Dog Blog

It’s 3:00am and time to start my day. My belly was a little upset just an hour ago from the full bag of treats I ate, but that has passed, and thrillingly I was able to generate some treats of my own. I left some centered between the doors of the boy’s bedrooms to greet them in the morning. I also put some by the front door on the yellow tiles for guests. I tried for the side door too for the older people but there was nothing left. I am only 8 lbs so my belly really can’t hold much. I will try again later.

Now that I feel better I think I should have a drink. Things look good in this area. Usually I have to leave the bed to find my water bowl but in these wee hours of the morning I see she has left her water within reach on her bedside table. Well, within reach if I climb on her face. Which I do. Ahhhhh. Water.

4:00 am. I think I smell food. How did I miss this before? I smell food and it is HERE. Upstairs. Snuffling around the small boy’s room I find them. The meat treats wrapped in dough that get delivered by that man that I bark at so loudly. Delicately, so delicately I hold one in between my tiny teeth dragging it away from the other. “I will be back for you.” I tell them. Back in our bedroom I find the food has left me off balance. I can’t quite make the herculean jump from the floor to the bed without help. I am eager to get up there. The new comforter smells so detergenty. It doesn’t have all of the lovely wafts of food and puke and pee that I have provided them with over the last year. They are back to the beginning and a little late night snack will help with that “too clean problem.” But first I need to get there. I whine softly. If I do this they will reach over and pick me up. A little more loudly. She is UP! But she doesn’t help me. “The dog needs to pee” she tells him. She is SO WRONG. The dog just peed. What the dog needs to do is come up and eat this meat on her bed and then snuggle under the covers. But the fake news has been passed along and he lumbers out of bed almost hitting the wall on his way out. Down the stairs we go and he misses the present I left for him in the hallway. Oh well, he will see it in the morning when it is light out.

He forces me outside into the cold but it is OK. I have my dumpling to keep me company. When he opens the slider to let me in I hold my head high. I have eaten a bit, but there is enough to bring back to bed. I hop on the couch to take high ground and protect my treasure.  He look at me. “Drop it.” He says. “No. No. Shit. My dumpling.”My body betrays me. But somehow against my own will I drop the dumpling.

He heads up the stairs so slowly, the curse of only having 2 legs. So sad for them. I take a quick detour back to the dumplings in the boy’s room. He is surprised now. Again he tells me to drop it. Again my body drops the dumpling against my will. Damn that training. He gathers the dumplings and drops them in the trash. It will be hard work but I will have to deal with that situation later.

Back in bed she asks him what happened. “Go back to sleep.” He tells her. He must be saving the dumpling news for later as a surprise.

I figure his advice is good. I flip the covers with my nose and begin to wriggle under. Something isn’t quite right. Oh no. Oh no. I have climbed into the pillow case again. This is NOT GOOD. Last time I neared death. That would be horrible. Who would protect her from hugs and keep people out of the house. They NEED me. Just like last time she grabbed me by the rear legs and pulled me from the pillow. It is hard to pretend I meant to do that. I tried my best though, shaking it off and burrowing under the actual covers this time. She is clearly too close to the middle of the bed. She usually sleep on the edge so I remind her with my cold wet nose and she moves a few inches. I press my nose against her again, then she moves again. When we are finished I have her right where she likes it, on her side, with only a thin strip of mattress to support here. I know she will mistakenly roll back so instead of my comfortable dog ball I turn my 12 inches sideways and stretch my limbs superdog postion and brace against here. She will be safe now.

At 6:45 they interrupt my rest to tell me it is time to pee. Don’t they know that I peed on the boy’s door to thank him for the dumplings. Despite that I realize my bladder is full from the bedside table drink. I should do that again. So again I climb, shoulder to hair, to head, and stretch to the glass. The water is further down now so I have to adjust a few times but I don’t worry about falling. My long claws have a sturdy grip on her cheek.

7:00 We head downstairs. I am not in the mood for kibble. Steak would be good, or bacon. I could even settle for the dumplings but it is just these dried bits. They expect me to eat them and I don’t like to let them down. So I take a few halfhearted bites and am quickly distracted by my reason for being.


