Category Archives: Mrs. P.I.B.

It’s Party Time

It is Fiesta season here in San Antonio.  Our cousin, Mr. Globetrotter, was visiting from Houston this weekend, and asked, “What exactly is Fiesta?”  Everyone – okay, it was only 3 people, but I still felt a lot of pressure – looked at me.  Not because I am particularly smart.  I just happen to be the person who has lived in San Antonio the longest out of the four people who were in the room.  Which, apparently, gives me no special powers, as I quite honestly had to say, “I have no idea.”

Wonderbutt can't wait to devour Mrs. P.I.B.'s Fiesta flower halo. He is the only family member who seems to understand the true meaning of Fiesta - eating.

Here is what I do know about Fiesta:

It is approximately 10 days of parties and parades.

We get off school on Friday for a “Battle of Flowers Parade” – which no one I know actually attends.

When I was in college, my sorority worked at one of the Fiesta events.  I volunteered to sell tickets.  We were locked in a wooden booth about 9 square feet to keep us “safe”.  One night, we were told to stop selling tickets because there were too many people inside.  When we announced that we could not sell any more tickets, one not-so-congenial drunk threatened to set fire to our booth with his lighter.  I can pretty much trace my fear of being confined to that one intoxicated pyromaniac.

If you are younger than 10, your favorite part of Fiesta is the cascarones, the hollow eggs filled with confetti.  It is customary to break these open over someone’s head.  Many people do not understand that you are not actually supposed to use the person’s head to crack the egg.  Hence, there are many people walking around with concussions and multicolored circles falling out of their hair.

photo credit: Nongbri Family Pix via photo pin cc

If you like crowds of people stumbling into you with towers of beer cups, Fiesta events are the place to go.

If you like live music, Fiesta events are not the place to go – unless you also happen to enjoy crowds of people stumbling into you with towers of beer cups while you are trying to listen to good music.

If you like stumbling around with towers of beer cups, it’s probably best if you don’t attend the River Parade, where your chances of stepping off the sidewalk into 6 feet of water is increased by 10 for each beer cup you have in your stack.

As you can probably tell, I am not sold on the whole Fiesta extravaganza.  Other than the day off from school, I am pretty ambivalent about this city-wide event.  It’s fun to see everyone in a good mood.  But, I can’t imagine why parades, drunks, and excess amounts of fattening food do not excite me.

After all, I moved here from New Orleans.

Just in Case You’re Wondering

Why do we put up with the Willful Ways of Wonderbutt?  I often ask myself that question.  Particularly at moments like this:

In a strange way, it almost looks like a piece of art...

Wonderbutt is certainly not the only one in the household who behaves strangely.  Perhaps you have lived with pets that do not suffer from any sort of psychological disturbances.  I have never had that pleasure.  It’s entirely possible that I am the reason for each one’s idiosyncrasies.  So, I partly suffer their insanity out of guilt.  But, I have to say that, 99% of the time they give me joy.  And that makes it all worthwhile.  And makes me both remorseful and greedy.

Today, I arrived home to one dog – Wonderbutt.  I am normally greeted by two.  My first thought was that Cap’n Firepants might have accidentally locked Mrs. P.I.B. outside this morning when he left for work.  My second thought, which was probably a bit unfair to Wonderbutt, was that our overly boisterous bulldog had given our sweet 11 year old Golden Retriever a heart-attack.

But Wonderbutt, the Tattle No-Tail, quickly led me to the hallway, where I found this:

Mrs. P.I.B. has always suffered from the delusion that being closer to our bedroom makes her safer - even if we aren't home.

It briefly stormed today, inspiring Mrs. P.I.B. to storm the gate to the Forbidden Section.  Although brave enough to leap over it once, Mrs. P.I.B.’s fear of repeating such a hazardous undertaking trapped her in the hallway.

Since we had prudently closed all hallway doors this morning, knowing there was a chance of rain, Wonderbutt saw no benefit in taking the risk, himself, and, in an unusual turn of events, became the Good Dog.

