I have a small furry demonspawn hellterror under my feet again as I write. It’s very distracting, being lifted off your chair by small but intense volcanic eruptions at ankle level. The accompanying sound effects are pretty discommodious too. The footwarmer aspect is appealing, but the staying-on-top-of-the-rolling-beachball skill is challenging. I’m improving though. And she’s getting bigger. What do you do with a two hundred pound Mastiff puppy in a strop? Straitjacket?*
I didn’t get a lot of sleep last night. I doublelock and throw bolts and things anyway because I lived a long time in major cities as a single girl, and some instincts, once dug into the synapses, are permanent.** Also, paranoia is one of my gifts. This is only sometimes a good thing. I am so freaked out by the dog-theft warning that last night I shot awake every time a hellhound rolled over, convinced that I was hearing dog thieves.*** Yes, my doors and windows are all locked, but as the cops and the ex-military life-skills coaches like to tell you, someone who really wants to get in can get in. The trick is to be less worth it than you are a pain in the ass to crack. Two middle-aged hellhounds, an admittedly glamorous (if stroppy†) bull terrier puppy and a lot of books don’t sound like a fabulous haul to me.
The good side of living in the middle of town and being conspicuous (but what dog person, licit and illicit, doesn’t clock every dog in the area) is that you are conspicuous, and you are surrounded by a lot of people who know and recognise you. And my cul de sac is little but crowded. There’s always someone around. There are occasions when I wouldn’t at all mind there being FEWER people in the immediate vicinity. But this isn’t one of them. I hope all my neighbours have restless insomniac visitors until . . . the dog thieves recognise the error of their ways, decide to lead blameless lives hereafter, and enrol for courses in fashion design and farriery.
I was running late this morning, but when am I ever not running late? So, McKinley, relax, situation normal. Since the hellterror started getting her own mini hurtles I’ve been putting the hellhounds in Wolfgang after their full hurtle while the little ’un and I have our scramble. Not today. In the first place it’s TOO COLD†† and in the second place you can’t bolt and barricade a car sufficiently and I imagine the fuel consumption rates on an armoured vehicle are out of my price range. So I brought a somewhat bemused Chaos and Darkness back indoors while I took Mayhem out.†††
This did however mean that we had a welcoming committee when we got back to the cottage, with considerable confusion on all sides since dogs LIKE THEIR PREDICTABLE SCHEDULES.‡ Hellhounds are saying, we’re supposed to be in Wolfgang.‡‡ Pavlova is saying AAAAAAAAIIIIIIIIIEEEEEEE. Darkness is saying, What are you doing with that—thing? Pavlova is saying AAAAAAAIIIIIIIIIEEEEEEEEE. Chaos is saying oh, hi, you again. You know, boss, we were having a nice nap before you opened that door. Pavlova is saying AAAAAAIIIIIIIEEEEE. Nobody died, and nobody suffered (serious) friction burns from Pav’s flying lead. But it was pretty exciting there for about five minutes.
And my keys disappeared. Disappeared. Disappeared. DISAPPEARED.
I spent something like half an hour looking for them. How far could they have gotten? I’d only just unlocked the door and let Pav and me back in.‡‡‡ And I was thinking IF THIS IS A SIGN IT’S THE WRONG SIGN. YES OF COURSE I HAVE A SPARE SET OF HOUSE KEYS, although I’d find it pretty much of a ratbag to remember some of what else is on that ring till I need it and it’s not there, BUT I’M STILL TOTALLY FREAKED OUT ABOUT THE DOG THIEF WARNING AND IF I CAN’T FIND MY KEYS which have got to be RIGHT HERE SOMEWHERE I’M NOT GOING ANYWHERE EVER AGAIN.
I did find them, eventually. I have no idea how they got there: flung by an exuberant hellcritter, presumably. But I found them.
. . . And I have a sleeping hellterror. Finally. In my lap. She doesn’t FIT in my lap any more. But you can see when she is trying to calm down and get a grip, and on her pillow at—no longer under—my feet she kept climbing pathetically up my leg and trying to get in my lap. ALL RIGHT ALL RIGHT. But it’s going to be interesting in another ten pounds and a few more inches of leg.
* * *
* You or him/her?
** I hope they’re permanent. When I’m a little old lady, even more of a space cadet than I am now, and a single girl again I want to remember to lock my doors.
*** My probability of any sleep tonight dropped like a stone when hellhounds and I hurtled back to the cottage this evening and I found one of the local free papers on the mat with a front page story about a family dog being killed by an ordinary burglar in a bad mood because he didn’t find what he wanted.
† I’m looking on the bright side. She won’t need another puppy hurtle tonight, she’ll—eventually—wear herself out tantruming. Tiring things, tantrums. For both of us. The hellhounds are mildly fascinated, in a distant we-never-did-anything-like-that way. Of course you didn’t. You were the souls of courtesy and restraint from the day you arrived and as your first act destroyed my herb patch.
†† You forumites are absolutely right about hats. I’m very good about getting the woolly scarves and the hoods out for hurtling as soon as the weather turns grisly but I hadn’t made the connection to rehearsal in a gelid church, which is dim of me when I’d had enough sense to wrap my neck up. I will have to examine my hat selection.^ I’m usually thinking in terms of wind resistance but the icicles hang pretty straight down indoors at St Frideswide. Maybe I should knit something.
^ And find the sheepskin inserts for the All Stars. I was wearing long johns and a second pair of socks but that was not enough.
††† You can stop re-earning your sobriquet any time, honey. I’ve just texted Olivia: I’m going to tie her little feet together and hang her from the ceiling any minute now. And to think you and Southdowner conspired to give me the easy one.
‡ Which is a bit of a problem in this household.
‡‡ All wrapped up with just their noses sticking out. I live by cold ears and trembling. If their ears are warm, they’re fine. If their ears are cold but they’re not shivering, they’re fine. If their ears are cold and they’re shivering, they need their woollies, and I do tend to swathe them round in the car, when they’re lying down. Chaos is as much a wimp as I am: I’ll have him wrapped up in two layers of blanket before Darkness needs one. But it has to be pretty extreme before they need their coats while hurtling. And it makes me kind of nuts seeing tough little terrier types with thick rough dense coats of their own swaddled up in heavy wool fleece-lined jackets. Good grief.
And if hellhound ears are warm and they’re shivering GET A GOOD GRIP ON SHORT LEADS FAST because they’re about to take off after something.
‡‡‡ I knew I had unlocked the door. See: dug into the synapses.
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