I tell them.

They don’t move. Why do they never seem surprised that this evil beast is in the house?

“Cat cat cat”

“She’s in the house! She’s on the COUNTER! She is going to ruin everything.” I hold onto my trump card. “She is going to break your PHONES!”

Still nothing. My people confound me.

I am on my own now.

I charge at the cat, telling it to get out of our territory but it just hisses back. “You are pathetic. I own you.”

7:05 Even though she is right I have to keep going. I must. “Cat” I tell them surging forward. Her paw slices my face so quickly. “Ow ow ow my nose! My nose” I retreat. But she is still there “Cat!” I tell them. Finally the big boy has heard me. But what is he thinking. “Apollo” he yells my name. He doesn’t sound grateful. He doesn’t know how I have risked life and nose for his family. I am being scooped up. Usually I like this but I need to get back to the beast. This is the time I will win.

7:25 But it is not. I am placed onto the couch in a pillow nest and I have no choice to curl up. It is naptime after all.  I rest there while the rest of them bustle around and the cat stares at me from the window sill. I can feel her staring but I won’t give her the satisfaction of meeting her icy blue eyes. I might be resting but I still know EVERYTHING going on around me.

7:35 Too soon they are all leaving. The big boy first. I ignore him because my most beloved is still home and then she and the little boy leave at the same time. This is super confusing. They leave out of opposite doors. How do I know which one to stop. I run to him then her and him then her and as I watch him sidestepping my poop treat I hear her door close and I run back, too late and then am too late for the front door. I have failed. The day is ruined.

8:05 I walk slowly to the office looking for just the right rawhide along the way. The people don’t seem to know the difference. Yet this is a vital distinction. Found it right where I left it outside the door to the bathroom where I had to wait to protect her. I head to work. The cat is already at work curled in the chair and we both know that work time is truce time so I don’t yell at her and she doesn’t call me pathetic.

I offer a brief hello with my curled tail but she ignores me.


8:07 The big problem with the office isn’t even the cat. It’s that weird other dog who lives through the window. Whatever I do he does. But strangely he has no smell. What kind of dog has no smell? No dog I want to know. So I keep an eye on him just in case.

8:10 The male person is standing working at his computer. This is tricky. I will rest for a while on the bed. I used to be able to drag my bed around with my teeth, flip it in the air. I loved that bed. I loved it so much that I opened it up to taste the inside which were wonderful. I took out bits of its insides and left some for me in all of my spots. Each bed in the house. Each room in the house. Each couch in the house. Then one day it was all gone and this big bed arrived. I heard them say it was actually a cat bed and the cat laughed at me. She was way too fancy to lie on the floor unless there was a perfect slant of sunshine. So it is mine. And it is too big to throw around and it is too big to pull apart. Sigh.

8:12  I am recharged. Clearly he has worked too long and too hard and needs a bit of a break. I gift him with my favorite rawhide at his feet. Nothing. I lift it up and drop it again. Nothing I call out quickly. “Hey.” Nothing. “Hey lets play” I tell him. Nothing. Clearly work has made him catatonic. Wait I never noticed the word cat is in catatonic. I’ll totally have to tease her about that. I turn and she is sleeping. Catatonic if you will. And I certainly will. Back to play though. He needs to get his exercise. So I jump up and nip his butt. “Time to play play play.” And we do. I let him think he can have my rawhide but then I take it back. We go on like this for a bit but clearly he is getting too attached to the rawhide. Does he think it is HIS? “It’s mine.” I tell him. But that isn’t enough. I need to take it back. “MINE” I declare and bring it into my bed. Maybe some crusty rawhide drool will help it feel more like home. I can try.

8:15-2:50. It must be time for them to come home soon. I will stand guard. I will stand on two legs and hold one paw delicately against the door. I will wait. During this time there are 6 squirrels “Squirrel” And 42 cars. “Car? car? Car?”

On the warm days they would walk home and I would be in the yard and could greet them in the best possible way. Hugs? I’m in. But it is cold now and there is not walking. There is only driving and it is very difficult to track all of the vehicles.

