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5:13 a.m. - 2002-04-15

CONSIDER YOURSELF PART OF THE FAMILY

I'm not exactly sure if I've ever mentioned this in this diary ... but I'm not exactly a big fan of my in-laws.

sar·casm (särkzm)

n.

1)A cutting, often ironic remark intended to wound.

2)A form of wit that is marked by the use of sarcastic language and is intended to make its victim the butt of contempt or ridicule.

Sooooo...when all this "house buying" stuff came about and we realized that we couldn't take our dog into this new home because we wanted it to stay a new home and not a home covered in mud and dog fur ... we had to find Maggie a new home.

"Give her to us!" my mother and brother in law said. "We love animals, we've got a new house with a big yard and we owe you $7,100 ... the least we could do is take good loving care of the pet that you've had for 12 years!"

"Thank you!" my wife and I said while our son fished for imaginary turds in the toilet. "As you both know, we have given 12 years of love to this dog and cannot think of a better home for her than the same home that raised one of us for the better part of our life!"

(See "Sarcasm" definition above)

So last weekend was supposed to be the big weekend when they took the dog.

...Except they hadn't exactly moved into their new home yet. They closed the deal March 27th. It's now April 15th. Almost three weeks after they closed the deal. They haven't moved in yet.

...Just to give you some idea of what we're dealing with here. Two people who will be late for their own funerals.

So I gritted my teeth and told my wife that's fine...even though our realtor told us to get rid of the dog if we wanted to sell the home .... it's okay. We'll lock Maggie outside during the day for the next week.

BUT if her mother and brother do NOT take the dog the following weekend (the last two days, for those of you with no concept of time), then I was taking her to the humane shelter and watching gleefully as they gassed the fat, furry windbag of a mutt to death.

So Friday night, Susie calls her Mom.

"We've got people looking at the house tomorrow," Susie says. "We need you to take Maggie."

"We haven't moved into our new house yet," Mother-in-law says. "So we can't take her."

"Then we have to take her to the Humane Shelter," Susie says.

"Fine," Mother-in-law says. "We'll take her, because we love her and don't want to see her die."

So Saturday, we take Maggie over to Grandma's.

This marks the ....I think....third time I've been to Grandma's in five years. I don't like going to Grandma's. Here's why...her house should be condemned.

She's a packrat, having never thrown away anything. Her garbage men love her because they can always take a break at her house, because she never has anything in her garbage can.

...It's all piled high in her bedroom.

Saturday marked the first time that I have ventured out of her living room, which looked like Ground Zero, and went back into the bedrooms, because I was trying to round up Maggie.

If the living room was Ground Zero...the bedrooms were Hell personified.

I've seen my share of filthy homes. But this one took the cake.

Furniture was white...from dust.

Newspapers everywhere. Overflowing litter boxes for the three cats supplied the refreshing aroma for the back end of the home.

They closed on their home March 27th.

It looked like they hadn't even STARTED packing.

I wouldn't sit down. She asked me to have a seat twice. Both times I just said "I've been sitting down all day."

...It was 9 a.m.

One of the cats...Taffy...decided that Maggie was there to be her new scratching post. So she batted at Maggie's face for a while with Maggie yelping and screeching in pain.

I developed a mantra....it's okay...she's not our dog anymore.

I repeated this mantra several times as the cat cowered my former dog into what little space there was in the bathroom...she's not my dog anymore. Eventually she and the cat will get along and lay side by side together.

We left. With a tinge of guilt in our hearts because we didn't exactly say goodbye to the dog because we didn't want her freaking out. Grandma was feeding her eggs off her plate and she seemed to be happy with that.

So we left.

For the next six hours, we ran errands, went out to our new subdivision, toured other homes that were already finished to get new ideas for our home....just having a nice day.

When we got home, the absence of our dog was overwhelming.

There was no dog there to greet us...no dog there to beg for a treat...no dog there to want her belly scratched.

In a way, it was nice. But in another way,it was sad.

We both wondered how she was doing. So Susie called her Mom.

"She's fine," she said. "She's outside playing."

We looked outside.

It was raining.

Susie reiterated that Maggie doesn't like rain or storms. They freak the dog out. She's been an inside dog for 12 years with a doggie door to go outside, do her business (i.e. crap) bark at squirrels and then come back inside.

"She'll be fine," Grandma assured Susie.

Susie took that to mean that she would be brought inside. Since Grandma's house does not have a back patio with anyplace for Maggie to huddle under and keep warm.

Sunday morning, minutes before we're leaving for church, the phone rings.

"Our landlord's coming over and we need to bring Maggie back over there," Grandma says.

Susie reminds Grandma that Maggie is THEIRS now...not ours.

