We have gotten a puppy.
Mrs. Tradition and I have not been dog people, neither of us having a dog since we were children. There was a while when we had two cats, but that experiment ended badly, and Mrs. T. never liked cats at all anyway. (We got them from a freakish situation. We had a neighbor who worked at OHare Airport, and these two cats were put on a plane to Chicago and never retrieved. We took them before they went to the Farm where all the cats go to play forever. I sometimes wonder what kind of person buys a plane ticket for a cat to get rid of it. I no longer wonder what kind of cat would cause a person to do such a thing.
Anyway, back to the dog, who is as cute as anything that walked the Earth, ever. It is the Scarlett Johannson of little dogs, early Friends (the TV show, not the Quakers) level cute, with little girls in Mary Jane shoes cutieosity.
Our daughters engineered the placement of a small dog in our home to get us to quit making sighing grandparental noises in the presence of babies and pointed comparisons to their more fecund cousins who have done right by Mrs. T's sister. They think that the puppy will buy them some time.
All is well with the puppy.
There is the matter of housetraining. Which is a lot like toilet training, but without the assistance of cognitive reasoning, language skills, or disposable diapers. All the books about housetraining, (which I have read with the same level of concentration as the 19th recommended book of obscure Patristic fathers on the doctrine of the virgin mary in theology school -- meaning that I have looked at the cover and a random page here and there) seem to show people living in comfortable suburban houses with green and spacious lawns outside. Hence they say things like: if the puppy starts to sniff, circle and squat, say "no" and "outside" sharply and hustle the dog outside to the lawn.
Nothing about living on the third floor of an apartment building. So, I find myself running down the stairs, with puppy pee dripping off of my elbows. By the time, I get to the designated potty space outside (a little piece of urban scrap grass, from which I have tried to clear the occasional shard of broken glass -- no wonder she is so cautious), the puppy looks up at me with her adorable Jennifer Anniston cute eyes with a patient look that says "why are saying Potty, Potty, Potty to me like a madman. I just went. Why are we here? Why are your elbows all wet? Can we go inside now? Why do I, one of the cutest creatures in God's creation, have to live with this obviously disturbed human being? Can I sniff, circle and squat on your shirt?
Mrs. T. gets all that needs to be done. She is determined and firm. She understands the needs for limits, boundaries and procedures. If this puppy is ever trained, it will be a testament to her perserverance. Me, not so much.
We are sitting down to eat lunch today. The puppy is in the bathroom, which used to be the guest bathroom and it now her "safe room". She is whimpering a little, just to let us know that she misses us, who are just out of her sight and trying to enjoy a refreshing little lunch on a Saturday afternoon. For Mrs. T., this is just what is happening. For me, I feel like Alberto Gonzalez dining al fresco at Guantanamo Bay, listening to relaxing sounds of running water, coughing, sputtering and pleas for mercy. Mrs. T. says that she can see I am not having a good time with lunch. Thank you for noticing, say I.