Then finally it is the right car and I run to the door. Something goes wrong. I can’t run straight. I can only run in the circle. In this circle in this circle. She is reaching for me. It’s too much. I am jumping and circling and wagging. I feel every muscle in my body and try to calm down. But it is SO SO SO exciting. she wasn’t back until the 43rd card. She was never going to come back. Never. I was going to have to live with that boring man and that bitchy cat. There would be no kids. There would be no beloved.

I need to tell her.

Finally I am in her arms. I am slamming my head against hers. Hello Hello. I thought you were never coming back. So I kiss her. Forehead to chin. I try to kiss her nose and lips but she turns away, denying herself my most fervent love. I need to tell her about my day. I race to the office to retrieve my best rawhide. I drop it at her feet for her to have. I jump so high 42 times. I tell her about catatonic. Somehow she doesn’t understand. I love her but I worry a bit about her intelligence.

2:50 So quickly the little boy is home but he has brought a friend. Luckily it is not the bad friend so I only need to give him a light warning to keep his hands off my people and then I can greet my little boy. I jump 42 times and circle six times and kiss for as long as he lets me.

2:51 Nap time.

5:30 Food. I smell food. They are going to need my help cooking. First I need to find a place to pee. They are all in the room so I guess I could go outside. How about this. If I walk to the door and stand there for 5 seconds and they notice me and open the door in 5.5 seconds I will go outside in pee. But thats such a pain. Maybe I will wait 3 seconds. She sees me though and tells me about peeing. Duh.

6:00 Dinner. They have stopped feeding me my dinner. I mean, I have kibble but everyone knows that is not dinner. I have never ONCE seen them eat kibble. Well, actually I saw the little one eat kibble one time but then he spit it out right away. So insulting. So I stand under the table and move from leg to leg. Maybe tonight is the night? It’s chicken and broccoli. Sometimes the little one gives me broccoli. And sometimes that broccoli has brushed against the table. I stick with him.

6:20 Clean up. This is the best. When it is one of the boy’s loading the dishwasher it takes them so long that I can rinse several plates. What would they do without me?

6:30 Nap time. Rinsing the dishes was delicious but exhausting. Too tiring to be bothered to eat kibble. I guess I could go check the sand box and see if the cat has left me any goodies. But I am just so tired. Soooo. I need to get a toy to snuggle up with. I think I left monkey on the bed. Returning downstairs she pins me in the stairway  “CAT!” Cat! It is right there. “See the cat?” Still they can’t see the cat. I am worried about their hearing, their vision, their intelligence. They are so lucky to have me to look out for them. To do that. To keep them safe I need to get down the stairs. But there she is.

7:00 Doorbell. “Go away” “Go away” “Go away” “Go away” “Go away” “Go away” “Go away” “Go away” “Go away” “Go away” “Go away” “Go away” “Go away” “Go away” “Go away” “Go away” “Go away” “Go away” “Go away” “Go away” “Go away” “Go away” “Go away” “Go away” “Go away””Go away” “Go away” “Go away” “Go away” “Go away” “Go away” “Go away” “Go away” “Go away” “Go away” “Go away”

7:04. Whew, He is gone. I have terrified him.

7:06 Time to check the floor for crumbs. The kitchen and dining room need to be fully snuffled.

7:30 We head upstairs. I double back for the best rawhide which I hide under the covers. I will entertain us with a game of hide and seek. All hide and seek must be done at full speed. That is probably why she is so terrible at it.


7:35 She gets in the shower. I stand in the doorway. Please don’t take me. Please don’t take me. Please. Don’t. Take. Me. When the water stops I know I am safe and it is time to bound into the bathroom. I will lick her legs first then drink the nectar of the shower water. Nothing has ever been so good. Wait? We are leaving the bathroom. Fine. I grab my rawhide and take to the bed.

