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Dude. Really?

I was walking my Cutter and my Tug out along the little marina that’s right near our new house in newnowheresville island.

It’s not really a marina, just a handful of slips deeded to the handful of building lots not waterfront in our little teeny tiny nowheresville community. 

So we’re walking and me and Cutter and Tug are enjoying the waterfront and I’m waiting for them to poop so I can go home and take a shower when, for whatever tiny dog brain reason, Tug tugs us all out onto one of the tiny finger piers separating the handful of slips and stands grinning stupidly down into a little jon boat half full of water. 

It’s a boat, he says happily looking at it.

Cutter follows him onto the finger pier and I’m thinking, oh boy, that’s all I need, TWO dogs piling into a half-sunk dinghy. So I gently pull back on Tug’s leash and instead of turning towards me, he backs up a step.

Which makes Cutter back up a step. 

Right off the finger pier and into the water. 

He surfaces, his paws wildly slap-smashing the water, and screams at me.

HALP, he yelps, his eyes bulging with fear and surprise. HALP, he screams.

I’M DROWNING, he yells. HALP, GODDAMMIT, he shrieks, his paws churning and slapping at the water.

I reel Cutter in with his leash and pull him halfway up on the finger pier. His forepaws clutch fiercely and he pants at me.

Thanks Boss, he says, please don’t let me drown out there, he says, looking all drowned-rat-like.

Relax, I say. You’re a Lab, just relax and swim, I say.You can do it, I say. And I gently pry his clutching paws from the deck boards. 

Noooooo, he screams.

He splashes back in and comes up spitting and sputtering. HALP, he yells. HALP me, he shrieks piteously, splashing and crashing.

Jesus.

I sigh and give up on hoping that Cutter will learn how to swim and “walk” him back to the main portion of the dock where there are cross-ties and stuff for him to hold onto.

Cutter clutches at the wood with a death grip and pants.

Please, he says.

Help me boss, he says.

I don’t want a watery grave, he says. Don’t let me die here, he says, panting hysterically. 

I’ll be nice to Tug, he pleads. Just help me, he sobs, desperately hanging on.

So I grab his collar with one hand and reach down into the water to grab a handful of fur and butt and toss Cutter up onto the dock.

He stands and shakes the water off of him and glares at me.

Tell me again why you moved us here?, he says. 

Tug rushes up to him and bumps him and says grinningly, are you really gonna be nice to me now?

Cutter shifts his glare from me to Tug and lifts his leg and pees out into the water, his stream arching and yellow. 

Fucking marina, he says. 

 

 

 

 

We done it.

ImageTwo years and two months after we started this nonsense, we finally received our official pat on the head for a job compliantly done. 

We finally actually own our new home and can do what we want with it, meaning I could immediately start undoing some of the silly compliances like re-installing the ceiling fans in the bedrooms that officialdom had deemed too close to smoke detectors and de-installing the ridiculously oppressive stair railing that the county had decided we needed to keep ourselves safe.

But.

The other thing it means is that we have to actually move in and, like, live there?

I had hoped to slooowly immerse myself and Cutter and Tug and Miss Carol into our new home. Slooowly move our possessions and ourselves and slooowly get used to a different place. 

That ain’t gonna be a happenin’ thing.

Ever since Tuesday, when we finally got our final, (it took us three tries) Miss Carol and my little brother and his cupcake have been working non-stop, full-speed-ahead to push me out of the door of the house we’ve lived in for decades and centuries. 

Things are being packed up faster than I can think and I pick up the U-Haul truck Friday afternoon and we should be mostly moved out (and in) by the end of next weekend. 

Whew, boy.

Things are moving alarmingly quickly. It’s like the years of building the house had been stretching a time rubber band and now it’s been snapped loose. 

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Suppose.

Just suppose you thought you might have a problem.

Just suppose that you had helped a friend out with a kinda sorta similar problem.

And it worked.

So.

Just suppose you found out you could maybe, possibly, apply the same problem solving solution to your own-maybe problem.

And.

Just suppose you decided to experiment on yourself.

And.

Inexplicably, irrationally, and against all expectations, it’s working?

What do you do with that?

Shuffle.

Yeah, so I got stuck.

For awhile there, whenever I was doing dishes or doing whatever that allowed earbuds and checking out, I’d been stuck on two or three songs.