Mrs. P.I.B. panted exaggeratedly on the other side of the gate, despite the fact that the storm had passed long before and there was absolutely no threat to her well-being other than herself.

I took pity, and moved the gate, allowing Wonderbutt to barrel through to the Forbidden Section while Mrs. P.I.B. jumped over him to get out.  On the other side, she seemed to reconsider this decision, particularly when she saw how delighted Wonderbutt was to replace her.

I set the gate aside, and allowed them to both romp beside me while I made my way to the computer.  As soon as I was seated, Wonderbutt plopped down on the floor beside me, and Mrs. P.I.B. curled up in the hall.  They both put their heads down and went to sleep.

When you realize that you have the power to bring contentment to two living beings with your mere presence, it gives you a certain sense of worth.  And, believe it or not, that is far more valuable than a smelly old couch with lumpy cushions.

I guess we will find out in about another month how it compares to a brand new couch and a husband who is nearing the end of his tether…

whatimeant2invent #2

A friggin’ smoke alarm that does anything but beep intermittently when the batteries run down.  Shoot silly string.  Pop out a little red flag that says, “Change the batteries, idiot!”  Send electric shocks down my spine.  Emit a strong smell of manure.  I do not care.  But someone please think of an alternative to that $%#@!@ beep.

And while you are pondering that conundrum, for the love of Wonderbutt, would someone tell me why the batteries always run down in the middle of the friggin’ night?

You can probably guess what fun and games we had in the Firepants household last night.

Especially if you have read about our golden retriever’s abhorrence of beeping sounds. She came by the nickname “Mrs. Pain in the Butt” quite honestly.

I’m pretty sure many of the readers out there have experienced the wonderful wake-up call of a battery operated smoke detector at 3 AM.  We’ve been through this before – with an electronic smoke detector, no less – so I was a bit surprised when Cap’n Firepants drowsily said, “What is that sound?”

“I’m guessing the smoke alarm batteries are dying,” I said.  He took a moment to process this, then slowly got up and opened the door to the hallway.  Every 30 seconds, the alarm chirped.

You might ask, “If you were so alert as to be able to immediately identify the noise, Mrs. Cap’n Firepants, why didn’t you get up to stop the noise?”

Because I can’t be trusted around noisy smoke alarms, that’s why.  I kill them.  I grab the nearest broom or mop and beat them to death.  And Cap’n Firepants is not particularly thrilled with this method.

After the Cap’n went out into the hall, Mrs. P.I.B. barreled through the baby gate barrier into our bedroom, panting from the exertion of panicking about the menacing beep.

It seemed to take the Cap’n forever to deal with the matter.  It turned out that he decided to actually change the batteries once he got it down – and the new batteries had the same effect as the old ones.  He gave up and came back to bed.

Realizing his favorite tormentee had scored a spot in the coveted master bedroom, Wonderbutt began to whine out in the hall.  After five minutes of that, I finally opened our door back up, moved the gate to our door, and brought Wonderbutt’s bed to the hallway side of the gate so he could at least have the illusion of being in the Forbidden Section.  He stayed for about three minutes, and went back out into the living room to his much beloved, and much abused, couch.

About 15 minutes later, the gate came tumbling down with a crash.  Dimples was trying to get into our room, and hadn’t seen the gate across the door.

“What’s wrong?” I said.

“I heard a beep,” she said, crawling into bed next to me.

“That was 20 minutes ago,” I said.

“I need my pillow,” she said, getting back up, falling over the gate again, and walking back to her bedroom.

10 minutes after she returned, the Cap’n got up to go sleep in the guest bedroom because she was “moving too much”.

I don’t know what time I got back to sleep, but the actual alarm that I set to wake me up went off far too early for my liking.

If that thing beeps again tonight, I cannot be held responsible for my actions.  What Phoebe did to her smoke alarm on Friends will look mild in comparison.

