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What You Can Do While You Wait For Your Daughter to Become the Next Synchronized Swimming Champion

We were out of town at a synchronized swimming competition this weekend and I am absolutely exhausted from trying to mark time between my daughter’s performances.  So, I gift you with this wonderful motivational poster that I made with a new app I downloaded.  Feel free to share and make it the newest internet meme.  Just make sure you give Wonderbutt the credit he deserves.  He’ll eat your sofa cushions if you don’t.



Some People Impulsively Buy Shoes; I Wrecklessly Purchase Life Jackets for My Bulldog

“Did you call?” my husband asked.

“Yes, but it’s too late now.”

I could hear the alarm in his response, even though it was only one syllable – “Oh?”

“Well, yes.  We’re already home.  I was calling to see if you thought we should get Wonderbutt a life jacket because we were at Petsmart.”

“Well, how much are they?”

“Oh, you don’t understand.  I already bought him the life jacket.  You didn’t answer so I just made an executive decision.”

“Umm.  Okay.”

“But it doesn’t fit.  It was a medium.  So, we’re going back.  We’re going to take him with us this time so he can try it on.”

“Uh huh.”

I could tell that my husband was extremely thankful that I was taking care of all of this without his involvement.  Because:  A)  The thought of buying a life jacket for our bulldog seems about as logical as buying a kayak for a T-Rex, and Dos) trying to get Wonderbutt to try on different sized life jackets in the middle of a store registers about a 9.5 on his Ways-That-I-Refuse-To-Humiliate-Myself Scale.

So, well aware that my husband thought that we might as well build our dog a float out of crisp dollar bills for all of the good a life jacket would do, I toted Wonderbutt and my daughter to Petsmart for our bright orange fashion show.

Predictably, we immediately gained an admiring audience of Petsmart customers as I struggled to fit Wonderbutt into the next size up.  It had to be explained to everyone that he likes to swim, but tires pretty quickly – usually when he has just made it to the deepest part of the pond.

Wonderbutt is short.  But what he lacks in height, he definitely makes up for in rotundity.  So, even the Large jacket was no match for his girth.  We had to purchase the X-Large for him – the one with a very fit looking labrador on its packaging.  I found this slightly embarrassing, but Wonderbutt did not seem disturbed by this in the least.  Perhaps this was because he had absolutely no intention of keeping the thing on for more than 5 seconds.

“This isn’t going to work, is it?” my daughter asked, as we stood in line to check out, and Wonderbutt managed to wrestle the life jacket off his back and on to the ground.

“Sure it will,” I replied confidently.  Okay, maybe not exactly confidently.

Back in the car, I watched as Wonderbutt got in the back and proceeded to attack the life jacket with the zest he usually reserves for eating carpets or sofa cushions.

I looked at my daughter, whose eyebrows were raised.

I closed the door and got in the front seat.  Already, the buyer’s remorse was beginning to sink in.  I pondered my possibly expensive mistake, then turned around to speak to my daughter.

“Uh, just make sure he doesn’t eat the receipt, okay?” I said.

And so Wonderbutt’s next adventure began…


He looks like a 4-legged suitcase.

These Pictures are Copyrighted, So Please Do Not Steal Them to Put on Your Own Holiday Cards. You Know You Want To.

Something tells me that some of you might need a pick-me-up today, so I decided to spare you the riveting post that I originally planned that gave intriguing details about my unfortunate habit of dropping the floss container daily, causing the inner contents to fly across the room, forcing me to comb the territory of our bedroom/bathroom until I find it, and then taxing my already weakened mental capacity as I attempt to force the contents back in while Cap’n Firepants calmly opens his bathroom cabinet and begins to use his own floss that has never been dropped or taken adventurous trips to the land beneath our bed.  At least he thinks it hasn’t.  It’s quite possible that someone switched the jinxed floss container with the pristine one in his cabinet.  But I can’t imagine who would do a passive-aggressive thing like that.

Instead of that electrifying story, I decided to regale you with some pics from my latest photo session of the Butts – formally known as Wonderbutt and Mrs. Pain in the Butt.  I had some vague notion that I might be able to use the photos for a family Christmas card.  But this is becoming more and more unlikely as other priorities, such as repairing Wonderbutt’s latest damage to my winter coat, keep getting in the way.

I would like to preface this display by stating, although Wonderbutt went to Puppy Kindergarten and learned very well how to “Sit” when so requested, he never learned how to “Stay Sitting Long Enough for Me to Take a Good Picture”, so our photo sessions sound like this, “Sit.  Good dog, Wonderbutt.  Good dog, Mrs. P.I.B.  No, stay sitting, Wonderbutt.  Sit.  SiT!  SIT!  No, do not come over here and try to eat the camera!  Good dog, Mrs. P.I.B.  Come back over here by Mrs. P.I.B., Wonderbutt.  Do not eat her collar.  Sit.  Good.  I’m backing up slowly now.  Stay sitting.  S-T-A-Y sitting.  Good.  I’m slowly moving the camera.  Sit.  Good.  #@!$%!  Wonderbutt.  Where the #$!! are you going?…”  So on, and so forth.  I think you get the idea.

