[Judge not the Author by the condition of his home, rather appreciate how low he is willing to set his living space standards to accommodate the three greatest loves of his life]… the third in this case being whatever writing the other two will allow him time to focus on]

This is probably a rhetorical question, but have any of you ever been so consumed with an idea or train of thought that something snaps you out of it, and you look around to witness something going on right in front of you that you had no idea was happening until it slapped you in the face? In my case, I was literally and physically slapped in the face, and when I came out of my out-of-body experience and realized what had happened, I immediately started laughing so hard… Literally belly jiggling like you used to do as a kid, sitting in church while the pastor is in mid-sermon and your Sister) or brother, in my case) does something to make you laugh, and both of you lose all control. Tears of laughter leaking from my eyes, I completely lost all of what I had in my head, which was surely Nobel Prize-worthy.

Sitting at my desk, headphones on while staring at the screen in deep thought, I was aware that Alice and Emma were Ruff Housing) see what I did there?) on Beatrice (the name my granddaughter gave my bed if you missed that story), and when Alice jumped off and ran into the bathroom, Emma launched off, flying Hulk-smash style, to go after her. As she went airborne off the bed, her tail slapped me upside the back of my head, and because Emma’s tail is so damn long, it wrapped all the way around my face and knocked my headphones off as she flew by. After a few spluttering attempts at”god dammit girls, what the fuck was that?”I realized – hearing them skid and crash into each other in the shower stall and landing in a now-140 lb pile of dog bodies, that I was missing out on a pretty hilarious session of the two of them entertaining themselves while I wasn’t paying attention to what they were doing.

I mentioned somewhere, maybe in Notes or maybe in the middle of an entry somewhere back in January, that I had finally picked up the pieces of losing Daisy and surviving the holiday season and that I was going to start a new book project. I had said at the time that I was going to keep it relatively close to the vest until I had finished it, but that I might not show up as much because – with nothing holding me to the routine a dog life requires, since my two cats (Harriet and Opal) only require full bowls of food and water and a little love once in a while, on their terms of course, my schedule to focus on writing what would need to be a heavily researched nonfiction would be wide open.

Then Alice and Emma happened.

We just started our fifth month together, the three of us, and there is not one single thing remaining from my life before those girls came into it. Okay, I lied- Harriet and Opal are still here- but everything else has changed. I used to have a nicely covered floor with padding and Runner rugs. I used to have a bathroom mat. My shower stall was kept fairly clean, my bathroom floor was always dry. Beatrice used to have a functioning box spring underneath her. I used to have a comforter that I draped over her and covered myself with at night when I slept.

Five months ago, I went to bed when I wanted to and got up when I felt like it. All of my sock pairs matched, and none of them had holes in them. Five months ago, Harriet and Opal did not have to seek higher ground or run for cover when I opened my bedroom/ office door to go into the kitchen. Five months ago, I did not have a paper towel budget entry, a 60 lb monthly dog food budget, or veterinarian visit line on my crippled monthly expenses list. But you know what?

Five months ago, I could never have imagined that my life would ever again have been filled to overflowing with so much happiness and joy and chaos and mayhem and love and laughter and excitement and the exhaustion that awaits me when it’s time to crawl into what’s left of Beatrice and collapse in sheer exhaustion, my heart more full of unconditional love and gratitude and appreciation for the gift of these two incredibly gorgeous and hilariously entertaining young ladies that have come into my life, taking over control of it, and making it so much better than seemed possible such a short while ago.

In the evenings, as we wait for one of Emma’s humans to pick her up from David’s Doggy Daycare, I sit in allegedly quiet reflection and think about what writing I did not accomplish as I ponder what I might be able to recover once Emma has gone home and Alice collapses in a daily 2-hour nap after her sister goes home. I drift off, baking in the heat of the direct sunlight burning in my face as the girls review what they accomplished and what may lie in store the next morning when Emma comes back. While I am mapping out in my head what I would like to do, I am inevitably slapped back to reality by the occasional teeth that accidentally grab an ankle before one of the girls… And it’s never the same one twice… Realizes they grabbed a human rather than a sibling. It’s an interesting sensation, by the way, and is always followed by yet another “God dammit, girls, what the fuck was that?”

As I’m sure you have figured out by now, there isn’t a single thing I would change about any of this; I will write that book around the schedule they allow me to keep, and I’m okay with that. This particular “Happy-ness” sought me out, and I’m holding on to it for dear life.


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