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.”
Happy Easter one day late from the Firepants Family. I would show you more photos, but someone forgot to put the memory stick back in the camera and didn’t realize it until the Easter Egg Hunt was completely over. Yes, it was me. And yes, that wasn’t the first, second, or third time that has happened. We have many memories of photos I thought I took from over the years.
Wonderbutt had a smashing Easter. He was completely enthralled with the giant egg the Easter Bunny brought Dimples.
Wonderbutt fans will know that when he finds a toy that he really likes, he gets a bit protective and takes it out to his Poop Pen. This is where kitchen towels and Girl Scout cookie boxes go to die. Dimples did not find this to be an acceptable location for her egg.
Once we got him back inside, Dimples problem solved, and came up with a way to “reject” any more of Wonderbutt’s attempts to escape with his plastic egg. With an egg on his face, however, Wonderbutt was not aware of his new boundary until he rammed into it.
Yep, this is how the Firepants Family celebrates Easter.
Okay. So, first, go to the farmer’s market and buy yourself a 70 pound watermelon. Then, drive to Disney World (because I think you would have to pay for an extra plane ticket for the oversized fruit if you flew). Just tell the Disney people I sent you, and I’m sure they will have no problem with you entering with a rather odd looking baby in an umbrella stroller. Go straight to a gift shop and shell out a cool hundred bucks for a rain poncho. Stand in line at Space Mountain for two hours. Get in your little Space Mountain car, and buckle the watermelon into the seat beside you. After the ride starts, try to dress your watermelon in the rain poncho before the ride ends. Make sure you get every button snapped. Oh, and smile for the camera.
Now you know what it’s like trying to get our bulldog, Wonderbutt, into a life jacket.
Stubborn our bulldog is. Stubborn am I. This time (0ne of the few times in 2 years) I won. But just because I got him to wear it for 5 minutes on the back porch didn’t mean it wasn’t going to fly like a cowboy off a bucking bronco as soon as we got to the pond.
He seemed pretty keen on taking a walk in his
strait life jacket, which made me a bit optimistic as I followed down the road to the pond. As we neared the “tank” (as Texans like to call it), his pace quickened despite the heat.
Then we reached the water.
We all watched as the other dogs quickly strode in to the pond. Wonderbutt walked around the edge for a bit, a little hesitantly.
Then he went deeper.
And, suddenly, he was swimming.
He. Loved. It.
Long after the other dogs had moved on to literally greener pastures, Wonderbutt continued to swim. I finally made him stop because I was afraid he was just going to run out of gas in the middle of the pond, and I would have to go haul him out by the suitcase handle on his back.
We went back to the pond 3 more times that weekend. Every time, my fat, attention deficit dog leapt into the water and swam until I called it off. The last couple of trips, he even fetched a stick.
Wonderbutt never fetches. When you throw something, he runs to get it, then races with it out to his Poop Pen so you won’t take it away from him.
But not this weekend. This weekend, Wonderbutt was a stick-wrangling water dog.
By the end of our time on the ranch, Wonderbutt was a seat-hogging snoring dog. Life is good.
As our great nation celebrates another peaceful bestowal of power upon someone chosen by the people, I would like to describe to you what it is like to still live under tyranny – with the imperious King Wonderbutt as our leader.
Less discerning subjects may feel that the King has matured, as there are fewer incidences of pillaging to be reported. This is not due, however, to any mellowing on the part of Wonderbutt; instead, we are the ones who have submitted to his autocratic laws. We sometimes forget our servility, and Wonderbutt swiftly issues his own version of justice, as dictators are often wont to do. For example, Wonderbutt no longer chews on shoes. This is not because he has not developed any kind of shoe restraint; we just try not to leave shoes in his vicinity. Our daughter frequently places them on the front windowsill when she enters our home, so that anyone who climbs our porch is greeted by a parade of boots, tennis shoes, and flip flops staunchly standing guard. This will probably not increase our chances of having our home featured in Better Homes and Gardens, but it does decrease the chance of Wonderbutt redesigning her footwear or forcing us all to become Hobbits and grow our own leather soles on the bottoms of our feet.
The King no longer chews up our carpeting because we got concrete floors. And, he doesn’t eat our sofa cushions because we finally purchased leather sofas. It’s even been awhile since we’ve found book pages strewn around the living room because the entire family gave up reading.
Well, we didn’t stop reading. Just stopped reading in the living room. (I would like to point, however, that it is a common trait amongst tyrants to limit the available reading material of his subjects.)
If we foolishly leave a dish towel draped over the counter, Wonderbutt reminds us of our slovenliness by dragging it out to his Poop Pen (don’t worry, we throw it away once it’s reached that Point of No Return; we do not dry our dishes with poopy towels, I promise.)
So, rejoice, Americans, and all of you who live in democratic countries. You are fortunate to have some input in the laws that you must follow.
And to not have to do battle every evening in an attempt to dethrone the King.
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…
Our bulldog, Wonderbutt, does not really understand the whole concept of our American Thanksgiving.
He seemed a bit miffed when I mentioned that he will not be feasting with the rest of us.
Our last episode ended with a cliffhanger – and I am sure that most of you have been on the edge of your seats for two days, wondering if I managed to snuff out my new, mail-order ant colony – or if Wonderbutt had taken care of the job for me. You will be happy to know that the ants are still alive, all but one, in a temporary home that once contained Vitamin Zero water (lemonade flavor, which, quite frankly, is not my favorite anyway). I successfully refrigerated them for half an hour and transferred them with great ceremony to their new home by opening their tube and allowing them to tumble into the bottle. My daughter, Dimples, was completely unimpressed by the whole event, as the mouth of the bottle was wide enough for me to discharge the whole mass of numb ants at once instead of having to scoot one at a time through a tiny opening like I will have to do when I move them to the farm. Which begs the question of, “Why are ant farms deliberately manufactured to hinder the initial entrance of ants, thus making classroom teachers everywhere hop onto their desks screeching as the crazed insects swarm away from the minute opening on the ant farm and race across the table and down its legs so they can, instead, crawl up inside the more hospitable pants of the humans who attempted to imprison them for their own amusement?” It’s one of life’s unsolved mysteries.
Here is a picture of the ants in their Vitamin Zero bottle. I poked a tiny hole in the top to give them air. Even though the tube they arrived in had no such hole that I could discern. But I seem to have read somewhere that even insects need air. Then I was worried that the ants would find a way to squeeze out of the hole. So, I came up with the ingenious idea of putting a duct tape force field around the cap, so they would stick to it if they got that far. In retrospect, that might be perceived as a bit cruel and probably somewhat paranoid. The hole is the size of a pinprick, and these ants are huge. But insects are tricky little creatures, and I figured it couldn’t hurt to be cautious.
Wonderbutt got jealous as I was taking pictures of the ants (as soon as he hears camera sounds, he comes running), so I decided to let him take a peek at the bottle.
He quickly lost interest once he detected no delicious smells and observed that the ants were far too industrious for his taste. Though they do share his stubborn ability to bulldoze large objects out of their way, ants do not seem to appeal to Wonderbutt, so they should be safe for a couple of days.
I will take the ants to school on Monday, and the students will help me set up their new habitat. Then, they will watch in awe as I show them the right way to move ants who have been refrigerated for an appropriate amount of time into an ant farm. Then the parents will call the school that afternoon as they receive reports of their child’s teacher spewing a few ill-chosen words while the ants rebelled and hastily converged on the humans gathered around the new containment unit. Good times…