The children are away with their dad, and the first few years here in the south we used their vacation to do Big Projects here in the house. Now that we’ve run out of patience and money (ha!), summer holds no such drudgery over our heads, and while it’s awfully nice to have a little time off, I just plain miss them. Because, yeah, it’s nice to be able to sleep naked or whatever, but not as nice as having everyone home.
And the progression is the same, every time they’re gone for two weeks: The first week is AWESOME! Woooo! Let’s eat dinner on the couch! Let’s go to the movies and see something rated R! Let’s go out with friends! (Uh, except that we didn’t actually do any of that, this time. I was away and then home and sick and then Otto was away. We fail at partying, yo.) At the beginning of the second week I find myself doing things like clothes shopping for the kids. And then by the middle of the second week (now) I’m counting down ’til their weekend return.
Anyway, in just a few more days all will be back to normal. And no one will celebrate more than the dog, who is currently the focus of all our parental inclinations to torment our offspring.
Look, it’s not that we’re TRYING to hassle her. It’s just that it’s pretty funny to watch her cycle through all her tricks in return for a treat, or to hide her tennis ball or Slobber Bunny (named because… yeah) in the couch and watch her dig for it. Besides, she LOVES it!
So yesterday, when I pushed back from my desk a little early, and told Otto I was going to put my suit on and jump in the pool (hey, it was 90-something degrees outside), we did what we always do, which is to bring Licorice out with us and marvel at how no matter how hot it gets (and the concrete gets pretty hot), she just paces around, panting, and refusing to get into the pool.
We know she likes water. She’s enjoyed getting squirted (with a bottle or gentle hose) on hot days. She’s run full tilt into our pond in her never-ending quest to bag a Giant Chicken. (That time, it was a couple of geese, but basically any bird bigger than she is is referred to as a Giant Chicken for simplicity’s sake.) And the last time we went camping, she happily splashed around in the shallows at the lake.
So it’s not like she’s deathly terrified of water, or anything. She’s just deathly terrified of our pool.
Well, Otto and I swam around for a while—commenting to one another that it was hard to believe the water had been frigid a month ago, as it was now sort of like swimming in the bathtub—and Licorice paced, paced, paced, and her tongue flopped out of her mouth from side to side and she panted and whined. So I picked her up to bring her into the pool.
Have you ever seen one of those videos where someone holds a cat over water and they immediately fan out flat like a stingray, all four limbs splayed stiff? First Licorice tried to do that, and she even whimpered a little, even though I was holding her nice and tight and just taking her over to the STAIRS. It’s not like I was tossing her into the deep end, or anything. After a couple of seconds (I was moving verrrrry sloooowwwwwwly) she abandoned this tactic and began madly pinwheeling her legs, instead. Swimming before she hit the water.
All the while, she glared at me sideways. “WHY DO YOU HATE ME?” her expression clearly conveyed.
I sat down on the top step—the water barely deep enough to cover my thighs—and settled her on my lap. She looked around, and realizing that she wasn’t being drowned or anything, stopped whimpering. But she still sat there every inch the martyr, refusing to look at me no matter how I patted her or scratched under her chin. “It’s WATER, Licorice!” I exhorted. “Not lava! Not rabid zombie squirrels! It’s REFRESHING!” She wasn’t buying it.
Because I’m sensitive, I got a firm grip on her and moved down to the second step. She promptly tried to climb up my chest. Even though she was still in water shallow enough that she didn’t even need to swim.
Otto and I passed her back and forth a few times and then set her back on the concrete. She shook off with a flurry of huffing and then parked herself under a lounge chair, all the better to glare at us and fantasize about pooping in our pillowcases, later.
And because that wasn’t enough to gratify our evil, evil hearts, today I cleaned out Licorice’s ears. I should do it once a week, but 1) she hates it and 2) I’m lazy, so I tend to do it whenever I notice that she seems to be scratching. This morning I put her up on the counter and got both ears irrigated and cleaned out, then put her back on the floor, knowing what was coming next.
I think it’s that having her ears cleaned makes them itchy. I mean, that makes sense, right? On the other hand, a small part of me believes that she just carries on like this afterward to make me feel bad. (If so, JOKE’S ON HER, because I just think it’s hilarious.) The following is but a snippet of the twenty-minute-long ear-rubbing frenzy that followed:
Come home soon, kids. The dog really, really misses you.