Sunday, June 8, 2008

About a week ago, Dave's mother told us she was flying into town to take care of Dave. He said he was okay, she didn't need to. She said, "I'm coming, and I'm coming tomorrow. To make sure that in your gimpy state you will have no time to clean your house, replace the house plants you've killed, take out your trash, mow the lawn, dig up the weeds, scrub the toilets, sweep the floors, clean the carpets, tidy the office, shred your paper piles, or clean out the garage, so your delightful fiancee Jessica will therefore have to do that for you before I get there so I won't be horrified by your housekeeping skills."

No, she didn't really say that. But she could have, as that's what it meant. Now, Dave is a pretty organized guy. He likes his lists. He likes his order. He's fond of cleanliness and good smells. In general, he keeps up his house remarkably (if not neurotically) well. When he let the baby birds stay in the nest they built in his parents' BBQ, he suggested we buy the folks a new one since he was letting this one get bird-y and dirty. When the schedule on the fridge says it's time to fertilize those backyard blueberries, you better believe he's not spending his Saturday twiddling his thumbs or picking his nose- no, he's fertilizing those scheduled blueberries. He mows his lawn just about every week, though if the weather forecast says it will rain on a Saturday he sighs with pure joy, for the opportunity to go about his own affairs sans magneted-refrigerator-schedule-induced guilt. So it was quite unfortunate that when he hurt his leg, he happened to be planning for a wedding, spending every other evening after work at my house, and the nights inbetween at home dealing with a loved one who sweetly distracted him constantly from any such nonsense as chores, lest she die of unbridled boredom and misery as she watched. This sweet loved one paid the price for that.

I woke up the next day and started cleaning and didn't stop until I picked up his mother at the airport at 5:45 pm. I swept, vacuumed, shampooed the carpets, took out a hundred tiny stuffed trash cans, scrubbed the toilets, scoured a tub and some sinks, and washed every dish in the house (because we had used them all). I did laundry, I washed counters, I tidied, I stacked. I was a tad grumpy. Though much of the mess was mine, I had never cleaned someone else's house before. Once, years ago, when I was in the middle of taking the 4-hour GRE exam and was convinced my failing grade's percentage would be lucky if it reached the teens, I daydream-edly mused (all through the math section) that house-cleaning was a fine and even noble profession, honest labor after all, and perhaps I should immediately look right into that opportunity as fast as my legs could carry me from the Testing Center of Doom. Luckily I passed that test because I was wrong. I don't like it. The noble profession is not for me. My head hurt. My back ached. I was irritable. I might have whined. I mentioned my pains to Dave every 4-6 minutes. I knew he would want to know.

Dave helped by needing many snacks brought to him, and ordering specially-prepared paninis from the couch.

To sweep the kitchen, I opened the sliding-glass door that leads out to his deck so I wouldn't have to bother with a dustpan. About 20 minutes later and long done with sweeping, I walked back into the kitchen to get something. Very softly and from far away outside, I could hear the high-pitched cough-like bark of a tiny dog. Tender feelings for small dogs filled me as I smiled and turned to leave the room. To be sure though, I turned back to Dave and asked "Pixie's with you, right?" Dave's eyes were blank. I watched them travel instinctively to the sliding glass door. It was still wide open. My first reaction was to say, "WHY DID YOU LEAVE THE DOOR OPEN YOU'VE LOST OUR DOG AND NOW SHE'S BARKING FROM A HUNDRED MILES AWAY AND PROBABLY THEREFORE DEAD!" Before I could speak though I remembered that he couldn't move and thus had done no such thing. Whoopsie.

I shot out the door and down the steps to the backyard which opens to a huge greenbelt of lawns and kids and other dogs and basically every opportunity for Pixie to ruin her life or mine. I exploded through the backyard into the giant green expanse. The shrilly yapping dog was all alone in the vast open space, except for one man and one dog, who she was shouting fiercely at. Can you guess who it was? Why, the Neighborhood Dog Nazi, of course!

My heart sunk. He was trying to approach her, cooing rather sweetly and telling her it was all right. Her response was to yell at him like he was trying to pluck her limbs from her body for use in beating starving orphans.

I wanted to turn quietly around and pretend I didn't know her.

"Ha ha!" I laughed like it was funny. "Oh, Pixie's a funny little one! Come here, Funny Little One!" Come here you funny little MONSTER that I am going to dip in soy sauce and serve as sushi before I EVER let you out again in your life.

She actually came to me and as I was preparing to back away and break into a run before Neighborhood Dog Nazi could report me and my renegade pup, he struck up a conversation. A friendly one! He said he could see she had a tag and he was trying to get close enough to her to read the phone number on it because he could tell she had gotten out when she wasn't supposed to so he thought he'd help. He had his cell phone after all, and what were cell phones for if not emergencies, which this clearly was, a dog without it's owner and all. Did I want to see his cell phone? because here it was, clipped to his short shorts. He said he carries the phone because what if he has his own emergency and how else would anyone know if he didn't call to report himself in a crumpled heap on the sidewalk if that's what happened? He said cell phones are important, and he was just about to use his to call me if he could only get close enough to read the numbers on the tag. In his estimation, he was only moments from Pixie trusting him enough to let him scoop her up so he could read the numbers on the tag. (I didn't burst his bubble, though Pixie was glaring at him like that wasn't all she wanted to burst). Once he read them, he was going to call me all right, call me with the emergency report from his emergency phone. He said she was cute about 10 times, and weren't we lucky that he had his phone, and these little ones are sneaky, ooooh yes they are, cootchy cootchy coo, scratch her neck (which she hated and tried to fling herself from my arms to avoid). All in all, he couldn't have been nicer.

It's official. "Neighborhood Dog Nazi" exists no more. It just doesn't fit. Now we can only hope to stay on the good side of "Neighborhood K-9(11)"!


kim said...

hey fun to find your blog, or shall i say pixie's, so cute! i'm so sorry to hear about dave's injury!! what a bummer and right before the wedding. good luck these next couple of weeks before the big day!