Friday, June 26, 2015

Never Say No to Cuddles

"There's clearly something going on neurologically."

"It seems like an infection, but it could be heart disease or a systemic cancer. Or possibly a blood clot."

"There are abnormalities but she's an unusual case - we aren't sure what to think."

"At this point, we recommend further blood work, some ultrasounds, an MRI and a spinal tap."

"We can insert a feeding tube next week."

"I think we've spent enough money on this girl and we're getting nowhere. All we can do is make her comfy and hope for the best."

Nope, not me this time. My brother's cat.

Fat Bones skipped a meal last week which was evidence of catastrophic illness. I was suspicious enough to stay up with her that night, only to see her collapse at 2:30 AM, then start dragging her fat hind end around like a clubbed seal, yowling in pain.

Off to the emergency vet. Then the animal hospital. Then the cat neurologist*.

We cried the first two days.

It's been a week and it's been thousands of dollars and I've mastered the art of taking rectal temps in a cat. We are stuffing pills down her throat and hoping she bounces back, and I can't help but realize how much we take for granted.

Two weeks ago, I texted my brother upstairs to complain that Fat Bones was smothering me with her love. She had parked herself on my face (first pic), purring happily and I pushed her away. Repeatedly. It was hot. She made me itchy. She was annoying.

Now she doesn't have the energy to cuddle that vigorously and my bro just hopes she begins to eat and drink again.

She's ten years old and she's family and our hearts heart.

Yet in the short time she's been sick, here's what's life has dealt my friends and theirs:

 - A young family in a car crash is dealing with a paralyzed toddler
 - A mother's teenage son drowned
 - An old classmate died in a motorcycle wreck, leaving a wife and two boys behind

Life is hard, guys, and nobody gets out alive. It's such a reminder to never turn down snuggles.

Nuzzle your pet even when it makes you itchy.

Hug your brother when he needs to cry.

Kiss that toddler who is slathered in refried beans.

Embrace your friends even if you feel sweaty and gross.

Tomorrow doesn't come for everybody and that itchy, stinky, sticky, sweaty hug might be the last.

Enjoy your weekend cuddles. I have a date with a thermometer, a cat butt and a prayer.

*Seriously. A feline neurologist is a thing. So is a thing called End of the Monetary Line in the Resurrection of a Beloved Pet, and it sometimes comes after the cat neurologist.

Wednesday, June 10, 2015


Genetics are a funny (terrifying?) thing.

Two of my cousins look more like my mother's daughters than I do. My brother and I look alike, yet I think he looks just like one of my uncles while I do not. And now there is my niece, Lil Dickie, who is clearly - and disturbingly - the reincarnation of moi.

She's much cuter than I am, but several of her personality traits are indisputably mine. Dickie's other characteristics appear to have come from my brother, while her poor mother is left wondering why she's being punished, after her own polite, helpful and obedient childhood.

I figure I'll probably succumb to an infection one of these days, but my niece is here to ensure I am not forgotten. Here's how I know she is really just me, part two.

  • We both drool on ourselves and pee our pants
  • We are both known to lean over and vomit in the midst of whatever we are doing
  • Our poker faces are totally unreadable

  • Our dimpled thighs are spectacularly similar
  • Our stubbornness knows no bounds
  • We smile when you tell us no and then do it anyhow
  • She's an unnervingly loyal fan of my book and enjoys eating my words

  • Sometimes we cry when we're told NO
  • Sometimes we cry for absolutely no reason
  • Long torsos plus low-rise jeans are always a fail for us

  • We've both been known to throw fits
  • We share a love of cheese and tattoos
  • We both rely on my brother and his wife to feed us and drive us around
And finally - somehow, some way - our people seem to love us both despite the fact that we are basically really gross and useless.

Friday, May 22, 2015

Spoon Feed Me

Some of my friends are heading to the cabin this weekend. Some are spending time with their families. And some are jumping out of airplanes tomorrow. I'm supposed to be in Duluth with a friend, meandering the shore of Lake Superior, but for the spoon theory.