7:40 Something is wrong. Terribly horribly frighteningly wrong. She is sitting on a blue and white pillow on the floor. She is not moving at all. Her eyes are open but she is not looking at anything. SHE IS DEAD. Only I can save her. I will tempt her back to life. I select pelican. I know she likes pelican. I drop it at her legs. “Wanna play?” I ask. She says nothing.  I move to the edge of the bed as close to her ear as I can get. “HELLO” I yell loudly. I think there might have been a flinch a small bit of movement. I try again “HELLO” this is the loudest I can be so I stay at this level. Over and over again I yell. This is it. She is dead. I am so sad. So incredibly sad. I give her a last gift. I pee on her comforter.

It is time to sit vigil with the body so I go to the blue chair. I will dig my own grave and we will go down together. I will dig and dig until it can fit my whole self. Finally I can sit. So I do. Leaving my giant weeping bug eyes on her unmoving face.

Then it happens! I have willed her back to life with my love. She is getting up. She is putting away the pillow. She is seeing my tribute on the bed! She is so excited. Apollo! She says. She is getting her special towel and spray. She likes to cover my scent with her own. It is something we collaborate on.

9:00 Finally it is bedtime. I have less of a job to do because my pee and her spray have mingled into a giant soaked spot on the bed. She will lie right at the edge in order not to disturb our good work. Maybe she is not so dumb after all.

3:00am. I am thirsty.


I must have done something terribly wrong.

This year we decided not to have Thanksgiving with family. Although our relatives forgave us the gathering gods did not.

After a lovely time on Anna Maria Island we headed to Universal and Harry Potter World on turkey day. Leo celebrated appropriately with a giant turkey leg but the rest of us clearly did not give the holiday its proper due because things quickly went downhill from there.

See the enthusiasm?

In an effort to sound like less of an asshole I will just say that Harry Potter world and the Palmers are not the best partners. My claustrophobia kicked into high gear. Our dog kept us from family dinners. Oliver’s motion sickness kept him from rides. Leo made it to the top of several rides only to walk back down disappointed in his lack of bravery. Steve was once again reminded that his family members are decidedly less fun than he is. Instead of enjoying Universal we trudged through crowds spending money on strange bouncy balls and expensive wands. The one ride all four of us completed was the Suess “roller coaster” which I rode with my eyes closed. It was not a triumphant moment.

See my smile?

The next day we went to the water park…ignoring the fact that it was 62 degrees and raining. My boys were troopers, I managed to grin and bear it, but the life guards were total wimps. After climbing up and backing down from several slides Oliver and Leo found one that they liked. Splashing down with grins and giggles I sent them right back up to the top trying to squeeze in some fun before we had to squeegee off. Right before they were going to slide I caught Leo’s laugh and thumbs up at the top of the tower and felt a bit of Universal redemption. I celebrated too soon. The woman in front of them splashed into the 3 foot pool screaming “I can’t swim.” The life guard heaved a sigh and begrudgingly jumped into the water in his bathing suit and sweatshirt. After his fearless rescue he stayed in the heated water. My boys stayed in their wet suits atop the windy tower. We waited. They waited. He shivered. “What’s up?” I asked him after ten minutes. “I am NOT going to lifeguard while wet in this weather.” I looked down at my soaked suit, over at Steve’s wet hair and up at Leo who was still offering me the thumbs up sign. Ten more minutes went by and the head lifeguard arrived and wrapped our hero in a tiny towel. The lifeguard shook more than our dog. He was probably a soccer player. At least when he was dry.

On the flight home we sat in front of a cougher. This tin can full of farts was doing double duty as a petri dish. Arriving at the airport at 1am (3 am EST) we hailed an Uber. While shredding my fingers trying to dig the seatbelt out from under the seats our 8 lb scardey dog BIT (we think) the Uber driver. As Oliver and I struggled the Uber driver reached into the back seat to help. There was a yelp and he quickly pulled his hand away. I asked if the dog had bitten him. I asked to see his hand and he snapped off the overhead light. He didn’t say a word the rest of the ride. The next day we got an email that Steve’s Uber account was suspended. Hopefully this is not the beginning of a horrible law suit. Oliver and Steve both assure me that there was no mark at all on the driver’s hand, but with the way the rest of the week went I am not convinced that all would be well.

