Monday, July 25, 2011

Aidan Misses His Daddy

Davey was gone the whole weekend at a music festival, leaving me alone with the pets. Rex couldn't have been happier that his evil step-father was gone, but Aidan seemed to be having a hard time with it.

The first day went all right, what with the BBQ and the wealth of dirt meats (see the previous post for the tale) to keep him engaged. When we got home Aidan was wiped out, and promptly plopped onto the bed and dozed off.

I joined him on the bed for some television soon after that, and then Rex joined the both of us before running off again to pursue his mysterious night hobbies. I drifted off, enjoying the center of the bed and all four pillows to the fullest.

When I woke up, I discovered the boys had taken over my side of the bed in the middle of the night. Rex was curled up against my hip, Aidan against my calf. I smiled. Rex had long ago decided that he does not want to sleep on the same bed as Davey, so it was nice to have him next to me again. When he felt me shift, he woke up and scampered off to begin his morning routine, while Aidan popped up, dashed over to my face, gave my breath a vigorous and thorough smelling and then fell down onto the pillow with his head next to mine on the pillow, his chin cradled between his fat, little paws.

"Promise you'll never leave me," he said. "Because... I think Daddy has left me."

"He'll be back, because he loves you." I rubbed him behind the ears and tried to go back to sleep, but with limited success as Aidan kept farting doubtfully, despite my reassurances.

Later that morning, after the smell had encouraged me out of bed and into the kitchen for some breakfast, the neighbor dog, Mischa, started yapping in the back yard. Aidan and I were seated together on the couch, the pug having glued himself to my side all morning, and when Aidan heard the high-pitched barks he pricked his ears and stared out the window until he heard the familiar yip once more. His body began to heave silently, faint squeaks beginning to issue forth until he was whining at full force.

"I, waahhh, want, wahhhh, to, wahhh, play!" Aidan gasped between whines. I was more than happy to oblige, thinking he needed to get his mind off of things and knowing that he and Mischa could be out there having doggy fun for up to 30 minutes if he was feeling frisky. I let him out the door and he ran up to the other dog, whose gender I am not 100% on, and followed it around the yard, his short legs pumping to keep up with Mischa's casual trot. I smiled and went to go to the bathroom.

When I returned, Aidan was standing anxiously at the door, looking around for me while Mischa stood a distance away, looking somewhat peeved at Aidan's party-pooping. I looked at the pug quizzically. He shifted his weight anxiously.

"I'm tired of playing, Mom! I want to come home!" he said.

"What about Mischa?" I asked. "Don't you guys want to play?"

"No, I want to be with you," Aidan said.

Mischa tilted his/her head in what seemed to be contempt at Aidan's babyishness.

I opened the door and he hurried in, getting up on the couch and waiting expectantly for me to sit down. I did, and collapsed next to me.

"I thought you would leave me like Daddy did if I don't stay next to you to make sure you are with me," he garbled at me.

A little later Sir went to go next door to Mac's, and brought Aidan with him. Never one to turn down an invitation, Aidan followed him outside. I went to take a shower. When I came back, Aidan was at the door again. I opened the door and his little sausage body exploded.

"Look Mom!" he screamed, literally screamed, as he spun, literally spun, around the living room. "I'm home! I'm home! Oh, how I've missed it, and you! Where's Rex? Where is what's left of my family!? Rex! Mother! I LOVE YOU! I love being home and I hate being away! I never want to leave again! I'm not like Daddy! I'll stay!"

He draped himself across the couch, worn out from his outburst. "I'll be brave for you, Mommy, if you will promise never to go away."

"I have plans this evening, dear, but I'll be home after a few hours," I said.

"Oh, how I wish I could believe you," Aidan mooned, uncomforted.

I spent the rest of the weekend with Aidan attached to my body at any contact point he could reach. On Sunday, he was extra despondent, Davey having been gone for two whole nights. I had cramps, so I spent the time when I wasn't at work laid out on the couch watching TV and feeling like a victim, with Aidan tucked securely under my head since he refused to get off of my pillow.

"Does this make me an orphan?" Aidan asked. "I know you're not my real Mom, so what's going to make you stay with me if not even my real Daddy will?" He sniffled pathetically.

Every time the door opened Aidan would look up, waiting for a sign that Davey had returned, but he was always disappointed. I figured it would be a wonderful moment when his pappy got back.

Except that when Davey returned, he came in without any of his usual gusto or sense of showmanship. He opened the door and went down the hallway with no fanfare, just like our roommate would do after one of his cigarettes. Aidan heard the door open, perked up his ears, decided it was Dan and was about to put his head back down when he noticed what my ears noticed: whoever had just gotten home had gone into Davey's and my bedroom. Aidan cocked his head and, without another word, jumped off my lap to go see if maybe, just maybe, his wishes had been granted.

I don't know what transpired between the two of them. I didn't hear any squeals or shouts from either of them, but Aidan did keep himself stuck to Davey like velcro for the rest of the night, never letting him out of his sight for a moment. On only two occasions did Aidan abandon Davey for me.

Aidan was sitting underneath Davey's rolly chair, where Davey could not see him. Davey scooted back to model his new shirt for me, startling the pug and causing him to shriek.

"Aidan! I'm so sorry!" Davey said. The thing to understand is that the Blakes are a loud clan, who boom when stimulated by emotion of any sort. Davey in particular uses pretty much the same pitch and tone when he is booming no matter what it is he is trying to express, so to someone like Aidan who doesn't speak English, Davey's loud proclamations of sorrow at scaring the pug and entreaties to come be comforted sound exactly like Davey telling the dog he has misbehaved and is about to get his cheeks squished (gently). Davey reached for Aidan to soothe his frazzled nerves. Aidan's eyes bugged. He hopped out of reach in the nick of time and hid behind my chair under my desk. For some reason, Aidan has the misguided notion that I am the one who will always protect him and make the terror go away.

"Aidan!" Davey wailed. "I'm sorry, buddy!"

Aidan looked up at me, his eyes wet. He looked hunted.

"Davey," I said, "I think he thinks you're mad at him. Try being more quiet, maybe?"

"Aidan," Davey said in the normal coo he uses when talking to his precious puggy pug pug. "I'm sorry."

Aidan squeezed out of his hiding spot and popped into Davey's arms, resting his head against Davey's chest. "Hold me, Daddy," Aidan begged. "And never let go."

The next time Aidan favored me to Davey was in the middle of the night when Aidan, obviously still wound up from all the excitement of having Davey realize the error of his ways and return to the pug, was startled by nothing and emitted an ear-piercing shriek that woke me up. I rolled over to go back to sleep while Davey set about soothing him, but all of a sudden I felt a warm, furry weight on my neck.

"Why are you going to Mommy?" Davey asked, a pout in his voice. Aidan had rested his chin on my neck and jaw, and was jiggling his head around to get nice and comfortable. Once again, he was under the impression that I would make the scared go away, if only he was near me. I don't know why I am his rock in the chaos of pug life, but I imagine it's because I never freak out when Aidan gets freaked out, and so he assumes I am more powerful against enemies than his much stronger and braver Daddy, who gets worried when Aidan is distressed. I fell asleep with the dog still nuzzled up on me, refraining from making him sleep elsewhere this time because he was so obviously feeling vulnerable after his confidence-shattering weekend of abandonment.

When I woke up in the morning, though, Aidan had removed himself from the comforting bubble of my personal space and had stolen Davey's pillow, curling against his Daddy's scalp like a jelly bean. They spent the morning until Davey left for work gazing lovingly at each other and canoodling  on the couch.

Friday, July 22, 2011

Aidan Swims in a Sea of Meat

Davey left this morning for a music festival in Santa Barbara. I was glad he was leaving because he needed a vacation, but I realized that I had nothing to occupy my time with now that I didn't have my roomie.

The solution to my lack of plans or money was, obviously, a barbecue. I had meats, both real and fake, condiments, and soda pop. I had access to moneyed people that could lend me some cash to buy a box of wine (Yes. A classy, classy box of wine. Franzia. I only serve the highest quality to my guests when I entertain). I farted out a facebook event invite and annoyingly posted something every hour about how there was a barbecue that night. Naturally, people being busy and having lives that were more exciting and booze-fueled than mine meant that on such short notice most people had to work or had prior engagements and could not come. In the end, there were ten of us in attendance, with three of that number being close blood relations to me. I had a lot of fun, though. I hope everyone else did, too.

I brought Aidan.

I felt bad for him being left with no father for three days, and a step-mother who was about to abandon him in favor of fresh air and 5 liters of burgundy. So my brother, Kris, and I gathered the barbecue essentials and loaded the car with soda pops, beers, wine, plates, napkins, forks, cups, veggie burgers, flesh burgers, and 25 lbs. of pug. Kris carried that last one on his lap.