The spoon theory was created to describe chronic illness and it goes like this - you start your day with a fixed number of spoons and each time you expend energy you turn one in. When they're gone, you're done for the day, physically.

I guess the idea is to save your spoons for the worthwhile moments. I've already given up the tons of spoons required for things like employment, driving, and basic functioning. I try to save my spoons for friends and family, because they are my only lifeline to the real world. The trouble comes in never knowing if I have three more spoons left or twenty. It's hard to ration what you cannot see.

Last weekend I was spending spoons like I was a Trump. I partied with Mama Bird on Friday night and on Saturday I went boating with some dear friends after a baby shower. Sitting on a pontoon is easy, but walking down the 942* steps to the dock is not, nor is clambering back up those steps afterward. I did it twice.

It's been five days of bed rest and my leg muscles still feel like they were run across a cheese grater. My sole physical achievement of the week was walking to the end of the block with the baby and I've been bleeding ends. I'm fighting ear infections and low-grade fevers.

It's a conundrum. I get lonely and isolated at home all the time, so then I get excited when seeing friends. I overdo it and push myself too hard, which in turns leaves me unable to keep the next set of plans.

The time nevers matches the crime.

So here I am on the cusp of the next weekend, wishing I was in Duluth with the lake breeze chilling my face, chattering happily with my friend, but knowing that I need to be within limping distance of my bed. I'm feeling, as often, like a crappy friend for bailing out on plans, and once again, I'm spending my days in bed, writhing in pain, wondering when I can resume life as a normal person.

I have worked incredibly hard these past few years to find positives in the rubble of my life, and my friends are one of the biggest bright spots. I hope my true friends know how much I love them and understand that when I cancel plans, it's not that I don't want to be with them, I do desperately. I've just run out of spoons for now.

This holiday weekend, though the unofficial kickoff to summer, is supposed to be about honoring the sacrifices made by our fallen veterans. Show your respect by making time for your loved ones this weekend - they are the only ones worthy of our spoons. Enjoy them today - right now - because you  may not have enough spoons tomorrow.

*It may have been closer to fifty steps, but whatever. It was a lot.

Thursday, May 7, 2015

Tiny Monsters

May is Lyme Disease Awareness Month, when we and the ticks lumber forth from our winter hibernation, blinking in the sunlight. Lyme Disease is either a simple infection, curable with two weeks of antibiotics, or a devastating and chronic infectious disease. This depends on both which doctor you ask as well as how long you go untreated after being snacked on by these tiny monsters.

Since nobody (and by nobody I mean our government) can agree on diagnostics or a treatment protocol, let's focus instead on prevention. Here are my tips for avoiding Lyme Disease.

Ticks locate hosts by a process called questing, which means they sit on the tip of a leaf or blade of grass, with their front legs poised to latch on as someone brushes past them. Imagine, if you will, a creepy guy lurking in a van with a lap full of kittens and candy, twiddling his fingers in anticipation of the bell announcing the end of the school day. That's what the ticks do.

If you're in a wooded or grassy area, cover your ankles. Slouch socks pulled up over your jeans may be unattractive but so too is convulsing and shitting yourself if the infection gets into your brain.

Use a repellent such as a lemon-eucalyptus blend (for you hippie oilers) or go straight for the kill-everything chemicals like DEET.

Most importantly, check yourself (and your pups!) thoroughly for ticks after any outdoor adventures. If you find a tick that is not attached, burn that little mofo to a crisp. If it has attached itself to you, remove it carefully using a tweezers and save that little bastard. It may be a critical piece of the diagnostic puzzle.

Any time you have a tick bite, whether you see the bulls-eye rash or not, proceed straight to the doctor for your initial course of antibiotics. The good news is that when caught early, Lyme IS usually treatable. It's when the infection goes undetected for a lengthy period that it can cross the blood-brain barrier (as in my case) and wreak havoc on all your body systems.

And for anyone who thinks Lyme Disease is no big deal, I invite you to revisit a post I wrote last fall about the ugly, ugly realities of late stage Lyme -  because I wouldn't wish this hell on anyone.