The picture does not do it dustice.

Returning home a bit shaken by the possible bite we arrived in modern day Pompeii. While we were away we had arranged to have a crew trowel plaster over a wall in our living room. Before we had departed we moved every single thing out of the room and both adjoining rooms. Halfway through our trip we saw through our Ring video camera wheelbarrows full of lumber being rolled out of our house. I didn’t quite understand why there was so much STUFF leaving our house so I texted the contractor. It turns out they had torn out the entire wall, reframed, and sheetrocked. Without asking us. Without putting plastic up. Without covering the heat ducts.

So there it was. 1:45 in the morning. Dog shaking, us shaken, house covered in sheetrock shake. Toothbrushes, computers, bedding, food inside cabinets this dust had no boundaries. That night I coughed as much as the airplane lady. In the morning we trudged through the house taking pictures and leaving footprints. What is a great credo for camping is a crappy way to finish a vacation.

I hit the phones. Which is not my favorite thing. Locksmiths, window cleaners, duct cleaners, house cleaners, furniture cleaners. We needed everything. Quickly.

In addition to the dust the actual work on the wall was garbage. The trim was the wrong size. The corner bead was cracked. The paint spray went onto furniture and beams. The paint color didn’t match necessitating a full ceiling and two adjacent walls to be re-done. That was a problem for later. Now we needed to get the dust out of our ducts before the heat blew another layer onto our life.

Sergei came to clean one of our furnaces (our heating system is half from 1913 and half from 1977- neither banner years for duct work) and full system. Because of Sergei’s giant hose (absolutely no pun intended)  Steve and I decided to bring the dog with us as we went food shopping and to Home Depot for furnace filters (x1000). Steve and I split up. He returned to the car first and texted me. “The dog shit in the car. Take your time. I am headed back for cleaning supplies.” Sadly I didn’t take his warning seriously. I opened the back hatch of the car manually because it has been having electrical problems. As I did I staggered backwards from the stench. The dog leapt over the back, poop covered paws scrabbling at my sweater. Walking around to the side door I realized that imaging a small turd was not realistic.

It was so much shittier than this looks

This was a shit show. Apollo had clearly had stomach issues (maybe from the bag of treats he ate through that morning.) The poop was everywhere. On the radio knobs, the floor mats, the seats, the console, the steering wheel, the windows. I could continue but you might as well just imagine every part of the car and then imagine it smeared with shit.

In addition to heated seats our car had what I had always considered the best feature of all…cooled seats. Cool air flowed through perforations in the seat back. At least it would have if the tiny holes weren’t each clogged with excrement.

That night I woke at 3am with the worst headache of my life. Whether it was dust or stress barely mattered. It even trumped that time sex made my head explode. In a bad way. The next morning I headed to the chiropractor. I had left the car windows open to air out the poop stink and it had rained overnight for the first time in 65 weeks. I was patting myself on the back for remembering to bring towels to the car BEFORE I sat in water when I pulled the towel hook out of the wall. It fell down with a crumble of plaster adding a small pile of dust to the freshly mopped floor. I stepped over it.

That time I thought I pulled the mini van halen all the way into its spot.

In the parking lot of the chiropractor my normal spot was taken so I pulled into a different row. Halfway in I realized that the row was marked “for compact cars only”. As my parking is not stellar and my car is not compact I decided to reverse and try somewhere else. During that thought process the car seemed to have moved into a terrible angle and I heard myself scrape against the car next to me. Returning to the scene of the crime I couldn’t quite tell if the chip on the driver door of the victim car was from me or not. I left a note anyways. If Uber was going to sue us I might as well bring on an insurance claim for damage that I might not have done.

Perhaps taking responsibility for something that was probably not my fault would start to balance my karmic bank account. It seemed worth a try.

Safer than my computer in these times of trouble. And marginally less dusty.

Returning home I told Steve the story of the side swipe and he, along with Oliver the moral compass of the family, asked me why I left a note.

