While on summer vacation, I probably composed, in my mind, a dozen different soapboxes. Being away from the job makes me more creative and free-thinking; and even though I avoid the news like the plague during these times, my mind wanders to various subjects, ranging from the funny to the serious, the topical to the philosophical.
I don’t write these ideas down for a couple of reasons; first, I don’t want to work and I’m afraid I won’t stop myself at a couple of sentences and pretty soon…BAM! I’m writing soapboxes on vacation. Secondly, I’ve always figured that if the ideas are that good, they’ll save in my memory or come up repeatedly until I actually execute them. It’s just my process and it’s served me well.
Sunday morning before returning to work arrived, and I knew that a new Soapbox was on the top of my very long list of work-related items. While I had slowly climbed back into working a few days earlier, Sunday was going to be a long one. I did myself no favors by sleeping in almost later than any day during the past few weeks, getting me an anxious late start. For me, that’s 8AM and about 3 lost hours of previously expected work. I rolled over and realized my wife wasn’t next to me, which was somewhat of a relief as that meant she had gotten up and fed the dogs who are used to eating around 5 or 6 in the morning during vacation. Like any normal red-blooded American, the very next thing I did was grab my cell-phone to be met by a long text from my wife explaining that yes, the dogs had been fed, but she had endured a terrible night of not sleeping much, and was not feeling well (women issues I’m guessing) and so, she had laid down in the guestroom to get some more sleep.
This immediately presented some interesting challenges. We have a 19-week-old puppy; Sarge, the Black Lab, who has simultaneously reminded us of both the joys and horrors of having a puppy in the house. With Sarge, and our 8-year-old other Lab, Scout, both having just eaten and pooped, my wife decided to let Sarge roam free, since she assumed I would be up soon after she sent her text to me, and with the dogs having just eaten, they’d just rest for a bit. Plus, the guest bed is too high for the dogs to safely jump on and off of, and kenneling Sarge presented the possibility of him whining, depending on his mood, thus ruining her chances of resting. Bear in mind, all of this was predicated on my usual sleep schedule and her knowing I would get up early to get to work. This text had been sent over an hour earlier.
I leaped up, got dressed, and suddenly realized that Scout was at the foot of the bed, meaning he had gotten fed up with his puppy brother and escaped to his refuge since Sarge is incapable of climbing the staircase still. Whenever Scout has had enough play or is just annoyed at his little brother, he heads upstairs. This, I deduced, was all very bad because it meant that:
- A. Obviously, Sarge was downstairs alone and possibly bored and
- B. They had been playing and/or Sarge had done something Scout knew he wasn’t supposed to do, and Scout had removed himself from the guilty area.
I fully expected to come downstairs to any of the wonderful things we’ve experienced already, like a torn-up roll of paper towels, or any of my wife’s various hair rubber bands that he has somehow found somewhere.
As I turned the corner of our spiral staircase, Sarge heard me, emerged from the hallway, and began his puppy frenzy that occurs whenever a human is seen for the first time in a few hours. It’s as though we’re meeting again after years of being apart…every…single…time. As he did his Tasmanian Devil impersonation, I surveyed the rooms in my view and saw that all was seemingly calm and intact and in its rightful place. Sarge has matured very quickly and is very smart (he was housebroken almost immediately), and so, I thought (and hoped), maybe he had just laid down at the foot of the guest bed and rested, and maybe, just maybe, Scout took that cue to take his place at my feet.
I turned the corner to the hallway, heading to my home office, and realized that its’ door had been left open; this meant the puppy had access to anything inside, and even though we had just had the manor deep cleaned, the office is filled with puppy catnip. Bills, show prep papers, even recording equipment that has nice sharp edges perfect for a puppy with growing teeth to gnaw away at. As I entered, all was in order, for the most part. There was a slightly chewed-up envelope on the floor, which I grabbed and saw was a bill for my wife. This was odd because that means he got it from somewhere other than my office, and since Christina’s office is upstairs and he can’t get there yet, the origin of this was a mystery. No matter, I thought, if all he did was lie there and chew away at some harmless paper for a while, we’re off to a good, albeit late, start to the day. Time for breakfast!
I placed the torn up bill on the bar to show my wife when she awoke and strode to the kitchen, still seeing no evidence of any puppy-related shenanigans. Hearing the sound of food preparation, our portly sausage Scout emerged downstairs to make his way to the kitchen and commence begging but first had to endure the same “I haven’t seen you in years” greeting from Sarge that I had experienced only moments ago. As they bounded around like drunken kangaroos, I was free to begin cooking. They spent the whole time playing in my view and allowing me free to cook and begin watching my usual battery of Sunday morning news programs to prepare for the week’s shows. I began eating, standing at our kitchen counter as I did so, allowing me to see both the TV and the dogs and I noticed, as I looked over, both of the dogs were now stuffed into one kennel. From my view, it looked as though maybe Scout was puking, or just had, and Sarge was about to eat it. Wonderful, so much for my hope for a peaceful morning…and now I had to deal with dog vomit while trying to eat breakfast. I raced over to discover that there was no puke, but rather a fascination with something in the corner of the kennel. I shooed the dogs away and retrieved a pair of my wife’s designer sunglasses (Gucci, if you must know). I inspected them, and they seemed undamaged, so they made their way to the bar for the looming “any idea how he got these items” discussion when she arose from her slumber.
