Tuesday, June 1, 2010

Out, out, darned spot!

It’s hard to imagine the damage that a 105 pound dog can do to one little innocent and unsuspecting house. As far as I know, that house never did anything to that dog to deserve the treatment it received from her. Of course, for all I know the minute we walked out the door the house starting taunting the dog about being a mutt, or a fatso, or some such thing. If that was the case then all bets are off, but honestly I just can’t see it happening. It was a sweet little house.
One thing that my fount of knowledge book forgot to mention was that Husky’s do not like to be left alone. Perhaps that is because it isn’t truly a breed trait, but rather singular to our own dog. Or perhaps it’s a Malamusky trait, and therefore lacking in the breed about which the book was actually written. Whatever the case, our Bludie hated being left alone, and she wasn’t shy at all about letting us (and that sweet little house) know about it.
It started out innocently, really. When we built that sweet little house we were young, and naturally, relatively poor. Isn’t that just a natural condition of being young? When we starting building our little dream house there were any number of things we wanted included, ideally. Sadly, all those little ‘ideal’ details came at a price-apparently $500 each. After one or two additions of $500 we simply ran out of budget room for ‘ideal’ elements. So, we sacrificed the tile for formica and linoleum, and got the front yard covered in sod in lieu of the back. We also had to forgo the fence to enclose the backyard, to put a Jacuzzi in the bath. In hindsight that still ranks as one of the worst decisions of our entire married life…but we were newlyweds and priorities were a bit different. We figured Bludie had been living happily in a less than 1000 square foot apartment for the first 6 months of her life, so why wouldn’t she be able to live equally happily in a house more than twice that size? Because, morons that we were, we forgot that MBP had been able to come home and let her out at lunch every day in the apartment, and that wouldn’t be a possibility in the new house. That reality slammed itself home to me the day that I left work early because I had the stomach flu. I felt wretched-truly-miserable-and all I wanted was to get home and get to bed. Instead, I came home to discover that Bludie was suffering from the same affliction as was I, and was left to deal with the affects of her illness by myself. Said effects were strewn from one end of the house to the other, and that’s all you really need to know about that. From then on, Bludie spent her days on the back deck.
But remember, dear friends, that one of the monikers with which we labeled our beloved dog was Bluedini? It was honestly earned. Since we had no back fence Blue spent her days blocked onto the deck with a baby gate. She had an uncanny ability to escape that confine, gate still firmly in place, and do what she did best-RUN. We got a call one afternoon from a former contractor of ours, letting us know that he had just picked up our fuzzy darling, some 5 miles down the road from our home. I guess she’d come looking for us; or she was trying to get the heck out of Dodge. But once caught, and she was back home, she was back in the house any time we were gone.
It all went well enough for a time, and it seemed that she had adjusted to being let out at 8 hour intervals. I’m not sure what she did all alone, in those hours we weren’t there, but since she didn’t seem to much care for our presence it came as a bit of a shock when we realized she didn’t like us gone. Her first act of letting us know her dissatisfaction with our absence was at the expense of one of MBP’s prize possessions, and of course, the house.
When we met MBP told me he loved ‘modern’ style furniture and accessories. I envisioned a bastion of masculine clean design-chrome and black leather-neatly tailored and elegant. While that isn’t my favorite personal style I wouldn’t have been far more likely to allow said items into my new home than what I found in reality. He may have loved ‘modern’ style, but his apartment was furnished in mid-century garage sale. It was horrifying, really, from the brass and glass coffee table to the multi-colored tweed couch. The only thing good about that couch was it was the same color as dog vomit, so Blue’s sick-up didn’t show up on it. What that meant was that all his man-trash made its way to the Goodwill (sick-up germs and all) and we bought bright shiny new furniture for our bright shiny new house and marriage. In deference to his personal preferences, and to the fact that when we were choosing the color scheme of paint/carpet and furnishing I hadn’t officially been asked to live there with him, the house was done in his favorite color-Taupe. The night I met MBP he was wearing a taupe shirt, and I had no idea how long it was going to take me to wrestle him out of that color. But at the time, everything in our world was varying shades of taupe, the lightest of which was the carpet.
The only things that really made it through the Laine-ado (like tornado, get it?) of 1996 were his house plants. It seems that before finding his dog, and his wife, MBP had been longing for something to take care of. I guess in an attempt to try-out care giving he had brought into his apartment a number of lovely house plants, all of which flourished in his care. The most recently added to the collection was a plant from his grandfather’s funeral. His grandfather, nick-named Cotton, had passed away just a few days before we met. The night we met he actually told me about the funeral and the plant he’s brought home. When we moved into the house we’d put that plant on the hearth, and MBP continued his careful tending of it. It grew, and was really a beautiful burst of life and green in an otherwise taupe world. After a few months it outgrew its original pot, so I bought it a new grand pot, and repotted it in rich, black, potting soil.
One evening we left for dinner (didn’t cook then, don’t cook now) with my mom and dad having come to town for the meal. We left Blue, as usual; sound asleep on the couch in the living room. She didn’t even lift her huge head to acknowledge our exit. So imagine our surprise on returning to find her sitting defiantly in the middle of the largest mess either of us had ever seen, with one sad dangle of that formally majestic plant drooping from her jowls. That gorgeous plant, and all its rich black dirt, was strewn from stem to stern of our living room. She’d apparently dug MBP’s prize plant from the pot, and proceeded to drag/sling/hurl/rub and grind it around the house. It also appeared that she had spent a particularly lengthy amount of time wallowing around in one spot smack in the middle of that living room, after having dumped the majority of that black dirt in said spot. It was so deeply ground in that there was absolutely no trace of the light creamy taupe color the carpet had been left in that spot.
We were stunned, and MBP was furious. It was the angriest I’d ever seen him at his beloved beastie. “Don’t hurt her”, I said to MBP, as Blue spit that last sagging tendril from her lips, and loped over to flop her huge self down with a sigh. Apparently, wreaking havoc on a house is EXHAUSTING.
We spent weeks cleaning that carpet, which never again was just the same color it had been. And that spot in the center of the room? We covered it with a brass and glass coffee table, which was then covered with a taupe table skirt.
We sold that home just a few years later. I wonder if the new owners have had any more luck than we did getting that black soil stain out.

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