“It seemed like the right thing to do.” I told him hanging up my coat. Stepping away I realized the hook was still secure in the wall, my feet weren’t leaving footprints in the dust, and I hadn’t coughed in almost 2 hours.

Even still, as I type this post, I made sure to keep my tea far far away from my computer.


Since I don’t seem to trust myself with much these days I’ll leave it to you. Should I title this post:

  1. Greetings from Pompeii
  2. Shitty carma
  3. I had another idea but the health office just called to tell me that Leo vomited at school so I need to go. Right now. And clean up my puke-y kid.

7 minutes in presence, a story of first time meditation

This is the second day of my mindfulness training. I am practicing Awareness (capital intended), with a gentle pushing away of thoughts of the past, future or judgment. In the past I have tried to integrate meditation and yoga into my life but I have not managed to. It seems I am not able to stick with this practice. I know I will have quit this effort by tomorrow. Now I will gently push those sentences aside and focus on my healing breathe. What’s that smell? Dog fart?

I begin with three sun salutations. I spread my toes and felt the floor supporting me and pushed aside thoughts of what the grit on my mat might be. It is of no consequence in this moment. I lift my arms to the sky with a deep inhale and fold close against my legs with an exhale. And a shriek. The small dog jumped up and grabbed my middle finger in his mouth like his newest chew toy. I knew what I could do with my middle finger. No time for that in this moment though. Inhale jump to plank. Or is it exhale. Wait. I am not breathing trying to figure out my breath. I have been in plank too long. I suck at sun salutation. No, I do not suck, I have opportunity to learn and grow. But that learning will be in the future and I am in the present so I guess I shouldn’t be thinking that now. Wait. No “shoulds”. Argh. No judgement about should. Double argh no “nos”. Forget it.

Exhale press to downward facing dog. As I hold for five cycles of breathe the little beastie comes below me and stretches into his own down dog. As he looks up at me I felt a connection between the two of us and the power (but a gentle power) of my yoga practice. He too must feel a connection because he yelps right in my face. Is dog yelping in down dog on an inhale or an exhale? I can’t figure it out. With each salutation he joins me in down dog first stretching then barking more and more loudly. As he is always in the moment I decide he can be my guide. And he decides to bite my hair. Tomorrow I will wear a hair tie. Shit. I shouldn’t be planning for tomorrow. Fuck. I shouldn’t say shit.

Now it is time for meditation practice. I will make time for myself, to nourish myself and create more spaciousness for the activities of my day. As I take a comfortable seated position the dog decides my lap will be a spacious spot for the activities of his day. Which currently include chewing in a sloppy yet chalk grating way on his dog bone. This bone is made up of pressed animal parts and smells like urea as he makes progress on its length. It also creates a wet gooeyness with has the texture of bread dough if bread dough was made up of dead animal pee.

Enough of that. I will need to find a more accepting word than enough. Tomorrow.

I gently set aside those thoughts and celebrate the opportunity he is offering me. I can practice letting go of the sound of his chewing, the smell of urea , and the feeling of him squirming on my lap to gain a better position in which to massacre his bone. This is excellent. I wonder if I am allowed positive judgment. I imagine not. Acceleration is not simply forward. There is negative acceleration as well. It is that way with judgement. I will let go of judgement. I will drop it like a hot coal. I will try not to burn my rug.

I listen to the woman’s voice on my Mindfulness app and let her lead me into a relaxed but alert state. I wonder if she had trouble on dates, if the sound of her soothing voice puts her partner in a trance. Maybe all she can talk about is breathing. If she were soothing and boring would she even have any friends? Well damnit I will be her friend. I will allow her to talk to me about acceptance and whatever else she wants. I will welcome it and make space for it. I will even pay her five dollars a month to do so. So quickly into our new relationship see tells me she would see me tomorrow and leaves me with the closing bell.

It is time for me to go at it alone. I am enough for myself. Everything that I need is already inside me. Except maybe my breakfast. But that is for later.   I search my phone for the timer app forgetting ONCE AGAIN that it was right at the bottom of the screen hiding under the name “clock”.  So tricky. I set it to 15 minutes. Then dial it back to 12. Then 8. Then because I like odd numbers I settled at 7 minutes. 7 minutes of presence.