April’s Dead Rubber Post

Well, we all knew that it had to happen eventually.  Life caught up with me, and I ran out of time to create a hastily cleverly composed post for today.  So I am going to bore entertain you with a few pics of Wonderbutt as a puppy that I just found.

Wonderbutt with Cap'n Firepants. Note the pristine carpeting upon which they sit.


Probably his first time ever on grass.

Looking over at his big sister, Mrs. Pain in the Butt

Mrs. P.I.B. introduces Wonderbutt to Big Mean Kitty - soon to become his arch nemesis.

And Wonderbutt now (well, in February at about 17 months old):

He cracks us up when he sits with his back feet tucked in like that!

I’ll be back tomorrow with more finely crafted features from the Firepants Family!


The Wascally Wabbit Escaped!

Dimples and I came home to this on Friday:

It took us a moment to identify Wonderbutt’s new toy.  He proudly led us to the remains of the toy and its companions.

Lovingly gathered with his other toys at the perfect spot on the stairs for ankle-twisting.

In case you have not figured it out by now, it was originally a collection of Easter Bunny straws that Dimples had washed had laid out on the counter on a paper towel to dry.  It had been there for two days before Wonderbutt decided that the straws were meant for him. Because that’s why we put things on the counter, you know.  To keep him entertained while we are gone.

This one straw was "passed over" by Wonderbutt for reasons unknown.

I did try to get a holiday photo that would be a bit more appropriate.

It won’t surprise you that Wonderbutt would not cooperate.

Wonderbutt does all exploring with his mouth.

It's going to be another colorful day in the Poop Pen. Sigh...

Mrs. P.I.B. tactfully pretended not to see the Easter Bunny when he/she came to hide the eggs.

But, if the Easter Bunny did not make it to your house, this may be why - he/she was assaulted by Wonderbutt. It was not a pretty sight...

That dog is determined to dismantle society as we know it – one calendar page at a time.

Exactly What is Your Definition of “Accident”?

In defense of Wonderbutt, I will say that our sofa is very old.  And that we have been wanting to replace it since we moved into our house three years ago – when we inexplicably painted the walls blue when we had a maroon, brown, and green couch.  Our golden retriever’s fur clings to the fabric of the sofa in large clumps.  No matter how many times I vacuum or lint roll the cushions, every visitor that makes the unfortunate decision to sit on our furniture stands up with golden hairs affixed to every inch of his or her clothing.  If we invite friends over, I always add the clause: if you value your appearance, do not wear black.

And now tiny white hairs are added to the mix.  The pillows that Grandma specifically recovered for us so that we could pretend our sofa was designed for a house with blue walls have had their corners chewed off, and decorative braided trim trails from the sides.  The back of one sofa has a giant dark circle where Wonderbutt obsessively licked the couch for no apparent reason.  One sofa cushion has half its foam and a zipper missing.

I have no idea what was so lickably tasty about this part of the couch.

Once we got our floors back in shape, it was even more evident that the sofa would be a fitting prop for the living room on Sanford and Son.

So, we decided to get a new one.  Yes, I know that it is counterintuitive to replace a piece of furniture that was destroyed by your dogs with a new piece of furniture when said dogs still roam freely in the house.  But a quick poll of those who know me well will reveal that I regularly defy logic.

We found a sofa that will not attract hair, will go with our blue walls (that will soon be a different color, but that’s a story for another day), and – most importantly – does not have removable cushions.  At least, they are not designed to be removable.

When going over the details of the sofa, our ears perked when the salesperson asked if we were interested in purchasing the accident protection.

“What is included in this plan?” I asked.

“Rips, tears, spills, stains.  All of those will be repaired if you buy the accident protection.”

“Let me get this straight.  If the cushion has a big hole in it, you will replace it, free of charge?”


“And, if there’s a huge watermark on it, you will replace it, free of charge?”