Now hike up those socks and go have some fun for me. I'll be here at home, holding down the bed.

Thursday, April 9, 2015

Gen Me

Who decided that little girls are made of sugar and spice and everything nice? I have a new niece in my life, and there's no sugar coating. There is definite cuteness, but there is also willfulness, manipulation and a stubborn streak wider than a KardashiAss.

She's not even seven months and she owns me - scarier still is that she knows it. If she doesn't want to sit in her swing for quiet time, she just howls like a banshee until I rescue and hold her.

The other night, I told my brother that poor peanut must be teething because she was crying so hard.

"Huh. Guess she only teethes at nap time," he mused, one eyebrow cocked. And it's true - there she sat wailing and jamming her frozen chew toy down her throat, crocodile tears streaming dramatically down her mountainous cheeks. I grabbed her, she smiled coyly and the tears dried up on cue.


She totally played me.

She's too lazy to sit up on her own, yet blink an eye and she can barrel-roll across the floor to yank electrical cords or cat tails. Her propensity for going straight for anything naughty astounds me. I figure she'll be sneaking out of the house by age three.

The kid has forty-seven baby toys, lovingly selected to stimulate her tiny brain and provide a wealth of tactile experience, yet all she wants is whatever I have. To teach a Gen Me baby to crawl, you simply place your smartphone just out of reach and then move it before the drool rains down.

Her first word, in keeping with today's standards, will probably be iWant.


Babies are a curious breed. This chunk of love is smart enough to control my puppet strings but dumb enough to lick an outlet. The look of satisfaction that spreads across her face upon getting what she wants is terrifying. Today, to be held during nap time -  tomorrow, the world!

No wonder we're raising a generation of spoiled brats - fifty years ago I'm not sure babies and children amazed people so. You simply popped em out and once they were mobile, you sent them to the store with a five-dollar bill pinned to their shirt to buy a gallon of milk and your Pall Malls. An eight-year-old might have been expected to prepare dinner for the family, and a thirteen-year-old would be in charge of diapering and bed-timing her gaggle of younger siblings. 

Now every kid gets a trophy and if you ask a tween to put down their iPhone and pick up their socks, they'll probably just use an app to contact CPS and report abuse. 

I've decided that my goal as an auntie is to reinforce two truths to her:

1) You are incredibly special to me.
2) You are not at all special to the world in general.

Because as much as I love her and think she's perfect, there's nothing very lovable about kids being coddled to the point of entitlement. These adorable babies and sweet-eyed little girls and devilishly charming young boys will be adults someday - the kind of adults we've all met and wished we could slap.

So tonight, let those crocodile tears flow, baby girl - I'm on to you. You're staying in that swing until we've eaten our dinner and if you don't like it, you can hop out yourself and army-crawl to my phone to report it. Meanwhile, we've got earplugs.

Wednesday, April 1, 2015

Oops, I Did It Again

27 moves in 38 years.

I'm tired.

Tired of packing, tired of schlepping. Tired of hoping that any place will ever feel like home to me, tired of believing that I will belong somewhere.

Tired of trying to prove my worth to people.

I couldn't work or drive, but I did the laundry. The cooking, the cleaning. I tucked the girls in and got them up for school in the morning. I signed the permission slips and packed the lunches. I giggled with them when they were happy and I rubbed their backs when they didn't feel good. I loved them all, as best I knew how.

Somewhere along the way I got confused and thought we were a family.

He thought I was unreasonable because I wanted the girls to pick up a little, to help out a bit. I got frustrated being the kids' maid and my biggest mistake was thinking he'd stand in solidarity with me as the adults of the house.


He dumped me.

Via text message.

While we were both at home.

I wasn't even worth the effort to walk up the stairs and say it to my face.

I moved out. The kids can throw their stuff on the floor in peace. He can be the cool parent who never says no. He lost a housekeeper, and I lost my heart, times four. My boyfriend, the girls, and that crazy dumb dog.

You'd think after so much practice, the breakups wouldn't hurt, but you'd be wrong.