Aidan was pretty pleased with the barbecue. A group of people were having their own barbecue at a nearby table when Kris and I were getting there to set up, and apparently when they left they scattered various meats on the ground for God knows what reason. All I know was that after they left, as the sun began to set and we finally fired up our own grill, Aidan kept turning up with random meat.

"Hey, Kariana," Kris yelled to me.

"What?" I asked, my eye a little squinty from drinking wine on an empty stomach.

"What's your position on Aidan eating ribs?"

"That's okay if they're soft enough," I said. "Why?"

Kris shrugged. "Aidan found a rib bone, it seems."

I strode over. "Let me take a look at it, in case."

Aidan saw me coming and scuttled away with the goods.

"I doan hab a bode im my mouf," he said, his words mangled by the bone in his mouth.

"Aidan, just come here and let me see that bone," I said, trying to reach for it.

"Noooooo!" Aidan protested, scurrying ahead of me determinedly.

He reached the end of the leash.

"Poo!" he cursed, trying to hide under the table so I couldn't reach into his mouth and steal his treat. I pried it out of his mouth.

"I hunted for it and I found it and I want to eat it!" Aidan said. "That's my animal!"

I felt the edge of the bone where Aidan had been gnawing with my fingertips to confirm what my eyes were telling me in the half light. "This is too brittle," I said. "I'm not letting you eat it."

"But I love it!" Aidan pouted. "Don't take what I love from me."

I gave him an unimpressed look and tossed the bone in the trash bin. He sulked for a few moments, but soon got over it.

A little while later my Dad was walking Aidan around waiting for the remaining guests and I to finish playing a drawing game so he could go home. Aidan was jingling around and my Dad was wandering and they were hard to see because it was so dark out. We were playing our game by the light of a solitary street lamp in the middle of the picnic area, and everywhere else was draped in the indigo and ebony veils of nighttime. When they entered the lighted area, Aidan had another rib bone in his mouth, which he was industriously chewing as he walked.

"What do you have in your mouth?" demanded my father, snatching it away. He held it up so I could see it. "Aidan found another rib bone."

"Throw it away," I said, strictly.

Aidan stomped his paws a little as he watched his precious meat-wrapped rib bone go into the garbage. My Dad wandered back into the near invisibility of the darkness with the pug again, leaning against a rock while Aidan scampered from table to table peeing and investigating the interesting scents. When they came back into the lighted area to check on the game's progress, Aidan waddled towards me with bright, shining eyes and a whole sausage hanging out of his mouth.

"Aidan! What the hell?" I said. "What does he have in his mouth?"

"He has something in his mouth again?" said my Dad incredulously. He grabbed it from the dog and inspected it near-sightedly. "Is this one of ours?"

My Dad had brought bratwursts, all of which had been readily consumed immediately following their being done.

"No, that's not ours," I said. Aidan looked appealingly up at the sausage.

"You already had a whole hamburger patty!" I said, referring to the snack I had given him earlier for being so cute and sociable. Aidan maintained his stance of adoring the brat from below.

"Let him have the sausage," I relented. It had no bones and it made the little king happy.

My Dad gave it back to him and the pug began snarfing it. I grabbed my camera to take a picture, but by the time the power had been turned on, the sausage was already gone. I took over Aidan's leash and he sat under my bench at the table while I played my game and my Dad packed up the barbecue stuff so he could leave faster after the game. I couldn't see what he was doing in the darkness so well, but when he emerged into the light he held a hamburger patty with one bite taken out of it.

It was Aidan's hamburger patty that I had given him, uneaten. Of all the meats strewn across the dirt, the one Aidan was allowed to have was the one he did not consume.

I will never understand what goes on in that pug's head.

Thursday, July 21, 2011

Rex and Aidan Get Their Snuggle On

Always I over-analyze everything Rex and Aidan do for proof that they are becoming more than just step-brothers, but friends. Bear with me as I rejoice, once more, at their growing closeness.

When I got home from work today Aidan was scrabbling at the door as usual, leaping about, wagging his tail, and oinking joyfully that finally -FINALLY- someone was home with him. Once I had gotten settled in the arm chair and Aidan had stopped tripping over both my legs and his own and got himself nestled between my thigh and the arm of the chair, Rex perceived that he was safe from Aidan's wild gyrations and emerged to say his hellos. He crept onto my lap, giving me a somber look as if to set himself apart from Aidan's silliness as the more serious animal. He leaned over to give Aidan a long sniff.

Aidan glanced briefly over his shoulder. "Hi, Little Rex," he said.

"Hey, King Aidan," said Rex, ceasing his sniffing and taking a look at my lap to see where he would curl up. He peeked over at Aidan, then back at my lap. Casually, almost as if he weren't purposely going for a snuggle, he lowered himself onto my lap so that his back was mushed up against the pug's.

"Hey, cool!" said Aidan, looking over his shoulder at Rex again. "That's a great cuddle, huh, li'l brother?"

Rex just closed his eyes and pretended not to know what Aidan was talking about.

But I know what he's up to. I think he's working his way up to buddy naps. The other day, Aidan was lying on the bed in our bedroom and Rex was following me around needily, the opposite of what usually happens. When I finally quit my wanderings and sat down to go on facebook Rex decided that although today he needed me within eyeshot at all times, my lap was not a place he wanted to be. He strolled casually towards the bed and, I swear to you, if cats were capable of whistling nonchalantly, I believe that he would have been doing that right then. He jumped casually onto the bed as if on a whim, feigned mild surprise at Aidan's being there, gave him a sniff, and laid down next to him, not even a foot apart. I had never seen Rex willingly place himself that close to Aidan until that cuddling business today. 

I am thrilled.

Friday, July 15, 2011

Rex and Aidan Wait at the Door

I went outside for a cigarette today, as I do most days. When I left, the boys didn't seem to care. When I returned 10 minutes later, Rex and Aidan were both waiting for me, their noses up against the crack in the door that I would be returning through.

Later, when I went out for another cigarette many hours later, I opened the door and there was Aidan, waiting where he would be the first thing I saw. I stepped in, said hello to the pug, and then heard a petulant voice saying, "Don't say hello to me, then." I peeked around the door and there was Rex, hidden out of sight and obscured by the shadows. "Hi, little Rex," I said, shutting the door.

"Hi!" he said.

"Hi! Hi! Hi!" said Aidan, trying to get the attention back. I ignored them both in order to keep from offending one or the other of them, and went into the bedroom, where Davey was editing pictures.

"I wonder if they sit at the door when I leave every time or just when I'm smoking," I mused. There's a big enough gap under our front door that I'm pretty sure their sensitive schnozzes would be able to pick up the smoke scent and, from past experience, they could figure out that I would be back in a moment.

"No," said Davey. "They do that every time you leave."

"I wonder how long they wait at the door like that," I said.

"Probably a long time," said Davey. It almost sounded like he thought our pets were losers.

I imagined what that must be like, both guys waiting at the door for me until eventually they gave up on my returning any time soon. I imagine it would go something like this, if they could talk like I pretend they can:

"I wonder where she went," wonders Aidan.

"When she takes me, she usually puts me in a box and goes to the man who puts needles in me, but sometimes we go to a new house and then we stay there forever," says Rex. "So I'm glad she went by herself."

"She takes me to the park and the store and to Grandma's and Nana's and everywhere," brags Aidan, then stops to think. "Why didn't she take me this time?" He slumps down and puts his head on his paws in sorrow.

They sit quietly for a moment, each thinking their own opposite thoughts. Rex reflects on how little he enjoys going on trips in the car, and Aidan wishes he were interfering with my driving right now.

"Wanna play a game?" Aidan suggests.

"No," says Rex. "You're too rough."

Aidan cocks his head thoughtfully. "We could smell garbage."

Rex rubs his face on the wall. "I can smell it from here."

"Me too!" says Aidan, ecstatically. "It's nice to do things together, isn't it."

"I guess," says Rex, because he is aloof, although I suspect he secretly likes the company.

They are quiet for a few minutes more, united only by their waiting for me.

"Your Daddy is a jerk," says Rex.

"My Daddy is a saint!" protests Aidan. "He is the most tall and handsome and smart and rich man in the world."

"I don't like him," says Rex. "He doesn't pay attention to me, except when Mom is watching, and then I turn my butt at him, so they both know I think Aidan's Daddy is a dumb jerk."

"I like him!" says Aidan.

"I don't," says Rex. "He doesn't pet me or tell me I'm cute or give me treats. All he likes is you."

