I've been lazy lately. Is it the change in the weather? Is it the beginning of the fall semester and all the hard latitude/longitude-related questions it brings ? Is it the sudden lack of weekend houseguests clamoring for walks in the desert and drinks at two in the afternoon? Is it because I know I will have to work Saturdays for, possibly, the next eight or nine months OF. MY. LIFE. from here on out? Maybe I'll have another nephew by the time I'm back on a normal schedule.
It makes me tired.
The main thing I've been contemplating lately is how the Kong has taken over my life. The Kong - that hard rubber hollow beehive-shaped dog toy that has saved many a dog-owner's sanity.
Ours is a cheerful red.
Don't get me wrong. I am a die-hard fan of The Kong (angelic music and Virgin Mary-type flames appearing from behind the toy).
But it bounces funny. Unpredictably, even.
And that means that I NEVER know where the hell it's gotten to. Also, it means that every ten minutes I have to rescue it from behind the couch while Lila lies sprawled full-length on the floor with her nose poked as far under the edge as it can go, crying softly and then staccato-barking if the wait gets to be too long. And in dog-time, too long apparently means twenty-seven seconds. "Some! One! Get! My! Toy! Or! I! Will! Just! Die!"
But back to that whole never knowing where it is thing. (Unless it's under the couch.) My thing with Lila is that I am wracked with guilt when I have to leave her in her cage - or the self-deluding crate - while we're at work. And I do have to, because the last time I left her for three hours to get my oil changed, she chewed up the couch. The Italian leather couch. So, eight hours is completely out of the question.
The only thing that assuages my guilt is loading up the Kong with peanut-butter so she can have at least five minutes of gooey, peanut-buttery Kong-sponsored happiness before she conks out or eats another blanket or whatever for the next few hours. That way she'll still love me when I finally release her.
I leave for work at 8:10 A.M. Except on Tuesdays. So every morning, at about 8:08, I finish packing up my lunch and I glance briefly around the kitchen waiting for a crescendo of angelic music. Then I wander into the living room. The Arizona room, my steps quickening. The bedroom. Back into the living room.
Now you have to understand that the Kong to Lila is like a ratty old teddy bear to a four-year-old child. She carries it around everywhere. Every morning, she greets us by running around the house, finding the Kong, and growling enthusiastically around its thick rubbery goodness.
Then she loses it.
So next I head outside. It is now 8:13. I scour the corners of the yard. I look over by the woodpile. Under the plant table. Back behind the palm tree. Next to the fake stone Buddha head.
Sometimes it doesn't appear until the next morning, unearthed for Lila's growl-ey morning ritual.
Sometimes I am forced to say goodbye (and "I'm sorry don't hate me") with a paltry Milkbone. A veritable Milkbone of Guilt. (Milkbone grows horns and glows with an unearthly red light.)
On Tuesdays, I leave for work at 11:10.
I should probably start looking.