Let’s call them anthem.

Let’s call them addiction.

Let’s call them profiterole.

Let’s call them whatever, they were my songs against the night, and I loved them. I swayed my hips to them while I worked scrubbing, and nodded my head to them and punched my fists to them when nobody was looking.

I was pretty well adjusted? And then I stumbled up against the shuffle button and my whole life changed.

I pushed it and suddenly music was washing over me that I hadn’t heard in decades and centuries. Songs I’d thought long forgotten. Tunes I barely remembered, but remembering, I loved anew.

Even if they were kinda scratchy sounding.

Cucumber.

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So.

The other night it’s dinnertime and all four of us, Miss Carol and me and Cupcake and my little brother, were moving around in the kitchen getting dinner ready.

In truth, only three of them were actually doing anything meal-wise. I wasn’t.

And Cutter cruises in, impatiently awaiting his treat train.

Dude, he says, looking plaintively up at me.

Dude, I say, you got another seventeen minutes.

He wuffles and  slinks by me, his ears down and disappointed.

I hate you, he says, quietly- if I had thumbs, I’d get my own, he spits up at me, as he moves back out into the living room to wait until 6:30 when all manner of sugar-shock goodnesses burst his little system.

Tug wakes up just long enough to call me a dickhead.

Thanks buddy, I say, and Tug lays his big head back down for another nap.

I shrug and keep doing whatever it is I’m doing which certainly isn’t meal-making stuff as it swirls around me and then, promptly at 6:30, Cutter is sitting and staring up at me.

Now, boss?, he says, his tail sweeping a wide arc of carpet.

Now, my little buddy, I say. Your patience is marvelous and admirable, I say.

Cutter just looks at me, his tail furiously cleaning the same furiously cleaned arc of carpet, and hisses at me- fuck all that, he says, get me my cucumber.

He makes me giggle so I do it, but while I’m skinning his cucumber it all the sudden occurs to me that when I buy a salad at the Farm Fresh my cucumber slices are unskinned. I can eat the dark skin.

I stop for a second, resting my forearms on the sink. Behind me Cutter growls and from the couch Tug shifts just long enough to call me a dickhead again.

Miss Carol, I croak.

Do you realize? And I tell her the whole skinned/unskinned thing.

Doesn’t matter, Miss Carol says. Cutter gets his treat skinned.

Yeah, Cutter says, and head-butts my leg.

Hurry up, he says.

Please just eat.

Cutter and Tug are singularly (duallularly?) a pain in the ass when it comes to eating and feeding. 

We free-feed them, meaning we leave their bowls full of food all the time hoping that they will spend their days idyllically moving slowly from napping to eating and blissfully waiting for our return.

The reality is waaaaaaay different. 

Cutter and Tug require an audience while they dine and they only dine right before their walk, so twice a day Miss Carol or me have to stand and wait and watch while the boys eat so that we or me can walk them.

It’s great fun but it gets even more frustrating.

Unless Cutter and Tug deem their food- the same dry dog food they’ve always eaten- suitable, they won’t eat it.

And then we feel bad. 

So one of the ways I’ve found to make dog food sameness palatable is to pour any kibble leftover in their bowls back into the the big dog food hopper, stir it around some, and re-serve it. 

I did this the other day and watched while my bumbling sleight-of-hand worked once again and Cutter and Tug chowed down after they’d turned their noses up on their dinner.

Why do you guys do that?, I asked. 

Tug’s nose remained buried in his bowl making snuffling and chomping noises, but Cutter raised his head and swallowed hard two or three times- still chewing the way dogs do- and glared at me.

If you left a sandwich on the kitchen counter all day long, would you want to eat it? he asked.

Yeah, Tug woofled, his nose buried in his bowl.

Cutter continued to stare at me like I was a turd.

But if you made the sandwich in the morning and stuck it in the refrigerator, you’d eat it that evening, right? he said.

Right? Tug mumbled around a mouthful of dog food, glancing over his shoulder at me.

But it’s not the same thing, I said.

Yes it is, Cutter said.

And he returned to the mincing little bites of his dinner, while I waited for them to finish so I could walk them.  

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

So awesomely almost.

We are sooooo close.

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The bathrooms just need a little bit of trim, and maybe a little less blurriness.

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The kitchen just needs a backsplash and window trim. And maybe some food cooking.