"I like him a lot!" says Aidan. "He has the most wonderful voice, and his muscles are bigger than anyone else's and he always says the most interesting things!"

"He's not good enough for my Mom," sulks Rex, who dislikes Davey out of a bruised ego more than anything else.

"No one's good enough for my Mom!" agrees Aidan, dreamily. "Not even my Daddy, and he's perfect."

"My Mom," corrects Rex.

"No one's good enough for our Mom!" Aidan accedes. Rex doesn't press the issue any further, proving that they are much better friends now than they used to be.

"She has all the best haircuts and her feet are so small and she sings like an angel and she has many interesting hobbies and she makes little calzones and she smells like something and her eyes aren't brown and she has lots of clothes and she's so strong she can pick me up and carry me and she has treats in a drawer that she gives me- hey, and she gives them to you, too! She's so great!" Aidan enthuses.

"You're right. I hope she gets home before your ugly, farty Dad," says Rex.

Check out the following photographic masterpieces by Davey.

Wednesday, July 6, 2011

Momma's Boys

Aidan had the chance to go on a car ride with his Grandpappy. They went out the door together, happy as clams. One minute later Aidan was being ushered back inside with a shout of, "He doesn't want to leave you," and the sound of the door slamming. Aidan trotted back inside looking relieved. Presumably he had wept for me upon being placed in the car, although I didn't ask. I just know from experience from being in the car with him while Davey is without. Aidan is stepping on a lot of toes right now, because he doesn't want to go anywhere or do anything without either me or Davey.

When I got home from my hike today, Aidan flipped out. I'm going to put the video on youtube soon, so keep an eye out for the link, which I will post on here. He yipped and yapped and gummed my fingers. Rex didn't even realize I was home at first until I went out into the backyard for a cigarette (I figured Aidan would just about die if I walked back out the front door after the conniption he had when I got home a few minutes before). I had pulled a plastic patio chair into the shade near my bedroom window and was puffing away with Aidan laying away from the smoke when I heard a meow. I thought it was coming from under the house and wondered how my little rascal had gotten outside, but it turned out to just be Rex at the window, demanding to know what I was doing out there while he was stuck in there. We pressed our noses together through the screen, and it was super cute. When I went back inside he jumped into my lap and stayed there for half an hour.

Just a quick post about cuteness, nothing fancy today.

Tuesday, June 21, 2011

Rex and Aidan Endure a Bath

The Baths
"It's freaking hot," Davey complained, as we drove home in his truck, my new car battery safely in the bed. "I want to put Aidan in the sink and give him a bath to cool him down."

"Do you want me to do it while you put in my battery?" I asked, helpfully.

"Okay..." said Davey, his lower lip popping out into a subtle pout of its own volition, thwarting Davey's attempt to pretend like he did not care. I could see he was experiencing a great deal of turmoil on the inside. Should he do what he pleased, or bend to my capricious whims?

"You can do it if you want," I said.

"Okay," said Davey, his lower lip sliding back in and his emotional balance restored.

When we got home, though, I guess putting my car battery back in was promising to be more difficult than anticipated, because he popped his head into the house and told me I'd better do it. I scampered off to change out of my dress into dirty clothes and then found the dog.

He wagged his tail at me and looked at me adoringly. I smiled at him duplicitously and snapped off his color.

"Hey, that's my neck thing!" Aidan protested, trying to get it back. "My Dad gave me that! If I don't wear it, he'll forget he loves me and I'll have to live at a gas station again!"

"Oh, pooh," I dismissed, scooping him up and dumping him in the sink.

Aidan immediately forgot his collar dilemma. "I've been in here before..." he said, ominously. "Something bad happened here... But what?"

I jogged his memory by turning on the water and spraying him with the dish hose thing. Aidan wilted.

"That's what happened," he said, crowding against the sink to get away from the cold, refreshing water. "I expected this from Daddy, but not from you."

"Pffft," I said, covering him in shampoo. "I washed you with the hose last month."

Once he was washed and rinsed, I scooped him out of the sink before he could shake all over the clean dishes in the drainer and, carried him to the screen door. He lay in my arms like a baby, sopping wet and miserable, giving me huge eyes. Davey opened to door for me and cooed at the pug, who dripped like a leaky faucet. I set him down and he shook water everywhere, then began to run around the yard like a madman, rolling in the grass and crawling across the lawn like a commando, grunting and snorting happily.

I decided with one pet down and the other one snowing dandruff, I would go ahead and get Rex into the sink next. This would be a new adventure, since previously I had always washed Rex in the bathtub. We would sit in there together with the shower door closed so Rex couldn't get out and take our time. Rex would always cry and look miserable, resigned to the prison of water we had become trapped in. This time, we did not have an enclosed bathtub, and the sink it would be.

Rex had ascertained the moment he saw Aidan go under the faucet that he would be next, whether I knew it or not. When I came back inside from watching Aidan undo his bath, I couldn't find the cat anywhere. Finally I located him behind the couch, and after a five minute battle I managed to pull him out and get him into the sink.

"Why did you put me into this basin?" he asked, lying to himself about what was about to happen.

I turned on the water. He tried to jump out, but I restrained him.

"Mom! Stop it!" he whined, trying to escape onto the clean dishes.

"Shhhhhhhh," I soothed. "We'll be done soon."

But we weren't. Rex's daring attempts at escape were many, and I had to keep my wits about me to keep him in the sink long enough to rinse out the soap. It didn't help that Aidan was doing his very best to jump up on the counter and be a part of the activities. I couldn't tell if he was curious, if he wanted to morally support the cat, or if he was trying to get into the sink with him for a second bath so he could get a piece of the attention. Aidan's throwing himself towards the counter top only furthered Rex's desperation to get out of the sink. When we were finally done I relaxed my guard and Rex managed to get up so he was draped across my chest, clinging to me like a baby monkey. He hadn't clawed me, but I suspected he might dig in if I put any more water on him. I poured one more cup of water in him. He latched into my skin and scrabbled over my shoulder and down my back, lacerating my hide and finally escaping the cruel embrace of chilled H2O.

He was hiding behind the bookshelf, the water cascading from his fur. I had to crawl behind the coffee table to get in there with a dishtowel and lift him out before he turned the carpet into a swamp. He pouted as I rubbed him down with the dish towel.

After-Bath Treats
I'm a strong believer that pets deserve to get a snack after being subjected to a bathing, and so I gave Aidan a milkbone after he had dried off. He took it politely and ran off with it, presumably to devour it. Then I went to tempt Rex out from behind the couch with cat treats. I got the bag out of Rex's drawer. Before I could turn and go play the serpent, Aidan launched himself at me and tried to grab the bag of treats out of my hands. His eyes were wild.

"Give me those tidbits!" he cried.

"These are for Rex," I said, holding them away.

Aidan made another lunge for them.


I put them away. "I'll just get Rex out the old-fashioned way."

As I went to put them back in the drawer I spotted something next to Aidan on the easy chair. I picked it up.

"Why haven't you eaten your milk bone?"

Aidan took it delicately out of my hand. "Oh, a milk bone. Thank you. I'll just go eat this now," he said, turning his back on me and setting down the milk bone. He turned back. "I ate it."

I pursed my lips at his bald faced lie but said nothing.

After Rex's bath, as he sat on the couch licking his fur back into shape, I went to retrieve his treats again. I pulled them out. Rex stopped licking and looked at the bag in anticipation. Aidan barreled into my shins and tried to leap up and snag the bag out of my hands.

"TIDDLY BIDDLIES!" he shrieked. I had never seen him this nutso over a snack.

 I went to go give them to Rex but Aidan, clever pug that he is, anticipated my intended destination and bounded up onto the couch next to Rex, who bolted, well aware of the dangers posed by excited Aidan's gyrating butt. I put the bag of treats away and regifted Aidan the uneaten milk bone.

"Oh, a milk bone. How lovely," he said, taking it delicately and pretending he would eat it.

I pulled it out a third time when Rex reappeared 20 minutes later. Like before, Aidan flipped out.

"Do you really want a cat treat that bad?" I asked, reaching in to grab him a handful.

"No!" said Davey, wary of Aidan's health.

"Are you sure? I mean, he won't even eat his milk bone," I said, picking it up to show Davey. Unbidden, Aidan took it out of my hand with that look of insincere gratitude, and set it down behind him.

"Give him the treats," said Davey.

I pulled out a few tidbits and held them out for Aidan. He looked at them suspiciously. "I don't know if I want them anymore..."

(In the end, Aidan and Rex both enjoyed a serving of cat treats.)

