The New House

MAY 21: The truck is gone and most of the items from the old cave have been moved to the new one. Bill keeps fussing over me. He seems to think I will have trouble adapting to a cave with a yard, trees, grass, and our very own squirrels. AS IF. This morning, on the deck, he kept saying, over and over again: "We live HERE, now. Do you understand? We used to live THERE. But now we live HERE. This is our HOME, now. HERE." Yeah, yeah. HERE. I get it, already.

MAY 22: After opening another can of food for me, Bill made himself a thick, juicy rib steak. We've been together since October, and he's still treating me like a dog. He did, however, offer the bone to me when he was finished. I chewed it for a while and then buried it in the dirt by the shed. Bill stood up, with this rather incredulous look on his face, and it suddenly occurred to me that he'd never seen me bury anything before. He asked if I learned how to do this from watching cartoons. I think he was serious.

MAY 23: I have to say that I really LOVE this yard. The only drawback is that there are fences on all four sides. But, as that cute Chihuahua in East Rutherford used to say, "No problemo." I've begun preliminary excavation work at four different locations. Bill has noticed three of them, but the fourth one is hidden behind a poster of Rita Hayworth. I may not have learned much from watching cartoons, but "The Shawshank Redemption" was a revelation.

MAY 24: Every time I bark in the yard, Bill has a fit, and makes me come back into the cave. What is his problem? Today he actually said, "If you want to bark all day, get a job, and buy your OWN house." Well, excuuuse me. I guess no one's told him that barking IS my job. God knows I never hear HIM bark. People walk by all day and night and he never makes a sound. He just paints, empties boxes, and rearranges rugs, knickknacks, and furniture I've never seen before. Sometimes I don't know what to pee on first. As for the barking, maybe I'll just stop altogether. In fact, if someone breaks in, maybe I'll jump on his lap, lick his face, and help him dismantle the stereo.

MAY 25: After napping on the couch for three hours, Bill got up at 1 a.m. and started painting the hallway. I HATE that smell. As soon as I saw him spreading newspapers on the floor, I went up to bed. I came back downstairs to check things out an hour or so later, and he was still painting away like a lunatic. When he saw me, he said, "Hi, Jasp," like it was the middle of the afternoon. I walked across the newspaper, into the living room, and onto the couch. Then I heard this blood-curdling scream. Apparently, I tracked paint all over his stupid Pakistani rug. "Do you know how much I paid for this rug?" he screamed, spritzing club soda all over the place. Well, at least I got him to bark. Incidentally, if you've never had club soda on your paws, it's the wildest sensation. I can't wait until he paints the porch.

MAY 26: We were out on the deck again, and this big fat bug waddled by, so I ate it. Bill ran over and pried my mouth open. Too late! But he was really freaking out. He even ran inside and called the vet. (Ha! He should only KNOW what I've eaten since we moved here.) He came back out a few minutes later and started waving his finger at me. "Don't you ever do that again," he said. "Eating bugs is a sign of mental illness." I didn't know what to say, so I nodded, and played with my squeak toy.

MAY 27: Gary came over and we all sat on the deck. Bill went inside to answer the phone, and as soon as he did, Gary took four bugs out of his pocket, and we each ate two. Gary is so cool. He said, "Whatever you do, don't tell Billy." My lips are sealed.

MAY 28: Bill was fine all day, but he really came down on me after dinner about my toys. Ever since the move he's turning into like this TOTAL rule freak. Outdoor toys stay outside. Inside toys stay inside. No squeak toys after 9 p.m. Yada, yada, yada. Then he went on this total RAMPAGE, picking all my toys up off the floor, tossing them back into the box, and saying, "Can't you put these things away when you're done with them?" I don't mind sitting, rolling over, and shaking hands, but I draw the line at putting away toys. If he wanted a monkey, why the hell didn't he buy one?

MAY 29: I finally figured out that I can get into the yard by myself. And it's so easy! All you have to do is push the screen door open with your nose. A puppy could do it. Anyway, when Bill saw me outside he said, "I thought I brought you in," and then let me back into the kitchen. Naturally, I pushed to door open again with my nose and returned to the yard, just to show him how I clever I am. Well, this is never a good idea, especially when you're living with the control freak of the century. Within 15 minutes he screwed a hook onto the screen, and gave me this whole lecture about who's in charge around here. I can't even imagine what he's going to do when he finds out that I can use the microwave.

MAY 30: Well, I guess it had to happen sooner or later. I saw a squirrel on the fence. And, when he ran into the next yard, I made a beeline for my secret escape route. I wound up in the next yard somewhere, and then I couldn't find my way back, so I went through some hedges, and wound up on the sidewalk. It was totally disorienting. I finally found my way back to the house, but I couldn't get back into the yard because of the fence. How's that for ironic? So, I climbed the front steps and waited by the door. About 10 minutes later, Bill came out to get the mail, saw me, and yelled, "WHAT ARE YOU DOING OUT HERE?" He then took me back into the yard, and started blocking up all of the openings in the fence -- even the ones I CAN'T fit through -- with rocks, lumber, whatever he could find. Is this fair? "I'm doing this because I love you," he said, "and I don't want anything to happen to you. Do you understand?" I didn't, at first, but then, the more I thought about it, the more I figured he meant it. And I was kind of touched by the whole thing, to tell you the truth. So, when we went back inside I licked his forehead and made him some popcorn in the microwave.

"WHAT IS THIS?" he yelled.

There is just no pleasing the man.

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