To be honest, I've never been a huge fan of Halloween but last night is really going down as a bummer of a holiday. After a Friday evening in catching up on my laundry and scouring the stovetop with Cerma-Brite, I'd been looking forward to breaking my homebody routine and getting together with friends at a party. But I did have some reservations about how the Budster was going to do if there was a flurry of ding dong activity prior in the evening - I might have mentioned this, but he's a bit of a nervous little dog.
And actually, Buddy has had a pretty good week with some progress. Since I no longer have the excuse of not being able to wander more than 1/10th of a mile from the nearest restroom, we're back on our 3-times a day, short leash, no marking, Cesar-approved walks. I don't know what it is about this walking routine, but it seems to chip away molecule by molecule of the nervous energy that floats around this dog. While I was sick, Buddy had regressed back to soiling in his crate, tearing his poor schnozz up on the lock mechanism on the crate, and barking so hard that the entire vessel practically ends up in another room by the time it's all done. This week was a good week. Clean crate, nose is healing and, the hallelujah moment of the week, one day where I pulled in to the driveway and heard silence. I know our journey is going to be one of three steps forwards, one poop-filled crate step backwards... but this week? It was a good one.
So I digress, but that paragraph actually has some relevance to my evening. It's 5:30 and I'm sitting on the couch, watching I Didn't Know I Was Pregnant (yes, I judge me too) when the first doorbell chime sounds.
An adorable Superman and Hannah Montana await with pillowcases open. TREEK OR TWEAT!!! they holler up at me. I graciously drop 2-3 kitkats into each open bag. Buddy pants hard at my side.
Each set of visitors escalates his energy. By the time the doorbell goes off for the fifth time, Buddy shoots up from his spot in front of the blue couch, barrels towards the door and runs smack into the table of the foyer instead. As the tricksters walk away, he is running circles around the house awaiting the next one.
DINGDINGDINGDINGDING. What on EARTH. I'm starting to wonder if our doorbell is made of play-doh, because these children seem to enjoy MASHING it with some serious fervor.
As the stream of visitors increase, I start scrutinizing costumes. Let the cynicism begin.
A flannel shirt and jeans? Don't try to tell me you're a farmer. The least you could have done was stuck a toothpick in your mouth. (Wait, is that a safety hazard?)
A pink hoody that says GIRL POWER on the back? Listen, I grew up with Spice Girls. You had 5 different directions to take this in.... wearing their SLOGAN does not count.
And the girl in the black leggings, black knee high boots and tunic dress? Unless you are going as Meghan's Bad Decisions From Forever 21..... you do not deserve my candy.
I became more cynical about this holiday as the night wore on and the doorbell continued to ring AT LEAST THREE TIMES IN SUCCESSION, every time. Seriously, kids. Press. It. Once.
Those of us who stay home and pass out candy should always be allowed to have at least one beer.
And can I mention how many of these children did not even SAY Trick-or-Treat? OR THANK YOU????
I had intended to leave to go to Anne's around 7:00, but the slew of doorbell mashers kept me hopping. Finally, around 8:00, I swiped on some mascara and ran the Chi over my hair. (Serious efforts, folks.) As I turned to grab my coat out the closet, I nearly tripped over my panting, agitated canine who had positioned himself squarely behind my kneecaps. Hoo boy.
I grabbed his collar and we headed over to his crate. Suddenly, I found myself dragging 26 lbs of dead weight. Panting, drooling dead weight. Crap.
Matt told me recently that Buddy had been doing this drop-butt move right before he gets to his crate. He said that he just waits it out, talking calmly to him and eventually, he'll gingerly step into his crate.
Well, Cesar Cline, can you share with me some of the Quaaludes you must be slipping him too?
My calm talking did nothing to budge the furry bundle in my hand. Eventually, I did what anyone with the 103 pound advantage would do, and picked him up and pretty much pushed him in the crate. As I closed the latch on his nose, guilt washed over me.
"Shake it off, Megs." I consoled myself. "He's a dog. He stays in his crate all the time. He'll be fine."
DINGIDINGDING... PRESS IT ONCE YOU LITTLE PUNKS!!!
I'm pretty sure the Lake Michigan of Urine I had to wipe out of the crate later was released at this exact moment. By Buddy or me, I cannot say.
I passed out my last handful of candy and tried to figure out how to turn off my porch light. (I was not successful, and I hope that when I re-read this later it will remind me to ask my husband how on earth we turn off our porch light? There are eight different switches by the front door, why do none of them control the porch light?)
In to the car I went, consoling myself that he's just a dog and he'll be okay. And by consoling myself, I mean eating at least 3 of the Heath bars I smuggled from the candy bowl before I left.
I drove through my neighborhood and was surprised to see many more goblins, ghouls, and one Octomom (8 baby dolls glued to her, YOU GET HEATH BARS FOR CREATIVITY, GIRL) headed towards my house. I thought of my welcoming porch light. "I guess they'll figure it out when I don't answer," I thought.
A mile from my house is a round-about to get on the highway. I found my car going around the circle, my finger on the cell phone calling Anne. I couldn't do it. Visions of my doggy locked in his crate with multiple DINGDONGDINGDONG ditch going on tugged at my heart. I thought of the great week the Budster had had. I thought of how much I wanted to see my friends. I felt torn, and it felt silly and stupid to be turning around on seeing my friends for the sake of a possibly agitated dog that needs therapy anyways. But round the circle my car went, and soon enough I was back in my garage.
I wipe out the crate and I shook my head at my little furry guy running circles around the house in confused delirium and gulping water like a drowned man would oxygen. Seriously, I think I was gone for 3 minutes. Oh, good gracious, this sweet dog brings me so much joy but in the same swipe, he brings frustration, guilt, and even occasionally resentment. (And then guilt for that resentment, eh?) There are the good days when silence settles in the crate, and then there are days when you drive away listening to the barking wondering if you are doing the right thing. And then there are Saturday nights when you're parked on the couch watching Suze Orman (because at least that feels slightly less brain degrading than the mess on TLC), with your flat-ironed-effort hair going to waste, wondering if you're being silly or mature by coddling a dog's neuroses over your own selfish pleasure. Trick or treat? That is for sure.
So, it was a disappointing Halloween but what can I say? I'm sure, in the big picture, that one night of doorbell ringing would not make or break my separation anxiety bootcamp. I probably should have sucked up the guilt, and gone to see my friends. I missed them, and to be honest, I really didn't learn anything useful from Suze anyways. But it is what it is, and this holiday is going down in history as being one pretty big bummer.
And I'm going to tell you right now, Children of Long Creek, next year I'm buying one bag of The Good Stuff (the $8.50 bag of Snickers and Milky Ways, yall) and one bag full of dum-dum suckers and those awful banana Now and Laters that ruin your teeth. If you don't wear an easily identifiable costume or learn to press the doorbell just ONCE.... you're totally getting the cavity-makers and that's all I have to say about that. That's right, we'll be the house with bad candy. Whatever.
I'll tell Matt to be prepared to wash our smashed pumpkin off the house next year. At least he'll be able to see it okay with the porch light on.