I am still in a comfortable seated position albeit with one numb leg. I figure this gives me a leg up on ignoring the dog’s squirming because I can only half feel him. I gently bring my attention to my breathe and just as gently bring my attention from the idea that this could become a blog post. Could it be funny? Can someone at peace with themselves be funny? Shit. I am on breathe number 21. The practice is to reset at 10. 22. Why can’t I stop this? 25. OK. 1. My breath is so smooth. It is hear to support me just like the ground beneath my legs. Which I am totally not thinking about while I should be concentrating on my breath. Should. Shouldn’t this be over by now? Trust yourself. I tell me. The session will end at exactly the right time. But…surely this has been too long. I must not have started the Timer. I’ll just take a peek. Instead I gently bring my attention back to my breathe. 14, 15. No, no. 1. 2. Ahh…I am no longer worried about whether or not the timer is on. I can notice and set aside my worry. I am great at this. I can stay here all day. I could stay here forever. I might have reached enlightenment and freedom. Has anyone every done this so quickly? Did I win meditation?

I open one eye to check the timer. It is counting down. 2:17 2:16. So wait…I have been sitting here for less than five minutes? Maybe I should stop for now. As my soothing friend tells me my breath will be with me always. I can tune into it at any moment.

Clearly a dog bone is needed for meditation So in this moment I bend over my lap and the dog stretching my head forward towards the earth that gives us life. And rest my forehead directly on the cold wet dog bone.

Which I not so gently push away.

Have dog will travel

For reasons that are clear if you have met me I have never been drawn to a padded bra.

Sometimes when I am doing fantasy math about my weight I try to deduct the density of my breasts from the equation. Depending on my mood those suckers weigh between 10 and 100 pounds. Even on the lighter end of that spectrum they require a bit of work to get around.

Last month we went on a dual trip to Florida and NYC. The night before travel I always labor over my travel outfit. I am looking for something along the lines of a sleeping bag. But slimming. Needless to say I end up in front of my dresser empty handed. Eventually I always select the same thing. Jeans (the big ones) a grey T shirt, grey sweatshirt and a loop cotton scarf (mostly grey with a sassy orange stripe). The scarf is the slimming part. I guess. I pair this with slip on grey sneakers and pretend like I am not the middle aged woman that ate Mark Zuckerberg.

But it is the base layer that really delivers. My travel bra. I have written about it before. Back when it was still my every day bray. (And I mean EVERY day.) It is a soft grey cotton. Its straps are wide and comfortable. It hints at support without doing anything effective. AKA painful. Over time the shadow of usefulness has faded. It has begun to pill, collecting bits of friendly cotton from the laundry where I both wash and dry it…affording it the level of care it deserves. Low. Like the way my boobs are in its embrace.

So now it sits in the drawer waiting for the day of flight…its time to soar.

Just a week before our trip we made a detour home from Leo’s soccer game. I gave the boys the  choice between visiting an animal shelter and going to an open house. So it is totally their fault that we have a dog. I figured that since it was 20 minutes before closing time we would be saved from any rash decisions by the machinations of shelter shut down. It was not to be. Oliver gave it his best effort. He was unmoved by the four puppy dog eyes peering up at him. “There will still be dogs that need us in January.” He looked back and forth between his parents seeking support for his rational position. Going alone he continued bravely. “It won’t be easy for the dog or for us this month. We have three trips and house guests.” Nothing. “I’m not saying we CAN’T get a dog, I’m just saying that now may not be the best time.”

He was still shaking his head as he hauled the complimentary bag of dog food into the car. It weighed 1.8x the shivering dog.

Since the 11 year old is the only reasonable person in our family I found myself spending less time than usual selecting the same outfit I always did. The meerkat piglet needed stuff. He needed warm and cold weather gear. He needed leashes and treats and food and bowls and dog pee pads in case the NYC apartment was too much for him. He needed chew toys small enough for his jaw. He needed coats and booties. Pause on that one. Our dog is so thin furred and small boned as to require outer wear. When I went “shopping” for him  I found some rugged REI type booties. I had to inspect the package to make sure they were XXS and had no hidden sequins. This is one of the challenges of owning a small dog. Everyone thinks it should be bedazzled. He needed a carrier and a hard sided case. He needed about 50 extra pounds. Looking at his squirrel feet I knew that one was impossible.

