I work at my daughter’s school. At least, I did until today. (Don’t worry. I still work there. It’s just not her school anymore, as she just finished 5th grade.)
One morning, a couple of days ago, we were walking into the school. To the delight of many other students who were on their way in, a chihuahua who had obviously not read the “No pets on campus” signs clearly posted everywhere, was dashing around the entrance of the school.
“I recognize that dog,” my daughter said. ”It’s the one that lives across the street from Gabby’s house. That’s Rex!”
“Hmm,” I said, noting the huge pink color adorning the neck of the chihuahua. ”Uh, are you sure its name is Rex?” And, yes, I am well aware that is sexist. And somewhat unimaginative. I mean, it could be, “R.E.X.” for “Resist Extraterrestrial X-Rays.” Or, maybe, it was spelled, “Wrecks” as in “She Wrecks Every Piece of Furniture We Own.” Perhaps that’s what we should have named our dog…
“Oh, yeah, that’s Rex,” my daughter confidently responded, nodding her head with assurance.
“Because uh, it’s got a pink collar,” I pointed out.
“It’s Rex!” she said, mildly perturbed that I would doubt her canine identification skills.
“O-kay!” I said, not willing to begin the day with a war over the moniker of an animal.
“Or Steve,” she conceded, as I opened the school door. ”It could be Steve.”
Two years ago, Wonderbutt, (B)Light of my Life, made his way into our household by using the subtle ploy of falling asleep on my daughter’s lap at the pet store we had visited with the intent of getting her a fish. That was the last time Wonderbutt achieved a goal without bulldog-dozing his way through everything in his path.
During his second Christmas with the Firepants Family, Wonderbutt managed to commandeer as many gifts as he could – most of them from his sister, Mrs. Pain in the Butt. Despite the fact that he had received his own gifts, Wonderbutt operates under the philosophy that the grass is always greener on the other side of the Poop Pen, so to speak.
Despite all of Wonderbutt’s machinations, the Firepants Family had a pretty good Christmas this year. I will fill you in on some more of the day’s events later this week…
Wonderbutt has been fairly well-behaved, lately, which can be disappointing when 1/3 of your blog material is dependent upon his exploits. He still has his moments, though.
The Firepants Family was gathered around the table for a dinner cooked by your very own Mrs. Cap’n Firepants. Even more surprising, we were trying to plan out our family meals for the week. If you know anything about us, you know that we are a “Fly by the seat of your Firepants” kind of family when it comes to breakfast, lunch, and dinner. Basically, the person who is the hungriest is the one responsible for preparing the meal. With school about to start, though, I suggested we try to be a bit more organized. I know full well that this way of life will completely dissolve about three weeks into the school year. But I like to delude myself.
Deeply engrossed in a conversation about the health benefits of nachos, according to Miss Dimple Firepants (age 9), we barely noticed Wonderbutt sneaking under the table and grabbing one of the Cap’n's prized Texas A&M flip-flops in his mouth.
“Hey, he’s got one of your shoes,” I interrupted. Wonderbutt stood there, proudly holding the shoe in his mouth. As soon as he saw that all of us had taken notice, he dashed out the doggy-door, narrowly avoiding the swipe of Cap’n Firepants’ hand in the attempted retrieval of the shoe.
The doggy-door leads to Wonderbutt’s Poop Pen, a small area enclosed by chicken wire where Wonderbutt, uh, does his business. Wonderbutt sometimes brings things out there in his own version of a Keep-Away game in which none of us willingly participate. It’s difficult to fetch objects from the Poop Pen. And, many times, it is not very desirable.
Thankfully, Wonderbutt dropped the shoe in a bare patch of dirt, and then looked stubbornly at us through the window as all three of us coaxed him to return the shoe.
He raced back inside. Without the shoe.
We tapped on the window. This was our signal for him to go out into the Poop Pen way back when we were trying to teach him to use the dog door. Of course, back then, we were trying to get him to go out there and pee. Not something I remembered until Wonderbutt headed back out the door and, with a little shove from Dimples, landed back out in the Poop Pen. He headed over to the shoe, and looked over his shoulder. And, I thought, “Uh oh. He’s going to pee on Cap’n Firepants’ college logo. And Cap’n Firepants is going to be madder than he was when Wonderbutt ate our couch. Maybe even more mad than when Wonderbutt ate our floor.
While Wonderbutt pondered his next move, and Dimples and I looked helplessly through the window, Cap’n Firepants had other ideas. He went out the back door, headed over to the Poop Pen, reached over, and before Wonderbutt could make a decision, grabbed his flip-flop out of harm’s way.
It was a somewhat disappointing end to the whole situation. For all of us except the Cap’n, I suspect.
Although Wonderbutt might have felt some sense of satisfaction later on in the evening when, as a direct result of me getting my car washed that day, a torrential downpour thoroughly soaked the A&M flip-flops, which the Cap’n had left outside the back door in order to keep them away from Wonderbutt.
Wonderbutt always wins.
My husband, the Honorable Cap’n Firepants, has suffered much humiliation at the paws of my pets over the years. How he handles this is exactly why I love him.
On our first date, my dog of the moment tried to rip out Cap’n Firepants’ throat. The Cap’n brought me home from a movie, and I invited him inside for a minute. That is when Cujo leapt on the Cap’n with open jaws aimed straight at his larynx. I grabbed the collar and yanked Cujo off the Cap’n, who mumbled something about, “Maybe some other time,” and made a quick exit. After the door closed, I threw myself down on the sofa in absolute despair of ever being able to date again.
The next day, the Cap’n sent me roses, and invited me on another date.
Over time, the Cap’n was able to slowly make friends with my ferocious dog, and even ended up pet-sitting for me for 3 weeks when I went to Japan. And, despite the fact that my dog was completely insane and ended up on Prozac, the Cap’n eventually proposed to me. (Of course, some of you might think, and I would agree, that the bigger miracle is that he did this despite the fact that I am completely insane and on Prozac.)
That dog is long gone. But now we have Wonderbutt. And the Cap’n and Wonderbutt have a tenuous relationship that waxes and wanes on a daily basis. Mostly wanes.
The other night, the Cap’n was sitting on one of our new sofas, watching t.v., and Wonderbutt plopped down in front of him, staring at him with soulful eyes. (Wonderbutt is not allowed on the new couches, and if you question this rule, you might want to look at a few of the reasons why here and here. I would like to point out, though, the widget on my left sidebar that shows how long our new furniture has made it chew-free.)
After the Cap’n ignored Wonderbutt for a few minutes, the dog began to whimper. This is what he does to me at night when I am in his favorite chair.
The Cap’n has a soft heart. He bent down to Wonderbutt’s sweet face to gently tell him that he is not allowed on the couch.
And Wonderbutt belched the loudest, jowl-lifting, house-vibrating belch ever emitted by a mammal on this planet. Right in Cap’n Firepants’ face.
Back in the Forbidden Section of our house, I felt the earthquake, but did not know its source. But, I did hear Cap’n Firepants’ response to Wonderbutt’s in-your-face insult.
My daughter, Dimples, had the bright idea of bringing an inflated exercise ball into the living room from the garage to see how our bulldog, Wonderbutt, would react. She predicted that we would want to videotape it, and she was right. We finally found a ball that is just the right size for Wonderbutt. Of course he had to use it to careen right into Mrs. P.I.B., our long-suffering golden retriever…