titusaurus

Let sleeping dogs lie.

I love watching the dogs sleep. Especially when they are up against each other on the couch/bed, both breathing so peacefully. At the moment, as mentioned in the last post, Ernie is snoring like a locomotive. (Does anyone under 40 know what a locomotive is?)

Today was my day off, but they asked me to work the dispatch shift. Ernie had a vet appointment this morning, so I worked 2:00 to 7:45 pm. (It was a massive mail day after yesterday’s snow storm shut everything down.) But, because Ernie’s appointment wasn’t until 11:00 am, I got to sleep in. (We got to sleep in.)

Sort of sleep in. It was the second night in a row where I woke up every 30-45 minutes, looked at the clock, and said, “Only 1:15? Are you fucking kidding me?” “Only 2:05? Are you fucking kidding me?” “Only 3:20? Are you fucking kidding me?” “Will this night never end?”

So, at 6:45, as the sky was turning blue and the stars were disappearing, Ernie barked at me to let him go pee. We did that - Titus, of course, never stirred - and then went back to bed. Ernie was fast asleep in five minutes. Then, one of my favorite things happened. They both started dreaming - which is to say twitching, growling, kicking - at the same time.

Now, mind you, in the winter they both sleep so close to me that I am almost suffocating and I spend the night sleeping on my side which is part of why my lower back is in such turmoil at the moment. But pressed up against me as they twitch and growl and kick, I can feel their entire bodies with my body.

It’s fantastic. I feel them being alive.

And, so, we stayed in bed until 9:00 am. Or, I should say I stayed in bed until 9:00 am. (Truthful Tuesday demands I admit I stayed in bed until 9:17 am.) Neither dog moved for another hour. I made coffee, read the news, washed dishes, drank more coffee. Then, I had to lift Titus out of bed to force him to wake up, get up, and go outside. That dog would stay in bed ‘til noon if I’d let him.

After taking Ernie out at 6:45, I never really went back into a sound sleep. I drifted in and out. Needless to say, I was tired all day because my sleep cycle was never able to be a sleep cycle. From the moment I went to bed.

But, I got to experience the two dogs dreaming at the same time.

When we are all in our little (not little) puppy pile, I think about how they’ll both be gone soon. I put my hand on Titus’ chest and feel his heart beating and imagine that morning when I wake up, pull him tighter, and realize he’s gone. That he’s cold. And that morning when Ernie isn’t sleeping with his tongue showing.

So, I cherish these little moments. They are are the most important thing to me in the world. I know I will have to let them go and I will move on and rescue other discarded dogs. But these guys are everything, Everything now. And the twitching, growling, and kicking is absolutely now. Now. This moment. When we are all three alive, 

And I can feel life against me.

How to make a pitbull wear socks in 10 easy steps.

1. Buy cool SpiderMan socks from the toddlers’ section at Target on your lunch break. (We tried booties. Fail. Long story.)

2. Get the socks prepared.

3. Get your pitbull.

4. Tackle him using his hoodie as handles, and hold him down like you’re roping a calf using whatever body parts are needed to keep him from running away..

Note: This works best on old pitbulls because you are finally stronger than they are.

5. Put the socks on while yelling at the other dog to go away.

6. Drag your pitbull to the couch and make him sit there for ten minutes while holding his collar to keep him from pulling the socks off with his teeth. (He needs to get used to the sensation before trying to walk in them.)

7. Take your pitbull for a walk in snow and ice with a windchill of -20ºF.

8. Constantly remind him that he’s not falling down and writhing on said snow and ice like a wounded seal who has to be carried home

9. Once inside, immediately remove the socks while preventing him from biting you so that he learns it is only “an outside when it’s cold” thing.

10. Provide your pitbull with multiple treats while repeatedly telling him what a good boy he is and repeatedly saying the word “socks” - and firmly state this is the way things are going to be for the next four weeks.

Scrolled for a bit. Liked some posts that were awesome. Stopped scrolling. Sorry. Exhausted. New Supernatural tonight and that’s all I’ve got for the rest of the world. (And it has Felicia Day.)

Twelve-hour day tomorrow. That means overtime for the week.

Exhausted. Long, long day today as well.

Came out to my new co-worker / maybe temporary new co-worker / pseudo-supervisor / hopefully new friend about the mental illness(es). Learned he used to foster children with mental illnesses. And that his former wife was “a lunatic” who lost custody of the kids (their biological kids) when they divorced.

(The court had to deem her unfit. Fuck. Imagine that in front of the kids.)

