As I noted last month, Licorice enjoys her time out on safari now that the fence is complete and she can roam around in relative freedom, inside a contained area. It had gotten to where she spent only a napping hour or so indoors with me, during the day, and spent the remainder of her daylight hours either 1) outside doing lord knows what, 2) hurling herself at my office door as a subtle hint that she wished to head out, or 3) standing next to my chair whining until I opened the damn door.

I’ll admit, I was a little saddened that just laying on the floor of my office was no longer sufficient for her. My office is a messy pit, but a dog on the floor totally spruces the place up. Nevertheless, I was pleased that she was enjoying herself so much outside, and it did kind of make the whole fence debacle ALMOST feel worth it.

But then—because I’m essentially a big jerk—I had to go and ruin the dog’s good time.

Three years ago, upon discovering that our deck was sinking into the ground, we paid to have our contractor bring in a crew, jack the whole thing up (by which I mean “raise it up with a massive jack” not “screw it up beyond repair”), and put concrete footings under the supports. He’d warned us that it was a temporary fix, but we stuck our fingers in our ears and shouted “LA LA LA LA LA LA I CAN’T HEAR YOU!” and hoped for the best. Well. We got three more years out of it, but this summer as the railing on the main stairs broke free and twisted away from the posts and large chunks of the floor boards started flaking off and—my favorite!!—large cracks began appearing in the support posts of the once-beloved gazebo, it was time to admit that the original deck’s life was coming to a less-than-graceful end.

So just like that, we gave the dog an outdoor wonderland, and then we cruelly yanked it away.

The deck demolition didn’t take much time at all, but as these things so often go, the crew shows up and does an impressive amount of work (say, knocking down the entire deck) and then disappears for a day or two or five. The dog spent two solid days hurling herself at my office door before I got the bright idea to OPEN THE DAMN DOOR and let her see why I wasn’t letting her out. The door swung open and I held onto her collar—I was afraid she’d dash out before realizing she was, in fact, six feet above ground—and she looked outside, strained against my hold, and then turned her head to look at me.

I swear if she could talk, that look definitely would’ve come with a, “What the HELL? You BITCH!”

Licorice spent several days mopey and depressed between when the deck disappeared and when the crew showed up again. But yesterday they got a ton done, so I took her out this morning to try to show her that things are progressing and eventually she’ll have her jungle back.

The door to my office still opens up onto nothing (well, okay, it opens to a frame that is still board-less), but the door in the dining room can actually be exited normally, now. So I opened it up and snapped a picture just before the dog ran out.

Looks pretty nice, right? Wait; let me set that up better. Imagine, if you will, a twisted, cracking, painted-baby-poop-brown-with-latex-paint (honestly, I have no idea what the former homeowners here were thinking) deck that’s uneven and falling apart, first. Once you’ve got that image in your mind, look at the above picture. LOOKS PRETTY NICE, RIGHT??

The dog—upon seeing that there was actual! deck! out there, ran right out.

She was extremely perplexed, though. While you could tell she was glad to be out there, the lack of railings and STAIRS (stairs = access to the jungle below, where she stalks her snacks) was confusing.

She peeked back at me, then went and stood at one corner.

(She’s totally staring at the box where I grew green beans this summer, which she often used to steal when the vines hung low enough. Poor puppy, trapped and green-bean-less.)

Realizing that she couldn’t possibly get down from there, she looked back at me again, and then she heard a noise off the far end of the deck. SQUIRREL!!

She watched it so intently, and for so long, I began to fear she might actually try to jump off the deck. So I headed back to the door and called her.

She turned and glared at me. (Some days, owning this dog is kind of like having an extra teenager in the house.)

Eventually I was able to coax her back inside—leaving her out there with no railings seemed like a bad idea—and she stalked into my office and dove under the futon for a nap. My reassurances that they’ll be done… soon… (GOD I HOPE) were met with stony silence.

Am I going to bribe my way back into her good graces by having the contractor install a doggie door in the new screened porch area one they get to that? Why yes. Yes, I am.