I need to stop giving my heart to people who don't want it.

I need to feel less and protect more.

And I need to focus.

Focus on my health. Focus on my writing. Focus on rebuilding my life, one crumbly, shitty brick at a time so that maybe - one day - I can move again, to a tiny little place of my own. My own home, with an animal or five, because I do have a lot of love to give.

Maybe the 28th time will be the charm. Or maybe it's April and I am a fool.

Friday, February 13, 2015

Bad Luck and Blind Love

Before you think I'm blaming broken mirrors for my lot in life, rest assured I'm aware that many of my choices have proven poor. Yet even when I make good decisions, I have a propensity for bumblefucking my way through life tripping over every black cat on the way. I can't help but notice that the juxtaposition of Friday the 13th with Valentine's Day this year is an accurate reflection of my very existence - one unlucky break after the next, punctuated by random, amazing acts of blind love.

Take my mailbox for example - a vessel I regard with equal parts dread and excitement. My mother once told me she's never known a person who receives as many love letters as I do, and it's true - I am so spoiled. Homemade cookies six weeks after a surgery, while I sulked in bed, writhing in pain, certain the world had forgotten me.

Encouraging cards from all over the world.

Random presents: a cheeky compact, a homemade quilt, mosaics, jewelry!

Once I received a box of chocolate bars and candy from France - one each of every kind they make, I'm fairly certain. It had oodles of handwritten notes, translating all the packaging for me so I knew exactly what I was sticking in my mouth (heaven, if you wondered - that's what I ate).

Recently I opened the mailbox to find a gorgeous handmade necklace and matching earrings from a sweet woman halfway across the country. We've never met - we know each other through blogging, and she noticed I'd been quiet - and accurately surmised that was a sign I was deep in the funk.

The other piece of mail that same day?

A letter of intent to garnish my wages for unpaid medical bills, which is morbidly bad luck (for them) since I have no wages to garnish.

The other day I swallowed the last dribble of my pride and applied for healthcare assistance. With each question I felt my self-worth plummet.

Income? None.

Assets? None.

No property, no stocks, no bonds, no retirement, no insurance, no point.

So humbling to see your life reduced to a number.



Then I realized there was no box to check for emotional assets. I'm rich in those and it's equally humbling to be made to feel loved.

There's something unnervingly beautiful about realizing that somewhere, someone thought of you kindly and then acted on it. Do you know how wealthy I feel reading your notes, stroking your quilt, wearing your necklace? I tuck these gifts away in my heart bank, so that on the days the screen glows ZERO I have tangible reminders that I am rich.

So don't panic over crossing the street today because that bus could still hit you tomorrow - and who cares if you get flowers tomorrow? Someone loves you today.

Wednesday, January 28, 2015

What Goes Up Must Come Down

Living with Lyme disease is like being trapped in a body gone mad.

You spend a huge percentage of your time fighting dozens of symptoms that migrate and shift constantly. I'll spend days on end vomiting constantly and then - POOF! Suddenly my stomach calms for a few days. On a Monday the tremors will make it hard to even hold a fork but on a Tuesday I might be able to get out my beads and string a necklace. My hip was inflamed for weeks and I limped around. Then one day, it felt fine. Sometimes my vision is fine and other times it's blurry or even double.

I am housebound and stir crazy, no driver's license, independence or purpose. I start to feel like I really am losing my mind.

Then....sometimes...occasionally....a desperately needed reprieve...which creates its own problem.

My judgment sucks ass during those breaks in the pain. After days or weeks of feeling miserable and holding down your bed, if you wake up feeling better, it's incredibly hard not to seize the chance at normalcy and do the things that other people can do.

Like clean the house. Or walk the dog. Or go snow tubing with the kids, and y'all saw from my last post how that ended.

So logic would dictate that even on a day I feel OK, I should still treat my body like an eggshell, something weak, something fragile. But try telling that to the girl who wakes up feeling good for the first time in weeks.

Try telling that to the girl whose pseudo-stepkid wants to go to SkyZone, the trampoline park. Try telling that to the girl who has forgotten the joy of just playing.

