I was deeply engrossed in typing a thought-provoking post for my teaching blog yesterday with my faithful bulldog, Wonderbutt, happily chewing on one of his many bones a few feet away from me. After about 30 minutes of peace, my daughter walked into the room, and screeched. I jumped and reluctantly dragged myself away from a passionate sentence I was in the middle of writing. When I followed the direction of Dimples’ horrified gaze, I saw Wonderbutt exactly where he had been the entire time. His leg was covered in blood and there was a sea of red on the floor surrounding him.
I leapt out of the chair, and ran to him, horrified at the pain he must be in (as well as the thought of more veterinary bills) – only to discover that he was chewing on the cap of a red marker. The marker, itself, had apparently already been ingested. It was evident from the appearance of Wonderbutt’s leg and the carpeting, though, that none of the ink actually made it into his stomach.
I didn’t yell at him. I was too mad at myself for being oblivious while he painstakingly set about destroying yet another square yard of our carpeting 3 feet from where I was sitting.
I got my revenge, however, when I dragged out our portable carpet cleaner, and hit the button for it to do its automated scrubbing. Wonderbutt was confused by the noisy interloper, and slowly approached the menace. Just as he got close, the SpotBot finished its cycle, and started beeping, nearly creating a bulldog pancake on our popcorn ceiling.
Note to self: when cleaning the carpet with a loud, unpredictable machine, remove Wonderbutt from the vicinity. A frightened Wonderbutt tends to create even more spots on the carpet.
When do real people clean out their closets? Seriously. I ask this because I have been polling my fellow teachers about what they will be doing when we get the whole week off for Thanksgiving next week, and nearly all of them said that they will be cleaning out closets. This is the same response I get when I ask what they are doing for Spring Break or the rare three-day weekend. And summers.
I, too, plan to exorcise the demons lurking in my closets during the break next week.
Which leads me, again, to the question, “When do real people clean out their closets?” ”
“Real people”, meaning “not teachers.” Also not multimillionaires like The Man Who Must Not Be Named Because I Don’t Want You to Think I am Obsessed With Him, who probably has people to do that for him. Real people.
I mean, do you just not clean your closets out? Ever? Is it because you are so obsessively compulsively neat? Or, is it because you never buy awful-looking purple polka dot shirts that seem quite fashionable at the time, but never seem like the quite right thing to wear whenever you are getting dressed in the morning and so you have to buy more things so you don’t leave the house naked and then they don’t fit anymore and you suddenly have this traffic jam of clothing on rods in your closet which makes it easier to just throw things (clean or dirty) on the floor so you don’t get attacked by a hanger that suddenly cuts loose from the two different shirts that were entwined around it, nearly blinding you in the right eye and forcing you to question the need to actually wear anything other than yoga pants and a t-shirt for the rest of your life? Are you saying this does not happen to you?
That’s just not normal.
I would be willing to lay Odds (who is Odds, anyway?) that there have been more marriages toppled by HGTV than by ESPN.
Of course, I have insider information that leads me to this conclusion.
My husband, Cap’n Firepants, is a mild football enthusiast. He can take it or leave it, most of the time. In fact, the more interested he is in the outcome of the game, the less probability there is that he will watch it. He seems to think that his mere presence in front of the screen somehow negatively effects the results for his chosen team.
But he will be more than happy to sit in front of the T.V. for an entire Sunday watching shows about ripping out your kitchen or making your small patio into a mega outdoor living space.
And while I find the Cap’n’s choice of television shows slightly ironic, I have a bigger problem when he gets up from his armchair, inspired by the amazing makeovers he has been witnessing for hours.
This past weekend, we were spending a leisurely morning taking in one of the more ambitious of these DIY shows. During the commercials we discussed what we hoped to accomplish during the weekend. The Cap’n mentioned getting the Christmas tree down. It had been standing forlornly with the lights wrapped around its branches ever since I removed the ornaments over a week ago, so I, of course, wholeheartedly approved this idea.
