Wednesday, June 21, 2006

Wakey Birds and Wayward Dogs

I've been up since 4:00 a.m., listening to ducks quacking as they fly to the lake, mourning doves sorrowfully calling, and mockingbirds claiming their perches atop the telephone poles. I hear a couple of other birdsongs in the distance, but I don't know what they are. One, though, starts every morning around 5:00 or so; I think of this as the "wakey bird" song, since it usually means I've either been up too late, or I'm up too early, and the day has started. Depending on which side of sleep I'm still on, the song signifies failure (to stay asleep) or a new beginning. Ah, yes.


The night before last, I put my son to bed around 8:00 and unexpectedly fell asleep with him until about 3:00 a.m., when I realized that the last time the doggie (who had barfed on the carpet earlier that day) had gone outside was about 6:30 p.m. I knew he wouldn't pee in the house, but I imagined it wouldn't be comfortable for him to hold it until morning, so I decided to let him out for a quick potty break. I peeked outside to make sure the boogeyman wasn't waiting by the front door, then I let the dog out. Usually he runs downstairs to a clump of bushes under the stairs, pees, and runs right back up. Unless you're letting him out in the dead of night, with inadequate lighting and a big fear of the boogeyman. Yes, then he pees, sniffs around, and runs away. Fabulous. My only hope was that he'd run away to poop, as my sister said he's taken to doing at times. I don't know why he couldn't poop where the lights were on, but I digress.

So there I was, hissing and whistling at the top of the stairs for the dog while trying not to wake up my neighbors, whose window was open. I didn't even hear the dog's tags jingling any more. Great. I walked halfway downstairs and jingled my keys, thinking the dog would think we were going somewhere and come back. Nope. I was starting to panic at the thought of having to walk through utter darkness to find the wayward pooch. Then my son woke up, looked out the patio door, didn't see me, and started to wail. I could hear him with the doors and windows closed. I went back inside to tell my son what was going on, turned on the Conan O'Brien encore that airs in the middle of the night (I thought Conan was a friendly face for the kiddo to watch for a minute), and looked for a flashlight. Back outside, I waited another minute or two, dreading the search, when I heard...tags jingling. Thank goodness. Oh, the doggie still wanted to sniff around and play downstairs, but at least he came when I hissed at him again. He looked completely happy, unconcerned with the panic of the past few minutes. I let him in, locked the doors, took the kiddo back to bed...and stayed up for another hour or two while my heart continued to flutter.

Needless to say, last night I made sure not to fall asleep with my son, and to take the dog out at a more reasonable hour...and to use the leash. And right now the dog and the kiddo are asleep together, while I play endless rounds of Tetris and post to my blog while blowing my hayfevered nose. Ugh. What's wrong with this picture??