(The first pic below is actually a slide show of pics.  Just roll your mouse over it, and you will see several other pics – or you can click on the arrows to advance through.)

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

And, lastly - a not too horrible pic of Wonderbutt looking less thuggish than usual.

And, lastly – a not too horrible pic of Wonderbutt looking less thuggish than usual.

This Just In – Wonderbutt Chooses a Candidate

Our bulldog, Wonderbutt, did his research and carefully made his U.S. presidential election selection:

Don’t Report Me for Antabuse

I set a box of ants on the dining room table, and I am now sitting in the back of the house wondering if that was a wise decision, considering that our bulldog, Wonderbutt, likes to eat cardboard and doesn’t like it when I leave him alone in the front of the house.  But, I am too lazy to go save the ants from Wonderbutt, and besides I am doing very important research.  I must find out how long ants can live in a box, because I did not expect them to arrive this quickly.  My second graders do not come to class again until Monday, and they will be very disappointed if I release the ants into their new habitat without any witnesses.  However, they will probably be even more disappointed if I open the box and a bunch of dead ants fall out.

The last time I ordered ants, I followed the directions carefully for the transfer from box to ant farm.  It was highly recommended that the insects be refrigerated for awhile so that they would become sluggish, thus rendering them less hostile as I vigorously shook their package to allow them to fall into their new home.  Perhaps not surprisingly, this “sluggish” period was fairly short – about 1/10 of a second, and I immediately had ants that “might bite” racing all over the table while my 3rd graders gleefully tried to catch them. Death reports flooded in.  “I think I stepped on that one.”  “This one just jumped off the side of the table.  It’s not moving anymore.”  After a 20 minute round-up and thirty minutes of carefully inspecting the classroom, I think we got about 10 ants of the original 40 into the ant farm.

Once they were in between glass, the ants were fascinating to watch.  So, remembering the delight and new respect for small creatures that it gave my students, I decided to repeat the disaster this year.

So far, I have had no luck discovering how long ants can live in a box, but my Googling Genius has revealed that ants can wreak havoc if they decide to nest in your Apple iBook.  You will be happy to know that there is an entire thread in the Apple Support Community that will give you advice on how to deal with this nasty problem.

I suppose that I have procrastinated long enough – and it is ominously quiet in the Wonderbutt section of the house.  It is quite possible that he has swallowed the box whole.  Or, even more likely, that he has ripped it to shreds and there are now ants crawling all over the dining room.

Maybe if I had a more appealing ant habitat, the little guys would be less inclined to attempt their Alcatrazian escapes.

What I really need is a new habitat for Wonderbutt…

Signs of Not So Intelligent Life

Cap’n Firepants:  We need to get these Wonderbutt spots out of the office carpet.

Me:  O.K.  Let me just get our handy Missile Dot Blot Machine, especially designed for Wonderbutt the Bulldog stains.

Cap’n Firepants:  Why do you always use the hose part?  Aren’t we supposed to be able to just put it on the spot, hit a button, and it cleans it by itself?

Me:  We tried that on the living room, and it made it look worse.  Remember?  The whole reason we got the stained concrete floors?

Cap’n Firepants:  Nope.  Let’s try it again.

Me:  O.K.


Carpet Crop Circles

Our resident Alien poses by his latest design.

Now we just need to position our Missile Dot Blot Machine on every square inch of the floor in our office, and it will be perfect.

At Least He Doesn’t Text and Drive

Wonderbutt telling me I better buckle up.


So, here are a few very recent texts from our bulldog, Wonderbutt:

I refuse to buy him the new iPhone.

He can have my old one.

Weekend Gotaway – How Long is this Weekend, Anyway? – Chapter 3

If you are beginning to wonder if my posts about last weekend will never end, then you are finally on the road to understanding the unusual time-sucking Black Hole that the Firepants Family endures on a daily basis.  Wonderbutt will be more than happy to lead you down that merry path.

Follow me to the time-sucking Black Hole at the end of this dirt road.

After my first sleepless night at The Ranch, I smothered myself with a pillow the next morning while the rest of the The Ranch visitors carried on with life, completely oblivious to the fact that I had spent my evening cleaning up cat vomit and trying to keep Wonderbutt from dismembering the vomiter.

I finally entered the kitchen around 9:30, only to find most of the household gone.  They had taken the four dogs for a jaunt.

Moments into my breakfast, the crew returned.  Dimples, my fully dressed daughter, was wet.  It was not raining.

“I had to save Wonderbutt from drowning,” she proudly announced.  “I think I need a shower.”

You may not remember this, but we tested the whole, “Are Bulldogs Buoyant?” question last year around this time, when Wonderbutt decided to take a plunge into the pond at The Ranch once he saw that everyone else was doing it.  Wonderbutt may be stubborn, but he apparently caves to canine peer pressure quite easily.

Wonderbutt proved that yes, bulldogs can swim, at least when they weigh 15 pounds less than he does now.  I’m not sure where the fine line is, but it seems he crossed over it, because this year he couldn’t keep his head above the water.  Fortunately the water was only about 3 feet deep, so Dimples waded out to save him.