Also, I would just like it noted for the record that THIS project has actually been remarkably drama-free, if you don’t count the dog being in a snit. I wish they’d stop leaving us to go work on other jobs (obviously), but things are moving right along. Of course the dog just HAD to make it all about her. (I think she’s been spending too much time with Chickadee.)


  1. Megan

    Puppy drama – mildly emotionally distressing and FREE

    Contractor drama – deeply and scarringly emotionally draining and REALLY REALLY EXPENSIVE

    Since both give blog fodder, I know which one I’d pick!

  2. diane

    Will you still have a casino – er, gazebo when all is said and done? Maybe a custom-matched miniature as an outdoor doghouse for Licorice will help in the apology to the canine department. Looks great so far!

  3. Mir

    Diane: Sadly, the gazebo/casino is going away in favor of a screen porch section. Not nearly as exciting, but better for keeping the bugs out. ;)

  4. Angela

    I looooove the dog stories and pictures! My dog looks just like Licorice except in white, and she cracks us up all the time with silly antics, or even just doing regular things. They’re so darn smart and expressive, you just wish they could talk!

  5. Katherine

    I hope your deck gets done faster than ours did. My cat was NOT happy that the deck was in progress for 2 MONTHS! Including almost a week of no access to the cat door. Poor cat leapt from the deck up to the window and scramble in the cat door. We had to get the guy to rig something up quick before the cat did that again and missed (falling about 12 ft onto concrete).

  6. dad

    As your architectural advisor I can only say “I’m impressed.”

    You showed a lot of confidence in Licorice’s control abilities letting her out there without a parachute.

  7. Celeste

    The kids had long outgrown their wooden swingset, so I sold it few weeks ago. I kept Kirby in the house while the new owners were dismantling it. He went outside after they left, and I swear, he got halfway across the yard and did a double-take.

  8. Jen R

    Once upon a time, my white ans smaller version of your dog took a flyling leap off of an 8 feet-off-the-ground deck that was missing its stairs. My had had removed them to build a lower level… she was fine and just kept on running.

  9. JennyA

    HA! When our deck was being built lo these many moons ago, there was a section of railing that was missing because some stairs were going to be installed — stairs to the ground a full story below the level of the deck, due to a crazily-sloped lot.

    We adopted our dog during the deck construction and for the first few weeks she was naturally very confused about why she was there and we were very concerned about her trying to escape, and so we diligently tested for weak spots in the fence, filled holes, etc. We didn’t dream of closing off that gap in the under-construction deck railing, because — hello, 15 feet off the ground, and besides, she and our other dog would walk to the edge, look over, and wander off with an almost audible “hell, no.” However, I got a frantic call from my husband one day while I was at work that he couldn’t find the dog. We did find her, thankfully not far away, but we searched and searched and the only spot were she could possibly have left either the house or the yard was that opening in the deck railing.

    I just wish I had been there to see the flying leap.

    (She doesn’t try to escape anymore.)

    (And we closed off the deck railing with a quickness. Oops.)

  10. Heather

    During a vet clinic expansion a staff member’s elderly dog was quite put out when the door that he usually went out of several times a day was suddenly no longer an exterior door. Even worse was the fact that his favorite bush to mark was gone! We were never forgiven.

  11. mamaspeak

    You do realize that by saying it has been remarkable event-free, you may have just jinxed it, right? I don’t think you’re that hard up for blog fodder, so LALALALALALALALAICAN’THEARYOU
    Ok, I think we’re taken care of that.

  12. amanda

    That’s hilarious that you said that Licorice glared at you. She’s part schnauzer right? I’m *certain* that my schnauzer used to glare at my husband. He still mentions that sometimes…

  13. Sheppitsgal

    Haha! You said you own the dog. She SOOOO owns you :)

  14. Little Bird

    Does that screened in porch mean you will be able to lounge and eat out there without fear of the freakishly huge genetically mutated palmetto bugs?

  15. ben

    Alas, I’m afraid this project will be finished before we can make some sort of “deck the halls” song about it. Falalala-la.

  16. Liz

    Delurking to comment on just how much I love it when your dad’s comments ;)

  17. Liz

    Also, read as: how much I love it when your dad comments (or) how much I love your dad’s comments. 2 comments for the price of 1 (it’s how I roll!)

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