For more pictures of the boys post-bath, check out my flickr at

Tuesday, May 17, 2011

Davey and I had only just gotten home from working with my father-in-law when we had to leave again to buy dog food and oral hygiene profucts. Aidan stood on the arm chair, watching as we dashed out the door, his face a melting puddle of sadness and confusion at this ultimate betrayal. His eyes glistened moistly and his pout almost reached heaven at the apex.

Davey, unlike me, had been very touched by the vision of suffering Aidan presented, and when we arrived in the dog food aisle at the grocer's Davey tossed Aidan's normal brand of dry food in the cart and began to peruse the wet food section for a special dinner treat.

"Poor Aidan hasn't had anyone home with him all day," said Davey, sadly. "I want to give him a treat, because he's so lonely all the time."

"Which one are you going to get him? Oooh, this one describes itself as 'filet mignon flavored'," I said, grabbing a premium looking container.

"Get that one," said Davey.

"Oh, shit. Porterhouse steak flavor," I said, in a deep voice to convey the masculinity of that meal option.

Davey snatched that one out of my hand. "This is the one Aidan should have," he said, holding it in front of him with both hands, grinning with delight at how much Aidan was going to enjoy the treat of wet food.

An hour later, after a visit to JoAnn's Fabric for craft supplies, where my dream of having a cute box full of cute buttons rose up into the air and was smashed down by Davey's staunch refusal to have anything to do with any more knickknacks in our bedroom, we returned home. Davey unpeeled the lid from the container of fancy meat dinner and plopped the contents into Aidan's bowl, where it both retained it's shape like jello from a mold and began to ooze fine, translucent gravy.

Aidan seemed frightened of the delicious concoction that graced his food dish, as he usually did when presented with new dog food. He skirted the bowl skittishly.

"What's wrong, buddy?" asked Davey, as Aidan darted forward and took a little lick of his steak flavored pate, then darted away.

"What- what is this?"Aidan queried.

"It's dog food, buddy," he replied.

"I don't think it is," said Aidan.

Davey grabbed a knife and began breaking up the cube of food so that Aidan would find it more recognizable. I wandered into the living room to stand with Rex as Davey gave the dog food one more smush and cleaned the knife. Aidan danced around the bowl anxiously.

"It looks different now!" he said, doubtful of this shape changing glob.

"Is that the heavenly scent of fat and low grade meat?" asked Rex, perking up.

Aidan hazarded another bite. "I think it might be food," he shared with the group, and began to graze on the dripping porterhouse flavored puree like an antelope in the Serengeti might graze upon grass in lion territory. Rex crept stealthily up behind Aidan and gave his butt a good sniff before creeping a little closer to his ear.

"Could I have some?" he asked.

"No, thanks," said Aidan, once again misusing a polite phrase.

"Boy, I'm just so hungry," said Rex, piteously.

"Don't let that cat have any," said Davey. "I got this for my special buddy, Aidan."

"Daddy says no," said Aidan, still nervously sampling the contents of his bowl.

Rex moved a little closer. "That guy is not my Dad. Hey, did you know that sometimes, for fun, humans who hate dogs sneak into the factory and put poison into wet dog food so dummies like you eat it all up like a greedy pig and then the poison comes into your blood from your belly and you DIE?"

"Eek!" Aidan scuttled away from the dish. Rex lunged for it, but my brother, who was visiting, picked him up and carried him out of the room.

"Eat," said Davey, gesturing to the dish.

Aidan regarded the meal from his safe spot on the arm chair. "No thanks," he said. "I'm not very hungry."

Sunday, May 8, 2011

Rex and Aidan: Brothers?

We were all sitting in the living room. Davey and I were watching TV, Aidan was waiting for someone to pay attention to him, and Rex was staring out the sliding glass door, imagining what he would do the next time someone left it unlocked so that he could slide it open and frolic away into the wild green yonder. Three of us were satisfied with the passive activities we were engaged in. Aidan was on the verge of going crazy, however. Neither Davey nor I was cooing over him, and if someone didn't react to him soon, he was going to get really, really sad. He glanced over at Rex and sat up alertly. Oblivious to Aidan's interest, Rex happily watched the flutter of leaves in the wind. Aidan leaped to the floor and, puffing his chest out manfully, strode towards my cat.

"Little brother! Let me smell your face," Aidan commanded.

Rex was startled out of his reverie. "Little what did you call me?" he asked.

"Little brother," said Aidan, leaning forward and snuffling at Rex's nose.

Rex drew back. "I am not your little brother, dog. I am a cat."

"So?" said Aidan. "Mom's a monkey, and so is Dad." He leaned towards Rex earnestly. "Me and you are real brothers, cuz we do the same things. That's how I know we're brothers to each other now."

"Go away," said Rex, sulking. "I don't act like you, and you don't act like me. You're a real stupid guy, and you had better stop smelling my face, because we are not brothers!"

I watched all of this, smirking to myself, thinking of a few examples that suggested Aidan wasn't so far off in his declaration of kinship to my Rex.

For example, the other day I took a quick shower. When I got out and was running hair products through my short and tangled locks, I heard a loud meow and a thump on the door.

"Mom! Mom! Open the door!" Rex shouted.

I opened the door a crack and looked down indulgently, expecting to see Rex looking at me reproachfullyfor keeping him out of a room I was in. To my surprise, I saw him cheek to cheek with Aidan, both of them staring up at me, wide-eyed.

"Let us in!" said Aidan.

I opened the door and they crowded in. Rex jumped on the counter and ate a few bites of cat food and Aidan sniffed my dirty clothes piled on the floor. Rex hopped back onto the floor and Aidan rejected my clothes, having gathered all the information he needed from it. They met at the door.

"Let us back out!" said Aidan.

"Can I get dressed first?" I protested.

"I'm bored in here," complained Rex.

"I want my toys," said Aidan.

"Hey, Mom. Open the door," encouraged Rex.

"You guys can wait a couple minutes," I said. It's not like they had busy lifestyles where every minute counted, and I was tired of them always barging in on me while I was naked.

They posted up next to the door, complaining of boredom and my lack of consideration for other mammals.

A few days later, I was piling their toys up on a chair next to the counter so that I could vacuum the floor. Both boys ignored what I was up to until I pulled out the vacuum. Aidan looked at it in alarm and jumped up onto the couch where he knew he was safe from being sucked up, while Rex slunk out of the living room as slyly as he could, keeping a close eye on the offending appliance as he did so. When I finished, Aidan wandered over to the chair and stretched up on his hind legs to inspect its contents.

"Why'd you put my toys there? Man, those are trapped from me," said Aidan, sadly, bustling back over to the couch and taking a sad nap.

Twenty minutes later, convinced it was safe, Rex returned to the living room and, just like Aidan, stretched up onto his hind legs, and inspected the contents of the chair.

"Why'd you put my toys there? That's okay, I'm a good jumper, and this way Aidan can't get them," said Rex, wandering back down the hallway to go hide on Davey's dresser in our closet.

Even this afternoon, when I got home from spending Mother's Day at church with my Mom, both boys descended upon me at once, each standing on one side of me, each exactly the same distance away from my legs, and each gazing adoringly into my face.

"I missed you," said Aidan.

"I missed you more," whispered Rex.

"You were gone for a long time," said Aidan.

"It seemed like forever," one-upped Rex.

I smiled at them both and then went into the kitchen to heat up some tomato soup.

"Oh, whoops. Medicine," I remembered as I moved through the kitchen, taking a second to slide an allergy pill into a piece of string cheese for Aidan, who scuttled over and scarfed it down with relish.

"Oh, Mom, that was delicious," he complimented, trotting daintily over to the couch to sit on Davey's lap.

"Hey! Hey! Look at me! Look at me!" shrieked Rex from the water bowl.

I complied. "What is it, sweetie?"

"Don't pay more attention to him than me," Rex said.

I picked him up and rubbed him on the back. "Awwww, you're my little good luck guy, aren't you, though?" I cooed. "You're my number one cat, and I really won when I got to take you home."

"Yeah, I'm the prize you got for winning," said Rex, relaxing against my shoulder, and possibly sending a meaningful look at Aidan, whohad sat up to watch our exchange. I could see his brain working. He was about to get jealous.

"Don't even think about getting your feelings hurt," I said to him. "You're sitting on a lap, too."

Aidan blinked at me, silently.

"Look at this dog," I said to Davey, who craned around to get a better look at the pug on his lap.

"Hey," said Davey, giving Aidan's ear a playful tweak. The distraction was just what Aidan needed to jump off the train to Rivalryland and let Rex have his moment with me. He plopped his head down on Davey's knee with a wheeze, and all was well.

Thinking of these moments, a smile tugged at my lips as I watched my boys at the sliding glass door. Aidan was happy to be getting attention from someone, and Rex, I could see, was slowly warming up to Aidan's blunt attempts at building a brotherhood between them. I'm excited to see where this leads.

