Babies, a TV and a Dog

“Hey Sparky. These are our weekend plans. We move H’s stuff out of his place on Friday. Which means we get his TV for the red room for the summer. Then Saturday we babysit Emily and the dog comes to stay for a few days. That TV is going to be great. It’ll help the red room feel homey, don’t you think? I picked up a TV table for that corner and with the chair…”

That’s basically how I introduced the idea of babysitting a 15 month old baby and dog sitting. The thing is, Sparky hears roughly 40% of what I say. We have a joke that like the Simpson’s dog, he hears only key words, words like cleaning, workout, protein powder, High Definition TV and phrases like “Let’s save money!” or “Let’s go visit your Mom!”

I was kinda counting on being able to slip the words baby and dog into a conversation about TVs without him noticing. Then later, when he was hit with the shocking sounds of dog barks and baby screams I could simply say, “Well, I told you and you didn’t say anything. I thought you were okay with all this. I wish you would have said something. I could have cancelled but now we’re pretty much committed.”

This form of manipulation might seem calculated and somewhat uh, evil, but really, until you’ve been married, you have no idea the subtle manipulations that occur on both sides of the bed. One just learns to adapt and hopefully thrive in the jungle of matrimony. I, my friend, have recently come to terms with my particular jungle and, in full Rambo gear, have embraced my fate.

Needless to say, he picked right up on the baby part. I think he was mid-sentence about not changing diapers when the dog part hit his temporal lobe. If our life was a cartoon, the whole frame would have come to a screeching halt with skid marks and clouds of smoke.

“A Dog? You didn’t just say a dog, right?”

Well, I did and I was caught. For those of you who do not my OCD stricken husband, he doesn’t like most PEOPLE in the house because they touch stuff like the fridge or walls. His constant vigilance when actual people are here can be a bit overwhelming. Put a baby in the house and as long as it doesn’t actually move, he’s fine. But a walking baby and all he can see are the hand-prints, much like those in the Blair Witch project, leading to the loss of his sanity.

We are cat people. We have two cats. Much like Sparky, our cats don’t like people in the house, let alone other life forms. To a cat person, a dog means walking, piddling, dog smell and all sorts of horror. Poor Sparky’s wee brain. It was really quite mean spirited of me to volunteer for the job.

I love animals. And babies. Especially recently. I’ll be 35 in August and as I have yet to procreate, my ovaries have stepped their quest. I’m mothering everything little-ler than me. I’ve wanted a dog for a while, not because I want to continue to torture Sparky and the cats, but because I want a little friend to go places with me. One of the weird perks of being in Europe is that you can take dogs anywhere, a little friend to go shopping or running errands. The dog sitting idea came up with a friend’s need and ended with my glee.

Sparky, true to his good nature, dealt with the idea. Then reality hit.

The baby was dropped off and as she hasn’t been away from her family very much, if at all, was understandably heartbroken when Mama didn’t come running. “Kitten” as I have been calling her, cried for a good 40 minutes. It was only when I left the room did she stop crying (I tried not to take it personally). This was just in time for Ginger, the sweet teeny, tiny Jack Russel.

Ginger, looking to make friends and influence the Master of the House, promptly peed upon entering. Sparky, and I chuckle here, was immediately defeated. He was just so sad, picturing his gorgeous loft destroyed in a matter of days. It is really a testament to his good nature that he didn’t string me up immediately.

Ginger peed three times in total, on our hardwood floor while her people were here and never again. She is the most cat-like dog I have ever met and I’m totally in love. I love walking her and taking her with me EVERYWHERE. When we come home, she goes into her kennel, on her own, until she wants some love. She leaves the cats alone, leaves their food and poop alone and understands that she cannot come into the bedroom.

If there is any truth I know, its that life is a balance. For one action there is usually an equal reaction. When and how is what adds the mystery to our lives. In payback for Saturday, Sparky volunteered us for lunch with his mother on Sunday. Personally, I think this was uncalled for. As torturous as Saturday was, Sparky did not have to change the stinky, poopy diaper, but I did have to listen to his aunt talk incessantly in a high pitched shrill.

Because the gods hate me, I came down with a migraine about 45 minutes before we were due to leave. My migraines start with vision loss and an inability to speak coherently. I could not find my migraine wonder drugs because I couldn’t see and couldn’t explain to Sparky what to look for thus by the time my vision came back, we were on our way. One must not be late for lunch with Mutti, she hates tardiness. It was no coincidence, I’m sure, that the pounding started when we picked up Auntie Leopard Print.

The worst part occurred when Auntie LP was pouring the contents of one glass bowl into a smaller glass bowl using a metal spoon. Clink, clink, scraaaaaape. Clink, clink scraaaaape. As a war child she makes sure she gets every last drop and this took at least four hours. It might have only been a minute or two but the sound of metal scraping glass, over and over slowed time to such an extent I am sure we could have watched the entire miniseries version of Das Boot and had time left over for 2001: A Space Odyssey. It would have been kinder.

After repeated attempts to inform Sparky that my three hours were up, he politely smiled and sat back. Our married couple telepathy kicked in and I could hear him chuckle and think of three dog piddles, a screaming baby and a TV.

Since I had my sweet little Ginger with me (taking advantage of having a friend at a family function), I decided to take her for a walk. The sunlight could not have pierced my skull as cleanly as Auntie LP’s voice. I bent over to buckle the thin strap of my shoe and Auntie bent over with me to make sure I heard her. Her mouth mere inches from my ear. All I could think was “Why?” and try not to whimper.
While I managed to make it through the day, I learned a valuable lesson. I might be able to manipulate situations to my liking, I might be able to bend Sparky to my will occasionally, but Ironus is watching and he really likes Sparky.


10 thoughts on “Babies, a TV and a Dog

  1. Know what I found out? It was on Pioneer Woman’s blog plus my mother owned a couple rat terriers – a small dog like a Jack Russel will choose its own owner and bond with that person and that person alone, and as its up to the dog you can’t predict who that’d be. Ironus may dictate it bonds with Sparky. (I’d put a smiley right here –>

  2. Okay, fine. I won’t put a smiley right there.

    If you ask me, and I realize you haven’t, I’d go with a mini-Sparky. 🙂 Cuter and you don’t have to walk it as much.

    (If this doesn’t go thru I give up.)

  3. dude, a mini sparky? You are kidding me right? It would be born pooping into jars, the kid would be so anal retentive. I will go as far as Sparky’s hero chin and sweet kind eyes, but other than that if we have kids, i hope they take after me. But not my crazy genes. or sparky’s crazy genes. shit. just forget it. we do not have genetics on our side. I’m sticking with the dog.

  4. Jen, are you straying from the not as light side and falling for dogs? And not even dogs that look like cats. I am impressed.

  5. I am glad it only happened while we were there (the piddles on the floor). I told you she is like a cat. LOL! Too bad Sparky is not a dog person or she might be yours forever!

  6. I have an incredibly cat-like dog. He uses a litter box, spends hours grooming himself and he loves to sit in windows. He also likes doggie things like going for car rides, growling at odd noises and begging for food. what can I say, best of both worlds…

  7. H is eternally grateful for everything. If he was capable of getting mushy before he leaves, he would.

  8. you are so talented jen with your writing…honestly, you have me in complete stitches every time…I’d rather read your blog than any good book these days!

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