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Trim, trim, baby.

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And the living area just needs a little bit more flooring, a little bit of trim, a little less blurriness, and a final inspection so I can take down those uber ugly, temporary stair railings and open it all up again.

But, ooh, baby, baby, we are sooooooo damn close.

Pile.

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Wow.

So how do I start?

In amongst everything else, I’ve been reading a pile of books and since I’m pretty sure both my readers are hanging on my pithiness- here it comes.

A Hologram For A King. Dave Eggers book is an elegantly, beautifully written piece of go-nowhere-ness. It didn’t do anything for me, but if you like really pretty, really dull writing, rush out and get it. Or actually, get two- in case you fall asleep and forget where you left one.

The Beast God Forgot To Invent. Jim Harrison is an amazing writer. I’m not usually a fan of a collection of short stories, but his are good.

The Wolf Gift. Long, long, ago, Anne Rice wrote some of the most beautiful books ever. Yeah, sure, they were about vampires, but they were beautiful. Then she got religion or something and wrote some yawners about something else and when nobody bought them she turned back to her tried and true. Only this time it’s werewolves. Think hairy vampires.

The Englishman’s Boy. This was actually pretty good but I read it so long ago that I kinda forget.

Reamde. I have never read Neal Stephenson before, but you can betcha sweet ass I’m gonna read more of his stuff. Reamde is a 1000 page romp of fun reading. Get it.

Next up, we’ll check into the Little House of Horrors.

The fun never ends.

Miserable.

In my defense, I had already valiantly marshalled through five whole days of a devastatingly brutal head cold.

I had stoically stood up to my constantly running nose, my unbearably itchy eyes, and my life-changing, 24-hour-a-day, stuffiness and pressure gradient headache. I felt that I had bravely accepted my fate as manfully as I could.

I had toughed it out, enduring the barely endurable, but could endure no more.

Every man has his limits, his breaking point, and by Friday I’d reached the very zenith of my suffering. I had climbed my mountain of misery and stood on the pinnacle of my pain.

I had to do something.

I could stand it no more.

So I waited until Miss Carol went up to bed. And then I waited until I heard her snoring quietly. And then I waited a little bit longer, just to be sure.

And then I crept up the stairs to our bedroom, stripped down and slid sniffling and mucousy into our bed next to her. I laid awake a long time thinking about what I was thinking about doing.

And then I leaned over and gave the gently sleeping Miss Carol a long, slobbery, cold-virus-transferring, soul kiss.

ohboy.

I sure hope there are air-conditioned seats in hell.

Runaway.

My brother and me had to work late on The Little House of Horrors the other day so Miss Carol had walk the boys. Since I walk ’em every day twice a day, I didn’t think too much about asking Miss Carol to take them.

But when we got home, Miss Carol was in tears and Cutter and Tug were sitting in the corner, their ears down and looking guilty.

I looked back and forth between them and said, what the fuck?

Cutter and Tug lowered down on their bellies and Miss Carol stammered between sobs, Tug almost ran away, she cried out.

Glad that no one had died, I went to the refrigerator and got a beer. I twisted the top off and said, what happened?

Miss Carol choked back a sob, pressing her fist to her mouth and squeezing her eyes tightly shut.

I took them up to the beach, she said, her voice quavering.

And?, I said, leaning on the counter, eyeing Cutter and Tug.

And Tug took off, Miss Carol choked out.

I thought I’d lost him, she said, her tears rolling freely now. He ran and ran and wouldn’t listen, she said, hiccuping between tears.

I hugged her while she wept, and glared at Cutter and Tug.

Dudes, I said.

Cutter perked up a little and said, it wasn’t me, boss.

Tug grunted and closed his eyes.

I held Miss Carol until she had calmed down enough to make us a couple of cocktails and some dinner and then we went to bed.

Late that night I woke up and saw Tug staring at me.

Quietly I whispered to him, don’t never run away again, Tug.

He stared at me.

You’ll get picked up by some mean family and they’ll chain you to a stake in their yard and leave you outside, I whispered.

He looked at me, breathing hot dog breath on me. And then he licked my face.

I know, he said. I won’t, he said.

So I petted his big head, loving him.

Curled up at the foot of the bed, Cutter giggled in the darkness.

Buuuulllshit, he said.