2. Friday Can Be a Crappy Day

(From December 2002)

Since motoring across Canada in October I have been staying with a number of family members – freeloading if you will, or as i call it ‘an extended renewal of family acquaintances’.

For the past few weeks now my family victims du jour have been my sister and her husband, who live somewhere east of Vancouver in a cozy house surrounded by the aroma of cow pastures. So far it has been a lot of fun, they both have my twisted sense of humour, although i am not looking forward to snacking on my brother in law’s gonch next week (I am allowed two slices of bread I am told – never bet against a sure thing… sigh). As well as these two kindred souls the house is occupied by a pair of small, very fluffy Shih Tzu’s named Jasmine and Jezebel.

Now from their names you would think one was a small dainty dog-person and the other a hussy hell bent for leather. And you are quite correct in assuming that. The problem is the personality does NOT fit the name, in fact quite the opposite is true.

Jezebel is a princess, taking treats daintily from my hand when offered or sitting quietly at my feet at night until i offer her my lap. Quite the snuggle-muffin, she loves to lay on her back in the crook of my arm and snooze while I watch whatever paltry fare is on cable here.

Jasmine on the other hand is a jock. Even though the two are litter mates Jasmine is the fireball, bouncing around the house or chewing Squeak-Squeak in the middle of the living room rug. And woe be to the person who doesn’t notice her in front of them looking for a pet. About 10 seconds is all that is allowed before menacing growls start to emanate from within this wee floor mop with legs.

Several times a day I will emerge from the bowels of the basement for fresh coffee and a smoke. At this time I normally will take the girls out back to do their business, the weather being splendidly un-December-like. Once out the door Jezebel will head for a quiet place in the corner for her constitutional. Jasmine on the other hand will sit at the bottom of the stairs looking up at me with a “Ya think I am taking a dump out here eh?” look on her face.

So I wait, sipping on the ever potent brew and letting the smoke curl lazily around my head and overpower the smell of cow dung next door. Jezebel will finish her business then hop up the stairs to lie down at my side for a pet. Jasmine will sit on the pavement in front of me, the “Ya think I am taking a dump out here eh?” look replaced by a “Screw you and the horse you rode in on” look. Eventually I will tire of this game and sadly let her and Jezebel back into the house.

Now here a successful ‘peepees and poopoos’ is rewarded with treats for the girls, Snausages® or Beggin Strips®. Jezebel will head for the treat stand in the corner of the kitchen, tail wagging. Jasmine will mow her over mid-back hallway. Now the basic tenet of dog breeding is that if you give one a treat you have to give to both. This goes completely against my grain, since the treat is for defecating on schedule in the backyard. Sadly I will grab the two treats and hold them out for the dogs. Jezebel will then daintily take the treat and head for her basket. Jasmine will somewhat less delicately take the treat and my hand if I am not quick about it.

As you may have gathered Jasmine has a bit of an attitude issue. As a small dog she is not likely to jump up and bite your arm off to get attention (Thankfully to this point she hasn’t acquired a taste for my barefeet). But she has learned that bowel and bladder control are quite effective in getting whatever her twisted little heart desires. If my brother in law misses her daily walk WHAMMO a steaming little present next to his walking shoes. If my sister is slow on a pet KA-POW a stinker under her sewing table. Jasmine knows I love to cook so you can guess what annoints the kitchen rug if I am slow with a treat.

Since I arrived this spate of pint-sized hooliganism has escalated. A few nights ago, as I sat chatting on the computer downstairs, a mighty uproar ensued from the living room directly over my head. Large chunks of dusty crud shook loose from the rafters above and pelted down on me. Taking the stairs two at a time I rushed up, thinking perhaps my brother in law had suffered a coronary or my sister had won the lottery.

No such luck! It appears that for whatever reason Jasmine had taken offense to something my sister had or hadn’t done while reclining on the futon couch watching TV. A bit peckish, my sister had headed for the kitchen for a cinnamon bun and cup of coffee. Once she was safely out of sight Jasmine proceeded to sneak up on the couch and pee exactly where my sister would have parked her aft sections. The bellow I had heard came when my sister, cinnamon bun in hand had sat back down on the couch. Taking one look I retreated quickly to the basement.

Well today is Friday, the end of another hard and somewhat fruitless job-hunting week. As usual I was up before the dawn, pounding the keyboards with my east coast clients. Upstairs I could hear my sister and brother in law getting ready for work.

