Saturday, July 28, 2012

Bad Habits Make Me Sick

Ms. I Will Teach You To Eat Cat Poop Maddie and Mr. I Will Gladly Learn To Eat Cat Poop Red Dog

Well Red Dog has picked up a few bad habits from a couple of his pals over the past few weeks and is in deep dodo with my wife over them.  Since Reed, our youngest, has moved home Red Dog has been hanging out in his room all hours of the day because he has been letting Red Dog sleep on the bed with with him.  That's against the house rules around here but Red Dog is still getting away with it at times.  You have to realize this is a seventy five pound hairy pony lying around on the furniture and Red Dog is shedding like crazy this summer which creates a lot of extra work for Debbie around the house.  I will admit that Red Dog is pretty sneaky about not getting caught.  He reminds me of my friends little boys when they were little sneaking cookies from the kitchen to their bed rooms.  

I was over visiting my friend in his living room one afternoon when I noticed something out of the corner of my eye.  At first I was not sure what was going on so Matt and I kept on talking.  After a couple more minutes of conversing I noticed some small blurred images flashing in and out of my peripheral vision.  I finally had to stop our conversation to watch what was going on.  Matt's two young sons were sneaking from their bedroom where they were supposed to be taking a nap into the kitchen to swipe cookies off of the counter top.  They would peak around the corner waiting for us to look away then dart across the floor to the cookie jar then repeat the maneuver when returning to the safety of their bed room.  I must admit it was a well thought out plan as we found out after some semi serious parental interrogating.  Those two little boys had taken the lid off the cookie jar prior to going to bed in order to eliminate any jar noise during their cookie heist.  I considered their plan a successful failure because they went to the well one time to many and got caught.  We found a large cache of cookies hidden in their bunk beds and I snicker when I think about how many times they had to sneak around us to get such a stock pile.  

Red Dog is being very cautious when it comes to catching him sleeping on the furniture.  He must be sleeping with one eye open and one ear to the air listening for me headed toward the bed room because every time I head that way he is already trotting down the hallway as though nothing is wrong.  There is some evidence that he has been sleeping on the bed but it's difficult to tell as there isn't much difference in the cleaning habits of a seventy five pound dog and a twenty year old boy.  I have only caught Red Dog once and I made it very clear that its not allowed but I'm pretty certain he has continued to lounge on the furniture when I am not looking.  Wow, it just hit me that Red Dog is acting like my twenty year old just without the smartalec remarks.  Maybe those two should move in together.  Oh, wait they did and at my house.  Maybe some day I'll catch a break.  

As annoying as it is to have Red Dog sneaking around sleeping on the beds the next little habit he picked up from his pal Maddie is just plain gross.  The other day Debbie could hear some weird crunching noises coming from the guest bathroom so she went to investigate.  As she walked into the room she could see Red Dog with his head under the cabinet where the cats litter box is kept.  As she got closer she notice Red Dog was eating the cat poop out of the litter box and it appeared he was enjoying it.  OH MY LORD, WHAT IS WRONG WITH THIS CRAZY DOG!!!  We have had Red Dog over a year now and he has never done anything like this "EVER".  Debbie went into this grossed out rigor and chased Red Dog out of the room.  Where and when did he pick up this filthy habit.  Now I know that dogs do this when they are outside and that is gross enough on it's own but when you add the crunching noise of the cat litter it brings it to a whole new level of gross.  The thing that grossed me out the most, and I have seen a lot of gross things in my medical career, is that it was the exact loud sound you hear in your head when you eat a bowl of Grape Nuts breakfast cereal and it looked just like Tootsie Rolls covered in gray sprinkles.  It makes me nauseated and gives me the willies just thinking about it.  (Quick note to self:  Tell Debbie to scratch Grape Nuts off the shopping list).  If there are any pluses about this nasty little habit it's that Red Dog doesn't have stinky breath so we must be buying a good brand of cat litter.  After telling this story to the kids our Lubbock daughter confessed that Maddie does the same thing and they have to block her from the litter box. After more discussion we calculated that Red Dog didn't start this nasty little habit until Maddie came for a weekend visit a few weeks ago.  Thanks Maddie.  

Now we have a dog with a "SONIC" bark who likes to eat cat poop with kitty litter and has the freshest smelling breath in the neighborhood.  This dog ownership thing just keeps getting better and better.  What will happen next around here?  Will the cats start laying eggs, the chickens start chasing cars, the grey squirrels crow like a rooster at sun rise, or my twenty year old son clean that pig sty he calls a bedroom.  Who knows what strange events will take place out here at the DMZ (Debbie Mini Zoo for those who aren't familiar with this Texas Red Dog Adventure acronym).  But one thing is for sure Red Dog has to change his choice of snacks before I throw my guts up because I can't continue to type and vomit at the same time.  Until the next less gross adventure, God bless you all.                      

