for help with the cleaning. Let be more specific. I said, “Please help me scrub the floors.” I have no idea what anyone actually heard. Their response was to completely empty the bathroom contents all over the living room floor and start working on the floor trim that has been ignored since last January. They weren’t making the bathroom sink functional. They were putting a row of tile on the walls.
It’s impossible to get upset with well-intentioned efforts, but if eye-rolling created muscles, I would be able to see the craters on the moon without a telescope.
The weather is getting colder and most people are dragging out their winter clothes. It seems like animals should be growing winter coats to prepare for their five minute excursions outside for potty breaks. My two black German Shepherds have decided instead to shed their fur in giant clumps and single hairs on every surface in the house.
I usually spend my Saturday washing every sheet, pillowcase, mattress pad and blanket on the six beds in our house. Even though that was three days ago, the blankets were too nasty to tolerate this morning. I cheated and pulled all the blankets off the beds, but left the mattress pads and fitted sheets on the beds. I knew it was a stupid shortcut.
At the end of the day, I pulled our warm, clean blankets out of the dryer and walked in our room eager to crawl in the bed and read a chapter of a book. I turned on the light in our dark, cool, basement bedroom to find a sleeping dog stretched out on our unprotected sheet like a cat in a sunbeam. The sleepy fur child lifted her head and smiled at me so that I could only respond to her with ear scratches and baby talk.
Tomorrow, I will strip our bed and do the laundry correctly. Tonight, I will snuggle with my large dogs while they share their fur with my bed, skin and lungs.
If you ask the question,
“Would the dogs prefer a sliced or unsliced antler?”
And you answer it,
“Let’s get one of each and see which they prefer.”
Then you will spend an entire day saying things like,
“Stop that growling right now.”
“Be nice. Kisses. Be nice.”
Until you finally say,
“Find a way to slice this other antler or I am throwing it in the trash.”
Our washing machine is tucked underneath a staircase. At least half a dozen times a day, I am standing at that washing machine to sort, spray, load or unload laundry. At least half a dozen times a day, one or two dogs stand on the stairs with their head poking between the railings to watch me playing with the laundry. One of the dogs, I’m not saying which, drools on me every single time. Apparently, shrieking “Oh, yuck!” is a positive reinforcement to the droolly dog. Does that mean that I am the bell?ikoni
When I sit down at my computer, the dogs consider it a challenge to become the objects of my attention. They sneak up and smack my mouse hand with their heads. They lick my elbows. They put their heads in my lap and make sad eyes. They lick my elbows. They toss their metal food bowls as though they didn’t eat an hour earlier. They lick my elbows. Depending on your position in the cats vs dogs competition, I either have the cleanest elbows in town or the nastiest.
_ _ _ _ _ _ _
I walked in the vet’s office to pick up the dog who had been dropped off for her checkup earlier in the day by Doug. Two basset/beagle mix puppies were charming everyone in the building with their puppy howls, barks and kisses. After I loved on the puppies enough to guarantee looks of betrayal from my dogs, the puppies went to an exam room and the girl at the desk asked how they could help me.
“I’m here for the bad dog.”
In one movement, the girl picked up the phone, clicked a few buttons and spoke to someone in the kennel area.
“Dharma‘s mom is here.”
Evan: “I buried the mouse that the cat killed.”
Me: “Thank you for being so helpful. You didn’t bury it with your hands did you?”
Evan: “No. It had some red stuff, so I ran over it with my bike to get all the red out. Then, I buried it. I used a shovel.”
“He’s happier than a snake after a shed.”
“She’s poocrastinating until the rain stops.”
“We have yellow jackets. Find the corpse.”
It is extremely common for the pet store to be sold out of the frozen rodents that make our snake happy. Since most people haven’t discovered how pleasant and easy snakes are as pets, it doesn’t seem like frozen mice would EVER be difficult to find. Our mice come from a local breeder, so the problem is not related to any *food recalls. This week, I finally learned that one man in Knoxville causes the mice shortage. Apparently, he buys dozens of frozen mice every week to feed his CATS. We have a feral cat. It likes to kill things. The cat leaves them where we are certain to step on them. It never, ever eats them. Disembowels them? Yes. Eat them? No. If we handed the cat something that is already dead, it would give us a ‘what is wrong with you people’ look before it violently slashed at our arms. What kind of cats eat frozen mice? Is the owner really serious about his raw food diet and want his pets to also avoid manufactured food? Does the owner just need a good cat food coupon? Maybe the owner needs to skip the pet store middle man and go directly to the mice breeder. Perhaps he just needs to move to a farm and let his cats feed on the barn mice. I guess we could try teaching the snake to eat cat food.
*I giggled when I typed that mice are food. I’m easily amused.