Wonderbutt does not feel guilt or shame – or humiliation.  He did not seem to be embarrassed one bit that he was the only dog out of four that had to be carried back to land by a 9 year old girl who weighs less than he does.  To be fair, the other three dogs were a bit too tired from the whole experience to taunt him very much.

I must admit that the thought did cross my mind, for one very brief moment, that, if he had drowned, I might actually sleep that night.  But I can feel guilt, and immediately banished that thought from my head.  It was then followed by the tempting thought of drowning the cat, instead.  But, I did not want The Dictator to impale me on her Wall of Death, so I did not voice this thought, much less act on it.

Instead, I went outside to the porch to console our oblivious Wonderbutt for his failed attempt to cross the Channel this summer.

“I think you need to find a different Olympic sport,” I informed him.  “Swimming does not appear to be your best skill.  I’m thinking you should try the luge.  I have a feeling your, uh, shape might be an asset in that event.”

His enthusiasm for this new idea was unbridled.

Note the tongue sticking out – always a dead giveaway that Wonderbutt is tired.

Weekend Gotaway, Part Deux

So, in Weekend Gotaway, Part I, we packed and got on the road.  It was a truly riveting story, and you should totally read it if you missed it.  If you don’t read it, you will have no idea what is going on in this post.  You will be reading at a clickety-clackety pace, and then stop, and say, “Huh?  Why is this bulldog driving?”  Seriously.  Read on at your own risk.  

So, Wonderbutt the Bulldog got us to The Dictator’s Ranch with a little help from Cap’n Firepants.  (See, I told you to do your homework…)

Since you guys seemed to enjoy Wonderbutt’s front seat photo so much, here is another.

Some people might say that he is looking sleepy. Others might say that this is the look I give when I am peeved because Cap’n Firepants is not driving the way that I think he should drive…

We arrived at the ranch, and then proceeded to unload the warehouse of goods that Cap’n Firepants deemed absolutely necessary for our three-day weekend.  Wonderbutt did his best to help with the unloading by racing in front of our feet and stopping suddenly to sniff the butts of The Dictator’s three dogs ad nauseum.

After saying “hello” to the Wall of Death, which is an ironic remnant from The Dictator’s father’s hunting days, (The Dictator and her vegetarian husband both being fierce animal rights activists), I was ready for bed.

The Wall of Death – during our college days known as The Place to Try to Hang Your Bra.

At The Ranch, the Firepants family sleeps in one king-sized bed.  I use the term “sleep” loosely.  I have never actually slept at The Ranch.  In the 20+ years that I’ve known The Dictator and visited The Ranch, I have spent more time desperately trying to sleep than I have spent complaining about the Cap’n’s overpacking.  That is a lot of time.

Part of the problem used to be Mrs. P.I.B., our constantly panting and pacing over-anxious Golden Retriever.  But, we did not bring her this time.  So, I expected some major snooze time.

I settled on the couch in the living room so Wonderbutt and I could complete our nightly ritual of him falling asleep on my lap, me waiting until the snoring and gases can not be borne any longer, and then me slipping out from under him to go to bed, leaving him to slumber until the morning.

Not meant to be.  Because there was a new element at The Ranch.  A cat.  And Wonderbutt has never seen a cat except the one that taunts him in our backyard.  So, you can see how this is going…

The cat had arranged itself on the other couch, and Wonderbutt, as they like to say in Texas, was “fit to be tied”.  He could not stand that cat just laying on the sofa.  I’m still not certain if he wanted the sofa or the cat.

So, I finally had to bring Wonderbutt into the Firepants Family Bedroom.  Because I did not want to leave him alone with the cat, or to have to add Wonderbutt’s head to the Wall of Death in the morning.

Wonderbutt could not get settled.  Even though he could not see the cat, he was well aware that it still existed.  For hours, he whined at the door, and then he circled around his bed, then whined at the door, then circled around his bed…  You get the idea.

Then he got really frantic, so I decided to go back to the living room to see if a chupacabra had somehow gotten into The Ranch since that could be the only possible explanation for a ballistic bulldog in the bedroom.

No worries.  Just the cat throwing up everywhere.

Good times.

I cleaned that up, which was quite a feat since Wonderbutt felt that this would be the perfect time to attack the cat during its Moment of Weakness.

I brought Wonderbutt back to the bedroom, and informed him, in no uncertain terms, that he better darn well go to sleep because I’d had a long week of returning back to school and leaving him alone in the house for 8 hours a day.

Finally, my logic seemed to sink in.  He let out a big sigh, and five minutes later the snoring started.  It was about 3 AM.

Then, Cap’n Firepants suddenly popped up in bed, and started walking toward the door.


“To sleep on the couch.  Your daughter keeps slapping me in the face in her sleep.”


I get a bit cranky when I’ve had no sleep.

And that’s how our first night at The Ranch went.

Wonderbutt asleep. The next day. When everyone else was awake.

Who R U Calling Fat?

Our bulldog, Wonderbutt, has become adept at texting.  He is not so adept at social skills.



Wonderbutt has started lifting weights to work on slimming down.

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