Deep breath.

Okay, I did it. I trusted him. Told him about the abuse, too.

I also came out to him about the fugue states. Said I needed someone there to know. Told him I liked and trusted him from the very first day.

He said, “I hope you trust me, because you should.”

I told him about how my fucked-up brain chemistry had fixation on a Gilda Radner lyric from “Let’s Talk Dirty to the Animals” for three solid days, playing it over and over and over in my head to the point of mild madness.

From birds in the treetops
To snakes in the grass
But never tell an alligator
No!
Never tell an alligator
Yes!
Never tell an alligator
“Bite.” “My.” “Snatch.”

Anyways. No one peed or pooped the bed last night or throughout the day today, even though I was tied up at work an extra two hours because of the snow and late returns of the carriers.

Anyways. Hello, good night, and Titus says hello.

Photo: Titus at Thanksgiving 2000.

Let’s turn off the internets. Okay? Let’s watch the new Sam and Dean. And then go to sleep in each others’ arms. You have to work early in the morning. You’ll be sleepy at work if we don’t see Crowley, I mean Sam and Dean right now. Not that you have a celebrity crush on Mark Sheppard or anything embarrassing that I shouldn’t mention on Tumblr. Let’s just watch Sam and Dean and go to sleep.
—  Things Titus says.
I CAN'T BREATHE.

Last night was one of those nights where Titus was trying to sleep underneath me. But he kept getting his nose pressed against me, so after ten seconds he would have to readjust because he couldn’t breathe, then readjust, then readjust. He finally gave up and put his head on my shoulder and was snoring in two minutes. It was adorable.

In other news, I couldn’t sleep at all throughout the night and have risen like a zombie this morning. All of you west coast guys signing off for the night at this very moment is kind of disconcerting. I’m at the other office today, which means getting up and arriving at work an hour earlier. Eòins do not like getting up at 4:55 am. (At least I’m not going to McDonald’s to work the breakfast shift.) 

Must get in the shower. Have a good day, folks. The weather here in Western Massachusetts has been gorgeous the last few days - mid-60s at 2:00 pm and low 40s at 2:00 am - and the leaves are turning. Turning quickly. I hope it’s nice where you are, too. Autumn can be so beautiful.

WEDNESDAY WANDERINGS.

I.

Dogs are so funny, the way they pick up on certain words. Like the way Titus and Ernie learned “Let’s see what Sam and Dean are up to tonight.” Another one that kills me with them is “goddamnit.”

It goes like this:

“Come one, Ernie. Let’s go out side. Come on, Ernie. Ernie, let’s go out side. Ernie? Ernie, you have to go outside. Ernie? Ernie? Ernie, don’t be like this. Ernie, come one. Ernie, off the couch. Ernie. Ernie, we have to go outside. Ernie.”

And then: “Goddamnit, Ernie, let’s go.” No change in tone. No change in volume. Just that word.

“Oh, sorry. Sorry, Sir. I didn’t know you were serious. Here, put the leash on. Put the leash on. We’re wasting time. Sorry, Sir. Please don’t curse at me. Let’s go. Sorry, Sir.”

And Titus adds, “Ernie is a bad dog. He made you say the GD word. He’s bad through and through. Stupid Ernie.”

II.

Sometimes I feel bad about liking as much of Eminem’s music as I do. Other times I just don’t care because I really do like a lot of it. Sure, there are songs that go too far, but a lot of them, and a lot of what he has to say … No apologies. (No apologies from me.)

Just remember: Academy Award Winner Eminem.

III.

I got two phone calls today from the Williamsburg Pharmacy and Hardware store. They rent DVDs. A few DVDs. I rented one last October when I first moved here. Their selection is awful and their prices ridiculous. I never rented again.

So, the girl on the phone, Aurora, says:

“Mr. Harris, I’m just calling to let you know that your DVDs - We’re The Millers, Fast and Furious 6, and Red 2 - are now ten days overdue. If we don’t hear from you by the end of the day, we have to charge you for the full replacement cost.”

Fast and Furious 6? Are you fucking kidding me?

I explain that I rented once in October and never again. She says, “I’ll talk to Carol [the owner],”

Second call two hours later as if the first one had never happened. Same girl (Aurora):

Aurora: Mr. Harris, I’m just calling to let you know that your films - We’re The Millers, Fast and Furious 6, and Red 2 - are now ten days overdue. If we don’t hear from you by the end of the day, we have to charge you for the full replacement cost.

I explain that we’ve already had this conversation and that I haven’t rented a movie in ten months.

