Category Archives: Lola The Big Lazy Dog

WHATEVER LOLA WANTS

Husband and I came to this marriage not only with kids in tow, but with a dog each.  Mine, a large not-so-bright rescue and his, a smart-as-a-whip beagle. After many years, we lost them both in a few weeks time, one from cancer and one died in her sleep.

A few weeks later, we visited Wayside Waifs to pick out our first dog as a married couple. We walked by dozens of lovable mutts, but it wasn’t until we passed a kennel with twelve puppies that we both paused.  A volunteer put us in an enclosed area and shuttled the dogs in.  While the other puppies nipped at my jeans and bit my fingers, a little puff of black waddled over and climbed into my lap. She plopped down, settled her tiny head onto my ankle, and expelled a loud sigh.

My husband made a case to take home one of the animated puppies attempting to cover his face in kisses. I pulled an exuberant pair off him and placed the serene black ball of fur in his hands. Sporting a pair of small, rounded un-dog-like ears we quickly dubbed her Lola Bear and walked out the door with our new best friend.

Image 6-1-15 at 3.53 PMTold she would never grow beyond forty pounds, I bought a compact flat basket for her bed and lined it with an old sweater of mine. After nine hours of whining, she agreed to sleep when we added a radio playing country western songs.

Lola quickly outgrew her little basket and the one after that.  She topped out a seventy pounds.

I’m sure there must have been struggles while house training her, but I don’t remember them. Like any dog, she probably chewed up a shoe or two and tried to run away, but those errors in judgment have been erased from my memory.

IMG_0836IMG_0838I think of her as the gentle giant that followed me from room to room where she’d settle on the floor next to me, expelling her colossal sigh. When I woke up in the morning, before my feet hit the floor, I’d hear the thump-thump of her club-like tail beating on the floorboards.
Eventually, Lola struggled with arthritis, a torn ligament and hip dysplasia. As a well-trained human, I gathered what I needed for the day and settled into one room of the house. All day I sipped on luke warm tea rather than move to the kitchen so Lola  could avoid the pain of following me there.

Husband and I met with the vet to discuss euthanasia. He said it was time and explained how lucky animals are that we have the power to put them out of their misery.  We weren’t ready then and took her home.  That “power” the vet discussed became a curse, haunting me as I looked into Lola’s brown eyes, begging her to tell me if she was ready to go. I laid on the floor with her describing what a great dog she’d been. She thumped her tail a few times, but when I began to cry she got up and walked away, not agreeing to any melancholy.

Lola’s been gone a few months now, but Husband and I still pause at the bottom of the stairs, waiting for her to lead the way to our bedroom where she’ll flop down and expel her inimitable sigh.

 

The Night of the Living Smoke Alarm

It was a rough night.

First, the stupid coffee shop gave me a real latte instead of a decaf. I lay in bed, staring at the ceiling until 1:00 am, vowing over and over to never to consume another latte if, The Sandman would just let me sleep.

Guard dog grade: F

Guard dog grade: F

Then, at 3:00 am, Lola, the seventy-pound chicken/dog, came galloping into the bedroom to try to squeeze her giant body behind the rickety bedside table I’ve been vowing to repair. I roll over in time to catch a lamp before it crashes to the floor.

“There’s a noise in the house,” Husband mutters sleepily and pulls the covers over his head

I don’t know how this ever happened, but in our marriage, I’m the one to go investigate noises. Actually I do know how it happened. One dark and stormy night I heard someone rooting around in the kitchen. I shook him awake and demanded that he go investigate. Instead he rolled over and started snoring. I discovered that the “someone” was a raccoon, but that’s another story.

“What noise?” I ask my now snoring husband.

Then I heard it, a high-pitched BEEP, followed by Lola flinging herself behind the bedside table.

“Hey!” I shook Husband awake, balancing the lamp in my arms. “It’s a smoke alarm.” I slid out of bed, put the lamp back on the table and wrestled into my sleeves-inside-out robe.

