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.
This is my submission to the Hobbler’s Labor Day Weekend Pity Party Extravaganza. I admit this is a bit late, which is really not like me. I’m usually early for things. But, when you think about it, 99% of my posts would pretty much fall under the Pity Party category – so you could say that I was at least a year early for this festive event. Or, you could say that you just don’t care. Which is pretty much the response I get for 99.1% of my posts. Which is why you should pity me.
The reason that I am late is because the Firepants Family went out of town to visit our good friend, The Dictator, at her ranch. For 3/5 of the Firepants Family, this is a Wondrous Adventure Out in the Country. For the remaining fraction of the clan, it is an Anxiety Inducing 72 Hours of Sleep Deprivation.
Ranch weekends begin with the planning and the packing. Dimples (9) is pretty self-sufficient in the gathering of necessities as long as she is given a packing checklist. I, too, have a packing checklist. I don’t think the Cap’n has a packing checklist. If he did, it would be longer than the checklist for the Olympic Opening Ceremonies, longer than Noah’s checklist for the Ark, and probably even longer than the list of things the Republicans plan to change if they get back in office.
Here is my idea of packing for a weekend getaway:
And, here is the Cap’n’s:
Let’s just say that it’s good we decided not to bring 1/5 of the family (Mrs. P.I.B. – our golden retriever) on this trip, because she would have had to ride on the top of the car. And we all know how that brilliant idea turned out for Mitt Romney.
The other reason Mrs. P.I.B. did not make the trip this time is because she paces and pants the entire time we are at the ranch, has done this for eleven years, and we finally decided that it’s quite possible she is not really happy on these trips, and that we really aren’t happy when she is not happy.
As it was, Wonderbutt, got to ride in the front seat, while Dimples and I sat in the back seat with even more bags of necessary items.
Cap’n Firepants asked me about three times if we had packed Wonderbutt’s food. Since it was smushed in the backseat in a plastic bin for charcoal right between Dimples and me, you can imagine my chagrin when he kept asking me this question.
“YES, I have his food. It’s in this charcoal canister on top of my foot!” I answered for the last time.
“That’s not his food. That’s the charcoal,” the Cap’n replied. “In the charcoal container,” he added, with only a slight implication of the word “stupid” at the end of his observation. And, since we were only 10 minutes away from the house, we got to turn around, and go back. And then try to figure out how to fit the second charcoal container – which had dog food, thank you very much – into our very packed car. We briefly entertained the thought of leaving the dog behind so we could find a place for the dog food, but you will be happy to know that we decided to leave the kid behind instead.
Just joking. Of course, we left neither kid nor dog behind. I volunteered to sacrifice my berth, but the Cap’n stubbornly wedged the 2nd container into the car, and we embarked on our trip a second time.
4/5 of the Firepants Family on the way to the ranch. With 1/5 of the family already experiencing strong misgivings about this whole enterprise.
Hmmm. Who do you think the not-so-enthusiastic car passenger could possibly have been?
Stay tuned this week for more reasons to pity Mrs. Cap’n Firepants…
Cap’n Firepants is a great husband.
Exhibit A: he did not even question me at 5:30 a.m. when I walked into our bedroom at The Ranch, woke him up, and said it was his turn to dog-sit Wonderbutt and Mrs. P.I.B. He didn’t exactly spring out of the bed, but he slowly got up and went out into the living room to take his shift.
Exhibit B: he did not wake me up when everyone else in the household decided to go feed the horses. I had gotten to do that with The Dictator the night before.
Unfortunately, the Cap’n also didn’t tell me that “everyone” also meant the five dogs.
- Missed Wonderbutt’s first off-leash romp at The Ranch,
- Missed Wonderbutt’s first encounter with two horses and a donkey,
- Missed two of The Dictator’s dogs leaping into the horse trough for a swim,
- AND missed the five dogs romping at the tank (what we Texans call a puddle masquerading as a pond).
Cap’n Firepants took pictures, thankfully. And I related in yesterday’s post how Wonderbutt reacted to the horse.
I was bummed about missing the exploits at the tank, but apparently Wonderbutt merely waded through the water. A disappointing No Big Deal.
I somewhat berated Cap’n Firepants for leaving me out of the fun. Probably a lot less “beration” than he would have received for waking me up to go with them. He’s smart that way.
After everyone got done telling me what I’d missed, it was decided that this would be a fine time to set up the Slip n’ Slide for the girls.