Me: You said you were going to talk to Carol.

Aurora: You’re like the sixth person who’s said that today. I should probably talk to Carol about this.

Me: How about you just let me talk to Carol.

Aurora: Okay. Hold just a minute.

Seven minutes on hold. Disconnected.

I call back immediately. Aurora answers the phone.

Me: Can I speak with Carol?

Beat. Beat. Beat. Beat. Beat.

Aurora: Carol has gone home for the day.

Me: When will she be there tomorrow?

Beat. Beat. Beat. Beat.

Aurora: I think she has tomorrow off.

Me: So nothing will be done about the missing DVDs under my name until Friday?

Aurora: Oh, no, we have to charge you tonight. You’ve had them for ten days.

Me: So you have a signature for these rentals that matches my driver’s license and passport and the card you’re planning on charging?

Beat. Beat. Beat. Beat. Beat. Beat.

Aurora: I don’t know.

Me: Can you call Carol and have her call me back tonight.

Aurora: No.

Me: No?

Aurora: I don’t think she’ll be home tonight.

Me: Is Carol still there in the store?

Beat. Beat. Beat. Beat.

Aurora: No.

Me: You said you’ve heard this about six times today. Movies out for ten days that people say they didn’t rent?

Beat. Beat. Beat. Beat.

Aurora: I don’t know.

Me: Is Carol still there?

Beat. Beat. Beat. Beat.

Aurora: No, she went home.

Me: You realize that if the signature on the rental doesn’t match mine, it would be illegal to charge me for the movies.

Aurora: I’m just doing what I was told to do.

Me: To all six of us?

Beat. Beat. Beat. Beat.

Me: Don’t charge anything, Aurora. I’m serious. You have Carol call me tomorrow. Or tonight if you talk to her.

Beat. Beat. Beat. Beat.

Aurora: I have a customer.

Click.

So, of course, I immediately called my bank and cancelled the card that I used to set up the rental account ten months ago. I love so much about being associated with such a tiny town, but when anything weird happens people just freak out. Like a girl in a horror movie going up the stairs to an even more confined, inescapable space.

It’s obvious that someone who works or worked there stole a bunch of movies and checked them out to random people to delay discovery of the theft.

Okay, Carol, let’s get real. it’s fucked up, but deal with it like you live in the 21st Century. You hired the wrong person. You don’t fuck over your customers because you hired the wrong person. Also, get a better liar than Aurora, age 16, to tell your customers you’re not there when I can hear you breathing beside her.

And please never accuse me of renting a Fast and Furious movie. We don’t know each other very well, but you can’t possibly think that badly of me.

IV. 

I found my iPad today in a box labeled “New Reads” - It meant books I bought during my last weeks in New York, but hadn’t read yet. The iPad had been missing since I moved last fall.

V.

To the untrained observer, my house might smell like an old people onion soup house. But as I’ve said many times before, it smells so good right now. It was a ginger, garlic, basil, and fresh chilies beef stir fry. So much heat and the fish sauce right up to the border. Fresh peppers. Fresh ginger. Fresh lemongrass.

I wish I had the energy and impetus to cook every night so I could come back in from walking the critters to be engulfed by these smells.

VI.

Titus: I think Ernie has bugs on him.

Me: I know. That’s why he got dipped on Monday.

Titus: Why does he have bugs on him?

Me: Because we live in the forest and nothing that won’t burn the skin off your bones is 100 percent effective against the fleas that are everywhere.

Titus: I think he gave me his bugs.

Me: I know. That’s why you got dipped on Monday, too.

Titus: I think Ernie has bugs on him.

Me: I know. That’s why he got dipped on Monday.

Titus: I think Ernie has bugs on him.

Worst thing about Sunday morning:

You’re finally so accustomed to waking up at 5:30 AM that you’re awake (and pacing) at 6:30 AM without an alarm.

Best thing about Sunday morning:

These little parasites haven’t asked to go out yet, and it’s 10:30.

Trivia:

That orange quilt was my graduation present from my grandmother who recently died. Solid orange on one side and a patchwork of my old clothes on the other. Shirts. Baby clothes. Etc.

We’ll not speak of how many pieces are Sears® Toughskins® Huskies®.

Why don’t I have any pictures of Titus and Ernie sitting next to each other and wearing Santa hats?

(The beautiful little monster above is Dora the Explorer and taken from her page archive on the website Love and a Six-Foot Leash. I have never seen so many good pictures of good pitbulls - and pitbulls with children - than on this site.)