Thursday, June 5, 2008

Impeccable timing and socks of poo

Apartment living has been good so far, although the day after we moved in, Alex conveniently decided to try out this fun thing where he would squeal like a stuck pig, at the top of his lungs, frequently, and for extended periods of time. And not one of those happy squeals that can almost be forgiven, but rather, a highly irritating and intolerably whiny squeal that, on more than one occasion, made me want to jam a knitting needle through my eardrum. You know that scene in Dumb and Dumber, where Lloyd asks Harry if he wants to hear "the most annoying sound in the world"? Yeah, this was, like, ten times more annoying than that. Maybe eleven. Luckily, it was short-lived and only lasted two days, and no one had to shove anything through their eardrums. I'm betting his teeth have something to do with it because these last two he's been working on - the two outside of his bottom middle ones - have been pretty tough on him. He's been feverish and rashy and squealy, but a couple drops of Tylenol and he becomes much less of a monster.

It's funny, I would have thought that I could tolerate two days of just about anything that Alex threw at me, cuz in the grand scheme of things, two days is hardly a drop in the bucket. But around the third time (in five minutes) that that obnoxious screeching sound came out of his mouth, Timothy and I started working on a prototype for a child-sized muzzle, cuz, seriously, what do you do about something like that? At ten and a half months, you can't tell them "no" because they don't know what it means, or if they do, they pretend they don't, laugh right at you, and then continue to screech in your face as they feign ignorance. It wouldn't have been quite so bad if it wasn't our very first day in a new apartment, you know, one of those places where you share walls with strangers. We really did not want to start off with the reputation of being the people with the dog that yaps and the kid that squeals. When we first met with the leasing agent, she told us she'd put us on the fourth floor, in a corner unit next door to the cable closet, so that we'd have no one above us, no one to the right of us, and no one to the left. That way, Alex would be sure to get a good night's sleep, without any interruptions from noisy neighbors. After those first couple of days, however, I began to wonder if it was really Alex's sleep she was worried about...

So anyway, with a little nurturing, a little time, and a lot of Tylenol, Alex's squealing was no longer an issue, and we all were able to relax a bit. A loves his new pad, and aside from those rough coupla days, he is more charming and outgoing and lovable than ever.

One of Alex's favorite new things to do is to walk Murphy. We didn't walk Murph much in Fayetteville because we didn't have sidewalks near our house, plus, Murph doesn't care much for walking because he is a lazy ol' heifer that can't make it around the block without having a heart attack. But here, where we live on the fourth floor of an apartment building, letting him out the back door to go potty is not really an option. The options, in fact, are limited, and neither are ideal.

Option #1 is to take the elevator down to the ground floor. To get to the elevator from our apartment, we have to travel down several long stretches of hallway, down a ramp, out a door onto the parking deck, then onto the elevator. Then, from the elevator, we go back outside onto the parking deck to go back inside, through a locked door that requires a keyfob to open. Theeeen, we go back outside through another door, where Murph can finally do his business. Phew. I got tired just typing that.

Of course, I have to take Alex with me because I am not about to leave him on the fourth floor while I trek to the ground floor with Murph, so I have to load him into the umbrella stroller and then he holds Murph's leash while I unlock all the doors and maneuver the stroller through the doorway.

Now, the problem with option one, aside from the fact that it's a total pain in the rear, is that Murphy considers anything outside of our apartment to be "out". So, if he's really gotta go, the hallway is fair game.

Case in point.

Last week, we went out on one of our five daily treks. We made it to the door before the elevator, and the second I opened the door, Murph lifted his leg on the door frame and left a nice, yellow puddle on the floor, you know, like a "welcome home" to all of our fourth floor neighbors. He is pretty predictable as far a his potty habits go, meaning he needs to pee five times a day, but he usually only does the BIG JOB in the morning and at night. Being that this was a midday trip, I was assumed he was done, and what was the point of taking him all the way downstairs if he had already done his business on the door frame?

So we headed back up the ramp, down the hallway, towards our apartment. About halfway back, Murph suddenly slowed his pace, and before I knew it, he had dropped trow and was preparing to "drop" something else in the middle of the hall. EEEEEeeekkkkk!! It was really too late for prevention, so it was all about treatment at this point. I was completely unprepared for this and did not have a single poop-collecting apparatus with me. No plastic bag, no napkin, no nothing. I could have continued on to our apartment and gotten something then come back and cleaned it up, but I was afraid the folks in 420 might decide to go out for lunch and find - or step in - this unwanted gift outside of their door. So I had to think fast. In desperation, I ripped off one of Alex's socks, turned it inside out, and grabbed the poo with it.

And that was it. I walked the rest of the way to our apartment with a sock full of poo.

Believe it or not, Option #2 is not that much more appealing. Living in a corner unit means we are adjacent to the stairwell. It's a much more direct route than the elevator, but it involves stairs. Lots of them. Five runs of stairs. Times ten stairs per run. Equals 50 stairs. That's 50 stairs, down, then up, lugging a 23 pound living weight, five times a day. I mean, forget the fitness center, my dog's gotta pee.

So anyway, I've digressed. My point was, Alex loves to walk Murph. Whether I'm carrying him or he's in his stroller, whether we take the stairs or the elevator, he will grasp that leash tighter than an ear of corn, and he won't let go until I pry it from his hands. He seems to understand that it is his responsibility to keep Murph from running away, and he takes that responsibility very seriously.

So that's apartment living in a nutshell. Apologies for the massive amount of text and one single, measly picture. I promise, my next post will contain more enough pictures to make up for it, and you will, once again, be sick and tired of looking at pictures of Alex's every move. My next plan is to get out and see the city, since every time someone asks me, "How's Dallas?", all I can say is, "Well, the sidewalk around our building is nice..."


Quinn said...

Way to think on your toes! I don't know if I would have been creative enough to us one of Quinn's socks. I hadn't even thought about Murphy having to do his business and living in an apartment. What a pain in the you know what. I can't imagine taking my two dogs out everytime they needed to go # 1 or #2. What am I one would ever rent us an apartment with the crazy dogs we have. So glad you have adjusted to apartment life. Can't wait to see you in July!

Molly Telford said...

Maybe this is a bad idea, in fact, the more I think, it probably is, but, when I first got Jack I lived in an apt and didn't want to go out at 2am with a puppy alone. I litter box trained him (yes, this does exist for dogs) and it worked great. I didn't have a roaming child though that put everything in his mouth, so this could be a bad idea. But, it is au naturale litter.....just a thought!

Katie said...

Okay...Hilarious post! I didn't know quite how you were going to work in the sock full of poo, but you definitely pulled it off! I totally feel your pain though about taking dogs out. Ours are so spoiled to be able to go out their doggie door into their own back yard that it's nearly impossible to convince them to go anywhere else. They'd rather hold it in until they get back into a relative's house or a hotel and pee on the door mat. Thank god for puppy pads is all I have to say.