My neighbors Door Dash every meal. You can’t help but hate them.
Because here I am, slaving over a kitchen stove with mixed results, trying to figure out what to do with cauliflower rice that my daughter left me before boarding a plane for Hawaii and leaving me with her stale groceries and her golden retriever pup, a miscreant that yesterday ate my flip-flop just as the hot weather arrived, and up pulls yet another Camry – you see a lot of Camrys with Door Dash — to deliver a big takeout bag to my neighbor.
So, while the neighbors are eating Cuban sandwiches from Porto’s, or salads from Star Cafe, or juicy cheeseburgers from North Shore, we’re over here eating flip-flops and cauliflower rice.
“C’est la vie,” as the French always c’est, though I don’t think they ever really mean it. Not with their history.
Yeah, so the lovely and patient older daughter is off to Kauai for a week with Finn and the baby, their first plane trip as a family.
“What are you doing Saturday?” she asks, knowing I’m probably busy writing sonnets to Angie Dickinson, or working on my art, or curing Covid.
“I have a very full life, you know.”
“Because we’ll let you take us to LAX, Dad…” she says.
Sure, why not? Love LAX. There is that moment, just as you leave the terminal area, when LAX sort of expels you, flushes you out and on your way toward one of 12 freeways – a gasping sendoff, a victory parade. Such a feeling.
Besides, I’d already offered to watch her dog, Penny Laine, since I don’t like to kennel family members unless absolutely necessary, and Penny Laine is a lovely pup, just over a year old, a beautiful honey-ginger whose hobby is chewing all my best stuff. And she won’t stay off the couch no matter what.
Initially, there was some concern whether White Fang would accept this golden retriever into her house. As you know, other dogs find golden retrievers kind of goofy and annoying. Everybody fusses over their appearance, and they have this gentle demeanor, like a warm cup of tea. Golden retrievers are suck-ups, no question. And who doesn’t love a good suck-up?
I sure do. The last time anyone sucked up to me was…wait, no one has ever sucked up to me, not once. So naturally, I’m fond of this beautiful young and misbehaving dog who, upon seeing me, rolls on her back so I can scratch her belly (on the chest is best, just up from where the vet removed any hope of motherhood).
The first day was fine. Smartacus is back for spring break, and he’s very good with dogs, especially suck-ups. But then Smartacus took off to Tahoe with his other sister, Rapunzel. Suddenly, I’m the only one left in LA – alone with two dogs — one a suck-up, the other a fatalist Russian wolf with self-esteem issues. You know those Cossacks.
Dinner time is like a French farce. I have to feed Penny Laine separately in the garage, so that White Fang won’t eat her. Then next thing I know, I’m pulling out a bunch of sheets to protect the couch because Penny Laine won’t stay off the new white couch.
In our house, most anything goes. The drinking age is 12, and we’re pretty loose about language and hygiene
Really, there’s only one rule in our house: No dogs on Dad’s pricey new couch.
Immediately, Penny Lane heads for the couch, with the dust of LA all over her paws. Wildfire soot, eye makeup, gunpowder, manure, bee dung, hashish, the ashes of various dead rock stars … all of that’s on my couch right now, courtesy of these huge puppy footprints.
My pal Suzanne says baby wipes work well on gunk like that, but why clean the couch now, a week before the dog leaves? So she helps me tuck the bed sheets in the couch.
Basically, I’ve become my grandmother.
Then, as I maybe mentioned, Penny Laine gets hold of one of my flip-flops. The straps are completely gone. They are still in her esophagus at this point, and about to clog her tummy and intestines.
When I tell my daughter, she tells me the dog doesn’t always digest the shoes completely, as you might hope. She then sends me pix of Catty Cakes on the beach in Hawaii, and the drinks they’re having at the nice resort, where it’s like 9 am. In Hawaii, Happy Hour starts mid-morning.
Then she warns me – how do I put this? My daughter says that when the shoe exits the dog, sometimes there are what you might call “streamers” dangling out of the dog’s tailpipe, which you have to grab to help along.
I’d like to think you can hire someone for that – especially in LA, where you can hire someone to do the most unseemly things. Yet, not that. When it comes to doggy-butt streamers, we are each on our own.
The good news? Well, there is no good news. Suzanne, a striking woman of uncommon patience, gave me a real funny look when she sprinted desperately from the house, as if to say, “OK, Slugger, call me when that crazy animal is gone.”
She was last seen driving 120 down the 2, almost airborne.
And Smartacus has yet to return from Tahoe with his sister. From what we hear, his new skis were working very well, though he somehow got all tangled up in the SLOW DOWN!!! sign near the intersection of two exceptionally busy trails.
Smartacus is fine, the sign broke his fall. Meanwhile, the Ski Patrol is still untangling him, as you would a kitten from a wad of taffy yarn. I think there’s a lesson to be found up there. And the lesson is SLOOOOOOW DOOOOOOOWN!!!
C’est la vie, dude.
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