Monday, August 03, 2009

I Really Did NOT See This Coming.

I've been informed that I'm once again guilty of blog neglect. Consequences have been threatened. Bad consequences. And so, for those wondering, and those whose wonder has turned to alarm, yes, we're still alive.

June was the month of THE MOVE: Phase One. (Do I really need to explain why THE MOVE is always written in all caps? No, I didn't think so.)I had supposed, naively it seems, that THE MOVE would be accomplished within one phase.

It appears I was mistaken.

Between various glitches and Hubs' need to evaluate, re-evaluate, reconsider, and then again evaluate every house on the market in Utah County (which conflicted, sometimes LOUDLY, with my own need to JUST PICK ONE ALREADY) June was a tad stressful for us. Much the same way the French Revolution was a bit inconvenient for some.

And thus it came to pass that we realized by the end of June, if the new residents of our home had any kind of objection to our remaining there with them, we were about to become homeless. Gypsies. Bedouins. Nomads.

And then one night Hubs came home and announced that he'd found a solution. Until we get the house deal worked out, we would be able to live with...his parents.

Don't get me wrong, his parents are good people. To my knowledge neither of them has ever committed heinous wrongs like cannibalism, mass murder or participated in tractor pulls. And during our time here, they have done everything possible to make us feel comfortable. They have been incredibly generous and gracious and I can fault them for nothing. In fact, I'm a little worried that when we're on our own again, Hubs will return from work to a disaster of a house and an empty table and I will simply look around in bewilderment wondering why the house is no longer magically taking care of us.

In the beginning, though, I was worried. I was very worried. And what worried me was...well, they have a dog. Or perhaps more accurately, a dog has them. Sophie is a shih tzu; a breed that Son takes great delight in pronouncing incorrectly. Although, as I understand it, most Americans who pronounce it "sheet-sue" are equally incorrect. (It's actually sure-ds. Or something. Still, you've got to admit the pronunciation "sheet-sue" does sound better than Son's alternative, which I probably don't need to describe here in detail.

At any rate, here's the dilemma. Sophie, despite her own apparent beliefs, is in fact a dog. I'm not a dog person. Not anymore. There was a time,yes, that I, too, belonged to a little dog. But I kind of thought I was maybe a one-dog person. My dog, as dogs tend to do, got old and sick and one day Dad had her murdered. (Murdered, euthanized, whatever.) And that was it. I figure the same will probably happen with Hubs. I mean, I probably won't want to find another man once he's gone. I don't expect my parents to murder him. At least I don't think so.

The point being, I'm not the sort that has an easy time with putting my heart on the line again once it's broken. I'm more the sort who, with very few exceptions, throws away every reminder, moves if necessary, and never allows the heart to be vulnerable that way ever again.

So upon our arrival, I assumed my heart was locked up nice and tightly. Inaccessible. Invulnerable. Ice cold. I planned to tolerate the dog, as after all, it's her house. (I'm pretty sure her name doesn't appear on the deed to the house, but make no mistake. It's her house and she graciously allows her people to live in it with her.) Son and Hubs, of course had no such reservations. It did not help matters to see Hubs home from work and immediately run eagerly to greet...the dog. One of our first nights here, Hubs and I went for a walk. And his new girlfriend was of course invited. "Honey, what do you think about getting a dog?" he asked.

"Honey, what do you think about getting a divorce?" I replied.

I mean, I can see his point to a degree. She's got this little face. And it's a cute little face. Very cute. Ok, it's the most heart-melting adorable little dog face ever. And she's well-behaved. She can do tricks and she spends a lot of time snuggling with her people and playing with her squeaky toys. So, yeah, she's...ok. If you're into that sort of thing. And I most decidedly WAS. NOT.

Son once told me dogs are the only creatures capable of complete forgiveness and unconditional love. (Lately I've been working on the concept of unconditional love, but I do seem to have a stumbling block when it comes to creatures who steal my heart and then just up and die. Death does seem to be a deal breaker when it comes to animals. Not with people though. Although I'm not, at the moment sure if that's a good thing or not.) I wasn't sure if Son was correct in his assessment of the unconditional love of a dog or if dogs are just really clueless. Because no matter how clear I have tried to make it to Sophie that I'm not interested in a relationship with she is. Being cute and adorable and seemingly oblivious to my utter lack of interest.

My father-in-law was also a bit chagrined to realize one evening, when he went to tuck Sophie in for the night and she ran to Hubs for protection. I believe it was about that time Father-in-law announced, "Tomorrow you guys need to find another place to live." At least I'm not alone in my feelings of abandonment.

My first morning here, my mother called to make sure THE MOVE: Phase One was on track. She asked how I getting along with the dog. "Well...I have dog saliva on my ankles, but they also have Wireless know. I'm good. It evens out." Mom said, "I don't know how you can't just fall in love with that little face."
"Mom," I explained for what seems to be the thousandth time, "it takes more than a pretty face to get my attention. Not. Gonna. Happen."

(Side note, my parents are also owned by a dog. A big dog. A big dog that seems to have issues with her self-image as she is under the impression that she's actually a lapdog. And she most decidedly is NOT. She's a Shetland Sheep dog and no one, NO ONE is allowed to stand in that house unless they want to be "herded" back to their seat. Mom is the disciplinarian, Dad's the treat-giver who breaks all the rules behind Mom's back. It's pretty much the same way they raised us. It offends them deeply that I'm not in love with their creature. I can't help wondering if they think if I learn to accept Sophie I will somehow develop a feeling of fondness for their dog. Just a guess. But I digress. As usual.)

So anyway. I'm chagrined to report that the other day we were riding in the car and Sophie climbed between Hubs and me and snuggled up next to me. (Told you she disregards my obvious lack of affection for her.) But then...she put her head on my knee. And I don't know what happened. Without thinking, I reached out and scratched behind her ears. Next thing I know she's got her head in my lap and I'm stroking her back. Naturally when I came to my senses I retracted my hand and liberally applied the anti-bacterial to BOTH hands, as if my display of affection could somehow be eradicated with enough alcohol-based solvents.

Today, when I arrived back after running errands, a memory was pulled kicking and screaming from the back of my mind; from that little box where it's been so securely locked for the past 14 years. I was reminded what it's like to be greeted with such enthusiasm and affection it was as if I'd been away at war and she'd assumed I was missing in action and I was never coming back.

The wall is cracking. Or cracked. The carefully locked box in which I keep my heart is being slowly but surely unlocked. I'm falling in love with this little beast that I had every intention of merely tolerating.

Nobody tell Hubs though. I can love him, but if he finds out I not only love him but his little dog too...I'm toast.


Ronni said...

I see a dog in your future. You can't withstand parents, husband, son, and That Face!

stacey said...

You know, my mother has a quote hanging in her house that I love. "When you see a man or a woman or a puppy and you fall hopelessly in love with that adorable face, remember the front end is attached to a back end and you've got to be willing to live with both." I haven't walked barefoot on grass in years. I think my powers of resistance may be stronger than we think.

Ronni said...

We'll see...