Bring On The Puppies

It was Day 3 after Nemo had blown through New England, and my glass was half empty.

Even if my glass is half empty, I continue to let my little light shine as I spread good cheer around like melted butter, and lavish pleasantries upon those closest to me.

As for My Royal Consort, I don’t know what was wrong with his fucking glass.

Just because he and Thing 2 had shoveled mountains of heavy snow, and cleared a half dozen fallen trees from the driveway, and just because our plow guy had not been able to get to us, which meant trudging for 3/10ths of a mile to our last remaining vehicle because our other car had been crushed by a tree, and because we would not have electricity again for many more days, there was no reason to go all snippy on me.

After clearing out my car, we set out for town like the three ambassadors of charm that we were. When I stepped on the brakes, they hit the floor, but luckily I was going very slowly and was able to stop the car.

Just before my half empty drinking vessel exploded like a vitreous IED, I had the good sense to leave the scene and go somewhere else so that I could more efficiently make the universal gesture for wanking with one hand, while pantomiming “fuck you very much” with the other hand.

Why would I make such a rude gesture like that in the middle of the road?

I did it because My Royal Consort had just implied that I might have imagined that the brakes had failed. After pumping them a few times himself, he created enough pressure in the line to make them functional, therefore, what I had just experienced was all in my head.

For my far-flung readers who are lucky enough to not live in New England, let me just say that this is our third go around in less than two years with extreme weather and lengthy power outages.

The first time was in the summer of 2011 with Hurricane Irene. We were very fortunate to only lose power for 6 days, and because it was summer we could bathe in the pond.

The second time was Hurricane Sandy, and again, we were very lucky. We were out of power for 5 days. Since it was early November, bathing in the pond was no longer an option.

This time with Nemo, Thing 2’s car got crushed, we lost trees, and our plow guy got a case of the vapors. And, even though I am as tough as the toughest leather and stronger than dirt, I had been sick as a dog with some disgusting head-eating snot bomb for days.

When My Royal Consort gave me that arch look after he had successfully deployed the brakes, and I had walked away, my eyes burned and I could sense the rising tide of self pity that I would soon be shamelessly wallowing in. Prior experience had taught me not to expect too much from National Grid.

At that critical moment, as I settled in for a nice sob session, I received a text from Thing 1. NOW WHAT?, I thought angrily to myself, because his text began with the words “I think it’s time to confess….”

Until just a few years ago, a text from Thing 1 could sometimes cause a bout of anxiety-induced diarrhea. Our oldest son is smart, brave, honest and sometimes wrong. I love him with all my heart, and am grateful that we survived his adolescent years and now enjoy such a cordial relationship.

Our good relationship is predicated on me finally understanding that he is very independent, just like his father. While Thing 1 has had to avail himself of our help from time to time, he would prefer not to. He was born this way. He was the rare and blessed child who never heard of separation anxiety or night terrors. I could have turned him over to the Taliban when he was a toddler, and he would have just smiled and waved goodbye, confident that I would be there to pick him up later on.

Thing 1 is handy. He can put things together and take them apart. Like his father, he is the guy you want if you find yourself engaged in trench warfare or stranded on a mountain.

Thing 1 is the kind of person you can be comfortably quiet with. He loves nature, he is a college student, and he is tall and very handsome.

My cup runneth over.

Did I mention that Thing 1 is stubborn and willful?

Because I know this about my firstborn, I keep my pimp hand strong by having a soft touch. For example, when he extols the virtues of Pit Bull Terriers because his housemate has one that is sweet, I casually let it slip out that as landlords, we discriminate against Pit Bulls, Doberman Pinschers and German Shepherds because, statistically speaking, they account for the majority of the face eating incidents nationwide. By all that is holy, I do not say “For fuck’s sake, Pit Bulls are the worst dogs ever, and I’ll kill you if you even think of getting one” because that would piss him off and he would not hear me.

Because Thing 1 and his father are actually two sides of the same coin, My Royal Consort is sometimes more outspoken with his opinions about Pit Bulls than I would be. Now that Oldest is pushing the ripe old age of 21, and doing the exact same things that his father did, My Royal Consort has had to concede that he has very nearly created his own clone.

I bravely read the rest of Oldest’s text and was relieved to see that he wasn’t confessing any number of terrible things. He was not confessing to a love child, a wrecked car or an eviction notice. He was not confessing to a diaper fetish, bank robbery or religious conversion.

