Monday, August 2, 2010
Mr. Rogers, I Want You to Be My Neighbor
Saturday night, after a day filled with painting doors and baseboards, changing out nasty brass hardware, and dealing with a teething 11 month old, the idea of going to see a movie sounded wonderful. We decided on Charlie St. Cloud. After our meal of chicken wings from Buffalo Wild Wings (who, shockingly, had quick service this time) we skipped on over to the theatre. Not literally. That would have been rather difficult seeing that I was carrying 50 pounds of baggage on my shoulders.
We enjoyed it. Tears were shed, hearts ached for imaginary characters, and I was getting my fair share of exercise carrying Broden in and out of the theatre. Yes, I'm one of those mothers. One of those mothers who, after twice before having unsuccessful experiences with bringing her infant to the movie theatre, has false hopes that this time he will actually fall asleep shortly after the film begins. And he DID fall asleep, but not until the movie was shortly ending. I'm going to call this strike three. No more movie theatre for Broden until he is actually old enough to sit still and know that screaming at the flying birds on the screen is not deemed appropriate movie theatre etiquette.
All in all, we had a nice evening. That is, until our neighbor calls Kyle's cell phone just as we are merging onto the freeway. No, we didn't have an accident. Kyle is a very decent cell phone driver...as decent as they can get anyway. And even if he wasn't, he still wouldn't stop doing it. Okay, back to my story. It's the neighbor to the right of us (if your standing on our porch and facing the street). The neighbor that Vada loved so much when we first moved in that she even made her chocolate chip cookies in her Easy Bake Oven and delivered them herself. Our neighbor who is so old that she most likely remembers Taft being elected as President.
"Your dogs won't quit barking! They bark all day and now I'm trying to go to bed and they won't stop! I can't stand it anymore! Blah, blah, blah, blah, BLAH!"
Alright, in all fairness, I know how annoying dog barking can be. After all, I wanted to put a bullet into Angel's head when I first began my maternity leave because her barking was nonstop. BUT, she has seriously calmed down since then. She has become more familiar with the sounds of our neighborhood and the other dogs surrounding us. Recently, she only barks if she hears the garbage truck, another dog up against our fence, or someones voice she doesn't recognize. So, yes, when Ancient Lady next door has her son come pull her weeds in the backyard my dog is going to bark. Smalls...he typically only barks when he is hungry, though not incessantly. This was the case on Saturday night.
I was peeved the entire drive home. I couldn't think of anything else other than how much I wanted to record their barking and play it on repeat right up against the neighboring fence. Then she would know what dogs who wont quit barking really sound like. Kyle kept telling me to calm down and how I didn't need to have such a hateful attitude about it. How little he truly knows me. I can be the most bitter person in the world. Sometimes things happen and a bitter thought never crosses my mind. Or if it does, it may not last long. But then there are events that take place or words that are spoken that are tattooed into my memory, and every time my brain comes across it this feeling of anger and frustration washes over me and consumes me whole. You know, like the feeling you get when you ask your family repeatedly to remove their shoes before walking through house because you have a baby crawling around on that floor and sticking everything into his mouth, but they all just assume you have OCD and do it anyway, thinking that you will never notice the DIRTY SHOE PRINTS LEADING STRAIGHT TO THEIR BEDROOM! Inhale. Exhale. Inhale. Exhale. Alright, I've calmed down.
I would also like to say that I am a stay-at-home mother. Therefore, I am AT HOME for the majority of the day. No lie. I'm telling the truth. I can swear on the stars that my dogs do NOT bark all day. Yes, they bark. They are dogs. This is what they do. Having a dog that never barks is as odd as having a child who never cries. As a child cries when hurt, a dog will bark when feeling threatened. DEAL WITH IT.
What also irritates me is that another one of our neighbors happened to be talking to Ancient Lady about a week ago and she complained to him about our dogs. While she didn't ask him to speak to us, he offered since he talks to us on a regular basis...and we like him. And even given the circumstances I was still able to light our candles with the flames coming out of my ears. I mean, if she kept emptying out her colostomy bag in my yard, I would kindly go to her and ask her to stop. Sure, I might snicker about it in disgust with my other neighbors, but I wouldn't want them to do my dirty work for me. So, you can see why Saturday irritated me the way it did.
And even though these dogs drive me crazy, they are still my dogs. When you complain about their barking, which is a completely natural thing for a dog, it's like you complaining about my child accidentally hitting her kid in the face with the kickball. They're not doing it on purpose. They're just playing the game. Being kids. Being puppies. And while I talk about getting rid of them (the dogs that is), and may occasionally think about poisoning them when they wont quit yelping from the garage at four o'clock in the morning, I could never give them up. They are a part of our family, and Vada would be heart broken.
For now, when my dogs bark I step into the backyard, turn towards her house and yell as loud as I possibly can: "SHUT UP YOU DUMB DOGS! HUSH!" We'll see what annoys her most, their barking or my yelling.
P.S. - everyone's answer seems to be the bark collar. Unfortunately, we have tried this. It doesn't work. They have learned how to yelp without the collar dosing out an electric current to their throats. It was a waste of our money, and I'm not going to waste anymore on stupid gadgets such as these.