Saturday, March 21, 2009


"You've never had anyone force you to do anything," Friend decided. We were bundled up on the balcony and I looked away from the ocean to glance over to where she sat. "You worked for people - for grad school and your post-doc - that let you do whatever you felt was important. And now that there's someone who demands you do what he wants, it just doesn't seem to make sense to you and you keep struggling against it."

"We need to take the door out," I told Dad. "Chienne doesn't get it - a more drastic change in environment is necessary."

The sliding door now offers an unencumbered view of the backyard. The insert that allowed dog and cat outside now leans against a wall in the garage. Not terribly far from that is a custom built structure Dad has taken to calling "The Wall of Awesomeness." While not built from chicken wire as Mom threatened, there is a barrier to define a narrow walkway that leads from the door to the house to the matching doorway leading outside. They both boast openings with rigid plastic - suitable for Chienne but not for a smaller Sprout - and I'm allowed to pull my car in the garage without allowing the canine to escape.

As we nailed lumber together and wrapped orange snow fencing around the four foot tall frame (I'm not kidding.), I kept giggling. We attached the awkward object to the walls of the garage and rafters above to achieve some degree of stability. Then we stapled and tied the orange plastic to the pieces of wood.

"I don't think it looks bad," Dad decided, hitching up his pants and viewing his creation. I laughed until my sides hurt and looked up in time to watch him pat a corner of the barrier fondly. And, to be fair, it is effective. Chienne now walks to the sliding door, blinks at the lack of opportunity to exit, and moves to the garage door to trot beside The Wall of Awesomeness and out to her yard.

I am attempting to alter my behavior as well.

"It's not right!" I exclaim, barely unable to resist stomping my feet in frustration. "I don't like it and don't want to do it and am very, very unhappy!" I want to continue, but I take a breath instead. I articulate why I think something is wrong. I grit my teeth when my expert opinion is questioned. Then I do what I'm paid to do, even when I think it's an asinine task.

"I have to go," I said before kissing Mom on the cheek at 6AM on Friday. I repeated the same line, sans kisses, to a colleague about 12 hours later. I returned to my house and admired the carpets that my parents had cleaned and happily moved to the table where dinner waited. We talked while eating and cleaning up and I wandered upstairs to find laundry folded neatly on the corner of my bed.

Tomorrow I'll return to work to do 2 major projects in the morning. I'll come home to hang out with my parents for a bit before packing and heading to the airport again. I keep thinking I'm learning - that I'm getting better at this game - but I'm not sure that's the case. But if my puppy can figure out the new system of going outside and the cat can express his extreme disappointment that his door is gone, I can also adapt.


JaneB said...

Like the new system!

And Friend is very wise sometimes - that seems a shrewd analysis of some of the problems you've recounted here. Hope dog, cat and Katie all manage to learn what they need to to be happier!

Anonymous said...

the wall of awesomeness does indeed sound awesome!

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