Just a small sampling of the way my family spends our days. To entertain or enlighten or frighten you - I'm not sure which:
Thursday morning we are, all four of us, in the bathroom upstairs. Bubba is shaving and packing his overnight bag. I am brushing my teeth. Eve is flitting around us, making sure we know she is excited about spending two nights with her grandparents without her parents around. Lola is perched on the tile countertop between the double sinks, wiggling her hips and making faces at Bubba as she attempts to block his view of himself in the mirror. He plays along for a while until she starts thrusting Q-tips toward his nostrils like miniature swords - hyah! hyah!
"Dude, you'd better quit squirming around like that or you're gonna fall off the counter and crack your nut," he warns her, laughing as he wipes the remaining blobs of shaving cream off of the skin underneath his earlobes.
"Daddy! I don't have any nuts! Only you do," she rolls her 7-year-old eyes and hops down.
There is something about the car ride from our house to Portland that makes us all loopy around Battleground. We have all made this drive so many times, Bubba and I in the front seats, the girls snuggled into their captain's chairs with blankets and favorite stuffed animals, and the dog nestled firmly between them on the floor, flipping himself up instantly as soon as he feels the car stop because he knows it means he gets to get out and pee. It isn't long enough to be monotonous, but 2/3 of the way in, we know we are close and we all get a little goofy. Bubba starts making up lyrics to songs on the radio a la Weird Al Yankovic, Lola joins in and somehow trumps him and sends us all into fits of giggles. She starts free associating and manages to twist things in totally crazy ways and inspire Eve who is normally the serious one.
Today, Lola has removed the heavy chain-link leash from the dog's collar and is busy twisting it into different shapes.
"Hey, look! I'm making handcuffs!" She proudly holds out her wrists, tightly bound in chains with only a few inches between them. "Do ya think I can get out of this?"
Bubba rolls his eyes and smirks. He manages to speak softly enough that the girls can't hear him, "Thank God we don't have a pole in the car! Or a whip..."
After a few more combinations and permutations of homemade handcuffs, Lola announces, "I'm going to take this for show-and-tell. I'll ask for a volunteer to come up from the class and wrap me up in these special handcuffs and then I'll show them all how long it takes me to get out of them. Whew! What a terrific idea! I'll bet nobody has ever done a show-and-tell like that before!"
Bubba's talking under his breath again, "Oh, I get it. She's the dominant one..."
Meanwhile, Eve is slowly losing her sense of decorum as well. In her best 'we are siamese if you please' voice she begins singing, "Evlybody in To-kyo, dlives a pink To-yo-ta. C'mon, people - gimme a 't' word."
Against my better judgement, I call out, "Tangerine!"
"Evlybody in To-kyo, has a big tan-ger-i-ine. Give us another one, folks!"
This time, Lola chimes in, "Tankini!"
"Evlybody in To-kyo, wears a brown tan-ki-ni."
When we stay in Portland, we always take the dog. We've discovered a terrific hotel in the heart of downtown that caters to families with dogs. They welcome them, provide beds and toys and food/water dishes. They offer dog-sitting services and have stashes of dog treats and poop bags behind the front desk. It is positively doggy heaven. I will never stay anywhere else. Fortunately our dog can be trusted to stay in the room by himself for short periods of time without trashing the joint. I make it a habit to get up and take him for a walk early in the morning (three blocks up and two blocks over to the nearest Starbucks as a matter of fact) before Bubba and I head out to find breakfast. He always manages to make it out the front door of the lobby before lifting his leg on the enormous planter that delineates the doorman's spot for the day. I am always embarrassed but the doorman assures me that they all pee right there.
Now, our dog is a country dog. He is used to grass and trees and chasing bunny rabbits in the backyard. It usually takes him a few hours to get used to the traffic and concrete and random people wanting to pet him, but he always settles in. The fact is, when we are in Portland he is guaranteed at least three good long walks a day. At home, I generally open the back door and let him go, so I can't say I feel like we're treating him badly by bringing him to the city.
He loves the attention. He loves the other dogs he encounters in the hotel hallways and lobby. He is perfectly content to lie tethered to the pillar outside Starbucks and wait for me to return. He hates the Marriott Hotel. How, you may ask, do I know this? Well, peeing is one thing a dog does well, especially a male dog. I have often marveled at the special reserves of urine he must have that enable him to 'mark' every post, tree, mailbox and sign he deems worthy for miles and miles on a walk. Going #2? That's a different story.
At home, CB will not poop on the grass. He is very picky about finding a spot where there is simply dirt or bark to do his business. This is not something I have trained him to do. He came wired this way.
In the city, finding dirt is a little trickier. Fortunately, in downtown Portland there are many trees that line the sidewalks and most of them have some nominal amount of dirt surrounding them. When he's in a pinch, he'll run to the nearest tree and squat at the base of it. Unless we are anywhere near the Marriott Hotel. At least one time every day he pulls me to the revolving door of the Marriott Hotel in downtown Portland and leaves a huge steaming pile. He may have just pooped two blocks earlier. He may have pooped three times already that day. It does not matter. If we happen to pass the Marriott Hotel he will go out of his way to deposit poop outside the revolving door. I do not know why. I have no idea what message he is trying to send. I only know that he hates the Marriott. Maybe because they don't allow dogs...