I think this whole situation has been the hardest on my husband. It’s not that he isn’t open-minded about such things. It’s just hard to have certain expectations and suddenly be faced with the fact that a member of your family has unusual interests that don’t line up with societal norms.
I remember vividly the day that Wonderbutt first came out of the closet. In the middle of the night, I heard something stirring outside the bedroom door. I opened it to find Wonderbutt, who usually sleeps in the living room. He immediately rushed into the bedroom, looking fearfully behind him. Either he’d had a nightmare that a giant Spot Bot was about to consume him, or his rear end was bothering him. Either way, I was too tired to shoo him back out of the room. So, I closed the door, whispered for him to go lay down on the floor, and went back to sleep.
My husband didn’t witness any of this. When he got up the next morning to go to work, I just folded a pillow over my head as usual and resumed sleeping.
Suddenly, “What the f—?!!!!”
I leapt up, just in time to see Wonderbutt making a beeline out of the closet as my husband tried to regain his balance after being rammed by the dog who had, unbeknownst to him, decided to nap behind the hanging clothes.
It appears that Wonderbutt enjoyed this unexpected reaction to his closet exodus – as he continues to repeat the performance on a regular basis. It’s gotten to the point where my husband and I both enter the closet with extreme caution, never certain if we will be able to complete the mundane task of grabbing a shirt off a hanger or forced to leap into the air to avoid a missile hurtling out from its hiding place under one of my lacy negligees.
I suppose we shouldn’t find Wonderbutt’s affinity for the closet to be all that startling, considering his nightly routine of draping himself with the dining room curtains every time we eat dinner. We also often find him half-buried underneath the dust ruffles of our beds – the less attractive end that earned him his nickname always sticking out.
We’ll always love Wonderbutt – no matter what unconventional activities he pursues.
It would be nice, though, to not have to worry about being confronted by a capricious canine every time we change our clothes.
While I was at swim practice with my daughter (I like the way that sounds – as though I was actually doing laps with her…) my husband was doing yard work. For some reason, he does not find it very beneficial to have Wonderbutt in the yard with him at the same time. Apparently, Wonderbutt likes to poop in leaf piles. I wish I had known that a long time ago, because that knowledge could be useful for the times when I want to take the Dog Who Poops as He Walks for a little saunter around the neighborhood.
Anyway, Cap’n Firepants texted me this photo, and said, “He’s barking at me.”
To which I replied, “Poor guy.”
To which he replied, “Me or the dog;)”
To which I did not reply.
And that, my friends, is one of the many reason why we’re still married.
I am sure that it is not just chance that the only toy that has ever stood up to the jaws of our bulldog, Wonderbutt, also happens to be the most annoying toy on the face of this planet.
My daughter and husband have plotted to make Squeaky Toy disappear. Permanently. So far, I’ve held them back. Wonderbutt is just so darn happy when he plays with it, and it’s not very often we get to see the pudgy little guy actually smile. (I told my husband the other day that we should have named him Bob Newhart.) See, look how gleeful he is when he plays with it?
Oh, right. I forgot. I have no pictures of him playing with it. As soon as I pull the camera out, Wonderbutt, races to me so he can shove Squeaky Toy in my face. There is nothing quite as enjoyable as having a stinky plush toy smashed into your nose.
The main problem with Squeaky Toy is that Wonderbutt refuses to allow me to schedule the playdates. Instead, Wonderbutt chooses the time and place that Squeaky Toy is invited to make an appearance – and those times are not what the rest of us would call ideal.
Yesterday, our elderly friend, MILlie, came for dinner. To keep Wonderbutt from leaping on her, I tried to distract him with Squeaky Toy. Wonderbutt sat next to MILlie, and stared at me like I was insane as I danced around squeezing Squeaky Toy enticingly. He finally sighed, and returned to the more pressing job of figuring out how to hump our guest.
An hour later, we sat down to dinner. Five minutes after we started to eat our spaghetti, Wonderbutt came racing into the room, merrily chomping down on Squeaky Toy. He pranced around the dining room table, and dashed through the curtains behind us, back and forth, now completely devoted to playing with Squeaky Toy, his long lost friend who had been annoyingly silent for entirely too long.