Grandma says that Maggie can't be there when the landlord gets there. Oh...I get it. You can allow for the plaster to fall out of the ceiling in chunks, have broken windows, ruin the carpet and allow cats to shit all over everything in the home....but a dog will ruin everything??

So Susie tells Grandma that if she must, they can bring Maggie back and leave her in our back yard for the day.

This ... in my book...is a cruel punishment. The dog, who spent 12 years here is given to my mother in law for 24 hours, only to be brought back for a day to think that everything's fine and she's back home...only to be taken back to the bad house where the mean cat scratches and hisses at her.

...And she sleeps outside all night in the thunderstorms.

Yes...they never brought her inside all night.

I have never seen this dog filthier. I've owned her 12 years. I've seen her dig holes that she could climb into, I've seen her roll around in mud.

NEVER in my life have I seen this dog in the condition she was brought back to us in.

She was covered in mud that had caked to her fur. She looked like she hadn't slept and had been severely beaten up.

We decided that she needed a bath. So we bathed her. Twice. We then got some scissors and did a hatchet job on her fur, cutting as much of it off as we could because it was not coming clean.

The bathtub was literally black.

Yes...the bathtub that we're trying to sell.

All throughout the bath, the dog trembled. She was...and I'm not being dramatic here...she was traumatized severely. She hates thunderstorms and we had our share of heavy rains Saturday night. And they let her sleep outside unprotected all night long.

I was furious. I try not to cuss much anymore in the home because of Andrew. But I finally told Susie...I HATE her family. I love her madly...but I HATE her family.

And she finally agreed that my hate was warranted. She told me that I had done everything I could to accept her family for the last 16 years and I could stop trying to accept them now.

Thank God.

The dog would NOT go outside after her bath. She went out to pee once. Other than that, she laid inside near my recliner and trembled.

An important lesson was learned for my entire family.

The dog learned that sometimes she can be a royal pain in the ass. When she snaps at Andrew, when she demands to be petted and gets downright ugly about it, when she's in and out of her doggie door...I think she knows that gets under my skin.

And she has stopped doing it. For the time being anyway.

Because she knows what will happen if she doesn't. She'll have to go back to the bad place and be an outdoor dog in a storm.

And Susie and I learned something too.

This dog is part of our family. She has been for 12 years. And even though she's been pushed aside since Andrew was born and she makes a mess and she's demanding at times, it's not her fault. She just wants love.

So, we're keeping the dog.

We checked with Kelly, our realtor, who gave us a sign to hang up on the patio door.

It reads "Feel free to tour the back yard. Maggie, our loving dog will bark and jump, but will not bite. She is a sweet dog and will be sweet to you."

This is to assure potential buyers that they don't need to be scared of the dog. A lot of women in the South are petrified of dogs for some reason and even though we don't want Maggie being the reason we can't sell the home, we can no longer just give her up.

She's part of the family.

It's an important lesson that we learned this weekend.

And that is...a dog is more family than family is.


As for Grandma and brother-in-law...we haven't spoken to them since they brought Maggie back. But I think they know. I think they were trying to prove a point themselves.

They're not getting the dog now. Not today, not when they move, not ever.

And they have until Friday to pay us back the $7,100.

Wait.

$6,100.

Grandma actually came off a grand for us. Believe it or freakin' not.

Naturally, she thinks that since she gave us $1,000 that we're now even for a few years. She thinks that grand is going to make us happy, show that she's working in good faith to pay us back and that she can now sit back and relax and not have to pay us anything else for a while.

Wrong, Granny.

Susie has specific instructions to tell her that yours truly wants the rest of the money by week's end.

She promised that once they closed on the house, she'd get a loan to pay us off.

The house was closed on March 27th. Have I told you this already???

So where's our freakin' money, Granny?

I'll tell ya where...it'll be in my pocket.

By week's end.

If not, maybe the threat of wages garnished will wake their filthy asses up.

I've had it.

Fuck with my dog like that...traumatize the mutt...then renege on a deal...

That's all fine. Gimme my money. The money you've owed me and hoped I'd forgotten about for years. I want it.

And I want it now, you filthy fucking scumbags.


Soooo...church was nice yesterday.

(grin)

I always like mentioning church after using the term "filthy fucking scumbags".


I finally watched "Mulholland Drive" Saturday night.

One question....what in the hell was that??

Afterwards, I did a search for a site that explained the movie to me. I was on the ball until about two-thirds of the way through it and then it completely lost me.

Now I know what the movie was about and it makes sense after reading the analysis that I found.

If you've seen the flick and need help understanding it, lemme know. I'll help set you straight.


Alright, I've got things to do, floors to vacuum, dogs to pet, etc.

Rawk on.

Peace out.

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