Monday, April 13, 2009

Writing Through Distractions

As anyone who follows me on Facebook and Twitter knows, I am fostering a Siberian husky puppy for my son’s girlfriend. Why am I doing this? Well the obvious reason is I am stupid. But I like to think of it as an investment in my future. Or as I constantly tell my son, remember this when its time to pick out the nursing home.

I thought life would be fairly simple once Achilles came to stay with us. After all, I’m at home, I have a fenced back yard, I already have a dog, a long hair doxie named Cody. So what’s the big deal?

Well for one thing Achilles is the big deal. He’s a snow-white Siberian husky who’s supposed to top out at seventy pounds. The problem is he thinks he’s a doxie. So when he arrived, at five months old he was constantly getting stuck under the bed and trying to lay on the back of the couch. He also was shedding. Big time. White fur on wood floors. Not a pretty sight. Hmmm, this means more work for me.

And did it ever. My office is upstairs over the garage. I get plenty of exercise going up and down the stairs because he howls. I want in. I want out. I want food. I want water. I want to play. I want to walk. I just want to howl because I like too. Huskies don’t bark. They talk. And the entire neighborhood hears it. It’s hard to concentrate when you are constantly being interrupted by a dog.

Then there’s the rampant destruction. Actually I was keeping a journal of what he destroyed but he ate it. Off the top of my head he’s eaten a leather ottoman, a pottery barn rug that I bought to cover the big stain he made on our bedroom carpet, three pairs of my husbands shoes, the insides of my uggs, the corner off our stairs, my day timer, books, and an entire pan of brownies. (yes I know the dangers of dogs and chocolate and that was a sleepless night) We also had to get rid of a room size rug due to stinkiness and we have a big crack in our ceiling in the kitchen from the day he decided to have a romp around the attic.

He is a full time job. Just like having a child. My entire life now revolves around this dog. Trips are a big deal because I can’t leave him for a long time. Boarding is expensive. I have to make sure doors are closed and stuff is out of his reach and he’s got a big reach. No counter or table is safe. I’ve had to replace our back door. My porch furniture is ruined. Our back yard has no grass. My house, which is only two years old is a disaster but there is no need to fix anything until he’s gone, which will be in another 15 months when Alex gets out of grad school.

Needless to say my writing has suffered. Big time. I’m up and down 100 times a day. I get really frustrated because our house is no longer the way I want it. Sometimes I scream and cry. But as I said, I’m investing in my future and my son’s future. As I told Alex, we’ve got to get you through grad school so you can take care of Drew. I’ll take care of the dog until you’re done then you get both of them. She cried and said “Okay” because she loves both of them too. She comes to visit when she can just to give me some relief.

I do love Achilles. It will be hard to give him up. I’ll miss him. I’ll miss our walks. I’ll miss the way he looks at me with his beautiful blue eyes. Eyes that say I love you. I appreciate how you take care of me. I’ll miss how he watches through the window when I leave and how he watches for me to come home. I’ll miss dropping my hand down to touch him when he lies next to the couch while I watch TV. As I write this he’s lying on the floor in front of the fire, and probably dreaming about his next meal, which will probably be the sofa at the rate he’s going.

As for me, I’m dreaming about the nursing home. Right now I’m thinking a big suite on a cruise ship with cabana boys. But that’s hopefully a long way off. For now I’ve got to concentrate on getting through the next fifteen months, hopefully with my house and furniture intact. And seeing how many words I can get down before Achilles wakes up and the next adventure begins.


Gerri Russell April 13, 2009 at 11:50 AM  

Cindy, What a wonderful mom you are--so patient and giving! The dog sounds like a handful. I am sorry to hear that your writing has suffered. However, I think I see a book in your future with a troublesome canine. :-)

Hang in there!

Jennifer Ashley/ Allyson James / Ashley Gardner April 13, 2009 at 4:07 PM  

What a sweetie!

Great post, Cindy! You had me laughing about your puppy and his "appetite" when you mentioned him a couple months ago.

Last year I took two male cats off a friend's hands--she couldn't take care of them any more.

They're like teenage boys. They eat like there's no tommorow; they tear up the house; they sleep like the dead anywhere they fall down; and they're smelly. They have long, fair hair, which has now permeated the house.

And I love 'em to pieces.

I get where you're coming from. :-)

EmilyBryan April 14, 2009 at 6:53 AM  

Since I'm now an urban pet owner (read: I am on permanent poop patrol) my rule is no dog with poop that requires a baggie larger than a sandwich bag. Plus our building has a 25 pound limit for pets, which pretty much takes care of that.

I'm very fortunate that our dogs have adapted to my writers' lifestyle and can remain motionless for hours--a pretty good trick considering one is a 4 year old terrier. 16 year old Susie is pretty much in a constant state of hibernation until I wake her up to walk her. I posted a pic of us all in the "writing position" on my website.

Even with the trouble they cause and the destruction they spread (Mack had a shoe fetish as a puppy), it's hard to beat the unconditional, slobbering love they return for a little kindness on our part.

Bonnie Vanak April 14, 2009 at 7:39 AM  

What a gorgeous dog! Good luck with the writing!

Genella deGrey April 14, 2009 at 9:47 AM  

I don't have a pet, but I have a 4 year-old boy. The poop patrol has lessened however, variably other types of messes ensue.


Cindy Holby

Gerri Russell

Joy Nash

Bonnie Vanak

Emily Bryan

C.L. Wilson

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