Monday, May 2, 2011

Aidan Goes To the Beach

I woke up too early and in a bad mood. I lay in bed, too irritated to fall back asleep, and too tired to give up hope that if I lay under the covers long enough I would drift off into a world of dreams. So far, it didn't seem to be working. My mind was jumping around all over the place and I couldn't stop it long enough to relax and resume my slumber.

A cheery little jingle bobbled its way down the hall and into my bedroom, where it took a leap and landed on my bed in the form of Rex.

"Hi, sweetie," I mumbled through the blanket.

He looked at me sternly, clearly annoyed that once again I had carelessly endangered my precious life by covering my mouth with cloth. He firmly believed that if my mouth was obstructed from view, I was liable to suffocate.

"Sorry," I whispered, securing the blankets under my chin. 

He observed me carefully as I pet him, then decided not to say anything snide about me or Darwin Awards. Instead, he pushed his way under the blankets with me, mushing his fuzzy little back as close up against my stomach as he possibly could.

"I love you," he said.

I peeked under the blanket at him. He craned his head around to look at me. "Don't be in a bad mood. I'm here," he said, putting his head back down and closing his eyes with a purr.

I carefully positioned my arms so that if I fell asleep I wouldn't trap him and played around with his fur. He began to make the weird sound through his nose that meant he had dropped off to sleep.

For my part, I could feel my mile-a-minute brain coming to a slow halt. All my thoughts about what was pissing me off faded into nothing and were replaced by hazy notions that danced into my minds eye for a brief moment before disappering into the ether in a thoroughly relaxing way. Before I knew it, I was asleep.

I woke up again when Davey's alarm clock went off. Rex was still nestled under my arm, but got out of the way when I started to stir. I was still feeling good from earlier. Rex is the only creature or thing that can ease my distresses so thoroughly or swiftly, which is one of the many reasons I love him more than anything else. I wished he could go to the beach with us, but it was a sure bet he wouldn't like it there, especially since he would have to be on his harness.

Aidan, on the other hand, was ready and willing to go on a car ride anywhere.

"I don't know where we're going," he said, elated, as he, Davey, Sir, and I all marched towards the car. "But, boy, am I sure glad to be going to somewhere!"

The general consensus among humans in the car was that Aidan would not like the beach. He is far too gentrified for nature. He isn't even really interested in going into our backyard unless he is accompanied by a person or really, really, really needs to poop. I firmly believe that if Aidan were small enough, he would gladly spend his days being carted around the mall in a purse.

So it was a surprise to see how well Aidan took to the beach. He scurried around, smelling the sand and occasionally licking it.

When we arrived, I had immediately separated from the males to go take some pictures of ugly things, figuring nothing interesting would happen while I was gone. Davey would be wandering around taking some beautiful photographs of the ocean while Aidan fell asleep in the sun, and Sir would just sit around and look at stuff, and maybe announce it if there was something stupid in the vicinity.

When I got back, I was mostly correct, except that Aidan was not, in fact, asleep. Davey saw me arrive and exploded at me in excitement.

"Aidan ran!"

"Huh?" I said.

"Aidan ran across the beach!"

"So?" I said. Aidan running was more like a trot, and he didn't get anywhere fast, but it's not like he never moved quickly.

"No, I mean he really ran. Like, fast. I've never seen him do that before," Davey explained, face aglow with the thrill of Aidan's newly discovered physical prowess.

"No way," I said.

"Watch," said Davey, handing me his camera and taking off across the sand. "Aidan, come on," he yelled.

"Daddy! I'm coming!" bellowed Aidan, springing towards him, working himself into an actual sprint. My jaw dropped as the little pudding galloped as fast as he could across the sand. He was like a greyhound someone wadded up into a ball and then set loose on the race track. Davey turned around and ran back, with Aidan chugging along after him.

I couldn't believe my eyes. I wish I had thought to get a picture.

Missing my little gentleman at home, I made a memorial to him in the sand.

I was very painstaking in my efforts as I had the time to try and make the letters as perfect as possible. It took me a long time. Just when I had finished and was about to take a picture of it, Davey gave a shout.

"Watch out! Aidan is coming."

I looked up just in time to see Aidan, a huge grin on his face, come stampeding towards me and my art project.

"No!" I said. But it was too late. Aidan stepped all over Rex's name, and the plus sign, snuffling around the sand and beaming at me before turning around and running back to Davey, who was laughing.

"I checked, and she's playing over there. She put holes in sand, and I smelled them. It was fun," Aidan reported. "Good playing, Mom!"

"It's not funny!" I wailed, kneeling before my spoiled token of affection, arms dangling at my sides in a thoroughly dramatic pose.

"Yeah it is!" said Davey. "Aidan just ran over and stepped all over it, right when you finished."

"I was going to take a picture!" I turned my face to the heavens, so that if there were a camera up there they could get a wide shot of the carnage before me, as well as my mournful expression. "Whyyyyyyyyyyyyy?"

"Come over here and make another one," Davey said, patting the sand next to him. "It's flat over here."

"I'm going to fix this one," I said, setting about my repairs. Fortunately, Aidan had only trampled on half of it, so I did not have as much of a task in rebuilding.

When I finished I hurriedly snapped some pictures, then went to play by the waves. Aidan followed me. We stood together on the wet sand as the wave in front of us began to build to a crest.

"This is fun," said Aidan. "Standing here, looking at water, but not getting it on our feet." Aidan hates getting his paws wet.

The wave crashed and rushed towards us.

"Ack!" peeped Aidan, looking alarmed as he just barely managed to scuttle away from the water. I hurried after him, for fun, then returned to the wet sand when the water receded. Aidan joined me.

"What a funny fluke!" said Aidan, looking up at me. Another wave crashed and rushed towards us. Aidan's eyes bugged and he hustled away, just before the water ran over his toes.

I thought he might have had enough after that, but he kept joining me down by the water.

Turns out Aidan likes the beach.

Tuesday, April 12, 2011

Aidan's New Toy

As I wandered into the living room to write this blog post, I spotted Rex sitting on a dining room chair that has been in our living room since my birthday party, and that Rex has grown to love, presumably because it is befitting a gentleman of his stature to sit upon such a visually attractive chair. He emoted at me with his eyes as I passed by. I was overwhelmed with love and grabbed his little face, planting a big kiss on his head. "You are too cute and I love you so much!" I squealed. Aidan, who had been napping on the couch, popped his head up to watch me and Rex. I glanced at him as I released Rex and went towards the couch and the laptop. Aidan's head swiveled along with my progress. His feelings weren't hurt yet... When I got closer, he tilted his face up to gaze wetly at me. I planted a kiss on the top of his wee skull and sat down. As soon as I did his chin crashed down onto the couch cushion and he was back asleep in an instant. I glanced over at Rex. He was staring at Aidan. He licked his lips, thoughtfully, then decided that since he had been kissed first, he was obviously my favorite and all was well between him and the dog. He curled up on the chair and commenced staring into space. All is peaceful in the living room today.

Aidan's New Toy
When Aidan visited me at work (which I will probably post about later) I snagged him a totally sweet Minnie Mouse baby doll that had been in the Lost and Found for months and was now up for grabs. At first he seemed disinterested in the doll, but then I started hearing reports that he had been playing with it while I was gone.

I didn't witness it until the other night when I was playing Plants Vs. Zombies while Davey and Sir watched Cloudy With A Chance of Meatballs. Aidan was curled up against my thigh with his chin resting on my knee, very cutely. He wasn't getting in my way or being really annoying, but sometimes I want my leg to myself, so I grabbed the Minnie doll from beside me and tossed it across the room.

"Attack!" Aidan yelled, leaping off the couch and pouncing on Minnie. He dragged her limp corpse onto the cushions beside me and began to chew on her body. This is when he discovered something wonderful and fantastic about his new Minnie toy that his other toys lacked. As he pulled at the fabric of her pink onesie, the velcro on the back began to pull apart with a satisfying ripping sound. Aidan tensed his wee muscles and flexed his jaw, clearly feeling very powerful.

"I have ripped apart her skin, mother," he said, his eyes glowing brightly. "I am a true wolf brother."

I didn't know where this wolf brother nonsense was coming from, but it was adorable that he was playing with a baby doll.

I grabbed it from him.

"No!" he complained, trying to grab her back. "I was just getting to the meat!"

I pressed the sturdy velcro back together and handed it back to Aidan.

"Mom! You weren't supposed to make her better! Now I have to start all over again," he groaned, tearing back into her onesie with his weak little teeth. "There!"

I grabbed her again.