Short squeaky bursts, and long high-pitched wails emitted from the toy as Wonderbutt eyed us peripherally for our reactions. Then, he walked too close to my husband’s chair. Squeaky Toy hit a leg of the chair, and popped out of Wonderbutt’s mouth. With quick reflexes, Cap’n Firepants kicked Squeaky Toy under a low side table.
Wonderbutt realized that his attempts to remove Squeaky Toy from the table dungeon were only making things worse. So, Wonderbutt began to whine.
Which is worse – the joyous, ear-splitting shrieks of a Squeaky Toy being chomped on by a happy bulldog, or the less-deafening but amazingly depressing sound of a canine parted from his very best friend in the whole wide world?
We pulled out Squeaky Toy.
Yesterday was supposed to be a Whole Day of No Obligation according to the orthodox Firepants Family calendar. Friday night, I informed the entire family, since they never pay attention to the Firepants Family calendar. I generously offered that all members were welcome to participate, but to keep in mind that, no matter what, I was not obligated to do a thing.
(I was telling one of my girlfriends about this sacred day, and she asked what it meant, and I said that I don’t have to clean or cook for my family, and she said, “Since when do you ever cook for your family?” which was a very good question, and made me think that I probably need to redefine this whole unHoly day.)
Everyone seemed on board with the idea. Cap’n Firepants was going to be out all day anyway, and Dimples was more than happy to accept a 24-hour respite from me nagging her about chores. There was only one problem…
According to our bulldog, every day is one of complete obligation – to him. No holidays allowed.
A WDoNO begins with me sleeping as late as I possibly want. Cap’n Firepants very quietly got ready for his meeting and left the house around 7:00 a.m. I sunk back into luxurious sleep.
A persistent moan started to interfere with my dreams. I opened one eye, and looked at the clock. 7:45.
I didn’t have to look far for the moaner. Wonderbutt was right next to the bed, staring me down. (I would like to point out that Wonderbutt does not whine. He moans. Like Moaning Myrtle in Harry Potter. And really not less annoying.)
I tried to explain that he should have gotten up with Cap’n Firepants to eat breakfast, but Wonderbutt does not like to eat with Cap’n Firepants. In fact, when invited to eat by my husband, Wonderbutt gives Cap’n Firepants the same look that I was probably giving Wonderbutt at that moment. A not very nice look that anyone trying to coax me from my bed is very stupid.
But the pillow I placed over my head did not cancel out the moaning.
I got up, and fed the dog.
Then I went back to bed.
Wonderbutt returned. With his squeaky toy. I took it away, and threw it in the sink.
Wonderbutt moaned. But he finally gave up and decided to fall asleep on the floor next to the bed. And snore.
Snoring is easy to block out with a pillow.
Then the doorbell rang.
Wonderbutt woke up.
I couldn’t tell him to stop barking because then the person at the door would know that I was home. And I didn’t want the person at the door to know that I was home because then he or she would know that I am a very rude person who refuses to answer doorbells. And that I am very lazy to still be in bed at 9:00 on a Saturday morning. I forgot to put the sign up on the door that I was observing a Whole Day of No Obligation, which included not being obliged to answer the door.
The person at the door was very persistent, ringing the doorbell 4 times. I realized that he was a burglar trying to make certain that no one was home. I debated whether I would break my vow of a Whole Day of No Obligation to whack a burglar over the head with a baseball bat. Then I realized that was silly. We don’t even own a baseball bat.
I went back to bed.
My phone vibrated off the nightstand.
It was our neighbor.
“It’s National Margarita Day, and we are inviting you over tonight to celebrate!”
I panicked. Socializing with neighbors is an obligation. Drinking margaritas is not. Unless it’s actually a day that requires it. How could I have been so ignorant as to schedule a Whole Day of No Obligation on the same day as National Margarita Day?
Note to Self – Next year, schedule Whole Day of No Obligation for day after National Margarita Day.
And lock Wonderbutt in the pantry with his dog food.
One of my depression-combatting strategies is to watch hours of sitcoms with my bulldog, Wonderbutt, snoring and farting in my lap. I’m not really sure if it’s the sitcoms, Wonderbutt, or the inhalation of gases that actually help, but I’ve been too lazy to change any of the variables in the attempt to conduct a scientific investigation. The most recent sitcom therapy has been “Modern Family” for the sole reason that one of the networks has been running “Modern Family” marathons during the past couple of weeks. However, they alternate them with “NCIS” marathons, which seem to have the opposite effect on my temperament. I tell you, this T.V. watching can be a real roller-coaster for the psyche.
