Last weekend, I needed to get some work done via the computer.
This was my first mistake.
As I complete tasks, I pile papers on the floor, to collect when I'm done. It's a spot very far from commerce and the dog.
The very smart and creative cocker spaniel decides to seek out this Paper Place and plop down on it. This wouldn't be more than amusing if he hadn't just come in from out of doors, where he took a leisurely dip in his pool. One soggy pile of papers I need.
Time is getting crunchy so I have to multitask. I have a plate of food to eat while I dial in to a learning opportunity.
People eating triggers interesing reactions in Marshall. Normally he sits there, laser-locked on Wife's food. When I mention he's not allowed to vulture while we're eating, she looks down and is surprised at where he is, as if he teleported to the spot closest to her plate. Realizing that isn't going to work, he waits a minute or two then starts this very weird whining. It gets louder. If you tell him to shut up, he moves further away, waits another minute, then emits one very sharp BARK. Barks, as far as we can tell, mean I need to go outside, I need food, I need water. So it's up to us to guess which thing he means. There's a very clever fourth meaning, when I get up to figure out what he wants, move toward the door, and he sits there staring at me. He just wanted to see if he could get me to stand up and walk somewhere. Amused, he goes off and naps somewhere.
So I have lunch in one hand, the phone in one ear, and the other ear on Marshall, who has just BARKED. I am not good with this much input, so I'm getting frustrated, to be polite.
My dear friend texts me - BING goes the phone.
While listening to it, I have to pick it up and find out what the text is about.
Back to listening.
BING - another text. He's chatty today.
Now it's the wife's turn: "Honey, are you busy on the phone?"
No, Dear, I'm just listening to the seminar, reading constant texts, eating, and listening to the dog make demands. Yes, the phone that's on speaker, speaking now.
"OK, I'll be quiet.... do we have any ketchup?"
I thought you were being quiet.
"I am. I just needed to know if we had any ketchup."
I. DON'T. KNOW.
"You don't have to get so mean about it. I was just asking a question."
BING - a fresh text!
What's that noise?
"Ooh - it's the ice cream truck! I want a popsicle, I want a popsicle!"
The extremely loud truck, with the even more extremely loud speaker, has now parked itself right in front of my house, with screaming children all around it. The interesting thing here is that my windows are all closed, the air conditioning is on and loud, yet I can hear and feel the truck as if I were standing in front of it, which I'm clearly thinking of doing at this point.
By now I've gotten roughly enough words out of the seminar to make a sentence. Not a coherent one, mind you, but a sentence nonetheless.
BING - a text!
BEEP - hey, the battery's charge is about to expire... you should charge it..
BARK - another Doggie Demand.
Marshall, what am I depriving you of at this very moment? Tell me how terrible this has been for you. Unfortunately, spaniels don't get sarcasm (or pretend not to). As he follows me to the door, he has to go outside. This was much easier when he had most of his hearing... we'd say OUTSIDE and he'd go running.
At this point, I'm expecting nothing short of a marching band to come through my living room. Or maybe a motorcycle parade - VROOM VROOM.
What now? He wants to come in. He mentions this by making the most awful, pitiful sounding noise. The neighbors must think we're torturing him. The only reason we haven't received a visit from the animal cruelty people is that most of the neighbors are deaf. One for us.
For some reason I cannot remember, I gave up on the seminar and hung up the phone.
Sometimes Marshall communicates subtly, perhaps when he realizes we will not respond well to his commands. He comes over and puts his adorable face on my lap. I pet him. He puts his face on my lap again. I pet him again. He rubs against my leg. I pet him again... wait a minute.. he's trying to tell me something again. I stand up and he rockets to his food bowl or the door.
...which is why I work in an office.
I don't want you to get the wrong impression about our relationship (Marshall and me). At the end of the night, he jumps up on the bed, sometimes with difficulty, and walks up to me, laying with his head on my shoulder. I pet him for a while, just the two of us, having Together Time. It's the highlight of my day.
BING! I think there's another text. Gotta go.