Monday, July 16, 2012

Saturday Morning Chaos

It's been an interesting Saturday morning around the Howard house so let me fill you in on the players in this little adventure before I begin.    Player number one is Red Dog.  His actions today are more like the little brother who wants to do what big brother does instead of behaving like he was taught.  Player number two is Maddie.  She belongs to my Lubbock kids.  Player number three is the new indoor kitten (whoopee) which I call "Stupid" because I can't remember what Debbie named her.  Now let me take a minute to give some background on Maddie and Stupid before I begin. 

Maddie was a One hundred and forty pound obese indoor Ridge Back until a few months ago when the vet put her on a diet and she is now down to 75 pounds.  I'm thinking I need to go see this vet for my weight loss with those kind of results.  She is a tad bit spoiled and rules the roost at her house.  She lies around on the couch and sleeps in the bed with my daughter since her husband works the night shift for the police department.  We have a totally different set of house rules for poor ole Red Dog which include no sleeping in the beds or lying on the furniture when we are around.  One night Maddie started this constant low grumbling growl at the sliding glass door of my daughter's apartment which alerts her that someone might be messing around the back porch.  So my daughter grabs her home protection 12 gauge shot gun and cautiously moves toward the sliding glass door.  Maddie's growl gets louder and more aggressive as my daughter throws back the curtain to the door and brings her shot gun to full draw.  By now Maddie is barking her head off ready to eat the face off of anyone or anythings that is outside the door.  Things were pretty intense at this point.  When the curtain flies open there stands some drunk college kid from the apartment complex in his birthday suit trying to be cute when he gets to see a 12 gauge shot gun pointed at his face and big red dog ready to eat him alive.  I think the drunken humor quickly left this stupid college student and he instantly ran into the darkness screaming like a little girl.  Unfortunately he had no britches to wet but I think the sight of his shiny hiney disappearing into the darkness was pay back enough for my daughter.  Needless to say I am a big fan of Ms. Maddie for protecting my daughter so I am more than happy to put up with some of her habits.

The next player in this little Saturday morning adventure is "Stupid" which is a kitten that was brought to our house by our Wichita Falls daughter.  She apparently found Stupid in a tree outside her house with the sniffles about a month ago.  For whatever reason she thought the kitten might die up there after an evening thunder storm.  Well to make a long story short she brought the cat to our house for Debbie to nurse it back to health.  I asked her how many cat carcasses she has seen stuck in the trees around her neighborhood and she just rolled her eyes then said none.  I was reassured that this kitten once sniffle free would be sent to a new home.  Well it's one month later and the sniffles are gone and Stupid is freely roaming the house climbing on E V E R Y T H I N G like kittens do.  I know it's supposed to be cute and all but cute went out the door for me about a thousand cats ago (I am obviously estimating the number of my wife's cats on the low side).  Stupid climbs on the furniture purring her little head off waiting for the chance to curl up with Debbie and snuggle.  They both think it is Wonderfulllll and I'm left wondering when it's my turn to snuggle with her (her being Debbie and not the cat).  Maybe my snuggling chances would improve if I wore some fuzzy PJ's and started purring instead of wandering around the house in my boxers tooting (note to self buy fuzzy PJ's and stop tooting).  Since both of our girls got married Debbie has been "OBSESSING" about grand kids but my math skills tell me that kittens are less expensive and I can laugh when Red Dog chases them.  So to stay out of trouble with the wife, I guess Stupid can stay.  Besides everyone in town knows it's much easier to adopt a child from Russia than a kitten from the Debbie Howard Cat Adoption Agency.  Now the cat population has risen to a gazillion and one around here.  Whoopee!!!  I mean that sarcastically.

The final player of this story is Red Dog who needs no introduction and is surprisingly not the ring leader of today's adventure.  He just came along for the annoying ride.

