Out of Control
The Worly Building
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Maui the Mauler and Killer Kelly
After the death of our first dog, the much revered and loved Daisy (a poodle and Old English Sheepdog mix) we waited a few months before looking for another pooch. One snowy Saturday afternoon in February 1990 we lost our patience … trekked out in a snowstorm and wandered into a pet shop. There she was … a little wisp of a black puffball with a white beatnik beard. She was a mutt … part poodle … part Lhasa Apso … with maybe a couple other breeds mixed in for good measure.
My wife Yvonne is allergic to dogs. Actually, it seems at times to me that she’s allergic to just about everything on the planet … myself included. But poodles and lhasas are much less allergenic than most dogs. This bundle of joy was a mutt for sure. But she had the anti-sneezing credentials we were looking for. So even though it’s not wise, we fell in love with a dog at a pet store.
And … we took her home.
Having visited Hawaii a couple years earlier, we named our new baby Maui. She was probably a puppy mill pooch because she was not very healthy, developing occasional seizures very soon. She only lived 8 years. But Maui was the sweetest, gentlest little friend anyone could hope for … and those were 8 wonderful years.
A short time after we adopted her, our buddy Dan … who was living in Columbus at the time … in the same neighborhood … got himself a border collie. He named her Kelly. And soon enough Maui and Kelly were romping around our respective yards full of unbridled joy, as puppies are apt to do. Whenever these two hounds got together they wrestled until they were so tired they fell asleep cuddled up next to each other. Their wrestling adventures soon earned them the stage names Maui “the Mauler” and “Killer” Kelly. These two were best buds.
A year … maybe two later, Dan and Yvonne each happened to be out of town … business perhaps … on the same late spring weekend. So it fell to me, the pleasant responsibility of watching the dogs. A man couldn’t ask for better company … indeed. And since Dan’s fenced in backyard was bigger than ours I decided to stay at his house. Border collies, after all, are working dogs … herders requiring as much space as possible. Which might be a nice way of saying they’re crazy. Crazy in a good sense mind you … but crazy. Like whenever Dan would throw a party. Kelly would eventually have all the humans herded into a central area. Most times no one even realized the dog was keeping the human herd under surveillance.
And you talk about exuberance! I still feel guilty about almost killing Kelly by playing Frisbee with her on a hot August day. She would retrieve that flying disc until she dropped. And that sweltering summer afternoon … after many, many catches and retrievals … she FLEW into our kitchen … Frisbee clutched in her mouth … and splayed herself flat on the floor. I literally had to hold her panting head up to the water bowl until she recovered.
Kelly’s maniacal energy was yin to Maui’s tranquility yang.
So I dropped Maui off at Dan’s house early afternoon that Friday of my dog-sitting weekend. But first, I had to drive to the west side of Cleveland to pay my respects to my sister in law’s father who had passed away earlier in the week. Two hours up … two back … with at least another hour in between ... I realized the dogs would be more than ready to cavort in Dan’s backyard as soon as I arrived back.
I had invited a couple friends over for an evening of pizza, wine and a fire in the fireplace … it being a brisk spring evening. And sure enough … once I opened Dan’s backdoor upon my return, the dogs said their “hellos” and quickly scampered out into the yard.
My friends dropped by soon enough. We ate some pizza. We talked and talked. And we drank LOTS and LOTS of wine.
LOTS. And LOTS!
And while they did come in and go out every so often, I inadvertently didn’t think much about Maui and Kelly being out in the yard most of the time. They were obviously having a great time together. Surely their silence was evidence of that. But the fence was secure and both “checked in” with us humans once in a while,
After the wine and conversation ran out … maybe 2:30 a.m. … my friends bid me a fond farewell. I was a little groggy shall we say. Tired … and buzzed … I paid no mind as I turned the houselights off and let the hounds back into the house. They bounded their way into the bedroom as I stumbled into the bathroom to get myself ready for bed.