The other problem with watching “Modern Family” is that I’m not sure it’s actually improving my mood, so much as altering my personality. After watching for a few hours, I have a keen desire to go to dinner with the gay brother that I don’t have or to call Claire and challenge her to a battle of the neurotic perfectionists. Even worse, I start speaking in a thick Colombian accent, saying things like, “Aiii! After all those years with Peg, who knew Al Bundy could be so sweet and charming?” I have a tendency to immerse myself in fictional worlds, in case you couldn’t tell.
These issues could be avoided, of course, if someone just decided to make a sitcom out of my own life. I already mentally explain things to a camera-man half the time, anyway, so putting an actual camera in front of me would not be a stretch. Then I would could watch my own show for hours with Wonderbutt snoring and farting on my lap, and become myself – which would be a welcome change.
Or I might become Wonderbutt.
Some might say that would be an improvement.
It’s Like Driving Miss Daisy – Except She’s a He and in the Front Seat. And Her Butt is Thirty Times Larger than Her Head.
So, you know how you open the pantry door and take out the leash, and your dog dances the happy dance and practically trips you as he races to the front door? And then he sighs loudly as you wander around the house looking for your keys? And then he starts whining and barking at you when you tell him to wait a second because you lost your phone and he lets loose a barrage of doggie expletives because you are wasting precious time interrogating everyone in the household? And then you finally get to the point where you can open the door, but you can’t because he has wedged himself in front of it to make absolutely sure that you don’t leave without him? So, you have to pull the door open and slide him across the floor until he realizes that the moment of departure has finally arrived? And then, he races out the door and you yell at him to wait and to stop running because he has a broken knee?
And he does. Wait, I mean.
By the car door.
Because he does not want to go for a walk.
He wants to go for a ride.
Chauffeured by you.
And even though it’s raining and cold and you have absolutely nowhere to take him, you feel sorry for the poor guy who, despite his torn ligaments, has been dancing by the front door every time you put on your shoes for the last three days. So, you let him jump on to the passenger seat and you ignore his muddy feet, and you ignore the seat belt beeper that warns you that someone more than 35 pounds is sitting next to you, and you ignore the fact that you should not be rewarding a dog who ate your book of strategies for winning Scrabble out of pure spite for anything that takes your attention away from him.
You drive your silly dog to the neighborhood nearby where the houses are far from the road, so maybe no one will notice that you are on a joyride with your bulldog. And you slow down to let him watch deer grazing in the yards. You even roll down the window so he can inform the deer that they better watch out because, if he feels like it, he’s going to heave his 60 pounds through that window and plop onto the ground and then there will be trouble.
And then you move on.
After wandering around for about fifteen minutes, you finally pull back into your own driveway. Your dog lumbers out of the car slowly. He follows you to the front door. Exploring the neighborhood on his own four paws holds no appeal. As soon as you get inside, he sprawls out on the floor with a sigh.
You can’t tell if it’s a sigh of contentment or disappointment.
But at least he won’t be eating any more books any time soon.
Wonderbutt the War-Waging Bulldog has been on a literal tear lately. Markers, socks, Rainbow Loom rubber bands – nothing is safe from him. I would threaten him with coal in his stocking, but he would just eat that, too. The coal and the stocking.
We came home the other day to find that the kitchen was Ground Zero. Placemats, kitchen towels, newspapers, and Dimples’ book were all victims of Wonderbutt’s fury. And just when we thought we had it all cleaned up, we found one of Dimples’ birthday cards right outside the dog door, like a welcome mat for the Poop Pen.
Does Homeowner’s Insurance cover this? Or is it considered an “Act of God”? Maybe an “Act of Dog”?
(Click on the thumbnails to see a larger view of mass destruction.)
It turns out my anti-depressant only works when there is nothing to be depressed about. Which seems kind of ineffective. I mean, if your medication isn’t going to help you look on the bright side of things when you find out that your dog probably needs $1500 surgery – TWICE – then, really, what’s the point of taking it?
As I mentioned in the last post, Wonderbutt has been limping. Cap’n Firepants and I could not agree on which leg was hurt, which was embarrassing to admit to the vet. We were pretty sure it was a back leg, but the darn dog has two of those. I was certain he was favoring the left one, and the Cap’n was equally sure it was the right one. It turned out that I was right. And I’ve never been so depressed about being correct. Because the Cap’n was right, too, apparently. According to the vet, it appears that Wonderbutt tore the ligaments in both of his rear knees.