After eating, I set up to work in the living room so that I could keep an eye on the dogs (mainly Sarge) while working. Traditionally, when I take my seat on the sofa, both dogs just lay down and sleep. If my wife is present, and we’re trying to enjoy a show together, it’s chaos because God forbid we get to enjoy some of our very limited together time, but I digress.
With hours of work to do, I needed them to chill, but, as the universe continued to work against me, Sarge initiated a play session with Scout. Fine, they’ll tire each other out and then lay down.
Until Scout abandoned me. Distracted by work, it wasn’t until he was halfway up the stairs that I realized Scout had had enough of the puppy and was heading to his sanctuary. I got up to retrieve Sarge from wherever he was and there, in the middle of the entryway, he laid…chewing on a pen. An ink pen! He hadn’t gotten far, but where in the hell had it come from? No matter, it was now on the bar for the “the talk,” and I commanded him into one of the two giant, oversized fluffy dog beds we have in the living room which are filled with various toys these spoiled dogs insist on removing from their toybox and hoarding in their beds. Fine, just chew on a toy and let me work!
A few minutes later, I look over at Sarge chewing on the giant antler and think “awwww, this is what I love about…” wait a minute he’s actually chewing on something behind the antler! I harrumph, get up, and retrieve from his mouth a sunglass pouch. I rip it away from him, put the antler in his mouth, stomp to the bar and sit back down to commence working. I look over, and Sarge has turned the opposite direction and is chewing on…another ink pen! Back up I get, grab the pen, and begin searching the puffy bed for other hidden items. I retrieve two other pens AND another pair of designer sunglasses (Prada, if you must know). Now I’m beyond frustrated at the start to my day, having gotten essentially nothing done and it’s almost 9AM, and stumped as to what this pest got into and how and from where! Fine…I don’t have time for this, and now that the bed has been properly searched and the human items seized, hopefully, he’ll just sleep out of boredom or chew on an actual dog toy!
Working commences. I’m on the sofa, tray table set up, laptop keys banging away, Sunday morning news on, the day has finally started. I’m answering emails, printing news stories, listening to toxic political discussions, and of course, taking the occasional pool shot on my cell phone via texting with Dawn’s husband.
And then I notice that Sarge has switched to the other oversized, pillowy bed filled with nooks and crannies…and he’s chewing on something. Up I pop, (most likely at this point, cursing aloud), and I retrieve from his mouth…yet another pair of designer sunglasses (Louis Vuitton, if you must know). I move the little varmint and dig into the bed. In the end, between all of his various hiding and hoarding spots, he had accumulated a collection of an envelope with a bill in it, 4 ink pens, two sunglass pouches, a receipt, and 6 pairs of designer sunglasses (Prada, Louis Vuitton, Chanel, and 3 pair of Gucci, if you must know).
Now, our bar was filled with confiscated items worth thousands of dollars, all seemingly undamaged (except for the pens, which if I had to choose, was quite happy he chose to go to town on them as opposed to the glasses), the puppy was sleeping (pouting), and I could resume working.
About 30 minutes later, Christina woke up and I was finally in full work go-mode. We briefly talked, and she determined that our 19-week-old ninja had found his way over the top of the sofa to a table behind it which contained a box of hers which had the glasses (and some various office supplies for reason), and had helped himself, while also being wily enough to not only hide all of the items but spread out the hiding places to fool his witless humans. Knowing that she needed to wake up, I kissed her and said “I’m heading to my office to work,” she apologized for the start of my day, I lovingly told her to shut up because I was just glad she felt better, and I made my way to the office, leaving her to the menace in fur.
Once in the refuge of my office, I was able to shift to writing and recording this week’s soapbox. I sat straight up in my giant, obnoxious, super comfy office chair, opened my laptop, and realized…I had absolutely no god-damned ideas or inspirations to form into words. Oh, and I’m way behind on everything and don’t have time to not be inspired.
So, you got this instead, because quite literally, the dog almost ate my homework. He certainly chewed up a ton of my time (Eh? Eh?).
Ironically, as I began writing this the little annoyance sauntered into my office and laid at my feet being the perfect dog. Until 5 minutes later when he made his way to my garbage can and pulled out a rubber band and began running away from me. I returned the irritant to his female human (who was trying herself to eat breakfast) and she advised me to close my office door, which I did and have been left in peace for the last hour to truly get this stupid thing done.
And now, as I unpack from our trip to Las Vegas and I put away my five Rolex watches, I can finally reflect on my wife’s designer sunglass obsession!