I don’t know where I went. But I reappeared about ten minutes after setup had ensued and, once again, had missed all of the excitement. Wonderbutt had decided to follow the girls down the Slip n’ Slide. Cap’n Firepants had somehow managed to quickly transform from Slide-Setter-Upper to Photographer. But still pictures don’t really do justice to a bulldog slippin’ and slidin’. By the time I arrived, Wonderbutt had tired of this exercise and decided he would much rather eat the plastic. Or attack the girls as they flew down the lane.
I feel a little disingenuous blogging about events that I didn’t exactly witness, so I was beginning to feel frustrated with the day. I decided it was time to kick some butt in Scrabble.
The Dictator, Nigella, and I had a fierce game. It was the closest ever. After a year of solely playing Words with Friends, we all had to brush up on the “real rules”. When push came to shove, though, Nigella won, beating both of us by five points. I hate people who can cook and beat me at Scrabble. My disappointing day continued.
For the rest of the day, I was on the alert for blog-worthy adventures. I really got my hopes up when Wonderbutt finally encountered Lulubelle, The Ranch Cat. He approached her, got too close, and she hissed and batted at him with her paw. Pretty much End of Story. Didn’t even have time to grab my camera.
That night, Cap’n Firepants fell asleep in the living room – which I took to be his agreement to take the first dog-sitting shift. Closing the door firmly on Mrs. P.I.B.and her eternal panting, I gratefully sunk into the bed, resolved to find something to blog about on our last day – or to make up something.
*Our Golden Retriever will from now on be referred to as Mrs. P.I.B. (Pain in the Butt) for reasons which will become apparent.
This weekend, Wonderbutt got his first introduction to The Ranch. Being ten, Mrs. P.I.B. has been to the ranch at least ten times, but Wonderbutt, being not even a year old, got his first opportunity this past weekend.
The Ranch belongs to the family of one my best friends. My friend likes to call herself The Delegator. We feel that she is better suited to being called The Dictator (affectionately, of course). T.D. and her husband brought three dogs and a cat. Cap’n Firepants and I brought our two dogs, and, of course, Dimples. Another mutual friend (Nigella, to me, since she is beautiful and cooks wonderfully) brought her daughter.
All in all, it was a happy gathering of five dogs, five adults, two kids, and two cats (one cat is a permanent resident). In a two bedroom no-dishwasher house. WITH NO INTERNET ACCESS!
I was worried about Wonderbutt’s behavior during this trip. As regular readers know, he is not exactly past his teething stage. In addition, he has a dog door at home, and such a thing does not exist at The Ranch. Plus, he has never been within a foot of a cat before. Or a cow.
When we arrived, the usual butt sniffing ensued. Then the dogs had their turn. (Just making sure you’re paying attention.) Everyone seemed to hesitantly agree to get along for the weekend. Except for The Dictator, Nigella, and I. We have a running Scrabble enmity, and we were all determined to win. The atmosphere was tense. This would be good practice for my Adult Spelling Bee, I thought. But more on that later.
Wonderbutt baptized the saltillo tile twice within the first few hours. I felt like a mom whose ten year old still wears diapers. Leaky ones. When I saw all of the possible objects of his chewing affection strewn all over the house, I inwardly groaned. I anticipated spending the whole weekend chasing after him and pulling flip flops, friendship bracelets, and television remotes out of his mouth.
Happily, there were too many other things to occupy Wonderbutt’s time. Figuring out his limits as he stole other dog’s bones and toys seemed to be his primary objective, but he seemed to be pretty good at knowing when to back down.
After an afternoon of racing around and sniffing all of the new animals, objects, and people, Wonderbutt was quite satisfied to curl up with his butt in my face on the sofa after the lights went out. Being one of the rare times that he was not regularly passing gas, I decided I had the best end once his snoring started. I pulled a pillow over my head and fell asleep.
But Mrs. P.I.B. had other ideas. That anxiety-ridden dog cannot relax. She is so worried she is going to miss something that she cannot stay in one place for more than fifteen minutes every time we come to The Ranch. And when animals and humans are distributed in various rooms throughout the house, she comes as close to a dog having a heart attack as I’ve ever seen.
She pants and paces and whines. If you let her into the room she is whining outside of, she stays about five minutes, and then starts whining to be let back out.
This was my first evening. Wonderbutt happily sacked out and sawing logs while Mrs.P.I.B. would settle down, get up, pant in my ear, whine by a bedroom door and start the rotation all over again. At five thirty a.m. I finally tagged Cap’n Firepants in the bedroom and sent him out to deal with Mrs. P.I.B. as I firmly closed the door behind him. Then I got into bed with Dimples. Which, to be honest, was not a whole lot more restful.
Tomorrow’s post – Wonderbutt meets the cat and attempts to slip and slide. And Mrs. P.I.B. narrowly escapes sleeping in the pasture with the cows.