You know where this is going.

It didn't take even fifteen minutes.






So now on top of my normal shitpile of a life I have a torn LCL and a leg that needs to stay immobilized for several weeks in the hopes of avoiding a surgical repair. And a dog that still needs to be walked. And ice on the sidewalks. And a split-level house with stairs everywhere.

And a heaping dose of self-loathing at my own stupidity for following my own advice and seizing the moment. For holding onto the towrope because I can - since evidently, I really cannot.

I don't want sympathy, I don't need help. I simply needed to examine why, exactly, a person might make the kinds of stupid decisions I do and writing helps me sort my thoughts. I wanted to explain it to myself.

Because even I know that no sentence beginning with So, at the trampoline park..ever ends well.

Friday, January 9, 2015

Body Image

I wasted so many years hating my body. I missed so many chances to do things because I was self-conscious of how I might look.

By the time I was ten, I'd figured out that my skin was different - while other kids browned and crisped in the sunshine, my pasty-white complexion just sizzled and turned red.

I spent all of my high school years lamenting my flab and as I look back now, I wonder where, exactly, that fat was. In my twenties I lambasted myself for not being able to share clothes with my bestie - she was a size six and I could never...quite...get there.

There. That elusive place where I'd be happy with what I saw in the mirror. That dragon that so many girls constantly chase.

I was creative in my self-loathing and could find a complaint about nearly any body part you might mention. My fingernails and earlobes? Too small. Everything else? Too big. Too white, too soft, too tall, too something.

My man took me to a Cirque show for Christmas a couple weeks ago, my fifth. I sat awestruck, my jaw dangling, as aerialists soared above us. The contortionists folded themselves into unbelievable formations as acrobats performed gravity-defying leaps and flips, and as always, I found myself mesmerized by the wonders of their bodies.

Since falling ill in 2012, my own body has revolted against me in countless ways. I used to wish I could get a tan, now I hope I won't piss my pants again. I used to wish I could lose thirty pounds, now I'd like to be able to shovel the driveway without blacking out from dizziness. I used to wish I could be a cute, thin girl in a convertible, now I just miss the independence of being allowed to drive myself somewhere.

The other day we took the kids tubing. When I was a child, this meant you had to walk back up the hill each time and by the end of the afternoon your leg muscles would be noodly with exhaustion. Now they have tow ropes to pull our lazy butts up to the top.

I made it four times before the exertion of holding the towrope left me nauseated and in tremors. I remember lying on my tube, praying I wouldn't pass out before reaching the top, and slide down backward, taking out all the small children in my path. I bet those Cirque performers could hold the towrope without their eyes tearing up in pain. Bet their knees wouldn't threaten to give out just trying to walk on the snowpacked, slippery ground.

I stumbled behind the chalet and doubled over, vomiting. I was shaking everywhere, soaked in sweat. At that point I retired to the car and watched from a distance as my peeps joyfully careened down the hills without me.

I no longer hate how my body looks.

Because here's the thing - once you begin to lose control of your body, you realize that the only thing that mattered anyhow was what your body could do.

If I'm on the floor in the throes of muscle convulsions, nobody is marveling at the size of my ass. If I'm throwing up out my nose, nobody is looking at me and thinking, gee - she'd look better with some color. And now my infuriating stutter distracts nicely from my crooked, too-yellow teeth.

So forget your jiggly bits and jump on that trampoline because it feels good to bounce. Never waste a chance to dive into the cool water in July because you're worried about someone judging your muffin top. Someday you might have to wait in the car while life happens around you, so for now, forget what you look like and just hold on to that towrope - because you can.

Tuesday, December 23, 2014

Girls Who Peek - A Christmas Poem

Twas the night before Christmas Eve
and all through this friggin' place,
a hundred things left to be done
and it felt like a Nascar race.

Treats to bake and food to make
and presents to finish wrapping,
while the girls pretend to fall asleep
and my man is soundly napping.

I hope everyone enjoys the next couple days,
but if not, too bad - I tried.
Thank God there's only one more night
to hide that elf inside.

