Armageddon Otis

There is a position you are supposed to get into if you suspect you are about to be struck by lightning – the one where you try to make your body as small as possible by curling up into a ball while making as little contact with the ground as you can manage. For me this means sitting on my feet. If you are a super awesome yoga ninja like my cousin Holly, this might mean balancing on your pinkie finger – effectively reducing your odds of becoming a crispy lighting conductor by probably 90%. (Note to self: Yoga = good for survival – not just some post-modern Buddhist cult-fad. Get over it already.)

Anyhow, so I’m in this position with my hands clutched over my ears, huddling in my toddler’s room with both the baby gate and adult-size door locked (Ex is peacefully reading next to me) attempting to escape the relentless eardrum piercing barks of my brother’s 30 lb., ADD medicated (but not presently effective), pit bull pup named Otis. This joyous beast is supposedly going to spend a lot of time here now that Adam has accepted a sweet promotion to a traveling gig within his company (congrats bro!). What this means here is week-long stretches of bark torture.

Now, Otis’ recurring 5-day stays are actually less of an inconvenient/pathetic intrusion on my parent’s domain as me (functional adult with critical thinking human skills) bumming shelter for self and family with no end in sight.* So yeah, I get to make fun of the dog and not feel bad.

While I won’t make the completely un-classy ultimatum that it is either me or the dog, I will simply acknowledge that the possession of such an animal ranks up there on the STUPID STUPID chart along with buying a house in Tornado Alley without a basement, and going on any form of Disney vacation.

Side note: As a kid, I went to Disney with my grandparents and sister. I remember the four of us on the It’s a Small World ride, where you ride a tiny little boat pulled on a track in shallow murky water through a dark claustrophobic tunnel lined with electronic elves pounding anvils with little hammers, lit by the eerie red glow of fake fire, singing It’s a Small World After All. We must have been halfway through the Hell tunnel when the track malfunctioned and w were stuck in place for the greater part of an hour listing to the ghoulish puppet clowns sing their short loop over and over. I’m not kidding. This is how they break you. Nothing is more distinctly creepy and lame than that. Save your money and vacation somewhere less irritatingly sanity-reducing and more, I don’t know, real.

Right, so unmanageable pet, house in Tornado Alley without basement, and Disney vacations – all should be avoided. The good news for you, brother, is that plenty of well-meaning people make these costly mistakes all the time, and you may be able to regain your house payment-sized dog purchase by reselling to someone else as a “rescue.” Sure he is used, but people always pay more for charity.

Eventually, Exavier decided he wanted to do something else, and took my hand saying ever so sweetly, “Lets go Mamma.” As we opened the door, emerging from our barricaded shelter from manic, ear-splitting, dog barking, I noticed something shredded beyond recognition on the floor in front of us. I looked to my left and saw the now-bare insulated hot water pipe leading to the furnace (how do you even replace something like that?), and wonder how close we were to becoming victims of a “freak” (read: dog-induced) house explosion, or perhaps more realistically being trapped in the bedroom or scalded by high pressure boiling water spraying uncontainably down the hallway of my parent’s recently refinished hardwood floor. That is when I decided it was time to leave.


* I hereby revoke this ranking, due to the fact that by the time I returned home today, Otis had completely ripped up both rocking chairs in the living room. He must have known he did a bad thing because he escaped between my legs while I was trying to bring a sleeping Exavier inside. He proceeded to run away and try to get hit by a car while I ineffectively tried to save him. I mean, he is OK, he didn’t get hit, but it was the neighbor who actually caught him while Exavier stood abandoned and traumatized in the living room watching this all go down.


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