I haven’t been sleeping worth a damn for the last week or so. It’s not a problem falling asleep. That happens fast enough, occasionally before I even have time to reach over and flick off the lamp. It’s more a problem of staying asleep once I get there. I’m naming the direct cause(s) as a free-roaming cat, a dog that fights for every inch of bed space and another whose snores seem to be able to shake the very ground, a trip to the bathroom occasionally, and my poor sleep addled brain trying to tune it all out. It hasn’t been a winning combination for a couple of nights now.
It’s starting to bleed through into things like a marvelously reduced attention span, incredibly hostile mood (yeah, more so than usual), grumbling at dogs who are doing dog stuff, and even, I suspect, the complete shit that passes for blog posts that I’ve been planting here. Sorry about that. I don’t know that coming clean about it makes those bad posts any better, but it’s at least honest.
There are things I could do that would probably improve my quality of sleep – banish the animals and the electronics from the bedroom, cut way back on liquid consumption after dinner, and generally try to decrease aggravation from 8PM onward. None of those things feel particularly likely to happen, though, so maybe we should all just get use to expecting me to be more surly and less coherent from here on out.
1. Gender specific household chores. In the last week I’ve seen a literal shitload of social media posts boohooing that traditional “women’s work” is unappreciated in the household. Yes, I’m sure these posts are directed at a certain sub set of the population that largely includes households that consist of two adults and a few spawn, but honest to God my reaction is almost universally “Oh just shut the hell up.” If I don’t do the “girly” things like cleaning, laundry, grocery shopping, and making of doctor’s appointments those things don’t get done. If I don’t feed the dogs, cat, and tortoise they don’t get fed. Likewise if I don’t do the “manly” things like cut the grass, change the oil, clean the gutters, and do the other household maintenance, those things don’t get done. If I don’t drag my ass out of bed and into the office 40 hours a week, there’s no money to do any of the above mentioned activities. You see, I’m an adult. I do the things because that’s what being an adult means. There are days I’d love to have the luxury of dividing it vaguely near the middle and calling some of it someone else’s responsibility. The fact that somewhere out there many pairs of grown ass adult humans apparently can’t figure out how to each do approximately half the things I somehow manage to do on my own ranks somewhere between appalling and infuriating.
2. Pet owners who shouldn’t. If you need to be told to bring your pets inside during a hurricane you are an absolute fuckwit and would do the world a considerable favor by tying yourself to a bundle of cinder blocks and letting the storm surge have you. I’m willing to accept no excuse of stupidity, poverty, or unavoidable circumstance to justify your ineptitude to provide even the most basic level of care for a creature that relies solely on you to provide for it. In the benevolent reign of King Jeff you would be drug into the street, given a fair trial, and then summarily shot and left where you fall.
3. Internet experts. I love hurricane season because it’s when the internet experts in material acquisition and distribution logistics all come out of the woodwork with an “opinion” on how to a) get the right stuff and b) move it to the right place at the right time. I won’t go into my firm believe that these are the same experts who are personally challenged to execute their weekly trip to pick up family groceries and who’s greatest logistical achievement to date is packing the family truckster for a week long roadtrip to Wally World. My point is, it’s fine to have an opinion, you’re entitled to it… but it’s always best to try not to sound like a complete idiot while you’re having it.
Having webcammed the dogs in the middle of the day a few times years ago, I know they mostly spend the day sleeping. Based on my observation in the evenings after work, they sleep most of the night away too. Does it say anything about me that I find myself feeling vaguely jealous of how my pups get to spend their day? Plenty of beds to pick from, never needing to stray outside the fenced compound aside from the occasional doctor’s visit and vacation, someone else to prepare all their meals, and really not much of a care in the world other than whatever critter has decided to make its home under the deck.
When I get up in the dark hours of the morning to get ready for work, they stay in bed, only getting up when it’s time for a trip outside and breakfast. After that they promptly go back to sleep. While I’m going blind on powerpoint or jabbing myself in the thigh with the sharp end of a pencil to keep myself awake in some interminable meeting, they’re looking for a different comfortable place to lay down for a while. When I get home, there’s a brief burst of energy that lasts maybe half an hour where they’re ecstatic to see me again (and get dinner). After that it’s back to scoping out whichever spot on the floor, or on my lap, looks most comfortable for a hard night’s lying about.