I told the girls no peeking 
at the presents beneath the tree - 
and if they cheat, 
I'll give them* away
to the first homeless person I see

The twelve year old hasn't peeked
but she warned me about her dad -
that he would sneak a look himself - 
he's the one who is bad!

The ten year old likes to sit and look
but she hasn't opened any - 
she just stares at the boxes and wonders aloud
why there aren't many**.

Never did I think, though,
to threaten Crazy and Dolly.
Lesson learned, I caught them both.
Peeking under the holly.

The cat stole her toy right out of my hand
just before I wrapped it.
The dog bit her gift out from under the tree 
and then she mouth-unwrapped it.

So now I have to go and find
a homeless dog and kitty
to give away this mouse and bone
to pets who don't act shitty.


*The presents. I'll give the presents away, not the children. Duh.

**Cuz we're broke, kid. Just be glad it isn't 1905, you'd get an apple and a new pair of socks for Christmas. And you'd have to poop in an outhouse but on the upside you'd only have to take a bath once a week.

Friday, November 7, 2014

How to Train a Dog

Basic Commands

Dolly, Rock It!
This simple command requires a moment or two of physical assault and was mastered instantly in our house. She a pro.

Using only seventeen treats per day, hold one in your hand and stare at her until she stops frantically trying to climb your leg and sits down in exhaustion. When her butt hits the floor, give her a treat, gradually increasing the wait time and requiring her to sit there quaking tragically in anticipation.  In a few short weeks, we've reduced climb time to only ten seconds and sit/stay time to two full seconds.

Intermediate Commands

Dolly, You Can't Sleep in the Bed Because Dad Says So
Training a dog not to sleep in the bed requires patience and a warm, comfortable alternative. We started with a beanbag chair next to the bed and when she opted for spooning between us instead, we added a blanket. Some toys. A treat. A masseuse. Ambient lighting. Repetition. She hops in bed, we gently and lovingly tuck her into her own nest of faux fur and pillows. The training is progressing nicely - she often waits until Dad falls asleep before slinking back to her rightful spot smack in the middle of the bed.

Outside is NOT, in Fact, Torture
I'm teaching Dolly this command by never beating her with a baseball bat or lead pipe when we make her go outside for a walk. I don't even hit her with my hands. Instead I praise her like Jesus when she pees in the yard and add a massive t-bone shaped treat when she drops a deuce. I bought her a fleece jacket to go over her everyday Drama Queen shirt, to keep her trembling chills at bay. I'd say we've made moderate progress and she will sometimes go outside for roughly four minutes before crying to return to her warm new castle. Often we make it all the way to the park which is two houses down the street.

Advanced Commands

Dolly, Avoid the Piss Punch
Crazy the Cat has a signature moved called the Piss Punch. It's where she corners Dolly and hisses in her face whilst throwing rapid left hooks across the face. This terrifies Dolly and she pees. One would think Dolly would not need to be trained to avoid this move, but she calmly and sweetly approaches Crazy 93 times daily begging to be friends. My training program here involves rapid intervention and redirection of attention every single time, along with a sharp finger tap to Crazy's nose and a stern NO before she crosses the line from smack talk to beatdown. Next I remind Dolly that abused women do not need to keep seeking out their torturers. So far I've made no progress on this command but I'm hopeful.

No Frenching
This directive is reinforced by putting her back into the aforementioned cozy nest beside our bed each time she tries to make out. She's learning quickly; learning that it's better to just rape us in our sleep.

I'm hereby convinced that this is an unteachable command. Gourmet food. Brush. Bubble bath. Scented dog wipes. All we can smell is salty butt. You win, Dolly. You win.

Wednesday, October 29, 2014

You're Obvanously Invited to the Naughty Elves Bazaar

This one is for you locals in the Minneapolis area.

A wise little fifth-grade ginger recently caught me sobbing in the bathroom after puking out my nose. She wanted to know why I was so upset and I said I was tired of throwing up.

"But you always throw up, and it's not like you cry about it," she said.