Cap’n Firepants, Dimples, and I all looked at each other in wonderment.  Why the heck hadn’t we heard of this miraculous plan before?

“So, what you’re saying is – no matter what my dog does to this couch, you will fix it?”

“Oh no, Ma’am.  This doesn’t cover pet damage.”

I stared at the woman, unable to speak.  Cap’n Firepants quickly stepped in.

“We don’t need the accident protection,” he assured the salesperson, as I tried to tell myself that throttling her would be counterproductive.  I wondered if she had accident protection.

“You could say that your child did it,” the woman conspiratorially whispered to me.

If you have video of a child doing this kind of damage to a couch cushion, let me know. Before you have him/her committed, I may need him/her to explain to the Accident Plan Board of Directors how it happens that a child who is not a Wonderbutt "accidentally" shreds and eats a piece of furniture.

You Can’t Find this Stuff at Macy’s

Although Fredericksburg may not compare to Rodeo Drive in California, it is known for being a Texas Hill Country shopping mecca.  After heartily imbibing Grape Creek wine on Saturday, we returned to downtown to be certain we did not miss out on any one-of-a-kind-items-that-must-be-had-at-any-price.

I think Cap’n Firepants and Mr. Globetrotter made it one block before they ditched Mrs. Globetrotter and I for another round at Fredericksburg Brewing Company.

What do they sell in Fredericksburg?  These signs will give you an idea.

It seems that after "Couture", the sign maker realized that he was being too specific, and decided just to close up his summary with "Everything."

It seems that after "Couture", the sign maker realized that he was being too specific, and decided just to close up his summary of available items with "Everything."

One place Mrs. Globetrotter and I had to investigate was Dogologie, which, I suppose, fits into the “Everything” category -although it does sell canine couture.  That’s where we met the cute pup I featured in Sunday’s post.  You can probably guess from the name of the store what type of products are sold there.  I was actually shopping for a gift for Mrs. P.I.B. (who turned 11 on April 1st) that would be Wonderbutt-proof.  I am hoping it will be another candidate for a P.A.W. Award from Wonderbutt.

Cute pup from Sunday's post. Or a short-nosed, long legged rat. You decide.

It turns out that Dogologie is not the only animal-friendly store in Fredericksburg.  Several stores have resident canines.

This beauty was NOT excited about having her picture taken.

One even had some newborn kittens.

Potential Parenting Problem Miraculously Avoided by Absence of Feline-Addicted Firepants Family Member

Our animal encounters were the only part of our weekend get-away that Dimples was sorry she missed (other than seeing our Globetrotter cousins).  The Cap’n and I were thankful that Dimples was not present during the kitten sighting.  That could have resulted in a major schism in the Firepants family from which we, and the town of Fredericksburg, might not have been able to recover…


The Big Reveal

Last week, my daughter and I went to Houston, leaving my husband, Cap’n Firepants, to supervise the installation of our new concrete floors.  Actually, “installation” is probably not the correct word.  The floors were already here, and already concrete.  But we wanted them to be transformed into something a bit more esthetically pleasing.

Original, carpeted floor (with Wonderbutt's inferior decorating)

Concrete slab under the carpeting. Mrs. P.I.B. says she had nothing to do with this travesty.

The Cap’n was great about keeping me updated during the whole process.  He would periodically text pics to my phone so I could see the progress of the work by Riverbed Concrete’s crew.

First, our kitchen floor, which had been tiled, needed the grout from the tile ground away.

Our kitchen

Then, the floor in our “Great Area” had to be ground as well.

Grinding the living room

The kitchen needed a “micro-topping” of concrete to smooth the floor out.  We chose to forego the micro-topping in the Great Area, opting instead to embrace any imperfections – such as the long crack down the floor – as details that would give it character.

Kitchen "micro-topping"

The Cap’n had designed a grid for the Great Area based on a picture we had found online.  The men had to measure and tape off the grid, then put grooves in the floor along the lines.  This would allows for the different stain colors to have crisp edges.