"Stop curing her when I'm having fun," whined Aidan.

Davey grabbed the toy from me, and Aidan snatched at it. A rousing game of tug of war ensued, before Davey finally stopped pretending like Aidan could beat him and yanked the baby doll away.

"My baby toy!" Aidan had time to whine before Davey tossed the doll back to our certified wolf brother, who quit complaining and jumped onto the doll.

"You're mine, now, baby thing," Aidan growled, shaking Baby Minnie around to make sure she was still dead.

Tuesday, April 5, 2011

Rex Causes a Problem and Aidan Doesn't Really Help

It was my birthday BBQ, and Rex had had enough of it. While everyone was outside watching Davey work the grill, Rex was inside, whining.

"Everyone's out there but me," he complained through the screen door. "I'm lonely."

I could sympathize with his plight. I pulled out his harness and lead, clipping him in so he could go outside with everybody else, but couldn't dash off and hide in some cranny or get over the fence.

"is that better, sweetie?" I asked, bringing him out into the yard.

"I'm uncomfortable in this dumb harness and there's too many people and I think something tiny is trying to kill me," he sulked, crouched in a patch of shade and twitching nervously every time a large fleck of dust wafted too near to his face. A couple times, the danger from airborne particles was so great that he found it necessary to spring three feet into the air and over to the side another foot in order to avoid contact with the diabolical pollen.

So I put him back inside, where he took refuge in my bedroom for almost the duration of the party. I checked on him a couple of times to see if he wanted to come out, but he felt there were too many guests crowded into our living room playing Rock Band and eating chips for him to really have a good time.

As the hour got later and the head count began to dwindle, he found the courage to emerge. I had had some wine and was finally up to taking the microphone in Rock Band and was trying my hand at singing a song I had never heard before in my life when I saw Rex bound through the cracked open screen door. 

"Hey," I shouted. "You little crap bucket!"

My friend, Julianne, dashed out after him and grabbed him before he had worked up the courage to leave the safety of our cement patio and go hide out in the wilderness of our acre back yard. She hefted him back inside and shut the door.

I shook my head at him, but figured he was done causing trouble, and that with six people in the room and the door closed, he wouldn't be able to slide it open before someone stopped him.

I was in the middle of singing another song I had never heard before in my life when I saw Rex's small, black, pissed off form once more. He  was silhouetted against the screen door for a moment before he swiped the door open and darted outside. I pointed at him, so someone closer could snag him, but no one understood my admittedly unfathomable gesture, except maybe Aidan. It took me a few shouts of "Pause the song! I have to go get my little shit cat!" before anyone heard me over the music and aquiesced to my request.

I stomped outside with a bag of tempting cat treats and started calling Rex's name. He stayed silent. Julianne followed me out with a flashlight she had in her purse, because she is cleverer than I, and began to go through the yard, sweeping the beam beneath cars and into bushes. Aidan jangled around my feet.

"I'm helping! I'm helping!" he snorted, thrilled to be so serviceable.

He wasn't actually helping, since Rex tends to go the other direction when he hears Aidan's tags, but I couldn't convince him to leave and was too preoccupied to physically drag him in the house and shut the door.

"I found him!" called Julianne. Aidan and I jogged over to where she was, next to an old RV. I peeked underneath, and sure enough, there was my little stinker. I held out some of the cat treats. Aidan peeked over my shoulder at them, but didn't try to eat them when I shot him a look that said, "Come near my hand and you will never wear a sweater again."

Rex, big eyes and clearly traumatized by everyone yelling his name and shining lights at him, crept slowly towards my hand, enticed by the snacks. I reached out my other hand, petted his face gently, and was just about to grab him when Aidan came around from behind me to see what was happening. Rex darted away. I scambled to grab him, but only ended up pulling his tail as Aidan took off after him with a cry of, "I'll get him, Mom! I'll get that guy and bring him to you!"

"Murderer!" said Rex, as he ran away looking thoroughly harrowed. 

"We didn't get him," I said, redundantly as Rex took refuge behind the hedges lining the back house's porch.

"Nice try," encouraged Aidan.

I looked at the dog. "You... Arg! Aidan! I... ARG!"

Davey took this moment to call the pug inside before I started shouting.

Julianne and I terrified Rex a little more with the flashlight and yelling his name before Aidan reemerged from the house and trotted directly to where my cat was and mashed his face against the hedge. While I was trying to get Aidan away from the cat's hiding spot, Rex slithered out from beneath the decorative bushes and made a beeline towards the hole into the space beneath the house where I found him after his first escapade into the outdoors after we moved in. He disappeared into the blackness. I plopped onto my butt in front of the hole and sagged.

"Nice try, again," cheered Aidan.

"Go away," I said.

Someone came and got him. Julianne brought me my cigarettes and my other friend, Dominic, came outside to join me in my cancer while I waited for Rex. Finally, after a shorter amount of time than I thought, Rex recovered from the trauma he seemed to have experienced, and meowed.

"Mom, are you there?"

"Come on out, Rex," I said.

He crawled up out of the vent and I grabbed him.

"That shit got real," he said, forlornly, repeating something I liked to say about television shows. "I've become hard."

"You don't even know what a hard life is," I said, slinging him over my shoulder and carrying him inside, my friends trailing behind me like a parade. "Aidan used to live on the streets of Los Angeles."

"Was that my name?" asked Aidan, eagerly. "Oh, look! There's that cat! Yay! You found Rex! I helped the most! Hide and seek! We win!"

Saturday, April 2, 2011

Some Quick Stories About Rex and Aidan

Oh, golly. it's been almost a whole month since last your heard any news from the lives of Aidan and Rex. I've started working opening shifts at work, and so have not been spending as many days at home alone with them. There's been a lot more poop showing up on the carpet as a direct result of this. Since I don't have any big stories to relay, I will tell you some short ones.

Rex Has No Respect For My Health

Every few days, I get home from work, set down my purse, and stand for a moment in the living room, debating what to do next. At this point, someone wanders into the kitchen and tells me how Rex got out into the backyard again. The little snot learned how to open the sliding door and has been sneaking out and skulking around our yard for the past month. He's quick about it, too. One morning I was making a smoothie while keeping an eye on my cat, who was lurking at the door suspiciously and watching the tree branches sway. I looked down for one moment to turn on the blender, and when I looked back up he had gotten the door open and was crouched on the patio, working up the courage to run for the fence.

"Rex!" I snapped, hurrying to the door. He looked over his shoulder at me and tensed to flee if I tried to grab him. We had had this battle before. It usually ended with at least one of us covered in dirt and the both of us pouting and feeling ill-used by the other. I decided to try something different.

"Sweetie, come back inside," I entreated.

Rex faltered, his eyes growing wide with confusion.

"Come on, Rex," I cooed.

I could see his brain working. On the one hand, he wanted to be an independent guy and go outdoors, but on the other hand, he loved me better than anything. He rarely almost never went outside when I was home, and if he was still hiding somewhere out there when I returned from work, he would usually come running for the door as soon as he heard my voice.

"Mom!" he would purr, as he came in the door and followed me around the house, basking in my presence. "I'm so glad you're home!"

It was this affection that I was counting on to get him back in the house now.

"Mom," he said, uncertainly, looking back out at the yard. "I made plans..."

I stepped over him out the door, turning around so I was standing in front of him. He looked up at me.

"Okay," he said.

I picked him up and carried him inside.

Aidan Hates Strangers

My friend, Dan, was coming to stay with us for the weekend. Davey had driven off somewhere to do something, and it was just me, Aidan, and Rex hanging out. I was playing Plants Vs. Zombies while I waited for Dan to arrive, and the boys were sleeping. Rex likes people and Aidan had met Dan before, so I figured there wouldn't be any silliness on either of their parts.

I was wrong.

Aidan had stopped barking at dark-skinned people when we went on walks, but he seemed to have replaced his venom for non-whites out on the street for all humans inside of his house. When I opened the door to let Dan in, Aidan took one look at my 6'7" giant friend and flipped out.

"Go away! Go away!" he barked, his eyes bugging out.

"Hi, Dan," I greeted.

Aidan looked at me. "Mom! Do you see this dangerous hooligan? He is in my home! Go away! Go away!"

"Don't you remember me from dodge ball that time, Aidan?" Dan asked, politely.

"Monster!" gasped Aidan. "I have never seen you in my life, fiend!"

He followed Dan into the living room, where he set down his overnight bag. Rex sprung awake.

"Dan!" he rejoiced. "Give me a pet on the head!"

"Hi, Rex," said Dan, giving him the requested pat.

"I can open doors!" Rex announced.

