This is Why We Can’t Have Nice Things

I think I have always known, at least since we moved here ten years or so ago, that I would die in my back yard.  I think Eric knows too because for the first year or so we lived here, if he called me during the day, which he usually does 6-10 times a day, he would freak out if I did not pick up the phone.  Once, when Eric worked with a company called Cable Express splicing fiber optic cable, my son Joe, who lived locally for a short time, called me up and said, “Hey, I got paid,do you want to run down to Pizza Factory and have lunch?”  I had just talked to Eric a few minutes before and he’d told me he would be “in the field” and if I called, I would not likely be able to get a hold of him.  Because of this, I did not bother to phone Eric (in the field) and let him know that I was leaving.  Joe and I went to lunch and had a splendid time and since we were having such a splendid time, we stayed for a couple of hours.  When I got back home again, very, very angry Eric was standing on the balcony (which doubles as his man cave) and THAT was not a happy evening at Casa Rasbold.  Apparently, he had phoned not long after I left and when I did not answer, figured I was prone and twitching on the back path, up here in the mountains all alone.  With that image in his mind, he dropped all responsible working duties and power drove all the way from Sacramento (90 minutes) only to find me gone and pulling into the driveway a few minutes later glutted out on pizza and Diet Coke. I believe I have finally convinced him that I am not a ticking time bomb ready to stroke out at the drop of a hat, but for a while, it was touch and go with the terror of having an overweight wife of advanced age.

In the middle of the night, however, I look at my sacred back yard space and think, yep, this is where it is going to go down and it will be because of my stupid dogs.  At some point in the past couple of years, my dogs had a meeting and decided that they could not hold their water through the night and after getting that memo, my family got together exclusive of me and decided that none of them would ever hear the dogs moaning and freaking out in the night and that it was solely my responsibility to be doorman for the damned dogs.  Tough love doesn’t work on these dogs either.  I tried the whole, “NO!  Go back to SLEEP!” approach and they countered with, “Oh yeah? Check THIS out!” and left me the Steaming Poop Mountain and Piss Lake of Improbable Size for me to find the next morning, looking at me like, “SEE WHAT YOU MADE ME DO??  THIS IS WHY WE CAN’T HAVE NICE THINGS!”

I have four dogs and there is a pee routine.  Elvis, the shih tzu, cannot go out with any of the other three dogs.  If he goes out with Jo-Bu, they will get into a pissing contest, regardless of the time of day, of epic proportions and will literally continue after they are both pissing nothing but air and pee vapor.  It will take approximately seventeen times longer than if he just goes out to pee  on his own.  If he goes out with either of the two girls, Baby and Muggles (don’t ask), he will take forever because he has to follow them around and smell butts for longer than necessary before he ever even gets around to doing his business.  This is, of course, on top of the time it takes for him to not only go his full bathroom round, but to interview a few hundred places to deposit his poop biscuit before actually getting around to it.  The girls cannot go out together because if they do, they will instantly escape the fence.  They will not leave if they go out separately, but if they go out together, they are gone.  They will then run all over the mountain top like it is their job or something and come in a couple of hours later when I am finally getting back to sleep. They are then those dogs who bark and bark and bark and bark to be let in.  There are probably seven or eight secret passageways in the fence that only they know and if they are together they will use one.  These dogs are so determined that when I tried to be a wise ass and install an invisible (shocking) fence on the outside of the actual fence, they would endure the shock that the color gave, yelping the whole time and still keep pushing to get out of the fence.  They would rather take the shock and get out than just stay in the damned fence.

All this means that the dog process has to happen in three phases:  Elvis, Jo-Bu and Muggles, then Baby.  Baby lost some weird dog version of Ro Sham Bo and always has to let Muggles go first.  Go figure.

Oh and Elvis has to be escorted outside by a human because he is small enough to get through the fence and devious enough to do so in the middle of the night.  This means that I have to go out into the night air, which is plenty to get me good and awake, and stand around waiting for Elvis to figure out where he is going to poop and where he is going to pee, which is never anywhere near the same place,  and to think really hard about where he left the sock he brought out the last time he peed and to wonder what that lizard is doing over there and oooh!  Bat or bird??  Sometime between 2am and 4am, I will usually be wandering around my back yard, hissing at Elvis to hurry the hell up.

So that is where I will die.  Since my family is unable to wake up when dogs are flipping out in four-part harmony, I am sure they would not hear my pitiful cries for help.  Someday, I will go out there and a hungry bear will be stunned that anyone is awake and will launch, picking up Elvis like so much fuzzy popcorn and landing me like some grizzly bear version of The Walking Dead.  Someday, I will be taking this asshole dog out to pee in the crazy blizzards we have and I will fall down and break an old woman hip and freeze to death in the elements.  Someday, like tonight just now when I went out, I will hear people talking in the woods and they will be in the process of leaving a body for the wild animals to consume and distribute and they will say, “What’s that?  Someone is in that back yard!” and there will then be two bodies for disposal.  Someday, I will be waiting for Elvis to finish his OCD routine of checking every variable in the back yard before he takes a dump and it will be that one straw that broke the camel’s back in terms of not getting enough sleep to survive and I will drop dead of exhaustion because my damned dogs can’t hold their pee until morning.

I am not even a dog person.  I am a cat person and I can’t even have cats in my house because my dogs terrorize them.  These dogs had better start learning to fold laundry or spit gold pretty soon, I’m just sayin’.

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