After the manly, testosterone-laden DIY show that had something do with crashing houses was over, I wandered off to begin my projects. I heard the garage door open and close a few times indicating that the Cap’n was hard at work.
Then I heard the unmistakable sound of
a tree being taken down our house crumbling down around us. I raced out to the living room to find the Cap’n slamming a hammer into the tile in our entryway.
“You are NOT taking down the Christmas tree!” I intelligently observed.
“I’m just exploring,” was his irritated response.
At this point, here is whatimeant2say: Did I mention you’re a pirate captain, not friggin Marco Polo? And since when do explorers completely decimate every thing they come into contact wi- oops, bad metaphor.
“So, uh, what exactly are you exploring?”
“I’m just seeing how hard it is to remove the tile.”
“So you chose destroying the one piece of actual floor we have left, that visitors to our home who never make it past the storm door might see, over taking down the Christmas tree?” Actually, I didn’t say that either.
I just said, “Oh.” I can pack a LOT of power into that little word, believe you me.
To be fair, the rest of our flooring looks worse than this solitary island by our front door. Wonderbutt, our bulldog (or my bulldog – depending how angry the rest of the family happens to be at him), pretty much destroyed our carpeting and rearranged the padding underneath, and the Cap’n decided staring at a concrete floor with a skin disease was better than the lumpy, partially shredded, giant diaper our carpet had become. We are waiting on some estimates from people who will transform our concrete foundation into a glorious, polished, bodily fluid repelling work of art that costs less than 1 cent per square foot.
We’ve been waiting for awhile.
We were pretty sure the tile was going to be removed when we started the new flooring process. But, apparently the Cap’n decided he wanted to see how hard it was going to be to eliminate the entire area by himself since he had nothing better to do.
Hard enough, I guess, that he decided not to complete the task.
I am declaring a moratorium on HGTV until one of the following happens:
1.) We get enough money to tear this place down and rebuild the house of our dreams
2.) We get enough money to move to the house of our dreams
3.) HGTV sends Carter Oosterhouse to build us the house of our dreams
“An artist is somebody who produces things that people don’t need to have.”Andy Warhol
Wonderbutt has made our floor his ongoing masterpiece. Andy Warhol would have approved.
Cap’n Firepants, on the other hand, has no appreciation for modern art, so he has decided that Wonderbutt’s canvas needs to go. He allowed me to take some pictures before tackling the project. When I loaded the pictures onto the computer, I realized that they didn’t really do justice to the monumental contributions Wonderbutt has made in the last year to our carpet. So, I decided to add a few labels in case you don’t happen to have a magnifying glass near your computer monitor.
This was only one portion of the carpet. If our family had ever gotten murdered in our beds, it would have taken an entire season of C.S.I. episodes to exclude Wonderbutt’s DNA evidence and isolate the killer’s. The pup even got blood all over the floor when I once cut a toenail too short. He was too busy trying to get a treat off the table to realize his hemorrhaging was creating a monochromatic Jackson Pollock painting on the carpet beneath him.
We have been talking about getting rid of the carpet ever since we moved into the house (pre-Wonderbutt), but his arrival has necessitated this happening sooner than later.
The problem is that we don’t have the money to execute the second part of the plan – lovely, polished, stained concrete floors. Kind of like this.
Big improvement, right?
Apparently, the people who built our house over thirty years ago pretty much used the concrete as their own version of a drop cloth, not being able to conceive of any kind of reason that sane homeowners might want to actually expose a cement floor.
They clearly never met Wonderbutt.
So, this is what our floor looks like now and for the foreseeable future. Dimples is eager to break out the sidewalk chalk and do some of her own home improving. I am thinking we can just draw a Christmas tree in the middle of the floor and our holiday decorating will be done. And I am keeping my fingers, toes, and eyes crossed that Cap’n Firepants doesn’t decide the best improvement would be a chalk outline of Wonderbutt.