Aidan sat next to me on the couch. "Don't touch that cat! That is my step-brother and you had better not touch him!" barked Aidan, safe in the knowledge that I would defend him if he said anything uncouth enough to turn things physical.

"Aidan, shhhhhhhhh," I said, putting my arm around him. This usually calmed him when I had guests over that he felt he needed to defend the house from.

"No, Mother," he said. "That man is a menace to our way of life."

"I like you," Rex told Dan, "and I don't think you're a menace." He lowered his voice. "That guy Aidan is a menace. He puts his face in my butt and he hogs all the attention. He stepped on me!"

"Rex! That man is not your friend!" Aidan ordered, bossily.

"He is our friend," I hissed. "Dan, sit down."

Dan had been hovering, unsure of what to do while the dinky pug mouthed off at him. He sat on the other side of me on the couch. Aidan's eyes bugged out in terror. I pulled him closer to my side.

"Dan is not going to hurt you," I said, firmly.

"He's huge," whispered Aidan.

"I don't care," I said. "Our house is safe. Stop with the 'bow bow bow' nonsense."

Aidan kept his eyes on Dan for a few minutes more, then decided that I had been right about the lack of danger.

Aidan Steps On Rex

I was half asleep but mostly awake when Rex came into my room. He hummed to himself as he wandered up towards my head. I had my face partially covered by the blanket, which, to Rex, is a recipe for disaster.

"You'll suffocate!" he meowed at me, trying to dig the blanket off of my mouth.

"Hi, Rex," I said, muffled by the covers.

"Can you hear me?" Rex demanded, still pawing at my face. "You will die without an air hole!"

I lowered the blanket.

"I have to watch you like a hawk, Mom," he said. "You're going you give me a heart attack one day."

"Mmmmm, I love you," I said.

"I love you, too," he said, trying to figure out how he was going to lie against me with optimum comfort. I lifted my death blanket for him to crawl under.

"How is it you don't suffocate when you're under the blanket?" I mused, watching him make his way down to my belly.

"I don't know. I just don't. Maybe because I don't breathe it into my mouth like you do," he said, curling up so that we made two spoons.

Now that we live with Aidan, I don't get as much time to snuggle with my cat as I think both of us would like, so I was very much enjoying this quiet interlude with Rex while Davey slept and Aidan was somewhere else. I sighed happily.

Suddenly, there was a jingle. Aidan.

"Oh, swears," I mumbled. Rex was oblivious to the coming danger, but I knew very well that Aidan, for all his perfections, did not pay attention to where he stepped on the bed. Ever. Many a time had my head or neck become a platform on which he would tread.

"La la la!" Aidan sang to himself as he hopped on the bed and wended his way up from my feet towards my face, which he was planning on sniffing. I threw my arm across Rex beneath the blanket and tried to shield him from Aidan's impressive 24 lbs, but I was too thin to fully cover my cat's body. One of Aidan's paws landed on Rex's fleshy middle and my cat dashed from beneath the covers.

"Yikes!" said Aidan, startled by the cat in turn. "What was that thing???"

"You stepped on me!" Rex accused, from the center of the room.

"I stepped on the cat!" Aidan announced.

"That was a rude thing you did," sulked Rex, completely forgetting a time some months before.

Rex Steps On Aidan

We were only barely moved in and Rex was still scared of the pug, daring to venture into our room and onto our bed when the dog was out of sight. Sometimes he would spring up onto the bed after carefully peeping over the top to discover Aidan had been there all along, and he would run away as fast as he could. On this occasion, he could not see Aidan because Aidan was under the covers next to Davey.

I couldn't help but giggle a little at what was about to happen, because I knew no one was going to get hurt. Rex weighs only 17 lbs to Aidan's 24 and most of it is squish, whereas Aidan, though somewhat portly, is still pretty solid.

"Don't let him know Aidan is under there," I whispered at Davey, who seemed to be equally excited about seeing what was about to take place. He nodded, and we held our breaths in anticipation.

Rex cautiously made his way across the bed and over to me, where I gave him a kiss and scratched behind his ears. Then he made his way over to see Davey. Like a boot on a landmine, his paw came down on Aidan's back.

"Oh my Gosh, what happened to me?" Aidan jumped up, trying to get out from the covers. "It felt like the weight of a thousand worlds!"

"It's that dog!" shrieked Rex, sprinting out of the room in fear.

"Rex, it's okay!" I called after him, but he was gone.

"That was confusing, but I'm okay now," Aidan reassured, bringing the attention back around to him.

Villains, both of them.

Saturday, March 5, 2011

Rex Tries Foreign Cuisine

For the third day in a row I was perplexed to discover that Rex hadn't been eating all of the food in his dish. I normally fed him once in the morning and once at night. He would snack on his Meow Mix throughout the day until it was finished and he was ready for me to pour some more food in his dish again.

"Why isn't he eating?" I wondered, concerned. Enough of the food was missing that I wasn't worried he had lost his appetite for some reason and was slowly going to starve to death, but it was weird. He hadn't been bothering me for his breakfast or dinner at the usual times, either. I decided I would keep an eye on him to see if he started losing a lot of weight or seemed sick before I freaked out. He seemed perfectly healthy, and at 17 lbs., it wouldn't kill him to shave off an inch from his cuddly waistline. Still, it was weird. Aidan had been eating the same as usual, although I noticed his food was disappearing faster. This made me happy. My mother-in-law had given Davey a bag of Pedigree with smaller kibbles for Aidan, who has weak teeth and a small mouth unsuited for the giant nuggets he had been eating. I was glad to see that the smaller dog food was easier for him.

When I got home from work that night, I sat down on the couch to have nice snuggle with the pets. It had been a disappointing day, and I needed some cheering up. Aidan was into relaxing with me but Rex seemed miffed that I hadn't greeted him warmly enough. He stayed on the floor, despite my urgings otherwise. For once, Aidan considerately sat a modest distance from me so that Rex wouldn't feel too jealous to come join us.

"Eh, he's happy where he is," I said after a few minutes, reaching out invitingly to the pug. He promptly draped himself across my thigh with a wag of his tail.

Rex stood up disinterestedly and wandered over to where Aidan's food bowl and water dish were. They were good about sharing their water, I mused, looking down at Aidan. I distractedly played with his ear as I tried not to think about my day. Suddenly, I was snapped out of my reverie by a crunching sound. I looked up at Rex.

"What the hell are you doing?" I said, even though I knew full well.

"Eating," he mumbled through a bite of Pedigree.

"What are you thinking eating dog food?" I demanded.

He ignored me.


He took another dainty bite out of the bowl.

"Rex!" I snapped.

He continued on with his meal. I thought about getting up to stop him, but realized it was pointless. He would always be able to get at Aidan's food, no matter where we put it.

"What do you think of that, Aidan?" I asked, looking down at the dog. He looked up at me.

"I don't know," he said. "I think it tastes good, too."

"Fair point," I said, leaning back on the couch to watch Rex eat some more dog food.

"Rex," I called out. "After all the dog food you've had access to in your silly little life, why start eating it now?"

"These ones are small enough to fit in my mouth," he mumbled, his face buried in the bowl. I blinked. Of course. Those smaller kibbles were the perfect size, not only for a royal pug king, like Aidan, but also for a cultured gentleman cat with an interest in fine dining, like Rex. 

What a dork.

Aidan and Lucy Manipulate Tea Cakes From Me

 It was hard to leave poor Aidan home alone when he was giving me that look that said, "I'll write you while you're gone, even if you never write me back. I am devoted to your happiness."

"Hold on," I said, shutting the door, and heading back into the living room.

Aidan pranced to keep up with me, making circles around my legs as he tried to gaze anxiously into my face while having cataracts and trying to walk at the same time. He knew he had one more chance to get me to take him with him before I was gone forever.

"P.S." he said, frantically, sticking with the pen pals theme. "I love you!"

"Chill, buddy," I said, leaning over the arm chair and rummaging through Aidan's storage drawer for his leash. It wasn't there. Aidan watched me, wordlessly, for fear that too bold a move on his part would ruin his tentative chances of coming with. I was looking in his drawer, yes, but there was no telling what I was looking for in there. For all he knew, I was going to cheapen the depth of his love for me by feeding him a treat before making my final departure from his life, as if food was all he needed to forget that, for one short moment, he'd had a mother. I pursed my lips, shoving the bag of treats aside. Where the heck was that leash? I looked at Aidan, my hands on my hips. He tilted his head appealingly.

"What's up?" he ventured.

I grumbled, shutting the drawer and heading back to the front door. "I want to go for a walk with my brothers," I explained. "I'm feeling fat."

Aidan chased after me.

"Don't go!" he wailed plaintively. "I think you look thin! I'm the fat one! I need to go for a walk! I'll go with you! Please! Please don't leave me!"

