Wednesday, May 4, 2011

What Was It Nietzsche Said Again?

Phase One of the Move to Pittsburgh was interesting enough.  Lots of drama, lots of hard work, lots of lonely hours, lots of times I was so completely lost I was afraid I would never get where I was going and almost certainly would never find my way home.  Then, gradually, Cheyenne and I blossomed, like all the living things here in the spring, and began to find our way - literally and figuratively.  And we grew comfortable in our little home and with our routines.  We were like a little old married couple in some ways.  We got on one another's nerves occasionally, we were in one another's way once or twice, but generally we knew and accepted one another, and we settled in.  Life took on an order.  After the past decade of chaos and heartbreak, don't knock the simple stuff.

I found that I liked having a clean, orderly house.  I could start at one end of it, work really hard for a couple of hours and end up at the other end with a totally clean abode.  The upside to a tiny domicile.  And then, the marvel of it all was that it would stay that way for days.  The quiet, broken by my occasional virtual meeting and my constant iPod, ceased to be oppressive and was, at times, highly calming.  The weird sounds of the old house at night no longer kept me up at night, they were like my lullaby.  Here You Are, Finally, in the City of Steel, it would sing to me.  I gradually came to the realization that I was loving it here.  Still a bit scared of it, but loving it nonetheless.

Yet, I knew what I was working toward.  Getting all the family back together.  All of them.  That means the four dogs left and the two cats.  Everything I was doing was for that purpose.  I didn't abandon my own private zoo through all the years of Kelsey's illness, I wasn't about to do it now.

My sister-in-law was here in the week leading up to the Big Dog Delivery.  Originally I regretted the fact that she came in advance of her brother and didn't get to spend time with him.  For one thing, she was stuck here much of the time as I worked, and he could have played tour guide - he has a much better sense of direction than I do.  For another, she lives in Arlington and they see one another rarely as it is.  And, then of course, I felt so badly for her that she had to be with me as I lost Noelle, then the Penguins knocked themselves out of contention in our presence later that day.  I was definitely not a good hostess that day.  But, in the end analysis, I'm glad she saw our little slice of the 'Burgh pre-dogs.  She got a taste of living with all of the dogs, and I am sure that was enough.  One of the dogs left a little reminder of themselves on her luggage, I found out later to my great embarrassment.

She did get to see her brother briefly.  Greg and his BFF drove straight through from Austin to Pittsburgh, leaving Thursday midday and arriving here a little more than 24 hours later while she was still here.  With them they brought a UHaul trailer of more stuff now cramming my teensy little garage and a whole lot of four legged chaos.

For one thing, my dogs are large, the house is small.  Like everything else with this house, I had a mental image in advance of how things would go, and then, when reality strikes, I find that the house in my mind is bigger than the house I actually live in.  Trying to cram the containers for the dog food, the cat food, six food bowls, two water containers, and a litter box in the room where my treadmill, my DVD's, CD's, washer/dryer, second fridge and all the heating/HVAC equipment is makes for an interesting maze just to get to the back door.  Then there are the stairs.  I think all the humans who have spent time here can tell you they can be a challenge.  They are steep and narrow.  Luke, now the oldest, just yesterday decided to attempt them.  Ashley, age unknown, tried them the first day, went sliding and was done with it until a couple of days ago.  Now she goes up and down them, following me loyally wherever I am, but she still looks awkward doing it.  Chappy - the biggest by far of the dogs - has a system down.  He looks comical doing it, but it works for him.  I'm not even sure I can describe it well, but it involves him almost bouncing himself down the stairs, both front legs first, then his back legs, then on to the next stair, and so on.  He climbs up much the same way.  Not a quiet operation.

And the rainy spring weather we've been having continues, so they are crammed inside, being far too wet, muddy and cold to stay outside for longer than what it takes to potty and stretch the legs for a minute.  Then they tramp in, trailing mud and wet behind, filling the house with that lovely wet dog smell.  I vacuumed the house three times in less than 24 hours when they initially got here.  I've been scrubbing, unsuccessfully, two spots on the downstairs carpet since Saturday.  My kitchen floor is a mess, I mopped it twice before just giving it up and letting it stay this way until we get a break in the weather - which may be never.

I tried walking Ashley with Cheyenne together on Monday; the initial plan being that I would alternate dogs on these walks - taking two at a time.  If I had recorded it, I am pretty sure it would go viral on YouTube.  It was pretty comical as long as you weren't me.  They were not in rhythm with one another at all.  One would want to stop and sniff, while the other was tugging to move on to a different smell.  Ashley tangled herself constantly around mailbox posts, then they both wrapped themselves around my legs.  Cheyenne had to show off and be the mean Alpha toward any other dog we saw, so Ashley had to follow suit, nearly dragging me off my feet.  Bottom line, Ashley was just too excited with all the newness to behave.  Hard to be mad at her, but I rewarded myself with a nice sized adult beverage later that night for just surviving.  I haven't attempted to walk them together since.  Chappy needs the exercise, heck, they all do, but I'm totally not up for that experience yet.  So, as I type this out, they lay sprawled all around me, wet, somewhat muddy, stiff from inactivity, but all together.

Every once in a while Cheyenne and I look at one another, and I could swear she is wondering when it is we are going to get our quiet little routine back.  Sorry, Chey-Chey, this is it for us now.  We will begin the adjustment period again and, eventually, from this chaos we will find some order.
Photo Courtesy of Cathy Goyne

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