Tuesday, April 17, 2007

Living with Helen Keller

We went to see the puppies today. Hannah’s puppies, which would make them my Cassie’s full brothers and sisters, although in a different generation altogether. Genealogy is so challenging when you dwell in the world of dogs.

Then later today, someone said to me that living with adolescent puppies reminds her of what it must have been like to live with Helen Keller. You always feel that you are the verge of some communications break-through, that any minute the figurative light-bulb will go on over their all too literal fuzzy heads.

I laughed out loud, thinking back to a moment not so long ago, when I felt like I was Helen Keller. My beautiful puppy came to me, desperate to convey to me a concept, which I suddenly realized was a single word, her word, meant to say Mom-I-am-dying-to-go-outside-for-I-really-must-pee. A simple concept, surely, and how frustrating for her that I was so slow to learn it.

This, in a nutshell, is the difference between living with a German Shepherd or any other dog smarter than its nominal owner and living with retrievers. Retrievers are needy; German Shepherds are in charge. Seriously.

Oh, wow

Oh, wow, but it is …well, interesting to be in the path of the worst nor’easter in decades.

There is a wind so strong that I can barely close the doors. The dogs are puzzled at a howling from somewhere far away. The front door—nobody ever uses the front door—is firmly shut by a wood bar across it, with barricade chair under the door knob to boot.

The door to the wood chute has blown free. There is a distinct airway from one end of the cellar to the other. And there is a stream in my cellar that I have not seen in my four years in the house. Although the drain system installed in the floor posits a need for same.

In the utility room, the vinyl floor has taken up residence in horror movie land. The whole floor billows and buckles, vinyl straining for the ceiling, but why? I am in awe, I have never seen a vinyl floor behave in such a way. Oh, wow.

Oh, wow. I have put to rest old commitments, made good on old promises, and moved on to a new chapter of my own life. I have changed jobs, and it only took me….well, something like twelve months in all. Last May, I was hoping for a new life; this April, late April, I have it.

As much as I enjoyed my four years in public service, I’m not really cut out for it. Maybe nobody is, not forever.