Laying out the grid

Once the floor was prepped, it was stained.

Dimples and I arrived home from our Houston trip just as the floor staining was finished.  I almost cried to see the improvement in our floors.

What we saw when we came home (unsealed)

The next step was to seal the floors.  This is where things went a bit different than what we had planned.  The sealer surprisingly acted as an equalizer between our dark and light stains, making the contrast much less than we had originally hoped for.

After the sealant

We were a little disappointed in the change from unsealed to sealed.  However, the overall effect is a dramatic improvement over our original floors – and way more durable for a house with a kid, two dogs, and a man who likes to spend time in the yard (sometimes bringing some of it back in with him).

Kitchen - final coat over micro-topping (we did not do a grid in this section)


Living room entryway. Note the cool "doormat" Cap'n Firepants designed in front of the door. The cedar wall in the back is going to be torn out and replaced by dry wall.

You can see what the above area looked like originally here.

The living room - the circle in the floor on the left side is an outlet the previous owner put in the floor.

We finally, after six months, can usher people into the house without having to say, “Sorry about the floors…”

Now we just need new furniture.

Coming this Summer: Wonderbutt vs. Chicken Butt

courtesy of

My whole life, I have been a one-dog person.  Even during the years that I didn’t have a dog.  I feel like I am missing a limb when I don’t have a canine companion.

For a little over a year now, I’ve been a two-dog person.  And I really like it.  Particularly since the two dogs are so different.  They are perfect complements to my bipolar personalities.

It’s interesting to watch the dynamics between the two dogs.  Mrs. P.I.B., our golden retriever, is going on 11 years old.  Wonderbutt, the bulldog, is about 18 months old.  He harasses Mrs. P.I.B. regularly.  It’s pretty clear that Mrs. P.I.B. would be perfectly content if Wonderbutt walked out the door and never returned.  Wonderbutt, on the other hand, is completely forlorn when his counterpart is not around.  When we let Mrs. P.I.B. outside to do her business, for example, Wonderbutt pines away by the door until we let her back in.  Then he pounces on her happily and trots around after her for a few minutes.  I like to think he actually misses her – and not that he’s just jealous she got to go outside when he didn’t.

Mrs. P.I.B. Warns Wonderbutt that She Has No Patience for His Shenanigans

The human members of the Firepants family were discussing this the other day when my husband, Cap’n Firepants, stated that Wonderbutt was “going to be lost when Mrs. P.I.B. passes away.” I had made this observation, myself, but it sobered us all to hear it out loud.

Jokingly, I said that we should get a third dog, so that there would never be one left alone.  And, I said, “We’re always saying the best time to get one is the summer because I’m home to train it.  We should get a puppy this summer.”

Dimples almost spit out her dinner.  That was pretty much the reaction I expected from the Cap’n, too.  He hasn’t been exactly thrilled with Wonderbutt’s concept of interior design, and most likely regrets daily that we ever became a two-dog household in the first place.

Instead, the Cap’n slowly said, “Maybe.”

Dimples’ mouth opened wide in disbelief.  I’m pretty sure both of my eyebrows went up to the top of my scalp.

“Are you serious?” I said.  “You would consider getting another dog this summer?”

I wasn’t even sure I would consider getting another dog this summer.  I had only said it because I was 99% sure it would make him jump – and it’s hard to rile the Cap’n.

“Really, Daddy?” Dimples said in a very worried voice.

“Yeah,” the Cap’n said slowly, almost as though he didn’t believe that he was saying it himself. “Just not another bulldog.”

Pondering this out-of-character response from the Cap’n last night, I suddenly sat up straight in bed.

I know what he’s doing, I thought.  He did this last week when I said, “Let’s open a bookstore in that bar that’s for lease.”  He said he would think about it, and then I lost interest.  Well, I didn’t lose interest.  I just realized that it was going to require a heckuva lot of work – and money.  And I know absolutely nothing about owning a business.  The point is, he didn’t say, “No” because he figured time was on his side.  I’m hip to this whole reverse psychology thing. 