About 8:45 I heard the front door slam and the van roar out of the driveway. Looking down at my half empty coffee cup I gave the girls 30 minutes before I came up and shooed them into the backyard.

At 9:15 precisely I bounced back up the stairs. Well actually I bounced back up the first half of the stairs. The second half was a stumble, eyes watering and a monster gag rising in my throat. At the top of the stairs Jasmine sat, tail wagging, a ‘butter wouldn’t melt in my mouth’ look on her face. Beyond Jasmine lay a fresh smoker. Sigh. I headed directly to the bathroom and grabbed a huge wad of toilet paper.

No sooner had I cleaned up this mess in the middle of the living room floor than my nose told me there was yet more surprises lurking. Peering around the corner I spied an EVEN larger pile in the vestibule next to MY shoes. Sigh I headed back to the bathroom, returning with another wad of toilet paper and the bottle of Vanilla air freshner.

As I cleaned and sprayed I must admit I became somewhat verbally abusive of the wee muppet sitting at the top of the stairs watching me. Dire prognostications of spending the afternoon in the freezer rolled off my lips. Jasmine just looked at me and smiled.

The mess cleaned up I stood back, air freshner at the ready. All appeared cleaned up. Reaching down to the coffee table I retrieved my coffee cup and headed for the kitchen for a fresh brew. Jasmine followed at a safe distance.

As I rounded the fridge a fresh wave of nauseating animal excrement assailed my nostrils. Aaaargh an EVEN larger pile of doggy poo sat proudly on the kitchen mat. Roaring at the dog I stomped down the hall and grabbed the last of the roll of toilet paper, leaving a trail of shredded paper as I stormed back to the kitchen. Jasmine stepped back from the doorway, the smile now an evil grin.

“Enough!” I yelled as I dumped the last of the air freshner on the rug. Grabbing my coffee cup I stormed back down the stairs, slamming the door behind me.

It took several minutes to calm myself enough to describe the scene of defecatory carnage to Chan. “Thank gawd they are small dogs!” I typed “mebbe now they will go to sleep for a couple hours!”

“Don’t count on it…” Chan replied cheerfully, adding a wee devil emoticon to her message. I shuddered.

An hour past, it was now 10:30 a.m. if you are keeping score. So far it was Jasmine 3, Bear 0. I sat downstairs chatting with Chan and Sean (both pronounced the same by the way – hell when we are all in the same room) and slowly letting my blood pressure drop back into the triple digits. My coffee cup empty I carefully slipped up the stairs. Jezebel still lay asleep in her basket. Jasmine was nowhere to be seen but from the growling I could tell she was probably attacking a Kleenex® under my brother in law’s chair (a whole other story…).

As I rounded the kitchen door it hit me all over again… AAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAARGH a fresh smokey delight right in the middle of the kitchen rug! A blood curdling yell ripped out of my throat. In the living room the growling stopped and out of the corner of my eye I could just see the offending aft end of Jasmine wriggling under the couch.

“Allright you lil be-atch!” I rumbled in her general direction as I scooped yet another parcel off the rug and deposited it in the toilet. Returning to the kitchen I slid the half panel across the doorway. Striding into the living room i scooped up Jezebel and dumped her unceremoniously on the kitchen linoleum. Returning to the living room I hauled Jasmine out from under the couch and plopped her down beside her sister. Then with an eevil eye for both of them I disappeared back down the basement stairs.

Well, it is 11:30 now. All is quiet upstairs in the kitchen and I have yet to smell the ammonia of fresh doggie doo. But I am ready… yessir I am…

looking down at the roll of duct tape and two small corks on my desk

After all, if you give something to one you have to give it to the other…

How silly of me to think the story would end there?

At 1 p.m. I let the lil darlings out of the kitchen again, their pinched faces all contrition. Lighting my cigarette I let them out the back door and both promptly went out into the yard and did their business! Yesssss!!

Patting them both on the head for being such good girls I turned around to let them back in.

Ut oh… the wind had blown the door shut… and my keys were on my desk in the basement!! AAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAARGH!!!

Well to make a long story short I spent the next half hour on my hands and knees crawling around under the porch until FINALLY I found the spare hidden away. So here I sit, typing, with several dried leaves sticking out of my knickers and one in my hair like a Hawaiian princess.

And somewhere upstairs I can hear Jasmine snickering…