August 18, 2011


I try, sometimes, to deconstruct my life. You know, kind of dismantle all the big parts and spread all the little pieces out before me just to see if there’s anything especially insightful and curious, something I may have missed in the greater scheme of things. I did it this week as well. I think I was inspired by this guy —

–his name is Mike and he’s deconstructing our downstairs bathroom at the moment. I like Mike. He’s tall and funny and I like to follow him around because he pets me and consults me about all sorts of decisions he needs to make.

Anyway, our bathroom is torn apart. Yep. The walls are down, the toilet and bathtub are gone, and the floor boards are stripped down to the boards of the original house (built in 1901). It’s kind of scary. It’s surprising, after all the baths we’ve had in there, that none of us has fallen through the floor or that the bathtub didn’t crash through to the basement given the shape the floor was in.

But it’s also interesting, too. Mike found old vintage nails that had never been used stuck behind the walls. He showed us where previous owners had tried to extend the bathroom and did a crappy (excuse the pun) job and when everything is gone — the walls, the old hallway closet, the door, all of it — the space looks kind of big.

My favorite part of the whole thing though is this hallway door Mike put in. Gretchen calls it a “hallway condom” because it stops unwanted debris from getting into the office and kitchen, but I like to think of it as my own personal tunnel. Unfortunately, I always seem to be on the wrong side of the door and must whine and whimper so someone can unzip the door and let me through. Oh what I wouldn’t give for some opposable thumbs!

Anyway, all this deconstruction has gotten under my curls and this past week, I’ve done a bit of deconstructing myself.

No, I haven’t torn anything up (or down as it were), but I have taken apart my daily routines and learned a few things about myself.

First, I’ve learned that we’re all aging. Okay, that isn’t some big “wow” for most of you, but now that I’m 4 1/2 years old, it suddenly hit me that time is moving forward and the young, agile pup of my youth, is a bit more stiff and tired these days. And when I looked around, I realized that all my canine friends are older than I am.

Monty, my dearest friend (and the guy who’s been with me from day one) is going to be 9 years old this Christmas. Sure, that’ four months away, but still — NINE YEARS OLD? When did that happen? Often, when we’re out together, he turns to me now and says, “Hey buddy, can you slow down a bit?” or “Perhaps we should take a nap?”

At first I just told him to suck it up, but then I realized — “We can’t speed through life like we’re a year old anymore!” — and so I’m slowing down and soaking up the sun by the waterway, smelling the roses in the park, and taking as much time as I can to enjoy friends and family — canine and human.

See, it’s those little things that make you appreciate the big scope of your life, but unless you take time to deconstruct, you kind of miss all that “debris” which is really important stuff, if you know what I mean.

Other friends offered me insights in my deconstruction, too. Tyson, for instance. He’s slightly older than I am and normally he’s a super-serious guy, but this week we got to walk him without his sister (Rosie) because Rosie was having back pain. Not that Tyson doesn’t love his sister — he does and mightily — but Rosie’s a bit high strung and when she wasn’t with us, well, Tyson showed me a side of himself I had never seen.

He danced! Oh how I wish Gretchen had her camera out and that the lighting was right, but as Tyson and concluded our hour outing by walking through the tunnel, he slapped on this big old smile and started racing and galloping ahead. “Woo-hoo,” I screamed and the echoes of my excitement reverberated through the tunnel. Gretchen, who doesn’t run much these days, took off with us and we giggled and galloped in delight.

Deconstruction? Let the detritus of your protective, older brother persona take a break every once in awhile and underneath it all you might find a gleeful abandon on a bright sunny day!

Rosie, poor girl, still wanted to be her goofy self, but she was on strict bed rest and while we got to walk her before the back incident…and look what we found! Signs of fall fast approaching!

…we didn’t get to walk her for the rest of the week (not Tyson either as their family went out of town and the siblings went off to Mystic River Retreat).

But I got to see two unexpected friends and that’s the beauty of deconstruction — you never know what’s going to pop up next!

One morning, we picked up Monty, headed up over the big hill, and landed at Olive and Duke’s house!

From there we walked to the Bakery and then to the scary grated park (though I found a safe and happy place) and chatted about the view…

…made funny faces…

…and begged as best we could for nibbles of croissants from the humans.

I love those unexpected journeys.

I was hoping to go on another unexpected journey — to Woobie’s house where I could meet Skyler — but Gretchen decided I needed to rest and that Monty needed the company so we stayed home, supervised Mike’s continued work on the bathroom while Gretchen met up with Woobie and her buddy Skyler!

The week ended with another surprise — Duke was spending the weekend! I like Duke. He’s a good guy — very thoughtful and extremely talented. He can open cupboards and he can surf the counters. When he comes to stay, everything gets lifted up and I love to watch Duke “deconstruct” his plans as he tries to figure out how to get the bread (he LOVES bread the most) from the top cupboard 7 feet above his head.

And Duke can look like a tuning fork, which is pretty impressive!

Roux likes everyone and the other surprise of the day was an outing with the Wild Roux!

It’s a full life. If I look at it with a wide angle lens, I smile. But when I zoom in on all the parts, my heart skips and dances, sings and yodels. It’s a good life when whole. It’s a great life when deconstructed!

Until next week,


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