So I explained that also I have to find a job and I'm not sure what kind of work I can do these days, so I was worried about that, too. (She caught me at a really bad time.)

She told me to buck up and assured me that everything will be fine. "Obvanously, you're made to be an artist. Just sell your things.*"

Imagine her delight, then, when I announced the first annual Naughty Elves Bazaar.

She thinks this is my new career. I'm just hoping to sell enough to cover the cost of hosting it, and that I get to see lots of familiar faces. Stop on by this Sunday and shop with me, several of my local craftsy friends and a few who rep bags, essential oils and skincare products.

It's obvanously going to be a blast.

*Ah, to see the world through ten-year-old eyes. I love that kid.

Friday, October 24, 2014

Dear Priya: Hats and Dogs

Dear Priya,
Life Lesson: Hats are Good

I've been terribly busy puking and herding clowns (as pictured), but I meant to write sooner. We have things to talk about.

First, hats.

Get some immediately. I left you unsupervised with your parents for two weeks and all your hair fell out except the Bozo ring. Not cool. This is not a Fashion Do.

My friend is knitting you a hat and I'll go without food to buy you a few more if need be. Just cover that head for now, it's better for all of us.

Second, dogs.

You'll need to start on your parents immediately and I reckon we can convince them that you need a dog for, say, your third birthday. Planning begins now.

Life Lesson: Never Miss a Chance to Wear a Tutu
Auntie Tricia got a dog to slowly ease them in and she plans to use Dolly's charming personality to sway them into believing that dogs are a good idea.

Don't tell your parents that sometimes dogs poop on the floor and we don't know why. Perhaps they need to go outside seven times instead of just six. And don't tell them that when you bark at said dogs NO! Bad MoFo! they will cower like you're going to beat them with a Louisville Slugger and you'll be tempted to poop on the floor in solidarity just to show them it really will be OK and nobody is going to die today.

Don't tell Mom and Dad that if you leave a dog alone for four minutes it will go to any lengths to kiss a cat. Crazy climbed up on the kitchen table to hide this morning. Dolly clambered up and army-crawled across the table in pursuit.

Don't tell them that dogs are the most manipulative creatures on the face of the planet. You will No dogs in the bed! but somehow the delirious love in their crossed eyes will render you unable to resist their stealthy persistence. Dolly may have made out with Uncle Paul's face as he slumbered last night but please don't mention that to him.
Life Lesson: Deny, Deny, Deny
sternly say

Instead you should tell your folks how warm your lap is under 23 pounds of pokey elbows and stinky fur. Tell them that somehow doggy breath smells like salty ass and angel kisses all at once. Consider pitching a heaving tantrum every time you're forced to part with a random dog you encounter in public.

Also explain how a dog will allow you to demonstrate your superior levels of personal responsibility. Because of course you will take care of it. And yes, you know that means every day. Seriously. Every day. Yes - even if it's raining. Indeed, dogs poop through all four of the seasons, including winter when you will just die if you're forced to play outside instead of staying cooped up in the house driving your parents nutty. You totally know this.

Life Lesson:
Never Give Up On Your Dreams
You can pull this off, Priya, you just have to get an available dog in the door. Your parents will fall in love and you will be the queen of them all! Don't worry about the cats, they will learn to get along with your dog. If not, too late. It's a big house.

Suggested breeds to demand:

Bull Mastiffs - These make excellent ladders due to their massive  size and general in-irritability. Perfect for obtaining treats you aren't supposed to be able to reach, which you can then share with the dog to ensure future compliance during all missions.

French Bulldog - Bullies have the most flexibility on Halloween and can accurately portray a scary bat, Yoda or a Princess Leia. Also they fart a lot which is good for a laugh.

Chinese Crested Hairless - This is a great breed if you like the name Gizmo. Oh, and Gremlins - you're not allowed to see that movie until you are seven because you'll have night terrors. Trust me.

In conclusion, my sweet Priya, we'll make sure dog is one of your first few words. I figure we can slip it in right after mama, dada, auntie and no.

Until next time, baby girl.

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