Kill the dog, keep the husband


Yesterday was the day that went awry.

The day when the wheels didn’t just fall off the cart… they careened off the road and flattened an innocent bystander. It was that kind of day.

Sunday marked Day 3 of holiday/winter weather confinement, transforming our relatively civilized offspring into demonic, room-disheveling, toy-scattering, food-defiling, pen-wielding, dvd-scratching creatures from hell.

Sunday was also Day 3 of my head cold.

And it was our first full day with my dementia-addled father, whose belligerent, volatile behavior toward a caregiver on Saturday earned him a trip to the farm. (Mom was out of town, taking a break from the insanity that is her life.)

Saturday night, I knocked out Dad with a double dose of sleeping pills. But Sunday he was back to his confused, truculent self, plotting his escape every eight minutes — donning his coat, slipping on his shoes (or mine once we hid his) and bolting out the door. When he wasn’t fleeing, he was traipsing around in his shoes, depositing clumps of mud around the house.

Or leaving the bathroom water faucet running.

Or pacing and staring at me.

Or watching the kids conceal mud clods beneath acres of toy shrapnel.

It’s no wonder that the dog chose Sunday for her great escape — a joyful jaunt to the flooded river. Martin immediately noticed her departure but she eluded capture by timing her disappearance with one of Dad’s I’m-breaking-out diversions.

Later that afternoon when the kids were sedated — I mean, “asleep” — and Dad was hog-tied, I slogged through two miles of ankle-deep muck in search of that d*&%^, #@* good-for-nothing dog. Canine paw prints marked the mud along her usual route. But when I arrived riverside, there was no dog.

Martin followed up my search with a more thorough reconnoissance and at nightfall, he ventured out again in the gator, tracing every imaginable path. Still, no sign of Maisie.

So last night, several hours after Maisie’s disappearance, I gave up the search. Teary-eyed and distraught, I drove Dad back home (since he’s more manageable on his own turf). I thought about the lonely night I’d spend at Dad’s house and the “lost dog” signs I’d post the next day.

In my absence Martin prepped the kids, telling them that Maisie had gone on a great, mysterious adventure. He called me twice with no news.

But just as Dad concluded a 20-minute bedtime standoff, my phone rang once more. And this time I was greeted by the loud drone of the gator….and a burst of demented barks. “Hear that?” Martin shouted triumphantly.

Martin, my hero of heros, had not given up the search. Once the kids were tucked in bed (children’s services beware), he departed again on a dog-seeking pilgrimage.

And it was along the river bank that Maisie’s manic yips rang out. She’d had a busy day of fox- and deer chasing — clotted dreadlocks of mud clung to her fur. But she was otherwise fine.

And with that call, my disastrous day of monster children, sickness, and Dad’s decline, receded in my mind. The *&#$ #%&@ dog was recovered, safe and sound!
With that, everything righted itself. 

I abandoned plans to sell the children (…unless someone makes a fabulous offer.) 

I’ve considered investing in a canine GPS system for that damn dog.
And I’m gratefully indebted to Martin, our resident problem-solver and all around good guy, for saving the day.