I stopped and looked down at him, my hand on the door knob.

"I was already going to bring you with me," I said. "Silly!" I picked him up and put him under my arm.

"I thought you weren't," he said, legs poised stiffly in the air. "Because where's my leash?"

"I couldn't find it. We'll borrow Lucy's," I said, sliding into the car and shutting the door before releasing Aidan. He parked his butt on my lap and craned around to look into my eyes.

"Who's Lucy?" he asked.

"You'll remember when you see her."

Lucy is my family's dog. She has a pretty face, and dark ashy fur with darker spots. Every time she and Aidan see each other they act awkward and skittish, because they are both shy.

(Poor Lucy right after her accident. That's why her face fur is buzzed and you can see her scar.)

"She's old," Aidan whispered, goggle-eyed, when I brought him into the house. I set him down.

"Have fun," I said.

They advanced tentatively towards on another and commenced smelling each other's butts before trying, awkwardly and skittishly, to play. Their rate of success was severely limited. After a few minutes, Aidan ran over to me. "I don't think I'm having a lot of fun," he said. "Oh, are those cookies?"

"Cookies?" asked Lucy, making her way over to the table where I was, indeed, eating Russian tea cakes.

The dogs eyed each other. I bit a cookie in half and passed them each a piece.

"Oh, my. These are delicious," crowed Aidan, delighted.

"I'm not allowed to have people food anymore," whispered Lucy, sneaking under the table where my Mom couldn't see her. She put her head on my knee. "But one more won't hurt me." She looked at me angelically. She had cataracts to match Aidan's, although hers were from age and his are from being a pug. I slipped her another cookie.

"That's not fair! That's not fair! She got two!" protested Aidan. I handed him another fraction of a tea cake and then raised my empty hands in the air.

"That's it, guys," I said. "No more Russian tea cakes for any of us."

Lucy sighed in a long suffering way, still hidden away under the table. "They're gone?" she asked.

"No!" said Aidan. "They're not gone. I can see them. There's a whole plate of them up there, and I will never give up until I have eaten them all!" He looked at me reproachfully. How dare I deny him such a delicacy!

"There's more?" asked Lucy.

"Yes," said Aidan. "And I will be the one to eat them, because I am King Aidan!" He thought for a moment. "You may have a few."

"Thank you," said Lucy, politely.

"Don't get ahead of yourselves, you nut jobs," I interrupted. "I told you both, no more cookies."

Lucy gave me an appealing look. "I'm sorry to say I'm going to die soon," she said.

"Gah!" I spat, my sympathies won. I handed over the coveted sweet. I tried to be sly so Aidan wouldn't see and become offended, but I was not stealthy enough. He gasped, wounded.

"You... you gave her one... but not me?" he whimpered, blinking at me through the walnut of his sad, sad face.

"Jesus," I muttered, giving him another half a tea cake. "But seriously guys, no more. Just because they're on the table doesn't mean we get to keep shoving them down our throats like we're never going to eat again."

"Give me another cookie!" Aidan suggested, bracing himself against my chair. I patted him on the head.

"Sorry, buddy," I cooed. "If you eat too much sugar you'll get diabetes and they'll have to cut your little feetsies off."

"I don't care!" he complained. "I want a cookie more than feet!"

"I'm already old," said Lucy. "What's one more infirmity to me?"

"Stop it!" I said.

They both turned their puppy dog eyes on me full blast. I covered my face with my hands, but it was still too much.  I grabbed a tea cake and held it out for Lucy to eat.

"Don't give Lucy tea cakes," my Mom said, finally noticing. "She's got organ problems."

"Drat," said Lucy. Her jig was up.

"It's not fair to give you snacks when Lucy can't have any," I said to Aidan.

"Drat," he said, foiled by etiquette.

"I wont have any more, either," I said, pushing the plate away. I was relieved the whole ordeal was over.

Wednesday, February 23, 2011

Rex Gives Me a Heart Attack

The alarm clock on my phone irritated me awake.

"Graarrrrrr!" I bellowed, grabbing the offending device and changing the alarm to wake me up in half an hour. Ever since I found out my store was closing and I would soon be out of a job I had lost a lot of interest in leaving for work an hour early to make sure I was on time. I threw the covers back over my head and whined to myself. I buried my cheek as far into my pillow as I could and waited.

And waited.

But what was I waiting for?

"Rex!" I realized, popping my head up. He normally came running at the sound of my alarm clock. Where was the tell-tale jingle of his bell? Where was his familiar demand for breakfast and a snuggle? In fact, where had been his demands for dinner the night before? I jumped out of bed.

"Rex?" I called, softly.

There was no answer.


I filled up his food dish, empty since his breakfast the day before, and cleaned out his litter box. Still no hungry cat. I went into the kitchen.


Aidan ran to meet me. "I'm here!" he offered, wagging his tail furiously.

"Hi, sweetie," I said absently. "I'm looking for Rex."

"I don't know where that guy is," said Aidan, giddily. "Did you know that I have a toy that squeaks? It also has fur, and a tail. I like to chew on it, and sometimes my Dad throws it!"

I started some water for tea and put my toaster in the bagel. While that was all heating up I went into the bathroom to check out my hair.

"Come get meeeeeeeeeee."

I stopped. Was that Rex? It had been so faint.


"Come get me!"

The sound wasn't coming from inside the house. I ran into the backyard and around the side to where I thought I had heard the sound. No Rex.

I went into my bedroom.

"Come get me! Please!" His voice was so quiet! I couldn't tell if I was imagining it or not. For all I knew, I was making a big deal out of nothing and Rex was hanging out in Big Dave's room. I went back to the kitchen. Big Dave was sitting on the edge of his bed in his bedroom off the kitchen.

"Is my cat in there?" I asked.

"No," he said.

"When did you see him last?" I asked.

"Yesterday," he said.

"Me, too," I said, becoming frantic. I hustled back to my bedroom, where I had last heard his voice. Davey was getting dressed and struggling not to fall onto the bed and fall back asleep.

"What's wrong with you?" he asked.

"I can't find Rex," I said, clasping my hands together in distress.

He began looking around. I wandered through the house, keeping my ear perked for his cries. He was silent. I had to leave for work soon if I was going to skate in on time. I went into my room to get dressed.

"Where are you?" Rex called.

I ran into the hallway. "Davey!" I called through the bathroom door. "Did you hear him, too?"

"Yeah," said Davey.

I ran back outside and around the house. He had to be there. He was underneath something. I knew it. There! A vent to the crawlspace under the house was missing its screen. I knelt down and peered inside. I could only see a foot ahead of me. There was so much trash. Visions of broken glass and hypodermic needles danced through my head. How was I going to get under there to retrieve my cat if he was hurt? What could I sell to pay to vet bills to get him sewn back together or set his bones? My poor little boy! I struggled to see him in the pitch black space under the house, but to no avail.

"Rex!" I called.

"Where are you?" he called back. Two glowing disks rotated into view, fixing their beams on my face.

"Mom!" Rex rejoiced.

The twin beacons bounced towards me. I could feel the stiffness fall out of my back. Rex stopped beneath the vent, where I could see him. "I'm so glad you found me!"

He jumped up and squeezed through the space. I picked him up and squeezed him to me.

"It was cold out there, and I was hungry!" he said woefully. It was clear I would never understand the torture he had just endured. I carried him back to the house, surprised that he wasn't taking his usual tack and trying to slip out of my arms so he could run halfway across the lawn to the tree before getting scared and freezing. I guess it had been a longer night for him than I had realized.

"Hi, Rex!" said Aidan when I brought the cat inside.

"I didn't have any breakfast or dinner, Aidan!" Rex announced.

"Oh, wow. I really love breakfast. I would hate to miss it,"the pug commiserated. "Hey, can I smell your butt?"

"No," said Rex, scrambling to be let down once I had shut the door. He rushed to the bathroom, where his food was waiting.

"I'm still going to smell it," yelled Aidan, following him. "Mom wants me to be friendly, so you have to just deal with it!"

"She's not your Mom," Rex said dismissively, scarfing down his food.

"You're not the expert on anything," Aidan said flippantly.

"Mom, hold me," Rex begged. "My night was so scary!"

I picked him up and rubbed his back.

"You could have come to the door to be let in," I said.

"What if someone saw me out there all by myself and hit me with a rock or chased me?" Rex demanded, indignantly. It was clear he liked the idea of being outside better than the reality. "I was hiding from the bad guys."

"Mmmm. Mexicans," said a certain racist empathetically. "I bark at them."

"You're both ridiculous," I said, putting Rex down and grabbing my purse. "I'll see you little nuts later."