I think it’s time for a little game of ‘Chicken’.

Honey - I found the perfect dog for us to adopt... photo credit: spierzchala via photopin cc

A Ring of Truth

One of my favorite bloggers, Kay at Blue Speckled Pup, decided to participate in the Biggest Liar Challenge; I was interested to see that one of the possible lies was that she had trained her dog to ring bells at the back door whenever he needed to go out.  Whether or not this is a true statement, I believe that it is further confirmation that she and I have a weird psychic connection.  The following is a true “tail” of Mrs. P.I.B.’s house-training experience.

When she was a puppy, Mrs. P.I.B. was pretty easily house-trained.  The only problem was that I was really the one who was trained.  I would take her out almost every hour to ensure that she did not have any accidents, and watch her closely for any signs of discomfort.  (This was during the summer.  Summers, as you know, are when teachers sit around on their tuckuses eating bonbons, so I had plenty of time to devote to my Human Obedience classes.)

I soon tired of this method, but I couldn’t figure out a way to teach her to let us know when she needed to go out.  Part of the problem was that we had a 2-story house at the time, and she was not allowed upstairs where our office was.  There was no way that we could think of for her to signal to us that she needed to go out if we were on the second floor.

I jokingly stated that she needed a bell to ring whenever she needed to go out, and my father-in-law  laughed at the thought.  The next time he came to the house, though, he brought me a rope of three cow-bells to tie to the door.  I took that as a personal challenge.  This was long before the days of The Dog Whisperer, so I was pretty confident  that I was the best dog expert I knew.

Mrs. P.I.B. is pretty smart.  It didn’t take her long to learn to ring the bells when she needed to go out.  She would sit by the back door, and smack her paw on the bells to notify us she was ready.  Within a couple of days, the system had been perfected.  I was pretty proud of my superior dog-training skills.

After about a week, I was upstairs working in the office one day, and heard the bells.  I went downstairs to let Mrs. P.I.B. out, but she didn’t “do” anything.  I chalked it off as a false alarm, and we both returned inside.  Back upstairs for me.  Five minutes later, the bells rang again.  My new lesson began to sink in.  Sure enough, I wandered back downstairs, took Mrs. P.I.B. out, and she once again seemed to have no interest in “doing her business.”

The third time, I leaned over the rail upstairs, and shouted, “No!”  The bells went silent.  That was the end of the false alarms – that day.  Just call me The Dog Shouter.

The next day, I happened to be upstairs when the phone rang.  I answered, and started chatting with a friend of mine.

“Brnnng!”  went the bells.  I was pretty certain Little Mrs. P.I.B. did not need to go out because she had just gone before I went upstairs.  I ignored her.  “Brnng!”  She slammed her paw against the bells, banging them against the door.  I leaned over the rail.  “Brnng!!!”  Even louder.  Then, out of the kitchen came Mrs. P.I.B., and she looked up at me.  Not wanting to yell, “No!” while my friend was in the middle of a sentence,  I just shook my head at the dog.  She tensed, then raced back to the kitchen, banged on the bells again, and raced back out to see my reaction.

I had a quick flashback to my childhood days when my mother would be on the phone, and swat at me like a fly whenever I tried to interrupt.

It was quite clear that Mrs. P.I.B.  was more interested in my undivided attention than going outside.  I walked calmly down the stairs, still on the phone, yanked the bell rope off of the doorknob, and dumped the kit and caboodle in the hall closet.   I glared at Mrs. P.I.B., and went back upstairs to continue my conversation.

That was the end of the bell experiment.  To my credit, Mrs. P.I.B. has been perfectly house-trained ever since.

You probably won’t be surprised to learn that I never even attempted this technique with Wonderbutt.

And that one of us still needs some remediation in the house-training area.

It's Hard to Be Stern With Someone This Darn Cute

%d bloggers like this: