I can see my family rolling their eyes. "Here come the stories," they're saying, and they're right.
Biggest baddest dog:
One night last spring, my husband and I took Roxy for a walk after dinner. Roxy has matured so she's pretty easy to walk, if you don't mind letting her range all around you so she can smell the pee-mail and leave messages of her own. (If you're one of those who needs your dog to stay at heel, forget it. Roxy ain't there, and she ain't never gonna be there, unless she gets too old to sniff and pee.) So we were mostly ignoring the dog and talking, maybe hurrying a little as we came into the home stretch because we didn't want to miss whatever was coming up at the eight o'clock hour on tv.
As we reached the last corner before our house we saw a stray dog standing on the sidewalk, a skinny yellow lab mix with a collar but no leash/owner attached. Roxy seemed skittish, so we kept our eyes on it. It backed away a bit warily as we crossed the street towards it, which made me think it wasn't aggressive, but suddenly it snarled and lunged at Roxy. My husband jumped between Roxy and the stray, stretched himself to a couple of inches taller than I ever knew he could, and lunged right back at that dog, barking in a deep (and yes, scary) voice. The stray did one of those cartoon leaps - straight up, with a spin in mid-air - and ran off down the street yipping with the volume turned all the way up. It eventually turned and ran into what we presumed to be its own backyard. We could still hear it yipping when we reached our front door.
And that's why we call my husband 'Dog.' Heh.
Things that go bump in the night:
To understand this story, you have to know a little bit about the layout of our house. We are situated on a hill with our backyard a full story lower than the front, so street level, to us, is the second floor. That's where the living and dining rooms, kitchen, and family room are located. The bedrooms and bathrooms are on the first floor, with the master bedroom directly beneath the family room.
This happened before the kids were married, on one of DiL's visits from Ireland. On the night in question, my husband and I had gone to bed but the kids were upstairs watching a movie. We could hear the tv faintly, and now and then the kids moving around or talking a little. Then we started hearing this very pronounced, rhythmic, bumping sound. We both became very tense. My husband said, What is that? I said, I don't know. We listened some more. The sound didn't stop.
My husband said, What the hell is that? I said, I don't know. We sat up. Are they-? he said, and I said, No way. They wouldn't. Go find out, he said. I'm not going up there, I said, but of course, I was already getting out of bed. I put on a robe and walked out into the hall and stood at the bottom of the stairs.
Dave? I said. The noise stopped. There was a moment of silence.
Um. We heard a noise.
Another silence. Oh. Sorry.
Okay. Going back to bed.
I got back in bed. Less than sixty seconds later, the noise started again - pretty much the same, though maybe a little faster now. My husband said, Oh, my God. What are they doing? I said, I don't know. He said, Make them stop!
So I crawled back out of bed and went to the bottom of the stairs. Dave?
What is that noise?
Long silence. Then I heard what sounded like someone getting up, some footsteps, and my son appeared at the top of the stairs with a dish towel dangling from one hand. I spilled an orange soda, he said sheepishly. And I'm trying to scrub it out of the carpet.
Caring for cats:
My eldest daughter is the product of my first marriage. When my (current) husband and I were married, we moved to California. Every summer my daughter would fly back to Iowa to spend six weeks with her dad. The first year, she left us a note (which I still have in an envelope somewhere.) She had just turned seven. Here's what it said:
How to take care of the cats
1 Feed them
2 Pet them
3 Do not swing them by the neck
4 Pay good and lots attention to them
Good advice. We've pretty much followed it ever since, and none of our cats has run off.