This story starts around six o'clock on Saturday morning with my Lubbock kids sticking their heads in the bedroom to tell me good by as they head off to Dallas for a weekend of Texas Rangers baseball and shopping.  They drove in the day before to shorten their drive and drop off Maddie for me to dog sit for the weekend.  They figured a seventy five pound dog stuck in a second story apartment doesn't do well by herself especially when it's potty time.  I'm still in bed and Debbie is gone for the weekend to her thirty year high school reunion in Darrouzett, Texas in the north panhandle. (By the way you can read a good little story about this little Texas town on her blog over at Texas Tumbleweed Travels).  I fall back asleep trying to catch up on my rest after a long week at work.  Around seven o'clock I am suddenly awakened by Ms. Maddie because she thinks the best spot to place her cold wet nose is in the palm of my left hand as it hangs off the side of the bed.  "YUCK"!  Now I am wide awake.  Some people wake up in the mornings to a soft rock radio station playing by the bedside while others wake up to their 3 year old staring at them nose to nose whispering "Daddy, Daddy, wake up" in their ear.  But that's not the case here at Debbie's Mini Zoo (DMZ).  You get the blessing of hearing cats and dogs whining at the door wanting outside for their morning constitutional or Oscar the Cockatiel squawking his head off because dawn is breaking and he doesn't want you to miss it.  But now I get to add a freezing cold wet nose to the hand to alert me to the dawning of a new day.  (Oh boy, what a blessing!)  I guess I should be thankful it wasn't the cold nose right up the kiester like many dogs like to do.  So I pet Maddie on the head and try to slip back off to sleep.  The key word in this statement was "Try".  Apparently Red Dog saw how much fun it was so here comes cold nose number two.  Great, what a thrill!  I am awake again.  Since I didn't yell at Maddie I petted Red Dog on the head as well.  Thinking that everyone has got some morning loving I could go back to sleep but I was wrong.  Petting those two goobers just created a shark like petting frenzy.  Red Dog and Maddie were both pushing each other jockeying for the best petting position.  There was more pushing going on than an NBA basketball game and neither dog could get enough of it.  They were acting like a couple of junkie's, each working hard to get their next petting fix.  Finally I had to yell at both of them to "Knock It Off".  By this time I was fully awake with no hope of getting back to sleep so I got up and headed to the bathroom to get ready for the day.  As many of you older folks know you never pass up the chance to sit on the porcelain recliner first thing in the morning.  While I was there here came Maddie to see if she could help.  I shooed her away but as soon as she left here came Red Dog thinking he might be missing out on something important so I shooed him away as well.  Out of no where Stupid shows up thinking she could be far more helpful than the other two yahoo's.  I can't get her shooed away because she is a cat and cats are stupid.  Hence naming her the same.  Since Stupid is still in the room it was obvious to Red Dog and Maddie that I needed more company so they come trotting back.  After hissing and shooing at them for a while the dogs finally left the room but Stupid kept hanging out just in case she was needed.  I guess the Ridge Backs couldn't stand the thought that someone else might be vying for my attention so here they come back for round three.  "OH MY GOODNESS".  It was like a Forth of July parade in my bathroom at this point.  All that was missing was a sheriff's posse, marching band, and grand marshal waving from a shiny convertible.  "THIS IS INSANE".  I am thankful that  none of these animals could operate a telephone or they might have called the whole neighborhood to invite them for a block party in my bathroom.  At this point I start yelling and yelling and hissing and yelling some more.  They all just stood there staring at me wagging their tails and purring.  I guess that seeing a fifty two year old gray headed fat guy sitting on the toilet in his birthday suit doesn't look very intimidating to these guys.  I finally gave up on the yelling and finished my morning chores.  Once I got back on my feet I popped the dogs on the rear end and stomped my feet at the cat to chase them out of the room.  Now that was more like it.  I stood there with my hands on my hips and my chest sticking out thinking I have restored my authority over the animal kingdom.  The words truth, justice, and the American way were echoing in my brain and all I needed now was red cape and a "S" on my chest to make the moment complete.  But then I realize I was standing there in my birthday suit and the air rushed out of my ego immediately.  I was too scared to look at the mirror and see how ridiculous I must look.

Now for a quick disclaimer:  For those who now have an image of me striking a Superman pose in my birthday suite stuck in their brain please feel free to shove a number two pencil in your ear to rid yourself of this horrible image.  I will gladly reimburse anyone for the cost of the pencil if you send me a receipt.  Now back to the story.

Now that the first order of my morning business is over it's time to hit the shower.  while showering I looked down to see Stupid was back curiously pawing at the water dripping off the bottom of the shower curtain.  What was wrong with this cat that she couldn't leave me alone while I get ready for the day.  I quickly threw open the shower and aimed the shower head directly at her hoping it would chase her out of the room.  Well this plan failed because she was too fast and out of reach of the spraying water to get my point across.  But I did manage to make the bathroom look like a car that went through a car wash with its windows down.  After finishing my shower and mopping the floor I found Stupid standing on the toilet staring into the bowl in a hypnotic trance.  I thought with a little help she could have a whirlpool experience of a lifetime and scare her out of the bathroom forever.  So I flushed the toilet and prepared to watch the outcome of her very first swirly.  She sat there watching the water swirl around and around with her head moving with the motion of the water.  As the water level dropped lower and lower she leaned closer and closer to the center of the bowl trying to touch the water with her paw.  Just as I was about to give her a little nudge toward the swirling vortex in runs Dumb and Dumber and Stupid jumps off the seat and missed out on her first water park experience.  Apparently Red Dog and Maddie thought they were missing out on something special so they crowded their way toward the toilet to see the magical swirling water for themselves.  Great!  Now I have created a mini water park for animals and these guys are going to stay in the bathroom the rest of the day waiting for the next performance of the magical water.  I finally gave up on the rest of the morning by getting dressed and left for the emergency department in hopes of finding something less stressful to deal with other than a house full of cold nosing water watching peeping Toms.  What a morning!

I guess the take home message for today is if I have a house full of critters and I want some Saturday morning peace and quiet, lock and barricade the doors then post security guards outside.  I think I am old enough to take care of my morning chores without any help from these guys.  I could easily see this plan working with future grand kids so maybe today's adventure preparing for a house full curtain climber and not so much about a bunch of four legged tail wagging bathroom assistants.  Either way I've decided I don't want to be a victim of any future bathroom parades so I will be arming myself with a water spray bottle the next time I have a house full of animals or children.  May be I won't look so pathetic sitting there next time.  Until the next adventure.  God bless you all.