We made it to Florida.


While I busied around our condo feeling pretty damn good about the tile floor and the direct outdoor access Steve unpacked for us. We spent three “relaxing” days taking the dog in and out to use the bathroom 750 times a day. We also snuck him onto the beach to test the sand. Sand is scary.We had a golf cart to travel around the island and we took the dog with us. The golf cart is scary. We went to a restaurant on the pier that serves dogs as well as people and someone shook on the ground the entire time. That place was scary. We walked to the ice cream shop and someone sat on the bench with him. That bench….scary. Eventually I decided it was easier to stay home with the dog than do anything else. Oliver is not the type to say “I told you so” but I think I saw a flicker pass through his blue eyes as they headed to crash in the waves.

It took me two days to realize that the dog had everything he needed but I just had my travel bra. Next up on our trip was NYC with art shows and Thanksgiving dinner. I am not a woman of high style, but ideally I am one of high bust line. So it was time to take the car off island to solve my problem.

The whole family kept me company. It was a 30 minute car ride to Target and it was SO SCARY. “I thought dogs liked cars.” I mentioned to Steve. “Maybe if we had gotten a dog instead of a wingless baby bat it would like cars.” And sand. And golf carts. Just then the “dog” looked back at me with his translucent ears flapping up and his lazy eye showing the blood shot white surround. “I think he may be so ugly he is cute.” I told my family. The rest of them rolled their normal sized eyes at me.

In the store I started in on what was now my second least favorite task now that scrubbing dog poop was a daily activity. Bra shopping. I was mentally prepared for the fact that 40F sounded more like an apartment than a bra size. I was also used to the fact that I would be crawling crab like across the commercial carpet to try to see the bottom rack. What I was not prepared for was the padding. I would have liked it on my knees but I did not need it on my chest. Every. Every. Every bra was padded.

So I grabbed one and went.

Taking it out of the bag back at the beach I was astounded. The bra was huge. The dog looked at it, his eyes bulging from his head. He began to shake. That bra was scary. I scooped him up. “I agree” I told him. “It IS scary.”

Somehow we made it through New York. Cabs. Scary. Street noise. Scary. Neighbor dog. Scary. Farmers market. Scary. Vomit from family members’ stomach bug? Not at all scary. Actually sort of delicious.

Packing to go home I had a big choice to make. Travel bra or padded bra. Stuffing the salted caramels from the holiday market in Union Square the choice was clear. The big bra would never make it in. So it had to stay on. On the plane I listened to four families call their dogs service dogs while I waited to present proof that we had paid $115 a leg for our rat like thing. It was one of those times that I wanted to lie. The flight attendant asked if he was an emotional support animal. I assume he used the word animal because he couldn’t identify the species of the creature. I wanted to say yes. Because he required a lot of emotional support…but I looked at Oliver and realized I couldn’t fail him again. “No” I told the flight attendant. “Then he needs to stay in the bag.”

So I zipped that thing in and he shook and wept and scraped his nose against the mesh until it bled. It was upsetting for all of us. That bag is scary.

screen-shot-2016-12-21-at-9-31-24-amFinally we were home. No one was vomiting (or eating vomit.) I changed out of my travel out fit into the only thing more comfortable than a travel outfit. PJs. I flung off the giant bra and headed out for the first of 250 visits to try to keep the dog from using our house as a toilet. This time it worked and the two of us returned to the bedroom to relax. As I walked down the hall I saw what looked like an enormous butt sticking out of the bed. As I got closer I realized it was the new bra. The dog thing jumped on the bed and gave it a sniff. It was no long scary. He nosed at it with his scabby snout and lifted an edge. He climbed under one cup and curled up into a dog ball. The bra was way too big for him. But it was not scary.