The Way Things Are



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Don't See This In A Theatre With Aussies!
2006-06-15, 1:12 p.m.

This makes me sad beyond measure. It’s the kind of news story that causes me to throw my hands up in the air and admit defeat. The human race sucks, doesn’t it?

But not us! No, not us. We’re good peoples, and what makes us that is our ability to feel sadness beyond measure at the things that other humans are capable of doing to each other.

****

The other day, I was sitting out on my front porch, very innocently drinking a bottle glass of wine and talking on the phone, yammering and hammering out a bidness deal. PROCLAMATION: From here on out, I will no longer say bidness, but will instead use the more proper “biddens”.

So there I was, talking biddens out on the front porch, and once again, Piper was hanging out with me looking for yummy, crunchy bugs to eat. I got distracted from my biddens phone call by Piper, who was kind of gnawing and licking the edge of my flip flop. When I looked down to see what the hell she was doing, here’s what I saw climbing up the side of my shoe, within millimeters of being on my foot.

It's the creepiest damn thing I've ever seen, because its back end looks like a big green caterpillar. Like either a big green caterpillar bit the spider's body and just got stuck there and resigned itself to a life as a spider’s butt, or the spider itself is disguised as a caterpillar. I don't think I can live out there knowing that something like this exists. What if it disguises itself as me in order to lure in one of my hapless dogs or family members?


I think IT CAME FROM OUTER SPACE.

(I love the user comment on this film: “Don't See This In A Theatre With Aussies!” I wonder how many other movies out there should come with that warning? Maybe it should become one of the standard rating warnings, like S, L, V, Crude Humor, Adult Situations, and DSTIATWA.)

Needless to say, I have not been out on the porch since then, thank you very much, and the plants are going to die because I refuse to go out there and water them. But thank you, Piper, for saving my life, however much you didn’t really mean to, and just wanted to see if the spider was yummy and crunchy.

****

With the hot, dry weather closing in around us, we found that the standard-sized bucket we had outside for the dogs’ water bowl was not cutting it. Every evening whenever the first one of us to get home got there and checked, the dogs were just about out of water and as soon as we turned on the hose to refill their bucket, they got right under the stream of the hose and went licklicklicklicklicklicklick.

So I went to the hardware store last weekend and bought a 17-gallon galvanized wash tub. There is something very satisfying about going to a small-town hardware store and buying a big-ass galvanized wash tub. You should try it. I’ll wait here for you.

(hmmm hm hmm hmmm hm hm hmm hmmmmm) (name that tune)

And every evening when we get home, we go check on the dogs’ water tub, and we find that half the water is gone (approximately 8.5 gallons is missing), and the water still in there is FEEEELTHY.

And then we figured out what was happening. I give you these clues:

1. When we get home, Piper greets us, and is wet from her armpits up, including her whole head.

That’s really the only clue you need. We haven’t seen her do it yet (I did see her put one foot in the tub once, but not the whole upper body), but we’re tempted to put a Piper-cam out there to catch her. She’s not just dunking her head – she’s doing some serious splashing. For the record, she’s a very happy, smiling little wet dog.

I’m thinking we’re going to have to get her a wading pool so that the drinking water can stay clean and intact. I’ve always wanted one of those normal-type dogs that like to splash around in a wading pool during the hot summer days.

Oh! The water tub benefits ALL the wildlife in the area. Tuesday evening, Lil Guy and I saw a family of wild turkeys drinking from the tub. Wild turkeys, right there in my backyard! Two parents and five chicken-sized chicks. The dogs were inside, and sat at the back French doors, watching the turkeys drink their water, and when they realized I was watching them watch the turkeys, barked half-heartedly in order to protect their water. One of the turkeys turned around, and I swear to God, flipped us off, and they just kept drinking.

OTHER WAYS IN WHICH PIPER PROTECTS:

1. She protects her food bowl while she’s eating. We feed her in the front entry way, and she will eat a bit, and then scurry into the kitchen to whoever is in there, give us one warning bark, and run back in to continue eating. And if Mrs. Beans is inside while Piper’s eating? Oh my. She is very diligent in running in every few bites to give one warning bark to Beans, and then running in to keep eating. And Beans is pretty intimidated by her food bowl ferocity, and has no intentions of going in there to try to challenge Piper, and even still. Piper takes a very PROACTIVE approach to her food bowl protection. Don’t even THINK about it, she seems to be telling us.

2. When we are eating dinner ourselves at the dining room table, Piper lies under the table. Every time Beans saunters oh-so-casually toward us to try to talk us into giving her table scraps, Piper scampers out, gives Beans a warning bark, and retreats back under the table when she’s comfortable that Beans has moved away from us. Thanks, Piper, for making sure we can eat dinner without Beans knocking our elbows with her nose in an attempt to get us to drop something on the floor for her.

3. The other afternoon, a door-to-door salesguy came to the door. I know when you live in the city or a town, on a street with neighbors and houses that are visible from the street and everything, this is nothing noteworthy. But we live in a country neighborhood (we saw a boy driving a tractor down the road the other day) of houses separated by goodly amounts of acreage, and our house isn’t even visible from the road. You have to drive down our dirt road about a quarter mile to get to the house.

So this guy shows up, rings the doorbell, and talks to me about study aids or somesuch, I don’t know – I wasn’t really paying attention because I was STUNNED at the cliggas it would take to drive up a private dirt road to a house you can’t see and try to sell the occupants some nonsense. If it were me, I would assume they’d be sitting out on the porch barefoot with a loaded shotgun, but maybe he knows about the giant alien spider and my hesitation to hang out on the front porch anymore. Or maybe he has cased us, and knows that I’m really sitting out there with a beverage and a book and/or telephone.

Be that as it may, I sent him on his way, he walked back to his car, and as he drove back down our road, Piper, who had been sitting there very quietly observing the scene, let out one loud warning bark at his dust cloud. A little too little, a little too late, but thanks, Piper, for being such a diligent guard dog for us. At least we know she’s very protective of food, so if it ever comes down the collapse of human civilization, and zombies are swarming the compound, trying to take away our cans of Vienna sausages and boxes of raisins, we should be safe.

****

Here’s a picture that my son left on my phone for me. I won’t leave it up for long in order to make a half-hearted attempt to protect his privacy and anonymity, but I thought you would enjoy this. Do your kids ever do this for you? I do so appreciate it.


Nice nostrillage.

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