And after maybe 5 hours carousing around the yard … with the random visit to the house for a drink of water or just to say “hi” … I assumed Maui and Kelly were as ready for some shuteye as I was. Sloppily sauntering into the dark bedroom, I literally fell into bed between two sleeping dogs.
But when I put my head on the pillow, there was the distinct smell of … MUD. I pulled my arm up to the pillow next to me. There … in the middle of the softness was a DIVET of DIRT and GRASS … maybe 4 square inches of turf!
I reached over to the lamp next to the bed and flicked it on. After rubbing my blurry eyes, I looked at the hounds inhabiting the foot of the bed. Kelly sat up, looking at me with a shit-eating grin. Her paws were filthy with mud, grass and God knows what else. I turned Maui’s direction. She had a “What? Meee worry?” look on her face … a face (as well as the entire front of her) flecked with mud, stones, blades of grass and God knows what else. I assumed by their appearances, Kelly had been the laborer and Maui the supervisor. Regardless, the comforter was now riddled with small bits of backyard … set off dramatically by a background of muddy paw prints.
I put on some shorts and cleaned up the dogs, as best I could using whatever towels were handy. Then with a throbbing … aching head, I gathered the queen sized, thick comforter and muddy towels into a laundry basket and headed down to the washer in the basement.
After overloading the machine severely, putting in plenty of soap, and starting it, I headed back to the bedroom. I reasoned that it was warm enough without the comforter … especially with two dogs … and I could put everything in the dryer come morning … which was a brief few hours away. I climbed the stairs and again fell into bed between two now snoring pooches.
I immediately joined the canines in slumber land.
I slept like a baby … until …
…the SPIN CYCLE!!! The washer was BANGING like a marching band bass drum and it was apparent the machine was literally WALKING around the basement. BLAM! BLAM! BLAM! BLAM!!
I looked at Kelly and Maui. They looked back at me. Then I RACED down the stairs and shut off the possessed washing machine … now situated in the middle of the basement’s laundry room.
“All I need to do is move the monster back and even up the load and go back to bed until morning” is what I thought to myself. But when I tried to lift the soaking wet comforter out of the washer it felt like a ton of tangled wetness. I yanked HARD. The drenched bedding flew out of the tub knocking me on my back. I lay there … shocked at how cold the concrete floor felt … only surpassed by the total wetness of the cold rinse cycle… still soaked into the comforter … covering every inch of me.
I lay there pinned under that wet, heavy comforter contemplating my next move. I then happened to gaze over my shoulder. To my left … in the doorway … about 6 feet from me … sat Maui and Kelly. They cocked their heads and looked as if to say, “What in the HELL are you doing?”
By the time I got everything together … and eventually I did … the three of us got about an hour and a half worth of sleep. Mid morning we got up. And with coffee cup in hand (fortunately I had the wherewithal to make it ahead of time) I let the two bandits out into the yard. As these two partners in crime galloped into the yard I glanced to my left. There … between the house and a shrub … was a doggie den deep enough …wide enough … and long enough … to have been a World War One TRENCH!!
And I thought to myself, “Geez guys. Couldn’t you have just been Maui the Mauler and Killer Kelly and WRESTLED the night away?” But I knew full well that Dan’s comforter had given me the wrestling match of my life.
Hmmm # 72
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Hmmm # 73
Hmmm # 74
Hmmm # 75
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We Will Never Be Royals
Self Portrait #2
State of Disunion
Do not turn my drama
Simply to rob me
Of my self-indulgent fit.
Oh woe for me,
This narcissism is our
Irony is the singular curse
Of the cheaply jaded;
Glib and often meaningless
Like wilted roses
In an empty room.
We have all become
A lonely dancer
On a crowded ballroom floor;
Spastic motions of
Set to the beat
of a drunken drummer.
Broke up online
Abandoned in the rain
Like a rejected suitor
On a tea party afternoon.