He has white paws!!! And, his ears sometimes stand up!

He has white paws!!! And, his ears sometimes stand up!

He was confessing to a puppy.

Specifically, a nine-week-old Malamute/Golden Retriever mix named Neeko. I sat down hard in a snow bank and started laughing.

When we were hiking over Christmas, Thing 1 had talked a lot about wanting a dog now that his housemate had decamped with the sweet tempered Pit Bull. My Royal Consort and I had both counseled him to resist the urge to get a puppy because it would complicate his life.

As I froze my ass off in the snow, I had to admit that my glass was once again half full—Thing 1 had gotten a puppy even though we were against the idea, but, he had not gotten a Pit Bull. He had already taken Neeko to the vet for immunizations, made an appointment to have him neutered, and he had financed the whole thing himself.

Just like when a newly carefree empty nester unexpectedly becomes a grandparent and has no choice but to welcome the little bundle of joy with open arms, I felt that I had no other option but to love this puppy.

I quickly called Thing 1 and felt his guard drop when he realized I wasn’t calling to ream him out. Instead, I got all mushy, thinking back to when My Royal Consort and I got our first puppy, and how much fun we had with her.

When we hung up, I knew that in his present storm-tossed condition, My Royal Consort would not be ready for the news until after I softened him up over a candlelit dinner. Of course, Thing 2 had known about the puppy for weeks.

There wasn’t much My Royal Consort could say about Thing 1’s willful disregard of our good advice, because he himself had acquired a puppy when he was a freshman living in a dorm.

I gently reminded My Royal Consort of what it must have been like to be our parents.

My parents had the pleasure of telling their friends that, yes, Liz has graduated from college and is living in Rhode Island with her boyfriend who is nine years older than her. No, she hasn’t found a writing job yet, and is working as a house painter.

A puppy is not the worst thing that could have happened, although I am afraid it dashes my dream of seeing Thing 1 go abroad for a semester. But, the semester abroad is my dream, not his, just like me living in New York City and working on a magazine while I looked for a rich husband, was my parents’ dream.

When I described how the news had transformed me from a tearful train wreck to a cheerful train wreck, Thing 1 pointed out that “puppies always make everyone feel better.

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  1. Cheri Thacker says:

    Awwwww, this was precious. And funny. And your son is right…puppies DO always make people feel better!

    1. admin says:

      I’m still all aglow!

  2. Dogs of Caye Caulker says:

    Have I mentioned how much I adore your family? Every last dang one of you.

    And I can’t believe you’ve been so heavily impacted by yet another storm! GAH!!

    1. admin says:

      And I love yours, and miss the ones who are not longer with us. So what do you think about a Malamute/golden cross? I think it has potential to be a very cool dog, but very hairy. I think he said the dog is double coated. XOXO

  3. Al says:

    LaVie, this is great stuff. Although you have a crushed car,all of you are safe and sound. Like a good parent, I repeat what my parents said to me many times over the years “As long as you’re healthy and happy…everything else means nothing. You can always replace the car (or substitute another thing that’s got destroyed). I can’t wait to see this puppy.

    1. admin says:

      THat’s what we always say to our kids too “…happy, healthy, successful and safe.”

      I am just now getting educated on how much Subarus hold their value…even used they are very expensive!

      1. Al says:

        I just bought a new Forester. I love it. They do keep their value. If you are looking for something a few years old, I think buying new is the way to go. (Just my opinion)

        1. admin says:

          I think we are getting a 2009 forester at auction–just waiting for the insurance company to officially total it and write us a check for the intrepid toyota.

  4. Kathryn Donahue says:

    Hilarious, as always. I was thinking kind of the same thing as Elizabeth: when your son goes abroad, be prepared to babysit your new grandchild for a few weeks!

    1. admin says:

      I am SUCH an enabler, it’s not even right!

  5. elizabeth says:

    What is wrong with me? I must remember NOT to read your posts while having breakfast or
    I will not be so lucky the next time I spew my latte over the keys of my laptop. As a parent,
    I feel I must warn you that in no way does owning a dog preclude one from a semester abroad. It just means you will have to schedule your life around your dog-sitting duties!

    1. admin says:

      Causing spew is what I aim to do!
      Our very old dog Allie hid herself away to die in October. We never found her and I miss her every day. We plan to travel, so no puppies for me until we are ready to settle down. I won’t mind playing grand parent to the dog now and then…as long as it’s a well behaved creature.

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