Sunday, July 26, 2009

On the Effects of *Really* Bad Timing

So you know how I’ve got this houseguest, Lonnie (by the way: discovered I spell the English equivalent of his Chinese name wrong … it is supposed to be “Luan”, not Lang”)? Well, he barks. A lot. As in non-stop. But it took me a few days to realize it. The girls are barkers, but only when there are specific things happening:

  • Strange dog being walked on our street
  • Strange dog running around loose in the neighborhood
  • Utility people reading the meters (they walk through the yards)
  • Kids cutting through the yard to the back neighborhood
  • As a signal they want to come in … now

They also have this howling thing they do on occasion, but I don’t know why, or even if they start it … I just know it becomes a neighborhood chorus of many dogs when it happens, but it doesn’t last long (and sounds kind of cool).

They do not, however, walk out the door and bark. And bark. And bark. At a blade of grass, at a fence, at the neighbors (enjoying their backyards), at the cars driving by, at the wind, etc. They just don’t.

And, of course, Lonnie was here for days before I realized he barked at all, and another couple before I figured out the dog that was constantly barking was him. His people told me he doesn’t like to be outside (whereas my girls are out every minute that I’ll let them) but that turned out not to be true … he loves to be with the girls, so I’ll leave them all out from 6am ‘til 7am, then again from 5pm ‘til bedtime. Lonnie stays inside while I’m at work, though, because I don’t know whether he can handle the midday heat, so I want to be home when he’s out.

So anyway, I realized he barked after he’d been here a few days, and thought it was because he was having fun with Kaia and Boogie … but a couple days after that I realized the really annoying dog next neighborhood over who barked absolutely non-stop was in effect Lonnie, in my backyard.

He barks constantly, but has this super-muffled bark that seems to come from far away. I have to actually look at him to confirm that really is him … it’s very muffled, and deep … hard to explain; it’s weird, but totally cool. When the girls bark there is absolutely no mistaking it … sounds like they’re standing right next to you, even though there’s a wall between you.

So anyway, I make my grand discovery and determine to not leave Lonnie outside without supervision anymore (although it doesn’t bother me, I am well aware that for many people a dog barking is as annoying as fingernails on a chalkboard) … all I have to do is say his name and he stops barking. I don’t want to upset the neighbors.

So I implement my Lonnie diligence: he starts to bark at my neighbor out gardening, I go and call him in … at which time neighbor says (in an I-am-not-even-attempting-to-hide-my-annoyance voice), “Thank you.” I feel like dirt; I apologize and explain he’s only temporary and will be leaving the 2nd, blah, blah, blah, blibbity blah.

Now I’m totally on watch; the rest of that night I’m on Lonnie like white on rice … he even looks like he’s drawing a deep breath and I’m there. Next morning I left him out with the girls while I grabbed my shower, and knew it was a mistake as soon as I stepped out … wouldn’t you know all three of them had set up an awful ruckus? But since the girls were in on it, I knew they were barking at someone, and turns out I was right; they were barking at whichever lovely “neighbor” smashed my birdfeeder in the street and moved a neighbor’s “For Sale” sign to in front my house (that part was actually funny) and dumped a couple other neighbors full trash bins all over their front yards (it was trash day).

My first thought was that a dog had hit the trash cans and my birdfeeder … but no dog I know of can move a 'for sale' sign! Moving that sign, by the way? Still funny!

So, I’m kind of bummed, though … bummed about my birdfeeder, which is the first I ever got and was not cheap and was the bird’s favorite … bummed that when I replace it someone will damage the new one … bummed that if this was some kind of misguided retribution because a visiting dog barked for a week, then that means I have at least one assbucket “neighbor” who can’t even man-up enough to complain to me in person … and bummed that it bothers me this much.

It’s like that time a few years ago when I extended my Summer vacation by a week and my lawn wasn’t mowed while I was away due to miscommunication, and I received a letter from the Police the day after I got back (about three hours after I had finished mowing the field … er, lawn) detailing how I was in violation of ordinance yadda yadda yadda and a neighbor had notified the police and really?!?! No are-you-lying-comatose-in-your-kitchen, is-there-anything-we-can-do-to-help, are-you-okay?!?! Just your-grass-is-too-high-you’re-destroying-my-property-value-quit-it?!?!

And the notice made the mistake of detailing exactly how high was too high, so I determined for the rest of that Summer to keep it one inch shy of too high (because you asked for it, assbucket neighbor!) … but couldn’t figure out how to do it, so they skated on that bit of retaliation on my part (although I did only mow every three weeks the rest of that Summer, ostensibly to keep the grass from turning brown and dry as long as possible, but kind of really to thumb my nose at assbucket).

So here's my bad timing ... if I had realized it was Lonnie sooner, would our three houses still have been hit by whichever neighborhood punk was out at 6:30am last Thursday morning? I don't know, but I kind of think the dog barking was what little excuse the dirtbag needed. I can't believe how bad I feel the the birdies, because I won't be putting more seed out until after the 2nd, when Lonnie's people coem get him.

Now I'm going to go sit out on the deck with my three wards, and we're going to scope out the neighborhood (but we're not going to bark at anyone, lest we offend their tender little sensibilities).

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