Yeah, I’m jealous of the dogs. Aside from eating the same meal every day for years on end and having to poop outside, they pretty much have the life I want… and the freeloaders are doing it on my dime. Jerks. Have you every had the feeling that opposable thumbs and higher order cognitive skills might just be overrated?
I’m sure something noteworthy happened somewhere today, but I was too busy bouncing between meetings to figure out what that might be. I’m not saying jam packed days are a bad thing. If nothing else, they tend to go quickly. Still, the amount of mental energy I expend on being “on” all day to deal with large numbers of people is quite simply exhausting. I’ve heard that some people thrive on nonstop activity, but right now the refrigerator’s compressor is filling the house with enough noise to drive me to distraction.
The dogs, bless them, are incredibly intuitive when it comes to picking up moods. Winston just waddled over and laid down with his chin on my foot, demanding no attention, but offering a satisfied snort in exchange for a rub on the head. Maggie took the opportunity to steal his bed and is most likely bunked down until it’s time to go upstairs later. It’s days like this that make me supremely happy I don’t have overly excitable pets.
There are too many overly excitable animals in the world already… and unfortunately, the majority of them seem to be people. That’s unfortunate. I think they could learn a lot from taking a dog’s approach to life.
I’m hopelessly devoted to the dogs. It’s safe to say that there are human children in Ceciltucky who are more poorly cared for then these two fur balls. Even so, it would occasionally be nice to take a step backwards without needing to check my six. I only bring it up because Maggie has been exceptionally needy this afternoon. And by needy, I mean attached to my hip even more than usual. That’s not an exaggeration. Every time I move, she adjusts so that some part of her is in direct contact with me. It’s sweet, but more than a bit inconvenient.
Winston, bless my stoic descendent of British fighting dogs, is mostly happy just to lay in front of the couch protecting his marrow bone and casting an occasional look around the room to make sure everyone is still there. George, being a tortoise, could care less. At the moment, he’s under his heat lamp looking very much like a round, shiny rock. It’s for the best. I’m not sure I could manage with three that need undivided attention.
This post would be longer, but you’d be surprised how difficult it is to type anything coherent with one hand while the other is occupied with playing tug and dispensing ear scratches…
Last night was the first time since I moved back to Maryland that I was home and the dogs weren’t. I’m not going to lie. It felt unnatural. I’ve had at least one of the furry brutes around for the better part of the last six years and a night without snorting, endless trips outside, slobber-covered toys dropped in my lap, and a constant attached at the hip presence just felt odd. I’ve apparently grown rather fond of fighting a 70 pound chocolate lab for bed space and covers.
Sure, they’re a tremendous hassle with vet bills, specialized food, and a battalion’s worth of “stuff” that goes with them everywhere, but they’re my hassle. I won’t pretend that it’s not nice to have a break from the regular schedule of feeding, watering, chasing, fetching, farting, and drooling, but I’ll be glad to have the heathens back at the end of the week.
Just once I’d like to walk away from the vet with them telling me that everything is great and it’s $128.00 for the exam and yearly battery of shots. Such an idea is silly, though, as pet care is big business… an environment not aided by the fact that any perceived threat to one of my pups will be met with massive and overwhelming force and a willingness to bring every modern veterinary miracle to bear on even the smallest issue. Even so, I guess I got away easy this morning. Maggie got a relatively clean bill of health, but I still ended up walking away with a bag full of flea, tick, and heart worm preventative for the kids as well as a refill of Winston’s regular joint supplements and “special” food. I don’t know if I’ll ever stop being surprised (horrified?) at the expense we’ll got to to keep animals more or less healthy.
Dogs have been part of the human story since the first caveman tossed a scrap of meat to the great furry beast sitting at the edge of the village. It seems they’ve gotten along pretty well. Man’s life and dog’s have been infinitely improved by our happy coexistence. I can’t imagine a time when my home won’t include at least one of the little fuzzballs. Still, part of me wonders if we all weren’t better off when dogs were just dogs and not fur covered adopted children. Now that they are, I don’t think there’s any going back… but sweet baby Jesus, it would be nice to spend less on their healthcare than I spend on my own.