Wednesday, January 30, 2013

Dog of Night

He was a rotten-lab.
200+ pounds of sweetness.
That is wee child #1 at 5, and Hawkeye the dog in his dotage. I think he was 11 or even 12 years old in this picture.
He was Caprice's dog.
Although he was a bread thieving, cat killing, can popping, cow chasing, sheep shit eating dog. I really loved him.
We had our disagreements to be sure, two strong wills that are in the same weight class, four legs or two legs, invariably will.
Most of our disagreements involved the bed.
We both wanted to sleep next to Caprice.
At first I would just say his Name and he would roll off the bed, after a while though he just started to scoot over. He would brace his back against the wall, wait for me to doze, and then kick me off the bed with all four feet.
Then we started to wrestle for the privilege.
I did not always win.
See, his mouth was very large and full of very sharp curved teeth. He would clamp his mouth over my wrist, his fangs actually touching on the one side, teeth just dimpling the skin. Then he would smile at me with his big slobbery lips and I would acquiesce.
In his prime he didn't bark much.
He would creep about silently through the house and yard.
Doing whatever it was that he did, pee, guard against trolls, chase off the evil kitties of the neighborhood?
I never knew.
Until one night.
Caprice and I were at her Mom's house watching a movie. He was laying content with us, gnawing on the femur of some hapless bovine.
In no hurry at all, he got up, stretched and ambled off. He had a "dog" door in the back and he headed in that direction.
I say "dog" door, it took up the bottom half of the door. I could fit through it with ease. It was more of an ommpa loompa door.
He was gone less than a minute or three, the movie played, the night was full of night sounds, all was well with the world.
Then the screaming started.
No warning, no bark, no growl, no clickety clack of 200+ pounds of rottweiler-lab mix sprinting across concrete.
Just sudden screams.
Really really loud screams.
So I ran outside.
And what to my wondering eyes did appear? A dog (Caprice's Dog) playing tug of war with a man.
The man did not seem to be enjoying it. He was the one screaming.
See, Hawkeye had his calf clamped in his mouth and was doing his best to pull the man back into the yard. The man was trying to finish climbing over the fence. He had everything but the leg almost over.
He was screaming.
Hawkeye was smiling. All four feet planted, slowly backing with a little shake of his head now and then.
I laughed.
Probably not the best thing in the situation.
But oh my Honking Hell.
You just don't see many things funnier than that.
The Caprice and The MIL were screaming from behind me for the Hawkeye to let him go.
He (Caprice's damn dog) Just smiled and winked at us, still slowly backing away.
There was a ripping squishy sound and the man continued his descent, not gracefully, to the other side of the fence.
Then he ran away. Limping.
Hawkeye (Caprice's Freaking Bear) ambled over and dropped the man's pant leg at my feet. It contained a rather large chunk of the fleeing mans calf.
I really loved that dog.

Tuesday, January 8, 2013


You probably cant tell.
In this picture I am terrified.
 That kind of fear that makes you want to hide under the warm covers and wait until your pounding heart slows. The fear that cripples your limbs and gives you tunnel vision.
For real.
I always knew that were things that I am afraid of.
Alligators especially. Did you know that they eat people?
I am often mistaken for a people, so yes, alligators frighten me.
Its water.
I am astonishingly Aquaphobic. 
Not to be confused with Hydrophobia, which is also the fear of Rabies. 
I have plenty of reasons for this. 
All of them and none of them really explain the rigid limbs and the hyperventilation when I even smell a swimming pool.
Its quite ridiculous.
I remember my first open water triathlon. I was giving myself the "talk" all the way up to the edge of the lake. All sorts of positive and uplifting things. 
I could only see a tiny hole directly in front of me, I felt like I was breathing through a coffee stir stick, my arms and chest were cramping and my ears were ringing so loud that I thought (hoped) I was being abducted by aliens.
That was before I even got my toes wet.
The start of the swim in any race is madness. Chaos and frantic activity. Bobbing brightly colored noggins and the slick seal skinned wet-suits brushing past your grasping hands and flailing feet. 
Its shallow at first.
I could see the bottom 5-7 feet below me. 
Stroke-stroke-stroke-breathe. Panicked gasping breath.
I was controlling it. Then I swam over the ledge. 5 feet to 30 feet in a split second.
I felt my heart shudder. Frail organ.
I felt my mind grind to a halt, breath stopped in my lungs. I forgot how to swim. Instantly I forgot.
I sank. 
Like a rock.
Then I was on the surface, on my back. Breathing.
That swim took forever. Cost me hours of my life.
I was in the water a really asinine amount of time.
Hyperventilating will slow you down on the swim.
Ah the lessons we learn.
But do we?
I don't.
I went spearfishing this year.
Its just like hunting. 
With a spear.
Except to get to the fishies you have to hold your breath and dive down under the freaking water. 
As deep as you can go.
As always for me. That first dive.
My heart seizes up, an engine without oil.
The biggest part of my brain fights me constantly in the water. Most of the rest of my mind is busy imagining drowning. Monsters of the deep. 
I do it anyway.
The part of me that's me.
Does it anyway.
Don't be afraid.