I walked down the hallway, listening.

BEEP

“Which one is it?” Husband shouts from the bedroom.

“I don’t know!” I shout back.

He finally gets up and together we wander around the house, pausing under each smoke alarm until we hear the BEEP from the smoke alarm that we are not standing under.

Not actual Husband

Not actual Husband

Husband pinpoints the offender in the dining room but can’t reach it by standing on a chair, so (still in his underwear) out to the garage he goes to retrieve a ladder. He climbs up and takes the battery out. He climbs down and we stumble off to bed.

BEEP

Cursing, Husband climbs back up the ladder to see if he can disconnect it from the electrical wires. He struggles for quite a while and I decide I can help by retrieving the flashlight from the laundry room closet. As soon as I open the door, Lola throws herself on to the bottom shelf of the metal cabinet I put in there. Obviously a three-foot tall dog is not going to fit on a one-foot tall shelf, but this doesn’t stop her from trying. The room is pitch black and she is pitch black and I’m flailing around holding the still-dark flashlight in one hand and trying to grab a body part of hers that will enable me to drag her away from the shelf with the other hand. Then there’s another BEEP, followed by a curse from Husband, followed by Lola redoubling her efforts.

Actual photo of me

Actual photo of me

Eventually I give up and return to the dining room, flipping every light switch along the way. I shine the flashlight at the offending smoke alarm and try to ignore the sound of Lola’s toenails frantically scraping the metal shelf.

Husband still can’t figure out the smoke alarm and asks me to think of where – anywhere – we’d have a nine volt battery we could use. Just as I’ve resigned myself that it will require a trip to an all-night store, I remember there’s a battery in the sprinkler system. Along the way to the garage, Husband stops long enough to drag Lola out of the laundry closet and shut the door.

We spend the next fifteen minutes with Husband at the top of the ladder, trying and failing to insert the battery into the smoke alarm, over and over again.

Meanwhile, Lola is darting from room to room, knocking into chairs, looking for a new place to hide.

At every BEEP I add my opinion.

BEEP “I’m pretty sure the battery goes the other way.”
BEEP “I’m very sure the battery goes the other way.”
BEEP “TRY IT THE OTHER WAY!”

I take a deep breath and turn my head away, vowing not to lose my temper again. I look at the bank of windows behind us and renew my vow from last week, to buy curtains this week.

Then, my focus changes and I see the scene that all my neighbors can see; Husband in his underwear, standing at the top of a ladder, with me shining a spotlight on him.

Crazy is as Crazie Does

Good health gone bad

Good health gone bad

This is how I started my day – with liquified spinach exploding from my blender and spraying all over my kitchen walls.

Even though I’m tempted (by the turmoil in my life) to eat cases of Snickers bars, I’ve made a commitment to stick with healthy eating which means I start the day choking down enjoying a protein shake.

My life has been topsy-turvey pretty much since… well, since January, when we put our house on the market and sold it the same day. I know, I know. That should be a good thing. And, really, it is. But, along with the good, comes all the bad.  Sorting years of crap, selling years of crap and packing up the rest of our crap.

Then we spent six months in a tiny apartment that had some kind of weird Karma. I’m not kidding. My big, lazy dog, Lola, would be snoring away on the living room rug, then suddenly jump up with a yelp, and run away to hide in the bathroom with her tail between her legs. I kind of new-agey, so I purchased a Smudge Stick at Whole Foods and came home and waved it through the rooms, paying special attention to the corners as advised.  And even though it stank to high heaven, I did this at least once a week, which did seem to help for a while, but the next day I’d find Lola quivering in the bathroom again.

Then we found a house and started work on remodeling it into our (well, my) dream home. And even though every person I know warned me it would be awful, it turned out to be a bigger deal than I ever imagined. I’m trying to stay organized but when I tried to look for a pair – any pair – of reading glasses in my purse, this is what I found.