So, first of all, I didn’t even know that Wonderbutt has knees. I still can’t find them. Who’s the stupid idiot who decided to give dogs knees? Next, you’re going to tell me they have elbows, too.
Secondly, the vet does not know this for sure. So we must pay $500 to be certain with X-rays that must be done while Wonderbutt is anesthetized. (Apparently, the vet is doubtful that Wonderbutt will be relaxed enough to get good X-rays done while he is awake.) Then, we get to fork out the $3000. Which should be very interesting since we don’t happen to have that in our Swiss bank account right now.
I came home from the vet, and decided that the best way to deal with this information would be to take a nap.
Another astounding revelation – naps at 10:30 in the morning really don’t help to combat the threat of oppressive veterinary bills and a hobbled bulldog.
In the meantime, our daughter, Dimples (who has a “touch” of scoliosis, and needs to go to a specialist so we can get more specific bad news) is alive with the Christmas spirit. She is cheerfully dancing around the house, decorating, and delighting at placing ornaments in unusual spots for me to find. Her birthday happens to be in a few days, so nothing is going to dampen her good cheer.
And my mother-in-law called this morning to see when we were going to pick her up for Thanksgiving. Which we did. Yesterday.
We all find our own ways of avoiding reality, I suppose.
Friends and family might tell you that I am a fairly ethical person. (If the topic came up. But, really, why would it? I mean, are you going to be standing around together at some bar talking about how the Cowboys lost again, and then say, “Hey, you know that Mrs. Cap’n Firepants? Would you say that she is ethical?”) The truth, though, whether you choose to discuss it or not, is that I am less ethical than I am scared of being caught doing something wrong. Which really stems from my caring way too much about what other people think about me. And that pretty much explains everything about me in a nutshell, according to my psychiatrist anyway.
The reason this makes me a horrible dog mom is that our dog, Wonderbutt, has been limping for a week and a half. He has done this before, and recovered in about 5 or 6 days. But he does not seem to be recovering this time. So, I’m thinking he needs to be taken to the vet. But I don’t want to take him. Because I know that they are going to say the only way they can help him is going to cost me a million dollars and 95 cents. And then I’m going to have to sell a lung or something. Which leads me back to the problem of worrying about getting caught, because I think that’s kind of illegal.
The thing is, I have had a brochure on Pet Insurance on my desk for the last year, and I keep putting off purchasing it because I’m too lazy to do the research on the 65 different pet insurance companies and Consumer Reports says that I would do just as well to open a savings account for my pet (which I haven’t done, either). Considering that I only have $2 in my daughter’s savings account, I figure the dog probably should not take precedence. Of course, the daughter does have health insurance – just maybe not a future college education. But, does my dog need a future college education?
Now I’m confused.
I realize, now, that if I had the Pet Insurance it might offset some of the million dollars. But I don’t. But I could get it, and then I could hang out for the waiting period, and then take Wonderbutt in to the vet.
But I can’t do that.
Besides the fact that I’ve just advertised that I even entertained the thought of trying to take advantage of that little loophole, there is the small matter of the fact that I always get caught when I do something wrong. Always.
Plus, there is the possibility that Wonderbutt is in pain. Though it’s hard to tell because he always looks unhappy, and he is snoring and farting just as much as usual.
To compound my guilt, I ran across this product, and immediately thought, “What idiot would buy this? IF MY HOUSE IS ON FIRE I AM NOT GOING TO TAKE THE TIME TO STRAP A FIREPROOF COAT ONTO MY DOG!” And then I felt bad. Especially when I read the part about protecting my dog from falling objects when we walk through construction areas. I can’t believe that I am so selfish that I haven’t already bought this for Wonderbutt just in case Wile E. Coyote tries to drop an anvil on him the next time we go for a walk.
Which we can’t even do because the poor dog is limping.
UPDATE: I just realized that I should not advertise this coat as being Anvil Proof. I don’t really think it can keep you from getting smushed by an anvil. So, if this is a real concern of yours, please don’t buy this coat based on my advice. Truth be told, I am not really advising that you buy this product at all. (I’m covered, legally, now. Right?)