IMG_04201. The first third of the world’s longest receipt from Walgreens, where I purchased two items.
2. A gas receipt for $65.13 (18.40 gallons of gas.  My car readout said I had 12 miles left before I ran out.)
3. The business card from the woman at Capitol Federal who helped me cash in sixty-two $25 savings bonds from my Aunt Kathleen’s estate that I carried around for two weeks in my purse.
4. One of the hundreds of receipts I have for Home Depot.
5. Every pair of my reading glasses.
6. Receipt for my, now daily, mini chocolate shake from Freddy’s.

IMG_04217. Middle third of world’s longest receipt.
8. An inkjet cartridge that I’ve been toting around since March, waiting to be dropped off to be refilled.
9. Receipt from Restoration Hardware for a can of the only kind of white paint I like and therefore was willing to drive 30 minutes to the Plaza to pick up. I frantically purchased said paint, when I found out I had one day to paint all the baseboards in my house before the floors were done.
10. A mostly broken pair of headphones that I use because my bluetooth system in my car (that I insisted I needed) doesn’t work right.
11. My snack bag I carry around to keep me from eating unhealthy food. (It’s filled with bacon.)

IMG_042212. Bottom third of world’s longest receipt.
13. Receipt from dry cleaners where I left with two heaping handfuls of their free Tootsie Rolls.
14. A note with the number of electrical covers to replace at the new house. The switches and outlets are white, but the covers are tan. Not going to work with my OCD.
15. Phillips and flathead screwdriver to install said covers, if and when they are ever purchased.
16. Note to buy olive oil – which is used on princess dog’s food.
17. Flyer for alterations – needed after daily intake of mini chocolate shakes.

Does Love Mean, Having to Say I’ll Kill You?

As I’ve written here before, my Grandmother Nellie was a tough old bird.  Things went her way or else.  This worked fine as far as where her furniture was placed or what to have for dinner, but it didn’t work so well with the people in her life.

In high school she dated Lawrence for several weeks, until he was late to pick her up.  Then she dumped him.  Lawrence’s younger brother Walter asked her out and learning his lesson from Lawrence, did everything demanded of him — for the rest of his life.

I imagine things went pretty smoothly for Grandmother, until my mother was born. Children are notorious for not following our plans for them.  Instead of marrying for money as demanded by Grandmother, she married for love; a poor farmer and a Catholic one at that. She then proceeded to have way more kids than proper society (or Grandmother) accepted.

Mom battled her weight her entire life with Grandmother berating her at every turn. When Mom was diagnosed with cancer and told her chemo treatments would be harsh Grandmother sent a get well card. She’d written inside “At least now you’ll be able to lose that extra weight you’ve been carrying around.”

She probably did love my mother and she tolerated her husband. But she adored her pets – at least, as long as they behaved.  One week she’d mention that Fluffy had a cold.  The next time we talked she’d tell me how cute Tabby was.

“Tabby?  I thought your cat’s name was Fluffy.”

“Oh.  I put Fluffy down.”

When Tabby jumped up on a shelf and broke one of Grandmother’s precious knickknacks, the cat disappeared.

A dog she’d had for years that peed on her rug?  Gone.

My dad used to joke that he was afraid to sneeze around Nellie in case she decided to put him down.

Now I’m in the position of having to make that terrible choice with our dog, Lola.  Not because she’s a nuisance, but because she’s in pain and can’t get around.

We met with our vet this week and he says it’s close to time and explains how lucky animals are that we have the power to put them out of their misery.  I’ve always agreed with that philosophy but have never had to put it into practice.

The power, I’ve discovered, is now a curse that haunts me as I look into Lola’s brown eyes and I beg her to tell me if she’s ready to go.  I do love her.  In fact, I love her enough to kill her

I pride myself on being nothing like my Grandmother Nellie, but I wonder.  Am I really?